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Dollar

U.S. closes Libya embassy, freezes Gadhafi assets

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Washington -- The Obama administration froze assets of the Libyan government, leader Muammar Gaddafi and four of his children Friday, just hours after it closed the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and evacuated its remaining staff. U.S. officials said announcements of the steps were withheld until Americans wishing to leave the country had departed as they feared Gaddafi might retaliate amid worsening violence in the North African country.

The measures announced Friday ended days of cautious U.S. condemnation of Gaddafi that had been driven by concerns for the safety of U.S. citizens in Libya. They struck directly at his family, which is believed to have amassed great wealth over his four decades in power.

President Barack Obama accused the Gaddafi regime of violating "human rights, brutalization of its people and outrageous threats." In a statement issued by the White House, the president said "Gaddafi, his government and close associates have taken extreme measures against the people of Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries and wanton violence against unarmed civilians."

Bizarro Earth

Gaddafi 'Losing Grip' Over Libya

Demonstrators remain on the streets as leader's power may soon be confined only to the capital, Tripoli.


Most of Libya is out of control of the government, and Muammar Gaddafi's grip on power may soon be confined only to the capital, Tripoli, Libya's former interior minister has said.

General Abdul Fatteh Younis told Al Jazeera on Saturday that he had called upon Gaddafi to end his resistance to the uprising, although he does not expect him to do so.

The embattled Libyan regime passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints and sent out armed patrols, witnesses said in Tripoli.

Some of Libya's security forces reportedly have given up the fight. Footage believed to be filmed on Friday showed soldiers joining the protesters.

The footage showed demonstrators carrying them on their shoulders in the city of Az Zawiyah after having defected -- a scene activists said is being repeated across the country.

Al Jazeera, however, is unable to independently verify the content of the video, which was obtained via social networking websites.

Our correspondent in Libya reported on Friday that army commanders in the east who had defected had told her that military commanders in the country's west were also beginning to turn against Gaddafi.

They warned, however, that the Khamis Brigade, an army special forces brigade that is loyal to the Gaddafi family and is equipped with sophisticated weapons, is currently still fighting anti-government forces.

Our correspondent, who cannot be named for security reasons, said that despite the gains, people are anxious about what Gaddafi might do next and also because his loyalists were still at large.

Yoda

Video: David Cronin attempts citizens arrest on Lieberman in Brussels

Irish journalist David Cronin, correspondent for IPS and commentator for The Guardian, on Tuesday attempted a citizens arrest on Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in EU Council, he was quickly escorted from the conference room before the press meeting started.


Watch the interview with David Cronin, on his Lieberman arrest attempt.

Yoda

Cronin on his attempted arrest of Israel's Lieberman: "There's an onus on journalists, indeed all people of conscience, to stand up to the state of Israel"

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Irish journalist David Cronin made international news headlines on Tuesday when he attempted a citizen's arrest on Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Minister in the EU Council in Brussels.

Cronin is an author and long time pro-Palestininan activist. He previously attempted to place former UK PM Tony Blair under Citizen's arrest, failing in both attempts so far.

His action's have led to him having his journalist accreditation revoked, a small price to pay, he says.


Handcuffs

Irish freelance journalist attempts citizens arrest of Israeli foreign minister Lieberman in Brussels

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The Brussels reporter who made headlines around the world last year for attempting to place former UK prime minister Tony Blair under a citizen's arrest has done it again, this time with the foreign minister of Israel, the hard-right Avigdor Lieberman.

David Cronin, a freelance reporter in the European capital since 1998, on Tuesday morning (22 February) called out to the minister as he entered the press room of the Justus Lipsius building, the headquarters of the European Council, for a briefing following an meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council: "Mr Lieberman, this is a citizen's arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid. Please accompany me to the nearest police station."

He was grabbed by a pair of security guards and shuffled out of the room.

"Free Palestine!" he continued as he was led away.

A spokesman for the Israeli mission to the EU told EUobserver: "This was utterly uncivilised, in bad taste. But Israel, like the EU, is very supportive of free speech. It's just a shame that some people take advantage of that freedom sometimes."

"He is obviously obsessed with Israel, judging by what he's written, a dedicated anti-Israel activist. Unfortunately this will now get an echo in the press," he added.

Comment: Well, DID this get an "echo in the press"? SOTT did not come across this until now!


Handcuffs

Monsanto Shifts ALL Liability to Farmers

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© Monsanto via The New York TimesMonsanto researchers in Stonington, Illinois, work to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide.
Farmers like genetically modified (GM) crops because they can plant them, spray them with herbicide and then there is very little maintenance until harvest. Farmers who plant Monsanto's GM crops probably don't realize what they bargain for when they sign the Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement contract. One farmer reportedly 'went crazy' when he discovered the scope of the contract because it transfers ALL liability to the farmer or grower.

Here is the paragraph that defines Monsanto's limit of liability that shifts it to the farmer:
"GROWER'S EXCLUSIVE LIMITED REMEDY: THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY OF THE GROWER AND THE LIMIT OF THE LIABILITY OF MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER FOR ANY AND ALL LOSSES, INJURY OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OR HANDLING OF SEED (INCLUDING CLAIMS BASED IN CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, PRODUCT LIABILITY, STRICT LIABILITY, TORT, OR OTHERWISE) SHALL BE THE PRICE PAID BY THE GROWER FOR THE QUANTITY OF THE SEED INVOLVED OR, AT THE ELECTION OF MONSANTO OR THE SEED SELLER, THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SEED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES."

Newspaper

Forbes Writer: GMO Labeling Would Violate Corporate Speech Rights

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© GMO CompassCivilization goes on in the Netherlands, despite the menace of mandatory GMO labeling.
In a blog post on Forbes.com, Glenn Lammi, general counsel for the right-wing, pro-business think tank the Washington Legal Foundation, goes on the attack against Mark Bittman's recent New York Times op-ed column calling for the labeling of genetically engineered food. Lammi, aside from indulging in ad hominem attacks mocking Bittman's "modestly named iPhone/iPad application, How to Cook Everything," not to mention "the foodie elites and Luddite activists" who oppose genetically engineered food, also indulged in just about every pro-GMO trope in the books.

Lammi extols the supposed virtues of genetically engineered food: how their safety is beyond question, how they increase agricultural productivity and lead to lower prices, etc. As Grist's coverage has explained time and again, none of this is so clear cut. But my favorite bit had to be this:
Biotechnology allows crops to grow larger, faster, with fewer or no pesticides, and in otherwise intolerable climates.

Eye 2

US: Wisconsin governor tells prank caller he considered sending agents provocateurs among protesters, Madison Police Chief disturbed

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Madison, WI police chief Noble Wray: not impressed
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) may have more than his own embarrassment to deal with in the wake of the prank call from from a progressive blogger claiming to be David Koch.

The police chief in Madison, Wisc. -- site of the protests at the state Capitol -- tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the he found parts of the recorded call between Walker and "Koch" "very unsettling and troubling."

Specifically, Chief Noble Wray says that Walker's claim that he considered sending infiltrators into the crowd (prompted by a suggestion by "Koch," played by blogger Ian Murphy) made him nervous.

"I would like to hear more of an explanation from Governor Walker as to what exactly was being considered, and to what degree it was discussed by his cabinet members," Wray said. "I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers."

Comment: This is the prank call from "David Koch" to Scott Walker:



Source: TheBeastvideos


Magnify

Psst. No shutdown during a 'government shutdown'

trays of printed social security checks
© APIn this Feb. 11, 2005 file photo, trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed

Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, though not until later. And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open.

That's the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn't shut down.

And it won't on March 5, even if the combatants on Capitol Hill can't resolve enough differences to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the government while they hash out legislation to cover the last seven months of the budget year.

Fewer than half of the 2.1 million federal workers subject to a shutdown would be forced off the job if the Obama administration followed the path taken by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And that's not counting 600,000 Postal Service employees or 1.6 million uniformed military personnel exempt from a shutdown.

Mr. Potato

Stark, Raving, Mad: First Gunfire, Then Gadhafi Blows Kisses

Libyan strongman Moamar Gadhafi blew kisses to a crowd of supporters in Tripoli today after his troops fired on demonstrators who had been chanting that Gadhafi must go.


The dictator appeared in Green Square, the city center, to proclaim, "I am here."

Although the past week has seen several bloody battles that have left anywhere from 300 to 1,000 dead, Gadhafi extorted the youth in the crowd, "Dance, sing, live your lives. Dance! Dance and Sing! Be happy! Ghadafi is here among his people."

He ended his speech by blowing kisses to the cheering crowd.