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Archive for December 13th, 2009

Cash from organized crime ‘rescued’ banks during crisis: UN official

By Raw Story
Saturday, December 12th, 2009 — 8:29 pm

The vast majority of an estimated $352 billion in proceeds of organized crime, mostly from the drug trade, was funneled through the global banking system during the financial crisis of the past two years, and in some cases, the money rescued banks from collapse, says the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Antonio Maria Costa told the UK Observer that intelligence agencies and prosecutors alerted him 18 months ago to evidence that drug money was being “absorbed into the financial system.”

“In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital,” Costa said. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.”

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Bald Bird Dance

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Reflections on a Recent Evaluation of Dr. David Ray Griffin

by Elizabeth Woodworth
Global Research, December 12, 2009

The cover story of the September 24, 2009, issue of The New Statesman, the venerable left-leaning British magazine, was entitled The 50 People who Matter Today.(1) Any such list, necessarily reflecting the bias and limited awareness of the editors, would surely contain choices that readers would find surprising.

That is true of this list which includes families as well as individuals. A good number of names are, to be sure, ones that would be contained in most such lists created by British, Canadian, or American political commentators, such as the Obamas, the Murdochs, Vladimir Putin, Osama bin Laden, Angela Merkel, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Pope Benedict XVI, and Gordon Brown. But about half of the names reflected choices that I, and probably most other readers, found surprising. One of these choices, however, is beyond surprising – it is astounding.

I refer to the person in the 41st position: David Ray Griffin, a retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology who, in 2003, started writing and lecturing about 9/11, pointing out problems in the official account of the events of that day. By the time the New Statesman article appeared, he had published 8 books, 50 articles, and several DVDs. Because of both the quantity and quality of his work, he became widely regarded as the chief spokesperson of what came to be called the 9/11 Truth Movement. It was because of this role that the New Statesman included him in its list, calling him the top truther (the conspiracy theorist title went to Dan Brown, who was placed in the 50th slot).

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For OpEdNews: Jason Leopold – Writer

This report was originally published on Truthout.org

Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

During his 36-minute speech upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway Thursday, President Barack Obama explained to an audience of 1,000 how the United States has a “moral and strategic interest” in abiding by a code of conduct when waging war – even one that pits the US against a “vicious adversary that abides by no rules.”

“That is what makes us different from those whom we fight,” Obama said. “That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.”

however , Obama’s high-minded declaration rang hollow in light of fresh reports that his administration continues to operate secret prisons in Afghanistan where detainees have allegedly been tortured and where the International Committee for the Red Cross has been denied access to the prisoners.

Obama has substituted words for action on issues surrounding torture since his first days in office nearly one year ago. Last June, on the 25th anniversary of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Obama said the US government “must stand against torture wherever it takes place” and that his administration “is committed to taking concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims.”

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James Cusick, Westminster Editor
The Herald
Published on 13 Dec 2009

Tony Blair’s confession that he would have taken Britain to war in Iraq even if he had known Saddam Hussein had no ­weapons of mass destruction leaves him more vulnerable to legal action, a leading international lawyer warned yesterday.

Professor Philippe Sands QC, director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, and a member of Cherie Blair’s Matrix law chambers, said the former prime minister’s admission that he would have deployed “different arguments” besides the weapons to justify the war and the removal of Saddam, means “he fixed on the policy first and then found the justification”.

Prof Sands, who claims Mr Blair and the former US president George Bush violated international law in the 2003 invasion, said: “The fact that the policy was fixed by Tony Blair irrespective of the facts on the ground, and irrespective of the legality, will now expose him more rather than less to legal difficulties.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Tony Blair accused of ‘twisting facts’ on Iraq

Daily Mail – Brendan Carlin, Christopher Leake

Tony Blair was last night accused of ‘breathtaking cynicism’ after he claimed that he would have invaded Iraq even if he had known it had no weapons of mass destruction. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg …

Who will turn the heat on Tony Blair over Iraq?

Telegraph.co.uk – Andrew Gilligan

The former daytime TV host Fern Britton seems to have had greater success grilling Tony Blair on Iraq than the Chilcot Inquiry, says Andrew Gilligan. So if it’s closure and condemnation you seek, don’t hold your breath …

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

Independent – Jane Merrick, Brian Brady
Key parts of Tony Blair’s evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War will be held in secret, sources close to the hearings revealed last night. His conversations with President George Bush when he was prime …

Hans Blix, head of the UN weapons inspectorate in 2003, said that Mr Blair’s confession to Fern Britton had left a “strong impression of a lack of sincerity”, adding that the WMD argument was a “figleaf”.

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