Thursday, May 2, 2013


Obama cleanses Day of Prayer of Christianity

'Regardless of religion or creed,' says proclamation

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Tens of thousands of local events are scheduled tomorrow to recognize the 2013 National Day of Prayer.
A special observance is scheduled from 9 a.m. until noon in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill as a focal point for the local assemblies at churches, courthouses and other public places.
Meanwhile, a privately sponsored National Day of Prayer and Fasting is being planned for Sept. 11.
Today, President Obama issued a statement endorsing the National Day of Prayer, but he excised virtually any reference to Christianity, the primary faith of the nation’s founders.
President George W. Bush’s proclamations routinely included references to Christian faith.
“By surrendering our lives to our loving Father,” Bush said in his 2008 statement, “we learn to serve His eternal purposes, and we are strengthened, refreshed, and ready for all that may come.”
Bush’s comments also included references to the Bible. He cited Psalm 28:7, which states, “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.”
Bush also said, “According to Scripture, ‘the Lord is near to all who call upon Him. … He also will hear their cry, and save them.’”
Obama emulated some of those ideas in his first proclamation, in 2009, citing the prayers of the Continental Congress and President Lincoln’s call for prayer during the Civil War.
But he started turning the next year, mentioning “God” only twice, asking for “blessings” and “guidance.”
The closest reference to the nation’s Christian heritage was a reference that the U.S. “counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles.”
By 2012, Obama’s proclamation was giving thanks “for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain.”
This year, his text includes “faith” only to reference it as “our faith” and recognizes “God” only for delivering liberties and guidance. The nation’s Christian heritage is referenced only in his statement that “the earliest settlers prayed that they would ‘rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work.”
“Regardless of religion or creed, Americans reflect on the sacredness of life and express their sympathy for the wounded, offering comfort and holding up a light in an hour of darkness,” said the president.
Obama’s text:
Americans have long turned to prayer both in times of joy and times of sorrow. On their voyage to the New World, the earliest settlers prayed that they would “rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work.” From that day forward, Americans have prayed as a means of uniting, guiding, and healing. In times of hardship and tragedy, and in periods of peace and prosperity, prayer has provided reassurance, sustenance, and affirmation of common purpose.
Prayer brings communities together and can be a wellspring of strength and support. In the aftermath of senseless acts of violence, the prayers of countless Americans signal to grieving families and a suffering community that they are not alone. Their pain is a shared pain, and their hope a shared hope. Regardless of religion or creed, Americans reflect on the sacredness of life and express their sympathy for the wounded, offering comfort and holding up a light in an hour of darkness.
All of us have the freedom to pray and exercise our faiths openly. Our laws protect these God-given liberties, and rightly so. Today and every day, prayers will be offered in houses of worship, at community gatherings, in our homes, and in neighborhoods all across our country. Let us give thanks for the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, whether individually or in fellowship.
On this day, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers all those affected by recent events, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, and the explosion in West, Texas. Let us pray for the police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to protect their fellow Americans. Let us also pray for the safety of our brave men and women in uniform and their families who serve and sacrifice for our country. Let us come together to pray for peace and goodwill today and in the days ahead as we work to meet the great challenges of our time.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2013, as a National Day of Prayer. I join the citizens of our Nation in giving thanks, in accordance with our own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and in asking for God’s continued guidance, mercy, and protection.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
Coinciding with the National Day of Prayer, a 72-hour international call to repent, fast and pray has been called by Christians in Australia for April 30 to May 2, according to Breaking Christian News.
See the stunning DVD documentary “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” and the book on which it is based, “The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret for America’s Future.”
In asking for support for the 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Fasting, organized by WND CEO Joseph Farah, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., entered a statement into the Congressional Record.
She pointed out that the future of a nation appears to be up to Christians.
“I join together with other Americans who have called for September 11, 2013, to be set aside as a day for personal prayer, reflection and fasting, for ourselves and for our nation,” Bachmann said in a statement. “At this time of national mourning, as we search for comfort in the aftermath of this loss of innocent life, we would be wise to consider afresh 2 Chronicles 7:14: ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ As we humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, we can take assurance from the Holy Scripture that God has promised to hear from heaven, will forgive our sin, and will heal our land.”
Jonathan Cahn, the No. 1 bestselling Christian author of 2012 and 2013 with “The Harbinger,” also is on board for the September event.
So is Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Fellowship, known for massive evangelistic events that fill the largest stadiums and arenas in the country. He is also a weekly faith commentator for WND and the honorary national chairman of the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer called for May 2. The organizers of the May 2 event have pledged to shift their attention to the 9/11/13 project after May 2.
“If we pray, God will hear,” Laurie said. “When He hears, who knows what He might do?”
In his column on WND, Chuck Norris said: “If the greatest leaders in the history of our country, particularly our founders, called upon the Almighty for heavenly assistance in the most critical and perilous of times and experienced His hand of deliverance, wouldn’t this season in our country’s history warrant exactly the same? Maybe more now than every before?
“Because of the intense strongholds we face as a nation, WND Editor Joseph Farah and thousands of others across the land are calling up America’s spiritual reserves, challenging our spiritual fervor and cranking up our spiritual warfare by also declaring a National Day of Prayer and Fasting – and on what better day than Sept. 11, 2013?” he continued. “You can register your intent to participate and help spread the plan virally by going to
Farah’s action plan:
  • Make a note on your calendar now to join in the commitment to participate;
  • Help spread the word to the remnant of Americans who understand what the nation is up against on Facebook and Twitter and by word of mouth;
  • Talk to pastors and Bible study leaders and get them on board;
  • Pray daily for believers across the nation to take serious the promise of II Chronicles 7:14 and follow its prescription;
  • Sign up to register your commitment of support and your intention to participate.
“We’ve got our instructions,” said Farah of II Chronicles 7:14. “God is waiting on us to act – His people. He’s not waiting on the whole world to act. He’s not waiting on a majority of Americans to act. He’s waiting on us – his children, his followers, his believers.”
Norris quoted Benjamin Franklin’s call for God’s leadership at the 1787 Constitutional Convention:
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ … I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business…”

WASHINGTON TIMES: Warnings from Obama’s Inaugural Address...

Dangerous plans were disclosed in Barack’s first speech as president.
Polls show that millions of Americans are suffering from buyer’s remorse after voting for Barack Obama for president in the last election. The most obvious group is found among independent voters, who gave Mr. Obama an 8-point margin over Sen. John McCain in 2008 but who now are favoring Mitt Romney over Mr. Obama by a massive 14 points. According to Rasmussen Reports, the incumbent Democrat is losing to the Republican challenger by 1 point nationwide, and Mr. Romney is ahead 7 points on dealing with the economy. After four years in the White House, voters know who Mr. Obama is and have decided they don’t like him. Read more at The Washington Times...
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked for a discussion of the crime of felony murder in Connecticut and other states. This report addresses the states of California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The felony-murder doctrine provides that if a homicide occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony, the homicide is a form of murder. The felony-murder doctrine is probably derived from English common law, although its exact origins are disputed. Forty-six states, including Connecticut, have felony murder provisions in their statutes. Hawaii, Kentucky, and Michigan have eliminated the felony murder rule through legislation or court decisions. Ohio has effectively eliminated the felony murder doctrine by enacting an involuntary manslaughter statute that covers what was previously felony murder.
In most states, including Connecticut, a person can be found guilty of murder if he is convicted of one or more specified felonies and a person is killed in the course of the underlying crime or flight from it. The underlying crimes commonly include robbery, burglary, sexual assault, kidnapping, and escape. Florida's list of underlying crimes is notably more expansive than Connecticut's and Georgia's law applies to any felony. Maine's felony murder law additionally requires that the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the commission of or attempt at the underlying felony or the flight from it. Case law has imposd similar requirements in several states.
In Connecticut, it is not felony murder if the person killed is one of the participants in the underlying felony. This is also true in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. In contrast, the Rhode Supreme Court has held that the fact that the murder victim was an accomplice to the underlying felony does not prevent the defendant from being convicted of felony murder, so long as his actions foreseeably produced the fatal injury.
In Connecticut, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant was not involved in the killing, was unarmed, and met other criteria. Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Washington have very similar provisions in their laws.
Connecticut and most other states have felony murder provisions in their statutes. Under CGS § 53a-54c, a person is guilty of murder when, acting either alone or with others, he (1) commits or attempts to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, sexual assault in the third degree, sexual assault in the third degree with a firearm, or escape in the first or second degree and (2) in the course of and in furtherance of such crime or of flight from it, he or another participant in the underlying crime causes the death of a person other than one of the participants. The penalty for this crime depends on whether the person is convicted of a capital felony, murder, or arson murder.
If the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that he: (1) did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause, or aid its commission; (2) was not armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; (3) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon or instrument; and (4) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury. By law, defendants must prove an affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
In State v. Cobbs, 203 Conn. 4 (1987), the Supreme Court noted that a person can be convicted of felony murder even though he did not intend to kill the victim and did not personally do so. However, the court held that it is not enough that the defendant committed the underlying felony and caused the death of the victim unless the death was a part of the felony and directly involved in it. It explained that, at trial, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
1. the defendant and others (if applicable) committed or attempted to commit the felony,
2. the defendant or one of the other participants caused the victim's death, and
3. the defendant or one of the other participants caused the death in the course of and in furtherance of the felony
In State v. Young, 191 Conn. 636 (1983), the defendant had been convicted under the statute for an arson for hire that killed one person in the building. The court noted that the statute had been taken from the New York Penal code. Following a New York case, (People v. Wood, 8 N.Y.2d 48, 1960), it held that the phrase “in furtherance of” imposes a proximate cause requirement beyond that of mere causation in fact. The New York court had ruled that felony murder does not include killings that are incidentally coincident with the underlying felony, but only those committed by one of the criminals in the attempted execution of the unlawful act. The Connecticut court upheld the conviction, finding that the jury instruction adequately conveyed this limitation of liability.
California (Cal. Pen. Code Sec. 189)
First degree murder includes murder committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate: (1) arson, (2) rape and various other sexual crimes, (3) carjacking, (4) robbery, (5) burglary, (6) mayhem, (7) kidnapping, (8) train wrecking, or (9) any murder is perpetrated by discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, intentionally at another person outside of the vehicle, with the intent to inflict death. First degree murder is punishable by death, imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life. Other forms of murder are second degree murder, punishable by 15 years to life, except if the homicide victim was a peace officer engaged in his official duties, in which case the minimum sentence is 25 years.
Colorado (Col. Rev. Stat. Sec. 18-3-102)
It is first degree murder for someone, acting alone or with others to (1) commit or attempt to commit arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault, class 3 felony sexual assault on a child, or escape and (2) in the course of or in furtherance of the crime or in immediate flight from it, anyone causes the death of a person other than one of the participants. The crime is subject to the death penalty or life in prison.
Florida (Fla. Rev. Stat. Sec. 782.04)
It is second degree murder if a person commits one or more specified crimes and the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate this crime, another person is killed by someone other than the perpetrator of the underlying crime. The underlying crimes are: drug trafficking; arson; sexual battery; robbery or home invasion robbery; burglary; kidnapping; escape; aggravated abuse of a child, elderly person, or disabled adult; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; carjacking; aggravated stalking; murder; resisting an officer with violence to his or her person; or felonious acts of terrorism or in furtherance of an act of terrorism. The crime is punishable by up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Florida has a separate crime, attempted felony murder (Fla. Rev. Stat. § 782.051), which covers cases where someone commits one of the specified felonies and in the process acts in a way that could have killed another person.
Georgia (Ga. Code. Ann. 16-5-1)
A person commits murder when, in the commission of a felony, he causes the death of another person, irrespective of malice. A person convicted of this offense must be punished by death or by life imprisonment.
The state Supreme Court refused to hold a person liable for a death caused by a person who was not the defendant or an accomplice to the felony. In State v. Crane, 279 S.E.2d 695 (Ga. 1981) the intended victim of the crime shot and killed a would-be burglar and the deceased burglar's accomplices were charged with felony murder. While the court favored an interpretation of Georgia's felony-murder statute to include deaths indirectly caused by one of the parties, it ruled that the state's rules of statutory interpretation required that ambiguous statutes be construed against the state.
Maine (17-A Me. Rev. Stat. Sec. 202)
Under Maine law a person is guilty of felony murder if acting alone or with others in committing or attempting to commit murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape, or immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit these crimes, the person or another participant in fact causes the death of a person and the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of such commission, attempt or flight. The crime is punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
It is an affirmative defense that the defendant:
1. did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, command, induce, procure, or aid its commission;
2. was not armed with a dangerous weapon or other weapon which under circumstances indicated a readiness to inflict serious bodily injury;
3. reasonably believed that no other participant was armed with such a weapon; and
4. reasonably believed that no other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury. 
The Maine Supreme Court has held that felony murder involves an unintended death that results as a reasonably foreseeable consequence of an intended felony (State v. Caouette, 462 A.2d 1171 (Me. 1983)). The court also has held that the law does not violate the state or federal bans on cruel and unusual punishment (State v. Reardon, 486 A.2d 112 (Me. 1984)).
Massachusetts (265 Mass. Gen Laws Sec. 1)
First degree murder includes murder that occurs in the commission or attempted commission of a crime that is punishable with death or imprisonment for life. These crimes include such things as rape of a child, kidnapping with intent to extort money, and illegal sale of 20 or more firearms. Unlike other forms of murder, the killing does not need to involve deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, extreme atrocity, or cruelty. The crime is subject to life imprisonment. Other types of murder are considered second degree murder.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court held in Commonwealth v. Padgett, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 359, review denied 425 Mass. 1105 (1998) that to invoke the felony murder rule, the state must establish that:
1. the defendant was a participant in a felonious enterprise independent of the homicide,
2. the felony was inherently dangerous,
3. homicide occurred in the course of the felonious enterprise, and
4. the death was natural and probable consequence of the felony.
In this case, the court held that armed robbery and armed assault are inherently dangerous. The Supreme Court has also held, in Commonwealth v. Claudio, 634 N.E.2d 902, 418 Mass. 103 (1994), that burglary with actual assault can serve as the underlying felony for felony murder.
New Jersey (N.J. Rev. Stat. Sec. 2C:11-3)
In New Jersey, it is murder when a person, acting alone or with others, (1) commits, attempts to commit, or flees after committing or attempting to commit robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, criminal escape, or terrorism and (2) in the course of such crime or of immediate flight from it, any person causes the death of a person other than one of the participants. The offender must be sentenced to a term of 30 years to life, with no parole allowed before 30 years have been served. Under certain circumstances, (e.g., the homicide of law enforcement while performing his official duties), the offender must be sentenced to life without parole.
If the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that he:
1. did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause, or aid the commission of it;
2. was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any instrument, article or substance readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury and of a sort not ordinarily carried in public places by law-abiding persons;
3. had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article, or substance; and
4. had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury.
New York (N.Y. Pen. Code Sec. 125.25)
It is second degree murder if a person, acting alone or with others (1) commits or attempts to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse, or escape in the first or second degree and (2) in the course of and in furtherance of committing the underlying crime or of immediate flight from it, he or another participant in the crime causes the death of a person other than one of the participants. The crime is punishable by imprisonment for 15 years to life and a fine of up to $100,000.
If the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that he:
1. did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause or aid the commission thereof;
2. was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any instrument, article or substance readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury and of a sort not ordinarily carried in public places by law-abiding persons;
3. had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article or substance; and
4. had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury.
Rhode Island (R. I. Gen Laws Sec. 11-23-1)
Under state law, first degree murder includes any murder committed (1) in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, rape, any degree of sexual assault or child molestation, burglary or breaking and entering, robbery, kidnapping, (2) during the course of the perpetration, or attempted perpetration of felony manufacture, sale, delivery, or other distribution of a controlled substance; (3) while resisting arrest by, or under arrest of, any state trooper or police officer in the performance of his or her duty: or (4) against an assistant attorney general or special assistant attorney general in the performance of his or her duty. People of first degree murder must be sentenced to life imprisonment and serve at least 15 years of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Under certain circumstances, such as a murder committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of various felony drug crimes, the offender is ineligible for parole.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has held that felony murder is any homicide committed while perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate the enumerated offenses. It acquires first-degree murder status without the necessity of proving such elements as premeditation and deliberation (State v. Villani, 491 A.2d 976 (R.I. 1985)). The fact that the murder victim was an accomplice to the underlying felony does not prevent the defendant from being convicted of felony murder, so long as his actions foreseeably produced the fatal injury (In re. Leon, 410 A.2d 121 (R.I. 1980).
Vermont (13 Vt. Stat. Sec. 2301)
In Vermont, homicide committed in perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate arson, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or burglary, is first degree murder. The crime is punishable by a sentence of 35 years to life or life without the possibility of parole. However, the Vermont Supreme Court held that merely showing that a person intended to commit one of the specified felonies is insufficient to convict a person of felony murder (State v. Bacon, 168 Vt. 279, 658 A.2d 54, cert. denied 516 U.S. 837 (1995). The state must show a mental state of wanton disregard for human life with respect to the murder itself. In State v. Doucette, 143 Vt. 573 (1983), the Supreme Court ruled that the jury must find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the killing was done with malice during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of one of the specified felonies. The court held that the doctrine does not apply if the killing was done accidentally or unintentionally. On the other hand, premeditation is not an element of felony murder.
Washington (Wash. Rev. Code. Sec. 9A:32.030)
It is first degree murder for someone to commit or attempts to commit (1) first degree burglary or first or second degree robbery, rape, arson, or kidnapping and (2) in the course of or in furtherance of such crime or in immediate flight from it, he or she or another participant in the underlying crime causes the death of a person other than one of the participants.
If the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime and if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, it is a defense that the defendant:
1. did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause, or aid the commission of it;
2. was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any instrument, article, or substance readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury;
3. had no reasonable grounds to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article, or substance; and
4. had no reasonable grounds to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury.
Murder in the first degree is a class A felony, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
Wisconsin (Wis. Sec. 940.03)
In Wisconsin, a person is guilty of felony murder if causes the death of another person while committing or attempting to commit battery or related offenses, threatening witnesses or judges, sexual assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, arson, burglary, armed carjacking, or robbery. The offender may be imprisoned for up to 15 years beyond the maximum term provided for that crime or attempt.
The state's courts have held that, to prove that the defendant caused the death, the state need only prove that the defendant's conduct was a substantial factor (State v. Oimen, 184 Wis. 2d 423, (1994). They have also held that a defendant may be convicted if another person, including an intended felony victim, fires the fatal shot (State v. Chambers, 183 Wis. 2d 316, (1994).


Ghost money from MI6 and CIA may fuel Afghan corruption, say diplomats

Failure of peace initiatives raises questions over whether British eagerness for political settlement may have been exploited
Hamid Karzai in Helsinki
Hamid Karzai with the Finnish prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, in Helsinki. Photograph: Lehtikuva/Reuters
The CIA and MI6 have regularly given large cash payments to Hamid Karzai's office with the aim of maintaining access to the Afghan leader and his top allies and officials, but the attempt to buy influence has largely failed and may have backfired, former diplomats and policy analysts say.
The Guardian understands that the payments by British intelligence were on a smaller scale than the CIA's handouts, reported in the New York Times to have been in the tens of millions, and much of the British money has gone towards attempts to finance peace initiatives, which have so far proved abortive.
That failure has raised questions among some British officials over whether eagerness to promote a political settlement may have been exploited by Afghan officials and self-styled intermediaries for the Taliban.
Responding to the allegations while on a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Karzai said his national security council (NSC) had received support from the US government for the past 10 years, and the amounts involved were "not big" and were used for a variety of purposes including helping those wounded in the conflict. "It's multi-purpose assistance," he said, without commenting on the allegations that the money was fuelling corruption.
Yama Torabi, the director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan said that the presidency's low-key response to the reports had "outraged people".
"As a result, we don't know what was the amount of money that was given, what it was used for and if there was any corruption involved. Money when it is unchecked can be abused and this looks like one. In addition, it can be potentially used to corrupt politicians and political circles, but there is no way to know this unless there is a serious investigation into it," Torabi told The Guardian.
Kabul sources told the Guardian that the key official involved in distributing the payments within the NSC was Ibrahim Spinzada, a close confidant of the president known as Engineer Ibrahim. There is, however, no evidence that Spinzada personally gained from the cash payments or that in distributing them among the president's allies and sometimes his foes he was breaking Afghan law.
Officials say the payments, referred to in a New York Times report as "ghost money", helped prop up warlords and corrupt officials, deepening Afghan popular mistrust of the Kabul government and its foreign backers, and thereby helped drive the insurgency.
The CIA money has sometimes caused divisions between the various branches of US government represented in Kabul, according to diplomats stationed in Kabul, particularly when it helped give the CIA chief of station in Kabul direct access to Karzai without the US ambassador's knowledge or approval.
One former Afghan budgetary official told the Guardian: "On paper there was very little money that went to the National Directorate of Security [NDS, the Afghan intelligence service], but we knew they were taken care of separately by the CIA.
"The thing about US money is a lot of it goes outside the budget, directly through individuals and companies, and that opens the way for corruption."
Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai's deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times: "We called it 'ghost money'. It came in secret, and it left in secret."
One American official told the newspaper: "The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States."
Sources said the MI6 aid was on a smaller scale, and much of it was focused on trying to promote meetings between Karzai's government and Taliban intermediaries, as was embarrassingly the case in 2010 when MI6 discovered a would-be Taliban leader in talks with Karzai was an impostor from the Pakistani city of Quetta.
The British payments have also been designed to bolster UK influence in Kabul, in what a source described as "an auction with each country trying to outbid the other" in the course of an often fraught relationship with the Karzai government.
Vali Nasr, a former US government adviser on Afghanistan, said: "Karzai has been lashing out against American officials and generals, so if indeed there has been funding by the CIA, you have to ask to what effect has that money been paid. It hasn't clearly brought the sort of influence it was meant to."
Nasr, now dean of the Johns Hopkins school of advanced international studies and author of a new book criticising US policy in Afghanistan, The Dispensable Nation, said: "If the terms of such payments are not clear, the question is how well do they tag with US policy … The CIA has a narrow, counter-terrorism purview that involved working with warlords, but that is quite a different agenda, on how we conduct the war or how we build a government."
The CIA has also been heavily criticised for conducting drone attacks against suspected militants over the border in Pakistan and for calling in air strikes inside Afghanistan while on joint operations with NDS units, leading to civilian casualties. A report on Monday by the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a thinktank in Kabul, said the latest such NDS-CIA operation, in Kunar province on 13 April, killed 17 civilians.
Kate Clark, one of the network's analysts, said: "It is one thing to conduct covert operations in a hostile country. I'm flabbergasted that the CIA is running these kind of covert operations in a friendly country. It runs counter to accountability, democracy and the rule of law, and is damaging what the US is trying to do.
"The CIA puts certain things as a priority – whether someone is against al-Qaida, for example – and damn the rest."

Obama's 2nd term? Most people 'sick of it'

Nearly 7 of 10 say nation on wrong track or they are uncertain

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Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
At the recent White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, President Obama joked about how radio host Rush Limbaugh had characterized him in his second term as an abortion-promoting, same-sex marriage-endorsing, perpetual campaigner.
It appears, however, that most Americans are not laughing.
According to a poll for WND by Wenzel Strategies, nearly 7 of 10 Americans believe either the Obama administration is taking the nation in the wrong direction or they are not sure.
Only some 32 percent say the U.S. is on the right track, and even among the president’s own party members, only 58 percent agree with that statement. Agreement among Republicans was 8 percent, and among independents it was only 26 percent.
Pollster Fritz Wenzel noted that previous presidents earned much higher respect from Americans for their accomplishments by this point in their administrations. His poll was conducted by telephone from April 25-29 and has a margin of error of 3.03 percentage points.
“This is the time in a typical presidential administration when optimism tends to begin to be on the upswing, but that is clearly not the case here,” Wenzel explained.
“By this time in the Reagan administration, which began with a severe economic crisis, the economy was booming and optimism was rampant. At this point in the Clinton administration, the economy was strong and Americans were pleased. Both Reagan and Clinton encountered second-term scandals, but there has been nothing but trouble since the start of the Obama administration, and people appear to be sick of it,” he said.
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Only Americans who call themselves “very liberal” actually think things are improving or will continue to do so, according to the poll.
Even then, only 63 percent of the people in that category say the U.S. in moving in the right direction. Among the “liberal,” only 46 percent believe that. Only 38 percent of moderates, 12 percent of conservatives and 9 percent of the very conservative agree.
“Likely voters across the country remain downcast about the direction in which the nation is headed, as the economy remains in the doldrums and government leaders in Washington appearing oblivious to the problem and carefree about its impact on citizens,” Wenzel said.
“There remains a decided partisan split on the question, as 59 percent of Democrats saying they think things are headed in the right direction, but just 9 percent of Republicans saying the same thing. Political independents were decidedly downcast, as just 26 percent said things are headed in the right direction but 62 percent said things are off on the wrong track.
“The more liberal the respondent, the more likely they were to say things were headed in the right direction, the survey shows. Single respondents were more likely than married respondents to say things were headed in the right direction,” he said.
Some 31 percent of men say the nation is on the right track and 32 percent of women, who were a little less certain, as 14 percent said they didn’t know.
Across age brackets, only those in their 50s and 60s approved of the direction Obama is taking the country by more than a 30 percent margin.
“I cannot help but wonder whether likely voters are now so weary of the incompetence of the Obama administration that they are simply losing hope that anything will change until he leaves office,” Wenzel said.
“It is clear that most Americans are tired of the constant politicking of the president. He seems unable or unwilling to govern, and substitutes a never-ending campaign against his political opponents on issue after issue, with diminishing results.”
He continued: “Obama’s job approval rating is stuck far below 50 percent, coming in at 44 percent in this survey. Another 54 percent give him negative marks for his work, while 2 percent are unsure. Those with intense opinions of his job performance are decidedly tilted to the negative, as 26 percent saying he is doing an excellent job, but 44 percent say he is doing a poor job.”
Wenzel said the bottom line for Obama “is that it is growing more unlikely that public opinion will ever improve much, if at all.”
“Any improvement in the economy seems to come in spite of, not because, of his leadership,” he said.
“Factor in the looming bureaucratic nightmare of Obamacare and the fallout from a laundry list of international crises and his political fortunes are heading for the cliff. The question whose answer will become clear over the next 18 months is just how much other Democrats will suffer at the ballot box because of his continued failure in leadership or their continued support of that failure.”
The current results show an even lower level of confidence in Obama than the stunningly low marks in January.
See detailed results of survey questions:
Thinking about how things are going here in our country, do you think the United States is headed in the right direction or do you think things are off on the wrong track?
Do you think that Barack Obama is doing an excellent job, a good job, only a fair job, or a poor job as president of the United States?

Bombshell CNN Investigation: 3 Al Qaeda Operatives Took Part In Attack On Benghazi Consulate

According to an investigation by CNN reporters, three Yemeni members of Al Qaeda took part on the coordinated attack on an American consulate and a safe house in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. “One senior U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that “three or four members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” or AQAP, took part in the attack,” CNN reports.
It is not clear what command structure may have ordered the Al Qaeda operatives to strike at American diplomatic assets in Benghazi, or if the individuals were already in the region and took advantage of the spontaneous protests which had erupted across the region in response to an anti-Islam YouTube video.
According to one source, counterterrorism officials learned the identity of the men and established they had spent two nights in Benghazi after the attack. Western intelligence agencies began trying to track the men in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, but were always behind in their manhunt.
RELATED: Megyn Kelly Guests Take On Whether Boston Investigations Will ‘Go The Way Of Benghazi’
Following the attack, the operatives were tracked to northern Mali where they became connected with the jihadist leader Moktar Belmoktar, “an Algerian terrorist operative linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who claimed responsibility for the attack on the In Amenas gas facility in southern Algeria in January this year.”
Following a French military incursion into the North African state in early 2013, the three Yemeni men evaded surveillance.
AQAP is understood to be responsible for the 2009 Christmas Day attempt to down a civilian aircraft over Detroit. In October, 2010, the group was implicated in an attempt to blow up explosives disguised as printer cartridges in a number of postal aircraft. On September 14, 2012, AQAP released a statement claiming the attack on Benghazi was revenge for a recently killed Al Qaeda operative, but they did not claim credit for the attack.
The attack on Benghazi claimed the lives of four Americans, including three Navy SEALS and America’s ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
Read the full report via CNN
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Bo Jiang Had Porn - Not Secrets - on His Laptop

U.S. Finds Porn Not Secrets on Suspected China Spy's Laptop, Business Week
"Bo Jiang, who was indicted March 20 for allegedly making false statements to the U.S., was charged yesterday in a separate criminal information in federal court in Newport News, Virginia. Jiang unlawfully downloaded copyrighted movies and sexually explicit films onto his NASA laptop, according to the court filing. A plea hearing is set for tomorrow."
Chinese Spy Suspect Pleads Guilty to Violating NASA Rules
"None of the computer media that Jiang attempted to bring to the PRC on March 16, 2013, contained classified information, export controlled information, or NASA proprietary information," according to the statement of facts filed in Jiang's case. As part of the agreement, prosecutors dismissed the indictment and Jiang was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours."...
... "I remain concerned that neither the prosecutors nor NASA have addressed the original question of why a NASA laptop was inappropriately provided to a restricted foreign national associated with 'an entity of concern' and why he was allowed to take the laptop and all of its information back to China last December," Wolf said in an e-mailed statement."
Keith's note: What did we learn from this, Rep. Wolf? Porn is being exported to China on NASA laptops. Apparently the porn in question was unclassified.

Florida Gets $1MILLION For Program To Turn In Your Anti-Gov’t Neighbor

Florida House and Senate budget leaders have awarded Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw $1 million for a new violence prevention unit aimed at preventing tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., from occurring on his turf.
Bradshaw plans to use the extra $1 million to launch “prevention intervention” units featuring specially trained deputies, mental health professionals and caseworkers. The teams will respond to citizen phone calls to a 24-hour hotline with a knock on the door and a referral to services, if needed.
palm-beach-county-sheriff-ric-bradshaw-1-million-dollars-for-civilian-spy-programThe goal will be avoiding crime — and making sure law enforcement knows about potential powder kegs before tragedies occur, Bradshaw said. But the earmark, which is a one-time-only funding provision, provoked a debate Monday among mental health advocates and providers about the balance between civil liberties, privacy and protecting the public.
Bradshaw said his proposal is a first-of-its-kind in the nation, and he hopes it will become a model for the rest of the state like his gang prevention and pill-mill units.
“Every single incident, whether it’s Newtown, that movie theater, or the guy who spouts off at work and then goes home and kills his wife and two kids — in every single case, there were people who said they knew ahead of time that there was a problem,” Bradshaw said. “If the neighbor of the mom in Newtown had called somebody, this might have saved 25 kids’ lives.”
Bradshaw is readying a hotline and is planning public service announcements to encourage local citizens to report their neighbors, friends or family members if they fear they could harm themselves or others.
The goal won’t be to arrest troubled people but to get them help before there’s violence, Bradshaw said. As a side benefit, law enforcement will have needed information to keep a close eye on things.
We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradshaw said. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ”
That’s enough for Senate budget chief Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who helped push through the funding last weekend.
He said he met with Bradshaw about the program and “got assurances from the sheriff that this is going to be done in a way that respects people’s autonomy and privacy, and that he makes sure to protect against people making false claims.”
Mental health advocates, however, worry about a potential new source of stigma, and the potential for erosion of the civil rights of people with mental illnesses.
“How are they possibly going to watch everybody who makes a comment like that? It’s subjective,” said Liz Downey, executive director of the Palm Beach County branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We don’t want to take away people’s civil liberties just because people aren’t behaving the way we think they should be.”
Bradshaw acknowledged the risk that anyone in a messy divorce or in a dispute with a neighbor could abuse the hotline. But, he said, he’s confident that his trained professionals will know how to sort out fact from fiction.
“We know how to sift through frivolous complaints,” he said.
The proposal still needs the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott, who has line-item veto authority.
But if it goes forward, Palm Beach County’s already stretched mental health and substance abuse providers could find themselves even busier. There is no ready source of funds once the $1 million runs its course, as there hasn’t been an increase to community mental health funding in many years.
“Our community agencies throughout the state don’t have the funds to meet the needs they have currently,” said Bob Sharpe, CEO of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. “It sounds like it could work, but with no new funding we’d have to find it within existing resources.”
If Bradshaw’s teams can keep people out of crisis units and promote early intervention, that has the potential to save money, said Ann Berner, CEO of the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, which manages mental health care payments for the state.
To be successful, however, there will have to be close coordination with the mental health providers, she said. For example, the county already pays for mobile crisis response teams at two nonprofit mental health providers, a service that includes a 24-hour crisis call center. They, too, are trained to de-escalate conflicts and refer troubled people to care. Which ones will respond when there’s a call from a school or a home? That will have to be clarified.
Also, after troubled people are identified by Bradshaw’s teams, then what? Who will pay for their care? The state? Medicaid? The county? The Palm Beach County Public Defender has a good program to ensure qualified people apply for the Social Security and Medicaid benefits they may need, she said. Some high-level conversations have started, but more are needed, Berner added.
“I think that would be an area we really need to collaborate on, and soon,” she said.
The $1 million Bradshaw won represents a third of what he had sought from the Legislature, but it’s a 10-fold bump from what was originally earmarked before House and Senate budget leaders finalized the state’s $74 billion budget over the weekend. source – Palm Beach Post

Flood of new regulations made Obama’s first term costliest in history

A torrent of regulations enacted over the last four years make President Obama’s the most expensive first term in history, with $70 billion in new annual regulatory costs, according to a study released Wednesday by the Heritage Foundation. The Obama administration passed 131 major new rules in those four years, and has hundreds more in the pipeline whose costs haven’t been estimated.
“While historical records are incomplete, that magnitude of regulation is likely unmatched by any administration in the nation’s history,” the study said.
In 2012 alone, the 25 major rules issued carried $23.5 billion in compliance costs, mostly due to Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Only two major rules passed last year actually reduced costs to taxpayers. Rules were considered “major” if they had an economic impact of $100 million per year.
The Environmental Protection Agency was the biggest offender, with new clean air and water rules and  fuel standards costing $38 billion per year. Drivers will bear the brunt of the fuel standards, which will raise the cost of new cars by about $1,800, according to Heritage.
The Department of Transportation, which issued fuel standards jointly with the EPA, was second, with about $15 billion in new annual compliance costs.
The administration also hired thousands of new employees to make and enforce those rules, according to the study. Spending on regulatory agencies rose more than 10 percent, from $46.7 billion in  2009 to more than $51.5 billion in 2012.
study by the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University last month found that rules passed in 2012 cost more than all the rules passed in President Bush and President Clinton’s first terms combined.
Heritage’s findings contrasted sharply with the administration’s cost estimates, which included billions in savings, mostly from health care costs. For instance, the EPA estimated its new emissions standards for power plants would cost the energy industry $10.8 billion, but save taxpayers between $33 billion and $90 billion, 99 percent of which is attributed to health care costs from reduced “particulate matter.”
The Office of Management and Budget last month identified $800 billion in benefits from rules enacted between 2002 and 2012, The Hill noted today. OMB estimated the cost of a decade of new regulations at $57 billion to $84 billion.

Student Arrested In Boston Bombing Case Allowed To Return To US Despite Not Having Valid Student Visa

One of three college students arrested Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombings case was allowed to return to the United States from Kazakhstan in January despite not having a valid student visa, a federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
Authorities charged the student — a friend and classmate of one of the men accused of setting off the deadly explosions — with helping after the attacks to remove a laptop and backpack from the bombing suspect’s dormitory room before the FBI searched it.
The government acknowledged that U.S. Customs and Border Protection was unaware that the student was no longer in school when he was let back into the United States.
read more:

Giuliani: Charge 3 College Suspects As Accessories to Murder of MIT Police Officer


On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN that the three University of Massachusetts Dartmouth college students arrested Wednesday on charges related to the Boston Marathon bombings should also be charged as accessories to the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was allegedly killed by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev on April 18.

"These three young men could have prevented the death of Officer Collier, probably. They were aware by six, seven o'clock that night that these two guys were the bombers.
"If they had done what decent young men should do, which is call the police, given the focus of that investigation, given the number of resources the FBI had brought, the Boston police, given how effective they were investigating, they would have gotten these guys in an hour or two. "
"I would charge as predicate acts of conspiracy the murder of officer Collier, the shooting of the other officer and the kidnapping all of which were foreseeable consequences of them joining a conspiracy to help those guys flee."
"That’s what they are joining right? I'd be seeking twenty, thirty years in jail."
But noted criminal defense attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz disagreed.
Speaking to Breitbart News, Dershowitz said: "I have an enormous amount of respect for Rudy, but I think when he was a U.S. Attorney he would not have stretched the law so far as to charge people who were conspiring to obstruct justice with the unpredictable consequences of their conduct.
"I don't think this [the murder] was foreseeable."
Kazakhstan nationals Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and naturalized American citizen Robel Phillipos, all three of whom attended UMass Dartmouth for some time between fall 2011 and spring 2013, were arrested on Wednesday. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and Phillipos was charged with lying to investigators.
If they are liable for Officer Collier's murder, it is also possible that under the "felony murder" doctrine, Kadyrbayev ,Tazhayakov, and Phillipos may actually be responsible for two murders--that of Officer Collier and also alleged "Suspect #1," Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The felony murder doctrine holds that all participants in a felony may (in certain jurisdictions) be charged with murder for any murders that result in furtherance of that felony.
Kevin McCarthy wrote at the OLR Research Report in 2008 that the felony murder doctrine applies in cases where it can be argued that a murder was a "natural and probable consequence" of their alleged involvement in the felonies for which they were charged.
Given the knowledge that at the time the felonies were allegedly committed Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos would have had reason to know that the brothers were terrorists on the run, the murders of Officer Collier and Tamerlan Tsarnaev may very well fit this standard.
The cause of death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has not been released. It has been reported in several media outlets that the cause of death may have been his brother Dzhokhar running over him with a car. Tsarnaev's body was also riddled with bullets from officers and FBI agents.
Dershowitz, again, disagreed: "The murder has to be foreseeable for the felony murder doctrine to apply. It's too much of a stretch."
Marian Ryan, who was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as the new Middlesex County District Attorney on April 23, is the prosecutor who will make the decisions on who to charge with the murder of officer Collier.
Breitbart News reached out to Stephanie Guyotte, spokesperson for the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office to learn if, when, and against whom District Attorney Ryan plans to file charges in the murder of officer Collier, but received no response prior to publication.
Late Thursday, Ms. Guyotte of the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office sent this email to Breitbart News: "The shooting of Officer Collier remains under investigation, so I can not comment further."