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Archive for March, 2011

Libyan Airspace ‘Under Control’ As Two Sides Meet

Huffpost- First Posted: 03/25/11 08:48 AM Updated: 03/25/11 08:48 AM

BENGHAZI, Libya — France declared Libya’s airspace “under control” on Friday, after NATO agreed to take command of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers and possibly new confusion. Coalition warplanes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s forces outside the strategic eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya.

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Representatives for the regime and the rebels were expected to meet formally for the first time Friday, in Ethiopia, in what the U.N. described as a part of an effort to reach a cease-fire and political solution.

The overnight French and British strikes on an artillery battery and armored vehicles were intended to give a measure of relief to Ajdabiya, where residents have fled or cowered under more than a week of shelling and fighting between rebels and government troops. Explosions also could be heard in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, before daybreak Friday, apparently from airstrikes.

“Libyan airspace is under control, and we proved it yesterday, because a Libyan plane in the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces, which had just taken off from Misrata in order to bomb Misrata, was destroyed by a French Rafale,” Adm. Edouard Guillaud said on France-Info radio.

But the compromise that puts NATO in charge of clearing the skies still leaves the U.S. responsible for the more difficult task of planning attacks on Gadhafi’s ground forces and other targets.

Ajdabiya has been under siege for more than a week, with the rebels holding the city center and scattered checkpoints but facing relentless shelling from government troops on the outskirts. Residents are without electicity or drinking water, and many have fled.

The U.S. military said coalition jets flew about 150 on Thursday, about 70 of them with American planes.

“The operation is still focusing on tanks, combat vehicles, air defense targets – really whatever equipment and personnel are threatening the no-fly zone or civilians on the ground in such locations as Ajdabiya and along some other areas on the coast,” Marine Corps Capt. Clint Gebke told reporters from aboard the USS Mount Whitney.

The U.S. has been trying to give up the lead role in the operation against Gadhafi’s forces, and NATO agreed late Thursday to assume one element of it – control of the no-fly zone.

MORE HERE

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Libya: Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq. Towards a Protracted Military Operation

 by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 20, 2011

Outright lies by the international media: Bombs and missiles are presented as an instrument  of peace and democratization…
This is not a humanitarian operation. The war on Libya opens up a new regional war theater.
There are three distinct war theaters in the Middle East Central Asian region. Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is unfolding is a fourth US-NATO War Theater in North Africa, with the risk of escalation.
These four war theaters are functionally related, they are part of an integrated US-NATO military agenda.

The bombing of Libya has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for several years as confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark.
Operation Odyssey Dawn is acknowledged as the “biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq began exactly eight years ago.” (Russia: Stop ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of Libya – Taiwan News Online, March 19, 2011).
This war is part of the battle for oil. Libya is among the World’s largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.
The underlying objective is to gain control over Libya’s oil and gas reserves under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.
The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.
“Operation Odyssey Dawn ” is part of  a broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.
With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves, (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration.  U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves).
Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq
A military operation of this size and magnitude, involving the active participation of several NATO member and partner countries is never improvised. Operation Odyssey Dawn was in the advanced stages of military planning prior to the protest movement in Egypt and Tunisia. 
Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.   
The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. Rebel forces in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. (See  Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, February 28, 2011)
The insurrection was also planned and coordinated with the timing of the military operation. It had been carefully planned months ahead of the protest movement, as part of a covert operation.
US, British special forces were reported to be on the ground “helping the opposition” right from the outset.
What we are dealing with is a military roadmap, a timeline of carefully planned military and intelligence events.

Read more @ GlobalResearch.ca

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Turkish TV: NATO To Assume Command Libya Operation

HuffPost

Posted: 03/24/11 04:03 PM

ANKARA, Turkey — NATO appeared on Thursday to move closer to assuming command of the military operation in Libya when Turkey’s foreign minister was quoted as saying an agreement has been reached.

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The alliance needs the approval of all 28 of its members in order to coordinate the operation, and Turkey had set conditions on that role for NATO.

“The coalition that was formed following the Paris meeting will abandon the mission and hand it over entirely to a single command system under NATO,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency.

“All of Turkey’s concerns, demands on the issue have been met,” he said, and NATO has promised to complete the work needed to take over the Libya mission “within one or two days.”

Earlier in the day, Turkey’s parliament authorized the government to participate in military operations in Libya, including the no-fly zone. Turkey is NATO’s only Muslim member.

Turkey’s government had insisted that any NATO mission, including the no-fly zone, must be restricted to protecting civilians, enforcing the arms embargo and providing humanitarian aid.

Davutoglu had said Wednesday that his country would not agree to a “framework that goes beyond this.” But Turkey also said it would contribute four frigates and one submarine to the NATO naval force that patrolling off Libya’s coast to enforce a U.N. arms embargo. Two frigates had reached the Libyan coast while two others were on their way.

In Brussels, NATO officials said the Military Committee – the alliance’s highest military body – met Thursday morning in Brussels to review plans to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya. The decision-making North Atlantic Council, consisting of envoys from all 28 member nations, was meeting later Thursday to review them.

It has been meeting for six straight days, but a series of disagreements, including whether NATO should have overall political control over the operation and how aggressive rules of engagement should be, have so far blocked an agreement.

MORE HERE

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Adele- Rolling In The Deep

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Newly Released Wisconsin Emails Show GOP Considered Ways To Punish Democrats

By SCOTT BAUER 03/23/11 06:22 PM   AP via: HuffPost

MADISON, Wis. — Everything from taking away computers to denying a year of service in the state retirement system was considered to punish the 14 Wisconsin Democrats who fled to Illinois for three weeks to block passage of a bill taking away union bargaining rights, newly released emails show.

Members of Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s staff bounced ideas off one another and the Legislature’s attorneys for days about how to penalize the Senate Democrats for leaving and pressure them to return, according to records released Wednesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The watchdog group obtained the emails from Fitzgerald’s office under Wisconsin’s open records law.

The emails show Fitzgerald’s staff members were as worried about the public relations campaign as they were actually figuring out a way to get the Democrats to come back.

“I would just be somewhat cautious in whatever we do so that it doesn’t end up creating sympathy for the Dems,” Tad Ottman, a Fitzgerald aide, wrote to his chief of staff John Hogan on Feb. 20. “The more directly we can tie whatever action we take to what they are doing the better it will be.”

Democrats left the state on Feb. 17 to deny quorum in the Senate and block passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that took away all collective bargaining rights, except over salary, for Wisconsin’s public employees.

Their departure helped fuel protests in opposition to the bill that grew to more than 75,000 people. Senate Republicans finally used a maneuver to pass the bill without the Democrats present on March 9, a move now being challenged in court. Democrats returned after the bill passed.

MORE HERE

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Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen (Paris ’85}

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How the U.S. rapidly froze Libyan assets

Washington Post

By Robert O’Harrow Jr., James V. Grimaldi and Brady Dennis
Thursday, Mar 24, 2011
The Treasury Department team had been working nonstop on a plan to freeze Libyan assets in U.S. banks, hoping they might snare $100 million or more and prevent Moammar Gaddafi from tapping it as he unleashed deadly attacks against protesters who wanted him gone.

Now, at 2:22 Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, an e-mail arrived from a Treasury official with startling news. Their $100 million estimate was off — orders of magnitude off.

The e-mail said there was in “excess of $29.7 Billion — yes, that’s a B.”

And most of the money was at one bank.

It was a piece of extraordinary good fortune for the Obama administration at a crucial moment in the efforts to address the bizarre and deadly events unfolding in Libya.

Never before had U.S. officials so quickly launched economic sanctions affecting so many assets of a targeted country.

The frenetic 72 hours leading up to the Executive Order 13566 illustrate how a process of identifying and freezing assets — something that customarily has taken weeks or months — has become one of the first tactical tools to employ in the midst of fast-breaking crises.

It also shows that government officials have learned from other recent economic sanction efforts, including against Iran and North Korea. Instead of being a secondary measure, as in the past, economic sanctions have become a centerpiece of national security policy.

MORE HERE- 9 pages in this story

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SEIU Under Attack: Break, Litigate, Defund, Rinse, Repeat

Crooks and Liars- By karoli
March 23, 2011 05:00 PM

SodexoUSA has filed a RICO lawsuit against the SEIU, claiming it is using strongarm tactics to force the company to unionize.

According to their corporate website, they allege that SEIU is trying to force workers to replace other unions with theirs.

  • The complaint alleges that the SEIU, in face to face meetings, threatened Sodexo USA’s executives that it would harm Sodexo USA’s business unless they gave in to the union, and then carried out its threats through egregious behavior, including:
    • throwing plastic roaches onto food being served by Sodexo USA at a high profile event;
    • scaring hospital patients by insinuating that Sodexo USA food contained bugs, rat droppings, mold and flies;
    • lying to interfere with Sodexo USA business and sneaking into elementary schools to avoid security;
    • violating lobbying laws to steer business away from Sodexo USA, even at the risk of costing Sodexo USA employees their jobs; and
    • harassing Sodexo USA employees by threatening to accuse them of wrongdoing.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t garner much of my attention, but given the multi-pronged attacks on the SEIU by every right-winger in the land, I decided to look closer at SodexoUSA and their executives in particular to see if there were any relationships or donations to Republican governors. Since their business is privatized food services to hospitals and other concerns, it seemed like something to investigate.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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Dozens of casualties in Jerusalem explosion: police

REUTERS

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Crispian Balmer)

JERUSALEM | Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:46am EDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An explosion on or near a bus in Jerusalem on Wednesday caused dozens of casualties, police said.

Scores of ambulances converged on the area, near the central bus station and a city conference hall in a Jewish neighborhood of downtown Jerusalem.

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Jerusalem Explosion Reported: Blast Near Bus In Israel

03/23/11 09:37 AM   AP via: HuffPost

JERUSALEM — A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop Wednesday in central Jerusalem, wounding at least 25 people in what appeared to be the first militant attack in the city in several years.

The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of two crowded buses.

Rescuers were seen removing bloodied people from the area on stretchers.

Israel’s national rescue service said 25 people were wounded, including 15 seriously. No deaths were reported.

Meir Hagid, one of the bus drivers, said he heard a loud explosion as he drove by the site, located near the main entrance to Jerusalem and its central bus station.

“I heard the explosion in the bus stop,” he said. He halted his vehicle and people got off. He said nobody in his bus was hurt.

Jerusalem suffered dozens of suicide bombings that targeted buses and restaurants during the second Palestinian uprising last decade. But the attacks have halted in recent years. Jerusalem last experienced a suicide bombing in 2004.

The bombing came amid rising tensions between Israel and the Hamas militant group, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks in recent years.

MORE HERE

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Lawrence O’Donnell: “On A Daily Basis, Glenn Beck Says To His Audience, ‘I Don’t Know If It’s The End Of The World’ “

Via:  Media Matters
March 22, 2011 11:39 pm ET

From the March 22 edition of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:

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