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ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS Dec. 04

Posted by Xaniel777 on December 4, 2011

TODAY IS : December 04, 2011

” Alternative News Stories gathered from all over the world and placed here for your awareness ! “

If you have the  extra time,  then check out Xaniel’s Blog at  Danimart.com

“ AND ALWAYS REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE RESISTANCE !“

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TODAY’S NEWS : 

Setting the Trap

From AntiWar.com

Levin-McCain bill would create a presidential dictatorship. Where is the outrage?

by 

Sorry about the lack of a column today, but I’m in the process of moving (again!), and I just don’t have the physical strength to write. I’ll be back on Monday, however, so stay tuned …

Oh, and by the way: We’re nearing the end of our Winter fundraising drive, and it’s crucially important that we make our goal: and you want to know why it’s so crucial, just take a look at the headlines on today’s edition of Antiwar.com. Enough said. So please, give as much as you can as soon as you can – because it’s for the best conceivable cause.

Buried in the annual defense appropriations bill is a provision that would give the President the power to use the military to intern anyone – including American citizens– indefinitely, and hold them without charges or trial, anywhere in the world,including on American soil. The provision essentially repeals the longstanding Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from engaging in law enforcement on US territory – the greatest fear of the Founders. Approved by a Senate subcommittee in secret hearings, the provisions open the road to a military dictatorship in this country – and for that we can thank Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, who introduced the measure. Both the FBI and the Pentagon came out against the Levin-McCain monstrosity, and Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) introduced an amendment striking the provision: the amendment was defeated in the Senate, 37-61.

The mind reels. As the ACLU’s Chris Anders puts it:

“I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?”

Why now, indeed – and the answer is not hard to fathom. With the US banking system making very loud creaking noises as the eurozone descends into the economic abyss, and a total meltdown staring us in the face, the Powers That Be want to make sure they have their hands on the reins of power – and on the whip they won’t hesitate to use.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) exults that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and anyone can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Graham doesn’t care about any of that sissy constitutional stuff, and never did – throw ‘em in the brig! Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from the “Live Free or Die” state, doesn’t care that she’s destroying the American republic and our constitutional liberties by voting for this draconian measure because, she says, “America is part of the battlefield.”

Nothing illustrates the longstanding warning from antiwar advocates thatwar is the health of the state” than this ominous development. The principle that war leads inevitably to the erosion and eventual destruction of our constitutional form of government is being dramatized on the floor of Congress even as I write these words. At the Republican foreign policy debate held recently, Professor Gingrich lectured us on “the difference between national security requirements and criminal law requirements,” and, drawing on this spurious distinctionaverred:

All of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives. This is not going to end in the short run. And we need to be prepared to protect ourselves from those who, if they could, would not just kill us individually, but would take out entire cities.”

For the rest of our lives we’ll be in thrall to Gingrich, Graham, Levin, and the rest of them, on the pretext that we’re about to be nuked by a bunch of marginal fanatics hiding in a cave somewhere. It’s a thin rationale indeed for setting the stage for martial law in the United States, but it couldn’t have come at a more convenient time for our rulers, as they face the prospect of civil disorder in the face of economic collapse.

That the authoritarian strain in American politics is coming to the fore in this time of crisis should come as no surprise. Backed up against a wall, the ruling elite is baring its teeth, and the Constitution – which has long been a mere piece of moldering parchment rather than the law of the land – is easily disposed of. Our cowardly Congress, which lives only to advance special interests and line its own pockets, is hardly a bulwark against this onslaught: indeed, they are the source of it.

So where are the Tea Partiers, who warn against “Big Government” and denounce “RINOs” like Sen. Graham who don’t share their aversion to centralized authority? They’re busy campaigning for Gingrich, the “true conservative” and $1.6 million Fannie Mae “consultant,” who preaches the virtues of endless war. Besides, the Levin-McCain provisions will only be used against them damned Mooslims – right?

Wrong – but by the time these “patriots” realize how wrong they are, it’ll be too late. As Rep. Justin Amash, one of the few congressmen elected on the Tea Party wave who has a conscience (and a brain), put it, this bill, which is “carefully crafted to mislead the public,” is one of the most “anti-liberty pieces of legislation in our lifetime.”

As the economy collapses – say, around next week sometime – and as people line up at the banks to get their money out, and discover the till is empty, as the food distribution system breaks down, and the mobs gather and swell, they’ll call the army out into the streets to keep order. And it will all be perfectly “legal.”

Don’t tell me our sainted solons are cringing in fear of al-Qaeda, which is by now a mere shadow of a shadow: the real object of their fear is the American people – and they have every reason to be afraid.

The “debate” in Congress over the Levin-McCain provisions is not really what it appears to be, as Marcy Wheeler points out in some depth. On the Senate floor, opponents of the provision, such as Dianne Feinstein, mentioned the dangers of the army patrolling the streets of American cities only in passing, if at all: their real objection is that the provisions impede the really existing “war on terrorism.” Wheeler argues that the Obama administration would be constrained from utilizing its network of informants if detainees were handled by the military. As she puts it:

“Again, I suspect that’s the Administration objection. It allows them to do these things. But requires they do them with a paper trail Congress can audit. In short, it’s a future Fast and Furious scandal, the guaranteed exposure of all of their harebrained undercover operations, waiting to happen.”

The administration’s veto threat has nothing to do with protecting civil liberties: indeed, quite the opposite. As Sen. Levin noted in his remarks, a bit of politicking went on at the secret Senate hearing:

The initial bill reported by the committee included language expressly precluding ‘the detention of citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.’ The Administration asked that this language be removed from the bill.”

The real purpose of the Levin-McCain provisions is entirely unrelated to “terrorism,” either by al-Qaeda or any known domestic outfit. It was put in there to codify a number of important “legal” precedents, which make it possible for the President to declare an American citizen an “enemy combatant” and hold him or her indefinitely without charges. This is the final step in a process that will enable the President to establish a de facto military dictatorship: it’s the “unitary presidency” meets the global economic crisis.

“America is part of the battlefield,” says Sen. Ayotte, quite accurately – and Americans are the target. Resistance is “terrorism”: dissent is a crime, and you’d better shut up and take it if you know what’s good for you. That’s the message they’re sending – and how, one wonders, will Americans respond?

Tryptophaned into a submissive lethargy by large doses of turkey and stuffing, and living in constant fear of imminent destitution, they hardly notice this historic betrayal. The trap is set, baited, and ready to spring: one has to wonder, however, if this passivity will hold once those steel jaws bite. I bet they’re wondering in Washington, too.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

We are headed straight for a military dictatorship in this country – but it isn’t too late to fight back. Antiwar.com is in the front lines of the battle, educating the American people about the nature of the regime we live under and making the case for liberty and peace. Yet we can’t do it alone: we need your help to keep up the fight. The success of our winter fundraising drive is essential to our survival, so please give today – because the future of the country depends on it.

END

The “Free Syria Army”: Placard-Waving Protesters are Actually Machine Gun-Wielding Terrorists

From Intifada Palestine

Thirteen Army and Security Forces Martyrs Laid to Rest  (See article below)

Members of the Free Syrian Army at a safehouse on northern Lebanon’s border with Syria. (Skyeboat Films/Courtesy)

by Tony Cartalucci

The “Free Syria Army” is literally an army of militant extremists, many drawn not from Syria’s military ranks, but from the Muslim Brotherhood, carrying heavy weapons back and forth over the Turkish and Lebanese borders, funded, supported, and armed by the United States, Israel, and Turkey. The latest evidence confirming this comes in the form of a report out of the International Institute for Strategic Studies which clearly states that Syria’s opposition is armed and prepared to drag Syria into more violence.

This report comes in sharp contrast to the propaganda fed via the corporate-media and the West’s foreign ministers on a daily basis, where the violence is portrayed as one-sided, with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad “gunning down” throngs of peaceful, placard waving protesters. Just as in Libya where these so-called “peaceful protesters” turned out to be hordes of genocidal racist Al Qaeda mercenaries, led by big-oil representatives, fighting their cause upon a verified pack of lies, so too is Syria’s “pro-democracy” movement which is slowly being revealed as yet another militant brand of extremists long cultivated by Anglo-American intelligence agencies, whose leadership is harbored in London and Washington and their foot soldiers supplied a steady stream of covert military support and overt rhetorical support throughout the compromised corporate media.

The unrest in Syria from the beginning was entirely backed by Western corporate-financier interests and part of a long-planned agenda for region-wide regime change. Syria has been slated for regime change since as early as 1991. In 2002, then US Under Secretary of State John Bolton added Syria to the growing “Axis of Evil.” It would be later revealed that Bolton’s threats against Syria manifested themselves as covert funding and support for opposition groups inside of Syria spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations.

In an April 2011 CNN article, acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated, “We’re not working to undermine that [Syrian] government. What we are trying to do in Syria, through our civil society support, is to build the kind of democratic institutions, frankly, that we’re trying to do in countries around the globe. What’s different, I think, in this situation is that the Syrian government perceives this kind of assistance as a threat to its control over the Syrian people.”

Toner’s remarks came after the Washington Post released cables indicating the US has been funding Syrian opposition groups since at least 2005 and continued until today.

In an April AFP report, Michael Posner, the assistant US Secretary of State for Human Rights and Labor, stated that the “US government has budgeted $50 million in the last two years to develop new technologies to help activists protect themselves from arrest and prosecution by authoritarian governments.” The report went on to explain that the US “organized training sessions for 5,000 activists in different parts of the world. A session held in the Middle East about six weeks ago gathered activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who returned to their countries with the aim of training their colleagues there.” Posner would add, “They went back and there’s a ripple effect.” That ripple effect of course is the “Arab Spring,” and in Syria’s case, the impetus for the current unrest threatening to unhinge the nation and invite in foreign intervention.

With planted “speculation” running through the corporate media that a recent explosion, amongst several other “incidents” in Iran, were the work of Western covert operations, and the Jerusalem Post all but admitting the entire Western-backed destabilization in Syria aims not at ushering in “democracy” or upholding “human rights,” but to weaken Iran by proxy, it is clear that everything within Wall Street and London’s power is being done to provoke Iran. Iran has downplayed the recent explosion at their military base as an accident and has thus far maintained a persistent patience in the face of criminal provocations and overt acts of war by an alarmingly and increasingly depraved West.

It is quite clear that the stratagems spelled out in the corporate-funded Brookings Institute report “Which Path to Persia?” have been read and understood by both sides and that Iran realizes that any act of retaliation not expertly played, only gives the West what it has stated it wants – an excuse to go to war with the Islamic Republic. Should the public in Syria, Iran, and throughout the West also read “Which Path to Persia?” and realize that the only threat Iran and its allies pose to the West is toward the extraterritorial ambitions of Wall Street and London, perhaps a bloody, entirely unnecessary war can be avoided, and the first steps taken toward dismantling the parasitic corporate-financier oligarchy that has misled the world for the past several decades.

Source Land Destroyer Report

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Tony Cartalucci is a geopolitical researcher and writer based in Bangkok, Thailand. His work aims at covering world events from a Southeast Asian perspective as well as promoting self-sufficiency as one of the keys to true freedom.

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Thirteen Syrian Army and Security Forces Martyrs Laid to Rest

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- With flowers and laurel wreathes, thirteen army and security forces martyrs on Saturday were escorted from Tishreen Military Hospital to their final resting place in their cities and villages.

The martyrs were targaeted by the armed terrorist groups while they were in the line of duty in Damascus Countryside.

Solemn processions were held for the martyrs as they were carried on shoulders and covered with the national flag while the Military Band was playing the “Martyr” and the “Farewell” music.

The martyrs are :

-Chief Warrant Officer, Abdul-Karim Ammar Ammar from Hama.

-Chief Warrant Officer, Karim Suleiman Uraej from Sweida.

-Chief Warrant Officer, Walid Fadil Ridan from Sweida.

-Chief Warrant Officer, Nabil Abbas Suleiman from Lattakia.

-Warrant Officer, Rami Khudir Bilal from Lattakia.

-Warrant Officer, Rakan Mohana Mounzer from Sweida.

-Warrant Officer, Abdul-Hai Ahmad al-Hasan from Hasaka.

-Warrant Officer, Ahmad Mahmoud Sharaf Eddin from Damascus Countryside.

-Sergeant Major, Ali Ahmad Khaddar from Lattakia.

-Sergeant, Ali Hatem al-Ba’arini from Hama.

-Sergeant, Ayman Ali Nayyouf from Hama.

-Policeman Housam Hussein Hamad, from Homs.

-Civil Worker, Louai Ismael Azzam from Sweida.

Relatives of the martyrs expressed confidence in the Syrian people’s ability to overcome the crisis through adhering to the national unity, asserting that the blood of their sons shed in defense of the homeland will make Syria stronger and more able to face challenges and defend its national stances.

H. Zain/ R.al-Jazaeri

END

No, America’s unemployment rate is not 8.6 percent

From RT NEWS

No, America's unemployment rate is not 8.6 percent

No, America’s unemployment rate is not 8.6 percent

That’s just another lie fed to you by the mainstream media and the US government.

News from the Labor Department on Friday revealed that the unemployment rate in America miraculously improved, with only 8.6 of the country without jobs. If you think the news was too good to be true, that’s because it is.

As the Department of Labor tells America that the percentage of the country without jobs is at a two year low, many Americans celebrate what hopes to be a recovery from a long-lasting recession that has spawned dire unemployment figures for over two years. On the contrary, the statistics for November are represented as good as the government makes it up to be because just that — it makes them up.

Yes, the US economy spawned around 120,000 jobs last month, but at the same time, around 315,000 Americans left the labor force — that is, they simply gave up. While 8.6 of Americans are unemployed in the sense that they are out of a job and actively seeking work, hundreds of thousands of people have simply stopped even trying to get a paycheck.

November’s figure, 8.6 percent, is actually the proportion of Americans unemployed, “as a percent of the civilian labor force,” as per the official definition from the Labor Department (a figure it refers to as “U-3,” the official unemployment rate). When considering those that fit that definition as well as discouraged workers (U-4), those marginally attached to the work labor force (U-5) and those that are employed part-time and seeking full-time employment but can’t find it, the Labor Department has another statistic, which it refers to as U-6; for the month of November, that figure is at 15.6 percent.

The actual number of Americans who have given up a while ago isn’t firm, but the latest statistics — though painted pretty by the Department of Labor — reveal that November saw 315,000 new Americans abandoning their job hunt.

“You’d like to see the unemployment rate coming down when people are coming into the job market, not disappearing,” James Glassman of New York City’s JP Morgan Chase & Co. tells Bloomberg News. “That’s probably exaggerating the trend in unemployment.”

As civilians leave the labor force, obviously the percentage of those participating in the market drops as well. Should the jobless numbers be compared to those participating in the labor force when Obama entered office in 2009, the U-3 unemployment rate would be at around 11 percent now, reports CNBC contributor James Pethokoukis.

Even taking into account the Labor Department’s definition of what counts as employed, 20 of the 50 states in America (plus the District of Columbia) saw jobless figures exceeding 9.0 percent for the month of November. In California and Washington DC, numbers were at or above 11 percent; in Nevada: 13.4 percent.

Steve Eggleston of Hot Air adds that this seasonal drop in the civilian labor force is “almost unprecedented” for this time of year. “Since 1982, there have been only seven times the labor force has dropped between an October and a November, and only three times has the drop been even close to this steep,” adds Eggleston.

Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images / AFP

Senate approves indefinite detention and torture of Americans

The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers.

END

America Lurches Toward Full-Blown Tryanny

Posted by poorrichard at Poor Richard’s Blog

By Stephen Lendman via opednews.com

Measures in FY 2012 National Defense act promise tyranny.
Post-9/11, America’s moved steadily toward eroding democracy entirely. Justification given is war on terror hokum. Incrementally, international, constitutional and statute laws have been trashed.

Equity, justice and other democratic values long ago were abandoned to advance America’s imperium. On May 26, the House voted to abolish freedom entirely – HR 1540, 322 – 96.

 On December 1, the Senate did likewise – S. 1867, 93 to 7. Both versions assure no one anywhere is now safe, including law-abiding US citizens.

Senate no votes were cast by Thomas Harkin (D. IA), Rand Paul (R. KY), Thomas Coburn (R. OK), Jeff Merkley (D. OR), Ron Wyden (D. OR), Mike Lee (R. UT), and Bernie Sanders (I. VT).

Of the Senate’s 51 Democrats, only one voted no.

At issue are Sections 1031 and 1032 of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act – NDAA (S. 1867).

Section 1031 authorizes indefinitely detaining US citizens without charge or trial. It exceeds previous police state laws. The provision refers to US citizens or lawful resident aliens even though the Constitution protects them. No longer.

Enactment means anyone anywhere, including US citizens, may be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all.

No reasonable proof is required, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Under subsection (b)(1), indefinite detentions can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.

Presidents would have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat.

Constitutional, statute and international laws won’t apply. Martial law will replace them.

Like the companion House bill (HR 1540), detention would be authorized based on alleged prior associations with suspect groups.

US military personnel anywhere in the world would be authorized to seize US citizens and others.

Section 1032 requires suspects held in military custody, outside constitutionally mandated civil protections, including habeas rights, due process, and other judicial procedures.

Presidents could order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial.

Abuse of power would replace rule of law protections. 

Even someone erroneously arrested and cleared of wrongdoing could be held indefinitely without charge, given non-civil trials, none at all, or sent abroad to torture prison hellholes. 

On November 29, the Senate voted 60 – 38 against  Mark Udall’s (D. CO) amendment. If adopted, it would have prohibited the military from arresting and imprisoning anyone anywhere without charge or trial, including US citizens.

An orderly review of presidential and congressional detention power would have been authorized. Before adjourning, House and Senate conferees will resolve the issue one way or other. Removing harmful provisions is doubtful.

If not, Obama promised a veto. So far, he’s broken EVERY major promise made. Given enough congressional votes to override him, it hardly matters what he does.

December 8 is the House’s targeted adjournment date. The Senate date is yet to be announced. Key legislation must be completed before leaving, including resolving language in FY 2012 NDAA.

Obama must then sign or veto it. Congress returns on January 5. Will he keep his promise or sign the bill to assure defense funding continuity? Electoral politics suggests the latter.

Moreover, S. 1867 sponsor Carl Levin said Obama officials were involved in drafting the bill. Both sides apparently agreed on final language.

Some Post-9/11 Background

On September 18, 2001, a joint House-Senate Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) approved permanent war on humanity. Thereafter, America’s lurched from one to another. Expect more ahead.

On November 13, 2001, George Bush issued Military Order Number 1. It was a watershed coup d’etat action.

It authorized presidents to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens (citizens were later included) anywhere in the world based on unproved allegations of involvement in international terrorism. Moreover, it approved holding them indefinitely without charge, evidence or due process rights.

It stipulated that trials, if held, will be in secret military commissions, not civil courts. Torture obtained evidence is allowed, and appeal rights are denied those convicted.

Capitalizing on a window of hysteria, numerous laws, Executive Orders, findings, memoranda, and memos, as well as National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives followed (NSPDs and HSPDs). Constitutional rights eroded. Unchecked police state powers hardened.

On October 26, 2001, 45 days post-9/11, Congress overwhelmingly passed the USA Patriot Act. Civil liberties were eroded, including Fifth and Fourteen Amendment due process rights by permitting indefinite detentions of undocumented immigrants that now apply to anyone anywhere.

First Amendment freedom of association was compromised. Now anyone may be prosecuted for their alleged association with “undesirable groups.”

Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures are gone, including personal privacy rights.

Unchecked government surveillance powers were authorized to access personal records, monitor financial transactions, as well as student, medical and other records.

Secret evidence may be obtained lawlessly and withheld from defense lawyers.

For the first time, “domestic terrorism” was criminalized. It applies to US citizens and aliens. It states criminal law violations are considered domestic terrorist acts if they aim to “influence (government policy) by intimidation, coercion (or) intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” 

In other words, anti-war, global justice, environmental and animal rights activism, as well as Occupy Wall Street activism may be designated “domestic terrorism.” So may civil disobedience and dissent of any kind to prevent it entirely.

On October 1, 2002, USNORTHCOM’s establishment was step one to militarizing America.

The November 25, 2002 Homeland Security Act (HSA) centralized unprecedented executive branch military and law enforcement powers.

The October 17, 2006 Military Commissions Act scrapped habeas protections for domestic and foreign enemies alike, citizens and non-citizens, stating:

“Any person is punishable… who….aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures” and in so doing helps a foreign enemy, provides “material support” to alleged terrorist groups, engages in spying, or commits other offenses previously handled in civil courts.

It also authorized torture and empowered presidents to convene military commissions to try anyone called “unlawful enemy combatants.” They now designated “unprivileged enemy belligerents.”

On the same date, little know FY 2007 NDAA provisions (Sections 1076 and 333) amended the Insurrection Act of 1807 and Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

They prohibit using federal and National Guard troops for law enforcement domestically except as constitutionally allowed or expressly authorized by Congress in times of a national emergency like an insurrection. 

Presidents may now claim public emergency powers, effectively declare martial law, suspend the Constitution for “national security” reasons, and deploy federal and National Guard troops on America’s streets to suppress whatever he calls disorder. 

The key April 4, 2007 NSPD-51/HSPD-20 combined directive established “Continuity of Government (COG)” procedures under Catastrophic Emergency conditions, defined as:

“any incident (such as a terrorist attack), regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.”

COG is then defined as:

“a coordinated effort within the Federal Government’s executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency.”

The combined directive gave the president and DHS unprecedented police state powers to declare martial law without congressional approval, and be able to rule extrajudicially, free from constitutional constrains. It also let the vice-president assume dictatorial powers. Clever wording marginalized Bush, saying:

NSPD 51 “shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved.” 

“Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions.”

Civil liberties were further eroded by institutionalized spying, other forms of surveillance, waging war on Islam, criminalizing dissent, creating a culture of secrecy, militarizing police, punishing whistleblowers, using courts as persecution instruments, and governing extrajudicially overall.

If FY 2012 NDAA includes Sections 1031 and 1032, America more than ever will be repressive and unfit live in. 

How can it be if constitutional, statute and international law protections no longer apply.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/ .  

END

Shaky empire on its last legs

From smh.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald

michael-west-_127x127

Michael West

<i>Illustration: michaelmucci.com</i>

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

“The problem came about because we spent too much, we borrowed too much, we printed too much money, we inflated too much and we over-regulated. We are looking at the collapsing of a market which is unstable. It is unstable because of the way it came about. It came about because of the monopoly control of money and credit by the Federal Reserve system and that is a natural consequence of what happens when the Federal Reserve system creates too much credit.”

Internet conspiracy theorist? No, Ron Paul, candidate for Republican presidential nomination. Those words were from a speech to Congress in 2008 urging a “no” vote on TARP, the Mother of All Bailouts.

Three years later, with the crisis switching up a gear from banks to sovereigns and Europe teetering, Paul predicted “they will probably bail out Europe next”.

That they did. This week, the Fed led a coterie of central banks in a dramatic market intervention which cut the cost of US dollar funding to European banks in half. Drunk on this latest round of credit shots, world stockmarkets popped up 5 per cent, as they do every time the Fed cranks up the presses.

Ron Paul was predictably unimpressed: “Bankers should take their dreaded haircut rather than making innocent people pay for their mistakes. The losses should be limited and liquidated, rather than perpetuated and rewarded. This is the only way we can recover.”

Time wins more converts than reason. Despite being ignored by the mainstream media for years, Paul is now running between second and fifth in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

Although he’s up against the usual GOP field of gun-toting show ponies, ideological crackpots and corporate stooges, the modest congressman from Texas is thought too radical.

After a recent TV debate, host network CNBC took down an internet poll which had Ron Paul thrashing his rivals. His supporters were “gaming” the poll, said the network. There was no evidence.

A civil libertarian and stickler for the constitution, Ron Paul voted against Dubya’s invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act and the TARP bailout. He wants Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve audited, and the gold standard returned.

Needless to say both Wall Street and the military industrial complex – and Republicans and Democrats – are equally leery.

Fox News, which is pushing Newt Gingrich, gave Paul a spot of airtime the other day. A Barbie-blonde presenter attempted to fit him up with a sex scandal of the confected “do you deny…?” genre. It backfired.

The presenter simply couldn’t nail him as Paul a) doesn’t have that ”girls in the hot-tub” look about him, b) has a penchant for telling the truth, and c) displays the uncommon trait of common sense.

They haven’t been able to snare or discredit him yet, so they ignore him so assiduously that people are beginning to suspect he must be onto something.

He is fond of pointing to paradox, for instance the Fed lending to the banks at close to zero and then the banks lending it back to the government at 3 per cent – by buying Treasury bonds – after the government has given it to the Fed in the first place for free (by expanding the Fed’s balance sheet).

If Ron Paul looked prescient for his call on Europe this week there was sure-fire vindication after the Bloomberg news agency won its freedom of information lawsuit against the Fed and revealed the central bank had funnelled

$US13 billion in funds to US banks without disclosing it to Congress.

Bear in mind the Fed, unlike other reserve banks, is owned by private banks. Wall Street if you like. The Fed and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in US history a secret. Now the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $US1.2 trillion on December 5, 2008, their single neediest day.

The abuses are legion, well worth a read. Morgan Stanley, for instance, took $US107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, “enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages” while it was telling everybody it was healthy. That was before TARP.

The rub with hiding things, with lax accountability, is that confidence in public institutions suffers. Indeed the capitalist system is based on trust, trust that a counterparty will pay, that an institution won’t run off with your money, that you are being told the truth.

And so it was that this week we reported in these pages that our own Treasury and Reserve Bank had been purging information about bank guarantees from the public database.

“The banks requested us to remove it!” was one excuse. They had better pray the banks don’t request them to jump off a cliff.

The other excuse was that this public information was “confidential”. Treasury took a week to come up with that one. Public one day, confidential the next – they must have been boning up on their Aldous Huxley.

Already, the bankers know they can’t fail, so they can take more risk. If Ron Paul is right and a system which rewards failure is destined to fail itself, then the only thing standing between here and disaster is credible and transparent regulation.

END

‘OWS to become major challenge for US’

From PressTV

           Lawmaker Zohreh Elahian

A senior Iranian lawmaker says the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement will turn into a major challenge for the US government and police will not be able to control it.

Zohreh Elahian said on Saturday that while some analysts believed that the OWS movement would die out soon it appears that it will be a continuous movement. 

The lawmaker, who is member of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, stated that ongoing protests in the US are not simply of a financial nature. 

“[The protests] have freedom-seeking and anti-arrogance dimensions and aim to oppose the hegemonic system which has humiliated people for many years,” Fars News Agency quoted her as saying. 

Elahian noted that in a recent visit to the United States, the Iranian human rights delegation visited New York’s Zuccotti park, where OWS movement started, and talked to American protesters. 

She described the park as having been surrounded by police cars and said people took refuge in nearby churches before going back to the park. 

“Due to extreme cold, some of them nearly froze to death…but their [high] motivation and steadfastness proves that their movement will continue,” she added. 

An Iranian delegation headed by Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, took part in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee meeting in November to delineate Iran’s position on human rights and to respond to anti-Iranian allegations of the US government. 

The Occupy movement emerged in the US after a group of demonstrators gathered in New York’s financial district on September 17 to protest the unjust distribution of wealth in the country and the excessive influence of big corporations on US policies. 

Despite police harassment and mass arrests, the Occupy protests have spread to other major US cities as well as to other countries like Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal. 

SS/HGH

END

The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America

From Washington’s Blog

Preface: This post does not discuss whether or not 9/11 was a “false flag” operation or an “inside job”.  Anything other than a discussion of the negligence of the Bush administration is unnecessary for the purposes of this essay, and is thus beyond the scope of this post.

In case you didn’t get the memo, we are currently in a depression. And see this

And given that American citizens can be indefinitely detained or assassinated at the whim of the president, it is pretty clear that we now live in a police state.

This post will demonstrate – without getting into discussions of an “inside job” one way or the other – that the failure to hold a real 9/11 investigation is a core cause of our loss of our prosperity and freedom.

The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America

Top economists say that endless war bankrupts a nation.

For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz says that the $3-5 trillion spent on the Iraq war alone has been very bad for the American economy. See thisthis and this.

The endless wars have also been a main component of America’s soaring debt:

TAX CUTS DEBT The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America

And huge debts exert a very real drag on the economy.

As shown below, we wouldn’t have launched the war against Iraq – or the endless panoply of wars throughout the Middle East and North America – if 9/11 had actually been in investigated.

(Even the 9/11 Commission itself admits that there was criminal obstruction of justice and a whitewash of the investigation. See thisthisthisthis, and this. As such, there has never been a real investigation.)

The Police State Was Caused by the Failure to Investigate 9/11

The police state started in 2001.

Specifically, on 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans that ended America’s constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.)

On that same day, a national state of emergency was declared … and that state of emergency hascontinuously been in effect up to today.

It is beyond dispute that 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but – due to the extreme negligence and incompetence or lack of caring of the Bush administration (remember, I’m not getting into any other theories in this post) it wasn’t stopped.  Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.

If there had been a real 9/11 investigation, the Bush administration’s extreme negligence would have come to light.   And Americans would have learned that terrorism can largely be prevented if the military and intelligence officers are simply allowed to do their job.

As just one example, Dick Cheney was in charge of all counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. See this Department of State announcementthis CNN article; and this essay.

The genius Mr. Cheney apparently scheduled 5 war games for the morning of 9/11. Specifically, on the very morning of September 11th, five war games and terror drills were being conducted by several U.S. defense agencies, purportedly including one “live fly” exercise using real planes. Then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers, admitted to 4 of the war games in congressional testimony — see transcript here or video here (6 minutes and 12 seconds into the video.

False radar blips to be inserted onto air traffic controllers’ screens as part of the war game exercises, which may have confused the heck out of them (see this December 9, 2001 Toronto Star article; pay-per-view; reprinted here).  Way to let that one slip through, Mr. in-charge-of-all-war-games.

The military – under the Vice President’s command that day – didn’t scramble enough fighter jets, and then scrambled jets far over the Atlantic Ocean, in what Senator Mark Dayton called:

The most gross incompetence and dereliction of responsibility and negligence that I’ve ever, under those extreme circumstances, witnessed in the public sector.

And the knucklehead personally watched flight 77 for many miles, but – according to Secretary of Transportation Norm Minetta – stopped it from being shot down before it hit the Pentagon (and see this).

Americans would have learned through any real 9/11 investigation that Cheney’s negligence and mucking around in what should have been the generals’ jobs was partly responsible for allowing 9/11 to happen.

In other words, a real 9/11 investigation would have shown Americans that 9/11 should of, could of, and would have been stopped – and that America can protect itself against future terrorist attacks – simply by playing goalie well in our country.

And Americans – instead of being scared into immobility – would have been mad at our government for dropping the ball. And we would have demanded accountability and effective service from our elected officials.  (Indeed, experts have repeatedly demonstrated that fear of terror makes people stupid … and makes them willing to accept a loss of liberty and other abuses they would never otherwise accept.)

The Road Not Taken

Instead, of course, Americans were led to believe that Al Qaeda was going to get us unless we took the fight to the Middle East and North Africa.  The administration pretended that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11 – one of the main justifications for that war.

Had a real 9/11 investigation been conducted before we launched the Iraq war, it would have taken away one of the two main rationales for that war. (The FBI was also instructed to blame the anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda, and high-level government officials pointed towards Iraq as the source of the anthrax, even though there was absolutely no basis for those claims. But that’s another story.)

Dan Rather was right when he wrote last week:

We have been so afraid; so hell bent on destroying enemies … both foreign and domestic … we have hurt ourselves and our democracy.

Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser also told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is so overblown that it is “a mythical historical narrative”.

And as I noted in 2008:

Former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, a 23-year senior CIA analyst, who “drafted or was involved in many of the government’s most senior assessments of the threats facing our country [and who] devoted years to understanding and combating the jihadist threat”, writes today in the Washington Post that the neocons have whipped us into an irrational fear of the terrorism. In reality, “Osama bin Laden and his disciples are small men and secondary threats whose shadows are made large by our fears” and our leaders.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The BBC produced a documentary called The Power of Nightmares in 2005 that showed that politicians were greatly exaggerating the terrorist threat for political ends.

And unfortunately, many in government have intentionally whipped up fear in the American public for their own political purposes. For example, FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”.

And former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection. Fear sells.

And because 9/11 was never really investigated, the government – instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer – are doing things which increase the risk of terrorism.

As such, the threats from terrorism form even more of a “justification” for a suspension of our Constitutional rights.

The failure to investigate 9/11 has bankrupted America financially and morally, and has allowed us to stand idly by while our liberty has been destroyed.

END

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