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Sun, 11 Apr 2021
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Propaganda Alert!: Pakistan finds secret al-Qaeda™ and Taliban underground cave complex

Pakistan tunnel cave
© By A Majeed, AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani forces have discovered an abandoned complex of caves apparently used recently by Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, including Ayman al-Zawahri, the second-in-command to Osama bin Laden, The Times of London reports.

The network of 156 caves is located in Damadola in the semi autonomous Bajaur tribal region. Pakistani Maj. Gen. Tariq Kahn said the arrival of his forces marks the first time Pakistan's flag has flown over the village since Pakistan gained its independence in 1947, the newspaper says.

Chess

Bin Laden's Teen Daughter Reportedly Escapes House Arrest in Tehran

Osama bin Laden's 17-year-old daughter, who has been under house arrest in Tehran for eight years with five siblings and a stepmother, has escaped from her guards and taken refuge in the Saudi Embassy, the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reports.

The newspaper says Iman Bin Laden called her brother, Abdullah, in Syria to say they have been held by Iranian authorities since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 2001.

Chess

Hypocrisy: The West's Silence over Bahrain

billboard, Muharraq, Bahrain
© Hasan Jamali/AP
A billboard in Muharraq, Bahrain, demanding no leniency for those who opposed the regime.
The absence of pressure on Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will only deepen the gulf of distrust between Iran and the west

The European Union and the Obama administration have made a splendid art of double standards by imposing sanctions on Tehran's rulers for their human rights violations and taking military action against the Libyan dictator while failing to address the appalling repression of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.

For the US and the EU, which claim to uphold principles over interests, this contradictory policy and their silence over the Saudi intervention in Bahrain is particularly harmful.

Coffee

The Cost of bin Laden: $3 Trillion Over 15 Years

The most expensive public enemy in American history died Sunday from two bullets.

As we mark Osama bin Laden's death, what's striking is how much he cost our nation - and how little we've gained from our fight against him. By conservative estimates, bin Laden cost the United States at least $3 trillion over the past 15 years, counting the disruptions he wrought on the domestic economy, the wars and heightened security triggered by the terrorist attacks he engineered, and the direct efforts to hunt him down.

What do we have to show for that tab? Two wars that continue to occupy 150,000 troops and tie up a quarter of our defense budget; a bloated homeland-security apparatus that has at times pushed the bounds of civil liberty; soaring oil prices partially attributable to the global war on bin Laden's terrorist network; and a chunk of our mounting national debt, which threatens to hobble the economy unless lawmakers compromise on an unprecedented deficit-reduction deal.

Comment: Indeed, we need to ask the question: 'Who benefits?' Considering that bin Laden has been dead for years, and that he had nothing to do with the September 11th false flag attacks, '"he" has wrought nothing. The cost that our blinkered authors are about to describe is the fruit of a plan of action. A plan not born of the long dead bogey man, but of those in positions of economic and political power who are the real beneficiaries. What is a $3 trillion cost to the American tax payer, is a $3 trillion profit for the military industrial complex and the psychopathic forces that drive it.


911 fire fighter
© Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
The crash: The 9/11 attacks alone cost the U.S. economy $50 billion to $100 billion.

Megaphone

The Audacity of Genetically Modified Foods

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© bioseguridad.blogspot.com
The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, promotes the idea that the arguments about genetically modified crops should focus on the science and the economics as Monsanto sees them. I maintain that the real discussion should be about the audacity and illegitimate way GM crops have been forced on a reluctant United States and world - the money, corruption, politics and obfuscation that characterize its rise to dominance. The discussion should focus on how GM crops have taken over our food supply with little concern for safety or our right to choose.

Does it bother you that we consumers are largely unaware that 70 percent to 80 percent of the processed foods we buy contain GM ingredients? We are "largely unaware" because these foods are not labeled - even though 90 percent of Americans want them labeled and think that we have the right to know what is in our food. The biotech industry fights labeling viciously because they know that, if GM foods were labeled, many would refuse to buy them as is the case in Europe. It's not financial considerations that leave us with no choice; it's our lack of awareness that allows them to take advantage of us. How many realize that Kraft Mac & Cheese is non-GM in Europe but does contain GM ingredients in the United States?

R2-D2

Propaganda: Elusive ex-commando to replace bin Laden?

Image
© Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images
Ilyas Kashmiri once told a reporter that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were “nothing compared to what has already been planned for the future.”
A Pakistani former commando who has been linked to multiple terror plots - including a series of planned "Mumbai style" attacks in European cities last summer - has emerged as a possible successor to Osama bin Laden as leader of al-Qaida, according to U.S. officials.

Although Ilyas Kashmiri is barely known to the American public, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have increasingly focused on him in recent years. The CIA has targeted him in drone attacks in northwest Pakistan and federal prosecutors have indicted him in a major terrorism case involving a Chicago businessman who goes on trial next week.

An elusive figure who often wears heavily tinted aviator glasses, Kashmiri remains at large and active in plotting new attacks against the West, U.S. officials say. It was Kashmiri who, according to U.S. officials, was the key figure behind a suspected plot for multiple attacks in European cities, patterned after the 2008 Mumbai terror strike, which led to a widely publicized State Department travel advisory in October.

While Ayman al-Zawahri remains the "presumed" successor to bin Laden, the longtime al-Qaida deputy is deeply unpopular in some circles and his elevation is by no means guaranteed, a senior U.S. official told reporters this weekend. If al-Zawahri doesn't make it, Kashmiri may emerge as the dark horse in the ensuing power struggle, the official told NBC on Monday.

Comment: Just when the world thought it safe to look under the bed..


Black Cat

'Bin Laden dead long before US raid'

Image
© Unknown
Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi
Iran's intelligence minister says the country has reliable information that former head of the al-Qaeda terrorist group Osama bin Laden died of disease some time ago.

"We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago," Heidar Moslehi told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He questioned Washington's claim that bin Laden was killed by American troops in a hiding compound in Pakistan on May 1.

"If the US military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed bin Laden, why don't they show him (his dead body) why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?" Moslehi asked.

"When we apprehended [former Jundallah ringleader Abdul Malik] Rigi, we showed him and also aired his interview," ISNA quoted the intelligence chief as saying.

By releasing such false news, he said, the White House seeks to overshadow regional awakening.

Gear

Billionaire's role in hiring decisions at Florida State University raises questions

Image
© Unknown
A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting "political economy and free enterprise."

Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they've funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it's not happy with the faculty's choice or if the hires don't meet "objectives" set by Koch during annual evaluations.

Bad Guys

The Birthers Become 'Deathers'

Image
© Reuters / Parivartan Sharma
A member of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) gestures in front of a portrait of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a pro-U.S. rally as the group celebrates bin Laden's killing, in Noida in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh May 5, 2011. U.S. officials sought to keep a lid on growing scepticism over Washington's version of events around bin Laden's death, insisting the al Qaeda leader was killed during a firefight in the compound in Pakistan where he was hiding
Birthers who claimed President Obama was not born in the U.S. have moved on to another wild conspiracy theory: that Osama bin Laden was not really killed last Sunday - or was killed to shut him up, and then quickly buried at sea.

Osama bin Laden's death couldn't have come at a better time for the birthers, those who believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, or Indonesia, or renounced his citizenship, or for various other reasons is ineligible for office. Obama had just held an exasperated press conference in which he released his long-form birth certificate, and chided the nation to get back to more serious work.

Launching the operation to kill the al Qaeda leader could be taken as an example of just the sort of serious duties lawmakers ought to be busy dealing with. Or, with its hasty ocean burial and lack of photographic evidence, it could be seen as just a bit too convenient.

That latter is how birther activist, lawyer, and dentist Orly Taitz took the news. "Perfect timing!" Taitz exclaimed on her site. "Our court hearing is scheduled to start in just a few hours. Major networks are supposed to be there with cameras rolling. Suddenly, Obama announces that the body of Osama Bin Ladin [sic] is found and we need to prepare for a possible terrorist act." She cited a rumor that bin Laden had been killed years ago and his corpse kept on ice, ready to be rolled out when a diversion was needed. The theory has been around for years, but promptly popped up again on May 1, when Alex Jones posted it on his site, InfoWars, also noting that it "follows the release of a highly suspicious birth certificate." Soon, people like Taitz and Jones had a name: the deathers.

Andy Martin, who is as close as a movement like the birthers comes to having a founder, says conspiracy peddlers like Taitz and Jones are ridiculous. He wants to redirect them to his new movement, which he prefers be called the doubters.

"You have to ask who he's covering for, if they had interrogated him, what he would have dropped in addition to those hard drives."

Vader

Barack Obama has emerged looking like a cold-blooded killer - and it turns America on

Obama
© Bloomberg
Barack Obama in the Situation Room on Sunday
We got him! From the White House Situation Room to the storm-struck towns of northern Alabama, the triumphant cry went up on Sunday night: America had found its number one enemy. And Barack Obama had fulfilled a promise.

Before Osama bin Laden was killed, the president's critics liked to portray Obama as a wimp. From radio shock jocks to Fox news, they branded him a bookish academic who hid behind his desk. He was comfortable on a university campus, or working as a "community organiser" - but not when dealing with folks in Baghdad, Kabul, or Islamabad. Obama preferred thoughtful seminars to action, ran the myth, and he would never make Americans proud.

How they must be eating their words now. As of last Sunday, the world knows that this man can kick ass when he wants to. A political Clark Kent, Barack Obama has emerged from the commando raid in Pakistan looking like an action hero. There are hints of ruthless cold-bloodedness in those White House photos. The raid played out like a cowboy film starring John Wayne, where the hero is a man of few words but deadly action.