Washington’s Idiocy Has the Old Folks Scared–A Good Time To Be Afraid

US seniors fear hard times ahead if no debt deal

By Fabienne Faur (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Retired CIA analyst Ruth Washington is one of the lucky ones. She says she could survive for six months if Congress fails to reach a debt deal and her Social Security payments are cut off.

But she and other senior citizens are not optimistic about the near future — they say their loved ones could suffer, and they are angry at lawmakers on Capitol Hill for allowing politics to endanger their livelihoods.

“I’m fine. I live well, not beyond my means. It just frightens me to think what all those people on Social Security are going to do without money. What’s going to happen if they don’t receive a check?” Washington, 83, told AFP.

“If the government delays my pension, I have about six months that I could survive on my own.”

Washington spends some of her days at the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, a gathering place for retirees in a predominantly black neighborhood in the northwest section of the US capital.

She knits, listens to jazz and talks politics with her friends. These days, the battle of attrition between Democrats and Republicans over a plan to avert a calamitous US debt default is the hottest topic on the agenda.

The world’s top economy has said it will no longer be able to borrow funds to pay its bills on August 2 if a deal is not reached — potentially depriving the 54 million Americans on Social Security of their much-needed payments.

Donald Gaines, an 81-year-old retired US Treasury legal expert, said he too could “survive for quite a while” without his pension payments, but worried about his loved ones.

“I own my house, I own my car, I have comfortable savings,” he said.

But Gaines said his son is in trouble. After banks allowed him to borrow 2.5 times the value of his home, he lost his job, and his house went into foreclosure.

“I’m sure I’m going to have to maintain the position of helping my relatives and my close friends — I couldn’t sit back and watch them,” Gaines said.

The AARP, the country’s main advocacy group for seniors, sent an open letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to “address the growing anxiety” among those worried that their benefits will be cut off with little warning.

“Beneficiaries need to know that payments will continue, regardless of the Congressional discussion over an agreement to raise the nation?s debt limit,” the letter said.

“Without Social Security benefits, unprecedented hardship would befall millions of Americans who rely on these earned benefits to pay for life necessities such as food, medications, utilities and shelter.”

Disabled veterans have taken their cause to Facebook, organizing a virtual march on Washington this week to push the government to “honor its moral obligations to those who sacrificed so much in the name of freedom.”

Preston Lee, a 78-year-old former civil servant and accountant, is not alone in voicing frustration at the political deadlock over how to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit and curb the ballooning US budget deficit.

“Most of the people I talk with feel that the politicians are really not doing their job,” Lee said. “Do I trust them? I don’t have the choice but to trust them.”

Washington said she was “angry” and accused Republicans of having ulterior motives.

“I don’t think it’s about the debt ceiling — it’s about Obama. They want him to fail and this is a way of getting him to fail. They could have solved this problem a long time ago,” she said.

Gaines agreed, calling the situation “outrageous and completely unnecessary.”

“It’s strictly politics. The Republicans do not want to see Obama succeed in anything. Their whole program is designed to keep him from going a second term,” he said.

“One sentence and a bill could solve the whole problem, but they go so far as to put the whole country in jeopardy just to keep the president from being re-elected.”

Former Intelligence Chief: Stop Drone Strikes

Former Intelligence Chief: Stop Drone Strikes

By: KIMBERLY DOZIER, AP Intelligence Writer |Associated Press
ASPEN, Colorado –ASPEN, Colorado (AP) Former U.S. intelligence chief Dennis Blair said Friday that the U.S. should stop its drone campaign in Pakistan, and reconsider the $80 billion a year it spends to fight terrorism.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Blair said the CIA’s unmanned aircraft operation aimed at al-Qaida is backfiring by damaging the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. The former director of national intelligence suggests giving Pakistan more say in what gets hit by drone strikes and when, despite Pakistan’s record of tipping off militants when it gets advance word of U.S. action.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who previously headed the CIA, has lauded the drone campaign as a key tool to take out al-Qaida and other militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Strikes, which have more than tripled year-to-year under the Obama administration, are done with tacit Pakistani assent, though publicly, Pakistani officials decry the hits. That tension has grown worse after the U.S. unilateral raid into Pakistan May 2 to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and an earlier incident in January, when a CIA contractor was held for killing two Pakistani men in Lahore that he said were trying to rob him.

Blair said the continuing drone strikes are more of a nuisance than a real threat to al-Qaida, and that only a ground campaign by Pakistan would truly threaten it and other militant organizations. The U.S. had been training forces for that purpose until the program was canceled by Pakistan in retaliation for the bin Laden raid.

Al Qaida “can sustain its level of resistance to an air-only campaign,” he said. “I just see us with that strategy walking out on a thinner and thinner ledge and if even we get to the far end of it, we are not going to lower the fundamental threat to the U.S. any lower than we have it now.”

One Unfortunate Baloch Who Survived Getting “Disappeared,” Before Disappearing Permanently

 Killing Baluchies (Baloch) is serving God: Pakistani Army

Killing these infidel Balochies is serving Islam – then one of them stepped forward and started shooting at me, said Nasir Dagarzai Baloch who miraculously escaped death the first time after being shot and dumped by Pakistani army. He wasn’t so lucky the second time; as his killers make sure he won’t survive again.

Following is the story of teenage Nasir Dagarzai Baloch who was first abducted on January 23rd, 2011 along with other colleagues Rasool Baksh, Abid Saleem and Mehrab Baloch. On January 27, four days later, they were shot at and dumped in Panjgoor area. Nasir Baloch miraculously, indeed, survived despite being extremely wounded and dumped.

After initial treatment in a local hospital in Panjgoor, Nasir Baloch was shifted to Quetta for further treatment because his condition was worsening and he needed extensive care. At the, Quetta, Hospital the Pakistan intelligence agencies visited him continuously. It was assumed that as soon as he gets better he’d abducted again. The doctors had put a rod in his broken leg and had asked him to visit back in five months’ time. Fearful of re-abduction Nasir Baloch’s family shifted him to his home town and rest of the treatment was carried out there.

After four months of slow recovery, on 25 May 2011 Nasir Baloch was on his way to see his doctor and ask him to take the Iron rod out from his leg. He was travelling from Kharan to Quetta, Balochistan, by Al-Emirate Coaches; when the passenger bus arrived at Luckpass Police and FC joint check point it was stopped. The intelligence agencies personnel already waiting for the Coach boarded the bus and dragged Nasir and his brother, Gull Mohammad Baloch, out; put them in their car and drove off. This happened before the eyes of other passengers of the bus and the local police and FC (Pakistan’s Paramilitary forces).

Nasir Baloch and his brother’s whereabouts remained unknown until his bullet riddled mutilated body was found from Western Bypass area of Quetta on July 17 of this year along two other Baloch, who were later identified as Maqsood Qalandarani Baloch and Murtaza Sarparah Baloch.

During his recovery from earlier torture Nasir Baloch was visited by several of his friends and well-wishers they insisted that he must tell them what he had gone through? Who abducted him and how he survived? On the continuous insistence of his friends he narrated the following story. The friends did not publish his story earlier because they didn’t want to risk his life. Now that he has been re-abducted and killed under-custody his friends decided to publish his story just to give a picture of the brutalities of Pakistan’s so called Islamic army and let the world know about the suffering of Baloch political activists who are still in custody of this savage military.

Open in new windowNasir Baloch’s Narration according him: [warning graphic narration] “On January 23, I along with my three friends (Rasool Baksh, Abid Saleem, Mehrab Baloch) were sitting at my place when we heard a knock at the door. Mehrab has asked Rasool Baksh to check – who is at the door. As soon as Rasool Baksh went out nearly a dozen FC and Military personnel jumped the wall of the house and came in; they ordered us to put of hands up – we did as we were told. Some of the army men went to the next room and ordered all women and children to come out. When they came out they were made stand in a row and an old army officer shamelessly started taking off the earrings from the ears of the women and he also ordered them to handover their rings, watches and whatever else they had in their possession. Later they tied the mouth of women with clothes and locked them in the other room. They then blindfolded and started beating us with butts of guns and kicks; they also verbally abused us. They dragged us out of our home and put us in their cars. After a while of driving we felt that we were in a room being beaten by sticks, kicks, gun butts and they were swearing at us again.

When they open the piece of cloth from our eyes, there was this dark room; people were hanging [by the ceiling] upside down above us. Then, there comes this old white bearded man [Military official] the first day and he tells us: “Listen! I am in the stat of ablution from past 25 years. I have not committed any sins since my childhood. If anyone lies to me I can immediately feel, with the help of my afflatus, that this person is lying. So now! You guys tell me how many people have you killed?”

Mehrab and I replied simultaneously that we bear GOD our witness that we have never killed anyone. Upon hearing this, the old man takes out his knife and starts slitting the thighs of Mehrab; he literally cut a piece of flesh from Mehrab’s thigh. Then he turns to me a starts slitting my chest with that sharp knife. Meanwhile I saw another soldier pushed Abid Saleem to the wall and started hammering his palms on the wall with a huge sharp nail. I heard Abdi Saleem screaming just once and then he lost his conscious – he just fainted before our eyes – but the brutal military official kept hammering his palms to the wall. Our other two friends were also watching what we were going through as they were sitting in the same room. Soon I lost my conscious too.

When I regain my conscious I saw this old brutal and savage soldier rubbing some white powder on my wounds; as soon has he rubbed this powder my entire body, mind and heard started burning. At one glace I saw Abid Saleem and Mehrab were tied with electric wires and they were being given electric shocks – I could feel their agony – they were moving just like a fish out of water. Then they started beating me with a flat plastic belt which Iron bolts had fixed to it, the torturers kept saying: “You’re enemy of Allah, his prophet and Islam. You kill Punjabis, and we are only here to protect them; any Baloch who say wrong about any Punjabi, We will cut off his tongue” – they uttered all these words in one breath while still giving electric shocks to my friends and beating me with the plastic belt.

After all this torture and inhuman treatment they did not ask us any questions but the torture continued. We would lose our conscious and they would wait until we regain conscious and start beating us again. This continued all night.

The following morning the same old white- bearded man showed up again and asked us not to force him to commit any sin. “Tell me the truth! Who are your other friends in Panjgour”? Now we were half-dead; we could only hear but could not speak a single word. Then he ordered his men to untie our hands; as soon as our hands are untied – suddenly they attacked Mehrab and broke his arm before our eyes. They did the same to Abid Saleem and then broke my arm. We all fainted again and when I regain conscious – I saw Abid Rasool Baksh’s body hanging by ceiling – they executed him in the same room where they kept us; he was dead.

Then they put me in a jeep – I was kind of happy and relieved that they are going to let me go – however, the car stopped after a while and they dragged me out of the car. I saw around twenty military men standing in line – then one of them stepped forward and started addressing the others: “since we the army of God, we are fighting for Allah almighty and these Balochi people are kaafir (infidels). They are fighting against Allah and his prophet on the saying of Israel and India that is why killing them in permissible and serving Islam”. After the speech all the solders said “Allaho Akbar – God is great”. Then one of the solders came forward and started firing live bullets at me. Soon I fainted again this time when I regain my conscious I found myself in the Hospital”.

This was the story of late Nasir Baloch who suffered at the hand of the soldiers of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He was lucky enough to survive first time but his killers made sure that he won’t survive again to expose them. This story also illustrates the pain and suffering of other Baloch political activist that had been killed under custody and those who are still in the illegal secret prisons of Pakistani army. This painful story is enough evidence for the world to open their eyes, wake up and start taking notice of Pakistan’s atrocities against Baloch people. The criminal silence of International Human Rights Organisations and the International Community as a whole is encouraging the brutal Pakistani military to commit more crimes.

Source: BUC Urdu BLOG

Tit-for-Tat Diplomatic Recriminations Threaten Obama’s “Reset” Game

MOSCOW – From wire dispatches
This file photo shows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev giving an interview to the Financial Times newspaper in St. Petersburg, June 18, 2011. AFP photo
This file photo shows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev giving an interview to the Financial Times newspaper in St. Petersburg, June 18, 2011. AFP photo

Russia plans to place U.S. officials on a visa blacklist in response to the U.S.’ decision to ban entry to Russian officials linked to the prison death of a lawyer, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Washington outraged Moscow by banning visas for an unspecified number of Russian officials linked to the 2009 death in prison of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky which became a symbol of abuses in the Russian judicial system.

The Russian foreign ministry warned on Wednesday that it would take “adequate measures” against the U.S. over the move, which it warned could damage diplomatic relations. “I can confirm that the Russian foreign ministry, on the order of the President (Dmitry Medvedev) is working on measures against U.S. citizens which are the same as those announced by the State Department,” Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said.

She told the ITAR-TASS news agency that Russia was “bewildered” that the State Department had decided to prejudge the guilt of the officials before Moscow had completed its own investigation. The State Department did not say what officials were on the blacklist but Magnitsky’s supporters have accused senior investigators of deliberately allowing him to die in a bid to silence the lawyer.

Magnitsky, 37, died in the Matrosskaya Tishina jail in Moscow of untreated pancreatitis after being held in pre-trial detention in a complex fraud case for 11 months. The council that advises Medvedev on rights said Magnitsky was likely beaten in jail and criticized the fact that the very investigators the lawyer had accused of fraud charged him with the same crimes and led the case against him. But so far criminal probes have only been opened against the doctor and deputy head of the Butyrskaya prison in Moscow where Magnitsky had been held for several months. U.S.-Russian relations soured during President George W. Bush’s administration but improved significantly under Obama, who took office in 2009 promising a “reset” in bilateral ties.

Compiled from the reports of AFP and Reuters by the Daily News staff.


Greek Cyprus cabinet quits in wake of blast

NICOSIA – Agence France-Presse
Greek Cyprus’ cabinet resigned in preparation for a reshuffle aimed at holding together a fragile governing coalition in the face of growing public anger over a munitions blast that has escalated the economic crisis.
This file photo shows protesters holding up a poster of Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and marching to the presidential palace to protest the munitions blast.
This file photo shows protesters holding up a poster of Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and marching to the presidential palace to protest the munitions blast.

The entire cabinet of Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias, under fire after a munitions blast killed 13 people and wrecked the island’s main power plant, resigned on Thursday, as Christofias himself said he had no intention of stepping down.

The 11 ministers were asked by Christofias to submit their resignations so a reshuffle could take place, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou told reporters. “The president … briefed ministers of his intention to make a general reshuffle of the cabinet and for this reason requested that ministers put their resignations at his disposal,” he said. The ministers will stay on until a new government is appointed.

Asked by a reporter if he had thought about it, he said: “No, not in any case. The people elected me and I am accountable to the people.” Stefanou said there will be a reshuffle “soon” following consultations with the government’s coalition partners and other parties.

“It is a move for the president to seek to appoint a government of wider acceptance to achieve consensus on economic measures and to restore public trust,” he said. The move comes after junior coalition partner Diko told its ministers on Wednesday to quit the government. And it follows an announcement by ratings agency Moody’s that it had downgraded Greek Cypriot government bond ratings in part over the economic fallout from the blast and the “increasingly fractious domestic political climate.”

Christofias and his team are widely accused of failing to prevent the explosion, which also injured more than 60 people, caused millions of euros in damage to homes and businesses in the vicinity and threatened economic recovery on the island. Diko said its ministers were asked to tender their resignation to Christofias to “assist and expedite decision making and taking initiatives which everybody expects”.

It said decisions needed to be taken to “restore the trust of citizens in the state and its institutions and rescue the economy.” A reshuffle is supported by communist Akel, the president’s own party. Diko had two ministers — health and commerce — in the cabinet following the resignation of Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou last week.

Leaked documents in the media indicate that officials knew that the 98 shipping containers of munitions — piled up in the blazing sun at the base near Limassol — could explode. The government has said Christofias was never made aware of the risk. Among those killed was the head of the Greek Cypriot navy, Captain Andreas Ioannides, who was reported to have repeatedly denounced the situation. The blast also claimed six firemen and six other military personnel.

The key Vassiliko facility provided more than half of the country’s electricity. Since the blast, thousands have gathered nightly outside the presidential palace to call on Christofias to resign following the island’s worst peacetime military disaster. The containers had been at the base since their seizure in February 2009 when Greek Cyprus intercepted, under pressure from the U.S. and other Western nations, a Cypriot-flagged freighter bound from Iran for Syria.

Stand-Off Between Turkish Govt and Generals Over Ergenokon Plot

[SEE:  ‘Turkey’s ‘sledgehammer plot’ ]

Turkish Chief of General Staff, top commanders resign amid controversy

Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner
Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner and the commanders of the air, navy and land forces have all resigned from their positions amid controversy over the appointment of generals.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier ruled out any prospects of tension between the government and the military at a Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting slated for Monday, saying that the decisions to be made at the meeting will be in accordance with the law.

Last August, Turkey witnessed tensions between the military and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government when the General Staff attempted to promote a number of generals and admirals standing trial in criminal cases. The government resisted the move and the individuals were eventually not promoted.

YAŞ meets each August to discuss promotions and dismissals within the armed forces. The fact that there are some commanders and military officers who are suspects in ongoing coup cases has led some to speculate that there could be disagreement between the military and the government about the promotion of these individuals. The ruling AK Party had earlier signaled that it would not give the green light for the promotions of these individuals at the YAŞ meeting.

Currently there are 195 suspects, all retired and active duty members of the armed forces, in the ongoing case of Sledgehammer, a suspected coup plan devised at a military gathering in 2003 that allegedly sought to undermine the government in order to lay the groundwork for a military takeover. More senior military personnel have recently been arrested and jailed on charges of links to the subversive coup plan. The government plans to prevent the promotion of 41 Sledgehammer suspects who are active TSK members.

Before this year’s YAŞ meeting, Erdoğan, Koşaner and President Abdullah Gül had a summit to prevent a similar crisis from happening. The government and the military agreed that none of the generals that are currently in jail will be promoted.

Gül made a statement on Friday, saying his meeting last week with Erdoğan and Koşaner should not be seen as a glitch in communication. “These are normal things. As the president, I need to know what I am signing when such important decisions are made. I can’t blindly sign any document,” he said. The president also said he felt the need to make this statement, speaking to journalists outside a mosque after Friday prayer, because there have been many questions from journalists inquiring if the pre-YAŞ meeting indicated a problem.

Erdoğan on Friday said he wanted no surprises, adding that everything should be done according to the law. “I don’t think there will be any tension. The convention will proceed very smoothly. The laws regarding dismissals and promotions are obvious. The laws in this country are functioning normally. What the laws call for will be done.”

All the commanders except Koşaner were already set to retire on Monday.

The government made it clear that the appointments and promotions at the upcoming YAŞ meeting will be in line with laws regulating dismissal and promotion, while commanders insisted on upholding long-held traditions the military has adhered to for decades in the appointment and promotion of senior-level commanders.


Highest-ranking Turkish soldiers quit from posts

ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
Gen. Işık Koşaner
Gen. Işık Koşaner

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner requested his retirement Friday afternoon.

His request was followed by the similar requests by Turkey’s Land, Sea and Air Force commanders.

The Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, is to meet on Monday.

Other soldiers are expected to be promoted so that that the council can convene.

Gendermarie Commander Gen. Necdet Özel, the only commander who did not ask for retirement, later arrived at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office for a meeting.

Erdoğan and Özel are expected to release an official declaration.

Pakistani Taliban Using Kidnapped Swiss Couple To Bargain for Aafia Siddiqui

[There are some very strange things about this case, which might indicate collusion between the Pak. authorities and the Pakistani Taliban.  Who notified the TTP that these Swiss travelers were being let go?  Why were these two Swiss policemen in Balochistan, without following local laws requiring notification of authorities first?  What had they been doing in India, first?   Why were they taken into police custody?  Why, if they were really traveling to Iran, as indicated by the authorities, were they turned loose heading north, away from Iran?  Why do the police still have their IDs?  What does this say of TTP connections with Baloch terrorists?  As usual–nothing but questions about Pakistan.]

Taliban offers exchange for Swiss hostages

An unconfirmed report says the Taliban in Pakistan will release two Swiss tourists they kidnapped at the beginning of July if the United States frees a Pakistani scientist convicted of terrorism.

The Swiss pair were abducted in the southwestern Baluchistan province while travelling across Pakistan in their camper van.

The Associated Press said it spoke to Taliban commander Waliur Rehman on Thursday in South Waziristan, a northwestern tribal region.

Rehman told AP that the Taliban had ordered the kidnapping in order to gain freedom for Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated woman who is serving 86 years in an American jail for trying to kill US officials in Afghanistan.

Rehman said the Swiss had not been tortured but if Siddiqui was not freed, their fate would be in the hands of a Taliban court.

The Swiss foreign ministry refused comment on the latest development, saying only that it had “taken note” of the information published in the press.

A spokesman referred to a government statement on July 2 which said the authorities had set up a task force which would do everything in its power to free the hostages and ensure no harm came to them.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

The Swiss identity card of Oliver David Och (L) and the Swiss driving licence of Daniela Wildmer are set on a table at a police station in Quetta. -AFP Photo

Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28

Och is a policeman in canton Bern, while Widmer is a former policewoman from the same force, but a Bern police spokeswoman stressed: “They were travelling in Pakistan in a private capacity.”

Pakistani Levies inspect a van which was used by a Swiss couple outside their Levies station in the Loralai district, 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the provincial capital Quetta on July 2, 2011. (AFP photo) (AFP photo)

The couple’s blue Volkswagen van was found abandoned in Killi Nigah after they were snatched in Loralai district, around 170 kilometres (100 miles) east of the Baluchistan capital Quetta.

According to visas stamped in their passports, they entered Pakistan from India on June 28.

Officials say that so far, the kidnappers have conveyed no demands.

The pair entered Baluchistan from Punjab province and might have been heading for Quetta, perhaps en route to Iran, officials said.

Official: 2 Swiss kidnapped in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province

Official: 2 Swiss kidnapped in SW Pakistan


Gunmen kidnapped a Swiss man and woman as they were eating at a hotel in Pakistan’s southwest Baluchistan province on Friday, an official said.

The kidnapping underscores the deep insecurity in Pakistan, where abductions have been on the rise. Many are carried out by criminals, and some are believed to lead to ransoms that help fund militants.

Authorities were trying to figure out exactly who the Swiss pair were and what they were doing in the Lorali area, local official Sohailur Rehman said.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said it was aware of a possible kidnapping case in Baluchistan. Spokeswoman Jenny Piaget said the ministry was in contact with Pakistan authorities but would give no further details.

The Swiss pair were driving from Punjab province, and when they reached Lorali, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Quetta, the capital of the province, they were given a police escort. However, once they reached its outskirts, beyond the area under the police jurisdiction, they were left without the security guides, Rehman said.

Baluchistan is a particularly dangerous region in Pakistan. It is the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency, and criminal gangs involved in the kidnapping for ransom trade are common.

Most kidnapping victims in the country are Pakistani, but foreign aid workers, diplomats and other foreigners have also been targeted.

Bush’s Pawn In Palestine and the Long Arm of the Law–Mohammad Dahlan Facing Murder Charges

Dahlan outside the Palestinian territories thanks to the interventions of an Arab (video)

Khalid al-Faqih – Occupied Palestine

Left the Palestinian leader, Mohammad Dahlan, the Palestinian territories by Jordan after the Palestinian Authority raided his home and arrested his bodyguards and confiscated their weapons, and Palestinian sources revealed that the interventions of Mannar Arab secured to Dahlan this director after the decision referred to the Public Prosecution on charges of corruption.

Mohammed Dahlan leaves West Bank for Jordan

A Fatah official has reported that the former member of the movement, Mohammed Dahlan, has left the Palestinian territories and returned to Jordan.

A source from the Palestinian security forces added that a large illegal weapons cache was confiscated from Dahlan’s home in Ramallah, as well as thousands of unregistered bullets found on his guards. (Elior Levy)

Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way. Photo illustration by Chris Mueller; left, by Debbie Hill/Sipa Press; right, by Issam Rimawi/ApaImages/Polaris; background by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters/Corbis.

[SEE: The Gaza Bombshell]

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.

Heightened propaganda BS against Iran

Heightened propaganda BS against Iran

The Americans are ratcheting up the rhetoric against the Mullahs of Iran.

Last week a senior military officer warned Iran against developing nuclear weapons and supporting Iraqi insurgents. No evidence was offered for these accusations but in this day and age of what passes for “American Diplomacy”, mere faith based rhetoric and semantics is sufficient.

Lets be clear……the mullahs of Iran are happy for the USA to do their job for them in IRAQ.

Saddam’s Iraq against whom Iran fought a long hard 8 year war, and lost………… with 1,000,000 deaths unofficially and $500 billion worth of physical damage to the country. Iran is VERY VERY VERY happy that the Americans got rid of Saddam and have expressed openly the satisfaction of this fact to the USA several times directly.

The Mullahs of Iran are happy with the Americans in Iraq for a second reason. 

The minority SUNNIS of Iraq (20% of the population) who ran the country for 1300 years for the first time are no longer in power, but the majority SHIA who are politically, socially and psychologically aligned to Iran.

Everything is just peachy for Iran/Iraq relations thanks to the USA and its expenditure and sacrifices in the country. Why unsettle this apple cart godsend feast for Iran NOW by backing a few inconsequential insurgency activities in the country which could be linked to Iran if discovered, and reverse the near exit of ALL noble American warriors from the sand nigger country?

The mullahs are stupid to be sure, but not that stupid.

The insurgency in Iraq is SUNNI against the USA, backed by Saudi Arabia…..possibly Syria, though no evidence, Jordan and Libya all of which are Sunni run countries.

There is malicious devious speculation that the recent attacks in Iraq are the work of the USA itself since some of its power elements don’t want to leave Iraq after all the love and care poured into the country…and the attacks thus become a timely justification for the USA to stay. 

As to Iran and “al-Qaeda”………….oh pleeez! Iran is a SHIA run country, and “al-Qaeda” is a phantom non-existent front of Western Intelligence which according to many many many credible Western sources is almost finished as an organization. So why would Iran want to tie-up with a has been organisation? Further given the acrimony of these two entities, and the ever diminishing returns of “al-Qaeda” as a organized threat….why would Iran make a pact with such an organization? Have we been watching too many Hollywood movies?

Why is the treasury Department making pronouncements on security issues?


US Accuses Iran of ‘Secret Deal’ With al-Qaeda

No Evidence, But Treasury Dept ‘Convinced’ Deal Exists

by Jason Ditz at antiwar.com

Fresh off of weeks of accusing the Iranian government of secretly backing Iraqi Shi’ite militias against the US occupation force there (without any evidence) the Obama Administration is now accusing the Iranian government of having entered into a “secret deal” with al-Qaeda.

The latest allegations came by way of the US Treasury Department, which claimed that al-Qaeda is using Iran as a “pipeline” to funnel cash and extremists to various countries. They named al-Qaeda ‘facilitators’ involved but named no Iranian government officials.

And indeed, they conceded that there was no actual evidence to back up this claim either, but simply maintained that they are “convinced” that such a deal simply must exist. Though al-Qaeda has long sought a presence in Iran’s Sunni southeast (forging ties with Sunni Baloch separatist movements), this has usually been to the detriment of the Shi’ite government, and Iran has been fighting al-Qaeda openly for decades.

Which makes the claims of a “deal” puzzling, as the two sides have a strong ideological and historical animosity. The entire basis of the claim seems to be that since al-Qaeda has a presence in Iran and since the US is hostile toward both, it is only natural that they must be in cahoots. The fact that it makes absolutely no sense is only a minor inconvenience for an otherwise useful narrative.

(“al-Qaeda” doesn’t have a presence in Iran….when the USA invaded Afghanistan in 2001, some of the 5000 Arab Jihadis who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan tried to escape via Iran back to the Gulf…..they were captured..some returned to Gulf state custody, others pending the decision of Gulf state governments have been under house arrest in Iran. Many Arab states don’t want these Arab Jihadis back in their countries but neither can they imprison them automatically as most have done nothing against their natural country……..hence the limbo of the Arab Jihadis in Iran under house arrest)

At least 16 dead in Ukraine mine blast



[Ukrainian coal miners might have the worst jobs on the planet, considering the dangerous near-primitive conditions in some of the mines, the constant cave-ins and explosions, coupled with the constant agitation of having to work everyday, without knowing when, or if, they will ever get paid.  In addition to these miserable conditions, there are the political divisions in Ukraine between the Russians and the Ukrainians, the miners and the owners, the statists and the democrats.  Many of the recent fires and explosions to plague this region have been blamed on pissed-off miners…that remains to be proved.  The following Google map included below, is rerun from the previous reports.]

 Ukraine mine

An explosion at the Ukrainian mine killed 16 people on Friday. Picture: Alexander Khudoteply. AFP

An explosion at a Ukrainian coal mine killed 16 miners Friday, with nine others missing, while one person was killed in a second accident.

Ukraine’s emergency services ministry said that nine workers were unaccounted for at the mine in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine, after previously saying 10 people were missing.

Two more miners were hospitalized from the blast, which occurred at a depth of 3,002 feet (915 meters). The cause of the explosion was under investigation.

In a separate incident, one miner was killed and eight injured in a collapse in the Donetsk region, also in the east of the country, the ministry said.

A 230-foot (70-meter) head frame, which is used to lower workers down mines, collapsed at the site in the city of Makiyivka, AFP reported.

Ukraine’s coal mines are considered among the most dangerous in the world, employing the use of outdated, Soviet-era equipment.


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When 10% of the People Believe In An Idea, Then It Spreads Like Grass Roots Prairie Fire

[The social scientists and computer geeks have proven that we only need to convince 10% of the people, in order to advance our beliefs.  Much like the theory of the “hundredth monkey,” when “X” number of people learn something, it then spreads throughout the community.  We only need to convince one-tenth of the people that “911 was an inside job,” the “war on terror is a fraud,” or that “the CIA killed Kennedy,” in order to infect the remainder with our beliefs.]

Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.

“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks.”

The findings were published in the July 22, 2011, early online edition of the journal Physical Review E in an article titled “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities.”

Read more at RPI News.

Keywords: tipping point

Clinton raised issue of a Russian link to bombing in Georgia

Clinton raised issue of a Russian link to bombing in Georgia

By Eli Lake

The Washington Times

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton questioned her Russian counterpart twice in recent months about reports of the Moscow government’s involvement in the bombing attempt on the U.S. Embassy in Georgia in September.

Mrs. Clinton raised the Sept. 22 incident in February on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich during talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to four U.S. officials.

At the meeting Feb. 5, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lavrov signed the New START arms pact, which President Obama has said is the centerpiece of his administration’s new “reset” policy of seeking closer ties with Russia.

However, the officials said that despite the issue having been raised in Munich, Russian GRU Maj. Yevgeny Borisov, who the Georgian Interior Ministry and a CIA-authored report have said is behind a spate of bombings in Georgia, continues to operate from a base in the breakaway Georgian province of Abkhazia.

The National Intelligence Council, the analytical arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provided Congress on Thursday with a new analysis of the blast. One administration official told The Washington Times there was “no consensus” on responsibility for the Tbilisi blast.

The new analysis followed disclosure by The Times on July 22 of aRussian government link to the attempted bombing that was based on aGeorgian government probe and a CIA study.

Mrs. Clinton brought up the bombing a second time on July 13, the same day she and Mr. Lavrov signed a new U.S. agreement on child adoptions.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to comment on the discussions. “We can’t get into the substance of our diplomatic exchanges with any other country,” he said. “We do discuss with all parties in the region issues affecting regional security and stability. I am not going to get into specifics.”

In an interview Thursday, Shota Utiashvili, director of information and analysis for the Georgian Interior Ministry, revealed that Maj. Borisovremains in Abkhazia.

Some U.S. intelligence officials complained that the U.S. reaction to the possible state-sponsored terrorism has been too weak. “The fact that this GRU major is still at large in Abkhazia should tell you all you need to know about how effective our response has been,” one U.S. intelligenceofficial said.

Normally, intelligence officers who are exposed by another government are recalled home and their careers are cut short.

Russian officials have denied the charges and accused Georgia of trying to foment a propaganda campaign by pinning the embassy blast on their military intelligence service.

“It looks like the aim of the publication in The Washington Times is to trigger a second propaganda wave around issues that have already been discussed with American and Georgian representatives at the beginning of this year,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

David Smith, chief negotiator during defense and space talks with the Soviet Union during the George H.W. Bush administration said Russia’s motivation for such activities is “fairly clear.”

“Part of the reason they do these things is precisely because it is not clear to Westerners why they would do them,” he said. “They are out to destabilize Georgia. They are out to make it look like it is a chaotic and lawless place.”

Story Continues →

Tajik border guards kill eight Afghan drug couriers

Tajik border guards kill eight Afghan drug couriers


DUSHANBE, July 28 (Reuters) – Border guards in Tajikistan have shot dead eight gunmen trying to smuggle drugs into the ex-Soviet republic from neighbouring Afghanistan, a senior Tajik security official told Reuters on Thursday.
The border guards seized 50 kg (110 lb) of various drugs after the shootout with a group of 12 gunmen, which took place on Wednesday some 200 km (125 miles) southeast of the Tajik capital Dushanbe, the official said, requesting anonymity.
“Eight of the armed drug couriers were killed, another four managed to return to the neighbouring country,” he said, adding that there had been no losses among the border guards.
Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasul, on a visit to Tajikistan, said he had been informed of the border incident and wanted more details of the shootout before his return to Kabul.
Tajikistan, a mountainous country of 7.5 million people bordering Afghanistan and China, was ravaged by a civil war in 1992-97 and remains the poorest of the 15 former Soviet nations.
It relies heavily on remittances from migrant workers.
Afghan opiate drugs — mainly heroin — make their way across Tajikistan further into vast and sparsely populated Central Asia to reach their main final destination, Russia.