The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

When they don’t get their way they begin the attack.

This is a few of the things they do. This is just the tip of the iceberg however.

Judea Declares War on America’s 44th President

By Michael Collins Piper

April 26 2010

Outspoken Israeli-born critic of Israel Gilad Atzmon put it bluntly in the title of his March 25 Internet essay: “Judea Declares War on Obama.” Atzmon—whose candor is unswerving—was referring to the recent avalanche of bitter commentary unleashed at Barack Obama by powerful international Jewish organizations that perceive the president’s Middle East policies to be less than supportive of the demands of Israel and the Jewish lobby in America.

While Israeli immigrant Orly Taitz—a hardline Arab- and Muslim-basher—beats the bushes in public forums all across America, questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship and thus the very constitutional legitimacy of Obama’s occupation of the White House itself, her ideological allies, at the higher levels—an amazing array of big-name Jewish leaders and organizations— have been openly damning the president in unprecedented terms.

Leading the pack, predictably, was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which conjured up a letter, signed by 76 members of the Senate and 333 members of the House, ordering the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be more accommodating to Israel.

AIPAC—like other Jewish lobby voices—believes the president and Clinton are doing damage to the so-called “special relationship” between the United States and Israel.

Among other things—and at the focus of controversy between the Obama administration and Israel—the Jewish lobby groups uniformly condemn the Obama administration’s open criticisms of Israel for working to expand the Jewish population of Jerusalem, which is a Holy City not only to Jews but to Christians and Muslims. In general, however, the Jewish lobby perceives Obama as the grand wizard behind a concerted reassessment (even redirection) of long-standing U.S. favoritism for Israel.

Not missing a beat, on April 15—the very day that American taxpayers are annually asked to “ante up” for billions of dollars in U.S. giveaways to Israel— the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith issued a no-holds-barred broadside aimed at the president, proclaiming that “[The] Administration’s Shift in Policy Toward Israel is a Faulty Strategy.”

The ADL’s national director, Abe Foxman, charged that Obama’s policy was “dangerous thinking.” He declared that the administration has issued a “blatantly disproportionate” number of statements in which the president and his advisors have allegedly asked too much from Israel in the effort to reach a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, particularly the crisis surrounding the beleaguered Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Foxman asserted:

The significant shift in U.S. policy toward Israel and the peace process, which has been evident in comments from various members of the Obama administration and has now been confirmed by the president himself in his press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit, is deeply distressing. Saying that the absence of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines U.S. interests in the broader Middle East and the larger issue of resolving other conflicts is a faulty strategy. It is an incorrect approach on which to base America’s foreign policy in the Middle East and its relationship with its longtime friend and ally, Israel. ADL has long expressed its concern from the very beginning of the Obama administration about advisers to the president who see the ongoing Israeli- Palestinian conflict as a major impediment to achieving the administration’s foreign policy and military goals in the wider region.

In tandem with the ADL, Ronald Lauder, billionaire president of the World Jewish Congress, issued an open letter to the U.S. president that was published in full-page advertisements in The Washington Post and other major media outlets. Declaring that “Jews around the world are concerned” about Iran and complaining that “the Jewish state is being isolated and delegitimized,” Lauder excused the actions of what he described as “the Israeli housing bureaucracy” having made “a poorly timed announcement” (regarding the expansion of Jewish housing in Jerusalem) and expressed anger that the Obama administration had called the announcement an “insult” that reflected “the dramatic deterioration” of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Lauder’s open letter laid bare the concerns of the global Jewish community:

Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? . . . Another important question is this: What is the administration’s position on Israel’s borders in any final status agreement? Ambiguity on this matter has provoked a wave of rumors and anxiety. Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel? Is a new course being charted that would leave Israel with the indefensible borders that invited invasion prior to 1967? . . .And what are America’s strategic ambitions in the broader Middle East? The administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy? Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended. And what about the most dangerous player in the region? Shouldn’t the United States remain focused on the single biggest threat that confronts the world today? That threat is a nuclear-armed Iran. Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East, it is the one most committed to this administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

Lauder closed his challenge to the president by saying that “it is time to end our public feud with Israel,” but on the web site of the WJC publicly expressed opinions of the president were openly displayed with one WJC member saying that Obama “does not value the U.S. relationship with Israel and will willingly sacrifice [Israel]” in order to achieve its goals. Another Jewish leader declared that “There was ample evidence of this president’s animosity toward the Jewish people before the election. He is an anti-Jewish bigot.”  And yet another charged that Obama and his administration are “friendly with Israel’s enemies.”

Holocaust industry professional Elie Wiesel took out his own full-page advertisements in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal to blast the administration for its concerns about Israel’s expansion of Jewish housing in Jerusalem. Referring to Wiesel’s commentary, Erick Stakelbeck who writes on “terror” for Christian Zionist fanatic Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, proclaimed:

“When famous Holocaust survivor, human rights activist, humanitarian and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel drops the hammer on you over your Israel policy, you know you are doing something horribly wrong.”

And Jennifer Rubin of the American Jewish Committee- associated Commentary magazine chimed in, noting that while Wiesel didn’t mention Obama by name “his point could not be clearer: ‘Forget it, Mr. President’.”

Ms. Rubin concluded in threatening AJC style: It is significant that it is Wiesel—a Jewish figure without peer and the embodiment of Holocaust memory—who writes this. It is as powerful a rebuke to an American president as any he can receive. It is not simply a geopolitical critique; it is an indictment of Obama’s ignorance of and lack of sympathy with the Jewish people. It cannot be ignored. Rough times may well lie ahead for Barack Obama, who just recently was described as an “anti-Semite” by the brother-in-law of Israel’s prime minister.

As AFP  readers will recall, these trends point toward what AMERICAN FREE PRESS—alone among the media—reported on Dec. 1, 2008, just a month after Obama’s election: the possibility that Obama could “pull a JFK” once in office and dare to challenge Israel.

Although many still are unable to comprehend why all of this is happening, considering the fact that two key members of his inner circle—Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod—are Jewish (with Emanuel having held U.S.-Israeli dual citizenship and being the son of a former Jewish terrorist), even Emanuel and Axelrod have been attacked in Israel as “self-hating Jews.”

Those familiar with the JFK administration will recall that although JFK had a number of Jewish advisors he still stood up to Israel on numerous fronts including Israel’s effort to build nuclear weapons. Obama’s fate remains to be seen.  Source

This is from April 2009 but still relevant today. Nothing has changed.
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (a condensed version used the title The Israel Lobby) is the title of a work by John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, that has gone through several versions from 2002 to 2007. The most recent version is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a New York Times Best Seller, published in September 2007 by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.

The work’s thesis is that “The Lobby”, defined as a “loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction,” promotes “crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians” and also “hostility towards Syria and Iran” and is a primary cause for the United States to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state [Israel]; and that U.S. Middle East policy has been driven primarily by domestic politics, especially the “Israel Lobby”.

The authors state that the “core of the Lobby” is “American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel’s interests.” They note that “not all Jewish-Americans are part of the Lobby,” and that “Jewish-Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies.”
John Mearsheimer Col. L. Wilkerson – Part 1

Col. L. Wilkerson – Part 2

Col. L. Wilkerson – Colin Powell – Part 3

Col. L. Wilkerson – Colin Powell – Part 4

Israeli Lobby in the UK and how it influences Law Makers

Dispatches investigates one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in Britain, which is working in support of the interests of the State of Israel.

All this so Israel can continue to take the rest of the land from Palestinians and move on to surrounding countries. Seems they do not care who or how many are hurt or die.

Like Syria, Lebanon or Iran.

Israel even controls much of Egypt’s politics an of course wants their land as well. The  Wall of Shame for example,  I rest my case.

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Israel threatens Syria with war

Dual Loyalty Revisited

April 28, 2010

By Jeff Gates

Four-fifths of the U.S. House and Senate recently declared in correspondence to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the U.S. must reaffirm its “unbreakable bond” with Israel. What persuaded our Congress to proclaim their loyalty to Israel while our military is waging war in the Middle East based on fabricated intelligence?

Any sober assessment of this bond must concede a need to reappraise its cost in blood and treasure. Yet the Congress—our Congress—opposed that reassessment even as our commander-in-chief seeks to end a brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine that has provoked worldwide outrage for more than six decades.

The Congress and the president are sworn to the same oath of office. That oath obliges them to protect the U.S. from all threats, both foreign and domestic. The facts confirm a common pro-Israeli source of the phony intelligence that took our military to war in Iraq. All the evidence points to Israel or its surrogates, including those in the Congress. Is that why the Israel lobby pressed the Congress for a pledge of allegiance to Israel?

Giving Aid and Comfort

The U.S.-Israeli relationship has proven itself a consistent threat to our national security. That peril has only worsened with time. Tel Aviv’s massive land grab in 1967 was not “defensive”— as Israeli leaders have since conceded. That assault on its neighbors was a long-planned seizure of territory that Zionists see as rightly theirs as part of Greater Israel.

That attack provoked precisely the reaction that any competent war-planning game theorist could foresee as Israeli conduct outraged everyone in the region. As Israel’s loyal ally, the U.S., was widely perceived as guilty for our unfailing support of an expansionist agenda that the Pentagon urged we shut down in 1948.

In advising President Harry Truman against recognition of this extremist enclave as a legitimate state, the Joint Chiefs detailed the Zionists’ “fanatical concepts” including their plans for “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.” Our military was correct.

Facing a decline in his approval ratings and depleted campaign coffers in the lead-up to his 1948 presidential race, Truman put his signature on a two-sentence note that on May 14th gave the Zionists what they sought: U.S. recognition. That decision began a “special relationship” that has proven consistently harmful to U.S. interests.

The Truman campaign train was then “refueled” with $400,000 from grateful Zionists ($3.6 million in 2010 dollars). As editorial support from pro-Israeli media shifted in Truman’s favor, his approval surged long enough for him to prevail in November over New York’s Tom Dewey.

Absent the Holocaust, Truman could not have recognized Zionism as a lawful basis for a sovereign state in Palestine over intense opposition from Secretary of State George Marshall, the Pentagon, the State Department Policy Planning staff and the Central Intelligence Agency. All were adamantly opposed, as were members of the U.S. diplomatic corps. They knew better.

While the politics of campaign finance clearly played a role, Truman also acted out of humanitarian and religious concerns informed by his Christian Zionist upbringing in rural Missouri where he famously read the Bible cover-to-cover five times by age 15.

His decision was also shaped by sentiments developed as a youngster steeped in a fundamentalist Baptist theology that revered the Jews’ “return to Zion” as a prerequisite for the return of the Christian messiah.

Fast forward to 2001 when, in reaction to the provocation of a mass murder on U.S. soil, another Christian Zionist (G.W. Bush) was predisposed to support a military response that coincided with an expansionist agenda long sought by those our military earlier described as fanatics.

The Six-Day Land Grab

In the minds of those who comprise the Jewish Diaspora, the Six-Day War of 1967 reactivated the mental and emotional insecurity associated with the fascists of WWII. In combination, those two events catalyzed a worldwide “internal Diaspora” based on:

  • Nationalism—a shared emotional bond among those persuaded they share an identity of interest between themselves and a piece of real estate on which they may never set foot. After the Six-Day War, the state of Israel became the Land of Israel based on the more expansive area it occupied and the additional territory it has yet to seize.
  • Insecurity—a shared sense of vulnerability and victimhood as Jews saw themselves pitted against a widely marketed and steadily shifting threat. After September 2001, the 1967 “Arab Ring of Steel” morphed into the threat of “Islamo-fascism.” When, as now, Israeli policies come under attack, media campaigns claim an outbreak of “anti-Semitism.”

Throughout this saga, certain facts have been taken for granted that are now being questioned. The Zionist premise of the Right of Return relies on an historical account now under scholarly assault. In The Invention of the Jewish People, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand challenges the factual accuracy both of the Exile and the Exodus, thereby putting in question the legitimacy of the Return, the moral foundation for Israeli statehood in Palestine.

As Egyptologists point out, this ancient civilization records little of an Exodus even though Egyptian kings were meticulous in documenting details of their monarchies. How then did such a cataclysmic event as the parting of the sea and the drowning of a mighty king along with his army pass undocumented by the Egyptians while filling an entire chapter of the Torah? Where does fact end and fiction begin

Christians and Muslims were weaned on similar oral histories. Both faiths are derived from Judaism, an earlier religion also “of the book.” Yet the two derivatives were induced to wage war with each other by those long skilled at displacing facts with what a targeted populace can be deceived to believe—as with the fabricated “facts” about Iraq WMD, Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, Iraqi mobile biological weapons labs and so forth. All were false. Yet all were widely believed.

A Promised Land of Myth-Makers and Story Tellers

Bound by a shared anxiety and the allure of a Promised Land offering refuge through a Right of Return, Israel initially emerged as a shared mental state. In 1948, that mental state emerged as a physical “homeland” in Palestine offering residency for those it considered “Jewish.

In combination, the Holocaust and the Six-Day War made Zionism a geopolitical possibility. Without the fascist abuses of WWII, Truman’s recognition of Zionism as a legitimate state would have proven impossible. Absent the 1967 war, moderate Jews would have continued their opposition to a “Jewish state” as a barrier to assimilation and contrary to their values.

By regarding an enclave of religious fanatics as an entity on a par with other sovereign nations, forces were set in motion that were destined to discredit and endanger the U.S. Anti-Zionist Jews rightly worried that this expansion-seeking “state” would imperil the broader faith tradition by enabling all Jews to be portrayed as foreign agents of an aggressor nation.

Moderate Jews saw that charges of “dual loyalty” could be deployed to impugn by association even those Jews appalled at what Israel was destined to become—as the Pentagon predicted.

Meanwhile pressure from the Israel lobby discredited the U.S. worldwide by ensuring Congressional indifference to six decades of Palestinian suffering. Adding insult to injury, the lobby again prevailed by persuading Congress to proclaim this “unbreakable bond.”

Turning Fiction to Fact

Tel Aviv’s 1967 land grab also enabled the “Israelites”—with support from their Christian Zionist allies—to occupy territory that Jewish Zionists consider theirs—because they are Jewish.

Thus the strategic necessity to oppose anyone who challenges either Israel’s retention of occupied land or its seizure of more territory for a more expansive Land of Israel. Or, as Jewish fundamentalists argue, the “redemption” of land that is rightly theirs as The Chosen of God because the land they occupy was given to them—by a god of their own choosing.

Thus also the need to maintain an aggressive strategy that seeks to discredit, isolate, ostracize or marginalize anyone critical of Tel Aviv’s expansionist policies – even when those policies undermine the prospects for peace essential to protect U.S. interests in the region. Thus the perilous timing of this Congressional pledge of allegiance to an “unbreakable bond.”

Israel’s treatment of its Muslim neighbors has long been appalling. Yet it is clear to all but the willfully blind that Israeli behavior is enabled by its “special relationship” with the U.S. This latest pledge makes it appear that Israeli conduct is condoned and even welcomed by Americans—with precisely the effect on U.S. troops that the Israel lobby could anticipate. The perilous impact of this pledge on U.S. national security makes the lobby’s conduct reprehensible.

Americans who want to restore our national security must hold accountable under the law those pro-Israelis who conspired to displace the facts essential to informed choice with the false beliefs that took us to war in Iraq. We also must ensure that never again are foreign interests allowed to exert such control over what little remains of “our” representative government.

The Israel lobby should be forced to register as foreign agents subject to all the restrictions that implies, including a dramatic reduction in the funding it provides to Congress.

In practical effect, those Senators and Representatives who recently pledged their loyalty to Israel gave aid and comfort to an enemy within. Those who led this latest dual loyalty effort are adhering to an enemy should rightly be indicted for treason while this nation is at war.

That crime, for good reason, was made a capital offense by those who founded this nation to protect our freedom as Americans from those who manipulate beliefs to influence behavior.

This behavior—traceable to a common source—has long undermined our national interest and endangered our military. Those elected to the Congress face a stark choice: either defend this nation and support our troops or resign.

Those who do not resign risk a charge of treason when a long-deceived American public grasps that this pledge of allegiance was made while our military remains at risk based on intelligence fabricated by those to whom Congress just pledged an unbreakable bond.

An informed public will see the signatories of this pledge as prime suspects when federal law enforcement turns to identifying and indicting those complicit in enabling this ongoing treason.

Any American not outraged is not yet fully informed. Members of the military, both active duty and retired, should let an ill-informed public know what is being done in their name.  Source

The Israeli Lobby also affects Canada as well. Banning someone like George Galloway infuriated many Canadians and it seems Israel is attempting to remove Canadians Freedom of speech. All at the link below. Seems they do not want anyone taking about Israels crimes against Humanity or I suppose their lobby groups etc.

Canada unfairly blocked British MP George Galloway,court hears

How AIPAC operates they infiltrate and take over. They even admit it. Jonathan Kessler speaks at an AIPAC  student recruitment meeting.

Basically they infiltrate and take over. AIPAC  is Infiltrating US Colleges,  just as they have infiltrated the US Government and other Governments.  It is nice that Jonathan Kessler actually admits it however.

They have Lobby groups around the world and in all cases the same type of tactics are used.

Every country should be putting the concerns of their own citizens ahead of any other country.

Israel should  not be a priority to anyone, but Israel.

First and foremost the citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, England etc should be the first priority of their Governments  and not  Israel.

If a Government  puts another country before their own people, that is treason.

If you live in any country that is the country you should be your first priority. Otherwise move out and go to the country you prioritize.

If you are an Israeli living in another country and think Israel should come first, then feel free to move back to Israel.

If you are Jewish and living in another country other then Israel and you think Israel is more important then the country you live in, you too can feel free to move to Israel as well.

Unfortunately you have more rights to return then the Palestinians, who were driven out of homes and off their land.

The so called Jewish lobby does not nor ever has spoken for all the Jewish people around the world.

They say they do but in actual fact they do not. In reality there are many Jewish people who are opposed to many of the things Israel does.

If there is  Antisemitism in the World and by the way there is very little according to a report I read not so long ago,  it is usually because of what Israel does and for no other real reason.

Like the all out attack on  Gaza,  it rose a bit but subsided shortly there after.  That of course was Anti Israel in reality not Antisemitism as Israel would have you believe.

There were many Jews who speak out and criticize Israel and it’s actions.  They are of course demonized, by Israel an it’s Lobby groups and not by the rest of the world. The promote  hate towards Jewish people better then anyone I know.  They are the master of hate, fear mongering and demonetization.

They are hated more by Israel,  then anyone could ever hate Jews for the sake of their religion. How bazaar. I have read more hate from Israeli media towards Jews then anyone else. Even some of Israels Government officials spew hate towards them.

So if you are Jewish and you speak out Against Israel you are just as evil, insane and horrid as everyone else is that speaks out against them.

Even Israeli Jews who speak out are tormented and demonized.

Says a lot doesn’t it. The facts of course speak for themselves.

If you didn’t know that, now you do.

Those are the facts and the truth.

I have seen more times then I care to remember.

There are bigots and those who hater in every country around the world, Israel is no exception to that rule. When you spew hate and bigotry towards your own people, one does have to wonder,  just what their real agenda is?

There is not an antisemitism epidemic it is just a fabrication to make it seem like there is.

The majority of Semites in the world are not Jewish anyway.

The Majority of them are Arabs, Akkadians, and Phoenicians.

So if you hate Arabs you are Anti Semitic as well.

Maybe Obama wants to take care of the American people.

Found this in my wanderings and thought it should be viewed by all.  It isn’t exactly on topic but in many ways it is. He certainly has a lot to say. He also has some good advice.

CIA Officer Explains New World Order’s Demise

April 1 2010

Recent

NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out

Pilot cleared of 9/11 accusations, gets compensation

Khadr legal team turns down plea offer from U.S

Israeli troops attack protesters injuring and killing Again!

Ukrainian Government in Action: Egg Throwing? Smoke Bombs? Wrestling?

A Book: “The Shepherd’s Granddaughter” to remain in Toronto schools a win for Free Speech in Canada

Blowout: BP’s deadly oil rig disaster

Haitians worry free food distribution halted too soon

How George Galloway was barred from Canada in less than 2 hours

Goldman Sachs profited from market crash

UK: AWOL soldier, Joe Glenton loses sentence appeal


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Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy  
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Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

(Reuters) – Iran complained to the United Nations on Tuesday over what it called a U.S. threat to attack it with atomic weapons, accusing Washington of nuclear blackmail in violation of the U.N. charter.

President Barack Obama made clear last week that Iran and North Korea, both involved in nuclear disputes with the West, were excluded from new limits on the use of U.S. atomic weapons.

A letter from Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council and General Assembly presidents called on the United Nations to “strongly oppose the threat of use of nuclear weapons and to reject it.”

Statements by Obama and other U.S. officials were “tantamount to nuclear blackmail against a non-nuclear-weapon state” and breached U.S. obligations under the U.N. charter to refrain from the threat or use of force, Khazaee said.

“Such remarks by the U.S. officials display once again the reliance of the U.S. government on (a) militarized approach to various issues, to which the threats of use of nuclear weapons are not a solution at all,” he added.

They also posed “a real threat to international peace and security and undermine the credibility” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the envoy said.

Obama is urging other global powers to agree to a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies.

He pressed the case for sanctions at a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington on Tuesday, at which he won pledges from world leaders to take joint action to prevent terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons.

But Khazaee said that Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction — a reference to Iraq’s use of poison gas against it in a 1980-88 war — was firmly committed to a world free from such weapons.

The United States, the only country to have used nuclear weapons — against Japan in World War Two — “continues to illegitimately designate a non-nuclear weapon state as target of its nuclear weapons and contemplates military plans accordingly,” he said.

U.N. members “should not condone or tolerate such nuclear blackmail in (the) 21st century,” the Iranian envoy said.

(Editing by Vicki Allen) Source

Well since the brought up the subject of the Summit. Here is some information.

Factbox: China’s civilian and military nuclear activities

April  2010

(Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao is among the prominent leaders attending a two-day nuclear security summit opening on Monday in Washington D.C.

The meeting hosted by President Barack Obama will focus on making atomic facilities and materials safer from theft and terrorist attack, not broader questions about arms controls and cuts.

Here are some facts about China’s civilian and military nuclear activities:

GROWING NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR

China has 11 working nuclear reactors producing 9.1 gigawatts of power, but wants to raise capacity to 60 GW by 2020, over 5 percent of the total installed power generating capacity.

To reach that goal, China has 17 reactors under construction, and 124 more on the drawing boards, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) industry group.

The expansion will cause Chinese demand for uranium to rise ten fold by 2030, making it the world’s second biggest consumer after the United States, according the WNA forecasts.

MODEST BUT MODERNISING NUCLEAR ARSENAL

China staged its first nuclear test explosion in October 1964. It joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992, and is one of the five powers under that treaty with the right to have nuclear weapons.

Like all the nuclear weapons states, China is secretive about its arsenal. Foreign intelligence and expert estimates of its total stockpile of nuclear warheads vary from about 200 to 240 warheads.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has estimated that by 2009 China had 186 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, compared to 2,202 for the United States and 2,787 for Russia.

The other Reuters story

Factbox: Who are the world’s nuclear powers? April 13 2010

says.

CHINA: China is estimated to have about 250 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and sufficient stocks of fissile material to produce a much larger arsenal. It acceded to the NPT in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state. China has pledged not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states.

According to the START counting rules, as of January 2009 the United States had an estimated 5,200 nuclear warheads and 2,700 operationally deployed warheads (2,200 strategic and 500 nonstrategic).

The 2002 Treaty of Moscow (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) between the United States and Russia, states that each country must reduce their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012.

RUSSIA: Russia is estimated to have around 14,000 nuclear weapons, although the total is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical weapons. Under provisions of START I, the Russian nuclear arsenal has been reduced to around 3,909 strategic nuclear warheads as of January 2009. Source

Both stories are from Reuters but the numbers changed. So which is the truth your guess is as good as mine. It’s no wonder readers get confused. One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out the press isn’t always truthful.

There are 9 Nuclear powers in the world. US, Russia, China, Britain, Israel, France, India, Pakistan, and recently North Korea.

The United States has also provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey to deploy and store, that I know of, there may be more.

Japan just discovered recently.

Japan Report: Private Agreements Allowed US to Bring Nukes


“There are no indications that China is designing, testing, or producing new nuclear weapons designs,” according to Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation, a thinktank in Washington D.C., in an overview of Chinese nuclear arms policy.

But China is modernizing the means to deliver its nuclear warheads. It is gradually replacing its older, liquid-fueled ballistic nuclear-capable missiles with solid-fuel missiles, which will make launching them faster and less cumbersome.

China is also building new “Jin-class” ballistic missile submarines, capable of launching nuclear warheads while at sea.

These will replace China’s one “Xia-class” ballistic missile submarine, which experts say is in mothballs.

(Sources: Reuters; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Jeffrey Lewis, “Chinese Nuclear Posture and Force Modernization”; Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, “Chinese nuclear forces, 2008,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist)

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by David Fox) Source

Obama hails progress at nuclear safety summit

April 13 2010

The steps taken at the nuclear safety summit in Washington D.C. will make the world a safer place, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

“Today’s progress was possible because these leaders came not simply to talk but to take action, not simply to make pledges of future action but to commit to meaningful steps that they are prepared to implement right now,” Obama said as he wrapped up the two-day conference.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

“Today we are declaring that nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security,” Obama said.

He said all nations also endorsed the goal to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years time.

Obama said some important achievements were reached during the summit. Canada said it would return its stockpile of enriched uranium to the United States, while Ukraine announced it will give up its entire stockpile of weapons-grade uranium by 2012 — most of it this year.

He said Chile and Mexico also announced they would give up their entire stockpile of enriched uranium, and that nations such as Argentina and Pakistan had announced steps to strengthen port security and prevent nuclear smuggling.

Co-operation questioned

Obama was asked by a reporter how countries that have been at odds over different issues will co-operate since everything to be done is on a voluntary basis without any binding commitment.

“The point is that we’ve got world leaders who have just announced that, in fact, this is a commitment that they’re making. I believe they take their commitments very seriously,” Obama said. “If what you’re asking is, do we have a international one-world law-enforcement mechanism, we don’t. We never have.”

Shortly after the opening of the conference, Canada, the United States and Mexico announced a plan to convert Mexico’s research reactor to low-enriched uranium from highly enriched uranium. About 11 kilograms of highly enriched uranium will be shipped from the Mexican reactor to the U.S.

Canada will contribute about $5 million to the conversion project.

Obama also announced that the U.S. is joining with Canada in calling on nations to commit $10 billion to extend a global partnership that would strengthen nuclear security around the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was among 47 world leaders gathered at the meeting said that Canada has not made that request, but there have been discussions among G8 partners about the initiative.

“Canada is not the originator of the request but obviously we’re going to be looking at this request very seriously and I know all our G8 partners will do the same,” Harper said.

China may join Iran sanctions

The G8 signed on to the program at its 2002 summit in Kananaskis, Alta. Since then, the group has spent more than $600 million helping other countries decommission and secure their nuclear material.

Obama also said he is confident China will join other nations in pressing for tough new sanctions on Iran for continuing to seek nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

“Words have to mean something,” Obama said. “There have to be some consequences.”

Hu and Obama met for 90 minutes on Monday after which U.S. officials said the two agreed to tell their aides to work on a tough new sanctions program. However, a Chinese spokesman did not mention sanctions in his description of the meeting. Source

So who is going to disarm the US, and why should they be in control of all Uranium? Seems they are the ones making more bombs then any one.

They above all cannot be trusted with it. They are threatening a Nuclear strike and also have in the past plus all the DU they have left in every country they have invaded in recent years. They leave a trail of cancer and other illness behind everywhere they go. To trust them is like letting the fox guard the hen house. Just a really stupid thing to do.

I for one do not trust the US as far as I could throw them. Even their own citizens do not trust them.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

He is the one doing the threatening. DUHHHHHHHHHH

This summit was nothing more then a sham, to get more on side to go after Iran. It is also a way to suck money and Uranium out of other countries.

So what is this blackmail, give me all your Uranium or I will start Nuking countries?

The fall out from any Nuclear attack not only affects the country bombed, but all the neighboring countries.  It also affects the entire world. The wind blows it goes. So when the US threatens a Nuclear attack on any country in the world it is everyone’s business.

It would also affect those living in Israel. But I guess that is OK with the Israelis they have a death wish right?  Their government is all for Nuking Iran. All intelligent citizens should however be concerned. Will they do anything?  Probably not. They will sit idly by and get radiated instead.

It would also affect China who of course does not have a death wish and would be very displeased at the thought.

The rest of the Middle East will not be impressed either. It would also affect them as well.

Obama should stop threatening,  it is illegal under International Law, no exceptions.  The US has more weapons of mass destruction then any other country in the world. They really should be monitored. Sanctioned even.

Seems the US thinks it is OK to be above the Law, the rest of us must live by.

Will the UN do anything probably not, it is run by the US watch and see?

Point of Interest

Iran needs the 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces radio medicine for cancer patients.

The country has been promised nuclear fuel for over 30 years now. Despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)’s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.

Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tons of uranium hexafluoride to Iran — another obligation France has failed to meet. Source

Related

US violates UN law by threatening Iran

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

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Obama Revokes Bush Executive Order on Presidential Archives

Forces release of Bush Records!

By Hal Turner
January 21, 2009

Washington, DC
Barack Obama today revoked President George W. Bush’s Executive Order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office!

This would be the first logical step for his Administration to take if they were/are considering going after Bush for criminal prosecution over. . . . . the fraud he perpetrated against the nation by lying to take us to war in Iraq.

The very last section of Obama’s Executive Order issued today (Here) states “Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.” This puts up for public consumption, most of the records from the Bush administration and I suspect those records will provide the legal basis for criminal prosecution of Bush and Cheney.

George W. may want to jump on a plane and head to his family’s 100,000 acre refuge in Paraguay so he can be safe from extradition!

Personally, I would LOVE to see Bush criminally prosecuted and, if found guilty, hung by his neck just like Saddam Hussein.

Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents.

It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001.

Section 13 of Order 13233 revoked Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989. Ronald Regan.

The Order was partially struck down in October 2007, and President Barack Obama completely revoked it by executive order on January 21, 2009.

Source

Well that is a step in the right direction.

When you hide what you have done, then you must have done something wrong.

Maybe now they can find out how much more money, was “funneled” through Israel, to fund even more wars to prop up Dictators and cruel brutal Regimes. Bush and a few of his predecessors, were anything but wonderful people. As I read through the history of what was done in South America, by the US and Israel it was enough to make a person sick.

All the wars just to oppress people. All the wars just to keep cruel leaders in power. Africa is suffering the same fate because of the US and Israeli policies. How many millions have died,  is beyond imagination.

Any leader in any country who perpetrate such crimes against humanity and war crimes or even be aparty to such crimes, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

There is no statute of limitation on “war crimes”.  If a President or any leader is allowed to go free after killing millions of people, then there certainly is something wrong with the laws of the country they lead or the laws governing the world.

As they search through the archives they will find there was interference in European countries as well. Hopefully now they can find the evidence of it all or at leas a small part of it.  If you know what they do and have been doing for years,  it is very easy to conclude the pattern of terror, they both have rained on the entire world.

If there were ever two Rogue states,  it would be Israel and the US.

And for what , money, power, greed. and to rape the land and people of their natural resources. To use them as cheap slave labour.

How “Superior Race” is that?  Murder millions to for your own,  self interest.

When Chevez talks about the US or Israel he knows full well what they did. He is always demonized by the US and their media. The media that lies.

He knows full well what both countries have done,  as I do.

If you don’t know, I think you should find out. There is enough information out there on these subjects, so there is no excuse for Ignorance on these issues.

They want to rule the planet. At the expense of the innocent people who were massacred, at the expense of the soldier who served, at the expense of peace on the planet and at the expense of our environment. The war on terror was just a fabrication of an enemy so both countries, could rain down their terror on the entire world. Just as they had in Latin America and Africa.

Israel now wants to still go to war with Iran. Iran may or may not be a perfect place. But then again neither is Israel or the US. Even Canada is planning on selling India Nuclear Reactors. So if Indian can have a Nuclear Reactors they why is wrong for Iran? Oh they might build a bomb. Well India did just that back in 1974. India has not signed the treaty and yet Canada is still willing to sell them Reactors. Oh because the US said it was a good thing to do.

Iran at least signed the treated and the war Israel wants in Iran has everything to do with oil and gas pipelines and Oil and Gas itself and nothing to do with the fact they may build a bomb.

Does every country on the planet need the good old US approval. The country that has rained down a trail of absolute terror on innocent people. Well lets wake up Adolph Hitler and get his bloody permission, to piss in the pot next to your chair.

What the US and Israel have done together is no less criminal, then anything Hitler ever dreamed of doing and between the both of them have murdered far more innocent people.

Oh and the the best yet this week was the story on how Evil Iran is because it wants to help rebuild homes etc in Gaza. Well there are one hell of a lot of Evil people out there if that be the case, myself included.

God damb I just became Iranian. I guess every person on the planet is now Iranian, that wants to help the people in Gaza. Well there’s a few billion of us. Israel can kiss my ass. They are just like any common murdering criminal. I am so fed up with their propaganda. Of course the more they talk, the more obvious it is that they are lieing.

The history Israel has left behind and is till perusing is a bloodbath of  horrifying, dead, rotting, corpses.  Million and millions have died because of their rein of terror in co-operation  the US.

The more Israel sprew’s it’s lies and propaganda, the more obvious it is they are full of BS right up to their pretty little ears. Their history of terror is enough to make one sick.  They have no qualms about killing innocent people or helping any other horrifying regimes,  to do so, as well.  If anyone is fool enough to believe their lies then I pity you. Your country could be next.

Hopefully the trail of leaders that were assassinated or they tried to assassinate, will catch up with them as well.  Seems anyone who gets in their road they will have assassinated.  They even assassinate,  Peace and Human Rights activists. The US had done this type of thing for years.

Israel had a great teacher to help them. The CIA is just one of the most disgusting, agencies ever created.  Who knows Bush may have had people assassinated, while in power. Wouldn’t put it past him. He was a very cruel and bloodthirsty leader. But as they say if he couldn’t do it he could get Israel to do it for him.  Partners in crime.

Both counties harbour “war criminals”.

Their history is an extremely, bloodthirsty, genocidal, one I must say.

The media in Israel even had the majority of people believing that Hamas broke the Ceasefire, but then again the media in the US convinced people that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 ,both are “blatant lies” of course, so needless to say the media contributed to the “war crimes” as did both countries leaders. All are guilty of “war crimes” media included. Anyone who gave anyone “false information” through the media is just as guilty as the leader’s. The owners who forced their journalists to do so are guilty. They are just as responsible.

Journalists and media are not there to promote and lie about a war or how it began they are suppose to dig out the “truth” and inform the people. That is their job. Of course as well all well know, both countries would think nothing of either putting a journalist in jail or having them assassinated.

Thank our lucky stars we have a few good honest journalists out there, or we all would be brainwashed robots.

Canada signs Nuclear deal with India

Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm  Comments Off on Obama Revokes Bush Executive Order on Presidential Archives  
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Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

By Suzanne Goldenberg and Ewen MacAskill in Washington

January 23 2009

Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush’s war on terror, shutting down the CIA’s secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush’s thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

Obama’s decision to permanently shut down the CIA’s clandestine interrogation centres went far beyond the widely anticipated move to wind down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year.

He cast his scrapping of the legal apparatus set up by Bush as a way for America to reclaim the moral high ground in the fight against al-Qaida.

“We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals,” Obama said at the signing ceremony. “We intend to win this fight. We are going to win it on our own terms.”

In a sign of the sweeping rejection of the legal standards set by Bush, officials briefing reporters at the CIA’s secret prison yesterday said the new administration would not be guided by any of the opinions on torture and detainees issued by the justice department after 11 September 2001.

Instead, Obama, in three executive orders, renewed the US commitment to the Geneva convention on the treatment of detainees. All detainees will be registered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, in another departure of past practice under the Bush administration.

A group of 16 retired admirals and generals, in a meeting organised by Human Rights First, said the move would restore America’s moral authority in the world, and strengthen its national security. “President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals,” they said.

As expected, Obama made good on his campaign promise to shut down Guantánamo, issuing an executive order to close the camp within a year. He also ordered a taskforce, led by the attorney general and the secretaries of defence, state and homeland security, to review the intelligence and information on each detainee and to determine whether they can be released or put on trial.

He called for a review on the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo to be completed within 30 days.

Another order directs the CIA to follow the US army field manual on interrogations, which bars such techniques as waterboarding.

Obama also directed a taskforce to study and report back within 180 days on whether new guidelines were required for intelligence officials, beyond those set down by the military. Administration officials were adamant that the review was not intended as a back door to reinstate torture. “There is not a secret annexe that allows us to bring enhanced interrogation techniques back,” said one.

The final order mandates a review of the case of Ali Saleh Khalah al-Marri, a Qatari, the last enemy combatant on US soil, who is being held in a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

Obama followed up the burst of activity on detention policy by announcing that his administration would put resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his agenda, “actively and aggressively” seeking a comprehensive peace deal. As a sign of that intent, he confirmed that former senator George Mitchell, a veteran US mediator, would be his Middle East envoy.

Obama, who had been criticised for his silence during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, set out a new position that, while still leaning towards Israel, was more even-handed than that under Bush. He called for Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel, but also said that Israel must “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza”.

Souce

These are not all  secret ones,  but there are quite a number of Detention Camps. There are a few I knew nothing about however.

US Detention Camps around the World

They Should Check in Israel there may some US prisoners there as well.  Since they are such good buddies and all.

Gee I wonder if Israel has any secret Prisons around the world?  They do everything else the US did.


UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed

Haiti: War Crimes and Oil

Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

Shoot Then Ask, Israeli Soldiers Told

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Comments Off on Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’  
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Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

A very large delivery of  US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” of “ammunition” is scheduled to sail to Israel. The size and nature of the shipments are described as “unusual”:

“Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.

“Shipping brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were rare. (Reuters, Jan 10, 2009)

The Pentagon has entrusted a Greek merchant shipping company to deliver the weapons to Israel:

“The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.(Ibid)

It is worth noting that a similar unusually large shipment of  US ordinance to Israel was scheduled in early December:

“Tender documents indicate that the German ship hired by the US in early December also carried a massive cargo of weapons that weighed over 2.6 million kg [2600 tons] and filled up to 989 standard 20-foot containers to Ashdod from North Carolina.” (Press TV, 10 Jan 2009)

Are These Large Shipments of Ordinance Connected to the Invasion of Gaza?

The request by the Pentagon to transport ordinance in a commercial vessel, according to Reuters, was made on December 31, 4 days after the commencement of the aerial bombings of Gaza by F16 Fighter jets.

Analysts have hastily concluded, without evidence, that the 2 shipments of “ammunition” were intended to supply Israel’s armed forces in support of its military invasion of Gaza.

“A senior military analyst in London who declined to be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be “irregular” and linked to the Gaza offensive.” (Reuters, January 10, 2009)

These reports are mistaken. Delivery of ordinance always precedes the onslaught of a military operation. The ordinance required under “Operation Cast Lead” was decided upon in June 2008. Further to Tel Aviv’s request under the US military aid program to Israel, the U.S. Congress approved in September 2008 the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster high precision GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39).

The GBU 39 smart bombs produced by Boeing were delivered to Israel in November. They were used in the initial air raids on Gaza:

“…The Israel Air Force has used the new lightweight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb acquired from the USA, in the recent attacks in Gaza. The [Jerusalem] Post mentioned the new weapons ordered last September having arrived last month [November], and already put to action with the IAF fighters. These weapons could have been deployed by the Boeing/IAF F-15Is, since sofar SDB is cleared for use only with this type of aircraft.

It is highly unlikely that the bulk of the weaponry included in these two large shipments, scheduled to arrive in Israel in late January, is intended to be used in Israel’s military operation in Gaza. The GBU-39 is lightweight (130 kg). The entire shipment of GBU 39s (1000 units) would be of the order of a modest 130 tons. In other words, the specifications of the GBU 39 do not match the description of the “unusually large” and  “heavy” shipment of ordinance.

GBU-39

Escalation Scenario

The shipment ordered on December 31 is of the order of 3000 tons, an unusually large and heavy cargo of “ammunition” pointing to the transfer of heavy weaponry to Israel.

According to US military statements, the ordinance is for stockpiling, to be used “at short notice” in the eventuality of a conflict:

“This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza. …The U.S. military pre-positions stockpiles in some countries in case it needs supplies at short notice.” (Reuters, 10 Jan 2009, emphasis added)

Whatever the nature of these large weapons shipments, they are intended for use in a future military operation in the Middle East.

Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term Operation Operation (TIRANNT) in May 2003, an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria has been envisaged. TIRANNT was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous official statements and US military documents have pointed to an expanded Middle East war.

What these shipments suggest is that the “escalation scenario” not only prevails, but has reached a more active stage in the process of US-Israeli military planning.

Whether these weapons will be used or not is not known. The central question, in this regard, is whether the Gaza invasion is part of a broader military adventure directed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in which heavier weaponry including US made bunker buster bombs will be used.

History of US Weapons Shipments to Israel

The stockpiling of US made bunker buster bombs by Israel has been ongoing since 2005:

“The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years.

Among the bombs the [Israeli] air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.

The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel’s qualitative advantage [against Iran], and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.” (Jewish Virtual Library: September 21-22, 2004, Haaretz / Jerusalem Post.)

The actual shipments of US made bunker buster bombs started in 2005. The US approved in April 2005, the delivery of:

some 5,000  “smart air launched weapons” including some 500 BLU 109 ‘bunker-buster bombs. The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than ‘adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster [a variant of the GBU 28]'” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Nuclear Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005)

The BLU-109 is smaller than the GBU 28. “It  is a 2,000lbs warhead that can be used in combination with a GPS guidance kit […], and can penetrate up to 15 feet of fortified concrete.” (See F16.net)

In 2006 at the height of the Lebanon War in August 2006, a major shipment of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 bombs, according to the New York Times, was dispatched to Israel.

The GBU 28 is produced by Raytheon. It was used against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, has the the capability of penetrating some 20 feet of reinforced concrete. (Haaretz, 9 Nov 2008)  In contrast to the GBU 39 smart bombs (130 kg) used against Gaza, each GBU-28 weighs a hefty 2.2 tons.

“The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) is a special weapon developed for penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep underground. The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead.” Federation of American Scientists,

(For a visual depiction see  “Bob Sherman, How the GBU-28 works”, USA Today on-line.).

GBU-28

Video of GBU 28 on UTube

The recent unusually large shipments of weaponry to Israel are part of the 2004 agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, financed by US military aid to Israel.

As mentioned above, there is a history of delivery of bunker buster bombs (including the GBU 28), going back to 2005. While the nature and composition of these recent weapons shipments to Israel are not known, one suspects that they include the heavier version of the bunker buster bombs including the GBU-28.

In this regard, it is worth noting that last Summer, Israel requested the Pentagon to deliver GBU-28 bunker buster bombs. The stated purpose was to use them in the eventuality of a military operation directed against Iran.

In September 2008, according to US and Israeli press reports quoting Pentagon officials, Tel Aviv’s request was turned down. According to the reports, Washington categorically refused to deliver the shipment of GBU 28 bunker buster bombs, to be used to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Instead” Washington accepted to deliver the lightweight GBU-39 for use against Gaza.

The U.S. had “rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

The Americans viewed [Israel’s] request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran. In early September, Haaretz reported that the request had included GBU-28 “bunker-buster” bombs.

In mid-September, the U.S. agreed instead to sell Israel 1000 GBU-39 “bunker buster” bombs which Israeli military experts said “could provide a powerful new weapon” in Gaza, AP reported.

So: when Israel requested weapons that the U.S. expected would be used for bombing Iran, the U.S. said no, and added explicitly that it did not want to see an Israeli attack on Iran. And there was no Israeli attack on Iran. (Defense Update.com, December 2008)

Media Disinformation

The official statements and press reports are bogus. Israel and the US have always acted in close coordination. Washington does not “demand that Israel give them prior notice” of a military operation:

The report in Haaretz suggests that the Bush Administration was adamant and did not want the Israelis to attack Iran. In fact, the reports suggested that the US would shoot down Israeli planes, if they tried to attack Iran:

“Air-space authorization: An attack on Iran would apparently require passage through Iraqi air space. For this to occur, an air corridor would be needed that Israeli fighter jets could cross without being targeted by American planes or anti-aircraft missiles. The Americans also turned down this request. According to one account, to avoid the issue, the Americans told the Israelis to ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for permission, along the lines of “If you want, coordinate with him.” (Haaretz Nov 9, 2008)

This Israeli report is misleading. Israel is America’s ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Israel does not act without Washington’s approval and the US does not shoot down the planes of its closest ally.

The Nature and Composition of  the Recent US Weapons Shipments to Israel

These unusually large shipments of ordinance would normally require Congressional approval.  To our knowledge, there is no public record of approval of the unusually large shipments of heavy “ammunition” to Israel.

The nature and composition of the shipments are not known. Was Israel’s request for the delivery of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 accepted by Washington, bypassing the US Congress? Are GBU 28 bombs, each of which weighs 2.2 tons part of the 3000 ton shipments to Israel. Are tactical bunker buster mini-nuclear bombs included in Israel’s arsenal? These are questions to be raised in the US Congress.

The two shipments of “ammunition” are slated to arrive in Israel, respectively no later than the 25th and 31st of January.

Secretary Robert Gates who remains at the helm of the Department of Defense ensures continuity in the military agenda.

Preparing for a Confrontation with Iran: Beefing Up Israel’s Missile Defense System

In early January, the Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new sophisticated X-band early warning radar system. This project is part of the military aid package to Israel approved by the Pentagon in September 2008:

The Israeli government requested the system to help defend against a potential missile attack from Iran. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed off on the deployment order in mid-September. ….

Once fully operational, the system will be capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space, according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials. It also will integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network.

“This will enable the Israelis to track medium- and long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to,” Morrell said. “It will … more than double the range of Israel’s missile defense radars and increase its available engagement time.”

This, he said, will greatly enhance Israel’s defensive capabilities. “There is a growing ballistic missile threat in the region, particularly from Iran,” Morrell said. “And no one in the region should feel more nervous about that threat than the Israelis. And they clearly do, and they have asked for our assistance.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009, emphasis added.)

The new X-band radar system ‘permits an intercept soon after launch over enemy instead of friendly territory” (Sen. Joseph Azzolina, Protecting Israel from Iran’s missiles, Bayshore News, December 26, 2008).

The X-band radar would “integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.” (Ibid)

What this means is that Washington calls the shots. The US rather than Israel would control the Air Defense system:  ”This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.'” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009, emphasis added).

In other words, the US military controls Israel’s Air Defense system, which is integrated into the US global missile defense system. Under these circumstances, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without the consent of the US High Command.

The large shipments of US ordinance, slated to arrive in Israel after the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and Commander in Chief are part of the broader program of US-Israeli military cooperation in relation to Iran.

The reinforcement of Israel’s missile defenses combined with the large shipments of US weapons are part of an escalation scenario, which could lead the World under an Obama Administration into a broader Middle East war.

New Cold War?

There has been a military build on both sides. Iran has responded to the Israeli-US initiative, by beefing up it own missile defense system with the support of Russia. According to reports (December 21), Moscow and Tehran have been holding talks on the supply by Russia of “medium-range air defense systems – specifically, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems” (Asian Times, January 9, 2009)

Source

I did post a story on this earlier:
US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

So “why” does Israel need so many Weapons of Mass Destruction?

“Who” is paying for them? Their bank records should be examined to see who and how money is being “funneled” into the country to pay for weapons.  Said money should be also stopped.  Funding a “war criminal” is the same as funding a terrorist state, and  is a crime. Check the “Patriot Act” I do believe it is all probably in there. Anyone could be funneling money into Israel for war toys. No different then Saddam in Iraq or any other terrorists/rogue  state.

Banks could also be funding Israel as well, not to hard to launder money so it can be funneled into a terrorist/rogue state and if the US can go after Lloyds in England one could,  go after money headed to Israel.

Banks like the one George Bushes grand-daddy worked for,  gave money to Hitler and so did many other banks in the US.  This of course was considered a crime then and is still a crime today.

Banks could fund terrorism and launder money just as well, if not better then anyone else. Maybe the banks are stealing “tax dollars” for bailouts to fund wars, for all we know.

Seems they don’t want to tell anyone, where the money from the bailouts, is going or to who.

Could they be doing what Georges grand-daddy did?

Could they be helping terrorists/rogue states.  Sure they could. They did it before they may be doing it now. Where there is one, there is always more and do we trust banks these days? Especially the ones who so desperately needed bailout money. And now refuse to tell us where the money went and seems the Bank of America, is again asking for more Bailout money? Banks make money from war. Go figure.

Seems no one is really checking and those who have tryed got no answers. Maybe they are being naughty.

When there is no transparency, they could be doing anything.  Banks and War have always gone hand in hand however.

Just a thought to ponder.  Of course ? I was pondering that thought even before the Financial Crisis hit.

Israel has been accused of “War Crimes”.

Like any criminal that murders, you would not give them  weapons until the trial is over and only if they were found not guilty .

In light of these circumstances “NO weapons of this magnitude.”, should be allowed into Israel. Nor should they be given money to purchase or produce weapons.

Any more then you would give it to Saddam.

Who was of course accused of war crimes. Triad and convicted.

What is good for one leader, is good for all leaders. Equality you know. We all must obey the laws of the world and country. Justice is there to serve all.

There is really no difference,  a war crime, is a war crime, no matter who does it.

If  Sadddam did to those in” GAZA” that Israel just did, who would be the first to jump on the “sanction him” , HE is a terrorist, war criminal, charge him, bandwagon? Saddam was also an Ally of the US,  received “weapons of mass destruction” from the US and! and! and!

He only did what Israel leaders are doing.  I see no difference in their crimes against humanity, war crimes etc. The US also wanted Saddam to attack Iran. Talk about Dejavue.

Did Israel using illegal weapons in its offensive on Gaza?

January 16 2009

The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies.

All of this is being caused by the bombs Israel is dropping on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, according to reports and testimonies from there. Since the first day of the Israeli aerial attack, people have been giving exact descriptions of the side effects of the bombing, and claiming that Israel is using weapons and ammunition that they have not seen during the past eight years.

Furthermore, the kinds of grave injuries doctors at hospitals in the Strip have reported are providing yet another explanation for the overwhelming dread inhabitants are experiencing in any case.

It is precisely for this reason that Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch (HRW), has come to Israel. His mission: to examine whether the weapons that both sides are using are themselves legal and whether the use of them is legal.

The American-born Garlasco has not been permitted to enter Gaza – as is also the case with people from other human rights organizations and foreign journalists. Therefore, he says, since he is unable to examine actual remnants of the explosives and see the wreckage with his own eyes, he can only guess or make assumptions in some cases. But even from afar, he has no doubt: Israel is using white phosphorus bombs. That was immediately clear to him while he stood last week on a hill facing the Gaza Strip and observed the Israel Defense Forces’ bombings for several hours.

Last Saturday HRW hastened to publish a call to Israel to “stop unlawful use of white phosphorus in Gaza.” The use of white phosphorus is permitted on the battlefield, explains Garlasco, but the side effects on humans and the environment are severe and highly dangerous. The statement notes that the “potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.”

The fireworks-like explosions, the thick smoke, suffocating gas, and flames that are not extinguished by water, but rather are heightened by it – all of these are characteristic of the white phosphorus bombs the IDF is using. Garlasco believes the decision to make such extensive use of these bombs, manufactured by America’s General Dynamics Corporation, stems from conclusions drawn from the Second Lebanon War, in which the IDF lost many tanks.

“The phosphorus bombs create a thick smokescreen and if Hamas has an anti-tank rocket, the smoke prevents the rocket from tracking the tank,” he explains. There are two ways to use the bombs: The first is to impact them on the ground, in which case the resulting thick smokescreen covers a limited area; the second way is an airburst of a bomb, which contains 116 wafers doused in phosphorus. The moment the bomb blows up and the phosphorus comes in contact with oxygen – it ignites. This is what creates the “fireworks” and billows of jellyfish-shaped smoke. The fallout covers a wide area and the danger of fires and harm to civilians is enormous. The phosphorus burns glass, and immediately ignites paper, trees, wood – anything that is dry. The burning wafers causes terrible injury to anyone who comes in contact with them. The irony is that tear gas is included in the Chemical Weapons Convention and is subject to all kinds of restrictions, whereas phosphorus is not.

And in the meantime, in the hospitals in Gaza there are people lying in beds – among them many children – whose severe injuries and burns have appalled the medical teams.

Missing the target

Another new weapon that has forced itself upon Gazans is the GPS-guided mortar – a system equipped with satellite navigation, developed in Israel in late 2006-early 2007, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. According to local military sources, it was this kind of mortar that missed its target by 30 meters and erroneously hit a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school last week; according to the UN report, 30 people were killed immediately and others died later of their injuries. “It really boggles my mind,” Garlasco comments. “According to the literature, it has 3 meters’ error – not 30.” It is a mortar that is launched in an arc toward an unseen target, he explains, with the intention of being precise and to some extent minimize civilian casualties.

Garlasco says this is the first time the weapon has been used in any military conflict: “The Palestinians say, ‘Oh, they use it on us, “experiment” with it for the Americans.’ Experimenting has a different meaning for Americans. We think animal experimenting, but it is indeed a field test.”

The new mortar was developed jointly by the Israeli weapons industry and a private American company called . Israel, notes Garlasco, has learned a lot from the wars the U.S. is waging in Afghanistan and Iraq, but above all learned from its own war in Lebanon in 2006. The mortar that was not supposed to have landed on the school was developed with the knowledge that troops “are fighting an enemy that is in a densely populated area, and here is the first time they use it.”

Another important lesson Israel learned from the Lebanon war is that it cannot rely entirely on the U.S. to provide weapons. During that war, when the IDF ran out of cluster bombs, Israel asked for an emergency shipment of 1,200 such munitions (each containing 644 bomblets). The United States refused, and at that point, Garlasco notes, Israel realized it could not rely solely on American help in this realm.

Therefore, Israel has, for example, developed a new type of rifle, the (Tavor) TAR-21 (“an incredible weapon,” says Garlasco; he can’t help being complimentary) to take the place of the U.S.-made M-16. It has also invented the Delilah guided missile, but Garlasco does not know whether it has been used in Gaza. But not to worry, he adds: Despite the cluster bombs and independent Israeli development, Israel and the United States “still have a great relationship. By and large, the weaponry that Israel is using is American.”

Not all of the weapons are new and innovative. Most, in fact, are American products developed during the Cold War. The artillery and incendiary weapons in Israel’s possession were designed to destroy Russian tanks “and not Palestinian homes,” he notes. The weapons being produced now are developed in the knowledge that the target is militants who operate from within a civilian population. Yet, much of the killing and destruction in Gaza are the result of old-fashioned, cheaper and less-sophisticated weapons.

Only last September did the United States grant Israel’s request to supply it with 1,000 bombs of a new type, the GBU-39. They arrived at the beginning of December, and inhabitants of Rafah have witnessed their use – without knowing what they were – since the first day of the aerial attacks on the tunnels there. (The Jerusalem Post was the first to identify these as GBU-39s.) Gazans were surprised when they did not hear an explosion immediately after the Israeli aircraft fired; instead, the earth shook beneath their feet.

The manufacturer of the GBU-39 is the Boeing Corporation. The small diameter and light weight of these guided bombs ensure that any fighter plane can carry a large number of them and thus increase the number of attacks in every sortie. Garlasco says that the weapon is very accurate and penetrates deep into the earth. It is also designed to minimize collateral damage, since it does not explode over a large area like other bombs do. But other types of bombs are also being used and are destroying houses along the border with Egypt.

Gazans have noticed that there are bombs that produce mushroom clouds in various shades of red. Here, Garlasco admits, “I can only speculate. It looks like Israel is maybe using a new weapon that it was not using before: DIME – the dense inert metal explosive, consisting of 25 percent TNT and 75 percent tungsten, a heavy metal. You mix the two, in a fine grain, like pepper, and when the bomb hits the ground it aerosolizes. In less than a second, the mist dissipates and explodes.”

He says the advantage of DIME is that “it strikes a very small area, 10 to 20 meters, and the fire it ignites burns out very quickly; if it hits us now, we will die, but no one around us will be hurt. The problem is that when you are killed – you are ripped to shreds and there is nothing left.” Indeed, the injuries DIME causes are in general more severe than those caused by a “regular” bomb.

A paramedic at the Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalya refugee camp has told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that about 90 percent of the wounded he has rescued during the past few weeks were brought in with at least one limb missing. Is it the DIME that is causing the severe injuries being reported by the medical staff? Garlasco says there are “only rumors. No one has ever seen it used before, maybe it is being used now, but with Israel not letting in journalists and human rights organizations, these rumors are growing, and people say that Israeli is using terrible new weapons.”

Perhaps, he says, the redness is a result of the metal in the explosives, but it will only be possible to ascertain this if experts are allowed into the Gaza Strip, or they talk to the IDF. Garlasco notes that herein lies the big difference between the Israeli army and the American army: As a worker for a human rights organization, he receives daily e-mails from the U.S. Air Force with a detailed report of the bombs it has dropped in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The Israelis would never do that,” he explains. “They would never talk about what weapons they use and will never allow any discussion in society of whether the weapons should be used.”

Another new weapon that he believes is now in use is the Spike: “It is very new, [from] 2005-2006, a special missile that is made to make very high-speed turns, so if you have a target that is moving and running away from you, you can chase him with the weapon. It was developed by the U.S. Navy jointly with Rafael [the Israel Armament Development Authority]. Rafael is the manufacturer.”

Drones, incidentally, are a totally Israeli product, he notes; Israel is the world leader in this field, and America is learning a lot from it. The warships bombing Gaza are also Israeli made. But the cannons on the ships are Italian, produced by the Oto Melera company.

From his frustrating observation point outside Gaza, and on the basis of Israel’s “very bad record of using cluster bombs in Lebanon and selling them to Georgia,” Garlasco says he is worried that Israel is also now using the APAM (Anti Personnel/Anti Materiel) – a new type of round, or unit of ammunition, for tanks that was developed after Lebanon, each of which contains six cluster bombs. The tank guns aim above a target that is hiding behind some kind of cover and the ammunition explodes above people’s heads – like those of Iz al-Din al-Qassam cells, for example, when they are firing rockets.

The other side

Garlasco and Human Rights Watch also examine the other side, and he says, “We believe that the Grad and Qassam are illegal weapons because they are not accurate enough to be used in this situation.” He adds that Hamas makes frequent use of land mines and explosive charges that are liable to injure civilians.

However, because he and his fellow experts can’t go into Gaza, “We don’t know what the extent of any [Palestinian] civilian casualties is because of Hamas – whether they are shooting soldiers and their bullets end up killing civilians, or whether their anti-tank missiles miss an Israeli tank and hit a house. We don’t know.”

In 2005, Garlasco met with a political representative of Hamas and told him that use of Grads is a contravention of the Geneva Convention. The reply he got from the Hamas man was: “‘All Israelis are military.’ And I explained to them that their reading of international law is wrong.” It is amazing, he adds, that the Palestinians can manufacture the Qassams under the conditions in Gaza. The Grad, however, “is a real military weapon, three meters long. It has a significant warhead. The problem is that it is designed to be fired in mass, to be fired 21 rockets at a time, so that you are covering an area and you are having a shock effect. You don’t only have an explosion, but also a shock and it covers a big area. Shooting one at a time is almost useless from a military perspective.”

As for the Israeli claim about weapons and ammunition being hidden in public buildings such as mosques, Garlasco reiterates that only independent sources will be able to examine this claim and clarify its veracity. If the mosques blown up in the heart of densely populated residential neighborhoods indeed served as hiding places for weapons and ammunition, he would expect to see many secondary explosions, which would have caused significant collateral damage and deep craters. It is difficult to analyze the Israeli claims on the basis of photographs, he notes.

Garlasco is not prepared to accept without question the Israeli claim that Hamas hides behind civilians and makes use of civilians. “Israelis are very quick to say they are doing it, but very short on proof. By keeping the independent people out, they leave doubt in people’s minds.” Furthermore, he believes, Israel has a record of not telling the truth: “They said in Lebanon they did not use cluster bombs. We found 4 million. They evade answering that they use phosphorus, and we stand there every day watching. They claim to have bombed a truck full of Grad missiles, and according to witnesses who spoke with Haaretz, it turned out to be a truck with oxygen tanks. Not everything that is long is a missile. How can anyone trust the Israeli military?'”

The IDF Spokesman responds: “The IDF is fighting the terror elements while meticulously observing the rules of engagement under international law. For understandable operational reasons, the IDF will not relate to a detailing of the materiel that is in its possession and the parameters in which it used. It should be emphasized, however, that the IDF uses only methods and materiel that are permitted under international law.”

Source

Did Israel test new weapons in Gaza?

Did they use people in Gaza as “Guinea Pigs”? Experimenting on people like this would be illegal and yet another war crime.

If in fact they tested new weapons on the innocent civilians in Gaza, they will also be bragging, to potential buyers about how  effective they are and of course want to sell them.

They may even be planing on selling some of the ones being shipped in by the US. Or they are planning on bombing the crap out of the entire Middle East.

Getting the weapons while Bush was still in power may have also been the only way they would get any to stockpile as well. Obama may not be so Generous.

Obviously there is something going on the Public is unaware of.

I wouldn’t give a mass murder weapons of this sort. No one should.

This shipment should be stopped and confiscated. If by no one else, the UN it self.

If  a Police officer is accused of “pre mediated murder” would you ?

Let him have a weapon?

Let him have a passport so he could flee the country?

Would you even let him out on Bail?

Would any accuse murderer for that matter?

The leaders of Israel are not to be treated any differently then any person or country or leader ore civilian accused of murderer.

Would Saddam have been given Weapons while he was waiting trial for War Crimes?

Lets just stop and think here for a moment,  are those leaders in Israel any better then Saddam?

Seems to me they may be worse if they are not stopped now.

A very large delivery of  US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” is not, what one would  give to an accused “war criminal”. Anymore then you would give a machine gun to an accused murder.

Israel shells another UN school in Gaza: Israel just had to get one last UN building  in before it says, it is going into a Ceasefire.  A ceasefire at their discretion, of course.  The blockade on Gaza  still stands and they will, still be short of food, medical supplies etc.  The starvation continues as the leaders in Israel pat themselves on the back. They are thinking they did such a wonderful job.
They are mad of course in their thinking and  relishing in their murderous rampage, as justifiable.

January 17 2009

un-school-jan-17

The UN has called for a war crimes investigation over the shelling of its school. Photo:  AFP

Two Palestinian boys have been killed after Israeli tank shells hit a UN-run school in Gaza – hours before Israel’s security cabinet is expected to vote on a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire.

The boys, aged five and seven, died and 25 other Gazans were wounded as they sought to shelter in the school run by the UN relief and works agency (Unrwa) in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.

The school is the third UN shelter to be hit by Israeli fire in its 22-day war on the territory.

The attack came as heavy artillery and aerial bombardment of what Israel described as “Hamas targets” continued on Saturday.

Christopher Gunness, an Unrwa spokesman, said several rounds hit the UN school at about 6:45am. The third floor of the school took a direct hit after a short pause, killing the pair and injuring another 14 people.

Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape.

Investigation demanded

About 1,600 civilians had sought refuge from the fighting inside the building, Gunness said.

“The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there,” he said.

“When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said: “I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous attack, which is the third time it’s happened.

“Top Israeli leaders have apologised and assured me two days ago that UN premises would be fully respected.

“I strongly demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible,” he told reporters in Beirut.

John Ging, the director of Unrwa, told Al Jazeera: “People today are alleging war crimes here in Gaza. Let’s have it properly accounted for. Let’s have the legal process which will establish exactly what has happened here.

‘A failure for humanity’
“It is another failure for our humanity and it is exposing the impotence of our [the international community’s] inability to protect civilians in conflict.”

In Jabaliya refugee camp, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor from al-Shifa hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.

At least 10 people were also killed late on Friday after a tank shell slammed into their home during a funeral wake in Gaza City.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, including more than 400 children, according to UN and Palestinian medical sources.

At least 13 Israelis have also died in the same period, three of them civilians.

About five rockets were reported to have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday.

Source

Under no circumstances, should Israel be given any weapons.

Nor should they be given anything, to make weapons of their own.

Prevention is paramount.

Israel must also open their doors, to weapons inspectors.

Gaza must be allowed to let in “Inspectors” to “investigate” what type of weapons Israel used.

Israel is accused of war crimes and in any criminal investigation, investigators must be allowed to gather “evidence”.

Israels refusal to allow the media or anyone else into Gaza is a sign of guilt.

The more times they  refuse, the “guiltier”,  they obviously are.

They are trying to hide their crimes.

They are covering up “evidence” with Bulldozers even.

They have lied.

They have mislead their own Citizens.

They have attempted to mislead the world.

Apologizing for destroying UN building or hospitals doesn’t cut it.

Apologizing for killing innocent civilians doesn’t cut it either.

Rates right up there with the wife beater: saying he is sorry to the woman, he just pounded the crap out of.  “Oh honey I am so sorry”. Cry, whimper and big pretend, tears of sorrow. “I will never do it again”.

Well anyone with any knowledge of spousal abuse knows, how it goes.

After 10 or 20 beating, still comes the “I am sorry BS”.

“Israel is so sorry”. “B.S.” are we actually, all suppose to  fall for that crap?

So what Israel is saying in essence is:

If I kill my next door neighbour, my saying “I am sorry”  would be sufficient enough to allow me to “walk free” with  weapons in hand. Wouldn’t it?

Of course:

In the eyes of the Police, the Courts or the rest of the public at large,  “Not flippin likely”.

Israel is not to be trusted at this point in time.

It is in the best interest of everyone on the planet, that these weapons are kept out of the hands of Israel. Preventing them from building more in their own country is also essential.

Prevention, as I said before paramount.

If the UN body or other International bodies fail to see this or do nothing then I can only assume they are corrupt.

They can and should be stopped.

Who wants another world war?

I don’t, do you?

The Israeli Government: is not Sorry.

They are in fact very proud,  about what they have done.

If Saddam can be prosecuted,  so can any leader, any where in the world. No exceptions. Commit a war crime go to trial. What goes for one leader goes for all leaders.  Elected or not. Makes no difference.

A criminal is a criminal.

Mass murder is a crime.

You have become a very dangerous, untrustworthy, leadership. Not only to the rest of the world, but also you endanger your own people.

You are more Dangerous then Saddam. He after all really didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction now did he?

We know for a fact the Israeli Government has  “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

We know  for a fact the  Israeli Government, would use them on innocent civilians.

The State of Israel: Since its Creation

Well to those in the Israeli Government:

“I am so sorry,  but I don’t trust you and I don’t believe you”.

“You like anyone, who has betrayed my trust,  now have to prove to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you can be trusted.  Sorry isn’t good enough”.

What you say and what you do are two very different animals.

Ban Ki-moon should not trust you either. No one should. You are treating the UN, the same as an abusive woman beater, treats his wife.

You have given me the “Yah Yah syndrome” just like George W. Bush did.

yah yah???????????????????????????????????????????

I had tons of clues before,  you were a rogue state . Now I have “3000 more tons” of clues headed your way.

“Bunker Busters” are Nuclear bombs.  Just a different type,  so to speak, but a Nuclear bomb all the same.

700 Israelis arrested for protesting against war

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction against Gaza

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Any casualties in Gaza Resemble those from the Iraq War.

I wonder. US Dropped Nuke on Iraq

Or Images of War Afgahanistan and Iraq

Pro-Obama Haitian-Americans want help

Pro-Obama Haitian-Americans want help
December 30 2008

LAUDERHILL, Fla.,

Haitian-American leaders who turned out the vote for U.S. President-elect Barack Obama in Florida say they expect him to help ease crises in their homeland.

Members of a Broward County, Fla., branch of Haitians for Obama, which worked hard to canvass ethnic communities for the president-elect, say that while immigration and the economy are big issues for them, they also expect Obama’s administration to work more closely with Haitian leaders to help their impoverished native country, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

“Our country is in a permanent crisis,” group member Aude Sicard told the newspaper. “We’re not simply asking for humanitarian aid, but we want this country to send technicians and engineers and see a true path for development in Haiti.”

Saying they’ll continue to build on the activism established to elect Obama, the Haitian-Americans have vowed to continue to lobby for temporary protected status, which would grant undocumented Haitian immigrants in the right to work in the United States legally until their homeland becomes more stable, the Sun-Sentinel said.

Source

U.S. Haiti policy senseless, deadly
By Myriam Marquez
December 31, 2008

Two years ago, Louiness and Sheryl Petit-Frere were newlyweds celebrating their good fortune. Both from Haiti, they had found love and each other in Miami.

Today, Louiness, a 31-year-old baker, waits at the Glades detention facility in Central Florida to be sent to a country he hasn’t seen in a decade, where no one waits for him.

His 27-year-old bride in Miami tries to make sense of a senseless immigration law that would deport an otherwise law-abiding, working man because he had an old asylum petition denied.

Never mind that he is married to a U.S. citizen, that he had, in good faith, filed for legal status and had shown up for the interview at the Citizenship and Immigration Services office when he was hauled away like a common criminal.

Petit-Frere’s mother and five siblings are all permanent U.S. residents, including his brother, Sgt. Nikenson Peirreloui, a U.S. Marine with a war injury to show for his two tours in Iraq. But none of that matters.

The U.S. government deems it imperative to deport Petit-Frere, who has no criminal record, to a place decimated by four back-to-back storms this summer, with thousands of starving, dehydrating children left homeless and adults facing no prospects for jobs.

“It seems terrible,” his mother, Francina Pierre, told me Saturday while she waited for her daughter-in-law to get off work as a grocery store clerk.

“He has nobody left in Haiti,” she said. “My mom died, my dad died, my sister died. And my two brothers live here. One is a U.S. citizen and the other is a permanent resident. We have no more family living in Haiti, no more.”

The Bush administration had sensibly put deportations to Haiti on hold after a succession of hurricanes and tropical storms destroyed parts of the island, leaving thousands without work or home. But the president stopped short of granting temporary protected status, or TPS, to Haitians living in the United States without proper documentation.

Natural disasters generally qualify for TPS consideration — as Central Americans with TPS can attest. But Haitians can never seem to catch a break.

U.S. immigration officials decided recently that it would be just dandy to deport Haitians while recovery efforts on their part of Hispaniola proceed in spurts and stops, as children die of malnutrition and mudslides continue to impede reconstruction.

“How can this nation in good conscience send children and families to face the terrible conditions that exist in Haiti?” Cheryl Little, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center’s executive director, said in a statement. “People could die because of this decision.”

She’s not crying wolf.

The conditions in Haiti cry out for solutions — not asinine deportations that only exacerbate an already untenable situation.

As President Bush looks through his list of pardons to wipe the slate clean for criminals, he should move to do more for the common man, people like Louiness Petit-Frere. Why not grant TPS for Haitians who have no criminal record, so they can stay and work here until conditions improve in their country?

Those who do have family in Haiti can send money and goods back to help the reconstruction and rev up the economy.

TPS was designated for catastrophic situations like Haiti’s. There’s no reason to deny Haitians TPS. Only racist excuses.

Source

Thrice-built house embodies Haiti aid shortfalls
By JONATHAN M. KATZ
December 30 2008

GONAIVES, Haiti

The farmer camps in a crude tent of broken sandbags as he guards the foundation of his destroyed home and his last possessions: a pickax, a hoe and some charcoal.

This is the third time Olisten Elerius is preparing to build his tiny cinderblock house. Four years ago, Tropical Storm Jeanne flooded it and drowned his father, sister and nephew. Then, late this summer, Tropical Storm Hanna swallowed it along with his daughter and another sister. It could happen again.

After Jeanne struck in 2004, more than $70 million in aid went to immediate relief such as food, medical aid and jobs, but little went to flood control, according to an Associated Press review of relief spending. Despite pledges to prevent such devastation in the future, few projects to build drains, fix roads and stop erosion were even attempted.

In other parts of Haiti, U.S. officials launched an ambitious flood control project. But it took 3 1/2 years to plan and was not placed in Gonaives because of a lack of funding.

So when four major storms hit within a month this year, nothing stopped the La Quinte River from roaring over its banks again. It inundated farmers like Elerius on its way to the center of Gonaives, where men, women and children swam for miles through swirling waters to escape. The storms killed 793 people and caused $1 billion in damage.

“The authorities were always coming here to take pictures and measure things,” Elerius said. “The words in their mouths said they would help, but they never did anything.”

Top officials agree that efforts fell short.

“I think we were very successful in getting Gonaives back on its feet,” Alexandre Deprez, an official for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said of the work after Jeanne. “But it is true that we didn’t put the time and the resources to do what needs to be done in the longer term.”

___

Haiti’s floods are not natural disasters, but a direct result of widespread deforestation, erosion and poverty. Farmers cut trees for charcoal and plant shallow-rooted crops. Rains that would be forgotten elsewhere can kill thousands.

In 2004, Elerius was working in the neighboring Dominican Republic when Tropical Storm Jeanne came twisting like a wounded animal out of the northern sky, sending a wall of water through his cinderblock home and sweeping away his father, sister and nephew. Gonaives residents fled to their rooftops as rivers broke their banks, overflowing morgues with bloated corpses.

A horrified world pledged to help. Elerius returned home just as the money and the white SUVs of non-governmental organizations began flowing into Gonaives, in the north of Haiti.

The U.N. appealed for $37 million in flood relief. Washington would donate more than $45 million, first for emergency food and supplies and then through USAID for the two-year, $34 million Tropical Storm Jeanne Recovery Program.

Disaster officials, newspapers and aid workers called for well-planned, well-financed, long-term aid. Haitian officials told the agencies to spend the money on projects that would save lives: secure rivers, fix roads, design better canals, build homes with better drainage to the sea.

But the U.N. member states, distracted by the Indian Ocean tsunami four months later, raised less than half their funding target.

Work was hampered by violence and insecurity. The Inter-American Development Bank provided about $10 million in loans, mostly for construction of a small drainage system. That project was abandoned by Haitian contractors after bandits stole the cement and steel, IDB representative Philippe Dewez said.

Washington sent money mostly for short-term projects: cleanup, restoration and repair of basic services such as schools, health clinics, roads, bridges and homes. In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that U.S. organizations cleared more than 2 million cubic feet of mud and restored the livelihoods of 48,000 people. But the GAO said they failed to meet an already reduced target for houses and completed no roads or bridges.

Elerius rebuilt his family’s flimsy home at Mapou, a flat plain on the outskirts of the city, just 50 feet from the La Quinte River after it descends from barren mountains toward the sea.

On the denuded hillside, USAID said projects to grow plant cover and build terraces have restored 3,700 acres of the La Quinte watershed — 2 percent of the basin. But few trees are visible, and local officials said most saplings were eaten by goats.

Corruption watchdogs with Transparency International said public funds — nobody seems to know exactly how much — were distributed with little oversight by the U.S.-backed interim government.

Soon after Jeanne, USAID commissioned a study of Haiti’s watersheds, which led to an ambitious $18 million effort to reduce flooding. Work did not begin until February 2008.

The report recommended action in high-risk flood areas, including Gonaives. But the U.S. Congress only gave enough money for the agency to start in two smaller, less populated watersheds — Limbe in the north and Mountrouis in the west, both more than 40 miles away from Gonaives. Some money went to a project on a Port-au-Prince river this year.

“With the funding that we were given we said to ourselves, ‘Why go into a place where you’re not going to make a difference?’ ” Deprez told The Associated Press. “Go into a place where you can focus and make a difference and test the approach that was recommended.”

It will take five years to know the effects of the pilot flood-control programs. Officials then hope to replicate them elsewhere.

But the storms didn’t wait.

___

Starting in mid-August, Tropical Storm Fay hit Haiti, followed by Gustav, Hanna and Ike. They destroyed thousands of homes, devastated crops and set the country back decades. Starving families, whose plight had fueled April riots, got even hungrier.

On the dark afternoon of Sept. 2 in Gonaives, there was no warning as mountain run-off began to gather in ravines. Officials were not given orders to evacuate, and in any case no plan was in place. There was nobody to clear fallen trees that had jammed a bridge on the La Quinte River and caused it to divert the day before.

Elerius was in town getting supplies when he heard radio reports about a new storm. Even as rain fell in Gonaives, radio broadcasts in Port-Au-Prince, the capital, repeated predictions that it would veer to the north, away from Haiti.

It was only word of mouth that sent Elerius running home. There he found the river had again become an ocean, his family submerged and his house disintegrating.

He dived into the water and pulled his mother and 4-year-old son Jonslay to safety. Then he yelled for his 6-year-old daughter, Joniska, and his 21-year-old little sister, Jimele.

Neither called back.

This time, without a network of roads that could withstand the flooding, Gonaives was trapped. A Haitian-funded causeway needed to connect it to the capital, 80 miles away across the cactus plain of Savanne Desolee, was left half-finished, denying scores of families a way out. Refugees climbed its scaffolding to escape the rising waters.

Others were stranded on their rooftops. It took four days for the U.N. to bring in ample food aid by ship.

Some development workers say the reduced death toll this year — in the hundreds instead of thousands — validates their efforts. But survivors and local officials say more survived this time because the memory of Jeanne sent them running for higher ground.

Today in Gonaives, homeless families crowd tent neighborhoods. Men scrounge for fish in stagnant floodwaters. Schoolgirls wear sunglasses and surgical masks to block the clouds of dirt that cover the city. The road to Port-au-Prince is still blocked by an enormous lake.

As former Gonaives disaster management coordinator Faustin Joseph said, “Everybody failed.”

The craggy roads of Gonaives are filled again with white SUVs. The U.N. issued a $107 million appeal, of which it has raised about half, and is now requesting $20 million more. The World Food Program has delivered more than 11,000 tons of food. The Haitian government has set aside $198 million for rebuilding roads, fortifying river beds and restoring agriculture.

The U.S. government pledged more than $30 million in immediate relief. Another $96 million from Congress is on its way.

President Rene Preval told the U.N. General Assembly in September he feared that “once this first wave of humanitarian compassion is exhausted, we will be left as always, truly alone, to face new catastrophes and see restarted, as if in a ritual, the same exercises of mobilization.”

Some in Gonaives have become restless.

“If things go like they did after Jeanne again, and it looks like people are doing nothing, we might get up and start burning things down,” said Odrigue Toussaint, 40, who has not worked since he lost his motorcycle to Hanna. “We will let the authorities know it can’t happen again.”

Elerius sent his son, mother and siblings to live with neighbors. He never found the bodies of his sister and daughter.

He sleeps on the dirty ground under the plastic tent. Inside it’s stiflingly hot during the day but cooler at night.

The La Quinte River gouged a shallow canyon through what was once his farmland, where he planted onions, plantains and potatoes. The topsoil washed to the streets of Gonaives, encasing the city in mud.

Haitian construction crews put the river back into its bed a week after Hanna, just as they did after Jeanne, and built temporary levies with gravel and sandbags that Elerius pilfered to make his tent. The bags were falling apart anyway, he said.

The farmer who keeps losing everything is resigned.

“Whatever they do now we’ll accept it,” Elerius said. “I just wish they would have already done more.”

Source

The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

Haiti’s road to ruin

Starvation slams Haiti: Kids dying after 4 storms ravage crops, livestock

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

Israeli teenagers jailed for refusing to serve in army

Israeli teenagers jailed for refusing to serve in army
December 18 2008

Peace activists in Israel and around the world are participating on Wednesday in a day of action to call on Israeli authorities to release teenagers imprisoned for refusing to serve in the army for reasons of conscience.

Tamar Katz, Raz Bar-David Varon and Yuval Oron-Ofir are three conscientious objectors who are all serving their third prison sentences. At least six other teenagers – male and female – have been jailed in recent months for refusing to enlist and at least two more, both young women, are at risk of imminent imprisonment.

Their refusal stems from their opposition to the Israeli military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and to the practices of the Israeli army there. They believe that by enlisting they would participate in committing human rights abuses in which they want no part.

Amnesty International has added its voice to the campaign. The organization considers these teenagers to be prisoners of conscience and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

Tamar Katz, aged 19, has already spent 50 days in jail and is serving her third prison sentence. In her declaration of refusal she stated:

“I am not willing to become part of an occupying army… I am not willing to become one of those holding the gun pointed indiscriminately at Palestinian civilians, and I do not believe that such actions could bring any change except ever more antagonism and violence in our region.”

She has been held in isolation and deprived of family visits as punishment for refusing to wear a military uniform in prison.

Eighteen-year-old Raz Bar-David Varon, also serving her third prison term, said on the day of her arrest:

“I have witnessed this army demolishing, shooting and humiliating people whom I did not know… It hurts me when people, Palestinians, are being so brutally assaulted, and it hurts me when they later turn their hatred towards me because of it. I wasn’t born to serve as a soldier who occupies another… My responsibility is to refuse.”

Yuval Oron-Ofir was jailed for the third time on 14 December. The 19-year-old explained his reasons for refusing to enlist:

“There is another way, which is not the way of war. This is the path of dialogue, of understanding… of peace. This is why I shall not join an army behind whose actions I cannot stand and whose behavior I cannot justify.”

Teenagers who refuse to enlist because they do not want to find themselves in a situation where they may contribute to or participate in committing human rights abuses are generally sent to jail for months.

There is no civilian service alternative to military draft in Israel and, although a “conscience committee” exists within the Israeli army, exemption is only usually granted to those who refuse to serve on religious grounds. Those who make it known that they are unwilling to enlist on grounds of conscience – because they are pacifist or oppose the army’s practices in the OPT – are routinely imprisoned.

At the same time, Israeli soldiers who commit grave human rights violations, including war crimes, such as unlawful killings of unarmed civilians, reckless shelling of densely populated residential areas or wanton destruction of homes, are routinely granted impunity.

“Such a policy sends the wrong message to Israeli society and to young people in particular,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “All conscientious objectors should be given the opportunity to present the grounds of their objection to a decision-making body which is impartial and independent.

“Amnesty International calls on the Israeli authorities to ensure that such a body is established, and in the meantime to immediately and unconditionally release the conscientious objectors currently detained and not to imprison others.”

Source

Americans support conscientious objectors to IDF military service by sending 20,000 letters to Barak

By Natasha Mozgovaya
December 21 2008

WASHINGTON
Conscientious objectors who refused to serve in the Israel Defense Forces received an unprecedented shot in the arm from North American Jewry yesterday, when demonstrators protested against their detention by presenting 20,000 letters from Diaspora Jews demanding their release.

Dozens of activists tried to deliver the letters to Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a demonstration outside his office in Tel Aviv.
Many letters came from a Web site called Jewish Voice for Peace, which features a video in which the objectors explain in English why they refused to enlist.

Although most American Jews are politically aligned with the liberal left, IDF service is generally viewed as an unassailable duty. Thus, there has never been a concentrated effort to lobby Israelis to evade conscription.

The Jewish Voice for Peace has recruited actor Ed Asner, historian and author Howard Zinn, and folk singer Ronnie Gilbert to the cause.

“The recent election of anti-war candidate Barack Obama, who by the way received some 80% of the Jewish vote, was evidence of the American people’s disenchantment with war and occupation,” said Cecilie Surasky, the communications director for Jewish Voice for Peace. “Seven years and untold lives and dollars later, there is almost total agreement in the U.S. that our venture in Iraq has been an unqualified disaster.”

Gilbert called on Israel to change its policies.

“I am an old-time peace activist,” he said. “I have marched and pleaded against the cruel occupation for years. The presence of the Shministim [the Hebrew term for Israeli youths who refuse enlistment] makes me ashamed of sometimes feeling that Israel will never change. You are the change.”

Zinn, a scholar who is no stranger to controversy, called the objectors courageous for their actions.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about courage,” Zinn wrote in his letter. “Right now, while I’m snug and fed this Thanksgiving holiday in the comfort of my home, halfway around the world a group of teenagers is sitting in a jail cell today, demonstrating the very definition of courage and sacrifice. It’s frustrating. Humbling. And I’m damn glad to have the chance to do something big about it.”

Surasky said she was not concerned that the campaign would be viewed as interference in internal Israeli affairs.

“For years, money from Jewish American organizations supported the settlements in Israel. It’s logical for dovish organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace to support the Shministim, who represent the values that we wish Jews and Israel would represent everywhere – authentic commitment to the value of human lives. Especially in the days of Hanukkah. They are a small light which shines bright in days of great darkness.”

The Jewish Voice for Peace internet site offers a ready-made text which users can send to Barak after filling out their email addresses, their names and other details.

“I support the Shministim and their right to peacefully object to military service,” the standard letter reads. “I call for the release of those teenagers who have been jailed for their principled refusal to serve in an army which occupies the Palestinian Territories. The imprisonment of these conscientious objectors is a violation of their human rights and contrary to International Law.”

The letter continues: “I am inspired by these caring students and their counterparts in Palestine, whose nonviolent resistance to the Occupation points the way to a just peace and security for all people in the region. They are our best hope for the future. I urge you to heed them, and not punish them.”

The IDF objectors also received a show of support from 25 American objectors who refused to fight in the Middle East.

“We, soldiers in the U.S. Army who refused to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, demonstrate our solidarity with the Israeli Shministim,” they wrote. “The War on Terror, like the Israeli occupation, is fueled by racism and dehumanization.”

Source

The teenagers are right, Israel is committing crimes against humanity. Starvation is a crime.

Israel starving Palestinians: UN

‘POLITICAL CRISIS’:

The UN Relief and Works Agency fears that irreversible damage is being done as the latest statistics reveal the level of deprivation in the Gaza Strip

December 22, 2008

Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel’s economic blockade risks causing irreversible damage, international observers said.

Figures released last week by the UN Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.

The figures collected by the UN agency show that 51.8 percent — an “unprecedentedly high” number of Gaza’s 1.5 million population — are now living below the poverty line. The agency has announced that it had been forced to stop distributing food rations to the 750,000 people in need and had also suspended cash distributions to 94,000 of the most disadvantaged who were unable to afford the high prices being asked for smuggled food.

“Things have been getting worse and worse,” the agency’s Chris Gunness said yesterday. “It is the first time we have been seeing people picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat. Things are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense.”

“Because Gaza is now operating as a ‘tunnel economy’ and there is so little coming through via Israeli crossings, it is hitting the most disadvantaged worst,” he said.

Gunness also expressed concern about the state of Gaza’s infrastructure, including its water and sewerage systems, which have not been maintained properly since Israel began blocking shipments of concrete into Gaza, warning of the risk of the spread of communicable diseases both inside and outside of Gaza.

“This is not a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “This is a political crisis of choice with dire humanitarian consequences.”

The revelations over the escalating difficulties inside Gaza were delivered a day after the end of the six-month ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, which had been brokered by Egypt in June, and follow warnings from the World Bank at the beginning of December that Gaza faced “irreversible” economic collapse.

The deteriorating conditions in Gaza emerged as former British prime minister Tony Blair, Middle East envoy for the Quartet — US, Russia, the UN and the EU — warned yesterday that Israel’s economic blockade, which had been imposed a year and a half ago when Hamas took power on the Gaza Strip, was reinforcing rather than undermining the party’s hold on power. Blair said the collapse of Gaza’s legitimate economy under the impact of the blockade had allowed the emergence of an alternative system based on smuggling through the Hamas-controlled tunnels. Hamas “taxed” the goods smuggled through the tunnels.

It was because of this that Blair wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert earlier this month demanding that Israel permit the transfer of cash into Gaza from the West Bank.

Calling for a change in policy over Gaza, Blair said: “I don’t think that the current situation is sustainable; I think most people who would analyze it think the same.”

Blair’s comments came as an Israeli air strike against a rocket squad killed a Palestinian militant yesterday, the first Gaza death since Hamas formally declared an end to a six-month truce with Israel.

Also on Saturday, a boat carrying a Qatari delegation, Lebanese activists and journalists from Israel and Lebanon sailed into Gaza City’s small port in defiance of a border blockade. It was the fifth such boat trip since the summer. The two Qatari citizens aboard the Dignity are from the government-funded Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities.

“We are here to represent the Qatar government and people,” delegation member Aed al-Kahtani said. “We will look into the needs of our brothers in Gaza, and find out what is the most appropriate way to bring in aid.”

The arrival of the delegation reflects the growing anger in the Arab world over the Gaza siege.

On Friday, thousands of people joined a rally in Beirut organized by Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement against Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Addressing the Beirut crowd, Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem called on Arab and Islamic governments to act to help lift the Gaza blockade, and urged Egypt to take an “historic stance” by opening its border crossing with Gaza.

“Silence on the [Gaza] blockade is disgraceful. Silence on the blockade amounts to participation in the [Israeli] occupation,” Kassem said.

Source

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

FBI diverts anti-terror agents to Bernard Madoff $50 billion swindle

December 22 2008

Brian A Pounds/Connecticut Post

From left; Doug Chavenello, president of Firefighters Union Local 1426, and Bob Smith, secretary, listen to the meeting of the Joint Retirement Board at Independence Hall in Fairfield. The town’s pension fund may have lost over $40 million in a scheme by Wall Street hedge fund manager Bernard Madoff

The FBI has been forced to transfer agents from its counter-terrorism divisions to work on Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud scheme as victims of the biggest scam in the world continue to emerge.

Only ten days after Mr Madoff confessed to his two sons that he had created a giant fraud, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Wall Street regulator, have narrowed the focus of their inquiries to ascertain which individuals and funds helped him. They are questioning other employees of Madoff Securities and are also examining the role of feeder funds that provided Mr Madoff with clients and capital.

It is understood that the US authorities believe it would have been impossible for the financier to have sustained a fraud of such magnitude over a number of years without significant assistance.

While the FBI and SEC trawled through documentation seized from three floors of the Manhattan headquarters of Mr Madoff, 70, more individuals and organisations who had fallen prey to the scheme were discovered. Members of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, on the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan, are estimated to have lost about $2 billion (£1.4 billion) between them. Of these Ira Rennert, the chairman of the synagogue board, had about $200 million invested in the fund.

It is believed that J. Ezra Merkin, the president of the synagogue, introduced clients to Mr Madoff and gave him access to prominent Jewish charities and universities. The fund of Mr Merkin, Ascot Partners, had about $1.8 billion invested in the schemes.

At the weekend it emerged that Burt Ross, a former banker at LF Rothschild, and once the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was another victim. Mr Ross estimated that he had lost about $5 million, the bulk of his personal wealth.

Two classes of victim are emerging in the Madoff scandal: those who had a direct relationship with him and fund of funds investors, where one hedge fund invests in another. The biggest of the latter – so far – appears to be Walter M. Noel, who founded Fairfield Greenwich Group in 1983. Mr Noel marketed his investment services to the upper crust of the financial elite, introducing his international clients to Madoff funds.

Mr Noel ran his business from Connecticut, but about 95 per cent of his business was derived from overseas money. It is estimated that Fairfield Greenwich stands to lose $7.5 billion from the collapse of the Madoff scheme.

At the other end of the spectrum the town pension scheme in Fairfield, Connecticut — apparently unconnected to the fund belonging to Mr Noel – suffered a $45 million loss for its firefighters, police officers and teachers.

American regulators have sought to compile evidence against Mr Madoff, who is now electronically tagged and this weekend was placed on 24-hour curfew in his East 64th Street New York apartment.

The FBI and SEC are under increasing pressure from Washington to explain how they could have allowed a scam of such magnitude to operate and flourish – especially after a preliminary inquiry within the SEC found that it had been tipped off several times in the past decade about Mr Madoff’s schemes.

Harry Markopolos, a derivatives expert who once worked for a rival fund, spent ten years urging the SEC to investigate Mr Madoff. In numerous reports, including a 19-page document written in November 2005 entitled The World’s Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud, Mr Markopolos picked apart the investment strategy of Mr Madoff.

Some claims by Mr Markopolos were anecdotal – “I have spoken to the heads of various Wall Street equity derivative trading desks and every single one of the senior managers I spoke with told me that Bernie Madoff was a fraud” – but vast chunks of his accusations involve detailed analysis of Mr Madoff’s investment strategy. He questions the way that Mr Madoff charged for commissions and alleges that Mr Madoff used the names of leading investment banks such as UBS and Merrill Lynch to lend credibility to his schemes.

He also claims that the overall investment strategy of Mr Madoff would have been impossible to carry out. Mr Madoff sought to lure investors with the promise of 12 per cent returns by buying blue-chip stocks and insuring against the possibility that their value would fall by selling derivatives – a process known as hedging. Mr Markopolos argues, however, that for Mr Madoff to have fulfilled such a strategy he would have regularly done more business than the entire New York market in those securities.

Barack Obama, the President-elect, has accused US regulators of being “asleep at the switch” after it emerged that Mr Madoff had been questioned by the SEC in 2006 but no fraud had been discovered.

Mr Madoff’s business has now been liquidated. He has been charged on one count of fraud and awaits trial.

THE BIGGEST LOSERS

Fairfield Greenwich Group (investment management firm) $7.5 billion

Tremont Group (hedge fund) $3.3 billion

Banco Santander (Spanish bank) $2.87 billion

Bank Medici (Austrian bank) $2.1 billion

Ascot Partners (hedge fund founded by J. Ezra Merkin) $1.8 billion

Access International Advisors (New York investment advisers) $1.4 billion

Fortis Bank Nederland (Dutch bank) $1.35 billion

Union Bancaire Privée (Swiss bank) $1 billion

HSBC (British bank) $1 billion

RBS (British bank) $599 million

Natixis (French investment bank) $554 million

Carl Shapiro (founder of Kay Windsor) $545 million

BNP Paribas (French bank) $431 million

BBVA (Spanish bank) $369 million

Man Group (British hedge fund) $360 million

Reichmuth & Co (Swiss private bank) $327 million

Nomura (Japanese broker) $304 million

Maxam Capital Management (fund of funds based in Connecticut) $280 million

EIM (European investment firm) $230 million

Aozora Bank (Japanese bank) $137 million

AXA (French insurer) $123 million

Yeshiva University (private, New York) $110 million

UniCredit (Italian bank) $92 million

UBI Banca (Italian bank) $86 million

Swiss Life Holding (Swiss insurer) $78.9 million

Great Eastern Holdings (Singapore insurer) $64 million

Nordea Bank (Swedish bank) $59 million

M&B Capital Advisers (Spanish broker) $52.8 million

Hyposwiss (Swiss private bank) $50 million

Banque Bénédict Hentsch & Cie (Swiss private bank) $48.8 million

Fairfield, Connecticut (town pension fund for firefighters, policemen and teachers) $42 million

Source

Bad for investors, good for lawyers

City regulators probe Madoff’s London firm

Madoff’s UK arm holding £100m assets

Madoff house arrest ordered as European banks reel

Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Thousands of protesters are calling for the release of journalist

By Sarah More McCann
December 19 2008

An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush at a press conference in Iraq last Sunday was beaten afterward, an Iraqi judge said Friday. The latest revelation in the incident that has garnered worldwide attention comes amid an Iranian cleric’s call for a “shoe intifada” against the US and praise for the journalist from a Malaysian leader, suggesting that US President-elect Barack Obama will face challenges to overcoming anti-US sentiments.

According to the Associated Press, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi had “bruises on his face and around his eyes” shortly after throwing his shoes at President Bush during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Dec. 14.

Judge Dhia al-Kinani, the magistrate investigating the incident, said the court has opened an investigation into the alleged beating of journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi.

Al-Zeidi was wrestled to the ground after throwing his shoes during the news conference Sunday by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and there has been conflicting claims on his condition since then. One of his brothers said he was harshly beaten, but another said he seemed to be in good condition.

Al-Zeidi “was beaten in the news conference and we will watch the tape and write an official letter asking for the names of those who assaulted him,” the judge told The Associated Press….

The judge said the investigation would be completed and sent to the criminal court on Sunday.

The Guardian reports Mr. al-Zeidi’s family claims US and Iraqi security teams are to blame for any injuries.

Zaidi’s family have said he suffered a broken arm and other injuries after he was dragged away by Iraqi security officers and US secret service agents.

Al-Zeidi, who called Bush a “dog,” is currently in custody, and may be charged with insulting a foreign leader, the AP reports. If found guilty, al-Zeidi could face two years or more in prison. Al-Zeidi did not lodge a complaint leading to the investigation of his alleged beating, and there are conflicting reports as to whether he wrote a letter to Mr. al-Maliki asking for clemency.

The incident sparked an outpouring of support for the journalist who tossed the shoes as “retaliation” for the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Middle East Times reports.

For many Iraqis and Arabs… the war was an illegal move against a sovereign nation, it had dismantled the state’s institutions, brought disorder and violence, provided fertile ground for more terrorism, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, made more than 4 million homeless, and fragmented an Arab country along sectarian lines. In other words, the war is widely seen as having destroyed Iraq.

So when Zaidi threw his shoes at the U.S. president as a “farewell gift” just a few weeks before Bush leaves the White House, the Iraqi journalist was seen as a hero; Dec. 14 was declared the “start of a shoe revolution,” and wealthy Arab businessmen offered to pay millions to buy the famous footwear that had narrowly missed Bush’s face, but hit the American flag behind him.

On Thursday, The Times (of London) reported that for days, protesters have been calling for the release of the journalist.

In three days Mr al-Zaidi has gone from minor television presenter to a hero of Islamic resistance. Thousands of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, took to the streets in cities from Mosul to Nasiriyah yesterday in a second day of protests demanding his release. Smaller groups gathered in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Karachi. In Beirut university students threw footwear at an effigy of the American President before setting it on fire.

Al-Zeidi’s detainment caused a disruption within Iraq’s Parliament as well, The AP reports.

In parliament, lawmakers had gathered to review a resolution calling for all non-U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of June but those loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr interrupted the session.

They said parliament should focus on al-Zeidi’s case rather than the proposed legislation. The argument escalated with lawmakers screaming at each other, and finally leading [Parliament speaker Mahmoud] al-Mashhadani to announce his resignation, said Wisam al-Zubaidi, an adviser to Khalid al-Attiyah, parliament’s deputy speaker.

Religious and governmental leaders, too, from the Middle East to South Asia have professed support for the journalist, Reuters India explains.

Malaysia‘s foreign minister on Friday praised an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this week,…

“The best show of retaliation so far is the shoe throwing act by that remarkable reporter who gave President Bush his final farewell last week,” Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said at an event to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the United Nations.

“That shoe throwing episode, in my view is truly the best Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the leader who coined the phrase ‘axis of evil’ to denote Iran, Iraq and North Korea,” Rais said, according to the advance text of his speech.

Mostly Muslim Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country of 27 million people, opposed the Iraq war but is an ally of the U.S. and won favour from Washington after it cracked down on Islamic militants after the 9/11 attacks.

Rais has twice been the country’s foreign minister and usually is known for more measured tones.

In Iran, al-Zeidi received support in some religious circles, the AP reports.

In the Iranian capital Tehran, hard-line Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised the act at Friday prayers, calling it the “Shoe Intifadha.”

Jannati proposed people in Iraq and Iran should carry shoes in further anti-American demonstrations. “This should be a role model,” said Jannati.

In an interview with Tavis Smiley of NPR, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice downplayed the longterm effects of the shoe incident.

“Well, there is always going to be some criticism of American policy because we have to do difficult things, Tavis. And I know that it doesn’t matter who’s in office; we’ll have to do difficult things and sometimes people won’t like them. But what the President stood for and what was important about that trip to Iraq was he got to stand next to a freely elected prime minister of Iraq, in front of journalists who could speak their minds and even vent their anger. And that’s a far cry from when Saddam Hussein was in power. So if America stands for its values, it might not always be popular, but it will be respected.”

But the AP reports President-elect Barack Obama faces an uphill battle to win back the trust of many across the globe.

So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush….

The reaction explains in part the relief among Arabs over Barack Obama’s election victory, seen as a repudiation of the Bush era. But it also highlights the task the next president will face in repairing America’s image in the Mideast, where distrust of the U.S. has hampered a range of American policies, from containing Iran to pushing the peace process and democratic reform.

Source

Protests rise over alleged beating of ‘shoe man’ Muntadhar al-Zeidi

December 18, 2008

The furore over President Bush’s shoe-throwing assailant spread through Iraq and across international borders yesterday, claiming its first political casualty as protests grew over his continued detention and alleged ill-treatment.

The brother of Muntazar al-Zaidi, who secured his place in infamy with his outburst against Mr Bush at a press conference in Baghdad, claimed that the Shia journalist had been so badly beaten in custody that police were unable to produce him in court.

Mr al-Zaidi’s family were told that a court hearing had been held in his jail cell instead and that they would not be allowed to see him for at least another eight days. “That means my brother was severely beaten and they fear that his appearance could trigger anger at the court,” Dargham al-Zaidi said, adding that his brother had been treated for a broken arm and ribs at the military hospital in the green zone.

Anger at Mr al-Zaidi’s treatment erupted in the Iraqi parliament, provoking stand-up rows and prompting the resignation of the assembly’s notoriously hot-tempered Speaker. “I have no honour leading this parliament and I announce my resignation,” Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said after quitting the assembly amid chaos created by Shia politicians.

In three days Mr al-Zaidi has gone from minor television presenter to a hero of Islamic resistance. Thousands of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, took to the streets in cities from Mosul to Nasiriyah yesterday in a second day of protests demanding his release. Smaller groups gathered in the Paki-stani cities of Lahore and Karachi. In Beirut university students threw footwear at an effigy of the American President before setting it on fire.

In Egypt Muntazer al-Zaidi was so struck by Mr al-Zaidi that he offered his daughter in marriage, a proposition she wholeheartedly supported. “This is something that would honour me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero,” Amal Saad Gumaa, 20, said.

In Afghanistan, Mr al-Zaidi has become the subject of a Saturday Night Live-style television comedy show that used actors to reconstruct the scene.

Mr al-Zaidi has not been seen in public or by his family since he was hauled out from Sunday’s press conference by the bodyguards of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister. He is under investigation pending charges of insulting a visiting dignitary, a crime punishable with a jail sentence of up to seven years.

At the press conference, Mr al-Zaidi, a reporter for the Iraqi al-Baghdadia television channel, rose to deliver a question before pulling off his shoes, one after the other, and hurling them at Mr Bush. “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” he shouted in Arabic, combining two of the harshest insults in Middle Eastern culture. Mr Bush was uninjured but his press secretary, Dana Perino, appeared before reporters in Washington yesterday sporting a faint black eye, the result of a collision with a microphone in the mêlée.

Mr Bush has laughed off the incident, claiming not to understand the implied insult. It was “just a shoe”, he insisted. But nerves were rising in Washington at Mr al-Zaidi’s continued nonappearance, especially after the official spin that Mr Bush had brought Iraqis the freedom to register such protests without risking imprisonment or torture. The State Department said that it would issue a condemnation if it were true that Mr al-Zaidi had been beaten up.

Mr al-Zaidi’s protest has spawned a rash of viral internet games. One, from Dubai, called “Sock and Awe” gives players 30 seconds to hurl as many shoes as they can at Mr Bush, scoring a point for each direct hit.

Source

Related Links

Hundreds of Iraqis protest in Kufa, Iraq 19/12/2008

The shoe-throwing attack on US President George W Bush by Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi has sparked a raft of copycat protests around the world.

Lebanese and Palestinian protesters in Sidon, Lebanon 19/12/2008

This shoe-themed rally in Lebanon followed Sunday’s incident, when Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

A box of shoes outside the US Embassy at Grosvenor Square, London 19/12/2008

Protesters in London even gift-wrapped a box of their shoes – in keeping with the festive season – and labelled it for “George W Bush” at the White House.

A protest in Cairo, Egypt 18/12/2008

In Egypt, ballet shoes were on offer from this reporter who gathered with her colleagues at the Journalists’ Syndicate in Cairo.

A Code Pink member dressed as President Bush is hit with a shoe during a protest near the White House 17/12/2008

The US president was not spared even on his home turf, where a member of the group Code Pink offered his services for target practice in Washington.

Pasban Pakistan activists protest in Karachi 17/12/2008

Protesters – like these in Pakistan – are demanding the release of Mr Zaidi, who has been detained since Sunday and shows signs of being beaten, according to an Iraqi judge.

Turkish leftists protest outside the US embassy in Ankara 18/12/2008

Mr Zaidi could face imprisonment on charges of insulting and attempting to assault a foreign leader, but he enjoys strong support from people in a wide range of countries.

Filipinos throw shoes at a picture of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during a Migrants Day protest in Manila 18/12/2008

The shoe-throwing trend is catching on in other parts of the world, with images of other world leaders – like the South Korean leader and the Philippines president – already falling prey.

Source

Numerous other reports at link below as well as links to petitions to release Muntadhar al-Zeidi.  Be sure to support Muntadhar.

You may even want to send Bush a Christmas greeting.  Information provided for that as well.

Protesters at White house and Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

Bush considering ‘orderly’ auto bankruptcy

By Jennifer Loven
December 18 2008

WASHINGTON

The Bush administration is looking at “orderly” bankruptcy as a possible way to deal with the desperately ailing U.S. auto industry, the White House said today as carmakers readied more plant closings and a half million Americans filed new jobless claims.

With General Motors, Chrysler and the rest of Detroit anxiously holding its breath and waiting for a federal rescue, White House press secretary Dana Perino said, “There’s an orderly way to do bankruptcies that provides for more of a soft landing. I think that’s what we would be talking about.”

President George W. Bush, asked about an auto bailout, said he hadn’t decided what he would do but didn’t want to leave a mess for Barack Obama, who takes office a month from Saturday.

Bush, like Perino, spoke of the idea of bankruptcies orchestrated by the federal government as a possible way to go — without committing to it.

“Under normal circumstances, no question bankruptcy court is the best way to work through credit and debt and restructuring,” he said during a speech and question-and-answer session at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. “These aren’t normal circumstances. That’s the problem.”

Perino said the White House was “very close” to a decision — though she wouldn’t give a timetable. She emphasized there were still several possible approaches to assisting the automakers, including short-term loans from the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Wall Street bailout program.

The Big Three automakers said anew that bankruptcy wasn’t the answer, as did an official of the United Auto Workers who called the idea unworkable and even dangerous. GM said a report that it and Chrysler had restarted talks to combine was untrue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Capitol Hill that grim new unemployment data heightened the urgency for the administration “to prevent the imminent insolvency of the domestic auto industry.”

The California Democrat said Bush has the legal authority to act now, and should attach the accountability standards that were included in a $14 billion House-passed and Bush-supported carmaker bailout that died in the Senate last week. That plan would have given the government, through a Bush-appointed “car czar,” veto power over major business decisions at any auto company that received federal loans.

Pelosi spoke after the government announced that initial claims for unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 554,000 last week.

The comments in Washington came a day after Chrysler announced it was closing all its North American manufacturing plants for at least a month as it, General Motors and Ford Motor await word on government action. General Motors also has been closing plants, and it and Chrysler have said they might not have enough money to pay their bills in a matter of weeks.

Prices of GM and Ford stocks were down sharply today after the remarks out of the White House. Ford, unlike General Motors and Chrysler, is not seeking billions in federal bailout loans, but a collapse of the other two could hurt Ford as well.

Alan Reuther, the United Auto Workers’ legislative director, said the union urged the administration during a meeting this week to follow the provisions included in the House-passed auto aid bill.

Congressional aides in both parties who have been closely following the discussions suggested the talk of bankruptcy could be a tactic to extract more hefty concessions from the companies and union in exchange for granting short-term loans from Treasury’s financial industry rescue fund.

Perino said one factor preventing an announcement of action by the administration is that discussions continue with the various sides that would have to sign on to a managed bankruptcy — entities such as labor and equity holders in addition to the companies themselves.

A senior administration official said the talks between Bush officials and the Big Three and their stakeholders amount to information-gathering, not negotiating.

The White House has repeatedly emphasized its opposition to “disorderly bankruptcy” — presumably a Chapter 7 filing that would effectively shut down a company and require liquidation of assets. That has left on the table the possibility of forcing one or more automakers into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a firm to keep operating while under a court’s purview.

Harlan Platt, who teaches corporate turnarounds at Northeastern University in Boston, said the government may be waiting for an offer of an ownership stake in the companies, much as it received in return for capital plowed into banks. “You really have to ask the question: If this is good enough for Wall Street, why isn’t it good enough for Detroit?” he said.

Today, spokesmen for Chrysler, GM and Ford generally referred to their previous comments that bankruptcy was not a workable solution. The car companies argue that no one would buy a vehicle from a bankrupt company for fear that the company might not be around to honor warranties.

“We continue to work with the administration to find a solution to this liquidity crisis,” said GM spokesman Tony Cervone.

Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan noted previous statements against bankruptcy by CEO Robert Nardelli. Financing for even a prepackaged bankruptcy would be difficult to get in the current tight credit market, Chrysler has said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association also spoke out against bankruptcy for car companies “in any way shape or form, orderly or disorderly, prepackaged or unpackaged, managed or unmanaged,” said spokesman Bailey Wood.

Bush said the auto industry is “obviously very fragile” and he is worried about what an out-and-out collapse without Washington involvement “would do to the psychology” of the markets.

“There still is a lot of uncertainty,” he said.

At the same time, the president said anew that he is worried about “putting good money after bad,” meaning taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to prop up companies that can’t survive the long term.

He revealed one other consideration — that Obama will become president in just over a month.

“I thought about what it would be like for me to become president during this period. I believe that good policy is not to dump him a major catastrophe on his first day in office,” Bush said.

———

Writers Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ken Thomas in Washington and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this story.

Source

Auto workers rally in Jackson

Canadian Governments willing to help Auto Industry

Auto jobs are also being affected abroad as well.

Workers protest massive wave of job cuts

The Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2008

December 18 2008

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released its year-end list of the “top” 10 ethics scandals of 2008. Why isn’t the recent criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on the list? Well, for one, it’s not a Washington-centered problem. But Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, adds that while the Blagojevich case may be the flavor of the week right now, she thinks the scandals on her administration’s list will have more of an impact in the long run. Here they are:

1. “Unchecked Congressional Ethics”: CREW wants Congress to have a high-powered ethics office with subpoena power. MoJo Blog covered the vote on this earlier this year; we looked at this issue last year, too.

2. “No Guarantee that Bush Administration Records will be Properly Archived”: We’ve been keeping you up to date on the ongoing missing White House emails problem.

3. “Speech or Debate Clause”: Lots of politicians who are charged with crimes seek to have their indictments dismissed under the “Speech and Debate” clause of the Constitution, which they claim protects anything in their congressional office from being used against them in court on the grounds that its “legislative material.” Sloan says that this may be the biggest of the ten scandals her organization highlighted. If Blagocevich had been a member of congress, Sloan says, he would have been protected from much of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation. Law enforcement would not have been able to tap his office phone or include anything he did in the course of his legislative work as part of an indictment, Sloan says. And both Democrats and Republicans are protecting this hard-line interpretation of the speech and debate clause. “This is a bipartisan issue of protecting members accused of corruption from investigation and prosecution,” Sloan says. Mother Jones covered this problem as early as 2006, with the raid on the offices of now ex-Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson.

4. “The Pay-to-Play Congress”: You’ve heard about this from John McCain and Barack Obama, who both talked about the power of earmarks to corrupt the legislative process. Every year, CREW notes the most egregious instances of earmark abuse, when campaign donors get earmarks from the politicians who they support. We wrote about corruption expert Lawrence Lessig’s Change Congress effort and will have more with Lessig next week.

5. “Enriching Family with Campaign Cash”: CREW has released two reports on this problem, “Family Affair – House” and “Family Affair – Senate.” We noted the most recent offender, Charlie Rangel.

6. “Controversial Presidential Pardons”: The president’s pardon power is essentially unlimited, and that has CREW worried about what President Bush will do with it before he leaves office. Elizabeth Gettelman wrote about the hypocrisy of commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence but ignoring Marion Jones. And Bruce Falconer asked if pardoning “all those involved in the application of what [the Bush] administration called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques'” would be wise.

7. “VA Officials Intentionally Misdiagnosing PTSD”: CREW broke a story earlier this year about VA officials being pressed to misdiagnose Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a cost-cutting measure. In September, Bruce Falconer wrote a story for the print magazine about whether the Bush administration had “maxed out the military.”

8. “Bailout Oversight”: The government spent $700 billion and all you got was a few bank failures. We’ve covered the hearings and brought you the latest. Most recently, we looked at the Fannie/Freddie bailout and asked about Treasury’s blank check.

9. “Political Calculations Dictate Border Fence Placement”: Ray L. Hunt has land that falls on both sides of the border fence, but CREW says he’s getting special treatment because he’s a Bush “pioneer.” That kind of suction wouldn’t be unusual for Hunt: in July, Laura Rozen wrote about how Hunt seems to have almost unlimited access to the White House (and, in this case, to Kurdish oil.)

10. “A Politicized Bush Justice Department”: To prevent the abuse of the courts for political ends, the DOJ was traditionally the least-politicized of all the executive branch departments. That all changed when Bush took office. In 2007, Daniel Schulman was among the first to document how the conservative Federalist society may have influenced personnel decisions at the DOJ. Stephanie Mencimer covered another interesting aspect of this story in May when she examined the Justice Department’s reluctance to release documents from the 2002 GOP phone-jamming in New Hampshire. And Stephanie was also there for the most unsurprising moment of the DOJ politicization saga: Karl Rove’s failure to show up for a hearing on the subject in July.

It seems unlikely that the first year of the Obama administration will match up to the last year of the Bush administration in terms of ethics-scandal-potential. But we’ll be here, keeping an eye on everyone, Barack Obama included. Stick with us.

(You can find a PDF version of CREW’s full report on the “top ten” scandals here)

Source

And of course we must not forget more recent revelations.

UK: Council’s pension fund ‘caught up in Bernard Madoff’s Wall Street fraud’

Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture

Senate Report Links Bush to Detainee Homicides; Media Yawns

Media Search in the US

Write your local paper and denounce any possible planned pardons for crimes committed in the “war on terror”. Here are some sample letters and talking points you can follow.

Lie by Lie:  Iraq War Timeline

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy
December 17 2008

Anti-war protesters throw shoes at a fellow demonstrator wearing a prison uniform and mask of President George W. Bush outside the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (AP Photo)

By  Tom Fitzgerald

President Bush may have though he’d see the last of shoes being thrown his way, but the anti-war group Code Pink showed up at the White House Wednesday to stage a protest inspired by the President’s much-discussed shoe ducking incident.

The protesters took turns throwing shoes at a large puppet that was made up to look like President Bush. A shoe memorial was also laid out on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to represent the Iraqi civilians who have been killed during the war.

The group’s founder, Meda Benjamin, says she views the Iraqi reporter who threw his footwear at the president as a role model, saying “We feel that the Iraq reporter is now a hero throughout the world because he has expressed the sentiment of millions of people who are so angry at George Bush’s policies”

Critics of Code Pink say the event was more publicity stunt than constructive discussion of the problems facing a post-Bush administration.

Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, says Code Pink may have to change its style once Barack Obama inherits both the White House and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying “There is a mainstream left which respectfully discusses what’s happened in Iraq and then there is Code Pink – no where near respectful – and their actions are out of the mainstream.”

The U.S. Secret Service stood by during the protests; however there were no conflicts with authorities and no arrests were made.

Source

Berkeley Code Pink activists support Iraq shoe-throwing reporter

December 17 2008

Code Pink members and supporters hold a “Farewell Kiss, Shoe-in” outside the Marine Recuitment…
Anti-war activists from the group Code Pink gathered at a Marine recruiting station in Berkeley this morning to show solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday.

Members of the group and others marched around the recruiting station holding shoes in the air to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who hurled two shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

In many Arab countries, showing the sole of one’s shoes, much less throwing shoes at another person, is considered extremely disrespectful.

Organizers said their demonstration was to show support for the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured or maimed and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

The Code Pink protest didn’t effect operations at the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station, said Marine Corps spokesman Sgt. Matt DeBoard.

“Code Pink has been protesting at Shattuck Square for almost a year now,” he said. ”They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.”

He repeated the Marine’s contention that their recruiting and military operations help defend Americans right to freedom of speech. “Our position is that we do what we do so that everyone can express their opinion.”

For more than a year, women from CodePink picketed weekly in front of the U.S. Marine recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square in downtown Berkeley. They say the Marines are not welcome in liberal, anti-war Berkeley and that the office should shut its doors.

In January, the Berkeley City Council got involved when it officially stated that the Marines were “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and granted CodePink a permit waiver and a free parking space in front of the Marine center for the weekly protests. The move angered people across the country, who flooded City Hall with about 25,000 letters and e-mails.

Source

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

Please also sign Petitions at below link.

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture

Outgoing VP says Guantanamo prison should stay open until end of terror war, but has no idea when that might be.

By David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
December 15 2008

Monday, outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney made a startling statement on a nation-wide, televised broadcast.

When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called “high value prisoner” at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture.

Video is from ABC’s World News, broadcast Dec. 15, 2008.

“I supported it,” he said regarding the practice known as “water-boarding,” a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.

“I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do,” Cheney said. “And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.”

He added: “It’s been a remarkably successful effort, and I think the results speak for themselves.”

ABC asked him if in hindsight he thought the tactics went too far. “I don’t,” he said.

The prisoner in question, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who the Bush administration alleges to have planned the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is one of Guantanamo’s “high value targets” thus far charged with war crimes.

Former military interrogator Travis Hall disagrees with Cheney’s position.

“Proponents of Guantanamo underestimate what a powerful a propaganda tool Guantanamo has become for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, despite several Department of Defense studies documenting the propaganda value of detention centers,” he said in a column for Opposing Views.

“For example, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center has monitored numerous Al Qaeda references to Guantanamo in its recruitment propaganda materials,” continued Hall. “Improvements to Guantanamo’s administration of judicial mechanisms will not make its way into Al Qaeda propaganda. Nothing short of closing Guantanamo will remove this arrow from its quiver.”

President-elect Barack Obama has promised to close the prison and pull US forces out of Iraq. Cheney, however, has a different timeline for when Guantanamo Bay prison may be “responsibly” retired.

“Well, I think that that would come with the end of the war on terror,” he told ABC.

Problematic to his assertion: Mr. Bush’s “war on terror” is undefinable and unending by it’s very nature, and Cheney seems to recognize this as fact.

Asked when his administration’s terror war will end, he jostled, “Well, nobody knows. Nobody can specify that.”

Source

Pleading Guilty after Torture-Did you really do it?

Torture for torture’s sake

Senate Report Links Bush to Detainee Homicides; Media Yawns

Media Search in the US

Write your local paper and denounce any possible planned pardons for crimes committed in the “war on terror”. Here are some sample letters and talking points you can follow.

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm  Comments Off on Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture  
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Obama free to chart new course with Cuba

Fidel Castro -- 'El Commandante'

December 13 2008
By Tom Bevan, RealClearPolitics.com

New polling in Florida shows that for the first time a majority of Cuban-Americans favour lifting the trade embargo against Cuba that the United States has had in place since 1962. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed favored discontinuing the embargo, and 65 per cent said they were in favor of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the neighboring Communist regime.

During the Democratic primary, then candidate Barack Obama spelled out his willingness to ease the embargo with Cuba in an op-ed in the Miami Herald in August 2007, writing that he would “use aggressive and principled diplomacy to send an important message: If a post-Fidel government begins opening Cuba to democratic change, the United States (the president working with Congress) is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades.”

The following May, Obama gave a speech in Little Havana saying that his policy toward Cuba would be “guided by one word: libertad.” In the speech Obama again advocated easing restrictions on remittances and travel to Cuba.

Obama lost the meaningless Florida primary to Clinton in January by 17 points, which included a 33-point thumping among the state’s Hispanics.

But Obama won the Sunshine State 51-49 over McCain in November, including a majority of the Hispanic vote. Obama lost the Cuban vote to McCain by thirty points, 65-35, though there was a stark discrepancy among age group. The oldest demographic of Cuban-Americans (aged 65+) voted overwhelmingly for McCain, 84-16, but those Cuban-Americans under 30 backed Obama by a 55-45 margin.

As a result, the Associated Press declares that Obama will be the first president in 50 years to have “a relatively free hand” in forging a shift in America’s policy toward Cuba:

Cuban-Americans have had a mixed reaction to Obama’s campaign promises — most voted against him, but Obama carried Florida and didn’t even need the state’s votes to win the presidency, confounding the notion that the support of anti-Castro Cuban exiles is essential in presidential elections.

“Obama already has a much freer hand than Bush did,” said Daniel Erickson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C. think tank. “He does not owe any of his political success to Cuban-Americans in South Florida.”

Obama is therefore free to chart a new course. He can reverse some policies of President George W. Bush with a pen stroke, and while undoing the embargo would take a majority in Congress, that’s easier than ever with Democrats holding sizable majorities.

No doubt leading the charge in Congress will be one of President-elect Obama’s former rivals, Senator Chris Dodd, who’s been pushing for taking a softer line against Cuba for years.

Source

Maybe Barack could learn about Cuba’s Health Care system, apparently it is pretty good.

Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm  Comments Off on Obama free to chart new course with Cuba  
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Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama

Cuban President Fidel Castro

(Enrique Marcarian/Reuters)

December 5 2008

Fidel Castro, the former President of Cuba, has offered to talk to Barack Obama, in Havana’s latest overture to the US President elect. ”With Obama, talks could happen anywhere he wants,” the former head of the Communist regime wrote in the latest of a series of columns he has published in state-run media since falling ill in 2006.

His remarks follow an offer from his brother, President Raul Castro, to meet Mr Obama “on neutral ground” to try to end the 40 year long conflict between the two countries.

If taken up it would be the first meeting in half a century between the leaders of Cuba and the US. The head of the Communist regime and a US president have not come face to face since the island’s revolution in 1959.

Fidel Castro’s offer to meet came with a warning for Mr Obama.

“He should remember the carrot-and-stick approach will not work with our country,” he wrote. “The sovereign rights of the Cuban people are not negotiable.”

Mr Obama has said he is open to talks with the Cuban government, and will consider easing Us sanctions. After taking office in January, he plans immediately to lift all restrictions on family travel and financial remittances to the island.

However he said he would not support lifting the four decade old trade embargo until Cuba releases all political prisoners. An independent human rights group has said that there are 219 prisoners of conscience on the island.

Before the US elections last month, Fidel Castro praised Mr Obama as intelligent and humanitarian.

Raul, who replaced his ailing brother in 2006, has said several times he was willing to talk to the US.

In his most recent interview, with left wing actor Sean Penn in the US magazine The Nation, he suggested they meet in Guantanamo Bay, the site of the prison camp and where the US maintains a naval base considered by Cuba as a violation of its sovereignty

Source

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm  Comments Off on Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama  
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Iraqi parliament OKs US troops for 3 more years

Sadrist lawmakers chanting and raising placards reading: “No, no to the agreement” react in Iraq’s parliament in Baghdad, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008, as lawmakers vote to approve a security pact with the United States that lets American troops stay in the country for three more years – setting a clear timetable for a U.S. exit for the first time since the 2003 invasion. The vote in favor of the pact was backed by the ruling coalition’s Shiite and Kurdish blocs as well as the largest Sunni Arab bloc, which had demanded concessions for supporting the deal. The Shiite bloc agreed to a Sunni demand that the pact be put to a referendum by July 30, meaning the deal must undergo an additional hurdle next year. Under the agreement, U.S. forces will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30 and the entire country by Jan. 1, 2012. Iraq will have strict oversight over U.S. forces. (AP Photo/APTN)

BAGHDAD

The long, costly story of American military involvement in Iraq moved closer to an end Thursday when Iraq’s parliament approved a pact that requires all troops to be out in three years, marking the first clear timetable for a U.S. exit since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The vote for the security deal followed months of tough talks between U.S. and Iraqi negotiators that at times seemed on the point of collapse, and then days of hardscrabble dealmaking between ethnic and sectarian groups whose centuries-old rifts had hardened during the first four years of the war.

The war has claimed more than 4,200 American lives and killed a far greater, untold number of Iraqis, consumed huge reserves of money and resources and eroded the global stature of the United States, even among its closest allies.

Now an end is in sight, and American troops could leave sooner if President-elect Barack Obama makes good on a plan to pull out combat troops within 16 months of moving into the White House in January.

Some troops are likely to redeploy to face an insurgency that has expanded in Afghanistan even as attacks have diminished in Iraq, where the U.S. believes Iraqi forces are better able to fend for themselves. The terms of the security pact reflect that confidence: U.S. forces will withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities by June 30 and the entire country by Jan. 1, 2012.

“This is a historic day for the great Iraqi people,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a 10-minute address on national television. “We have achieved one of its most important achievements in approving the agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq and restoring the sovereignty it lost two decades ago.”

Al-Maliki was referring to Iraq’s transformation into an international pariah following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which led to U.N. sanctions and other penalties.

The security deal must now be ratified by the three-member Presidential Council, which is expected to approve it.

In the dealmaking that preceded the vote, Iraq’s ruling Shiite bloc agreed to a Sunni demand that the pact be put to a referendum by July 30, meaning the deal could be rejected next year if, for example, anti-U.S. anger builds and demands for an immediate withdrawal grow. By that time, however, U.S. troops will likely have left urban areas and will be a less intrusive presence.

Under the pact, Iraq will have strict oversight over the nearly 150,000 American troops now on the ground, representing a step toward full sovereignty for Iraq and a shift from the sense of frustration and humiliation that many Iraqis feel at the presence of American troops on their soil for so many years.

President George W. Bush applauded the approval of the pact, which is divided into two agreements governing security, economics, culture and other areas of cooperation. He said it “affirms the growth” of democracy in Iraq and noted the impact of last year’s “surge,” or U.S. troop buildup.

“Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely,” Bush said in a statement from his mountaintop retreat at Camp David, Md. “But the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament.”

The pact was backed by the ruling coalition’s Shiite and Kurdish blocs and the largest Sunni Arab bloc, which wanted concessions for supporting the deal.

The Sunni bloc received assurances that the government would work to incorporate into the security forces the mostly Sunni fighters who had turned against al-Qaida in Iraq. The government also agreed to stop pursuing fighters with alleged past links to the Sunni-led insurgency.

The Shiite-led government has previously made those assurances, but there were doubts about its commitment. Pledges of fair treatment were approved in a nonbinding vote in parliament on Thursday.

The 275-seat parliament voted on the security pact with a show of hands. There were conflicting figures for the number of deputies who attended the session, but most reports said three-quarters of up to 200 lawmakers in the chamber voted in favor.

The victory appeared to satisfy the guidelines of the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who had indicated that the deal would be acceptable only if passed by a comfortable majority.

A bloc of 30 lawmakers loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who wants U.S. forces to leave Iraq immediately, chanted protests and hoisted banners that said “No, no to the agreement” during the 25-minute session in parliament.

Al-Sadr’s militiamen have fought American troops in major uprisings over the years, but the cleric largely disbanded his force and does not appear to pose as much of a security threat as in the past. Al-Sadr is currently in Iran.

Still, anti-American sentiment is likely to remain a flashpoint for discontent in Iraq, where many people suspect the United States will stay to preserve interests in the Middle East such as access to oil.

“I reject this agreement because it was signed under the occupation and was the result of external pressure and lowly political sectarian deals at the expense of the Iraqi people,” said Qais Yassin, a Shiite engineer in eastern Baghdad, an al-Sadr stronghold.

Hussein Ali, a Shiite shop owner, said he thought the pact would ultimately have a positive outcome.

“The only thing we want is to live in peace and see the U.S. forces leave Iraq,” he said.

Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

Source

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 7:56 am  Comments Off on Iraqi parliament OKs US troops for 3 more years  
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Clinton’s moment

By Andrew Cohen

November 25, 2008

Barack Obama — king of composure, emperor of events — is about to lose control over both. “No Drama Obama” is writing the plot of his very own soap opera.

Its name is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is expected that Mr. Obama will appoint Mrs. Clinton secretary of state. This is the most prestigious position in the cabinet, the face of America to the world. On the surface, the move is brilliant.

After all, before there was Mr. Obama, there was Hillary Clinton. She was the Supernova before he was the Usurper. She was the best-known woman in the country. Her success seemed inevitable less than a year ago; she would win the nomination of the Democratic party and the presidency, too.

Now Mr. Obama has apparently invited her to join his administration. Why? And she has apparently accepted. Why? For Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and the country, it’s a mistake.

Mr. Obama did not need Mrs. Clinton in his inner circle. If he had, he would have asked her to become his vice-president in August. He had more reason then; she had won almost as many votes as he did (18 million) in that long, enervating political season from January to June.

But Mr. Obama never seriously considered Mrs. Clinton for the vice-presidency. We know this because he never “vetted” her or her husband. He concluded, correctly, that he did not need her to “unite” Democrats. He could win with Joe Biden.

He had other grounds for caution then. It was thought that Mrs. Clinton would blunt his message of change and would establish a rival centre of power within his administration.

And there was Bill Clinton, whose indiscretion in his wife’s campaign diminished his carefully cultivated stature as a conscientious, philanthropic former president. Moreover, his shady business dealings with strutting strongmen since leaving office threatened to undermine Mr. Obama’s squeaky-clean image.

Having first rejected Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama seems to want her now. He knows once he chooses her he is stuck with her; politically speaking, she cannot be fired.

The appointment is hard to fathom. Her eight years in the Senate (on the armed services committee) and eight as first lady (she travelled widely in a ceremonial role) have exposed her to the world, yes, but they have scarcely made her a seasoned diplomat or a cabinet secretary, a glaring inexperience Mr. Obama noted during the primary season.

Cosmopolitan and intelligent as she is, Mrs. Clinton does not come from diplomacy, the academy, the military, the bureaucracy or the cabinet, which have produced almost all postwar secretaries of state. Dean Gooderham Acheson, George C. Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, James Baker, Warren Christopher and Colin Powell all brought far more expertise to the job than she does.

This hasn’t fazed Mr. Obama. Perhaps he wants to recreate Lincoln’s fabled “team of rivals.” Perhaps he wants her out of the Senate, which is why John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson as his vice-president. Perhaps he wants her international star power (not that he doesn’t have enough of his own).

He could have had Bill Richardson, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Bill Bradley, Sam Nunn, all successful active or former politicians. Or the creative Strobe Talbott or Richard Holbrooke.

Yet, if the appointment raises doubts, it is about judgment more than generosity. It takes a self-confident chief executive to appoint a rival to his inner circle, especially one with a flawed, egotistical husband. Mr. Obama has done it.

If the choice is dubious for Mr. Obama, it is mystifying for Mrs. Clinton. At 61, she has presumably concluded that this job (whether four or eight years) is her last in public life. She could run for president in 2016, at 69, but it’s unlikely.

Now she gives up her seat in the Senate, where she might have had a position of leadership. She might have spent the next 20 years or so there, becoming the spiritual successor to the incomparable Edward M. Kennedy.

As the U.S. enters a new liberal hour, she might have become its tribune. She might have become the champion of health care (redressing her mishandling of the file in 1993), the green economy and a multilateral foreign policy. Ultimately, like Senator Kennedy, she might have made her mark as a legislator.

Instead, she imagines herself a stateswoman, representing a resurgent United States. It may be that she and the new president have a fine relationship. It may be that Mr. Biden, who was to be chief diplomat, won’t resent the competition. It may be that Bill behaves himself.

If this doesn’t work, though, if the team of rivals becomes a clash of the titans, no one should be surprised.

Source

Is the World in Obama’s ‘Shock and Trance’ Mode?

Barack Obama reveals two-year plan to create 2.5m jobs

November 22 2008
By Matthew Weaver

Barack Obama has outlined his plan to create 2.5m jobs in his first two years in office with an ambitious spending programme on roads, schools and and renewable energy.

In his weekly internet address the United States president-elect warned that the US was “facing an economic crisis of historic proportions”.

But he suggested he was keen to launch a major two-year spending programme, to “jumpstart job-creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy”. He pledged the programme would create 2.5 million jobs by January 2011.

That goal has led to speculation that Obama will try to launch a spending package larger than the $175bn (£118bn) plan he outlined in his election campaign.

Obama said details of the programme were being worked out by his transition team.

“We will put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernising schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels and fuel efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil,” he said.

Both Republican and Democrat support would be needed to get the programme approved, he said, but “what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action”.

Noting the turmoil on Wall Street, a drop in house sales, rising unemployment and the threat of deflation, he said: “There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.”

But Obama said his inauguration day on January 20 “is our chance to begin anew”.

“We must do more to put people back to work, and get our economy moving again.

“There are Americans showing up to work in the morning only to have cleared out their desks by the afternoon. These Americans need help and they need it now.”

Wall Street ended a volatile week with renewed confidence last night, after reports that Obama had chosen Timothy Geithner, the head of the New York Federal Reserve, as his treasury secretary.

The Dow Jones industrial average recorded a 494-point gain on the day as stocks surged by 6.5% to close above the psychologically important 8,000 level at 8046.42. It was still 5% down for the week, however, as worries persisted about the global economic slowdown.

Geithner, 47, has always been a favourite to take the top job and his appointment was expected to be announced by the Obama camp this weekend.

Source

This plan is a far cry better then tax cuts which have been used for years.

This a direct approach to the problem. It will boost the economy on many fronts. The more people working the more spending.

What it may cost, is saved by less people being on welfare or unemployment.

Their will also be saveings in the health care department as well.

Less people beoming homeless as well.

This plan puts money into the peoples pockets.

This plan could very well, in the end pay for itself.

Tax cuts do little or nothing to boost the econonmy.

Corporations just buy yet another jet or give their CEO’s a raise in pay.

Obviously that hasen’t worked all that well.

Seems they are more prone to killing jobs as we have seen in the recent past.

Obama’s will work. Renewable energy is an extrememly fabulous way to go.

Certainly better then going to war to secure Oil for example from another country.

Which by the way leave a massive foot print of pollution behind.

Renewable clean energy will also play a great part in preventing pollution.

Pollution is something America has not addressed with open arms. They were put in a state of fear that it was a bad thing and would destroy jobs.

Of course we full well know this was propaganda by profiteering, Corporations that pollute. They just don’t want to clean up their act.

They put profit before the environment.

Pollution kills.

Investing in children’s education is beneficial to  everyone. They are the future generation who will someday be the caretakers of the planet.  Giving them the tools they need is a wise move.

Each child has a gift to give to the world. Each child deserves a fair and equal chance to foster their gift.

Iran accepts mediator for Obama talks

Qashqavi says an Obama administration would face a difficult job in undoing 30 years of White House’s wrongdoings toward Iranians.

Iran says it would not oppose an initiative by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to mediate between Tehran and an Obama White House.

November 17 2008

The Turkish Premier suggested on Friday Ankara could play a positive role in mediating between Tehran and Washington — which have had no diplomatic ties for three decades and are now at loggerheads over Iran’s nuclear program.

“If Turkey plays such a role, it could have a positive impact on the process,” Erdogan told a press conference in Washington.

The Erdogan administration enjoys good relations with Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that Tehran would not hinder any Turkish bid to mediate nuclear talks with the West.

“We think the comments stem from Turkish goodwill and the flourishing neighborly ties between Iran and Turkey. We will certainly not create any obstacles in the way of such moves,” said Hassan Qashqavi at a press conference in the ministry.

“But the reality is that the issue and problems between Iran and the United States go beyond the usual political problems between two states,” Qashqavi added.

Erdogan says Ankara could play a positive part in mediating between Tehran and Washington.

US President-elect Barack Obama has expressed desire to engage the government in Tehran with direct negotiations over its nuclear program.

He, however, has not stopped short of declaring that toughening already-existing sanctions against Iran is not off the table.

Obama’s proposed policy has been met with stark opposition in Tel Aviv, where Israeli echelons have described potential talks between Tehran and Washington as a form of ‘weakness’ for their allies in the White House.

Introduced and advocated by the Bush administration, the US has long pursued a carrot-and-stick policy toward Tehran regarding its nuclear program.

Qashqavi, meanwhile, raised the question whether a new US administration would change the policies of its predecessor.

“Some 30 years after the Islamic Revolution, the US still has a negative stance towards Iranians,” the Iranian spokesman said.

“Mr. Obama has come forward with slogans of change. We now have to wait and see whether the change in orientation [of Washington] is serious or not,” he concluded.

Analysts believe the Obama White House could be forced into talks with Iran over its nuclear program as Russia and China, two veto-wielding Security Council members, have expressed their opposition to the adoption of any new UNSC sanction against Tehran.

MD/HGH

Source

US President-elect Barack Obama has expressed desire to engage the government in Tehran with direct negotiations over its nuclear program. This is a good thing, they should talk.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that Tehran would not hinder any Turkish bid to mediate nuclear talks with the West. This is a good thing help is always welcome.

Obama’s proposed policy has been met with stark opposition in Tel Aviv, where Israeli echelons have described potential talks between Tehran and Washington as a form of ‘weakness’ for their allies in the White House. This a foolish attitude. Why would they be so afraid of the US and Iran talking, as opposed to fighting. Maybe the “ Israeli echelons” should just be silent and let the diplomacy begin. If some one is opposed to two nations speaking then, those who oppose it are the problem.  Talking is not a weakness, it is a strength.

For too long have we had to listen to, the rhetoric, fear mongering, war chants and propaganda. Anyone who against war prevention, should be ignored.

It is time to find a road to Peace.

It could save millions of lives. I am all for that.

Considering how many have died in Iraq over the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that never exsisted.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 8:02 am  Comments Off on Iran accepts mediator for Obama talks  
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Obama, McCain discuss ways to change ‘bad habits’ of Washington

Obama, McCain discuss ways to change 'bad habits' of Washington

November 17 2008

By BETH FOUHY

CHICAGO

President-elect Barack Obama and former Republican rival John McCain pledged Monday to work together on ways to change Washington’s “bad habits,” though aides to both men said it was unlikely McCain would serve in an Obama cabinet.

The two men met in Obama’s transition headquarters in Chicago for the first time since the Illinois senator vanquished McCain in the presidential election Nov. 4.

Obama said they wanted to talk about “how we can do some work together to fix up the country,” and he added that he would offer his thanks to McCain “for the outstanding service he’s already rendered.”

Obama has said he is likely to invite at least one Republican to join his cabinet, but McCain was not expected to be a candidate. McCain is serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

Obama and McCain sat together for a brief picture-taking session with reporters, along with Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s incoming White House chief of staff, and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, McCain’s close friend.

Obama and McCain were heard briefly discussing football, and Obama cracked that “the national press is tame compared to the Chicago press.”

When asked if he planned to help the Obama administration, McCain replied, “Obviously.”

After the meeting, the two issued a joint statement saying: “At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time.”

“It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family,” it said.

“We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy and protecting our nation’s security.”

Obama and McCain clashed bitterly during the fall campaign over taxes, the Iraq War, and ways to fix the ailing economy. Things got ugly at times, with McCain running ads comparing Obama to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and raising questions about his rival’s distant relationship with a 1960s-era radical, William Ayers.

Obama’s campaign labelled the 72-year old McCain “erratic” and ran a campaign ad falsely suggesting that McCain and Rush Limbaugh shared similar anti-immigration views.

McCain delivered a gracious concession speech on election night, paying tribute to Obama’s historic ascendancy as the country’s first black president. The two agreed that night to meet after the election when McCain called Obama to concede defeat.

Meanwhile, Obama said in his first television interview since his historic election that Americans shouldn’t worry about the growing federal deficit for the next couple of years and also urged help for the auto industry.

While investors are still riding a rollercoaster on Wall Street, Obama told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview broadcast Sunday that the economy would have deteriorated even more without the $700 billion bank bailout. Re-regulation is a legislative priority, he said, not to crush “the entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking of American capitalism” but to “restore a sense of balance.”

He also said, “We shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after. … The most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession.”

Obama said he has spent the days since the election planning to stabilize the economy, restore consumer confidence, create jobs and get sound health care and energy policies through Congress.

“There’s no doubt that we have not been able yet to reset the confidence in the financial markets and in the consumer markets and among businesses that allow the economy to move forward in a strong way,” Obama said. “And my job as president is going to be to make sure that we restore that confidence.”

While he said “we have the tools,” the president-elect said not enough has been done to address bank foreclosures and distressed homeowners.

“We’ve gotta set up a negotiation between banks and borrowers so that people can stay in their homes,” Obama said. “That is going to have an impact on the economy as a whole. And, you know, one thing I’m determined is that if we don’t have a clear, focused program for homeowners by the time I take office, we will after I take office.”

Obama credited Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for trying to remedy “an unprecedented crisis” the country hasn’t seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A member of the transition team works with Paulson daily, Obama said, getting the needed background and sometimes offering approaches to address the economic meltdown.

Obama also acknowledged meeting with former Democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton last week, but refused to say whether she was being considered for secretary of state, as has been widely reported. He also said the Republican party will be represented in his cabinet.

In the CBS interview, Obama also said that as soon as he takes office he will work with his security team and the military to draw down U.S. troops in Iraq, shore up Afghanistan and “stamp out al-Qaida once and for all.”

Obama confirmed reports that he intends to close the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, and “make sure we don’t torture” as “part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.”

Obama also said he plans to put al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the crosshairs.

“I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al-Qaida,” Obama said. “He is not just a symbol, he’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets.”

Source

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 4:51 am  Comments Off on Obama, McCain discuss ways to change ‘bad habits’ of Washington  
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Obama Victory Triggers Racist Backlash: At Least 200 Incidents Reported

By Patrik Jonsson

November 17, 2008

Atlanta – In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting “inappropriate” comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America’s first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center — a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters’ comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama’s election to be a potent recruiting tool — one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there’s even talk of secession.

Source

By Patrik Jonsson

November 17 2008

In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting “inappropriate” comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America’s first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters’ comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama’s election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there’s even talk of secession.

“Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised,” says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We’re not there yet, but there’s dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict].”

Though postelection racist incidents haven’t posed any real danger to society or the president-elect, law enforcement is taking note.

“We’re trying to be out there at the cutting edge of this and trying to stay ahead of groups that are emerging,” says Special Agent Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the Secret Service, which guards the US president.

“Anytime you start seeing [extremist propaganda] floating around, you have to be concerned,” adds Lt. Gary Thornberry of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. “As far as it being an alarmist situation, I don’t see that yet. From a law enforcement point of view, you have to be careful, because it’s not illegal to have an ideology.”

After sparking conflict and showdowns in the 1990s – think Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing – white supremacist and nationalist groups began this century largely splintered and powerless. Though high immigration levels helped boost the number of hate groups from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007, key leaders of such groups had died, been imprisoned, or were otherwise marginalized.

But postelection, at least two white nationalist websites – Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens – report their servers have crashed because of heavy traffic. The League of the South, a secessionist group, says Web hits jumped from 50,000 a month to 300,000 since Nov. 4, and its phones are ringing off the hook.

“The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style,” says Mr. Levin. “They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they’ve been moaning about has come true.”

Supremacist propaganda is already on the upswing. In Oklahoma, fringe groups have distributed anti-Obama propaganda through newspapers and taped it to home mail boxes. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are also being reported from Maine to Alabama.

The Ku Klux Klan has been tied to recent news events, as well. Two Tennessee men implicated for plotting to kill 88 black men, including Obama, were tied to the KKK chapter whose leader was convicted in a civil trial in Brandenburg, Ky., last week, for inciting violence. The murder last week in Louisiana of a KKK initiate, allegedly killed after trying to back out of joining, came at the hands of a new group called Sons of Dixie, authorities say.

“We’re not looking at a race war or anything close to it, but … what we are seeing now is undeniably a fairly major backlash by some subset of the white population,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report in Montomgery, Ala. “Many whites feel that the country their forefathers built has been … stolen from them, so there’s in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs.”

In an election in which barely 20 percent of native Southern whites in Deep South states voted for Obama, the newly apparent political clout of “outsiders” and people of color has been unnerving to some.

“In states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, there was extraordinary racial polarization in the vote,” says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “Black Americans really do believe that Obama is going to represent their interests and views in ways that they haven’t been before, and, in the Deep South, whites feel exactly the opposite.”

But for nonviolent secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is for a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South’s role in it, says Michael Tuggle, a League blogger in North Carolina.

Mr. Tuggle says his group isn’t looking for an 1860-style secession but, rather, a model that Spain, for one, is moving toward, in which “there’s a great deal of autonomy for constituent regions” – a foil to what is seen as unchecked, dangerous federal power in Washington.

“To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn’t seem so crazy anymore,” says Tuggle. “People are talking about how left out they feel, … and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country.”

Source

Racial Incidents and Threats Against Obama Soar: Here Is a Chronicle

By Greg Mitchell

November 15, 2008

Since election day, the number of threats against the president-elect, and racial or violent incidents directed at his supporters, have soared. The Secret Service is concerned, calling it the highest number of threats against a President-elect in memory, but the national media until this weekend have largely ignored the disturbing pattern. So a few days ago, over at the Editor & Publisher site, we started chronicling the incidents, which has drawn wide attention (so we will continue, though we hope the problem subsides).

Some claim that, given the size of this great country of ours, the incidents don’t amount to much or are merely anecdotal. I would argue: The ones we know about may represent only the tip of the iceberg — the ones that make it into the local press. And, yes, they may die down as the country gets used to the idea of a President Obama. On the other hand: They could soar again as that reality nears.

So let me just briefly list the full range of episodes, which doesn’t even include several cross burnings on front lawns. These aren’t necessarily the worst but they do capture the national flavor/fever. Note that about 2 out of 3 took place in states that Obama won.

* In a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into “The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool,” saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. “Let’s hope we have a winner.”

* In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a “public hanging” sign erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported Thursday. A handmade sign posted on a tree reads “FREE PUBLIC HANGING” written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon rope. The most prominent name on the sign is “OBAMA,” according to the Bee. “That’s a political statement. They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever,” the creator of the sign, Ken Germana, told the Bee.

* A popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line on Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received. One poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, “I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how ‘messiahs’ come to rest.”

* From the Orange County (Ca.) Register: “Two gang members pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crime and attempted robbery charges in connection with the beating of a black man who was trying to buy cigarettes at a Fullerton liquor store.” The two men shouted racial and anti-Obama epithets in the attack.

* From today’s New York Times: “Two white Staten Island men face hate crimes charges after they were arrested on Friday in the beating of a black teenager on the night that Barack Obama was elected president, the police said on Saturday. The teenager, Alie Kamara, 17, was walking home on Pine Place in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton when several men hit him on the head with a baseball bat and yelled ‘Obama,’ said Aliya Latif, the civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who was in contact with Alie’s family since the attack and spoke to his mother on Saturday after the arrests were announced.”

* In Mississippi alone, the American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 10 calls since the staff first reported anti-Obama incidents last Friday, according to the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press.

* In Midland, Mich., a man dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia walked around toting a handgun and waving an American flag. Initially denying it, the man eventually admitted to police that the display was a reaction to the Obama victory. “[The man] had a concealed weapon permit and was walking up and down the sidewalk in front of a vehicle dealership while some motorists shouted obscenities at him and others shouted accolades,” police told The Saginaw News.

* Parents in Rexburg, Idaho, contacted school officials this week after they learned that 2nd and 3rd graders on a school bus were chanting, “Assasssinate Obama!”

* At the University of Texas in Austin, a racist post on Facebook has cost one student his place on the university football team, according to the Houston Chronicle. Buck Burnette, a sophomore offensive lineman for the fourth-ranked Texas Longhorns, was dismissed from the team on Nov. 5 after posting a racist remark about President-elect Obama as his “status” on the social networking Web site. Burnette posted: “All the hunters gather up, we have a [slur] in the White House,” the Chronicle reported.

* AP reports: “While the world watched a Grant Park celebration heralding the election of the first black U.S. president, some white Chicago police officers committed hate crimes against black residents cheering Barack Obama’s victory elsewhere in the city, attorneys alleged Thursday.” Lawsuits have been filed.

* At Appalachian State University, the administration has expressed disappointment at the numerous times black students have expressed being harassed in residence halls since the election. The Appalachian, a student newspaper serving the university, also reported conversations suggesting Obama may not be alive in 2009 and a t-shirt seen around campus that reads “Obama ’08, Biden ’09.”

* Mentioned in the same article, racist comments were discovered at North Carolina State University last week. Spray-painted in university’s free expression tunnel after the election were the phrases, “Kill that n…” and “Shoot Obama,” the Appalachian reported. The NAACP has called for the expulsion of the four students accused of the graffitti, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

* The Associated Press revealed on Wednesday, “Police on eastern Long Island are investigating reports that more than a dozen cars were spray painted with racist graffiti, reportedly including a message targeting President-elect Barack Obama. The graffiti included racist slurs and sexually graphic references. At least one resident in the quiet Mastic neighborhood told Newsday her son’s car was scribbled with a message threatening to kill Obama.”

* Employees at Hampel’s Key and Lockshop in Traverse City, Michigan, flew an American flag upside down last Wednesday protesting of the new president-elect, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. One worker used a racial slur during an interview with the Record-Eagle: “(The inverted flag is) an international signal for distress and we feel our country is in distress because the n—– got in,” said Hampel’s employee Rod Nyland, who later apologized for the comment, according to the Record-Eagle.

* Authorities in Temecula, Calif., found spray-painted graffiti on a city sidewalk containing a swastika and anti-Obama slogan. And from the Los Angeles Times: “Vandals spray-painted swastikas and racial slurs on a house and several cars in Torrance that displayed campaign signs or bumper stickers for President-elect Barack Obama, authorities said Tuesday. The incidents occurred Saturday night in the Hollywood Riviera section of the city, said Sgt. Bernard Anderson. Four separate incidents were reported the next day, he said. No arrests have been made.”

* And from Maine: “More than 75 people rallied Sunday against an incident last week in which black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election,” according to the Bangor Daily News.

Source

I see the bigots and haters are coming out of the woodwork.

How sad it all is.

Many leaders around the world are thankful Barack Obama was elected. They see him as someone who they can communicate with on an intelligent level. They see him as someone who will strive for Peace as opposed to endless war.

Barack is well educated and very articulate. He knows the issues and has some great ideas.

I say let him lead and those who hate should really take a look at “What Bush left behind”.

White supremacy is ignorance at it’s finest and they are showing their true colors. Hate only promotes more hate.

They may hide under their sheets or behind their religion,  but they are still promoting their hate.

They are the great pretenders.  They always pretend to be something they are not. They just hate.

They know little if anything about love or who they hurt.  They hate for the sake of hating.

They are brainwashed from the day they are born. If they weren’t they are brainwashed by other haters.

They fill their heads with propaganda instead of truth. They follow blindly as if they were zombies.

They are taught not to think for themselves,  just to believe what the haters have taught them.

How sad. They never reach out to someone who may be the most wonderful person they could ever want to meet.

How lonely it is, to live in a world so small  and limited.

I just can’t imagine living with so much hate in my life.

I can’t imagine hating someone because of the color of their skin or religion or sexual preference.

I know people from all the above groups.  The love, they have to give is incredible.

I would never trade what I have to become some one who hates with such ignorance.

Everyone has a gift to give. The gifts given to me by my friends whether they be black, white, green, orange, yellow or the purple people eater, are love and understanding. I don’t really care what race or religion they are and I really don’t care who they sleep with.

None of it changes the kind of person they are. What is important is what is in their hearts.

None of the people I know don’t care about what color I am, religious beliefs I have, what race I am and they certainly could care less about who I sleep with either.

They judge me by what is in my heart.

Love begets Love, Hate begets hate.

I am loved by my friends and that is more important then anything else.

We love, we respect, we cherish and we understand each other.

What could be more rewarding?

I am purple with pink polka dots.

Got a problem with that?

Take it up with the creator. I was made that way. Just like the creator made everyone.

No one is better then anyone else.  We are all created equal. Then life takes over.

Threats Against Obama on the Rise

Moscow aims to restore trust with the U.S.

November 16 2008

Dmitry Medvedev has said the election of Barack Obama provides an opportunity for a renewal of trust between Moscow and Washington. Relations between the two sides have soured since the U.S. announced plans to build an anti-missile defence shield in Europe.

Speaking in the U.S. capital, the Russian President said “we have great hope and aspirations for the new administration.”

Medvedev has been doing the diplomatic rounds in the past week, from the EU summit in Nice to the G20 in Washington. A top issue for discussion has been the proposed U.S. anti-missile defence shield in Europe.

Speaking at Saturday’s G20 summit in Washington, The Russian president explained that Russia will place short-range missiles in its westernmost Kaliningrad region only if the planned U.S. bases are built in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Relations between the two sides were on the agenda before the Russian president managed to take off from Moscow.

The day after the U.S. election Medvedev gave a speech to the parliament’s upper chamber, announcing a plan to counter the US missile defence system in Europe with Iskander missiles deployed in Kaliningrad.

The address caused much alarm and criticism in the West, and ahead of the EU meeting Medvedev had to explain once again what he meant.

“I would not in any way link my speech on November 5 to any other political events, apart from my address to the Russian Federal Assembly. In other words, it is not in any way linked to the U.S. presidential election, or any other political events,” Medvedev told the French newspaper Le Figaro.

“I think it’s an absolutely adequate response. We did not start this. It is only a response to the unilateral move to deploy the US radars and missiles”.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who heads the EU at the moment, did not want to be held up by U.S-Russia sticking points. Sarkozy and preferred to focus on progress as well – like the EU’s work as a peace broker following last summer’s crisis in the Caucasus.

The U.S. couldn’t be avoided altogether. Russian and French leaders and the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were expected for dinner at the White House shortly after the Russia-EU summit wrapped up with plans for future security meetings.

The G20 meant all eyes were on the economy. They couldn’t help but wander in the direction of the man who will inherit an enormous task in January, even though he was far from Washington this weekend. Moscow anticipates that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama might better understand Russia’s concern about NATO expansion and missile defence in Europe.

“I hope we’ll be able to build normal partnership relations with the new administration and find solutions to some difficult issues which we could not find with the current administration,”
Medvedev said.

Source

Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 7:23 am  Comments Off on Moscow aims to restore trust with the U.S.  
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They Can’t win the war in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan Is A No-Win Situation
By Stephen C. Rose

The situation in Afghanistan weighs more and more heavily on us. I took it up in a Huffington Post piece a while back titled Could Barack Obama Suffer The Fate of LBJ?

Many wish the war on terror to be translated from a military trap into a POLICE ACTION, something sane observers believe it should have been from the very start.

Today, comes a sad vindication of the reality and a stark warning that there can be no winning in Afghanistan. It will be Barack Obama’s task to cut a deal and be honest about why
Violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest levels since the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in 2001 Source

A Pakistani decision to temporarily bar some trucks from a key passageway to Afghanistan threatened a critical supply route for U.S. and NATO troops on Sunday and raised more fears about deteriorating security in the militant-plagued border region.
The suspension of oil tankers and trucks carrying sealed containers came as U.S.-led coalition troops in eastern Afghanistan reported killing five al-Qaida-linked fighters and detaining eight others, including a militant leader.

Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters are behind much of the escalating violence along the lengthy, porous Afghan-Pakistan border, and both nations have traded accusations that the other was not doing enough to keep militants out from its side.

The tensions come as violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest levels since the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in 2001 and as a surge in U.S. missile strikes on the Pakistani side of the border has prompted protests from Pakistan government leaders.

And this piece from UK notes that the answer lies in cutting a deal with the Taliban, period. Source

There is no question that British troops win almost every battle and firefight, but the Taliban refuse to go away.
For every 10 men they lose, there are 10 more waiting to take their place.

The insurgents have a saying: “You have the clocks, we have the time.”

The British and American strategy seems to be to fight on with increased numbers of troops and try to train the Afghan forces to take over.

Building a country virtually from scratch, containing the Taliban and developing a national army in a land that’s riven by ethnic rivalries and feuding warlords is probably a challenge too far.

Cutting and running is not an option – so cutting a deal may have to be.

Repeat: The War in Afghanistan is a no-win situation. The answer lies in talking to the Taliban, something Barack has already advocated. A protracted military engagement should be avoided like a plague.

Source

Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win

A comparison with the 1980s is in order. The 100,000-strong Soviet army operated alongside a full-fledged Afghan army of equal strength with an officer corps trained in the elite Soviet military academies, and backed by aviation, armored vehicles and artillery, with all the advantages of a functioning, politically motivated government in Kabul. And yet it proved no match for the Afghan resistance.

In comparison, there are about 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, plus roughly the same number of troops belonging to NATO contingents, which includes 5,400 troops from Britain, 2,500 from Canada and 2,300 from the Netherlands. Nominally, there is a 42,000-strong Afghan National Army, but it suffers from a high rate of defection.

Source


War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief

Britain’s most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

Source

US Kills Dozens of Wedding Guests in Afganistan

Who profits from WAR?

Tactics versus strategy in Afghanistan

The Terrible Plight of Afghan Children

The U.S. bombing upon Afghanistan has been a low bombing intensity, high civilian casualty campaign [in both absolute terms and relative to other U.S. air campaigns]. Secondly, this has happened notwithstanding the far greater accuracy of the weapons because of U.S. military planners decisions to employ powerful weapons in populated regions and to bomb what are dubious military targets. Thirdly, the U.S. mainstream corporate media has been derelict in its non-reporting of civilian casualties when ample evidence existed from foreign places that the U.S. air war upon Afghanistan was creating such casualties in large numbers. Fourthly, the decision by U.S. military planners to execute such a bombing campaign reveals and reflects the differential values they place upon Afghan and American lives. Fifth, this report counters the dangerous notion that the United States can henceforth wage a war and only kill enemy combatants. Sixth, the U.S. bombing campaign has targeted numerous civilian facilities and the heavy use of cluster bombs, will have a lasting legacy born by one of the poorest, most desperate peoples of our world. In sum, though not intended to be, the U.S. bombing campaign which began on the evening of October 7th, has been a war upon the people, the homes, the farms and the villages of Afghanistan, as well as upon the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Source

Injuries and Deaths From Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan, 2002-2006

At least 706,899 people have been killed, and
1,354,224 seriously injured in Afghanistan and Iraq
since the U.S. and coalition attacks, based on lowest credible estimates.

Source

The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US invasion.

We must not forget these people who died at the hand of the US.

Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody up to October 2005

Many of the prisoners that died of “Natural Causes” may have died because they didn’t receive Medical treatment or Medication, which is still Murder. Others died because they were tortured.  There are many ways to kill a person.  Cause and Affect.

There have been more deaths since then. How many,  well that is yet to be determined.

The death toll in both wars is staggering to say the least. The number of civilian deaths alone is enough to infuriate anyone.

There no winners in War.

Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 10:10 pm  Comments Off on They Can’t win the war in Afghanistan  
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Ontario lawyers call on Prime Minister to ask U.S. to return Omar Khadr

Les avocats de Khadr contestent que Harper prétende n'avoir d'autre choix

Obama to tape weekly address for Web

President-elect will also do a weekly address for radio listeners, too
November 14 2008

By Ann Sanner

CHICAGO – This isn’t your grandfather’s fireside chat.

President-elect Barack Obama plans to tape a weekly address not just for radio listeners, as presidents have for years, but for YouTube Internet viewers, too.

Well, what else would you expect from the first post-baby boom president?

Connecting the White House hearth to the American home, Franklin Roosevelt talked to the people through the radio, with crackling broadcasts delivered near a crackling fire. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan mastered television. For Obama, who built a big part of his campaign on the Internet, it’s Google Inc.-owned YouTube.

About 75 years after Roosevelt used a new medium to reach out during troubled times, the president-elect is doing the same with Web videos.

Obama was recording a four-minute address Friday at his transition office in Chicago. It will be posted Saturday through a YouTube link on his transition Web site, http://www.change.gov. And he will continue to do the videos when he takes office on Jan. 20.

And he won’t be the only one in his administration taking a starring role online.

Transition leaders and policy advisers will also appear in videos on a regular basis, Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Other officials, such as Cabinet members, could also take part.

President George W. Bush hasn’t videotaped his radio addresses for online viewing as Obama plans to do, the White House said. YouTube wasn’t around when Bush came into office, though podcasts of his addresses are available on iTunes, and the audio is posted on http://www.whitehouse.gov.

The Saturday radio addresses were initiated by Reagan and have evolved into a weekly fixture of the presidency, accompanied by a response from the party out of power.

Still, relatively few people actually hear them on the radio, and Obama is hoping to reach many more with what his transition team calls a “multimedia opportunity.”

The videos are part of the team’s effort to build on a campaign model that helped Obama reach millions of voters online during the presidential race. It’s a potentially powerful electronic tool in new digital outreach effort aimed at supporters and others interested in being connected to the activities of the Obama White House. The Web site and videos allow him to bypass the traditional media and reinforce his message online.

On the campaign trail, Obama promised to use the Internet to make his administration more open and interactive, offering a detailed look at what’s going on in the White House on a given day or asking people to post comments on his legislative proposals.

The transition team plans to use videos to keep people posted on developments as Obama prepares to take the oath of office, Psaki said.

A two-minute video of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is already on the web page .

In it, Jarrett discusses recent staff decisions and the ethics policy in place for the transition.

“We’ll be back frequently to give you updates,” she tells watchers.

Source

Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 8:36 am  Comments Off on Obama to tape weekly address for Web  
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Guantanamo Bay: Obama’s options

November 12 2008

Guantanamo Bay has been widely condemned by international rights groups [GALLO/GETTY]

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has said repeatedly that he will shut down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and is now faced with decisions about how to proceed.

Rights groups have urged Obama to move swiftly once he begins his White House term in January.

The detention and treatment of prisoners held at the US facility has been widely condemned by international rights groups and the UN and EU.

It has held more than 750 captives from around the world since opening in 2002, including many who were captured during the US “war on terror” that followed the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001.

Around 250 prisoners remain in the camp – most held without charge or trial – including 50 or so that have been cleared for release but cannot be returned to their home countries, the US government says, for fear of torture and persecution.Two, including Osama bin Laden’s former driver, have already faced full military tribunals, set up by the Bush administration to try the detainees, but widely condemned as unfair by rights groups.

Aides to Obama say he remains committed to closing Guantanamo and trying the remaining detainees.

“President-Elect Obama said throughout his campaign that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed,” Denis McDonough, an advisor to Obama on foreign policy, said in a statement on Monday.

There are several options now on the table for the new administration.

1. Trying detainees using a new US legal system

Obama has considered proposing a new court system to try the Guantanamo detainees and has appointed a committee to decide how such a court would operate, recent media reports have said.

The US has faced widespread criticism over
its treatement of detainees [GALLO/GETTY]

How specifically that system would operate remains unclear.”There is no process in place to make that decision until his [Obama’s] national security and legal teams are assembled,” McDonough said.

But the idea of setting up a separate legal system for the detainees has already drawn some criticism, and invited comparisons to the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration.

“There would be concern about establishing a completely new system,” Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor, said.

“And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on US soil and departs from the criminal justice system – trying to establish that would be very difficult.”

2. Criminal trials in the US

Obama aides have also said Guantanamo’s remaining detainees could be prosecuted in federal criminal courts.

Doing so in the US would grant the detainees legal rights equivalent to those of citizens, thus creating a host of problems for prosecutors.

More than 750 prisoners have been held at the detention centre since 2002 [GALLO/GETTY]

Evidence gathered through military interrogation or from intelligence sources could be thrown out.Defendents would also have the right to confront witnesses, which means undercover CIA officers or informants might have to take the stand, jeopardising their identities and revealing classified intelligence tactics.

The idea of bringing alleged terrorists onto US soil has also proved controversial.

Last year, the US senate overwhelmingly passed a non-binding bill opposing bringing detainees to the United States.

John Cornyn, a Republican senate judiciary committee member, says it would be a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime”.

“It would be a stunning disappointment if one of the new administration’s first priorities is to give foreign terror suspects captured on the battlefield the same legal rights and protections as American citizens accused of crimes,” he said.

3. Trials in the US military court-martial system

Use of the US military’s court-martial system is another possible option to try Guantanamo detainees.

Could the US use its own military justice system
to try detainees? [GALLO/GETTY]

“The court martial system could be adapted very easily by congress – I think that’s by far the better option,” Scott Silliman, a law professor at Duke University and director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, told Al Jazeera.A US federal trial, like the case brought against Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring to kill US citizens in the September 11 attacks, could be drawn out over several years.

However, courts-martial, which unlike federal trials can take place outside the US, but maintain a higher standard of evidence than that of the current military tribunals used by the Bush administration.

But critics have also said that the higher standard of evidence could create problems for the prosecuting teams similar to that in criminal trials.

Silliman, however, says the US has much to gain from the system, in terms of credibility, for holding detainees to the same standards as its own military forces.

4. Repatriation

For the detainees which the government maintains no evidence of criminality, Obama advisers told the Associated Press news agency on Monday that they would probably be returned to the countries where they were captured for continued detention or rehabilitation.

The outgoing administration contends this is easier said than done.

“We’ve tried very hard to explain to people how complicated it is,” Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for the White House, says. “When you pick up people off the battlefield that have a terrorist background, it’s not just so easy to let them go.”

Some governments have denied that the Guantanamo prisoners are in fact their citizens, while others have been reluctant to agree to US requests to imprison or monitor former Guantanamo detainees.

The Bush administration says talks with Yemen for the release of around 90 Yemeni detainees into a rehabilitation programme have so far been fruitless.

5. Resettlement in other countries

At least 50 of Guantanamo’s inmates have already been cleared for release but the US government says they cannot be returned to their home countries for fear of torture and persecution.

Human Rights groups have called for a swift closure of Guantanamo Bay [AFP]

The US state department and international human rights groups have urged third-party countries to accept these Guantanamo prisoners.In Berlin on Monday, five rights groups issued a joint call to European governments to grant humanitarian resettlement and protection to detainees from China, Libya, Russia, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan, among others.

“This would have a double effect: helping to end the ordeal of an individual unlawfully held in violation of his human rights, and helping end the international human rights scandal that is Guantanamo,” Daniel Gorevan, who manages Amnesty International’s “Counter Terror with Justice” campaign, said.

Analysts have said international governments might be more willing to negotiate on this issue with an Obama administration because the president-elect has spoken out against unilateral US action, and is less likely to have as strict requirements.

6. Keeping Guantanamo open

The likelihood of keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open is an apparently a slim one in part, because of the negative publicity the Obama administration would receive.

The facility has been condemned by the UN, the EU, and numerous human rights groups, and many in the US argue that the camp is also a liability.

Even George Bush acknowledged in 2006 he would “like to close” it.

“Guantanamo Bay, for most people is a lightning rod for everything that’s wrong with the United States,” Silliman says. “I’m not sure Obama would be able to back away from his campaign pledge.”

Were it to remain open, the US congress would be likely to have to pass a new law to keep the detainees there, and push through humanitarian and legal changes.

Another alternative is for the US to work with other countries to create jointly-operated detention facilities.

Whatever the plan the new administration pursues, Silliman says Obama isn’t likely to push through changes on January 21 – his first day in office.

“We should not expect it to take place in the first couple of weeks of his administration, or even in the first couple months,” he says.

“All of this is going to take time.”

Source

Paulson has shelved the original plan

By Greg Ro

November 12, 2008

WASHINGTON

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson laid out details for the next stage of the government’s financial-market rescue package Wednesday, announcing that he has shelved the original plan to buy troubled mortgage assets while turning his attention to nonbank financial institutions and consumer finance.

In a broad and deep review of the controversial $700 billion effort, Paulson defended the steps taken to date, but in the same breath said that financial markets remain fragile and that the focus must remain on “recovery and repair.” See MarketWatch First Take commentary.

“I believe we have taken the necessary steps to prevent a broad systemic event. Both at home and around the world, we have already seen signs of improvement,” Paulson said in a speech at the Treasury Department. See the full text.

But in a striking admission, Paulson said that buying up mortgage assets “is not the most effective way” to use government funding.
Purchasing these so-called “toxic” assets was once the cornerstone of the rescue plan for financial markets and was almost the entire focus of Congress when the package was being debated before its enactment. But almost as soon as Treasury received the money, it decided that giving capital to banks in return for preferred stock was a better use of the funds.
Paulson said that he was “still comfortable” with the $700 billion price tag for the rescue plan and that he didn’t need to go to Congress for additional funds: “I still am comfortable that with the $700 billion we have what we need.”
The Treasury Secretary said he met with members of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic team to discuss the rescue package earlier this week.
Some of the money saved from not buying mortgage assets will now be used to shore up the market for credit-card receivables, auto loans and student loans, according to Paulson.
“This market, which is vital for lending and growth, has for all practical purposes ground to a halt. With the Federal Reserve, we are exploring the development of a potential liquidity facility for highly-rated AAA asset-backed securities,” he said.
The plan to shore-up asset back securities is not ready yet, he added. “This will take weeks to design and then it will take longer to get up and going.”
Paulson declined to say how much it would cost, saying only that “it would need to be significant in size to make a difference.”
Alex Merk, president of Palo Alto Calif.-based Merk Investments, a mutual-fund firm, said that market participants were frustrated with Paulson’s communication skills and changing tactics.
“He’s been flip-flopping on every plan and it doesn’t look like he has a plan,” Merk said in an interview.
According to Merk, the rescue plan is failing to get banks to lend money, and that holders of mortgage assets who had been hoping to sell to the government at a good price have now seen these hopes dashed.
Earlier Wednesday, federal bank regulators issued a joint statement jawboning banks to start lending money to consumers. But Merk said that there are many factors that are making banks hoard capital.
“They don’t trust their own balance sheets, and why lend to consumers when the consumer sector is going down the drain?” he commented.
Markets are also looking beyond Paulson to the Obama administration, which is likely to be much more focused on helping consumers and homeowners — putting some of Paulson’s plans at risk, Merk added.
Brian Bethune, U.S. economist at HIS Global Insight, said that Paulson’s Treasury remains “behind the curve in the sense of understanding the systemic risk.”
The Treasury would also consider giving some capital to nonbank financial institutions, following completion of bank funding. Banks that are publicly traded have until Friday to request government assistance.
At a sensitive stage
“Although the financial system has stabilized, both banks and nonbanks may well need more capital, given their troubled asset holdings, projections for continued high rates of foreclosures and stagnant U.S. and world economic conditions,” Paulson said.
Paulson only described nonbank financial institutions in general terms, saying they “provide credit that is essential to U.S. businesses and consumers.”
However, many are not directly regulated and are active in a wide range of businesses, and taxpayer protections in a program of this sort would be more difficult to achieve,” he commented.
Bethune of HIS Global Insight said that insurance companies and the financial arms of the auto companies were the likely candidates for government assistance.
Economists said the plan would not stem the sharp drop in consumer spending.
“I doubt this is going to have a big offset to the really dramatic fall in consumer spending that we’re going to see in the coming year,” said Martin Feldstein, an economics professor at Harvard University.
Meanwhile, sweeping proposals to modify mortgages remain on the table, Paulson said. The cost of these programs will be substantial and don’t belong under this rescue package, he added.
On a related matter, the Treasury secretary pointed out that funding for the U.S. auto industry should not come out of the financial-market rescue plan. Congress has other vehicles to use to fund for the troubled sector, he said, adding that the key to any program for the industry was “long-term viability.”
G20 summit
Over the weekend, leaders of 20 countries will gather in Washington to discuss how to improve cooperation to foster stability in the global financial system.
Paulson took a cautious line on the meeting. “To adequately reform our system, we must make sure we fully understand the nature of the problem, which will not be possible until we are confident it is behind us.”
The White House won’t support a plan under which the International Monetary Fund would be responsible for devising a strategy to solve the problems, “unless member nations all see that they have a shared interest in a solution.”
Paulson said that the U.S. had a major role in the global crisis but wasn’t the only culprit. Global trade imbalances — the high U.S. deficit between imports and exports as well as matching surpluses in Asia — also played a role, along with Europe’s rigid structural regimes.
“Those excesses cannot be attributed to any single nation,” he remarked.

Figuring out oversight issues won’t be enough. “If we only address regulatory issues — as critical as they are — without addressing the global imbalances that fueled recent excesses, we will have missed an opportunity to dramatically improve the foundation for global markets and economic vitality going forward,” according to Paulson.

Should the US Experts be trusted?

Should the US Experts be trusted?

November 12 2008

By Jeremy Gaunt and Alex Richardson

LONDON/SINGAPORE

A number of deals designed to cure the global financial crisis were in danger of unravelling on Wednesday, with losses mounting at banks and economies deteriorating.

The International Monetary Fund withheld official backing for a $6 billion (4 billion pounds) bailout plan for Iceland, the Financial Times reported, putting loans to the North Atlantic island nation at threat.

Some of banking giant Barclays’ biggest shareholders have threatened to vote against a planned 7 billion pound capital raising unless it improves the terms of the deal, British newspapers said.

The latter follows a row over the crisis-driven planned purchase of lender HBOS by Lloyds TSB with leading banking figures arguing a more competitive deal should be sought.

Aides to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, were playing down reports of tension with the Bush administration over help for the stricken car industry.

A feud within Japan’s cabinet over whether rich people should get payouts as part of a stimulus package looked set to be put aside after delaying the plan for weeks.

Questions are also beginning to be asked about just how much help governments can give.

“The U.S.’ financial resources are already stretched and a flood of news demands may overwhelm a government already staring down at a record budget deficit next year,” UBS economists said in a note.

Financial markets were rocked again under the combined pressure of a global economic downturn and the worst financial crisis in 80 years.

European shares rose 1.6 percent after losing more than 4 percent on Tuesday, reflecting the sharp volatility currently infecting investors.

There were more corporate profit warnings with General Motors shares falling on Tuesday to levels not seen since World War Two.

“Whether it’s economic indicators or company news, it’s just too awful,” said Takashi Ushio, head of the investment strategy division at Marusan Securities in Tokyo.

DECLINE AND FALL

The financial industry showed more pain with Dutch group ING posting its first-ever quarterly loss as impairments on stocks and bonds, counterparty losses and property writedowns ate into its income.

ING Group NV had projected the loss in October before agreeing to a 10 billion euros (8.2 billion pounds) cash injection by the Dutch government to shore up its core capital.

Its net loss for the third quarter was 478 million euros, after writedowns totalling 1.5 billion euros. ING posted a profit of 2.3 billion euros a year earlier.

Insurer Swiss Life said third-quarter premium volumes fell 11 percent to 3.075 billion Swiss francs (1.7 billion pounds) and warned it would not meet its full-year net profit guidance.

This came against a background of continuing decline in world economies.

China’s retail sales data on Wednesday pointed to slowing consumption and the World Bank said more countries were seeking its help. The head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, said there was room for further interest rate cuts in the stagnating euro zone.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said global trade may drop next year for the first time in more than a quarter of a century as the worldwide credit crisis cuts into trade financing.

“It is our estimate that trade could actually fall, not grow more slowly or have growth fall, but actually fall next year, for the first time since 1982,” Zoellick said in an interview with Reuters ahead of a meeting of world leaders.

Zoellick said the bank expected its lending to increase to $35 billion this year from $13.5 billion last year, adding that countries such as Mexico, Indonesia and Colombia were tapping its contingency financing fund amid worries about access to credit.

Investors, meanwhile, were looking to a summit of world leaders in Washington on Saturday for solutions.

President-elect Obama, however, is steering clear of the meeting.

“I think he wants to have a free hand after the inauguration,” Dale said. “If he gets too closely associated with the summit, he might find himself associated with views with which he might not necessarily agree,” said Reginald Dale, a scholar at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

(Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Source


My rant for the day.

For all the Geniuses in the Financial Field, I really have to wonder if they know anything at all. They pretend to be such experts, but it seems they aren’t such geniuses.

This mess was created in the US, so their experts are not so brilliant. That speaks for itself.

Their advice should be scrutinized very carefully.

We should trust them because???????????? ,

Why so they can drag us into yet another one if their capitalistic nightmares.

Their rhetoric and propaganda is nauseating to say the least.

George Bush and all his so called advisors are not to be trusted.

Free Trade, deregulation, pandering to profiteering Corporations, listening to lobby groups and the cost of war have all played a great part to the demise of the US economy.

The so called experts fail to actually see the problem as a whole.

All countries around the world should be taking care of their people.

America is not the most wonderful place in the world.

They do not have the most intelligent people taking care of them.

They do not take care of their people. They just pretend a lot.

Over the years and observing the ups and downs of America and their leaders the two most intelligent people I have noted to date are Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

One of the notes I have taken on both of them is they actually seem to care about the people. When they speak they actually know what they are talking about.

That is special. Considering some of the slop we have had to listen to over the years.

When Bush or Cheney open their mouths, I want to scream at the stupidity of it all.

Hide under my bed in fear of yet another war.

Their wisdom is not wisdom at all it’s just full blown ignorance.

Their fear mongering and rhetoric should have been stopped years ago.

Instead everyone pandered to their garbage.

They turned America into the most hated nation in the world and with good reasons.

They threaten, course and lie. We are trapped on the planet with them until January 2009.

They should be in jail for crimes against humanity yet they are still allowed to run free and attempt to destroy what is left of the world with their so called expert advice.

Spare me the agony.

The Bush Administration has done little or nothing to improve the lives of the American people. They certainly are very adept at destruction not only of their own people but in destroying the rest of the world, whether is be through war of the financial blundering of this administration.

Their advice is not to be trusted. If they are such experts why is their country where it is today?

Their Health Care leaves a lot to be desired. It is horrible, costly and doesn’t serve the people only the profiteering, insurance companies.

Their wars are destroying millions of lives.

Their financial crisis is destroying the world.

Oh yes they are very cleaver indeed.

Their free trade agreements are more like give the profiteering, Corporations cheap, slave labour, massive profits and if they pollute no big deal. They want to take over the naturel resources of each and every country. They want to steal their water and privatize everything they can get their grubby hands on to the demise of the people in said country as well. Live becomes unaffordable for many and poverty rises as does the cost of living.

Privatization is just profiteering at the expense of people. Free Trade agreements drive farmers out of business as it does other homegrown businesses.

The Corporations move in and take over. This practice has to be addressed by all countries. Those who fight back are called evil among other things.

The American media more times then not jump on the propaganda band wagon.

Ensuring the American people never get the truth.

Universal Health Care is apparently a horrible thing in the US. Just ask any one.

Well the American people have been lied to for years over that one.

Michael Moore has tried to tell the Americans things could be different.

He had the guts to go up against the propaganda machine.

When one takes that one Example and really thinks about it that alone says a lot about the lies Americans have been told.

If America cared one iota about their citizens it would have given them Universal Health care years ago. Instead they were spoon fed propaganda and lies. Their media has played in great part a very large role in this and they of all should be telling the American people truth. That is apparently their job. Apparently they are not doing their job very well. .Instead they pander to the insurance companies. They pander to the Government officials who gets loads of money from insurance companies. How very disappointing it all is.

The Bush administration reminds me of a two year old temper tantrum throwing, brat that should be given a good sound spanking and have their privileges taken away.

If my child behaved in such a manner I would ground them for years.

Should they be trusted? They are like and infectious disease.  Spreading their illness world wide. Much like the plague.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments Off on Should the US Experts be trusted?  
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Bonuses for Wall Street Should Go to Zero, U.S. Taxpayers Say

By Christine Harper

November 11 2008

U.S. taxpayers, who feel they own a stake in Wall Street after funding a $700 billion bailout for the industry, don’t want executives’ bonuses reduced. They want them eliminated.

“I may not understand everything, but I do understand common sense, and when you lend money to someone, you don’t want to see them at a new-car dealer the next day,” said Ken Karlson, a 61-year-old Vietnam veteran and freelance marketer in Wheaton, Illinois. “The bailout money shouldn’t have been given to them in the first place.”

Compensation at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and the six other banks that received the first $125 billion of the federal funds is under scrutiny by lawmakers, including Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat. President-elect Barack Obama cited the program at his first news conference on Nov. 7, saying it will be reviewed to make sure it’s “not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms receiving government assistance.”

While year-end rewards are likely to decline with a drop in revenue this year, industry veterans say that eliminating them risks driving away the firms’ most productive workers.

“There are instances where bonuses are justified, deserved, and in the best interests of the investment bank involved,” said Dan Lufkin, a co-founder of Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., the investment bank acquired by Credit Suisse Group AG in 2000. “Your very best people are people you want to hold, and your very best people will have opportunities even in this environment to transfer allegiance.”

`Your Jaw Drops’

The companies, which set aside revenue throughout the year to pay bonuses, haven’t commented on plans for year-end awards, typically decided this month or next. A study released last week said the firms are likely to cut bonuses for top executives by as much as 70 percent.

“Even really sober people are saying this is the worst financial crisis since the Depression, and they’re saying bonuses are just going to be reduced?” said Patrick Amo, a 53-year-old retired merchant marine in Seattle. “Oh my God, you read that and your jaw drops.”

Wall Street firms’ pay has traditionally been tied closely to performance of the companies, which is why employees receive most of their compensation at the end of the year after final results are known. Depending on seniority and performance, bonuses for traders, bankers and executives can be a multiple of their salaries, which range from about $80,000 to $600,000.

Blankfein’s $67.9 Million

The nine banks that Waxman pressed to detail their bonus plans asked for more time to respond, according to his spokeswoman, Karen Lightfoot. She said they’ve been granted an additional two weeks. The original deadline was yesterday.

Goldman, the largest and most profitable U.S. securities firm in the world last year, paid Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein a record $67.9 million bonus for 2007 on top of his $600,000 salary. That was justified, he told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in April, because of Goldman’s superior financial results.

“We’re very much a performance-related firm,” he said. “If those results don’t come in, I assure you at Goldman Sachs you won’t see that compensation.”

Goldman’s profit is down 47 percent so far this year and five analysts expect the company to report its first loss as a public company in the fourth quarter that ends this month. The stock price has dropped 67 percent this year and Goldman received $10 billion from the U.S. government in the bailout last month. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, declined to comment on the company’s plans for bonuses this year.

`Appalling’

“The executives in companies that get bailout money should have their base salaries reduced by 10 percent for 2009 and they should pay back a substantial portion of their 2007 bonuses to the government for the financial devastation they oversaw, fostered and, in some cases, directly caused,” said S. Woods Bennett, a 57-year-old lawyer in Baltimore. “Their sense of entitlement is appalling.”

In addition to Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, the companies that received the first round of money from the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program were Merrill Lynch & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

Some needed the money more than others. Citigroup and Merrill haven’t been profitable since early last year. Earnings at each of the other firms, except Boston-based State Street, have been dropping.

`Money’s Money’

“Bonuses and severance packages will obsess the American public” and become “a humiliation and embarrassment,” said Arthur Levitt, a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a board member of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. “Compensation committees, believe me, are paying close attention to this.”

Several of the companies — including Citigroup and Wells Fargo — have said they won’t use federal funds to pay bonuses. That’s disputed by some, including former compensation consultant Graef Crystal.

“The argument of saying we’re not using the bailout money is just crap because money’s fungible, money’s money,” said Crystal, who writes the newsletter graefcrystal.com. “It exposes them to ridicule.”

A renegotiated government rescue for American International Group Inc., which was once the world’s largest insurance company, includes a freeze on the bonus pool for 70 top executives and imposes limits on severance benefits, the Treasury said in a statement yesterday. AIG’s bailout is separate for the $125 billion being invested in nine banks.

Economy Contracts

The bailout is only part of the reason that people object to Wall Street bonuses this year. The financial industry worldwide has taken more than $690 billion in writedowns and credit losses this year and cut more than 150,000 jobs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A decline in lending has caused the wider economy to contract: the U.S. gross domestic product shrank at a 0.3 percent annual pace in the third quarter, consumer spending fell at its fastest pace since 1980 and unemployment jumped to 6.5 percent, the highest since 1994.

“This is the real economy these vultures have wrecked once again,” said Leo Gerard, president of the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers, which represents 1.2 million active and retired members. “Workers are taking it on the chin through no fault of their own.”

Top Executives

“Please explain how miserable performance of biblical proportions warrants any bonuses, particularly using money from me the customer and taxpayer,” said Glenn Brown, 67, who recently retired after 21 years as a researcher in the department of surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston and as an adjunct assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “I don’t understand how they can even conceive of doing that.”

“If these guys were so talented how did this problem happen anyway?” said Mark Whitling, 63, who works as the chief financial officer of a steel service company that employs 125 people in Eastern Ohio. “We don’t feel sorry for them.”

Attention is most focused on the top executives at the banks that are receiving federal money. They’ll have to take the steepest pay cuts because their pay is disclosed in proxy filings, according to Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, the compensation consulting firm that estimates bonuses will decline between 10 percent and 70 percent.

“I’d advise the CEO to say he can’t take anything if it’s one of these firms getting bailed out by the government,” said Crystal. “I think he’s just going to have to go down to just his salary.”

Pay or Lose

That’s probably not the case for employees whose pay isn’t disclosed, even those who get bonuses that exceed $1 million.

Both Johnson and Crystal say that top performers should receive bonuses this year or companies risk losing their best workers. Of about 600 people who responded to an online survey on the eFinancialCareers.com Web site, 46 percent said they would be unwilling to take any pay cut this year.

“You could build up, I would think, a lot of resentment on the part of people who say, `Look I did give my all this last year, and I know it’s been a bad year, but everything that was asked of me I accomplished and then some,”’ said Crystal. Eliminating bonuses across the board “could be very demoralizing in the long run and it could lose you some people.”

Larry Frank, a 60-year-old retired software company owner who lives in Ormond Beach, Florida, said he told his broker at Merrill Lynch that he would pull his money from the company if it paid the $6.7 billion it has set aside this year to pay bonuses. While he thinks top managers should suffer, he doesn’t think everybody should lose out on getting a bonus.

`Bunch of BS’

“Individual brokers, if they’re performing and their areas are profitable and they’re doing their job, I can’t see punishing them,” he said. “The CEO shouldn’t get anything.”

Still, other people say that all employees working at companies receiving bailout funds should pay the price.

“It’s crazy, it’s all one company, it’s the same thing,” said Scott Floyd, a 37-year-old marketing executive in Manhattan Beach, California. “For people to say the guys in the brokerage should get bonuses because they did well, but it was just the mortgage lending division that did terribly, that’s a bunch of BS.”

Amo, the retired ship captain in Seattle, said that since most financial companies are cutting jobs, they shouldn’t worry about paying bonuses to keep people from leaving.

“Where are they going to go? Don’t let the door hit you on your way out,” he said. “It’s not like it’s just one company — the entire Street is frozen.”

`Thumbing Their Noses’

Karlson, the Vietnam vet, said he thinks Wall Street executives are “thumbing their noses at the common people” if they pay themselves bonuses while people in the country are losing their homes.

“The rationale that they depend on their bonuses, come on, how are we supposed to relate to that?” he said. “You don’t get a bonus from your company if it doesn’t do a good job.”

Jim Beachboard, a 57-year-old lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas, compared taking a bonus to “kind of like being on the Titanic.”

“It was supposed to be women and children first, so the guys that tried to jump in the lifeboats weren’t really looked upon with much kindness,” he said. “When you start thinking of this many tax dollars being injected into the system, I know there are all sorts of rationalizations and justifications that you can use to try to justify almost anything, but it’s just really in very poor taste.”

Taking a bonus isn’t something executives should be proud of, Beachboard added.

“My mother always told me, don’t ever do anything that you would be too ashamed to tell me about, and I thought, would they really want to tell their mother that?”

Source

British troops ‘cannot bear brunt of Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge’

British troops must not be sent in support of US President-Elect Barack Obama’s planned “surge” in Afghanistan, the head of the armed forces has said.

By Rosa Prince

November 9 2008

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, warned that the British military was already over-stretched, and suggested that troops from other Nato countries should be sent to fight.

Mr Obama has spoken of his desire to see a surge in troop numbers in Afghanistan, similar to that which appears to have had success against extremists in Iraq, to finally quell the Taliban insurgency.

But Sir Jock said that British troops were already struggling to cope with fighting in the two theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan, and could not take on more demands.

His words were echoed by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who agreed that other Nato countries should take responsibility for any fresh surge in Afghanistan.

Both men also ruled out sending British troops to the Congo to bolster the United Nations force in central Africa.

There are currently 8,100 military personnel serving Afghanistan, with another 4,100 in Iraq due to withdraw by the middle of next year.

Sir Jock said that they should not be redeployed to Afghanistan once their mission in Iraq ended, adding: “I am a little nervous when people use the word ‘surge’ as if this were some sort of panacea.

“We welcome more military force being sent to Afghanistan. Everybody needs to do their share, we are very clear on that.

“In the context of what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are shouldering a burden which is more than we are able to shoulder in the long term, so we expect the others to take up their share of that burden.”

Appearing with Sir Jock on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Miliband was asked if Mr Obama’s proposed surge would require an increase in the size of Britain’s commitment there.

He said: “Not necessarily, no. As the second-largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan, the first thing we say is that we don’t want to bear an unfair share of the burden.”

William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, also warned that Britain was already making a “disproportionate contribution” to the Nato effort in Afghanistan.

He told Sky News’ Sunday Live: “We do need the rest of Nato to play its part in Afghanistan and undoubtedly it seems that Barack Obama does intend to send larger US forces and that is part of what is necessary in Afghanistan.

“We would all take some persuading that there would have to be a much larger British contingent there – there’s already a very large British contingent.”

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the Government should talk to Iranian and Taliban leaders in order to find lasting resolutions to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He added: “Negotiation with both the Taliban and Iran may be unpalatable, but it is the only route to success, and if it doesn’t happen now it will be too late.”

Source

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on British troops ‘cannot bear brunt of Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge’  
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