Jun 30

Related article:US needs 100 years to recover from Bush


Gore Vidal

An interview with Gore Vidal by Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran:

Press TV:We hear that Michael Mukasey is going to become the latest of the President’s Attorney-Generals to be subpoenaed, this time over his conversations with Bush and Cheney – does this show that Congress is serious about calling the executive to account?

Gore Vidal: No, Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt. All Bush has do is to make sure certain amounts of money go in the direction of certain important congressmen and that’s end of any serious investigation. After all, one of the bravest members of Congress is Dennis Kucinich who brought the article of impeachment in to the well of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives must then try the president, and then after that it goes to the Senate for judgment. However, none of these things will happen because there’s nobody there except for Mr. Kucinich who has the courage to take on a sitting president who is kind of a Mafioso.

Press TV: How can it just be one person among so many hundreds of Congressmen who wants the impeachment of George W. Bush in these circumstances?

Gore Vidal: Well it’s because we no longer have a country. We don’t have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they’ve got rid of the Bill of Rights, they’ve got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies – the Magna Carta – from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.

Press TV: You have often written about the US’s superpower status in terms of the history of previous superpowers. Do you think we’re witnessing the end of US power as some suggest. Will the White House be seen like Persepolis?

Gore Vidal: Well it won’t make such good ruins, no. It’ll be more like the tomb of Cyrus nearby. They managed to destroy the United States – why? Because they’re oil and gas people and they’re essentially criminals. I repeat that this is a criminal group that’s seized control of the country through what looked like an ordinary election. But there’s some very nice films and documentaries about what happened in the year 2000 when Albert Gore won the election for president and they saw to it that he couldn’t serve. They got the Supreme Court – which is the Holy of Holies ordinarily in our system – to investigate and then accuse the thieves of being absolutely correct and the winners – Mr. Gore and the Democrats – of being the cheaters. It’s the first law of Machiavelli, whatever your opponent’s faults are, you pick his virtues and you deny he has them. That’s what they did when Senator Kerry ran a few years ago for president. He’s a famous hero from the Vietnam War. They said he was a coward and not a hero. That’s how it’s done. When you have a bunch of liars in charge of your government you can’t expect to get much history out of that. But later on we’ll dig and dig… and we will dig up Persepolis.

Press TV: Senator Obama talks about change but of course he has courting Wall Street as well as the Israeli lobby – do you see any prospect of change with him as president?

Gore Vidal: Not really. I don’t doubt his good faith, just as I do not doubt the bad faith of Cheney and Bush. They are such dreadful people that we’ve never had in government before. They would never have risen unless they were buying elections as they did in Florida in 2000, as they did in the State of Ohio in 2004. These are two open thefts of the Presidency. When I discovered that this did not interest the New York Times or the Washington Post or any of the press of the country I realized our day was done. We are no longer a country we are a framework for crooks to go in and steal money. Knowing that they’ll never be caught and they’ll be admired for it. Americans always take everybody on his own evaluation. You say I’m a state and they say “oh, yeah yeah yeah, he’s a state, isn’t that great.” And you accuse the other people of your crimes before you commit them. It’s an old trick which was known to Machiavelli who wrote about it in his handbook, the Prince.

Press TV:Finally that issue which is exercising so many minds in the Middle East and beyond. You, yourself have written about so many Imperial wars of the United States. Do you think Bush and Cheney would risk another war in what Mohammad ElBaradei of the IAEA calls a fireball?

Gore Vidal: They are longing to but they have spent all of the money. They have got it in their own private companies like the Vice-President and a company called Halliburton which is stealing more money and should be on trial sooner or later before Congress. But perhaps not, who knows? But it’s well known in Washington, these people are leaking away the money of the country. Well there’s no more money. They are longing for a war with Iran. Iran is no more a harm to us than was Iraq or Afghanistan. They invented an enemy, they tell lies, lies, lies.
The New York Times goes along with their lies, lies, lies. And they don’t stop. When the public that’s lied to 30 times a day it’s apt to believe the lies, is not it?
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Jun 30


Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff

The commander of US naval forces in the Persian Gulf says any attempt by Iran to shut down the Strait of Hormuz will be an ‘act of war’.

Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, the commander of the Fifth Fleet – responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf -, said Monday that the White House will not allow the strategic Persian Gulf oil passage to be sealed off.

Cosgriff made the remarks after Iran warned that it would not hesitate in taking all necessary measures to safeguard its national interests in case of an enemy offensive.

“When a country comes under attack, it naturally uses all its capacities to confront the enemy,” said Major General Mohammad-Ali Jafari on Saturday in reference to the country’s ability to cut oil supplies by closing the Strait of Hormuz.

The commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, however, warned that such comments by high-ranking Iranian officials are ‘not helpful’.

Cosgriff suggested that a blockade ‘will not be an action against the United States but against the international community’.

While the Bush administration continues to beat the drums of war against Tehran, Tel Aviv has fueled speculation about the possibility of an attack on Iran. Recent reports indicate that the Israeli regime may have staged military maneuvers to prepare for air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

The Islamic Republic, however, affirms that it is fully prepared to counter any act of aggression on its soil.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008
Source: Press TV

Related article: America Is the Rogue Nation:
(“More to the point, Iran has been equipped by Russia with the fastest anti-ship missile on the planet. The SS-N-22 Sunburn can travel at Mach 3 at high altitude and at Mach 2.2 at low altitude. That is faster than anything in our arsenal.

Iran’s conventional forces include an army of 540,000 men and 300,000 reserves, including 120,000 Iranian Guards especially trained in unconventional warfare. It has more than 1,600 main battle tanks and 21,000 other armored combat vehicles. It has 3,200 artillery pieces, three submarines, 59 surface warships and 10 amphibious ships.”)

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Jun 30


Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh

A senior Iranian commander says the country is digging some ‘320,000 graves’ in its bordering provinces for future slain invaders.

Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, the Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense, said Sunday that the decision had been approved by Iran’s Armed Forces Headquarters.

“We will dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves in each of the border provinces,” he said.

“We do not wish the families of enemy soldiers to experience what Americans had to go through in the aftermath of the Vietnam War,” added Brig. Gen. Baqerzadeh, who is also the head of the search committee for missing soldiers.

The commander said the preemptive measures would decrease the time slain soldiers would be ‘missing in action’.

“The burial of slain soldiers will be carried out decently and in little time,” he continued.

Baqerzadeh added that the decision is in line with the Islamic Republic’s commitment to comply with the Geneva Convention and the additional protocol regarding wartime cooperation between Iran and the Red Cross. Continue reading »

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Jun 30

This is a talk given at the Nassau Club in Princeton by Chris Hedges, former New York Times Middle East bureau chief:

Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist. The country came perilously close to extinction during the October 1973 war when Egypt, trained and backed by the Soviet Union, crossed the Suez Canal and the Syrians poured in over the Golan Heights. Huge American military transport planes came to the rescue.

They began landing every half-hour to refit the battered Israeli army, which had lost most of its heavy armor. By the time the war as over, the United States had given Israel $2.2 billion in emergency military aid. The intervention, which enraged the Arab world, triggered the OPEC oil embargo that for a time wreaked havoc on Western economies. This was perhaps the most dramatic example of the sustained life-support system the United States has provided to the Jewish state.

Israel was born at midnight May 14, 1948. The U.S. Recognized the new state 11 minutes later. The two countries have been locked in a deadly embrace ever since.Washington, at the beginning of the relationship, was able to be a moderating influence. An incensed President Eisenhower demanded and got Israel’s withdrawal after the Israelis occupied Gaza in 1956.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli warplanes bombed the USS Liberty. The ship, flying the U.S. Flag and stationed 15 miles off the Israeli coast, was intercepting tactical and strategic communications from both sides. The Israeli strikes killed 34 U.S. Sailors and wounded 171.

The deliberate attack froze, for a while, Washington’s enthusiasm for Israel. But ruptures like this one proved to be only bumps, soon smoothed out by an increasingly sophisticated and well-financed Israel lobby that set out to merge Israel and American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Israel has reaped tremendous rewards from this alliance. It has been given more than $140 billion in U.S. Direct economic and military assistance. It receives about $3 billion in direct assistance annually, roughly one-fifth of the U.S. Foreign aid budget. Although most American foreign aid packages stipulate that related military purchases have to be made in the United States, Israel is allowed to use about 25 percent of the money to subsidize its own growing and profitable defense industry. It is exempt, unlike other nations, from accounting for how it spends the aid money.

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Jun 30

Related article (Typhoon Fengshen):
Fishing industry suffers after ferry tragedy:

“The government suspended all diving operations to recover bodies inside the vessel and banned fishing around the island on Friday after it was revealed the ferry was carrying a highly toxic pesticide.”

“Should the chemicals leak into its pristine waters the impact on local marine life would be devastating, according to marine biologists.”
__________________________________________________________________________________________

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – A “food shortage” looms in the next one to two months after massive floods due to typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) devastated farm lands and livestock in the Western Visayas, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s adviser for the region said Sunday.

“We may face a food shortage, that is the extent of the damage from the typhoon,” Presidential Adviser on the Western Visayas Raul Bañas told reporters here after he received a delivery of relief supplies from Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano.

“In our aerial sorties, we saw firsthand how grave the damage is to crops. I think that’s one of the major problems we are facing,” he said.

Bañas said one of the affected provinces, Iloilo, is one of the top three rice-producing provinces in the country.

He said the floods destroyed 22 hectares or rice lands, equivalent to 66,000 metric tons of rice, and “almost wiped out” livestock and fisheries in the region.

In Cadiz town in Negros Occidental, Bañas said the storm destroyed half a billion pesos worth of fishing boats.

Bañas appealed for donations of potable water, saying the water systems destroyed by the storm have not been repaired.

By Joel Guinto
06/29/2008

Source: Inquirer.net

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Jun 30


Thousands of Manila’s poorest scavenge for recyclables daily at the city’s main waste disposal site in a smouldering district known as “Smokey Mountain.” Rice price spikes have caused greater hardship.

A spike in rice prices means increased hardship for millions of Filipinos living on less than $2 a day

MANILA – Amid the sprawl and stench of this city’s main dump – its air thick with charcoal and fleas – Redentor Escarcha is beaming.

The sinewy 26-year-old, his skin glistening with sweat, is one of thousands who come here every day to mine the Philippines’ capital’s garbage for recyclables: cans, cardboard, copper cables, anything of value.

It’s only 11 a.m. but Escarcha knows that what he has collected in his sack so far is worth more than 200 pesos (about $4.50). Most days this father of four earns about $3.

He knows the precise value of everything here – and he should. Escarcha is a veteran who has worked this dump for 19 years, ever since he was 7 years old.

He was born here.

“I was just lucky,” he says, explaining how he hit upon a treasure trove of high-quality glass this particular morning.

Lucky?

Yes. In Escarcha’s value system, today is another day he’ll be able to feed his family.

To appreciate the impact of increases in the cost of food in the developing world, you have to appreciate the depths of its poverty.

Here in “Smokey Mountain,” as this dump is known, poverty runs about as deep as it can get.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people live on the margins of the landfill.

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Jun 30

Related articles:

Floods wipe out US crops

The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

LEVEES on the cresting Mississippi River held today as the worst US Midwest flooding in 15 years began to ebb, but multibillion-dollar crop losses may boost world food prices for years.

Water levels on the river receded for the second straight day as mostly clear weather gave saturated areas a chance to start draining. Forecasts for similar dry weather in coming days gave further encouragement.

The swollen river was expected to crest tomorrow in St Louis at 11.9 metres, 3.3 metres below the record set in 1993 and a level considered “manageable”, said US Army Corps of Engineers St Louis District spokesman Alan Dooley.

“The crest in the areas up the Mississippi River in the district has passed,” Dooley said. “The water is still up very high and it is up against levees.”

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Jun 30

The Defense Department, the nation’s biggest polluter, is resisting orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade and two other military bases where the EPA says dumped chemicals pose “imminent and substantial” dangers to public health and the environment.

The Pentagon has also declined to sign agreements required by law that cover 12 other military sites on the Superfund list of the most polluted places in the country. The contracts would spell out a remediation plan, set schedules, and allow the EPA to oversee the work and assess penalties if milestones are missed.

The actions are part of a standoff between the Pentagon and environmental regulators that has been building during the Bush administration, leaving the EPA in a legal limbo as it addresses growing concerns about contaminants on military bases that are seeping into drinking water aquifers and soil.

Under executive branch policy, the EPA will not sue the Pentagon, as it would a private polluter. Although the law gives final say to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in cleanup disputes with other federal agencies, the Pentagon refuses to recognize that provision. Military officials wrote to the Justice Department last month to challenge EPA’s authority to issue the orders and asked the Office of Management and Budget to intervene.

Experts in environmental law said the Pentagon’s stand is unprecedented.

“This is stunning,” said Rena Steinzor, who helped write the Superfund laws as a congressional staffer and now teaches at the University of Maryland Law School and is president of the nonprofit Center for Progressive Reform. “The idea that they would refuse to sign a final order — that is the height of amazing nerve.”

Pentagon officials say they are voluntarily cleaning up the three sites named in the EPA’s “final orders” — Fort Meade in Maryland, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

Fort Meade borders residential areas in fast-growing Anne Arundel County; Tyndall and McGuire are in less-populated regions. At all three sites, the military has released toxic chemicals — some known to cause cancer and other serious health problems — into the soil and groundwater.

But the EPA has been dissatisfied with the extent and progress of the Pentagon’s voluntary efforts.

“Final orders” are the EPA’s most potent enforcement tool. If a polluter does not comply, the agency usually can go to court to force compliance and impose fines up to $28,000 a day for each violation.

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Jun 30

Articles:

Wildfires force firefighters to pick their battles

California Firefighters Battle More Than 1,400 Blazes!

Firefighters in Stalemate Against Calif. Blazes

Smoky skies threaten health in fiery California

Map of California’s Major Fires

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Jun 30

IMAGINE the Reserve Bank of Australia, concerned that its friends in the city of Sydney (but perhaps Melbourne) who, having wallowed in wealth all their adult lives, were no longer gainfully employable and their wildly extravagant lifestyles were in danger, and, having the powers to intervene in the market, decided to do just that on their behalf.

Imagine them offering to enter the market and buy shares that would prop up the foolish gambles of the bankers, gambles they had encouraged them, until recently, to take by providing them with cheap money.

On top of that, they told this group they would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in credits to these same profiteers on the grounds they were so big and important to the economy they were indeed too big to fail.

Then, imagine, despite pouring untold taxpayers money into stocks and allowing their cronies access to vast sums, the system continued to fail. So they announced they would need greater power and with it more secrecy.

For its growing band of critics has, perhaps unwittingly and in the interest of public good, this has become the principal function of the US Federal Reserve.

If this was to happen in Australia the International Monetary Fund would be hammering at the door of the Reserve Bank. But Australia does not have a President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, commonly known as the Plunge Protection Team, that allows the US Government to prop up the markets by buying shares. But to imagine the IMF investigating the US financial system is unthinkable, or was. But, at the weekend, Der Spiegel reported that the IMF would conduct a full investigation into virtually every aspect of it.

Der Spiegel wrote that the IMF had “informed” Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of plans that would have been unheard of in the past: a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF’s board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program is to be carried out in the US.

This, Der Spiegel wrote, “is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system”, adding that “no Fed chief in US history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing”.

The fact that the IMF is knocking on the very doors of its parents and waving legal papers about who lost the house, the car and the kids will, if the past is anything to go by, be buried in the US by pom-pom waving on CNBC telling all what a great time it is to buy.

But the news that the US Fed has now lost its last vestige of credibility did not end with the German report.

The Telegraph from London weighed in, following the Royal Bank of Scotland’s statement last week (also lost on the US public) that it was time to head for the crags, and reported Barclays Capital’s closely watched Global Outlook analysis that said US headline inflation would hit 5.5% by August and the Fed would have to raise interest rates six times by the end of next year to prevent a wage spiral.

If the Fed hesitates, the bond markets will take matters into their own hands. “This is the first test for central banks in 30 years and they have fluffed it,” the report found. “They have zero credibility, and the Fed is negative if that’s possible. It has lost all credibility.”

Der Spiegel reports that the IMF is threatening to seriously study the accounts of America, something President George Bush is determined to prevent at least while he is in the White House, informing the IMF that it can begin its investigation but cannot complete it until he leaves office.

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Jun 30

Related articles and videos:

Jim Rogers: Global Economic Outlook

Jim Rogers: China’s Economic Advance is All But Unstoppable

Jim Rogers: Bernanke should be fired 2008.03.19

Jim Rogers says “Abolish the FED” on CNBC 2008.03.12

June 30 (Bloomberg) — Jim Rogers, who in April 2006 correctly predicted oil would reach $100 a barrel and gold $1,000 an ounce, said investors should steer clear of the dollar as the U.S. economy slows and favor commodities this year.

The dollar has slipped 7.7 percent against the euro and 5.9 percent versus the yen in 2008 as the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to stave off a U.S. recession. Oil prices have doubled in the past 12 months, while gold is up 44 percent.

Avoid the dollar “at all costs,” Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in a speech in Shanghai today. “The best investments in 2008 are commodities and natural resources. Agricultural prices have much higher to go over the next decade. We have a shortage of everything, including seeds.”

Oil and metal prices in New York have surged as a slumping U.S. currency made them cheaper for non-dollar investors to buy as a hedge against inflation in a slowing global economy. The dollar has stabilized in recent weeks, with currency volatility falling by the most since 1999 this quarter.

The comments from Rogers, 65, come two days after he told investors at a conference in Nanjing not to “give up” on Chinese shares, which have made China the world’s second worst performers this year. Rogers, who first started buying Chinese stocks in 1999, said he hadn’t sold any of his holdings.

Commodity Bull

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Jun 29

It’s remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather’s major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft.

But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd, 2007, documenting President George W. Bush’s grandfather’s involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship.

I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.

Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he’d received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.

If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush’s early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya’s middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott’s business dealings went better, and he entered politics.

Now, the name Thyssen comes from a German named Fritz Thyssen, major financial backer of the rise of Adolph Hitler. Thyssen was referred to in the New York Herald-Tribune as “Hitler’s Angel.” During the 1930s and early 1940s, and even as late as 1951, Prescott Bush was involved in business dealings with Thyssen, and was inevitably aware of both Thyssen’s political activities and the fact that the companies involved were financially benefiting the nation of Germany. In addition, the companies Prescott Bush profited from included one engaged in mining operations in Poland using slave labor from Auschwitz. Two former slave laborers have sued the U.S. government and the heirs of Prescott Bush for $40 billion.

Until the United States entered World War II it was legal for Americans to do business with Germany, but in late 1942 Prescott Bush’s businesses interests were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Among those businesses involved was the Hamburg America Lines, for which Prescott Bush served as a manager. A Congressional committee, in a report called the McCormack-Dickstein Report, found that Hamburg America Lines had offered free passage to Germany for journalists willing to write favorably about the Nazis, and had brought Nazi sympathizers to America. (Is this starting to remind anyone of our current president’s relationship to the freedom of the press?)

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee was established to investigate a homegrown American fascist plot hatched in 1933. Here’s how the BBC promoted its recent story:

“Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush´s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.”

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Jun 29

Iran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among the possible targets, defence sources said last week.

The movement of Shahab-3B missiles, which have an estimated range of more than 1,250 miles, followed a large-scale exercise earlier this month in which the Israeli air force flew en masse over the Mediterranean in an apparent rehearsal for a threatened attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Israel believes Iran’s nuclear programme is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.

The sources said Iran was preparing to retaliate for any onslaught by firing missiles at Dimona, where Israel’s own nuclear weapons are believed to be made.

Major-General Mohammad Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, told a Tehran daily: “This country [Israel] is completely within the range of the Islamic Republic’s missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime – despite all its abilities – cannot confront it.”

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Jun 29

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional leaders agreed late last year to President George W. Bush’s funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine published online on Sunday.

The article by reporter Seymour Hersh, from the magazine’s July 7 and 14 issue, centers on a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which by U.S. law must be made known to Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders and ranking members of the intelligence committees.

“The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”

Hersh has written previously about possible administration plans to go to war to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including an April 2006 article in the New Yorker that suggested regime change in Iran, whether by diplomatic or military means, was Bush’s ultimate goal.

Funding for the covert escalation, for which Bush requested up to $400 million, was approved by congressional leaders, according to the article, citing current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources.

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. U.S. Special Operations Forces have been conducting crossborder operations from southern Iraq since last year, the article said.

These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in Bush’s war on terrorism, who may be captured or killed, according to the article.

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Jun 29

Top US commander Adm. Michael Mullen sees for himself
Top US commander Adm. Michael Mullen sees for himself

The visiting Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, carried out a guided tour of Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip over the weekend. It was led by the IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and OCs Northern and Southern Commands, Maj. Gens. Eisenkott and Galant.

He was briefed on IDF tactics in a war on all these potential flashpoints in the context of a comprehensive conflict with Iran and then held long conversations with defense minister Ehud Barak and Ashkenazi.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that it is very unusual for the top American commander to carry out a close, on-the-spot study of Israel’s potential war fronts. It was prompted on the one hand by skepticism in parts of the US high command of Israel’s ability to simultaneously strike Iran’s nuclear installations and fight off attacks from three borders while, at the same time, Adm. Mullen showed he was open to persuasion that the IDF’s prospective tactics and war plans were workable.

Military circles in Washington, commenting on the large-scale air maneuver Israel carried out with Greece earlier in June, have opined that 100 warplanes are not enough for the Israel Air Force to destroy all of Iran’s secret nuclear sites; more than 1,000 would be needed. Israel military tacticians in contact with US commanders have countered that, while Iran’s secret nuclear locations are scattered and buried deep, still, every chain has weak links and is therefore vulnerable.

The tough threats issued by Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohamed Ali Jafari on Saturday, June 28, were prompted by the Adm. Mullen’s Israeli border tour, word of which was flashed to Tehran by Syrian-Iranian observation posts inside Syrian and Lebanese borders.

(The Sunday Times added that Iran moved its ballistic Shihab-3 missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among its possible targets.)

Saturday, DEBKAfile reported:

The IRGC chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari issued Tehran’s toughest and most explicit threats yet in response to recent reports of Israeli preparations to strike Iran’s nuclear installations.

Hinting at an American attack, he said: “If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region , definitely the scope will reach the oil issue.”

After this action (of imposing controls on the Gulf waterway), the oil price will rise very considerably,” he said.

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Jun 29

The June 2008 Dow Crash
and the coming first strike attack on Iran
herald the end of dollar hegemony.

BREAK-DOW!

They say that pictures speak a thousand words, so let’s start this with a picture:

Today, the Dow crashed through its eight-year support level at 11,750. There isn’t much below now to keep it from dropping all the way back down to the 7,500-range. What that will do to American investor psychology and worse, consumer confidence, and therefore spending, and therefore the economy, is only too apparent.

The gold-attack on Monday obviously didn’t take. Gold recovered the following day and powered up by $26 the very next day to close in NY at $911. On Friday, gold confirmed its breakout, which means there will be little holding it back – just like there is now very little that’s holding the Dow up.

Unsurprisingly, the US war machinery is in full swing at this time. Troop and military asset movements into the Iranian theater are nearly complete, the Israelis have flown their practice-attack of 100-plus fighter jets over the Mediterranean, and Congress has again prostrated itself before its banking-guild rulers who want total government (and therefore banking) of all economic activity.

Congress did this by passing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to give retroactive immunity to telcoms spying for the government, and by proposing a resolution (the already infamous H. Con. Res. 362) by which Congress demands that Bush completely blockade Iran in order to force it to stop enriching uranium. This, naturally, is a perfect setup for unleashing the long-planned bombing campaign on Iran. Congressmen know that Iran will not accede to these international demands.

End result: We will probably get another war because of all this, just like we got one back in 2002-03 when the Dow plunged into the chasm this recently broken support level has bridged for these past eight years (see chart above).

The problem is that this time, it is a bipartisan gang of US war mongers in our Congress who all appear hell-bent on forcing Bush to attack Iran with a preemptive strike, possibly even an unprovoked nuclear first strike – something that human history so far has not had to deal with.

It is also something that will cause the US to forfeit any legitimate claims of world leadership for the remainder of that history.

The War Currency

Wars are rarely fought over national security issues, as political leaders often claim. At rock bottom, they are mostly fought over economic issues.

Iraq and Iran (if Congress and the administration get their way) are the only two countries the US has ever attacked preemptively. They are also the only two oil-producing countries that ever went off the petrodollar. The alleged nuclear ambitions of a terrorist-sponsoring country cannot be the real reason for the planned attack – because terrorist-sponsor North Korea was not only allowed to develop nuclear weapons unmolested, it was even allowed to test-launch a potentially nuclear-tipped ICBM at the US without any military repercussions whatsoever.

There goes the “national security” rationalization for this planned attack.

This fact exposes the attacks for what they really are. tools of US monetary policy. The dollar has no real value internationally, save for the fact that the now militarily enforced necessity for countries to buy dollars in order to buy oil creates artificial demand.

The euro’s existence threatens all of this, now. Oil countries have a dollar-alternative in the euro, and so does the rest of the world. The euro is designed to not be quite as inflationary as the dollar is and has been. This is done by virtue of the ECB’s exclusive mandate of “price stability”, another word for inflation fighting.

Yet Another War Currency

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Jun 29

Related article:

Mercury Fillings Shattered! FDA, ADA Conspiracy to Poison Children with Toxic Mercury Fillings Exposed in Groundbreaking Lawsuit:

“The FDA has, for decades, ridiculously insisted that mercury fillings pose no health threat whatsoever to children. While dismissing hundreds of studies showing a clear link between mercury amalgam fillings (“silver fillings”) and disastrous neurological effects in the human body, the FDA denied the truth about mercury and effectively protected the mercury filling racket that has brought so much harm to so many people.

For over a hundred years, a cabal of “mercury mongers” made up of the American Dental Association, mercury filling manufacturers and indignant dentists have reaped windfall profits by implanting toxic fillings into the mouths of children, all while insisting that mercury – one of the most toxic heavy metals known to modern science – posed no health threat whatsoever.”


US issues health warning over mercury fillings (Independent, June 29, 2008):

Some 500 dentists in Britain have set up mercury-free practices

They’re in millions of mouths worldwide, but have been linked to heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Now a report concedes they may have a toxic effect on the body

Amalgam dental fillings – which contain the highly toxic metal mercury – pose a health risk, the world’s top medical regulatory agency has conceded.

After years of insisting the fillings are safe, the US government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a health warning about them. It represents a landmark victory for campaigners, who say the fillings are responsible for a range of ailments, including heart conditions and Alzheimer’s disease.

Earlier this month, in an unprecedented U-turn, the FDA dropped much of its reassuring language on the fillings from its website, substituting: “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and foetuses.” It adds that when amalgam fillings are “placed in teeth or removed they release mercury vapour”, and that the same thing happens when chewing.

The FDA is now reviewing its rules and may end up restricting or banning the use of the metal.

Continue reading »

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Jun 29

Related articles:
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Floods wipe out US crops
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
THE FOUR HORSEMEN APPROACH – FAMINE IS IN THE AIR

The meat prices will very soon go through the roof too, because the livestock is fed with corn, soybeans and hay. And the prices will continue to rise because of accelerating inflation, the missing bees, flooding and more natural disasters coming. – The Infinite Unknown
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Source: Cattle Network

May

May

Percent

Meat & Dairy

Unit

2007

2008

Change

Ground Chuck Lb 2.766 2.798 1.16%
Ground Beef Lb 2.307 2.313 0.26%
Steak Round, Choice Lb 4.134 4.178 1.06%
Bacon, Sliced Lb 3.651 3.637 -0.38%
Pork Chops Lb 3.194 3.268 2.32%
Chicken Breast Lb 2.312 2.392 3.46%
Turkey, Frozen Lb 1.146 1.258 9.77%
Eggs, Grade A Doz 1.504 1.930 28.32%
Milk, Fresh Gal 3.259 3.760 15.37%
Cheddar Cheese Lb 3.976 4.397 10.59%
Source: ERS/USDA – Retail Prices

Field Crops

Unit

2007

2008

Change

Barley Bu $3.12 $4.76 52.56%
Beans, Dry Edible Cwt $3.08 $5.06 64.29%
Corn Bu $3.49 $5.12 46.70%
Cotton Lb $0.44 $0.61 37.95%
Flaxseed Bu $7.08 $16.60 134.46%
Hay Ton $138.00 $166.00 20.29%
Lentils Cwt $13.20 $32.70 147.73%
Oats Bu $2.49 $3.46 38.96%
Peanuts Lb $0.18 $0.20 12.29%
Peas, Dry Edible Cwt $10.10 $16.40 62.38%
Potatoes Cwt $7.95 $9.21 15.85%
Rice, Rough Cwt $10.00 $15.00 50.00%
Sorghum Cwt $6.49 $9.18 41.45%
Soybeans Bu $7.12 $12.30 72.75%
Sunflower Cwt $16.60 $27.40 65.06%
Wheat Bu $4.88 $8.80 80.33%
Source: USDA/NASS – Ag Prices Received

May

May

Percent

Fruits

Unit

2007

2008

Change

Apples Lb $0.27 $0.34 26.02%
Grapefruit Box $4.49 $5.12 14.03%
Lemons Box $8.14 $20.77 155.16%
Oranges Box $11.12 $6.95 -37.50%
Peaches Ton $820.00 $948.00 15.61%
Pears Ton $651.00 $525.00 -19.35%
Strawberries Cwt $68.60 $66.70 -2.77%
Tangerines Box $17.01 $5.98 -64.84%
Source: USDA/NASS – Ag Prices Received

May

May

Percent

Vegetables

Unit

2007

2008

Change

Asparagus Cwt $91.90 $99.80 8.60%
Broccoli Cwt $26.70 $27.30 2.25%
Carrots Cwt $32.00 $25.50 -20.31%
Cauliflower Cwt $24.90 $37.40 50.20%
Celery Cwt $18.30 $37.70 106.01%
Cucumbers Cwt $28.50 $17.50 -38.60%
Lettuce Cwt $13.60 $16.80 23.53%
Onions Cwt $24.20 $31.70 30.99%
Snap Beans Cwt $38.80 $39.60 2.06%
Sweet Corn Cwt $21.40 $23.10 7.94%
Tomatoes Cwt $35.60 $40.40 13.48%
Source: USDA/NASS – Ag Prices Received
Prepared By: Rob Cook, rob@cattlenetwork.com

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Jun 28

(What a courageous man! – The Infinite Unknown)

Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate’s vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.

[Wednesday]’s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.

The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a “compromise,” but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: “Just following orders.” The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.

Klein saw a network monitoring room being built in AT&T’s internet switching center that only NSA-approved techs had access to. He squirreled away documents and then presented them to the press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation after news of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program broke.

Wired.com independently acquired a copy of the documents (.pdf) — which were under court seal — and published the wiring documents in May 2006 so that they could be evaluated.

The lawsuit that resulted from his documents is now waiting on the 9th U.S. Appeals Court to rule on whether it can proceed despite the government saying the whole matter is a state secret. A lower court judge ruled that it could, because the government admitted the program existed and that the courts could handle evidence safely and in secret.

But the appeals court ruling will likely never see the light of day, since the Senate is set to vote on July 8 on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which also largely legalizes Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program by expanding how the government can wiretap from inside the United States without getting individualized court orders.

Klein continues:

Congress has made the FISA law a dead letter–such a law is useless if the president can break it with impunity. Thus the Democrats have surreptitiously repudiated the main reform of the post-Watergate era and adopted Nixon’s line: “When the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship.

The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment-all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

When Congress started fashioning a sweeping rescue package for struggling homeowners earlier this year, 2.6 million loans were in trouble. But the problem has grown considerably in just six months and is continuing to worsen.

More than three million borrowers are in distress, and analysts are forecasting a couple of million more will fall behind on their payments in the coming year as home prices fall further and the economy weakens.

Those stark numbers not only illustrate the challenges for the lawmakers trying to provide some relief to their constituents but also hint at what the next administration will be facing after the election. While the proposed program would help some homeowners, analysts say it would touch only a small fraction of those in trouble – the Congressional Budget Office estimates it would be used by 400,000 borrowers – and would do little to bolster the housing market.

“It’s not enough, even in the best of circumstances,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com. The number of people who will be helped “is going to be overwhelmed by the three million that are headed toward default.”

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

June 28 (Bloomberg) — OPEC President Chakib Khelil predicted that the price of oil will climb to $170 a barrel before the end of the year, citing the dollar’s decline and political conflicts.

“Oil prices are expected to reach $170 as demand for fuel is growing in the U.S. during the summer period and the dollar continues to weaken against the euro,” Khelil said today in a telephone interview. The leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also serves as Algeria’s oil minister.

Political pressure on Iran and the depreciation of the U.S. currency have caused a surge in oil prices, Khelil said. New York- traded crude has more than doubled in a year and touched a record $142.99 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

OPEC ministers generally say that oil output is sufficient, even as Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer, pledged to pump an extra 200,000 barrels a day next month to calm the market. “The market is completely supplied,” Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said yesterday. Libya announced possible production cuts, calling the market oversupplied.

The rising cost of crude is not linked to supply, Khelil said today. “There is more than enough oil in the market to meet the international demand,” added the OPEC president, who will take part June 30 in an international energy forum in Madrid.

Prices, which are up 38 percent this quarter, are heading for the biggest quarterly gain since the first three months of 1999, when oil traded between $11 and $17.

Declining Dollar

“The decisions made by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank helped the devaluation of the dollar, which pushed up oil prices,” Khelil said.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

Got Gold and Silver? – The Infinite Unknown

Part 1:

Part 2:


June 27, 2008
Source:
-1- You Tube

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Jun 28

Source: You Tube

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Jun 28

One gets the impression that there are some people in Washington who believe that Israel or the U.S. can bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors, fly home, and it will be mission complete.

It makes you wonder if perhaps there is a virus going around that is gradually making people stupid. If we or Israel attack Iran, we will have a new war on our hands. The Iranians are not going to shrug off an attack and say, “You naughty boys, you.”

Consider how much trouble Iraq has given us. Some 4,000 dead and 29,000 wounded, a half a trillion dollars in cost and still climbing, and five years later, we cannot say that the country is pacified.

Iraq is a small country compared with Iran. Iran has about 70 million people. Its western mountains border the Persian Gulf. In other words, its missiles and guns look down on the U.S. ships below it. And it has lots of missiles, from short-range to intermediate-range (around 2,200 kilometers).

More to the point, it has been equipped by Russia with the fastest anti-ship missile on the planet. The SS-N-22 Sunburn can travel at Mach 3 at high altitude and at Mach 2.2 at low altitude. That is faster than anything in our arsenal.

Iran’s conventional forces include an army of 540,000 men and 300,000 reserves, including 120,000 Iranian Guards especially trained in unconventional warfare. It has more than 1,600 main battle tanks and 21,000 other armored combat vehicles. It has 3,200 artillery pieces, three submarines, 59 surface warships and 10 amphibious ships.

It’s been receiving help in arming itself from China, North Korea and Russia. Unlike Iraq, Iran’s forces have not been worn down with bombing, wars and sanctions. It also has a new anti-aircraft defense system from Russia that I’ve heard is pretty snazzy.

So, if you think we or Israel can attack Iran and not expect retaliation, I’d have to say with regret that you are a moron. If you think we could easily handle Iran in an all-out war, I’d have to promote you to idiot.

Attacking Iran would be folly, but we seem to be living in the Age of Folly. Morons and idiots took us into an unjustified war against Iraq before we had finished the job in Afghanistan. Now we have troops tied down in both countries.

For some years now, I’ve worried that we seem to be more and more like Colonial England – arrogant, racist, overestimating our own capacity and underestimating that of our enemies. As the fate of the British Empire demonstrates, that is a fatal flaw.

The British never dreamed that the “little yellow people” could come ashore by land and take Singapore from the rear or that they would sink the pride of the British fleet, but they did both.

I suppose no one in Washington can imagine the Iranians sinking one of our carriers in the Persian Gulf. How’d you like to be the president who has to tell the American people that we’ve lost a carrier for the first time since World War II?

Exactly how the Iranians will respond to an attack, I don’t know, but they will respond.

In keeping with our present policy, our attack on Iran would be illegal, since under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Who would have thought that we would become the rogue nation committing acts of aggression around the globe? Continue reading »

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Jun 28

NEW YORK — Soaring corn and soy prices on top of rising construction costs and tight credit markets have pushed about a dozen U.S. biofuel plants to file for bankruptcy protection, experts said.

Prices for corn, the feedstock for most U.S. ethanol plants, hit fresh records above $8 per bushel this week as floods this month in the Midwest have caused billions of dollars of crop damage.

“Corn prices are making the feasibility of ethanol plants every day more and more questionable,” said Alex Moglia, president of Moglia Advisors in suburban Chicago, which helps biofuel companies restructure.

Meanwhile prices for soy oil, the feedstock for most biodiesel plants, have been been high on rising global demand for months, making life miserable for most producers. The miserable profit margins have pushed many makers of the alternative motor fuel to run plants at only about half of their capacity.

Moglia said about 12 small to midsize biodiesel and ethanol plants have declared bankruptcy in recent months. Renova Energy LLC, a company that owns a partially built 20 million-gallons-per year ethanol plant in Idaho, was the latest to declare bankruptcy last week. Kansas-based Ethanex Energy Inc declared bankruptcy in March.

“There will be more to follow,” said Moglia. Some plants are restructuring their debt and taking steps to manage risks, but many others are not, he said.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

Hundreds of thousands of parents will be banned from ferrying children to sports matches next year unless they have had criminal records checks, under new rules.

The clampdown is part of an escalation in child protection policies which will see 11 million adults vetted before they come into contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Under new regulations, parents who are asked by the organisers of a children’s sports team to take other children to sports fixtures like football or cricket matches will have to be vetted.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28


Ex-Dutch prime minister and Israel critic Andreas Van Agt (Cnaan Liphshiz)

The emotion in Andreas Van Agt’s voice as he lambastes Israel’s behavior seems puzzling for a man of his status. It is especially intriguing when one is reminded that this blue-eyed professed idealist is an astute statesman who presided as the Dutch prime minister for five years, until 1982.

“My involvement in the Middle East is certainly unusual,” Van Agt confessed in an interview with Haaretz at his home in Nijmegen, where he discussed Israel, the Palestinians, European foreign policy, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

Currently, Van Agt is writing a book about the Israeli-Arab conflict. In December he launched an info-site (www.driesvanagt.nl) about the subject, in which he accuses Israel of brutal treatment of the Palestinians, violating international law and implementing racist policies.

Among other illustrations, the site contains one snapshot of a graffiti slogan said to have been sprayed by Jewish settlers on a Hebron wall, reading: “Arabs to the gas chambers.”

Last year, Van Agt spoke as keynote speaker at a controversial solidarity rally with the Palestinian people in Rotterdam, where he lamented the Dutch boycott of Hamas, calling it wrong “and even stupid.” He has also been outspoken in accusing the Israel Defense Forces of acting like a terrorist organization.

“In my country, people are highly surprised by my demeanor. Some even say it should be ascribed to my advanced age; that I’m not fully in my right mind anymore,” the 77-year-old says with a snicker while sitting under the outdated portrait of the Queen, which hangs on the wall of his modern-style, taupe-colored den.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

If you’re a CEO of one of America’s largest corporations and have enjoyed the Presidency of George W. Bush, a contribution to the McCain campaign is looking like a pretty good investment.

A new report from the Center For American Progress Action Fund finds that a key piece of John McCain’s tax plan — cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% — would cut taxes by almost $45 billion every year for America’s 200 largest corporations as identified by Fortune Magazine.

Eight companies — Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Bank ƒƒof America Corp., AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Microsoft Corp. — would each receive over $1 billion a year.

The following table shows the tax savings to America’s five largest firms. See a full list of all 200 companies and their savings under McCain here:

These giveaways are just one part of McCain’s doubling of the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy which would create the largest deficits in 25 years and drive the United States into the deepest deficits since World War II.

A recent analysis by the Public Campaign Action Fund found that John McCain’s campaign has received $5.6 million from the PACs and executives of the Fortune 200.

Over the past eight years, under George W. Bush, American workers have seen their wages stagnate as corporate profits have skyrocketed. John McCain’s misguided priorities show he’s more of the same: the same $45 billion in tax cuts for America’s 200 largest companies could be used to lift over 9 million Americans out of poverty. Continue reading »

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Jun 28

Related article: Fortis Bank Predicts US Financial Market Meltdown Within Weeks


Strategists at Barclays accuse Ben Bernanke of a policy blunder

Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall “below zero.”

“We’re in a nasty environment,” said Tim Bond, the bank’s chief equity strategist. “There is an inflation shock under way. This is going to be very negative for financial assets. We are going into tortoise mood and are retreating into our shell. Investors will do well if they can preserve their wealth.”

Barclays Capital said in its closely-watched Global Outlook that US headline inflation would hit 5.5pc by August and the Fed will have to raise interest rates six times by the end of next year to prevent a wage-spiral. If it hesitates, the bond markets will take matters into their own hands. “This is the first test for central banks in 30 years and they have fluffed it. They have zero credibility, and the Fed is negative if that’s possible. It has lost all credibility,” said Mr Bond.

The grim verdict on Ben Bernanke’s Fed was underscored by the markets yesterday as the dollar fell against the euro following the bank’s dovish policy statement on Wednesday. Traders said the Fed seemed to be rowing back from rate rises. The effect was to propel oil to $138 a barrel, confirming its role as a sort of “anti-dollar” and as a market reproach to Washington’s easy-money policies.

The Fed’s stimulus is being transmitted to the 45-odd countries linked to the dollar around world. The result is surging commodity prices. Global inflation has jumped from 3.2 to 5pc over the last year. Mr Bond said the emerging world is now on the cusp of a serious crisis. “Inflation is out of control in Asia. Vietnam has already blown up. The policy response is to shoot the messenger, like the developed central banks in the late 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

“They will have to slam on the brakes. There is going to be a deep global recession over the next three years as policy-makers try to get inflation back in the box.”

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

BRUSSELS / AMSTERDAM (DFT) – Fortis expects within the next few days to weeks to complete the collapse of the U.S. financial markets.

That explains the bank insurers interventions of the series Thursday at dealing with € 8 billion.

“We are ready at the last minute. It goes in the United States much worse than thought, “said Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens, who maintains that CEO Votron to live. Fortis expects bankruptcies of 6000 U.S. banks that now lack coverage. “But Citigroup, General Motors, there begins a complete meltdown in the U.S..”

Fortis took yesterday € 1.5 billion with a share issue. At the end of last year was the Belgian-Dutch group € 13 billion of new shares for the takeover of ABN Amro, for which it paid € 24 billion. Lippens bases its concern on interviews with bankers. “Two months ago we knew not so bad that it is in America. And it will be much worse. We have a thick mattress needed for the next eighteen months to come when we can bring to ABN Amro. ”

Two weeks ago reported the U.S. investment bank and adviser to Fortis Merrill Lynch certainly € 6.2 billion in additional capital was needed. The VEB yesterday demanded clarification of Fortis: CEO Jean-Paul Votron stopped in late april Fortis maintains that after the purchase of ABN Amro does not need on the capital market. In one year € 30 billion in market capitalization destroyed. After Votron last confession kelderde the share price by 19.4%, although yesterday climbed by 4.4% to € 10.65.

The massive unrest around the bank insurers, especially with our neighbours in Belgium as a bomb broken. While the fuss arose in the Netherlands to the limited financial world, it is with our neighbours the call of the day. Not only is the bank dominates the streetscape, but by the mokerslag for the Belgian volksaandeel are also hundreds of thousands of small investors hit hard.

All Belgian newspapers opened yesterday with real rampenkoppen, where the free fall of the bank insurers was wide coverage. ‘Fortis crashes, “” Rampdag for Fortis’ and’ Fortis loses 5.3 billion, “opened three leading newspapers.

Continue reading »

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Jun 28

(The economy is falling apart, the former middle class is living in their cars, the U.S. are broke but….

The US Congress has approved a 170 million dollar increase in security assistance to Israel as part of its new 10-year, 30 billion dollar defense aid commitment to the Jewish state.

The money for Israel was part of a larger supplemental spending bill that included 162 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legislation gained final approval in a 92-6 Senate vote late Thursday.

America’s pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, welcomed the congressional action, saying it would increase US aid to Israel to 2.55 billion dollars in fiscal year 2009, up from 2.38 billion dollars this year.

“The US commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge is the cornerstone of American policy in the region,” AIPAC said in a statement Friday.

…and this is how Israel will spend the money:

Israel flexes muscles with Iran attack drill

Israel launches ‘Iran Command’ for war

A human rights crime in Gaza By Jimmy Carter

Israeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

Israel Causes UN Food Aid Relief For Gaza to Halt

U.N. chief condemns Israel after Gaza clash

…What should be done? Michael Scheuer, Former Head of the CIA Bin Laden Unit:

ISRAEL is NOT WORTH A SINGLE AMERICAN LIFE OR DOLLAR

The Infinite Unknown)

“This year’s package holds heightened significance for US security interests, as the US and Israel face new challenges from Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons as well as the growing influence of radical anti-western forces to Israel’s south in Gaza and to the north in Lebanon.”

The package was unveiled by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on July 30 as part of a new military pact with US allies in the Middle East in a bid to “counter the negative influences” of militant groups Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah as well as arch enemies Iran and Syria.

The aid includes a 20 billion dollar weapons package for Saudi Arabia, a 13 billion dollar package for Egypt, and reportedly arms deals worth at least 20 billion dollars for other Gulf states.

The military aid to Israel reflected an increase in value of more than 25 percent, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said, describing the package as a considerable improvement and very important element for national security. Continue reading »

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Jun 28

Related articles and videos:
Interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock on devastating health effects of MSG, aspartame and excitotoxins
Chemical Additives – Are They Slowly Killing Our Children?
Supermarket Bans Aspartame From Own-Label Products
The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see.
Fluoride, Aspartame and Agenda 21
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By Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
June 27, 08

George Carlin was known as a great stand up comic. Carlin hosted the first broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” in October 1975. He starred as a cabdriver in his own sitcom, “The George Carlin Show” which ran from 1993 to 1995. Carlin had a very bad habit, he was addicted to Diet Coke with aspartame. He suffered several heart attacks, one at Dodger Stadium during a baseball game. He died of heart failure on Sunday, June 22nd.

Related article: North Shore Music Theatre recalls ‘gracious’ Carlin

In a nutshell aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/E951/Canderel, etc.) triggers an irregular heart rhythm, interacts with cardiac medication, virtually all medication for that matter because of damage to the mitochondria or life of the cell, damages the cardiac conduction system and causes sudden death.

Related article: ASPARTAME INTERACTS WITH ALL DRUGS, VACCINES AND TOXINS

On 2/5/08 the New York Times published an article on a new study: “Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda” Wrote Nicholas Bakalar, “Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome – the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease”… “This is interesting,” said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the paper” .. Further she said, “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?” I called Dr. Steffen and let her know what aspartame does to the heart and sent her this paper by Dr. H. J. Roberts, and others, which explains in detail:

ASPARTAME INDUCED ARRHYTHMIAS AND SUDDEN DEATH

By H. J. Roberts, MD, FACP, FCCP
(c)2004 by H. J. Roberts, M.D.

A recent extensive review of sudden death in young athletes (1) made no mention of aspartame as a primary cause or suspected contributory factor, especially when demonstrable pathology was absent. This issue has assumed great public health importance because “diet” products containing this chemical are being consumed by over two-thirds of the population – especially weight-conscious persons.

I have repeatedly reported the serious cardiovascular, ‘neuropsychiatric, metabolic and other adverse effects of aspartame products. (2-4) Among the first 1200 aspartame reactors in my data base, 193 (16%) had symptomatic arrhythmia’s, 85 (7%) atypical chest pain, and 64 (5%) recent or aggravated hypertension.

One hypertensive patient developed complete heart block within hours after consuming his first diet cola.

Another had undergone unsuccessful radio frequency ablations in the heart before awareness of having aspartame disease.

Pheochromocytoma was suspected in several aspartame reactors.

The issue of sudden death related to aspartame and its breakdown products has been raised a number of times, particularly among previously well individuals using such products… including pilots and drivers , (3,4,6) and athletes. I have detailed the release of norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine and free methanol by aspartame; a host of pertinent-related pathophysiologic conditions, (e.g., cumulative formaldehyde adducts derived from aspartame in tissue proteins and nucleic aids; excessive insulin release); direct oropharyngeal absorption from gum, “breath fresheners” and other products; and the increasing problem of aspartame addiction. (4-7)

The likelihood of pulmonary hypertension induced by the vasoconstrictive effects of aspartame products also has been considered. (5) It is relevant that unexplained dyspnea was experienced by 110 aspartame reactors, usually with prompt improvement after abstinence. Moreover, primary pulmonary hypertension was found at autopsy in a 27 year old female aspartame reactor.

The lack of familiarity of most physicians and medical examiners with the foregoing considerations can have serious legal consequences. A case in point is that of a young woman (also a Sunday School teacher) who has been sentenced to serve 50 years in a Virginia prison for allegedly poisoning her husband with methyl alcohol. Elevated methanol blood concentrations were found postmortem in this body builder/basketball player who drank ten diet drinks and other aspartame products daily. She remains incarcerated despite affidavits indicating that 10% of aspartame becomes free methyl alcohol after consumption.

The need for clinicians and corporate-neutral investigators to evaluate the contributory role of aspartame in cardiopulmonary disorders and sudden death, and drug interactions with aspartame, is underscored by the frequency of persons dying unexpectedly being categorized as “death due to causes yet to be determined.” One interested resident of Orange county (California) found 192 persons listed in this category between July 11 and November 15, 2003 according to the Orange county Register.

References:

* Maron BJ, Sudden death in young athletes, N Engl J Med 2003;349:1064-1075
* Roberts HJ, Reactions to aspartame containing products: 551 cases, J Appl Nutr l988;40:86-94
* Roberts HJ, Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe? Philadelphia, The Charles Press, 1989.
* Roberts HJ, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 2001
* Roberts HJ, Aspartame-induced dyspnea and pulmonary hypertension, Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 2003; 237 (January): 64-65
* Roberts HJ, Ignored Health Hazards for Pilots and Drivers. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 1998.
* Roberts HJ, Aspartame (NutraSweet) addiction, Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, 2900; 198 (January): 52-57

H. J. Roberts, MD, FACP, FCCP
Palm Beach Institute for Medical Research
P. O. Box 17799
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416 USA

_________________________________________________

You will note that Dr. Roberts wrote this paper because so many young athletes are dropping dead. Some may remember athlete Steve Bechler’s death in West Palm Beach. Tim Sullivan said in the San Diego Union Tribune in Feb, 2003, that whether Steve Bechler’s passing (23 year old Baltimore Oriole pitcher) should prompt baseball to ban ephedra-based products is a more complicated matter, one that raises questions of civil rights and individual responsibilities, and about the gap between medical opinion and governmental regulations. But while Steve Bechler’s death was blamed on ephedra this no doubt was another Diet Coke with aspartame death. At the time of his death, H. J. Roberts, M.D. who also lives in West Palm Beach immediately called the Broward County medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, and asked him how many diet drinks was Bechler drinking. Dr. Perper didn’t even know why he asked. The Idaho Observer wrote the story, Aspartame Poisoning Cover for Ephedra. It was finally disclosed Steve Belcher had a weight problem, he would go without eating for a couple of days and then drink diet pop with aspartame all day. He had a family history of heart problems and aspartame destroys the heart. After researching the issue it’s obvious that Steve Bechler did not die because he was using ephedra, it was just another aspartame death! Even Dr. Perper could only conclude that ephedrine “probably contributed” to his death but this doctor was not knowledgeable of aspartame’s effect on the heart nor did he know that Steve Belcher was using it.

Obviously ephedra could interact with aspartame but then virtually all drugs interact with aspartame. But the FDA used this aspartame death to remove another supplement. Are they going to take all the drugs off the market because they interact with aspartame? Shouldn’t they ban aspartame instead? John W. Olney, M.D., was asked by the Ephedra Education Council to review some of the FDA cases. Go to (http://www.ephedrafacts.com) for the full report. The adverse event reports Dr. Olney examined include those reviewed for FDA by Doctors Ricaute and Stoll. Dr. Olney says out of 28 cases, there is not a single case that the expert reviewers rated as having a highly probable causal association with ingestion of Ephedra. Didn’t bother FDA at all, they could cover up another aspartame death and grab another supplement to please Big Pharma.

Dr. H. J. Roberts said in his position paper on aspartame and cardiac symptoms (www.dorway.com ) under atypical chest pain: “More than 50 aspartame reactors experienced unexplained pain in the chest. Many others have atypical pain elsewhere in the body. A number underwent stress tests and coronary angioplasty for suspected coronary heart disease’ they proved normal in the majority.”

Ephedra is off the market and the sudden cardiac deaths of athletes continue to this day, as well as others in the population including children. Russell Blaylock, M.D., wrote this Athlete Alert on the subject:

ATHLETE ALERT:
RENOWNED NEUROSURGEON IDENTIFIES
ASPARTAME & MSG IN SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH


Contributed By Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum
Mission Possible International
BettyM19@mindspring.com

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D. explains the relationship between sudden cardiac death, especially in athletes, and excitotoxic damage produced by food additives and artificial sweeteners.

(PRWEB) April 14, 2005 — Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, explains the relationship between sudden cardiac death, especially in athletes, and excitotoxic damage caused by food additives and artificial sweeteners. — By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

Over 460,000 people annually die of a disorder called sudden cardiac death, according to CDC statistics. This condition strikes otherwise healthy people who have experienced no obvious symptoms of heart disease prior to their abrupt deaths.

An alarming number young athletes are included in these deaths, in high schools and colleges as well as among professional athletes. While in some of these individuals cardiologists found evidence of coronary disease and scars from earlier silent heart attacks, there is one mechanism that’s getting no attention at all: the excitotoxin damage caused by food additives and the artificial sweetener aspartame. This is despite growing evidence that the excitotoxic mechanism plays a major role in cardiac disease.

Previously, it was thought that excitotoxic food additives, such as monosodium glutamate and aspartic acid in aspartame, cause their damage in the cardiovascular centers in the brain stem and/or by over-stimulating sympathetic centers in the hypothalamus of the brain. Both mechanisms have resulted in sudden cardiac death in experimental animals.

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Jun 28


There are two kinds of courage in war – physical courage and moral courage. Physical courage is very common on the battlefield. Men and women on both sides risk their lives, place their own bodies in harm’s way. Moral courage, however, is quite rare.

According to Chris Hedges, the brilliant New York Times war correspondent who survived wars in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, “I rarely saw moral courage. Moral courage is harder. It requires the bearer to walk away from the warm embrace of comradeship and denounce the myth of war as a fraud, to name it as an enterprise of death and immorality, to condemn himself, and those around him, as killers. It requires the bearer to become an outcast. There are times when taking a moral stance, perhaps the highest form of patriotism, means facing down the community, even the nation.”

More and more U.S. soldiers and Marines, at great cost to their own careers and reputations, are speaking publicly about U.S. atrocities in Iraq, even about the cowardice of their own commanders, who send youth into atrocity-producing situations only to hide from the consequences of their own orders.

In 2007, two brilliant war memoirs – ROAD FROM AR RAMADI by Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, and THE SUTRAS OF ABU GHRAIB by Army Reservist Aidan Delgado – appeared in print. In March 2008, at the Winter Soldier investigation just outside Washington D.C., hard-core U.S. Iraqi veterans, some shaking at the podium, some in tears, unburdened their souls.

Jon Michael Turner described the horrific incident in which, on April 28, 2008, he shot an Iraqi boy in front of his father. His commanding officer congratulated him for “the kill.” To a stunned audience, Turner presented a photo of the boy’s skull, and said: “I am sorry for the hate and destruction I have inflicted on innocent people.”

The Winter Soldier investigation was followed by the publication of COLLATERAL DAMAGE: AMERICA’S WAR AGAINST IRAQI CIVILIANS, by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian. Based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews with Iraqi combat veterans, this pioneering work on the catastrophe in Iraq includes the largest number of eyewitness accounts from U.S. military personnel on record.

The Courage to Resist

We cannot understand the psychological and moral significance of military resistance unless we recognize the social forces that stifle conscience and human individuality in military life. Gwen Dyer, historian of war, writes that ordinarily, “Men will kill under compulsion. Men will do almost anything if they know it is expected of them and they are under strong social pressure to comply.” “Only exceptional people resist atrocity,” writes psychiatrist Robert Lifton.

How much easier it is to surrender to the will of superiors, to merge into the anonymity of the group. It takes uncommon courage to resist military powers of intimidation, peer pressure, and the atmosphere of racism and hate that drives all imperial wars.

Silencing the Witnesses to War

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Jun 28

(So now everything is ready to attack Iran – The Infinite Unknown)

(WASHINGTON) – The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Thursday to promote Gen. David Petraeus to become the top commander in the Middle East.

Senators on the panel also agreed by voice vote that Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno should receive a fourth star and replace Petraeus as chief commander in Iraq.

The committee action paves the way for a favorable vote on the nominations by the Senate.

Last year, Petraeus helped to tame growing opposition to the Iraq war in Congress by providing measured assessments of progress and warning that an exodus of U.S. troops would result in chaos. In the meantime, he advocated a buildup of some 30,000 troops in Baghdad and other hotspots, which eventually proved vital in tamping down violence.

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Jun 28

MOSUL, Iraq, June 26 (UPI) — Iraqi security forces are unable to maintain order following operations targeting al-Qaida fighters in the northern city of Mosul, officials said Thursday.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities view Mosul, the provincial capital of Ninawa, as one of the last remaining al-Qaida strongholds in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a military crackdown in the northern city in May. Continue reading »

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Jun 28

Source: You Tube

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Jun 28


Source: You Tube

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Jun 28


Source: The Onion

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Jun 27


Vincent Quinones works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday after the Federal Reserve issued a mixed assessment of the economy. Yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 358 points. (By Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg News)

So much for that second-half rebound.

Truth be told, that was always more of a wish than a serious forecast, happy talk from the Fed and Wall Street desperate to get things back to normal.

It ain’t gonna happen. Not this summer. Not this fall. Not even next winter.

This thing’s going down, fast and hard. Corporate bankruptcies, bond defaults, bank failures, hedge fund meltdowns and 6 percent unemployment. We’re caught in one of those vicious, downward spirals that, once it gets going, is very hard to pull out of.

Only this will be a different kind of recession — a recession with an overlay of inflation. That combo puts the Federal Reserve in a Catch-22 — whatever it does to solve one problem only makes the other worse. Emerging from a two-day meeting this week, Fed officials signaled that further recession-fighting rate cuts are unlikely and that their next move will be to raise rates to contain inflationary expectations.

Since last June, we’ve seen a fairly consistent pattern to the economic mood swings. Every three months or so, there’s a round of bad news about housing, followed by warnings of more bank write-offs and then a string of disappointing corporate earnings reports. Eventually, things stabilize and there are hints that the worst may be behind us. Stocks regain some of their lost ground, bonds fall and then — bam — the whole cycle starts again.

It was only in November that the Dow had recovered from the panicked summer sell-off and hit a record, just above 14,000. By March, it had fallen below 12,000. By May, it climbed above 13,000. Now it’s heading for a new floor at 11,000. Officially, that’s bear market territory. We’ll be lucky if that’s the floor.

In explaining why that second-half rebound never occurred, the Fed and the Treasury and the Wall Street machers will say that nobody could have foreseen $140 a barrel oil. As excuses go, blaming it on an oil shock is a hardy perennial. That’s what Jimmy Carter and Fed Chairman Arthur Burns did in the late ’70s, and what George H.W. Bush and Alan Greenspan did in the early ’90s. Don’t believe it.

Truth is, there are always price or supply shocks of one sort or another. The real problem is that the underlying fundamentals had gotten badly out of whack, making the economy susceptible to a shock. The only way to make things better is to get those fundamentals back in balance. In this case, that means bringing what we consume in line with what we produce, letting the dollar fall to its natural level, wringing the excess capacity out of industries that overexpanded during the credit bubble and allowing real estate prices to fall in line with incomes.

The last hope for a second-half rebound began to fade earlier this month when Lehman Brothers reported that it wasn’t as immune to the credit-market downturn as it had led everyone to believe. Lehman scrambled to restore confidence by firing two top executives and raising billions in additional capital, but even that wasn’t enough to quiet speculation that it could be the next Bear Stearns.

Since then, there has been a steady drumbeat of worrisome news from nearly every sector of the economy.

American Express and Discover warn that customers are falling further behind on their debts. UPS and Federal Express report a noticeable slowdown in shipments, while fuel costs are soaring. According to the Case-Shiller index, home prices in the top 20 markets fell 15 percent in April from the year before, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that mortgage delinquency rates doubled over the same period — and that’s for conventional home loans, not subprime. United Airlines accelerates the race to cut costs and capacity by laying off 950 pilots — 15 percent of its total — as a number of airlines retire planes and hint that they may delay delivery or cancel orders of new jets from Boeing and Airbus. Goldman Sachs, which has already had to withdraw its rosy forecast for stocks, now admits it was also too optimistic about junk bond defaults, and analysts warn that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch will also be forced to take additional big write-downs on their mortgage portfolios.

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Jun 27

Federal agents raided a Blackwater armory Tuesday and seized 34 automatic rifles that the company purchased and stored on behalf of a local law enforcement agency, the Associated Press reports.

Anne Tyrrell, a Blackwater spokeswoman, tells AP that ATF agents searched the Moyock, N.C., facility. The raid came after reports on a deal in which the company paid for weapons that were registered in the name of the Camden County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office.

“The 2005 agreements gives the sheriff’s office unlimited access to the weapons, including 17 Romanian AK-47s and 17 Bushmasters,” the wire service says. “But [Sheriff Tony] Perry said his department has only used the AK-47s in shooting practice at Blackwater and that none of his 19 deputies are qualified to use them.”

Federal law prohibits private companies or individuals from purchasing automatic weapons. Continue reading »

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