Saturday, May 16, 2009

'Will McChrystal continue his secret war now that he holds a more prominent position?'

From Gen. McChrystal's Rise: More Secrets, Less Daylight in Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Tom Hayden (The Nation)

The mystique of secrecy may come to shroud all public inquiry about Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are questions to be answered, however.

One is framed on page 380 of Bob Woodward's book The War Within, in which the author describes a top-secret operation in 2006 that targeted and killed insurgents with such effectiveness that it gave “orgasms” to Derek Harvey, a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus and longtime tracker of Iraqi dissidents. The secret program was led by McChrystal, then a lieutenant commander, using signals intercepts, informants and other tools of what McChrystal calls “collaborative warfare” through Special Access Programs (SAPS) and Special Compartmented Information (SCI.) McChrystal, according to the New York Times, conducted and commanded most of his secret missions at night. These missions were consistent with the proposals of Petraeus's top counterinsurgency adviser at the time, David Kilcullen, to revive the discredited Phoenix Program used in South Vietnam.

This expanding secret war is crucial to understand for three reasons. First, according to Woodward's claim, it was “more important than the surge” in reducing insurgent violence in Iraq. Second, the Special Ops units served as judge, jury and executioner in hundreds of extrajudicial killings. The targeted victims were from broad categories such as “the Sunni insurgency” and “renegade Shiite militias” or other “extremists.” Third, and most important, the operation was kept secret from the American public, media and perhaps even the US Congress.

Woodward himself agreed to self-censorship, choosing to accept the Pentagon's argument that to disclose any details “might lead to unraveling of state secrets that have been so beneficial in Iraq.”

~ more... ~

Fourth Reich: the plan

From Revealed: The secret report that shows how the Nazis planned a Fourth Reich ...in the EU by Adam Lebor (Daily Mail)

...The exported funds were to be channelled through two banks in Zurich, or via agencies in Switzerland which bought property in Switzerland for German concerns, for a five per cent commission.

The Nazis had been covertly sending funds through neutral countries for years.

Swiss banks, in particular the Swiss National Bank, accepted gold looted from the treasuries of Nazi-occupied countries. They accepted assets and property titles taken from Jewish businessmen in Germany and occupied countries, and supplied the foreign currency that the Nazis needed to buy vital war materials.

Swiss economic collaboration with the Nazis had been closely monitored by Allied intelligence.

The Red House Report's author notes: 'Previously, exports of capital by German industrialists to neutral countries had to be accomplished rather surreptitiously and by means of special influence.

'Now the Nazi Party stands behind the industrialists and urges them to save themselves by getting funds outside Germany and at the same time advance the party's plans for its post-war operations.'

The order to export foreign capital was technically illegal in Nazi Germany, but by the summer of 1944 the law did not matter.

More than two months after D-Day, the Nazis were being squeezed by the Allies from the west and the Soviets from the east. Hitler had been badly wounded in an assassination attempt. The Nazi leadership was nervous, fractious and quarrelling.

During the war years the SS had built up a gigantic economic empire, based on plunder and murder, and they planned to keep it.

A meeting such as that at the Maison Rouge would need the protection of the SS, according to Dr Adam Tooze of Cambridge University, author of Wages of Destruction: The Making And Breaking Of The Nazi Economy.

He says: 'By 1944 any discussion of post-war planning was banned. It was extremely dangerous to do that in public. But the SS was thinking in the long-term. If you are trying to establish a workable coalition after the war, the only safe place to do it is under the auspices of the apparatus of terror.'

Shrewd SS leaders such as Otto Ohlendorf were already thinking ahead.

As commander of Einsatzgruppe D, which operated on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1942, Ohlendorf was responsible for the murder of 90,000 men, women and children.

A highly educated, intelligent lawyer and economist, Ohlendorf showed great concern for the psychological welfare of his extermination squad's gunmen: he ordered that several of them should fire simultaneously at their victims, so as to avoid any feelings of personal responsibility.

By the winter of 1943 he was transferred to the Ministry of Economics. Ohlendorf's ostensible job was focusing on export trade, but his real priority was preserving the SS's massive pan-European economic empire after Germany's defeat.

Ohlendorf, who was later hanged at Nuremberg, took particular interest in the work of a German economist called Ludwig Erhard. Erhard had written a lengthy manuscript on the transition to a post-war economy after Germany's defeat. This was dangerous, especially as his name had been mentioned in connection with resistance groups.

But Ohlendorf, who was also chief of the SD, the Nazi domestic security service, protected Erhard as he agreed with his views on stabilising the post-war German economy. Ohlendorf himself was protected by Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the SS.

Ohlendorf and Erhard feared a bout of hyper-inflation, such as the one that had destroyed the German economy in the Twenties. Such a catastrophe would render the SS's economic empire almost worthless.

The two men agreed that the post-war priority was rapid monetary stabilisation through a stable currency unit, but they realised this would have to be enforced by a friendly occupying power, as no post-war German state would have enough legitimacy to introduce a currency that would have any value.

That unit would become the Deutschmark, which was introduced in 1948. It was an astonishing success and it kick-started the German economy. With a stable currency, Germany was once again an attractive trading partner. ...

~ more... ~

They're watching and following me, I tell you

More from Charlie Skelton's coverage of the Bilderberg meeting in Vouliagmeni:

Now I've got too much to report.

I'll talk later about the strange secret circus of limousines, blacked-out windows, sirens, helicopters. No time to relate being detained for a SECOND time, for the crime of being half a mile from the Bilderberg hotel gates trying to take "arty" photographs of limousine wheels as they whisked past. Doing so little wrong that I was doing it while standing next to three policemen who were fine about it. Until the call came through on the radio and the motorbikes and squad cars squealed around me like a bad dream. I'll tell that story later. I have to talk now about what just happened.

But before I begin, please believe me when I say: I haven't gone nuts. I really haven't. Nine times seven is 63 and the capital of Italy is Rome. I know what I know. And I know that I'm being followed. I know because I've just been chatting to the plainclothes policemen I caught following me. As absurd as it sounds, I've just "made my tail".

They're watching me now. REALLY. They're sitting on the wall outside the cafe Oceania or whatever this is called, watching me type this sentence. I asked them in for a coffee but they declined. They laughed sheepishly when I called them Starsky and Hutch. They asked my name. "I told your colleagues. Twice."

[ ... ]

I'm just remembering now. I had a shorter than usual breakfast this morning. I came out. "Nick" was alone in the lobby. He was on his mobile. I trotted upstairs to my room. Down the stairs comes "John", also on his phone. I'm slotting together memories now, as I type. I haven't gone mad. This is happening.

Was he in my room? They knew I was in breakfast. This is crazy.

Here's what happened next: I headed out of the hotel with my laptop. And I thought to myself: you know what, if they're REALLY cops, they'll follow me. So I stopped, turned round, and waited. Ten seconds. I felt an idiot, standing there, waiting for an imaginary policeman to follow me out. Fifteen seconds. Eureka! Out comes "John" on his mobile phone. He looks confused to see me standing there and crosses the road. I sit down on a wall. He dawdles by a lamppost. I get up, walk to the seafront, turn left, walk a bit, cross the road (gives me a chance to look both ways – and yes, there's "John").

I walk into the far entrance of the cafe. I'm in an episode of The Wire. The cafe is long and thin. I double back on myself and stand, hidden, by the earlier entrance. I'm standing behind a shrub, clutching a laptop to my chest, my heart beating like a Phil Collins solo (on drums, not piano).

~ more... ~

Home - the trailer



In 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it's too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth's riches and change its patterns of consumption.

More than a movie, HOME will be a major event all over the globe : for the first time ever, a film will be released on the same day in over 50 countries and on every format : movie theatres, TV, DVD and Internet.

On June 5th we all have a date with the planet !

www.home-2009.com
www.ppr.com

Melting ice could cause gravity shift

Steve Connor writes in The Independent:

The melting of one of the world's largest ice sheets would alter the Earth's field of gravity and even its rotation in space so much that it would cause sea levels along some coasts to rise faster than the global average, scientists said yesterday.

The rise in sea levels would be highest on the west and east coasts of North America where increases of 25 per cent more than the global average would cause catastrophic flooding in cities such as New York, Washington DC and San Francisco.

A study into how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could respond to global warming has found its disintegration would change the focus of the planet's gravitational field, so sea levels would rise disproportionately more around North America than in other parts of the world. If the ice sheet covering West Antarctica disappears, the loss of so much mass from the southern hemisphere would effectively make the pull of gravity stronger in the northern hemisphere, affecting the spin of the Earth and causing sea levels to rise higher here than in the south, where the mass of ice is currently located.

~ more... ~


Of course, nothing is certain, as this article from the same source indicates:

The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill?

Scientists are baffled by what they’re seeing on the Sun’s surface – nothing at all. And this lack of activity could have a major impact on global warming. David Whitehouse investigates

CIA contractors played big role in interrogations

Morning Edition, May 15, 2009 · Congressional testimony this week showed that private CIA contractors were a driving force behind harsh interrogations. Although there are lawsuits against military contractors involved in detainee abuse, there has been far less legal action against contractors who worked for the CIA.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wisner believes this is largely because of the secrecy that has surrounded the CIA's interrogation and detention program.

"There simply have not been a lot of lawsuits related to the CIA's torture program against either the CIA or its contractors, because courts have almost universally been shutting these lawsuits down on the basis of overbroad secrecy claims made by the CIA," says Wisner.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have said CIA agents who followed the Justice Department's legal advice won't be prosecuted criminally, but they have said nothing about contractors.

Criminal or civil lawsuits against CIA contractors would present their own unique legal challenges.

In 2006, Congress passed a bill called the Military Commissions Act that includes a provision immunizing contractors from lawsuits. Some lawyers believe that provision is unconstitutional, but no court has weighed in on the law.

The Justice Department memos defining torture are silent about contractors. At a congressional hearing Wednesday, subcommittee Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked Georgetown Law professor David Luban about the omission.

"I don't recall any specific mention of private contractors" in the memos, said Luban.

"I don't recall it either," replied Whitehouse, "and it would seem that might raise legal issues. It's interesting that would be a fact in the lengthy opinions that never appears to have surfaced."

When Leon Panetta took charge of the CIA a few months ago, he banned contractors from interrogating detainees. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair talked about the decision at a roundtable with reporters.

"It seems to me that those who do these sorts of interrogations of the most important detainees should be government employees," said Blair. "They shouldn't be contractors; they should be highly trained — very supervised."

The full significance of the decision to bar contractors from CIA interrogations was not immediately clear. Then on Wednesday, a former FBI interrogator testified that CIA contractors were the people on the ground who pushed hardest for abusive interrogations in 2002.

~ more... ~


FKN Newz: 'I am the NWO'

'The Roma are the most discriminated ethnic group in Europe'

Class 55 Campaign

Translations: Español

On 17 May 1954, the United States Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision in the case of “Brown v. Board of Education” thus bringing an end to the segregation of black students in the American education system. While America is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the judgment, Central and Eastern European countries segregate their own second class citizens – the Roma. Civil Society organizations repeatedly point at the segregation practices, as well as direct and indirect discrimination of the Roma, however their voices are rarely heard. Class 55 is an advocacy group of Roma and pro-Roma activists making an effort to bring an end to the segregation of Roma at schools.

The Roma are the most discriminated ethnic group in Europe in all spheres of life, including education. Various excuses are used by teachers, directors and education authorities to segregate Roma, instead of simply admitting that schools are mono-cultural, and unable to cope with any kind of difference. Due to their differences, various labels are given to Roma children: “socially disadvantaged”, “of low cultural background”, “lacking socio-cultural capital”, etc, often meaning that the child is not suitable for mainstream education.

In the well known case of “D.H. and others vs. the Czech Republic” the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg confirmed in November 2007 that in the Czech Republic, Roma children were misdiagnosed and sent to special schools for mentally handicapped children. A year and half after the decision, which obliged the Czech Republic as well as other Council of Europe member states to stop and prevent ethnically biased diagnosis’, the placement of Roma children into schools of lower quality education remains in practice. Even though the schools are not called “special” anymore, the majority of pupils still follow the special curriculum, different and at a lower intellectual level the normal curriculum.

“All kinds of excuses are used to segregate Roma children and put them into Roma-only schools or classes in Central and Eastern European countries. This practice is wrong and has absolutely no justification. For example in the United Kingdom the same children, after emigrating with their parents, attend mainstream schools in a language they never spoke before,” says Scott Elliott, Canadian pro-Roma activist from the Roma Rights Network.

Class55.org believes that the 55th anniversary of one victory in human rights is the right time to show the governments of Europe that segregation of Roma is not acceptable in any way, and this practice must end immediately. Anyone can join Class 55 and support the cause by sending a message to the ministers of education, signing the petition and spreading information among their friends and family using whatever technologies they choose. The website will be available in various languages in order to be accessible to anyone interested in supporting the initiative. “It is about the time to show the politicians that it is not bad to speak in favour of Roma. It may not be popular to defend Roma, but it is right! And we want to do the right thing!” encourages Stano Daniel, Slovak Roma activist in support of Class55.org.

Still Separate, Still Unequal


Romani children in Slovakia are being denied the right to a proper education by a system that routinely discriminates against them.


More Information









Japan: Back UN action on Sri Lanka

Robust Security Council measures urgently needed to save civilian lives

New York, 11 May 2009: Japan needs to “play a more active role” in confronting the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, four international organisations said today in a letter to Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan. Ahead of today's ministerial-level meeting at the United Nations Security Council, the groups urged Japan, as a council member, to support urgent formal action on the situation.

In the letter, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, Amnesty International, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, all of which work closely on Sri Lanka, said:

“We believe that Japan, a powerful player on the humanitarian stage and the largest international donor to Sri Lanka, has an important role to play in saving countless civilian lives, as well as to implement aid policies that ensure sustainable peace, human rights and development in Sri Lanka. It is time for Japan to show that it is prepared to shoulder its responsibilities.”

The organisations said that both the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government “have shown wanton disregard for human life in violation of international humanitarian law.” They said that the Security Council's informal consideration of the situation in Sri Lanka was not sufficient and that “formal meetings of the Security Council must be held urgently so that the Council can take the necessary measures to address the humanitarian and human rights crisis.”

The organisations called on Japan “to take a more robust stance on the continuing suffering of the civilian population in Sri Lanka” and “to support action at the Security Council in New York, and to support prompt consideration of the situation in Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.”

To read the letter from the organisations to Prime Minister Taro Aso, please visit:
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6096&l=1&m=1

To read more about the current crisis in Sri Lanka, please visit:
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6070&l=1

For more information, please contact:

In Tokyo, for Human Rights Watch, Kanae Doi (Japanese, English): +81-3-5282-5160; or +81-90-2301-4372 (mobile)

In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Steve Crawshaw (English, French, German, Russian): +1-212-217-1217

In New York, for Amnesty International, Yvonne Terlingen: +1-917-406-1185 (mobile)

In Brussels, for International Crisis Group, Andrew Stroehlein: +32-2-541-1635

In Washington, DC, for International Crisis Group, Kimberly Abbott: +1-202-785-1601

In New York, for Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Jim Traub: +1-212-627-4736

G8-Luxury liner drops its anchor in earthquake area

From Gipfelsoli:

The news about moving the G8 meeting to the earthquake region of Abruzzo puts National Security Agency under pressure.

The latest announcement of Berlusconi, to locate this years G8 meeting, under the responsibility of the Italian presidency, in the earthquake region of Abruzzo instead of hosting it on the Sardinian island of La Maddalena (1) puts great pressure on the National Security Agency. After 8 months of preparation work for La Maddalena (2) Berlusconi ditched it. The decision has the support of the Italian cabinet. To argue his case Berlusconi said (3) that with the relocation huge costs would be saved and demonstrators would be held away: “I don’t believe that anti-globalisation demonstrators will have the nerve to organize violent demonstrations in this region so hard hit by the earthquakes”.

The new meeting place will be in the customs and tax police “Fiamme Gialle” (Yellow flame) academy “Maresciallo Vincenzo Giudice” in Coppito at the west side of L’Aquila. Coppito is the biggest police academy of Italy.

At a 48 hectare area with 1500 video camera guarded parking places and with modern accommodations and buildings (4) . This facility has a lecture hall for 1500 people, a cantine for 3500 people and a conference hall for 450 people. There are 2.300 sleeping spaces in rooms of 4 beds, 300 single bedrooms and single apartments on top of that. All types of helicopters can land on the facility. As can fighter jets with short runway take off and landing capacity. A high ranking person, Colonel Paolo Carretta is quoted to say that the US army is impressed by the complex: ”When the marines came here to be educated by the mountain infantry for the war in Afghanistan they told us: ‘if we only had a barracks like this one!’”.

~ more... ~


And here's a video for the occasion by dreamaboutrevolution:



"Our so-called 'Leaders' are meeting again to hold another G8 summit. Another demonstration of capitalist avarice and hipocrisy. We must be there to stop them. We must be there to save the planet. We must be there to build the better future"

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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