Stormtrooper

US Exit from Iraq: 'This is Not a Withdrawal, This is an Act on a Stage'

© Ali Al-Saadi/Agence France-Presse/Getty
US soldiers hold the US and Iraqi flags during the symbolic flag-lowering ceremony marking the end of the US mission in Iraq.
Iraqi people greet pullout ceremony with ambivalence mixed with concern over an uncertain future

There was no triumphalism and certainly no shock or awe. The end of the war in Iraq was subdued and simple: a small band playing as the US forces flag was furled with 200 troops watching on quietly.

In a makeshift parade ground in a corner of Baghdad airport, time was called on the war just after 1pm on Thursday, eight years, eight months and 26 days after its far more dramatic opening in March 2003. Nearby a plane was waiting to take home the US high command. And in southern Iraq, the 4,000 US troops who remain were steadily streaming towards Kuwait.

By Sunday all the troops will be gone, called home for Christmas by an administration that decided there was little point sticking to the original end date of 31 December. The Iraqi government had made clear that it no longer wanted a US presence here and any soldier who stayed behind would not be granted legal immunity.
People

Monsanto™ Roundup Ready Crops Leading to Mental Illness, Obesity

© Unknown
It seems that the good bacteria found in your gut may actually be destroyed with every bite of certain food that you eat.

While antibiotics typically hold first prize in depleting the body's gut flora levels, there may be a new culprit looking to take the spotlight which you may know as genetically modified food.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready Crops Leading to Decreased Gut Flora

A formula seems to have been made to not only ruin the agricultural system, but also compromise the health of millions of people worldwide.

With the advent of Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops, resistant superweeds are taking over farmland and public health is being attacked. These genetically engineered crops are created to withstand large amounts of Monsanto's top-selling herbicide, Roundup. As it turns out, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is actually leaving behind its residue on Roundup Ready crops, causing further potential concern for public health.
Dollar

Bankers Rule the World: "The Network of Global Corporate Control"

money graphic
© n/a
Bankers rule the world. A new Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study says so. Written by Stefania Vitali, James Glattfelder and Stefano Battiston, it's titled "The network of global corporate control," saying:

"We find that transnational corporations from a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic 'super-entity' that raises new important issues both for researches and policy makers."

The study says 147 powerful companies control an inordinate amount of economic activity - about 40%. Among the top 50, 45 are financial firms. They include Barclays PLC (called most influential), JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other familiar and less known names.

Twenty-four companies are US-based, followed by eight in Britain, five in France, four in Japan, and Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands with two each. Canada has one.

Moreover, "top ranked" companies "hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth."
Attention

Gaddafi's killing may be a war crime: International Criminal Court

© The Associated Press/Libya TV
Video shows former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi surrounded by revolutionary fighters on October 20, 2011.
Luis Moreno Ocampo of the ICC said Thursday he sent a letter to the head of the National Transitional Council asking what the government's plans are to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels

United Nations - The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Thursday there are "serious suspicions" that the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was a war crime.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council that he sent a letter to the head of the National Transitional Council asking what the government's plans are to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels.

The uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year rule erupted in February, quickly escalated into civil war, and ended in October with Gadhafi's capture and death in unclear circumstances. Witness accounts and video taken of the deposed dictator after his capture by rebel fighters show that he was beaten and abused by his captors, and there were strong indications he was killed in custody.

"The death of Moammar Gaddafi is one of the issues to be clarified - what happened - because there are serious suspicions that it was a war crime," Moreno Ocampo said.

He said what the ICC does on Gaddafi's death and other war crimes will depend on what Libya's interim government does because under the Rome statute that established the war crimes tribunal, the ICC only steps in if national authorities are unwilling or unable to act.
V

US: Occupy 2.0: Persisting In A Police State

"No government can exist for a single moment without the cooperation of the people, willing or forced, and if people withdraw their cooperation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill."
- Gandhi
© Dustin Slaughter
Occupy Philadelphia marches in early morning hours after eviction.

The Occupy movement is now a genie that cannot be put back in its bottle.

And while it has certainly gone through growing pains, and will continue to do so, the adversity faced has only forced the movement to adapt and refocus.

After their first eviction, Occupy San Francisco decided to occupy sidewalks around the downtown financial district (the original strategy for Occupy Wall Street before 17 September, I should add.) Can't have an encampment? Adapt and take public sidewalks. There is now a nationwide movement to also throw the gauntlet at major banks like Bank of America, and re-occupy foreclosed homes for families thrown out by the financial criminal class. The move has even prompted Bank of America to fire out an email to its employees. And yes, the email's existence has indeed been confirmed by a Bank of America representative.
Briefcase

Bankers are the Dictators of the West

Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" - the Middle East - I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" - in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East - and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and - up to a point - Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.
Handcuffs

US: A Dangerous Woman - Indefinite Detention at Carswell

Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. A bill moving through Congress, authorizing the military to imprison American citizens indefinitely, without a trial or hearing, ranks right at the top of that list.

I know - I lived through it on the Patriot Act. When Congress decided to squelch the truth about the CIA's advance warnings about 9/11 and the existence of a comprehensive peace option with Iraq, as the CIA's chief Asset covering Iraq, I became an overnight threat. To protect their cover-up scheme, I got locked in federal prison inside Carswell Air Force Base, while the Justice Department battled to detain me "indefinitely" up to 10 years, without a hearing or guilty plea. Worst yet, they demanded the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac, in a violent effort to chemically lobotomize the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.

Critically, because my legal case was controlled by civilian Courts, my Defense had a forum to fight back. The Judge was an independent arbiter. And that made all the difference. If this law on military detentions had been active, my situation would have been hopeless. The Patriot Act was bad enough. Mercifully, Chief Justice Michael B. Mukasey is a preeminent legal scholar who recognized the greater impact of my case. Even so, he faced a terrible choice - declaring me "incompetent to stand trial," so my case could be killed - or creating dangerous legal precedents tied to secret charges, secret evidence, secret grand jury testimony and indefinite detention - from the Patriot Act's arsenal of weapons against truth tellers - that would impact all defendants in the U.S. Courts.
Handcuffs

US: Suspend Habeas Corpus and Enact Martial Law?

police in riot gear
© n/a
Americans seem ready to forfeit their most basic civil liberty -- actually, all their civil liberties -- without a whimper.

By a vote of 93-7 the Senate this month approved a military appropriations bill empowering the government to designate any U.S. citizen within the country as a terrorist and to have the military hold him indefinitely without trial and without the right to habeas corpus, the right to be brought before a court for a judgment on the legality of one's imprisonment.

In effect the legislation is a declaration of martial law throughout the country.

The bill still has to be reconciled by a conference committee with a different version passed by the House of Representatives. But even Connecticut U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, a liberal Democrat and a member of the committee, plans to support the martial law provision and expects it to be enacted. Courtney, who used to be a lawyer, cites as consolation the money contained in the bill for Connecticut military contractors, tens of millions of dollars for jet fighter engines manufactured by the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford and for nuclear submarines made by the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton.
Meteor

US: Mysterious Explosion and Fireballs Seen as Homes Shaken in Rural Kentucky

There are still no answers as to what caused an apparent explosion in Perry County Sunday night.


Crews spent hours searching Sunday night after initial reports of a possible plane crash, but they gave up the search around 1:00 a.m. and said it was probably an explosion at an abandoned mine.

Now officials with the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands are saying there is no evidence at the mine that would support an explosion.

Some say they felt their homes shaking, others say they saw a fireball, but as of now no one can say for sure what happened in Perry County Sunday night.

Preliminary reports of possible plane crash were ruled out after searching for hours and finding no crash scene, that led officials to this explanation.
Red Flag

Pakistan to Down American Drones, US Promises More Strikes - Don't They Call This "War"?

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers
© AFP Photo / Rizwan Tabassum
Pakistani paramilitary soldiers arrive to cordon off an area during an operation against criminal gangs in a troubled area of Karachi
The Pakistani military are under orders to take down any UAV they locate in the country's air space. So far, the only drones making incursions into Pakistani skies have been US Predators used to attack Taliban insurgents.

In a speech to troops on the border, Pakistan's Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani told them to use all means at their disposal to give a "shattering answer" to any aggression - whatever the price or consequences.

For his part, the Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, American General John R. Allen, said he did not rule out the possibility of a repeat of last month's NATO strike on Pakistani soldiers.

The news appears to be a development of the notorious friendly fire incident on November 26 on Mohmand frontier territory, when 24 border guards died and over 30 were injured after an American assault helicopter entered Pakistan territory and devastated a block post, taking servicemen for mujahedeen.
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