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Shockfront

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

To Serve The Public

Perhaps the most amazing statement yet to come from the mouth of a government mandarin, this one being Paul Volcker:
“The banks are there to serve the public.”
This immediately brought to mind the classic Twilight Zone episode, To Serve Man.

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Honduras' Poor Slammed by Foreign Aid Sanctions

As usual, the poor and working classes in Honduras suffer the effects of diplomatic and monetary aid sanctions that are putatively designed to influence the military junta.



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Monday, 19 October 2009

India and China: A Geopolitical Meta-narrative

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya delivers another stunning piece of work on the large scale movement of the body monetary and politic.
Geo-Strategic Chessboard: War Between India and China?

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

CIA-backed Jundallah Hit Iranian Regime

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The death toll continues to rise after Sunday's suicide bombing attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guards by CIA-backed, Baluch-Sunni Jundallah militants.
Iranian state television said 42 people were killed in Sunday's suicide bombing attack on the elite Revolutionary Guards in the country's volatile southeast, raising the death toll from an earlier estimate of 35.

English-language Press TV also said that dozens of people were wounded in the incident and that the Guards had vowed a "crushing" response to those behind the bombing attack.

It said senior Guards commanders, civilians and tribal leaders were among the victims, in what was one of the deadliest such attacks in the Islamic Republic in recent years.

The attack in Sistan-Baluchestan province highlighted deepening instability in a southeastern region of mainly Shi'ite Muslim Iran bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, state media said a local rebel Sunni group called Jundollah (God's soldiers) claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded many people ahead of a meeting with tribal chiefs in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The southeastern province is the scene of frequent clashes between security forces, ethnic Baluch Sunni insurgents

[...]More

Saturday, 17 October 2009

US Mercs into the Somali Breach

Because the US just hasn't harmed Somalia enough.  It has become a potential weakness in the encirclement of Sudan.
US to make Blackwater-style entry into Somalia

The grounds have reportedly been established for armed American presence on Somali soil with a US security firm winning a contract in the war-ravaged country.

Michigan-based CSS Global Inc., secured the contract under the plea of 'fighting terrorism and piracy' and 'protecting' Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), reported Michigan Live citing The Grand Rapids Press newspaper.

"It is going to be a huge challenge," said Chris Frain, chief executive officer and co-owner of CSS Alliance, to which the CSS Global Inc is affiliated. "This is a brand-new government being stood up with the help of the international community."

The contractor's operations team was composed of former military and law enforcement personnel, including Special Forces, Michigan Live added.

The US firm has been involved in other African nations as well as in Iraq, where 17 civilians were killed in 2007 by a similar licentiate, Blackwater, currently known as Xe Services.

Washington has been exceedingly deputizing the companies, which are notorious for misusing their State Department-issued gun licenses as excuses for trigger-ready atrocities. The move has been denounced as an effort at putting a non-military face on the US pursuits in the respective countries.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Really Long Game

A stunning read from Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.  Take that, all those who doubt that the western front was just blowback.
The Anglo-US Drive into Eurasia and the Demonization of Russia
Reframing the History of World War II

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

As tensions mount between the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on one side and Moscow and its allies on another, the history of the Second World War is being re-framed to demonize Russia, the legal successor state and largest former constituent republic (pars pro toto) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). In 2009, the U.S.S.R. and the Nazi government of Germany started being portrayed as the two forces that ignited the Second World War.

The historicity behind such a narrative is incorrect and nothing can be further from the truth in regards to Moscow. The security of the European core of the Soviet Union was the main objective of the Kremlin as well as the recovery of lost territory. The Soviet government was also aware of war plans against the Soviet Union. Adolph Hitler thought Britain would join Germany in war against the Soviets, even until the latter part of the Second World War.

This discourse in itself is part of a broader road map to control Eurasia through the encirclement of anyrival powers, such as Russia and China. To understand the geo-politics and strategic nature of the encirclement of Russia and China by the U.S. and NATO, as well
[...]More

Monday, 12 October 2009

Obama Caves to Big Business, Again

Each year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues due to offshore tax abuses.
-- TAX HAVEN BANKS AND U. S. TAX COMPLIANCE
STAFF REPORT
PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE

While the old folks are taking it on the chin, the Obama "administration" continues the continuity.  I'm sure this is more the great secret grand scheme to bring the corporatocracy to its knees.
In May, President Obama announced a big initiative to raise $210 billion in tax revenue over the next ten years by cracking down on the use of tax havens by U.S. corporations.

The Wall Street Journal reports Tuesday that the Obama administration has shelved the proposal in the face of intense pressure from business.
Bear in mind, Obama was only claiming a 20% recovery rate on the $100 billion a year in wayward tax revenue, but even that is too severe in these times of hardship, especially for the banks.  And the news this past year should inform that this year produced a bumper crop of US tax payer dollars shipped to foreign hands.  We're assured that this will be dealt with later.

After appointing the president of pesticide pusher CropLife, Islam A. Siddiqui, as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, this is simply getting tiring.  Good grief, CropLife is the organization that wrote a letter to the First Lady, which [...]More

Tuesday, 06 October 2009

"The collapse of the long-term care system,"

Given that these cuts to Medicare are enacting now, and given that Obama has not signed a new health care bill, we are seeing in this story that it was, not unexpectedly, the Bush administration that pulled the plug -- is now pulling the plug -- on Grandma.
Waves of new fund cuts imperil US nursing homes

A Medicare rate adjustment that cuts an estimated $16 billion in nursing home funding over the next 10 years was enacted at week's end by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — on top of state-level cuts or flat-funding that already had the industry reeling.

And Congress is debating slashing billions more in Medicare funding as part of health care reform.

Add it all up, and the nursing home industry is headed for a crisis, industry officials say.

"We can foresee the possibility of nursing homes having to close their doors," said David Hebert, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association. "I certainly foresee that we'll have to let staff go."

The funding crisis comes as the nation's baby boomers age ever closer toward needing nursing home care. The nation's 16,000 nursing homes housed 1.85 million people last year, up from 1.79 million in 2007, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.

Already this year, 24 states have cut funding for nursing home care and other health services needed by low-income people who are elderly or disabled, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research firm based in Washington, D.C.

Some facilities are now closed because of money problems — including four in Connecticut — and others
[...]More

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Rewind

The CIA torture memos released; the deep, depraved regularity of the torture program, clearer still. Numbers come out: 183 waterboardings of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in August 2002. The torture is now known to have been used to extract false confessions of Iraq WMD, ties to al Qaeda, secret meetings thereof, and justify the still illegal invasion of Iraq. None of this is to be investigated. Republican presidents no longer need a Republican follow-on to issue pardons. Now, follow-on Democratic administrations won't even investigate the known crimes, let alone find someone guilty enough that a pardon could be requested.  In America, torture has become a policy dispute.

Remaining beyond the restricted political parameters of that grim discussion during this period was the fact that, in the summer of 2004, a full two years after the torture of al Libi,  KSM, and Zubaydah was used to extract false confessions prior to the Iraq invasion, torture would again be used to extract the now-admitted false narrative of the 9/11conspiracy from Guantanamo detainees. This new round of false narrative construction would occur during the 9/11 Commission investigation itself, when the panel sent two sets of questions for the CIA to ask the detainees. The detainees were subject to what we now know was a strict, inclining regimen of debasement, sleep deprivation, temperature shock, beatings and torture, after which they would sign papers, allegedly the story as they knew it. These papers were neither read nor understood by the brutalized detainees, who signed without knowing what was written before them. Those papers were the result of the "raw", i.e. dazed, brutalized and bloodied, intelligence, and the CIA would inform the Commission as to what the detainees had said, according to those signed confessions. Despite

[...]More

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Water Throttle on Renewable Energy

A very un-green aspect of the renewable energy push.  Of course, why on earth one would build a solar panel production facility in the desert is a bit mystifying -- reducing the carbon footprint with near sight construction? -- especially when one understands that the manufacturers must certainly be aware of the water consumption their production requires.  It is certainly obvious that the South West has been in severe water decline for some years, as battles for water rights are ongoing.  Did these folks think that producing "green" technology would somehow impart some unbeknownst water blessing upon the scheme?
Alternative Energy Projects Stumble on a Need for Water

In a rural corner of Nevada reeling from the recession, a bit of salvation seemed to arrive last year. A German developer, Solar Millennium, announced plans to build two large solar farms here that would harness the sun to generate electricity, creating hundreds of jobs.

But then things got messy. The company revealed that its preferred method of cooling the power plants would consume 1.3 billion gallons of water a year, about 20 percent of this desert valley’s available water.

Now Solar Millennium finds itself in the midst of a new-age version of a Western water war. The public is divided, pitting some people who hope to make money selling water rights to the company against others concerned about the project’s impact on the community and the environment.

“I’m worried about my well and the wells of my neighbors,” George Tucker, a retired chemical engineer, said on a blazing afternoon.

Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable energy: It

[...]More

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Sibel Edmonds Interview

Kudos to American Conservative for publishing this important story.  I'm not going to steal their thunder, just read it.

Who's Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

Doubtless amusing is the fact that, even in our age of globalized finance, high frequency trading, electronic transfers, and numbered off shore bank accounts, the phrase "bag of money" makes an appearance in this sordid tale of corruption at the highest levels.
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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Government-sponsored Death Panels

Brought to you by what we refuse to cheerfully call Xe.
[in sworn testimony]Erik Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life." Prince, the former employee charged, "intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades…. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to 'lay Hajiis out on cardboard.' Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as 'ragheads' or 'hajiis.' "
 …
"Prince's private army of men went 'night hunting' on more than one occasion. This 'night hunting' entailed Mr. Prince's men, armed with night goggles and riding in Mr. Prince's wholly-owned helicopters after 10 pm over the streets of Baghdad, killing at random."

a gunman from the fourth Blackwater vehicle opened fire on the mother gripping her son and shot her dead before Khalaf's and Thiabs' eyes. "I saw parts of the woman's head flying in front of me, blow up," Thiab said. "They immediately opened heavy fire at us." Within moments, so many shots had been fired at the car from "big machine guns" that Khalaf says it exploded, engulfing the bodies inside in flames, melting their flesh into one. "Each of their four vehicles opened heavy fire in all directions, they shot and killed everyone
[...]More

Friday, 18 September 2009

Step Back on Russo-US Missile Spat

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Iskander short range missile.
International reverberations were the order of the day, when, taking cover under the domestic health care storm front, the Obama administration announced their intent to withdraw from the Bush era missile defense installations slated for Czech Republic and Poland. What would it mean?  Dire prognostications of Russian world domination were surely stirring in the fetid backrooms of the Weekly Standard and the National Review.  Reportedly, Jonah Goldberg pooped his pants.

And just to show that the Czech and Polish governments are just as out of touch with their country and is the US government, respective leaders expressed chagrin at Obama's move, while the majorities of those countries let out a sigh of relief, having opposed the installations since first announced.

This appeared to be little noticed amid the various homegrown harangues, while the usual war dealers -- now marginalized by their own domestic Republican allies -- were decrying the move, claiming that the Obama administration had caved to Moscow and abandoned allies -- the usual.  Assertions spilled forth that Russia would pounce on the weakling in Washington, certain that thismove would embolden Moscow with a "renewed Russian adventurism."

Well,

[...]More

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Toxic Waters

A stunning NY Times story,  Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering. Truly, not to be missed.  Journalism as it can be.
Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks.

She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home.

“How is this still happening today?” she asked.

When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals — the same pollutants that flowed from residents’ taps.

But state regulators never fined or punished those companies
[...]More

Monday, 14 September 2009

Afghanistan: "Everything that has been acheived."

“All is not doom and gloom in Afghanistan,” But “walking away would destroy everything that has been achieved.
-- Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles,
 Special Representative for Afghanistan,
Global Strategic Review
International Institute for Strategic Studies

Like this, for instance:

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ICOS Press Release: Eight years after 9/11 Taliban now have a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan
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