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Stormtrooper

Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

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39-year-old Vikas Mavhudzi has become Zimbabwe's first "Facebook arrest" after posting a comment on the social network on February 13, 2011 at about 2PM, according to New Zimbabwe. He is being charged with "subverting a constitutional government" for commenting on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Here's his message, according to SW Radio Africa:
I am overwhelmed, I don't want to say Mr. or PM what happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.
The post was referring to the revolt in Egypt which succeeded in toppling dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak on February 11, 2011 after 18 days of protests. Discussing uprisings against dictators in North Africa is now apparently considered a crime in Zimbabwe.

Newspaper

UK: As Royal Wedding Nears, Palace Rushes to Contain Negative Publicity Surrounding Prince Andrew

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© The Associated Press / Michel Euler
In this Wednesday Jan. 23, 2008 file photo Britain's Prince Andrew, gestures while speaking during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As Buckingham Palace prepares to celebrate the wedding of Prince William, officials are rushing to contain a flurry of negative publicity from the side of the family that has long been a cause embarrassment. Prince Andrew, the queen's second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender _ pictures have been published of him with his arm around the waist of the teenage prostitute at the center of that case _ and his hosting of the son of the Tunisian dictator, shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power, has led to calls for him to be stripped of his role as special UK trade ambassador.
As Buckingham Palace prepares to celebrate the wedding of Prince William, officials are rushing to contain a flurry of negative publicity from the side of the family that has long been a source of embarrassment.

Prince Andrew, the queen's second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender. He has also been accused of having close ties to Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya. And his hosting of the son of the Tunisian dictator, shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power, have all led to calls for the Duke of York to be stripped of his role as special U.K. trade ambassador.

British officials have rallied to the royal's defence, with the foreign secretary expressing his "confidence" in Andrew and a U.K. trade official voicing support for the prince to remain in the position, saying Sunday he does a "very valuable job."

But pressure and speculation over how long Andrew will remain in his post are mounting as his activities are generating unwanted scrutiny. Buckingham Palace is in damage limitation mode as it attempts to keep the public's focus on the April 29 wedding between William and Kate Middleton.

In the past, Andrew's name has been synonymous with a dark spot for the royal family. His much-publicized divorce from Sarah Ferguson, her subsequent missteps, tell-all book and videotaped attempt to sell a U.K. tabloid access to Andrew stand in stark contrast to the fairy tale glow surrounding William and Kate Middleton's courtship and upcoming nuptials.

Stormtrooper

Eight SAS men in undercover mission are seized in Libya - by the rebel forces they allegedly went to help

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© Reuters
Support: Pro-Gaddafi Libyans hold a rally in central Tripoli after government forces reclaimed the city of Ras Lanuf
  • Team believed to be escorting diplomat to establish contact with rebel leaders
  • Nine men being held in military base in Benghazi
  • Gaddafi forces regain control of oil town Ras Lanuf after air strikes
  • Photographs emerge of captured rebel soldiers in Zawiya and Misrata
An eight-man SAS team and a junior diplomat were being held by rebels in eastern Libya last night after a bungled mission to put the envoy in touch with them.

The elite unit has been escorting the diplomat through rebel-held territory when they were captured.

The diplomat had intended to pave the way for a more senior British official to establish diplomatic relations with rebel forces.

Comment: Endless British shenanigans in the affairs of other nations. This story reminds us of the SAS men caught "dressed in Arab garb" driving around Basra in a car laden with explosives in 2005.

Flaming APCs! Now There's a Heart-Warming Story! Just Don't Mention The False Flag


Stormtrooper

British 'SAS unit' captured in Libya

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SAS men caught 'dressed in Arab garb' with a car full of explosives in Iraq in 2005.
Defence secretary Liam Fox says 'small diplomatic team' is in Benghazi to talk to rebels

The defence secretary, Liam Fox, has confirmed that a "small diplomatic team" is in Benghazi to talk to Libyan rebels but refused to confirm reports that any British nationals had been detained.

According to Guardian sources, a suspected British intelligence and special forces unit, which arrived by helicopter about four days ago, was caught near the town of Khandra, about 20 miles west of Benghazi.

A senior member of Benghazi's revolutionary council said: "They were carrying espionage equipment, reconnaissance equipment, multiple passports and weapons. This is no way to conduct yourself during an uprising.

"Gaddafi is bringing in thousands of mercenaries to kill us, most are using foreign passports and how do we know who these people are?

Eye 2

Bradley Manning: The serial deceit of Geoff Morrell

Bradley Manning/George Morrell
© AP/Haraz N. Ghanbari
Bradley Manning/George Morrell
(updated below)

New York Times, June 8, 2004:
In the weeks since photographs of naked detainees set off the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, military officials have portrayed the sexual humiliation captured in the images as the isolated acts of a rogue night shift. But forced nudity of prisoners was pervasive in the military intelligence unit of Abu Ghraib, so much so that soldiers later said they had not seen "the whole nudity thing," as one captain called it, as abusive or out of the ordinary.
Guantanamo Standard Operating Procedures, December, 2002:
In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.
Jane Mayer, The Dark Side:
[T]he CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become [Abu] Zubaydah's "God." They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, "You know what I want," and then leave.
The New York Times, yesterday:
A lawyer for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking secret government files to WikiLeaks, has complained that his client was stripped and left naked in his cell for seven hours on Wednesday. . . . The soldier's clothing was returned to him Thursday morning, after he was required to stand naked outside his cell during an inspection. . . . First Lt. Brian Villiard, a Marine spokesman, said a brig duty supervisor had ordered Private Manning's clothing taken from him.

Wolf

Burying The Truth, the orginal Ecologist investigation into Monsanto and Brofiscin Quarry

silenced

What does Douglas Gowan know that everyone else wants to keep hidden? For 40 years the story of Brofiscin Quarry - now the most polluted place in the UK - has been suppressed...

For 40 years the story of Brofiscin Quarry - now the most polluted place in the UK - has been suppressed. Documents have been mysteriously lost, witnesses silenced, scientific data ignored. But like the periodic explosions that issue from the depth of the quarry, the truth has a way of blowing up in our faces. Jon Hughes and Pat Thomas report.

Witness protection schemes are normally the preserve of supergrasses or The Sopranos, not people who volunteer evidence in response to a public appeal from a government agency. But that is the position 64-year-old Douglas Gowan finds himself in, having spent the past six months living under police protection.

Star of David

Report: Israeli company recruiting Gadhafi mercenaries

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© Suhaib Salem / Reuters
Suspected African mercenaries held by anti-government protesters stand in a room at a courthouse in Benghazi on Friday February 25.
An Israeli company is recruiting mercenaries to support Moammar Gadhafi's efforts to suppress an uprising against his regime, an Israeli news site said Tuesday.

Citing Egyptian sources, the Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi said the company was run by retired Israeli army commanders.

The report claims that many high-profile former Israeli officers have been illegally trading weapons in several African nations, and have faced interrogations over their activities in the past.

The news site said the head of the company recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli intelligence chief Aviv Cokhavi. It added that the officials all approved the company's recruitment of mercenaries to help Gadhafi.

Comment: Here's a translation from Avi, a regular commenter at mondoweiss.net, of the source article at Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi:
The article states that the weapons were provided by an Israeli company that's made up of former generals in the Israeli army.

The article states that in the past, the company was under investigation for illegal sales to another African country, but this time, according to Egyptian sources, the company received explicit approval when the company's CEO whose name was specifically mentioned in the document (there's no link to that document within the body of the article) had met with the head of Aman (Hebrew acronym for Intelligence Directorate) Aviv Kokhavi and later with the Minister of Defense Barak and PM Netanyahu. That CEO, the article explains, had received the approval of the aforementioned officials to go ahead and recruit mercenaries as Israel fears the establishment of a Muslim Caliphate in Qaddafi's place.

It adds that the Libyan ruler seeks to establish an army of 50,000 mercenaries who will arrive from different areas in order to break apart the anti-government rebellion.

[Avi - Up until now I was paraphrasing the translation, but the article contains too many details. So, I'll resume verbatim:]

It is further reported that representatives of the Israeli company that deals in arms sales and serves as a broker for fighters had met with Libya's intelligence chief, Abdallah Sannusi. The meeting took place in Chad, another African state. The final details of the deal were agreed upon in that meeting. Chad, Libya's and Sudan's neighbor to the south has had intimate relations with Israel for several decades now.

It should be noted that mercenaries who had already arrived in Tripoli, left from Chad and that is a provable fact. According to publications in the west, Qaddafi pays the company that deals in recruiting mercenaries 2,000 USD per day, per fighter. From that, the mercenaries personally receive about $100 per day. This is a brokerage deal to the tune of billions of dollars. The money is paid to the African supervisors who bring their gangs and rake in a fortune. The large amounts include weapons and ammunition that mercenaries use, and compensation for the mercenaries' families in the event that fighters are killed, injured, or fall in captivity.

Simultaneously, it should be noted that the United States, Britain and perhaps NATO have decided to begin an aerial siege [no-fly zone] on Libya, also in order to prevent entry of mercenaries to the state.

The rebels in Libya have already succeeded in capturing a few tens of mercenaries and display them to the media. Qadhaffi himself denies having recruited fighters outside the country and said that more than half the subjects of Libya are "blacks, therefore the media errs for mistaking them for mercenaries".



Stormtrooper

Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt

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Saudi security forces in armoured vehicles responding to the threat of a Shia uprising this week
Saudi Arabia was yesterday drafting up to 10,000 security personnel into its north-eastern Shia Muslim provinces, clogging the highways into Dammam and other cities with busloads of troops in fear of next week's "day of rage" by what is now called the "Hunayn Revolution".

Saudi Arabia's worst nightmare - the arrival of the new Arab awakening of rebellion and insurrection in the kingdom - is now casting its long shadow over the House of Saud. Provoked by the Shia majority uprising in the neighbouring Sunni-dominated island of Bahrain, where protesters are calling for the overthrow of the ruling al-Khalifa family, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is widely reported to have told the Bahraini authorities that if they do not crush their Shia revolt, his own forces will.

The opposition is expecting at least 20,000 Saudis to gather in Riyadh and in the Shia Muslim provinces of the north-east of the country in six days, to demand an end to corruption and, if necessary, the overthrow of the House of Saud. Saudi security forces have deployed troops and armed police across the Qatif area - where most of Saudi Arabia's Shia Muslims live - and yesterday would-be protesters circulated photographs of armoured vehicles and buses of the state-security police on a highway near the port city of Dammam.

Wall Street

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Issues Layoff Warning Notices

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© AP Photo/Andy Manis
In this Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued layoff warning notices on Friday to unions representing state workers as a three-week-long battle between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over union bargaining rights took a new turn.

In an e-mail announcing the layoff notices, the governor's office said that "if the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided. Without Senate action within 15 days, individual employees may begin to receive potential termination notifications."

Walker did not specify the number of workers affected but said this week about 1,500 employees would be affected. Friday's warning notices do not count as official layoff notices.

The letters to the statewide bargaining units notified them that layoffs will be possible starting in April. It said that the action was "due to the delay in the Budget Repair Bill."

Magnify

Oil Settles at Highest Level Since September 2008

oil_libya
© Unknown
Libya and US jobs report push oil prices above $104, to highest level since Sept. 2008

Oil prices rose past $104 a barrel to end the week at a 29-month high, as fighting in Libya intensified and the world's largest petroleum consumer, the U.S., reported that employers added nearly 200,000 new jobs in February.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in February. While that's positive news for the economy, the report also suggests that more people are driving to work at a time when world oil supplies are under pressure because of unrest in Libya and the Middle East.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $2.51 to settle at $104.42 per barrel in New York, the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008.

Gasoline prices have shot up an average of 35 cents per gallon since an uprising in Libya began in mid-February. A gallon of regular gained another 4.4 cents overnight to a new national average of $3.471 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.