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Obama declared end of Iraq War

Picture by kevin dooley

US President Barack Obama has announced that American troops are due for a full withdrawal from Iraq at the end of the year, after 4,400 US soldiers & 100,000 Iraqis killed, $1 trillion spend. Washington claims that the country is now ready to take responsibility for its own security.

"After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," US President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday evening.

That morning, said the president, he had spoken to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and both had been in general agreement about how to proceed.

A corresponding agreement was reached in 2008 under the administration of George W Bush before Obama took office, fixing December 31, 2011, as the date for the withdrawal of US troops.

On that day, the legal immunity of US soldiers on Iraqi soil also comes to an end.

Negotiations to extend the legal exemption appear to have failed. The Iraqi Prime Minister announced in the past week that, while some US troops could remain in Iraq to train the Iraqi military, they could not be granted an extension of the immunity. However, for the US, legal exemptions for its troops are the basic prerequisite for an extended deployment.

Relations with Iraq are to move into a new phase, Obama said in his announcement. There was to be "a normal relationship between sovereign states, an equal partnership based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

With the remaining 40,000 US troops to be brought home in the coming months, Obama will be able to meet one of his election campaign promises.

Long time ago George McGovern said:

… I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in. …

Picture by Jaume d'Urgell

US President Obama truck stolen

Picture by Matt Ortega

A van that contained President Obama's teleprompter and other communications material has been recovered in Virginia, officials said Tuesday.

WWBT-TV, Richmond, Va., first reported the theft of the van from where it was parked at the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott near Richmond, the Los Angeles Times reported. The vehicle contained a teleprompter, $200,000 in audio equipment and the presidential seals that are placed on Obama's podium.

The equipment was awaiting the arrival of the president, who is on a three-day tour of North Carolina and Virginia touting his jobs program, now stalled on Capitol Hill.

The vehicle was recovered Monday at a Holiday Inn Express near the Richmond airport, the Times said, but it was unknown whether the equipment was still inside it.

A spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency, which helps with White House communications, said Tuesday: "A government vehicle was stolen and has been recovered. No classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle. We take incidents such as this very seriously, and a formal investigation is continuing in coordination with relevant law enforcement agencies."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said he could not confirm the reports.

Long time ago Alice in Wonderland said:

… We're all mad here. …

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Lame Duck - Liam Fox resigns

Picture by The Prime Minister's Office

UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox has resigned. Mr Fox had denied wrongdoing but admitted he allowed the divide between his personal and professional lives to become "blurred".

The resignation came after revelation that financial backers linked to Israel and a private intelligence firm helped fund the travels of Liam Fox's close friend Adam Werritty, according to reports.

The Times claims they helped channel £147,000 into a company set up by Mr Werritty, who used it to join the defence secretary on trips abroad.

Mr Fox insisted his friend does not work for him officially or unofficially.

The Times claims a money trail links Mr Werritty to a private intelligence company with strong interests in Sri Lanka and a property investor who lobbies the UK government on behalf of Israel.

The paper also alleges links to a venture capitalist whom it claims is "keen for stronger ties with Washington".

Long time ago Alice in Wonderland said:

… I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle! …

Picture by Financial Times photos

Iran assassination plot circus

Picture by CharlesFred

American authorities reportedly disrupted an Iranian government plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Washington declared that it is "committed to holding Iran accountable."

Two men, Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, have been charged with conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi Arabian diplomat Adel Al-Jubeir. The FBI has described Shakuri as a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds force. The plot also allegedly involved bombing attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington.

"The complaint alleges that this conspiracy was conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran and constitutes a flagrant violation of US and international law," said US Attorney General Eric Holder, as quoted by Agence France-Presse. "In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions," he said.

Shakuri remains at large while Arbabsiar was arrested on September 29 at New York's John F. Kennedy airport. He made an appearance in a Manhattan court on Tuesday.

Arbabsiar’s arrest came during a sting operation by the FBI and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. A holder of both US and Iranian passports, he is accused of being ready to pay $1.5 million for the murder of the Saudi ambassador. For the hit he allegedly turned to members of the Mexican drug cartel, who in fact were informants for the FBI.

Investigators also say Arbabsiar wired some $100,000 to an FBI undercover bank account as an advance for the assassination.

Iran has rejected claims by the US that Tehran was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington, saying this was a "prefabricated scenario" designed to "turn public attention away from domestic problems within the United States."

In an open letter to the UN, written after the US accused Iran of plotting murder and terror acts on  American territory, Iran’s UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee strongly and categorically denied all allegations, calling them fabricated and “based on the suspicious claims of an individual.” “Any country could accuse other countries through fabrication of such stories,” the ambassador wrote to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, stressing that “This would set dangerous precedents in relations among states.”

Iran’s official IRNA news agency described the accusations as “America's new propaganda scenario” against Iran. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, took the US claims seriously, thanking the US authorities for foiling the alleged attempt.

Something is amiss with Washington’s allegations, claims antiwar activist Brian Becker. “I think that the US has climbed the escalation ladder, and whenever the escalation ladder is climbed, you ratchet up an attack against the other side; the other side then has to reciprocate,” he told RT. “I think we really need to question what is going on here. Is it really in the interest of Iran to carry out the assassination of this Saudi Arabian or Israeli ambassador in the heart of Washington at a time when the Iranian government knows the US is trying to find a pretext to escalate tensions with Iran?”

Becker declared that Iran would not benefit from a crime like this, as it would have brought Tehran closer to war with the largest military power in the world. “The only beneficiaries are the Israeli regime and the United States government, which wants to ratchet up tensions against Iran,” concluded Becker.

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA intelligence officer, believes there are many suspicious issues about the investigation. “One of the biggest problems in the US is telling what the terrorist threat is in our country,” Scheuer said. “The FBI runs the sting operations and then claims great credit for breaking up a plot that would not have existed [had they not] lured someone into doing it.”

“My initial reaction was: If the Iranians want to kill a Saudi ambassador, why do it in the US?” said the former CIA intelligence officer, suggesting the incident could be used as an excuse to start a full-scale war with Iran.

Long time ago Alice in Wonderland said:

… What is the use of repeating all that stuff, if you don't explain it as you go on? It's by far the most confusing thing I ever heard! …

Picture by Dr. Akomodi

UK unemployment 17 year high

Picture by Nick Atkins Photography

The number of unemployed in Britain jumped to its highest level since 1994 as private companies failed to make up for the job losses in the public sector, fuelling fears that the country may slip into recession. The increase in jobless numbers will put more pressure on the government to boost the economy, which has barely grown over the past year as consumers cut back spending and key export markets are slowing.

The number of Britons claiming unemployment benefit rose by 17,500 in September, official data showed on Wednesday. Analysts had forecast a rise of 25,000.

However, the Office for National Statistics said the number of people without a job on the wider ILO measure jumped by 114,000 in the three months to August to 2.57 million, the highest total since October 1994.

The jobless rate ticked up to 8.1 percent, the highest since October 1996, compared with forecasts for a reading of 8.0 percent.

Other figures showed a record cut in the number of part-time workers, down by 175,000, and there was also a record reduction of 74,000 in the number of over-65s in employment.

Average weekly earnings including bonuses grew by 2.8 percent. Analysts had forecast a rise of 2.9 percent. Excluding bonuses, earnings rose only 1.8 percent, below analysts' forecasts of 2.0 percent.

Long time ago Laurence J. Peter said:

… Everyone rises to their level of incompetence. …

Picture by The Prime Minister's Office

NATO protecting civilian lives?

Picture by Defence Images

Having taken over Libya, NATO exposed its hypocrisy towards protecting civilian lives, letting the revolutionary forces to shell loyalist cities and assault them despite great losses among civilian population.

For over two days now, Libya's rebels have been waging one of the biggest assaults yet on the most-important remaining Gaddafi strongholds, the cities of Sirte and Bani Walid. Libyan revolutionary forces claim they have seized parts of convention centre, which served as a key base for Gaddafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte. They say most of the town is under their control now, but still face fierce resistance from loyalist fighters.

Thousands of people have left Sirte, but many remain behind, meaning there is a high risk of civilian casualties. But for peace campaigners, the fact that NATO is protecting civilians by shelling Sirte, shows the alliance's approach is selective.

“The whole idea of the bombing was meant to protect the civilians in Benghazi but I don’t suppose anybody signed up to the idea that it meant killing civilians in another city or town in Libya – and that is exactly what is happening,” believes Lindsey German, national convener of the Stop the War coalition. “NATO is very selective about what civilians it supports. It doesn’t support those civilians who might oppose it politically – it does support the other ones.”

“We know what this war was about – it was about regime change,” concluded German, adding that NATO does not care about the civilians so it is now “the responsibility of the people who run Libya.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told that it is a warning for everyone that the Libyan intervention was solely about the US and Europe taking the country over. “The lesson for Libya is that there are only two superpowers in the world worth speaking about, those are the US and the EU,” Assange claimed.

Once the EU and the US joined their efforts to topple the Gaddafi regime, they completely abused the original justification of the no-flight zone over Libya. “It shows that there is no effective rule of law as far as the UN is concerned,” Assange concluded, adding that this "should all be a lesson to us: every time that a small mandate is given, the military and intelligence powers will push that [to a war].” “This is a slippery slope that leads to the takeover of countries – we must all understand that,” he said.

Picture by angel_kulikov

Long time ago Somebody said:

… Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong. …

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... I'm sick and tired of hearing things ...
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... Just gimme some truth ... John Lennon, Generation X