Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
PHOENIX - For centuries people have looked to the skies for answers. Is there life outside our solar system? Have UFO's visited our planet?
Because our sun is a star, does that mean the thousands of stars visible in the night sky could be someone else's sun? The questions, and the universe, are endless.
Events like the March 1997 mass-sighting of strange night lights above the Valley, popularly dubbed "Phoenix Lights", have generated questions and turned skeptics into believers.
A 600-page guide may lend credibility to UFO believers.
The Fire Officer's Guide To Disaster Control can apparently be found in firehouses across the United States. VIDEO and more..
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
There is more than twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say, according to a former industry adviser who claims there is widespread misunderstanding of the way proven reserves are calculated.
Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked and proven reserves have sunk to roughly half of original amounts, this idea is based on flawed thinking, said Richard Pike, a former oil industry man who is now chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Current estimates suggest there are 1,200 billion barrels of proven global reserves, but the industry's internal figures suggest this amounts to less than half of what actually exists.
The misconception has helped boost oil prices to an all-time high, sending jitters through the market and prompting calls for oil-producing nations to increase supply to push down costs.
Flying into Japan for a summit two days after prices reached a record $139 a barrel, energy ministers from the G8 countries yesterday discussed an action plan to ease the crisis.
Explaining why the published estimates of proven global reserves are less than half the true amount, Dr Pike said there was anecdotal evidence that big oil producers were glad to go along with under-reporting of proven reserves to help maintain oil's high price. "Part of the oil industry is perfectly familiar with the way oil reserves are underestimated, but the decision makers in both the companies and the countries are not exposed to the reasons why proven oil reserves are bigger than they are said to be," he said. Read more..
McClatchy reports the U.S. is demanding 58 military bases in Iraq as part of a "status of forces" agreement that would allow American troops to remain in Iraq indefinitely:
Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran. Read more..
Friday, June 13, 2008
WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force operates the "world's largest airline" and every $10-per-barrel increase in crude oil boosts its annual operating costs by $610 million, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said on Thursday.
The Air Force's bill for aviation fuel was about $6 billion in fiscal 2007, Wynne told a defense industry group. He declined to predict what the total would be for 2008. Read more..
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
An average of 1,800 veterans die each day, and 10 percent of them are buried in the country's 125 national cemeteries, which are expected to set a record with 107,000 interments, including dependents, this year. And more national cemeteries are being built.
The peak year for veterans' deaths will be either 2007 or 2008, Tuerk said. An estimated 686,000 veterans died in 2007. While many World War II veterans are dying, so are an increased number of Korean War and Vietnam veterans.
Ohio Western Reserve, a 273-acre expanse south of Cleveland, opened in 2000 and has about 11,000 veterans and dependents buried there. It has enough land to keep it open 92 more years and accommodate a total of 106,000 burials. Read more..
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices at a record high above $135 a barrel are rising due to market sentiment rather than a shortage of supply, Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive said on Thursday.
U.S. crude oil hit an all-time peak on Thursday, climbing to $135.09, lifted by concern about long-term supply and a host of predictions of further rises from influential investment banks and investors.
"What we say and what we see is there are no physical shortages," Shell's Jeroen van der Veer told Reuters television. He runs the world's second-largest fully publicly traded oil firm by market value.
"There are no tankers waiting in the Middle East, there are no cars waiting at gasoline stations because they are out of stock. This has to do with psychology in the markets and you cannot forecast psychology".
His view that there are no shortages chimes with that of other oil producers, such as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Others, such as the U.S. government, say supply is tight. Read more..
The inspector general for the Defense Department said yesterday that the Pentagon cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort.
The Pentagon did not have the proper documentation, including receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork, for $7.8 billion that American and Iraqi contractors were paid for phones, folders, paint, blankets, Nissan trucks, laundry services and other items, according to a 69-page audit released to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
An earlier audit by the inspector general found deficiencies in accounting for $5.2 billion of U.S. payments to buy weapons, trucks, generators and other equipment for Iraq's security forces. In addition, the Defense Department spent $1.8 billion of seized Iraqi assets with "absolutely no accountability," according to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), who chairs the oversight committee. The Pentagon also kept poor records on $135 million that it paid to its partners in the multinational military force in Iraq, auditors said. Read more..
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Some explosive testimony this afternoon from a panel of whistleblowers testifying before the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee on contractor abuse in Iraq.
A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee’s armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract.
“DynCorp’s site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was travelling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor’s manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad.“ Read more..
WASHINGTON — Houston-based KBR has again been selected to participate in a 10-year military logistical support contract valued at up to $150 billion, the U.S. Army announced today.
The Army Sustainment Command, at the insistence of the Government Accountability Office, had re-evaluated its decision last summer to award the massive contract to KBR, Fort Worth-based DynCorp International and Fluor Intercontinental of Greenville, S.C.
But after rebidding the contract, the Army chose the same three players.
Currently, KBR has sole responsibility for providing support services to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world, under a logistics contract valued at $27 billion. The bulk of that work — more than $24 billion obligated to date — has resulted from the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Army records show.
But when awarding the new contract this time around, Army officials opted to split up the contract work in the hopes of stimulating competition among the three participants.
The Rock Island, Ill.-based Army Sustainment Command awarded the newest logistics contract to KBR, DynCorp and Fluor last June, after taking bids from six companies.
Two firms on the losing end of that decision — IAP Worldwide Services and Contingency Management Group — filed protests.
After reviewing their complaints, the GAO found flaws in the Army's evaluation of the proposals from KBR and Fluor. Read more..
Thursday, April 24, 2008
From the riots in Mexico to the US dropping grain subsidies, the signs have been there
What will we promise the world's hungry this time? When I was a girl, my father, King Hussein of Jordan, related a story about the last global food crisis and a famous promise made to the world's hungry by Henry Kissinger, who was then US Secretary of State.
Dr Kissinger came to Amman after attending the World Food Conference in Rome in 1974, called hastily as global food prices skyrocketed and widespread hunger threatened to engulf the developing world. Secretary Kissinger related how he had boldly pledged that within a decade, no child would go to bed hungry anywhere in the world. Read more..
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton says in case she becomes the next US president she would support Israel against Iran.
In an interview with the ABC News, when she was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel, she said "I want the Iranians to know that if I am the president we will attack Iran."
"In the next ten years, during which they might consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," she added.
Clinton's support for the regime comes as Tehran has never declared any program to launch a military attack on Israel.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Venezuela warned the United States on Thursday against listing the OPEC nation as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing a potential for lost exports and jobs and noting the importance of Venezuelan oil exports.
The United States has said it is investigating Colombian allegations that leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas in Colombia $300 million.
In March a senior U.S. official said new information about possible links between Venezuela and FARC were disturbing but Washington was far from a decision to declare Caracas a state sponsor of terrorism. Washington classifies FARC as a terrorist group.
"There have been recent indications that the Bush administration and its congressional allies want to designate Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism," Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States said in a speech to lawyers and investors in New York.
"There will be very grave economic consequences if a politically driven measure like this is taken. Just think about the $10.2 billion lost U.S. exports to Venezuela, 230,000 manufacturing jobs tied to exports and 1.58 million barrels of oil a day from Venezuela," he said.
Five countries are now on Washington's terrorism blacklist: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
Alvarez also noted the terrorism designation, which could lead to sanctions on Venezuela, would increase commercial costs and place a number of restrictions on U.S. businesses looking to invest in Venezuela.
"Any action like this would have economic and political consequences, not only for the U.S.-Venezuela relationship as a whole, but also within the region. This would be seen as an effort to breed instability in the region," he said.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The US Congress, the US media, the American people, and the United Nations, are looking the other way as Cheney prepares his attack on Iran.
If only America had an independent media and an opposition party. If there were a shred of integrity left in American political life, perhaps a third act of naked aggression--a third war crime under the Nuremberg standard--by the Bush Regime could be prevented.
On March 30, the Russian News & Information Agency, Novosti, cited “a high-ranking security source: “The latest military intelligence data point to heightened US military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran.” http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070327/62697703.html
According to Novosti, Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said “that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.”
The chief of Russia’s general staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, said last November that Russia was beefing up its military in response to US aggression, but that the Russian military is not “obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans.” http://www.mnweekly.ru/national/20071115/55289883.html
On March 29, OpEdNews cited a report by the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz, which was picked up by the German news service, DPA. The Saudi newspaper reported on March 22, the day following Cheney’s visit with the kingdom’s rulers, that the Saudi Shura Council is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.” http://empireburlesquenow.blogspot.com/2008/03/worried-yet-saudis-prepare-for-sudden.html
And Admiral William “there will be no attack on Iran on my watch” Fallon has been removed as US chief of Central Command, thus clearing the way for Cheney’s planned attack on Iran.
The Iranians don’t seem to believe it, despite the dispatch of US nuclear submarines and another aircraft carrier attack group to the Persian Gulf. To counter any Iranian missiles launched in response to an attack, the US is deploying anti-missile defenses to protect US bases and Saudi oil fields.
Two massive failures by the American media, the Democratic Party, and the American people have paved the way for Cheney’s long planned attack on Iran. One failure is the lack of skepticism about the US government’s explanation of 9/11. The other failure is the Democrats’ refusal to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush for lying to the Congress, the American people, and the world and launching an invasion of Iraq based on deception and fabricated evidence.
If an American president can start a war exactly as Adolf Hitler did with pure lies and not be held accountable, he can get away with anything. And Bush and his evil regime have.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Where Is The Proof? Admit That You Want To Start Another War!
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said Iran was developing a uranium enrichment program for military purposes.
"Obviously, they're ... heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear weapons enrichment, the enrichment of uranium to weapons grade levels," Cheney said in an interview with ABC television transcribed by the White House.
Cheney, however, did not mention on what he based his accusation. Read more..
WASHINGTON - The U.S. military's mistaken delivery to Taiwan of electrical fuses for an intercontinental ballistic missile raised concerns Tuesday over U.S.-China relations and triggered a broad investigation into the security of Pentagon weapons.
While the shipment did not include nuclear materials, the error is particularly sensitive because China vehemently opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Four of the cone-shaped fuses were shipped to Taiwanese officials in fall 2006 instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered. Read more..
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
In his controversial new book, Nick Davies argues that shadowy intelligence agencies are pumping out black propaganda to manipulate public opinion – and that the media simply swallow it wholesale.
For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.
The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. I've spent the last two years researching a book about falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.
This material is being generated, in part, by intelligence agencies who continue to work without effective oversight; and also by a new and essentially benign structure of "strategic communications" which was originally designed by doves in the Pentagon and Nato who wanted to use subtle and non-violent tactics to deal with Islamist terrorism but whose efforts are poorly regulated and badly supervised with the result that some of its practitioners are breaking loose and engaging in the black arts of propaganda. Read more..
Over 70,000 deaths, and over 1 million disabilities among American soldiers attributed to Iraq Wars says U.S. government data
According to U.S. media reports, there are well below 5,000 U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. However, this data appears to be very misleading. Why? Because many tens of thousands of American soldiers have apparently been killed to-date, as a result of being exposed to radiation poisoning from the indiscriminate killing machines of U.S. military weaponry. Ironically, the only Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that Americans soldiers have found in Iraq are "Made in America".
U.S. investigative researchers have discovered an official U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs official, but not well publicized count, of 73,846 U.S. soldiers who have perished as an apparent result of Depleted Uranium based bio-chemical warfare exposure. This exceeds an estimate of 58,000 U.S. soldiers who had been killed in relation to the Vietnam War.
Well over 200,000 American soldiers could be killed by 2010, as a result of the after effects of exposure to U.S. dirty bombs.
Over One million U.S. soldiers have apparently been disabled from Depleted Uranium based biochemical exposure. Over one million Iraqis have also been documented to have been killed.
This is what the U.S. ruling elite including U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Republican Presidential candidate John McCain calls a "success". How many sons and daughters of the American ruling class have been sent in harms way of the apparent biological warfare that is being perpetrated in Iraq? Not to many, huh? The Iraq War is a class-and-racial-inspired war that is being masqueraded into being about fighting "extremists" and "terrorists". The Iraq War is an extension of brutality by the prevailing elites of the global capitalist system, that the 9/11 Truth Movement has accused to be the ultimate perpetrators of 9/11. Indeed, ruling elites are the only group that could pull off the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City which engineers have represented to be specifically designed to withstand being hit simply by aeroplanes. Investigative scholarly researchers who include Dr. David Ray Griffin, present critical evidence of a technologically sophisticated military planning associated with 9/11, including a 'Controlled Demolition', that could in no way be executed by the alleged Muslim perpetrators.
More than 1,820 tons (3-million, 640 thousand pounds) of radioactive nuclear waste uranium were exploded into Iraq alone in the form of armour piercing rounds and bunker busters, representing the worlds worst man made ecological disaster ever. 64 kg of uranium were used in the Hiroshima bomb. The very broad human and ecological disaster of the Iraq War has been drowned out by America's sound-bite driven media organizations, that are owned by the same fascist clique which presides over the Iraq War.
The apparent use of these dirty bombs, could be perceived to a categorical Crime Against Humanity, both against the Iraqi people, and military personnel. Indeed, there are far more people getting killed from these dirty bombs than the alleged terrorist targets of U.S. military propaganda.
The fascist clique that is presiding over the Iraq War, clearly seeks to perpetrate widespread Eugenics inspired depopulation of Iraq.
Millions of Iraqis could be killed as a result of contamination from the use of U.S. "strategic" "mini nuclear bombs".
It is apparent that a Eugenics-inspired megalomaniacal fascist clique seeks to further make Iran a toxic nuclear wasteland
The use of these dirty bombs demonstrates that the War in Iraq is not simply about "going after terrorists", but rather, is the apparent premeditated execution of Crimes against Humanity. The kind of demonic intelligence that is associated with such a Crime against Humanity is consistent with the kind of criminal profile associated with what critically acclaimed author Dr. David Ray Griffin labels as the ultimate perpetrators of 9/11.
What kind of socio-pathetic milieu would seek to inspire jingoistic patriotism in statements about military personnel "defending the Homeland" while wilfully exposing them to the toxic by-products of radiation poisoning?
Libertyforlife.com researchers document: "What the government is doing is only counting the soldiers that die in action on the ground before they can get them into a hummer, helicopter or ambulance. Any soldier who is shot but they get into a vehicle before 'the die' is not counted."
"Uranium poisoning, which can take decades to kill not only the soldier but family members as well" are further cited documents in Libertyforlife.com.
Libertyforlife.com also adds that more than 1,820 tons of radio active nuclear waste uranium were exploded into Iraq alone in the form of armour piercing rounds and bunker busters (also known as dirty bombs), representing the worlds worst man made ecological disaster, over the 64 kg of uranium that was used in the Hiroshima bomb.
"The U.S. Iraq Nuclear Holocaust by mass, represents between fourteen and twenty eight thousand Hiroshima’s from a uranium poisoning perspective. In Hiroshima 70 thousand died from the blast and 70 thousand died from uranium poisoning."
"The nuclear waste the U.S. has exploded into the Middle East will continue killing for billions of years and could wipe out a third of life on earth.
Winds can and will blow the uranium dust from the U.S. weapons around the world. Gulf War Veterans and civilians who have ingested the uranium will continue to die off from uranium poisoning over a number of decades."
"So far, more than one million people have been slaughtered and four million are homeless as a consequence of the U.S.'s illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Birth defects are up 600% in Iraq – the same will apply to U.S. Veterans children."
When depleted uranium nuclear waste in the form of a "dirty bomb" is blown up or released into the atmosphere it has the potential of killing hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Well it turns out that instead of storing the nuclear waste from power plants in proper and very expensive storage facilities, the apparent neo-fascists who have taken over America, have been machining the depleted uranium into dirty bombs in the form of armour piercing bullets.
Libertyforlife.com researchers critically add: "That’s right, those tanks you saw exploding into flame, as our troops invaded other nations, were being hit with dirty bombs. You were actually witnessing "mini atomic bombs" as the uranium armour piercing rounds made out of nuclear waste called ‘Depleted Uranium’ or ‘DU’ hits it's target."
"It turns out the uranium from nuclear waste is very dense and possesses pyrophoric properties. That is, it bursts into flame releasing an explosion of heat so intense when the DU bullet hits the armour, it literally melts through armour, " further documents Libertyforlife.com
Many American soldiers have been literally fried from the intense radio energy released from the mini DU atomic explosions.
"Now our boys in the military have not been firing just one or two of these dirty bomb bullets and bunker busters, they have been letting loose a hail of death. In Iraq alone during the two invasions, more than one thousand eight hundred and twenty tons of Depleted Uranium dirty bomb bullets and bombs were blasted into that innocent nation," further documents Libertyforlife.com investigative researchers.
Astonishingly, Libertyforlife.com researchers also document, because most Americans watch TV, many still think Iraq had something to do with blowing up the three large World Trade center buildings and the Pentagon. Otherwise they try to suggest that Saddam Hussein had it coming because he murdered the Kurds with the helicopters we provided, the year we gave him a billion dollars.
Now if 64 kg of uranium can poison seventy thousand people. How many people will two thousand tons kill? The numbers are staggering, that’s more than twenty eight thousand Hiroshima’s. Forty percent of the Gulf War veterans are on “Gulf War Syndrome” disability from uranium poisoning. Seventy Three thousand of them have already died.
Every time that U.S troops (and "coalition soldiers) fires depleted uranium against "enemy targets" in Iraq, they are also being exposed to radiation poisoning that is much more intense than the radioactive by-products associated with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima to end World War II in the Pacific.
The U.S. War on Iraq both represents an apparent Eugenics inspired genocide against perceived "lesser breeds" of U.S. combat troops largely made up of African Americans and "poor whites" as well as Muslim infidels. Eugenics seems to be the driving motivation of the U.S. religious-political-military-industrial complex agenda against Iraq.
In the apparent view of the architects of the Iraq War, the use of "dirty bombs" accomplishes an apparent depopulation agenda which "frees up more resources" for the "racially superior" self-anointed rulers of our planet Earth. The Iraq War seems to be an attempt to fulfill in the Middle East the Eugenics inspired military expansionist goals that Adolf Hitler had.
There is evidence linking chronic health problems suffered by Gulf War veterans to exposure to pesticides and nerve agents, US research has found.
A third of veterans of the 1991 war experienced fatigue, muscle or joint pain, sleeping problems, rashes and breathing troubles, the research found.
A US Congress-appointed committee on Gulf War illnesses analysed more than 100 studies in the research.
It found evidence linking the problems to a particular class of chemicals.
These were an anti-nerve gas agent given to troops, pesticides used to control sand-flies, and the nerve-gas sarin that troops may have been exposed to during the demolition of a weapons depot.
Dr Beatrice Golomb, the committee's chief scientist, said that genetic variants make some people more susceptible to such chemicals.
When exposed, these people ran a higher risk of illness, she said.
"Convergent evidence now strongly links a class of chemicals - acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors - to illness in Gulf War veterans," Dr Golomb told Reuters.
Dr Golomb said a lot of attention had been given to psychological factors in illness among Gulf War veterans.
But unlike the most recent conflict in Iraq, the ground conflict during the 1991 Gulf War lasted only a few days, she added.
"Psychological stressors are inadequate to account for the excess illness seen," said Dr Golomb, of the University of California, San Diego.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Shell companies in Cayman Islands allow KBR to avoid Medicare, Social Security deductions.
CAYMAN ISLANDS - Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation's top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.
More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq - including about 10,500 Americans - are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands. Read more..
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
WASHINGTON — When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing and that rebuilding the nation would cost less than $2 billion.
Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the invasion, a Nobel laureate now estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than $3 trillion.
That estimate from Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz also serves as the title of his new book, "The Three Trillion Dollar War," which hits store shelves Friday.Read more..
WHAT ABOUT THE HIDDEN COST OF PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES? WHAT ABOUT THE COST TO THIS NATION THAT IS BEING TAXED TO DEATH, FOR THE SAKE OF PUTTING MORE MONEY IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION, THEY'RE JUST SMART ENOUGH TO PUT IT IN OFF SHORE ACCOUNTS. THE WAR IS ABOUT OIL, POWER AND CONTROL, NOTHING ELSE. IT'S A DIS-EASE
America's massive military aid package to Pakistan has come under scrutiny after allegations that as much as 70% of $5.4bn in assistance has been misspent.
Since 2002, the US has paid the operating costs of Pakistan's military operations in the tribal belt along the Afghan border, where Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are sheltering.
Pakistan provides over 100,000 troops and directs the fight; the US foots the bill for food, fuel, ammunition and maintenance. The cash payments — averaging $80m a month — have been a cornerstone of US support for President Pervez Musharraf.
But over the past 18 months, as militants seized vast swaths of the tribal belt and repelled a string of Pakistani offensives, the funding has come under the microscope.
American officials processing the payments at the US embassy in Islamabad have concluded that the Pakistani expense claims have been vastly inflated, two western military officials told the Guardian. Read more..
THIS SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE..REMEMBER THE MISSING MONEY IN IRAQ, THE LOST MONEY IN IRAQ? WHEN YOU CAN PRINT YOUR OWN MONEY AND SELL OFF YOUR DEBT TO OTHER COUNTRIES, YOU WOULD BE CARELESS TOO. MISSING MONEY...YEAH RIGHT. DRUG MONEY MISSING TOO?
Bush's view of the economy was decidedly rosier than that of many economists, who say the country is nearing recession territory or may already be there. "I'm concerned about the economy," he said. "I don't think we're headed to recession. But no question, we're in a slowdown."
The centerpiece of government efforts to brace the wobbly economy is a package Congress passed and Bush signed last month. It will rush rebates ranging from $300 to $1,200 to millions of people and give tax incentives to businesses.
On one issue particularly worrisome to American consumers, there are indications that paying $4 for a gallon of gasoline is not out of the question once the summer driving season arrives. Asked about that, Bush said "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that. ... I know it's high now." Read more..
NO, WE ARE NOT HEADING TOWARDS A RECESSION..WE'RE ALREADY IN ONE! HOW MANY MILLIONS OF JOBS HAVE BEEN SENT OVERSEAS, HOW MANY HOMES AND LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST SINCE BUSH GOT INTO OFFICE AND YET THE OIL COMPANIES,PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, AND INVESTMENT FIRMS HAVE BEEN WALKING AWAY WITH RECORD PROFITS, BANKS ARE FALLING AND WANT A BAILOUT FROM NON OTHER THAN THE GOVERNMENT, OR THEY'LL PASS IT OFF TO THE CONSUMER. THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE OR SENT TO IRAQ TO LIVE IN THEIR BIG, BEAUTIFUL, VATICAN SIZE EMBASSY.
A trade deal signed by her husband has returned to haunt Hillary Clinton as she tries to win working-class support in Ohio.
Voters in the run-down industrial state have not been slow to remind the former First Lady that they blame the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) for a decline that has seen 200,000 manufacturing jobs disappear since 2000. Read more..
WWW: World Wide Web aka: World Wide Wiretap
Posted by Jabe at 10:00 AM
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Last May, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate bought a Massachusetts plastics maker. In November, a French company established a new factory in Adrian, Mich., adding 189 automotive jobs to an area accustomed to layoffs. In December, a British company bought a New Jersey maker of cough syrup.
For much of the world, the United States is now on sale at discount prices. With credit tight, unemployment growing and worries mounting about a potential recession, American business and government leaders are courting foreign money to keep the economy growing. Foreign investors are buying aggressively, taking advantage of American duress and a weak dollar to snap up what many see as bargains, while making inroads to the world’s largest market.
Last year, foreign investors poured a record $414 billion into securing stakes in American companies, factories and other properties through private deals and purchases of publicly traded stock, according to Thomson Financial, a research firm. That was up 90 percent from the previous year and more than double the average for the last decade. It amounted to more than one-fourth of all announced deals for the year, Thomson said. Read more..
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginians planning on air travel this year could find things more complicated than they remember if a Senate bill becomes law.
The state would be barred from participating in the federal REAL ID Act, which would set national standards for driver's licenses, by a bill approved Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The federal Department of Homeland Security has warned that states which don't file paperwork saying they need extra time to comply with the law will face consequences starting in May. The most significant would be that driver's licenses from non-complying states would not be valid identification for boarding an airplane anywhere in the U.S.
Instead, other forms of identification, like birth certificates or passports, would have to be used.
The bill, which now comes before the full Senate, calls the act "inimical to the security and well-being of the people of West Virginia," with supporters saying Monday the federal guidelines amount to an invasion of privacy. Read more..
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.
Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.
The U.S. military's Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.
The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.
"It's kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites," said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians. Read more..
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
According to data disclosed at this week's Beersheba Conference on Child Welfare, some 2,500 complaints are filed annually in Israel regarding sexual assaults against minors under 14. Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the National Council for the Child, paints a darker picture yet, estimating that over the past several years no fewer than 100,000 of this country's children have suffered some degree of sexual molestation.
Most cases never reach the courts and most offenders aren't brought to justice. Yet in those that are, sentences meted out to pedophiles tend to be exceptionally lenient. Even hardcore repeat offenders are hardly supervised after they are released back to society. Legislation adopted to keep track of them remains largely unimplemented. Read more..
The U.S. economy is faltering. Family debt is on the rise, benefits are disappearing, the deficit is skyrocketing, and the mortgage crisis has worsened. Conservatives have attempted to deflect attention from the crisis, by blaming the media’s negative coverage and insisting the United States is not headed toward a recession, despite what economists are predicting.
The Bush administration’s latest move is to simply hide the data. Forbes has awarded EconomicIndicators.gov one of its “Best of the Web” awards. As Forbes explains, the government site provides an invaluable service to the public for accessing U.S. economic data:
This site is maintained by the Economics and Statistics Administration and combines data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, like GDP and net imports and exports, and the Census Bureau, like retail sales and durable goods shipments. The site simply links to the relevant department’s Web site. This might not seem like a big deal, but doing it yourself–say, trying to find retail sales data on the Census Bureau’s site–is such an exercise in futility that it will convince you why this portal is necessary.
Yet the Bush administration has decided to shut down this site because of “budgetary constraints,” effective March 1: Read more..
UNITED NATIONS - A woman who worked for the United Nations died Sunday after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N.'s Secretariat Building, authorities said.
Police and U.N. security officers at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said the woman in her 40s had jumped from a window after showing up to work early in the morning.
"A U.N. agency staff member died after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N. Secretariat Building," U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. "At this time there is no suspicion of foul play." Read more...
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - President Bush rejected proposed Democratic changes to his prized AIDS relief program, issuing a challenge Sunday to Congress to "stop the squabbling" and renew it as is. Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete made an impassioned appeal for the same thing, saying thousands in his country would orphan their children if U.S. lawmakers do not act.
The president's three-night stay in this vast East Africa nation takes him to a part of the continent that is important in the U.S. fight against terrorism. The bombed-out former U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam still stands as a stark reminder of deadly attacks in Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.
The visit to Tanzania is the longest of Bush's six-day African trip and longer than usual for the president anywhere. The stay and the celebration of a new five-year $698 million U.S. aid pact were intended as goodwill messages to Tanzania's large Muslim population. Read more..
WASHINGTON - Air Force officials are warning that unless their budget is increased dramatically, and soon, the military's high-flying branch won't dominate the skies as it has for decades.
After more than six years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Air Force's aging jet fighters, bombers, cargo aircraft and gunships are at the breaking point, they say, and expensive, ultramodern replacements are needed fast.
"What we've done is put the requirement on the table that says, 'If we're going to do the missions you're going to ask us to do, it will require this kind of investment,'" Maj. Gen. Paul Selva, the Air Force's director of strategic planning, said in an interview with The Associated Press. Read more..
Monday, February 18, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret.
That is what happened to a detailed study of the planning for postwar Iraq prepared for the Army by the RAND Corporation, a federally financed center that conducts research for the military.
After 18 months of research, RAND submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called “Rebuilding Iraq.” RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts.
But the study’s wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.
A review of the lengthy report — a draft of which was obtained by The New York Times — shows that it identified problems with nearly every organization that had a role in planning the war. That assessment parallels the verdicts of numerous former officials and independent analysts.
The study chided President Bush — and by implication Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served as national security adviser when the war was planned — as having failed to resolve differences among rival agencies. “Throughout the planning process, tensions between the Defense Department and the State Department were never mediated by the president or his staff,” it said.
The Defense Department led by Donald H. Rumsfeld was given the lead in overseeing the postwar period in Iraq despite its “lack of capacity for civilian reconstruction planning and execution.”
The State Department led by Colin L. Powell produced a voluminous study on the future of Iraq that identified important issues but was of “uneven quality” and “did not constitute an actionable plan.”
Gen. Tommy R. Franks, whose Central Command oversaw the military operation in Iraq, had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what the military needed to do to secure postwar Iraq, the study said.
The regulations that govern the Army’s relations with the Arroyo Center, the division of RAND that does research for the Army, stipulate that Army officials are to review reports in a timely fashion to ensure that classified information is not released. But the rules also note that the officials are not to “censor” analysis or prevent the dissemination of material critical of the Army.
The report on rebuilding Iraq was part of a seven-volume series by RAND on the lessons learned from the war. Asked why the report has not been published, Timothy Muchmore, a civilian Army official, said it had ventured too far from issues that directly involve the Army. Read more..
I know, I know. You've been worried. Sure, Blackwater is up to its mercenary neck in Iraq. They're protecting missile interceptors in Japan, and rescuing blondes in Kenya. And let's not forget about their fine work in New Orleans. But how, you're asking, is Blackwater going to get involved what many think is the great struggle of the 21st Century -- the upcoming war against China?
Well, never fear. Blackwater has got that struggle covered, too. Defense News reports that "Blackwater is training members of the Taiwanese National Security Bureau’s (NSB’s) special protection service, which guards the president. The NSB is responsible for the overall security of the country and was once an instrument of terrorism during the martial law period. Today, according to its Web site, the NSB is responsible for 'national intelligence work, special protective service and unified cryptography.'"
An NSB source stated that training began in 2007 and was conducted at Blackwater facilities in the United States. The source stated the NSB was satisfied with the training, and further training programs are being considered.
“The key thing would be to have special operations training for Army, Marines and Reserve units in Taiwan,” a former U.S. government official said.
The FBI yesterday announced the award of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to Lockheed Martin to develop what is expected to be the world's largest crime-fighting computer database of biometric information, including fingerprints, palm prints, iris patterns and face images.
Under its contract to build Next Generation Identification, the Bethesda contractor will expand on the FBI's electronic database of 55 million sets of fingerprints and criminal histories used by law enforcement and other authorities. The aim is to make the query and results process quicker, more flexible and more accurate.
Lockheed built and maintains the fingerprint database.
"NGI will give us bigger, better, faster capabilities and lead us into the future," said Thomas E. Bush III, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
The system will not expand the categories of people whose prints are collected: known criminals, known or suspected terrorists, or foreign visitors to the United States who have been convicted of a crime or an immigration violation, Bush said. But additional types of biometric data, such as iris scans and face images, will be collected from criminals and terrorists. The system also separately houses 17 million civilian fingerprints, mostly of federal employees who have undergone background checks.
To enable global sharing of data, NGI is to be built to technical standards shared by the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and State, as well as by Britain, Canada and other countries, Bush said. The FBI also hopes to offer a service allowing employers to store employees' prints, subject to state privacy laws, so that if employees are ever arrested, the employer would be notified.
Beginning this year, Lockheed will conduct a series of "biometric bake-offs" to evaluate the work of biometric firms who will be competing to develop various elements of the system and the maturity of the technologies. It will first expand the FBI's fingerprint processing capability and add palm print processing capability, officials said.
"We're excited to move to the next generation with the FBI," said Judy Marks, president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, a business unit of Lockheed.
By adding new biometric tools and applying them together, "the system will be able to enhance its accuracy and virtually eliminate the chance of mistaken identities," said Walter Hamilton, chairman of the International Biometric Industry Association.
Privacy advocates said that the work is proceeding before the technologies have been proven. "Congress needs to do a better job of assessing how taxpayer dollars are being spent, particularly on programs that impact the privacy rights of Americans," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Friday, February 15, 2008
A recently-unearthed U.S. Navy research project calls for creating mad-made floods and droughts to "disrupt [the] economy" of an enemy state.
"Weather modification was used successfully in Viet Nam to (among other things) hinder and impede the movement of personnel and material from North Viet Nam to South Viet Nam," notes a Naval Air Warfare Weapons Division - China Lake research proposal, released last month through the Freedom of Information Act. But "since that time military research on Weather Modification has dwindled in the United States."
The proposal suggests a study of the latest weather manipulation techniques, to "give the U.S. military a viable, state-of-the-art weather modification capability again." With that in hand, American forces would be able...
To impede or deny the movement of personnel and material because of rains-floods, snow-blizzards, etc.
(2) To disrupt economy due to the effect of floods, droughts, etc.
The proposal is undated. But it's pretty clearly from the Cold War. Not only is "the Soviet Union (Russia)" mentioned. The money is also relatively small, by today's standards -- less than a half-million dollars, over two years.
A military in-house newspaper calls "weather modification" an "area of China Lake preeminence. Between 1949 and 1978, China Lake developed concepts, techniques, and hardware that were successfully used in hurricane abatement, fog control, and drought relief. Military application of this technology was demonstrated in 1966 when Project Popeye was conducted to enhance rainfall to help interdict traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail." (Here's a picture of China Lake's "Cold Cloud Modification System."
In 1980, the United States ratified a treaty banning military weather manipulation. But every once in a while, someone in the armed forces floats the idea of doing it again. "Our vision is that by 2025 the military could influence the weather on a mesoscale [theater-wide] or microscale [immediate local area] to achieve operational capabilities," a 1996 Air Force-commissioned study reads.
Today, Chinese officials are trying to figure out ways to keep it from raining over Beiing, during this summer's Olympics.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
All 14-year-old children in England will have their personal details and exam results placed on an electronic database for life under a plan to be announced tomorrow.
Colleges and prospective employers will be able to access students’ records online to check on their qualifications. Under the terms of the scheme all children will keep their individual number throughout their adult lives, The Times has learnt. The database will include details of exclusions and expulsions.
Officials said last night that the introduction of the unique learner number (ULN)was not a step towards a national identity card. But it will be seen as the latest step in the Government’s broader efforts to computerise personal records.
Last night teachers’ leaders, parents’ organisations, opposition MPs and human rights campaigners questioned whether this Big Brother approach was necessary and said that it could compromise the personal security of millions of teenagers. Read more..
WASHINGTON — Conspiracy theorists take note: The myths surrounding one of America's oldest and most enduring national symbols are about to be debunked ... if you believe the government, that is.
The keepers of the Great Seal of the United States, the familiar emblem on the back of the $1 bill, want you to know what it is not. It is not a sign that Freemasons run the country, it has nothing to do with the occult, and it does not contain clues to a fabulous hidden treasure. Read more..
Monday, February 11, 2008
U.S. troops are being trained to conduct round-ups, confiscate guns and shoot American citizens, including their own friends and family members, as part of a long-standing program to prepare for the declaration of martial law, according to a soldier who recently returned from Iraq.
We received an e mail from "Scott", a member of a pipefitters union that runs an apprenticeship program called Helmets To Hard Hats, which according to its website, "Is a national program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry."
Scott writes that his company hired a soldier who had recently returned from Iraq, who told him that U.S. troops were being quizzed on whether or not they would be prepared to shoot their own friends and family members during a national state of emergency in America.
"I have become very close to this young man and have gained his respect and trust," writes Scott. "I want you to know that he informed me about one particular training exercise his superiors made them perform. It was concerning the rounding up of American citizens that disobey any type of martial law or in other words any type of infringement on our freedoms." Read more..
MIAMI (Reuters) - A Venezuelan man has been charged with laundering drug profits to buy U.S. aircraft to smuggle cocaine, according to U.S. court documents, as the FBI broadens a probe into South American cocaine kings.
According to the indictment, Benavides opened an account at what it identified as the Commerce Bank in Miami in December 2000 that was subsequently used to launder drug profits and broker deals for the purchase of a U.S.-registered twin-engine King Air E90 in September 2006.
The plane was bought from a Miami company and sent to Venezuela using money that Benavides allegedly funneled from Venezuela-based traffickers through a Mexican money exchange into his Miami account. Read more..
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain't what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise.
"We had decided that money is money and we'll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank," Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines, told Reuters television.
The increasingly weak U.S. dollar, once considered the king among currencies, has brought waves of European tourists to New York with money to burn and looking to take advantage of hugely favorable exchange rates. Read more..
Friday, February 1, 2008
On one of the highest hilltops in Elbert County, Georgia stands a huge granite monument. Engraved in eight different languages on the four giant stones that support the common capstone are 10 Guides, or commandments. That monument is alternately referred to as The Georgia Guidestones, or the American Stonehenge. Though relatively unknown to most people, it is an important link to the Occult Hierarchy that dominates the world in which we live.
The origin of that strange monument is shrouded in mystery because no one knows the true identity of the man, or men, who commissioned its construction. All that is known for certain is that in June 1979, a well-dressed, articulate stranger visited the office of the Elberton Granite Finishing Company and announced that he wanted to build an edifice to transmit a message to mankind. He identified himself as R. C. Christian, but it soon became apparent that was not his real name. He said that he represented a group of men who wanted to offer direction to humanity, but to date, almost two decades later, no one knows who R. C. Christian really was, or the names of those he represented. Several things are apparent. The messages engraved on the Georgia Guidestones deal with four major fields: (1) Governance and the establishment of a world government, (2) Population and reproduction control, (3) The environment and man's relationship to nature, and (4) Spirituality.
In the public library in Elberton, I found a book written by the man who called himself R.C. Christian. I discovered that the monument he commissioned had been erected in recognition of Thomas Paine and the occult philosophy he espoused. Indeed, the Georgia Guidestones are used for occult ceremonies and mystic celebrations to this very day. Tragically, only one religious leader in the area had the courage to speak out against the American Stonehenge, and he has recently relocated his ministry.
THE MESSAGE OF THE GEORGIA GUIDESTONES
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.
10.Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature - Leave room for nature.
Limiting the population of the earth to 500 million will require the extermination of nine-tenths of the world's people. The American Stonehenge's reference to establishing a world court foreshadows the current move to create an International Criminal Court and a world government. The Guidestones' emphasis on preserving nature anticipates the environmental movement of the 1990s, and the reference to "seeking harmony with the infinite" reflects the current effort to replace Judeo-Christian beliefs with a new spirituality.
The message of the American Stonehenge also foreshadowed the current drive for Sustainable Development. Any time you hear the phrase "Sustainable Development" used, you should substitute the term "socialism" to be able to understand what is intended. Later in this syllabus you will read the full text of the Earth Charter which was compiled under the direction of Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong. In that document you will find an emphasis on the same basic issues: control of reproduction, world governance, the importance of nature and the environment, and a new spirituality. The similarity between the ideas engraved on the Georgia Guidestones and those espoused in the Earth Charter reflect the common origins of both.
Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, was recently quoted as referring to the American Stonehenge, saying:
"I want people to know about the stones ... We're headed toward a world where we might blow ourselves up and maybe the globe will not exist ... it's a nice time to reaffirm ourselves, knowing all the beautiful things that are in this country and the Georgia Stones symbolize that. " (1)
What is the true significance of the American Stonehenge, and why is its covert message important? Because it confirms the fact that there was a covert group intent on
(1) Dramatically reducing the population of the world.
(2) Promoting environmentalism.
(3) Establishing a world government.
(4) Promoting a new spirituality.
Certainly the group that commissioned the Georgia Guidestones is one of many similar groups working together toward a New World Order, a new world economic system, and a new world spirituality. Behind those groups, however, are dark spiritual forces. Without understanding the nature of those dark forces it is impossible to understand the unfolding of world events.
The fact that most Americans have never heard of the Georgia Guidestones or their message to humanity reflects the degree of control that exists today over what the American people think. We ignore that message at our peril.
The Age of Reason was a book written by Thomas Paine. Its intent was to destroy the Judeo-Christian beliefs upon which our Republic was founded.
The hole that you see in the stone was drilled in the Center Stone so that the North Star could be visualized through it at any moment. This was one of several requirements stipulated by R.C.Christian for the building of the American Stonehenge and reflects his obsession with the alignment of the stars, the sun, and the moon. Occultists often worship the alignment and movement of heavenly bodies as part of their religious ceremonies
Thursday, January 31, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As an economic slowdown and the subprime mortgage crisis deepen across the United States, Hispanic immigrants are increasingly in danger of losing their jobs and their homes.
Both legal and illegal immigrants joined Americans in buying homes they could barely afford when the market spiraled upward and many have been caught with mortgages higher than the value of their homes as prices have slumped in the past year. Read more..
1)Why are they lending money to Illegals?
2)Why are the lenders not being prosecuted?
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO said on Tuesday it shared Canada's view of the need to bolster its Afghan peace operation but dismissed charges that allies were dragging their feet, pointing to a huge expansion since 2003.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatened on Monday to pull its 2,500 troops out of Afghanistan early next year unless NATO sends significant reinforcements, saying the mission would fail unless more soldiers and equipment arrived.
"We share the assessment that Afghanistan needs long-term support, including military support. NATO as an organization has had a longstanding request for more troops in the south," a NATO spokesman said of the violent region where Canada operates.
But he noted the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had more than quadrupled in size to over 40,000 troops and "is now close to what our military believe is our full requirement."
Canada's appeal for reinforcements adds to frustration voiced by other countries taking part in the mission. In November, the Netherlands decided to keep its troops in Afghanistan despite growing public pressure for it to pull out. Read more..
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Online financial transactions firm PayPal announced on Monday that it has a 169-million-dollar deal to buy an Israeli company that specializes in uncovering fraud.
PayPal, which is owned by veteran Internet auction service eBay, expects to complete the purchase of Fraud Sciences Ltd. in 30 days.
Once acquired, the company's expertise will be used to expose scams and deceptions targeted at PayPal and eBay users, according to the companies.
"Integrating Fraud Sciences' risk tools with PayPal's sophisticated fraud management system should allow us to be even more effective in protecting eBay and PayPal's hundreds of millions of customers around the world," said PayPal president Scott Thompson.
PayPal did not disclose details of the deal but said it is valued at 169 million dollars. Read more..
Ahhh, but of course, an American company uses foreign companies to protect who?
A January 21st Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed. ("Asked why one member of his Albu Issa tribe would kill another, Aftan compared it to school shootings that happen in the United States.") Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way:
"The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches.
"In the last 10 days, the military has dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of explosives on the area, which has been a gateway for Sunni militants into Baghdad."
And here's paragraph 22 of a 34-paragraph January 22nd story by Stephen Farrell of the New York Times:
"The threat from buried bombs was well known before the [Arab Jabour] operation. To help clear the ground, the military had dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of bombs to destroy weapons caches and I.E.D.'s." Read more..
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.
The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal. Read more..
Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who was waiting for the Army to decide whether to court-martial her for endangering another soldier and turning a gun on herself last year in Iraq, attempted to kill herself Monday evening. In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I'm very disappointed with the Army," Whiteside wrote in a note before swallowing dozens of antidepressants and other pills. "Hopefully this will help other soldiers." She was taken to the emergency room early Tuesday. Whiteside, who is now in stable physical condition, learned yesterday that the charges against her had been dismissed.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
WASHINGTON — With its international mandate in Iraq set to expire in 11 months, the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials.
The American negotiating position for a formal military-to-military relationship, one that would replace the current United Nations mandate, is laid out in a draft proposal that was described by White House, Pentagon, State Department and military officials on ground rules of anonymity. It also includes less controversial demands that American troops be immune from Iraqi prosecution, and that they maintain the power to detain Iraqi prisoners. Read more..
The deathly precision of the attacks and the magnitude of planning would have required years of planning. Such a sophisticated operation would require the fixed frame of a state intelligence organization; something not found in a loose group, like the one led by the student Mohammed Atta in Hamburg.
Ptech software "is utilized at the highest levels of almost every government and military and defense organization in this country," Singh said, "including the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Defense, the House of Representatives, the Treasury Department, the IRS, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and, last but not least, the Federal Aviation Administration."
I found it hard to believe that the most sensitive government and military computers would run enterprise software from a Lebanese-owned start-up company called Ptech from Quincy, Mass. All the talk about the Saudi-financier behind Ptech being linked to Osama bin Laden smelled like a "cut out" to me.
It simply did not make sense that the most secure computer systems of the U.S. government would be running software written by a Lebanese Muslim financed by a Saudi who happened to be on the most-wanted list of global terrorists.
As of Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008, at least 412 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Friday at 10 a.m. EST. Read more..
Monday, January 28, 2008
Paul D. Wolfowitz, who resigned as World Bank chief after serving as second-in-command at the Pentagon, has returned to the Bush administration, albeit in an advisory role. From a short news release put out this afternoon:
The Department of State is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Paul Wolfowitz as the Chairman of the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.
As we said when the job offer was reported in December, the board meets quarterly to provide advice to the secretary of state and one of her deputies based on classified intelligence on some of the most important issues in United States foreign policy today, from Iran to North Korea.
His experience in arms control issues stretches back to the 1970’s, but his role in the Iraq war was the basis of last month’s criticism of the reported appointment. Mr. Wolfowitz is also a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
Preceding Mr. Wolfowitz was former Senator Fred Thompson, who resigned as chairman in the summer to run for president. But his successor wasn’t appointed until two days after his campaign crashed and burned on Tuesday.
"Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007," the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.
War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.
"It keeps going up, up and away," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003. Read more..
The United States is sliding towards a dangerous 1930s-style "liquidity trap" that cannot easily be stopped by drastic cuts in interest rates, Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has warned. Read more..
BAQUBA, Jan 25 (IPS) - Broken promises have brought a dramatic increase in anti-U.S. sentiment across the capital city of Iraq's Diyala province.
Many people in Baquba, capital of Diyala 40 km northeast of Baghdad, had supported U.S. forces when they ousted former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. But failed reconstruction projects and muddled policies mean the U.S. has lost that support.
"The Americans based their strategy in Iraq on certain Shias here who have direct enmity with Sunnis and allegiance to Iran," resident Ayub Ibrahim told IPS. "This was the source of the gap between certain Shias which the U.S. backs, and certain Sunnis they back." Shias and Sunnis are different sects within Islam.
The U.S. has also alienated people through its policy of extensive detentions. Many believe that raids that lead to arrests are based on motivated information given to the U.S. military by Shia militiamen who have infiltrated the Iraqi army and police. Read more..
UNDER the stewardship of Dow Kim and Thomas G. Maheras, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup built positions in subprime-related securities that led to $34 billion in write-downs last year. The debacle cost chief executives their jobs and brought two of the world’s premier financial institutions to their knees.
In any other industry, Mr. Kim and Mr. Maheras would be pariahs. But in the looking-glass world of Wall Street, they — and others like them — are hot properties. The two executives are well on their way to reviving their careers, even as global markets shudder at the prospect that Merrill and Citigroup may report further subprime losses in the coming months. Read more..
NEW YORK — Citigroup (C) awarded Chief Executive Vikram Pandit $26.7 million worth of shares and 3 million stock options six weeks after he took over the largest U.S. bank, and a week after the company reported a record $9.83 billion quarterly loss.
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday night, Citigroup said Pandit was awarded 1,094,949 shares Tuesday under a company incentive plan adopted in 1999. Read more..
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Last Thursday, the public interest group Judicial Watch published a memorandum which the Clinton Library was forced to release under the Freedom of Information Act.
The 24-page memo shines a spotlight on Hillary’s little-known relationship with America’s mightiest oil and banking dynasty. Dated May 26, 1993 and addressed to “Hillary Rodham Clinton”, the memo comes from Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia — better known as Jay Rockefeller — whose great-grandfather founded Standard Oil.
The memo lays out a detailed strategy for pushing the “Clinton reform plan” for universal health coverage. In it, Rockefeller snaps orders at Mrs. Clinton in the imperious tones of a man accustomed to obedience.
He instructs Hillary to get tough on critics of the health plan. “Impeach the credibility of opponents”, he writes. Portray them as “perpetrators”, “paid lobbyists” and purveyors of “ideological extremism”. Assign investigators to conduct “opposition research” on them and expose their “lifestyles”. Do not allow them “even one day without scrutiny”. Read more..
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."
The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat. Read more..
Monday, January 21, 2008
Peter Mohan traces the path from the Iraqi battlefield to this lifeless conference room, where he sits in a kilt and a Camp Kill Yourself T-shirt and calmly describes how he became a sad cliche: a homeless veteran. Read more..
Writing this last night, I was quite tired. I will post photos - the slits are not "through the box" in the sense that they are in the middle of the cardboard. They deliver the ballots in a variety of cardboard boxes. The lid of the cardboard box is taped and has various seals on it, some old, from using the box before, some new. The slits cut through any tape or seals. They don't cut into the cardboard itself, and I'm going to edit the post above to clarify that.
The other thing that isn't clear from the above post is the timing.
1. We noticed the slits in the vault and confirmed when they brought the ballots out that the slits were still there.
2. Then we looked at the ballot boxes as they were being delivered. Those, too, had slits.
3. Then we visitied towns that had ballots scheduled for pickup. We had time to visit only two towns. Both towns had ballot boxes with no slits.
4. While at these towns, we waited for the pickup van to show up. When it did, we videotaped the ballot boxes already in it.
5. When we got back to the archive building where they were having the
recount, we awaited the van with the ballot boxes we just videotaped. We waited quite a while. Almost everyone left, the recount ended for the day, and still no van. The van finally pulled in after all but a couple observers had gone home. We videotaped what came out of the van. It was in the same condition as what we videotaped at the towns. Of course, Butch and Hoppy knew we had been taking videotape because we did it right in front of them.
6. The normal procedure has been:
- bring the incoming ballot boxes into the front door of the building
- roll them through the counting room, which is a large room similar to a library reference room
- from there to roll the cart containing the incoming ballot boxes through the back door of the counting room
- insert key card into the warehouse area door
- roll the ballots down the hall in the warehouse
- open the ballot "vault" door with a key (it is a sturdy metal door but opens with a single key)
- put the incoming ballots in the vault
- When they will be counted, take them from the vault back into the counting room. Read more..