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In Haryana, get a bride for Rs 1,000 from Bihar

Posted by Admin on December 1, 2010

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/In-Haryana-get-a-bride-for-Rs-1000-from-Bihar/articleshow/7003264.cms

Sukhbir Siwach, TNN, Nov 28, 2010, 05.49am IST

CHANDIGARH: Haryana, reeling under a skewed sex ratio, is faced with yet another startling fact – anNGO has found that girls are being “bought” and brought to Haryana from 20 states across the country. The state’s sex ratio stands at 837 in the 0-6 years age group, its lowest in the last five years and second only to Punjab.

In one case, the family of a girl from Bihar was paid just Rs 1,000.

In its report released in Pune on Saturday, the NGO,Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra, has found that most of the girls were brought from West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It’s findings also indicate that girls were bought within the state too.

The NGO surveyed 10,190 households in Haryana and found 318 women who were bought and married off to men in Haryana. The NGO has shared the findings with the Haryana government.

Among these 318 women, 145 are from different parts of Haryana, followed by West Bengal (43), Bihar (27), Andhra Pradesh (17), Assam (15), Uttar Pradesh (14), Himachal Pradesh (11) and Rajasthan (10). Women have been brought from other states too, including even prosperous states like Gujarat.

The NGO has covered a population of 56,520 in 92 villages of five districts — Sonipat, Karnal, Mahendragarh, Sirsa and Mewat. The study was conducted to ascertain whether the brides came from other states and if a price was paid to get them to Haryana.

The NGO found that in number of cases, men had to buy their wives despite the fact that dowry system is prevalent in Jatland.

The report says whenever respondents were asked about money being paid for brides, the women chose to be silent. Only 15 women out of 318 reported that money was paid to their families. The amount varied between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh.

“This may not be a big amount but these girls come from poor families and this could be luring parents to give away their daughters, despite the girls going to faraway lands and having to adjust into alien culture,” the report said.

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China knows less about NKorea than thought

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2010

Logo used by Wikileaks

BEIJINGChina knows less about and has less influence over its close ally North Korea than is usually presumed and is likely to eventually accept a reunified peninsula under South Korean rule, according to U.S. diplomatic files leaked to the WikiLeaks website.

The memos — called cables, though they were mostly encrypted e-mails — paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand an isolated, hard-line regime in the face of a dearth of information and indicate American and South Korean diplomats’ reliance on China’s analysis and interpretation.

The release of the documents, which included discussions of contingency plans for the regime’s collapse and speculation about when that might come, follows new tensions in the region. North Korea unleashed a fiery artillery barrage on a South Korean island that killed four people a week ago and has since warned that joint U.S.-South Korean naval drills this week are pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

The shelling comes on the heels of a slew of other provocative acts: An illegal nuclear test and several missile tests, the torpedoing of a SouthKorean warship and, most recently, an announcement that in addition to its plutonium program, it may also be pursuing the uranium path to a nuclear bomb.

The memos give a window into a period prior to the latest tensions, but they paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand isolated and unpredictable North Korea.

In the cables, China sometimes seems unaware of or uncertain about issues ranging from who will succeed North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to the regime’s uranium enrichment plans and its nuclear test, suggesting that the North plays its cards close to its chest even with its most important ally.

Questioned about the enriched uranium program in June last year, Chinese officials said they believed that was program was “only in an initial phase” — a characterization that now appears to have been a gross underestimate.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally — Beijing fought on the northern side of the Korean War and its aid props up the current regime — and its actions have often served to insulate North Korea from foreign pressure. It has repeatedly opposed harsh economic sanctions and responded to the latest crises by repeating calls for a return to long-stalled, six-nation denuclearization talks that the North has rejected.

But China would appear to have little ability to stop a collapse and less influence over the authorities in Pyongyang than is widely believed, South Korea’s then-vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted telling American Ambassador Kathleen Stephens in February.

China lacks the will to push Pyongyang to change its behavior, according to Chun, but Beijing will not necessarily oppose the U.S. and South Korea in the case of a North Korean collapse.

China “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” Chun said.

Economic opportunities in a reunified Korea could further induce Chinese acquiescence, he said.

The diplomatic cables warn, however, that China would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the North-South border.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China would not comment specifically on the cables.

“China consistently supports dialogue between the North and South sides of the Korean peninsula to improve their relations,” Hong said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

In the leaked cable, Chun predicts the government in Pyongyang would last no more than three years following the death of ailing leader Kim Jong Il, who is seeking to transfer power to his youngest son Kim JongUn, a political ingenue in his 20s.

Chun also dismisses the possibility of Chinese military intervention if North Korea descended into chaos.

Despite that, China is preparing to handle any outbreaks of unrest along the border that could follow a collapse of the regime. Chinese officials say they could deal with up to 300,000 refugees, but might have to seal the border to maintain order, the memos say, citing an unidentified representative of an international aid group.

Chinese officials are also quoted using mocking language in reference to North Korea, pointing to tensions between the two neighbors in contrast to official statements underscoring strong historical ties.

Then-Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei is quoted as telling a U.S. official in April 2009 that Pyongyang was acting like a “spoiled child” by staging a missile test in an attempt to achieve its demand of bilateral talks with Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the leaked documents. Officials around the world have said the disclosure jeopardizes national security, diplomats, intelligence assets and relationships between foreign governments.

Five international media organizations, including The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, were among those to receive the documents in advance. WikiLeaks is also slowly posting all the material on its own site.

 

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Afghan War Leaks Expose Costly, Deceitful March of Folly

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2010

by: Ray McGovern, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

The brutality and fecklessness of the US-led war in Afghanistan have been laid bare in an indisputable way just days before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether to throw $33.5 billion more into the Afghan quagmire, when that money is badly needed at home.

On Sunday, the web site WikiLeaks posted 75,000 reports written mostly by US forces in Afghanistan during a six-year period from January 2004 to December 2009. The authenticity of the material – published under the title “Afghan War Diary”  – is not in doubt.

The New York Times, which received an embargoed version of the documents from WikiLeaks , devoted six pages of its Monday editions to several articles on the disclosures, which reveal how the Afghan War slid into its current morass while the Bush administration concentrated US military efforts on Iraq.

WikiLeaks also gave advanced copies to the British newspaper The Guardian and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, thus, guaranteeing that the US Fawning Corporate Media could not ignore these classified cables the way it did five years ago with the “Downing Street Memo,” a leaked British document which described how intelligence was “fixed” around President George W. Bush’s determination to invade Iraq.

The Washington Post also led its Monday editions with a lengthy article about the WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the Afghan war reports.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the new evidence of a foundering war in Afghanistan will lead to a public groundswell of opposition to expending more billions of dollars there when the money is so critically needed to help people to keep their jobs, their homes and their personal dignity in the United States.

But there may be new hope that the House of Representatives will find the collective courage to deny further funding for feckless bloodshed in Afghanistan that seems more designed to protect political flanks in Washington than the military perimeters of US bases over there.

Assange on Pentagon Papers

WikiLeaks’ leader Julian Assange compared the release of the “Afghan War Diary” to Daniel Ellsberg’s release in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers. Those classified documents revealed the duplicitous arguments used to justify the Vietnam War and played an important role in eventually getting Congress to cut off funding.

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Ellsberg’s courageous act was the subject of a recent Oscar-nominated documentary, entitled “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” named after one of the less profane sobriquets thrown Ellsberg’s way by then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.

I imagine Dan is happy at this point to cede that particular honorific to the WikiLeaks’ leaker, who is suspected of being Pfc. Bradley Manning, a young intelligence specialist in Iraq who was recently detained and charged with leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

An earlier WikiLeaks’ disclosure – also reportedly from Manning – revealed video of a US helicopter crew cavalierly gunning down about a dozen Iraqi men, including two Reuters journalists, as they walked along a Baghdad street.

WikiLeaks declined to say whether Manning was the source of the material. However, possibly to counter accusations that the leaker (allegedly Manning) acted recklessly in releasing thousands of secret military records, WikiLeaks said it was still withholding 15,000 reports “as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source.”

After Ellsberg was identified as the Pentagon Papers leaker in 1971, he was indicted and faced a long prison sentence if convicted. However, a federal judge threw out the charges following disclosures of the Nixon administration’s own abuses, such as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.

In public speeches over the past several years, Ellsberg has been vigorously pressing for someone to do what he did, this time on the misbegotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ellsberg also has praised Assange for providing a means for the documents to reach the public.

Ellsberg and other members of The Truth-Telling Coalition established on September 9, 2004, have been appealing to government officials who encounter “deception and cover-up” on vital issues to opt for “unauthorized truth telling.” (At the end of this story, see full text of the group’s letter, which I signed.)

Emphasizing that “citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts,” the Truth-Telling Coalition challenged officials to give primary allegiance to the Constitution and noted the readiness of groups like the ACLU and The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to offer advice and support.

What’s New?

In a taped interview, Assange noted in his understated way that, with the Internet, the “situation is markedly different” from Pentagon Papers’ days. “More material can be pushed to bigger audiences and much sooner.”

Also, the flow of information can evade the obstructions of traditional news gatekeepers who failed so miserably to inform the American people about the Bush administration’s deceptions before the Iraq war.

People all over the world can get “the whole wad at once” and put the various reports into context, which “is not something that has previously occurred; that is something that can only be brought about as a result of the Internet,” Assange said.

However, Assange also recognized the value of involving the traditional news media to ensure that the reports got maximum attention. So, he took a page from Ellsberg’s experience by creating some competitive pressure among major news outlets, giving the 75,000 reports to the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. Beginning Sunday afternoon, all three posted articles about the huge dump of information.

Assange noted that the classified material includes many heart-rending incidents that fit into the mosaic of a larger human catastrophe. These include one depicted in Der Spiegel’s reportage of accidental killings on June 17, 2007, when US Special Forces fired five rockets at a Koran school in which a prominent al-Qaeda functionary was believed to be hiding. When the smoke cleared, the Special Forces found no terrorist, but rather six dead children in the rubble of the school and another who died shortly after.

Role of Pakistan

Perhaps the most explosive revelations disclose the double game being played by the Pakistani directorate for Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Der Spiegel reported: “The documents clearly show that this Pakistani intelligence agency is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan.”

The documents also show ISI envoys not only are present when insurgent commanders hold war councils, but also give specific orders to carry out assassinations – including, according to one report, an attempt on the life of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in August 2008.

Former Pakistani intelligence chief, Gen. Hamid Gul, is depicted as an important source of aid to the Taliban and even, in another report, as a “leader” of the insurgents. The reports show Gul ordering suicide attacks and describe him as one of the most important suppliers of weaponry to the Taliban.

Though the Pakistani government has angrily denied US government complaints about Gul and the ISI regarding secret ties to the Taliban and even to al-Qaeda, the new evidence must raise questions about what the Pakistanis have been doing with the billions of dollars that Washington has given them.

Two Ex-Generals Got It Right

We have another patriotic truth-teller to thank for leaking the texts of cables that Ambassador (and former Lt. Gen.) Karl Eikenberry sent to Washington on November 6 and 9, 2009, several weeks before President Barack Obama made his fateful decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

In a somewhat condescending tone, Eikenberry described the request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, for more troops as “logical and compelling within his narrow mandate to define the needs” of the military campaign.

But then Eikenberry warned repeatedly about “unaddressed variables” like militants’ “sanctuaries” in Pakistan. For example, the ambassador wrote:

“More troops won’t end the insurgency as long as Pakistan sanctuaries remain … and Pakistan views its strategic interests as best served by a weak neighbor.”

In Eikenberry’s final try at informing the White House discussion (in his cable of November 9), the ambassador warned pointedly of the risk that “we will become more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves.”

At the time, it seemed that Eikenberry’s message was getting through to the White House. On November 7, Der Spiegel published an interview with National Security Adviser (former Marine Gen.) James Jones, who was asked whether he agreed with General McChrystal that a substantial troop increase was needed. Jones replied:

“Generals always ask for more troops; I believe we will not solve the problem with more troops alone. You can keep on putting troops in and you could have 200,000 troops there and Afghanistan will swallow them up as it has done in the past.”

However, McChrystal and his boss, then-Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus, pressed the case for more troops, a position that had strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former Vice President Dick Cheney, key hawks in Congress and Washington’s neoconservative-dominated opinion circles.

After months of internal debate, President Obama finally caved in and gave McChrystal nearly all the troops that he had requested. (McChrystal has since been replaced by Petraeus as commander of forces in Afghanistan.)

Despite the fact that the WikiLeaks disclosures offer fresh support for the doubters on the Afghan war escalation, Jones acted as the good soldier on Sunday, decrying the unauthorized release of classified information, calling WikiLeaks “irresponsible.”

Jones also lectured the Pakistanis:

“Pakistan’s military and intelligence services must continue their strategic shift against insurgent groups. The balance must shift decisively against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies. US support for Pakistan will continue to be focused on building Pakistani capacity to root out violent extremist groups.”

(Note: O.K. he’s a general. But the grammatical mood is just a shade short of imperative. And the tone is imperial/colonial through and through. I’ll bet the Pakistanis are as much swayed by that approach as they have been by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s admonitions not to be concerned about India – just terrorists.)

And regarding “progress” in Afghanistan? Jones added, “the US and its allies have scored several significant blows against the insurgency.”

However, that’s not the positive spin that Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen was offering just four weeks ago. On his way to Kabul, again, Mullen spoke of “recent setbacks in the Afghan campaign.”

“We underestimated some of the challenges” in Marja, the rural area of Helmand province that was cleared in March by US Marines, only to have Taliban fighters return. “They’re coming back at night; the intimidation is still there,” Mullen said.

Of the much more ambitious (and repeatedly delayed) campaign to stabilize the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, Mullen said: “It’s going to take until the end of the year to know where we are there.”

Would you say yes to an additional $33.5 billion for this fool’s errand?

***

Text of 2004 Appeal from The Truth-Telling Coalition follows:

September 9, 2004

APPEAL TO: Current Government Officials
FROM: The Truth-Telling Coalition

It is time for unauthorized truth telling.

Citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts – for example, the facts that have been wrongly concealed about the ongoing war in Iraq: the real reasons behind it, the prospective costs in blood and treasure and the setback it has dealt to efforts to stem terrorism. Administration deception and cover-up on these vital matters has so far been all too successful in misleading the public.

Many Americans are too young to remember Vietnam. Then, as now, senior government officials did not tell the American people the truth. Now, as then, insiders who know better have kept their silence, as the country was misled into the most serious foreign policy disaster since Vietnam.

Some of you have documentation of wrongly concealed facts and analyses that – if brought to light – would impact heavily on public debate regarding crucial matters of national security, both foreign and domestic. We urge you to provide that information now, both to Congress and, through the media, to the public.

Thanks to our First Amendment, there is in America no broad Officials Secrets Act, nor even a statutory basis for the classification system. Only very rarely would it be appropriate to reveal information of the three types whose disclosure has been expressly criminalized by Congress: communications intelligence, nuclear data and the identity of US intelligence operatives. However, this administration has stretched existing criminal laws to cover other disclosures in ways never contemplated by Congress.

There is a growing network of support for whistleblowers. In particular, for anyone who wishes to know the legal implications of disclosures they may be contemplating, the ACLU stands ready to provide pro bono legal counsel, with lawyer-client privilege. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) will offer advice on whistle blowing, dissemination and relations with the media.

Needless to say, any unauthorized disclosure that exposes your superiors to embarrassment entails personal risk. Should you be identified as the source, the price could be considerable, including loss of career and possibly even prosecution. Some of us know from experience how difficult it is to countenance such costs. But continued silence brings an even more terrible cost, as our leaders persist in a disastrous course and young Americans come home in coffins or with missing limbs.

This is precisely what happened at this comparable stage in the Vietnam War. Some of us live with profound regret that we did not at that point expose the administration’s dishonesty and perhaps prevent the needless slaughter of 50,000 more American troops and some 2 to 3 million Vietnamese over the next ten years. We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public and the young men and women put in harm’s way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties.

A hundred forty thousand young Americans are risking their lives every day in Iraq for dubious purpose. Our country has urgent need of comparable moral courage from its public officials. Truth telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.

SIGNATORIES

Appeal from the Truth-Telling Coalition

Edward Costello, Former Special Agent (Counterintelligence), Federal Bureau of Investigation

Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Daniel Ellsberg, Former official, US Departments of Defense and State

John D. Heinberg, Former Economist, Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor

Larry C. Johnson, Former Deputy Director for Anti-Terrorism Assistance, Transportation Security and Special Operations, Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism

Lt. Col Karen Kwiatowski, USAF (ret.), who served in the Pentagon’s Office of Near East Planning

John Brady Kiesling, Former Political Counselor, US Embassy, Athens, Department of State

David MacMichael, Former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council, Central Intelligence Agency

Ray McGovern, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Philip G. Vargas, Ph.D., J.D., Dir. Privacy & Confidentiality Study, Commission on Federal Paperwork (Author/Director: “The Vargas Report on Government Secrecy” — CENSORED)

Ann Wright, Retired US Army Reserve Colonel and US Foreign Service Officer

This article appeared first on Consortiumnews.com.

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Reports accuse WHO of exaggerating H1N1 threat, possible ties to drug makers

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2010

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 4, 2010; 3:52 PM

European criticism of the World Health Organization’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified Friday with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond.

The WHO’s response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars, according to one report. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications, according to the second report.

The reports outlined the drumbeat of criticism that has arisen, primarily in Europe, of how the world’s leading health organization responded to the first influenza pandemic in more than four decades.

“For WHO, its credibility has been badly damaged,” wrote Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, a prominent British medical journal, that published one of the reports. “WHO must act now to restore its credibility.”

A spokesman for the WHO, along with several independent experts, however, strongly disputed the reports, saying they misrepresented the seriousness of the pandemic and the WHO’s response, which was carefully formulated and necessary given the potential threat.

“The idea that we declared a pandemic when there wasn’t a pandemic is both historically inaccurate and downright irresponsible,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in a telephone interview. “There is no doubt that this was a pandemic. To insinuate that this was not a pandemic is very disrespectful to the people who died from it.”

The first report, released in Paris, came from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which launched an investigation in response to allegations that the WHO’s response to the pandemic was influenced by drug companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines.

“The parliamentary assembly is alarmed about the way in which the H1N1 influenza pandemic has been handled, not only by the World Health Organization (WHO), but also by the competent health authorities at the level of the European Union and at national level,” the 18-page draft report states.

“It is particularly troubled by some of the consequences of decisions taken and advice given leading to distortion of priorities of public health services across Europe, waste of large sums of public money, and also unjustified scares and fears about health risks faced by the European public at large,” according to the report.

The second report, a joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is based in London, criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.

“We are left wondering whether major public health organizations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medical science,” the report states.

Hartl dismissed those charges.

“WHO would say categorically that it believes that it has not been subject to undue conflict-of-interest. We know that some experts that come to our committees have contact with industry. It would be surprising if they didn’t because the best experts are sought by all organizations,” Hartl said. “We feel that the guidelines produced were certainly not subject to undue influence.”

Several other experts also defended the agency.

“Twenty-twenty hindsight can always second guess the decisions of public health officials,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a private nonprofit group. “But this kind of condemnation of public health officials who made the most prudent decisions based on available knowledge could well backfire in future emergencies: I fear that public health officials will draw the lesson that they should wait for greater scientific certainty before responding in the future — and we could pay for that overcaution with many lives lost.”

In response to the criticism, the WHO has launched two investigations, including one by an independent panel of experts led by Harvey Fineberg, who heads the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

“These reports raise questions about potential, inappropriate influences on WHO decision-making in the assessment and response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and, more generally, question practices employed by WHO to guard against conflict of interest among its expert advisers,” Fineberg said in an e-mail. “These topics are among those that will be fully considered by our review committee.”

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Ron Paul: Inside Sources Told Me Fed Is Panicking At Mass Awakening

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2010

Congressman: “We are still fighting,” to add stronger provisions to watered down legislation

Ron Paul: Inside Sources Told Me Fed Is Panicking At Mass Awakening 270510top

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Appearing on The Alex Jones Show yesterday, Congressman Ron Paul revealed that through his inside sources he had learned that the people who control the Federal Reserve are panicking about the fact that Americans are waking up to the fact that the U.S. is controlled by the central bank.

“I had some information passed on to me, sort of inside information, somebody who knew somebody who was well tuned to the people at the Federal Reserve – and they said they are really really concerned about our movement to expose the Fed for what they’re doing,” said Paul, adding, “What they’re upset or worried about is the fact that more and more people are aware of the Federal Reserve now like never before,” explaining that exposure will lead to change and a reform of the Federal Reserve.

Paul attributed the success of the freedom movement in the last decade to the growing awareness of the power that the Federal Reserve wields over America.

“Even those who defend the Fed are very frightened about it,” added Paul, noting that a growing number of Americans were knowledgeable about the central bank despite the fact that the subject is rarely covered by the education system.

Host Jones made reference to a recent Council on Foreign Relations speech by Trilateral Commission and regular Bilderberg attendee Zbigniew Brzezinski in which he warned that a “global political awakening,” in combination with infighting amongst the elite, was threatening to derail the move towards a one world government.

“I hope he has some real reasons to be worried about that,” responded the Congressman.

Despite the Senate voting down Ron Paul’s version of the audit the fed bill earlier this month, a weaker version was passed which will mandate the central bank to reveal which financial institutions received bailout money at the peak of the economic crisis, something the Fed has desperately tried to avoid divulging.

Paul expressed his own disappointment at the watered down bill, but his colleagueCongressman Alan Grayson expressed confidence that the stronger provisions of the original House amendment could be added in Committee, ensuring the Federal Reserve doesn’t get off the hook, as Congressman Paul has warned.

Paul told host Jones that people should look into which Senators did not vote for the original audit the Fed bill, characterizing the weakened version as “A bailout for the system and for the Federal Reserve.”

Paul said he was going to try and influence the bill in conference by adding stronger provisions.

“I think right now the cards are stacked against us but we’re going to keep fighting because the more attention we get and the more people know, I ink we can be proud of how far we’ve gotten already,” said Paul.

From http://www.prisonplanet.com/ron-paul-inside-sources-told-me-fed-is-panicking-at-mass-awakening.html

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Aliens may exist but contact would hurt humans: Stephen Hawking

Posted by Admin on April 26, 2010

Aliens may exist but contact would hurt humans: Stephen Hawking

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece

Sun Apr 25, 6:56 pm ET

Hawking

LONDON (AFP) – Aliens may exist but mankind should avoid contact with them as the consequences could be devastating, British scientistStephen Hawking warned Sunday.

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” said the astrophysicist in a new television series, according to British media reports.

The programmes depict an imagined universe featuring alien life forms in huge spaceships on the hunt for resources after draining their own planet dry.

“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach,” warned Hawking.

The doomsday scenario is suggested in the series “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” on the Discovery Channel, which began airing in the United States on Sunday.

On the probability of alien life existing, he says: “To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.

“The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

Glowing squid-like creatures, herds of herbivores that can hang onto a cliff face and bright yellow predators that kill their prey with stinging tails are among the creatures that stalk the scientist’s fantastical cosmos.

Mankind has already made a number of attempts to contact extraterrestrial civilisations.

In 2008, American space agency NASA beamed the Beatles song “Across the Universe” into deep space to send a message of peace to any alien that happens to be in the region of Polaris — also known as the North Star – in 2439.

But the history of humanity’s efforts to contact aliens stretches back some years.

The US probes Pioneer 10 and 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973 bearing plaques of a naked man and woman and symbols seeking to convey the positions of the Earth and the Sun.

Voyager 1 and 2, launched in 1977, each carry a gold-plated copper phonogram disk with recordings of sounds and images on Earth.

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Goldman Sachs FRAUD Charges Filed By SEC Over Subprime Mortgage Securities

Posted by Admin on April 21, 2010

Huffington Post

Goldman Sucks

Goldman Sucks

April 16, 2010

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/16/sec-goldman-sachs-charged_n_540377.html

The government has accused Goldman Sachs of defrauding investors by failing to disclose conflicts of interest in mortgage investments it sold as the housing market was faltering.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday civil fraud charges against the Wall Street powerhouse and one of its executives. The agency alleges Goldman failed to disclose that one of its clients helped create — and then bet against — subprime mortgage securities that Goldman sold to investors. In essence, Goldman is accused of pushing a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

Investors in the mortgage securities are alleged to have lost more than $1 billion, the SEC noted.

The SEC claims Goldman Sachs and one of its top officers misled investors by not disclosing that hedge fund manager John Paulson, who made billions betting against the housing market, selected the assets that went into a complex security called “Abacaus.”

Paulson & Co. is one of the world’s largest hedge funds, and paid Goldman roughly $15 million for structuring these deals in 2007.

“The simultaneous selling of securities to customers and shorting them because they believed they were going to default is the most cynical use of credit information that I have ever seen,” finance expert Sylvain R. Raynes told the New York Times about such deals. “When you buy protection against an event that you have a hand in causing, you are buying fire insurance on someone else’s house and then committing arson.”

Goldman Sachs shares fell more than 10 percent after the SEC announcement.

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Talking to Taliban and Tribal Warlords

Posted by Admin on March 29, 2010

Talking to Taliban and Tribal Warlords

Sunday 28 March 2010

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

Across the sands

Across the sands

From October 7, 2001, until about a year ago, the world was hearing of the “war on terror” in the Af-Pak region as one on Taliban and tribal warlords allied to them. No longer. What assails our ears increasingly over the recent period is talk of a campaign to woo and win over a section of the same “enemies of civilization.”

All the avowed “anti-terror” warriors are engaged in the campaign. The US administration and the Afghanistan government are publicly committed to this policy change, with powerful quarters emulating the example despite protestations of uncompromising opposition to terrorism. Voices from within India, meanwhile, suggest pressures for a similar attempt by New Delhi. South Asia’s biggest power is being nudged to do business with forces officially regarded until the other day as implacably fundamentalist foes.

The campaign is approaching its culmination, with the highest international forum extending far-from-hidden support to the process. The United Nations, too, is now involved in not-so-secret talks with those considered not long ago as too terrorist for such UN-conferred legitimacy.

In one sense, it all began with President Barack Obama’s moves for a new Afghanistan strategy. Weeks before the strategy was announced on March 27, 2009, Obama said in a newspaper interview that the US “was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.”

Around the same time, speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Vice President Joe Biden claimed that “at least 70 percent” of Taliban guerrilla fighters were “mercenaries” who could be “persuaded” to lay down their arms and join the “peace process.”

These signals could not but have strengthened the hands of those in Pakistan who were never excited about engaging in a serious conflict with Afghan insurgents – particularly the Taliban, perceived as largely a creation of Pakistan during the days of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Officially, of course, Pakistan is supposed to have abandoned all its reservations about an all-out “war on terror” with its offensive in the Swat region in May 2009. Ties with the Taliban, however, are still cherished in powerful quarters.

Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, caused much more than a ripple recently when he issued an appeal to the Taliban as the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest and leading province closely identified with the country’s army. Shahbaz requested his “friendly” terrorists to spare Punjab because his party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), had “something in common with them” (opposition to former President General Pervez Musharrf).

The appeal came in the wake of 12 terror attacks in less than a year, which left hundreds killed, including women and children, in Punjab’s Lahore, considered the country’s cultural capital. It has led to an outrage.

In a newspaper article captioned “The terror is next door, Mr. CM,” leading cultural activist Naeem Tahir says: “Rarely had he (Shahbaz) been noticed as much as he was noticed this time. Explanations followed, but these explained nothing. Everyone, including parliamentarians, journalists, government functionaries and the general public tried to figure out the meaning of this request.”

“Did he mean to suggest” – asked Tahir – “that the terrorists should spare Punjab and try Balochistan? Or Sindh or, for convenience of proximity to the Punjabi Taliban, try the capital Islamabad?” No convincing answer has been forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani army has undertaken an agitprop operation alleging links between India and the Taliban. Military aircraft drop pamphlets in North Waziristan on ties between the Taliban and India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The pamphlets also talk of relations between Israeli intelligence outfit Mossad and Indian consulates in Afghanistan.

Until recently, the official Indian stand was against attempts to differentiate between “good Taliban” and “bad Taliban.” Of late, however, New Delhi has signaled its willingness to try out the line. The policy draws support from the thinking of the country’s security establishment over more than a decade of experience in the Af-Pak region as well.

A case for some ties with the Taliban is argued, for example, in an over-a-decade-old document authored by a former RAW official who is an informed and influential security analyst today. B. Raman, now a well-known columnist as well, talks in this paper titled “Bin Laden, Taliban and India” of the al-Qaeda leader’s ambiguous stance on Pakistan’s chief adversary.

Noting that the Taliban had issued no “call for killing Indians or Hindus,” Raman says: “The past anti-India comments of Osama and the Taliban were restricted to supporting the right of the Kashmiris to self-determination … It has repeatedly denied Indian allegations that its volunteers were active in Kashmir.”

Raman quotes the Taliban’s “most comprehensive statement to date on this subject (September 20, 1998)” as saying: “Afghanistan and India had friendly relations in the past. We don’t have any diplomatic ties now, but we won’t mind resuming relations with India as, at least, we won’t have to contend with an enemy India…. We obviously support the jihad in Kashmir… It is also true that some Afghans are fighting against Indian troops in Kashmir. The Taliban has not sent them…. We have no intention of exporting our jihad or revolution to any country.”

Raman’s counsel: “… India should test out the sincerity of the Taliban’s interest in a non-adversarial relationship with India by maintaining a line of communication with the Taliban leadership through their office in New York. Its professions of innocence should be tested out and not dismissed out of hand.” He adds: “The USA too, while taking strong action against the Taliban’s support to Osama and its violation of human rights, has at the same time maintained a dialogue with the Taliban leadership through their New York office and during the visits of US officials to Islamabad.”

Whether the counsel is heeded at last remains to be seen. Meanwhile, however, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has opened talks with the country’s second-largest militant group linked to the Taliban. The Hizb-e-Islami has reportedly submitted to Karzai a 15-point plan for possible peace talks. The main point envisages withdrawal of all foreign forces from July this year, to be completed within six months.

At the helm of the Hizb-e-Islami stands Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord and former prime minister classified as a terrorist by the US and the UN. This, however, has not stopped the world body from joining the bandwagon and initiating its own parleys with the insurgents.

First came former UN special envoy Kai Eide’s secret talks with Taliban leaders during his two-year tenure (from March 2008) in Afghanistan. The process was made public on March 25, 2010, with Staffan de Mistura, special UN representative in Afghanistan, meeting the men of UN-blacklisted Hekmatyar.

We do not know where the process will lead. It will be a strange end to the “war on terror,” however, if it leaves the Taliban and tribal warlords tyrannizing over their wild terrain and threatening peace over a larger South Asian region.

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Interpreting Obama

Posted by Admin on March 14, 2010

Interpreting Obama

David Brooks

Sat, Mar 13 05:04 AM

Who is Barack Obama? If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big government liberal. He plays by ruthless, Chicago politics rules. He is arrogant toward foes, condescending toward allies and runs a partisan political machine.

If you ask a liberal Democrat, you are likely to hear that Obama is an inspiring but overly intellectual leader who has trouble making up his mind and fighting for his positions. He has not defined a clear mission. He has allowed the Republicans to dominate debate. He is too quick to compromise and too cerebral to push things through.

You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable. Political partisans always imagine the other side is ruthlessly effective and that the public would be with them if only their side had better messaging. And finally, you’ll notice that both views distort reality. They tell you more about the information cocoons that partisans live in these days than about Obama himself.

The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a centre-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy from his book The Audacity of Hope to his joint-session health care speech last September he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.

He has tried to find this balance in a town without an organised centre in a town in which liberals chair the main committees and small-government conservatives lead the opposition. He has tried to do it in a context maximally inhospitable to his aims.

But he has done it with tremendous tenacity. Obama is four clicks to my left on most issues. He is inadequate on the greatest moral challenge of our day: the $9.7 trillion in new debt being created this decade. He has misread the country, imagining a hunger for federal activism that doesn’t exist. But he is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington.

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Associated Press spins more Climategate lies

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2010

Associated Press spins more Climategate lies

by John O’Sullivan on February 20, 2010

8 comments

Over at tree-hugging apologist mouthpiece, Media Matters they’re getting their panties in a bunch over a Fox News story. It seems Fox was biased for a “stale retread” over Climategate data rapist, Professor Phil Jones’ shocking admission that there’s been no statistically significant global warming for 15 years. How outrageous of Fox, I hear you scoff. But try and see it from Media Matters’ point of view–little green journos all now go into apoplectic spasm at every mention of unpleasant and unarguable climate facts.

So, thanks to the prompting by Media Manglers, I’ll now prove that the Associated Press (AP) is complicit in perpetrating further Climategate hype and lies. Thereby, our readers may judge for themselves how deeply the green-loving press has sunk themselves into the greatest scandal in science.

First, keep in mind that Fox News is the only American TV news broadcaster that has reported the Climategate story from Day One. Media Matters tries to spin the lie that the AP has been reporting on this epoch-changing event in a ‘just-the-facts fashion.’ But, as we shall see, in AP’s case ‘just the facts’ means doling out hype and lies supportive of the global warming hysteria.

Astonishingly, it is the leaked Climategate emails themselves that expose the complicitness of the Associated Press in the Climategate scandal. Keen eyes at that excellent skeptic blog, Watts Up With That (WUWT), first uncovered the facts exposing media conspiracy in reporting Climategate. Blogger, Anthony Watts, found that AP had a ‘man on the inside’ of information from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit three months before the leaked emails surfaced.

It is those leaked emails that expose AP reporter, Seth Borenstein as a Climategate collaborator. So it came as no surprise to bloggers when AP ran the following in a ‘just-the-facts fashion’ on December 12, 2009 after the Climategate story broke:

“E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.” source

And whom did AP put in charge of their “exhaustive review”? Yes, you guessed it, Seth Borenstein.

Borenstein has long been known among climate commentators as an avid green sympathiser. As a sample of Borenstein’s affiliations look no further than the leaked email dated Jul 23, 2009 when Seth ‘just-the-facts’ Borenstein emailed his Climategate chums, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt and Michael ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann, three months before Climategate:

“It’s Seth again. Attached is a paper in JGR today that
Marc Morano is hyping wildly. It’s in a legit journal. Whatchya think?
Seth
Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Science Writer
sborenstein@xxxxxxxxx.xxx”

Michael Mann’s reply:

“hi Seth, you always seem to catch me at airports. only got a
few minutes. took a cursory look at the paper, and it has all
the worry signs of extremely bad science and scholarship.”

Thus speaketh Michael ‘bad science’ Mann always available for a buddy like Seth. Whatchya think of that? To quantify how far AP journalism has fallen off it’s integrity perch just take a look here at their own code of conduct

Laughably, AP claims that:

“we avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest and compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.”

So if readers are troubled by AP’s “exhaustive review” you can phone or write and ask in a just-the-facts fashion at the following address:

The Associated Press, 1100 13th St. NW, Suite 700,
Washington, DC
20005-4076
Tel: 202-641-9454

Possibly related posts:

  1. Climategate: AP asks believers to give the all clear
  2. Climategate inquiry under way
  3. BBC to investigate itself on climate change bias
  4. Biased reporting on Climategate? Say it ain’t so!
  5. The corrupted nature of Nature

Tagged as: AP, Media Matters, Michael Mann, Seth Borenstein

John O’Sullivan is a British writer, retired academic and legal advocate who has ten years’ of experience litigating against government corruption in the U.S. federal and state courts.

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World’s biggest coal company brings U.S. government to court in climate fraud

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2010

World’s biggest coal company brings U.S. government to court in climate fraud

John O’Sullivan

Feb. 17, 2010

The world’s largest private sector coal business, the Peabody Energy Company (PEC) has filed a mammoth 240-page “Petition for Reconsideration,” a full-blown legal challenge against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The petition must be answered and covers the entire body of leaked emails from ‘Climategate’ as well as those other ‘gate’ revelations including the frauds allegedly perpetrated under such sub-headings as ‘Himalayan Glaciers,’ ‘African Agricultural Production,’ ‘Amazon Rain Forests,’ ‘Melting Mountain Ice,’ ‘Netherlands Below Sea Level’ as well as those much-publicized abuses of the peer-review literature and so called ‘gray literature.’ These powerful litigants also draw attention to the proven criminal conduct by climate scientists in refusing to honor Freedom of Information law (FOIA) requests.

Peabody is, in effect, challenging the right of the current U.S. federal government to introduce cap and trade regulations by the ‘back door.’ In this article we summarize Peabody’s legal writ.

PEC has pulled out all the stops to overturn the EPA findings ‘Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act’ made on December 7, 2009. Those findings were in turn premised on the Supreme Court decision of April 2, 2007 of Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), where the court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.

PEC argues inter alia that the law requires that the federal agency must articulate a “rational connection between the facts found and the choice made” as per the case of Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of the United States, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983).

The PEC arguments are based primarily on the release of email and other information from the University of East Anglia (“UEA”) Climatic Research Unit (“CRU”) in November of last year. Their civil action lists most of the principle scientists such as Professor Phil Jones, of the UK’s Climatic Research Unit, who recently admitted there has been no ‘statistically significant’ global warming for 15 years and agreed the Medieval Warm Period may have been just as warm, if not warmer than current global temperatures.

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