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Top US lawmaker: Aid recipients face sacrifices

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© Unknown

Washington - Countries that get US aid, such as Pakistan, will have to shoulder more of the burden for their own growth as Washington eyes deep cuts in overseas assistance, a top US lawmaker warned Wednesday.

"Greater sacrifice by aid recipients is required to sustain the generosity of the American people," said Representative Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Subcommittee that manages US aid flows.

"For example, Pakistan, which receives $1.5 billion per year in civilian aid alone, has one of the lowest effective tax rates in the world," Lowey said in an opinion column in the online politics and public affairs magazine Politico.

Star of David

Israel Deliberately Bombs Medical Supply Building in Gaza

Israel has intentionally dropped two large bombs on the AL-Qerem Medical Supplies Factory in Jabalya, Gaza. The building is totally destroyed, as was all of the medical supplies and equipement. Gaza is already in crisis mode for lack of medical supplies, this bombing will mean even the most basic of medical needs will continue to be impossible to satisfy.


http://1tjp.net

Stormtrooper

Propaganda Alert: New website to open spy agency to public - CIA

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© AFP/Getty Images
Washington - The CIA has launched a revamped website with links to YouTube and Flickr to help the public better understand the spy agency's often clandestine work, officials said.

"The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the Agency available to more people, more easily," CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a statement on Monday.

"The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe," he said.

Although the Central Intelligence Agency's mission has always hinged on secrecy, the spy service is conscious of its public image -- partly for recruiting reasons -- and in recent years has added games and links for children on its website.

Binoculars

ACLU Slams Chicago's Pervasive Surveillance System

Chicago
© AFP
A vast network of high-tech surveillance cameras that allows Chicago police to zoom in on a crime in progress and track suspects across the city is raising privacy concerns.

Chicago's path to becoming the most-watched US city began in 2003 when police began installing cameras with flashing blue lights at high-crime intersections.

The city has now linked more than 10,000 public and privately owned surveillance cameras in a system dubbed Operation Virtual Shield, according to a report published Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

At least 1,250 of them are powerful enough to zoom in and read the text of a book.

The sophisticated system is also capable of automatically tracking people and vehicles out of the range of one camera and into another and searching for images of interest like an unattended package or a particular license plate.

2 + 2 = 4

Biggest Scam in World History Exposed


The greatest scam in history has been exposed -- and has largely been ignored by the media. In fact, it's still going on.

The specifics of a secret taxpayer funded "backdoor bailout" organized by unelected bankers have been revealed. The data release revealed "emergency lending programs" that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money ($16 trillion according to Dr. Ron Paul) -- and Congress didn't know any of the details.

According to the Public Record:
"The Federal Reserve was secretly throwing around our money in unprecedented fashion, and it wasn't just to the usual suspects like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.; it was to the entire Global Banking Cartel. To central banks throughout the world: Australia, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, England ... We are talking about trillions of dollars secretly pumped into global banks, handpicked by a small select group of bankers themselves. All for the benefit of those bankers, and at the expense of everyone else."

Stormtrooper

Patriot Act Fails on House floor - but it will be back

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A plan that would have seen the House of Representatives extend controversial provisions of the Patriot Act with little debate failed Tuesday night, as a group of Republicans joined a majority of Democrats in voting no.

The House voted 277 to 148 for the Patriot Act extension -- 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass it under a procedure that allows bills that aren't controversial to pass quickly.

But it appears the bill was controversial enough to convince some two dozen tea party-backed Republican freshmen to join a majority of Democrats in voting against it, The Hill reported.

Star of David

Is Israel Facing an Existential Threat?

Tzipi Livni
© The Associated Press
Tzipi Livni: leadership does not benefit from fear
It is always worth listening to Israelis in their own country when discussing apparent and growing threats to wipe them out. The diplomatic niceties in the West, still carefully preserved even in these crazy days of Middle East policy on the hoof, become irrelevant when one is talking about threats on the same street.

Here at the annual Herzliya conference on security and defence, it took a defence minister to blow through cobwebs of diplomat-ese. Matan Vilnai harangued his audience at the opening on Sunday night. People need to understand what it means to be in the Middle East. If the whole world could understand, he said, it would be important. "We are now in a third world war," he said. Israel didn't have a minister for homeland security. It does now. There is an axis of evil that runs from Beirut to Damascus to Tehran. After Israel withdrew from Gaza it became a terror base. And so on.

None of this was new. But it takes on a different hue when delivered within miles of Hizbollah rockets. Changes in Egypt, Lebanon and elsewhere have the Israelis scared stiff.

But I have been lucky too to have met a former head of Mossad this morning who gave a completely different perspective. Efraim Halevy belongs to the school that says Israel needs to stop viewing everything, from Iranian weapons to Turkish flotillas to homegrown jihadis in Oregon, as an existential threat.

MIB

Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo

Suleiman, a friend to the US and reported torturer, has long been touted as a presidential successor.
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© Getty Images
Suleiman meets with Israeli president Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv, November 2010
On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt's top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran - and he has long been the CIA's main man in Cairo.

Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among 'Iran nexters' in Washington - not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt's efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.

According to a WikiLeak(ed) US diplomatic cable, titled 'Presidential Succession in Egypt', dated May 14, 2007:
"Egyptian intelligence chief and Mubarak consigliere, in past years Soliman was often cited as likely to be named to the long-vacant vice-presidential post. In the past two years, Soliman has stepped out of the shadows, and allowed himself to be photographed, and his meetings with foreign leaders reported. Many of our contacts believe that Soliman, because of his military background, would at least have to figure in any succession scenario."

Star of David

Cables say Israel favours Suleiman

Preference for Egypt's new vice-president to succeed Mubarak disclosed by leaked documents obtained by WikiLeaks.

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© AFP
Mounting protests against Mubarak's rule prompted the Egyptian leader to appoint Suleiman as vice-president
Omar Suleiman, Egypt's recently appointed vice-president, has long long seen by Israel as the favoured successor to Hosni Mubarak, the current president, according to a leaked diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, and published by the UK daily, The Telegraph.

The August 2008 cable said David Hacham, a senior adviser at the Israeli ministry of defence (MoD), told US officials the Israelis expected Suleiman, spelt Soliman in some cables, to take over.

"Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim president if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated," the cable sent from the US embassy in Tel Aviv said.

"We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman," the memo cited US diplomats as saying.

The cable said Hacham was full of praise for Suleiman, even noting that "a 'hot line' set up between the MoD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use".

Passport

Israeli Espionage in America, A National Security Scandal

"How do I want to rob, cheat and lie to thee. Let me count the ways... military, nuclear, political, academic, media and your law enforcement institutions."

The biggest national security scandal story of our times is the extent that Israeli espionage has gone on here for decades. There is an aspect of the War on Terror on which our elite leadership refuses to level with the public...how terrified our defense, political, counter intelligence and legal institutions are when it comes to rooting them out and shutting it all down. All other terrors pale into insignificance. And they treat this affliction with an age old cure...denial.

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© Unknown
My first exposure to Israeli espionage scholastically was through Steven Green's book Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations With A Militant Israel(1984). Green was one of the earliest users of the then new Freedom of information Act, filing hundreds of requests to get previously classified military and diplomatic Intel reports.
The book is a gold mine, so much so that some in the Reagan administration considered a rump prosecution of Green to scare others off from doing similar work. Cooler heads prevailed and they ended up reclassifying some of the best parts of the book despite Green's archives being publicly available at the Hoover institute. There is a phrase to describe this...'contempt for the public'.