Archive for December 2009
Alicia Chang / Associated Press – December 29, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Once in a blue moon there is one on New Year’s Eve. Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don’t expect it to be blue – the name has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor.
A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year’s countdown.
“If you’re in Times Square, you’ll see the full moon right above you. It’s going to be that brilliant,” said Jack Horkheimer, director emeritus of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and host of a weekly astronomy TV show.
The New Year’s Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. For partygoers in Australia and Asia, the full moon does not show up until New Year’s Day, making January a blue moon month for them.
However, the Eastern Hemisphere can celebrate with a partial lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve when part of the moon enters the Earth’s shadow. The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas.
A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month – a blue moon – occurs every 2.5 years. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year’s Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won’t come again until 2028.
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: God willing, I’ll be back next year… – SJH
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The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Alison Vekshin and James Sterngold / Bloomberg – December 28, 2009
Lawmakers in both parties, seeking to prevent future financial crises while soothing public anger over bailouts and bonuses, are turning to an approach that’s both simple and transformative: re-imposing sections of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banking.
Those walls came down with passage of the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act of 1999. A proposal to reconstruct them, made by U.S. Senators John McCain and Maria Cantwell on Dec. 16, would prevent deposit-taking banks from underwriting securities, engaging in proprietary trading, selling insurance or owning retail brokerages. The bill could also force the unwinding of deals consummated during the financial crisis, including Bank of America Corp.’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.
Resurrecting Glass-Steagall goes beyond the array of new regulatory powers that President Barack Obama has proposed to fix the financial system. It has also sparked debate among academics, regulators and legislators over whether the Depression-era law could have prevented the crisis of 2008 or might help avoid future ones.
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Nomi Prins / Alternet – December 28, 2009
On December 13, President Obama declared that he was not elected to help the “fat cats.” But the cats got another version of that memo. A day later, 10 of them were supposed to partake in some White House face-time to talk about their responsibilities to the rest of the country, but only seven could make it. No-shows for the “very serious discussion” — due to inclement New York weather or being too busy with internal bonus discussions to bother with the President — were Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons.
Yes, Obama inherited a big financial mess from the Bush administration – which inherited its set-up from the Clinton administration (financial recklessness, it turns out, is non-partisan) — but he and his appointees have spent the year talking about fighting risk and excess on Wall Street, while both have grown.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner patted himself on the back for making the “difficult and necessary” decisions of fronting Wall Street boatloads of money to cover its losses and capital crunch last fall. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (a Bush-Obama favorite) was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for saving the free world as we know it. And Congress is talking “sweeping reform” about a bill that leaves the banking landscape intact, save for some minor alterations. For starters, it doesn’t resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated risk-taking (once non-government-backed) investment banks from consumer oriented (government-supported) commercial banks.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is restructuring (the financial equivalent of re-gifting) old toxic assets into new ones, finding fresh ways to profit from credit derivatives trading, and paying itself record bonuses — on our dime. Despite recent TARP payback enthusiasm, the industry still floats on trillions of dollars of non-TARP subsidies and certain players wouldn’t even exist today without our help.
Wall Street’s return to robustness and Main Street’s continued deterioration are the main takeaways for 2009 that stemmed from the 2008 choices to flush the financial system with capital and leave the real economy to fend for itself. Lies that exacerbate this divide only perpetuate its growth. With that, here is my top 10 list of lies…
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Lori Price / Citizens For Legitimate Government – December 28, 2009
In 2008, the ACLU estimated the US ‘No Fly List‘ to have grown to over 1,000,000 names — heck, even Cat Stevens and the late Senator Ted Kennedy were on it — and it continues to expand. But, suspected terrorist Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was curiously able to obtain military-grade high explosives –80 grams of PETN (Gee, where’d he get that?) — managed to escape airport security and detonate his underwear bomb!
In April 2009, American authorities reportedly refused an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico entry into US airspace because a left-wing journalist writing a book on the CIA was on board. Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for Le Monde Diplomatique and has written on revolutionary movements in Cuba and Colombia, figured on the US authorities’ ‘no-fly list.’ Air France said the April 18 flight was forced to divert to the French Caribbean island of Martinique before continuing its journey (telegraph.co.uk).
Got it? Write a book critical of the CIA — you cannot fly. Carry explosives (allegedly from Yemen) on board when the US is trolling for an excuse to invade and occupy Yemen for its oil — yes you can! The US needs false flags to provide cover for illegal invasions and occupations. The 9/11 terrorist attacks (aka inside job, six ways to Sunday) worked well for the US government; the security-industrial complex made billions and US corporaterrorists were able to negotiate the wholesale theft of Iraq’s oil.
According to CNN, the terror suspect’s father tried to warn authorities. CNN reported: The father of a man suspected in a botched terror attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight contacted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria recently with concerns his son was planning something, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday. The father — identified by a family source as Umaru Abdul Mutallab — contacted the U.S. Embassy “a few weeks ago” saying his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had “become radicalized,” the senior administration official, who is familiar with the case, told CNN.
And yet, Abdulmutallab was not obliged to undergo any additional airport screening layers, prior to boarding for the last leg of his journey to Detroit.
Also, lest we forget: Three key provisions of the Patriot Act are scheduled to expire 31 December 2009. Hmm. I wonder if post-Abdulmutallab they will get renewed?
Abdulmutallab was thwarted by a quote, unquote vacationing movie producer, Jasper Schuringa, who, within seconds, asserted that he not only tackled the suspect and put him in a headlock but also tried ‘to search his body for any explosives’ (CNN). Unless one was a bona-fide law enforcement professional or a military agent, who on earth would think of searching a man who had just set himself on fire, in a matter of seconds, for more explosives?
The goal is Yemeni oil. Hence the reason for the destabilization and the purported need for the US to stop al-Qaeda (literally, ‘the database’). The Yemeni national security chief has declared that the country is receiving assistance from the US in the crackdown on what he called ‘al-Qaeda operatives’ in southern Yemen (Press TV). Translation: US corporaterrorists want Yemen’s oil and they want it NOW.
Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Abdul Mutallab onto plane without passport 27 Dec 2009 A Michigan man who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 says he witnessed Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab trying to board the plane in Amsterdam without a passport. Kurt Haskell and his wife, Lori, of Newport, Mich., were returning from a safari in Uganda when they boarded the NWA flight on Friday. Haskell said he and his wife [attorneys with Haskell Law Firm in Taylor] were sitting on the ground near their boarding gate in Amsterdam, which is when they saw Mutallab approach the gate with an unidentified man. While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, ‘He’s from Sudan and we do this all the time.'” Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab’s lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.
Father of terror suspect reported Mutallab to US Embassy 6 months ago 27 Dec 2009 The father of the al Qaeda terrorist behind Friday’s attempted explosion aboard a Northwest flight bound for Detroit reported his son’s fanatical religious views to the U.S. Embassy six months ago, according to a Nigerian news outlet. The young man, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, is the son of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, a former Nigerian minister and bank chairman. He became wary of his son’s religious beliefs and reported his activities to the U.S. Embassy as well as Nigerian security services half a year ago, according to the Nigerian newspaper This Day.
Source: Terror suspect’s father tried to warn authorities 27 Dec 2009 The father of a man suspected in a botched terror attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight contacted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria recently with concerns his son was planning something, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday. The father — identified by a family source as Umaru Abdul Mutallab — contacted the U.S. Embassy “a few weeks ago” saying his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had “become radicalized,” the senior administration official, who is familiar with the case, told CNN. Abdulmutallab, 23, was charged in a federal criminal complaint Saturday with attempting to destroy the plane Friday on its final approach to Michigan’s Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and placing a destructive device on the aircraft, the Department of Justice said.
Father alerted US about Nigerian plane bomb suspect 27 Dec 2009 The father of a Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a transatlantic jet on Christmas Day had voiced concerns to US officials about his son. The father, a top Nigerian banker, warned US authorities last month about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s extreme views, say officials. US sources confirm a file was opened, but say the information did not warrant placing the accused on a “no-fly” list.
Airline bomber was barred from Britain –Man who allegedly attempted to blow up US jet had UK visa request refused in May 27 Dec 2009 The son of a prominent Nigerian banker, who allegedly attempted to blow up a transatlantic flight over America, was barred from returning to Britain earlier this year. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, graduated from a university in London last year but his visa request was refused in May when he attempted to apply for a new course at a bogus college. Abdulmutallab, described as a devout Muslim, attempted to ignite an explosive device on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day after shouting about Afghanistan.
Unclear If Suspect’s Name Was On Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment List –The list, maintained by United States National Counterterrorism Center, includes about 550,000 names 27 Dec 2009 The Nigerian man accused of trying to ignite an incendiary device aboard a trans-Atlantic jetliner on Friday came to the attention of American officials at least “several weeks ago,” but the initial information was not specific enough to raise alarms that he could potentially carry out a terrorist attack, a senior Obama administration official said on Saturday… It was unclear whether Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name was entered into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment list, which includes people with known or suspected contact or ties to a terrorist or terrorist organization. Those people, however, are not necessarily placed on the federal government’s so-called no-fly list, which prohibits persons entering the United States because of known or suspected [or imagined] terrorists links. Mr. Abdulmutallab was not on that list, federal officials say.
US authorites divert Air France flight carrying ‘no-fly’ journalist to Mexico –American authorities reportedly refused an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico entry into US airspace because a left-wing journalist writing a book on the CIA was on board. 29 Apr 2009 Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for Le Monde Diplomatique and has written on revolutionary movements in Cuba and Colombia , figured on the US authorities’ “no-fly list”. Air France said the April 18 flight was forced to divert to the French Caribbean island of Martinique before continuing its journey and that it might ask the US Transportation Security Administration for compensation. A spokesman for Mr Ospina’s French publisher, Le Temps des Cerises, said: “Hernando, who was heading to Nicaragua to research a report, thus found out that he is on a ‘no-fly list’ that bans a number of people from flying to or even over the United States.” Some 50,000 people are said to be on the list set up under George W. Bush, the former US president [sic]. The publisher accused the Central Intelligence Agency of being behind Mr Ospina’s blacklisting, pointing out that the journalist was currently researching a book about the spy agency. “It shows to what degree its paranoia (has reached),” it said.
‘I was trying to search his body for any explosives.‘ Passenger says he helped thwart terror attack 27 Dec 2009 Passenger Jasper Schuringa told CNN that with the aid of the cabin crew, he helped subdue and isolate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged Saturday with trying to destroy a plane. Schuringa of Amsterdam, Netherlands, said he was traveling to Florida to visit friends. The journey aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had been mundane, he said. But as the plane neared its destination of Detroit, Michigan, he heard a pop that sounded like a firecracker going off, and someone started yelling: “Fire! Fire!” Then, there was smoke. “Around 30 seconds later the smoke started to fill up on the left side beneath this person,” he said. That’s when Schuringa said he knew something was wrong. “I basically reacted directly. I didn’t think. When you hear a pop on the plane you’re awake, trust me,” Schuringa said. When he noticed that Abdulmutallab was not moving, he grew suspicious. “I was on the right side of the plane and the suspect was on the left side, there were quite some seats in between.” He jumped over the passenger next to him and lunged over Abdulmutallab’s seat, “Because I was thinking he’s trying to blow up the plane, and I was trying to search his body for any explosives.”
Airports intensify security measures worldwide in wake of failed bomb attack aboard U.S.-bound jetliner –Terror suspect charged in jetliner bomb plot 26 Dec 2009 Federal authorities have charged Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, of Nigeria, with attempting to destroy Northwest flight 253 with a “destructive device” as it descended into Detroit on Christmas Day. In a case of attempted terrorism that has sparked a worldwide intensification of security at airports, U.S. officials said Saturday afternoon that a preliminary FBI analysis found a bomb-making chemical called PETN in the device Abdulmutallab tried to detonate. The affidavit, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, also said FBI agents discovered the remnant of a syringe near the suspect’s seat, part of what the agents believe was part of the explosive device.
Investigators: Northwest Bomb Plot Planned by al-Qaeda in Yemen –Officials Say Bomb Materials Sewn Into Suspect’s Underwear by Top Terror Bomb Maker 26 Dec 2009 The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect’s underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News. Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams kin his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet.
Yemen is focus of new US front against al Qaeda –The Pentagon is to spend more than $70 million over the next 18 months, and use teams of Special Forces to train and equip Yemeni military, Interior Ministry and coast guard forces. 28 Dec 2009 The United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against the Al-Qaeda terror network in Yemen, accoding to The New York Times newspaper. A year ago, the Central Intelligence Agency sent a number of its top field operatives with counter-terrorism experience to the country, the newspaper said. At the same time, some of the most secretive special operations commandos have begun training Yemeni security forces in counter-terrorism tactics, the report said.
Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen 27 Dec 2009 Federal authorities on Saturday charged a 23-year-old Nigerian man with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, and officials said the suspect told them he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. The authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection claimed by the man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was burned in his failed attempt to bring down the airliner and is in a hospital in Michigan. But a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said on Saturday that the suspect’s account was “plausible,” and that he saw “no reason to discount it.”
US bombs Sa’ada governor’s house, Houthis say 27 Dec 2009 A US fighter jet has carried out multiple airstrikes on the home of a senior official in Yemen’s northern rugged province of Sa’ada, Houthi fighters say. The Yemen-based Houthi fighters say the warplane struck the home owned by the governor of Sa’ada province, Hassan Mohammad Manna in five blitzes. There were no reports on possible casualties in the attacks.
Yemen confirms receiving US military support 27 Dec 2009 The Yemeni national security chief has declared that the country is receiving assistance from the US in the crackdown on what he called ‘al-Qaeda operatives’ in southern Yemen. Mohamed al-Anisi has told the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz that Yemeni forces were cooperating with the US military on attacks against al-Qaeda camps, DPA reported on Saturday. Yemen’s confirmation comes as an ABC report revealed that US President Barack Obama had signed the order for a recent military strike on Yemen in which scores of civilians, including children, were killed.
Yemen oil min- oil majors mull investments-paper 21 Feb 2009 Yemen has received investment offers from oil majors including Exxon Mobil Corp and Total, Oil Minister Amir al-Aidarous said in remarks published on Saturday. Yemen’s Ministry for Oil and Mineral Resources has received eight oil investment bids from international companies, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted Aidarous as saying, four of which were from oil majors seeking direct negotiations with Yemen. The companies include Exxon Mobil, Total, and BP, the minister said, but did not elaborate on the nature of the investments. Other companies that made bids included Austrian oil and gas group OMV, Nexen, and Occidental, he said.
House Delays Patriot Act Spy Vote By David Kravets 16 Dec 2009 The House of Representatives tabled on Wednesday legislation to reform U.S. surveillance law. The two-month delay puts off a collision with a competing Senate version. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to include a vote on the Patriot Act in a Pentagon funding bill. The move automatically extends provisions of the Patriot Act that would otherwise expire at year’s end. The Senate is likewise expected to delay the matter. The act, hastily adopted six weeks after the 2001 terror attacks, greatly expanded the government’s ability to spy on Americans in the name of national security. A key difference between the House and Senate packages concerns the standard by which the FBI may issue so-called National Security Letters — although Wednesday’s vote prolongs the time for more backroom negotiations. Reforming NSL powers is a key bone of contention in the Patriot Act debate, even though it is not one of the three Patriot Act provisions that was scheduled to expire Dec. 31.
Police lose battle over evidence of ‘British 9/11’ plot –Scotland Yard must reveal whether it had CIA intelligence 26 Dec 2009 Scotland Yard has been ordered to reveal whether it has any evidence to support America’s claim that Britain was saved from a 9/11-style disaster by the CIA’s secret foreign interrogation centres. The Times has won a case under the Freedom of Information Act forcing British police to say whether the US stopped a plot to fly planes into Canary Wharf and Heathrow. The claim was made by President [sic] Bush when he first acknowledged the existence of a clandestine CIA prison network created to fight his War on of Terror. Scotland Yard has been given 35 days to comply or appeal. If it admits that there is no such intelligence, it would undermine any political defence for America’s strong-arm tactics in fighting terrorism.
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Paul Joseph Watson / Prison Planet – December 28, 2009
As a result of the highly suspicious incident on Christmas Day where a Nigerian man on a terror watchlist with no passport and explosive materials was allowed to board Delta Flight 253, suffocating security paranoia has been implemented to the point where bathroom visits are now considered potential terrorism.
Another Nigerian man who became ill and was forced to spend a considerable amount of time in the toilet became the focal point of another terror scare yesterday after pilots aboard Delta 253, the same plane involved in last week’s incident, requested emergency assistance upon landing.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force and Homeland Security descended to investigate the crisis and President Obama was even informed of the deadly security threat prompted by the man taking a dump. After hours of media frothing about a second terrorist incident, the truth finally emerged.
“A passenger on today’s Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit spent an unusually long time in the aircraft lavatory,” Homeland Security press secretary Sara Kuban said in a statement.
“The passenger in question, a Nigerian national, was removed from the flight and interviewed by the F.B.I.; indications at this time are that the individual’s behavior is due to legitimate illness, and no other suspicious behavior or materials have been found.”
And yet this farce represents merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the intensified harassment and lunacy now being witnessed in airports across the world all in the name of preventing a threat that is in reality less deadly than lightening strikes and peanut allergies, both of which have killed more Americans over the past few decades than terrorism.
If you thought that mothers having to taste their own breast milk and naked body scans was a little over the top, it’s only going to get worse as a result of an incident that has all the hallmarks of a staged event. Body searches, baggage searches and vehicle searches even outside of the airport are now taking place with a wanton disregard for the 4th amendment.
Authorities are too busy shaking down Grandma to really care about how a man who was known to be a security threat, was on a terror watchlist, had no passport and had explosive materials embedded in his clothing was allowed to board a plane, aided by a sharp-dressed man who lied about his circumstances.
Once again, Americans who will willfully endure whatever humiliation they are ordered to undergo are being trained to obey the most ridiculous rules in the airport so that similar measures can eventually become a normal routine on the streets, in shopping malls and any other places of public gathering.
This is all being metered out in the name of protecting the sheeple from a terrorist threat that the government, through its own deliberate actions, manufactured alerts and intelligence failures, has sought to proliferate at every turn.
Associated Press (AP)
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