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Italy prime minister to resign

Posted by Admin on November 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/italians-protest-berlusconi-in-rome-1320518740-slideshow/;_ylt=AgVUBqqjuyqDSEyLdViiFlobANEA;_ylu=X3oDMTM3MXJjNmV2BG1pdAMEcGtnAzJhZDIwNGI2LWZlYzMtMzRlZi05ZDUyLWE4NzIyZjU1ZjM3YQRwb3MDNARzZWMDZW5kX3NzBHZlcgM1N2MzMmMyZS0wYTdmLTExZTEtOGRiMi1mYmE2ODJmZmIxNjY-;_ylv=3

Italy Premier Silvio Berlusconi promised November 8 to resign after parliament passes economic reforms demanded by the European Union.

File photo of Italy's Prime Minister Berlusconi getting into a car after an official welcoming ceremony in Sofia

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October 27, 2011 – White Hats Report #31

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://tdarkcabal.blogspot.com/2011/10/october-27-2011-white-hats-report-31.html

BUSH SR. – THE “KING” IS LOSING HIS MIND – How can a Stage Two Alzheimer Patient continue to terrorize American and  World Leaders!?

America is in grave danger by Washington Autocracy who have continued to fail to address the criminal actions of Bush Senior’s Dark Cabal who are in collusion with renegade bankers to destroy not only America’s, but the entire World’s financial system.  America is not immune to the collateral damage from other countries, because our financial systems and currencies have become homogeneous and interdependent. An unchecked system has allowed the greed, self interest, and criminal activities of a few to prosper while the rest of the world collapses.  JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank and Wall Street stand ready to fall, as they are cross invested in the European Union with substantial loans and trading portfolios.   America is in a free-fall led by a clueless President who is involved in vast criminal manipulations, a puppet on a string controlled by Bush Senior’s Cabal and George Soros.

As the global financial system spirals faster and faster to a bankrupt state, Bush Senior and Obama plan for their next move.  Obama is preparing for his exit as a failed one term President, with Senior allowing him to spend more time congregating his stolen offshore bank funds, which we last reported exceeded 11 Billion Dollars.  He has degradated America with the ultimate scam.  And a long time ago Bush Senior started to make plans for his escape.  Hence, the Bush family, Soros and cohorts over the last several weeks have been flying in mass equipment and assets to their heavily fortified 100,000 plus acre Paraguay Ranches.  As the World’s major financial system collapses, their plan is to take all their stolen assets and escape to the old Nazi Safe Haven immune from extradition. The Paraguayan newspapers have already announced the future arrival of the Bush family.   Our justice system is neutered to stop and apprehend them.  The world looks at America aghast with disbelief.

By the end of next week investigators will have completed a comprehensive report on Bush Senior, exposing the location of his stolen global banking funds.  Upon completion we will also detail an expose of Obama’s fraudulent funds.  Furthermore, this information will be made available to the proper global authorities for future criminal investigations.

As the G20 countries struggle for a global financial solution, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy now realize their own survival is being threatened and entrapped with the sinking ship.  They see the demise of Bush Senior’s power and the disintegration of the old Cabal.   Although they both understand that Bush Senior’s Dark Cabal still has some power,  the encroaching reality that Bush Senior has entered the second phase of dementia is now perceived that it is time to review Geo Political loyalties.   Simply stated, “The King is losing his mind,” but make no mistake that even now Senior is still calling all the shots.   Obama, Geithner, Bush Junior, the Clintons and other of the co-conspirators are still moving to the will of the puppet master.

As an example of Bush Senior’s control, as we have viewed from recent European Union events, we are very concerned that the present actions of Chancellor Merkel may possibly reveal that Bush Senior or his co-conspirators may be bribing or threatening Merkel if she does not prevent or derail by any means a solution to the European financial crisis.  Remember the Cabal’s new world order can only succeed with the failure of the global financial system.

Even though Bush Senior maintains control over some of the political powers, we are seeing signs of his collapse.  We have reported that Josef Ackermann played a focal role in conjunction with Bush Senior, but due to Josef Ackermann’s clear criminal exposure and visibility via the White Hats, the Bilderbergs have now severed their relationship with Ackermann in hopes of preventing criminal activities encroaching on them.  Ackermann’s wheels are coming off.   Dr. Michael Herzog has threatened to tell all when he is arraigned over the Falcone fraud executed by Ackermann, Mitt Romney, Bush Senior and other co-conspirator’s associates.   We can now report from further investigation that Bush Senior, Mitt Romney and Josef Ackermann made approximately 3 Billion Dollars together with their criminal partners Dr. Michael Herzog and Paul Guenette stealing from Edward Falcone.  The CIA was also a recipient of Falcone’s stolen funds.   Ben Bernanke tracked this transaction following Falcone’s stolen funds, but later took no action due to pressure from Bush Senior.   How will the new CIA director, an honorable man and true patriot, react to this?

Now that we see signs of the collapse of the Dark Cabal, a demented King slowly losing his mind to Stage Two Alzheimers and a President perceived by the world as greatly inept with his moral authority lost and his moral compass destroyed, the World is ready for a financial and political reset.   We have reported that money exists via the World Global Settlements and lawful obligations by the United States Treasury to patriotic individuals which would more than suffice to regenerate the World Global economies.

The United States Treasury and Federal Reserve have been offered a simple and fast way out of our dilemma:

  1. Return the long overdue funds rightfully owed to patriotic Americans.
  2. Release the World Global Settlements.
  3. Repay what was stolen from Tropos Capital and all other missing funds.

The Federal tax revenue alone will eliminate our national debt.  This responsible action will immediately channel major US humanitarian and global infrastructure projects.  This will immediately help resolve the Euro financial dilemma, create millions of jobs through industrial projects and new technologies, while building a new foundation that will not only benefit America, but financially stabilize the World.

Edward Falcone is another American Investor ruthlessly betrayed in a Bush Senior fraudulent transaction.  Falcone has planned substantial construction investment projects to develop and aid communities in Florida and other US states, which would create jobs and income security for Americans.  Via an audit review, over 800 Billion Dollars has been created by inter-Bank compound trading with Falcone’s stolen funds.  Based on Falcone’s stolen funds, the British Tax Authority may have missed 160 Billion (US Dollars) in tax revenue.  This does not include all the other transactions that could possibly run into the trillions of dollars in tax revenue owed to the British Government.  The largest beneficiary of these funds was the CIA, and secondly Bush Senior, whose accounts we are presently tracking.  Instead of Falcone’s earned capital going as planned to help America, it has triggered theft and bribery of corrupt Politicians.

Remember, we reported a Two Hundred Million Dollar bribe taken by Vice President Joe Biden, offered by Hillary Clinton, acting for Bush Senior.   Of the 3 Billion dollars reported above, Mitt Romney alone, acting with Bush Senior was paid over $1 Billion to front for Bush Senior.  This money was stolen from Falcone’s program.  Falcone and his associates have already communicated with key Republican Senators and their plan to remove Romney as a Presidential candidate by filing a Federal lawsuit against Romney, Bush Senior and his associates.  Falcone is using the same strategy now as he did when Romney was a Vice Presidential candidate for John McCain.  Just when he is most vulnerable and a likely candidate, Falcone will share the incriminating evidence and have Romney removed.  The White Hats will make sure that all opposition parties are aware of the details of Romney’s corruption. Romney cannot be allowed to be elected as yet another corrupt and bribe-taking United States President.

This whole saga of Political and Banking corruption was predicated upon large scale use of London Banking, operating via nominee and hidden offshore accounts.  Trillions of dollars have been traded in a series of bank programs making a total mockery of the humanitarian intent of these programs.  Political entities and persons in high level positions have been bought off.  Even the Bank of England itself is implicated in the Falcone affair along with Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC Bank.

This corrupt practice has now been exposed to the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Audit Committee under Margaret Hodge.  While pressures and roadblocks will be imposed to delay investigations, once this gets into the hands of the opposition MP’s, Unions and media, exposure will create a Tsunami of redress consequences.  It will blow the lid off in a fire storm of retribution.   There are possibly Trillions in withholding Taxes which have been avoided, and will face enforced collection by the Revenue Commissioners in London once appraised.  The UK’s own Fiscal dilemmas can be resolved by simple Tax enforcement and conspiring Bankers being brought to justice.   Murdoch’s own media interests will be well served to expose this as Political dynamite but that has a lot to do with what the Bildeberg’s direct him to do.    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has no idea of the extent of their files being held, corruption activities becoming known and being systematically tracked.   As this is exposed to the European Union and British media, IT’S GAME OVER!   Watergate will look like a Kindergarten birthday party.

THE WORLD GLOBAL SETTLEMENTS MUST BE RELEASED TODAY!   Also, the Iraqi Dinar revaluation is a cross-linked element of the solution, but compromised by Bush family interests and co-conspirators who have demanded and received twenty percent (20%) of the Forex differential, when exchange valuations are set to underpin the new currency.   In demonstration of the collusion between Bush and Obama, Obama has agreed to this “fee” for the Bush family.  Yet Obama, nor any one person in the Administration, is willing to provide a justifiable and legal position for this “fee”.

Will Obama finally realize he is being cut loose and that Senior has no more use for him?  Does he realize that he is expendable and will take the major part of the fall?  Can Obama be so blind or is Valarie Jarret not serving the interests of the President and thereby the interests of the American people?   Senior has allowed him to steal in excess of 11 Billion dollars in fraudulent funds.  Will Obama wake up and realize that Senior will never allow him to use these funds?  THE ONLY CHOICE FOR OBAMA IS TO USE HIS EXECUTIVE POWERS AND RELEASE ALL THE WORLD GLOBAL SETTLEMENTS IMMEDIATELY!   He still has the power to do what is right, but will his moral compass continue to be self edifying?  Obama alone will take the final punishment and be the end of his own demise.

All this and so much more has and will continue to be unveiled.  Pay what is lawfully owed and get Americans back to work.  Let real Patriots get Projects started.  Investigate and start the political and banking clean-up NOW!

What happens in the next few days may be the most important events in the history of mankind.

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As U.K. Releases UFO Files, Former UFO Project Chief Apologizes For ‘Spin And Dirty Tricks’ (Exclusive)

Posted by Admin on September 30, 2011

http://battleofearth.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/as-u-k-releases-ufo-files-former-ufo-project-chief-apologizes-for-spin-and-dirty-tricks-exclusive/

Huffington Post, August 17, 2011
Posted here: Sunday, August 21, 2011 @ 7:45 Am

This image from 2004 was taken of the town hall in Retford, Nottinghamshire. When the image was developed, it revealed what appears to be a flying saucer in the sky (right side of image). A senior government image analyst ruled there was insufficient information to determine what the object was.

As the British National Archives continues to releaseUFO-related documents, the former Ministry of Defense (MoD) UFO Project chief is openly admitting to being part of what he claims was a U.K. policy of ridiculing UFO reports and the people who reported them.

The U.K. made public 34 previously-classified files, totaling about 9,000 pages of documents covering the years 1985 to 2007. For three of those years, 1991 to 1994, Nick Pope was in charge of the official MoD office.

“What’s abundantly clear from these files is that, while in public we were desperately pushing the line that this was of no defense interest,” Pope told The Huffington Post. “We couldn’t say ‘There’s something in our air space; pilots see them; they’re tracked on radar; sometimes we scramble jets to chase these things, but we can’t catch them.’ This would be an admission that we’d lost control of our own air space, and such a position would be untenable.”

“Every time we got a report from a pilot, we were checking the radar tapes. So it was an interesting sleight of hand. We were telling the public we’re not interested, this is all nonsense, but in reality, we were desperately chasing our tails and following this up in great detail,” he added.

One file reveals how officials were afraid to be embarrassed if the public learned that UFO research was hindered by a lack of funds and higher priorities.

Another case, from 2007, took place in the vicinity of the Channel Islands and involved a small commercial aircraft.

“The pilot and several of his passengers saw a UFO, which they said was essentially a mile long,” Pope recounted. “And several other pilots saw it, but said, ‘We’re not going to report this.’ And here’s the great little get-out-of-jail-free-card for the MoD: Just by a matter of maybe a few hundred meters, it turned out that this was in French air space, so MoD was given this little get out to say, ‘Well, it happened in French air space, so it’s not an issue for us.’ Clearly, that was an absolutely outrageous abrogation of responsibility.”

A file from 1993 (while Pope was chief of the UFO Project) describes how European Union funds had been wasted on a report that included a theory that aliens had established a base in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

It turns out that Pope may have been directly involved with this case.

“I’m a little bit apologetic about this because obviously, when I was in MoD, I had to play this game myself. To really achieve our policy of downplaying the UFO phenomenon, we would use a combination of ‘spin and dirty tricks.’

“We used terms like UFO buffs and UFO spotters — terms that mean these people are nut jobs. In other words, we were implying that this is just a very somewhat quaint hobby that people have as opposed to a serious research interest.”

But Pope said the ridicule policy went much further than that.

“Another trick would be deliberately using phrases like ‘little green men.’ We were trying to do two things: either to kill any media story on the subject, or if a media story ran, insure that it ran in such a way that it would make the subject seem ridiculous and that it would make people who were interested in this seem ridiculous.”

Pope further admits that he may have been the one who drafted actual MoD statements that contributed to the ridicule policy.

“If it was my words, then I apologize, I’m very sorry for that. I believe in open government and freedom of information. I believe that the UFO phenomenon does raise important defense, national security and air safety issues, and if I helped kill any initiative on that, I’m deeply sorry.”

Some U.K. cases were apparently easier than others in trying to make them seem non-credible. Like the file that describes UFOs reported at the June 2003 Glastonbury Music Festival.

“It was very easy to find an incident where something is seen at an event like a rock concert,” Pope noted. “You don’t even need to say a thing without the public or media perception being that drugs and alcohol might have played a part. It was all part of the way in which we spun the subject, to try and discredit it.”

Despite the thousands of pages of documents released — with one final batch of files yet to come, sometime early next year — Pope concedes there’s still no written evidence confirming alien visits to Earth.

“Not just yet — there’s no spaceship-in-a-hangar smoking gun. However, there are plenty of sightings that I think show that we’re dealing with more than just aircraft lights and weather balloons.”

The latest 34 U.K. UFO files can be downloaded free of charge for the next month at the National Archives website.

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The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism

Posted by Admin on July 10, 2011

http://www.truth-out.org/ideological-crisis-western-capitalism/1310127895

 

(Photo: emperley3)

Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology – the belief in free and unfettered markets – brought the world to the brink of ruin. Even in its hey-day, from the early 1980’s until 2007, American-style deregulated capitalism brought greater material well-being only to the very richest in the richest country of the world. Indeed, over the course of this ideology’s 30-year ascendance, most Americans saw their incomes decline or stagnate year after year.

Moreover, output growth in the United States was not economically sustainable. With so much of US national income going to so few, growth could continue only through consumption financed by a mounting pile of debt.

I was among those who hoped that, somehow, the financial crisis would teach Americans (and others) a lesson about the need for greater equality, stronger regulation, and a better balance between the market and government. Alas, that has not been the case. On the contrary, a resurgence of right-wing economics, driven, as always, by ideology and special interests, once again threatens the global economy – or at least the economies of Europe and America, where these ideas continue to flourish.

In the US, this right-wing resurgence, whose adherents evidently seek to repeal the basic laws of math and economics, is threatening to force a default on the national debt. If Congress mandates expenditures that exceed revenues, there will be a deficit, and that deficit has to be financed. Rather than carefully balancing the benefits of each government expenditure program with the costs of raising taxes to finance those benefits, the right seeks to use a sledgehammer – not allowing the national debt to increase forces expenditures to be limited to taxes.

This leaves open the question of which expenditures get priority – and if expenditures to pay interest on the national debt do not, a default is inevitable. Moreover, to cut back expenditures now, in the midst of an ongoing crisis brought on by free-market ideology, would inevitably simply prolong the downturn.

A decade ago, in the midst of an economic boom, the US faced a surplus so large that it threatened to eliminate the national debt. Unaffordable tax cuts and wars, a major recession, and soaring health-care costs – fueled in part by the commitment of George W. Bush’s administration to giving drug companies free rein in setting prices, even with government money at stake – quickly transformed a huge surplus into record peacetime deficits.

The remedies to the US deficit follow immediately from this diagnosis: put America back to work by stimulating the economy; end the mindless wars; rein in military and drug costs; and raise taxes, at least on the very rich. But the right will have none of this, and instead is pushing for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, together with expenditure cuts in investments and social protection that put the future of the US economy in peril and that shred what remains of the social contract. Meanwhile, the US financial sector has been lobbying hard to free itself of regulations, so that it can return to its previous, disastrously carefree, ways.

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But matters are little better in Europe. As Greece and others face crises, the medicine du jour is simply timeworn austerity packages and privatization, which will merely leave the countries that embrace them poorer and more vulnerable. This medicine failed in East Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, and it will fail in Europe this time around, too. Indeed, it has already failed in Ireland, Latvia, and Greece.

There is an alternative: an economic-growth strategy supported by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Growth would restore confidence that Greece could repay its debts, causing interest rates to fall and leaving more fiscal room for further growth-enhancing investments. Growth itself increases tax revenues and reduces the need for social expenditures, such as unemployment benefits. And the confidence that this engenders leads to still further growth.

Regrettably, the financial markets and right-wing economists have gotten the problem exactly backwards: they believe that austerity produces confidence, and that confidence will produce growth. But austerity undermines growth, worsening the government’s fiscal position, or at least yielding less improvement than austerity’s advocates promise. On both counts, confidence is undermined, and a downward spiral is set in motion.

Do we really need another costly experiment with ideas that have failed repeatedly? We shouldn’t, but increasingly it appears that we will have to endure another one nonetheless. A failure of either Europe or the US to return to robust growth would be bad for the global economy. A failure in both would be disastrous – even if the major emerging-market countries have attained self-sustaining growth. Unfortunately, unless wiser heads prevail, that is the way the world is heading.

For a podcast of this commentary in English, please use thislink.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.

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JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University, a Nobel laureate in Economics, and the author of Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy.

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Syrian troops move on restive town, West alarmed

Posted by Admin on June 7, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110607/wl_nm/us_syria

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis 1 hr 4 mins ago

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops with tanks moved on Tuesday toward a town where the government has vowed to quell a revolt after accusing gunmen of killing scores of security men.

Though accounts of days of bloodshed in Jisr al-Shughour ranged from an official version of gunmen ambushing troops to residents’ reports of an army mutiny, the risk seemed to be growing of even greater violence than that which has left over 1,100 Syrians dead since popular unrest began three months ago.

France took a lead in proposing U.N. moves against President Bashar al-Assad. But Russia, citing NATO’s inconclusive war on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, said it would veto intervention against Syria in the United Nations Security Council.

Despite enthusiasm for pro-democracy movements that have unseated dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, few Western leaders — let alone their autocratic Arab partners — have shown a will to intervene in Syria, an Iranian ally whose volatile mix of ethnic and religious groups sits astride a web of regional conflicts.

Assad’s family and supporters from the minority Alawite sect have dominated Syria since his late father seized power 41 years ago. He has responded with promises of reform, and a security crackdown on protesters in towns across the country.

The government has expelled independent journalists, making it hard to determine clearly what is happening in the country.

DIPLOMATIC MOVES

Tuesday, local residents said a column of armoured vehicles and troops, apparently heading for Jisr al-Shughour, had reached the town of Ariha, 25 km (16 miles) to the east, a day after Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said army units would carry out their “national duty to restore security.”

Western powers have raised the alarm. British Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament: “President Assad is losing legitimacy and should reform or step aside.” He said European governments were looking at further sanctions.

For France, Britain’s ally in the air war against Gaddafi and the former colonial power in Syria, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris was ready to ask the U.N. Security Council to condemn Syria: “The process of reform is dead and we think that Bashar has lost his legitimacy to rule the country.

“We’ll see what the Russians will do. If they veto, they will take their responsibility. Maybe if they see that there are 11 votes in favor of the resolution, they will change their mind. So there is a risk to take and we’re ready to take it.”

The United States has also said Assad should reform or go.

But in Brussels, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said: “The prospect of a U.N. Security Council resolution that’s along the same lines as Resolution 1973 on Libya will not be supported by my country … The use of force, as Libya shows, does not provide answers.”

Veto-holding Russia abstained on the Libya vote, allowing NATO to begin a bombing campaign that Western powers say saved civilians in rebel-held Benghazi from an onslaught by Gaddafi’s forces, but which has failed to dislodge the Libyan leader.

Just what has happened in Jisr al-Shughour, which lies in the northeast close to the Turkish border, remains unclear.

Official accounts say gunmen roaming the town and setting fire to government buildings had inflicted an extremely high death toll of over 120 on security men, said to have been killed in an ambush and attacks on a post office and a security post.

State television aired footage of at least five dead soldiers and police who it said were victims of an “ambush by armed gangs.” Voices are heard in the video cursing the dead men and describing how they were killed.

“I stabbed them, I stabbed the three of them,” said a man who was not seen on camera.

But residents and anti-government activists disputed the government account, saying the casualties followed a mutiny among forces sent to quell civilian protests. Assad loyalists and mutineers then fought each other around the town, they said.

Other footage posted on You Tube showed bodies of at least three soldiers and voices off camera say they were killed by fellow-security force members for refusing to fire on civilians.

PAST VIOLENCE

Fears of a sharp increase in the level of violence are informed by memories of 1982, when the forces of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, crushed an armed Islamist revolt in the city of Hama, killing many thousands and razing the town’s old center.

Jisr al-Shughour residents said violence began when scores of civilians were killed in a crackdown on the hill town on a road between Syria’s second city Aleppo and the port of Latakia.

They said security men had raided homes and made scores of arbitrary arrests after the largest pro-democracy protest yet held in the town, Friday. At least five people were killed.

The killings enraged the townsfolk and prompted defections from security police and troops belonging, like most people in Jisr al-Shugour, to Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, they said. Assad and many of his army and security commanders are Alawites.

Neighboring countries, including Israel and Turkey, worry about any chaos that could set off sectarian conflict and the emergence of violent, radical Islamists, as happened in nearby Iraq after the U.S. invasion of 2003.

“Military intelligence agents and security police stormed the town Monday. Snipers began firing at people who dared go out in the streets. Bodies lay in the streets. Around 100 police and soldiers defected and stood with us,” one resident said by phone, adding that six military intelligence agents were killed.

He said pro-Assad Alawite gunmen from neighboring villages, known as ‘shabbiha’, had been seen around Jisr al-Shughour.

Many analysts with close contacts on the ground inside Syria were reluctant to be identified when interviewed. One analyst based in Damascus said violence by security forces, who are also detaining and torturing people, was creating a violent backlash.

“Growing numbers of protesters have been pushed to take up arms, which are also being smuggled into the country at an alarming pace,” said the analyst, who works for an international organization.

The Syrian human rights organization Sawasiah said the 120 people killed were mostly civilians, or troops apparently shot dead by security agents who refused to join in the crackdown.

“The authorities are repeating their pattern of killings. They choose the town or city where demonstrations have been most vibrant and punish the population,” a Sawasiah spokesman said.

ARMY MUTINY?

Wissam Tarif, director of human rights organization Insan, said the fighting pitted rival army units against each other.

“An army unit or division arrived in the area in the morning. It seems then another unit arrived to contain the mutiny,” Tarif told Reuters. He said he had spoken to several people in Jisr al-Shughour who confirmed that account.

A Western diplomat in the region said he took the mutiny reports seriously, although he had no first-hand knowledge of events in Jisr al-Shughour. “It is plausible that the violent response to the protesters is causing widening cracks on sectarian lines within the army,” he said.

Rights groups say security forces, troops and gunmen loyal to Assad have killed 1,100 civilians since protests erupted in the southern city of Deraa on March 18. Unrest later spread to the Mediterranean coast and eastern Kurdish regions.

Assad has made some reformist gestures, such as issuing a general amnesty to political prisoners and launching a national dialogue, but protesters and opposition figures have dismissed such measures, saying thousands of political prisoners remain in jail and there can be no dialogue while repression continues.

Another resident, a history teacher who gave his name as Ahmed, said clashes had begun Saturday when snipers on the roof of the post office fired at a funeral for six protesters killed the day before. Mourners then set the post office ablaze.

State television said eight members of the security forces were killed when gunmen attacked the post office building.

It said at least 20 more were killed in an ambush by “armed gangs,” and 82 in an attack on a security post. It said the overall death toll for security forces topped 120.

(Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny and Yara Bayoumy in Beirut; editing by Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald)

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WHO: Time running out to solve E. coli outbreak

Posted by Admin on June 7, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110607/ap_on_he_me/eu_contaminated_vegetables_investigation;_ylt=AmPpLvgL3mF190QkHr7fysNvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTNkdmRvMjJiBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNjA3L2V1X2NvbnRhbWluYXRlZF92ZWdldGFibGVzX2ludmVzdGlnYXRpb24EcG9zAzYEc2VjA3luX2FydGljbGVfc3VtbWFyeV9saXN0BHNsawN3aG90aW1lcnVubmk-

by MARIA CHENG, Associated Press 32 mins ago

LONDON – An expert at the World Health Organization says time is running out for German investigators to find the source of the world’s deadliest E. coli outbreak, which has spread fear across Europe and cost farmers millions in exports.

German officials are still seeking the cause of the outbreak weeks after it began May 2. They wrongly accused Spanish cucumbers of being the culprit last week but had to retract when the cucumbers had a different strain of E. coli. On Sunday, they blamed German sprouts, only to backtrack a day later when initial tests were negative. The sprouts are still being tested.

So far, the outbreak has killed 24 people, infected over 2,400 and left hundreds hospitalized with a serious complication that can lead to kidney failure.

“If we don’t know the likely culprit in a week’s time, we may never know the cause,” Dr. Guenael Rodier, the director of communicable diseases at WHO, told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.

He said the contaminated vegetables have likely disappeared from the market and it would be difficult for German investigators to link patients to contaminated produce weeks after they first became infected.

“Right now, (Germans) are interviewing patients about foods they ate one to two weeks ago,” he said. “It’s very hard to know how accurate that information is.”

Without more details about what exact foods link sick patients, Rodier said it would be very difficult to narrow down the cause.

“The final proof will come from the lab,” he said. “But first you need the epidemiological link to the suspected food.”

Other experts issued harsher criticism of the German investigation.

“If you gave us 200 cases and 5 days, we should be able to solve this outbreak,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, whose team has contained numerous food-borne outbreaks in the United States.

Osterholm described the German effort as “erratic” and “a disaster” and said officials should have done more detailed patient interviews as soon as the epidemic began.

The medical director of Berlin’s Charite Hospitals, Ulrich Frei, said it took the national disease control center weeks to send his hospital questionnaires for E. coli patients to fill out about their eating habits.

Osterholm said the Germans should have been able to trace cases of illness to infected produce by now and that tests on current produce won’t be helpful.

“It’s like looking at camera footage of a traffic intersection today to see what caused an accident three weeks ago,” he said.

“This is an outbreak response that is not being led by the data,” he added. “Solving an outbreak like this is difficult, but it’s not an impossible task.”

On Tuesday, the EU health chief warned Germany against issuing any more premature — and inaccurate — conclusions about the source of contaminated food. The comments by EU health chief John Dalli came only a day after he had defended the German investigators, saying they were under extreme pressure.

Dalli told the EU parliament in Strasbourg that information must be scientifically sound and foolproof before it becomes public.

“It is crucial that national authorities do not rush to give information on the source of infection that is not proven by bacteriological analysis, as this spreads unjustified fears (among) the population all over Europe and creates problems for our food producers,” Dalli said.

In outbreaks, it is not unusual for certain foods to be suspected at first, then ruled out. In 2008 in the U.S., raw tomatoes were initially implicated in a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Consumers shunned tomatoes, costing the tomato industry millions. Weeks later, jalapeno peppers grown in Mexico were found to be the cause.

In the current E. coli outbreak, tests are continuing on sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany, but have so far come back negative. Rodier said that doesn’t necessarily exonerate the vegetables.

“Just because tests are negative doesn’t mean you can rule them out,” he said. “The bacteria could have been in just one batch of contaminated food and by the time you collect specimens from the samples that are left, it could be gone.”

He said food-borne outbreaks are difficult to investigate because they involve multiple industries, government departments and in Germany’s case, several layers of bureaucracy to report numbers.

In Luxembourg, a heated battle erupted Tuesday over compensation payments to European farmers blindsided by plunging demand during the deadly E. coli outbreak, with Spain and France scoffing at the amount proposed by the EU farm chief.

Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos suggested the European Union give farmers euro150 million ($219 million) in compensation — about 30 percent of the value of vegetables that cannot be sold.

But Spain and France, traditional vegetable producers, insisted that is not even close to enough, aiming for aid to farmers between 90 percent and 100 percent of the market price for their produce.

The losses to EU farmers have been staggering — in the neighborhood of euro417 million ($611 million) a week.

Germany’s national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, on Tuesday raised the number deaths to 24 — 23 in Germany and one in Sweden — and the number of infections in Germany to 2,325. The number of victims with a rare complication that may lead to kidney failure rose by 12 to 642.

Ten other European countries and the United States have another 100 cases.

The institute said the number of new cases had declined — a sign the epidemic might have reached its peak — but added it was not certain whether that decrease will continue.

In a major difference from other E. coli outbreaks, the crisis is mostly affecting women. Most of the victims in Germany are women between 20 and 50 years old, highly educated and very fit, investigators said.

“What do they have in common? They are thin, clean pictures of health,” said Friedrich Hagenmueller of the Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg, Germany.

___

David Rising in Hamburg, Raf Casert in Brussels and Juergen Baetz in Berlin contributed to this report.

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Protests continue in Spain as ruling Socialist Party suffers electoral defeat

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

by Paul Mitchell

Global Research, May 23, 2011

Tens of thousands of protestors continued to occupy Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and other centres in numerous cities and towns across Spain through the weekend, despite a government ban. Spain held regional and municipal elections on Sunday, which returned a big defeat for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of José Luis Zapatero.

The main driving force behind the PSOE’s defeat was the massive austerity measures imposed by the government, which have compounded the economic crisis. Early results showed the PSOE won less than 28 percent of the vote.

The biggest beneficiary of the collapse in support for the PSOE was its main rival, the right-wing Popular Party, which won 38 percent. The PP also supports the attack on the working class. The PSOE also lost control of the country’s second largest city, Barcelona, for the first time in more than 30 years, with a coalition including Catalan nationalists taking power.

“The results show that the Socialist Party has clearly lost today’s elections”, Zapatero said on Sunday. He blamed the economic crisis for the defeat, as if the policies of the PSOE government had nothing to do with the disastrous conditions facing Spanish workers and youth.

The elections were overshadowed by the protests, known as the M-15 movement, the day they were first called by social network and Internet groups. They have drawn a big response from younger workers, students, the unemployed and broad sectors of Spanish working people. Organisers have indicated that they will continue the protests past the election.

The protests were banned by various local electoral boards and the central election commission ahead of yesterday’s elections. Spanish law prohibits party political activity on election day and the preceding 24 hours, which are designated a “day of reflection”. This does not cover the M-15 protests, but has been the pretext for the ban. So far, the PSOE government has refrained from sending in police to enforce the ban, although there have been reports of police intimidation and violence.

The opposition right-wing Popular Party (PP) is demanding tough action to break up the “illegal” encampments that protesters have said will continue past the elections.

The majority of the demonstrators, dubbed “los indignados” [the angry ones], have been young people who have been hit especially hard hit by the crisis. Almost half of 18 to 25-year-old Spaniards are out of work, more than double the European Union average. Most of those that are able to find work end up on temporary contracts.

However, increasing numbers of families and older workers have joined the occupations in Madrid and other cities including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Bilbao, in protest over unemployment, government austerity measures and a political system that serves only the banks and big business.

Those participating in the protests have said that they are hostile to all of Spain’s major political parties. Over the weekend, they urged people not to vote for either of Spain’s two main parties, the PSOE or the PP.

Puerta del Sol serves as one large assembly, with many discussions taking place over what to do after the elections. Some have called for the occupation to become permanent, and that the movement should be broadened by creating popular assemblies throughout Madrid. Several committees have been set up looking after food supplies, legal matters and communications.

The Puerta del Sol assembly has adopted a list of 16 demands, including the democratisation of the election process; the proclamation of basic rights, such as housing, health care and education; greater government control over banks and businesses; reduced military spending; and the renationalisation of privatised public enterprises.

One protester, Alejandro, told the BBC, “I hope this changes our situation. We have a right to regular jobs, a future and a decent salary, to more opportunities in life, the chance to get a house, to pay for that house without being enslaved, but especially a better quality of life”.

Carlos Gomez said, “We have no option but to vote for the two biggest parties in Spain, who are more or less the same. They are unable to solve any problem; it is just a nest of corruption. We are tired. In short, we want a working democracy. We want a change”.

Milena Almagro García added, “These protests are not only about unemployment. They are about the unfair political situation that exists in Spain. We protest against the political situation that allows more than 100 people who are accused of corruption across the country to stand in the next elections.

The demonstrations and the election results expose the vast gulf between the interests and sentiments of the majority of the population and the policies dictated by the financial elite and supported by all the official parties―in Spain and throughout Europe.

While the organising forces behind the protests have claimed to be apolitical, they do have a political perspective, namely that mass demonstrations by themselves can force the political system to change. This is false. As the European debt crisis enters a new stage, the ruling class is determined to enforce even more brutal austerity measures, which will increasingly require the abrogation of the most basic democratic rights.

The PSOE government has already imposed one of the most brutal programmes in all of Europe, introducing a €15 billion package of spending cuts that includes 5 to 15 percent cuts in civil servants’ salaries, attacks on pensions and reformed labour protection laws.

As part of the campaign to force deeper cuts, financial markets have sent Spanish interests rates to their highest level since January. Regional governments, which are responsible for one third of public spending, have carried out cuts in healthcare, education and other essential public services. There are indications that this week newly-elected regional governments will begin to reveal debts much higher than previously published, which will only escalate the pressure for more austerity.

To combat this drive, the working class needs its own organisations of struggle. Noticeably absent in the protests over the past week have been the official trade unions, which have worked closely with the PSOE in enforcing cuts and demobilising the mass resistance that erupted last year. These unions represent barely 14 percent of the workforce according to data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

To carry forward a struggle, workers must build independent rank-and-file committees to unite all sections of the working class with unemployed youth.

Above all, a new political party must be built–on the basis of an uncompromising revolutionary and internationalist perspective. It is not only a question of protest, but of building a new leadership to fight for the socialist transformation of the economy in Spain, throughout Europe and internationally.

Global Research Articles by Paul Mitchell

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Regime Change at the IMF: The Frame-Up of Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, May 19, 2011

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The arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has all the appearances of a frame-up ordered by powerful members of the financial establishment, in liaison with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, whose presidency has served the interests of the US at the expense of those of France and the European Union. While there is for the moment no proof of a plot, the unusual circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment require careful examination.

Immediately following Strauss Kahn’s arrest, pressures were exerted by Washington to speed up his replacement as Managing Director of the IMF preferably by a non-European, an American or a handpicked candidate from an “emerging market economy” or a developing country.

Since the founding of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1945, the World Bank has been headed by an American whereas the IMF has been under the helm of a (Western) European.

Strauss-Kahn is a member of elite groups who meet behind closed doors. He belongs to the Bildeberger. Categorized as one of the world’s most influential persons, he is an academic and politician rather than a banker. In contrast to his predecessors at the IMF, he has no direct affiliation to a banking or financial institution.

But at the same time he is the fall guy. His “gaffe” was to confront the Washington-Wall Street Consensus and push for reforms within the IMF, which challenged America’s overriding role within the organization.

The demise of Strauss-Kahn potentially serves to strengthen the hegemony of the US and its control over the IMF at the expense of what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called “Old Europe”.

Blocking Strauss-Kahn, the Presidential Candidate

In recent years, a major shift has occurred in Europe’s political landscape. Pro-American governments have been elected in both France and Germany. Social Democracy has been weakened.

Franco-American relations have been redefined, with Washington playing a significant role in grooming a new generation of European politicians.

The presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy has, in many regards, become a de facto US “client regime”, broadly supportive of US corporate interests in the EU and closely aligned with US foreign policy.

There are two overlapping and interrelated issues in the DSK frame-up hypothesis.

The first pertains to regime change at the IMF, the second to Strauss-Kahn as a candidate in France’s forthcoming presidential elections.

Both these processes are tied into the clash between competing US and European economic interests including control over the euro-currency system.

Strauss-Khan as a favorite of the Socialist Party, would have won the presidential elections leading to the demise of “Our Man in Paris” Nicolas Sarkozy. As documented by Thierry Meyssan, the CIA played a central undercover role in destabilizing the Gaullist party and supporting the election of Nicolas Sarkozy (See Operation Sarkozy: How the CIA placed one of its agents at the presidency of the French Republic, Reseau Voltaire, September 4, 2008)

A Strauss-Kahn presidency and a “Socialist” government would have been a serious setback for Washington, contributing to a major shift in Franco-American relations.

It would have contributed to weakening Washington’s role on the European political chessboard, leading to a shift in the balance of power between America and “Old Europe” (namely the Franco-German alliance).

It would have had repercussions on the internal structure of the Atlantic Alliance and the hegemonic role of the US within NATO.

The Eurozone monetary system as well as Wall Street’s resolve to exert a decisive influence on the European monetary architecture are also at stake.

The Frame-Up?

Fifty-seven percent of France’s population, according to a May 17 poll, believe that Strauss-Kahn was framed, victim of a set-up. He was detained on alleged sexual assault and rape charges based on scanty evidence. He was detained based on a complaint filed by the Sofitel hotel where he was staying, on behalf of the alleged victim, an unnamed hotel chamber-maid:

The 32-year-old maid told authorities that she entered his suite early Saturday afternoon and he attacked her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she thought was empty.

According to an account the woman provided to police, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7565485.html#ixzz1MfFWFlnY

Wednesday CFR.org Roundup: U.S. pressures Strauss-Kahn to resign

Challenging the Washington Consensus

What is at stake in the immediate wake of Strauss Kahn’s demise is “regime change” at the IMF.

The Obama administration has demanded his replacement by a more compliant individual. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank is pushing for the replacement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, “suggesting he can no longer perform his duties” as IMF Managing director.

“Geithner called for greater formal recognition by the IMF board that John Lipsky, the fund’s second-in-command, will continue serving as temporary managing director for an interim period. Although Strauss-Kahn has yet to resign, sources say the IMF is in touch with his legal counsel to discuss his future at the organization.”

What lies behind the frame-up scenario? What powerful interests are involved? Geithner had a close personal relationship with Strauss-Kahn.

On the floor of the US Senate (May 18), Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, called for the resignation of DSK while calling upon the IMF’s deputy managing director John Lipsky to “assume full responsibility of the IMF” as interim managing director. The process of “permanent replacement should “commence at once,” he said. John Lipsky is a well connected Wall Street banker, a former Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Investment Bank.

While the IMF is in theory an intergovernmental organization, it has historically been controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. The IMF’s “bitter economic medicine”, the so-called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), imposed on countless developing countries, essentially serves the interests of creditor banks and multinational corporations.

The IMF is not the main architect of these devastating economic reforms which have served to impoverish millions of people, while creating a “favorable environment” for foreign investors in Third World  low wage economies.

The creditor banks call the shots. The IMF is a bureaucratic entity. Its role is to implement and enforce those economic policies on behalf of dominant economic interests.

Strauss Kahn’s proposed reforms while providing a “human face” to the IMF did not constitute a shift in direction. They were formulated within the realm of neoliberalism. They modified but they did not undermine the central role of IMF “economic medicine”. The socially devastating impacts of IMF “shock treatment” under Strauss-Kahn’s leadership have largely prevailed.

Dominique Strauss Kahn arrived at the helm of the IMF in November 2007, less than a year prior to September-October 2008 financial meltdown on Wall Street. The structural adjustment program (SAP) was not modified. Under DSK, IMF “shock treatment” which historically had been limited to developing countries was  imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Under the helm of DSK as Managing Director, the IMF demanded that developing countries remove food and fuel subsidies at a time of rising commodity prices on the New York and Chicago Mercantile exchanges.

The hikes in food and fuel prices, which preceded the September-October 2008 Wall Street crash, were in large part the result of market manipulation. Grain prices were boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations. Instead of taming the speculators and containing the rise in food and fuel prices, the IMF’s role was to ensure that the governments of indebted developing countries would not in any way interfere in the “free market”, by preventing these prices from going up.

These hikes in food prices, which are the result of outright manipulation (rather than scarcity) have served to impoverish people Worldwide. The surge in food prices constitutes a new phase of the process of global impoverishment.

DSK was complicit in this process of market manipulation. The removal of food and fuel subsidies in Tunisia and Egypt had been demanded by the IMF. Food and fuel prices skyrocketed, people were impoverished, paving the way towards the January 2011 social protest movement:

Fiscal prudence remains an overarching priority for the [Tunisian] authorities, who also see the need for maintaining a supportive fiscal policy in 2010 in the current international environment. Efforts in the last decade to bring down the public debt ratio significantly should not be jeopardized by a too lax fiscal policy. The authorities are committed to firmly control current expenditure, including subsidies,… (IMF Tunisia: 2010 Article IV Consultation – Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia)

“[The IMF] encouraged the [Egyptian] authorities to press further with food and fuel subsidy reforms, and welcomed their intention to improve the efficiency and targeting of food subsidy programs. [meaning the selective elimination of food subsidies].

“Consideration should be given to introducing automatic adjustment mechanisms for domestic fuel prices to minimize distortions [meaning dramatic increases in fuel prices without State interference], while strengthening cash-based social programs to protect vulnerable groups. (IMF Executive Board Concludes 2008 Article IV Consultation with the Arab Republic of Egypt Public Information Notice, PIN  No. 09/04, January 15, 2009)

Under the helm of DSK, the IMF also imposed sweeping austerity measures on Egypt in 2008, while supporting Hosni Mubarak’s “efforts to broaden the privatization program”.(Ibid)

The Frank G. Wisner Nicolas Sarkozy Connection 

Strauss-Kahn was refused bail by Judge Melissa Jackson, an appointee and protégé of Michael Bloomberg, who in addition to his role as Mayor is a powerful figure on Wall Street.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged (using scanty evidence) Strauss-Kahn “with seven crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment”.

Who is Cyrus Vance Jr.?

He is the son of the late Cyrus Vance who served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration.

But there is more than meets the eye. Nicolas Sarkozy’s step father Frank G. Wisner II, a prominent CIA official who married his step mother Christine de Ganay in 1977 served as Deputy Executive Secretary of State under the helm of Cyrus Vance Senior, father of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior.

Is it relevant?

The Vance and Wisner families had close personal ties. In turn Nicolas Sarkozy had close family ties with his step father Frank Wisner (and his half brothers and sisters in the US and one member of the Wisner family was involved in Sarkozy’s election campaign).

It is also worth noting that Frank G. Wisner II was the son of one of America’s most notorious spies, the late Frank Gardiner Wisner (1909- 1965), the mastermind behind the CIA sponsored coup which toppled the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Wisner Jr. is also trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.

While these various personal ties do not prove that Strauss-Kahn was the object of a set-up, the matter of Sarkozy’s ties to the CIA via his step father, not to mention the ties of Frank G. Wisner II to the Cyrus Vance family are certainly worth investigating. Frank G, Wisner also played a key role as Obama’s special intelligence envoy to Egypt at the height of the January 2011 protest movement.

Did the CIA play a role?

Was Strauss-Kahn framed by people in his immediate political entourage including President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner?

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior, son of the late Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State in the Carter administration

Sarkozy’s Step Father Frank G Wisner II, Deputy Executive Secretary of State (1976-79)
under Cyrus Vance Senior during the Carter administration

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, centre, stands next to his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged attack on a maid at his penthouse suite of a hotel in New York. Photo: AP

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, next to his lawyer 

Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court (AP)

File:Strauss-Kahn, Geithner (IMF 2009).jpg

DSK and Timothy Geithner

DSK and Timothy Geithner


Fair Trial?

Innocent before proven guilty? The US media has already cast its verdict. Will the court procedures be manipulated?

One would expect that Strauss-Kahn be granted a fair trial, namely the same treatment as that granted to thousands of arrests on alleged sexual aggression charges in New York City.

How many similar or comparable alleged sexual aggressions occur on a monthly basis in New York City?  What is the underlying pattern? How many of these are reported to the police?  How many are the object of police follow-up once a complaint has been filed?

What is the percent of complaints submitted to police which are the object of police arrest? How many of these arrests lead to a judicial procedure? What are the delays in court procedures?

How many of these arrests lead to release without a judicial procedure?

How many of the cases submitted to a judicial procedure are dismissed by the presiding judge?

How many of the cases which are not dismissed are refused bail outright by the presiding judge? What is the basis for refusing bail?

How many are granted bail?  What is the average amount of bail?

How many are imprisoned without bail based on scanty and incomplete evidence?

How many of those who are refused bail are sent to an infamous maximum security prison on Rikers Island on the orders of  Michael Bloomberg.

Diplomatic Immunity

Press reports state that full diplomatic immunity does not apply to officials of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, namely that the US did not ratify the protocol.

“U.N. convention on privileges and immunities for international agencies that most countries have ratified. It gives the heads of U.N. agencies broad immunity in the countries where they are based. But the U.S. government never became a party to that treaty. Employees of international agencies are covered by a U.S. statute that gives only limited immunity.”

The relevant question is how has this limited immunity provision been applied in practice?  Namely how many people with limited immunity (UN officials, officials of the Bretton Woods institutions) have been arrested and sent to a high security prison?

Has Strauss Kahn been given the same treatment as those arrested under the provisions of “limited immunity”?

Does the Strauss Kahn arrest fit the pattern? Or is Strauss Kahn being treated in a way which does not correspond to the normal (average) pattern of police and judicial procedures applied in the numerous cases of persons arrested on alleged sexual assault charges?

Without a frame-up instrumented by very powerful people acting in the background, the head of the IMF would have been treated in an entirely different way. The mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Timothy Geithner would have come to his rescue.  The matter would have been hushed up with a view to protecting the reputation of a powerful public figure. But that did not happen.


Rikers Island Prison where DSK was imprisoned.

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Yemen thrust into deeper uncertainty after Gulf deal falls through

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110513/wl_csm/383902;_ylt=AgmCcA6REr_zMOzYxWmC7SZvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTJkYzI3dTZlBGFzc2V0A2NzbS8yMDExMDUxMy8zODM5MDIEcG9zAzMxBHNlYwN5bl9hcnRpY2xlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDeWVtZW50aHJ1c3Rp

Sanaa, Yemen – When demonstrations began in February aimed at toppling long-ruling President Ali Abdullah Saleh, they were of a humble size, filling only the area immediately outside the entrance to Sanaa University, an area now known as Change Square.

Now as the movement enters its fourth month, the sit-in has swollen to a veritable tent city that stretches nearly two miles, shutting off traffic in a large portion of the nation’s capital and resembling a shantytown. Many tents there have a permanent look, wired for electricity, satellite television and, in many cases, wireless Internet service.

Still, the demonstrators seem no closer to achieving their goal. A supposed agreement that would have had Saleh resign, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, appears to have fallen through, with neither the demonstrators nor Saleh willing to support it.

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“How can anything headed by the GCC lead to democracy,” commented Abdulrahman Abdullah al Kamadi, a demonstrator who has been camped out in the square for over two months.

“The emirates and kingdoms of the GCC are the enemy of any revolution. They cannot even admit what is going on here. This is not a political crisis: this is a revolution.”

‘We have no fear of violence’

On Wednesday, gunfire broke out here as army troops loyal to Saleh moved against the demonstrators in what appeared to be an effort to push them back from the huge swath of territory they’ve claimed over the weeks. More than a dozen protesters were killed in the four-hour firefight, but the pro-Saleh forces gained no ground, and protesters were putting up new structures Thursday.

“We have no fear of violence,” said Bassem Moghram, one the leaders of the young people who make up the heart of the protest movement. “Freedom is not cheap.”

Increasing hardship, uncertainty

Where the protest movement will go is uncertain. Similar tent cities have sprung up in other Yemeni cities, and the political turmoil is showing itself in growing hardship for the average Yemeni.

Gas rationing, water shortages and power outages have become commonplace in many parts of the country; and the cost of food has risen, as the value of the Yemeni rial has plunged.

RELATED: As Yemenis run low on gas and food, revolution could take off

Yemen’s oil industry has been particularly affected; with production dropping nearly 50 percent, the result of damaged pipelines and the temporary closure of some oil facilities.

Amir al Aydarous, the country’s oil minister, recently told the state-run news agency that continued unrest could lead to “catastrophe beyond imagination.” Yemen’s modest oil reserves provide nearly 70 percent of the government’s revenues.

A largely leaderless movement

The movement itself remains largely leaderless. While some of the demonstrators are affiliated with opposition parties, most continue to fiercely assert their independence. Images of slain former President Ibrahim al Hamdi, who ran the country from 1974 to 1977, far outnumber images of current opposition leaders.

“We will talk about parties when we are talking about elections,” said Ibrahim Yayha al Kulani. “Until then, we will remain one united front, not differentiating between party, region or sect.”

Various self-described “revolutionary youth committees” have sprouted in different areas of Yemen. Notably, the past weeks have seen growing cooperation between groups in different cities, culminating in the formation this week of a single, nationwide “Media Council of the Revolution.” Another group, the Supreme Coordination Council of the Revolution, has called for a series of marches, strikes and camp expansions, culminating in a march Tuesday on the Presidential Palace.

US role

For its part, the US, for which Saleh has been a key ally in the war on terror, and the European Union remain supportive of the GCC plan, which would grant Saleh immunity from prosecution for the hundreds of deaths suffered in the crackdown on the protests. The young people who’ve remained camped out in protest reject that idea in particular, and many Yemen observers believe the GCC plan is doomed.

“It is a mistake for the United States to continue to let the GCC take the lead on this, both for the future of Yemen as well as for U.S. security interests,” commented Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University. “The US must take the lead in constructively shaping a post-Saleh Yemen.”

Others say the US support for any plan makes it unworkable.

“This is not even just a GCC plan,” said Feris al Areeqi, a professor of engineering at Sanaa University. “This is a GCC-EU-USA plan. How can they intervene positively when they have supported Saleh?”

(Baron is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

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Basel III rules could spell potholes, literally

Posted by Admin on April 24, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Basel-III-rules-spell-reuters-1529902422.html

On Tuesday 19 April 2011, 9:40 PM

By Greg Roumeliotis, European Infrastructure Correspondent

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Rules designed to spare the world’s taxpayers from paying for a future financial crisis could also make it more difficult to build and replace infrastructure such as the roads they drive on.

The rules, known as Basel III, will weigh on the ability of banks to provide project finance loans on which cash-strapped governments and developers of power plants, pipelines and renewable energy such as wind farms rely to fund schemes.

“Banks have been the stalwart of privately financed projects. If long-term lending requires more capital to back it, it affects the enthusiasm of banks to provide it,” said Andrew Davison, senior vice president at credit rating agency Moody’s.

In Europe, this will hamper efforts to attract private funds into transport, energy and communication networks that are key to economic growth as well as providing jobs at a time when many European countries are struggling with unemployment.

Construction accounts for 7.1 percent of Europe`s total employment, according to the European Construction Industry Federation. The European Union (EU) says Europe’s infrastructure investment needs to 2020 could be up to 2 trillion euros.

Project finance loans are also big business for banks, having grown from a $110.8 billion global industry in 2000 to $208.1 billion in 2010, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters Project Finance International.

This rise, driven by the private sector’s increasing participation in the funding of infrastructure, is at risk under Basel III, which will make project finance loans scarcer and more expensive due to the way they are accounted for.

“There is an expectation that the volume of project finance loans will drop very significantly over the coming years under Basel III,” said Timothy Stone, chairman of the global infrastructure and projects group at accounting firm KPMG.

Under Basel III, a short-term liquidity buffer, known as the liquidity coverage ratio, will include liquid forms of debt such as government bonds and top-notch corporate paper, but not project finance loans, seen as among the most illiquid.

A second ratio, the net stable funding ratio, makes the provision of long-term debt such as project finance more expensive for banks by requiring them to match their liabilities with their assets in terms of funding.

While not all banks will abandon project finance as a result, their business will be severely affected, said Noburu Kato, EMEA head of structured finance at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

“I believe project finance by banks will continue because there is an increasing need for it, from governments that need to invest in infrastructure and companies that do not want to use their balance sheet. But costs will increase,” Kato said.

Although Basel III is to be implemented between 2013 and 2018, bankers say the impact on project finance will be felt before the rules kick in as banks compete to show investors they are well positioned for the new capital requirements.

“I would expect most of the impact of Basel III on project finance to be priced in by 2014,” said KPMG’s Stone.

In the European Union (EU), project finance accounts for slightly less than ten percent of total infrastructure finance, according to a 2010 European Investment Bank study. The European Commission is exploring initiatives such as backing project bonds to compensate for any drop in project finance loans.

Bonds made up only 9 percent of global project finance activity in 2010 according to Project Finance International. The market for project bonds suffered after the woes of monolines — companies that insure bonds — in the credit crisis of 2007.

But some financiers see opportunities to create new instruments to replace the monolines that can lift a project bond’s credit rating from the BBB range into the A category, attracting a wide poll of institutional investors.

Such a market is still in its infancy but has the potential to fill the gap left by the Basel III-hit project finance industry, its advocates say. Last year, British insurer Aviva partnered with Hadrian’s Wall Capital, an advisory firm, to create a debt fund dedicated to such instruments.

“Our form of credit enhancement can help the project finance bond market take off. We are looking to raise approximately 1 billion pounds with our fund and with that we should be able to provide around 10 billion pounds in financing,” said Hadrian’s Wall Capital Chief Executive Marc Bajer.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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Comments – Prof S P Garg Wed 20 Apr 2011 12:16 AM EDT Report Abuse

Basel II requirements and their strict compliance has protected the major banks and financial institutions worldwide.International Bank for Settlement (IBS) is doing a remarkablec job by way of stipulating the necessary capital requirements ina very prudent manner.The developing countries ,in the initial years might have faced the difficulties in its implementation but results are praiseworthy. The stringent measures must go on and Basel III is a welcome step.
Infrastructure projects and other long term investments would require higher capital requirements but for maintaining the robust health of the banks it is needed.The Central banking system of each country would take necessary steps to augument their caital is these activities have to be pushed in a big way.Not only this, there is a long time gap in implementation and during this period, each institution is needed to take strong steps to boost their capital needs to cater the needs of these sectors.As such, there should be any apprehension that development process would suffer dur to Basel III.Robustness of the financial institutions is to be maintained.
In India, the regulatory framework is so strong which has given a big support to the banks in comliance matters, governance and reporting system.The RBI has shown the path to other countries,Regulatory bodies and central banks that how to grow even in difficult times alongwith maintaining strong standards of compliance.

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NATO general: 'We're doing a great job' in Libya

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110412/ap_on_re_eu/libya_diplomacy;_ylt=AqKenJswHYuJzvqlFth6Hh9vaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTJrNm03bm42BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNDEyL2xpYnlhX2RpcGxvbWFjeQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDeW5fYXJ0aWNsZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA25hdG9nZW5lcmFsdw–

A wounded rebel fighter is carried away toa hospital on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya.

1 hr 13 mins ago

BRUSSELS — A NATO general is rejecting French criticism of the operation in Libya, saying the alliance is performing well and protecting civilians.

France’s foreign minister said earlier Tuesday that NATO needed to do more to take out the heavy weaponry that has repeatedly checked the advances of opposition forces. Alain Juppe told France-Info radio, “NATO has to play its role in full.”

Dutch Brig. Gen. Mark Van Uhm says the alliance was successful in enforcing an arms embargo, patrolling a no fly zone and protecting civilians.

Van Uhm says, “I think with the assets we have, we’re doing a great job.”

NATO took over command of the operation over Libya from the U.S. on March 31.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) — Libya’s former Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is traveling to Doha to share his insight on the workings of Moammar Gadhafi‘s inner circle, British government officials said Tuesday, as NATO searches for solutions following weeks of international airstrikes.

Koussa has been asked to attend the conference on Libya being held in Qatar as a valuable Gadhafi insider, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. News of his trip came as France’s foreign minister said NATO needed to do more to take out the heavy weaponry that has repeatedly checked the advances of opposition forces.

“NATO has to play its role in full,” Alain Juppe told France-Info radio.

Alliance officials in Brussels did not immediately respond to the criticism, but France’s frustration with the developing stalemate on the ground, where Libyan rebels have struggled to capitalize on Western air attacks, has been echoed across Western capitals.

British government officials say they hope that Koussa’s trip to Doha, where Arab and Western leaders are meeting to chart the way forward on Libya, will help give participants a better idea of how to force Gadhafi out of office.

“He’s a Gadhafi insider. He may be able to offer solutions where others are falling short,” one of the officials said, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

In a statement, Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed that Koussa was “traveling today to Doha to meet with the Qatari government,” as well as Libyan rebel officials, adding that Koussa was “a free individual, who can travel to and from the U.K. as he wishes.”

Koussa had been held at a safehouse since he fled to Britain late last month, but agents from Britain’s external intelligence agency MI6 stopped questioning Koussa last week, according to the official. Koussa had been staying in a safehouse until late Monday night, according to Noman Benotman, an ex-member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and relative of Koussa who has been in regular contact with the former foreign minister since he fled to Britain.

Although Koussa was provided with legal advice, Benotman said he believed he had “cleared most of the legal hurdles in the U.K.” surrounding his alleged involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and arming the Irish Republican Army.

Meanwhile France and Britain sent out conflicting signals about the need to provide succor to the rebel-held city of Misrata, which has been subjected to weeks of punishing bombardment by Gadhafi forces. Juppe said in his interview that the EU had to do more to get humanitarian aid to Misrata, but British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that aid was still getting through.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Hague said the aid already delivered there did not need any military backing so far.

“Humanitarian assistance is getting through to Libya, including to Misrata. That, so far, has not needed military assistance to deliver it,” Hague said.

The European Union said over the weekend it is ready to launch a humanitarian mission in Misrata soon, with possible military support, if it gets the necessary backing from the U.N.

Meanwhile, IHH, an Islamic aid group in Turkey, said it will send an aid ship to Misrata on Wednesday, carrying food, powdered milk, infant formula, medicines and a mobile health clinic.

The IHH has a self-declared mission to assist Muslims in the region. It deployed dozens of activists, including doctors, two days after the Libyan uprising began in February and established a tent city and a soup kitchen at the border crossing with Tunisia.

Last year, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists, including one American dual national, in a raid on Mavi Marmara, an IHH-sponsored ship that was trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip carrying aid supplies.

The soldiers said they opened fire after coming under attack by a mob of activists wielding clubs, axes and metal rods. The activists said they were defending themselves.

Angela Charlton in Paris, Raf Casert in Luxembourg and Selcan Hacaoglu in Turkey contributed to this report.

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