Is the United States bankrolling its own enemies in Afghanistan? According to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the answer may very well be yes.

“Since 2002,” the report opens, “Congress has appropriated more than $70 billion to implement security and development assistance projects in Afghanistan, with some of those funds converted into cash and flowing through the Afghan economy.” But where has that cash gone? No one in the U.S. government knows for sure, and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai seems none too eager to assist Washington in finding out.

William F. Jasper, Senior Editor of The New American Magazine and National Correspondent for Liberty News Network reporting from the China – U.S. Governors Forum in Salt Lake City, Utah (July 15-17, 2011).

A strong supporter of Israel, Florida Republican Representative Allen West has openly railed against the plan to sell a United States tank to Egypt that is currently in the works. According to West, the sale would likely benefit the Muslim Brotherhood, which poses a risk to Israel.

The Blaze reports:

Rep. Allen West is reportedly “strongly opposed” to a planned U.S. sale of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Egypt given the growing probability that the Muslim Brotherhood could, at some point in the near future, lead the Egyptian government. Allowing the sale of such tanks, would, according to West, “seriously jeopardize the safety and security of the state of Israel.“ West added that the ”last thing” he wants to see are Egyptian M1A1 tanks “rolling through the Sinai toward Jerusalem.”

Early last week, a protest ship set off from Greece for the Gaza Strip to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Reports from pro-Palestinian protesters indicate that the ship should arrive at the Hamas-run territory as early as today.

The Blaze writes:

Nahla Chahal said the ship, the Dignity al-Karama, was expected reach Gaza by Monday unless the Israeli navy stops it. The ship was part of a larger protest flotilla that had hoped to break the blockade several weeks ago but was thwarted by Greece.

The ship, which left its port late Saturday, is carrying 16 passengers from France, Sweden, and Canada, as well as a correspondent from an Israeli newspaper and reporters from the Al-Jazeera satellite channel.
 

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has decided that one of the serious problems with the nation he bullies is that there are not enough prison cells. This is a common “problem” of collectivists.  Because coercion is their only real tool, although it is often artfully hidden, they must be able to force people to do what they want. On Friday Chavez instructed prison officials to build more prison cells because of recent prison riots.

"New facilities must be built. Those old jails must be transformed. Thanks to God that this case was resolved," Chavez said. He said that the trade of guns and drugs in his prisons "It's like a cancer. We must fight against that." The Venezuelan strongman also commented about his recent treatment for cancer: "I know there are people who are happy because they believe I'm dying, that I'm going to die soon, but those evil wishes are part of that hatred ... That is erased like a tsunami of love by the blessings and prayers of a nation, of millions."

The Associated Press reports:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration has decided to formally recognize Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government. The move gives foes of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a major financial and credibility boost.
 
Clinton announced Friday that Washington accepts the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority of the Libyan people.
 
Diplomatic recognition of the council means that the U.S. will be able to fund the opposition with some of the more than $30 billion in Gadhafi-regime assets that are frozen in American banks.

On Thursday, July 14, 2011, a young Cuban who tried to stow away inside the landing gear of a Spanish airliner died during the nine-hour flight from Havana to Madrid. It was, ironically, Lenin who invented the term “voting with their feet” during the Russian Civil War to describe people moving into areas controlled by the Communists. Collectivists have never found occasion to use that term again.

The flight of Cubans out of their horrific prison camp nation to anywhere else is a 60-year-old story. Fidel Castro inherited a nation that was among the most prosperous in the Western Hemisphere. Although there was much to dislike about Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban leader whom Castro ousted, there was also much to admire about Cuba before Castro.
 

According to internationally acclaimed author and highly regarded expert Lester Brown, writing in the January 10 issue of Foreign Policy magazine:

Tonight there will be 219,000 additional mouths to feed at the dinner table, and many of them will be greeted with empty plates.

Another 219,000 will join us tomorrow night.

In Sana’a, the capital of Yemen — home to 2 million people — tap water is available only once every 4 days; in [nearby] Taiz, it is [only available] once every 20 days.

Virtually all of the top 20 countries considered to be “failing states” [defined as suffering massive economic decline] are depleting their natural assets — forests, grasslands, soils and aquifers — [just to] sustain their … populations.

Grassroots concern over these budding partnerships between U.S. governors and Communist Chinese officials is increasing as the first U.S.-China Governors Forum convenes in conjunction with an annual meeting of the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City July 15-17.



Taliban forces are reportedly taking credit for the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother, who was shot in the head by the long-time chief of his own security detail on July 12.

Police are still investigating and said an internal dispute, not politics, could have been the motive. The BBC suggested rival criminals could have been to blame. But the Taliban resistance sent a message to Al Jazeera boasting of their role in the murder and warning all government officials to resign or be killed - anywhere at any time.  

Ahmad was an extraordinarily influential figure in Afghan politics, especially in the volatile Southern region.

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