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Bad Guys

Libya: Bodies of 53 Gaddafi supporters 'found executed' in Sirte

Mahari hotel executions
© Human Rights Watch
Bodies lie under sheets at the Mahari hotel, Sirte, Libya, 23 October 2011.
The bodies of 53 Gaddafi loyalists have been found at a hotel in the Libyan city of Sirte after apparently being executed, a human rights group says.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the victims - some of whom had their hands bound - died about a week ago.

It is the latest accusation of atrocities in Libya committed by both sides during the eight-month conflict.

Vader

Wartime Contracting Panel Seals Records for Next 20 Years

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© Unknown
Established by Congress to investigate and expose government waste, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to not reveal its volumes of materials to the public for another two decades.

After three years of work, the commission officially shut down last week, having concluded that the U.S. misspent between $31 billion and $60 billion in contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it won't allow its records to be opened for public review at the National Archives until 2031, because some of the documents contain "sensitive information," according to one official.

Bell

Debts of states over $4 trillion: Budget group

California State Capitol
© Reuters/Max Whittaker
The exterior shot of the State Capitol is seen as California legislators work late into the night to pass a $40 billion budget in the building in Sacramento, California February 17, 2009.
The total of U.S. state debt, including pension liabilities, could surpasses $4 trillion, with California owing the most and Vermont owing the least, according to an analysis released on Monday.

The nonprofit State Budget Solutions combined states' major debt and future liabilities, primarily for pensions and employee healthcare, unemployment insurance loans, outstanding bonds and projected fiscal 2011 budget gaps. It found that in total, states are in debt for $4.2 trillion.

The group, which follows state fiscal conditions and advocates for limited spending and taxes, said the deficit calculations that states make "do not offer a full picture of the states' liabilities and can rely on budget gimmicks and accounting games to hide the extent of the deficit."

Briefcase

Message From Muammar Gaddafi

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Gaddafi Unplugged and Uncensored

Translated by Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

Recollections of My Life: Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

2 + 2 = 4

The Devil According To NATO - Gaddafi At Home

NATO was right: REVEALED! The daily life of the 'brutal dictator', surrounded by incredible luxury and brutalizing small children..


Propaganda

Naked, Bloody Imperialism or "We Came, We Saw, He Died"

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Libya's new 'pro-Western' leaders
Among the many comments we have read and received on the alleged death of Gaddafi, the one most often repeated goes something like this: 'Gaddafi was a brutal dictator who deserved what he got'. The widely-held belief (at least in Western nations) that Gaddafi was a 'brutal dictator' is the result of over 30 years of (primarily) US, British and French propaganda against the former Libyan leader. The reasons for this long-running propaganda campaign are many, but chief among them is the fact that Gaddafi was not only fiercely independent as regards his native land, but he persistently sought to bring financial independence to other African nations.

It's The Media Stupid!

The average person in the street seems to find it difficult to grasp the idea that the 'national interests' of democratic governments often run counter to democratic ideals and that, in pursuing such interests, governments will attempt to maintain the appearance of remaining faithful to democratic ideals. Another way to say this is that governments will lie about their undemocratic activities in order to maintain a facade of democracy and thereby avoid disturbing the population. (For those who may have, understandably, forgotten the core democratic principles, check this link for a short refresher course.)

The maintenance of a democratic façade while pursuing undemocratic 'interests' is today only possible with the committed and almost unanimous connivance of the mainstream media, which unfailingly disseminates government propaganda to the people, and which the people in turn accept as gospel truth in the belief that the press is free and independent of government control. But virtually all Western mainstream media outlets today are owned by a handful of powerful corporations and mega-wealthy individuals who count high level members of Western governments among their close friends and confidants. The truth of this can easily be verified by anyone with a computer and a little time to do some research of their own. The extent of the actual freedom of the 'free press' can also be ascertained by revisiting the way in which the Western media blindly accepted and reported as truth government lies prior to and after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is reasonable then to conclude that the Western media, by and large, acts as a 'Ministry of Propaganda' for Western governments, especially in situations where government(s) are pursuing policies that are at variance with democratic ideals.

So, in light of all that, let's consider the question: "was Gaddafi really a 'brutal dictator'?"

Bad Guys

The Myth of Greek Profligacy: Destroying the Livelihoods of Thirteen Million People

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© Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Greek Crisis: Protesters outside parliament on May 5 in Athens, Greece.
Historically, Greeks are very good at constructing myths. The rest of the world? Not so much. Reading the press, one gets the impression of a bunch of lazy Mediterranean scroungers, enjoying one of the highest standards of living in Europe while making the frugal Germans pick up the tab. This is nonsensical propaganda, designing to justify the continued collective execution being inflicted on Athens for the sins of its fathers and grandfathers. As if Greece is the only country ever to cook its books in the European Union! The heart of the problem is in the antiquated revenue system that supports that state, which results in a budget shortfall consistently about 10 per cent of GDP. The top 20 per cent of the income distribution in Greece pay virtually no taxes at all, the product of a corrupt bargain reached during the days of the junta between the military and Greece's wealthiest plutocrats. No wonder there is a fiscal crisis.

So it's not a problem of Greek profligates, or an overly generous welfare state, both of which suggest that the standard IMF style remedies being proposed here are bound to fail, as they are doing right now. In fact, given the non-stop austerity being imposed on Athens (which simply has the effect of deflating the economy further and thereby exacerbating the very problem the Greeks are trying to eliminate), the Greeks really are getting close to the point where they should just default and shift the problem back to those imposing the austerity. It can't be worse than the slow execution they are facing today.

In reality, the Greeks have one of the lowest per capita incomes in Europe (€21,100), much lower than the Eurozone 12 (€27,600) or the German level (€29,400). Further, the Greek social safety nets might seem very generous by US standards but are truly modest compared to the rest of the Europe. On average, for 1998-2007 Greece spent only €3530.47 per capita on social protection benefits - slightly less than Spain's spending and about €700 more than Portugal's, which has one of the lowest levels in all of the Eurozone. By contrast, Germany and France spent more than double the Greek level, while the original Eurozone 12 level averaged €6251.78. Even Ireland, which has one of the most neoliberal economies in the euro area, spent more on social protection than the supposedly profligate Greeks.

Card - VISA

Where Exactly Are Those Lazy Southern Europeans, Anyway?

The northern eurozone countries are facing the prospect of coming up with massive amounts of additional funds to avert the collapse of Europe's financial sector. There have been some hints from various sources that a major and decisive agreement will be reached this weekend... though if the eurozone crisis has taught us anything, it is that one should never underestimate the power of European policy-makers to dither and delay beyond all reasonable expectations.

At any rate, lots of people (primarily but not exclusively in northern Europe) are very angry about the massive cost of fixing the eurozone mess. Understandably so. But unfortunately, much of that anger has been specifically directed at those lazy, shiftless, irresponsible southern Europeans that are seen to have gotten the eurozone into this mess to begin with. It's not difficult to find such finger-pointing expressed in the statements of prominent European officials, or in commentary on blogs and news sites.

I've repeatedly argued that I strongly disagree with this placement of blame; the eurozone crisis was fundamentally caused by the massive flow of capital from the north to the south of Europe that was bound to happen once the euro was adopted, and the specific behavior of individual governments in southern Europe had little to do with it. But I realize that this is a relatively abstract economic argument -- albeit one with substantial theoretical and empirical support. Stories of impersonal capital flows somehow don't address the gut feeling that lots of people have that southern Europeans really are less hard-working and responsible than northern Europeans, and that those laid-back southern attitudes must have caused the crisis.

Dollar

What conspiracy? Vatican calls for establishment of 'central world bank'

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© Giampiero Sposito
Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican October 23, 2011
The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a "global public authority" and a "central world bank" to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises. The document from the Vatican's Justice and Peace department should please the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.

"Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority," was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions. "The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence," it said.

It condemned what it called "the idolatry of the market" as well as a "neo-liberal thinking" that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems. "In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale," it said, adding that world economics needed an "ethic of solidarity" among rich and poor nations.

Document

Propaganda Alert: US pulls envoy out of Syria over security concerns

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© Reuters/SANA
New U.S. ambassador Robert Ford (R) talks with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after presenting his credentials to Assad, in Damascus January 27, 2011
Washington - The United States pulled its ambassador out of Syria over security concerns, blaming President Bashar Assad's regime for the threats that made it no longer safe for him to remain.

Ambassador Robert Ford returned to Washington this weekend after the U.S. received "credible threats against his personal safety in Syria," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday. Ford has been the subject of several incidents of intimidation by pro-government thugs, and enraged Syrian authorities with his forceful defense of peaceful protests and harsh critique of a government crackdown that has now claimed more than 3,000 lives.

"We hope that the Syrian regime will end its incitement campaign against Ambassador Ford," Toner said. "At this point, we can't say when he will return to Syria."

Toner said the U.S. embassy will remain open in Damascus and that the threats were specifically directed toward Ford. His return is conditional on a U.S. "assessment of Syrian regime-led incitement and the security situation on the ground," Toner said.

Comment: The next item up for bid in the US empire's planetary restructuring scheme: Syria?

Syria doesn't have a Syrian Government, it only has a regime? Note how 'regime' was repeated like a mantra because the Western governments and their puppet media understand the word 'regime' to mean 'less than government'.
"Syria is formally a republic. The Constitution of Syria was adopted on 13 March 1971. It defines Syria as a secular socialist state with Islam recognized as the majority religion."
Regime or constitutional government? Who's oppressing whom? In Western culture it's hard to say, especially when we are only given one side of the story. For all we know, the protestors who are being shot are being sent into Syria to cause havoc and make the Syrian 'regime' look evil, corrupt and heartless, so it can be reported in articles such as the above.
"If you are not careful the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being suppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."

- Malcolm X