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Fri, 21 Jan 2022
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'Afghan war targets Iran, China, Russia'

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© Unknown
Militancy continues to claim civilian lives in Afghanistan despite the presence of 150,000 soldiers.
The United States continues its presence in Afghanistan to pursue a regime change policy aimed at Iran, China and Russia, a US anti-war activist says.

"That is a strategy of regime change," going on in regard to Russia, China and Iran, Richard Becker from ANSWER Coalition said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

"You can see that between those countries -- Russia, China and Iran -- is Afghanistan and its strategic importance is very great in what is the drive of the US foreign policy to bring about a regime change wherever a government is not compliant with the wishes of the US policy makers and leaders," he added.

He further argued, "The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been, since its beginning in 1949, an instrument of the United States. So, you have to ask the question "what is NATO doing in Afghanistan?" to begin with."

"Afghanistan is quite far from the Atlantic Ocean and it is serving as an expansion of the projections of US military power," Becker pointed out.

On Tuesday, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Mark Sedwill said the US-led forces would remain there far beyond 2014, despite the planned handover of security to Afghan forces.

Blackbox

US fury over UN expert's 9/11 'cover-up' claims

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© Unknown
The United States on Tuesday demanded the sacking of a UN human rights expert for "noxious" comments claiming there had been a US cover-up over the September 11 attacks.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the comments by Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, as "an affront" to the victims of the 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, called Falk's views "despicable and deeply offensive" and said she had registered a protest and called for his dismissal.

Falk wrote in his personal blog on January 11 that there are "awkward gaps and contradictions in the official explanations" given for the attacks when hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

He said there was "an apparent cover-up" by the US government over its knowledge of the attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden.

Falk said mainstream US media had been "unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an Al-Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials."

The US ambassador said she was "appalled" and joined calls by other groups for his dismissal.

"Mr Falk endorses the slurs of conspiracy theorists who allege that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were perpetrated and then covered up by the US government and media," she said in a statement.

War Whore

$170 Million Mock City Rises at Marine Base

Marines train
© Crystal Chatham / AP
Marines train at the new facility in Twentynine Palms, Calif., on Tuesday.
A mock city roughly the size of downtown San Diego has risen in a remote Southern California desert to train military forces to fight in urban environments.

The $170 million urban training center was unveiled Tuesday at the Twentynine Palms military base, 170 miles northeast of San Diego.

The 1,560-building facility will allow troops to practice and refine skills that can be used around the world, the Marine Corps said.

The military has been opening a slew of mock Afghan villages at bases across the country to prepare troops for battle before they are deployed.

The new training center is one of the largest and most elaborate.

Seven separate mock city districts spread across 274 acres of desert.

MIB

Google Comes Under Fire for 'Secret' Relationship with NSA

Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group largely focused in recent years on Google's privacy practices, has called on a congressional investigation into the Internet giant's "cozy" relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

In a letter sent Monday, Consumer Watchdog asked Representative Darrell Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to investigate the relationship between Google and several government agencies.

The group asked Issa to investigate contracts at several U.S. agencies for Google technology and services, the "secretive" relationship between Google and the U.S. National Security Agency, and the company's use of a U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration airfield in California.

Federal agencies have also taken "insufficient" action in response to revelations last year that Google Street View cars were collecting data from open Wi-Fi connections they passed, Consumer Watchdog said in the letter.

Dollar

What is Plan B if China dumps its U.S. debt?

made in china, barcode
© Reuters/Brian Snyder
The box for a wine refrigerator reading ''Made in China'' at a Costco store in Everett, Massachusetts, January 18, 2011.

When borrowing money it's always good to have a Plan B in case a big creditor pulls the plug. That should be true whether the sum is a few thousand dollars or about a trillion, the size of the United States government's debt to China.

With Chinese President Hu Jintao due to arrive in Washington on Tuesday, it is worth asking about U.S. officials' Plan B just in case one day relations take a surprise turn for the worse and Beijing dumps its holdings of U.S. treasuries.

China is officially the United States' biggest foreign creditor, with roughly $900 billion in Treasury holdings -- or over $1 trillion with Hong Kong's holdings included.

That means it could do severe damage to U.S. debt markets if it suddenly started selling large amounts.

Pistol

US: Utah considers making semiautomatic pistol a state symbol

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© Wikipedia
An M1911A1 semiautomatic, .45-caliber pistol manufactured by Remington Rand. Utah gunmaker John M. Browning designed the original M1911 firearm, which lawmakers want to make the nation's official state gun.

A House committee voted, 9-2, yesterday to endorse a bill that would make Utah gunmaker John Moses Browning's M1911 semiautomatic pistol a state symbol. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, said the .45-caliber handgun is something that represents Utah, The Tribune reported.

"It's an implement of freedom that has defended America for 100 years," he said.

The M1911, which was the standard-issue sidearm for U.S. forces from 1911 to 1985, was used by military heroes such as Alvin York and Audie Murphy, Wimmer said. The House Political Subdivisions Committee passed the measure, which several gun rights groups backed. The bill goes to the full House, which Republicans control.

Mr. Potato

Egypt: Mubarak's son flees to Britain as protests increase

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Dominoes! Jamal Mubarak left for London on Tuesday.
The Egyptian president's son has fled to Britain as thousands continue to protest across the country against Hosni Mubarak's decades-long rule.

Mubarak's son, who is considered his successor, left the country along with his family amid the anti-government protests across Egypt which are the largest since Mubarak took power three decades ago.

The plane with Jamal Mubarak, his wife and daughter on board left for London Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo, the US-based Arabic website, Akhbar al-Arab reported on Wednesday.

His departure comes as situation in Egypt remains tense with people pouring into the streets across the country to protest against Mubarak.

Heavily armed riot police have been deployed in major cities as the Egyptian government has banned any demonstrations, warning that protesters would be detained.

Vader

Exporting terrorism abroad: 'Palestine Papers' reveal British MI6 role behind internment and torture in Occupied Territories

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© Loay Abu Haykel/Reuters
Palestinian "special guards" - made in the UK
Internment and replacement of imams among measures

Document proposed 'direct lines' to Israeli intelligence

New files reveal Israel requested assassination of militant


British intelligence helped draw up a secret plan for a wide-ranging crackdown on the Islamist movement Hamas which became a security blueprint for the Palestinian Authority, leaked documents reveal. The plan asked for the internment of leaders and activists, the closure of radio stations and the replacement of imams in mosques.

The disclosure of the British plan, drawn up by the intelligence service in conjunction with Whitehall officials in 2004, and passed by a Jerusalem-based MI6 officer to the senior PA security official at the time, Jibril Rajoub, is contained in the cache of confidential documents obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared with the Guardian. The documents also highlight the intimate level of military and security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli forces.

The bulk of the British plan has since been carried out by the West Bank-based PA security apparatus which is increasingly criticised for authoritarian rule and human rights abuses, including detention without trial and torture.

USA

This Won't Hurt a Bit...

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It's that time of year again - the President of the United States is taking an hour or so out of his evening to explain to the 15% of the American public who didn't change the channel that things aren't as bad as they seem. It's called the State of the Union Address - though this year it was introduced by ABC News as 'The State of OUR Union' - just keep spinning things, folks, play continuity, community and any faint whiff of ownership - perhaps one or two of those guys in Illinois won't change the channel.

The intro on CBS led in with the congressional shooting and how the congresswoman Gaby Giffords is recovering. It's always wise to lead in with emotion, it hooks people, before they can reach for the remote.

The Republicans and Democrats will be 'seated together' this year, as opposed to the customary seating which separates them 'across the aisle'. What does this mean? Nothing. Forcing children who dislike each other to sit together rarely accomplishes much. While waiting for the president to enter, the camera pans across all the congressmen standing and milling around and shaking hands with each other as if this is ground-breaking behavior - a background hum of casual chatting and friendly camaraderie ensues; dancing on the deck of the Titanic.

Quite a lot is made of this by the news commentators, as it is explained that Republicans and Democrats paired up with each other as 'dates' to sit together, mixed on both sides of 'the aisle'. The media refers to it as a 'prom' - they even speak of a 'prom queen and king', the "better looking members of the senate who paired up early". This is the country's Legislative Branch of government acting like, being treated like they are teenagers at a prom. While this is a classic marketing tactic to humanize and familiarize a loathed branch of government to the 'common man', who is mentally and emotionally 14 years old, all I can say is, please save us from marketers.

Document

US: Arizona to Pass 2012 Eligibility Law: Obama Will Have to Produce Birth Certificate to Run Again

Obama
It could be a game-changer.

A plan in Arizona to require presidential candidates to prove their eligibility to occupy the Oval Office is approaching critical mass, even though it has just been introduced.

The proposal from state Rep. Judy Burges, who carried a similar plan that fell short last year only because of political maneuvering, was introduced yesterday with 16 members of the state Senate as co-sponsors.

It needs only 16 votes in the Senate to pass.

In the House, there are 25 co-sponsors, with the need for only 31 votes for passage, and Burges told WND that there were several chamber members who confirmed they support the plan and will vote for it, but simply didn't wish to be listed as co-sponsors.

The proposal, which also is being taken up in a number of other states, is highly specific and directly addresses the questions that have been raised by Barack Obama's occupancy of the White House. It says:
Within ten days after submittal of the names of the candidates, the national political party committee shall submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate's citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as prescribed in article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States.