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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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The Billion Dollar War? Libyan Campaign Breaks Pentagon Estimates Costing U.S. Taxpayers $2 Million a Day

Allies meet in Abu Dhabi to discuss post Gaddafi future The cost of the U.S. campaign in Libya is set to exceed the $750 million Pentagon estimate set out in March, according to a leaked Department of Defence Memo.

The 'eyes-only' DoD dossier said the U.S. had already spent $664 million in Libya by mid-May - a running cost of $60 million a month since the bombing began in March.

At the current rate of spending, the U.S. will have to shell out at least an extra $274 million till the end of the current 90 day no fly zone extension period - brining total expenditure to a minimum of $938 million.

The news came as donors pledged more than $1.3 billion dollars to help support Libya's main opposition group, after countries backing NATO's military mission there met to prepare for the post-Moammar Gadhafi era.
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© The Associated Press
Costs: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks during a media conference today. He is under pressure to stump up for the cost of operations in Libya

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© EPA
Defiant: The Libyan people are stronger than NATO's attacks, Libyan leader Muamer Gaddafi, said earlier this week

Sheeple

Sarah Palin Knows How Stupid We Are: She's Not Running, But She Loves the Attention

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Sarah Palin boards her One Nation Tour bus, which stopped at historical sites between Washington and New England, including the Fox News HQ in New York.
Did you catch the Sarah Palin tour bus sweeping through America?

In case you managed to miss it, let me bring you up to date: That motor vehicle represented the sum total of Palin's "message" so far for 2012 - namely, "I'm still here, and I'm not going anywhere. So get used to it."

And, Palin might have added: "Listen, we all know I'm not going to be president in 2012, or ever. So what? You idiots in the media still treat me like I'm the presumptive candidate.' To quote Sally Field that time at the Oscars, 'You like me! You really like me!'"

Palin understands the media better than the media understand her - and that has been her special public-relations gift since she emerged from obscurity in August 2008. She is the message, not the words she speaks. When journalists take her seriously, they only add to her credibility. (Note: Palin has appeared as a contributor on the Fox News Channel, which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp. NWS -0.07% .)

The media first encountered this sort of media strategy in 1968 when Richard Nixon ran for president on a platform of going around the press corps to speak directly to the people in, what was for the times, a daring maneuver. Nixon showed that a candidate didn't have to pander to the Eastern establishment wing of journalism. Palin has polished up Nixon's approach and made it her own by concentrating on making pronouncements at her friendly rallies.

Bomb

"Suicide Bomber" in Somalia was Minnesota Man: FBI

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© Agence France-Presse
A Somali government soldier mans a position at southern Mogadishu?s Shirkole-Ofishale premises on June 2. US investigators have identified one of the suicide bombers responsible for a May 30 attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu as a 27-year-old man from Minnesota, who left for the war-torn east African nation in 2009
US investigators have identified one of the suicide bombers responsible for a May 30 attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu as a 27-year-old man from Minnesota, who left for the war-torn east African nation in 2009.

Based on fingerprints obtained by the FBI after the attack, the bomber was positively identified as Farah Mohamed Beledi, from Minneapolis, investigators said Thursday.

Two soldiers with the African Union force in Somalia were killed in the suicide attack, which AU and Somali forces said at the time claimed the lives of at least three attackers.

Shebab extremists, who pledged allegiance to the Al-Qaeda network last year, claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed their forces killed eight AU troops without revealing their own casualties.

Beledi had been one of 13 men who have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Minneapolis "on terrorism offenses for traveling to Somalia" and joining the designated terrorist organization the Shebab, the FBI said in a statement.

House

Americans' Equity in Their Homes Near a Record Low

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© The Associated Press / Paul Sakuma
In this June 3, 2011 photo, members of the Home Defenders League rally in front of the Bank Of America in San Jose, Calif. The Obama administration is blaming the three largest U.S. mortgage lenders for the failures of its foreclosure-prevention program. It says they've done little to help people at risk of losing their homes.
Falling real estate prices are eating away at home equity. The percentage of their homes that Americans own is near its lowest point since World War II, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. The average homeowner now has 38 percent equity, down from 61 percent a decade ago.

The latest bleak snapshot of the housing market came as mortgage rates hit a new a low for the year, falling below 4.5 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. But even alluring rates have failed to deliver any lift to the depressed housing industry.

The Fed report is based on data from the first quarter of this year. Another report last week found that home prices in big cities have fallen to 2002 levels.

Normally, home equity rises as you pay off the mortgage. But home values have fallen dramatically since the bubble in prices burst in 2006. So many homeowners are losing equity even though the outstanding balance on the loan is getting smaller.

Stop

Norway to End Air Support for Libya Mission on August 1

Norway, which has sent six F-16 fighter jets to Libya, will withdraw from air operations on August 1, two months before the expiry of NATO's current mandate, the government said Friday.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Card - VISA

IMF 'suspended' World Bank links following hack attack

Spy on the wire

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reportedly become the target of a concerted hack attack.

The resulting breach was severe enough for the economic development agency to temporarily suspend network connections with the World Bank, as a precaution. The link was quickly restored.

According to internal emails leaked to Bloomberg the precautionary disconnection followed the detection of "suspicious file transfers". "[A] subsequent investigation established that a Fund desktop computer had been compromised and used to access some Fund systems. At this point, we have no reason to believe that any personal information was sought for fraud purposes."

2 + 2 = 4

Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say

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© Alex Wong, Getty Images
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills, pictured last month, has held hearings on waste and fraud in Iraq.
U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion, sent by the planeload in cash and intended for Iraq's reconstruction after the start of the war.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the George W. Bush administration flooded the conquered country with so much cash to pay for reconstruction and other projects in the first year that a new unit of measurement was born.

Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

Propaganda

'Gay Girl in Damascus' hoaxer acted out of 'vanity'


Tom MacMaster, heterosexual American, contrite over fictional lesbian blogger 'Amina Abdallah Aral al Omari'

The male American PhD student who confessed to being an internet hoaxer masquerading as a lesbian blogger in Damascus has spoken publicly about the reasons behind his deception, saying he was motivated, in part, by his own "vanity".

Gay activists in Syria and further afield have reacted furiously to the revelation that the blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, was written not by a 35-year-old woman kidnapped by security forces last week, but by Tom MacMaster, a married, 40-year-old American studying at Edinburgh University.

Speaking via Skype video to the Guardian, MacMaster, who is on holiday in Istanbul with his wife, expressed some contrition for the blog, which he began in February after constructing an elaborate web identity for Amina Abdallah Aral al Omari, a fictional lesbian Syrian, over more than four years.

Attention

Prelude to Regime Change: Psy-Ops against Syria confirmed as US man admits to hoaxing Syrian 'Lesbian Activist Blogger'

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© facebook
Psychopath: Tom MacMaster, 40, an American studying in Scotland, admits he made up a lesbian blogger to assist US propaganda against the Syrian government
The true identity of internationally renowned blogger 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' has been revealed as a 40-year-old American man.

Tom MacMaster, a student at the University of Edinburgh, wrote an apology on the blog today, confessing that the entire thing was a hoax.

His admission came after days of questioning and pressure by suspicious readers who did not buy the story that 'blogger' Amina Arraf, a lesbian Syrian-American living in Damascus, had been arrested.

In his post today MacMaster, writing from Istanbul in Turkey where he is on holiday with his wife Britta Froelicher, admitted his narrative was fictional.

But he insisted the blog, popular with thousands around the world, 'created an important voice for issues I feel strongly about'.

He claimed he had never expected so much attention.

Nuke

Report: Japan offers to enrich uranium for Iran

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© Reuters
Nikkei business daily reports proposal for Japan to enrich uranium for Tehran was floated in December, with US approval

Japan has offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allow it access to nuclear power while allaying international fears it might be seeking an atomic weapon, the Nikkei business daily reported Wednesday.

Tehran had not yet given a concrete response, but the issue was expected to be discussed Wednesday in Tokyo by Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, the daily said in an online report.