Daily Archives: March 9, 2009

Covert army unit played role in Menezes tube killing

Anti-terror troops deployed in Northern Ireland present at Tube shooting

The Observer | Mar 8, 2009

By  Henry McDonald

special_reconnaissance_regimentA controversial covert British Army unit that has been deployed in Northern Ireland to counter dissident republican terrorists was involved in the security operation that ended in the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, sources have revealed.

Soldiers of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment were present in London in July 2005 on the day Scotland Yard firearms specialists shot dead the innocent Brazilian at Stockwell underground station, believing he was a terrorist.

Although officially the regiment was not “deployed” that day, its soldiers provided “technical support” for Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist operation, the Observer has learnt.

Reports last week of the regiment’s deployment in Northern Ireland caused a political storm, with Sinn Féin deputy first minister Martin McGuinness saying it was “stupid and dangerous” and adding that it had “shaken his confidence” in Northern Ireland’s police chief.

Sir Hugh Orde, chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said he had been provided with a “tiny number of specialists” to counter the threat from dissident republicans, which he said was “severe”.

Security sources said the regiment was formed over four years ago as a “roving” surveillance unit. “It has a global role and can be sent all over the world to work alongside existing military personnel on the ground. It is basically a new name for the amalgamation of the 14 Intelligence and Security Group – or ‘the Det’ [Detachment], as it was known – with bits and pieces of other special forces,” the sources said.

“They work on close-quarter covert surveillance. The surveillance equipment they have is out of this world. It is the best kit in the world. They will be able to provide camera feeds from a suspect’s home and be able to watch it miles away in a base.”

The sources said the regiment, smaller than the SAS, was about 150 strong, the size of a full company.

Orde’s warning of the dissident threat arises partly from their acquisition of new bomb-making techniques. The threat level was raised after a dissidents’ bomb was defused in Castlewellan, Co Down, last month. Security sources this weekend told the Observer that the 300lb device was fitted with an extra “anti-handling” system that made it dangerous for Army technical officers to defuse.

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment has been called in because of the PSNI’s lack of manpower and experience in anti-terrorist surveillance operations.

The revelation that a company of undercover soldiers is operational in Northern Ireland will cause huge embarrassment for Sinn Féin and provide a propaganda coup for the dissidents. The Real IRA’s political allies, the 32-County Sovereignty Committee, said the deployment of the regiment came as no surprise, and showed that Britain had “failed to pacify Ireland”.

The Observer has also learnt that Orde failed to inform the Northern Ireland Policing Board’s chairman, Sir Des Rea, about his decision to bring in the undercover regiment.

Out of chaos, a New World Order

DAVOS-FORUM/

“An international order will emerge…”

WND | Mar 9, 2009

By Joseph Farah

Henry Kissinger wrote a very important article in the International Herald Tribune Jan. 12.

I believe it was meant as a signal – marching orders, if you will, for a disparate band of elitists determined to bring about a new form of global rule that will supersede our notions of national sovereignty, limited government and personal freedom.

I would also offer it up as exhibit A in making the case that our current financial crisis is almost entirely manufactured by forces trying to bring about the long-hailed “new world order.”

Here is how that plan is going to work: America, the most prosperous and freest nation on earth, will be brought to its knees in an economic leveling process that will purposely make it reliant on other nations of the world – so much so that America will, in the hopes of people like Kissinger and David Rockefeller, eagerly accept and submit to world government.

I urge you to read Kissinger’s entire article for yourself, but, even two months later, it is impossible to interpret it in any other way than as a blueprint for what Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress would do with their “unique opportunity.”

“That opportunity involves a seeming contradiction,” Kissinger wrote. “On one level, the financial collapse represents a major blow to the standing of the United States. While American political judgments have often proved controversial, the American prescription for a world financial order has generally been unchallenged. Now disillusionment with the United States’ management of it is widespread.”

Kissinger goes on to say that every nation will be tempted to act independently to extricate itself from the “crisis” or “debacle.” However, this course of action will be futile and counterproductive. Only “common action” will be acceptable.

“Even the most affluent countries will confront shrinking resources,” he continued. “Each will have to redefine its national priorities. An international order will emerge if a system of compatible priorities comes into being. It will fragment disastrously if the various priorities cannot be reconciled.”

Kissinger added: “The alternative to a new international order is chaos.”

In other words, that’s the choice – chaos or submission to rule by an unaccountable global elite.

Kissinger goes on to predict what will happen – and is happening already: There would be “rescue packages” designed by domestic governments relying on seemingly unlimited credit – the mirage that created the crisis in the first place.

Since the end of the Cold War and the Soviet Union, Kissinger explains, there has been a “period of nearly uninterrupted global growth.” That fact “induced too many to equate world order with the acceptance of American designs, including our domestic preferences.”

That, to Henry Kissinger and his global banking masters, is undesirable.

And here’s where Barack Obama fits into the plan: “Not since the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy half a century ago has a new administration come into office with such a reservoir of expectations. It is unprecedented that all the principal actors on the world stage are avowing their desire to undertake the transformations imposed on them by the world crisis in collaboration with the United States. The extraordinary impact of the president-elect on the imagination of humanity is an important element in shaping a new world order. But it defines an opportunity, not a policy.”

Kissinger hints that even the fear-inducing terror of the global jihad may be part of the orchestrated plot by the masters of the universe.

“The ultimate challenge is to shape the common concern of most countries and all major ones regarding the economic crisis, together with a common fear of jihadist terrorism, into a common strategy reinforced by the realization that the new issues like proliferation, energy and climate change permit no national or regional solution,” he writes.

Kissinger then hits on the major contributing factor to America’s economic crisis – its abandonment of a manufacturing economy and its transformation into a debt-based consumption economy.

“China made possible the American consumption splurge by buying American debt; America helped the modernization and reform of the Chinese economy by opening its markets to Chinese goods,” he writes. “Both sides overestimated the durability of this arrangement. But while it lasted, it sustained unprecedented global growth. It mitigated as well the concerns over China’s role once China emerged in full force as a fellow superpower. A consensus had developed according to which adversarial relations between these pillars of the international system would destroy much that had been achieved and benefit no one. That conviction needs to be preserved and reinforced.”

No one knows more about this subject than Kissinger. He was the grand maestro – even to the point of becoming a well-compensated agent of the Chinese in the process.

What Kissinger and his friends in the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group want to see and construct is a “permanent” form of global governance. They seek to serve as the architects of a new empire.

“An international order can be permanent only if its participants have a share not only in building but also in securing it. In this manner, America and its potential partners have a unique opportunity to transform a moment of crisis into a vision of hope,” he concludes.

Look for more directed chaos from the masters of the universe.

They believe it serves their interests well.

Buffett: GOP should unite behind Obama after “Economic Pearl Harbor”

warren-buffett2

“I think that the Republicans have an obligation to recognize this as an economic war and realize you need one leader,” he said in a pitch for leaders to unite the way they did after Pearl Harbor.

New York Daily News | Mar 9, 2009

After saying the economy has “fallen off a cliff,” legendary investor Warren Buffett this morning rapped political leaders for not being united enough in dealing with what he called an “economic Pearl Harbor” about six months ago.

Buffett, who supported Barack Obama in the election, didn’t let Democrats skate, but he particularly singled out the GOP.

“They really do have an obligation to support things that are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way,” Buffett said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this morning.

“I think that the Republicans have an obligation to recognize this as an economic war and realize you need one leader,” he said in a pitch for leaders to unite the way they did after Pearl Harbor.

Related

Buffett: crisis is an economic Pearl Harbor

But he also said he understood why the GOP might gripe, since the Democrats have been using the crisis to push all sorts of things.

“You can’t expect people to unite behind you if you’re trying to jam a bunch of things down their throat,” Buffett said.

The Oracle of Omaha also hasn’t been entirely impressed with the way the White House and Congress have been explaining the huge problems to America.

“We’ve had muddled messages,” he said.

Nevertheless, he echoed President Obama’s position that government has a huge role to play in getting the economy working again, which Buffet said could take five years if things go poorly.

“Government is going to play an enormous factor in how fast it (confidence) comes back,” Buffett said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman now sings Obama’s praises

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U.S. President Barack Obama (L) is embraced by U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman after Obama delivered a primetime address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2009. Reuters

AP | Mar 9, 2009

By ANDREW MIGA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Lieberman has changed his tune on Barack Obama. After campaigning across the country for Republican John McCain in 2008 and attacking Obama as naive, untested and unwilling to take on powerful special interests, Lieberman now showers praise on the popular new Democratic president.

“He’s shown real leadership,” Lieberman told The Associated Press in an interview. “Bottom line: I think Barack Obama, president of the United States, is off to a very good start.”

The Connecticut independent, who faces re-election in 2012 in a state where Obama is popular, is eager to mend fences with Democrats still fuming over his criticism of Obama during the general election campaign.

Lieberman has applauded Obama’s national security team. He gushed over Obama’s “inspirational and unifying” inaugural. Lieberman even played a key role helping Obama win Senate passage of the economic stimulus plan.

As if to underscore the point, Lieberman has even clashed on the Senate floor with his pal McCain over the stimulus plan and a District of Columbia voting rights bill.

“I don’t think of Joe as the independent, I really think of Joe as a Democrat,” said Lieberman’s home state colleague, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.

It’s a striking turnaround from the days when Lieberman was a fixture at McCain’s side during campaign stops. McCain had even considered making Lieberman, who nearly won the vice presidency on the Democratic ticket with Al Gore in 2000, his running mate.

“Do I think it is more principle or politics?” said Quinnipiac University Poll director Doug Schwartz of Lieberman’s moves. “It is a tough question.”

Lieberman’s campaigning for McCain hurt him with Connecticut voters, particularly Democrats, Schwartz said.

Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is mentioned as a possible 2012 Senate Democratic candidate, would beat Lieberman by 28 points in a hypothetical matchup, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed.

Lieberman scoffed at any suggestion his embrace of Obama is more about political expediency than principle.

“I haven’t changed … I’ve always had a voting record that is more with the Democrats than with the Republicans,” he said.

Many Democrats still chafe at how Lieberman needled Obama during his Republican National Convention speech with the line “eloquence is no substitute for a record.”

Or when Lieberman cast the race as a choice between “one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not. Between one candidate who’s a talker, and the other candidate who’s the leader America needs as our next president.”

Lieberman said he understands why he struck a nerve with Obama’s backers.

“We were in the middle of a campaign and we just plain disagreed … When I said those things not only did I believe them, but I believe looking at the records of the two people then, they were right,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman said he never meant to suggest that Obama did not put his country first. Lieberman said his words were “too subject” to that interpretation and that he wishes he had spoken more clearly.

After the election at Obama’s urging, Senate Democrats decided not to punish Lieberman. They voted to let him keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Obama was eager to strike a bipartisan tone for his presidency.

“President Obama played a very important role, he was very gracious,” said Lieberman, who has since called Obama to thank him. “That obviously sealed the deal and I appreciated it a lot.”

Liberal bloggers fumed. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, called it a “slap in the face” for millions of Americans who backed Obama.

But Democrats need Lieberman’s support in a chamber where it takes 60 of the 100 senators to overcome the threat of a Republican filibuster. They feared punishing Lieberman could drive him to the GOP. Lieberman remains a registered Democrat and caucuses with Senate Democrats.

Lieberman was re-elected in 2006 as an independent after losing his state’s Democratic primary to wealthy businessman Ned Lamont, an anti-war candidate.

Top Democrats like Dodd and Obama who had supported Lieberman in the primary instead backed party nominee Lamont in the fall race. Lieberman was disappointed that some old friends weren’t loyal to him.

“Joe is gonna do what’s in his interest politically because he had a near-death experience,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist who advised Lieberman in 2000. “Losing the party nomination has given him enormous freedom to think and to do as he wants.”

Merck Takeover Fuels Speculation of Drug Industry Merger Wave

Bloomberg | Mar 9, 2008

By Trista Kelley

Merck & Co.’s $41.1 billion purchase of Schering-Plough Corp. fueled speculation it won’t be the last big drug-industry merger.

The deal, which comes on the heels of Pfizer Inc.’s $68 billion bid for Wyeth in January and Roche Holding AG’s $45.7 billion offer for U.S. partner Genentech Inc. last week, will spur other drugmakers fearful of falling behind into action, said David Moskowitz, an analyst with Caris & Co. in Washington, D.C.

Sanofi-Aventis SA may next target Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., which sells the French company’s Plavix blood-thinner and the Avapro hypertension treatment in the U.S. Alternatively, Bristol- Myers may be a potential merger partner for U.K. diabetes drug partner AstraZeneca Plc, said Mirabaud analyst Nick Turner. Johnson & Johnson may make a counter bid for Schering-Plough, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson wrote in a note to clients.

“Most companies now are pretty cheap, really, and anyone sitting on cash can make a bid,” London-based Turner said today in an interview. “This is a trigger for a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the sector.”

The world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, hoarding about $100 billion in cash, near cash and marketable securities, are seeking acquisitions to replace products nearing the end of their patent life. Merck’s takeover of Schering-Plough, announced today, would win the U.S. drugmaker a larger experimental pipeline and products unhindered by imminent patent losses.

AstraZeneca Gains

AstraZeneca climbed 76 pence, or 3.5 percent, to 2,223 pence in London trading, the most since Jan. 23, on speculation Bristol-Myers would make a bid. AstraZeneca spokeswoman Sarah Lindgreen said the company doesn’t comment on market speculation. Bristol-Myers spokesman Brian Henry also declined to comment.

Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher, while not ruling out a large merger, is looking for “small to medium- sized” acquisitions to replace revenue it expects to lose to generic competition in coming years, the 48-year-old executive said last month.

Viehbacher told CNBC in a March 5 interview that the French company’s partnership with Bristol-Myers is “sufficient” for the time being.

Other drugmakers have said they will avoid large mergers. Andrew Witty, head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, said last month a large transaction would “distract” the company. Glaxo will rely on agreements valued from about $50 million to the “low billions,” he said in a January interview.

AstraZeneca chief David Brennan also favors licensing deals to shore up its pipeline of new products.

Pfizer has lost 7.5 percent of its value since completing its acquisition of Pharmacia Corp. in 2003. Glaxo’s shares have declined 25 percent since the U.K. drugmaker bought Smithkline Beecham Plc in 2000.

“If you can name a merger that worked, I’ll personally give you a bouquet of flowers,” said Mirabaud’s Turner.

Thai website owner arrested for comments posted about the monarchy

‘Thailand has unleashed one of the most aggressive crackdowns on internet freedom seen anywhere in Asia and we strongly urge them to reverse course.’

—Bob Dietz, Committee to Protect Journalists

Thai website editor arrested for threatening national security

CBC News | Mar 8, 2009

Thai police arrested the editor of a leading political website that carries content not often published in Thai newspapers.

Police went to the Bangkok offices of Prachatai on Friday and arrested Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who founded the popular site five years ago.

They detained her on a charge of carrying computer content that threatens national security — which has a five-year maximum jail sentence. She was released later the same day after posting bail.

Prachati is known for its independent reports on the conflict between government forces and Muslim rebels in the country’s three southernmost provinces.

According to the BBC, a police official said Premchaiporn was arrested because there were comments on the site posted by readers concerning the monarchy.

Under Thai laws, criticism of the monarchy is forbidden. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is highly revered in his country. Thai authorities have been increasingly intolerant of any whiff of criticism of the monarchy.

The arrest occurred on the same day Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told a meeting of news editors that he would restore Thailand’s press freedom reputation.

Thousands of websites blocked

“I call upon the relevant authorities to immediately cease and desist from harassing all online journalists and commentators like Chiranuch Premchaiporn,” said Bob Dietz, Asia program director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement on Friday.

“Thailand has unleashed one of the most aggressive crackdowns on internet freedom seen anywhere in Asia and we strongly urge them to reverse course.”

Thousands of websites have been blocked, and a number of people charged and arrested over the past year, including an Australian author who was sentenced in January to three years in prison for insulting the king and the crown prince.

Harry Nicolaides, 41, was charged because of a passage in his 2005 self-published novel Verisimilitude, which sold only seven copies.

However, he was swiftly pardoned by the King on Feb. 19 and whisked back to Melbourne, Australia.

Freedom of expression groups and journalist organizations have condemned Thailand’s strict laws concerning the monarchy, saying it’s often used to shut down criticism of the police or the government.

Lake Superior freezes over for second time in past decade

netnewsledger.com | Mar 9, 2009

lake-superior-ice-mar3Thunder Bay, ON — The climate website Wattsupwiththat reports, “Lake Superior last froze over in 2003. It has now, again, frozen over. The frequency of freeze overs has historically been around once every 20 years. Now, in the last decade, we have seen two freeze overs”.

The image from the U.S. based NOAA taked on March 3, 2009 shows the degree of ice coverage on the lake.

NOAA reports, “Due to the recent cold spell and below normal temperatures for much of the winter of 2008-2009, ice covers nearly all of Lake Superior. Only small areas of open water remain. This image was taken on Tuesday, March 3rd. If arctic air does not return in the next couple of weeks, it is likely that this will be the day of maximum ice cover on Lake Superior for this winter as warmer weather and periods of stronger winds through the end of this week will cause open water areas to expand”.