Puppet MastersS


Bell

Best of the Web: The Cost of the Iraq War

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© Trussell & Trussell
The President has ordered our troops home from Iraq by year's end, but it was President George W. Bush who first announced this withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011. President Barack Obama is enforcing that timetable despite the opposition from some.

Bush is the person who ordered us into the war in Iraq and now we need to consider the benefits and costs of that fateful decision.

First, Americans remember that we were led to war by falsehoods. Again and again President Bush and his top officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld misled the American people about Iraq's supposed possession of "weapons of mass destruction." Why and how we got into this misbegotten war is critical and we must not forget the lies told from on high, which continue to eat away at our nation's body politic.

It is also important to remember the costs and casualties. As of the beginning of this year, the U.S. has spent and approved $900 billion on the Iraq War. Few can fathom that amount; so think about it this way: at the height of spending in Iraq, we were going through $5,000 each second. Yes, taxpayers' money.

According to our government's Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen, $6.5 billion for reconstruction of Iraq's buildings and infrastructure was reported stolen. Bowen calls it, "the largest theft of funds in national history." Certainly the money was stolen by people and companies in the private sector as well as by Iraqi officials.

Star of David

How did Israel get its stranglehold on the entire world?

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© Bendib
The revelation this week of what some world leaders think of Netanyahu was not a surprise to most of us. What remains a mystery, however, is why do these same world leaders kiss up to Israel and support them financially and militarily?

From Haaretz
... The Anti-Defamation League said it was "deeply disappointed" by the private exchange between French President Nicholas Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama in which the two leaders were overheard making critical remarks about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I too was deeply disappointed that the exchange was 'off the record' and not part of a global condemnation of Israel's leadership and their policies.

But the question remains, how did Israel get its stranglehold on the entire world? One reader suggested in a comment yesterday that; I think that Israel blackmails nations - that if nations do not do its bidding, they threaten another 911, or something similar. Once I heard Dennis Kucinich say that paying billions a year to Israel is the necessary price we pay for keeping them from lighting the match. It is high time that the politicians come out in public - perhaps today's EAS test would have been a good time to do it - and spill the beans to the world. If we all knew what Israel holds over us, Israel would NOT be able to get away with what it does. Our leaders need to stop being cowards and stand up to the bully.

Dollar

Experts Suggest the CIA, Not Kim Jong-il, is Counterfeiting Dollars

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© Unknown
"Sources allege that the CIA prints the falsified 'Supernotes' at a secret facility near Washington to fund covert operations without Congressional oversight."

The American secret service, the CIA, could be responsible for manufacturing the nearly-perfect counterfeit 50 and 100-dollar-notes that Washington pins on the terror regime of North Korea. The charge comes after an extensive investigation in Europe and Asia by the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung of Frankfurt, and after interviews with counterfeit money experts and leading representatives of the high-security publishing industry.

The U.S.-dollar forgeries designated "Supernotes," which are so good that even specialists are unable to distinguish them from genuine notes, have circulated for almost two decades without a reliable identification of the culprits. Because of their extraordinary quality, experts assume that some country must be behind the enterprise.

Bell

Perfect Storm of Internet Censorship

In recent weeks the governments of Britain, Israel, the US, Japan, India and China have reported alleged cyber attacks by foreign militaries, hackers, and malicious software like Duqu, a virus similar to the Stuxnet cyber weapon constructed by Israel and the US for use against Iran's nuclear program. Although the nature and origin of the attacks or even whether they took place at all cannot be independently confirmed, the supposed threats are being used to propose punishing new legislation aimed at stifling internet freedoms and are igniting new rivalries in what many see as the battlefield of the 21st century: cyberspace.

In the US, a report to congress by the National Counterintelligence Executive is touting cyber-espionage as a major threat to the American economy. In a section entitled "Pervasive Threat from Adversaries and Partners" the report reads:

"Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage" and "Russia's intelligence services are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from US targets."

In the wake of the report, DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency tasked with maintaining the US military's technological advantage, has asked for a 73% funding increase in fiscal 2012, from $120 million to $208 million. Meanwhile, China has lashed out at the report, calling such allegations "irresponsible."

Now, governments around the world are using fears over cyber attacks as an excuse to crack down on the internet freedoms of their own populations.


Black Cat

US Former Navy Seal tells different story of Bin Laden's death


Comment: Be sure to check out Joe Quinn's article Bin Laden Is Dead... Long Live Bin Laden!


Top Secret

US: Secret Watergate testimony unsealed

Washington - Richard Nixon's grand jury testimony about the Watergate scandal that destroyed his presidency is finally coming to light.
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© The Washington Post

Four months after a judge ordered the June 1975 records unsealed, the government's Nixon Presidential Library was making them available online Thursday. Historians hoped that the testimony would form Nixon's most truthful and thorough account of the circumstances that led to his extraordinary resignation 10 months earlier under threat of impeachment.

"This is Nixon unplugged," said historian Stanley Kutler, a principal figure in the lawsuit that pried open the records. Still, he said, "I have no illusions. Richard Nixon knew how to dodge questions with the best of them. I am sure that he danced, skipped, around a number of things."

Nixon was interviewed near his California home for 11 hours over two days, when a pardon granted by his successor, Gerald Ford, protected him from prosecution for any past crimes. Despite that shield, he risked consequences for perjury if he lied under oath.

It was the first time an ex-president had testified before a grand jury and it is rare for any grand jury testimony to be made public. Historians won public access to the transcript over the objections of the Obama administration, which argued in part that too many officials from that era are still alive for secret testimony involving them to be made public.

Blackbox

Banker Papademos named new Greek prime minister

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© Associated PressIn this May 4 2005 file photo, Lucas Papademos, former European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President attends a news conference about the results of the ECB-meeting in Berlin.
Former European banker Papademos named prime minister, to head interim government

Athens, Greece - Senior banker Lucas Papademos has been officially named as Greece's new prime minister, after four days of intense talks to form a coalition government.

The interim government aims to approve a new €130 billion ($177 billion) financial aid deal and cement the debt-strapped country's position in the 17-nation eurozone.

The 64-year-old former vice president of the European Central Bank was named Thursday to head a coalition backed by the governing Socialists and the opposition conservatives that is expected to operate until early elections in February.

Papademos will replace outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou, midway through the Socialists' four-year term.

Comment: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. - Albert Einstein


Vader

US: Romney: I will not let Iran get nuclear weapons

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© Reuters/Mark BlinchRepublican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, participates in the CNBC Republican presidential debate in Rochester, Michigan, November 9, 2011.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney laid down a foreign policy marker on Wednesday, saying that if elected he would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

An International Atomic Energy Agency report on Tuesday indicated Iran had worked to design nuclear bombs, testing Western powers anew in their standoff with Tehran, which insists it is developing a civilian nuclear program.

Romney, leading some polls of Republican voters in the race to be the party's 2012 presidential nominee, said he would be prepared to work with U.S. allies on a diplomatic solution but would be prepared to act unilaterally if necessary to stop Iran.

"Si vis pacem, para bellum. That is a Latin phrase, but the ayatollahs will have no trouble understanding its meaning from a Romney administration: If you want peace, prepare for war," he wrote in an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal.

He said he would start his presidency by imposing a new round of "far tougher" economic sanctions on Iran "together with the world if we can, unilaterally if we must."

Light Sabers

Markets punish Italy to make sure Berlusconi goes

Silvio Berlusconi
© The Associated Press / Andrew MedichiniItalian Premier Silvio Berlusconi holds a note he wrote during Democratic party leader Pierluigi Bersani's speech, the note reads: "308, -8 traitors; Government upturn; Vote; Take note; Resignation; Italian President; One solution; Let's move", prior to the start of a voting session at the Lower Chamber, in Rome, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011.
Financial markets pounded Italy on Wednesday, sending a clear message that they want Premier Silvio Berlusconi to resign immediately. Italy's president responded there is no doubt about Berlusconi's decision to leave office, appearing to soothe investors.

In another chaotic day driven by the European debt crisis, the Dow Jones industrial average in New York dropped nearly 240 points in morning trading after Italy's borrowing costs soared to a new record high. Traders were troubled by signs that Europe's unending debt crisis was enveloping the eurozone's third-largest economy.

And across the Adriatic Sea, outgoing Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced that an agreement had been reached with the opposition to create an interim government to pass the country's new debt deal. Papandreou, who was expected to formally resign with hours, wished the next prime minister well but gave no indication of who it would be.

Berlusconi has pledged to resign after parliament passes the financial reforms that European officials have been demanding for months. The process can take up to two weeks, but President Giorgio Napolitano said that would be accelerated to days, allowing him to quickly begin talks on forming a new government or calling new elections.

"Fears are totally unfounded that Italy may experience a long period of inactivity," Napolitano said, adding that "emergency measures" could be adopted at any time.

Italy's key borrowing rate spiked to a high of 7.40 percent on Wednesday, up 0.82 percentage points from the previous day, as markets expressed concern about how swift and complete the political transition would be. That's over the level that eventually forced other eurozone countries like Greece and Portugal to seek bailouts.

Chess

China Says Sanctions No "Fundamental" Answer on Iran

Hong Lei
© unknownHong Lei
China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that sanctions cannot "fundamentally" resolve the Iran nuclear issue, after Western leaders urged expanded sanctions against Iran over a U.N. watchdog report that Iran has worked to design atom bombs.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing that sanctions were not a "fundamental" answer, but Beijing has used similar words before, when it ultimately voted for United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran for its disputed nuclear activities.

Hong warned on Wednesday against turmoil in the Middle East from action over Iran's nuclear program, but declined to comment on the possibility of new sanctions following the U.N. report. Veto-wielder Russia indicated it would block new measures at the U.N. Security Council.

As permanent members of the Council, China and Russia have the power to veto proposed resolutions.