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Park service abuses spark new 'Battle of Yorktown'

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The shutdown of Washington has now become the battle of Yorktown.

In the same place where America fought its final battle of independence, one American businessman is refusing to bow to pressure to close up shop during the shutdown.

His story is just one example of what many view as the Obama administration's widespread overreach during the government gridlock.

MIB

Flashback Mexcian drug baron 'El Chapo' Gúzman nearly caught by Mexican authorities after close brush with Hilary Clinton and 'dozens of other foreign ministers'

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Joaquín Guzmán Loera
Much like the late Osama bin Laden, the man the U.S. calls the world's most powerful drug lord apparently has been hiding in plain sight.

Mexican federal police nearly nabbed Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in a coastal mansion in Los Cabos three weeks ago, barely a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with dozens of other foreign ministers in the same southern Baja peninsula resort town.

Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas, Mexico's assistant attorney general in charge of organized crime investigations, confirmed on Sunday that there was a near miss in late February in the government's efforts to arrest the man who has become one of the world's top fugitives since he escaped prison in a laundry truck in 2001.

"We know he was there," Salinas told The Associated Press.

The incident fuels growing speculation that authorities are closing in on Guzman, and that the government of President Felipe Calderon is determined to grab him before his six-year term ends in December.

Comment: Guzman remains a free man. And according to informants, he works for the U.S. government.


Stormtrooper

Police state: UK security services colluded with construction oligarchs in secret plan to blacklist 3,200 building workers

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A protest against the UK govt's blacklisting of 'troublesome' workers this summer
IPCC tells lawyers representing victims it is likely that all special branches were involved in providing information

Police officers across the country supplied information on workers to a blacklist operation run by Britain's biggest construction companies, the police watchdog has told lawyers representing victims.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has informed those affected that a Scotland Yard inquiry into police collusion has identified that it is "likely that all special branches were involved in providing information" that kept certain individuals out of work.

The IPCC's disclosure confirms suspicions voiced by the information commissioner's office last year that the police had been involved in providing some of the information held on the files, as revealed by this newspaper.

The admission has been welcomed by campaigners for the 3,200 workers whose names were on the blacklist that was run for construction companies as "absolute evidence" of a conspiracy between the state and industry that lasted for decades.

Comment: When we first heard about this story, we assumed the blacklisted workers must have been blacklisted for some good reason (perhaps they had criminal records or were involved in unlawful activities at construction sites)... but no, they were blacklisted because they were law-abiding citizens looking out for the safety of their colleagues. And their unions, rendered utterly useless in this environment of rampant corporate greed, sided with the oligarchs every step of the way.


Chess

Old game, new enemy: China

US targets China
© Unknown
Countries are "pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world," wrote Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody facade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game.

The al-Shabaab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a common language and religion, Somalis have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians. Tens of thousands of people have been handed from one power to another. "When they are made to hate each other," wrote a British colonial official, "good governance is assured."

Today, Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment" programs, and saturated with modern weapons, notably President Obama's personal favorite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was "well received by the people in the areas it controlled," reported the US Congressional Research Service, "[but] received negative press coverage, especially in the West." Obama crushed it; and in January, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. "Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government," effused President Hassan Mohamud, "thank you, America."

Arrow Down

Arafat may have been poisoned with Polonium 210 - Lancet claims


One of the world's leading medical journals has supported the possibility that Yasser Arafat, the longtime Palestinian leader, was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210.

The British The Lancet journal has published a peer review of last year's research by Swiss scientists on Arafat's personal effects.

It endorsed their work, which found high levels of the highly radioactive element in blood, urine, and saliva stains on the Palestinian leader's clothes and toothbrush.

The work of the experts at Lausanne University, Switzerland, was triggered by an Al Jazeera investigation, and also led to Arafat's body being exhumed in November 2012 for further testing.

In October 2004, Arafat fell ill, suffering from a number of symptoms, including nausea and abdominal pain.

Info

Guardian was 'entirely correct' to publish NSA stories, says Vince Cable

Business secretary confirms Nick Clegg is to launch review of oversight of intelligence agencies

Vince Cable
© Unknown
The Guardian performed a considerable public service after making the "entirely correct and right" and "courageous" decision to publish details from secret NSA files leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Vince Cable has said.

The business secretary, who reserved judgment on Snowden's decision to leak the files, confirmed that Nick Clegg was setting in train a review of the oversight of Britain's intelligence agencies.

In an interview on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Cable said that "arguably" Britain did not have proper oversight of the domestic intelligence service MI5, overseas agency MI6 and eavesdropping centre GCHQ.

Camcorder

Alan Rusbridger: I would rather destroy the copied files than hand them back to the NSA and GCHQ - video


The Guardian's editor reveals why and how the newspaper destroyed computer hard drives containing copies of some of the secret files leaked by Edward Snowden. The decision was taken after a threat of legal action by the British government, that could have stopped the reporting on the extent of American and British state surveillance revealed by the document

Bad Guys

Obama campaign manager: House Republicans 'committing economic treason'

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President Barack Obama's former senior White House adviser and campaign manager David Plouffe accused House Republicans of "committing economic treason" during the partial government shutdown on Thursday.

In a snarky tweet about Republicans' attempts to negotiate an end to the government shutdown, Plouffe dredged up the "birther" issue in order to discredit the GOP:
Maybe throw in a Special Counsel to investigate the President's birthplace and the House GOP will stop committing economic treason.
- David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) October 10, 2013

Arrow Up

Obama's national debt rate on track to double

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© AP Photo/Evan VucciSen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is pursued by members of the media as he gets on an elevator on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after leaving a Republican policy luncheon.
Says raising limit 'won't add a dime'

President Obama likes to say that raising the nation's borrowing limit "won't add a dime" to the federal debt, but he neglects to mention that the government already has borrowed the equivalent of more than 60 trillion dimes since he took office.

When Mr. Obama became president in January 2009, the total federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. This week, it hit $16.7 trillion - an increase of 57 percent. In the same time frame under President George W. Bush, total federal debt rose 38 percent. Under President Clinton, it rose 32 percent.

The administration says the government will run out of authority to pay its bills by Oct. 17 unless Congress raises the debt limit again to allow more borrowing. The president portrays the move as one of simple responsibility.

"It does not increase our debt," Mr. Obama said. "It does not grow our deficits. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent."

Dollar

Fisher House steps in to pay for military death benefits during shutdown

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© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Fisher House has announced it will step in to pay military death benefits during the shutdown, with the Pentagon repaying the organization after the shutdown has ended.

The Fisher House Foundation, an organization long- known for caring for wounded troops and their families, will pay death gratuity benefits for the families of servicemembers killed during the government shutdown - and the Pentagon will back them pay once it's over.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deal on Wednesday after massive public outrage that benefits - including a $100,000 payment to the family within 36 hours of the death notice - would not be paid while the government is shut down.

"Today I am pleased to announce that the Department of Defense is entering into an agreement with the Fisher House Foundation that will allow the federal government to provide the family members of fallen service members with the full set of benefits they have been promised, including a $100,000 death gratuity payment," Hagel said in a statement released shortly after he and Army Secretary John McHugh traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the dignified transfer ceremony for four soldiers who were killed by an IED in Afghanistan on Sunday.