Ted Rall: Executive Privilege is a Lie Handed Down from President to President!

Presidents of both parties have asserted that the constitutional separation of powers grants the executive branch an "inherent" right to ignore subpoenas issued by Congress or the judiciary through "executive privilege." The standard argument is that compliance would reveal the internal deliberations of the president, his Cabinet officers, and other government officials who require the presumption of privacy in order to engage in internal debates and deliberations. The ongoing Fast and Furious debacle is President Obama's first use of "executive privilege" to avoid such subpoenas, but both by historical and current legal standards, the continued use of the tool is a radical overreach. I put "executive privilege" in quotes because, like terms as "enemy combatant," it does not appear in law. The closest we have to a definite word on executive privilege dates to the Watergate scandal, when the US Supreme Court ruled against Richard Nixon's attempt to stonewall Congress. As long as a prosecutor could argue that the relevant documents were essential to the justice of a case, and did not compromise national security, Chief Justice Warren Burger said, the president would have to fork over the documents. Operation Fast and Furious, a law enforcement matter, doesn't qualify under the Burger ruling. Yet, it's hard to imagine a credible case that national security would be compromised if the details were made public. Since run-of-the-mill Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives memos would be covered, the usual top-level internal deliberations justification doesn't apply either. Once again, Obama is following precedent established by George W Bush, whose legal advisers seem to have missed the class about how Americans decided not to be ruled by a King. Bush, who promoted another legal fiction, a "unitary executive" branch, invoked executive privilege six times.   

Grant Smith: Netanyahu Worked Inside Nuclear Smuggling Ring!

On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages from a 1985-2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the US. The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth, who was convicted of running a US front company met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel's prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network's unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing "Project Pinto." As revealed in previously released FBI files and the tell-all book, Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan, the Hollywood producer was recruited into Israel's economic espionage division (LAKAM) in his 20s and learned how to establish front companies and secret bank accounts for smuggling operations. Arnon Milchan encouraged Smyth, a California engineer, to incorporate MILCO in 1972, and serve as a front for the Israel-based Heli Trading's, also known as Milchan Limited, acquisitions of sensitive military technologies on behalf of the Ministry of Defense. Smyth fled the US after being indicted for violating the Arms Export Control Act in the mid-1980s. In July 2001, Smyth was arrested in Spain by Interpol and returned to the US. In November, he was convicted of exporting 800 nuclear triggers, called krytrons. FBI agents interviewed Smyth on April 16-17, 2002, at the US attorney's office in Los Angeles. The secret interview report details how during a trip to Israel,Smyth was "spotted" by Milchan, who claimed he worked as an exclusive purchasing agent for the Ministry of Defense.  

Rick Rozoff: The Pentagon and NATO Rehearse for War against Russia.

Last month was a busy one for US-NATO military exercises in the Baltic Sea. Three major multinational training exercises, including naval maneuvers, amphibious landings and preparation for deployment to Afghanistan, occurred in the region in June, in one case overlapping. From June 10-22 the US Seventh Army's Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), based in Grafenwoehr, Germany, conducted this year's Saber Strike, the largest multinational military exercise in the area. Approximately 2,000 troops from seven NATO nations, the US, Britain, France, Canada, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania participated in training to "engage the enemy, as they overcome challenges in interoperability," according to the JMTC's account of the drills in Estonia and Latvia. The former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the rotating sites for Saber Strike exercises and "share resources and capabilities to meet the training requirements of organic units and elements, who may deploy in support of contingency operations in Afghanistan." JMTCs lead exercise planner, Tony Bonarti, said of the training: In pursuing operational cohesiveness, these nations expect to achieve vast improvements in their respective defense and host-nation governments that allow them to be prepared to address both national and international crisis events. Live-fire and field training exercises were conducted at the Adazi Training Area in Latvia and other events were held at facilities in Estonia. The scenario employed for the live-fire exercise was "defending a Forward Operating Base." A US Army Europe website report of a war game simulation held at the Tapa Training facility said: "Working cooperatively with allied partners, the Estonian forces are exercising a combat action scenario. 


David Rosen: Mass Arrests Likely at Political Conventions!

The Republican and Democratic Party conventions later this summer will probably witness the mass arrest of many American citizens assembling to exercise their First Amendment rights. Mass arrests accompanied the Republican conventions held in New York in 2004, when 900 people were busted, and in St Paul in 2008 when 300 were detained, including 30 journalists. A political convention is designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE), a category of state security originally established by President Clinton through a classified 1998 directive. NSSEs also include the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and gatherings of world leaders like the G20 or NATO summits. An event receiving a NSSE designation gives federal and local law enforcement wide discretion, often leading them to treat protesters as potential terrorists and threats to national security. This attitude was visible in the recent NATO summit held in Chicago, at which approximately 70 people were busted over two days, including three for "terrorism," allegedly planning to firebomb the Obama campaign headquarters. Less reported upon but perhaps more illuminating, law enforcement authorities cobbled together a small army to execute the Chicago NSSE campaign. In addition to the estimated 3,100 members of the Chicago Police Department, ground troops came from near and far. The Illinois State Police contributed 700 troopers, Milwaukee supplied 100 officers, a Philadelphia contingent consisted of 68 officers, and still other police personnel came from Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Federal agents had operational control of the Chicago NATO summit because it was designated a NSSE site. Meanwhile, federal agencies, including Department of Homeland Security and the FBI played advisory roles with local law enforcement to plan response activities. 

Christian Hill: The Way President Obama is Running The Country is "Stupid"

The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin. That's according to Donald Trump, who painted a very ugly picture of where this country is headed under its current leadership. Trump made the comments during a recent appearance on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." According to Trump, the United States is no longer a rich country. "When you're not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We're borrowing from the Chinese and others. We're up to $16 trillion in debt." Its clear that Trump holds President Barack Obama responsible for the ballooning debt. Trump stated that the way Obama is running the country is "stupid." He goes on to point out that the downgrade of US debt is inevitable. "We are going up to $16 trillion in debt very soon, and it's going to be a lot higher than that before he gets finished. When you have debt in the $21-$22 trillion, you are talking about a downgrade, no matter how you cut it." Ballooning debt and a credit downgrade aren't Trump's only worries for this country. He says that the official unemployment rate of 8.2 percent "isn't a real number" and that the real figure is closer to 15 percent to 16 percent. He even mentioned that some believe the unemployment rate to be as high as 21 percent. "Right now, frankly, the country isn't doing well," Trump added, "Recession may be a nice word." While 15 percent to 16 percent unemployment, a looming credit downgrade, and ballooning debt are a bleak outlook for the United States, they are hardly as alarming as the scenario laid out by another economist. Without earning celebrity status or having his own television show, Robert Wiedemer did something else that grabbed headlines across the country: He accurately predicted the economic collapse that almost sank the United States. 

Nile Bowie: Syria - War and Stabilization!

Diplomatic attempts to solve the Syrian crisis have been rejected by both members of the Syrian government and the opposition. As Ankara laments bold rhetoric and militarizes its border with Syria, this article attempts to foresee three possible outcomes to the ongoing crisis. From the start of the crisis in Syria, the possibility of open foreign military intervention has loomed uncomfortably over the series of diplomatic measures taken in an attempt to diffuse the situation. While earlier attempts to implement the Peace Plan have failed to materialize, Kofi Annan has proposed a new Syrian solution, mandating the creation of a transitional national unity government consisting of both representatives of Assads administration and members of the opposition, insinuating that Assad would not have a place in the new government. Although Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would categorically oppose the idea of foreign powers dictating the future of Syria, stating, We will not support and cannot support any meddling from outside or any imposition of recipes. This also concerns the fate of the president of the country, Bashar al Assad, a recent meeting of the "Syrian Action Group" excluding Riyadh, Tehran and Damascus in Geneva, saw world powers agree to a basic road-map for a Syrian-led power transition. On June 28, 2012, two large bomb explosions targeting a government building rocked Damascus, prompting President Assad to reassert the Syrian governments duty to annihilate terrorists i any corner of the country, adding, We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria's problems as well as we do. In response to the meeting, both Syrian state media and opposition groups condemned the UN-brokered peace plan for the formation of a unity government. 


Dartagnan: Robert Reich, Daily Kos

Robert Reich says the attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital miss the larger point, one which the White House is not even prepared to acknowledge: Mitt Romney is not simply a callous vulture capitalist, he is the living embodiment of the financial catastrophe that brought this country to the edge of ruin. The real issue here isn't Bain's betting record. It's that Romney's Bain is part of the same system as Jamie Dimon's JPMorgan Chase, Jon Corzine's MF Global and Lloyd Blankfein's Goldman Sachs, a system that has turned much of the economy into a betting parlor that nearly imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and devastating household incomes. The winners in this system are top Wall Street executives and traders, private-equity managers and hedge-fund moguls, and the losers are most of the rest of us. The thousands of job losses caused by Ban's "bad bets," while providing rich fodder for the Administration's campaign ads, are really just a microcosm of self-perpetuating, labyrinthine tax system geared to rewarding the wealthiest with the privilege of betting their fortunes on money they've neither earned nor done anything to deserve, with little or no personal risk. Reich calls it "casino capitalism." The biggest players in this system have, like Romney, made their profits placing big bets with other people's money. If the bets go well, the players make out like bandits. If they go badly, the burden lands on average workers and taxpayers. The fortunes raked in by financial deal-makers depend on special goodies baked into the tax code such as "carried interest," which allows Romney and other partners in private-equity firms, as well as in many venture-capital and hedge funds to treat their incomes as capital gains taxed at a maximum of 15 percent.   

The Economist: Democracy in America. Obamacare and Medicaid

The individual mandate has been the most contentious part of Obama-care, leading to fights that will continue into the future. The House of Representatives will vote to repal the law next week, while Mitt Romney, having passed a mandate of hisown in Massachusetts, promises to end Obama-care, should he win in November. Democrats, meanwhile, are using Mr Romney's own language about punishing freeloaders and free riders to defend the mandate. But the reality of the mandate does not warrant the furor surrounding it. As Ezra Klein explained last week, the penalties for not buying insurance are small. So small that some Americans may simply ignore it. Mr Klein pointed out that those in Massachusetts complied anyway. I'd argue that voters in Wichita are different than those in Worcester. Much more important, in practical terms, is the looming fight over Medicaid. The 26 states that fought Barack Obama's health-care reform in court, challenged not just the individual mandate, but the expansion of Medicaid, the public health program for the poor. Washington pays for 50% to 83% of each state's Medicaid program. Beginning in 2014, the reform extends Medicaid to all those with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The states charged that the expansion is so big and the terms so stark, extend Medicaid or forgo Washington's money, that they had no choice but to go along. They received little sympathy from the lower courts. So it was somewhat of a surprise when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the issue. But in its ruling last week, the justices sided in part with the states: Congress may offer states money for the Medicaid expansion. If a state refuses, the state may keep the Medicaid money it has already.

Eric Draitser: Crossroads of Another US Poxy War?

The current unrest in Balochistan centers around forced disappearances, kidnappings, targeted killings, assassinations and terrorism. However, these are merely the tactics of a much broader, more geopolitically complex war in which the UnitedStates and its Western allies are engaged. though seemingly insignificant against the backdrop of all the regional and international crises affecting our world, Balochistan is, in fact, a nexus: the point at which diametrically opposing strategic interests converge. The United States views Balochistan, an area that encompasses western Pakistan, eastern Iran, and a piece of southern Afghanistan, as critical to the maintenance of US hegemony in the Middle East and Central and South Asia. Conversely, China regards the region as necessary for its own economic and political evolution into a world superpower. Seen in this way, Balochistan becomes central to the development of geopolitical power in the 21st Century. Balochistan is located in one of the most geographically and politically significant places anywhere in the world. Not only does the region sit astride three countries, which have become central to Western political and military power projection, it is also central to the development and export of energy from Central Asia, access to the Indian Ocean, and a host of other geopolitical imperatives for both the West and the SCO/BRICS countries. Because of this, the region has grown exponentially in importance to all the major powers of the world. Though the land seems, on the surface, to be inhospitable, it also holds great wealth just beneath the soil. Aside from what is believed to be a large quantity of natural gas and/or oil, the earth under the feet of the Baloch people holds vast quantities of minerals necessary for economic development.  


Eric Loomis: America's Headed Back to the Robber-Baron Era!

Over the past 40 years, corporations and politicians have rolled back many of the gains made by working and middle-class people over the previous century. We have the highest level of income inequality in 90 years. Both private and public sector unions are under a concerted attack, and federal and state governments intend to cut deficits by slashing services to the poor. We are recreating the Gilded Age, the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions, and engaging in open corruption. During the Gilded Age, many Americans lived in stark poverty, in crowded tenement housing, without safe workplaces, and lacked any safety net to help lift them out of hard times. With Republicans more committed than ever to repealing every economic gain the working-class has achieved in the last century, and the Democrats seemingly unable to resist, we need to understand the "Gilded Age" to see what conservatives are trying to do to this nation. Here are 8 ways our corporations, politicians and courts are trying to recreate the Gilded Age: 1. Unregulated Corporate Capitalism Creates Economic Collapse. In the late 19th century, corrupt railroad capitalists created the Panic of 1873 and Panic of 1893, through lying about their business activities, buying off politicians and siphoning off capital into their own pockets. Railroad corporations set up phony corporations that allowed them to embezzle money from the railroad into their bank accounts. When exposed, the entire economy collapsed, as banks failed throughout the country. The Panic of 1893 lasted five years, created 25% unemployment, and was the worst economic crisis in American history before the Great Depression.   

The Economist: Mexico's Election, The PRI is Back!

Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is on course to become the next president of Mexico. An official "rapid count" of ballots just before midnight following Sunday's election gave him a projected lead of between 6% and 7.7% over his closest rival. Felipe Calderon, the outgoing president and member of the rival National Action Party, or PAN, congratulated Mr Pena on his victory late on Sunday evening, and the PAN's candidate, Josefina Vazquez Mota, conceded, but Mr Pena's closest challenger, the left-wing Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he would wait for the final results, which are expected on Monday evening. Nearly all pollsters had expected Mr Pena to win. The projected result, however, is closer than most predicted. Surveys had given Mr Pena a lead of between ten and 15 percentage points. If the projected results of the presidential race are mirrored in the congressional elections, which was held on the same day, the PRI is likely to be the biggest party in both houses. Still it may fall short of the absolute majority for which it had hoped. A complicated voting system, involving elements of first-past-the-post and proportional representation, means that the composition of the legislature will not be known until late on Monday. The return of the PRI is not welcomed by everyone. The party ran Mexico for seven uninterrupted decades until it was ousted from the presidency in 2000. Back then few expected that the "perfect dictatorship", as the PRI regime was dubbed by the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, would would return to power just 12 years later.

F. William Engdahl: Death of the Birds and Bees Across America

Birds and bees are something most of us take for granted as part of nature. The expression teaching about the birds and the bees to explain the process of human reproduction to young people is not an accidental expression. Birds and bees contribute to the essence of life on our planet. A study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that perhaps one-third of our total diet is dependent, directly or indirectly, upon insect-pollinated plants. The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is the most important pollinator of agricultural crops. Honey bees pollinate over 70 out of 100 crops, that in turn provide 90% of the world's food. They pollinate most fruits and vegetables, including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots. But while managed honey bee populations have increased over the last 50 years, bee colony populations have decreased significantly in many European and North American nations. Simultaneously, crops that are dependent on insects for pollination have increased. The phenomenon has received the curious designation of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), implying it could be caused by any number of factors. Serious recent scientific studies however point to a major cause: Use of new highly toxic systemic pesticides in agriculture since about 2004. If governments in the EU, USA and other countries fail to impose a total ban on certain chemical insecticides, not only could bees become a thing of the past. The human species could face staggering new challenges merely to survive. The immediate threat comes from the widespread proliferation of commercial insecticides containing the highly-toxic chemical with the improbable name, neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. They act on the central nervous system of insects, but also on bees and small song birds. Recent evidence suggests they could also affect human brain development in newborns.


Chris Hedges: Time To Get Crazy!!

Native Americans' resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed! And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront how we will respond. The ideologues of rapacious capitalism, like members of a primitive cult, chant the false mantra that natural resources and expansion are infinite. They dismiss calls for equitable distribution as unnecessary. They say that all will soon share in the "expanding" wealth, which in fact is swiftly diminishing. As the whole demented project unravels, the elites flee like roaches to their sanctuaries. At the very end, it will all come down like a house of cards. Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality. Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth. Karl Marx was correct when he called unregulated capitalism "a machine for demolishing limits." This failure to impose limits cannibalizes natural resources and human communities. This time, the difference is that when we go, the whole planet will go with us. Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference.  

Lynn Parramore: The Disease of the 21st Century!

Remember Dilbert, the mid-level, white-collar Cubicle Guy of the '90s who could never seem to get ahead? In the 21st century, his position looks almost enviable. He has been replaced by Waiting-For -the Other Shoe to Drop Man. Across America, freaked-out employees are coping with sweat-drenched nights and heart-pounding days. They're reaching for the Xanax and piling on the work of two or three people. They're running the risk of short-term collapse and long term disease. The hell created by three grinding years of 8 percent-plus unemployment brings us plenty of stories of what people suffer when they lose their jobs. But what about the untold millions who live in chronic fear that tomorrow's paycheck will be their last? Research shows that the purgatory of job insecurity may be even worse for you than unemployment, and it's turning the American Dream into a sleepwalking nightmare. From young temporary workers to middle-aged career veterans, Americans are being pushed to their physical and psychological limits in what has the makings of a major national public health crisis. We're supposed to be a nation of cockeyed optimists, but many feel like haunted wanderers in a dark forest, knowing that the slightest turn of the foot could fell us: Just ask Alan L, a 32-year-old from Queens, New York. The pat ahead should have been bright for Alan. After several years as a music industry publicist, he took the ubiquitous advice of the mid-aughts and went back to school for a bachelor's degree. Yearning to do something more meaningful, Alan imagined teaching or perhaps working for a non-profit, a job that would put his double major in history and political science to good use. 

Kourosh Ziabari: Economic Sanctions - Duplicity on Iran

As Iran refuses to bow down to the illegitimate demands of the United States, Israel and their European allies to abandon its peaceful nuclear program, the inhumane economic sanctions against Tehran are being intensified, putting an excessive and unjustifiable pressure on the ordinary Iranian citizens who are unquestionably the victims of the West's hostility and antagonism toward the Islamic Republic. Since Iran ended its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in August 2005, the United States and its European allies have made several efforts to put huge economic and political pressure on Iran and force it into giving up its nuclear rights. Before August 2005, Iran for two years had temporarily suspended uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure in return for assurances by the representatives of EU that it can keep up with its civilian nuclear program while the negotiations between the two sides were underway. But the EU three bloc members, consisting of France, Germany and the UK retreated from their commitments and demanded that Iran should halt its uranium enrichment program permanently. In this juncture, Iran found out that the European negotiators have been insincere in their stance, and that it should revise its cooperation with them. Now, it has been more than seven years that Iran is under lethal international pressure to discard its nuclear program, while no single page of evidence has been pot forward indicating that Iran is after producing atomic weapons as the United States and EU members claim. Ironically, Israel, the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, has not been asked even once to open its doors to the inspectors of UN's nuclear watchdog and allow them to monitor its underground, illicit nuclear facilities.


Ted Rall: Executive Privilege is a LIE, handed from President to President.!

Presidents of both parties have asserted that the constitutional separation of powers grants the executive branch an "inherent" right to ignore subpoenas issued by Congress or the judiciary through "executive privilege." The standard argument is that compliance would reveal the internal deliberations of the president, his Cabinet officers, and other government officials who require the presumption of privacy in order to engage in internal debates and deliberations. The ongoing Fast and Furious debacle is President Obama's first use of "executive privilege" to avoid such subpoenas, but both by historical and current legal standards, the continued use of the tool is a radical overreach. I put "executive privilege" in quotes because, like terms such as "enemy combatant," it does not appear in law. The closest we have to a definite word on executive privilege dates to the Watergate scandal, when the US Supreme Court ruled against Richard Nixon's attempt to stonewall Congress. As long as a prosecutor could argue that the relevant documents were essential to the justice of a case, and did not compromise national security, Chief Justice Warren Burger said, "the president would have to fork over the documents." Operation Fast and Furious, a law enforcement matter, doesn't qualify under the Burger ruling. Yet, it's hard to imagine making a credible case that national security would be compromised if the details were made public. Since run of the mill Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives memos would be covered, the usual top-level deliberations justification doesn't apply either. Once again, Obama is following precedent established by George W Bush, whose legal advisers seem to have missed the class about how Americans decided not to be ruled by a King.   

Devon DB: Economic Austerity or Debt Default?

Currently the US is now over $15 trillion in debt. The national debt has now gotten to the point where it is larger than US GDP and is now unpayable. In response to this crisis, many in government have been arguing for austerity measures, yet they have not been using that actual term, rather there has been an argument for deep cuts in social spending, with one example being Paul Ryans budget proposal which targets mainly the poor and elderly. The debt crisis may very well lead the US to being forced to choose from two poisons, austerity on one hand and default on the other. Austerity measures are currently being pushed by the intellectual elite. Niall Ferguson argues that the main problem in Western democracies is the huge debts we have managed to accumulate in recent decades, which, unlike in the past, cannot largely be blamed on wars, and poses the question: Would young people be wise to encourage politicians to pay off national debts now, to avoid an even more miserable financial future? In the US, Pacific Investment Management Co's Neel Kashkari, states that the US should stop kicking the can down the road and implement fiscal austerity measures, so the economy can fully recover from the financial crisis. While Ferguson states that the debt cannot be blamed on large wars, the facts prove him to be incorrect, as during the Clinton Administration there  began a decrease in the national debt, and ended with the US being in the black. When President Bush came in, the US went back deeply into debt, and this debt increase can be blamed mainly on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.      

Phoenix Capital Research: The EU Has Broken UP

I've often been labeled as "Gloom and Doom" in the past, but the situation in Europe today is beyond anything I've ever seen before. It is highly likely that the EU will not exist in their current form by the end of this year. I realize some of this may sound overly dramatic. But the following should give you an idea of how serious things are getting. Germany and France's joint proposal to allow Schengen zone countries to temporarily reintroduce border controls as a means of last resort might sound harmless. But doing so would damage one of the strongest symbols of European unity and perhaps even contribute to the EU's demise. Germany and France are serious this time. During next week's meeting of European Union interior ministers, the two countries plan to start a discussion about reintroducing national border controls within the Schengen zone. According to the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, German interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich and his French counterpart, Claude Gueant, have formulated a letter to their colleagues in which they call for governments to once again be allowed to control their borders as "an ultima ratio", that is, a measure of last resort, "and for a limited period of time." They reportedly go on to recommend 30 days for the period. Granted, the Schengen system is not perfect. With the EU's eastward expansion, its external borders have become more porous. The problem areas are well known: Greece doesn't sufficiently guard its border with Turkey, and Italy simply allows refugees through to continue their journey into neighboring countries. Doing so violates the Schengen Agreement, which stipulates that immigrants have to be taken care of by the country in which they arrive. 


Felicity Arbuthnot: Ambassador Ford Disgraces Diplomacy

Diplomacy is the conduct of relations of one state with another by peaceful means: Remember that "Crusade"? It is back, it seems, if it ever went away! On the 16th of September 2001, George W Bush announced, This Crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while! Six months later, that designated "dove" of the Bush Administration, General Colin Powell, gave an ultimatum to Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, demanding he be on board to topple the Taliban and "neutralize" al- Qaeda in Afghanistan. Powell, in testimony before a Commission investigating the September 11th attacks stated that, "We gave them twenty-four or forty-eight hours, and then I called President Musharraf and said, "We need your answer now, We need you as part of this campaign, this Crusade". Now, Robert S Ford, US Ambassador to Syria, has imaginatively resurrected the "Crusade" as diplomatic representative of a President who pledged, at Cairo University in June 2009: "I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world. America is not, and will never be, at war with Islam." In his article, "The Salvador Option for Syria," Michel Chossudovsky gives a crash course on the multiply diverse Ambassador Ford, to whom, it must be said, diplomacy would seem to be yet another far away land. However, even the insightful Professor Chossudovsky was unlikely to have foreseen that after Ambassador Ford slunk out of Syria in October last year, having indulged in ten months of provocative, divisive, inflammatory and politically confrontational actions!  

Felicity Arbuthnot: State Murder of Daddam Hussein's Secretary!

"There was no honor left, ruin and war and the blood was flowing, Sadness, hate and the reign of arbitrary destruction." (Rachid Taha, Algerian Musician  and lyricist) Shocking details have emerged from an impeccable source of the execution on Thursday the 7th of June, in Baghdad, of Abed Hamid Hamoud, President Saddam Hussein's former personal secretary and aide. Mr Hamoud, fourth on America's asinine, juvenile playing card list of Iraq's sovereign government, has been held in jail since June 2003, after being arrested by US occupying forces. He was sentenced to death in October 2010 with former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Tareq Aziz, and former intelligence chief, Sadoun Shakir, heightening fears for their imminent execution. "What you have not heard, states the commentator "is that Mr Hamoud was led to his execution while under the impression that he was going for a medical check up. "The Iraqi government didn't even notify his family or relatives, or make arrangements with them to deliver the body." A chilling observation on America and Britain's "New Iraq" is that the Maliki government is, so intent on revenge that they have waved the formalities of telling a person they were taking him to his execution." Deep concern is expressed for the fate of both Tareq Aziz and Sadoun Shakir in light of this appalling act. They were sentenced at the same Court hearing. Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki's Press Secretary stated earlier this year that they would execute Tareq Aziz, and now that they are done with the formalities, there is nothing to stop them. The world must know what these people have done and what I am sure they will do. God forbid, in the near future, concludes our contact bleakly, pleading that pressure be brought to "stop what they are planning to do" in the case of Tareq Aziz, Sadoun Shakir and many others! Amnesty USA has called the number of executions in Iraq alarming !

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey: NATO's Libya: A Fine Mess!

The map is from June 25, 2012. The green flags show Jamahiriya-held areas, the flames show combats with the NATO-backed NYC terrorists, the rats show terrorist-controlled areas and the bombs denote NATO terrorist attacks against Libyan patriot forces defending their country from this scourge. Let us take a look at NATO's Libya: At the beginning of 2011, Libya had the highest human development indices in Africa, one of its highest literacy rates, education was available to all for free, housing was provided to all for free, transportation was subsidized, food was distributed for free. Communities regulated themselves through the Jamahiriya system, self-governance through People's Congresses. These Congresses basically met and decided what they needed and the Government provided it. Enter the FUKUS-Axis (France, UK, US) coveting Libya's vast sovereign fund, Libya's vast energy resources and standing against Colonel Gaddafi's vast humanitarian projects in Africa, for which he was to receive a special humanitarian prize from the UNO and which also denied the FUKUS Axis' banking, arms, telecoms and other business lobbies of dollars in revenue from loans made to corrupted officials across Africa. Look at this second picture and you will see a young girl, allegedly beaten, tortured and raped by the FUKUS-backed terrorists. Thisis the scourge they have been backing. There are countless tales of torture, of decapitation, slicing breasts off women in the streets, murder, arson, looting, vandalism, theft, rape. This is what the FUKUS Axis and its leaders have done to Libya: They have turned a peace-loving and peaceful society, a fun-loving society into a land of terrified communities trying their best to fight off the terrorist scourge, trying to block it entering their towns and villages and cities to perpetrate the most shocking acts of butchery Africa has seen in a long time!