United States News Digest
Congressional Fight Shaping Up Over IMF Funds
May 15 (EIRNS)House Republicans are threatening a revolt, if funding for President Obama's promise at the London G20 summit, for additional IMF funds, is included in a war appropriation bill. Yesterday, the House passed a war-spending bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, with 51 Dems and 9 GOP opposingbut without the provision for increased IMF funding, which is only in the Senate version, which is expected to come to a vote next week.
The Politico reports, "The President's late-breaking request for new IMF fundsonly sent to the Capitol late Tuesday nightis the big wild card in the mix," and it notes that House GOP members are threatening to revolt if the conference bill comes back with the IMF funds included. "A war supplemental bill ought to be about war funding," said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican conference.
Fox News quotes an aide to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) as saying: "Forcing taxpayers to borrow another $100 billion from China to bail out foreign countries makes no [sense] when we're already facing record debt and millions of Americans are losing their jobs here at home." The aide said DeMint would offer an amendment to strip out the IMF funding from the Senate bill.
Craddock: NATO Could Collapse in Afghanistan
May 12 (EIRNS)NATO Commander Gen. Bantz J. Craddock delivered an extremely blunt assessment of the status of NATO and the Afghan mission, in a speech before the Atlantic Council yesterday. Craddock, who was the target of a series of news leaks after he pushed to expand the NATO Afghan mission to the targeting of narcotics traffickers, is scheduled to retire from the U.S. Army in July, so his remarks were considered to be an end-of-tour assessment.
Craddock warned that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is still in jeopardy, and that the insurgents are still making gains in the South and East of the country. He stated categorically that the narcotics trafficking must be crushed if there is to be any kind of military success, warning that NATO has so far been reluctant to engage in improving the government and the economy of the country two of the three vital parts of any successful strategy. On the narcotics front, Craddock said, the amount of money generated from the illegal drug trade, inside Afghanistan, has soared to an estimated $4 billion a year (up from $1 billion just a year or two ago), and that the bulk of these funds goes to arming the insurgents, hiring soldiers, and recruiting suicide bombers, as well as corrupting the entire political class.
The general also reported that there is no coherence to the NATO operations, and that individual NATO members are building local zones of operation inside parts of Afghanistan, but are not responsive to requirements in any other parts of the country. He also made a blanket declaration, that "the political leadership of NATO is AWOL" when it comes to coordinating any strategy for Afghanistan.
Craddock painted an equally harsh picture of the overall state of the Alliance, warning that this year's priority is devising a new Strategic Concept doctrine, which has not been revised since 1999. NATO badly split over the issue of how to respond to Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, and, worst of all, the 21 NATO member states that are also part of the European Union's integrated military force, are conflicted over how to deploy limited resources, between their NATO obligations and their EU obligations. So far, the Europeans have gone with EU as their priority, as shown by the fact that the EU force changed its rules of engagement rapidly, in response to the recent piracy off the Somali coast, whereas NATO was only able to change the rules months later. In effect, Craddock, at least, was strongly implying that the European NATO members could split off and build their own European unified force, and let NATO go out of business.
Soros's 'Needleman' Loves Arnieand Why Shouldn't He?
May 12 (EIRNS)The top spokesman and policy hit man for the world's leading drug pusher, George Soros, on May 10 celebrated California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's May 5 call for a full debate on the "merits" of drug legalization. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of Soros's Drug Policy Alliance, told themoderatevoice.com, "The fact of the matter is, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a nationally recognized figure," and that "it's crucially important to have elected officials speaking out on any controversial subject in order to give it legitimacy."
Nadelmann, who favors the full legalization and taxation of drugs, argues that the "single most important thing driving it [legalization] now" is the financial crisis. Like every other utterance of Needleman's, this is also pure sophistry: the amount of "tax revenues" involved are orders of magnitude less than the budget deficits which the global financial meltdown is producing, as the situation in Arnie's California itself shows.
The entire Soros/Needleman strategy depends on behavior modification, by getting people to first tolerate a discussion of drug legalization, and then proceed to accept legalizing per se. "I think this is going to be more of an incremental process where we find ways to remove more and more of this from the black market," Needleman said hopefully. He also expressed optimism that the Obama Administration can be pushed back on track with the Soros legalization policy.
Will Harman Be Prosecuted for Aiding AIPAC Spying?
May 11 (EIRNS)The Justice Department still has an open case on Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), for her involvement in protecting Israeli spy operations linked to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and several informed Washington sources have indicated to EIR that Harman has been warned that she could be prosecuted. Even though two AIPAC functionariesSteve Rosen and Keith Weissmanhad spy charges dropped against them on April 22, AIPAC's spying operations are still being probed, especially since the Israeli operatives who ran the operation to solicit and receive stolen classified documents from Pentagon official Larry Franklin, now have top positions in the Netanyahu government.
A highly informed intelligence source told EIR that the real problem with the Rosen-Weissman case is that AIPAC should have been the target of the indictment, not just these employees.
Now Harman, who is a central figure in the Congressional faction that opposes the Hillary Clinton/George Mitchell policy track, could be on the hot seat.
On May 11, retired military intelligence and special forces officer Patrick Lang reported on his website that "Jane Harman had a talk with the Justice Department last week. It began with a rant on her part as to the impudence of the prosecutors in questioning her patriotism and ended on a much humbler note after they explained to her that her reported belief that Israel's interests are the U.S.'s interests is not a shield from prosecution."
This coheres with reports received by EIR that Harman not only railed against the DOJ for the wiretap, but took a "So what, Israel's our friend" position when told that it was not her phone, but the phone of a Mossad agent that was monitored. But Harman's cavalier attitude quickly ended when she was told that Israel's spies were using their U.S. "friendship" to steal and then funnel top secret information to the Soviet Union, resulting in extensive damage to U.S. national security. The interviewer cited the case of Marcus Klingberg, who had been a specialist in biochemical warfare, and who had received some 20,000 documents from Fort Detrick about U.S. chemical warfare programs. Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy arrested at the gates of the Israeli Embassy in 1985, had also stolen thousands of documents for Israel, which also then ended up in the hands of the Soviets.
The Pollard story and the Israeli modus operandi was detailed in the 1986 EIR Special Report, "Moscow's Secret Weapon: Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Mafia." That same Sharon spy apparatus now belongs to the fascist Netanyahu circles.
DoJ Revives KBR/Halliburton Case: Will Cheney Be Implicated?
May 11 (EIRNS)The U.S. Department of Justice is currently seeking the extradition from the U.K. of two Britons involved in the KBR bribery scheme for Nigerian contracts, running from 1995 to 2004; Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton from 1995 through 2000, and KBR was acquired by Halliburton in 1998.
In 2004, both the British and French press reported that Cheney might be indicted as a result of the French investigation of the bribery scheme.
KBR's former CEO Jack Stanley, reportedly a close friend of Cheney, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act last September; Stanley is said to be cooperating with the DOJ, and he won't be sentenced until next August. On Feb. 11, 2009, KBR pled guilty to FCPA charges and agreed to pay a $400 million fine, and also settled a civil complaint filed by the SEC.
On March 5, an indictment was unsealed against two Brits: lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, and former KBR sales agent Wojciech Chodan; the DOJ announced that it is seeking their extradition for trial in Houston. An extradition hearing for Tesler was to be held May 9 in a London court.