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Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged “American Values”

Mish is on fire today with excellent posts. Here, Mish reports on the horrifying story of what the CIA did in kidnapping the wrong man, a German citizen Khalid El-Masri, and the CIA’s subsequent torture and abuse of him. Our court system failed too, citing "national security" grounds to throw out Khalid El-Masri’s case against the CIA.  (Sounds like a specious excuse to me as sensitive information wouldn’t have to be made public.) – Ilene 

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged "American Values"

Courtesy of Mish 

I do not agree with using torture, nor do I believe the end justifies the means. The problem with both is that others can act the same way.

If the US can torture to extract vital information, then why can’t Iran and every other country on the planet?

It is pure hypocrisy to think that the US has a monopoly on "justified torture". Indeed, there is no such thing as "justified torture".

This has been my position forever. I bring it up because of a post Barry Ritholtz made yesterday stipulating “Torture didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information”

“Torture [at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp] didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information. Everyone [at the CIA] was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.” – Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002

“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that Bin Laden was likely to be living there.” – Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled interrogators about the courier’s identity. …

Barry Ritholtz went on to say "Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value — it is an American value."

I sure wish Barry was correct. Sadly he is not, at least right now. Both president Bush and president Obama have condoned torture.

Moreover, President Obama had a campaign pledge to shut Guantanamo Bay. Sadly, I report Guantanamo Bay is still in operation. On March 8, 2011, the Irish Times noted Guantánamo trials freeze lifted

Hina Shamsi,


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Did 9/11 Really “Change Everything”?

Did 9/11 Really "Change Everything"?

Courtes of Washington’s Blog

[And see also Washington's 9-11 post if you missed it, here.]

We’ve been told that 9/11 changed everything.

Is it true?

Let’s look:

  • The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 (see this and this)
  • Cheney apparently even made Iraqi’s oil fields a national security priority before 9/11
  • Cheney dreamed of giving the White House the powers of a monarch long before 9/11
  • Cheney and Rumsfeld actively generated fake intelligence which exaggerated the threat from an enemy in order to justify huge amounts of military spending long before 9/11. And see this
  • Cheney and the rest of the neocons lamented - before 9/11 - that America could not truly project its power globally without the justification of a "new Pearl Harbor"
  • The decision to threaten to bomb Iran was made before 9/11
  • The government knew that terrorists could use planes as weapons — and had even run its own drills of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, using REAL airplanes — all before 9/11
  • The government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouths before 9/11
  • It was known long before 9/11 that torture doesn’t work to produce accurate intelligence, but is an effective way to terrorize people

So did 9/11 really "change everything"? Or was it simply an excuse to implement existing plans? 


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“National Security:” A Global Police State-Within-a-State

"National Security:" A Global Police State-Within-a-State 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has spawned a national security "state-within-a-state" with essentially unlimited funding and support of America’s political machine. This National Security State has infected domestic policing and courts; it is both ubiquitous and completely unaccountable.

The Democrats and Republicans have enthusiastically joined hands to create a global police/national security state-within-a-state of unimaginable reach and power.  Frequent contributor Michael Goodfellow sent me this investigative report, which I consider one of the most important of the decade: Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (Washington Post).

Let’s go back briefly to September 1, 2001, before the 9/11 attack. The national security "assets" of the nation had all the information needed to stop the attack. The various agencies did not stop the attack because there was essentially zero coordination and data-sharing between the CIA, NSA and FBI.

This was laid out in the PBS program The Spy Factory.

Now the national security "assets" have metastasized into a gargantuan national security state-within-a-state--and the exact same problem not only exists, it has become even more intracable.

Now that the national security state (NSS) has become much larger and even more unwieldy, coordination, collaboration and data-sharing have been rendered essentially impossible. This report makes that absolutely clear.

Rather than fix the problem of coordinating our national security assets, the Federal government and its leaders have amplified the problem. At the same time, they have created a monster which is beyond the control of elected officials or the citizenry, a secretive state-within-a-state which protects itself behind the inpenetrable shield of "national security" and "need to know."

The national security state is the ultimate protected fiefdom. Cutting one dollar of funding would be instantly characterized as "weakening our fight against global terrorism," as would any limits on the NSS’s powers.

This is in effect a new arm of the "military-industrial complex" which dwarfs the power of the traditional military-industrial complex: "defense" contractors and the revolving door between the DoD (Department of Defense) and these Pentagon-dependent industrial corporations.

GWOT is the perfect defense for a state-within-a-state that is insatiable and beyond accountability. Even simple inquiries are quickly dismissed as "dangerous"--as if global terrorists would glean some useful information from knowing just how many hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent tracking them.

What’s essential to our…
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The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (I – III)

Full Report: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (Parts I-III)

Courtesy of David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

This report was originally released as a six-part series. The first part was published on February 15, 2010. The last part was published on February 27, 2010.  

Support this work by ordering the full report in book format.
>  Download full report with graphics and links.
>  Download printer-friendly version.
 

“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist,
but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts
on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions
and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
– Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not

 

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America

 

It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a…
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THE TRUTH ABOUT AREA 51?

This is fascinating, a must-read for anyone who’s spotted UFOs while not on drugs and still wondering what in the world might be going on. – Ilene 

THE TRUTH ABOUT AREA 51?

Courtesy of Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds 

imageBecause of my former career at The Disinformation Company, Ltd., I am often asked—I was asked this yesterday, in fact—if I have ever investigated a conspiracy theory that I was skeptical of and then become a convert? Nope. Not once. And for the record, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I just played one on TV.

First of all, you have to parse the term. There are criminal conspiracies—events that can be proven in a court of law or that are a matter of historical record; and then there is the Montauk Project/David Icke side of things. Iran-Contra, the CIA shenanigans we’ve all heard about, Watergate, etc., these were real events. When you get into the territory of aliens, the 9-11 nonsense, and the “reptilian beings” like the Queen, the Royal Family and the Bushes, I just pretty much tune it out. Been there, done that. I went down that rabbit hole when I was a teenager and came back out again on the other side.

Conspiracy theorists tend to be people who have been a bit cut off, from, let’s just say, the power centers of the world. If you’ve never been to Washington, DC or Manhattan or been in a Beverly Hills country club, or know how the news gets produced, then the way the world runs must seem very mysterious. Like someone is in control. But that’s not true.

People who are in positions of power—industrial, political, financial, media power—went to high school like the rest of us did. The class president type who went on to become a congressman did so because he could. He got into that position of power because… people voted for him and not for the other guy. And don’t be surprised if rich guy A makes a…
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Phil's Favorites

Chicago's Fiscal Freefall: Moody's Cuts Chicago Credit Rating to Two Steps Above Junk; Snake Oil and Swaps; It's All Junk Now

Courtesy of Mish.

Last week I wrote an article for the Illinois Policy Institute on the hugely unfunded and deteriorating nature of numerous Illinois' pension systems.

I will post the article on Monday. 

My article was on on state pension systems, not Chicago's, and was written well ahead of downgrades of Chicago's debt by Moody's on Friday. I was not surprised to see the downgrade.

Let's take a look at some articles on the debt downgrade starting with Chicago Credit Rating Cut by Moody's to Two Steps Above Junk.
Chicago had its credit rating cut to within two steps of junk by Moody’s Investors Service because of mounting pension liabilities, underscoring the city’s fiscal stress as Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces an un...



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Chart School

Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Quick take: At the end of January the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 96% above its long-term trend, up from 91% above trend the previous month.

About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let's apply some simple regression analysis (see footnote below) to the question.

Below is a chart of the S&P Composite stretching back to 1871 based on the real (inflation-adjusted) monthly average of daily closes. I've using a semi-log scale to equalize vertical distances for the same percentage change regardless of the index price range.

The regression trendline drawn through the data clarifies the secular pattern of variance from the trend — those multi-year periods when the market ...



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Zero Hedge

Debt-To-GDP Ratios Demand Debt Jubilee

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Sprott Money.

Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money

In the 1980’s, Canada was governed by (at that time) the most incompetent, fiscally irresponsible regime in the Western world: Brian Mulroney’s “Conservative” government. In a mere eight years; Canada’s national debt tripled, and its debt-to-GDP ratio soared to what was (at the time) an astronomical level above 70%.

Canada was considered to be in an official “debt crisis”. What is meant by the term debt-crisis? It’s all a function of simple arithmetic. It is where the total debt-load a...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: Coal

Kimble Charts: Coal

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.

Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 23rd, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sector rankings stay neutral with few bullish catalysts on horizon

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...



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Digital Currencies

MyCoin Exchange Disappears with Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim

Follow up from yesterday's Just the latest Bitcoin scam.

Hong Kong's MyCoin Disappears With Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim By  

Reports are emerging from Hong Kong that local bitcoin exchange MyCoin has shut its doors, taking with it possibly as much as HK$3bn ($386.9m) in investor funds.

If true, the supposed losses are a staggering amount, although this estimate is based on the company's own earlier claims that it served 3,000 clients who had invested HK$1m ($129,000) each.

...



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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