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Shockfront

Sunday, 08 November 2009

New World Order

-- The … health department has identified these groups as vaccination priorities: pregnant women, people who live with or care for infants under 6 months old, health care and emergency services personnel, people between the ages of six months and 24 years old and people ages 25through 64 years old with preexisting conditions.
-- L.A. County's Swine Flu Victims:
Death Certificates Tell the Stories Of A Ravaging Virus.
Annenberg Digital News
Apparently, one of those "preexisting conditions" is a rather grievous phlegm known as Goldman Sachs executivism.
Goldman Sachs Received H1N1 Vaccine Before Several Hospitals
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Friday, 06 November 2009

Infamy Juxtapose

Thursday, 05 November 2009

Saudi Arabia Bombs Yemen

Now that the US has set the precedent, well, as expected, everyone with a grudge and a few F-16s, can follow along.
The Saudi air force has bombed strongholds of Houthi fighters in northern Yemen,  officials have said.

The attack on Thursday came a day after Saudi authorities accused the fighters, who want autonomy from Sana'a, of killing at least one of their soldiers on the countries' border.

The Reuters news agency reported Saudi officials as sayingthat the air force had attacked fighters who had seized a border area, killing about 40 Houthis.
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SOA Protest, November 20-22

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-- The Honduran military is firing gas into the Brazilian embassy. The people inside are undergoing internal hemorrhaging - revealed by intense nose bleeds and blood in their urine. The Red Cross and members of the media are being denied access into the diplomatic compound in Tegucigalpa.

-- At least one person has been reported killed and several have been wounded in a series of attacks by … military and police forces on supporters of the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya. More than 100 people have been detained.
That is a small sampling of measures taken by School of the Americas graduates in their post-coup heydays in Honduras.  Which coup? you might ask.  Well, actually, all of them, with the current variation admittedly tame by historical SOA standards. 

And with School of the Americas graduates still reigning repressively supreme in Honduras, SOA Watch is sponsoring a weekend protest at Fort Benning, Georgia.
From November 20-22, 2009, thousands will vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, to stand up for justice, to shut down the School of the Americas and to end the oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the school represents.
A noble sentiment, to be sure.  SOA Watch appears a bit idealistic about these efforts though, garnering, as they will, "thousands,"
People power is going to win over Pentagon lobbying!
In a word, no.  An effort of millions must be seen, à la Vietnam protests, before "Pentagon lobbying" starts losing the day.  And, frankly, I don't see that on any foreseeable horizon.  There appears not [...]More

US Military Access: All Colombian Airports

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The red carpet was rolled out as Plan Colombia moves forward under the Obama administration's expanding efforts to re-militarize Colombia and regional Latin America, rekindling the warm feelings of bygone torture regimes, military juntas (they've already begun!), and School of the Americas-sponsored beat downs.
A recent military agreement between Colombia and the US, which sparked outcry in Latin America, allows Washington access to civilian airports as well as military bases.

The full text of the deal published on the Internet on Wednesday, suggested that Bogota and Washington "will establish a mechanism to determine the estimated number of flights that will have use of international airports."

According to the text of the accord, the US will have access to all international airports across the Andean nation including airports in the cities of Barranquilla, San Andres, Cartagena, Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Bucaramanga.

The deal envisions 800 US troops and 600 US civilian contractors operating in the Colombian territory and they will be granted diplomatic immunity.
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UN Threatens Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The UN pulled out half of its staff from Kabul, threatening complete withdrawal in a "pointed warning" to Karzai, while those remaining move into a Kabul "Green Zone."
The United Nations today temporarily pulled half its international staff out of Afghanistan and threatened that a complete and permanent withdrawal could follow.

Amid an atmosphere of increasing gloom in Afghanistan, the UN Special Representative in Kabul, Kai Eide delivered a pointed warning to the government of Hamid Karzai.

Of the 1,100 foreign UN workers, 600 will now leave until the situation improves. The remaining UN workers are to be relocated inside Kabul from the current network of 93 different UN guesthouses, many of them privately run civilian houses, to a one large compound which is currently used for the European Union police training mission. The new arrangement will echo the ‘Green Zone’ found in Baghdad.

 

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Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Plan Afghan

Wax on the Afghanistan debacle takes form with this one headline.
Karzai Vows Corruption Fight, but Avoids Details
How great is that?  The illegitimate president pronounced by a farce election -- blessed now by the UN after that quaint Kabul electioneering kabuki** -- promises now, after eight years, to "fight" corruption. 

Never, in the history of human endeavour, have so many, uttered so much and delivered so little.

It's not even a little, really.  They deliver nothing but worse.

Uribe is on with this program, too, promising to "fight corruption" within his own government in the Plan Columbia drug and terrorism war.

Let us consider that phrase and ponder the inconsistencies laid bare by American policy in Colombia (indicting drugs and terrorism) vis-à-via Afghanistan.  Why is it that interdicting the drug supply in Colombia is officially paramount to combating the drug lords and terrorism, while in Afghanistan, the US military itself recognizes that destroying farmers' livelihoods is the wrong approach?  Unless, of course, a full metal jacket, congressionally approved military occupation makes all the difference.

All of which strikes a chord: Does our foreign policy establishment, or the American media for that matter, ever bother to wonder why the only real* -- and longest running -- insurgency in South America is in Colombia?


*Discounting NED, and or, USAID-funded oppositions in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, etc.

**Okay, okay, the election was a fraud.  Karzai is not legitimate as it stands.  We'll have a run-off.  Oh! The opponent withdrew!  After all that US, NATO and -- worst [...]More

Naxalites Expand Territory, Hitting India

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With the region awash in the turmoils of terrorism and war, Red Corridor Maoists are seizing on the extant mayhem, employing a little shock doctrine of their own.
India’s Maoist rebels are now present in 20 states and have evolved into a potent and lethal insurgency. In the last four years, the Maoists have killed more than 900 Indian security officers, a figure almost as high as the more than 1,100 members of the coalition force skilled in Afghanistan during the same period.

For India, the widening Maoist insurgency is a moment of reckoning for the country’s democracy and has ignited a sharp debate about where it has failed. In the past, India has tamed some secessionist movements by coaxing rebel groups into the country’s big-tent political process.The Maoists, however, do not want to secede or be absorbed. Their goal is to topple the system.

Here in the state of Chattisgarh, Maoists dominate thousands of squaremiles of territory and have pushed into neighboring states of Orissa,Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, part of a so-called Red Corridorstretching across central and eastern India.
The biblical tone of the local term "Naxalite" [Maoist] has an old [...]More

Monday, 02 November 2009

Hezbollah, the IDF and Information Warfare

It is widely viewed that Hezbollah "won" the 2006 war with Israel by not losing.  How did they do that?

[From Bullets and Blogs, New media and the warfighter,
An analytical synthesis and workshop report,
US Army War College,
DIME,
The SecDev Group.]
In the contemporary operational environment, new adversaries have leveraged new media to achieve strategic outcomes. New media are their tactical tools for effective strategies that privilege the informational battlespace as the main effort. In this respect, the Israeli-Hezbollah war of 2006 is instructive. Hezbollah was out-matched by the IDF at all levels, with little hope of prevailing in the conventional military battlespace. And yet, by employing an information-led warfighting strategy that exploited tactical lethal encounters to generate strategic effects, Hezbollah was able to claim a strategic win by denying the IDF the achievement of its principal war aims. This clever use of the information environment, which Hezbollah used to create multiplier effects of its limited conventional military capabilities, essentially outflanked Israel’s campaign strategy. By shifting the center of gravity into the information space, Hezbollah was able to generate and sustain the initiative. Hezbollah’s warfighting strategy masterfully synchronized conventional and information “fires,” creating strategic “information effects” that eventually forced Israel to cease its operations without achieving its stated war aims. The 2006 War provides important insights on the dynamics of the contemporary operational environment and the role of new media, …

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Sunday, 01 November 2009

Piling On in Tiblisi

As though "Marxism" and "communism" haven't taken enough of a beating lately, this really is some ugly news coming out of Georgia.
Secret prison cells from the Stalin era have been discovered on a Tbilisi construction site for a $90-million luxury hotel for the international Kempinski Hotel chain.
Oh , the Stalinist horror!  And appositely ironic to boot!  But there is more, this is the proverbial boot on the throat:
The cells, located in the city’s former Institute of Marxism and Leninism, are believed to be the first of their kind to be found in Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Stalin.  What a dick.


More

Saturday, 31 October 2009

A Guantanamo War Crimes Commission

While it will remain beyond the ken of American media, someone actually is conducting hearings for a War Crimes Commission and they are specifically  investigating torture authorized and executed by the Bush administration at the US military detention center at Guantanamo Bay.  As one might expect, the hearings are revealing some rather unpleasant things done in the name of the War on Terror™.
KL War Crimes Commission Hears Guantanamo Atrocities

KUALA LUMPUR - A British Muslim detained for three years at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison manned by the United States, revealed that the youngest detainee he knew of was a nine-year-old boy who was also tortured like the rest.

Ruhal Ahmed's story was among more accounts of atrocities committed against the detainees at Guantanamo, told before an open commission hearing which began today on the sidelines of an international conference to criminalise war.

The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings will be submitted to a tribunal in conjunction with the Criminalise War Conference and War Crimes Tribunal 2009 spearheaded by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir, an outspoken war critic, had said that the tribunal's decision would be forwarded to the United Nations for further action.

Malaysian lawyer Zainur Zakaria headed the six-member panel today that heard the heart-wrenching experiences of seven who spoke of almost daily physical and emotional torture by the US army over alleged ties to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban movement.

Ruhal, now 27, was detained in 2001 after he and three Pakistani Britons, As if Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and a friend, Monir, travelled to
[...]More

The Good War

As seen on the pages of The Washington Post.

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Yipee.
More

Monday, 26 October 2009

Perspective-dependent Trendlines

Many down, just two to go.  The bottom of the heap awaits!
The United States is the country with the highest inequality level and poverty rate across the OECD, Mexico and Turkey excepted.
The net effects of the Nixon years, the Reagan years, the Bush years and, finally, the Bush years:
Since 2000, income inequality has increased rapidly, continuing a long-term trend that goes back to the 1970s.
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oecd_report_eq_ineq

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Thursday, 22 October 2009

Nominee: Upper Class Twit of the Year

Goes to …

Thatcherite, and Vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Lord Griffiths, who, in a biblically apposite setting, spoke to an audience "at St Paul's Cathedral in London about morality in the marketplace," whinged that an ungrateful public ought to just suck it up, and offered these comforting, trickle-down words, jowls fully atremble:
the British public should tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all.
The more we make, the more you make!  See? How easy is that?  The money changers are indeed back in the temple, preaching the money changers' words.  Jesus is nowhere in sight.  Apparently, that whole "spirit" thing ain't workin' out.

Here is a graph that represents Lord Griffiths beliefs:

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The Reagan-Thatcher-Laffer trickle down nonsense is on full display with the utterances of Griffiths.  Suffice it to say the Reagan-Thatcher alliance ensured that this unfounded faith would metastasize on both sides of the pond.  To Upper Class Twit of the Year Nominee Lord Griffiths, Goldman Sachs is the font of all wealth.  Certainly for him it is.

Well, how's that working out?
One in six Americans in poverty, new study finds

The level of poverty in America is even worse than first believed.

A revised formula for calculating medical costs and geographic variations show that approximately 47.4 million Americans last year lived in
[...]More

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Russian Press on Two Pipeline Fronts

Nord Stream and South Stream both gain approval from Denmark and Turkey.
Russia moved a step closer to realizing its two major export-gas pipeline projects under the Baltic and Black seas to Europe after receiving long-awaited approvals from Denmark and Turkey.

Denmark gave the green light Tuesday to construct the Nord Stream in its section of the Baltic Sea, becoming the first country to clear the project.

Countries bordering the Baltic Sea have worried that the pipeline would pose a threat to the environment, but Russia has said it expects the remaining countries -- Finland and Sweden -- to approve the project by year-end.

Russia's attempt to push through the second pipeline -- the South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea -- has proved more difficult. But after Turkey approved the project Monday, Russia expects a feasibility study to be finished at the beginning of 2010, with construction likely to begin by year-end.
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