Based on its recent Libyan and Gulf states reporting, Qatar-based Al Jazeera's credibility appears extremely compromised. Overall, its Libya misreporting has been deceitful, functioning more as a propaganda arm for Washington, NATO and insurgents, indistinguishable from US and other western media, representing imperial conquest, colonization, and pillaging another non- belligerent country. In late March, moreover, Front Page writer Mohammed al-Kibsi accused Al Jazeera of airing old Iraqi prisoner abuse video, broadcast by Al-Arabiya in 2007, infabricating news about Yemen. Yet it was aired repeatedly, claiming it showed Yemeni Central Security forces torturing protesters. Later admitting its mistake, Al Jazeera blamed a technical error and apologized, too late to undue the damage to those blamed and its reputation, badly tarnished by frequent misreporting on the region, despite earlier worthy efforts that built its standing as a reliable broadcaster. That now is very much in question. California State University Professor As'ad AbuKhalil runs the Angry Arab News Service, accessed through the following link: http://angryarab.blogspot.com/ His recent comments on Al Jazeera's Libya coverage include: April 20: "According to Al Jazeera's legal opinion, " UN Resolution 1973 permits use of nuclear weapons.
A Brookings Institution Report contradicts the saga of American "Exceptionalism". By comparing economic mobility in the United States and other countries concludes: Starting at the bottom of the earnings ladder is more of a handicap in the United States in the United States than in other countries. For Republican presidential candidates the phrase American Exceptionalism has taken on almost "Talismanic" qualities. Newt Gingrich's new book is titled "A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters". Don't be too sure, Mr. Gingrich. On the other hand, Mike Huckabee DECLARES: "To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation." What a bunch of useless crap: What is this American exceptionalism Republicans so venerate? After interviewing many Republican leaders, Washington Post Reporter Karen Tumulty concludes it is the belief that America "is inherently superior to the world's other nations". If you believe that, you may want to believe in the Easter Bunny as your Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, most Americans believe in their divine right to make other nations let their people die, when our "almighty" drones make mincemeat of little children in Afghanistan or Iraq. REALLY, this is so disgusting, that it makes me want to puke. "Oups" got to go, so that I can reach my toilet bowl in time. When I served as Advisory Team Leader in Vietnam, I made certain certain that we avoided killing the innocents of our world. Mr. Obama, reflect on that little tidbit for many weeks - perhaps you might eventually "see the light" yeah-right.
Dana Visalli, while in Kabul this year, visited the US military base in "Camp Eggers". The female officer in charge reprimanded the person who had the temerity to accompany Dana, and lead her to the "inner sanctum" of that base. In the mid-1960's political scientist Hannah Arendt published a book-length study of how some of the great evils of history, such as slavery and the Holocaust. managed to occur. Her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, concluded that generally such crimes are not carried out by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their superiors and their state, and therefore do what they are told to do, and participate with the view that their actions are normal. The word "banal" is defined as something that is trite, normal, and commonplace. The root of the word comes from the Old French word ban, referring to feudal military service, which was compulsory and thus commonly accepted. Thus, military culture is by definition synonymous with with banal, which my acquaintances at Camp Eggers demonstrated as they strove to find orders to follow and avoid responsibility for their actions. Most members of the military establishment receive extensive training in combat techniques, including of course how to kill other human beings. One common drill at boot camp is to have recruits lunge repeatedly at mock human targets with mounted bayonets, shouting "Kill! Kill!"
Yes, fellow sport fans - This is NOT a drill: The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that "some" of the core of a "stricken" Japanese reactor had "probably" leaked from its steel pressure vessel into the bottom of the containment structure, implying that the damage was even worse than previously thought. The statement came as the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, started to inject nitrogen into the reactor containment vessel of unit No. 1, to prevent a possible explosion. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's statement regarded unit #2, and the agency underscored that its interpretation was speculative and based on high radiation readings that Tokyo Electric had found in the lower part of unit No.2's primary containment structure, called the drywell. The statement said that the commission "does not believe that the reactor vessel has given way, and we do believe practically all of the core remains in the vessel." The agency's statement was issued after Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, told a House hearing on Wednesday morning that the commission had told him that the core had melted through the vessel.
Even those who have studied the criminal consolidation of our planet under a global corporate-financier oligarchy may be noticing that the current war is turning into something new and unprecedented: The lies and propaganda have hit an all-time high, and no article encapsulates this better than the bizarre, grotesque piece written in the New York Times, titled: "Inferior Arms Hobble Rebels in Libya War." In it, the "glorious, heroic rebels" are described as under-armed, which requires them to to use weapons such as landmines, and rockets that indiscriminately target civilians and government troops alike. They also wield knives that they want to stuff into Qaddafi's heart. Perhaps this macabre , suspicious article is trying to excuse reports coming out, that the Libyan rebels, who themselves admit to ties to Al-Qaeda, are reportedly butchering, beheading, and mutilating captured government troops, and who are now guilty of employing the same weapons and tactics NATO has accused Qaddafi of using - the very justification used by NATO to enter the war in the first place! The New York Times indeed attempts to excuse these various grisly reports by saying that the rebels have little evident command-and-control and no clear or consistent rules of engagement: "I say - WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP, which obviously stinks to high heaven. NUFF SAID!"
My father, who once became an "Allied Prisoner of War" in Erbisoeul Belgium, where he had to subsist on extremely meager rations, until he was rescued by the Red Cross in Geneva, taught me to be kind to all of God's creatures. Italian justice activist Vittorio Arrigoni must have had a similar upbringing: Vittorio was reportedly murdered by a fundamentalist group in Gaza, a few hours after he was kidnapped on Thursday, April 14. The killing was supposedly in retaliation for Hamas's crackdown on this group's members. All who knew "Vic" will attest to the fact that he was an extraordinary person, a model of compassion, solidarity and humanity. Arrigoni's body was discovered in an abandoned house after he was kidnapped. His murderers didn't honor their own deadline of thirty hours. The group, known as the Tawhid and Jihad, is one of the fringe groups known in Gaza as the Salafis. They resurface under different names and manifestations, for specific, and often bloody purposes. The killing prompted grief in Gaza, but also despair, read an op-ed in the UK Independent on April 16. Not only was Arrigoni well known and well liked there, but it escaped no one that this kidnapping was the first since that of the BBC journalist Alan Johnson in 2007.
Military bases RUS, or so it seems: After the invasion of 2003, the Pentagon promptly started constructing a series of MONSTER bases in occupied Iraq, the size of small American towns, and with most of the amenities of home. These were for a projected garrison of 30,000 to 40,000 US troops that top officials of the Bush administration initially anticipated would be free to "hang out" in that country for an armed eternity. In the end, hundreds of bases were built - and now hundreds have been closed down or handed over to the Iraqis, and in some cases looted. With present US troop strength at about 47,000 and falling, American officials are now practically pleading with an Iraqi government moving ever closer to the Iranians to let some American forces remain at a few giant bases beyond the official end-of-2011 withdrawal date. Meanwhile, post 2003, the US went on a base-building spree in the Persian Gulf, digging in and enlarging facilities in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, "home" to the US Fifth Fleet. In that island kingdom, an Obama administration preaching "democracy" elsewhere has stood by in the face of a fierce Bahrain--Saudi campaign of repression against a majority Shiite movement for greater freedom.
Since the beginning of the NATO operation in Libya, a total of 2,771 sorties and 1,110 strike sorties have been conducted. A total of 18 ships under NATO command are actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean. 22 Vessels were hailed , 10 boardings and 3 diversions have been conducted since the beginning of arms embargo operations: These sorties include only those tabulated since NATO took command of Operation Odyssey Dawn. It does NOT include the sorties between March 19 and March 30. The coalition is currently running more than a hundred sorties per day. We are dealing with a formidable military force, a deployment of naval power and air force bombers directed against a country of less than 7 million people, less than the population of Switzerland. There is evidence of mass civilian casualties: These are war crimes directed against a defenseless population. Bombers and fighters are deployed by the US Air Force and the Marine Corps, and in this mix, we must also include the concentrated killing power of France, the UK, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Qatar, UAE, Denmark, Norway, and others!
Welcome to the United States of Austerity: At the end of summer 2010, most experts believed first, that the debate on the US budget deficit would remain a mere subject of theoretical discussion within the Beltway, and second, that it was unthinkable to imagine the United States engaging in a policy of austerity, because it was sufficient for the Fed to continue to print dollars. Yet, as everyone has been able to see for several weeks, Spring 2011 really did bring austerity to the United States, a first since the Second World War and setting up a global system based on the ability of the US engine to always generate more wealth. At this stage, LEAP/E2020 can confirm that the next stage of the crisis will really be the "Very Serious Breakdown of the world economic, financial and monetary system" and that this historic failure will occur in autumn 2008 for what it really was: a simple detonator. The crisis in Japan, the Chinese decisions and the debt crisis in Europe will certainly play a role in this historic breakdown. On the other hand, we consider that the issue of government debt of countries on Euroland's periphery is no longer the dominant European risk factor here, but it is the United Kingdom which will find itself in the position of the "sick man of Europe". The Eurozone has in fact established, and keeps improving all the monitoring systems needed to address these problems.
"President" Obama is now actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. Among the many elements of the Obama administration that have disappointed civil libertarians is its interest in spying on Americans. The Bush administration had instituted massive warrant-less wiretapping and gathering of telephone records, with the complicity of most telecom corporations. Those who care about the "bill of rights" had hoped that Eric Holder's Department of Justice would take a stand for the Fourth Amendment, which should be on the endangered species list along with the golden tree frog and the St. Helena dragonet. The administration is appealing a Washington, DC federal appeals court ruling that threw out the case that law enforcement had built against a suspected cocaine distributor because the officers attached a global positioning satellite tracking device to his automobile without a warrant, and then followed his movements for a whole month. That they tracked the suspect for so long without bothering to involve a judge was one basis for the ruling.
Atrocities are US: In 2010, a group of five American soldiers murdered a number of Afghan civilians for sport, and collected fingers of their victims as trophies. For them, killing had become normal and banal, since it was what they were trained to do. In March of 2011, two US Army Blackhawk helicopters came upon 10 Afghan children, ages 7 to 13, gathering brush to warm their huts, and attacked them with heavy machine gun fire. When the parents of the children arrived at the scene, they could only collect the body parts of their offspring. For the pilots of the helicopters, killing was part of their job, a normal part of military life. On March 12, 2006, four US soldiers entered the home of a 14-year old girl in the Iraqi city of Mahmudiya, took her mother, father and sister into a bedroom and shot them, and then gang-raped the girl. Afterward, they shot her in the head and attempted to burn her body. Then, they reported the deaths as being the result of an insurgent attack. On March 25, 2003, Marine Sgt. Eric Schrumpf was participating in the US invasion of Iraq, when he spotted an Iraqi soldier in his field of view behind a female Iraqi citizen. Since he couldn't get a clear shot with the woman blocking his line of sight, he shot her to get her out of the line of fire, explaining that "the chick was in the way". Later, he elaborated: "We had a great day - we killed a lot of people." Over the long term, most soldiers committing such murders become victims of their own lack of judgment, unable to live with the profoundly antisocial acts they have committed. One Sergeant can now scarcely function in civilian society, and has attacked people in movie theaters, because he mistakes their cans of Coke for military weapons.
Five weeks after Japan's disaster, reports suggest worse, not improved conditions. It portends serious regional and global trouble ahead, besides what's already happened: On April 16, AP headlined: "Radioactivity Rises in Sea Off Japan Nuclear Plant," saying: "Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near Fukushima, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday." The announcement followed a 5.9 level aftershock rocking the country early Saturday. So far, no additional damage reports were issued. However, seawater radioactive Iodine 131 spiked to 6,500 times above normal, up from 1,000 times Friday, and Cesium -134 and 137 rose nearly fourfold. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) raised the possibility of worrisome new leaks, admitting that tracking them is difficult. Nonetheless, they still claim no threat to humans or sea life, despite numerous independent experts raising dire warnings of spreading global radiation, including plutonium, the most deadly substance known, since a microscopic speck is enough to cause cancer.
Because of his government's handling of the nuclear crisis, a majority of Japanese believe they need a new leader to take the helm, as the country attempts to recover from last month's earthquake and tsunami. Naoto Kan, who has been in office for less than a year, can expect little respite even after the operator of the plant said it hoped to end the crisis within the next six to nine months. The government has yet to say when tens of thousands of people evacuated from the area will be allowed to return home, while the rebuilding effort along Japan's north-east coast has barely begun more than five weeks after the disaster. The government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, has said Tepco's target of achieving "cold shutdown" of damaged reactors by early next year would only be met if "everything goes smoothly". Tepco stood by its time frame, despite the release data showing that radiation levels in two reactor buildings were still too high for workers to enter. The new readings were released after US-made robots entered reactor buildings numbers one and three, the first time machines have been employed since the plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
Five weeks after Japan's Disaster, reports suggest worse, not improved conditions. It portends serious regional and global trouble ahead, besides what's already happened. On April 16, AP headlined "Radioactivity Rises in Sea off Japan Nuclear Plant", saying: "Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near Fukushima, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday." The announcement followed a 5.9 level aftershock rocking the country early Saturday. So far, no additional damage reports were issued, however, seawater radioactive Iodine 131 spiked to 6,500 times above normal, up from 1,100 times Friday, and Cesium 134 and 137 rose nearly fourfold. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) raised the possibility of worrisome new leaks, admitting that tracking them is "difficult." Nonetheless, they still claim no threat to humans or sea life, despite the numerous independent experts raising dire warnings of spreading global radiation, including plutonium, the most deadly substance known, since a microscopic speck is enough to cause cancer.
First the GOOD News: Even though Obama has screwed up our foreign policy beyond repair, he and his wife earned $1.7 million last year, and paid $453,770 in federal taxes, possibly to atone for the mess they have made in our foreign policy, and the many wars they have forced our army into. On the other hand, the Obamas donated $245,075 to charities, according to a copy of their 2010 tax form released by the White House on Monday, the deadline for filing tax returns, according to the Detroit Free Press. The White House said proceeds from the sale of the president's books account for most of the Obamas' income. Obama's annual salary as US president is about $400,000. The Obamas paid about $450,000 in federal taxes, and donated more than 14 percent of their income to 36 different charities last year. Monday is Tax Day in the United States, the last day to file federal income tax returns, or apply for an extension. Post offices throughout our country are often busy with filers who are rushing to mail the documentation and any payment by the deadline. Filers can also submit forms and payment electronically.
Congress focused on issues surrounding government spending this week as talk of deficits, the national debt limit saturated the airwaves. Actually, this is a positive development: In past years, there was very little concern over how much was spent here in Washington, how it was spent, or how much of our gross domestic product was being consumed by government. That blissful ignorance naturally resulted in decades of government spending with impunity, bringing us to where we are today: Trillions in debt with astronomical entitlement obligations that will be impossible to fulfill in the not too distant future, so it is a good thing that there is so much political pressure now on our leaders to actually put the brakes on runaway spending. However, even the most generous estimate of the spending cut passed this week - $38.5 billion - is a paltry 3.5% of the $1.o5 trillion in spending through the next 5 months. This hardly makes a dent in our government's mountain of debt. Even worse than that, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stripped away the accounting sleights of hand and scored it as only $352 million in cuts, which works out to less than half of one percent of spending. Still, the tiniest cut is better than the massive increases we have become accustomed to in federal budgets. Of course, our disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not even included in this budget, as they are considered emergency spending. They constitute $3.3 billion in spending in the same period of time, so they more than cancel out any small cuts the warmongers may crow about!
Why did the "Libyan Rebels" take time out from their rebellion in March to "create" their own central bank, before they even had a government? In his Economic Policy Journal, Robert Wenzel commented: "I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests that we have more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around, and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. On the other hand, Alex Newman wrote in the New American: "In a statement released last week, the rebels reported on the results of a meeting held on March 19. Among other things, the supposed rag-tag revolutionaries announced the designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with temporary headquarters in Benghazi. Newman quoted CNBC senior editor John Carney, who asked: "Is this the first time in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era." Another anomaly involves the official justification for taking up arms against Libya. Supposedly, it's about human rights violations, but the evidence is contradictory!
Are we waging a "humanitarian war" against the Libyan people? When I served as Advisory Team Leader in Vietnam, I found out the hard way, that there is no such thing. War is the most brutal intervention into the lives of the indigenous people of a country than anyone can ever imagine. Even the most gentle soldier, who is driven by compassion for a land's indigenous population will eventually become a brute, when he watches a comrade die before his eyes. The war in Libya, as well as the armed insurrection in that country, were planned months before the Arab protest movements on the African continent, and we were mistakenly led to believe that the protest movements in Egypt and Tunisia had "spread" to Libya. In fact, the "insurrection" in Libya was presented as a spontaneous response to a "wave" of pro-democracy activism which had swept the Arab World. In turn, we were led to believe that "the international community" decided in response to these unfolding events that "we must protect the lives of civilians", and refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council. The "media" then reported that it was only once the Security Council had adopted Resolution 1973, that the US and NATO member countries took the decision to intervene militarily in Libya under the "No Fly Zone." I say: "Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit, since I was once a military "insider"! As Michel Chossudovsky correctly states, THE WAR ON LYBYA WAS KNOWN AND DECIDED WELL IN ADVANCE! UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1973 Pertaining to Libya Was already on the Drawing Board MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF THE "PRO-DEMOCRACY" Insurrection in Eastern Libya!
Several writers about the situation in Libya noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank, before they even had a "government". Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal: "I have NEVER before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular "uprising." This suggests we have more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around, and that there are some "pretty sophisticated" influences. On the other hand, Alex Newman wrote in the New American: "In a statement released last week, the "rebels" reported on the results of a meeting held on March 19: Among other things, the supposed "rag-tag" revolutionaries announced the designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya, and appointment of a "Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary monetary head- quarters in Benghazi. Newman quoted CNBC senior editor John Carey, who asked: "Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how powerful central bankers have become in out era."