May 232010

Hat Tip Blackie SM

By Chris Carter

Commanders have ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol with unloaded weapons, according to a source in Afghanistan.

American soldiers in at least one unit have been ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, an anonymous source stationed at a forward operating base in Afghanistan said in an interview. The source was unsure where the order originated or how many other units were affected.

When a weapon has a loaded magazine, but the safety is on and no round is chambered, the military refers to this condition as “amber status.” Weapons on “red status” are ready to fire—they have a round in the chamber and the safety is off.

The source stated that he had been stationed at the base for only a month, but the amber weapons order was in place since before he arrived. A NATO spokesman could not confirm the information, stating that levels of force are classified.

“Our overall aim is to defeat the insurgency which means we must gain and then maintain the support of the Afghan population,” said Lieutenant Commander Iain Baxter, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement to HUMAN EVENTS. “This must be the objective of every action taken by ISAF service members, and it calls for responses that de-escalate situations where the use of deadly force may not be necessary. In doing this, leaders at all levels make enormous efforts to ensure that troops balance their own protection with the protection of the Afghan population.”

If there was a spate of friendly-fire casualties, then perhaps a change in the company’s rules would make sense. ISAF keeps no records of negligent discharges, however a search of casualties in Afghanistan showed only three fatalities due to friendly fire since January 2009—one from the U.K. and two from the Netherlands. With only three fatalities in the past 18 months—none of which were from the source’s unit—that argument doesn’t hold water.

“The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post—in which direct action may or may not take place—and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion,” says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military issues. “This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement.

And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed.”

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May 232010

by By Andrea Tantaros

From the G.M. bondholders, to the Black Panthers at polling stations, to ACORN to the mobs showing up at the homes of private citizens, Obama is running a Hugo Chavez-style thugocracy.

This past Sunday, in one of the most aggressive and offensive intimidation tactics to date, hundreds of members of the largest union – the SEIU – stormed the front yard of Bank of America deputy general counsel Greg Baer’s home. The angry mob had bullhorns, signs and even broke the law by trespassing to bully Baer’s teenage son, the only one home at the time, who locked himself in the bathroom out of fear.

This is what unions do. They pressure politicians into spending too much. They push government into bad policy decisions. They sacrifice the private sector for the public sector. And now, they trespass and break the law only to scare the children of private citizens to get their way.

If you think the unions are working alone, think again.

These protests, the ones storming Wall Street bank lobbies and now the private homes of bankers, are likely being carefully coordinated with the White House to increase their profile against the financial fat cats and help pass disgraced Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd’s financial regulatory bill.

Remember, when the White House visitor records were finally made public, it was SEIU boss Andy Stern who was the most frequent guest.

There are also no coincidences in politics. The bill passed the Senate last night.

From the G.M. bondholders, to the Black Panthers at polling stations, to ACORN to these assaults on private citizens, Obama is running a Hugo Chavez-style thugocracy. Like Chavez, he gets non-official “allies” to act as his henchemen and do the intimidation work. Obama provides the narrative and tells the story of “greed” while the SEIU provides the muscle. This is about power, not prosperity.

This time it’s gone too far.

Unions see the writing on the wall. The goose that laid the golden egg is bleeding on the operating table – and they’re the ones who killed it. They are bankrupting local and state governments, and putting a strain on the federal budget. Unions have also put us at a major trade imbalance. The stimulus has gone to create more public sector union jobs. These jobs cost on average, 30K more than their private sector equivalents.

JUST finish the read…

May 232010

Aftab Khan had in his belongings an envelope with the Faisal Shahzad’s first name on it. He says the envelope also had a phone number that investigators have concluded is Shahzad’s.

BOSTON — A Pakistani man arrested in Massachusetts during the investigation into the failed Times Square bombing had the primary suspect’s phone number and name in his cell phone and written on an envelope, a government attorney said Thursday.

Aftab Khan, a gas station attendant, had the items among his belongings in his Watertown, Mass., apartment, said Richard Neville, deputy chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston.

Neville revealed the information in court Thursday as he tried to persuade a U.S. immigration judge to keep Khan in the United States. His lawyer has asked that Khan be allowed to leave voluntarily. Judge Robin Feder did not immediately rule.

Khan, 27, was one of three Pakistani men arrested on immigration violations in New England last week as federal agents followed the money trail in their investigation into Faisal Shahzad, who is accused of trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May 1.

New York prosecutors said in a letter released Thursday that uninterrupted access to Shahzad for two weeks after his May 3 arrest was “extremely beneficial, if not essential” as investigators raced to prevent future attacks and identify other suspects.

Khan’s cell phone had in its memory Shahzad’s Connecticut phone number and first name, Neville said. The envelope also had Shahzad’s first name and phone number written on it, he said.

JUST read…

May 232010

by Soeren Kern

European leaders are facing an uphill battle to restore confidence in the euro, after a €750 billion ($1 trillion) “shock and awe” financial rescue package failed to quell market fears that the sovereign debt crisis in Greece may spread across the European Union and possibly unravel Europe’s single currency. Although European stocks and bonds briefly rallied after the bailout fund was announced on May 10, European markets have since erased those gains and the euro, which has become a key indicator of confidence in Europe’s economy, has fallen to a four-year low against the U.S. dollar.

A close examination of the EU bailout fund shows that it is actually only a short-term fix — it merely uses new debt to pay off old debt and does not change the fact that all European countries will remain top-heavy with unsustainable debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel admits that the EU rescue plan will do nothing more than buy time and put off a painful day of reckoning. But fears are mounting that European authorities are running out of options to prevent a full-scale financial meltdown.

Europe’s debt crisis is now calling into question the economic viability of the European social welfare state itself. Indeed, the biggest unintended consequence of the crisis is that it has proved the economic foundation of Europe’s much-vaunted social model to be far more unstable than previously imagined.

All across the continent, countries large and small are straining under the weight of debt caused by comprehensive “cradle-to-grave” social welfare. At least four trends, some of which are unique to Europe, are conspiring to bring down the edifice of the European social welfare model. They are demographics, chronic unemployment, cultural idiosyncrasies, and profligate politicians.

What follows is a tiny selection of sundry data that sheds some light on why European public finances are in so much trouble:

Full article…

May 232010


CAIRO – An American-Yemeni cleric whose Internet sermons are believed to have helped inspire attacks on the U.S. has advocated the killing of American civilians in an al-Qaida video released Sunday.

Anwar al-Awlaki has been singled out by U.S. officials as a key terrorist threat and has reportedly been added to the CIA’s list of targets for assassination despite his American citizenship. He is of particular concern because he is one of the few English-speaking radical clerics able to explain to young Muslims in America and other Western countries the philosophy of violent jihad.

The U.S.-born al-Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004 and is in hiding there after being linked to the suspects in the November shooting at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, and the December attempt to blow up a U.S. jetliner bound for Detroit.

“Those who might be killed in a plane are merely a drop of water in a sea,” he said in the video in response to a question about Muslim groups that disapproved of the airliner plot because it targeted civilians.

Al-Awlaki used the 45-minute video to justify civilian deaths — and encourage them — by accusing the United States of intentionally killing a million Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

American civilians are to blame, he said, because “the American people, in general, are taking part in this and they elected this administration and they are financing the war.”

The video was produced by the media arm of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, though the exact nature of al-Awlaki’s ties with the group and possible direct role in it are unclear. The U.S. says he is an active participant in the group, though members of his tribe have denied that.

For its part, al-Qaida appears to be trying to make use of his recruiting power by putting him in its videos. Its media arm said Sunday’s video was its first interview with the cleric.

JUST read on…