Sunday, November 06, 2011

AIPAC's "War With Iran" Bill Passes House Committee


Both houses of congress are neck-deep in the looting of the U.S. Treasury and want nothing more than a war with Iran to take the heat off them, just like 9/11 did for the Pentagon's 2.3 TRILLION missing

Global Research
By WJ Rosenberg
11/05/2011

According to M. J. Rosenberg, AIPAC is working very closely (hand-in-glove) with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA), who are feverishly engaged in promoting a new US war against Iran, a nation far larger and more highly developed than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Rosenberg claims that the US war against Iran is now AIPAC's number one priority.

    Wasting no time after its success in getting the administration to oppose Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, and still celebrating the UNESCO funding cut-off, AIPAC has returned to its #1 priority: pushing for war with Iran.

     The Israelis have, of course, played their own part in the big show. In the last few weeks, it has been sending outsignals that it is getting ready to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities (and embroil the United States in its most calamitous Middle East war yet).

Iranian/Arab State retaliation will be massive, devastating for Israel
But most observers do not believe an Israeli attack is imminent. (If it was, would Israel telegraph it in advance?) The point of the Israeli threats is to get the United States and the world community to increase pressure on Iran with the justification that unless it does, Israel will attack.

     Naturally, the United States Congress, which gets its marching orders on Middle East policy from the lobby which, in turn, gets its marching orders from Binyamin Netanyahu, is rushing to do what it is told. (If only Congress addressed joblessness at home with the same alacrity and enthusiasm.)

     Accordingly the House Foreign Affairs Committee hurriedly convened this week to consider a new"crippling sanctions" bill that seems less designed to deter an Iran nuclear weapon than to lay the groundwork for war.

     The clearest evidence that war is the intention of the bill's supporters comes in Section 601 which should be quoted in full. (It is so incredible that paraphrasing would invite the charge of distorting through selective quotation.)

     It reads:

(c) RESTRICTION ON CONTACT. -- No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that -- (1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. (d) WAIVER. -- The President may waive the requirements of subsection (c) if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees 15 days prior to the exercise of waiver authority that failure to exercise such waiver authority would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.

     What does this mean?

Iran ballistic missile range
 It means that neither the president, the Secretary of State nor any U.S. diplomat or emissary may engage in negotiations or diplomacy with Iran of any kind unless the president convinces the "appropriate Congressional committees" (most significantly, the House Foreign Affairs Committee which is an AIPAC fiefdom) that not engaging with Iranian contacts would present an "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States."

     To call this unprecedented is an understatement. At no time in our history has the White House or State Department been restricted from dealing with representatives of a foreign state, even in war time.

   If President Roosevelt wanted to meet with Hitler, he could have and, of course, he did repeatedly meet with Stalin. During the Cold War, U.S. diplomats maintained continuous contacts with the Soviets, a regime that murdered tens of millions and, later, with the Chinese regime which murdered even more. And they did so without needing permission from Congress. (President Nixon was only able to normalize relations with China by means of secret negotiations which, had they been exposed, would have been torpedoed by the Republican right.)

     But all the rules of normal statecraft are dropped when it comes to Iran which may, or may not, be working on developing a nuclear capacity. Of course if it is, it is obviously even more critical that the American government officials speak to Iranian counterparts.
 
Iran ground forces combat ready
But preventing diplomacy is precisely what Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA), leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee which reported out this bill, seek. They and others who back the measure want another war and the best way to get it is to ban diplomacy (which exists, of course, to prevent war).

Think back, for example, to the Cuban missile crisis. The United States and the monstrous, nuclear armed Soviet regime were on the brink of war over Cuba, a war that might have destroyed the planet.

     Neither President Kennedy nor Premier Khrushchev knew how to end the crisis, especially because both were being pushed by their respective militaries not to back down.

     Then, at the darkest moment of the crisis, when war seemed inevitable, an ABC correspondent named John Scali secretly met with a Soviet official in New York who described a way to end the crisis that would satisfy his bosses. That meeting was followed by another secret meeting between the president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and a Soviet official in Washington. Those meetings led to a plan that ended the crisis and, perhaps, saved the world.
 
This all translates into tens of thousands more U.S. military dead
Needless to say, Kennedy did not ask for the permission of the House Foreign Affairs Committee either to conduct secret negotiations or to implement the terms of the deal. In fact, it was decades before the details of the deal were revealed.

     It is this latitude to conduct diplomacy that the lobby and its cutouts on Capitol Hill want to take away from the White House. And it's latitude that is especially essential if it is determined that Iran is trying to assemble a nuclear arsenal.

     Writing in the Washington Post last week, Fareed Zakaria explained that the best way to approach Iran is not to ban diplomacy but to intensify it, nukes or no nukes.

    Obama should return to his original approach and test the Iranians to see if there is any room for dialogue and agreement. Engaging with Iran, putting its nuclear program under some kind of supervision and finding areas of common interest (such as Afghanistan) would all be important goals...

     Strategic engagement with an adversary can go hand in hand with a policy that encourages change in that country. That's how Washington dealt with the Soviet Union and China in the 1970s and 1980s. Iran is a country of 80 million people, educated and dynamic. It sits astride a crucial part of the world. It cannot be sanctioned and pressed down forever. It is the last great civilization to sit outside the global order. We need a strategy that combines pressure with a path to bring Iran in from the cold. 

     In other words, it is time for more diplomacy not less -- even if that means offending a powerful lobby that is hell-bent for war.



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Israeli President Speaks Of Military Strikes Against Iran


Desensitizing, readying the public for war with Iran; Israel should be nuked if it strikes Iran unprovoked


World News
By RIA Novosti
11/05/2011

Israeli President Shimon Peres said he believed a military strike against Iran was a more likely option than a diplomatic solution to the country's nuclear standoff.

    “Intelligence services of various countries understand that time is running out and they are warning their leaders,” Peres said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 on Friday, adding: “I am not sure that conclusions have not been made.”

Iran test fires upgraded Sajjil-2 missile

“It would seem that Iran is getting closer to having nuclear weapons," Peres said. World leaders need to "fulfill their responsibility" to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power “whether that means serious sanctions or whether it means a military operation,” he added.

    His remarks came following Israeli media reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking his ministers' support for a military operation against Iran.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has dismissed the reports as “absolutely unacceptable” and “harmful for the country.”

Entire Arab nation will retaliate if Iran attacked, Israel will lose
Tensions are mounting against Iran ahead of a crucial report on the country's nuclear program to be presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next week. Western powers suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful energy generation, a charge Tehran denies.


    Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

    Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

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Intelligence and Social Media: CIA is Monitoring Twitter and Facebook


Anything individuals post in online media is fair game for CIA, other scumbag "OGA's" and anyone else trying to locate you and your finances

Associated Press
By Kimberly Dozier
11/05/2011

AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook*

Va. (AP) — 

In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.

    At the agency's Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the "vengeful librarians" also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly. 

Thanks to Facebook, the CIA may now have a file on you
From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.

    Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn't know exactly when revolution might hit, said the center's director, Doug Naquin.

   The center already had "predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime," he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the center. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.

    The CIA facility was set up in response to a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, with its first priority to focus on counterterrorism and counterproliferation. But its several hundred analysts — the actual number is classified — track a broad range, from Chinese Internet access to the mood on the street in Pakistan. 

Patriotic Americans now considered "domestic terrorists" by CIA
While most are based in Virginia, the analysts also are scattered throughout U.S. embassies worldwide to get a step closer to the pulse of their subjects.

The most successful analysts, Naquin said, are something like the heroine of the crime novel "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," a quirky, irreverent computer hacker who "knows how to find stuff other people don't know exists."

    Those with a masters' degree in library science and multiple languages, especially those who grew up speaking another language, "make a powerful open source officer," Naquin said.

    The center had started focusing on social media after watching the Twitter-sphere rock the Iranian regime during the Green Revolution of 2009, when thousands protested the results of the elections that put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power. "Farsi was the third largest presence in social media blogs at the time on the Web," Naquin said.

    The center's analysis ends up in President Barack Obama's daily intelligence briefing in one form or another, almost every day. 

Ironic that your very own tax dollars are being used against you
After bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May, the CIA followed Twitter to give the White House a snapshot of world public opinion.

Since tweets can't necessarily be pegged to a geographic location, the analysts broke down reaction by languages. The result: The majority of Urdu tweets, the language of Pakistan, and Chinese tweets, were negative. China is a close ally of Pakistan's. Pakistani officials protested the raid as an affront to their nation's sovereignty, a sore point that continues to complicate U.S.-Pakistani relations.

    When the president gave his speech addressing Mideast issues a few weeks after the raid, the tweet response over the next 24 hours came in negative from Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, the Persian Gulf and Israel, too, with speakers of Arabic and Turkic tweets charging that Obama favored Israel, and Hebrew tweets denouncing the speech as pro-Arab.

    In the next few days, major news media came to the same conclusion, as did analysis by the covert side of U.S. intelligence based on intercepts and human intelligence gathered in the region.

    The center is also in the process of comparing its social media results with the track record of polling organizations, trying to see which produces more accurate results, Naquin said. 

Thanks to Bush, CIA illegally, blatantly operates inside U.S.




"We do what we can to caveat that we may be getting an overrepresentation of the urban elite," said Naquin, acknowledging that only a small slice of the population in many areas they are monitoring has access to computers and Internet. But he points out that access to social media sites via cellphones is growing in areas like Africa, meaning a "wider portion of the population than you might expect is sounding off and holding forth than it might appear if you count the Internet hookups in a given country."

    Sites like Facebook and Twitter also have become a key resource for following a fast-moving crisis such as the riots that raged across Bangkok in April and May of last year, the center's deputy director said. The Associated Press agreed not to identify him because he sometimes still works undercover in foreign countries.

      As director, Naquin is identified publicly by the agency although the location of the center is kept secret to deter attacks, whether physical or electronic.

    The deputy director was one of a skeleton crew of 20 U.S. government employees who kept the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok running throughout the rioting as protesters surged through the streets, swarming the embassy neighborhood and trapping U.S. diplomats and Thais alike in their homes. 

Thanks to Facebook, CIA now has a great picture of you
  
The army moved in, and traditional media reporting slowed to a trickle as local reporters were either trapped or cowed by government forces.

"But within an hour, it was all surging out on Twitter and Facebook," the deputy director said. The CIA homed in on 12 to 15 users who tweeted situation reports and cellphone photos of demonstrations. The CIA staff cross-referenced the tweeters with the limited news reports to figure out who among them was providing reliable information. Tweeters also policed themselves, pointing out when someone else had filed an inaccurate account.

    "That helped us narrow down to those dozen we could count on," he said.

    Ultimately, some two-thirds of the reports coming out of the embassy being sent back to all branches of government in Washington came from the CIA's open source analysis throughout the crisis. 

* It never ceases to amaze me as a former private investigator, how stupid people can be when posting their private information on social media sites.  It saves investigators thousands of hours of legwork and research when it comes to locating you and taking you down.  Facebook really is, the happy hunting ground for anyone that wants to find you.  I suggest that you fill all of your social media sites with garbage information, and then close them out.  That is one way to put these bastard sites to work for you:  disseminating bogus information.  This will make it that much tougher for investigators to locate you and your finances, work history, police records and any other private information that you normally would not give out under any circumstances - however, you have let your ego get away with making you do something really stupid and completely contrary to your best interests.  Take your life back, get off social media networks. - Ed.


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Islam, Wall Street and Prophetic Violence


High time Americans come together, recognize, deal with real enemy:  Obama & Co., GOP, banks, corporations

World News
By Dallas Darling
11/05/2011

It was both visionary and transforming to learn that Muslims in the United States were joining their fellow Americans in protesting the political, economic and social geographical inequalities imposed by Wall Street and its backers. Director of the Arab-American Association, Linda Sarsour, announced: "We as Muslim New Yorkers are here today because we are in solidarity and support of Occupy Wall Street." A number of other Islamic organizations have also joined the battle against years of greed and corruption that have caused immense suffering, hunger and poverty throughout the U.S.

     The reason this news is transforming and visionary is that Muslims, followers of Islam, have a rich history of resisting and combating political and economic injustices starting with Prophet Mohammad. Much like America's overly competitive and violent-oriented Capitalistic landscape, Mohammad was born into an extremely harsh environment too. The Arabian Peninsula was known for its rugged, desert-like conditions, its scarcity of foods and water, and its hundreds of Bedouin tribes that often fought pitched battles. Tribal warfare often developed into never ending cycles of retaliatory blood feuds.

The Koran forbids killing
At the age of six, Mohammad was orphaned. This kind of marginalization in Bedouin societies was both dangerous and lethal. But through the extended family and acts of generosity and hospitality, Mohammad was raised by many elders and learned varying customs and traditions. Being an orphan also caused him to always feel compassion for the poor and economically disadvantaged. Bedouin societies not only emphasized clan solidarity and a nomadic lifestyle, but they thrived economically through trade and commerce. Mohammad became a renowned merchant and was known for his honesty.

    Since the Arabian Peninsula linked India to Africa, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, Mecca became a commercial center. Around Mecca was the Kaaba, an ancient shrine built by Prophet Abraham, founder of monotheism. But over the years, the Kaaba housed hundreds of statues representing many local gods and goddesses, each one signifying a Bedouin tribe. Although it was customary for fighting to cease around the Kaaba, Bedouin tribes sometimes went to war over their deities and for places of honor. They started to emphasize commerce and wealth over generosity and hospitality assisting the poor.

    Prophet Mohammad's message to submit to Allah was not the only conflict to emerge in Mecca. He challenged wealthy merchants to assist the poor, especially orphans widows and strangers. Repeated acts of violence and an economic blockade, that starved some of his followers, caused Prophet Mohammad to flee to Yathrib where he was welcomed. Mohammad helped establish a unified and thriving political, economic and religious community based on love, generosity, forgiveness, hospitality, and liberality for the economically disadvantaged.

Soulless, corrupt, Satanic Wall Street
The Meccans and other Bedouin tribes failed to annihilate Prophet Mohammad's new community and message. Prophet Mohammad's reputation grew. More Bedouins observed Yathrib's generosity and prosperity and joined him and his community. Finally, Prophet Mohammad returned to Mecca in triumph. Instead of following tradition and slaughtering the Meccan warriors, some who killed members of his clan, and enslaving women and children, Prophet Mohammad ended the cycle of blood feuds. While a former slave led the call to prayer around the Kabaa, he offered forgiveness to the Meccans.

     Prophet Mohammad, however, did slaughter the stone idols around the Kaaba, many symbolizing warfare, economic exploitation and the accumulation of insincere riches. This is the kind of prophetic violence, whether it be ending deadly blood feuds or abolishing militant and vengeful Capitalism, that is needed today on Wall Street. This kind of prophetic violence-breaking idols of greed and war or smashing corrupt financial, military and government institutions-is needed and required across the U.S. Just like Prophet Mohammad and the Kaaba, Wall Street needs occupied, liberated and then transformed.

    Trials should also ensure reparations and debt restructuring or forgiveness, specifically for those politically and economically assaulted and injured by corrupt financial and governmental organizations, including their officials. A good starting point is Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, in that, God is most generous and compassionate and there is no separation between private and public life when following religious, political and economic principles. Prayer, or solidarity and empathy with the community, coupled with alms, or a redistribution of land and wealth for the economically exploited, would be favorable.

Fasting would encourage spiritual reflection and offer commonality with those malnourished or starving. A march on the cult of Wall Street, especially when embarked upon across a grueling Capitalist American desert, one filled with the working poor who are marginalized and suffering, would evoke Prophet Mohammad's return to the Kaaba and his visionary and transformative acts of forgiveness and smashing of idols. Like the Kaaba, Wall Street and its backers have become a menace. They have committed immoral acts, unlawful enrichment, and embezzled orphans' and widows' inheritances.

    Prophetic violence would prevent Wall Street's endless cycles of rapacious violence and remind it that God is the Creator. The Qur'an states: "Destroy neither fruit trees, grain, nor cattle." In view of increasing industrial pollutants and Global Warming, humans must learn to be stewards of the Earth, not usurpers. But recall that prophetic violence does not only challenge and confront immoral laws and actions leading to economic, political and military ruin and the deaths of millions. It also takes an inventory of one's own actions and behaviors, specifically in regards to the treatment of others and the Day of Judgment.

Dallas Darling (darling@wn.com)

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace.


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Most of the unemployed no longer receive benefits


Bush began the lies about real unemployment figures, Obama gleefully follows suit, publishes complete bullshit; real number over 20%; Obama skews figures by not counting those off unemployment

Associated Press
By Christopher S. Rugaber
11/05/2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — 

The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America's unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

    Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

Obama lies:  This is not single digit unemployment
Congress is expected to decide by year's end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.

The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.

     Yet for a growing share of the unemployed, a vote in Congress to extend the benefits to 99 weeks is irrelevant. They've had no job for more than 99 weeks. They're no longer eligible for benefits.

    Their options include food stamps or other social programs. Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. That figure could grow as more people lose unemployment benefits.

    So could the government's disability rolls. Applications for the disability insurance program have jumped about 50 percent since 2007.

Look familiar?  The Great Depression
"There's going to be increased hardship," said Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute.

The number of unemployed has been roughly stable this year. Yet the number receiving benefits has plunged 30 percent.

    
    Government unemployment benefits weren't designed to sustain people for long stretches without work. 

   They usually don't have to. In the recoveries from the previous three recessions, the longest average duration of unemployment was 21 weeks, in July 1983.

     By contrast, in the wake of the Great Recession, the figure reached 41 weeks in September. That's the longest on records dating to 1948. The figure is now 39 weeks.

    "It was a good safety net for a shorter recession," said Carl Van Horn, an economist at Rutgers University. 

Time running out for most Americans who will end up on street
It assumes "the economy will experience short interruptions and then go back to normal."

Weekly unemployment checks average about $300 nationwide. If the extended benefits aren't renewed, growth could slow by up to a half-percentage point next year, economists say.

   The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that each $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates up to $1.90 in economic growth. The CBO has found that the program is the most effective government policy for increasing growth among 11 options it's analyzed.

    Jon Polis lives in East Greenwich, R.I., one of the 20 states where 99 weeks of benefits are available. He used them all up after losing his job as a warehouse worker in 2008. His benefits paid for groceries, car maintenance and health insurance.

2 out of 5 Americans unemployed
Now, Polis, 55, receives disability insurance payments, food stamps and lives in government-subsidized housing. He's been unable to find work because employers in his field want computer skills he doesn't have.

"Employers are crying that they can't find qualified help," he said. But the ones he interviewed with "weren't willing to train anybody."

    From late 2007, when the recession began, to early 2010, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits rose more than four-fold, to 11.5 million.

   But the economy has remained so weak that an analysis of long-term unemployment data suggests that about 2 million people have used up 99 weeks of checks and still can't find work.

    Contributing to the smaller share of the unemployed who are receiving benefits: Some of them are college graduates or others seeking jobs for the first time. They aren't eligible. Only those who have lost a job through no fault of their own qualify.

"O.K., we lied about the unemployment figures... so?"
The proportion of the unemployed receiving benefits usually falls below 50 percent during an economic recovery. Many have either quit jobs or are new to the job market and don't qualify.

Today, the proportion is falling for a very different reason: Jobs remain scarce. So more of the unemployed are exhausting their benefits.

   Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted that the long-term unemployed increasingly find it hard to find work as their skills and professional networks erode. In a speech last month, Bernanke called long-term unemployment a "national crisis" that should be a top priority for Congress.

    Lawmakers will have to decide whether to continue the extended benefits by the end of this year. If the program ends, nearly 2.2 million people will be cut off by February.

    Congress has extended the program nine times. But it might balk at the $45 billion cost. It will be the first time the Republican-led House will vote on the issue.


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Devil found in detail of Giotto fresco in Italy's Assisi


Satan takes advantage of Berluscone scandals to sneak into church, defile painting

Reuters
By Philip Pullella
11/04/2011

ROME (Reuters) - 

Art restorers have discovered the figure of a devil hidden in the clouds of one of the most famous frescos by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, church officials said on Saturday.

    The devil was hidden in the details of clouds at the top of fresco number 20 in the cycle of the scenes in the life and death of St Francis painted by Giotto in the 13th century.

Taking a vacation from White House, " that fucking Obama"
The discovery was made by Italian art historian Chiara Frugone. It shows a profile of a figure with a hooked nose, a sly smile, and dark horns hidden among the clouds in the panel of the scene depicting the death of St Francis.

    The figure is difficult to see from the floor of the basilica but emerges clearly in close-up photography.

    Sergio Fusetti, the chief restorer of the basilica, said Giotto probably never wanted the image of the devil to be a main part of the fresco and may have painted it in among the clouds "to have a bit of fun."

    The master may have painted it to spite someone he knew by portraying him as a devil in the painting, Fusetti said on the convent's website.

    The artwork in the basilica in the convent where St Francis is buried was last restored after it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1997.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Sophie Hares.


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US general fired from Afghan training job


Like his idol Bush, forget about telling the truth in Obama's administration; no good deed ever goes unpunished

Associated Press
By Lolita C. Baldor
11/04/2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — 

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has fired a senior officer from his job as the No. 2 general in charge of training for making inappropriate public remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government.

    Gen. John Allen issued a statement Friday saying that Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller has been relieved of his duties as deputy commander for the Afghan training mission.

Major General Peter Fuller
In a recent interview with the website Politico, Fuller characterized Afghan leaders as erratic, ungrateful and isolated from reality. The interview quotes him as saying Afghan leaders don't fully recognize America's sacrifices on their country's behalf.

Referring to Karzai's recent assertion that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if Pakistan got into a war with the U.S., Fuller was quoted as calling the comments "erratic," adding, "Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You've got to be kidding me . I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, I don't really care?"

    Fuller said the Afghans have at times made unreasonable requests for U.S. assistance.

    "You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish," Fuller was quoted as saying. "We're giving them fish while they're learning, and they want more fish! (They say,) 'I like swordfish, how come you're giving me cod?' Guess what? Cod's on the menu today."

U.S. soldiers teach Afghans to fish with grenades
Fuller also said the Afghans don't understand the extent to which the U.S. is in economic distress or the "sacrifices that America is making to provide for their security." He said the Afghans are "isolated from reality."


    
   Allen said the "unfortunate comments" don't represent the solid U.S. relationship with the Afghan government.

    "The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission — bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan," Allen said.

    There was no indication whether Fuller will be reassigned or if he would retire.

    Pentagon press secretary George Little said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was aware of Fuller's remarks. Little said Panetta has full confidence in Allen's judgment with respect to his decision in this case.

    A native of Andover, Mass., Fuller was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1980 after graduating from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of arts in history and political science. He also holds a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa.
___

Associate Press writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.


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Big banks desperate to stop account closures; threaten community banks, credit unions


Once more pathetic big banks pull stunt that only pisses off American people who will move money regardless; frightened small banks and credit unions afraid of big banks, ask customers to stay away

Wall Street Journal
By Robin Sidel
11/04/2011

Jim Blaine has a message for people who want to open an account at his credit union this Saturday aspart of a grassroots movement against big banks: Pick another day.

    The president of North Carolina State Employees' Credit Union isn't a fan of the event, known as Bank Transfer Day, calling it a "tactical error" because the name suggests that moving money between financial institutions is easy.

BofA, Citi, and other big banks will look like this soon
"You can't do it in one day. It's misleading," says Mr. Blaine, who oversees the Raleigh, N.C., credit union with 239 branches.

Mr. Blaine isn't alone in his misgivings. Other executives of credit unions and community banks are also hesitant about the effort, which encourages consumers to take their money out of big commercial banks and put the funds into small institutions.

    Anger against big banks has exploded in recent weeks, fueled by plans by some of them to start charging monthly fees for debit cards. The banks have said they need the revenue, in part because a provision in last year's Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law halved the amount that they are allowed to charge merchants for accepting debit transactions.

    The debit-card fee plans collapsed in recent days in response to the public outcry and because not all banks were willing to impose the fees. But big-bank hostility remains high due to other recent fee increases, the rising rate of foreclosures and tighter lending requirements that make it tougher for consumers to get loans or refinance their mortgages.

Big bank scam jacking up debit card fees blew up in their faces
The Bank Transfer Day event's Facebook page has received more than 38,000 "like" designations from the social networking website's users, the latest sign of a backlash tied to rising bank fees and discontent with a weak economy.

    But there are limitations to the strategy.

   Industry executives say credit unions—not-for-profit financial cooperatives that are owned by their members and are prohibited from selling stock or assuming debt—often aren't well-staffed on Saturdays. 

     That means new customers might encounter long lines. Some branches aren't open at all.

    Then there are technical issues. For one thing, money can't be transferred between institutions on Saturdays because the Federal Reserve is closed.

    "Come Friday. Come Monday. Why come Saturday?" says Stephen Ranzini, president of University Bank, which has one branch in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old Los Angeles art gallery owner who organized the event, says "there's definitely been misunderstanding" about the nature of the event.

    "Bank Transfer Day has always recommended that supporters open credit union accounts in anticipation of independently closing accounts with banking institutions before the November 5th deadline goal," she said in an email message. She added that nearly 75,000 supporters have opened credit union accounts.

    Small banks and credit unions have latched onto the dissatisfaction of big banks by luring new customers. Such lenders usually have fewer fees than their larger rivals. Many small institutions provide potential customers with "switch kits" that walk them through the process of moving their money.

    But a rash of new customers could come with strings attached for credit unions. Like banks, credit unions are under pressure to cut costs. And also like banks, a flood of new deposits could require them to pump up their capital levels.

Credit Union National Association, a trade group that represents the industry, estimates that at least 650,000 consumers have joined credit unions since Bank of America Corp. unveiled a $5 monthly debit-card fee on Sept. 29. The bank dropped the plan this week.

    The trade group hasn't endorsed Bank Transfer Day, though most of its members are pleased with the attention, says Patrick Keefe, a spokesman for the group. Those that are less enthusiastic about the movement are "probably the exception, not the rule," he added.

    Florida's largest credit union, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union in Tampa, won't even be open on Saturday.

    "We didn't want to open for just one Saturday. It would set a tone," said Tom Dorety, chief executive of Suncoast. The credit union, which has seen the number of new checking accounts double in the past year, plans to add more staff members on Saturday to its customer-service telephone lines, he said.

    Bank and credit union executives note that switching financial institutions can be a tricky and lengthy process. While it generally takes about 20 minutes to open a basic checking or savings account, it can take 30 to 60 days to set up the account completely.

    That includes switching direct deposits from employers or state agencies and arranging automatic bill payments for things like utilities and gym memberships.

    Cheryl Cebula, chief executive of Albina Community Bank in Portland, Ore., plans to work in one of the bank's five branches on Saturday to help ease the workload in case there is a surge of new customers.

Write to Robin Sidel at robin.sidel@wsj.com

  
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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STRATFOR U.S. Naval Update Map: Nov. 2, 2011


Note the movements toward Iran

STRATFOR
11/04/2011

The Naval Update Map shows an approximation of the current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), the keys to U.S. dominance of the world’s oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a carrier air wing (CVW). The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.


Carrier Strike Groups

  • The USS John C. Stennis CSG with CVW 9 embarked is under way in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
  • The USS George H.W. Bush CSG with CVW 8 embarked is under way in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
  • The USS George Washington with CVW 5 embarked is under way in the Pacific Ocean participating in Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 2011, a bilateral field training exercise sponsored by the Japan Self-Defense Force.
  • The USS Ronald Reagan is under way in the eastern Pacific Ocean conducting routine training.

Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units

  • The USS Bataan ARG with the 22nd MEU embarked is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
  • The USS Essex ARG with the 31st MEU embarked is under way in the western Pacific region conducting operations.
  • The USS Boxer is under way in the Pacific Ocean conducting exercises.
  • The USS Makin Island is under way off the coast of Southern California performing routine operations.
  • The USS Iwo Jima is under way in the Atlantic Ocean participating in an integrated training exercise with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8 and the 24th MEU.



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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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