Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CIA Director Leon Panetta: "Bin Laden didn't have a chance to speak before he was shot in the head"

John Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism chief, said that the assault force who attacked bin Laden's compound, would only have accepted surrender if they were 100 per cent sure that he was unarmed and "did not pose any type of threat whatsoever".

Speaking on Fox television, Mr Brennan said if US troops "were confident of that in terms of his not having an IED [improvised explosives device] on his body, his not having some type of hidden weapon or whatever".

A senior congressional aide who was briefed on the rules of engagement, said; "He would have had to have been naked for them to allow him to surrender".

A special forces officer told The Los Angeles Times: "The right of self-defence is never denied. If anyone feels in any way that there is a hostile threat in a case like this ... it can be a movement, or a failure to follow commands ... deadly force will be authorised. It's a judgment call.

"And these assaulters are some of the finest, most highly trained in discriminate shooting. They train for hostage rescue." (read more)

How the Fed triggered the Arab Spring uprisings

One curious aspect of recent events in the Middle East and North Africa is how unwilling most commentators have been to join the dots between the Federal Reserve’s second phase of quantitative easing and these revolutions. I’m less queasy. Of course, all revolutions have many causes, and I don’t mean to belittle the achievements of brave non-violent protesters, desperate self-immolators, or saloon-car rifle-wielders. But, as a trigger and driver of these events, the Fed seems very clearly to have achieved more in the Arab world in six months than the Pentagon achieved in decades.

See Graph 1 above.

The first graph illustrates the correlation between the prices of food and the Fed’s purchase of US Treasuries (i.e. its quantitative easing programmes). (A widely-discussed graph illustrating correlation between QE and broader commodities indices can be seen here.) We see how the food price index broadly stabilised through late 2009 and early 2010, then rose again from mid-2010 as quantitative easing was re-started (QE2) following Ben Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech of August 27 – with prices rising of about 40% over an eight month period. Similar correlations can be observed between Fed purchases and wider commodities indices, but let’s focus on food for now. (read more)

Osama Bin laden compound photos: death and destruction

Pictures taken shortly after the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden show three men lying dead in pools of blood and the wreckage of a U.S. helicopter abandoned during the assault.

One of the dead men bears a family resemblance to bin Laden, but there was no confirmation of his identity. The al Qaeda leader's adult son was among those killed in Monday's attack by U.S. commandos, according to American officials.

The pictures were published Wednesday by Reuters. The news agency says they were taken by a Pakistani security official about an hour after U.S. forces left bin Laden's compound and that it is confident of the authenticity of the purchased images.

Clad in a T-shirt, the man who resembles bin Laden lies in a large pool of blood that appears to spread from the back of his head. Two other men, dressed in Pakistani clothing, appear to have died from extensive head and chest wounds. (Read more and view gallery here)

Maryanne Godboldo arrested by SWAT after refusing to force-feed young daughter psychiatric medication -- the Police State builds momentum


Detroit mother Maryanne Godboldo faces multiple felony charges and is being held on $500,000 bond after a 10-hour standoff with a heavily armed police SWAT team. Godboldo was protecting her 13-year-old daughter from unnecessary medication ordered by the state.

Godboldo’s daughter was born with a defective foot that required amputation of her leg below the knee, which led to Maryanne becoming a stay-at-home mother after her birth, according to Health Impact News Daily.

Despite her handicap, the child swam, sang, danced and played the piano. However, as the home schooled girl approached middle school age, she apparently wanted to start attending public school, and therefore had to “catch up” on immunizations the state insists are required under color of law.

SWAT police descend on mother’s apartment, reportedly using a tank.

According to her aunt, Penny Godboldo, the girl suffered an adverse reaction to the immunizations. “She began acting out of character, being irritated, having facial grimaces that have been associated with immunizations,” Penny told the Detroit News.

Maryanne Godboldo sought help from the Children’s Center, an organization claiming to help families with at-risk children. Godboldo told relatives the medications ordered by the doctor worsened symptoms, including behavioral problems.

When Godboldo refused to give her child the prescribed medication, Child Protective Services became involved. CPS obtained a warrant to remove the girl, but Maryanne reportedly refused to surrender the child to the state.

Police claimed Godboldo discharged a firearm in her apartment during the stand-off and that is when the SWAT team was called in. (read more)

"Osama was killed by his own guard": sources say as story becomes more convoluted by the hour

World’s most wanted al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden was not killed by the US special forces during a predawn raid at his compound in Abbottabad on late Sunday night, home to Pakistan Army’s military academy and less than two hours drive form Islamabad, instead his body guard killed him to save him from arrested alive, a Pakistani television quoted sources as saying on Tuesday. It said that the officials, who reached the compound after the operation, said they had not found any signs of resistance at any place in the compound. The official said signs indicate that Osama was shot in the head from a close range. (Source)

Hiding bin Laden: Finger of suspicion at ISI -- or is the ISI now an American scapegoat / target?

Just hours after American Navy Seals shot dead Osama bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan on Sunday, US President Barack Obama shot down the Pakistani security establishment's attempt to claim joint credit for the operation.

In a ten-minute television address, Obama left no doubt that US personnel alone were involved in the action that brought bin Laden to justice. ''Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,'' Obama said, adding, ''A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.''

While Obama said ''It's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding,'' he made no mention of any Pakistani military role in the operation. US officials in background briefing made it clear that no country, much less Pakistan, was informed of the operation.

In fact, there was not even a word of thanks for Pakistan. Instead, Obama said: ''Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.''

The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before US forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse. (read more)

The Obama-Osama connection -- is Bin Laden's death story a tool being used to quell Mideast uprisings and help Obama's relection?

It's irrelevant. It may be a rockin' Hollywood thriller - an Osama/Obama double bill (directed by Kathryn "Hurt Locker" Bigelow). But the targeted assassination - allegedly with an iconic American bullet to the head - of Osama bin Laden on Monday in fact only matches the irrelevancy the larger than life jihadi Godfather had sunk into.

United States President Barack Obama may have turned the boogie sound on his 2012 re-election - bookmakers are giving him 1.75 - way beyond the reach of a circus freak show featuring specimens such as mama grizzly Sarah Palin and billionaire bully (with a fox in his head) Donald Trump.

But was it "justice" - as Obama claimed? Justice - up to the age of the drone - implied a crime scene, evidence, courts, due process, a jury, a judge and a sentence. Former President George "war on terror" W Bush, in his bluntness, was closer to the mark: this was more like "US revenge".

At first sight, Bin Laden was not a casualty of war. He was a casualty of an irresistible push for democracy and social equity - the great 2011 Arab revolt. Bin Laden, the proponent of a restored caliphate, shunned parliamentary democracy. History had made him irrelevant as much as al-Qaeda had been made irrelevant even before the Arab revolt - in geographic, political, cultural and social terms.

American exceptionalism and Western hysteria notwithstanding - the in crowd say it's cool/to dig this chanting thing - al-Qaeda and its declination of affiliates, off-shots and copycats are condemned to remain dwelling like ghosts in the periphery of the Muslim world, with a new generation of leaders directing the odd shoe or underwear bomber.

What's spookier is how the al-Qaeda narrative has been resuscitated as a specter hovering over the collective unconscious of the West. With the dangerous poetic metaphor of Bin Laden's body now rockin' an aquatic Casbah at the bottom of the Arabian Sea. The White House/Pentagon/CIA did not want a "shrine"; the shrine now happens to be diluted in waters patrolled by the US and not far from those shores where the House of Saud is conducting a harsh counter-revolution against the yearning for a better life.

It's as if the carefully staged, too good to be true, non-martyrdom of bin Laden was in fact opening the doors to a new breed of hell - with Washington and the West betting on their self-fulfilling prophecy; al-Qaeda will react "with a vengeance" (American style?), there will be blood, a lot more blood, and the Arab world will revert to barbarism instead of dreaming of democracy, as in the crowd caught a whiff/of that crazy Casbah jive.

Welcome to the resurrection of al-Qaeda as a death blow to the great 2011 Arab revolt. (read more)

Prince William aborted honeymoon due to Osama attack tip-off? -- Strange coincidences begin to build up

Unofficial sources claim that the newly wed Prince William and his wife kate Middleton had allegedly aborted plans for a honeymoon trip to Kenya due to being tipped off by US secret services that the Pentagon was planning to raid and liquidate US public enemy number one – Osama bin Laden.

During the televised wedding ceremony William was said to have been more tense than usual, which to the untrained eyes of the more than 2 billion international public viewers seemed to be nothing more than pre and post wedlock excitement.

The question remains, could it be true that the royal couple chose to spend their honeymoon in the UK on a small Welsh island instead of traveling to an alleged pre-arranged honeymoon destination in Kenya, where they presumably had their first kiss. (read more)

The Coming Crisis will continue to look into this story and its authenticity. The entire Osama debacle is admittedly a bizarre situation raising many questions, and every avenue should be explored. If anyone has any further information regarding this story, please contact us.

India to resume nuclear tests to counter China?

India may resume its nuclear tests taking advantage of the unrest in Middle East to counter China which it considers "a slumbering threat at its bedside," a state-run newspaper in Beijing said, describing New Delhi as a "super antagonist".

Launching a bitter diatribe against India, an article in the ruling Communist Party's mouth piece People's Daily said "perhaps, once the Middle East situation further exacerbates, the United States would risk helping India become a nuclear-weapon state".

"Considering this, India is likely to resume its nuclear tests. For this, China and all the neighbours should sharpen their vigilance on India's every manoeuvre," it said.


Titled as 'Possible, India resumes nuclear test?' the article by one of the columnists of the online edition of the publication said, "Currently, the international situation seems delivering a pleasant message to India."

"If the sweeping unrest in the Middle East continues and the unpredictable war is prolonged in Libya, the world's attention and the US top concern will be shifted to the ongoing upheavals, neglecting the sub-continent". (read more)

In Muslim world, many doubters say bin Laden still lives -- and many in the West are becoming suspicious as well

Across the Muslim world, the killing of Usama bin Laden has unleashed a swirl of conspiracy theories, with many Pakistanis, Afghans and Arabs refusing to believe US assurances that al Qaeda's founder is actually dead, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The US, which deployed a Navy SEAL team to kill bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on Sunday, has not yet released any photographs of the Saudi fugitive's corpse. The body itself, US officials said, has been buried at sea after bin Laden's identity was confirmed through a DNA test.

Afghanistan's Taliban movement, which hosted bin Laden and al Qaeda until the US invasion of 2001, Tuesday night challenged President Barack Obama's account. "The Americans have not shown any credible evidence of Sheikh Usama's death, and his death has not been confirmed or denied by the sources close to Usama bin Laden," the Taliban said in their first official reaction to the killing.

In Abbottabad, many locals are arguing that Sunday's raid was a fake designed to embarrass Pakistan and bolster Obama's re-election chances. "They're just making it up. Nobody has seen the body," scoffed Owais Khan, a local lawyer. He argued that bin Laden would never have chosen Abbottabad, a wealthy, army-dominated town just 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Pakistan's capital, for a hideout.

Haji Liaquat, who runs a print shop about two miles from bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, agreed. "It's not the reality that Usama was present over there," he insisted. "This is just a drama to show how Pakistan is protecting Usama." (read more)

1 in 7 in U.S. Receive Food Stamps -- and it's getting worse and worse

Growth in the food stamp program appeared to reach a plateau in February — with 14.3% of the population relying on the safety net program.

The number of food stamp recipients was essentially flat in February, the most recent month available, with 44.2 million Americans receiving benefits, according a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (See a sortable breakdown of the data here.)

The food stamp program ballooned during the recession as workers lost their jobs or saw their hours and income reduced. The rise in recipients has begun to flatten in recent months, which may mean that as the economy is improving fewer Americans are seeking to join the program. Enrollment in the program is still high though, with 11.6% more people tapping benefits in February than the same month a year earlier. (read more)

US dollar hits three-year low as stocks sink

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 80 points after edging into positive territory at the end of a choppy session on Tuesday.

Among Dow components, Chevron [CVX 104.05 -2.12 (-2%) ], GE [GE 20.31 -0.33 (-1.6%) ] and Exxon Mobil [XOM 84.15 -1.47 (-1.72%) ] fell, while Intel [INTC 23.205 0.165 (+0.72%) ] and Cisco [CSCO 17.35 -0.06 (-0.34%) ] gained.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both declined. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose to nearly 17.

Most key S&P sectors sank, led by energy and materials.

The dollar [.DXY 73.00 -0.14 (-0.2%) ] hit a three-year low against a basket of currencies, as the euro gained to nearly $1.50.

Silver continued to decline to nearly $41 an ounce after falling nearly 8 percent on Tuesday, as increased costs for trading futures pushed investors from the market. Gold futures also fell, dropping to nearly $1,536 an ounce.

Oil continued to trade lower after news oil inventories rose by 3.4 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gasoline inventories dropped by 1 million barrels. (read more)

Hamas, Fatah proclaim reconciliation deal as confrontration with Israel seems more likely

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday proclaimed a landmark, Egyptian-mediated reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift.

The declaration was made at a ceremony at the Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Cairo.

Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the accord ended "four black years" that hurt national Palestinian interests. He also said he would "soon" visit Hamas-held Gaza Strip.

The pact provides for the creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government ahead of national elections next year, but leaves key issues unresolved and makes no mention of peace talks with Israel.

Israel has denounced the pact in advance of the Cairo ceremony, because of the militant Hamas' long history of deadly attacks against Israeli targets. It has equated the deal with a renunciation of peacemaking.

Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization and says it will not negotiate with a future Palestinian government that includes the Iranian- and Syrian-backed group.

Abbas rejected Israel's opposition to the pact, saying the reconciliation with the militant Islamic group was an internal Palestinian affair.

"They are our brothers and family. We may differ, and we often do, but we still arrive at a minimum level of understanding," Abbas said of Hamas.

And in a message to Israel, Abbas added: "We reject blackmail and it is no longer possible for us to accept the occupation of Palestinian land." (read more)

Absinthe to be legalized in France: "The Green Fairy" is another step towards civilization's collapse

Green, incredibly alcoholic and some say mind-altering - these are the qualities that led to absinthe being banned in France almost 100 years ago. But all that's about to change, after the government voted to allow sales of the drink nicknamed the "green fairy".

"I will not be seen as a drug addict anymore," says Clement Arnoux, an absinthe drinker and enthusiast.

"It changes everything from the point of view of my friends and family," he said.

The green, anise-flavoured spirit is associated with many of the country's most famous and esteemed artists and writers - like Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and Paul Verlaine - but it was banned in France in 1915 for its alleged harmful effect.

Absinthe is distilled with the leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, known as grande wormwood, which contains the drink's "special ingredient", thujone, which reputedly has mind-altering effects.

Later, the rule was relaxed, allowing the drink to be sold as long as it was not called absinthe, and instead labelled "a spirit made from extracts of the absinthe plant".

Now the ban is expected to be lifted entirely any day now, after the French Senate voted in favour of the move in mid-April.

While drinkers like Clement Arnoux are relieved that the stigma of illegality has gone, not everyone sees the change of law as cause for celebration. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: "Obama's Birth Certificate computer-generated" admits Hawaii Department of Health in correspondence with White House (Document linked)

The Coming Crisis has discovered White House released correspondence with the Hawaiian State Department of Health that details, specifically and without any doubt, that Obama's long form birth certificate was:

a) computer generated
b) released in a privileged manner

The White House correspondence with the State of Hawaii Department of Health can be downloaded as a PDF, directly from the White House website, here.

In particular, on page 4 of the PDF as written by Director of Health, Loretta J. Fuddy:

"Through that authority [as Director of Health], in recognition of your status as President of the United States, I am making an exception to current departmental policy which is to issue a computer-generated certified copy."

This statement is in the letter. We did not make this up. This is not conspiracy. This is the absolute truth, what journalists, multimedia specialists and observant people the world over have been shouting from atop buildings in the past few days.

We at the Coming Crisis have further questions we'd like to ask:

-- Are computer generated birth certificates legal documentation?
-- Why was the process of acquiring a birth certificate copy so drawn out and complicated? One simply visits their city hall or proper institution to get a new one, pays the fee, and it's done.
-- Have any of our readers ever been issued a computer generated birth certificate as legal documentation?
-- Can our readers help us find the answers to any of the above questions? If so, contact us.

The Protection of Child Killers: Breach Sees James Bulger Killer Venables Get New ID - 4th May 2011

Child killer Jon Venables is to get a new secret name, because of a serious security breach which has revealed details of his current identity.

Details of the breach cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

But it means that he will have to learn another fake background and be given a new set of documents, including a passport and birth certificate.

He will not be able to return to the town where he was living when he is released from his latest prison sentence.

Venables was given a first new identity in 2001 when he was freed from his life sentence, along with Robert Thompson, for the murder in Liverpool of toddler James Bulger.

The two killers were granted lifelong anonymity around their new identities, such was the concern that they would be attacked.

When Venables, 28, was jailed again last year for internet child sex abuse crimes it emerged that he had been telling some people who he really was. Read More

CIA Director Leon Panetta: Obama didn't see shooting of bin Laden - 4th May 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Little by little, CIA Director Leon Panetta is giving details about the operation that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

He tells PBS that President Barack Obama wasn't getting a direct video feed of the raid on bin Laden's compound and never saw the moment when bin Laden was shot dead.

Panetta says once the teams entered the compound, there was a period of about 20 minutes when those in the Situation Room didn't know what was happening. The CIA chief called them "some very tense moments."

When asked about the final confrontation with the terrorist leader, Panetta said: "I don't think he had a lot of time to say anything." He says there was a firefight going on in the compound and "this was all split-second action on the part of the SEALs."

He told The Associated Press he thinks a photograph of bin Laden's body will be released. The Obama administration hasn't decided whether to release the image, torn between a desire to prove he's dead and the risk of provoking more anti-U.S. sentiment.
Source

Obama: I won't release bin Laden death photos - 4th May 2011

In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday's 60 Minutes, President Obama says he won't release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death.

Video of the comments will appear on the CBS "Evening News" on Wednesday.

Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday that the Obama administration should not release the gruesome post-The killing of Osama bin Ladenmortem images, saying it could complicate the job for American troops overseas. Rogers told CBS News he has seen a post-mortem photo.

"The risks of release outweigh the benefits," he said. "Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East."

"Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet," he continued. "Osama bin Laden is not a trophy - he is dead and let's now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated."

Skeptics have called on the United States to release photos of bin Laden, who officials say was shot in the face during a raid on his compound, in order to prove that the al Qaeda leader is really dead. Read More

Fact or Fiction - Ancient Aliens "Angels and Aliens" - 4th May 2011

Taking a look at various stories of angelic visitations that to some ancient astronaut theorists read more like alien encounters than divine appearances, and suggests they are not supernatural beings, but visitors from distant planets.


BBC Reports Abottabad woman casts doubt on whether Osama Bin Laden was living in the city at all: is entire story fake?

Pakistan's prime minister says spy agencies worldwide share the blame for his country's failure to capture Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by US forces.

Meanwhile, the head of the CIA has said the US did not tell Islamabad of the raid in advance, for fear it would be jeopardised.

So what has the reaction been in the town in Pakistan where he was killed?

Shandana Syed lives in Abottabad, and told BBC Radio 5 live: "Nobody is convinced that it was actually Osama Bin Laden."

"That's what most people think over here," she told Rachel Burden on 5 live Breakfast.

"Of all the places in the world, if I want to hide from someone I would definitely not come into such a city." (Listen to the women's telephone call here)

Flooding intensifies in Quebec's Richelieu Valley: Canada

Flooding in Quebec's Richelieu Valley is affecting about a dozen municipalities along the river, and residents are bracing for more evacuations as heavy rain and strong wind expected to continue all week.

Up to 60 millimetres of rain are expected to fall by Thursday night, while the Richelieu River has swelled to record levels.

The river rose another five centimetres Wednesday morning.

About 400 people have been told to leave their homes in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Anne-de-Sabrevois, St-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix and Lacolle, and at least 2,000 homes have flooded.

Several people were travelling by canoe along the streets of St-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix Wednesday, according to CBC reporter Melissa Kent.

Septic tanks have overflowed in some municipalities, and towns officials are setting up portable toilets and handing out water bottles.

Four emergency shelters have been set up in the Montérégie region for evacuated residents who have nowhere to go. (read more)

John Williams: Hyperinflation and Double-Dip Recession Ahead

Economic recovery? What economic recovery? Contrary to popular media reports, government economic reporting specialist and ShadowStats Editor John Williams reads between the government-economic-data lines. "The U.S. is really in the worst condition of any major economy or country in the world," he says. In this exclusive interview with The Gold Report, John concludes the nation is in the midst of a multiple-dip recession and headed for hyperinflation.

The Gold Report: Standard & Poor's (S&P) has given a warning to the U.S. government that it may downgrade its rating by 2013 if nothing is done to address the debt and deficit. What's the real impact of this announcement?

John Williams: S&P is noting the U.S. government's long-range fiscal problems. Generally, you'll find that the accounting for unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other programs on a net-present-value (NPV) basis indicates total federal debt and obligations of about $75 trillion. That's 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP). The debt and obligations are increasing at a pace of about $5 trillion a year, which is neither sustainable nor containable. If the U.S. was a corporation on a parallel basis, it would be headed into bankruptcy rather quickly.

There's good reason for fear about the debt, but it would be a tremendous shock if either S&P or Moody's Investor Service actually downgraded the U.S. sovereign-debt rating. The AAA rating on U.S. Treasuries is the benchmark for AAA, the highest rating, meaning the lowest risk of default. With U.S. Treasuries denominated in U.S. dollars and the benchmark AAA security, how can you downgrade your benchmark security? That's a very awkward situation for rating agencies. As long as the U.S. dollar retains its reserve currency status and is able to issue debt in U.S. dollars, you'll continue to see a triple-A rating for U.S. Treasuries. Having the U.S. Treasuries denominated in U.S. dollars means the government always can print the money it needs to pay off the securities, which means no default. (read more)

US Dollar Currency Crash Occurring: This Has Never Happened Before












WikiLeaks Exposes North American Integration "Plot"

As early as January of 2005, high-ranking officials were discussing the best way to sell the idea of North American “integration” to the public and policymakers while getting around national constitutions. The prospect of creating a monetary unit to replace national currencies was a hot topic as well. Some details of the schemes were exposed in a secret 2005 U.S. embassy cable from Ottawa signed by then-Ambassador Paul Cellucci. The document was released by WikiLeaks on April 28. But so far, it has barely attracted any attention in the United States, Canada, or Mexico beyond a few mentions in some liberty-minded Internet forums.

Numerous topics are discussed in the leaked document — borders, currency, labor, regulation, and more. How to push the integration agenda features particularly prominently.

Under the subject line “Placing a new North American Initiative in its economic policy context,” American diplomatic personnel in Canada said they believed an “incremental” path toward North American integration would probably gain the most support from policymakers. Apparently Canadian economists agreed.

The cable also touts the supposed benefits of merging the three countries and even mentions what elements to “stress” in future “efforts to promote further integration.” It lists what it claims is a summary of the “consensus” among Canadian economists about the issues, too. (read more)

The great Afghan carve-up

The United States is seeking a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. It hopes to reverse the Taliban's momentum and bring them to the bargaining table through a counter-insurgency program, diplomacy with indigenous tribes and foreign powers, and the attrition of Taliban forces. This, the US expects, will give it an important if not central role in a settlement.

But regional powers - primarily Pakistan and China, with the support of Iran and Turkey - see the lone superpower as overextended, weary, and nearing a fiscal crisis - a situation they seek to turn to their advantage. These four regional powers are in a good position to play crucial roles in a settlement and in anexcellent position to benefit from one.

First, the regional powers, especially Pakistan, will use their influence with the Taliban to convince them to limit their ambitions to the south and east and accept a settlement with President Hamid Karzai at the helm in Kabul.

Second, the regional powers, especially Iran and Turkey, will press reluctant Afghan peoples to accept the settlement.

Third, the regional powers will help to form a rentier state to govern the country. Karzai will receive substantial revenue from foreign powers then allocate it to keep various peoples of the country in a loose but viable political framework.

Fourth, the regional powers will cooperate in the development of Afghanistan's resources - largely to the exclusion of other powers - and accrue substantial geopolitical goals as well.

This holds the promise of peace, stability and prosperity, but nothing is without pitfalls in this part of the world. (read more)

Libya: It's Not About Oil, It's About Currency and Loans

World Bank President Robert Zoellick Thursday said he hopes the institution will have a role rebuilding Libya as it emerges from current unrest.

Zoellick at a panel discussion noted the bank's early role in the reconstruction of France, Japan and other nations after World War II.

"Reconstruction now means (Ivory Coast), it means southern Sudan, it means Liberia, it means Sri Lanka, I hope it will mean Libya," Zoellick said.

On Ivory Coast, Zoellick said he hoped that within "a couple weeks" the bank would move forward with "some hundred millions of dollars of emergency support."( By Jeffrey Sparshott, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES –full article here - tinyurl DOT com SLASH 3hj8yyp .)

We listen to U.S. spokespeople try to explain why we’re suddenly now entangled in another Middle East war. Many of us find ourselves questioning the official justifications. We are aware that the true causes of our engagement are rarely discussed in the media or by our government.

While many of the rationalizations describe resources, especially oil, as the reasons why we should be in that country, there are also an increasing number of dissenting voices. For the most part, these revolve around Libya’s financial relationship with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and multinational corporations.

According to the IMF, Libya’s Central Bank is 100% state owned. The IMF estimates that the bank has nearly 144 tons of gold in its vaults. It is significant that in the months running up to the UN resolution that allowed the US and its allies to send troops into Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi was openly advocating the creation of a new currency that would rival the dollar and the euro. In fact, he called upon African and Muslim nations to join an alliance that would make this new currency, the gold dinar, their primary form of money and foreign exchange. They would sell oil and other resources to the US and the rest of the world only for gold dinars.

The US, the other G-8 countries, the World Bank, IMF, BIS, and multinational corporations do not look kindly on leaders who threaten their dominance over world currency markets or who appear to be moving away from the international banking system that favors the corporatocracy. Saddam Hussein had advocated policies similar to those expressed by Qaddafi shortly before the US sent troops into Iraq. (read more)

Suspect mortgage records adding up in Michigan: Possible fraud in documents 'widespread'

The staff at the Ingham County Register of Deeds office dug up 60 mortgage documents last week that bore the hallmarks of fraud. On Monday, they found dozens more.

The documents in question are mortgage assignments, used to transfer ownership of the note underlying a mortgage.

Most have been used in foreclosure proceedings.

All of the documents, the tally now stands at more than 100, were prepared by a now-defunct Georgia company called Docx, whose employees have said they were paid to sign names that weren't theirs to documents they knew nothing about.

"It just shows how widespread this was," said Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr.

"I'm sure Docx is not the only company that was doing this."

But Docx, a company hired by several major banks and other financial institutions to execute mortgage-related documents, happens to have been the subject of a "60 Minutes" expose that aired earlier this month.

The clip was shown at a meeting of the Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds last week in Bay City.

Many of those who had been there went home and began checking their files.

"We've identified approximately 40 documents we believe are forged," said Oakland County Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr., and that's just from 2008 and 2009. (read more)

New Jersey won't reach pre-recession employment levels until 2016

New Jersey has finally started to recover some of the jobs it lost during the recession, but at such a sluggish pace it will take another five years to get back to pre-slump levels, according to a Rutgers University report being released today.

The state is not expected to reach 2007 employment levels until at least mid-2016, said Nancy Mantell, director of the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service, which compiles the semiannual report. That means New Jersey continues to remain a full two years behind the rest of the nation in terms of economic recovery, an estimate she first put forth last year.

"A lot of this goes back a decade, when much of the employment growth was from the government sector," Mantell said in an interview. "I don’t see that recovering any time soon. I don’t really foresee any kind of recovery in manufacturing or construction in the short term, either."

Recent research by the New York Federal Reserve shows New Jersey has become vulnerable to a wide range of structural shifts in its economy, including heavy consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, a decline in the manufacturing sector and weak job growth in the public sector.

In her report, Mantell said public sector employment plunged in 2010 after the run-up to the Census, while private employment has grown slightly.

After several consecutive years of job losses, the state will add, on average, 38,800 jobs annually, or about 1 percent a year, the report said. At that rate, New Jersey’s employment base is expected to grow 4 percent by 2020 — compared to 8 percent for the rest of the nation. (read more)

American Hellholes -- The US is Steadily Falling Apart, One City, One State, One Community at a Time

The U.S. economy is dying and we are heading for the next Great Depression. The talking heads in the mainstream media love to spin the economic numbers around and around and they love to make it sound like the economy is improving, but the truth is that it doesn’t take a genius to see what is happening to the U.S. economic system. All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands. All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities. If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about. Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes. This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south. America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

If you still live in an area of the United States that is prosperous, do not mock the cities that you are about to read about. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that economic decline and economic despair are spreading rapidly and they will come to your area soon enough. Right now we are still talking about “American hellholes”, but if the long-term economic trends that are destroying this nation are not turned around eventually we will just be talking about one gigantic “American hellhole”. In the end, no area of the country will completely escape the economic hell that is coming.

Let’s take a closer look at what is currently happening in some of the worst areas of the country. (read more)

Strange cosmic ray hotspots stalk southern skies - 3rd May 2011

Cosmic rays crashing into the Earth over the South Pole appear to be coming from particular locations, rather than being distributed uniformly across the sky. Similar cosmic ray "hotspots" have been seen in the northern skies too, yet we know of no source close enough to produce this pattern.

"We don't know where they are coming from," says Stefan Westerhoff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Westerhoff and colleagues used the IceCube neutrino observatory at the South Pole to create the most comprehensive map to date of the arrival direction of cosmic rays in the southern skies. IceCube detects muons produced by neutrinos striking ice, but it also detects muons created by cosmic rays hitting Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic ray muons can be used to figure out the direction of the original cosmic ray particle.

Good mystery

Between May 2009 and May 2010, IceCube detected 32 billion cosmic-ray muons, with a median energy of about 20 teraelectronvolts (TeV). These muons revealed, with extremely high statistical significance, a southern sky with some regions of excess cosmic rays ("hotspots") and others with a deficit of cosmic rays ("cold" spots).

Over the past two years, a similar pattern has been seen over the northern skies by the Milagro observatory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Tibet Air Shower array in Yangbajain. "It is interesting that the pattern can be matched between [these experiments], at least qualitatively. They have very different techniques and systematic effects," says cosmic-ray physicist Paul Sommers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. "I regard those hotspots as a good mystery."

It's a mystery because the hotspots must be produced within about 0.03 light years of Earth. Further out, galactic magnetic fields should deflect the particles so much that the hotspots would be smeared out across the sky. But no such sources are known to exist. Read More

Did the U.S. break international law? - 4th May 2011

Concerns raised over shooting of unarmed bin Laden, burial -

The killing of Osama bin Laden when he was unarmed has raised concerns the United States may have gone too far in acting as policeman, judge and executioner of the world's most wanted man.

But for several Muslim leaders, the more unsettling issue is whether the al Qaeda leader's burial at sea was contrary to Islamic practice.

The White House said on Tuesday that bin Laden had resisted the U.S. team which stormed his Pakistan hideout and that there had been concerns he would "oppose the capture operation".

Spokesman Jay Carney declined to specify what sort of resistance bin Laden offered but added: "We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance. There were many other people who were armed ... in the compound."

Former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt told German TV the operation could have incalculable consequences in the Arab world at a time of unrest there.

"It was quite clearly a violation of international law," .

It was a view echoed by high-profile Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.

"It's not justice. It's a perversion of the term. Justice means taking someone to court, finding them guilty upon evidence and sentencing them," Robertson told Australian Broadcasting Corp television from London.

"This man has been subject to summary execution, and what is now appearing after a good deal of disinformation from the White House is it may well have been a cold-blooded assassination." Read More

100,000 Bees Attack Homeless Man in Phoenix - 3rd May 2011

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man has been hospitalized after being stung by a swarm of bees. Firefighters say there were close to a 100,000 bees in the swarm.

The swarm of bees attacked a homeless man walking down the street, near 32nd St and Glenrosa.

He was stung several thousand times.

Covering him in foam, firefighters rescued a man attacked by Africanized bees. The swarm was still stinging the victim while he was being rescued.

The bees were trying to get at firefighters too. All of them had to be doused with more foam.

"Probably close to a hundred thousand bees is what they're saying it looks like a big dark cloud," says Scott Walker with Phoenix Fire. "It doesn't take a lot for them to… start attacking you."

Firefighters rushed the victim to the hospital. He had gone into anaphylactic shock.

This is the 18th bee attack in Phoenix this year. We're well ahead of the 30 attacks that happened over last year.

The victim is expected to recover. Source

Meteorite weighing Approx 1 Kilogram Smashes into a roof of a Masurian Agro-Tourism Farm in Poland - 4th May 2011

A meteorite weighing about a kilogramme smashed into the roof of a Masurian agro-tourism farm in the village of Sołtmany, near Kruklanki, northern Poland.

Nobody was hurt but some damage was done to the roof.

Parts of the meteorite, which descended on Saturday causing some damage to a barn roof, was recovered by astronomers from Olsztyn, and will be examined by Professor Tadeusz Przylibski from Wrocław Technical University. Then it will be handed over to the Nicolas Copernicus Museum in Frombork or to the Planetarium in Olsztyn.

The meteorite, the biggest piece of which is about the size of a human fist, has also caused a stir in the Polish scientific community as it is the first planetoid fragment in 17 years to be recovered immediately after its fall to Earth.

Probably the specimen is a chondrite, a fairly common type of meteorite, derived from the belt of planetoids between Mars and Jupiter.

The last time Polish researchers recovered a chondritic meteorite immediately after it fell was in 1994, in Baszkówka near Warsaw.

This was also Poland’s only chondrite which did not fall apart after its passage through Earth’s atmosphere. Source

Videos Reveal Crackdown On Syria Protests - 4th May 2011

Chilling video emerging from Syria is appears to show security forces firing on anti-government protesters.

One set of pictures show a tense stand-off between soldiers and protesters on what is now being described as a killing field in southern Syria.

"Hold your ground, hold your ground," someone is heard to say, before the sound of gunfire at point-blank range.

The person filming runs and dives for cover as others fall around him.

"God is great," they shout, before the shooting starts again.

The gunfire lasts for more than a minute before the protesters are able to pick up their dead.

Other footage - which seems to have been taken by the army - shows captured protesters in Deraa.

Hundreds are said to have been rounded up and more than 500 killed.

Sky News cannot verify when or where any of the footage was taken. See video Here >>>>>

Nature unleashed: Rare twin waterspouts tower above Hawaii as storms lash island - 4th May 2011

Nature exhibited her full fury last week when tornadoes swept through the South, devastating whole towns and killing hundreds.

But yesterday she showed her magnificence as rare twin waterspouts - created when tornadoes form above the sea - towered over Honolulu Harbour, Hawaii.

Onlookers pulled up in their cars to watch as the funnels of water stretched from the ocean to the sky amid lightning, thunderstorms and heavy rain.

The dramatic weather conditions brought isolated flash flooding and 60,000 homes lost power for around two hours last night after a lightning strike, but no-one was injured.

The waterspouts lasted for about 12 minutes, and are a rare phenomenon in Hawaii. Read More


Cash Hyde a two year old boy, with Brain Cancer is 'Cured' after Secretly being fed Medical Marijuana by his Father - 4th May 2011

A desperate father whose son was suffering from a life-threatening brain tumour has revealed he gave him cannabis oil to ease his pain. And he has now apparently made a full recovery.

Cash Hyde, known as Cashy, was a perfectly healthy baby when he was born in June 2008 but became sick shortly before his second birthday.

At first he was misdiagnosed with glandular fever before his parents Mike and Kalli, from Missoula in Montana, were given the devastating news he had a serious brain tumour.

The little boy had to have arduous chemotherapy treatment to reduce the growth, which had drastic side effects including seizures and a blood infection.

His distraught parents were repeatedly told he was likely to succumb to the illness because the condition was so bad.

After one bout of high-dose chemotherapy, Cash was so weak he could not lift his head and was too sick to eat any solid food for 40 days.

It was at this point that Mr Hyde decided to take action and go down the route of medical marijuana to try to help his young son.

Cash's doctors refused to even discuss the option but his father went and sought authorisation elsewhere and then secretly administered it through his son's feeding tube.

He also told doctors to stop giving Cash the cocktail of anti-nausea drugs he had been taking - although he never told them what he was doing.

Mr Hyde told KXLY News that his son started looking better right away. Read More


Ramazan ‘Ramzy’ Acar, 24: left 'Bout 2 kill ma kid': Chilling Facebook message, before he stabbed his toddler daughter to death - 4th May 2011

The Facebook message was brief and chilling - ‘Bout 2 kill ma kid’.

It was posted by 24-year-old Australian Ramazan ‘Ramzy’ Acar before he picked up a huge Ninja-style knife and plunged it into the tiny body of his two-year-old daughter Yazmina.

As the little girl lay dying in her blood, Acar posted another message, directed at the child’s mother, Rachelle D’Argent, from whom he was separated.

‘It’s ova - I did it,’ he wrote.

Then he posted another cold vengeful Facebook message to Miss D’Argent reading: ‘Pay back, u slut.’

Sickening details of the murder of Yazmina were revealed in the Melbourne Magistrates’ court today as Acar - wearing an oversize dark suit, white shirt and tie - stared indifferently from the dock.

Glaring back at him were Miss D’Argent, her friends and family.

When he was asked if he pleaded guilty or not guilty to murder, Acar replied in a clear voice: ‘Guilty.’

The court heard that he and Miss D’Argent were estranged and that their daughter - known as Mimi - died after he picked her up from her mother last November.

He said he was going to take her to a milk bar to buy her a surprise - but instead he took her to another place where he stabbed her a number of times before dumping her body in a park.

His cruel Facebook messages were read later by his estranged partner. Read More

Osama Bin Laden Captured Alive before being shot by US Forces Claims Osama Bin Laden's Daughter - 4th May 2011

The man who purchased the land in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden's compound was built has been arrested, Sky sources reveal.

The landholder was taken into custody after details emerged of the successful US raid for the world's most wanted man.

Terror chief bin Laden was killed in an early morning mission by US special forces on Monday, undertaken without Pakistani officials being made aware.

Meanwhile, Sky's special correspondent Alex Crawford, reporting from Abbottabad, said: "A source I spoke to this morning said they had been sharing information about that specific compound with the US as far back as 2009.

"There were reports of suspicious foreigners here in Abbottabad."

Pakistan's ubiquitous ISI spy agency also claims it gave the US key leads on the compound's inhabitants last year.

"My ISI source said they shared information as long as six months ago that Osama bin Laden's wife and his sons were living in that compound, and they shared this with the Americans."

In further developments, Al Arabiya said that bin Laden's daughter claimed he was captured alive before being shot dead by US forces. Read More

Update:

Osama bin Laden's daughter has claimed her father was captured alive before being shot dead by US special forces.

The report puts further pressure on the White House after a spokesman already confirmed bin Laden was not armed.

But spokesman Jay Carney said the al Qaeda leader "did resist" during the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"There was concern bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed, he did resist," he said.

Reporters were later briefed he "appeared as if he was reaching for a weapon".

However, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the US Navy SEALs that carried out the mission knew they might have to take bin Laden's life.

"The authorities we have on bin Laden are to kill him. And that was made clear," he said.

"But it was also, as part of their rules of engagement, if he suddenly put up his hands and offered to be captured, then they would have the opportunity, obviously, to capture him. But that opportunity never developed." Read More

Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence shared information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies in 2009 Regarding Target Compound - 4th May

CIA "exploited intelligence leads" given by ISI to reach bin Laden: Pakistan Foreign Office

Islamabad, May 4(ANI): Pakistan has said that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is the world's top spy agency in terms of achievements against Al Qaeda and in the war on terror, and that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "exploited the intelligence leads" given by it to identify and reach Osama bin Laden.

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed Sunday night in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

Pakistan's Foreign Office said that Abbottabad and the surrounding areas "have been under sharp focus of intelligence agencies since 2003, resulting in highly technical operation by the ISI that led to the arrest of a high value Al Qaeda target in 2004."

"As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till mid April 2011," it said in a statement.

Taking advantage of much superior technological assets, the Foreign Office said, the CIA "exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin Laden, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and Secretary of State, in their statements."

"It is also important to mention that CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have benefited a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI," it added.

This statement appears contradictory to CIA chief Leon Panetta's recent comments that the US did not keep Pakistan in the loop about 'Operation Geronimo' due to fears that Islamabad could have jeopardised the operation by leaking word to its targets. Source

Dead bird reports sought as West Nile clues - 5th Apr 2011

La Salle County residents are asked to report finding dead birds of several species to the county health department.

Dead birds are important sentinels for early detection of West Nile virus activity, according to a statement from the health department. The virus has been documented in La Salle County for the past nine years.

The collection period began Monday and will run though Friday, Oct. 14.

Residents are asked to call the heath department's environmental division at 815-433-3366 to report any dead crow, blue jay, robin, pigeon, cardinal, cowbird, finch, grackle, mourning dove, sparrow or starling.

The county is seeking only "eligible birds" — those that have no obvious cause of death such as those killed by gunshot or those found crushed in a roadway after having likely been killed by a motor vehicle.

The birds should be believed to have been dead for less than 48 hours. Birds should only be reported if they have not been damaged by scavenging animals and are not decomposed. Decomposed animals can be recognized as having a strong odor present, eyes deflated or dried, maggots present or bloated from decomposition gasses.

The health department staff also is getting ready to begin testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis. The testing equipment was purchased with a grant. Source

200 Elk Died because they had Gorged themselves on Winter Wheat for Months - 4th May 2011

Elk die after gorging on winter wheat. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Mark Kirsch, who is based in Pendleton says that winter wheat is a addictive for elk.

This addiction got the best of at least 250 young elk this winter, including many that had migrated from Union County, in the McKay Creek area southwest of Pendleton. The elk, 200 of which were calves, died because they had gorged themselves on winter wheat for months, Kirsch said. “

The winter wheat did the young elk in because their digestive systems cannot break it down and absorb its nutrients. This means some elk actually died of starvation because they were not absorbing nutrients from the winter wheat. “They starved to death on full stomachs,’’ Kirsch said.

Most of the elk that died likely succumbed not to starvation but to Clostridium infections, Kirsch said. Clostridium is a bacteria found in elk. It attacks the bodies of elk when the animals are weakened by poor nutrition and other factors compromising their immune systems. None of the dead elk ODFW biologists found at McKay Creek died from bloating, Kirsch said. Bloating often occurs when elk abruptly switch from dried cured forage in the winter to fresh vegetation like winter wheat.

Many elk succumbed from over-eating winter wheat in the McKay Creek area this year because winter conditions hit Northeast Oregon about a month earlier than normal, Kirsch said. This meant elk coming to the McKay Creek area began eating winter wheat a month earlier than normal. Elk find winter wheat especially tasty from December through February when almost all the forage available is hard and cured. Once elk discover a winter wheat field, they know no better than to gorge on it. “It is like giving a young kid the key to an ice cream shop,’’ Kirsch said. Source