cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16

11.18.2009

corruption is global

1. afghanistan runs on well-oiled wheels

KABUL - Every morning, dozens of trucks laden with diesel from Turkmenistan lumber out of the northern Afghan border town of Hairaton on a two-day trek across the Hindu Kush down to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Among the dozens of businesses dispatching these trucks are two extremely well connected companies - Ghazanfar and Zahid Walid - that helped to swell the election coffers of President Hamid Karzai as well as the family business of his running mate, the country's new vice president - and warlord - Mohammed Qasim Fahim.

...Afghan political analysts observe that Ghazanfar and Zahid Walid are striking examples of the multimillion-dollar business conglomerates, financed by American as well as Afghan tax dollars and connected to powerful political figures, which have, since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, emerged as part of a pervasive culture of corruption here.

read more @ asia times



2. US army 'dramatically' under-reporting suicides


By Dahr Jamail - ANCHORAGE, Alaska

According to a soldiers' advocacy group at Fort Hood, the US base where an army psychiatrist has been charged with killing 13 people and wounding 30 in a Nov. 5 rampage, the official suicide figures provided by the Army are "definitely" too low.

Chuck Luther served 12 years in the military and is a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, where he was a reconnaissance scout in the 1st Cavalry Division. The former sergeant was based at Fort Hood, where he lives today.

"I see the ugly," Luther told IPS. "I see soldiers beating their wives and trying to kill themselves all the time, and most folks don't want to look at this, including the military."

..."I definitely believe there are more than these. If this is what they've hidden from us that we know of, we can rest assured there are many, many more than this. We filed a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] to get information from them [Army], but they bog you down in red tape," he said.

read more @ middle east online


3. Scientology faces allegations of torture in Australia

The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has said he would consider an inquiry into the Church of Scientology after a senator tabled allegations against the organisation including forced abortions, assault, torture, imprisonment, covering up sexual abuse, embezzlement of church funds and blackmail.

Senator Nick Xenophon tabled letters from former officials and staff of the Church of Scientology alleging criminal activity, and demanded a review of the organisation's tax exempt status.

"Scientology is not a religious organisation, it is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs," he told the senate.

Among the letters tabled was one written by Aaron Saxton, from Perth, who said he engaged in torture and blackmail while working for the church in Australia and at its American headquarters between 1989 and 1996.


read more @ guardian


4. German spy on trial for passing secrets to gay lover

Officially, the details are sketchy, but according to the German media, the tale began when former soldier Anton Robert K., now 42, was posted to Kosovo in 2005, supposedly to work for the German Foreign Ministry. In reality, however, the real job of K., whose full name has not been released, was to set up a network of informants on behalf of the German BND intelligence service, reports say.

In doing so, he recruited a Macedonian man who said he grew up in Germany, Murat A., now 29, to be an interpreter and translator, an appointment approved by BND headquarters after background security checks. The working relationship continued for two years, and in 2007 K.'s job was extended for two years, but he failed to mention to his superiors the nature of their personal relationship: they had became lovers and had moved in together.

The first that the BND heard of this was when K.'s wife, whom he had left behind in Germany with their children, revealed he had changed his life insurance policy, replacing her name with his interpreter's as the beneficiary.

...According to a statement from federal prosecutors in August, K. divulged classified information to his interpreter. Der Spiegel magazine reported that this included information obtained by British agents, and that K. revealed it "in the bedroom" or by allowing his lover access to his laptop computer. The latter "then intended to pass this information on either to people in the area of organised crime in Macedonia or to foreign intelligence agencies," federal prosecutors said.

...It now claims that he has links to organised crime, and since the affair broke, the BND has reportedly been forced to sever contacts with at least 19 information sources in the Balkans.

read more @ the local



5. T-Mobile confirms biggest phone customer data breach

Personal details of thousands of mobile phone customers have been stolen and sold to rival firms in the biggest data breach of its kind, the government's privacy watchdog said today.

An employee of phone operator T-Mobile sold the customer records, including details of when contracts expired. The millions of items of information were sold on for "substantial sums", the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said. Rival networks and mobile phone retailers then tried to lure away T-Mobile customers by "cold calling".

...The employee allegedly sold the account information to a number of "brokers", who sold the data on. "The number of records involved runs into the millions, and it appears that substantial amounts of money changed hands," the ICO said. It had raided a number of premises and was preparing a prosecution file.

read more @ guardian


6. fraud scam sparks growing recall of German credit cards

According to Wednesday’s edition of the Financial Times Deutschland, the Volksbank and Raiffeisenbank have decided to take more than 60,000 Visa and Mastercards out of circulation.

That brings the total number of credit cards recalled in Germany in recent weeks to more than 100,000. In October, retailer KarstadtQuelle replaced more than 15,000 customer credit cards while the German subsidiary of Barclay’s also recalled thousands. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank also froze hundreds of credit cards as a precautionary matter.

...The problems all stem from a payment processing centre in Spain. Credit companies Visa and Mastercard warned banks about four weeks ago when inconsistencies appeared on monthly statements.

A Mastercard spokesman on Monday said there was good reason to suspect it was systematic fraud within the company in Spain rather than individual cases of “skimming,” where fraudsters use sophisticated card readers to collect credit card details from cash machines.

read more @ the local

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