President Obama issued a policy directive on Tuesday that was quickly portrayed as a resolve to his right to detain US citizens without trial. In reality, the plan is a carefully crafted PR move that doesn’t strip his absolute power over Americans. - Under the directive, the requirement to go straight to military jail is waived if doing so will impede counterterrorism cooperation with other nations, interfere with US detainees held abroad, jeopardize the security of the captive’s cooperation and a handful of other categories. Even under this change, however, the final decision is still up to the president to make. Simply put, the White House is asking for a little leeway in how it goes about handling detainees before putting them on the boat to Guantanamo Bay.
RT interviews Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition - Please watch and share this important RT interview with Brian Becker on the deepening crisis with Iran. Becker explains the overall U.S. strategy that is designed at destabilizing and overthrowing the independent government in Iran. The ANSWER Coalition has organized demonstrations opposing war and sanctions directed against Iran. It has also produced an important fact sheet exposing the truth about the so-called nuclear crisis. Click HERE to download the fact sheet.
US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz says the military is prepared for a possible military offensive against Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program. - "We have an operational capability and you wouldn't want to be there when we used it," he said when asked about a 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb. The general, however, refused to comment if the MOP bomb could reach underground nuclear sites in Iran. "Not to say that we can't continue to make improvements and we are," he said on Wednesday. "The bottom line is we have a capability but we're not sitting on our hands, we'll continue to improve it over time," Schwartz added.
Andrei Akulov: US Strike against Iran: Plans and Consequences
The Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has affirmed that his government would never relinquish control on the Jordan Valley. - Lieberman said, during a tour of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea in the company of ministers of his party Yisrael Beiteinu, that the Israeli presence there was “vital” to ensure Israel’s security especially in light of recent changes in the Arab world. He also rejected the deployment of international forces in the area in light of the regional developments. The minister described the Jordan Valley as the key to Tel Aviv’s security and one of the most important defense lines in face of any threat.strong
"In recent answers to written parliamentary questions from the Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd indicated Australia had sought confirmation that a secret grand jury inquiry directed against Mr Assange was under way. [...] Mr Rudd said ''no formal advice'' had been received from US authorities but acknowledged the existence of a ''temporary surrender'' mechanism that could allow Mr Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US. He added that Swedish officials had said Mr Assange's case would be afforded ''due process''.
"In the emails, an Australian Stratfor ''senior watch officer'', Chris Farnham, advocated revoking Mr Assange's Australian citizenship, adding: ''I don't care about the other leaks but the ones he has made that potentially damage Australian interests upset me. If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don't think I'd have too much of a problem.'' [...] But Mr Farnham also referred to a conversation with a close family friend who he said knew one of the Swedish women who had made allegations of sexual assault against Mr Assange, and added: ''There is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves.''"
Mike Head: Further evidence of secret US indictment of Julian Assange - [...] The emails were sent by Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice-president for counterterrorism and corporate security. Burton is a former Deputy Chief of the US Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Burton’s emails indicate that the US government is employing the same “counter-terrorism” methods against WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda,
“Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda],” he wrote. Later Burton pointed to a relentless dirty tricks and destabilisation operation. “Ferreting out [Assange’s] confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside [sic]. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki.” “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”
John Pilger: The Assange case means we are all suspects now
Israeli soldiers raided two Palestinian television stations in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, seizing transmitters the military said were interfering with air traffic communications. - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited one of the stations, Watan TV in Ramallah, and said the Israeli operation was "oppressive and monstrous" and violated "all international laws". The Israeli military said Watan TV and Alquds educational television, which is also based in Ramallah, had been asked repeatedly by Israel to stop using frequencies that cut into Israeli wireless communications and air traffic control bands.
The French Constitutional Council on Tuesday struck down a draft law that would have criminalized the denial of an Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks, legislation that has soured relations between France and Turkey. - The controversy over the bill is likely to persist, however. President Nicolas Sarkozy, who backed the legislation, vowed to submit a new bill with revised language. He has in the past indicated that he would push to see that denial of an Armenian genocide is made a crime even if the council ruled against the draft law. Mr. Sarkozy offered no indication on Tuesday as to how he thought a new bill might overcome the objections of the council, which ruled that “the legislature did unconstitutional harm to the exercise of freedom of expression and communication” in approving the legislation.
No, HR 347- Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 is not about planting flowers and mowing the lawn. Improving the grounds means another swipe at the First Amendment and using yet another law to keep pesky protesters away from anyplace they are not wanted...Passed by the Senate and overwhelmingly by the House, if the bill is quickly signed by Obama, it will apply to the AIPAC policy conference because Obama and others with Secret Service protection will speak there and the Israel firsters certainly consider it to be 'a special event of national significance.'
Ronald Reagan once famously declared that inflation is a tax, but sadly most Americans did not really grasp what he was talking about. - If the American people truly understood what inflation was doing to them, they would be screaming bloody murder about monetary policy. Inflation is an especially insidious tax because it is not just a tax on your income for one year. It is a continual tax on every single dollar that you own. As your money sits in the bank, it is constantly losing value. Over time, the effects of inflation can be absolutely devastating. For example, if you put 100 dollars in the bank in 1970, those same dollars today would only have about 17 percent of the purchasing power that they did back then. In essence, you were hit by an 83 percent "inflation tax" and all you did was leave your money in the bank. So who is responsible for this? Well, the Federal Reserve controls monetary policy in the United States, and the inflationary monetary policy that the Fed has gotten all of us accustomed to is taxing the living daylights out of us. This is madness, and it needs to stop.
Massive demonstrations across Europe have taken issue with the austerity measures adopted by the European governments against economic adversity. - The protests were held on Wednesday in the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Belgium, and Spain against government economic reforms aimed at dealing with the unprecedented debt crisis plaguing the European Union. Trade union leaders gathered outside the European Council in Brussels, Belgium to demand an end to austerity measures.
Stephen Lendman: Readying the Greek Corpse for Burial
Armed groups in Syria have admitted that they have received weapons from French and American sources, reports say. - A defected military officer, who refused to be named, told reporters in the western Syrian city of Al-Qusayr on Tuesday that armed groups receive “French and American assistance.” He then clarified that the group had received weapons and anti-aircraft missiles from France and the United States. "We now have weapons and anti-aircraft missiles and… we will defeat Bashar [al-Assad]," the general said. His comments came days after some of the Western and Arab countries said that they would support Syria’s anti-government groups by arming them and supplying them with financial support. This is while as the first step toward implementing reforms with the aim of ending unrest, the Syrian government has recently endorsed a new draft constitution that was approved by nearly 90 percent of eligible voters in a Sunday referendum.
An unrelated leaked photo from the war: a US soldier poses
with a dead Afghani man in the hills of Afghanistan
Wikileaks has cracked the encryption to a key document relating to the war in Afghanistan. The document, titled "NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative", details the "story" NATO representatives are to give to, and to avoid giving to, journalists.
The encrypted document, which is dated October 6, and believed to be current, can be found on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) website oneteam.centcom.mil. [UPDATE: Fri Feb 27 15:18:38 GMT 2009, the entire Pentagon site is now down--probably in response to this editorial, parts of the site can still be seen in Google's cache ] The encryption password is progress, which perhaps reflects the Pentagon's desire to stay on-message, even to itself.
Among the revelations, which we encourage the press to review in detail, is Jordan's presence as secret member of the US lead occupation force, the ISAF. Jordan is a middle eastern monarchy, backed by the US, and historically the CIA's closest partner in its extraordinary rendition program. "the practice of torture is routine" in the country, according to a January 2007 report by UN special investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak. The document states NATO spokespersons are to keep Jordan's involvement secret. Publicly, Jordan withdrew in 2001 and the country does not appear on this month's public list of ISAF member states. Some other notes on matters to treat delicately are:
•Any decision on the end date/end state will be taken by the respective national and/or Alliance political committee. Under no circumstances should the mission end-date be a topic for speculation in public by any NATO/ISAF spokespeople.
•The term "compensation" is inappropriate and should not be used because it brings with it legal implications that do not apply.
•Any talk of stationing or deploying Russian military assets in Afghanistan is out of the question and has never been the subject of any considerations.
•Only if pressed: ISAF forces are frequently fired at from inside Pakistan, very close to the border. In some cases defensive fire is required, against specific threats. Wherever possible, such fire is pre-coordinated with the Pakistani military.
Altogether four classified or restricted NATO documents on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) site were discovered to share the 'progress' password. Wikileaks has decrypted the documents and released them in full.