21 February 2009

"A MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HOMELAND SECURITY" NPR's 'History Scrub' of U.S. Fault in Afghanistan [editorial]

Article: "NPR's 'History Scrub' of U.S. Fault in Afghanistan"
Source: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting / fair.org
Excerpt(s): "A rather major problem with nearly all of NPR's reporting" has been identified by NPR Check blogger Mytwords (2/18/09) and named the "history scrub." The definition: "If the essential background history to a story reflects poorly on the actions of the U.S. government--that history will be deleted, scrubbed, sanitized--sent down the memory hole." The key example given is a February 17 All Things Considered in which host Michelle Norris "blandly explains that thousands more U.S. troops are headed off to Afghanistan and doesn't even chuckle in noting that the United States Institute of Peace [tee-hee] released some new policy recommendations for Afghanistan"...
Link to Full Story: http://www.fair.org/blog/2009/02/19/nprs-history-scrub-of-us-fault-in-afghanistan/

20 February 2009

THEY CAN RUN, BUT THEY CAN'T HIDE! WE KNOW! The Mercenaries Previously Known as Blackwater [news story & book referral]

Article: "The Mercenaries Previously Known as Blackwater"
Source: PRwatch.org (orig. source The Washington Post)
Excerpt(s): First it was Blackwater USA. Then it was Blackwater Worldwide. Now, it's "Xe" (pronounced "Zee"). The private military company has repeatedly tried to re-brand, after numerous controversies from the killing of civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad; to its no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, post-Katrina; to its hiring troops with ties to repressive regimes, like that of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The company says its latest name change is meant to reflect a new focus. Blackwater / Xe spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "We've taken the company to a place where it is no longer accurately described as Blackwater." Its subsidiaries also have new names: Blackwater Airships is now Guardian Flight Systems, Blackwater Target Systems is GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge and Training Center is the U.S. Training Center. The company has also shed its famous (or infamous) bear-paw and crosshairs logo. The new head of Blackwater / Xe, Gary Jackson, told employees, "Xe will be a one-stop shopping source for world class services in the fields of security, stability, aviation, training and logistics," reports the Wall Street Journal.
Links to Full Story: http://www.prwatch.org/node/8214 and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/13/AR2009021303149.html
Click on image of bookcover above right to read more [link to Amazon.com preview] about the origins and recent practices of Blackwater in Jeremy's Scahill's well-researched book (highly recommended--though he still takes it a bit easy on them...).

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater & imperialistic aristocrat
(Image by The Washington Post / click on image for original source)

19 February 2009

U.S. EMPIRE FLEXES MILITARY MIGHT MORE AS ECONOMIC SITUATION DEGRADES Russia & U.S. remain (intentionally) ambiguous in alliance-making [news story]

Article: "Russia says U.S. may go beyond European missile plans"
Source: Russian News & Information Agency
Excerpt(s): MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is not ruling out that Washington may go further than its missile defense plans for Central Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday. "We have not yet received a clear answer, a denial at least, to our question whether the U.S. plans to deploy a fourth and fifth missile defense site," Lavrov said upon his return from Bahrain.
Link to Full Story: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090219/120227905.html
Picture from Russian News & Information Agency (RIA Novosti)

ANOTHER MONEY SWINDLER TRIES TO HIDE FROM WORLD'S REPROACH "Sir" Allen Stanford nowhere to be found after stealing $8b+ [news story & video]

Article: "Stanford charges spark run on banks"
Source: Guardian.co.uk
Excerpt(s): The criminal investigation into the business empire of the cricket tycoon Sir Allen Stanford sowed panic in the Caribbean and Latin America yesterday as governments and investors scrambled to uncover the extent of the alleged $8bn fraud. The prime minister of Antigua warned of "catastrophe" for the nation, depositors rushed to withdraw funds in bank branches around the region, and authorities in Colombia, Panama, Peru and Venezuela began their own investigations into the Texas billionaire's financial dealings... On Tuesday the US securities and exchange commission accused Stanford of fraudulently selling $8bn (£5.6bn) in high-yield certificates of deposit. It sought to freeze assets and appoint a receiver. But the tycoon himself was nowhere to be found and US marshals were reportedly unable to serve him with court orders. Sources at the SEC confirmed they were searching for the billionaire, who has not been seen in public since news of alleged fraud broke. Stanford International Bank has 30,000 clients in 131 countries, as well as advisers in 30 US offices. Antigua, a sleepy island with a population of 70,000, forming half of a Caribbean nation with Barbuda, risks being the worst hit. It was here that Stanford set up his headquarters in a 30,000 sq ft Georgian-style hilltop building...
Link to Full Story (and video): http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/feb/18/allen-stanford-banks-caribbean

WORLD ECONOMIC CASCADE-FAILURE CONTINUES... More Venezuelans and Mexicans added to list of pan-American fraud victims [news story & video]

Article: "Latin Americans fret as Stanford crisis spreads"
Source: Reuters
Excerpt(s): CARACAS, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Well-off Mexican pensioners joined middle-class Venezuelans in a frantic quest on Wednesday to track down their savings as the fraud scandal enveloping U.S. broker Stanford Group Co spread to Latin America. Crowds flocked to Stanford offices in Caracas and Mexico City and telephone lines buzzed as harried Stanford staff fielded calls round-the-clock about frozen accounts. Regulatory authorities moved on the bank's assets in Ecuador and Panama and its Colombian brokerage unit halted stock trading. "I heard the news and came straight down," said Caracas resident Josefina Moreno, who said her son had about $10,000 invested. "We've had money here for 2 years, and I want it back." The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused billionaire Allen Stanford, a high profile cricket promoter, and two Stanford executives of fraudulently selling $8 billion in high-yield certificates of deposit in a scheme that stretched around the world from Texas and Antigua. Venezuelan investors alone could have more than $2 billion invested in the scheme.
Link to Full Story: http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN1845098120090218
Picture of "Sir" Allen Stanford from Guardian.co.uk

Related (brief) video from Reuters:

18 February 2009

END THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW Israeli tanks enter Gaza City [news story]

Article: "Israeli tanks enter Gaza City"
Source: Press TV
Excerpt(s): Israeli tanks backed by helicopters have crossed the border with the Gaza Strip, triggering clashes in Gaza City. Witnesses told AFP that the military forces entered Gaza City early Thursday with Palestinian fighters exchanging fire with them. The military forces however left the strip after the fighters fired antitank rockets at them. No casualties have been reported in the attack. There was no comment by the Israeli military on the incident.
Link to Full Story: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail.aspx?id=86072&sectionid=351020202

MARTIALLING LAW FRENCH-STYLE France sends police to quell Guadeloupe riots [news story]

Article: "France sends police to quell Guadeloupe riots"
Source: Agence France-Presse
Excerpt(s): POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe (AFP) - - France dispatched hundreds of police reinforcements to its Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Wednesday as a month-long strike over the rising cost of living descended into deadly riots. Union representative Jacques Bino, aged in his 50s, was shot dead overnight when he drove up to a roadblock manned by armed youths in Pointe-a-Pitre, the island's main city. It was not immediately clear who shot him, but he was the first victim of the escalating violence on Guadeloupe, normally a tourist-friendly island but crippled since January 20 by a general strike. "There were no police nearby," said local prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre... The conflict has exposed race and class divisions on the island, where the local white elite wields power over the black majority. The economy is largely in the hands of the "Bekes," the local name for whites who are mostly descendants of colonial landlords and sugar plantation slave owners of the 17th and 18th centuries. A Socialist opposition leader, Malikh Boutih, said it was "shocking" to watch a police force "almost 100 percent white, confront a black population" and drew a parallel with the 2005 suburban riots in France. "There are no concrete buildings, there are palm trees, but it's the same dead-end, the same 'no future' for young people, with joblessness and a feeling of isolation," Boutih said. Unions launched a strike on the neighbouring French island of Martinique on February 5 also to press for higher salaries and measures to bring down the prices of basic goods.
Link to Full Story: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20090219/twl-france-guadeloupe-martinique-strike-6b0205e.html
Picture from Agence France-Presse, originally captioned: A map of Guadeloupe. France mobilised police reinforcements Wednesday after an activist was killed in Guadeloupe as the month-long strike on the French Caribbean island descended into rioting.

Our 400th post: Human beings ARE free: NEW FEATURE (very original) Quote Of The Day!

"All of our neo-liberal economies made the same exact bet, we put all our economic eggs in one collateralized debt basket. That we could just trade debt forever and nobody would ever have to produce or work another day in their lives. And now we are all having to unwind this one way bet at the same time by electronically injecting trillions of fresh fiat credit into the global financial corpse. Got gold?"
~ Max Keiser, money guru & funny man extraordinaire, 24 Nov 2008

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-keiser/who-could-have-predicted_b_145920.html

08 February 2009

A letter. [update 12 Feb 08]

UPDATE 12 Feb 08: Solution forthcoming within 24 hrs. if it kills me... Press on each day! ~Human beings are FREE!

Dear Fellows being,

I must extend a heartfelt apology to all of y’all for the lack of new content on the blog as of late. Excuses that one (not me, of course!) might give for this lack are several and significant, BUT to cut all that off short, here I will just vent my anger over the rate at which I burn through computers and be done with it: AAAAAARRGGHHHH!

All right! … moving along NOW.

Be that as it is, updates to HBAF are (yet again) temporarily on hold while this resource issue is rectified.

Thank you again for your continued visits, referrals, and especially for your commentary (including criticism!) and notes of encouragement. Let’s keep cranking up the pressure on the gears of the so-called “machine”; as for these bloggers in particular, we’ll be back ASAP! Please do keep us in mind. Best wishes to everyone!

Free human beings in Louisville, Kentucky and Beyond

The Oracle with Max Keiser - 06 February 2009 - 4 parts [video]