The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, last week issued what has become one of his customary trademark warnings by announcing that Russia will start to build offensive weapons to counter American global aggression. Moscow and Washington are currently in discussions regarding a successor to the landmark Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty which was signed between the United States and the now defunct Soviet Union in 1991, and which expired last December.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, during its $180 billion bailout of American International Group, Inc., instructed AIG to omit details of its purchase of certain toxic assets from a December 24, 2008, Securities and Exchange Commission filing, according to e-mails between the company and the Fed released Thursday.
A former banker for the Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax-evasion scheme in US history is preparing to head to prison tomorrow to begin serving a forty-month federal sentence. Bradley Birkenfeld first came forward to US authorities in 2007 and began providing inside information on how UBS was helping thousands of Americans hide assets in secret Swiss accounts. We speak with his attorney, Stephen Kohn, the executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center. [includes rush transcript]
"Afghan and Pakistani civilians deaths have climbed correspondingly. They will rise even more in 2010 as the war, in its tenth calendar year, is broadened further and intensified in earnest."
Wracked by intense violence in 2009, Pakistan has seen an unprecedented displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, which persists to this day. The internally displaced people (IDP) from South Waziristan Agency (SWA) may not be able to return home until March, said Brig. Omar Mahmood Khan, chief of staff of the Special Support Group (SSG), which was set up in May 2009 by the government to assist the people displaced by the fighting in Swat and Bajaur in the Malakand division of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and later in the SWA.
"The more recent Israeli spying episodes garnered less press coverage than your average run-of-the-mill burglary. One might wonder why this would be true, because Israel is supposed to be one of our closest allies in the world. This is an ally that we can probably do without. We have given in excess of $100 billion to Israel over the years in a variety of ways. We have guaranteed loans for them. We give them their several billions each year at the beginning of the fiscal year so the Israelis can earn interest on our most generous gifts rather than allowing the U.S. taxpayers to earn that interest...As we say in the law business, a precedent has been established: spies should be caught and prosecuted—unless they are spying for Israel. That exception is turning out to be the rule, and, if I might add, it’s not very good for America."
"When the Pakistan army and American drones kill innocent civilians, it is unrealistic to expect that people will not react. Each killing escalates resentment and stokes the urge to exact revenge, a long-established tradition in that part of the world. Victims have long memories; they do not easily forget their dead no matter how many rhetorical phrases are hurled at them. If for 3,000 American deaths on 9/11, the US can attack two countries and murder more than 1.5 million people, why is it so difficult to understand that other people will feel equally hurt and seek revenge?"
“Why?” The grieving family members ask. “Why did the terrorists kill our loved ones?” The hardnosed colleagues of the four fallen CIA officers comfort the wives and children (and one husband). They shake off their sorrow, huddle together by the graves, and vow vengeance. They bathe themselves in their seething anger like it was the blood of the lamb.
A humanitarian aid convoy has arrived in Gaza nearly a month after it embarked from Britain. Members of the Viva Palestina convoy began passing through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing into Gaza on Wednesday. They are expected to spend the next forty-eight hours distributing the aid supplies. We go to Gaza to speak with British MP George Galloway, who led the convoy. [includes rush transcript]
U.N. human rights experts called on Iraq and the United States on Thursday to ensure that the 2007 killing of at least 14 Iraqi civilians, which has been blamed on Blackwater security guards, be prosecuted. Iraq said on Monday it would launch lawsuits in U.S. and Iraqi courts against the U.S. security firm for the Baghdad killings, rejecting a U.S. judge's decision last week to throw out the charges.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the release of a Yemeni detainee, saying the government's case to keep him at Guantanamo relies too heavily on confessions tainted by torture. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim's confession that he was part of al-Qaida in Afghanistan was unreliable, because it was allegedly obtained under torture in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, the ACLU of Colorado announced a settlement with Jefferson County, Colorado, authorities over a free speech case at Dakota Ridge High School. When Blake Benson, a junior at Dakota Ridge, learned that Michelle Obama was coming to speak at his high school on November 3, 2008, the day before national presidential election, he and a couple of friends decided to make their political views heard. (After all, it's not every day that a 17-year-old high school student has the opportunity to express his political opinion in view of hundreds and surrounded by television cameras.) Blake, who supported John McCain for president, came to school with a few yard signs, intending to peacefully express his political views to the masses gathered outside the school for Michelle Obama's speech.
Having a fat TSA thug in a back room ogle your naked daughter "enhances privacy," according to Mark Salter - down is the new up, the sky is green and the grass is blue. With the resistance to naked body scanners in airports building, the corporate media is now claiming that technology which allows fat TSA thugs sitting in back rooms to ogle your naked daughter actually "enhances privacy". In our Orwellian brave new world where down is the new up, University of Ottawa professor Mark Salter gushes over the virtual strip searches with a gusto that makes you wonder whether he's on the same payroll as people like Michael Chertoff, who have been aggressively promoting the scanners they are invested in as a solution to the underwear bomber threat, no matter that such scanners would not even have stopped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding Flight 253. In his Globe and Mail article, Salter doesn't try to deny that the scanner produces a crisp image of your naked body, indeed, he ends his piece by asking, "Will Canadians be willing to fly naked?"
WHAT has become an annual skirmish between conservationists and whalers escalated in dramatic fashion yesterday, after environmental campaigners accused Japanese sailors of a "vicious attack" that left their hi-tech boat in two pieces.
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