Unlike their ancestors’ cargoes of spices, salts and silks, the contraband that Gao’s smugglers bring in today from Colombia is deemed strictly “haram”, or forbidden, by Islam.
Yet the city’s ever-zealous Islamist morality police have a good reason for turning a blind eye. For it is thanks to the trans-Saharan cocaine trade that Islamist groups like al-Qaeda have become a power in the region, building up formidable war chests to buy both arms and recruits.
The cocaine trade first exploded in this region five years ago, as Latino cartels, faced with a saturated market in the US, sought new routes to get their product to Europe’s borders. First the drug is shipped or flown across the Atlantic to lawless, corrupt coastal states like Guinea Bissau, then it is moved thousands of miles across the Sahara to Algeria, Morocco and Libya.
Now, though, the trade’s potential to wreak far wider havoc has become horrifyingly clear, in helping to bankroll the al-Qaeda movements behind both the Islamist take-over of northern Mali and the murder of western workers at the Algerian gas facility earlier this month.
The planes into Gao fly in directly from Venezuela, drugs’ #1 point of departure in Latin America.
In addition to the profiting, al-Qaeda terrorists use stimulants – cocaine, meth – during battle.
The war on terror and the war on drugs have joined into a new stage.
The first two-dimensional bar codes, or QR codes, as they’re known, were installed Friday at Arpoador, a massive boulder that rises at the end of Ipanema beach. The image was built into the sidewalk with the same black and white stones that decorate sidewalks around town with mosaics of waves, fish and abstract images.
This is in preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today ruled that President Obama’s so-called “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last January are invalid.
The Amicus Brief was filed by Miguel Estrada, who, as you may recall, had been blocked by Senate Democrats when George W. Bush nominated him to the same United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2001 because Latinos can be wise only if they are female liberals.
take a look at pages 17-18 inthe opinion Not only did Obama unconstitutionally arrogate to himself the ability to determine when the Senate is in session, the court now holds that the appointment power exists only in the formal Recess between sessions…Not only that, but the court also ruled that the vacancies had to arise during The Recess as well (page 23)
Moe Lane of Red State adds, “the short version is that if this gets upheld by the Supremes (and the thinking is that the court is going to either uphold the smaller decision 7-2, or 9-0) then pretty much every favor Barack Obama’s done Big Labor lately ain’t worth diddly.”
Or as John Steele Gordon of Commentary writes, “Assuming this decision stands, all the decisions of the NLRB since January 4th, 2012, will be void. His appointment of Richard Cordray head to the new, and very powerful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, made at the same time, and being challenged in a separate case, would also fall.”
Will that mean the end of the recess appointment altogether?
Spain’s El Pais newspaper has apologised after publishing a photo of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez which it said has turned out to be a fake.
The photo shows a man in hospital with a tube in his mouth and was printed on the front page with the headline: “the secret of Chavez’s illness”.
The photo (above) looks like a still frame of a YouTube released last month of a man being intubated in a hospital, who, in my opinion is 1. not Hugo Chavez, and 2. taking place perhaps in a Central American hospital (because of the accents), but definitely not in Cuba or Venezuela.
Hillary Clinton is ending her tenure as secretary of state in fiery fashion. “You really get the sense that [Mrs.] Clinton barely managed to restrain herself from dropping an F-bomb there,” remarks New York magazine’s Dan Amira. He refers to an exchange between the secretary and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing this morning.
Johnson pressed her about the administration’s conflicting explanations for the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” said the secretary snappishly to the senator. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”
So it’s “our job to figure out what happened” but it doesn’t make a difference what happened? Huh? What would we do without rhetorical questions? We suppose we’d answer them, as Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin does:
The answer to her question is clear. An administration that sought, for political purposes, to give the American people the idea that al-Qaeda had been “decimated” and was effectively out of commission had a clear motive during a presidential campaign to mislead the public about Benghazi. The fact that questions are still unanswered about this crime and that Clinton and President Obama seem more interested in burying this story along with the four Americans that died is an outrage that won’t be forgotten.
Well, gosh, I can think of a few reasons why it matters. First, it mattered enough for the Obama administration to send Susan Rice to five different Sunday talk shows to insist that the sacking was a spontaneous demonstration of anger over a months-old YouTube video, while saying that there was “no evidence” that it was a terrorist attack. On one of those appearances, the president of Libya told US audiences the exact opposite — that it was the work of terrorists and that they had a pretty good idea of who they were. If it didn’t matter, what was Susan Rice doing when she tried pushing that meme, which the White House had to abandon within days as leaks within State and CIA made plain that there was no demonstration?
It also matters because Barack Obama at the time had been bragging about crippling al-Qaeda while on the campaign trail. That false narrative made it seem as though State and our intel community couldn’t have possibly known that the sacking would have occurred, and got blindsided by a grassroots reaction to the video. Instead, it turned out to be a planned terrorist action about which the US embassy in Libya had warned State for months, repeatedly requesting more security.
There’s also the matter of Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya and his undeclared war against Moammar Qaddafi. His actions, and that of NATO in following his initial lead, decapitated the ruthless regime that at least was keeping a lid on terrorist networks in eastern Libya. The rise of those networks in the Benghazi region should have been a predictable outcome from the power vacuum the US/NATO campaign left in the region, which resulted in the ability to conduct this attack. That also reflects on the decision to remove the military security at the consulate even with the deteriorating environment very clear to anyone paying attention. That also matters because of how the transfer of weapons to the militias in that US/NATO effort and the resultant power vacuum has destabilized Mali and potentially a wide swath of North Africa.
So it matters because of credibility.
And yes, “What difference does it make?” is the attitude of someone who feels entitled to their high place.
Latin America’s not the only source for bizarre news.
88-year old Frank Lautenberg (Senator for my district), who went back to the Senate in 2003 thanks to the Torricelli maneuver, is upset enough at the prospect of Newark mayor Corey Booker challenging for the seat that he let it rip,
“I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell you that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK,” Lautenberg said with a smile in his first public comments since Booker announced he was considering a run for Senate.
This statement is wrong in so many levels (and he gets away with the obvious because he’s a Democrat), where to start?
By asking, “you and who else, Frank?”
On this corner we have 88-year old walking-with-a-cane Lautenberg.