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Monthly Archives: November 2011

A murder in Hawai’i

Last week, President Obama attended the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – 21 nations “working together to advance regional economic integration and prosperity”) summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. The island of Oahu was being prepared for weeks in advance for this conference of international dignitaries, finance ministers, and heads of state. The business people of Hawaii had been promised a financial bonanza as a result of the conference. From East-West Center in 2009, after the 2011 meeting place was decided:

“The Hawai‘i meetings, scheduled for November 12-20, 2011 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to Honolulu, a welcome boost for the state’s struggling tourism industry.

” ‘APEC 2011 will be a big economic boost and provide huge publicity benefits for Hawai‘i,’ Morrison said. ‘There are lots of preparations to be made over the next two years to maximize the benefits of this meeting, including its longer-term implications as a new business opportunity for Hawai‘i. The Singapore APEC meeting now going on shows that, with good planning, APEC can have many benefits without disrupting normal social and business activity.’ ”

Didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, you might want to read this article, “Business Owners to Sue Over APEC Losses”; http://tinyurl.com/77voboo

Conditions on the ground ended up being quite different from what was supposed to occur. Normal social and business activities were, in fact, so disrupted that local businesses had to close their doors for the week of the summit and residents stocked up on food so that they would not have to face the hours of sitting in their cars, waiting for their car to be searched, every time they wanted to leave or re-enter residential areas to go grocery shopping.

From a friend that corresponds to the Honolulu paper:

The organized grab of all public spaces is unprecedented in modern Hawaii. Not since 1893, when U.S. Marine flagships seized Hawaii’s ports and forced regime change by placing the Queen Lili’oukalani  under house arrest for the remaining 17 years of her life has such a military clamp-down been experienced in the state.  The Queen had just voluntarily written the Hawaiian Constitution, which was adopted by the country, to supersede the monarchy.  From the leeward (western) side of Oahu, north and south and all the way to Kaneohe – the gorgeous windward coast (fully dominated by the U.S. military), and all the way from Honolulu to Obama’s precious Disneyland where he held his meetings despite that the APEC conference was being held over an hour away in downtown Honolulu at the Convention Center, all the way east past the Diamondhead Crater, and all points in between, was a milieu of police, state department security, and military coordination. Air, land, and sea. And all completely closed off to the public: those that live there and those whose vacations or honeymoons had brought them there expecting to experience paradise. No better opportunity for movement of munitions or whatever hidden things they want to move, and collaboration amongst branches of the military, police, state department, and mercenary security services has ever occurred here. Tourists and locals found only antiseptic parks across the whole of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, and from Kapi’olani from the Diamondhead Crater all the way to Ko’olina, an hour by car with only one freeway – closed for APEC, including all overpasses, underpasses, and connecting surface streets; with all traffic stopped and searched on entry. Gunboats, zodiacs with manned machine gun turrets at the fore and seriously heavy weaponry carried by the rest of the crew, made sure that no-one entered the waters of Waikiki. The Duke Kahanamoku statue lacked for any company except the metal and concrete barriers placed to end entry to the downtown and tourist districts, and determined looking uniformed or “under cover” black t-shirted men patrolled all corridors with guns displayed. Roads in and out were closed way beyond any published schedules; cul de sacs were established from normally open commuter paths and all automobiles and pedestrians were searched with the only “probable cause” being that they either worked or had intentioned to vacation in Honolulu. Not to be. Nor did the APEC VIP’s see anything of Hawaii. They viewed closed highways, closed roads, empty beaches, and more armed personnel than their fondest back-home memories. The promise of much money to be garnered by businesses catering to APEC was killed at the onset by the complete sweep and closure of the entire southern side of the city under the guise of stripping all homeless areas, nightclub districts, beaches, and all tourist gathering places of threats. And with their commerce, mobility, and homes taken from them, it was inevitable that some would show strain. Not all of the strained populace survived the armed men in their midst. Residents had been warned that the APEC folk (and the corporate CEO’s buying access at the ludicrously expensive meetings with Obama or various Asian Heads of State or Finance Ministers such as Geithner or Clinton, America’s Secretary of State); warned that they “came from societies that had different notions about sex trade” than us good American Hawaiians and which justified thereby the complete crackdown against anyone that didn’t suit their notions of the appearance of proprietary. And at the end of it, Obama didn’t even have them take the traditional picture in native garb – in this case the local artisans that had created leis and aloha shirts were completely stiffed. As were all businesses, tourists, and residents. These APEC men owned the town, closed down the town, and wore business suits looking more like IMF than if they’d appointed permanent rulers to enforce the austerity even after they finally left.

In advance of the summit, State Dept. Special Agents (Bureau of Diplomatic Security) were dispatched to Hawaii to set up security. One of these agents was Christopher Deedy.  On 5 Nov., the off-duty Deedy had an altercation in a nightclub with a 23-year-old Hawaiian resident, Kollin Elderts. (Accounts differ as to where the two first encountered each other. However, the latest news reports seem to all be in agreement that the two men had an argument in the bar, which Elderts left before Deedy did.)  Deedy followed Elderts to the Waikiki McDonalds, where he continued the argument and ended up shooting and killing Elderts.

Before I give any news summaries of the events, I want to point out how eerily similar this case is to the Raymond Allen Davis case; Davis was a private security firm employee on contract with the CIA who shot and killed 2 men in Pakistan on 27 Jan this year. You can review that case here: http://tinyurl.com/4jut24k.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS or DSS) was set up in 1916. From the State Dept website, the job description of Special Agent is as follows:

Diplomatic Security special agents are federal law enforcement officers who serve worldwide. Overseas, our special agents advise ambassadors on all security issues and coordinate all of a mission’s security programs. In the United States, agents investigate passport and visa fraud and protect the Secretary of State and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Per wikipedia, these agents are issued the following weapons:

Standard issue:
SIG P228 in 9 mm (pistol)
SIG P229 R DA/SA in 9 mm (pistol)
Remington 870 (12 gauge shotgun)
Colt SMG (9 mm submachine gun)
Colt M4 (5.56 mm Carbine)
Additional issue:
M249 light machine gun (SAW)
M240 machine gun
M203 grenade launcher

These and other weapons systems may be employed by DSS Special Agents assigned to high-threat locations. The agents going to those locations attend additional thorough training in these weapons before they are deployed.

The State Dept is declining to give much information out about Christopher Deedy personally, however, it appears most of the Special Agents are on contract from three mercenary groups.

As per allgov:

As the second largest component of the US Department of State, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is part law enforcement agency, part intelligence operation, responsible for protecting the personnel, information and property associated with America’s embassies and other diplomatic posts. The bureau also provides protection in the US for the Secretary of State, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and foreign dignitaries below the head-of-state level who visit the United States.
DS employs almost 500 special agents in over 150 countries, along with hundreds of private security guards through contracts with companies such as Blackwater USA. The use of private contractors created a huge controversy for DS in the fall of 2006 when Blackwater guards killed numerous civilians in Baghdad, Iraq as a result of an attack on a convoy carrying American diplomats.

 

In Aug, ’10, Blackwater (now Xe) paid a 42 million dollar fine for charges related to its Iraq operations and was allowed to resume its contracts with the State Dept.

The Obama administration awarded Xe Services a quarter of a billion dollar contract to work for the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan.

From the Washington Independent:

In 2005, the State Department issued a four-year contract, valued at $560 million per year, to provide on-the-ground security for its diplomats in dangerous areas around the world with three leading private security companies: Blackwater [now Xe], Triple Canopy and DynCorp. The U.S. military does not consider the provision of security for diplomats in war zones to be its job. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which controls the WPPS contract, possesses a workforce of about 1450 special agents, leading it to rely on contractors for security, according to a 2007 investigation by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).
http://tinyurl.com/ydzfe6d

The number given above (1450 special agents) was the number of the agents specifically designated as DSS agents in 2007.  The State Dept has used contractors in other sub-departments in higher numbers over the years; i.e., the number 1450 does not represent the total number of mercenaries contracted by the State Dept.  In Oct of this year, the Washington Post pointed out that the State Dept will be expanding its contractor forces to around 16,000 to be deployed in Iraq alone after US military troops are removed from that country.  Currently, the US military uses 50,000 defense contractors (mercenaries) in Iraq.  One could speculate that some of this number might simply switch from military to State Dept contracts.

Xe Services is the largest of the State Dept’s 3 private security contractors. The primary training facility for Xe, called the “US Training Center”, is housed on 7000 acres in northeast North Carolina. They also opened a new 80-acre facility west of Chicago in ’07 known as “The Site”, which “serves law enforcement agencies throughout the midwest”.  200 Xe mercenaries were used during Hurricane Katrina under a contract with the DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) – “to protect government facilities” – at a cost to taxpayers of $240,000/day.

Because the State Dept will not answer questions about Christopher Deedy, we do not know if he is one of the “special agents” supplied by contract with Xe or any other contractor mercenary group.

A basic summary of the murder is offered from the Telegraph, 8 Nov.:

Christopher Deedy was tasked with “supporting protection of dignitaries” for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit which will be attended by President Barack Obama and a host of other leaders later this week.
Deedy, 27, is accused of fatally shooting Kollin Elderts, 23, who he did not know, at 3am in the tourist district of Waikiki. He has been charged with second degree murder and released on $250,000 bail. He was off duty at the time of the alleged shooting.
Michael Green, a lawyer for the victim’s family, said it followed an altercation in a Waikiki club. Later, at the McDonald’s, Mr Elderts was said to have told Deedy he looked “pretty serious” and jokingly asked him, “Hey, are you going to shoot me or something?” According to Mr Green the federal agent replied “How would you like to get shot tonight?” then pulled out a gun, knocked Mr Elderts to the floor and fired three times. The sequence of events was captured on security cameras, he said.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed Deedy had been in Honolulu to beef up security ahead of the APEC conference, and has now been put on paid administrative leave…

http://tinyurl.com/8ysfdkb

The 17 Nov. Washington Post claims that Deedy was “protecting himself and others” from someone who was “aggressing” on him.  “The federal agent charged with killing a man in a McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii was protecting himself and others, his attorney said Thursday…
“He didn’t provide details but said Deedy was protecting himself and others from a man ‘who aggressed on him.’…”

Later, the WaPo adds, “They exchanged words, Green [att’y for Elderts family] said. At one point, the agent asked, ‘Do you want to get shot?’ Deedy then ‘karate-kicked’ Elderts in the chest, knocking him down, Green said. Elderts got up and ‘smacked the guy.’ The two began struggling with each other when Deedy fired three shots, Green said, adding Elderts was unarmed. Police said a knife was recovered at the scene.” [http://tinyurl.com/c8etogp]

A few new details in this article from kitv, 10 Nov.:

HONOLULU KITV4 News has uncovered new details about the events that happened before the fatal shooting of a Kailua man early Saturday morning in Waikiki…
There is surveillance video of the incident from inside the Kuhio Avenue McDonald’s in Waikiki, police sources said… Elderts’ family attorney said Deedy was drunk.”What the witnesses say is that at one point, the agent, who apparently appeared very intoxicated, asked my client if he’d like to get shot,” said Michael Green, who’s representing the Elderts family. Deedy refused to take a blood alcohol test, sources said…
Witnesses report seeing Deedy drinking at a bar near the Waikiki McDonald’s before the shooting, where sources said he paid for drinks with his credit card, potentially leaving a paper trail for investigators. The medical examiner’s office says Elderts’ blood alcohol content was 0.12 percent…
Deedy started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, on Elderts before emergency crews arrived, a source said…
http://tinyurl.com/6vvzuhr

I have a lot of questions about this incident. Who is the State Dept hiring, exactly? Why are they allowed to go out (intoxicated or not) amongst the civilians, carrying weapons, while off duty? Why is Deedy charged with 2nd degree murder rather than 1st? Why is he out on bail; a bail that looks rather low for murder charges? Why is he on administrative leave with pay?  The knife “found at the scene” turned out to be Deedy’s.  He used it to cut open Elderts’ shirt so he could “perform CPR” on Elderts.  Because that is such a peculiar way to perform CPR, I wonder: what was his original intention when he pulled out the knife and cut open Elderts’ shirt?

Peter Van Buren, a former State dept foreign service officer and author of the book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People”, has questions about this incident as well. I will close with his list of questions.

As reported here and everywhere, State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security “Special” Agent Chris Deedy is charged with second degree murder in Honolulu…
There is nothing to indicate that the victim was armed. Deedy asked “Do you want to get shot?,” then kicked the guy in the chest, before cranking off three rounds from his State Department-issued firearm. The bloody knife mentioned in some reports appears to have been Deedy’s. Deedy claims he pulled the knife to cut open the victim’s shirt before performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation on the victim after he was shot.
Special Agent Deedy remains in Hawaii, on “admin leave.” His arraignment is set for November 20.
So a couple of questions for you legally educated folks:
1) When I learned CPR it was not taught that we had to cut open a victim’s shirt. Anything changed with that?
2) Is it normal for a law enforcement guy to fire three shots in a crowded fast food restaurant against an unarmed man, even if that man was a bully, even in “self defense”? Deedy’s lawyer says the killing was self-defense. I thought self defense was supposed to meet some sort of proportional test, otherwise cops would just be free to blow away anyone messing with them.
3) Is it DS’ policy that its officers are allowed to carry their service weapons off hours even when drinking? Asked if Deedy was drinking beforehand, his lawyer said, “We’re investigating to see whether that is so, and if so, if drinking had any impact on Mr. Deedy’s behavior.” The victim’s lawyer said Deedy was drunk. It is usually bad news when your own lawyer won’t say clearly that you weren’t drinking.
4) Can’t the Hawaiian cops get a warrant to force a murder suspect to take an alcohol test? Cops can do this in alleged drunk driving cases. Why wasn’t Deedy tested? Some kind of cop courtesy thing?
5) According to Deedy’s lawyer, “The [State Department] want him to come back to work as soon as he’s able.” Does DS have no other criteria other than a stone-cold felony conviction? Can you kill a man in McDonald’s at 3am and just pop back into Rosslyn HQ a month later, no questions asked? Maybe like about judgement and suitability?
6) Does Deedy still carry a State Department badge, gun and ID card while on admin leave awaiting arraignment for murder? In some cases (er, mine), admin leave is accompanied by State physically taking away my ID card and barring me in writing from entering any State Department facility. For the record, I did not kill anyone, just wrote a book. Does DS apply the rules evenly, even with its own special agents?
http://tinyurl.com/73t3h8t

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Deedy, mercenaries, security state, State Dept/diplomacy

 

Let this be a lesson.

Cenk on Bloomberg, below.  I haven’t read the news this morning, so who knows what has happened since this was filmed?  But I must say, Cenk forgets one thing: the stupid fucks in NYC were so eager to have this guy running things that they overturned their own law about term limits.  They wanted this guy in charge.  Sort of like what is going on now in Chicago.  Idiots just had to have their rock star Rahm, so they overlook the residency rules, elect him, and now he is raising fees and fines and taxes on the poor like some medieval Lord in his liege holdings.  Sort of like how the fine citizens of Ohio and Wisconsin and all those other states are quite surprised that the bullies that they elected would actually turn around and, uh, be bullies.

I don’t understand why any commenter lets the dumb sheep off the hook without at least a warning about the lessons they should be learning – if you don’t want the .01% ruling with iron fists and taking all the shit you worked for all your life away from you – STOP ELECTING THEM!  Idiots.

Speaking of the .01%, we see that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are joining together to form a hedge fund.

http://tinyurl.com/78tn4j6

Might that be a conflict of interest for Bill, what with his wife in the State Dept. and all?  Why, no.  The State Dept. has signed off on it; it’s cool.  I’d personally like to ask Bill where all the money donated to the Help Haiti fund went.

And Hillary wants to head the World Bank come next year.

http://tinyurl.com/66eg7ev  

That position should be of some insider benefit to hubby’s new hedge fund.  Which couldn’t possibly be considered a conflict of interest, either.  Merely two well-connected, well-heeled Movers and Shakers leeching parasitic benefit from each other’s information and position.  And that’s how it is done in the world of the .o1%.

Now watch this drive.

 

I know – let the peasants kill each other.

Page: “Sire, sire, the peasants are revolting!”

King: “You can say that again.”

 

Coming up for a vote soon in the House:

National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 – H.R. 822

Information on bill from: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h822/show#

Summary of bill as worded by opencongress:

OpenCongress Summary

Would require all states to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms as long as the laws of the visitors’ home states allow them to do so.

Official Summary

2/18/2011–Introduced.National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 – Amends the federal criminal code to authorize a person who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, and who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state.

Sponsor: Clifford Stearns, R-Fl
co-sponsors: 245  [Note: the House has 435 members.]
Committees:  House Judiciary
House Judiciary – Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Organizations supporting: NRA, Buckeye Firearms Assoc.

Organizations opposing:  Brady Campaign, Mayors Against Illegal Guns

See opencongress link above for complete co-sponsor list and their “money trail” for more info on how campaign contributions may be influencing senators’ and representatives’ votes.
 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Congress

 

Bankers

Bankers have hit their stride, taking out one country after another.  (“So long, and thanks for all the fish!” – Goldman, Sachs.)

Max Keiser on Greece:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr24d2aB3PM&feature=player_embedded

Max Keiser on the theft of Libya’s billions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErsbN8dvcvw&feature=player_embedded

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in austerity, corporatocracy, Greece, Wall St and banks

 

On Iran, and a small video of Sirte, Libya

I was going to write about the Republican debate.  But why bother?  Now, the primaries for the election in ’08 were interesting for a couple of reasons.  One was that it appeared for awhile that portions of the American population might be interested in a return to the rule of law, re-regulation of the financial industries, and ending the wars abroad – hence the popular support for Obama.  That he didn’t actually stand for any of those things was part of what piqued my interest.  Hillary Clinton never presented herself as anything other than a neoliberal, but was also, nonetheless, running as a Democrat and so offered as an antithesis to George Bush the Lesser.  It was fascinating to see so many deluded Americans, but still, refreshing that so many of us seemed fed up with the neocon rule of previous years.  On the other side, the peculiar antics of McCain and the sheer exuberant ignorance of his running mate, Sarah Palin, were interesting for other reasons; first, they were fun, albeit appalling, to watch in an “Idiocracy” sort of way, and second, one had to stand aghast at the number of people who supported them.  We clearly had not learned all we needed to from the Bush years.

That was then.  Good times.  There is simply nothing much to say this time around.  We have lost the country to the oligarchy despite the continued “arguing” between “Democrats” and “Republicans”, which is taking place only in fictions created by the media.  In fact, we no longer have two distinct parties and the election is not between two radically different sets of values.  Oh, we are told it is, and the media will continue to try to show contrast between two contenders for as long as we will buy the story.  (Which may in fact work through this election cycle and part-way into the next, given how slow to learn we are.  Or until martial law is declared – whichever comes first.)  So forget the “candidates”.

Regarding Iran: there is currently a fraudulent report from the IAEA making headlines.  Iran is getting close to producing a nuke, so we need pre-emptive action; at least, that is what we are told.  Who should bomb them first – Israel or the US? – that is the question.  Remarkably, no-one seems to recall the run-up to the war on Iraq, when blatantly false claims were used to invade and ruin a sovereign nation which had caused us no harm.

Daniel Joyner of the Alabama School of Law points out that there are serious problems with this new report.

On November 8, Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), delivered a formal report [PDF] on Iran’s nuclear program to the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council..

This report is legally problematic in a number of ways.

Firstly and most fundamentally, the IAEA simply has no legal mandate to produce such a report on activities being carried on within an IAEA member state concerning items and technologies that may be related to the development of a nuclear explosive device, but that are not directly related to fissionable materials or associated facilities…

It must therefore suffice to say that the agency is tasked in the IAEA Statute to conclude safeguards agreements with IAEA member states, pursuant to which all fissionable materials and related facilities within the state are subject to IAEA safeguards, and to monitor and verify member states’ compliance with these agreements. The IAEA is not tasked, either by its Statute or by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), in monitoring or verifying the compliance of states with their broader NPT legal obligations…

Note that the role of the IAEA, as agreed with the Iranian government, is limited to applying and monitoring safeguards on fissionable material and related facilities within the territory of Iran, with the purpose of assuring that no such fissile material is diverted from peaceful nuclear activities to military purposes. The IAEA is given no authority to inquire into or to examine activities within Iran that are not directly related to fissile materials, even if they may possibly relate to the development of a nuclear explosive device. Again, the IAEA has a limited legal mandate that does not include being a general nuclear weapons watchdog.

Thus, in conducting these investigations into technologies other than fissile materials and producing this report, the IAEA is acting wholly outside of its authority pursuant to its safeguards agreement with Iran.

This is why the report’s findings are so indeterminate. Since the IAEA is acting outside of its legal authority in this section of the report, it does not have a legal standard to apply to its conclusions regarding possible nuclear weapons related activities not involving fissile material. Throughout the report, the Director General expresses “concern” about the information being presented, and requests “clarification” from Iran in order to address these concerns. However, since there is no treaty language in Iran’s, or any other state’s, safeguards agreement that deals with non-fissile-material activities related to nuclear weapons, there is no prohibitive or regulatory standard that the Director General can point to against which to make a conclusion of compliance or non-compliance. In short, as the ancient legal maxim states, there can be no illegality where there is no law. The IAEA is simply “concerned.”

Why they are concerned is itself a matter of curiosity. There is no knowledge or technical ability related to nuclear weapons detailed in this report, and allegedly possessed by Iran, which other technologically advanced non-nuclear-weapon states like Japan or Germany do not possess. These are specialized bodies of knowledge and technical capabilities, to be sure, but they are well within the knowledge base and technical abilities of these advanced industrial states.

Within nonproliferation studies circles, no one seriously doubts that Japan, for example, has all of the knowledge and technical ability relating to all necessary components and technologies that it would need to build a nuclear weapon in a matter of weeks or months if it made the political decision to do so. Japan has gained this knowledge through decades of high technology design, research and manufacturing experience, built upon a broad base of scientific knowledge gained through both in-country research and experimentation, and information sharing with other states.

Fortunately for Japan and Germany, and all other technologically and scientifically advanced non-nuclear-weapon states, knowledge about how to build a nuclear weapon — gained through scientific experiments, development of technological capability, or any other means including information sharing with other states — is not prohibited under international law, either in IAEA safeguards agreements or in the NPT itself…

Since there is no evidence presented in this new report by the IAEA Director General that Iran has physically constructed a nuclear explosive device or any of its components, one can conclude that the Director General’s concern expressed in this report cannot be justified as being based upon a breach of a rule of international law prohibiting the activities outlined in the IAEA report. Such a rule exists neither in Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, or in the NPT. Rather, the reason for the IAEA’s and the UN Security Council’s attention to Iran can only be based on other factors, primarily including the determination of the US and other states that Iran is a threat to Israel, the region and international peace and security generally.

The UN Security Council does in fact have the authority to make such a determination, pursuant to Article 39 of the UN Charter, even though this grant of authority does not mean that such a decision is any less subjective and politicized as among UN Security Council member states. The IAEA, on the other hand, is not supposed to be a politicized body. It was established to be a purely technical body, tasked with independently verifying state compliance with agreements related to fissile materials accounting. Nevertheless, its track record in devoting so much critical attention to Iran over the past nine years, and not to other non-nuclear-weapon states who have for decades engaged in precisely the same production of knowledge and capabilities, through the same processes, has convinced both Iran and the other members of the Non-Aligned Movement (comprising the vast majority of states in the world) that the IAEA has thereby undermined its independence and objectivity as a technical monitoring and verification body. Instead, they believe, it has become a politicized instrument of the foreign policy goals of the US and other Western states. The agency’s overreaching in its new report is simply the most recent evidence of this fact.

http://tinyurl.com/8yfkx7d

V. Noah Gimbel writes for NationofChange:

…A deeper look into just that, however, may cast serious doubts on the report’s objectivity and veracity, raising the question: just how far-fetched are Iran’s claims that the IAEA Directorate General is politically compromised?

Prior to the release of the report on Tuesday, November 8, White House press secretary Jay Carney augured that the report’s findings would “echo and reinforce” the long-held U.S. stance that the Iranian government seeks to build nuclear weapons, contrary to its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. And indeed, Carney’s foresight was by no means preternatural: as evidenced inthis 2009 diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, the U.S. had secured the support of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in its campaign against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program as a quid-pro-quo for American support of his candidacy in the wake of Egyptian Nobel Laureate Mohammad El-Baradei’s resignation.

But could one man’s personal bias really manipulate the IAEA’s evidence – what the Washington Post referred to as “over 1,000 pages of documents, interviews with renegade scientists who helped Iran and material from 10 governments”? Well, that depends.

devastating piece of reporting from Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service follows one of the main pieces of evidence cited in the report to its source. The report, Porter says,

repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.

But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives.

In other words, his legitimate reason for being in Iran from 1996-2002 was not a cover, it really was legitimate. As Porter points out, the Washington Think-Tanker who helped spread the word of this “renegade scientist” theory, David Albright, admitted the intelligence claims from an unidentified “member state” that spawned the theory almost certainly came from Israel. Later, that intelligence was incorporated into Amano’s findings without any independent verification.

And Israel’s authority on nuclear non-proliferation should be completely null by now, considering that the Jewish State possesses a sizeable secret arsenal of its own and shared nuclear technology with the murderous apartheid regime of South Africa for years. But what about the other intelligence sources?

Another fount of evidence supporting Amano’s report is likely the so-called “laptop of death” allegedly nabbed from an Iranian scientist by U.S. intelligence services in 2005. The smoking gun evidence on the laptop was all written in English, had no reference to official classification, and included graphs made on Microsoft PowerPoint. When this piece of evidence first surfaced in 2007 in connection to the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on the Iranian nuclear program, it was largely dismissed by IAEA officials and international diplomats as a likely forgery. But that was before Yukiya Amano headed the agency. Indeed, Amano’s predecessor El Baradei publicly confirmed that Western Intelligence agencies had sought to exaggerate the threat of the Iranian nuclear program.

At The Race for Iran, Flynt and Hillary Mann Levrett have put out a characteristically thoughtful piece on the report’s implications, putting the current belligerence of the U.S. and Israel in context.

Whether or not it can be definitively stated that Iran seeks nuclear weapons capabilities, it should be understood that Iranian objections to the IAEA report are neither baseless nor hysterical…

Painting the Islamic Republic as an irrational actor, as was done to Saddam Hussein in 2003, serves to reinforce the case for war as a last resort…

http://tinyurl.com/7cmufkm

Let us bear in mind that the former Democratic candidate and current Sec. of State, Hillary Clinton, has long called for pre-emptive war on Iran, and that the current Democratic President, Obama, is promoting vicious sanctions against that country, and it was under his watch that the American/Israeli stuxnet virus was used against Iran’s computer systems and several of their scientists assassinated.  He is currently suggesting that the fabricated IAEA reports of Iran getting close to nuclear armament are true.  Why would the US want to invade Iran?  Obviously, Iran has oil.  We very much dislike paying for oil, preferring to make demands, sanction, threaten, and then invade another country to steal it.  In Iran’s case, as I mentioned in a previous article, we feel particularly desperate because they just began trading their oil on their oil market, the bourse, using currency other than the US dollar.

July, 2011 The first shipment of Iranian crude oil has been sold on Iran’s international oil bourse on the Persian Gulf island of Kish, an Iranian official says.
The Iranian oil bourse was officially inaugurated on July 14, 2011 on the Kish International Commodity Exchange, as a tool to strengthen Iran’s position in the international markets. Iran possesses the world’s second largest gas reserves and third largest oil reserves…
The NIOC [National Iranian Oil Company] plans to offer 50,000 barrels of Iran’s crude on the bourse on a daily basis, once all the necessary preparations for the measure have been made.

Iran is the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s second-largest oil producer.
The Iranian oil bourse is intended as an oil exchange for petroleum, petrochemicals and gas in various currencies other than the U.S. dollar, primarily the euro and Iranian rial and a basket of other major (non-U.S.) currencies.
Western analysts said that at a time when the U.S. dollar is as vulnerable as it has ever been, Iran is piling on the pressure with their oil exchange. The thing that will kill the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency faster than the U.S. debt default is if oil producers and consumers trade oil in other currencies.
They said, if the main oil consuming and producing nations in the world unite to trade oil over an open exchange, similar to Iran’s oil bourse, and price the oil in currencies other than or as well as the U.S. dollar, then the world is likely to be economically more stable.

http://tinyurl.com/43pss5q

Also see another article I have cited previously to see how long this issue has been on the radar of American politicians.

http://aradicalblackfoot.blogspot.com/2005/12/about-oil-dollar-and-m3.html

It should not need to be pointed out, but I will bring it up in case you haven’t quite connected these dots yet, that as the time for the unconstitutional Super Congress to make its recommendations draws to a close, they need an excuse to leave the Pentagon funding untouched.  What better excuse than the (fictitious) impending threat of a (non) nuclear Iran?  We simply dare not cut funds for the Pentagon’s Long War with so many countries still left uninvaded.

[Why would Israel want to bomb Iran?  They need oil, too, of course, but seem much more focused on outrage over Iran’s backing of Palestine. It actually seems fairly insane, this desire to start a war with Iran, but certain members of the Israeli government appear determined.  Ironically, Iran had normal diplomatic relations with Israel until the Iranian Revolution in 1979 (which we fomented), which overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty.]

I will leave you with a visual of what we would like to start doing to Iran.  This video montage of Sirte, Libya was included in Cynthia McKinney’s latest article, which I read on warisacrime.org.  The video shows Sirte before and after the extensive, illegal, and brutal NATO siege and bombing of that city.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Congress, Iran, Libya, MIC

 

Replacements: off with their heads, bring in the new heads.

Three new leaders in three countries in a few days.  This is the quickening, the acceleration.  These guys are making their move.  Look who these new appointed leaders are: there is more here than just new names.

Libya.  The NTC named a new Libyan Prime Minister earlier this week. The new PM is el-Keib, who has lived in the US for over 30 years.  He graduated from USC in ’76, went on to get a doctorate here and ended up teaching at U of Alabama for more than twenty years.  He has actually lived here in the US for over 30 years. He is also a faculty member of the Petroleum Institute, a think-tank funded by BP and other British, French and US oil firms; his time spent outside the US involves work in the UAE for the Institute.  You may reference my earlier article about his “election” for more information.

Greece.  Greece has named a new Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos.

ATHENS: Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos will head Greece’s new crisis coalition, the president’s office said on Thursday, ending suspense over who will try to save the country from default, bankruptcy and an exit from the euro zone.

The coalition will be sworn in at 1200 GMT on Friday, a presidential official said after Papademos struck a deal on the national unity government with outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and the opposition leader. “The Greek economy is facing huge problems despite the efforts undertaken,” Papademos said as he emerged from the talks brokered by President Karolos Papoulias.

“The choices we make will be decisive for the Greek people. The path will not be easy but I am convinced the problems will be resolved faster and at a smaller cost if there is unity, understanding and prudence.”

Papademos, a respected figure in European capitals and on financial markets, said the coalition had the specific task of implementing a 130-billion-euro ($177 billion) bailout deal with the euro zone before calling an early election. ..

These [stipulations] included a demand that both Papandreou’s socialist PASOK and the New Democracy party of Antonis Samaras give a written undertaking to support the euro zone bailout package, which stipulates austerity measures which are likely to be highly unpopular with Greek voters…EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, exasperated by broken Greek promises, has already insisted the leaders sign up before receiving even an 8 billion euro instalment from Greece’s original bailout deal pulled together last year.

Unless Greece gets that money, it will default next month when big debt repayments come due. However, Germany and France have made clear they will not compromise the euro zone’s stability for the sake of Greece, and told the nation that it must decide whether it wants to stay in the bloc or not.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Lucas-Papademos-is-Greeces-new-prime-minister/articleshow/10682433.cms

 

Papademos served as the senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in the 1980’s after studying at several American universities.  He was the vice president at the European Central Bank until last year.  He is a member of the Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller’s neoliberal think tank).

Italy.  The favored proposed leader to take over Italy’s government is Mario Monti:

Reuters: Former European Commissioner Mario Monti emerged on Thursday as favorite to replace Silvio Berlusconi at the head of an emergency government as Italy’s politicians rushed to ward off a crisis that is endangering the entire euro zone.

Dithering politicians seemed finally to have got the message overnight after Italy’s borrowing costs soared way above sustainable levels, and Monti was expected to be appointed within days to try to restore Rome’s credibility…

Political sources said the timetable imposed by an alarmed President Giorgio Napolitano could see a broad-based Monti government as early as Sunday night or Monday.

Monti, a highly respected international figure, has been pushed by markets for weeks as the most suitable figure to lead a national unity government that will urgently push through painful austerity measures

Both houses of parliament are expected to pass a financial stability law incorporating economic reforms promised to the European Union by Saturday or Sunday. This is the trigger for Berlusconi’s resignation as agreed with Napolitano on Tuesday.

Before the new sense of urgency this process was expected to take at least a week. Napolitano could then hold formal consultations with political parties in a few hours instead of the usual days or weeks and appoint Monti by Sunday or Monday, the sources said…

Napolitano appointed Monti a senator for life on Wednesday, in a move widely seen as a sign he would ask the academic to try to form a government…

IMF head Christine Lagarde added her voice to calls for an end to the impasse, saying that lack of political clarity in Italy was fuelling uncertainty in the markets…

He gave assurances that Berlusconi would honor his pledge to step down after parliament approved reforms geared to placate markets and he would waste no time in either appointing a new government or calling new elections…

Commentators said, however, that he might still face difficulty getting support for unpopular measures.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/10/us-italy-idUSTRE7A72NG20111110

 

Mario Monti is not just a European Commissioner and a current international adviser to Goldman,Sachs, he is also the following: the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller’s neoliberal think tank) and a member of the Bilderberg Group.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in austerity, Greece, Libya, Wall St and banks

 

“Great” ideas from “great” men (and women)

Having lost all of our reasoning abilities at some point, we the people elected outright idiots, jack-booted thugs, or the corporately bribed to offices at all levels all across the land.  The inevitable result, which nonetheless surprises us, is that we have descended back into the medieval times in the US.  The middle class is getting bitch-slapped into extreme poverty while the wealthiest reap ever greater rewards, confident that our elected leaders have their backs.  The large corporations off-shore jobs and cut wages and benefits for the ever-decreasing number of workers left in the US, while politicians find new and inventive ways to save these same corporations from having to pay taxes or suffer from any  regulatory oversight, and grant them tax-payer subsidies to save the companies some of their cost of doing business.  That the companies then use the money to pay more to the CEO’s while at the same time laying off even more workers is somehow touted as the Free Market At Work.

A Super Congress is set up to reduce the deficit.  The deficit, created by never ending wars, tax breaks to the wealthiest and giving trillions to the same banks that made the economic mess in the first place, will be eased by taking away as much as possible from the poor – which is pretty much 99 % of the population.  No-one says out loud that the Super Congress is an unconstitutional politburo, and we the people seem unable to grasp the fact that our representational government has just been taken away from us.  We need to find 1.5 trillion bucks in savings, say the Republicans.  Shucks, says the Democrat Obama, make it 5 or 6 trillion.  (“Give us what we want or we shoot the hostage” – Republicans.  “I already shot the fucking hostage.  Now let’s play some golf.” – Oblahblah.)

So determined are we to commit hara-kiri that any politician who suggests doing away the minimum wage, public education, the Civil Right’s Act, the EPA and “gradually easing” us into the complete death of Social Security is a viable contender for President.  The current President is called a socialist while at the very same moment he is gathering huge contributions from Wall Street, refusing to investigate the MERS (robo-signing) bank fraud, granting new regulatory-free deep-water drilling rights to BP, pushing for the destruction of SS and Medicare, and overseeing massive, never-ending  bailouts of the big banks.

Some statistics about where we are as a nation:

Last year, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty.  [My note; No, they were bitch-slapped into poverty.] That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.

In Washington D.C., the “child food insecurity rate” is 32.3%.

More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

Today, there are over 45 million Americans [roughly 15%] on food stamps. One out of every four American children is on food stamps.

In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007. [There has been an 8% increase just in the past year.]

It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.  Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

http://www.alternet.org/news/153005

The number of households applying for home-heating assistance has dramatically risen this year; however, the federal funds for this program are slated to be cut in half.

The true number of unemployed and underemployed stands roughly at 20%.

Lenders filed a record 3.8 million foreclosures in 2010, up 2% from 2009 and an increase of 23% from 2008, according to RealtyTrac. But 2011 could be even worse.

Of the 55-million families with mortgages, 10.4-million of them “are sliding toward failure and foreclosure”—a tragedy that will depress the U.S. housing market for years to come, a result of too many houses for sale and too few buyers.

That’s the blunt conclusion of distinguished economics journalist William Greider, to be published in an article in the November 14th issue of The Nation magazine.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/10_Million_American_Families_Sliding_Toward_Foreclosure/16454/0/0/0/Y/M.html

The median income for American workers in 2010 was $26,364.

What shall we do?  I know, let’s get some advice from current and past Leaders, Political Movers and Shakers, and Very Important People.

All the cities and states are having financial difficulties.  Let’s check in with Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, to see what he plans to do about his city’s fiscal issues.  He must have some very progressive and liberal ideas about taxing his wealthiest citizens and what not; he is a Democrat, after all, and the former Chief of Staff for the socialist Obama.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s plan to raise money for the city in 2012 includes higher taxes, fines, and fees.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports a list of options in the mayor’s revenue ordinance.
Having your car impounded after it was used to commit a felony could cost you a $2,000 fine, which is double of what it costs today.
Tampering with parking meters or pay-and-display boxes would carry a fine ranging from $500 to $750.
There’s also a list of so-called nuisance fees.
Having weeds that grow past ten inches go from $500 to $1000 per day, to $600 to $1,200 per day.
Letting trash accumulate: $300-to-$600, up from $250-to-$500.
Collecting junk on any open lot, but not on open racks: $300-to-$600, up from $250-to-$500.
Failing to maintain vacant lots: $300-to-$600.
Neglecting to register or renew registration of a vacant building: $500.
The mayor’s budget also raises Chicago’s hotel tax, fees on downtown parking, and doubles water and sewer rates.

http://www.wgntv.com/news/wgntv-chicago-mayor-emanuel-nuissance-fees-nov07,0,2844918.story

Oops, guess he’s not that much of a socialist.  Well, what would Bill Clinton do?  He anticipated our questions, so he already had an answer prepared.  Here’s his plan:

Offer homeowners underwater a lower principle on the note; turn the note into a long term “lease” (giving the banks ownership of the home); then expedite foreclosures for everyone else.  Change the corporate tax code – to lower it.  Allow companies with profits overseas to bring them back to the US at less than half the current tax rate (down to 15% from 35%) and drop it to 0% if they promise to use the money to create jobs in the US.   [http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/08/news/economy/bill_clinton/index.htm?iid=Popular]

Oh, bummer.

What does Condi think we should do?  She knows a lot of stuff.  Appearing on Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington should consider tougher penalties against Iran’s government and “do everything we can to bring it down.”  To be honest, she wasn’t  trotted out on TV to answer economic questions.  But had she been, her answer would still be to bomb another country, preferably Iran.  This is pithy advice, applicable in a myriad of situations.  Hell, applicable in virtually every situation.  She, Cheney, and the Pentagon just can’t understand what is taking Obama so long: World War 3 was scheduled to start way before now.

Let us not dwell on these ugly matters.  Let’s watch Michael Jackson dance.  He’s been much in the news lately too, despite being somewhat dead and all.  No-one can dance the way he could.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXhy7ZsiR50

And here: