Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Operation Sweet Leaf

After most of a year investigating, police arrested sixteen people around the Denver metro today for involvement in a drug trafficking ring, and more arrests are expected. Officers, including SWAT personnel, raided a total of twenty-five houses (fifteen in Adams County, three in Broomfield, four in Denver, and one each in Weld County, Erie and Breckenridge. Unfortunately seven children were found during the raids and had to be placed in children protective services. North Metro Drug Task Force Commander Jerry Peters said, "the illegal pot trafficking crackdown did not involve medical marijuana. The probe targeted illicit growers who were shipping the pot out of state using the U.S. Postal Service."

Due to medical marijuana being legal in Colorado, a growing amount of people have used the low level of laws to hide operations such as this, pretending to grow for legal purposes, but then smuggling the product to other states. This was by far the biggest operation seen. Some of the homes raided, had nothing in them except for the marijuana plants and the required growth facilities, clearly having been bought purely for the purpose of this organization. The homes were located in upscale neighborhoods, in an attempt to avoid any kind of notice.

Operation Sweet Leaf, as it was called, was aided by the joint forces of the North Metro Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, Internal Revenue Service, United States Postal Service, South Metro Drug Task Force, Boulder County Drug Task Force, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Weld County Sheriff’s Office, Denver Police Department Narcotics Unit and Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Middle East Rundown 1-25-12

First to Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh not only left the country to seek medical treatment in the US, but left power as well. In November he had signed an agreement to turn power over to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, but it took til Monday for him to actually fully leave. Part of the agreement was that he was granted immunity from any prosecution. As he left Saleh said, "I ask for forgiveness from all sons of the nation, women and men, for any shortcomings during my thirty-three years in office." The fate of Yemen is yet unknown as, during the turmoil demanding Saleh's resignation, Al Qaeda made significant gains in the south of the country, including the town of Radda. Saudi Arabia and the United States, whilst stating their deep alliance with the country of Yemen, have done very little to combat the increasing presence of the terrorist organization.

In Bahrain, at least forty-one police were injured when mobs violently attacked and beat them after a leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, let loose a tirade which included the statement, "Let us die for our honour." as he told his followers to "crush" the Sunni regime. Until today the protests in the country had been peaceful demonstrations. Now it seems the country may see violence take over the movement which opposes the the government of King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa. As in many parts of the Muslim world the differences are between the two different, prominent religious groups.

Jordan's King Abdullah welcomed the leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal. The terrorist organization has found it increasingly difficult to keep it's headquarters in Damascus as Syria and Iran have been most unhappy that the group has not put support behind President Assad's beleaguered regime. The Jordanian government had expelled Hamas back in 1999, but relations have warmed up over the last couple years. Unconfirmed reports have Mashall meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, another terrorist organization. If correct it would suggest the rival groups are serious about unifying their efforts.

Demonstrators in Egypt are commemorating the year anniversary of the beginning of the Tahrir Square movement which was successful in toppling President Hosni Mubarak. But instead of festive celebration they are there to protest the continued control of the government by the military council, which they accuse of still carrying out the orders of Mubarak. The council is supposed to maintain power until the newly elected parliament is ready to do so. In the election, nearly half of the seats went to parties controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, parties which had been illegal under Mubarak's rule.

The interim Libyan government, National Transition Council, found its militia chased out of Bani Walid. Fighters of the Warfallah tribe have taken control and been recognized as the official local government. Both sides agreed to concessions, stating that, "to keep the whole country peaceful and that national unity was a priority," per Salah al-Maayuf, a member of the Warfallah Elders Counci. Many other towns and villages are likely to have similar circumstances occur, as the central government has very little control.

Iran and Syria continue to be thorns in the side of the United States, European Union, and the United Nations. It has only increased due to continued Russian opposition towards any kind of sanctions or military intervention. Russia has placed naval troops in the area, and stated that she is their friend no matter what comes. She has also moved up to supplying them with military hardware. It had been expected Russia would back down from their support, after China did so on Saturday. The Chinese and Russians had been the only countries providing any kind of support to the two allies. But as long as the Russians continue this posture, no UN resolutions will be possible, due to Russia's veto powers on the UN Security Council.

Russian Jets for Syria

Russia and Syria have announced a deal in which Syria will purchase combat training jets. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "If it's accurate, it would be quite concerning. Our firm belief is that any country that is still trading in weapons and armaments with Syria really needs to think twice." Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin replied, "No one must interfere with Syria. This is dangerous." Russia is already taking heat for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution to sanction Syria and is under questioning as to why it's navy delivered munitions earlier this month, when on a 'show of friendship' mission.

Over the last ten months, the Syrian government has been brutally oppressing it's people for demanding that President Bashar al-Assad leave power. It is estimate that near ten thousand have been killed in the conflict, which has led to civil war in some parts of the country. One of the latest deaths was that of Syrian Red Crescent vice-president Abdulrazak Jbeiro, who was assassinated on his way to investigate the city of Idlib, which has been a center of the violence. The Red Crescent, is a Muslim organization that has much the same role of the Red Cross. Both the security forces and local anti government forces were quick to point fingers at each other.

Occupy Camp Igloo

Davos, Switzerland is now the home to Occupy's Camp Igloo, sponsored by Occupy WEF. They're in the process of building twenty-five to fifty igloos in preparation for the of arrival of the World Economic Forum, a group clearly likely to pay heed to their shrill whining about being the ninety-nine percent. Or not at all.

Why igloos? Cause it's mid winter in Switzerland and temperatures are between ten and twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit? Or is it because they hate snow and so are purposefully turning it into ice and then desecrating it with their foul stench, not to mention how they smell?

Random thought, but if you're taking all this time to build a home to protest people who have money, why not start a non profit construction company and build permanent houses for the homeless. But no, then you'd be thinking of someone other than yourself. And having to work! Perish that thought. Go have fun in your ice house.