SDB Evening News Reads for 060911: Infusion…Implosion

We are having a big storm here in Banjoville! It is so nice to have some rain to wash away all that dust and allergy stuff.

On with the Infusion…

Libya rebels to receive huge cash infusion – The Washington Post

Western and Middle Eastern countries began opening the aid spigots Thursday for Libya’s beleaguered rebels, approving measures that will immediately send at least $1 billion to the opposition and promising much larger sums in the weeks ahead.

The cash infusion came as the Obama administration took a step toward officially recognizing Libya’s main rebel group, with the State Department declaring the Transitional National Council (TNC) “the legitimate interlocutor” for the Libyan people, even as Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi clung to power.

…and the implosion…

Gingrich presidential campaign implodes – The Fix – The Washington Post

In the immediate aftermath of the departures, which several sources said came at a meeting Thursday in Gingrich’s Washington office, Gingrich released a statement via Facebook pledging to continue in the race.

“I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” Gingrich wrote. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”

Dakinikat has a breaking news post on the “Staff of Newt” exodus here.

Another large amount of refugees are making their way out of Syria into Turkey as they escape an increasingly dangerous situation.

Thousands enter Turkey to escape Syria unrest – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Most of the Syrian refugees in Turkey arrived this week, according to the UN [EPA]

More than 2,400 Syrians have fled into neighbouring Turkey to escape the unrest in Jisr al-Shughur and other towns, according to the UN and Turkish officials.

Refugees started entering Turkey on April 29, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

But the flow of refugees has increased sharply this week. More than 1,000 people crossed the border in the last 24 hours, the UNHCR said on Thursday.

If anyone has CitiGroup accounts or credit cards, take notice!

Yet another hack, yet another delay in reporting it – Fortune Tech

The latest known hack, which occurred more than a month ago, was announced this morning: Citigroup (C) said information for about 210,000 customers, or 1% of its credit-card holders in North America, was stolen. The information included card numbers and contact information including email addresses. The bank said other data, such as Social Security numbers, birth date, expiration dates and card verification numbers were not compromised.

And in some disturbing Diplomatic News:  Why is Barack Obama meeting with an African tyrant? The White House rolls out the red carpet for President Ali Bongo of Gabon – Telegraph Blogs

The White House is rolling out the red carpet today for President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, whose penniless West African regime is notorious for its human rights abuses and widespread corruption (hat tip: this eye-opening report by ABC News). In yet another display of extraordinarily bad judgment, the Obama administration is extending the hand of friendship to another prominent tyrant, just two days after Washington sided with Hugo Chavez and various Latin American despots against Britain in a declaration over the Falkland Islands by the Organisation of American States (OAS).

At the press conference today…

…Jay Carney struggled to explain why President Bongo has been accorded the honour of a White House visit, admitting to ABC News that he has a “less than sterling record”. But, said Carney, it was still “very important” for Bongo to meet with the US president, because:

First of all, the president of Gabon is making reform efforts, which we support. Secondly … Gabon has been an important partner in some of the issues that are very important to American national security.

This statement about “efforts” made by Ali Bongo Ondimba is a stretch.  It looks like Carney is trying to spin the fact that this is yet another Human Rights offender that the US is giving legitimacy to by allowing and fostering this Official White House visit.

And as the US State Department points out in its latest annual report, Gabon has an appalling human rights record:

The following human rights problems were reported: ritualistic killings; use of excessive force by police; harsh prison conditions and lengthy pretrial detention; an inefficient judiciary subject to government influence; restrictions on privacy and press; harassment and extortion of African immigrants and refugees; widespread government corruption; violence against women; societal discrimination against women, noncitizen Africans, Pygmies, and persons with HIV/AIDS; and trafficking in persons, particularly children.

Is this really the kind of “partner” the White House wants to cultivate? The decision by President Obama to host one of Africa’s worst despots is a sad reflection on the current US administration, whose dictator-friendly foreign policy, from Tehran to Khartoum to Libreville, is an embarrassment for the leader of the free world.

That is it for today.

What do you find interesting about that? We have had some great commentary and lots of discussion the last couple days…let’s keep it going.