Vladimir Putin seemed a fit, relaxed and happy 60 year old, as he addressed this year's meeting of the Valdai club of mostly foreign economic experts over dinner at the Novo Ogaryovo presidential villa outside Moscow on October 25th. He had the air of a man with few worries either about his own position as president of Russia or about his country's future. His most dramatic comments came in response to questions about the Pussy Riot verdicts, handing down jail terms to two young women who allegedly desecrated an Orthodox church altar in the spring. He was unapologetic. In his typical earthy language he denounced the women for practicing group sex, public sex with a woman who was nine months pregnant and for undermining morality. He also drew an analogy with the California maker of an anti Muslim film who is in jail. In this Mr Putin was reflecting broader views of Russian officials who spoke at this year's Valdai conference in St Petersburg and Moscow. Most dismissed both the Pussy Rioters and the Moscow opposition street protesters as elitist, unrepresentative and easily dispersed. Mr Putin echoed officials who argued that Russia was merely applying its own laws, and who even claimed that the police were softer than those who had been dealing with protesters in the streets of Athens or Madrid. The continuing euro crisis offered Mr Putin yet another reason for complacency. He was careful not to blame anyone and also to insist that Russia wanted Europe to resolve its problems, but with half an eye to his own country's Eurasian union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, he deplored the folly of moving to monetary union too fast, and with too many members that were not ready. As for Russia itself, the overwhelming message from this year's Valdai was that things were OK!! At one point Mr Putin even said that "I am doing fine."
Dick Cheney was scheduled to appear at a $15,000 a head Beverly Hills luncheon fundraiser for Mitt Romney on Monday, giving him a chance to watch the foreign policy debate that night from Hollywood. It would have been a fitting place for Cheney to hear his old fighting buddy from the Vietnam deferment trenches, Mitt Romney, auditioning for president, declare: "We don't want another Iraq. We don't want another Afghanistan. That's not the right course for us." Apparently, our warrior veep is the forgiving type, because he, Glenn Beck and Josh Romney made a joint appearance at a gala Texas fundraiser on Thursday night. Praised by Romney for his "wisdom and judgment" earlier this year, Cheney even threw a $4 million bash for Mitt at his Jackson Hole, Wyoming home in July, where reporters in attendance were told that no photos of the two together could be taken. Like every other neo-con soldier in my dreams vet on Romney's national security and foreign policy advisory committee, the ex veep is apparently not taking all the peace pablum, Romney served up at the final debate too seriously. Neither is Karl Rove, who once headed the White House Iraq Group and now runs American Crossroads, the ultimate Romney superpac. The night before the debate, Rove appeared at Duke University to tussle with Howard Dean about an array of issues, with Rove still pushing the value of "boots on the ground" to counter terror. Peter Wehner, who ran Rove's Office of Strategic Initiatives and said as late as 2008 that he didn't "see any reason why you'd get away" from the "working" Iraq war policies, is now the senior adviser to the Romney campaign who blogs on its website. Wehner, regarded as "the intellectual" of the Bush White House, is the only person to get special thanks from Romney in the acknowledgements of his 2012 book, "No Apology," and from Rove in his 2010 memoir "Courage and Consequence," where Wehner is described as a "trusted former colleague" who "helped craft every chapter and every episode."
In a recent speech, Professor Chomsky examined topics largely ignored or glossed over during the campaign, from China to the Arab Spring, to global warming and the nuclear threat posed by Israel versus Iran. He spoke last month at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst at an event sponsored by the Center for Popular Economics. His talk was titled "Who Owns the World?" Democracy Now! transcribed Chomsky's talk. When I was thinking about these remarks, I had two topics in mind, couldn't decide between them, actually pretty obvious ones. One topic is, what are the most important issues that we face? The second topic is, what issues are not being treated seriously, or at all, in the quadrennial frenzy now underway called an election? But I realized that there's no problem, its not a hard choice, they're the same topic, and there are reasons for it, which are very significant in themselves. I'd like to return to that in a moment, but first a few words on the background, beginning with the announced title, "Who Owns the World?" Actually, a good answer to this was given years ago by Adam Smith, someone we're supposed to worship but not read. He was a little subversive when you read him sometimes. He was referring to the most powerful country of the world in his day and, of course, the country that interested him, namely, England, and he pointed out that in England the principal architects of policy are those who own the country, the merchants and manufacturers in his day, and he said they make sure to design policy so that their own interests are most peculiarly attended to. Their interests are served by policy, however grievous the impact on others, including the people of England. But he was an old fashioned conservative with moral principles, so he added the victims of England, the victims of the "savage injustice of the Europeans," particularly in India.
On 22 October 2012, Shafaq, an Iraqi News Agency, reports: An official security source revealed on Monday that a mass grave was found in Sada area on the outskirts of Sadr City, belonging to the staff of the Department of missions of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research who disappeared in 2006. A security force found 16 bodies buried in a mass grave in Sadr City in Baghdad belonging to the staff of the Department of Missions of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research who disappeared in 2006. A security force found 16 bodies buried in a mass grave in Sadr City in Baghdad, belonging to employees of the Department of Missions of the Ministry of Higher Education. The available intelligence reports that the bodies belong to employees of the Department of Missions of the Ministry of Higher Education. The available intelligence reports that the bodies belong to employees of the Department of Missions who were abducted in 2006 and buried in a mass grave. The competent authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies to make sure of their identities and inform their families. On Tuesday 14 November 2006, paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad's Karrada district, and arrested around 100 members of staff from two departments and around 50 visitors, according to lists compiled by the Minister of Education. The raid took place in broad daylight, 1km from the Green Zone, in an area that contained several high security compounds, including the department where passports are issued. According to a BBC correspondent, the Karrada area, occupying an isthmus in the River Tigris, is well protected with a heavy presence of Iraqi troops and several checkpoints. The paramilitary force, estimated at between at least 50 and 100 arrived in a fleet of some 20-30 camouflage pickup trucks of the kind employed by the Interior Ministry, and rapidly established a cordon of the area.
The crisis in Libya after the death of Muammar Gaddafi was a global event. Many families lost a lot, and are still losing more on a daily basis. Contracts by Muammar Gaddafi included BP's US$900M Libyan oil exploration contract in 2007, shares in Juventus Football Club, Eni: The Italian Oil Giant, and Pearson: the parent company of Penguin and Financial Times. Some money was made from investments in numerous financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and the Carlyle Group . In order to ensure that all the family's assets are not frozen in the event of dethronement from power as the result of the crisis, the late Leader, instructed that the funds be deposited in a sealed box with the security firm, ostensibly to divert attention in view of the huge sums of money involved. The sealed box contained the sum of US $40.7 Million. The death of Muammar Gaddafi provided a unique opportunity for me to claim the funds which were deposited in my name to conceal the true identity of the real owner. All the documents relating to this deposit are with me as the late leader was too preoccupied on how to contain the fast spreading crisis, then and by act of commission or omission, failed to ask for the documents before his death. No other person knew about this deposit. I am now moving the sealed box US $40.7 Million out of the security corporation in Switzerland for onward deposit in your nominated personal or company's bank account. I guarantee that the transaction is risk free, since it will be done legally. On completion of the transaction, you will receive 40% of the funds for my participation, while the remaining 60% shall be for your help. Mr. Ibrahim M Sadiq
In "Amerika", as opposed in my former home country of Germany, there will Never be a "Real Debate". God help them if Obama and Romney ever had to participate in a real debate about a real issue at the Oxford Union. They would be massacred. The "debates" revealed that not only the candidates, but also the entire country is completely tuned out to every real problem and dangerous development. For example, you would never know that US citizens can now be imprisoned and executed without due process. All that is required to terminate the liberty and life of an American citizen by his own government is an unaccountable decision somewhere in the executive branch. No doubt that Americans, if they think of this at all, believe that it will happen to terrorists who deserve it. But as no evidence or due process is required, how would we know that it will only happen to terrorists? Can we really trust a government that has started wars in 7 countries on the basis of falsehoods? If the US government will lie about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to invade a country, why won't it lie about who is a terrorist? America needs a debate about how we can made more safe by removing the Constitution, are we ruled by Caesar? The Founding Fathers did not think we could trust a Caesar with our safety. What has changed that we can now trust a Caesar? It we are under such a terrorist threat that the Constitution has to be suspended or replaced by unaccountable executive action, how come all the alleged terrorist cases are sting operations organized by the FBI? In eleven years, there has not been a single case in which the "terrorist" had the initiative! In the eleven years since 9/11, acts of domestic terrorism have been miniscule, if they even exist. What justified the enormous and expensive Department of Homeland Security?
"The Republicrats!" There is no democracy in the United States. American political life is dominated by one party with two heads, often called the Republicrats! Republicans and Democrats agree on core issues, and only argue on technicalities. Obama, who was portrayed as a peaceful savior in the last presidential elections, has demonstrated during his four years in office that he is not much different from his predecessor. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama's "war record" is worse than that of George W Bush. The civil rights of Americans have shrunk further in the last four years, and President Obama has shown that he is closer to Wall Street than to Main Street. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are more of the same, on key issues as Glen Ford explains: To any objective observer, the consensus that exists between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the fundamental issues of war and peace, Wall Street dominance of American life, and fiscal austerity, has been made crystal clear in the two debates. In the absence of effective popular resistance to the duopoly of money, the economic and social crisis fails to create a corresponding political crisis for the rulers. As a result, there is nothing important for them to debate. But how are Presidential debates regulated? The history of the Commission on Presidential Debates sheds light on how and why other parties are excluded from the political debate, and kept away from the public's eyes and ears: The Commission on Presidential Debates is a private corporation headed by the former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties. The CPD is a duopoly which allows the major candidates to draft secret agreements about debate arrangements, including moderators, debate format and even participants. The result is a travesty riddled with sterile, non-contentious arguments which consistently exclude alternative voices that Americans want to hear.
The top bosses on Wall Street have issued their demands for action from the Obama administration and Congress to slash the federal deficit, in a letter warning that failure to take action by January 1 could produce a renewed financial crisis and economic slump. While not spelling out any particular measures to be adopted, the letter calls for concrete steps to restore the United States long term fiscal footing and legislation that truly restores the nation's long term fiscal soundness. These are political code words for the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. The bankers echoed the threats by bond rating agencies S&P and Moody's, which have said they would downgrade US debt even further if there is not a bipartisan agreement to avert the so called "fiscal cliff" on January 1. S&P first downgraded US debt in August 2011, and Moody's has issued a warning of similar action. The letter was signed by 15 CEO's of banks, brokerages and insurance companies and by the head of the Financial Services Forum, the industry lobby. Among the signatories are Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, Michael Corbat, the newly installed CEO of Wells Fargo, and Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. In other words, it was a manifesto by the financial criminals who caused the 2008 crash and the four years of mass unemployment and social misery that have followed, the heads of institutions that received trillions of dollars in federal support during the bank bailout, pressing their demand that no such support should be available to tens of millions of working people and retirees. The fiscal cliff is media jargon for a series of tax and fiscal measures now scheduled to take place automatically on or just after January 1. These include the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, first enacted in 2001 and extended in 2010 for two years. Taxes would rise across the board, both for low and middle income families and the wealthy.
Consider the cheerleaders. The Kountze Lions, a high-school football team from east Texas, are having a good season. Their all time win percentage is 38%. Thus far this year, they're five for seven season. Their all time win percentage is 38%. The problem is that the Lions have, perhaps, posted these gains after making illicit use of performance enhancing prayer. Since the start of the year the school's cheer-leading squad has been displaying banners painted with Bible verses. It's common at high school football games for the team to run onto the field by bursting through such banners like the Kool Aid man, but it's not common for the banners to carry religious messages, because public schools aren't supposed to promote religion. Last month, accordingly, the district's superintendent banned such banners, but on October 18th a district court ruled that the school can't enforce the ban for the time being. At a press conference in support of the cheerleaders last week Rick Perry, the governor, and Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general, were looking like Christmas, and I do mean Christmas, had come home early. America's constitution separates church and state, as indeed does the Texas version. But Texas's contemporary political leaders have notably declined to give the principle much respect. The controversy had given them a chance to stand up for Texas, high school football, cheerleaders, God, and the constitutionally enshrined right to free expression, all in one go, against the interference of, as Mr Abbott put it, in an incredulous tone, "an atheist group from Wisconsin". The speech rights of students are often debated, because if a student is in public school, as most American students are, a lot of their self expression happens under the auspices of a government entity.
The Israel Lobby has threatened Church groups over call for restricting US Military aid to Israel. A coalition of US church groups recently made public a letter which called upon the US government to condition future military aid to Israel on its fulfillment of obligations under US law. The statement was intended to express criticism of Israel's use of US weapons like cluster bombs, in violation of our law, and noted that US military assistance provided Israel a buffer against undertaking any actions to advance a just and lasting peace. For example, its settlement policy, refusal to return to 1967 borders, and refusal to share Jerusalem, all directly contradict international law and stated US policy. Though these church groups have been critical of Israeli policy in the past, threatening to lobby for withholding military aid, would really cut the Israel lobby to the quick, as it's a position held by a number of anti-Zionist groups that are much farther to the left. The fact that mainline Christian denominations, who generally support liberal Zionist positions,would be moving in a more critical direction, has to be deeply concerning to the lobby. Though they refuse to consider or acknowledge it, such a development indicates a growing alienation of American churches from Israel, and the draconian positions advanced by its government. The churches are willing to lose their interfaith dialogue with the Jewish community over such an issue, which indicates how seriously they take their opposition to the Netanyahu regime. First to lash out in anger was Abe Foxman, followed by one of Isreal's leading hasbara outfits, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. It appears to be taking the lead in handling the campaign against so called "delegitimization." Those guys at JCPA play hardball!
The Columbian War on Drugs is a Family Affair. Last month's capture of Columbian drug lord Daniel "El Loco" Barrera by Venezuelan police was hailed as a victory in the "War on Drugs." Barrera, accused of smuggling some 900 tons of cocaine into Europe and the US throughout his infamous career, was described by Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos, who announced the arrest on national television as"the last of the great capos."But what of the "capo" who enjoyed high office, is wined and dined by US corporations and conservative think tanks, owns vast tracks of land, is a "visiting scholar" at a prominent American university (Georgetown) and now sits on the Board of Directors of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation? When will they be brought to ground? To clarify the questions above, one need look no further than the kid gloves approach taken by the media when it comes to former Columbian President, the US "Presidential Medal of Freedom" recipient Alvaro Uribe. Accused by human rights organizations over his role in the forced disappearance of thousands of Columbians during two terms in office, Uribe may still land in the dock as a result of ongoing investigations by Columbia's Supreme Court into official corruption, drug trafficking and mass murder. Recent arrests by Columbian authorities and revelations by the president's former allies, are beginning to draw a circle around Uribe and the US secret state in some of the hemisphere's worst human rights abuses of previous decades. As the net tightens, members of the president's own family are sharply focused in the cross hairs of investigators. Back in June, Antifascist Calling reported on the arrest of Ana Maria Uribe Cifuentes and her mother, Dolly Cifuentes Villa on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. The US Treasury Department froze their assets last year.
Women, along with a handful of undecided voters, are pretty much going to decide this thing, come November 6. The gender gap is at historic highs, and if solely women were voting, there's no question as to who would be occupying the White House for the next four years. In the last weeks before the election, Romney has shown himself ready to get down on bended knee to woo the female vote. Which would be cute, if he didn't have a record of denying women their basic human rights. Unbeknownst to Mitt, women, in addition to making handy office workers, are also fully capable of seeing through all the manipulations, mansplaining and malarkey that have been spread around this campaign season. So let's pause a moment to take a look at Mitt's continual war on women's credibility. In the final presidential face off Monday night, Romney seemed to glow with the fire of the global struggle for women's rights. Right off the bat, he hailed the Arab Spring and the "hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life? Maybe that glow was really the tell tale flush of the hypocrite. Because the funny thing is, women can't participate effectively in public life if they can't get access to family planning services and find themselves thrown into abject poverty trying to feed too many children. Mitt has vowed that his first order of business as president would be to reinstate the devastating "global gag rule," also known as the "Mexico City policy" a restriction originally hatched by Reagan that has been used to block federal money for family planning work abroad to any organization that provides information, advice, referrals or services for legal abortion or supported the legalization of abortion, even using its own funds.
With the presidential election in South Korea just two months away, efforts are underway to lock into place a policy of confrontation with that nation's neighbor to the north. When current South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office five years ago, he wasted little time in undoing the rapprochement that had been painstakingly built up during his predecessors term. All of the leading candidates in this year's presidential race, including even Park Geun-hye of the conservative Grand National Party, hold more moderate positions on relations with North Korea than does President Lee. Neither Lee nor US President Obama are keen on the prospect of warming relations between the two Koreas, and they are making every effort to forestall such an eventuality in the little time that remains in Lees term. Under provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an international treaty involving 34 nations, South Korea was committed to limiting its ballistic missiles to a range of no more than 300 kilometers and capping payload at 500 kilograms. The Lee Administration chafed under those restrictions, and long sought their removal. This month he met with success, reaching a deal with the US that allows South Korea to exceed the treaty's limits. The new agreement allows South Korea to develop ballistic missiles ranging up to 800 kilometers, sufficient to cover all of North Korea and sections of China and Russia. The payload limit remains at 500 kilograms, but only for missiles at the maximum allowable range. As South Korea sees it, any missile having a range lower than 550 kilometers can carry up to 1,000 kilograms of explosives. We can say that there is no payload limit actually, because if we launch a missile from the central region of the country, all of North Korean territory is under 550-kilometer striking range, observes Major General Shin Won-sik of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
The top bosses on Wall Street have issued their demands for action from the Obama administration and Congress to slash the federal deficit, in a letter warning that failure to take action by January 1 could produce renewed financial crisis and economic slump. While not spelling out any particular measures to be adopted, the letter calls for "concrete steps to restore the United States long term fiscal footing" and "legislation that truly restores the nation's long term fiscal soundness." These are political code words for the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. The bankers echoed the threats by bond rating agencies S&P and Moody's, which have said they would downgrade US debt even further if there is not a bipartisan agreement to avert the so called "fiscal cliff" on January 1. S&P first downgraded US debt in August 2011, and Moody's has issued a warning of similar action. The letter was signed by 15 CEO's of banks, brokerages and insurance companies and the head of the Financial Services Forum, the industry lobby. Among the signatories are Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, Michael Corbat, the newly installed CEO of Citibank, John Stumph, CEO of Wells Fargo, and Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. In other words, it was a manifesto by the financial criminals who caused the 2008 crash and the four years of mass unemployment and social misery that have followed, the heads of institutions that received trillions of dollars in federal support during the bank bailout, pressing their demand that no such support should be available to tens of millions of working people and retirees. The "fiscal cliff" is media jargon for a series of tax and fiscal measures now scheduled to take place automatically on or just after January 1. These include: the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, first enacted in 2001 and extended in 2010for two years. Taxes would rise across the board, both for low and middle income families and the wealthy.
As the 2012 election crests with all its chaos, billionaire driven, TV ad wars, legal fights over voter suppression, tactics, endless fundraising e-mails and worries about stealing the vote, progressives need to remember what's been destroying our democracy, and what solutions are needed to restore the balance of power in America. Now is the time to note precisely what's wrong, what's gotten worse, and what's completely broken in key corners of the electoral process. That's because once the dust has settled after Election Day, the impetus to fix things will wane among the political victors, media and much of the public,as it does after every big election. The winners will say there is not a problem because they have won. The press will start covering the new administration, and weary voterswill want to look ahead to solutions, not back to old problems. That's how our dysfunctional may limp along until the next major election. But the first year of a presidential term is the most likely time that Congress might do anything on a big enough scale to touch the underlying problems because it's ebb tide in the electoral cycle. So let's look at what's breaking or broken as we experience the final weeks of the 2012 campaign,, and note where the solutions lie. 1. What Are 21st Century Voting Rights? For decades, progressives have asked where democratic renewal is supposed to begin. This year, we have heard more about big money abuses than what a higher voter turnout would mean. 2. Can we now have Modern Elections? Progressives want millions more people to vote. But those voters must be accommodated by the process, not impeded and tripped up at various stages of the vote. 3. Get Partisans Out of a Public Process. 4. Put The Public Back In A Public Process. Making elections more of a public process doesn't just mean enrolling all eligible voters and removing the private sector from our electoral process.
When Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize, satire died, satirist Tom Lehrer memorably commented. The Former US Secretary of State was awarded his Nobel for negotiating the Vietnam Peace Accords. In fact, he had been involved in oversight of the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia, both neutral countries. In nine years more than two hundred and sixty million bombs were dropped. He had also supported the murderous regimes in Chile and Argentina, where the disappeared are seared in to the national psyche. UK Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, in an application for a warrant for Henry Kissinger's arrest, also referred in his submissions at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court to: indiscriminate bombing raids, the use of toxic defoliants and pesticides, causing mass death and suffering to the civilian population and severe long term damage to the natural environment. Further: According to the US Senate Sub committee on Refugees, from March 1968 to March 1972, in excess of three million civilians were killed, wounded or made homeless. In 1973, Kissinger was awarded the world's most prestigious Peace Prize. To date Mr Tatchell has failed in his attempts at arrest. The people of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are still paying the price in lives and deformities fro Agent Orange. Twenty one million gallons were sprayed on South Vietnam alone, with other horrendous toxins. Adrian Salbuchi has presented an admirable rogues gallery of Nobel Peace Laureates, but this year Mr Lehrer must be pondering on the extent to which he underestimated the death of satire. Alfred Nobel's 1895 will, dedicated his gift to: The person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for holding the promotion of peace congresses!
It was, starting at least in 2007, the goal of the US, Saudis, and Israelis to trigger a region wide sectarian war with which to overrun the governments of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. This was documented in detail in Seymour Hersh's 2007 New Yorker article, "The Redirection" which was covered in depth in, Syrian War: The Prequel. A recent bombing in Beirut, Lebanon left high ranking security chief Brigadier General Wissam al Hassan dead. Al Hassan is described as "anti-Syrian." Before his death was announced, and literally as bodies were still being pulled from the wreckage caused by the bombing, politicians from Saad Hariri's faction began immediately blaming Syria for the attacks. Hariri himself also laid the blame on Syria, offering no other details or supporting evidence. Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran have all condemned the bombing, and cite it as a provocation to start a greater sectarian war, from which none will benefit. Each in turn suspect Israel and the West, as a greater sectarian war, from which none will benefit. Each in turn suspect Israel and the West, as greater sectarian tension is expected to result, playing into long documented attempts by US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia to trigger a sectarian tension is expected to result, playing into long documented attempts by US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia to trigger a sectarian war they hope will be the downfall of Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran. Suspicious op-eds in pro-Western "Lebanon Now" insist that Syria is responsible, and again without evidence, concludes that blaming Israel is inappropriate, and that the Wall Street London militant beachhead is by far a lesser threat to Lebanon than what its calls "the most deadly virus" of President Bashar al Assad's Syria. The blast has given impetus to Hariri's mobs to flood into the streets, who will no doubt portray themselves to be as "spontaneous" and "independent" as US engineered mobs were throughout the equally premeditated "Arab Spring."
The Obama administration is taking significant risks in sitting on recent negotiations with Iran, that could bring an end to American sanctions on Iran's central bank and bring about a lifting of current UN sanctions by spring 2013. In secret negotiations confirmed by official sources in the EU, the US has received assurances in the EU, the US has received assurances that nuclear enrichment in Iran will be curtailed until an agreement can be reached that is acceptable to Israel and the Netanyahu government. Privately, all parties admit that this is a "win-win" situation with Netanyahu looking "statesmanlike" while, if all parties agree to time their actions in accordance with the Israeli and American election cycles, the issue of Iran can be put away. With deteriorisation in Afghanistan, increased Russian influence in Iraq and Pakistan, and terrorism spreading across Central Africa, the potential gain from confrontations with Iran are negligible. Iran has bolstered its international standing through its leadership position with the Non-Aligned Movement, it's new alliance with Azerbaijan, supplanting Israel there, the new government in Georgia and the recent visit by Iran's foreign minister to Iraq. Conversely, Iran's media outlets to the west have been blocked through a combination of Israeli influence and hacking of satellite channels, Lebanon's Shiite media similarly silenced and relative control of all mainstream world media has been achieved in a matter of days. Earlier today, a car bomb in Beirut killed nearly 80, in what is believed the first stage of a conflict to isolate Hezbollah and place additional pressure on Syria. Also, from Syria, come reports of advanced shoulder mounted air defense equipment being distributed to rebel armies, assuring the continuance of that conflict for months to come.
The War in Afghanistan, also known by the upbeat, patriotic moniker Operation Enduring Freedom, has officially been going on for over a decade now. Obama gave a speech back in 2009, declaring that our troops would begin to withdraw from Afghanistan before his presidential term was up, one more promise on the never ending list of them he has failed to keep. In 2010, the Afghan war overtook the Vietnam war to officially become the longest war in US history. The government and its propaganda machine, otherwise known as the mainstream media, spent countless hours the following year apprising us of the fact that Obama bin Laden, the supposed architect of the 9/11 fable that was blamed for landing our troops in Afghanistan to begin with, was taken out with zero proof. This was regardless of the fact that the CIA gave Bin Laden a $3 billion investment, which funded him and created his Al Qaeda terrorist network, and plans have surfaced confirming the war in Afghanistan was planned long before 9/11 even happened. Earlier this year, the Obama camp quietly announced the War on Terror, something that has been used to murder our republic, take apart our constitution and repeatedly suck away our rights like a vacuum ever since George W Bush declared it - it is now officially over. The announcement was delivered with all the fervent emotion of someone half asleep describing paint dry. Even as NATO claims they plan to begin planning from Afghanistan, the Army recently announced they are deploying nearly 10,000 more troops to the country, starting this fall, and continuing through next spring. The US military death toll in Afghanistan officially reached 2,000 just last month. If the War on Terror has truly ended and Osama bin Laden is no more, the obvious question remains: Why are we still in Afghanistan?