German intel head threatens whistleblower site

The BND is just a subunit of the CIA.

Der Präsident des Bundesnachrichtendienstes (BND), Ernst Uhrlau

In the latest twist in a scandal involving the presence of the German intelligence service or Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) in the Balkan nation of Kosovo, the head of the BND has ordered whistleblower website Wikileaks to remove all BND-related files under threat of “immediate prosecution.”

Wikileaks has responded with a press release noting that the demands have no legal force outside Germany, so the order “must be assumed to be an attempt to engage Wikileaks via its German component — or does Mr. Uhrlau suggest it is now BND policy to kidnap foreign journalists and try them before German courts?”

According to Wikileaks, “The threats, made by BND President Ernst Uhrlau, were triggered by the Wikileaks publication of an article by Tom Burghardt, a US journalist, on the BND’s bungled Kosovo operation, together with a classified BND dossier on senior Kosovo figures from 2005 — both of which were specifically named by Mr. Uhrlau.”

The Kosovo scandal began on November 19, when three Germans were arrested in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina on suspicion of throwing explosives at the European Union office. The men, who said they were not behind the incident but were merely observing the crime scene, were identied by the German paper Spiegel as BND agents.

Read moreGerman intel head threatens whistleblower site

Where’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret

Where’d the bailout money go? $350 billion later, banks won’t say how they’re spending it.

Elizabeth Warren, who chairs an oversight committee set up by Congress to oversee the bailout, is interviewed by the Associated Press in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where’s the money going?

But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.

“We’ve lent some of it. We’ve not lent some of it. We’ve not given any accounting of, ‘Here’s how we’re doing it,'” said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. “We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to.”

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what’s the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

Read moreWhere’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret

Japan asked US to prepare for nuclear strike on China

The Japanese prime minister awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 for his opposition to atomic weapons secretly pleaded with Washington to use nuclear missiles against China in the event of a conflict breaking out in the region, it has emerged.

Documents declassified by the government in Japan have disclosed that Prime Minister Eisaku Sato asked the US to retaliate immediately with nuclear weapons in the event of war. Mr Sato made the plea during talks with then US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara in Washington in January 1965.

China had conducted a successful atomic weapons test three months previously and there was concern in Tokyo that a relatively minor incident in the region might lead to a full-scale military exchange between two nations that still harboured hostility dating back to World War II.

Mr Sato was prime minister from 1964 to 1972, making him Japan’s longest-serving leader, and is best remembered for his opposition to nuclear weapons in a country that still bore the scars of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Read moreJapan asked US to prepare for nuclear strike on China

Barack Obama aide demanded Senate seat for President-elect’s friend

Barack Obama’s chief of staff pushed the Governor of Illinois to appoint one of the President-elect’s closest friends to his vacant Senate seat, it has emerged.

Rahm Emanuel had conversations about the Senate seat with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich
Rahm Emanuel had conversations about the Senate seat with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich Photo: AP

The leaked details of an internal transition team review of contacts with Gov Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of – but denies – trying to “sell” the seat, will open Mr Obama up to accusations of hypocrisy and cronyism because he had indicated he would not intervene in filling the vacancy.

Read moreBarack Obama aide demanded Senate seat for President-elect’s friend

Obama team plans biggest boost in history to save American economy

Another $700bn that have to be financed and paid back.  So in a way that package is only a promise of a tax increase in the future. Obama is really giving you a ‘credit’ that you and/or your children have to pay back in the future.

Jim Rogers: If Obamanomics happens it’s all over

  • $700bn rescue package to avert mass job losses
  • Green power grid among proposed programmes

Barack Obama’s administration in waiting signalled yesterday that it was preparing the biggest economic stimulus in US history to avert mass unemployment in a stuttering economy that could face the toughest recession in half a century.

In a programme tinged with environmentally friendly initiatives, the US president-elect has set a new target of creating or safeguarding 3m jobs, up from a previous aim of 2.5m, by unleashing an avalanche of government spending and offering widespread tax rebates.

The Obama camp indicated that the package would be worth between $675bn and $775bn, easily eclipsing other packages unveiled in China, Japan and Britain. The cash will include programmes to transmit wind and solar energy across America and to put millions of medical records into digital format.

Obama’s vice-president elect, Joe Biden, yesterday said the stimulus was the “single most important thing” facing the new administration and warned that action was needed to prevent the economy from “absolutely tanking”.

“The economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in,” Biden told ABC television. “We’ve got to begin to stem this bleeding, stop the loss of jobs and create new jobs.”

Read moreObama team plans biggest boost in history to save American economy

Up to 30,000 new US troops in Afghanistan by mid-2009: Mullen

Admiral Mike Mullen — the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff

KABUL (AFP) – The United States plans to send between 20,000 and 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan by next summer, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said here Saturday.

General David McKiernan, the US commander in Afghanistan, has asked for more than 20,000 extra US soldiers to counter a rise in insurgent violence, seven years after US forces first invaded the country to oust the Taliban from power.

But the potential deployment of 30,000 extra troops discussed by Mullen — the highest-ranking US military officer — would nearly double the US military presence in Afghanistan, which currently stands at 31,000.

Read moreUp to 30,000 new US troops in Afghanistan by mid-2009: Mullen

IMF’s warning to Britain: Bailouts will need to double to prevent economic collapse

With such people in top positions around the world … prepare for the worst.
Thanks to their debt and inflation creating policies they have assured that “The whole society is going to suffer.” (IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn).
They are creating the worst depression ever.

‘The whole society is going to suffer,’ warns IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Billions more will have to be pumped into the economy to avoid it spiralling into an even ‘darker’ recession, the head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Britain and other leading economies will need to double their economic bailout packages during 2009, which is shaping up to be a ‘really bad year’, according to Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

‘I’m specially concerned by the fact that our forecast, already very dark . . . will be even darker if not enough fiscal stimulus is implemented,’ Mr Strauss-Kahn told BBC Radio 4.

The IMF, which oversees the world’s economic system, is urging governments around the world to splurge a staggering £80trillion in a co-ordinated war against recession.

That would represent around 2 per cent of global annual economic output.

But Chancellor Alistair Darling’s stimulus package accounts for just 1 per cent of Britain’s national income.

Read moreIMF’s warning to Britain: Bailouts will need to double to prevent economic collapse

Bailiffs get power to use force on debtors

The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.

Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog. However, the laws are being criticised as the latest erosion of the rights of the householder in his own home.

“These laws strip away tried and tested protections that make a person’s home his castle, and which have stood for centuries,” said Paul Nicolson, chairman of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, a London-based welfare charity. “They could clearly lead to violent confrontations and undermine fundamental liberties.”

Read moreBailiffs get power to use force on debtors

Irish banks are saved in €7bn bailout

THE Irish government is in talks to bail out its three biggest banks, in a move that would see it take a stake of up to 80% in Anglo Irish Bank, which was last week rocked by a scandal over secret loans to its former chairman.

A total of up to €7 billion (£6.5 billion) will be injected into the three biggest banks, most of it through the government buying new preference shares in the institutions.

Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank, the country’s two largest banks, will get €2 billion each from the government, with shareholders able to invest another €1 billion in each. Anglo will receive €1 billion from the state.

Shareholders in Anglo have already been hard hit. The bank’s shares have lost 98% of their value in the past year, falling sharply last week with revelations that the chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, had failed to disclose €87m of loans he had received from the bank.

Read moreIrish banks are saved in €7bn bailout

Hedge funds gain access to $200bn Fed aid

The Fed is destroying the dollar and the economy. This mess will be far worse than the Great Depression.

The Neo-Alchemy of the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul
Ron Paul: “We are in the midst of nationalization”

Jim Rogers: If Obamanomics happens it’s all over
Jim Rogers: “America is out of control”
Jim Rogers: The Larger US Banks Are Bankrupt, Totally Bankrupt
Interview with Peter Schiff (12/13/08)
Interview: Peter Schiff still grim on future
Peter Schiff Was Right 2006 – 2007 (2nd Edition)
Peter Schiff: Low Rates, Big Problems
Peter Schiff: The Economic Crisis Is Only Just Beginning (Nov. 24, 2008)
Federal Reserve Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion

Hedge funds will be allowed to borrow from the Federal Reserve for the first time under a landmark $200bn programme intended to support consumer credit.

The Fed said on Friday it would offer low-cost three-year funding to any US company investing in securitised consumer loans under the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).

This includes hedge funds, which have never been able to borrow from the US central bank before, although the Fed may not permit hedge funds to use offshore vehicles to conduct the transactions.

The asset-backed securities to be funded under the programme are pools of credit card receivables, automobile loans and student loans.

The idea is to increase the supply of these loans and reduce borrowing rates by ensuring that the companies that make the loans can sell them on to investors who have guaranteed access to low-cost funding from the Fed.

The TALF is a key plank of the unorthodox strategy set out by the Fed last week as it cut interest rates virtually to zero. Washington insiders expect the programme will be dramatically expanded next year with further capital support from Treasury once the Obama administration takes office.

A senior official in the outgoing Bush administration told the Financial Times it could also be broadened to include new commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities.

Read moreHedge funds gain access to $200bn Fed aid