Well, Mr Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well, the note reads."????
do you think this guy was a Ron Paul voter? do you think this guy was listening to Alex Jones? Just wondering what is about to come out about this guy.
The pilot of a plane which crashed into an office block in Austin, Texas left a note expressing his anger at federal tax authorities, police say.
Police are linking the apparent suicide note left online to Joseph Andrew Stack, the man named as the pilot.
The note criticised the Internal Revenue Service - based inside the office block and declared: "Violence is the only answer".
Firefighters continue to search for one person who is still unaccounted for.
The single-engined Piper Cherokee airplane hit the second floor of the seven-storey building at 0956 local time (1556GMT).
It had taken off from nearby Georgetown airport in Texas, and did not file a flight plan, Lynn Lunsford of the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Twisted metal and debris seemed to be the only thing left on some floors
Heather Wills, from Austin, told the BBC that she was driving past when she saw the huge cloud of black smoke.
"As I got nearer I could see flames leaping out of the building - the flames were two storeys high. I could hear the glass windows shattering from the heat.
"My first thought was that it was a fire. The traffic was backed up all along the freeway."
Around 190 IRS employees work in the office complex and some were forced to climb out of windows after the plane burst into flames.
Two people were taken to hospital, but it is not clear if they were seriously injured. There has been no official statement on the status of the pilot.
Police are also investigating whether Mr Stack set fire to his house before crashing the plane.
The message on the website apparently registered to and signed by Mr Stack speaks of having problems with the IRS.
"Well, Mr Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well," the note reads.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said there was no cause for concern and assured residents that it was an isolated incident.
The White House said the crash did not appear to be an act of terrorism.
of really? so was it a man made disaster then? crikey!
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama had been briefed about the incident.
The Department of Homeland Security was investigating the crash, he added.
As a precaution, the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston, Texas, to patrol the area.
In comments to be aired on Dubai TV, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim called for Interpol to issue "a red notice against the head of Mossad ... as a killer in case Mossad is proved to be behind the crime, which is likely now".
International pressure intensified against Israel's spy service as official "wanted" notices were released for the suspected team of Israeli secret agents accused of participating in the assassination. The faces of an 11-strong alleged hit squad appeared on the Interpol website this morning, 48 hours after authorities in the United Arab Emirates issued arrest warrants for the killing last month of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
The intelligence world is dirty and grey, and Britain, despite its attempts to be perceived as a moral force, has to play with the dirtiest to ensure that it can share information that is so crucial to maintaining a handle on enemies and potential enemies.
Co-operation with Mossad or with Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, or the Saudis or Algerians is as vital as it is to share in the intercepted signals and intelligence material acquired by the American National Security Agency.
Having a relationship with Mossad has always been difficult. When its agents abuse the intelligence contract by exploiting the virtues of a British passport in the cause of a plot to eliminate one of Israel’s perceived top enemies, it is not surprising that affronted politicians are demanding an apology and a pledge from Israel that such devious methods will never be used again.However, the anger in London over the murder of the Hamas commander in Dubai is more about Mossad’s temerity in sending six of its agents to the Gulf with British passports. The last time Mossad was caught red-handed with British passports was in 1987, and then Israel promised never again to resort to such deception. No one really believed that Mossad would honour its pledge.
In the intelligence business, it’s called “false flagging”, in which secret operators using passports of foreign nationals cover their tracks while travelling incognito to complete covert missions.
Margaret Thatcher ordered the closure of Mossad’s station in London in the 1980s when Israeli agents were flagrantly planning assassination operations against suspected Palestinian militants in exile in Britain. But Mossad returned.
If you work in the intelligence game, you have to be aware of the grey areas. Mossad may have no time for MI6’s more bureaucratic rules, but the Israeli organisation is a unique asset.
This applies not only to the security of its own country but also for the West’s because of its ability to operate secretly in the militant Islamic world. Sharing with Mossad, however, can be a dangerous business.
Similarly, talking to the ISI has the potential for embarrassment. But the arrest of Afghan Taleban commanders in Pakistan has underlined its importance, despite an ambivalent attitude towards the Taleban. Without ISI help, the war in Afghanistan will not be won.
Jahangir Amuzegar, who was Finance Minister in Iran’s pre-1979 government, sifts through the rumours and realities of Iran’s banking sector. Originally published in Foreign Policy:
Rumors have recently spread among Iran’s jittery populace regarding the state of their country’s banking system. Although these rumors happen to be nothing but a false alarm, the financial sector really is, and has been, in crisis for a number of different reasons.
The current spate of rumors began on Jan. 28, when Iran’s commercial banks were ordered by the central bank to limit each depositor’s daily cash withdrawal to 150 million rials (about $15,000). The order was explained by authorities as a means of implementing the anti-money-laundering legislation just passed by the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, and combating what the finance minister called “financial terrorism.”
This announcement coincided with an unrelated statement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad two days earlier regarding the elimination of “three zeros” from the currency, due to its drop in value, and the government’s intention to restore the Iranian currency to its “real value.” These dual developments aroused widespread suspicions among the traditionally cynical rank and file, who were already rightly skeptical of the often exaggerated and frequently contradictory economic statistics coming out of Tehran over the past five years. Sporadic news reports about the banking system’s undercapitalization and the rising number of its nonperforming loans added to mounting anxieties.
Within a few hours, Facebook and Twitter messages spread and amplified rumors about a run on banks, customers rushing to withdraw their savings, and street clashes among depositors. Two of the largest state-owned commercial banks — Mellat and Melli — were said to be on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. Neither the vigorous denials by the two banks, nor the government’s solemn assurances regarding the banking system’s solid financial position, managed to quash the false alarms, and there were reports of ugly encounters in some provincial bank branches.
Curiously enough, the obvious absurdity of the bankruptcy rumors was missed even in some quarters that should have known better. Commercial banks facing liquidity problems in any modern state can always resort to the central bank’s “open window” to borrow needed funds. And the central bank, with a printing press at its disposal, can never run out of money to lend. The bankruptcy of a state central bank, and by implication the failure of state banks, is a theoretical as well as existential impossibility. Depositors in state banks never lose their savings overnight through bank failures, but only through a hidden tax called inflation. Although the Islamic Republic has never established formal deposit insurance, as in the United States, all state bank deposits are de facto guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the central government.
The real problems faced by the Iranian state banking system are rooted in a host of other shortcomings. The banking sector is the most laggard area of the Iranian economy. Iran’s state-owned banks suffer from high overhead costs — too many branches, too many employees, and poor management — with operating costs estimated at four times the world average. Furthermore, the Majlis and government-dictated loans to state entities and public projects at below-inflation rates make them highly unprofitable.
Finally, Iran’s state banks suffer badly from enormous nonperforming assets. These unrepaid loans — estimated at $48 billion, or 2½ times the banks’ own capital — have increased sevenfold in the last five years. To put that figure in perspective, Iranian banks accumulated less than $4 billion in nonperforming assets during the previous hundred years of Iranian banking history! These loans constitute nearly 20 percent of total bank assets — compared with a world average of 3 to 5 percent. Around half of the arrears are owed by state-owned corporations. Seventy percent of the total is owed by only 1,000 entities (including some “shell,” or nonexisting, paper corporations). Some $23 billion is owned by four state banks — Melli, Mellat, Saderat, and Tejarat — with Melli carrying the largest burden.
Borrowed funds are not paid back on time for several reasons. Ahmadinejad’s administration limited the banks’ annual lending interest rate to 12 percent — in an economy that is experiencing much higher inflation rates, reaching 29.5 percent in September 2009 — a heaven-sent incentive for borrowers to renege on their obligations and postpone repayment for as long as possible. The difference between the state banks’ borrowing rate on the one hand, and informal bazaar rates on the other, create what economists call an intrinsic “rent” element. That is, the unsupervised funds, borrowed from an Iranian state bank at 12 percent, may be re-lent in the bazaar at rates up to 30 to 45 percent — or even placed in other banks as long-term savings deposits, accruing 18 percent interest. As a result, borrowers rationally decide to forego the “late payment” penalty of six percent and postpone repayment as long as they can.
The Islamic Republic’s endemic cronyism and flawed policies represent a constant impediment to the profitability of Iran’s financial sector. Influential and well-connected borrowers — state entities connected with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, siblings and grandees of clerical leadership, and clever apparatchiks — easily manage to borrow large amounts without sufficient guarantees for repayment. One single borrower is reported to have obtained $100 million! These politically connected debtors often refuse to pay back their loans, and suffer no penalties. Under one government project, hundreds of small businesses promising to create jobs have managed to receive funds without proper scrutiny of their projects and are now unable to service their debts due to causes that range from the recession to their own incompetence. The sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States, and the poor performance of the Iranian economy — GDP growth was just 1 percent last year, even with rising oil prices — has dealt another blow to Iran’s banking sector. An estimated 6,700 businesses were unable to service their financial obligations last year and received a one-year grace period by their banks.
The real problems facing Iran’s state banks — poor management, undue political interference, and the incongruity of mixing seventh-century Islamic finance principles (the foundation of the Iranian banking system) with the exigencies of the highly complicated world of modern international finance — should inspire Iranians to keep a wary eye on their economy’s bottom line.
Mr. Schwarzenegger singled out environmental obstacles that are blocking construction of alternative energy farms in the Mojave Desert. Some of his green allies have become “fanatics,” he said, and “go overboard.” He then launched an extended riff explaining why he thought environmental objections to the Mojave Desert projects on the grounds they could hurt endangered species were, well, specious.
Some 85 Israeli citizens who were wounded in the Second Lebanon War filed a legal suit in the US against Iran's central bank and Iranian commercial banks for a total of $1 billion.
This is the suit of its kind against the Iranian banking system. The suit claims that Iran supplied Hezbollah with more than $50 million in the years leading up to the war with the intention of empowering the organization to fire at Israeli and American targets.
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