Bernie Kerik, more commonly known as Rudy Guliani's BFF was involved in a bit of a tangle this year. On May 26, 2009, Kerik plead guilty charges of conspiracy, tax fraud, and making false statements. After receiving about $225,000 in renovations to his Bronx apartment from a company wanting to do business with New York City and concealing that income from the IRS, Kerik proceeded to screw himself by giving false and misleading answers to White House officials questioning his relationship with the contractors. Alas, poor Kerik's political career is now completely burned to ashes. A lesson to all the kids out there (and apparently one adult): don't play with fire.
2009 was a fun year for Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai was inaugarated for his second term as president of Afghanistan on November 19, 2009, following a lengthy election plagued with low voter turn out, ballot stuffing, intimidation and other electoral fraud.Amidst pressure from the United States and other Western nations, a second round run off vote was announced for November 7, 2009 between incumbent Hamid Karzai and his challenger, Adbullah Abdullah. However, on November 1, Abdullah announced he would not participate in the run off because his demands for change in the electoral commission were not met. Hamid Karzai was announced president on November 2, leaving fans of people with repeating names disappointed.
Iran held it's 10th Presidential Election this June, with incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad running against three challengers. On the morning of June 13th, the Iran's official news agency announced Ahmadinejad the winner with 2/3 of the vote counted. It was reported that Ahmadinejad had won 62.46% of the votes and that Mir-Hossein Mousavi had won 33.87% of the popular vote. Several journalists and other observers from the United States and other Western Countries expressed concern over the results. Iranians took to the streets, protesting the results, and due to the strict censorship of the media, utilized sites such as facebook and twitter to keep others informed of what was happening in their country. Americans showed support by changing their twitter backgrounds to green, and setting their times to Tehran time and then forgetting about that issue once Michael Jackson passed.For reference: This is a good start. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_presidential_election,_2009 But there are much better and more in depth articles out there, and I encourage you to read more. I dedicate this post to my dear friend, Alireza.
Blackwater USA, now known as XE, is a private military organization started by founders Erik Prince and Al Clark, that provided security services to U.S. Government Officials in Iraq, particularly the C.I.A. In June of 2009, Blackwater was accused of allegedly killing an Iraqi family, including a nine year old boy as they traveled from the Baghdad airport to Baghdad. In August of 2009, a series of sworn affidavits lodged at a Virginia court, including allegations against Blackwater or murder, weapons smuggling, and the deliberate slaughter of civilians, with claims that founder Erik Prince organized the killings of former employees cooperating with U.S. investigators. One of the affidavits accused Erik Prince of having a crusader like ideology, claiming that he believed it was his duty to rid the world of Muslims and the Islamic faith.
Accusations against Blackwater date as far back as 2004, and in January of this year their application to continue operations in Iraq was denied. However, due to their contract with the Department of State, some employees of Blackwater remained working in Iraq through September of 2009, albeit illegally.Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=567988
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