Jul 31

See also:

- Sarkozy spent £160m on events and refurbishment during French EU presidency, incl. £250,000 on a personal shower he did not use


Nicolas Sarkozy’s dream of having his own presidential jet to rival America’s Air Force One are about to come true with “Air Sarko One”, a £150 million aircraft complete with bedroom, air filter system so he can smoke cigars, and a shower.

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Mr Sarkozy’s 176 million euro (£147 million) purchase and refit of the jet from tourist airline Air Caraïbes has raised eyebrows.

The specially upholstered Airbus A330-200, has just been taken on its first test flight in Bordeaux, southwestern France, with all internal fittings due for completion by October.

The plane will also include a 12-man meeting room, 60 business class seats, top-grade encrypted communications systems, a reinforced fuselage and missile decoy system.

A fleet of smaller jets is also to replace the current Falcon 50 and 900 models at ministers’ disposal. This includes two Falcon 7Xs, models often favoured by the world’s jet set.

Presidential air force officials have dubbed it “Air Carla One” after his ex-supermodel wife.

The French leader is understood to have long envied the luxurious conditions in which Barack Obama, the US President flies across the world in his Boeing 747-200B, and has complained that his two smaller Airbus A319s lacked the necessary presidential stature.

“Air Sarko One” as the plane has been dubbed, will have a wingspan a good two feet longer than the US model. Continue reading »

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Jul 31

Chris Etherington, chief executive of wholesaler P&H, said: “I think this could be the beginning of the double-dip recession. This is really scary stuff.”

Again: This is the Greatest Depression! Prepare yourself now.

See also: Bank of England’s Mervyn King Warns Over High Inflation


The cost of food is likely to jump by up to 10 per cent before Christmas after dry weather drastically reduced the amount of winter feed that farmers could harvest, experts said.

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Wheat: expensive. (Getty Images)

The price of milk, cheese, chicken, beef and pork and associated products are all expected to rise because the industry has been hit by soaring animal feed prices, a shortage of silage and poor harvests.

Food inflation is closely linked to overall inflation and some in the industry have warned it could push the economy towards a “double-dip” recession.

BOCM Pauls, Britain’s biggest animal feed supplier, has reported a 20 per cent increase in the price of raw material feed on last year

The cost of wheat used as animal feed has also jumped by 30 per cent.

The company warned that the price at which it sells feed to dairy, poultry, beef and pig farmers would have to increase by the same amount over the next three months, trade magazine The Grocer said.

It is possible that such a margin could be passed on to consumers, however, it is unlikely to be passed on in full. Instead, prices are likely to go up while producers’ and retailers’ profit margins are also squeezed.

The National Farmers’ Union said the dry weather had added to its members’ problems by slashing the yields of silage for winter feed by up to 50 per cent.

Food producers are already suffering from the high cost of common ingredients such as palm oil, cocoa and soya oil, which have risen by 39 per cent, 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively since last year, according to Mintec figures.

Continue reading »

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Jul 31

Liar in Chief :

Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’ (Video)

In 2009 over 300 US soldiers died because of this lie.

How many will die in 2010?


US ‘casualties’ in Afghanistan soar to record highs

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NATO and US soldiers are seen standing guard in Kabul. Three foreign soldiers were killed in two separate Taliban-style bomb attacks in Afghanistan’s volatile south, NATO said Friday. (AFP)

KABUL, Afghanistan – In a summer of suffering, America’s military death toll in Afghanistan is rising, with back-to-back record months for U.S. losses in the grinding conflict. All signs point to more bloodshed in the months ahead, straining the already shaky international support for the war.

Six more Americans were reported killed in fighting in the south – three Thursday and three Friday – pushing the U.S. death toll for July to a record 66 and surpassing June as the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly nine-year war.

U.S. officials confirmed the latest American deaths Friday but gave no further details. Five of the latest reported deaths were a result of hidden bombs – the insurgents’ weapon of choice – and the sixth to an armed attack, NATO said in statements.

U.S. commanders say American casualties are mounting because more troops are fighting – and the Taliban are stiffening resistance as NATO and Afghan forces challenge the insurgents in areas they can’t afford to give up without a fight.

“Recent months in Afghanistan have … seen tough fighting and tough casualties. This was expected,” the top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. David Petraeus, said at his Senate confirmation hearing last month. “My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months.”

That forecast is proving grimly accurate.

The month has brought a sharp increase in the tragic images of war – medics frantically seeking to stop the bleeding of a soldier who lost his leg in a bombing, fearful comrades huddled around a wounded trooper fighting for his life, the solemn scenes at Dover Air Force Bare in Delaware when shattered relatives come to receive the bodies of their loved ones.

After a dip in American deaths last spring following the February capture of the southern town of Marjah, U.S. fatalities have been rising – from 19 in April to 34 in May to 60 in June. Last month’s deaths for the entire NATO-led force reached a record 104, including the 60 Americans. This month’s coalition death count stands at 89, including the 66 Americans.

Continue reading »

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Jul 31

City watchdog finds 170 people with contracts that breach bonus rules as it tries to tighten up pay code

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The FSA shake-up on bonuses comes after new European rules were introduced.

More than 2,800 people in the City took home more than £1m last year, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) revealed today as it prepared to stop City firms exploiting potential loopholes in its pay code. Providing a rare insight into pay levels in the City, the regulator said it had found 170 people whose contracts breached new rules that require up to 60% of bonuses to be deferred over three years. The FSA said it had applied pressure to their employers to change the contracts.

The rules are designed to discourage excessive risk-taking and were introduced after the meltdown in the financial industry in the autumn of 2008. The FSA also revealed that the industry had lobbied for a relaxation of its ban on guaranteed bonuses that run for more than a year, claiming it was having an “adverse effect on employee mobility or staff retention”.

As the FSA began a consultation on its pay code, it warned that its scope would have to expand from 27 companies to 2,500 as a result of new European rules, known as the capital requirements directive.

In the wide-ranging consultation, the FSA also set out ways to stop “rewards for failure” and to ensure that pensions do not inadvertently reward poor performance, by demanding that any enhanced contributions are held in shares for five years.

The regulator also said that companies should decide how much money to pour into their annual bonus pots on the basis of the amount of profit being made rather than the size of the revenue generated. The FSA said that paying bonuses out of revenue would not “pay sufficient regard to the quality of business undertaken or services provided”.

The FSA reviewed the deferral arrangements of 4,300 City workers covered by its code because they were senior managers, influential traders or because they earned more than £1m. It said that 2,800 of them came under the code because they earned at least £1m and 1,300 of these were employed by UK banking groups, with the rest at big investment banks. Continue reading »

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Jul 31

VIVIAN, S.D. (AP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a giant hailstone that fell in central South Dakota has broken U.S. records, even though the man who found it says it melted somewhat while waiting to be evaluated.

The NOAA’s National Climate Extremes Committee says the hailstone found in the town of Vivian on July 23 measures 8 inches in diameter and weighs 1 pound, 15 ounces. The committee says the South Dakota ice chunk breaks records set by hailstones discovered in Nebraska and Kansas. Continue reading »

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Jul 30

joseph-stalin fascism-adolf-hitler

A New World Order is emerging …

- President Obama’s New World Order: ‘We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation’

- President Dmitry Medvedev Calls For ‘New World Economic Order’

- ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet calls for ‘Global Governance’ at the Council on Foreign Relations

- EU Draws Up Plans For Single ‘Economic Government’

- Gordon Brown Praises New World Order (19 Feb 2010)

- Gordon Brown On Saddam Hussein: ‘This New World Order That We Were Trying To Create Was Being Put At Risk’

… and we have to stop it NOW.


Russia to introduce ‘draconian’ Minority Report-style law

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Russian police arrest a political opposition activist at a rally in Moscow. (AFP)

Russian citizens can be issued official warnings about crimes that they have not yet committed under powers granted to the security services today.

President Dmitry Medvedev signed off on a new law giving the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, the right to caution people suspected of preparing acts of extremism, or to jail them for obstructing the agency’s work.

The powers appear similar to those enjoyed by Precrime, the police unit in the 2002 Hollywood film Minority Report. “This is a draconian law reminiscent of our repressive past,” said Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the Solidarity opposition movement.

Rights activists had hoped Medvedev would rein in the security services, after his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB colonel, stuffed his administration with hawkish veterans. The Kremlin’s tough stance comes against the backdrop of a disparate but emergent civil movement protesting against corruption and authoritarian government.

Under the new provisions, the FSB will be able to echo Soviet practices. The punishment for ignoring a warning was unclear, but 15-day jail sentences are envisaged for “obstructing an FSB officer’s duties”. Sergei Ivanenko, a leader of the Yabloko party, called it “the law of a police state”. He said: “If such a law exists in a democratic country then it is limited by a very powerful system of civil, public and parliamentary control. In our conditions it will mean absolute power for the security services.” Continue reading »

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Jul 30

White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity

big-brother-obama

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.

But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

Stewart A. Baker, a former senior Bush administration Homeland Security official, said the proposed change would broaden the bureau’s authority. “It’ll be faster and easier to get the data,” said Baker, who practices national security and surveillance law. “And for some Internet providers, it’ll mean giving a lot more information to the FBI in response to an NSL.”

Many Internet service providers have resisted the government’s demands to turn over electronic records, arguing that surveillance law as written does not allow them to do so, industry lawyers say. One senior administration government official, who would discuss the proposed change only on condition of anonymity, countered that “most” Internet or e-mail providers do turn over such data. Continue reading »

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Jul 30

us-dictatorship
Change we can believe in!


So much for transparency.

Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from “surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities.” Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings.”

The SEC cited the new law Tuesday in a FOIA action brought by FOX Business Network. Steven Mintz, founding partner of law firm Mintz & Gold LLC in New York, lamented what he described as “the backroom deal that was cut between Congress and the SEC to keep the  SEC’s failures secret. The only losers here are the American public.”

If the SEC’s interpretation stands, Mintz, who represents FOX Business Network, predicted “the next time there is a Bernie Madoff failure the American public will not be able to obtain the SEC documents that describe the failure,” referring to the shamed broker whose Ponzi scheme cost investors billions.

“The new provision applies to information obtained through examinations or derived from that information,” said SEC spokesman John Nester. “We are expanding our examination program’s surveillance and risk assessment efforts in order to provide more sophisticated and effective Wall Street oversight. The success of these efforts depends on our ability to obtain documents and other information from brokers, investment advisers and other registrants. The new legislation makes certain that we can obtain documents from registrants for risk assessment and surveillance under similar conditions that already exist by law for our examinations. Because registrants insist on confidential treatment of their documents, this new provision also removes an opportunity for brokers, investment advisers and other registrants to refuse to cooperate with our examination document requests.”

Criticism of the provision has been swift. “It allows the SEC to block the public’s access to virtually all SEC records,” said Gary Aguirre, a former SEC staff attorney-turned-whistleblower who had accused the agency of thwarting an investigation into hedge fund Pequot Asset Management in 2005. “It permits the SEC to promulgate its own rules and regulations regarding the disclosure of records without getting the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, which typically applies to all federal agencies.” Continue reading »

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Jul 30

schwarzenegger-to-speak-at-bohemian-club-conclave
PD FILE, 2009 The entrance to the Bohemian Grove in 2009.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to address a throng of rich and powerful men on Friday under the towering redwoods at the Bohemian Grove as the annual encampment along the Russian River in Monte Rio enters its final weekend.

No one other than Bohemian Club members and their guests will hear the governor’s speech, which is – like everything that transpires during the 17-day midsummer enclave – done in absolute privacy.

Plutocrats and powerbrokers, including former presidents, annually flock to the 2,700-acre wooded retreat where neither women, other than grove employees, nor outsiders of either gender are permitted.

“It’s a private gentleman’s club,” club spokesman Sam Singer said. “People are coming to get away from the duties of daily life. They don’t desire to be on the front page of The Press Democrat or The New York Times.

“In real life, they get there often enough,” he said.

The club has about 2,000 members.

Mixing their revelry and weird rituals with serious issues, the Bohemians hear from a series of speakers, this year including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who discussed “the future of news” and former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker on international relations and terrorism threats.

The speakers list, including ex-President George H. W. Bush in 1995 and not-yet President Richard Nixon in 1967, remains a well-guarded secret. Continue reading »

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Jul 29

Russia’s Drought Raises Bondholder Risk on Prices

russia_worst-drought-in-a-decade-high-temperatures-damaged-32-percent-of-land-under-cultivation-grain-prices-may-double
A farmer driving his tractor to harvest flax at a collective farm in the village of Mirny, in the Tver region (Reuters)

Russia’s worst drought in a decade will probably generate losses for bondholders as food prices rise and the government may be pushed to tap debt markets for funds to support farmers.

High temperatures, which rose to a record 37.4 Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) yesterday in Moscow, have damaged 32 percent of land under cultivation and forced Russia to declare states of emergency in 23 regions. Grain prices may double this year because of the drought, according to the Grain Producers’ Union.

Inflation may quicken to 8.1 percent by the end of December, compared with the government’s annual forecast of 6 percent, according to Yaroslav Lissovolik, Deutsche Bank AG’s head of research in Moscow. That will put pressure on Bank Rossii to raise its benchmark rate by year-end for the first time since December 2008, said Natalia Orlova, Moscow-based chief economist at Alfa Bank.

Higher rates “may cause a correction in short-term sovereign bonds and, later, in long-term sovereign bonds,” said Evgeniy Nadorshin, senior economist at Trust Investment Bank in Moscow.

The government, which plans to sell 1.2 trillion rubles ($39.3 billion) of bonds on the domestic market this year to finance its budget deficit, may increase that figure to pay for subsidies and contain the drought’s fallout, Nadorshin said. Continue reading »

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Jul 29

barack-obama_jan-brewer

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona is preparing to ask an appeals court to lift a judge’s ruling that put most of the state’s immigration law on hold in a key first-round victory for the federal government in a fight that may go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Jan Brewer called Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton “a bump in the road” and vowed to appeal.

Protesters in Phoenix went ahead with plans Thursday for a march to the state Capitol and a sit-in at the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff said if protestors were disruptive, they’d be arrested, and he vowed to go ahead with a crime sweep targeting illegal immigrants.

Continue reading »

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Jul 29

nancy_pelosi_handsign

The latest version of the CLEAR Act is slated for a floor vote in the House this week as Democrats look for ways to use the Gulf oil spill as a means to pass elements of their unpopular energy agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stripped out authorization for an independent investigation into the Gulf disaster.

The Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed the amendment in committee markup July 14 offered by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that would establish a bipartisan, independent, National Commission on Outer Continental Shelf Oil Spill Prevention.

Unlike the commission set up by President Obama — packed only with environmental activists and no petroleum engineers — the commission unanimously approved by the Natural Resources committee would be comprised of technical experts to study the actual events leading up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Not a single member of the committee voiced opposition at the bill’s markup.  The Senate has also approved an independent commission.

“To investigate what went wrong and keep it from happening again, the commission must include members who have expertise in petroleum engineering.  The President’s Commission has none,” Cassidy, the amendment’s author, told HUMAN EVENTS after the announcement.  “It defies common sense that this amendment passed unanimously in committee, only to be deleted in the Speaker’s office.”

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), top Republican on the Natural Resources Committee said the Obama’s administration’s commission was set up to protect the President.

“By deleting the bipartisan, independent oil spill commission that’s received bipartisan support in both House and Senate committees, Democrats have shown they are more interested in protecting the President than getting independent answers to what caused this tragic Gulf spill.  Some of the biggest failures that contributed to the Gulf disaster are the direct responsibility of the federal government and by deleting this bipartisan, independent commission, Democrats ensure that only the President’s hand-picked commission will be digging into any failures of his own Interior Department appointees.  There is widespread agreement that no member of the President’s commission possesses technical expertise in oil drilling, and several are on the record in opposition to offshore drilling and support a moratorium that will cost thousands of jobs,” Hastings said.

The bill also sets up myriad regulations and new standards and laws for drilling that have nothing to do with offshore drilling.

“Even more outrageous is this bill’s attempt to use the oil spill tragedy as leverage to enact totally unrelated policies and increase federal spending on unrelated programs by billions of dollars. What does a solar panel in Nevada, a wind turbine in Montana, uranium for nuclear power, or a ban on fish farming have to do with the Gulf spill? Nothing — but the spill is a good excuse to try and pass otherwise stalled or unpopular new laws,” Hastings said. Continue reading »

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Jul 29

Bank of England’s Mervyn King created £200 billion out of thin air:

- Bank of England extends quantitative easing to £200 billion

And now he warns over inflation. This is like nuking a country and then warn the people over radiation.

Elite puppet Mervyn King is intentionally destroying the pound, looting the people, through quantitative easing (Whereas the UK government is destroying the pound and looting the people through skyrocketing government debt.) and promoting the New World Order:

- Bank of England: US Faces Same Problems As Greece; EU Must Become A Federalised Fiscal Union With Central Power In Order to Survive

The economy is not facing stagflation, but the Greatest Depression.


Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has warned that high inflation will continue to erode earnings power through next year as the economy faces the threat of ‘stagflation’.


Prices rises have consistently defied the Bank’s expectations of a slowdown, adding to pressure on households as wage growth remains weak and the Government introduces a strict austerity package.

The Bank’s rate-setters are charged with keeping inflation at 2% but the Consumer Prices Index benchmark has been above 3% throughout the year.

However, addressing a committee of MPs, Mr King suggested that they will be reluctant to try to curb the problem by raising borrowing costs from 0.5 per cent any time soon because of the weakness of the economy.

“There will come a point when we will certainly need to ease off the accelerator and return Bank Rate to more normal levels,” Mr King told MPs today.

“I look forward to that time because it will probably be a signal that there is a smoother drive ahead, with the economic outlook improving in a durable way. But I fear there is some considerable distance to travel before we can begin to use the word ‘normal.'”

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which slashed interest rates to a record low of 0.5pc during the depths of the recession, faces an acute dilemma on when to begin raising them. Not everyone on the MPC agrees with the Governor that the threats to the recovery present a greater danger than that of rising prices. Continue reading »

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Jul 29

phytoplankton-the_foundation_of_the_oceanic_food_chain
Phytoplankton are the foundation of the oceanic food chain.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite their tiny size, plant plankton found in the world’s oceans are crucial to much of life on Earth. They are the foundation of the bountiful marine food web, produce half the world’s oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide.

And they are declining sharply.

Worldwide phytoplankton levels are down 40 percent since the 1950s, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The likely cause is global warming (Since 1998 the world is cooling.), which makes it hard for the plant plankton to get vital nutrients, researchers say.

The numbers are both staggering and disturbing, say the Canadian scientists who did the study and a top U.S. government scientist.

“It’s concerning because phytoplankton is the basic currency for everything going on in the ocean,” said Dalhousie University biology professor Boris Worm, a study co-author. “It’s almost like a recession … that has been going on for decades.”

Half a million datapoints dating to 1899 show that plant plankton levels in nearly all of the world’s oceans started to drop in the 1950s. The biggest changes are in the Arctic, southern and equatorial Atlantic and equatorial Pacific oceans. Only the Indian Ocean is not showing a decline. The study’s authors said it’s too early to say that plant plankton is on the verge of vanishing.

Virginia Burkett, the chief climate change scientist for U.S. Geological Survey, said the plankton numbers are worrisome and show problems that can’t be seen just by watching bigger more charismatic species like dolphins or whales.

“These tiny species are indicating that large-scale changes in the ocean are affecting the primary productivity of the planet,” said Burkett, who wasn’t involved in the study.

When plant plankton plummet — like they do during El Nino climate cycles— sea birds and marine mammals starve and die in huge numbers, experts said. Continue reading »

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Jul 29

In 1970 the proportion of Americans behind bars was below one in 400, compared with today’s one in 100.

never-in-the-civilised-world-have-so-many-been-locked-up-for-so-little

THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This came as a shock. He did indeed import flowers and sell them to other orchid-lovers. And it was true that his suppliers in Latin America were sometimes sloppy about their paperwork. In a shipment of many similar-looking plants, it was rare for each permit to match each orchid precisely.

In March 2004, five months after the raid, Mr Norris was indicted, handcuffed and thrown into a cell with a suspected murderer and two suspected drug-dealers. When told why he was there, “they thought it hilarious.” One asked: “What do you do with these things? Smoke ‘em?”

Prosecutors described Mr Norris as the “kingpin” of an international smuggling ring. He was dumbfounded: his annual profits were never more than about $20,000. When prosecutors suggested that he should inform on other smugglers in return for a lighter sentence, he refused, insisting he knew nothing beyond hearsay.

He pleaded innocent. But an undercover federal agent had ordered some orchids from him, a few of which arrived without the correct papers. For this, he was charged with making a false statement to a government official, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Since he had communicated with his suppliers, he was charged with conspiracy, which also carries a potential five-year term.

As his legal bills exploded, Mr Norris reluctantly changed his plea to guilty, though he still protests his innocence. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison. After some time, he was released while his appeal was heard, but then put back inside. His health suffered: he has Parkinson’s disease, which was not helped by the strain of imprisonment. For bringing some prescription sleeping pills into prison, he was put in solitary confinement for 71 days. The prison was so crowded, however, that even in solitary he had two room-mates.

A long love affair with lock and key

Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

Continue reading »

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Jul 28

Prime minister intervenes in Middle East dispute and hopes Turkey can stop Iran’s nuclear weapons programme

david-cameron
David Cameron defended his remarks at a press conference with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (REUTERS)

David Cameron used a visit to Turkey to make his strongest intervention yet in the intractable Middle East conflict today when he likened the experience of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip to that of a “prison camp”.

Although he has made similar remarks before, his decision to repeat them on a world stage in Turkey, whose relations with Israel have deteriorated sharply since it mounted a deadly assault on the Gaza flotilla, gave them much greater diplomatic significance.

Cameron’s comments, in a speech to business leaders in Ankara, prompted the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to issue another strong condemnation of how Israel dealt with the flotilla.

Erdogan likened the behaviour of Israeli commandos, who shot dead nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists, to Somali pirates.

Cameron’s criticism of Tel Aviv came when he called for Israel to relax its restrictions on Gaza. “The situation in Gaza has to change,” he said. “Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”

He strongly condemned Israel after the assault on the Gaza flotilla. “The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable,” he said. “I have told prime minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. “Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change.” Continue reading »

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Jul 28

That still is ‘peanuts’ compared to this:

The day before 9/11 Donald Rumsfeld declared in this CBS NEWS video that the…

Pentagon Cannot Account For 2,3 TRILLION Dollars

Some elite criminals got very rich.

Imagine you cannot account for $100.000. What will happen?


Oil funds were ‘vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss’ (Sure!)

iraq-oil-refinery
Iraqis work at the Rumaila oil refinery, near Basra. An audit has found that the Pentagon “could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion” in Iraqi oil money.

BAGHDAD — A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.

The $8.7 billion in question was Iraqi money managed by the Pentagon, not part of the $53 billion that Congress has allocated for rebuilding. It’s cash that Iraq, which relies on volatile oil revenues to fuel its spending, can ill afford to lose.

“Iraq should take legal action to get back this huge amount of money,” said Sabah al-Saedi, chairman of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee. The money “should be spent for rebuilding the country and providing services for this poor nation.”

The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction accused the Defense Department of lax oversight and weak controls, though not fraud.

“The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss,” the audit said.

The Pentagon has repeatedly come under fire for apparent mismanagement of the reconstruction effort — as have Iraqi officials themselves. Continue reading »

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Jul 28

us-canada-pipeline-leaks-3-million-litres-oil-into-michigan-river

A pipeline carrying oil from the US state of Indiana to Ontario, Canada has spilled more than 800,000 gallons (3m litres) of oil into a creek which flows into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

A spokesman for the firm running the pipeline, Enbridge Energy Partners, said a malfunction had caused the leak.

The spill has killed fish and endangered wildlife in the region.

Officials said the pumps which feed the pipeline had been shut down as soon as the leak was discovered. Continue reading »

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Jul 28

War logs show how marines gave cleaned up accounts of incident in which they killed 19 civilians

afghanistan-war-logs
The site of a suicide bomb which was followed by civilian deaths as US marines escaped.

Brevity is the hallmark of military reporting, but even by those standards the description of one disastrous event is remarkably short: “The patrol returned to base.”

It started with a suicide bomb. On 4 March 2007 a convoy of US marines, who arrived in Afghanistan three weeks earlier, were hit by an explosives-rigged minivan outside the city of Jalalabad.

The marines made a frenzied escape, opening fire with automatic weapons as they tore down a six-mile stretch of highway, hitting almost anyone in their way – teenage girls in fields, motorists in their cars, old men as they walked along the road. Nineteen unarmed civilians were killed and 50 wounded.

None of this, however, was captured in the initial military account, written by the marines themselves. It simply says that, simultaneous to the suicide explosion, “the patrol received small arms fire from three directions”.

And the subsequent rampage as they drove away – which would later be the subject of a 17-day military inquiry and a 12,000-page report – is captured in five words: “The patrol returned to JAF [Jalalabad air field].”

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Jul 28

rep-charles-rangel
Picture: Rep. Charles Rangel Tries to Explain Back Taxes on Villa (New York Times)

Remember?: In 2006 Rep. Charles Rangel introduced the following bill:

H.R.4752.IH:

To provide for the common defense by requiring all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.

Now here comes Rep. Charles Rangel AGAIN with


H.R. 5741: Universal National Service Act:

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

Overview

Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel [D-NY15](no cosponsors)Cosponsors:

Text: Full Text
Status:
Occurred: Introduced Jul 15, 2010
Occurred: Referred to Committee View Committee Assignments
Not Yet Occurred: Reported by Committee
Not Yet Occurred: House Vote
Not Yet Occurred: Senate Vote
Not Yet Occurred: Signed by President

This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills and resolutions first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills and resolutions never make it out of committee. [Last Updated: Jul 27, 2010 6:46AM]

Last Action: Jul 23, 2010: Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
Related: See the Related Legislation page for other bills related to this one and a list of subject terms that have been applied to this bill. Sometimes the text of one bill or resolution is incorporated into another, and in those cases the original bill or resolution, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned.

Source: GovTrack.us

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