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Eye 2

Spanish rail disaster: Prime Minister's condolence note 'copied and pasted'

The Spanish government has been criticised for "cutting and pasting" a message of condolence to the families of victims of the train crash in Garcia that has left at least 80 dead.

The message, posted online and attributed to the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, appeared to have been copied from an earlier note of condolence to victims of an earthquake in China.

"I want to convey my deepest condolences for the loss of life and material damage brought by the earthquake that took place this morning in Gansu," read the message, referring to the town where the earthquake took place.

Also in the note, Mr Rajoy said he is dismayed "as a Spaniard and a Galician" at the news of the derailment near Santiago de Compostela, the Prime Minister's home town.
USA

The Militarization of America

This week's deployment of Blackhawk helicopters in Chicago is only the latest in a series of "urban warfare training" exercises that have become a familiar feature of American life.

As elsewhere, this exercise was sprung unannounced on a startled civilian population. Conducted in secrecy, apparently with the collusion of local police agencies and elected officials, Democrats and Republicans alike, the ostensible purpose of these exercises is to give US troops experience in what Pentagon doctrine refers to as "Military Operations on Urban Terrain."

Such operations are unquestionably of central importance to the US military. Over the past decade, its primary mission, as evidenced in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been the invasion and occupation of relatively powerless countries and the subjugation of their resisting populations, often in house-to-house fighting in urban centers.

The Army operates a 1,000 acre Urban Training Center in south-central Indiana that boasts over 1,500 "training structures" designed to simulate houses, schools, hospitals and factories. The center's web site states that it "can be tailored to replicate both foreign and domestic scenarios."

What does flying Blackhawks low over Chicago apartment buildings or rolling armored military convoys through the streets of St. Louis accomplish that cannot be achieved through the sprawling training center's simulations? Last year alone, there were at least seven such exercises, including in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Tampa, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Creeds, Virginia.

The most obvious answer is that these exercises accustom troops to operating in US cities, while desensitizing the American people to the domestic deployment of US military might.
Arrow Down

Pentagon to deploy huge blimps over Washington, DC for 360-degree surveillance

Survelliance Blimps
© YouTube/Raytheon Company
Screenshot from YouTube user Raytheon Company.
A pair of high-tech Army blimps is coming to the greater Washington, DC area, and soon they will be able to provide the military with surveillance powers that spans hundreds of millions of acres from North Carolina to Niagara Falls, Canada.

The airships are part of Raytheon's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, and when all is said and done they'll offer the United States military what the defense contractor calls "an affordable elevated, persistent over-the-horizon sensor system" that relies on "a powerful integrated radar system to detect, track and target a variety of threats."

Raytheon has just wrapped up a six-week testing period in the state of Utah and is now sending its JLENS fleet to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Once there, the Army intends to get some hands-on experience that will eventually culminate in launching the pair of airships over Washington, DC.
USA

Rape and domestic violence follow Syrian women into refugee camps


Refugees in Jordan are offering their daughters for early marriage in the hope of protecting them. In the bridal boutique, the average age of brides wearing the rented dresses is 15
Victims hide their shame to avoid being stigmatised for life after assaults by marauding gangs

Children have witnessed massacres, mothers seen their sons killed, families watched their homes looted and burned. But there is one act of violence that refugees from the Syrian crisis will not discuss.

The conflict has been distinguished by a brutal targeting of women. The United Nations has gathered evidence of systematic sexual assault of women and girls by combatants in Syria, and describes rape as "a weapon of war". Outside the conflict, in sprawling camps and overloaded host communities, aid workers report a soaring number of incidents of domestic violence and rampant sexual exploitation.

But this is a deeply conservative society. The endemic violence suffered by Syrian women and girls is hidden under a cultural blanket of fear, shame and silence that even international aid workers are loth to lift.

Comment: Brought to the Syrian people, and the people of the world, by warmongers and Empire builders of Western nations. Vicious, bloodthirsty psychopaths.

Former French foreign minister: UK government prepared war in Syria two years before 'Syrian revolution' began

Binoculars

Kurds capture British commander of 'al Qaeda in the Levant and Syria'

[The only mention of this guy that I can find on the Internet is this, his first YouTube battlefield report. Whoever is narrating, he is definitely a Brit, NOT an Iraqi, Nor a Syrian, NOT EVEN an Arab. So much for the "al Qaeda in Iraq," or the Levant, or "Sham," or whatever name the CIA dreams-up for these terrorist mercenaries.]

Dollar

Who controls the global economy? Do not underestimate the power of the big banks

NWO
© The Economic Collapse Blog
Are the big banks really as powerful as some people say that they are? Do they really control the global economy? If y0u asked most people, they would tell you that governments control the global economy.

But the campaigns of our politicians are funded by the ultra-wealthy, the big banks and the large corporations that they control.

Others would tell you that the Federal Reserve and the rest of the central banks around the world control the global economy. But the truth is that the Federal Reserve was established by the bankers and for the benefit of the bankers.

As you will see below, at the very core of the global economy there exists a "super-entity" of financial institutions that control an almost unimaginable amount of wealth and power.

These financial institutions and the ultra-wealthy individuals behind them are really the ones that are pulling all the strings. In this world money equals power, and the borrower is the servant of the lender. When you follow the pyramid all the way to the top, it begins to become very clear who really is in control.
Eye 1

'Pakistani Taliban' murders mountain climbers in Pakistan

Jason Burke reveals how the murder of climbers in Pakistan exposes a fresh front in the battle against extremists

© MD Nadeem/EPA
Pakistani air force officers carry a coffin of one of the climbers killed by a Taliban faction on Nanga Parbat in June.


The sun had long gone down. Sher Khan, a Pakistani climber on his first major expedition, had been dozing in his sleeping bag for an hour. Above the camp, the snowy flanks of Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth highest mountain, were pale in the deepening night. Suddenly, Khan heard shouts of "Surrender! We are Al-Qaida! Taliban!" then, in Urdu "Where are the Americans?"

Awake now and very frightened, Khan looked out of his tent. Men in camouflage fatigues and carrying AK47s were moving though the camp, pitched at around 3,500m below the famous Diamer Face of what is known among mountaineers as "the Killer Mountain".

Good weather meant most of the 40 mountaineers who had been camping on the lush meadow amid pine trees were high up on the 8,125m peak. But the sick and the tired were not. Nor were the support staff. They were dragged out, tied, lined up and shot. Khan, from a village a few hours drive away, was spared. A Shia cook died. A Chinese climber managed to flee.

"It was so bad, so bad. I was so lucky to get out alive. I still cannot sleep," Khan told the Guardian.

The attack, a month ago, was the first to directly target foreigners in the area. The dead included three Ukrainians, two Slovaks, a Nepali, a Lithuanian, two Chinese and a Chinese-US dual national. It shocked many locally, and made headlines around the world.

A candlelit vigil was held in Gilgit, the local administrative centre 150kms from the site of the attack.

"We wanted to send a message that we are against this killing of innocent tourists. We have such beautiful mountains, beautiful valleys. We want to share them with the world," said Mohammed Zaeem Zia, the local doctor who organised the demonstration.

Comment: To find out more about the operators that are really behind these kind of attacks see -

CIA agent Raymond Davis had close links with Taliban

Play

Gingrich: gangs have increased by 40% since Obama was elected

Dollar

Collateral damage: QE3 and the shadow banking system

Rather than expanding the money supply, quantitative easing (QE) has actually caused it to shrink by sucking up the collateral needed by the shadow banking system to create credit. The "failure" of QE has prompted the Bank for International Settlements to urge the Fed to shirk its mandate to pursue full employment, but the sort of QE that could fulfill that mandate has not yet been tried.

Ben Bernanke's May 29th speech signaling the beginning of the end of QE3 provoked a "taper tantrum" that wiped about $3 trillion from global equity markets - this from the mere suggestion that the Fed would moderate its pace of asset purchases, and that if the economy continues to improve, it might stop QE3 altogether by mid-2014. The Fed is currently buying $85 billion in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities per month.

The Fed Chairman then went into damage control mode, assuring investors that the central bank would "continue to implement highly accommodative monetary policy" (meaning interest rates would not change) and that tapering was contingent on conditions that look unlikely this year. The only thing now likely to be tapered in 2013 is the Fed's growth forecast.

It is a neoliberal maxim that "the market is always right," but as former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz demonstrated, the maxim only holds when the market has perfect information. The market may be misinformed about QE, what it achieves, and what harm it can do. Getting more purchasing power into the economy could work; but QE as currently practiced may be having the opposite effect.
Snakes in Suits

Psychopathic US laws over drone strikes that kill Americans and civilians of other countries

drone over california
© Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT
An unmanned drone flies a training mission over Victorville, California
Courts cannot second-guess drone strikes that kill U.S. citizens overseas, an Obama administration lawyer argued Friday.

A Republican-appointed judge sounded dubious about the expansive claim, saying she was "really troubled" by assertions that courts are completely shut out of the drone strike debate. But for other legal reasons, the judge also sounded hesitant about a lawsuit targeted at top military and intelligence officials for violating the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens blown up in foreign lands.

"There are instances where wrongs are done, but for one reason or another they cannot be remedied in a civil suit," U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a family member, have sued former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other former officials over the two separate drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen. The Obama administration wants the lawsuit dismissed.

The lawsuit is the latest challenge to the administration's secretive war-fighting practices that have mobilized skeptics on both the right and the left.
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