It is going from bad to worse for the Iraqi government, whose armed forces according to at least one unconfirmed media report, have suffered major losses.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The number of SWAT team raids in the United States every year is now more than 25 times higher than it was back in 1980.
As America has conducted wars overseas in recent years, our police forces have become increasingly militarized as well. And without a doubt, many of our cities have become much more dangerous places. Thanks torelentless illegal immigration, drug cartels are thriving and there are now at least 1.4 million gang members living in the United States. But there are many that believe that the militarization of our police forces has gone way too far. Almost weekly, SWAT team brutality somewhere in America makes national headlines. You are about to read about a couple of horrific examples of this below. Once upon a time, police in America were helpful and friendly and the public generally trusted them. But now our police forces are being transformed into military-style units that often act like they are in the middle of Iraq or Afghanistan. The following are 10 facts about the SWATification of America that everyone should know…
#1 In 1980, there were approximately 3,000 SWAT raids in the United States. Now, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country.
#2 79 percent of the time, SWAT teams are deployed to private homes.
#3 50 percent of the victims of SWAT raids are either black or Latino.
#4 In 65 percent of SWAT deployments, “a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device” is used to gain forced entry to a home.
#5 62 percent of all SWAT raids involve a search for drugs.
#6 In at least 36 percent of all SWAT raids, “no contraband of any kind” is found by the police.
#7 In cases where it is suspected that there is a weapon in the home, police only find a weapon 35 percent of the time.
#8 More than 100 American families have their homes raided by SWAT teamsevery single day.
#9 Only 7 percent of all SWAT deployments are for “hostage, barricade or active-shooter scenarios”.
#10 Even small towns are getting SWAT teams now. 30 years ago, only 25.6 percent of communities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team. Now, that number has increased to 80 percent.
And thanks to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, police forces all over the nation are being showered with billions of dollars of military equipment that is coming home from overseas. The following is what a recent Time Magazine articlehad to say about this phenomenon…
As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have wound down, police departments have been obtaining military equipment, vehicles and uniforms that have flowed directly from the Department of Defense. According to a new report by the ACLU, the federal government has funneled $4.3 billion of military property to law enforcement agencies since the late 1990s, including $450 million worth in 2013. Five hundred law enforcement agencies have received Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, built to withstand bomb blasts. More than 15,000 items of military protective equipment and “battle dress uniforms,” or fatigues worn by the U.S. Army, have been transferred. The report includes details of police agencies in towns like North Little Rock, Ark., (pop: 62,000), which has 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, a Mamba tactical vehicle and two MARCbots, which are armed robots designed for use in Afghanistan.
But when you start arming the police like military units and your start training them like military units, eventually they start acting like military units and the results are often quite frightening.
For example, just check out what happened when a SWAT team in Florida raided the home of one young couple earlier this month…
At approximately 6:16 am on June 10th, 2014, Kari Edwards and her live-in boyfriend were seized upon by a SWAT team who smashed in the door and using flashbangs and armed to the teeth, swarmed upon the couple and even stripped Ms. Edwards naked in the process.
The couple says that the group entailed personnel from DHS, for whom Edwards once worked. After smashing in the door, the tactical team threw in flashbang grenades, traumatizing their cat and swarmed upon Edwards’s boyfriend and Edwards who had just gotten out of the shower.
“They busted in like I was a terrorist or something,” Edwards said.
“[An officer] demanded that I drop the towel I was covering my naked body with before snatching it off me physically and throwing me to the ground.”
“While I lay naked, I was cuffed so tightly I could not feel my hands. For no reason, at gunpoint,” Edwards said. “[Agents] refused to cover me, no matter how many times I asked.”
That is the kind of thing that I would expect to happen in Nazi Germany, not the United States of America.
But this next example is even more horrifying. The following is what one mother says happened to her 2-year-old son when a SWAT team raided her home…
After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib.
Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.
There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.
My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.
I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth.
Does that make you angry?
That young child is probably going to be disfigured for the rest of his life because of the brutality and the carelessness of that SWAT team.
Yes, we live in perilous times and many of our communities would rapidly descend into anarchy if there were no police.
But that does not mean that they have to act like Nazis. They should be able to protect us while treating us with dignity and respect at the same time.
So what do you think?
Credit to Infowars.com
As the probe into alleged fraud at Qingdao continues to escalate (with liquidity needs growing more and more evident as Chinese money-market rates surge), Bloomberg reports that China’s chief auditor discovered 94.4 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) of loans backed by falsified gold transactions, in "the first official confirmation of what many people have suspected for a long time - that gold is widely used in Chinese commodity financing deals." As much as 1,000 tons of gold may have been used in lending and leasing deals in China and Goldman reports thatup to $80 billion false-loans may involve gold. As one analyst noted, this was unlikely to have a significant impact on the underlying demand for gold in China and as we have pointed out before, any unwind of the Gold CFDs would lead to buying back of 'paper' gold hedges and implicitly a rise in prices.
China’s chief auditor discovered 94.4 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) of loans backed by falsified gold transactions, adding to signs of possible fraud in commodities financing deals.As much as 1,000 tons of gold may have been used in lending and leasing deals in China, where commodities including metals and agricultural products are used to get credit amid lending restrictions, according to World Gold Council estimates.Of the as much as $160 billion in transactions projected by Goldman, $80 billion may involve gold, $46 billion copper, $13.8 billion iron ore and $10.3 billion soybeans, according to a March 18 report.Steps by the Chinese government to rein in credit by raising borrowing costs in recent years created a surge in commodities financing deals that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates to be worth as much as $160 billion.The Chinese agency that stockpiles strategic commodities is checking to ensure its copper purchases are free of collateral risks while the customs authorities issued new rules to help prevent goods being pledged multiple times as collateral, people with direct knowledge of these matters said previously.
How the deals worked...
In some commodities financing transactions, owners of raw materials sitting in ports use receipts from warehousing companies to get credit from banks, which they put to work in high-yielding investments before repaying the debt.Other deals involve a Chinese buyer placing orders for commodities with overseas companies and then applying for a letter of credit from a lender, which they use to import the materials. The buyer can then sell the consignment in the domestic market and use the money onshore at a higher interest rate before repaying the original loan.
But the flow is expected to continue...
“This is the first official confirmation of what many people have suspected for a long time -- that gold is widely used in Chinese commodity financing deals,” said Liu Xu, a senior analyst at Capital Futures Co. in Beijing....Mark To, head of research at Wing Fung Financial Group in Hong Kong, said the audit office’s report was unlikely to have a significant impact on the underlying demand for gold in China....The global flow of bullion from west to east that’s helped to make China the world’s largest user will probably last for as long as two decades as rising incomes spur demand, according to the China Gold Association.
* * *
As we commented previously:
When we previously contemplated what the end of funding deals (which the PBOC and the China Politburo seems rather set on) may mean for the price of other commodities, we agreed with Goldman that it would be certainly negative. And yet in the case of gold, it just may be that even if China were to dump its physical to some willing 3rd party buyer, its inevitable cover of futures "hedges", i.e. buying gold in the paper market, may not only offset the physical selling, but send the price of gold back to levels seen at the end of 2012 when gold CCFDs really took off in earnest.In other words, from a purely mechanistical standpoint, the unwind of China's shadow banking system, while negative for all non-precious metals-based commodities, may be just the gift that all those patient gold (and silver) investors have been waiting for. This of course, excludes the impact of what the bursting of the Chinese credit bubble would do to faith in the globalized, debt-driven status quo. Add that into the picture, and into the future demand for gold, and suddenly things get really exciting.
Here's our previous epxlanation of gold's move... if we are right that somehow China managed to push gold lower via gold CFDs, then the unwind pushes gold higher:
Here's how that might work:
In the gold markets, the paper or synthetic 'demand/supply' dominates pricing as opposed to the non-precious metals which have at least a grain of fundamental sense to them stillThroughout 2012/2013 - as the gold CFDs were booming, Chinese demand for physical gold was soaring as the price plunged (due to the forward hedging required in the CFD transactions which pressured gold swaps/futures lower and thus dominated pricing)As CFD unwinds hit en masse, these flows must unwind (cover hedges and ensure the underlying physical is there... and if not buy it)This will pressure gold futures prices higher and because unlike in non-precious commodities where spot markets wag the tail of the futures markets - spot gold will likely be dragged higher also (as we know the demand for the physical has been high).
So unlike in the industrial commodities - where the CCFD unwind drives prices down as the image above shows, thanks to synthetic manipulation and domination of the paper gold (and silver) market, the opposite occurs in PMs.
Credit to Zero Hedge
Justified forcing a Christian science teacher to remove personal Bible-themed materials from her classroom.
Maybe this image is good for the judge......
A New York federal district judge ruled on Tuesday that a public school was justified in forcing a Christian science teacher to remove personal Bible-themed materials from her classroom.
As previously reported, Joelle Silver works as a high school teacher for the Cheektowaga Central School District near Buffalo. Silver, a Christian, displayed several inspirational posters and artworks in her classroom, including a number of Bible verse references and Christian materials.
One poster in Silver’s classroom included a quote from former President Ronald Reagan:
“Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience,” the quote said. “… Without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure … If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”
Other religious materials in the classroom included a drawing of three crosses on a hill, four small posters featuring verses from Psalms, and several sticky notes with biblical citations stuck on Silver’s desk.
In 2012, representatives with the Freedom From Religion Foundation learned of Silver’s Christian materials and swiftly complained to school district officials. Soon afterward, Silver received a warning letter from the school superintendent advising her to cleanse her classroom of the Christian materials.
“I … want to caution you that your Constitutional Rights, including those you enjoy under the First Amendment, are not without their limitations,” the superintendent warned in the letter.
“It is my conclusion that you are using your publicly funded classroom to express your personal religious beliefs to your students,” he wrote, “including but not limited to your apparent belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible as the word of God.”
The superintendent ordered Silver to remove all of her religious materials or else face the termination of her job at the school.
“If you need to be able to occasionally glance at inspirational Bible verses between classes during the course of the day, I suggest that you keep such material in a discreet folder that only you will have access to,” the superintendent instructed. “You may keep such a folder in a drawer of your desk, so long as you take precautions not to share it or disclose its contents to your students or their parents or guardians.”
After receiving the threatening letter, Silver decided to challenge the school in court, alleging that the superintendent’s orders were a violation of her religious freedoms. With help from the American Freedom Law Center, Silver filed a lawsuit which argued that the Bible “guides her actions, including her actions as a public school teacher.”
“I believe that my First Amendment rights were violated last June when I was asked to do some things regarding taking some posters down and to censor my speech in the classroom,” Silver told reporters. “As a Christian and as an American I feel it’s incredibly important to fight to protect the rights that people have died to give them.”
The lawsuit also pointed out that the same school district freely allowed a social worker at the school to display a variety of “gay rights” materials both inside and outside her office, including materials from the Human Rights Campaign—a pro-homosexual, anti-Christian organization. Unlike Silver’s situation, the school district did not reprimand the social worker for displaying the materials.
“[The school district’s] restrictions have had a chilling effect on [Silver’s] personal, noncurricular speech,” the lawsuit contends. “As a result of [the] restrictions, [Silver] is unable to discuss her faith or discuss other subject matter from her Christian point of view while on School District property. Indeed, as a result of [the school’s] draconian restrictions, [Silver] must keep her faith hidden at all times.”
Two years after the Cheektowaga Central School District initially commanded Silver to remove the Christian materials from her classroom, a district judge ruled this week largely in the school district’s favor, arguing that the display of Christian materials was inappropriate. In a 42-page opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the school district did “not infringe any liberties” by ordering Silver to remove her materials.
Robert Muise, co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center, said in a press release that the Tuesday court ruling is “dripping with hostility to religion.”
“To assert that the School District was justified in ordering Ms. Silver to remove small, sticky notes containing handwritten, inspirational Bible verses that she attached to the back her desk for fear that these small, personal notes would violate the Establishment Clause, as the School District argued and the magistrate judge found, is simply absurd,” Muise stated.
“Indeed, this case should remove any lingering doubts as to whether our government, which includes the judiciary, is hostile to religion,” he continued. “But I can assure you that this fight is far from over.”
JFK’s String of Unconstitutional Executive Orders
Dictatorial Control Over the Ability to Grant Self Totalitarian Control Over Government
Dictatorial Control Over Americans Right to Defend Themselves Against Tyranny
The day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” This meant a general call-up of military units for a high level of preparedness.
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Egypt is assembling an expeditionary commando force to fly to Saudi Arabia and bolster its border defenses.
This flurry of Saudi-Egyptian military steps comes in the wake of intelligence gathered by Saudi reconnaissance planes showing Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border and aiming to seize control of the Iraqi-Saudi crossing at Ar Ar (pop: 200,000).
ISIS and its Sunni allies are still on the march after capturing Iraq’s border crossings with Syria and Jordan earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Kerry warned Mideast nations against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten sectarian divisions.
By then, he had been overtaken by a rush of events, as DEBKAfile reported this morning.
When the first of the 300 military advisers US President Barack Obama promised the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Wednesday, June 25, Iranian and Saudi Arabian arms shipments were already in full flow to opposing sides in embattled Iraq, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.
At least two cargo planes from bases in Iran were landing daily at Baghdad’s military airport, carrying 150 tons of military equipment. More than 1,000 tons were flown in this past week alone. Tehran has replicated for the Iraqi army the routine it established for Bashar Assad’s army, furnishing its needs on a daily basis as per its commanders’ requests. Those requests come before a joint Iranian-Iraqi headquarters set up at the Iraqi high command in Baghdad for approval and the assigning of priorities for shipment.
At the same time, Saudi arms are flowing to the Iraqi Sunni tribes fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) against the Iraqi army and the Shiite Nouri al-Maliki's government.
They are coming in both overland and by airlift.
Saudi arms convoys are crossing the border into Iraq with Saudi and Jordanian air force cover and heading north up to the Al-Qa'im district near the Syrian border. There, Sunni and ISIS fighters, after capturing this key Anbar district, have begun refurbishing the bases and runways at H-2, once one of Saddam Hussein’s largest airbases. Situated 350 kilometers west of Baghdad, this air base has two long runways and hangars for fighter planes and helicopters.
DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that, on Tuesday June 24, unmarked civilian cargo planes landed at the base, bringing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia.
The response was swift. Syrian warplanes, on their first bombing mission inside Iraq, tried to damage the partially repaired runways at H-2 to prevent any more Saudi air shipments from landing.
Military sources in Washington confirmed Wednesday June 25 that those air strikes were conducted by the Syrian Air Force “in Anbar province” and left at least 57 people dead and 120 wounded - most of them Iraqi civilians. They declined to say what was attacked, referring only to ISIS-related targets.
That incident was a striking demonstration of the tight operational sync between the Iranian command centers in Damascus and Baghdad, which are attached respectively to the high commands of the Syrian and Iraqi armies. This coordination offers Tehran the flexibility for its command centers in both Arab capitals to send Iranian drones aloft from Syrian or Iraqi airbases to feed those centers with the intelligence they need for the strategic planning of military operations to be conducted by the Syrian and Iraqi armies.
Iranian command centers in Baghdad and Damascus are fully equipped therefore to decide which Syrian, Iraqi or Hizballah force carries out a planned operation in either Syria or Iraq. Both are now pushing back against further ISIS advances towards its goal of a Sunni caliphate spanning both countries.
This is just what US Secretary of State John Kerry meant when he said in Brussels Wednesday June 25, after two days of talks in Iraq, that "the war in Iraq is being widened."
He had good reason to sound worried. Shortly before he spoke, the first group of US military personnel, out of the 300 that President Obama had promised, had arrived in Baghdad. But neither Tehran nor Riyadh had consulted Washington before they organized heavy arms shipments to their respective allies in Iraq.
The Iraqi battle arena is become a veritable Babel of war. So far, seven countries are involved in varying degrees: the US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Credit to Debkafile