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20 states petition to secede from union

Divided States of America
© The Sun
Divided States of America
They don't want to take their country back. They just want to leave it behind.

As the dust settles in the wake of President Obama's decisive reelection last Tuesday, the White House petition website has been flooded by a series of secession requests, with malcontents from New Jersey to North Dakota submitting petitions to allow their states to withdraw from the union.

Most of the petitions submitted thus far have come from solidly conservative states, including most of the Deep South and reliably separatist Texas. But a handful come from the heart of blue America - relatively progressive enclaves like Oregon and New York.

All told, petitions have been filed on behalf of 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Many of the petitions invoke the Declaration of Independence's dramatic assertion that "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government."

Question

American Blackmail: Petraeus affair used to cloud Obama's "Benghazigate"?

General Petraeus and Operative Paula Broadwell

Cover-up: General Petraeus and Operative Paula Broadwell
The mistress of General Petraeus - one Paula Broadwell, was no ordinary fling, and is said to be pivotal in his resignation.

As a result, the CIA head won't be testifying in the upcoming Congressional hearings on Obama's cock-up in Benghazi. The FBI raided Broadwell's residence immediately following the disclosure.

Paula Broadwell, maiden name 'Krantz', is a top-line US intelligence operative, and has links to arms dealer Jan Henrik Jebsen, who set up her position at Tufts University where she ran the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at Tufts Fletcher School. Jebsen also has ties to arch-neocons Scooter Libby, Douglas Feith, and Michael Ledeen through his board position with the pro-Israeli Hudson Institute. The Hudson is directly tied to Likud in Israel, and works to cultivate the idea of radical Islam as the chief threat to the west. Paula Broadwell is in the middle of this matrix, and she herself has also worked extensively in Israel and Jordan, as one could image.

Broadwell's father Paul Krantz seems to know something, telling the New York Daily News, 'it's about more than the affair'.

Question

Petraeus: Resignation or sacking?

Image
Some observers call Washington a city of scandals. Lots of intrigue reflects daily life in the nation's capital. Elected and appointed officials come and go.

Most often it's uneventful. Other times once powerful figures fell from grace or scandals affecting them rose to the level of affixing a "gate" suffix on what happened.

Watergate, Whitewatergate, Iran/Contragate, Koreagate, Travelgate, and Troopergate among others come to mind.

Perhaps Petraeusgate will enter the lexicon of political scandals. You read it here first.

Forget resignation over extramarital sex nonsense unless state secrets were compromised. Lots of elected and appointed Washington officials had affairs. Many likely have current ones.

Resignations don't generally follow. Newt Gingrich survived sex and ethics scandals. He resigned as House Speaker after the Republicans faired poorly in 1998 off-year elections.

In 1999, extramarital sex defrocked Speaker-elect Bob Livingstone. He could have stayed, but opted to become a high-paid DC lobbyist.

Extramarital affairs didn't defrock past notable officials. They included Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Buchanan, Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower (during WW II), Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton. Unconfirmed rumors also surfaced about GHW and GW Bush.

Target

Confused? The David Petraeus scandal, explained (so far)

David Petraeus
© US Navy Chief Petty Officer Joshua Treadwell/Flickr
Then-Gen. David Petraeus with then-Lt. Gen. John Allen, both of whom are implicated in the alleged scandal.
Who knew what and when? Why did Jill Kelley ask for diplomatic protection? And shirtless photos from an anti-Obama FBI agent? (UPDATED)

The start of this crazy scandal:

Last Friday, David Petraeus - a retired Army general revered for his roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after revealing that he'd had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. It soon emerged that the FBI had been investigating Petraeus' paramour for months, eventually stumbling across their relationship.

Wait - who did what, now?

Petraeus, who at different points in the past decade oversaw the Iraq War, Afghanistan, and the CIA's drone program, engaged in an affair with Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer and commentator on military affairs. The two met in 2006, when Petraeus addressed Broadwell and her graduate school colleagues at Harvard. Two years later, she began a Ph.D. in war studies and started to compose a book-length analysis of Petraeus' wartime leadership. He eventually granted her unfettered access, including lodgings on his Kabul base when he took control of the war in Afghanistan in 2010.

Broadwell's access continued after Petraeus retired from the Army and took over at the CIA in late summer of 2011. Her research culminated in an glowing biography titled All In: The Education of David Petraeus, which was released earlier this year. According to news reports, sources close to Petraeus insist that the affair began after he left the Army; if it began before then, he (and Broadwell) could potentially be prosecuted for adultery under the military's legal codes.

How did all this come to light?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the affair was discovered several months ago by FBI agents investigating harassment allegations against Broadwell. She reportedly used an anonymous email account last May to send threatening emails to a Florida woman, Jill Kelley. Kelley is a family friend of Petraeus who volunteers as an event planner at MacDill Air Force base, the Tampa installation where Petraeus was based when he ran the US Central Command from 2008-10. The emails reportedly accused Kelley, 37, of an inappropriate relationship with Petraeus. Kelley voiced her concerns to a personal friend who was an FBI agent, according to the New York Times, and the FBI began an investigation of the emails.

That inquiry quickly led agents to suspect Broadwell of sending the messages, and they secured a warrant to search her personal email, discovering intimate details of her affair with Petraeus. By late summer, they had learned that the CIA director had been using a Gmail account under a pseudonym to communicate with Broadwell, and they informed Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller of the probe. Law enforcement officers began to investigate whether any sensitive or classified information had passed between the two lovers. (According to the Journal, federal agents are obligated by Justice Department policy not to share information with Congress and the White House on criminal investigations until they are completed.)

In late October, FBI officials interviewed Broadwell and Petraeus, and both separately admitted to the affair, though they stressed that they hadn't shared any classified data. Satisfied, the agents briefed James Clapper, the director of national intelligence and a friend of Petraeus, on the probe at 5 p.m. on November 6, Election Day. Clapper reportedly advised Petraeus to resign the next day. President Obama was informed of the matter Thursday, and Petraeus offered his resignation in the Oval Office. Obama accepted it the following day.

Eye 1

What are you packing? Homeland security to scan payment cards at borders and airports

wireless electronic card reader
© USDA
Typical wireless electronic card reader
Travelers leaving or entering the United States have long had to declare aggregated cash and other monetary instruments exceeding $10,000. Now, under a proposed amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) will also require travelers to declare the value of prepaid cards that they are carrying, known now as "tangible prepaid access devices."

Expected to be finalized by the end of this year, the cross-border reporting modifications stem from a broader October 2011 definition of payment methods and form factors that replaced the term "stored value" with the term "prepaid access" in an effort to more accurately describe the process of accessing funds held by a payment provider.

Enforceability falls to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection both within the Department of Homeland Security, which is already developing advanced handheld card readers that can ascertain whether a traveler is carrying a credit card, debit card, or prepaid card. This differentiation is important because only prepaid card balances will need to be added to declaration report forms.

Acknowledging that many questions still remain and that enforcement may not be straightforward, Cynthia Merritt, assistant director of the Retail Payments Risk Forum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, had this to say about the handheld readers:
Furthermore, according to the comments, the enforcement challenge is not new, nor is the concept of a device or document that can be used to access value. The current challenges are similar to those presented in the past with other monetary instruments such as checks, money orders, and traveler checks.
Merritt also stated that, "When law enforcement takes possession of a cash or monetary instrument at the border, they are effectively holding the funds, but not so with a prepaid card or other device. Holding the card does not provide access to the underlying funds."

Blackbox

Petraeus scandal develops as another general is under investigation

Allen
© CNN
Allen is a four-star general and the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Gen. David Petraeus is the latest in a long line of powerful men in Washington whose career has been marred by an affair; Clinton and Lewinsky, Schwarzenegger and his love child - or for that matter, Edwards and his love child, Spitzer and the call girl.

The FBI alleged Gen. John Allen had "inappropriate communications" with Jill Kelley, the woman who reportedly received threatening emails from Paula Broadwell, according to the Associated Press.

Allen is a four-star general and the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer, was identified as the woman who Petraeus had an affair with and the cause of his resignation.

An official told the AP that 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other communications between Allen and Kelley since 2010 are under review.

The official added the emails are not believed to be sexual in nature, and Allen has denied any wrongdoing.

Comment: Quite a clean-out of top military personnel with Petraeus and Allen, there is also Gaouette:
In an unusual move, the Navy has replaced an admiral commanding an aircraft carrier strike group while it is deployed to the Middle East. The replacement was prompted by an Inspector General's investigation of allegations of inappropriate leadership judgment.

Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, the commander of the USS John C. Stennis strike group, is being returned to the United States for temporary reassignment.
and Sinclair:
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's court-martial, which kicked off Monday morning at Fort Bragg, for offenses including "forcible sodomy." The hearing represented a first glimpse into a case that the Pentagon and the Army have gone to surprising lengths to keep quiet - lengths they haven't gone to in other high-profile cases, including the one against a sergeant charged with much more serious crimes who also begins his court-martial on Monday.



Vader

Former British MP Sir Cyril Smith 'sexually abused boys', MP tells Commons

Cyril Smith

the grotesque former MP Cyril Smith - at the pedophile safe haven of Westminster!
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Smith's former constituency in Rochdale, described him as a "29 stone bully" who "imposed himself" on his victims whom he "humiliated and terrified".

The allegations were investigated by Lancashire Police in the 1960s but no action was taken.

Mr Danczuk said some alleged victims had only now come forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and it was time to find out "why was this allowed to happen".

Smith's brother, Norman, said he was "staggered" the MP was blackening the name of Sir Cyril, who died in 2010, adding that the police found at the time that there was no case to answer.

Barry Fitton, a former resident of the Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale, told the website politicshome.com that when he was 15 Smith would make him strip, smacked his bare bottom and then stroked his buttocks.

Vader

Israel posing threat to entire region

Image
© Unknown
Ahmed Bilal Osman
Sudan's Minister of Culture and Information Ahmed Bilal Osman described Israel as a serious threat to the entire region, reminding that Tel Aviv's blatant disrespect for all international rules was displayed in its recent aggression against Khartoum.

"Israel is the greatest threat posed to the Arab countries and the entire region," Osman told Sudan official TV network, adding that Tel Aviv has sought to start war with Sudan since 1982.

He said the recent military attack by Israel on Sudan was not aimed at the ruling system but was meant to serve as the start of a colonial move to loot his country's resources.

Osman further said that Sudan has initiated diplomatic and international moves to disclose the Israeli aggression against Khartoum to the public in every dimension, adding that his country has also filed a complaint at the UN Security Council.

Earlier, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir called Israel his country's number one enemy and repeated Khartoum's assertion that Tel Aviv carried out an October airstrike on the Sudanese capital.

"Israel is our enemy, our number one enemy, and we will continue calling Israel our enemy," he said in Riyadh where he has received medical treatment.

On October 24, Osman informed the media that four Israeli warplanes had attacked Yarmouk Ammunition Factory in Khartoum and killed at least two people.

Hundreds of Sudanese staged a demonstration in Khartoum on the same day to condemn the strike.

Sudan has also asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for violating the country's sovereignty.

Stormtrooper

US supports sectarian wars in region to serve Israel

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A former deputy head of the Arab League said the US stirs and supports sectarian wars in the region in a bid to help materialize Israel's interests.

"The US policies about Israel should change and Washington should desist from supporting sectarian wars which are to the benefit of the Zionist regime since all the sectarian wars in Islamic countries serve the interests of that regime," Former Arab League Deputy Secretary-General for Palestinian Affairs Saeed Kamal told FNA on Tuesday.

Asked if the US will change its foreign policy with regard to Israel, he said Washington and Tel Aviv will be separated in all but the Palestinian issue, and the US will fully support and obey Israel against the Palestinian nation.

In relevant remarks in August, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned about the enemies' plots to stir sectarian strife among the regional nations.

During the meeting held on the sidelines of the 16th heads-of-state summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) here in Tehran at the time, the Supreme Leader cautioned against the dangerous attempts made to sow discord and stir clashes between different religious sects in the Muslim nations, specially between the Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and said, "These actions are carried out through the support of certain powers and by means of their hirelings, whose instances can be seen in Afghanistan and Pakistan now."

"The Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were created with the support of the US allies in the region, while the US is bombing countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting them," said the Leader, and added, "But their main goal is hegemony over these countries."

He further warned the Indonesian official to take precautions about such dangerous plots against Muslims in Indonesia, Egypt and Libya, and underlined the necessity of increased cooperation among Islamic states.

USA

The Greatest Obama Scandal of the Century, Arming Al-qaeda in Syria

The CIA has been funding, training and arming the terrorists that allegedly attacked the US on 9/11.