United States News Digest
Calif. Dems Rejects Arnie's Fascist Budget
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 (EIRNS)Hopes for a compromise in the California budget crisis collapsed today, as Democrats refused to give fascist Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the power to make midyear budget cuts if revenues continue to fall. With the budget now 45 days overdue, Schwarzenegger's strategy, if there is one, appears to be little more than a chicken game, hoping that he can get the Democrats to blink. His insistence that he be given the power to cut spending in midyear, without any requirement of legislative oversight, is an effort to get Democrats to hand him new powers, which voters rejected in a ballot initiative he pushed in 2005. The LaRouche Youth Movement played a leading role in defeating that initiative, which they called the "Make Arnie a Dictator Act."
The continued failure to reach an agreement sets up a confrontation between Schwarzenegger and State Controller John Chiang, over whether the courts will order Chiang to abide by Arnie's executive order to reduce the wages of state employees to the Federal minimum wage, $6.55 per hour. Chiang has made clear that he will not issue checks at the lower wages, as demanded by Schwarzenegger, who responded by threatening to go to court. In the meantime, cuts in MediCal payments to doctors have already gone into effect, further reducing health care to more than 6.6 million Californians who have no health insurance.
General Scraps Revolution in Military Affairs
Aug. 15 (EIRNS)The Pentagon's Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) suffered a stinging setback this week, when Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCom), directed that the command "will no longer use, sponsor or export the terms and concepts" related to the effects-based operations (EBO), operational net assessment, and systems analysis in training, doctrine development, and support of joint military educationi.e., the operations associated with the RMA. In a memo dated Aug. 14, and posted on the website smallwarsjournal.com, Mattis wrote that these concepts "have not delivered on their advertised benefits," and that "a clear understanding of these concepts has proven problematic and elusive for U.S. and multinational personnel."
Mattis cited, in particular, analyses of the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, in which Israeli forces went to war with a doctrine that was largely inspired by these concepts. One analysis reports that "EBO proponents within the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] came to believe that an enemy could be completely immobilized by precision air attacks against critical military systems," and that "little or no land forces would be required since it would not be necessary to destroy the enemy." Mattis notes that, "This type of thinking runs contrary to historical lessons and the fundamental nature of war." In fact, "EBO thinking is an intellectual 'Maginot Line' around which the enemy maneuvered."
Mattis's memo and directive are a complete turnaround from one year ago, when, during a visit by EIR to JFCom's Joint Experimentation Directorate, EBO was sold as a "different approach to operations," that takes into account economic, social, and behavioral effects. A thorough reading of the relevant literature shows EBO to be an attempt at behavior modification of not only adversary armies, but entire populations, using methods of analysis more appropriate to machines than human beings. (See "Behavior Modification Is No Strategy for War," EIR, July 18, 2008.)
Saudis Again Ruled Not Prosecutable for 9/11
Aug. 15 (EIRNS)A lawyer for the Saudi plaintiffs says they will appeal a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Aug. 14, which holds that Saudi nationals cannot be prosecuted in the United States for material support of the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. The ruling upholds a 2006 lower court decision on a suit brought by families of the 9/11 victims against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden, four Saudi princes, a Saudi banker, and the Saudi commission responsible for disbursing funds to charities.
The three-judge panel ruled that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 granted the Saudi defendants immunity from prosecution on U.S. soil. It also ruled that a charity named in the suit, the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia and Herzegovina (SHC), was immune under the same law, as it was "an agency or instrumentality of the Kingdom."
Last year, EIR reported that Saudi Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, ambassador to the U.S. at the time of the 9/11 attacks, received an estimated $2 billion for his role as broker of the BAE Systems "Al-Yamamah" deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia, a potential violation of the strict U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The deal created an off-the-books slush fund used to finance irregular warfare operations.
Last September, sources close to the Justice Department told EIR investigators that the $2 billion in payoffs to Prince Bandar also involved money launderingthrough the Bank of England to the Saudi accounts at the now-defunct Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. The 9/11 Commission found that at least $70,000 in Saudi Embassy funds went to a Saudi national, Osama Basnan, who, in turn, provided material support to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Other recipients of Bandar cash, during the period he was receiving regular wire-transfers via BAE and British Ministry of Defense accounts at the Bank of England, included the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
While the Bandar role in the BAE affair has drawn much media attention, the most significant feature of the "Al-Yamamah" Anglo-Saudi scheme is that the British arms firm, along with other Anglo-Dutch "crown jewels" such as British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell, accumulated at least $100 billion in net gains from the barter scheme, between 1985-2007. These funds, according to a recent "authorized biography" of Prince Bandar, bankrolled covert arms deals around the globe, and bypassed U.S. Congressional oversight over major Pentagon arms deals.
While Bandar was not named in the suit, the four princes listed by the court are:
* Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (Prince Salman), president of the SHC, and governor of Riyadh Province.
* Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (Prince Sultan), chairman of the Supreme Council, and First Deputy President of the Council of Ministers. He has been designated as the successor to King Abdullah
* Turki al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (Prince Turki), the former director general of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, the kingdom's main foreign intelligence organization, and former ambassador to both the U.K. and U.S.
* Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (Prince Naif). Along with Sultan and Turki, he sits on the Kingdom's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, which monitors and approves Islamic charitable giving both within and outside the Kingdom.
N.J. Lawmaker: Repeal Global Warming Act
Aug. 15 (EIRNS)New Jersey Assemblyman Michael Doherty yesterday urged the state legislature to repeal the state's Global Warming Response Act as soon as the body returns from recess, after Labor Day. He cited termed new evidence of global cooling.
In November 1997, EIR published a special report entitled The Coming Ice Age. The physical evidence that the planet is cooling, as a result of decreased sunspot activity, has since been corroborated. Since 1998, the Earth's temperatures have leveled off, and are now decreasing.
New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050. Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed the act into law last year.
"There are many credible members of the scientific community who have questioned the theory of global warming, and now we have some scientists actually suggesting the earth's temperatures may be entering a period of dramatic cooling," said Doherty (R). "With this growing level of scientific uncertainty, it makes no sense to enact a new set of economically damaging regulations prompted by the global warming hysteria of recent years."
He added, "New Jersey's tax and regulatory climate is already chasing jobs from this state left and right, and these new regulations will make matters worse. Rather than conforming our policies to questionable scientific theories, we should be looking at the concrete economic indicators that show our state's economy is in trouble. And we should be taking steps to help people who are losing jobs and being forced out of their homes by this state's anti-economic growth agenda, not making matters worse."
Doherty's call for sanity was reported on PolitickerNJ.com.