Monthly Archives: November 2010

Wikileaks at it Again: Latest Document Dump

Wikileaks released more than a quarter of million communiques detailing US relations with Foreign leaders and regimes. From New York Times:

A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

The White House is angry about the leaks:

The White House said the release of what it called “stolen cables” to several publications was a “reckless and dangerous action” and warned that some cables, if released in full, could disrupt American operations abroad and put the work and even lives of confidential sources of American diplomats at risk. The statement noted that reports often include “candid and often incomplete information” whose disclosure could “deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”

Additional coverage in Politico

Financial Times

Der Spiegel

The Guardian

Advertisements

SEIU Cancels Childrens Health Insurances for Workers

SEIU Service Employee International Union has canceled it’s worker’s children health insurance because of costs. From Wall Street Journal, New York Edition:

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.

Read more.

Ironic much. The union that wanted Obamacare is now complaining about it. Seesh!

Portland Car Bomb Plot Foiled Suspect Arrested

A 19-year-old Somali-American arrested on Friday by FBI in a plot to set off a car bomb during the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland,Or. KGW-TV/ HDTV “Northwest NewsChannel “ has details:

A law enforcement official says federal agents began investigating the suspect in the Christmas tree bombing plot in Portland, Ore., after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about the teenager.

The official tells The Associated Press that Mohamed Osman Mohamud was acting on his own — without any instruction from a foreign terrorist organization.

KOIN-TV/DT “Local 6 News” say Mohamud who was raised in Beaverton became distant and aloof. Later he took  a Anti-American turn:

Although he was finally arrested at age 19, allegedly after trying to explode a bomb amid thousands of people gathered for a Portland holiday ceremony, Mohamed Osman Mohamud had a history of unrest and activism which apparently had drawn the interest of federal agents.

A Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, Mohamud had shown interest in activism at least since his earlier teen-age years.
He is a graduate of  Beaverton’s Westview High School, after which he enrolled at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He frequented the Salmon Al-Farsi Islamic Center in Corvallis, but stopped attending classes at the university in early October.
During his high school  and college days, Mohamud grew increasingly active, at least once managed to catch the attention of the FBI in a separate incident. A posting on Gawker.com depicts Mohamud as a “Rapping Teen Fitness Guru, with a colorful past as a burgeoning jihadi.”

Attendees were in shock and disbelief about the bomb plot KATU-TV/DT “Channel 2 News” has learned:

The story mimics one a month ago in Virginia and a year ago in Dallas. But this story of FBI-fed would-be bombers happened right here in Portland.

On Friday night authorities took 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud into custody after he allegedly tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives. That van was parked at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at downtown Portland’s Pioneer Square – an annual event that draws thousands of people into “Portland’s living room.”

Now, people who live, work and play in downtown Portland are just learning about the arrest. And many we talked with were shocked that this plot could have happened right here under their nose.

“I’m out here visiting family,” said David Lemon, walking around downtown on this balmy Saturday. “…You think of terrorism [and] you think it’s somewhere else. But here it is.”

Even people who work across the street had no idea.

“I was actually really shocked,” said Linda Schwab, who works across the street.

Portland Mayor Samuel Adams learned of the plot about 9PM local time. From “Local 6 News”:

Mayor Sam Adams says he was notified of the FBI’s arrest of a bombing-attempt suspect at about 9 p.m. Friday. He praised law enforcement efforts, and assured the public that authorities were in control of the situation, the bomb was a fake, and that any perceived danger is over.

In an interview with KOIN Local 6 News, Adams says the suspect, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, “really was serious, and had taken secific actions that caused (police) to believe that, if given the opportunity to get his hands on a weapon, that he was going to use it.” He also talked about concerns over entrapment, possible accomplices, the law enforcement investigation, street safety in Portland and more (see the video interview attached to this story).

Here are highlights of that interview:

Adams: “The world trauma, the world events have come to our doorstep, or luckily, have had the potential to come to our doorstep.

Question: Rate law enforcement’s response.

Adams: “I think this was a really smart response with the federal, sate and local law enforcement that resulted in preventing someone with what looks like clear criminal intent to do harm, to do harm with a weapon of mass destruction. I think the partnership worked really well”

Read it All!

South Korea and US in Joint Military Exercises Now

It’s on! US and South Korea began joint military exercises. AP via Yahoo News:

The sound of new artillery fire from North Korea just hours after the U.S. and South Korea launched a round of war games in Korean waters sent residents and journalists on a front-line island scrambling for cover Sunday.

None of the rounds landed on Yeonpyeong Island, military officials said, but South Korea’s Defense Ministry later warned journalists to leave the island. The incident showed how tense the situation remains along the Koreas’ disputed maritime border five days after a North Korean artillery attack decimated parts of the island and killed four South Koreans.

As the rhetoric from North Korea escalated, with new warnings of a “merciless” assault if further provoked, a top Chinese official made a last-minute visit to Seoul to confer with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Washington and Seoul have urged China, North Korea’s main ally and benefactor, to help defuse the situation amid fears of all-out war. Beijing has called for restraint on all sides.

Lee pressed State Councilor Dai Bingguo, a senior foreign policy adviser, to contribute to peace in a “more objective, responsible” matter, and warned that Seoul would respond “strongly” to any further provocation, his office said in a statement.

Dai forwarded Beijing’s condolences and pledged China’s help in preventing tensions from worsening, Lee’s office said.

Shoppers Gone Wild on Black Friday

After-Thanksgiving sales drew crowds to stores and malls across the country on Friday. All was not well. Drudge Report has a rundown. Here’s a Sample:

A California Mall on lockdown after fight.

A Marine Stabbed at Georgia Best Buy.

A Pair of Stampedes one in Buffalo, NY and another in Green Bay,WI .

Read everything!

North Korea Warning War is Coming

Days After North Korea attacked Yeonpeyong Island, South Korea. The North is threatening war. From: AP via My Way News:

North Korea warned Friday that U.S.-South Korean plans for military maneuvers put the peninsula on the brink of war, and appeared to launch its own artillery drills within sight of an island it showered with a deadly barrage this week.

The fresh artillery blasts were especially defiant because they came as the U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured the South Korean island to survey damage from Tuesday’s hail of North Korean artillery fire that killed four people.

None of the latest rounds hit the South’s territory, and U.S. military officials said Sharp did not even hear the concussions, though residents on other parts of the island panicked and ran back to the air raid shelters where they huddled earlier in the week as white smoke rose from North Korean territory.

Tensions have soared between the Koreas since the North’s strike Tuesday destroyed large parts of this island, killing two civilians as well as two marines in a major escalation of their sporadic skirmishes along the sea border.

Read It all.

Russia and China Move Away From Dollar

This can’t be good.This week  The Russian Federation and The People’s Republic of China signed an agreement to trade in Rubles and Yuans  instead of US dollars the preferred currency of world trade. From China Daily:

China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.”About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

So Much for the dollar. Thanks G.W. Bush, Ben Bernanke and Pres. Obama. Thanks a whole hellva lot!

Read Everything