Thailand: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Declares Martial Law to Control Protests

April 7 (Bloomberg) — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared martial law in the capital after protesters stormed parliament, testing the army’s willingness to break up four weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations.

About 3,000 people entered the gates of Parliament for about two hours and thousands more occupied Bangkok’s commercial district for a fifth day. The emergency decree bans gatherings of more than five people, allows detention without charge and gives soldiers immunity from prosecution.

“The law doesn’t mean we aim to crack down or hurt people, especially innocent people,” Abhisit said in a televised address. “The nation has been severely affected by the protests and the government needs to rectify the situation.”

The protesters, many loyal to exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, grew in confidence after police and soldiers abandoned attempts to disperse them yesterday. Army Chief Anupong Paojinda enforced orders from Abhisit a year ago to break up rallies by the same group that turned violent, something he may be reluctant to do this time.

“Declaring martial law may backfire on Abhisit,” said Michael Nelson, a lecturer at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “If Anupong sees this as a political problem, an emergency decree may not prompt the military into action.”

Abhisit, who has been living in an army barracks, said protesters have breached the constitution and he declared the demonstration illegal. The law would also prevent misinformation and help stop sporadic grenade attacks that have hit the capital over the past month, he said.

Read moreThailand: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Declares Martial Law to Control Protests

Latest Gold Fraud Bombshell: Canada’s Only Bullion Bank Gold Vault Is Practically Empty

Gold bars
Got gold?

Continuing on the trail of exposing what is rapidly becoming one of the largest frauds in commodity markets history is the most recent interview by Eric King with GATA’s Adrian Douglas, Harvey Orgen (who recently testified before the CFTC hearing) and his son, Lenny, in which the two discuss their visit to the only bullion bank vault in Canada, that of ScotiaMocatta, located at 40 King Street West in Toronto, and find the vault is practically empty.

This is a relevant segue to a class action lawsuit filed against Morgan Stanley, which was settled out of court, in which it was alleged that Morgan Stanley told clients it was selling them precious metals that they would own in full and that the company would store, yet even despite charging storage fees was not in actual possession of the bullion.

It appears that this kind of lack of physical holdings by all who claim to have gold in storage, is pervasive as the actual gold globally is held primarily in paper or electronic form. Lenny Organ who was the person to enter the vault of ScotiaMocatta, says “What shocked me was how little gold and silver they actually had.”

Lenny describes exactly how much (or little as the case may be) silver was available – roughly 60,000 ounces. As for gold – 210 400 oz bars, 4,000 maples, 500 eagles, 10 kilo bars, 10 one kilogram pieces of gold nugget form, which Adrian Douglas calculates as being $100 million worth, which is just one tenth of what the Royal Mint of Canada sold in 2008, or over $1 billion worth of gold.

As Orgen concludes: “The game ends when the people who own all these paper obligations say enough and take physical delivery, and that’s when the mess will occur.”

Read moreLatest Gold Fraud Bombshell: Canada’s Only Bullion Bank Gold Vault Is Practically Empty

Los Angeles controller warns that city general fund ‘will be out of money’ by May 5

la-controller-wendy-greuel

Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel on Monday said she expects the city’s general fund “will be out of money” by May 5 and that L.A. will likely deplete its reserve funds and be in the red by June 30.

Greuel alerted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council of the city’s dire financial situation after the head of the Department of Water and Power stated he would oppose sending $73.5 million in utility revenue to the city treasury. Interim General Manager S. David Freeman said the council’s vote to block a proposed electricity rate hike last week threatens to put the utility in a deficit.

Greuel urged the council and mayor to immediately tap the city’s reserve funds so that city has enough cash to cover payroll.

“This is the most urgent fiscal crisis that the city has faced in recent history, and it is imperative that you act now. That is why I am asking you to immediately transfer $90 million from the city’s reserve fund to the general fund so I can continue to pay the city’s bills, and to ensure the fiscal solvency of the city,” Greuel said.

Councilman Greig Smith said the decision by the DWP had put the city in a “very risky” situation.
“Our reserve fund was already very marginal to begin with.  This could push it over the edge,” Smith said. “That would mean we would have nothing in the tank on June 30,” at the end of the fiscal year.

Smith said he could not envision a scenario in which the city could recoup that much money before July 1. Even additional layoffs could not be processed that quickly.
“The question is what are we going to do next? That I don’t know,” Smith said.

Read moreLos Angeles controller warns that city general fund ‘will be out of money’ by May 5

Greece Credit Default Swaps Trade Higher Than Iceland’s for First Time

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April 7 (Bloomberg) — Credit-default swaps linked to Greece sovereign debt rose higher than those tied to Iceland for the first time, helping propel a benchmark indicator of U.S. corporate credit risk to its biggest jump in two weeks.

The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index Series 14 rose 2.4 basis points to a mid-price of 86.4 basis points as of 2:14 p.m. in New York, according to Markit Group Ltd. The index typically increases as investor confidence deteriorates and falls as it improves.

Swaps tied to Greece rose to 415 basis points today while those on Iceland traded at about 400 basis points, according to Markit data. The North American Markit index climbed the most since March 22 amid investor concern that contagion from a Greece default could spread to other assets, said Gavan Nolan, an analyst at Markit Group in London.

“The whole EU response to Greece has been quite fragmented,” Nolan said in a telephone interview.

Greece may default on its debt as early as this year without “extraordinary” financial assistance from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, said Stephen Jen at BlueGold Capital Management LLP.

The challenges facing Greece are similar to those that confronted Argentina, which defaulted on $95 billion of debt in 2001, said Jen, managing director at the hedge fund, in an interview today in London. Greece’s austerity measures to narrow the European Union’s biggest budget deficit by gross domestic product may drive the Mediterranean nation into a recession, he said.

“A default may be ultimately unavoidable,” he said.

Read moreGreece Credit Default Swaps Trade Higher Than Iceland’s for First Time

President Gerald Ford Approved Warrantless Domestic Surveillance

president-gerald-ford-approved-warrantless-domestic-surveillance

While the country was embroiled in a national debate over excessive government surveillance in 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance, according to a classified memo recently obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The memo, signed Dec. 19, 1974, was issued just one month before the Senate established an 11-member panel, known as the Church Committee, to investigate government surveillance programs. The Church Committee would ultimately uncover other unconstitutional spying activities, such as that conducted by the National Security Agency under the rubric of Operation Shamrock. Two days after the memo was signed, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, writing in The New York Times, disclosed a covert government spying program that focused on monitoring political activists in the U.S.

Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation in the wake of the Watergate spying scandal, and he later supported passage of the pro-privacy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which placed restrictions on wiretapping and required law enforcement to obtain permission from a special court to conduct domestic intelligence surveillance.

But according to the recently released top-secret memo, just two years earlier, Ford had secretly authorized Attorney General William B. Saxbe “to approve, without prior judicial warrants, specific electronic surveillance within the United States which may be requested by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Read morePresident Gerald Ford Approved Warrantless Domestic Surveillance

US: More Than 200,000 Could Lose Unemployment Benefits This Week

Thanks to congressional inaction, more than 200,000 laid-off workers could lose access to unemployment benefits this week, and no flood insurance policies will be renewed or issued until Congress returns on April 12 — despite record long-term joblessness and record rainfall.

Congress failed to pass an extension of several programs expiring today, including Emergency Unemployment Compensation, the National Flood Insurance Program, and a 65 percent subsidy of COBRA health benefits before adjourning for a two-week Easter break on March 25.

It’s a game of political chicken: Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are each gambling that the other side will look worse for the lapse. Senate Republicans blocked the Democrats’ $9 billion proposal to extend the programs on an emergency basis (without a funding offset); Democrats rejected a Republican proposal to pay for the programs by raiding stimulus bill funds. Party leadership in the Senate had apparently negotiated a one-week stopgap extension with a funding offset, which Senate Republicans said House Democrats rejected.

Read moreUS: More Than 200,000 Could Lose Unemployment Benefits This Week

WikiLeaks Release: Classified US Military Video Depicts The Indiscriminate Slaying of Over a Dozen People in Iraq – Incl. Two Reuters News Staff

Collateral Murder

Overview

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.

Read moreWikiLeaks Release: Classified US Military Video Depicts The Indiscriminate Slaying of Over a Dozen People in Iraq – Incl. Two Reuters News Staff

US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened

US special forces ‘tried to cover-up’ botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan

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Relatives at the graves of five people killed, including three women, during the night raid

US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened, Afghan investigators have told The Times.

Two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a police officer and his brother were shot on February 12 when US and Afghan special forces stormed their home in Khataba village, outside Gardez in eastern Afghanistan. The precise composition of the force has never been made public.

The claims were made as Nato admitted responsibility for all the deaths for the first time last night. It had initially claimed that the women had been dead for several hours when the assault force discovered their bodies.

“Despite earlier reports we have determined that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Breasseale, a Nato spokesman. The coalition continued to deny that there had been a cover-up and said that its legal investigation, which is ongoing, had found no evidence of inappropriate conduct.

The Kabul headquarters of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato forces, claimed originally that the women had been “tied up, gagged and killed”.

A senior Afghan official involved in a government investigation told The Times: “I think the special forces lied to McChrystal.”

“Why did the special forces collect their bullets from the area?” the official said. “They washed the area of the injuries with alcohol and brought out the bullets from the dead bodies. The bodies showed there were big holes.”

The official, who asked not to be named until the results of the investigation have been made public, said that the assault force sealed off the compound from 4am, when the raid started, to 11am, when Afghan officials from Gardez were finally allowed access to the house.

At least 11 bullets were fired during the raid, the investigator said, and the shooting was carried out by two American gunmen positioned on the roof of the compound. Only seven bullets were recovered from the scene.

“I asked McChrystal, ‘why did the Americans clean some of the bullets from the area?’ They don’t have the right to do that,” the official said.

Read moreUS special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened

Pope John Paul II Blocked Inquiry of Paedophile Cardinal Friend Who Abused 2,000 boys

John Paul ‘ignored abuse of 2,000 boys’

Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer
Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer abused an estimated 2,000 boys for decades without sanction

When John Paul II died five years ago the crowd that packed St Peter’s Square for his funeral clamoured “Santo subito (Saint now)!” in a spontaneous tribute to the charisma of the Polish pontiff.

As the faithful marked the anniversary of John Paul’s death on Good Friday, however, he was being drawn into the scandal over child abuse in the Catholic church that has confronted his successor, Benedict XVI, with the worst crisis of his reign.

Allegations that the late pontiff blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s who abused an estimated 2,000 boys over decades but never faced any sanction from Rome.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Groer’s successor, criticised the handling of that scandal and other abuse cases last week after holding a special service in St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna, entitled “Admitting our guilt”.

Schönborn condemned the “sinful structures” within the church and the patterns of “silencing” victims and “looking away”.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – who became Pope Benedict – had tried to investigate the abuses as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to Schönborn. But his efforts had been blocked by “the Vatican”, an apparent reference to John Paul.

Read morePope John Paul II Blocked Inquiry of Paedophile Cardinal Friend Who Abused 2,000 boys

Michelle Obama Says Barack’s Home Country Is Kenya – Full Statement

Not surprisingly YouTube has removed the video.

I’ve found a replacement.



Her statement is that she and Barack Hussein Obama tested for HIV, when they took their trip to Kenya and visited his ‘HOME’ country.

How is it possible to be born in Hawaii and have Kenya as his ‘HOME’ country?


YouTube Added: April 3, 2010