Wednesday, November 16, 2011

STRATFOR: Europe's Crisis: Beyond Finance


The crisis one has after getting caught

STRATFOR
By George Friedman
11/15/2011

Everyone is wondering about the next disaster to befall Europe.; Spain is also a possibility. But these crises are already under way. Instead, the next crisis will be political, not in the sense of what conventional politician is going to become prime minister, but in the deeper sense of whether Europe’s political elite can retain power, or whether new political forces are going to emerge that will completely reshape the European political landscape. If this happens, it will be by far the most important consequence of the European financial crisis.

     Thus far we have seen some changes in personalities in the countries at the center of the crisis. In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou stepped aside, while in Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi now has resigned. Though these resignations have represented a formal change of government, they have not represented a formal policy change. In fact, Papandreou and Berlusconi both stepped down on the condition that their respective governments adopt the austerity policies proposed during their respective tenures.

Europeanists dominate the coalitions that have replaced them. They come from the generation and class that are deeply intellectually and emotionally committed to the idea of Europe. For them, the European Union is not merely a useful tool for achieving national goals. Rather, it is an alternative to nationalism and the horrors that nationalism has brought to Europe. It is a vision of a single Continent drawn together in a common enterprise — prosperity — that abolishes the dangers of a European war, creates a cooperative economic project and, least discussed but not trivial, returns Europe to its rightful place at the heart of the international political system.

    For the generation of leadership born just after World War II that came to political maturity in the last 20 years, the European project was an ideological given and an institutional reality. These leaders formed an international web of European leaders who for the most part all shared this vision. This leadership extended beyond the political sphere: Most European elites were committed to Europe (there were, of course, exceptions).

 

Greece and the Struggle of the European Elite

 

    Now we are seeing this elite struggle to preserve its vision. When Papandreou called for a referendum on austerity, the European elite put tremendous pressure on him to abandon his initiative. Given the importance of the austerity agreements to the future of Greece, the idea of a referendum made perfect sense. A referendum would allow the Greek government to claim its actions enjoyed the support of the majority of the Greek people. Obviously, it is not clear that the Greeks would have approved the agreement. 

Loser, Traitor:  Sold Greek people down river on referendum vote
Led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European elite did everything possible to prevent such an outcome. This included blocking the next tranche of bailout money and suspending all further bailout money until Greek politicians could commit to all previously negotiated austerity measures. European outrage at the idea of a Greek referendum makes perfect sense.

    Coming under pressure from Greece and the European elite, Papandreou resigned and was replaced by a former vice president of the European Central Bank. Already abandoned by Papandreou, the idea of a referendum disappeared.

    Two dimensions explain this outcome. The first was national. The common perception in the financial press is that Greece irresponsibly borrowed money to support extravagant social programs and then could not pay off the loans. But there also is validity to the Greek point of view. From this perspective, under financial pressure, the European Union was revealed as a mechanism for Germany to surge exports into developing EU countries via the union’s free trade system. Germany also used Brussels’ regulations and managed the euro such that Greece found itself in an impossible situation. Germany then called on Athens to impose austerity on the Greek people to save irresponsible financiers who, knowing perfectly well what Greece’s economic position was, were eager to lend money to the Greeks. Each version of events has some truth to it, but the debate ultimately was between the European and Greek elites. It was an internal dispute, and whether for Greece’s benefit or for the European financial system’s benefit, both sides were committed to finding a solution.

Merkel also shafted Sarkozy
The second dimension had to do with the Greek public and the Greek and European elites. The Greek elite clearly benefited financially from the European Union. The Greek public, by contrast, had a mixed experience. Certainly, the 20 years of prosperity since the 1990s benefited many — but not all. Economic integration left the Greek economy wide open for other Europeans to enter, putting segments of the Greek economy at a terrific disadvantage. European competitors overwhelmed workers in many industries along with small-business owners in particular. So there always was an argument in Greece for opposing the European Union. The stark choice posed by the current situation strengthened this argument, namely, who would bear the burden of the European system’s dysfunction in Greece? In other words, assuming the European Union was to be saved, who would absorb the cost? The bailouts promised by Germany on behalf of Europe would allow the Greeks to stabilize their financial system and repay at least some of their loans to Europe. This would leave the Greek elite generally intact. The price to Greece would be austerity, but the Greek elite would not pay that price. Members of the broader public — who would lose jobs, pensions, salaries and careers — would.

    Essentially, the first question was whether Greece as a nation would deliberately default on its debts

    The Greek government chose to seek accommodation with European needs and to allow the major impact of austerity to fall on the public as a consequence of the elite’s interests in Europe — now deep and abiding — and the ideology of Europeanism. Since by its very nature the burden of austerity would fall on the public, it was vital a referendum not be held. Even so, the Greeks undoubtedly would seek to evade the harshest dimensions of austerity. That is the social contract in Greece: The Greeks would promise the Europeans what they wanted, but they would protect the public via duplicity. While that approach might work in Greece, it cannot work in a country like Italy, whose exposure is too large to hide via duplicity. 

    Similarly, duplicity cannot be the ultimate solution to the European crisis.

 

The Real European Crisis

 

    And here we come to the real European crisis. Given the nature of the crisis, which we have seen play out in Greece, the European elite can save the European concept and their own interests only by transferring the cost to the broader public, and not simply among debtors. Creditors like Germany, too, must absorb the cost and distribute it to the public. German banks simply cannot manage to absorb the losses. Like the French, they will have to be recapitalized, meaning the cost will fall to the public. 

Europe was not supposed to work this way. Like Immanuel Kant’s notion of a “Perpetual Peace,” the European Union promised eternal prosperity. That plus preventing war were Europe’s great promises; there was no moral project beyond these. Failure to deliver on either promise undermines the European project’s legitimacy. If the price of retaining Europe is a massive decline in Europeans’ standard of living, then the argument for retaining the European Union is weakened.

    As important, if Europe is perceived as failing because the European elite failed, and the European elite is perceived as defending the European idea as a means of preserving its own interests and position, then the public’s commitment to the European idea — never as robust as the elite’s commitment — is put in doubt. The belief in Europe that the crisis can be managed within current EU structures has been widespread. The Germans, however, have floated a proposal that would give creditors in Europe — i.e., the Germans — the power to oversee debtors’ economic decisions. This would undermine sovereignty dramatically. Losing sovereignty for greater prosperity would work in Europe. Losing it to pay back the debts of Europe’s banks is a much harder sell.

 

The Immigrant Factor and Upcoming Elections

 

    All of this comes at a time of anti-immigrant, particularly anti-Muslim, feeling among the European public. In some countries, anger increasingly has been directed at the European Union and its borders policies — and at European countries’ respective national and international elites, who have used immigration to fuel the economy while creating both economic and cultural tensions in the native population. Thus, immigration has become linked to general perceptions of the European Union, opening both a fundamental economic and cultural divide between European elites and the public. 

Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment on rise in EU
Racial and ethnic tensions combined with economic austerity and a sense of betrayal toward the elite creates an explosive mixture. Europe experienced this during the inter-war period, though this is not a purely European phenomenon. Disappointment in one’s personal life combined with a feeling of cultural disenfranchisement by outsiders and the sense that the elite is neither honest, nor competent nor committed to the well-being of its own public tends to generate major political reactions anywhere in the world.

    Europe has avoided an explosion thus far. But the warning signs are there. Anti-European and anti-immigrant factions existed even during the period when the European Union was functioning, with far-right parties polling up to 16 percent in France. It is not clear that the current crisis has strengthened these elements, but how much this crisis will cost the European public and the absence of miraculous solutions also have not yet become clear. As Italy confronts its crisis, the cost — and the inevitably of the cost — will become clearer.

    A large number of elections are scheduled or expected in Europe in 2012 and 2013, including a French presidential election in 2012 and German parliamentary elections in 2013. At the moment, these appear set to be contests between the conventional parties that have dominated Europe since World War II in the West and since 1989 in the East. In general, these are the parties of the elite, all more or less buying into Europe. But anti-European factions have emerged within some of these parties, and as sentiment builds, new parties may form and anti-European factions within existing parties may grow. A crisis of this magnitude cannot happen without Tea Party- and Occupy Wall Street-type factions emerging. In Europe, however — where in addition to economics the crisis is about race, sovereignty, national self-determination and the moral foundations of the European Union — these elements will be broader and more intense.

    Populist sentiment coupled with racial and cultural concerns is the classic foundation for right-wing nationalist parties. The European left in general is part of the pro-European elite. Apart from small fragments, very little of the left hasn’t bought into Europe. It is the right that has earned a meaningful following by warning about Europe over the past 20 years. It thus would seem reasonable to expect that these factions will become much stronger as the price of the crisis — and who is going to bear it — becomes apparent.

    The real question, therefore, is not how the financial crisis works out. It is whether the European project will survive. And that depends on whether the European elite can retain its legitimacy. That legitimacy is not gone by any means, but it is in the process of being tested like never before, and it is difficult to see how the elite retains it. The polls don’t show the trend yet because the magnitude of the impact on individual lives has not manifested itself in most of Europe. When it does show itself, there will be a massive recalculation regarding the worth and standing of the European elite. There will be calls for revenge, and vows of never allowing such a thing to recur.

    Regardless of whether the next immediate European crisis is focused on Spain or Italy, it follows that by mid-decade, Europe’s political landscape will have shifted dramatically, with new parties, personalities and values emerging. The United States shares much of this trend, but its institutions are not newly invented. Old and not working creates problems; new and not working is dangerous. Why the United States will take a different path is a subject for another time. Suffice it to say that the magnitude of Europe’s problems goes well beyond finance.

    The European crisis is one of sovereignty, cultural identity and the legitimacy of the elite. The financial crisis has several outcomes, all bad. Regardless of which is chosen, the impact on the political system will be dramatic.

Images:  Google royalty-free.

This STRATFOR Intelligence Report is republished with permission and thanks from The 5th Estate.

The age of citizen spies is upon us


Poverty also has an impact; snitching to feed your kids will be popular excuse

Associated Press
By Madison Ruppert
11/14/2011

Citizen spies are the hallmark of totalitarian regimes, fomenting distrust and suspicion between what should be friendly neighbors in order to keep everyone in line.

    This has now expanded to countries that are billed as bastions of freedom (laughable though that may be) like the United States and the United Kingdom.

The citizen spy apparatus compliments a total surveillance state which is unfolding in America at a disturbing pace (also, see here and here).

These programs draw from precedents like the Ministry for State Security or Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), also known as the Stasi of East Germany.

Modern programs are arguably more insidious due to the powerful propaganda that backs them, like the infamous Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “see something, say something” program.

    One of the more recent incarnations of the citizen spy apparatus in the United States is the distribution of an 84-page manual to hotels around the country entitled “Protective Measures Guide for the U.S. Lodging Industry” distributed by Homeland Security and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

    In addition to the alliance with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Homeland Security has partnered with Major League Baseball, National Football League, Amtrak, the Mall of America, Walmart, Ohio State University, the University of Oklahoma , and the U.S. Tennis Association and many more to spread their virulent propaganda.

This manual teaches owners, managers and staff how to tell if a guest could be a potential terrorist. Yet, like all of the other DHS guidelines they are so absurdly general that almost anyone could be labeled a potential terrorist.

Some of these wildly generalized indicators are paying with cash and demanding privacy among other wholly innocuous activities that are now being branded as suspicious.

    If someone demanded privacy and they were bringing in large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer with drums of liquid nitromethane, then employees would be more than justified in reporting suspicious activity.

    Unfortunately, this is not what they are training them to do; they are training them to be perpetually paranoid and suspicious of all activity, no matter how innocent it actually is.

   The propaganda assault on behalf of the DHS has been expanded to a staggering 1.2 million hotel television sets in hotels across the country, including Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Holiday Inn and others.

    All of these hotels will display a 15-second advertisement which encourages citizens to report suspicious activity to law enforcement on the television welcome screen, according to a USA Today article published earlier this month.

    In principle, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reporting suspicious activity, however when harmless activity is rebranded as suspicious, there is reason for concern.

Furthermore, as Josh Meyer of the National Security Journalism Initiative pointed out to USA Today, these types of programs will likely create an influx of useless intelligence which is a massive waste of resources, time, and taxpayer dollars.

It could create “a huge amount of potentially baseless tips that will inundate local, state and federal law enforcement authorities,” Meyer said.

Not only does it breed unnecessary fear and suspicion, but it also will assuredly result in much more useless tips and information than would otherwise come in.

   To make matters worse, our so-called representatives in Washington are attempting to remove any and all repercussions for making false reports with the “See Something, Say Something Act of 2011.

    If someone sees a person engaging in the types of activities shown in the 15-second ad, they will almost certainly report it without prodding and fear mongering on the part of Homeland Security.

    Does it really take a public service announcement to tell you that someone messing with a device in a trunk of a car filled with gas canisters and propane tanks is suspicious?

   These types of clearly suspicious activities are already reported, but somehow DHS employees twist this to mean that we need more propaganda that expands the realm of suspicious activities into things as clearly innocuous as paying with cash or seeking privacy.

For instance, in the USA Today article, the sober assessment by Meyer is countered by a nonsensical statement from DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard.

Boogaard says that the incident in May of 2010 when two street vendors stopped an attempted car bombing by called in a smoking vehicle in Times Square in New York City.

    Is anyone really silly enough to think that people would suddenly stop reporting smoking cars in major populated areas if the propaganda ceased?

    Most Americans have been so indoctrinated at this point that I believe it is beyond the point of return for most and the push to expand the propaganda by the DHS will only prove harmful.

     However, it is not only the United States that has been brought into the era of citizen spies and total distrust of fellow citizens.

    Indeed Big Brother is thriving like never before in the United Kingdom, exemplified by the almost 10,000 volunteer citizen spies who have already signed up to tattle on neighbors for the despicable “environmental crime.”

Easy to make; easy to destroy
What is “environmental crime” you ask? The high crimes of failing to pick up dog feces, littering, and failing to properly sort trash number among the heinous acts that justify the implementation of citizen spies.

 
    I find it impossible to write about this without laughing out loud, mostly out of discomfort and disbelief.

    The volunteer citizen spies are outfitted with GPS computers or phone cards to cover their own costs, which they use to report the “crime” and provide the so-called authorities with location information “for a rapid response” according to the British Daily Mail.

    The program already has a stunning 9,831 individuals signed on to spy on their neighbors, a 17% increase from  just two years ago and another 1,310 are going to be added.

    London’s Hillingdon Council has the most “street champions” with some 4,850 volunteers recording 1,000 incidents per month on average.

    18 councils across England are implementing the truly Orwellian, Stalinesque program which recruits through council websites calling for “street champions” as well as local newspapers.

The director of civil liberties watchdog group Big Brother Watch, Nick Pickles, told the Daily Mail, “It should be deeply troubling for us all that councils seem not content with their own snooping and are now recruiting members of the public to assist them.”

    Just like the untrained citizen spies in America, Pickles points out that these neighborhood snoops “operate with little or no training, and there is no evidence to suggest it helps environmental crime.”

    “If a crime is committed, it is the police who should be involved, not local residents given hi-tech gadgets by councils, many of whom rarely pass up an opportunity to invade our privacy or hand out spurious fines,” Pickles said.

    Similarly, Emma Boon of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said, “Councils shouldn’t be asking people to spy on their neighbours…it could breed resentment within communities.”

    Their points are valid and important ones which are exemplified by social psychological research like the infamous Stanford prison experiment conducted by Philip Zimbardo.

    Give someone a sense of power over another human, contrived or otherwise, and bad things happen. Those with the power quickly lose their moral compass and begin to dehumanize and abuse those who they have power over.

It is a kind of feedback loop in which the superiors and subordinates feed off of each other’s actions, exacerbating the problem.

It is only logical to speculate that the type of people who would go out of their way to volunteer for these types of programs are likely to fall into the behavioral pattern exemplified by the Stanford prison experiment, as they are well aware that they’re signing up to be citizen spies.

    I would love to see a social psychological experiment conducted on these individuals, as it could give significant insight into the mindset involved in someone who volunteers to spy on their neighbors.

China outsources spying; traffics in human body parts
This program in the UK just exemplifies how the West is embracing the same tactics so long associated with brutal totalitarian regimes with disturbing ease.

Here in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security is making an all-out push towards a total surveillance state where citizen spies will only be a small part in the behemoth machine.

   One might argue that the citizen spies are not actually meant to produce actionable human intelligence, but instead to breed the same type of false divide seen in the Stanford prison experiment and a state of total distrust and paranoia just like that engineered by brutal authoritarian leaders like Stalin.

    The evidence does not support the contention that these types of programs are successful, indeed the huge amount of baseless suspicion created will likely outweigh what little positive impact the programs actually have.

    It is also a much more troubling representation of the direction our once free nation, along with the rest of the Western world, is taking. How far will we allow us to go down this road of rampant paranoia under the guise of national security?

Images:  Google royalty free.


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Devastation at Japan Site, Seen Up Close


When the real numbers finally come out on radiation releases from Fukushima's melted-down reactors Japan will cease to exist as a sovereign nation

New York Times
By Martin Fackler
11/12/2011

FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,  Japan

The most striking feature at this crippled plant on Saturday was not the blasted-out reactor buildings, or the makeshift tsunami walls, but the chaotic mess. 

     The ground around the hulking reactor buildings was littered with mangled trucks, twisted metal beams and broken building frames, left mostly as they were after one of the world’s largest recorded earthquakes started a chain reaction that devastated the region and, to some extent, Japan. The damage reached the second story, a testament to the size of the tsunami that slammed into the reactor buildings, which sit 33 feet above the sea. 

Fukushima far worse than Chernobyl
In a country as orderly as Japan, the fact that the scene has changed so little since the early days of the disaster eight months ago is as telling a sign as any of the daunting tasks workers have faced as they struggled to regain control of the plant’s three badly damaged reactors.

The press tour of the site, the first since disaster struck March 11, appeared to be Tokyo Electric Power Company’s way of declaring its confidence that it was close to stabilizing the plant.

    That message was driven home by the minister supervising the government’s response to the nuclear accident, Goshi Hosono, who visited the plant at the same time as the journalists. Speaking to hundreds of workers crammed into the plant’s crisis response center, he praised their hard work in difficult and dangerous conditions.

    “You were able to put an end to the very excruciating predicament that we faced in March and April,” said Mr. Hosono, who wore the blue uniform of the workers. “That is why we are able to get where we are now.” 

Thousands of animals died following Fukushima melt-downs
The hopeful talk skims over more troubling truths. Just two weeks ago, Tepco announced it found telltale signs that one of the reactor cores may have experienced a burst of renewed fission, a frightening sign that the company might not be as close to a stable shutdown as it said.

   And even when that milestone is reached, the country faces decades of budget-draining cleanup before the surrounding countryside can possibly become habitable again.

    While no one died in the nuclear accident, the environmental and human costs were clear during the drive to the plant through the 12-mile evacuation zone.

    Untended plants outside an abandoned florist were withered, and dead. Crows had taken over a gas station. 

    The dosimeters of the journalists on the bus buzzed constantly, recording levels that ticked up with each passing mile: 0.7 microsieverts in Naraha, at the edge of the evacuation zone, 1.5 at Tomioka, where Bavarian-style gingerbread houses had served as the welcome center for Fukushima Daiichi. It was there that Japanese visitors to the site were told a myth perpetuated over decades in Japan: that nuclear power is absolutely safe. 

Destroyed reactors at Fukushima
The level recorded just outside the center Saturday was 13 times the recommended maximum annual dosage for civilians.

At the plant, journalists, outfitted in full contamination suits, were kept aboard the bus in recognition of the much higher radiation levels there.

    The company’s minders on the bus were eager to show off one of its major accomplishments so far: the completion of a huge superstructure built over reactor No. 1, designed to trap radioactive materials. The company said a similar cap would soon be built over the heavily damaged No. 3 reactor.

    The tour guides also pointed out a complex of large white tents that flew American, French and Japanese flags and housed a massive system built by companies from those countries for decontaminating water. 

Destroyed reactors at Fukushima continue to smoke and burn
The water is part of a new cooling system that Tepco says has finally reduced the temperatures in the damaged reactor cores below 100 degrees Celsius, a necessary step to achieving what is known as “cold shutdown.” The system replaced the desperate cooling measures taken after the ordinary system was knocked out by the tsunami, when fire trucks poured water onto the reactors in an effort to keep them from overheating and melting down even further than they had.

    Dozens of those fire trucks were still at the plant on Saturday, as was a field full of newly constructed four-story-tall silver tanks to house much of the 90,000 tons of contaminated water that had been dumped on the reactors. 

    That number helps explain the enormity of what happened at Fukushima — and the challenges ahead. Another figure that tells the story: so far, Tepco has stored 480,000 sets of used protective clothing, discarded after each use by workers. 

Pigs dead from radition exopsure
The star of Saturday’s press briefing was Masao Yoshida, the manager of the plant and a man now revered for his stamina over months of grueling, and often dispiriting, work.

During the briefing, he mainly stuck to the message that Tepco was hoping to deliver: “I have no doubt the reactors have been stabilized,” he said. But in an echo of the plainspokenness that won the admiration of Naoto Kan, the prime minister at the peak of the crisis, he added a note of caution: “There is still danger.”

   That view is shared by many nuclear experts, who say serious challenges remain.

    The biggest is the fact that the company does not know the exact condition of the fuel within the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, whose cores appear to have melted through the inner containment vessels. 

Dogs checked for radiation exposure
“Cold shutdown is an indication that the accident phase is over,” said Akira Tokuhiro, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Idaho in Idaho Falls, “but the next phase of cleaning up will take more than 20 years.”

    During the plant tour, the bus kept moving at the most contaminated areas near the base of the reactors to limit the time there and, thus, the radiation exposure. As it did, a radiation detector on the bus jumped to 300 microsieverts per hour — high enough to reach the annual recommended maximum dosage in just over three hours.

    The only humans visible in the plant were groups of workers in white hazmat suits and red or yellow hard hats. They appeared oddly out of place among the quiet pine forests over much of the plant’s grounds, populated still by dragonflies.

    One worker, Hiroyuki Shida, 57, said conditions in the plant had greatly improved with new comforts like a workers’ lounge and a place to eat.

    “The mood inside Fukushima Daiichi is totally different now,” said Mr. Shida, who monitors contaminated waste. “Now, radiation levels aren’t so high outside the buildings. But they are still high within the reactor buildings. And there are hot spots, so we have to be careful.”

    That caution was on full display at the only building within the plant where protective clothing is not needed. Visiting journalists passed through a series of rooms where teams of workers systematically cut off the layers of protective clothing with scissors. The discarding is done in stages to limit contamination; booties come off in one room, the full body suit in another.

    Inside the center, the walls are covered with strings of paper cranes — the symbol of wishes to be granted, in this case the safety of the plant’s brave workers and the resolution of the crisis. There are also posters covered with autographs and words of encouragement.

    “Hang in there,” says one. “For Fukushima, for Japan and for the world.” 


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CIA operations in Iran underway to take out Tehran bigs in mission to dismantle weapons program


Americans have been so loudly informed about what is happening that if they don't act to stop it, war will be on them; Explosions and assassinations at Iran nuke base pinned to Israel may have been CIA

NY Daily News
By Helen Kennedy
11/14/2011

In public Sunday, President Obama was at a summit unsuccessfully leaning on Russia and China to back diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuke program.

    In private Sunday, there was more evidence of an efficient and brutal covert operation that continues to degrade Iran’s military capabilities.

U.S. does not have monopoly on madmen in government
Iranian officials revealed that one of the 17 men killed in a huge explosion at a munitions depot was a key Revolutionary Guard commander who headed Iran’s missile program. And the IRNA state news agency reported that scientists had discovered a new computer virus in their systems, a more sophisticated version of the Stuxnet worm deployed last year to foul up Iran’s centrifuges.

    Iran said the army base explosion was an accident and the new Duqu virus was contained. But Israeli newspapers and some U.S. experts said it appeared to be more from an ongoing secret operation by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat.

   The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

    “May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

Russia and China are already involved
There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating.

    

    Israel was accused of deploying the 11 agents who killed a top Hamas terrorist in a Dubai hotel last year.

     Tension has risen in recent weeks between Iran and the United States as a key United Nations report said Iran was close to being able to build a nuclear weapon.

    At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii, Obama tried to get Russia and China to back a bid to tighten sanctions on Iran, meeting individually with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

    Afterward, Hu didn’t even mention Iran, and Medvedev said only that he had spoken with Obama about Iran.

    Obama came under withering fire from the GOP presidential candidates at a debate Saturday, when the front-runners agreed he had been too weak on Iran and vowed to go to war to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions if needed.

     Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) slammed Obama for not being “smart” on Iran.

   Gingrich said he would launch “maximum covert operations” against Iran, “including taking out their scientists. . . . All of it covertly, all of it deniable.”

    White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that pressure on Iran had put its leadership in disarray, and “the Iranian economy has ground to a halt.”
 
hkennedy@nydailynews.com
 


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Russia warns of serious global ramifications if Iran attacked


Ironic that world is looking to Russia and China to protect them from own governments; IAEA’s Iran report contains no evidence or new facts

Global Research
By Denisova Olga11/14/2011

In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia aired on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich warned against a military strike on Iran.

    Some of the extracts from the IAEA’s report on the Iranian nuclear program were made public well ahead of its official publication. According to the report, Iran secretly worked on developing a nuclear weapon until 2003. Israeli President Shimon Peres was quick to signal Tel Aviv’s readiness to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than sit down at the negotiating table. Russia is fiercely opposed to such a stance, Alexander Lukashevich stressed: 
 
Iran has stated it will retaliate if attacked
"The use of force can only be sanctioned by the decisions of the UN Security Council or the UN Charter and its 51st clause which provides for the right of self-defense. Neither of these options have ever been discussed at the UN Security Council. This is why even theoretically, we cannot think about such a horrendous scenario being put into practice. And we believe that those politicians who hypothetically speculate on the matter are making a serious mistake because they speculate on this in real time."

    Resolving the Iranian nuclear problem through the use of force would be fraught with regional and global implications, Lukashevich said, citing Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The Libyan scenario is an expression which is hardly Greek to anyone, he said, adding that that the use of force rides roughshod over international law norms:

"Russia remains committed to its own plan which sadly failed to turn into a collective initiative of those involved in the six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear problem. Even so, the document is still on the table and we do hope that the international community along with Iran will be able to find a peaceful solution to the problem, which remains a major source of discontent in the region and beyond."
 

Isolating Iran is hardly an option as far as its nuclear program is concerned. The French Foreign Ministry has already called for convening an early UN Security Council session on the Iranian nuclear program. Paris also called for the imposition of tough sanctions against Iran, which Lukashevich said is unlikely to defuse tensions:

"Russia, he says, believes that the sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program have already run their course when the UN adopted a very tough resolution 1929 in 2010 which was to show Iran that the global community expected it to ensure the transparency of its atomic program. The Big Six is putting stakes on resuming talks with Iran and sorting out all the related issues which pose concern to the IAEA," Lukashevic concludes.

    The IAEA’s report on Iran contains no new facts, Lukashevich said:
 

"We have a whole number of questions with regard to the report’s allegations about the military nature of the Iranian nuclear program," Lukashevich says. "We would also like the IAEA Director-General to clarify his far-reaching conclusions pertaining to the Iranian nuclear program. We would like to know more on the instruments the IAEA used to verify the relevant information. We would also like to hear concrete answers, based on the facts rather than allegations."

    The reports about a Russian scientist’s alleged involvement in the Iranian nuclear program have receivwed wide coverage, but no publicity was given to the fact that Russia handed over all the information on this matter to the IAEA a long time ago, Lukashevich said:  
"The IAEA’s report, he says, contains no new or sensational facts pertaining to the former Soviet scientist’s involvement in the Iranian nuclear program. Actually, he is an ethnic Ukrainian. The allegations about the Russian scientist’s key role in the Iranian nuclear program reflect the incompetency of those experts who compiled the report and mirrors the bias of the media’s coverage on the subject. Let this be a matter for their conscience," Lukashevich concluded.

    The very fact of the confidential information being leaked questions the IAEA’s competency on the matter. The leakage will hardly contribute to the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.






Veterans Are Part Of The 99 Percent; will fight to protect civilians


This a good time to be pissed-off Veteran

Think Progress
By Lee Fang
11/11/2011

The 99 Percent Movement has attracted students, labor unions, unemployed workers, teachers, artists, singers, writers, former real estate brokers, political activists, people who have given up on the traditional political system, and thousands more. But a growing contingent seen at Occupy Wall Street solidarity protests all across the country are veterans.

A product of our mentally-ill society:  Homeless Veterans

The signs of a veterans movement are everywhere, from new groups dedicated to supporting veterans in the occupy movement, to thousands of veterans showing up at street actions. And despite condescending rhetoric from the right-wing media, veterans have every reason to be there:
1.) Veterans Deserve Economic Justice: Thousands of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are finding a grim job market. Veterans who served since 9/11 experience a 12.1% unemployment rate, which is higher than the national average, while one in three male veterans are jobless. Recent reports have showed that the number of homeless veterans is surging, while there are insufficient job placement programs.
2.) Veterans Embrace Occupy Wall Street Out Of Love For Country: A growing number of veterans groups are enthusiastically embracing the movement. Although some are demonstrating against a terrible economic conditions, many are doing so out of simple patriotism. Thousands have marched near Zuccotti Park and at other occupy encampments with a message about taking their country back from the grip of lobbyists and predatory financial institutions. One iconic sign, held by a veteran at Occupy Wall Street, summed up the sentiment: “Second time I’ve fought for my country. First time I’ve known my enemy.”
3.) The Banks Are Preying On Veterans: Big banks have found ways to rip off and ruin the men and women who placed their lives on the line for this country. According to a recent whistleblower lawsuit, some of the nation’s biggest banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan Chase, “defrauded veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by disguising illegal fees in veterans’ home refinancing loans.” Fly-by-night scam for-profit universities, many of which are owned by Wall Street investment banks, heavily target veterans with fraudulent educational programs. While military families struggle to get by all over the country, defense contractor CEO’s earn as much as $19 million a year.
4.) K Street Domination Of Government Means Defense Money Goes To War Profiteering Corporations Over Veterans: America spends more on the military than most of our rival nations combined. Yet much of that money, because of the influence of defense contractors and other private military interests, is spent on expensive weapons we never use instead of on rank and file soldiers. Revolving door lobbyists, who go from the Pentagon to K Street firms, have secured over a trillion in wasteful spending to companies like Lockheed Martin.
5.) During The Economic Downturn, Veterans Programs Are Being Cut And Privatized As Well: As Republicans and their allies have succeeded so far in pushing an austerity agenda of massive government cuts, veterans have also been targeted. According to a recent analysis by Military.com of a CBO study outlining suggested cuts, Congress is debating proposals to cap military basic pay and limiting veterans health benefits. Notably, the Defense Business Board is also considering a move to privatize the military pension program, swapping it out with a 401k system. If there is another crisis on Wall Street, veterans could lose see their retirement benefits wiped out if such a system is put in place.
    In many cases, veterans have been the most visible victims of police brutality: like in Boston, where police violently raided a group of peaceful veterans occupying a city plaza, and in Oakland, where police fractured the skull of Scott Olson, an Iraq veteran, with a shot from a projectile aimed at protesters.
 


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On Veterans Day, State Rep. Rick Womick (R-TN) Calls For Purging Muslims From The Military


Proof positive toothless-inbred-ism alive and well in Tennessee; Womick probably not seen day of military service

Think Progress
By Eli Clifton and Lee Fang
11/11/2011

State representative Rick Womick (R-TN) has made no secret of his anti-Muslim views. A New York Times article from July described Womick on the statehouse floor, warning his constuents that Islamic law was the most urgent threat to their way of life. But in an interview on the sidelines of the “Preserving Freedom Conference” at the Cornerstone Church in Madison, TN, Womick went to new extremes to paint Muslim Americans as dangerous and seditious.

Like a lot of Americans now, this moron is mentally ill
In the interview, which took place on Veterans Day, Womick told ThinkProgress that “I don’t trust one Muslim in our military” and “if they truly are a devout Muslims, and follow the Quran and the Sunnah, then I feel threatened because they’re commanded to kill me.” When asked if Muslims should be forced out of the military, Womick responded “Absolutely, yeah.” Read the exchange:

FANG: What about the thousands of Muslims that are still in the military that are veterans, that are translators, that are active personnel. Is there some sort of policy solution that you’re advocating? […]
WOMICK: Personally, I don’t trust one Muslim in our military because they’re commanded to lie to us through the term called Taqiyya. And if they truly are a devout Muslim, and follow the Quran and the Sunnah, then I feel threatened because they’re commanded to kill me.
CLIFTON: You believe they should be forced out?
WOMICK: Absolutely, yeah.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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