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War Whore

Propaganda war: 2012 Deadliest year for Afghan military - 1,056 soldiers killed as NATO touts 'improving' war

afghan
To hear NATO talk, the occupation of Afghanistan 11+ years later is "improving" with US and NATO troop deaths having dropped somewhat, as insurgent attacks give way to a more common strategy of "green-on-blue attacks."

Which may be better for NATO, but 2012 was also the deadliest year of the occupation yet for the Afghan military, which reported 1056 soldiers killed, including 906 in the last nine months.

Afghan Defense Ministry officials attributed this shift to the increase in the number of Afghan military operations. The Taliban appears to have become more interested in targeting them directly as NATO member nations prepare for a drawdown.

In addition to the 1,056 soldiers, an estimated 1,400 police were also slain in the last 10 months, also an increase over the previous year. With NATO continuing to increase the size of the Afghan military, massive numbers of desertions remain a huge problem as well.
Dollars

'Fiscal Cliff' still leaves Pentagon sitting pretty

Capitol Building
© Unknown
Warnings of doom to the economy, or to national security, are scare stories from the people who benefit most off the government's most lucrative and deadly welfare program

President Obama on Monday said a deal to avoid the so-called 'fiscal cliff' - a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts - was "within reach," although not yet done, but the uncertainty has prompted cries of potential doom for military spending.

As part of the sequestration deal, the set of budget laws last year that imposed large, automatic spending cuts if an agreement to balance the budget couldn't be reached by Congress, the Pentagon is set to endure $500 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years.

On Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement warning that a failure to avoid the cuts would put the jobs of 800,000 civilian employees at risk.

But the proposed cuts to defense budgets are, frankly, puny. The harshest scenario for defense cuts would only put budgets back at about the 2007 level, and they aren't even really "cuts" to defense spending; they are reductions in the rate of growth of defense spending.

Either way, the budget for military empire and wars will grow.
Sherlock

2013: What's in store?

© AFP Photo / Dominique Faget
Thousands of people protest against the Spanish government's latest austerity measures, in Madrid.
World Government stepping onto sovereign Nation-States, puppet politicians unable to cope with social challenges, chaos in the Middle East and ever increasing global crises - all this awaits us in 2013. Is it time for 'We the People' to wake up?

More violence in the Middle East; increased protests and commotion on the streets of Europe and America; a banking/debt crisis spinning faster and faster out of control with panicky governments running to save the bankers and kill the workers. That's 2012's legacy, so... thank God it's (almost) over!

But - barring the Mayan Prophecies coming true, which is most unlikely - regrettably 2013 threatens us with even darker clouds on its horizon.

We're not into "predictions" or futurism, however understanding what really makes this world tick allows rational projections of tendencies on the basis of concrete facts. That can serve to give us an idea of what's in store for 2013, so we can better prepare for what's coming our way.

Let's look at half a dozen Key Issues:
Chess

AP's coverage of warrantless surveillance law reauthorization toes the government line

As rare as it is for the Senate to have anything resembling a debate on a civil liberties issue such as privacy and government surveillance, there was a minimal amount of coverage in the establishment press of the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The law, which allows warrantless surveillance, was reauthorized for five more years on December 28.

Minimal coverage of a topic often means that a wire service's report becomes one of the more widely circulated accounts of what transpired. (That is how it often goes with coverage of the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier the military is prosecuting for allegedly providing classified information to WikiLeaks.)

Larry Margasak did the wire story for the Associated Press. It deserves to be deconstructed because it is misleading in ways that benefit the government.

First, Margasak writes, "The Senate gave final congressional approval Friday to a bill renewing the government's authority to monitor overseas phone calls and emails of suspected foreign spies and terrorists - but not Americans -without obtaining a court order for each intercept." The "not Americans" is emphasized in such a way that would leave one thinking any suggestion that Americans could be swept up in surveillance is simply wrong or the talk of a conspiracy theorist. The reality is some of the more significant abuses of power in the history of surveillance in America have occurred under the guise of targeting only foreign targets.

In 1975, the Church Committee reviewed the surveillance operations of intelligence agencies and concluded there had been widespread abuse of Americans' civil liberties. It led to the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to prevent intelligence agencies from committing abuses like the ones discovered by the Committee. According to former members, the FAA "enables the government to circumvent entirely the original FISA protections deemed essential to the protection of Americans' basic rights." They add, "Some of the most serious abuses discovered by the Church Committee involved the warrantless surveillance of American citizens under the pretext of targeting foreigners."
People

Man? Or a predator race amongst us

© unk
Mankind certainly appears to be destroying his own planet. But is it mankind, or an invasive species that hides within and amongst us? History seems to indicate this to be the case. It is certainly not a majority of mankind that is perpetrating such horrors, although almost anyone is apparently capable of falling into this base, predatory vibration so prevalent on our planet.

Unfortunately, while many have no idea what and whose agenda they are following in their lives, those who comply with this destructive agenda rather than stand up against it are complicit. However, true conscious humanity wants nothing to do with this destructive force.

Watch the following clip with that in mind. The figure you're about see is the spirit of this predatorial race, not the inherent nature of real mankind.
Top Secret

Syrian Army confiscates Israeli weapons from terrorists near border with Jordan

© Unknown
The Syrian army on Monday thwarted a massive attack by a large number of terrorists who were trying to enter Syria through the Jordanian border, and also confiscated Israeli-made missiles and weapons from the armed rebels.

The army confiscated (from terrorists) Israeli-made LAV anti-tank missiles and several wireless equipment which were also made in Israel, Jahineh news website reported.

The Syrian army also prevented the armed rebels from crossing into Syria via neighboring Jordan.

Last month, the Syrian security forces confiscated Israeli-made weapons from an Al-Qaeda ammunition depot in al-Lirmoun area of the Aleppo city on Tuesday.

The weapons were found after heavy clashes erupted between the Syrian army and terrorists in al-Lirmoun area where many terrorists, including a Libyan national, were killed and many others fled the scene, Al-Arabi news website reported.

The army attacked the terrorist centers in different parts of Aleppo, including al-Sha'ar, an old district of Aleppo, and the city's outskirts where many terrorists were killed.

Throughout the last several days, terrorists have sought hard to make a number of Syrian cities unsafe for citizens, but the army has purged them from most neighborhoods and districts, killed tens of them and arrested many others.. see link for more.
Airplane

U.S. drone attacks spike in Yemen

drone Yemen
© Reuters
Fourth drone attack in one week as Obama administration focuses on Yemen

At least three people were killed by a US drone attack in Yemen late Saturday in the fourth such strike in a week, local officials told Al-Jazeera.

The remote controlled aircraft fired missiles at a vehicle near the village of al-Manaseh in Rada, following similar attacks throughout Yemen against alleged militants throughout the course of the week. US drone strikes commonly take the lives of innocent civilians while US and Yemen officials claim the victims are militants, as the Washington Post recently reported.

The United States recently admitted responsibility for a September attack in Yemen that killed 11 civilians, including three children.
Gold Coins

Hollande refuses to back down on French super-tax

© Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AP
French president François Hollande makes his new year address in Paris.
President tells France 'we will still ask more of those who have the most' after court rules proposed 75% rate unconstitutional.

François Hollande on Monday vowed to press on with his super-tax on the rich, despite a damning decision by France's top court to throw it out as unconstitutional. But it is uncertain when a new version of the tax will be introduced and whether it will be watered down.

In his televised new year's address, the French president deliberately did not mention the figure of a 75% tax on incomes over €1m (£800,000), leaving the way open for his deeply symbolic measure to be changed.

"We will still ask more of those who have the most," said Hollande. He added that the exceptional tax on France's wealthy would be "adjusted without changing its objective" but did not provide details of any new proposal.

The president, who is at record unpopularity levels in the polls as he faces a grim year of further economic gloom in France, suffered a major personal blow over the weekend when France's highest court threw out his tax proposal.

The temporary tax, which Hollande had described as an act of "morality" and "patriotism" by the wealthy, now faces a delay of at least a year, if not a mortal blow.

The measure was rejected as unconstitutional on the basis of a technical issue, leaving France surprised that the government could have overlooked the fine detail of its flagship measure. The embarrassed government was attacked for amateurism by political opponents to the right and left of Hollande.
Eye 1

Keeping US consulate in Benghazi open was 'grievous mistake'

© Photograph: Ibrahim Alaguri/AP
A room in the gutted US consulate in Benghazi.
State Department accused in Senate committee's report into deadly attack in Libya.

The State Department made a "grievous mistake" in keeping the US mission in Benghazi open despite inadequate security and increasingly alarming threat assessments in the weeks before a deadly attack by militants, a Senate committee said on Monday.

A report from the Senate homeland security committee on the 11 September attacks on the US consulate and a nearby CIA annex, in which Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans died, said intelligence agencies were at fault for not focusing tightly enough on Libyan extremists.

It also slated the State Department for waiting for specific warnings instead of improving security.

The committee's assessment, Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi, follows a scathing report by an independent State Department accountability review board that resulted in a top security official resigning and three others at the department being relieved of their duties.

Joseph Lieberman, the independent senator who chairs the committee, said that in thousands of documents it reviewed, there was no indication that secretary of state Hillary Clinton had personally denied a request for extra funding or security for the Benghazi mission. He said key decisions were made by "mid-level managers" who have since been held accountable.
Arrow Down

Texas can cut Planned Parenthood funding, says judge

© Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Planned Parenthood members at a Pro-Choice rally in Washington DC.
Planned Parenthood plans further challenges to state's attempts to cut its funding for women's healthcare provision.

Texas can cut off funding to the family planning organization Planned Parenthood's programs for poor women, a judge ruled on Monday. Judge Gary Harger said that the state can exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights, attorney general spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.

The state has long banned the use of state funds for abortion, but it had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic healthcare to poor women through the state's Women's Health Program. The program provides check-ups and birth control to 110,000 poor women a year; Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of them.

A Planned Parenthood lawsuit to stop the cut will still go forward, but the judge decided on Monday that the ban can go into effect for now.

"We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood's latest attempt to skirt state law," Bean said. "The Texas attorney general's office will continue to defend the Texas legislature's decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."

Ken Lambrecht, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said he had brought the lawsuit on behalf of poor women who depend on its clinics.

"It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women," Lambrecht said. "Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need. We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women, their health, and their well-being."
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