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Monday
Mar172008

Chinese Troops Parade Handcuffed Tibetan Prisoners in Trucks

The Chinese Army drove through the streets of Lhasa today parading dozens of Tibetan prisoners in handcuffs, their heads bowed, as troops stepped up their hunt for the rioters in house-to-house searches.

As the midnight deadline approached for rioters to surrender, four trucks in convoy made a slow progress along main roads, with about 40 people, mostly young Tibetan men and women, standing with their wrists handcuffed behind their backs, witnesses said.

A soldier stood behind each prisoner, hands on the back of their necks to ensure their heads were bowed.

Loudspeakers on the trucks broadcast calls to anyone who had taken part in the violent riots on Friday — in which Han Chinese and Hui Muslims were stabbed and beaten and shops and business set on fire — to turn themselves in. Those who gave themselves up might be treated with leniency, the rest would face severe punishment, the broadcasts said.

The worst violence in 20 years in the deeply Buddhist Himalayan region has drawn a tough response from the Government, facing severe embarrassment as the riots threaten to tarnish its image of unity and stability only five months before it plays host to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

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Monday
Mar172008

Beyond the Border of War

 In from the cold they come, gangly young men and graying grandfathers alike, filling a downtown church with the kind of polite anticipation more befitting an afternoon wedding than an antiwar rally. Banners dangle from the choir loft, bearing the same appeal as the T-shirts for sale in the foyer: "Let Them Stay."

Lee Zaslofsky bustles from pew to pew, an anxious organizer making sure everyone is in place on a recent Saturday -- the politicians and academics, the musicians, the pacifists, and a handful of runaway American soldiers seeking refuge in Canada.

Zaslofsky, 63, knows each of the latter by both name and need. There is Jeremy Hinzman, the first one to seek asylum here, in limbo for four years now. And Phil McDowell, the computer geek whose patriotism was put to the test in Baghdad. And Patrick Hart, the veteran worried about lost medical benefits for his sick son. All found their way to Zaslofsky and the quasi-underground network he runs for AWOL Americans crossing the border with little more than what they can fit in a duffel bag.

"You should know, I do love you," he assures each one. "I'm a Vietnam resister."

Across Canada, the remnants of a lost counterculture are rising up again as hundreds of aging draft dodgers reluctantly leave the quiet comforts of their anonymous lives to help an estimated 200 Iraq war deserters who fled north with no promise of asylum.

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Monday
Mar172008

Despite U.S. Efforts At Concealment, More Torture Stories Leaking Out

By Sherwood Ross

"A guard held a shotgun to my head. 'You are a terrorist!'' he screamed. 'What kind of dumb stuff did you write about your treatment here?'' My hands and feet were bound, and someone kicked me from behind."

That's just a sliver of the testimony of Murat Kurnaz, a 19-year-old Muslim from Bremen, Germany, abducted while traveling in Pakistan in the company of missionaries a few months after 9/11. Kurnaz was sold as a terror suspect to the U.S. military for $3,000, imprisoned and tortured over a five-year period.

While jailed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a Red Cross official wrote a letter home for Kurnaz and it was the "dumb stuff" in the letter that infuriated the Americans, according to the cover story in the Spring issue of "Amnesty International" (AI)magazine. The guards' response illustrates the pains the Bush regime is taking to conceal from the world its horrific crimes against Muslim prisoners in dungeons around the world. There have been numerous other cases now where the Red Cross has not been informed of the existence of "ghost prisoners", such as in the CIA prison in Kabul, or even told of the existence of a prison itself. Not surprisingly, the Red Cross has found U.S. methods are, at the least, "tantamount to torture."

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Sunday
Mar162008

JPMorgan to Buy Bear for $2 a Share

Also see: Stocks Tumble Around the World!

Just four days after Bear Stearns Chief Executive Alan Schwartz assured Wall Street that his company was not in trouble, he was forced on Sunday to sell the investment bank to competitor JPMorgan Chase for a bargain-basement price of $2 a share, or $236.2 million.

The stunning last-minute buyout was aimed at averting a Bear Stearns bankruptcy and a spreading crisis of confidence in the global financial system sparked by the collapse in the subprime mortgage market. Bear Stearns was the most exposed to risky bets on the loans; it is now the first major bank to be undone by that market's collapse.

The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government swiftly approved the all-stock buyout, showing the urgency of completing the deal before world markets opened. The Fed also essentially made the takeover risk-free by saying it would guarantee up to $30 billion of the troubled mortgage and other assets that got the nation's fifth-largest investment bank into trouble.

"This is going to go down in very historic terms," said Peter Dunay, chief investment strategist for New York-based Meridian Equity Partners. "This is about credit being overextended, and how bad it is for major financial institutions and for individuals. This is why we're probably heading into a recession."

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Sunday
Mar162008

Tyranny on the U.S. Border

By Manuel Roig-Franzia / Washington Post

The killers prowled through Loma Bonita in the pre-dawn chill.

In silence, they navigated a labyrinth of wood shacks at the crest of a dirt lane in the blighted Tijuana neighborhood, police say. They were looking for Margarito Saldaña, an easygoing 43-year-old district police commander. They found a house full of sleeping people.

Neighbors quivered at the crack of AK-47 assault rifles blasting inside Saldaña's tiny home. Rafael García, an unemployed laborer who lives nearby, recalled thinking it was "a fireworks show," then sliding under his bed in fear.

In murdering not only Saldaña, but also his wife, Sandra, and their 12-year-old daughter, Valeria, the Loma Bonita killers violated a rarely broken rule of Mexico's drug cartel underworld: Family should remain free from harm. The slayings capped five harrowing hours during which the assassins methodically hunted down and murdered two other police officers and mistakenly killed a 3-year-old boy and his mother.

The brutality of what unfolded here in the overnight hours of Jan. 14 and early Jan. 15 is a grim hallmark of a crisis that has cast a pall over the United States' southern neighbor. Events in three border cities over the past three months illustrate the military and financial power of Mexico's cartels and the extent of their reach into a society shaken by fear.

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Sunday
Mar162008

Protect Yourself Against the Weak Dollar

Howard Gartenhaus
Wealth Manager at Gartenhaus Financial in Rockville, Md.


You could consider purchasing mutual funds that invest in international stocks and/or foreign bonds. When you make such purchases, you are converting dollars into the foreign currencies through the holdings of the mutual fund. Make sure the fund does not hedge for currency fluctuations.

There are many exchange-traded funds linked to commodities such as precious metals, oil and agriculture. Mutual funds that invest in companies that mine for precious metals, produce natural resources, or explore for and sell energy are also available.

Another option is to purchase ETFs that are linked to foreign currencies. For instance, it is now very easy to invest in the euro, yen, or the Swiss franc in this manner.

An important caveat: Many of the these ideas are volatile, and investors can lose money due to substantial price fluctuations.

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Sunday
Mar162008

Goldman Sachs to Reveal $3bn Hit

Goldman, which has largely thrived amid the turmoil elsewhere on Wall Street, is expected to report a fall in first-quarter earnings of about 50 per cent. The writedown will underline how the financial turbulence is now affecting even the most stellar performers.

The bank's $3bn write­down will be based partly on the declining value of its 4.9 per cent stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which is held separately on Goldman's balance sheet. The share price of ICBC, which conducted the world's biggest ever initial public offering in 2006, has fallen by about 14 per cent in recent months.

Goldman invested $2.3bn for its minority shareholding in ICBC, which is listed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.

Goldman will also take a hit of about $1.6bn in its leveraged loans business, which has seen a marked decline in recent months amid a dearth in demand for trading bank debt. A further $1.1bn will be written down in connection with assets owned by Goldman's principal investment area, the bank's private equity arm.

Despite the multi-billion dollar hit, Goldman will point to the fact that its exposure to the deteriorating mortgage market remains minimal, according to people close to the bank.

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Sunday
Mar162008

Dollar Falls to Record on Speculation Subprime Losses Widening

The dollar fell to record lows against the euro and the Swiss franc on speculation more banks will report credit-market losses after JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the New York Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Stearns Cos.

The dollar declined to a 12-year low against the yen after the Daily Telegraph said yesterday Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will reveal $3 billion in writedowns when it releases quarterly earnings tomorrow. Traders have increased bets the Fed will slash interest rates one percentage point tomorrow.

``The U.S. dollar will remain under pressure,'' Benedikt Germanier and Alina Anishchanka, strategists at UBS AG, the world's second-biggest foreign-exchange trader, wrote in a March 14 report. ``Easing monetary policy, ongoing uncertainties in the financial sector and rising fears of capital outflows are chief reasons for our short-term bearish outlook.''

The dollar declined $1.5748 per euro, the lowest since the common European currency's debut in 1999, before trading at $1.5727 at 7:44 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.5674 late in New York on March 14. The dollar fell to a record low of 0.9863 Swiss francs. The U.S. currency declined to a 12-year low of 98.11 yen, before trading at 98.34 from 99.09.

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Sunday
Mar162008

Supreme Court to Rule on Second Amendment

Despite mountains of scholarly research, enough books to fill a library shelf and decades of political battles about gun control, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity this week that is almost unique for a modern court when it examines whether the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment.

The nine justices, none of whom has ever ruled directly on the amendment's meaning, will consider a part of the Bill of Rights that has existed without a definitive interpretation for more than 200 years.

"This may be one of the only cases in our lifetime when the Supreme Court is going to be interpreting the meaning of an important provision of the Constitution unencumbered by precedent,'' said Randy E. Barnett, a constitutional scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. "And that's why there's so much discussion on the original meaning of the Second Amendment.''

The outcome could roil the 2008 political campaigns, send a national message about what kinds of gun control are constitutional and finally settle the question of whether the 27-word amendment, with its odd structure and antiquated punctuation, provides an individual right to gun ownership or simply pertains to militia service.

"The case has been structured so that they have to confront the threshold question," said Robert A. Levy, the wealthy libertarian lawyer who has spent five years and his own money to bring District of Columbia v. Heller to the Supreme Court. "I think they have to come to grips with that."

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Sunday
Mar162008

At Least 1/3 of Iraq's Oil Diverted to Black Market!

The Baiji refinery, with its distillation towers rising against the Hamrin Mountains, may be the most important industrial site in the Sunni Arab-dominated regions of Iraq. On a good day, 500 tanker trucks will leave the refinery filled with fuel with a street value of $10 million.

The sea of oil under Iraq is supposed to rebuild the nation, then make it prosper. But at least one-third, and possibly much more, of the fuel from Iraq’s largest refinery here is diverted to the black market, according to American military officials. Tankers are hijacked, drivers are bribed, papers are forged and meters are manipulated — and some of the earnings go to insurgents who are still killing more than 100 Iraqis a week.

“It’s the money pit of the insurgency,” said Capt. Joe Da Silva, who commands several platoons stationed at the refinery.

Five years after the war in Iraq began, the insurgency remains a lethal force. The steady flow of cash is one reason, even as the American troop buildup and the recruitment of former insurgents to American-backed militias have helped push the number of attacks down to 2005 levels.

In fact, money, far more than jihadist ideology, is a crucial motivation for a majority of Sunni insurgents, according to American officers in some Sunni provinces and other military officials in Iraq who have reviewed detainee surveys and other intelligence on the insurgency.

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Sunday
Mar162008

24 Arrested at War Protest Outside Chevron

Two dozen people were arrested peacefully outside the Bay Area's largest oil refinery late Saturday at the end of a daylong protest aimed at a planned upgrade of the plant and the war in Iraq.

"Chevron is profiting at the expense of people you love, who live in this community," Sean O'Brien of Berkeley shouted, shortly before he was arrested, to some 50 helmeted Richmond Police and California Highway Patrol officers who formed a human barricade between the protesters and the refinery.

"Polluting the community -- think about whether that's right," O'Brien continued. "Think about whether it's just."

The protesters were taken to the city jail where they were booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, said Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan. He said they would be released if they had valid identification. By 8 p.m., most of the 24 arrestees had been released with a notice to appear in court as processing of the rest continued, Gagan said.

Three other people were cited for infractions, Gagan said; two for climbing up light standards to hang a banner and one for using an amplified public address system without a permit.

The protest, sponsored by a group of environmental and antiwar groups, by and large was "controlled and orderly," and organizers and police communicated well throughout it, Gagan said.

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Sunday
Mar162008

A Crude Case for War?

It's hard to miss the point of the "Blood for Oil" Web site. It features one poster of an American flag with "Blood for oil?" in white block letters where the stars should be and two dripping red handprints across the stripes. Another shows a photo of President Bush with a thin black line on his upper lip. "Got oil?" the headline asks wryly.

Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, plenty of people believe that the war was waged chiefly to secure U.S. petroleum supplies and to make Iraq safe -- and lucrative -- for the U.S. oil industry.

We may not know the real motivations behind the Iraq war for years, but it remains difficult to distill oil from all the possibilities. That's because our society and economy have been nursed on cheap oil, and the idea that oil security is a right as well as a necessity has become part of our foreign policy DNA, handed down from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush. And the war and its untidy aftermath have, in fact, swelled the coffers of the world's biggest oil companies.

But it hasn't happened in the way anyone might have imagined.

Instead of making Iraq an open economy fueled by a thriving oil sector, the war has failed to boost the flow of oil from Iraq's giant well-mapped reservoirs, which oil experts say could rival Saudi Arabia's and produce 6 million barrels a day, if not more.

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Sunday
Mar162008

FAA Says It Didn't Follow Rules

Demolishing a building that dates back to the days of asbestos is a complicated business. You need to examine the construction method and, often, call in the men in white suits.

When the Federal Aviation Administration decided to knock down an old guard shack last year on the grounds of the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, no such precautions were taken. Instead, managers called in a crew of mentally disabled people and put them to work at the site, which had been found in 1993 to contain asbestos.

Now, the FAA says, the agency's inspector general, federal prosecutors in Alexandria and a grand jury are investigating whether the decision to give part of the job to people with severe disabilities was a purposeful attempt to circumvent procedures.

"They used a groundskeeping crew from a disadvantaged group to clean up the debris," said Diane Spitaliere, an FAA spokeswoman. She said federal investigators are looking into whether FAA managers knowingly assigned the crew to a job involving toxic materials, endangering the workers' health.

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Saturday
Mar152008

4 Day Winter Soldier Anti-War Conference -  www.ivaw.org

warcomeshome.org / kpfa.org / ivaw.org

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are meeting this weekend at an anti-war conference modeled after a well-known 1971 gathering at which Vietnam veterans spoke out against that conflict.

The four-day event called "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan _ Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two conflicts through Sunday. It was timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war next week.

On Friday, former soldiers and Marines addressed an audience of several hundred in Silver Spring. They spoke of having to make snap decisions about whether to fire on civilians, of soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, and of an apartment building filled with Iraqi families attacked by an American gunship.

Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs that brought gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Iran Celebrates Election by Ending Nuclear Talks

Hardliners in the Iranian regime celebrated victory in parliamentary elections by toughening their stance against the West, firmly rejecting any possibility of talks over the country’s controversial nuclear program.

Buoyed by the early results from Friday’s parliamentary elections, the government said talks with the group of five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany were at an end.

The statement will come as a blow to those who believed the group could still broker a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, but reflects the strength of the conservative vote.

With more than half the results counted for the 290 seat parliament, conservatives had taken a 108 to 33 seat lead over their reformist opponents.

If the results are repeated in the remaining seats, it would mark a significant victory for the hardliners aligned with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

After months of jostling for position among the ranks of rival conservatives, the IRGC is now poised to take over from Iran’s clerics as the dominant force in the country’s parliament.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Spitzer Targeted by Bush Admin in Revenge for Washington Post Piece?

Editor's Note: It wouldn't be the first time that this administration took aim at a critic of its policies! Let's not forget, Valerie Plame Wilson and her spy agency was protecting the U.S. from weapons of mass destruction. When her husband said there was no Iraq-Niger uranium connection, she was outed by the same administration that claims they want to protect us from terrorists! How ignorant do they think we are? Read Spitzer's report: Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime

By Ted Lang

The DC Madam scandal has been erased from the American public's radar screen by the Zionist-controlled "American" mass media. The Bush White House pedophile scandal is non-existent thanks to the Zionist MSM. And if one needs proof of the Zionist domination of our mass mainstream Establishment media, please go here to get up to speed. The New York Times, gatekeeper for all broadcast and cable TV news, has yet to learn of the Downing Street Memo. And Cheney's direct involvement in orchestrating defense system "stand-downs" to facilitate the 9/11 massacre of Americans, and his criminally motivated exposure of Valerie Plame, are of absolutely no concern to the MSM.

So why all the concentrated media focus on New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's long-term rolls in the hay with paid sex partners? Even a novice news junkie that has only recently begun to understand the fraud and propaganda agenda of the "American" MSM can immediately notice something weird relative to the "exposure" of Governor Spitzer's addiction to high-priced prostitutes. Any normal red-blooded American male just loves women who can reduce down sexual pleasure to the simple exchange requiring only money. It is indeed the "oldest profession."

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