Friday, June 24, 2011


By Dave Gibson

In the wake of the recent memo from the Obama administration which announced “prosecutorial discretion” in dealing with illegal aliens, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents across the country have been speaking out what many of them are calling a “backdoor amnesty.”

On Wednesday, ICE Union president Chris Crane told PRNewswire: “Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what's coming. This is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in the United States. Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the Administration is now implementing it through agency policy.”

Crane continued: “ICE and the Administration have excluded our union and our agents from the entire process of developing policies, it was all kept secret from us, we found out from the newspapers. ICE worked hand-in-hand with immigrants rights groups, but excluded its own officers.”

Also ignored by the press, was last year's no confidence vote ICE agents gave Obama appointee, ICE director John Morton.

The National ICE Council represents about 7,000 agents and support staff.

Those agents, just as many American citizens are also convinced that the new policy, which gives special preference to illegal aliens who have a relative who has served in the military, those who are enrolled in any education program and even those who are pregnant or nursing is simply to a move from an unpopular president, desperate for re-election.

Crane said: “The desires of foreign nationals illegally in the United States were the framework from which these policies were developed. The result is a means for every person here illegally to avoid arrest or detention, as officers we will never know who we can or cannot arrest.”

Perhaps, most troubling are the “secret” orders under which ICE agents are reportedly now operating.

“Our officers are already under orders not to make arrests or even talk to foreign nationals in most cases unless another agency has already arrested them; you won't find that written in any public ICE policy,” Crane said.

Finally, this warning from the ICE Union president: “I think the writing is on the wall for every person concerned about good government and effective immigration reforms - the things happening at ICE represent neither. We are asking everyone to please email or call your Congressman and Senators immediately and ask them to help stop what's happening at ICE, we desperately need your help.”

Of course, the DREAM Act and so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform (amnesty) have been defeated many times in Congress, due to public outrage.

However, as Obama’s poll numbers continue to slip, he has apparently once again, decided to bypass Congress this time in his pursuit of Latino votes.

Click here to read the now infamous memo:

Friday, June 17, 2011

EYE ON IRAN 6/17/11

Courtesy UANI

AFP: "Two Iranian doctors who were jailed three years ago for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government were awarded a global health prize for their efforts to treat patients with HIV. Kamiar and Arash Alaei were arrested in June 2008 and accused of communicating with the United States in a bid to unseat the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Kamiar, 37, was released several months ago and was on hand to accept the award in Washington, but his elder brother Arash, 42, remains in Tehran's Evin prison where he is serving a six-year sentence. Until Arash is set free, Kamiar said he cannot move forward with his life. 'I feel I am not released yet,' he said in an interview with AFP before he accepted the Global Health Council's Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. 'The majority of nights I go back to prison and I continue my life in prison,' he said. Kamiar served two and a half years -- a term he remembers as '870 days, 3,800 hours' -- and is hopeful that Arash will be eligible for release soon because he has now served half his sentence."

BACK STORY from AntiMullah: these doctors are experts on AIDS  and were actually arrested for leaking that many of the Ayatollahs had AIDS or were HIV positive AND that most of the clerics in the holy city of Qom were also HIV positive and passing it on to their  religious students. Also they divulged statistics that showed that some 20 to 30% of Iranians were HIV positive mostly through drug use.

Xinhau: "Head of Iranian Space Agency (ISA) said that Iran will launch three more satellites in space by the end of Iranian calendar year, ending on March 20, the state IRIB TV website said on Thursday. Iran, on Wednesday, announced that it 'successfully' put the Rasad (surveillance) satellite in the orbit to render images to the stations in the country. Three satellites will be put in the space in August, in October and in February respectively, said ISA Head Hamid Fazeli. He also added that Iran plans to launch its domestically-built satellite carrier, Kavoshgar 5 (Explorer5), into space in two months, the English language satellite Press TV reported on Thursday."

YnetNews: "An online video uploaded by Syrian opposition activists shows protestors setting fire to Iranian and Hezbollah flags during a demonstration held east of Damascus on Tuesday. 'Not Iran and not Hezbollah, we want a president who's afraid of Allah,' the protesters shouted. During the past few days, Syrian opposition accused the Islamic Republic and the Shiite organization of helping suppress demonstrations in the country. They even uploaded videos to the internet showing them allegedly fighting off Iranian combatants in Syria."

Nuclear Program & Sanctions

Fox News: "Even as the United Nations tries to use sanctions to block Iran's developing nuclear weapons program, one of the U.N.'s own organizations has quietly green-lighted the Islamic Republic's proposal to build a 'disaster information management center' that could, some experts fear, advance its ballistic capability. The decision puts the U.N. seal of approval on a controversial project that the United States has, until now, successfully blocked since Iran first proposed it in 2006. As if to underscore its victory, Iran this week announced that it had launched its own observation satellite, Rassad-1, which will remain in orbit for the next two months. The decision to approve the Iran proposal was taken without a vote on May 25 by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the self-described 'regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.'"

UPI: "Discussions with New Delhi regarding a natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan 'have stalled,' Iranian officials said during a visit to India. Tehran was pushing for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, which would have stretched from the South Pars gas complex in the Persian Gulf through Pakistan and India. The project, however, was up against a Western-backed project from Turkmenistan. A delegation led by Iranian Deputy Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Bagheri visited with Indian officials to press for the project. The Iranian team, however, left empty-handed. 'The discussions on the IPI have been stalled,' the Iranian delegation was quoted by Indian newspaper The Hindu as saying, 'so Iran and Pakistan are bilaterally pushing the idea. The option for India to join is open.'"

Human Rights

Boston Globe: "For years, Dr. Kamiar Alaei and his brother, Dr. Arash Alaei, fought the spread of AIDS in their native Iran. The clinics and anonymous needle exchanges they set up became a model for prevention around the world. But in 2008, the Iranian government arrested the Alaei brothers and subjected them to months of solitary confinement. In a one-day trial, they were convicted of 'communicating with an enemy government' - an apparent reference to their participation in international public health conferences supported by the United States. Kamiar Alaei was released from prison in October after a relentless campaign for the brothers' freedom spearheaded by the Cambridge-based Physicians for Human Rights. Arash Alaei remains imprisoned."

Opinion & Analysis

Michael Singh in FP: "This week, Lebanon served up a reminder for the United States and the partisans of the Arab uprisings: don't count your democracies before they've hatched. Having thrown off the yoke of Syrian occupation in 2005 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Lebanon once again finds itself under the control of Iran and Syria. Allies of these two countries, including Hezbollah, control the majority of the posts in the new Lebanese cabinet announced on Monday... Hezbollah's actions illustrate the dangers of not excluding from democratic participation extremist groups which act as proxies for foreign powers, reject democratic values as a matter of principle, or fail to renounce violence. Hezbollah is a creature of Iran, conceived and built by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Many of its cabinet allies are themselves clients of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, with which Hezbollah coordinates closely. Indeed, it is no coincidence that this cabinet was formed just as the Assad regime finds itself in crisis. Facing pressure domestically, it is seeking strength (or at least to create distractions) outside its borders, whether by sending protesters to the Israeli border or maneuvering in Lebanon. Many outside observers have hoped that serving in the government would moderate Hezbollah. Those hopes have gone unfulfilled and will continue to be dashed as long as Iran and Syria see advantage in destabilizing their neighbors and Hezbollah itself sees the ballot box as a complement to rifles and rockets. The second lesson of Hezbollah's ascendancy is the need for sustained U.S. engagement with nascent democracies. The Cedar Revolution of 2005 was less a victory for democracy than the beginning of a long, hard battle for it. Following the success of the March 14 forces in expelling Syrian troops and the rise of the pro-sovereignty government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the U.S. and our allies engaged in diplomatic trench warfare against Iran and Syria for the future of Lebanon. U.S. support for Lebanese democrats from 2005-2008 included a steady stream of Lebanese visits to the White House and U.S. visits to Lebanon, increasing U.S. economic and security support for the Lebanese government, and U.N. Security Council resolutions and other measures designed to safeguard Lebanese sovereignty and beat back efforts by Iran and Syria to reassert control."

Sunday, June 12, 2011


US Funding 'Shadow' Networks To Aid Arab Revolutions

(NewsCore) - WASHINGTON -- The US is financing "shadow" internet systems to assist uprisings in countries, including Syria and Iran, where repressive regimes tightly control online communications in a bid to quell dissent, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The democratic uprisings in the Middle East, starting with Tunisia and Egypt and spreading to Libya and Syria, have been greatly helped by instant communications through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media.

Regimes have tried to fight back, cutting off the internet and blocking access to websites.

Syria, for example, banned foreign reporters, cut off internet access at times and attempted to control information through its state media -- but still a daily dose of YouTube videos, Facebook appeals and Twitter reports are posted.

The US State Department was financing the creation of stealth wireless networks that would enable dissidents to communicate outside the reach of governments, The New York Times reported.

In one example, wireless systems were packaged into suitcases that could be smuggled across borders.

Earlier this month, Gen. Martin Dempsey, President Barack Obama's pick for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a London defense forum that the US military needed to adapt better to "viral" events like the Arab uprisings.

"What brought down Mubarak was Facebook and social networking, a leaderless organization that rose up and we call the Arab Spring. So things can happen much more quickly than in the past. So in the context of a viral world, we are trying to build an army that meets requirements," he said.

Last week, a British military spokesman said NATO was scrambling jets based on information posted on Twitter about loyalist troop movements.

"We will take information from every source we can," according to British wing commander Mike Bracken, the Libya operation's military spokesman. "We get information from open sources on the internet. We get Twitter."

A NATO official said that Libyans have been tweeting from the rebel-held city of Misrata, Ajdabiya and Tripoli, providing information ranging from movements of troops and tank columns to shellings of towns and fleeing refugees, AFP reported.

Read more:

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Humpty Obumpty and the Arab Spring
June 2, 2011
by Spengler

I've been warning for months that Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and other Arab oil-importing countries face a total economic meltdown (see Food and failed Arab states, Feb 2, and The hunger to come in Egypt, May 10). Now the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed my warnings.

The leaders of the industrial nations waited until last weekend's Group of Eight (G-8) summit to respond, and at the initiative of United States President Barack Obama proposed what sounds like a massive aid program but probably consists mainly of refurbishing old programs.

The egg has splattered, and all of Obumpty's horses and men can't mend it. Even the G-8's announcement was fumbled; Canada's Prime Minister John Harper refused to commit new money, a dissonant note that routine diplomatic preparation would have pre-empted.

The numbers thrown out by the IMF are stupefying. 'In the current baseline scenario,' wrote the IMF on May 27, 'the external financing needs of the region's oil importers is projected to exceed $160 billion during 2011-13.' That's almost three years' worth of Egypt's total annual imports as of 2010. As of 2010, the combined current account deficit (that is, external financing needs) of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia was about $15 billion a year.

What the IMF says, in effect, is that the oil-poor Arab economies - especially Egypt - are not only broke, but dysfunctional, incapable of earning more than a small fraction of their import bill.

The disappearance of tourism is an important part of the problem, but shortages of fuel and other essentials have had cascading effects throughout these economies.

'In the next 18 months,' the IMF added, 'a greater part of these financing needs will need to be met from the international community because of more cautious market sentiments during the uncertain transition.'

Translation: private investors aren't stupid enough to throw money down a Middle Eastern rat-hole, and now that the revolutionary government has decided to make a horrible example of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, anyone who made any money under his regime is cutting and running. At its May 29 auction of treasury bills, Egypt paid about 12% for short-term money, to its own captive banking system. Its budget deficit in the next fiscal year, the government says, will exceed $30 billion.

And the IMF's $160 billion number is only 'external financing'; that is, maintaining imports into a busted economy. It doesn't do a thing to repair busted economies that import half their caloric intake, as do the oil-poor Arab nations.

Egypt's economy is in free fall. Its biggest foreign exchange earner was a tourist industry that won't come back for a decade, if ever. The IMF's $160 billion doesn't take into account the costs of teaching two-fifths of the Egyptian population to read, or raising crop yields to more than a fifth of American levels, or training university graduates to do more than stamp identity cards and shuffle papers. As the international organization made clear, this is what Egypt and its neighbors require merely to pay for essential imports.

Of course, the IMF's admission that Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen can't meet the majority of their import bill without foreign aid does not increase the probability that these countries will obtain financing on that scale. On May 30, the IMF announced that it would lend $3 billion to Egypt - a tenth of its budget deficit - sometime in June.

The G-8 offered the grandiose pledge of $20 billion in their own money along with $20 billion from the IMF, World Bank, and so forth, to support the 'Arab Spring', with the dissension of the Canadian prime minister. But it is unclear whether that represents new money, or a shuffling of existing aid commitments, or nothing whatever.

Whatever the Group of Eight actually had in mind, the proposed aid package for the misnomered Arab Spring has already become a punching bag for opposition budget-cutters. 'Should we be borrowing money from China to turn around and give it to the Muslim Brotherhood?' Sarah Palin asked on May 27.

'Now, given that Egypt has a history of corruption when it comes to utilizing American aid, it is doubtful that the money will really help needy Egyptian people. Couple that with the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is organized to have a real shot at taking control of Egypt̢۪s government, and one has to ask why we would send money (that we don't have) into unknown Egyptian hands,' the former Republican vice-presidential candidate added.

Whether any amount of foreign aid will stabilize Egypt's economic position is questionable, even if the industrial nations and the Arab Gulf states opened their purses, which is doubtful.
From Arab-language online media, it appears that Egypt's economic troubles have metastasized.

Last month, rice disappeared from public storehouses amid press reports that official food distribution organizations were selling the grain by the container on the overseas market. Last week, diesel fuel was the scarce commodity, with 24-hour queues forming around gasoline stations. Foreign tankers were waiting at Port Said on the Suez Canal to pump diesel oil from storage facilities, as government officials sold the scarce commodity for cash.

This is the sort of general breakdown I observed in 1992 in Russia, following the collapse of the communist government. As an adviser to finance minister Yegor Gaidar, I heard stories of Russian officials selling unregistered trainloads of raw materials on foreign markets and depositing the proceeds in Swiss banking accounts.

Anything of value that could find a buyer overseas was sold. I didn't last long as an adviser; looting and pillaging wasn't my area of competence. Russia, it should be recalled, is largely self-sufficient in food and is among the world's largest oil producers, while Egypt imports half its food. Russia had enormous resources on which to draw. Egypt, Syria and Tunisia have nothing.

For 60 years, the Egyptian army and associated crony capitalists ran the economy as a private preserve. Although the army remains in nominal charge, the public humiliation of Mubarak serves notice on the previous masters of Egypt's little universe that they are as vulnerable as their former patron. Everyone who can get out will and will take with them whatever they can.

Syria is also vulnerable to hunger, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned May 23. 'Continuing unrest in Syria will not only affect economic growth but could disrupt food distribution channels leading to severe localized shortages in main markets,' according to the FAO. ''Syria hosts one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world, including nearly one million Iraqis who have become more vulnerable because of rising food and fuel prices.'

Nearly 700,000 Libyan refugees have reached Libya and Egypt, fleeing their country's civil war. At least 30,000 Tunisian refugees (and likely many more) have overwhelmed camps in Italy, and perhaps a tenth of that number have drowned in the attempt to reach Europe. A large but unknown number of Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon and Turkey.

Robert Fisk wrote in the London Independent on May 30 that Turkey fears a mass influx of Syrian Kurdish refugees, so that 'Turkish generals have thus prepared an operation that would send several battalions of Turkish troops into Syria itself to carve out a 'safe area' for Syrian refugees inside Assad's caliphate.' The borders of the affected nations have begun to dissolve along with their economies. It will get worse fast.