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Views on the News 26/3/09

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

US preparing to establish internment camps for US citizens

In January a bill entitled the National Emergency Centres Establishment Act (HR 645) was introduced in the US Congress. It calls for the establishment of six national emergency centres in major regions in the US to be located on existing military installations. The stated purpose of the "national emergency centres" is to provide "temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster." In actuality, what we are dealing with are FEMA internment camps. HR 645 states that the camps can be used to "meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security."There has been virtually no press coverage of HR 645. These "civilian facilities" on US military bases are to be established in cooperation with the US Military. Modelled on Guantanamo, what we are dealing with is the militarization of FEMA internment facilities. Once a person is arrested and interned in a FEMA camp located on a military base, that person would in all likelihood, under a national emergency, fall under the de facto jurisdiction of the Military: civilian justice and law enforcement including habeas corpus would no longer apply. HR 645 bears a direct relationship to the economic crisis and the likelihood of mass protests across America. It constitutes a further move to militarize civilian law enforcement, repealing the Posse Comitatus Act.

Britain cannot pay for more stimulus packages, bond auction fails

The government should not unveil any further fiscal stimulus in April's budget as Britain's public finances are already in such dire straits, Mervyn King the governor of the Bank of England warned this week. Appearing before the Treasury select committee, the Bank of England governor said: "Given how big those deficits are, I think it would be sensible to be cautious about going further in using discretionary measures to expand the size of those deficits. There is no doubt that we are facing very large fiscal deficits over the next two to three years." The news was not well received by the bond markets. Britain stood out as the sore thumb on the government bond markets on Wednesday. After Germany sold 5.7 billion euros ($7.7 billion) of five-year bonds on Wednesday, and Ireland sold 1.0 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of 10-year bonds on Tuesday, the British Treasury's 1.8 billion pound ($2.4 billion) gilt auction failed to attract sufficient interest.

Receding waters of Euphrates reveal ancient sites in Iraq

Iraq is suffering one of the worst droughts in decades. While this is bad news for farmers, it is good news for archaeologists in the country. The receding waters of the Euphrates River have revealed ancient archaeological sites, some of which were unknown until now. For Ratib Ali al-Kubaisi, the director of Anbar province's Antiquities Department, the drought has opened up a whole new land of opportunity. He explains that civilization began in Anbar, next to the Euphrates River. "Everyone ... thought that Anbar was only desert with no historical importance. But we discovered that this area is one of the most important archaeological areas in all of Iraq. This part of Iraq was the first to be settled," he says. The messenger of Allah said, "The Hour will not come to pass before the river Euphrates dries up to unveil the mountain of gold, for which people will fight. Ninety-nine out of one hundred will die [in the fighting], and every man among them will say: 'Perhaps I may be the only one to remain alive'." - [Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim.]. And Allah knows best.

US advisor: Pakistan to collapse in 6 months

The Pakistani state could collapse within six months if immediate steps are not taken to remedy the situation, warned a top adviser to the US Central Command in an interview with Washington Post. David Kilcullen, who advises CENTCOM commander Gen. David H. Petraeus on the war on terror, urged US policy makers to focus their attention on Pakistan as a failure there could have devastating consequences for the entire international community. Kilcullen, who is credited with the success of the US troop surge strategy in Iraq, warned that if Pakistan went out of control, it would 'dwarf' all the crises in the world today. 'Pakistan...hands down. No doubt,' he said when asked to name the central front in the war against terror. Asked to explain why he thought Pakistan was so important, Kilcullen said: "Pakistan has 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the US Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control. Were now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover -- that would dwarf everything we've seen in the war on terror today."

China calls for an end to the US dollar

Another skirmish in the war of words in the most important economic relationship in the world - that between the US and China - broke out Monday, as the Governor of the People's Bank of China called for reform of the IMF and the promotion of the fund's own longstanding but underused "world currency"- special drawing rights (SDR). Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the Chinese central bank, implicitly criticised the status of the dollar as the world's sole reserve currency. "The price is becoming increasingly high, not only for the users, but also for the issuers of the reserve currencies," Mr Zhou said. He added: "The role of the SDR has not been put into full play due to limitations on its allocation and the scope of its uses. However, it serves as the light in the tunnel for the reform of the international monetary system. The goal of reforming the international monetary system, therefore, is to create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies." The dispute between the two economic powers comes days after a U.N. panel announced that will recommend next week that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favour of a shared basket of currencies.

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