Archive for the ‘US’ Category

Yesterday the New York Police Department launched a campaign on Twitter which invited people to tweet pictures of themselves with “New York’s finest” using the hashtag #mynypd to promote a supposed good relationship with the community.

The tweet that started it all.

The tweet that started it all.

The campaign however didn’t work out too well for the NYPD as thousands of users sent in pictures of brutality at the hands of NYPD. Commissioner William Bratton pledged to make the use of social media one of the cornerstones of the NYPD’s effort to engage with the community, appointing Zachary Tumin as deputy commissioner of strategic initiatives to oversee the effort. However when asked about the negative depiction of the NYPD Bratton responded saying that he welcomed both types of photos. He said the department welcomed “the extra attention.”

“Was that particular reaction from some of the police adversaries anticipated?” Mr. Bratton said. “To be quite frank, it was not, but at the same time it’s not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media”

By midnight on Tuesday, more than 70,000 people had tweeted about police brutality, ridiculing the NYPD for a social media disaster and recalling the names of people shot dead by police.





mynypd5                                mynypd7


mynypd8              mynypd9





Barack Obama has told America’s allies that the United States will attack Iran before fall 2012 unless Tehran halts its nuclear program, a time frame that suggests Obama is willing to use war as a re-election campaign tool to rally the population around his leadership. According to a report by Israeli intelligence outfit DebkaFile, the window of opportunity for an attack before Iran moves the bulk of its nuclear processing underground is quickly evaporating.

“Obama’s announcement was not perceived as a general directive to US allies, but a guideline to blow the dust off the contingency plans for a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities which stayed locked in bottom drawers for three years,” states the report, adding that “Obama’s announcement spurred Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Israel into girding their navies, air forces, ballistic units and anti-missile defense systems for the challenges ahead.” The imminent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is part of a program to re-arrange the United States’ presence in the Gulf. This dovetails with numerous reports over the past few weeks that large numbers of U.S. troops are being stationed in Kuwait.

There have also been reports going as far back as February suggesting that various people have given Obama the option of Iran as a way to ‘save’ his political career. Rumors that Israel was preparing for an attack on Iran have been rumbling all summer, but they really came to the fore in early October when US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s October 3 Tel Aviv visit was used as an opportunity by Israeli hawks to convince Panetta to green light the attack. This week has seen a barrage of news and leaked information which confirms that Israel, the U.S. and the United Kingdom are all on a war footing in preparation for targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.

DebkaFile has proven itself to be accurate in predicting the precise time frame of conflicts in the past, correctly reporting back in July that the war in Libya would come to a head in early September, which is when rebels seized Tripoli and Gaddafi went on the run. Should Obama and the United States’ NATO allies lead the attack on Iran, Israel itself is likely to take a back seat, according to reports which suggest the Zionist state will concentrate on defending the home front against likely reprisal attacks carried out by Hizballah.

On Friday night New York became the sixth state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage joining New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Washington DC. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s marriage equality bill hours after it passed the Republican-controlled Senate with a 33-to-29 vote; making it the first time a state Senate with a Republican majority has approved such a bill and keeping his promise to sign the bill as soon as he received it after the Senate vote – rather than wait the usual 10 days.

“New York has finally torn down the barrier that prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.

Activists on both sides of the issue gathered in the state capitol, Albany. Gay rights activists said the approval of the bill was a key victory for them, in what is seen as the birthplace of the US gay rights movement, whereas opponents of the marriage equality law have vowed to take political action against any Republican who voted for the bill. Cuomo credited the four Republican senators who joined the majority of the state’s Senate Democrats for the passage of the bill, saying they were “people of courage.”

“I think it was politically more dangerous for a Republican,” Cuomo told reporters late Friday. “The conservative party was threatening them with consequences … and they did it anyway.”

Marriage equality has become a contentious social issue ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections and although there is still much ground to be made Friday’s vote is a major step forward.

In an Oval Office address last night President Obama signaled that America’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan is on the wane announcing the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year and another 23,000 by the end of September 2012, just weeks before Mr. Obama seeks re-election. He said it was “the beginning, but not the end, of our effort to wind down this war”. At least 68,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan. However Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff has said Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is “riskier than he had initially wanted”.

After a decade since the beginning of America’s occupation in Afghanistan, Obama’s next move will be seen as an acknowledgement of growing domestic impatience with the war. Mr. Obama accepts that these years have been tough continuing his address to say; “We have learnt anew the profound cost of war – a cost that has been paid by the nearly 4,500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and more than 1,500 who have done so in Afghanistan. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource: our people.”

Soon afterwards French President Nicolas Sarkozy also announced a progressive withdrawal of France’s troops from Afghanistan. The withdrawal of France’s approximately 4,000 troops will take place on a timetable matching the US troop pullout. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has said the speed of UK troop withdrawals would be based on conditions on the ground. Downing Street said Mr Cameron had “fully agreed” with the President’s assessment of the Afghan situation. However, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, Tory MP James Arbuthnot, said President Obama was taking a “gamble” in going against military advice.

More withdrawal announcements can be expected. In May next year, the Nato allies who have troops in Afghanistan will attend a summit in Chicago to consider their withdrawal options. The pressures to reduce US commitments overseas are likely to only grow stronger as next year’s presidential election nears and Congress grapples with the budget deficit. While the budget battle between the White House and Republicans is fiercely partisan, there has been less disagreement on his foreign policy – with the exception of Libya, which is becoming a fast-growing source of resentment on Capitol Hill among members of both parties.