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Archive for February 18th, 2011

Obama Vetoes UN Vote On Illegal Israel Land Grabs And Genocide

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February 18, 2011: Al Jazeera Editors / Al Jazeera – February 18, 2011

Washington blocks resolution condemning Israeli buildings on Palestinian land as illegal and calling for quick halt…

The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “They are illegal under international law,” he said.

He added that the European Union’s three biggest nations hope that an independent state of Palestine will join the United Nations as a new member state by September 2011.

The Obama administration’s veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. An abstention would have angered the Israelis, the closest US ally in the region, as well as Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in the American Congress.

Washington says it opposes settlements in principal, but claims that the UN Security Council is not the appropriate venue for resolving the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.

“While we agree with our fellow council members and indeed with the wider world about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians,” she said.

Palestinians said the veto is counterproductive to the peace process, helps Israel maintain illegal buildings.

“The American veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue settlements, and to escape the obligations of the peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a close aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Pressure To Drop Resolution

Earlier, the Obama administration has exerted pressure on the Palestinian Authority to drop the UN resolution in exchange for other measures.

Abbas has refused Washington’s request to withdraw a UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel to freeze settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian land.

The decision was made unanimously by the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive and the central committee of Abbas’s Fatah movement on Friday, at a meeting to discuss US President Barack Obama’s appeal to Abbas by telephone a day earlier.

“The Palestinian leadership has decided to proceed to the UN Security Council, to pressure Israel to halt settlement activities. The decision was taken despite American pressure,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO executive member.

Obama, who had said Israeli settlements in territories it captured in a 1967 war are illegal and unhelpful to the peace process, says the resolution could shatter hopes of reviving the stalled talks.

Palestinians say continued building flouts the internationally-backed peace plan that will permit them to create a viable, contiguous state on the 1967 land, after a treaty with Israel to end its occupation and 62 years of conflict.

Israel says this is an excuse for avoiding peace talks and a precondition never demanded before during 17 years of negotiations, which has so far produced no agreement.

The diplomatic standoff is complicated by the effects of Middle East turmoil on the Arab League, whose members backed the resolution. Egypt, a dominant member, and Tunisia are preoccupied with their transitions from deposed autocracies, and protests are flaring in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain.

Washington is trying to revive peace talks stalled since September over Israel’s refusal to extend a moratorium on settlement building and Abbas’s refusal to negotiate further until the Israelis freeze the illegal buildings.

‘Nothing To Lose’

Obama initially pressured Israel to maintain the moratorium only to relent in the run-up to the 2010 US mid-term elections to avoid, some analysts said, alienating key voters.

Instead of the resolution, Obama told Abbas he would back a fact-finding visit by a delegation of the Security Council to the occupied territories.

One PLO official said the leadership was determined not to cave in “even if our decision leads to a diplomatic crisis with the Americans”, adding: “Now we have nothing to lose.”

Kristin Saloomey, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in New York, said that the US has been doing everything it can to stop this vote from happening, including incentives and threats.

“Apparently Obama threatened [on the phone to Abbas] that there would be repercussions if this vote actually came to the floor of the UN Security Council,” she said.

“Today secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, called president Abbas [to put on more pressure] but none of this is getting through to the Palestinians.

“Obama is facing intense domestic pressure not to support the vote. The US is in a tough position, they know that a veto is going to make them look very bad in the Arab world … and also the rest of the world is really in support of this resolution.

“All of the Security Council members are on the record saying they are going to vote for this resolution including US allies”.

Since 2000, 14 Security Council resolutions have been vetoed by one or more of the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. Of those, 10 were US vetoes, nine of them related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Natural Growth” Of Israeli Settlements

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Everybody now clear who the illegal US government serves… Israel! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/2011218201653970232.html

US Army’s Newest $4M Spy Drone Is Disguised As A Hummingbird

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February 18, 2011: Daily Mail Reporter / Daily Mail – February 18, 2011

And you paid for it, America! – SJH

A pocket-sized spy drone disguised as a hummingbird has been unveiled by a major Pentagon contractor measuring just 16 centimetres and weighing less than an AA battery. The mini spy plane can fly up to 11 miles an hour and took five years to develop at a cost of $4 million.

Army chiefs hope to use the drone’s tiny camera to spy on enemy positions in war zones without arousing detection and eventually deploy it into both rural and urban environments.

Experts hope the drone, which can fly just by flapping its wings, compared with current models which rely on propellers, will eventually be able to swoop through open windows and perch on power lines.

The demonstration by AeroVironment – one of the world’s biggest drone suppliers – lasted eight minutes and saw the new creation fly through a door into a building and out again, and withstand winds of five miles per hour.

Todd Hylton, Hummingbird programme manager for the Pentagon’s research arm said it ‘paves the way for a new generation of aircraft with the agility and appearance of small birds.’

Matt Keennon, AeroVironment’s manager on the project, said the milestone of building a machine inspired by nature pushes the limits of aerodynamics. He added: ‘This is a new form of man-made flight’.

Two years ago the company showed off its first Hummingbird prototype, managing just 20 seconds. The latest flight lasted eight minutes, with engineers expecting longer flights as development continues.

AeroVironment already produces a number of different drones for the US Army. Last year it had 2,182 orders from the army for its Raven drone, which weighs four pounds with a wingspan of four-and-a-half feet.

Around 86 per cent of its orders come from the Government, meaning last year it was paid a whopping $215million from the Department of Defense.

The company, based in California with 732 full-time employees, expects to sell even more drones to the Government once rules are relaxed to allow spying within America.

The unveiling of the Hummingbird comes just weeks after the same company launched its $30 million Global Observer with a wingspan similar to a Boeing 747 which can survey an area as large as Afghanistan.

Chris Fisher, project manager at AeroVironment explained: ‘It gives the guy on the ground the opportunity to see what’s on the other side of the hill.  There’s only so much you can see with binoculars.  A small [drone] can get up and go over the hill. That gives the ground soldier a capability that is huge.

He added: ‘One of the things we benefit from is the average young person in the military has hours and hours of video games experience. They are attuned to holding these things in their hands; moving the joysticks around with their thumbs and that’s how our planes are flown. To an 18-year-old it’s extremely simple.’

AeroVironment’s Nano Hummingbird

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I want you all to pay very close attention to the following quotes from this article that I have extracted below. And remember, as the economy crashes, We, the People paid for this

“…five years to develop at a cost of $4 million…able to swoop through open windows…eventually deploy it into both rural and urban environments…once rules are relaxed to allow spying within America.”

This isn’t to aid our troops guarding poppy fields in Afghanistan, this is to spy on us… We, the People! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1358078/Is-bird-Is-plane-No-armys-latest-4million-spy-drone-disguised-hummingbird-measuring-just-16-centimetres.html

Returning National Guard Troops Set To Quell Wisconsin Protests?

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February 18, 2011: Paul Joseph Watson / Prison Planet.com – February 18, 2011

Showdown in America begins as the people make their voices heard! – SJH

300 soldiers head back to state fresh from Iraq after Gov. Walker put Guard on alert last week to prepare for strikes…

Coincidence or not, the fact that hundreds of National Guard troops are returning to Wisconsin today fresh from battling insurgents in Iraq is sure to alarm union protesters who labeled Governor Scott Walker’s move to put the Guard on alert last week a “threat” designed to intimidate demonstrators who are currently massed around the Capitol in Madison.

In case of a widespread walkout in response to his “budget repair bill,” Walker told reporters last week that he would use National Guard troops to be “prepared…for whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for…I am fully prepared for whatever may happen.”

Ostensibly, Walker’s announcement was a signal that he is prepared to replace state workers with National Guard troops, deploying them for example as prison guards. However, protesters cried foul, claiming that Walker was invoking the Guard as an intimidation tactic to suppress dissent.

“Hundreds of Wisconsin National Guard soldiers return to the state Friday,” reports the Wausau Daily Herald. “About 300 soldiers from the 724th Engineer Battalion will be back at Volk Field where they will be met by senior National Guard officials and family members. A brief ceremony will be held before the soldiers are taken to nearby Fort McCoy to begin about five days of demobilization before their release.”

The unit comprises roughly half of Wisconsin’s National Guard soldiers that are currently on active duty. They return fresh from Iraq after having been on missions to remove roadside bombs placed by insurgents.

They may now face a different type of insurgency, one led by state workers who are furious that their pension and health care contributions are set to double to fill a $3.6 billion budget deficit black hole, while two-thirds of corporations in the state pay no taxes whatsoever according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

The sight of fully uniformed National Guard soldiers policing angry Americans could see a repeat of the scenes witnessed in Cairo over the last few weeks. Indeed, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (R) is already drawing similar comparisons.

Ryan expressed his opposition to the demands of the protesters, pointing out that even after Walker’s bill is passed, state sector workers would still pay far less in pension and health contributions than private sector workers, but noted that the level of fury surrounding the legislation meant that Walker was now facing, “Riots — it’s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days.”

Making reference to Walker’s threat to bring in the National Guard, liberal activist and author Noam Chomsky told Democracy Now that what happened in Egypt was “the beginning of what we need here – democracy uprising.”

Some have even expressed fears that the Guard could be used to break the strikes at the point of a gun. Such a move would not be without historical precedent.

“The last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard was in 1886. The Guard, then called the State Militia were brought in to break a rally of Milwaukee workers advocating an 8-hour work day. The militia fired into a crowd of unarmed picketers; it’s estimated that 5 to 7 workers were killed,” reports the Huffington Post.

“Maybe the new governor doesn’t understand yet – but the National Guard is not his own personal intimidation force to be mobilized to quash political dissent,” said Robin Eckstein, a former Wisconsin National Guard member, Iraq War Veteran from Appleton, WI, and member of VoteVets.org. “The Guard is to be used in case of true emergencies and disasters, to help the people of Wisconsin, not to bully political opponents.”

Will Governor Walker Call Out National Guard?

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I said many years ago that when the people realize the extent of looting, that that will be the time they begin to rise up as their livelihoods are raped and stolen! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.prisonplanet.com/returning-national-guard-troops-set-to-smash-wisconsin-protest.html