Corporate State, The F Word

In the midst of two wars and the fight against Al Qaeda, the CIA is offering operatives a chance to peddle their expertise to private companies on the side — a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent, POLITICO has learned.

In one case, these active-duty officers moonlighted at a hedge-fund consulting firm that wanted to tap their expertise in “deception detection,” the highly specialized art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation.

The never-before-revealed policy comes to light as the CIA and other intelligence agencies are once again under fire for failing to “connect the dots,” this time in the Christmas Day bombing plot on Northwest Flight 253.

But sources familiar with the CIA’s moonlighting policy defend it as a vital tool to prevent brain-drain at Langley, which has seen an exodus of highly trained, badly needed intelligence officers to the private sector, where they can easily double or even triple their government salaries. The policy gives agents a chance to earn more while still staying on the government payroll.

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Bhopal

BHOPAL, India (AFP) – Survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India on Thursday marked 25 years since the world’s worst industrial accident with rallies demanding those to blame for thousands of deaths finally face justice. Residents and activists capped a week of commemorations with a march to the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, where on December 3, 1984 a cloud of methyl isocyanate killed up to 10,000 people in three days.

Studies released earlier this week showed the shanty towns surrounding the site were still laced with lethal chemicals that are polluting groundwater and soil, causing birth defects and a range of chronic illnesses. “The survivors of the tragedy, through these protests, are venting their ire against the state government for its inaction in clearing the toxic waste,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group of Information and Action.

Research by the Indian Council for Medical Research showed 25,000 people had died from the consequences of exposure since 1984. After those studies concluded, government statistics said 100,000 people were chronically sick, with more than 30,000 people living in areas around the factory where water was contaminated.

Criminal cases against former Union Carbide executives are pending in various Indian and US courts which hold them and Dow liable for the catastrophe. Amnesty International called on Dow to “cooperate fully in the ongoing legal proceedings in order to ensure that those responsible are held accountable”.

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The Bigger Picture

While some US liberals are rejoicing at the findings of this Pew poll that Fox news is seen as the most ideological network,

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A larger point may be being missed, therefore I have helpfully added a corrective-

pewchomskyForest, trees, you get the picture. Gotta love the ‘Neither’ answers.

Royal Mail Is Lying

London Review of Books, Diary by Roy Mayall:- The truth is that the figures aren’t down at all. We have proof of this. The Royal Mail have been fiddling the figures. This is how it is being done.

Mail is delivered to the offices in grey boxes. These are a standard size, big enough to carry a few hundred letters. The mail is sorted from these boxes, put into pigeon-holes representing the separate walks, and from there carried over to the frames. This is what is called ‘internal sorting’ and it is the job of the full-timers, who come into work early to do it. In the past, the volume of mail was estimated by weighing the boxes. These days it is done by averages. There is an estimate for the number of letters that each box contains, decided on by national agreement between the management and the union. That number is 208. This is how the volume of mail passing through each office is worked out: 208 letters per box times the number of boxes. However, within the last year Royal Mail has arbitrarily, and without consultation, reduced the estimate for the number of letters in each box. It was 208: now they say it is 150. This arbitrary reduction more than accounts for the 10 per cent reduction that the Royal Mail claims is happening nationwide.

Doubting the accuracy of these numbers, the union ordered a random manual count to be undertaken over a two-week period in a number of offices across the region. Our office was one of them. On average, those boxes which the Royal Mail claims contain only 150 letters, actually carry 267 items of mail. This, then, explains how the Royal Mail can say that the figures are down, although every postman knows that volume is up. The figures are down all right, but only because they have been manipulated.

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Back In The Old Country

What an icy wave of spiteful nostalgia this Cameron interview is, impeccable fundamentalist neoliberalism (Thatcherism is you wish), refusing to answer how wealthy he really is, which is really admirable, being a shifty lying creep even before you are elected shows confidence. And seriously it is not the Tories who will win, it will be New Labour who have lost because they did what globalised capital wanted and not what the people wanted, what their supporters wanted, that and being a 51st state poodle aiding and abetting war crimes, it really isn’t that difficult to understand. It doesn’t take a Compass conference to figure it out. In a race between two brands from the same manufacturer (Ariel or Daz!) please excuse my lack of excitement, and anyway I’m in Wales, I can vote nationalist to get a different style of disappointment.

Ungrateful

It comes to something when corporations feel so entitled they reject huge wads of government welfare because it isn’t enough-

Wales’ deputy first minister has questioned the commitment of Anglesey Aluminium’s owners to stay on the island. Anglesey assembly member Ieuan Wyn Jones said he was disappointed the company had not accepted offer of UK and Welsh Assembly Government aid. The firm has rejected financial support of £48m over four years saying it was generous but not enough. The firm has offered 140 staff voluntary redundancy. Cheap power for Anglesey Aluminium has been supplied by the nearby Wylfa nuclear plant for the last 10 years. Talks are continuing to try to strike a new deal for cheap power, which has been supplied by the nearby Wylfa nuclear plant for the last 10 years.

There are many rumours on the island that surround the cheap electricity deal they have with Wylfa, I hope to get to the bottom of them and give AA a chance to respond but…ungrateful ain’t the half of it if they are true.

In The Guardian’s Shell Like

At the end of this Independent on Sunday story- Secret papers ’show how Shell targeted Nigeria oil protests’, Documents seen by The IoS support claims energy giant enlisted help of country’s military government

There is this nugget-

Shell ‘lobbied’ Guardian to soften its Nigeria stance

Confidential internal documents reveal how the oil giant lobbied The Guardian newspaper to reduce its support for Saro-Wiwa. In an assessment of the political and security situation, a Shell executive noted: “The Guardian newspaper ran a much more balanced article on the Ogoni issue, with their position moving from apparent support for Saro-Wiwa to the middle ground. There is a slight possibility that this may have been influenced by the meeting we had with The Guardian’s editor the week before.”

Peter Preston, The Guardian’s editor from 1975 to 1995, said yesterday that he could not remember a meeting with Shell. “I have absolutely no memory of one. And Nigerian politics was never one of my interests.”

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