ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Armed Drones Should Be Outlawed

[SEE: It takes 28 civilian lives to kill a single terrorist leader ]

campaign to stop killer robots

Killer Robots: Why the world should ban autonomous weapons systems

Cyprus mail

NYT_12Nov2014 source

By Mary Wareham

Nations around the world agreed in November to continue deliberations on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” – that is, weapons systems that would be able to select their targets and use force without any further human intervention.

There are serious concerns that fully autonomous weapons systems – or “killer robots,” as they are also called – would not be able to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, or judge whether a military action is proportional.

Countries could choose to deploy these weapons more frequently and with less critical consideration if they do not have to worry about sacrificing troops. Proliferation of these weapons systems could spin out of control easily, both for military and police use.

At the prompting of nongovernmental organizations and United Nations experts, discussions began earlier this year to address the many technical, legal, military, ethical, and societal questions relating to the prospect of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

The debate should be expected to deepen and broaden as the talks continue. The hope is that they will lead rapidly to formal negotiations on a new treaty pre-emptively banning weapons systems that do not require meaningful human control over the key functions of targeting and firing.

Such weapons in their fully autonomous form do not exist yet, but several precursors that are in development in the United States, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and other nations with high-tech militaries demonstrate the trend toward ever-increasing autonomy on land, in the air, and on or under the water.

If the military robotic developments proceed unchecked, the concern is that machines, rather than humans, could ultimately make life-or-death decisions on the battlefield or in law enforcement.

By agreeing to keep talking, the 118 nations that are part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), an existing international treaty, acknowledged the unease that the idea of such weapons causes for the public.

A new global coalition of nongovernmental organizations called the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots continues to pick up endorsements, with more than 275 scientists, 70 faith leaders, and 20 Nobel Peace laureates joining its ranks in calling for a pre-emptive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. In August, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics became the first private company to endorse the campaign and pledge not to knowingly develop and manufacture such weapons systems.

The UN expert on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, has called on all countries to adopt a moratorium on these weapons. Austria has urged nations engaged in the development of such weapons systems to freeze these programs, and has called on nations deliberating about starting such development to make a commitment not to do so.

Talking about the issue is good, but diplomacy is moving at a slow pace compared with the rapid technological developments. The commitment of the CCW talks – a week of talks over the course of an entire year – is unambitious. It is imperative for diplomatic talks to pick up the pace and create a new international treaty to ensure that humans retain control of targeting and attack decisions.

In the meantime, nations need to start establishing their own policies on these weapons, implementing bans or moratoriums at a national level.

The United States has developed a detailed policy on autonomous weapons that, for now, requires a human being to be “in the loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force, unless department officials waive the policy at a high level. While positive, the policy is not a comprehensive or permanent solution to the problems posed, and it may prove hard to sustain if other nations begin to deploy fully autonomous weapons systems.

One thing is clear: Doing nothing and letting ever-greater autonomy in warfare proceed unchecked is no longer an option.

unnamedMary Wareham is advocacy director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division, where she leads HRW’s advocacy against particularly problematic weapons that pose a significant threat to civilians. She is also serving as the global coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

This article first appeared in http://www.themarknews.com

Bulgarian Islamic State “Witch Hunt” Pissing Innocent Muslims Off and Propagating Dangerous Ideas

[Here is a perfect example of how following the American “war on terror” formula, other misled nations are actually fomenting Islamist radicalism and helping to give it widespread media coverage.]

Bulgarian Authorities Popularizing Radical Islam – Expert

novinite_logo4_gray

photo_big_165045 [A TV and VCR with a drawing of an IS taped over top of the set’s controls?  Pretty damning stuff, huh?–ed.] 
Photo by BGNES

Everything around the anti-terrorist operation conducted in Bulgaria this week is helping radical Islam to rise to popularity, a former security official says.

Nikolay Radulov, a former Chief Secretary at the Interior Ministry, believes the operation shows lack of understanding of this phenomenon.

“Radical Islamists seek publicity, this is why they release photos, footage. From this point of view they have achieved their goal. For some reason the prosecution and DANS [State Agency for National Security] are helping them promote it,” Radulov told private national channel NOVA TV.

He asserted there were no “sleeping cells” of Islamic State (IS), since that would be a conspiring terror organization and would neither appear on the Internet nor promote itself on Facebook.

Services are trying to make themselves stand out at a time when the budget is being drafted, and also when “various people” are reportedly eyeing the position of DANS head Vladimir Pisanchev, Radulov claimed, adding this might be another explanation as to why the operation was conducted amid media fuss.

In his words, Imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed “gained much more popularity with this operation than the one he had had until now.”

With such activities the security forces run the risk of creating “martyrs”.

– See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/165045/Bulgarian+Authorities+Popularizing+Radical+Islam+-+Expert#sthash.sMAo1qPp.dpuf

The Afghan Night Raids Resume–Murder In the Night Again the Norm

 [SEE: Praise for killer exposes Americans as barbarians]

Afghanistan lifts night raid ban against Taliban

washington times

U.S. Special Operations forces engage in a joint operation with Afghan National Army soldiers targeting insurgents operating in Afghanistan's Farah province, Oct. 29, 2009. (Associated Press)
U.S. Special Operations forces engage in a joint operation with Afghan National Army soldiers targeting insurgents operating in Afghanistan’s Farah province, Oct. 29, 2009. (Associated Press)
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A ban on night raids in Afghanistan has been lifted by Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, forbid Afghan National Army Special Forces units from conducting the raids in 2013.

Mr. Ghani’s decision will be welcome news to President Obama since the U.S. will continue to have troops present in the country in 2015.

Two Afghan army generals told The New York Times that they welcomed the new rules of engagement, the newspaper reported Sunday.

“We need strong backing of foreign forces during night raids, the helicopters and night vision goggles, GPS equipment, and better guidance,” Maj. Gen. Abdul Hameed, commander of the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps in Kandahar, told The Times. “Now we have noticed free movement of the Taliban, they are moving around at night and passing messages and recruiting people for fighting, and the only solution to stop their movement is night raids.”

A Western military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the newspaper that Afghan forces would take the lead on any future night raids.

“Night operations are something the Afghans will be doing in a much more targeted way, the way they were trained to do but were held back under Karzai,” the official said, The Times reported. “We’re not going to be doing that, but there are going to be training missions with advisers along. They are not going to go on the target with the Afghans, but they may go along in some cases and stay back.”

American Hero-Worship of Alleged Bin Laden Killer Proof That We Are Barbarians

[It doesn’t matter whether this Seal braggart was confessing his exploits killing bin Laden or one of his stage doubles, he is still a barbarian killer.]

Praise for killer exposes Americans as barbarians

THE japan-times2
by Ted Rall

 

France is grappling with the damage to its reputation as the global capital of intellectualism after the nation’s minister of culture sheepishly confessed that she doesn’t read books. “Barbarism is here,” declared the writer Claude Askolovitch. “If one can be culture minister without reading, then we are mere technocrats and budgeters.”

Oui.

Evidament.

At least there are still some among the French who care about their nation’s image.

Here in the United States, the face of barbarism appeared in the banal form of Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL who claimed on Fox News to have been the SEAL Team Six member who shot the fatal shots that killed Osama bin Laden.

O’Neil is very proud of himself. “Standing on two feet in front of me, with his hands on his wife’s shoulders behind her was the face that I’d seen thousands of times, UBL,” O’Neill told Fox. “Very quickly I recognized him and then it was just pop, pop pop.”

Military men, including some of O’Neill’s former comrades, criticized him for speaking publicly about a classified operation, going against SEAL tradition. Others questioned whether he really fired the fatal shots.

But no one went after him for being, you know — a first-degree murderer. (Since four other people were killed in the raid, it’s probably closer to the truth to say mass murderer.)

What happened to America? We used to have morals. We celebrated Rosa Parks. Assassins were scum.

As recently as the 1980s, a right-wing president, Reagan, signed an executive order banning political assassinations. Which is exactly what the bin Laden rubout was.

There was never any intention to try to capture bin Laden alive. To the contrary — an eyewitness, bin Laden’s daughter, says the al-Qaida leader was captured alive, then blown away, mafia-style. The man — in this crime, which is what it was, we have to call him the victim — was certainly unarmed. We’ll never know for sure, since no medical examiner got a peek at the victim’s body before it was dumped into the ocean.

The assassination of bin Laden diminished what little was left of America’s moral authority. Calling it “justice” was a mockery of law and due process. It also denied his victims their right to see the facts about his alleged — since he was never tried, we have to say alleged — crimes revealed in open court.

As Geoffrey Robertson wrote at the time: “The U.S. is celebrating summary execution, rationalized on the basis that this is one terrorist for whom trial would be unnecessary, difficult, and dangerous. It overlooks the downsides: that killing bin Laden has made him a martyr, more dangerous in that posthumous role than in hiding, and that both his legend and the conspiracy theories about 9/11 will live on undisputed by the evidence that would have been called to convict him at his trial.”

The operation was, without question, illegal. If the U.S. were a nation of equal justice under the law, everyone involved, from O’Neill to the president, would face murder charges.

I don’t care how you feel about bin Laden. Assassinating him was disgusting, might-makes-right bullshit.

If anyone in the media agrees with me, however, I can’t find them.

“If [O’Neill] killed bin Laden, then he deserves the recognition that comes with it. … I say, ‘Well done, O’Neill, tell it like it is and let them howl. They’ll criticize you no matter what. Hooyah,’ ” wrote an editorial writer in the otherwise charming town of Saint George, Utah. Time magazine called the shooting of an unarmed suspect (while invading a foreign country, by the way) an “action that warrants … acclaim.”

Don’t forget the hit film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which portrayed the bin Laden murder — as well as the torture that preceded it — as heroic.

What happened to us?

Top Nazis, responsible for a lot more deaths than 9/11, were put on trial at Nuremberg. Just two decades ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that a state-sponsored assassin would garner praise for his role in a “wet op” (as long as he really did it).

Or that a president would brag about ordering it. (“Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” Vice President Biden crowed.)

Or that said president would enjoy a bump in his polls as a result (as opposed to a knock on the door from the FBI).

ISIS? Mere pikers.

Barbarism, c’est nous.

Cartoonist and writer Ted Rall is author of “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” © 2014 Ted Rall

American Afghan Drug War TOTAL SUCCESS In Weaponizing Addiction and Infection

soldiers_drugs

[SEE:  Afghanistan opium harvest at record high as Nato withdraws ; Afghan opium inflames US-Russia tensions after failed drug war ]

 

tracks

HIV infections double in Russia, ex-Soviet states

MEDICAL XPRESS

HIV infections have doubled in ten years in Russia and former Soviet states, due mainly to unprotected sex and injecting drugs, a report said Thursday.

More than 105,000 new infections were recorded in Russia and former Soviet countries in eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2013, up from just under 50,000 in 2004, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization.

The number of those who go on to develop AIDS has also tripled in the region, the report said, while the number of deaths from the disease continue to fall in other parts of Europe.

“In Eastern Europe, where 77 percent of all new infections were reported, two thirds of cases among injecting drug users were detected late. This means they are more likely to transmit HIV, their treatment is more expensive, and they are more likely to die,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

The majority of new HIV cases are among people 30 to 39 years old, with Russia and Ukraine reporting the highest number of new infections.

Infection rates also quadrupled in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The WHO says there were some 35 million people around the world living with HIV by the end of 2013, with some 2.1 million new infections during the course of that year.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with almost 70 percent of new infections.

Zionist Right-Wing Plans To Avoid 3rd Intifada With Pay-Offs

Israel FM supports paying Arabs to leave

aljazeera

Avigdor Lieberman says he favours providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis to leave the country.

Israeli Arabs say a bill to declare Israel the homeland of Jewish people only further alienates them [Reuters]

Israel’s foreign minister says he supports paying Arab citizens to leave the country.

In a manifesto of his right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, Avigdor Lieberman said he favoured ceding Arab majority areas in northern Israel to a future Palestinian state and providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis – about 20 percent of Israel’s population – to encourage them to emigrate.

The manifesto, published on Friday, did not set out positions on the most difficult issues in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s borders.

But it does acknowledge the necessity of territorial compromise in reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, and also with moderate Arab countries.

Once a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Lieberman is now seen as harbouring prime ministerial ambitions himself.

His offer to pay Israeli Arabs to leave comes as Netanyahu pushes forward with a contentious parliamentary bill to formalise Israel’s status as a Jewish state – a measure that many Arab-Israelis say will institutionalise their status as second class citizens.

The bill, which Netanyahu says is necessary to safeguard Israel’s future, is opposed by a wide range of Israeli political figures, including the largely ceremonial president, but is strongly supported by right wing members of his ruling coalition, including Lieberman.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces fired tear gas at several dozen rock-throwing demonstrators at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem following weekly prayers Friday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

The Alleged Austin Midnight Shooter Is Identified

Austin shooting suspect identified

wfaa8

Larry McQuilliams

AUSTIN — The man who died after shooting at least 100 rounds at several downtown buildings early Friday morning, including the Austin Police Department’s headquarters, has been identified.

WFAA’s sister station KVUE says the suspect is Larry Steven McQuilliams, 49.

Police say it all started when reports of shots being fired came in around 2:22 a.m.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said McQuilliams fired at the Mexican Consulate, the United States Federal Courthouse and APD’s headquarters within a 10-minute period.

McQuilliams also tried to burn down the consulate, but the fire was quickly extinguished. A guard house at the courthouse was pierced by several bullet holes, and APD’s headquarters is “extensively damaged,” according to Chief Acevedo.

USA Today says the situation appears to be a politically-motivated attack that is anti-government and linked to immigration.

Chief Acevedo said around 2:33 a.m., a sergeant managing two horses in APD’s mounted patrol saw McQuilliams and returned fire.

McQuilliams then fell to the ground, and officers noticed he was wearing “some sort of vest.” They also found “suspicious cylinders” inside his van. A bomb squad responded to the scene, and APD headquarters was evacuated.

“Anytime you have cylinders like this with someone attacking government buildings, you have to think of explosive devices,” Acevedo said.

He added that it’s unclear if McQuilliams died due to shots fired from the officer, or if the man took his own life. No one else was injured.

Man opens fire on Austin buildings.

McQuilliams’ white van was still on the street outside police headquarters several hours after the shooting with all of its doors, the trunk and hood open while investigators looked it over.

Acevedo said McQuilliams is an Austin resident and has a criminal history. Officers are also investigating his residence.

Sources told WFAA’s sister station KVUE that the officer involved is Sgt. Adam Johnson, a 15-year veteran of the department. He will be placed on administrative leave with pay in compliance with APD protocol.

Interstate 35 was closed as officers investigated, but reopened just after 6:30 a.m.

Some of the targeted buildings are near the popular 6th Street entertainment district, where bars close at 2 a.m. — about the same time the shootings began. Chief Acevedo noted that thousands of people are typically on the street at that time.

“Many, many rounds were fired in downtown Austin,” Acevedo said. “With all the people on the streets, we’re very fortunate. I give thanks that no one but the suspect is injured or deceased.”

Governor Rick Perry’s mansion is just a few blocks away from the police station. It is unknown at this time whether he was home during the rampage.

Stephanie Beard shared this raw video of the shooting with News 8:

Austin shooting Stephanie Beard

European Parliament Digital single market (Google Break-Up Resolution)–TEXT

European Parliament

P8_TA-PROV(2014)0071
Digital single market

PE539.009
European Parliament resolution of 27 November 2014 on supporting consumer rights in the digital single market (2014/2973(RSP))

The European Parliament,

A. whereas the digital single market is one of the area of progress which, though entailing challenges, offers potential for high-efficiency gains that could amount to EUR 260 billion per year, thereby contributing to Europe’s recovery from the crisis;

B. whereas the completion of a European digital single market would create millions of jobs and potentially enable Europe to gain 4 % in GDP by 2020;

C. whereas the app economy alone is expected to triple its revenue from 2013 to 2018, creating 3 million jobs in the same period;

D. whereas Parliament has commissioned a study to analyse the Cost of Non-Europe in the Digital Single Market, which reinforces the importance of seeing digital solutions as an opportunity for consumers, citizens and businesses and not as a threat;

E. whereas the Union needs to foster the mass adoption of cloud computing in Europe, as it constitutes a powerful driver for the growth of the European economy; whereas the study gives evidence of significant expected gains linked to its fast development;

F. whereas obstacles hindering consumers’ participation in the digital single market relate to discriminatory practices such as the restriction of service providers to certain countries or territories, simple refusal to sell, automatic rerouting, and unjustified diversification of conditions of sale;

G. whereas secure, efficient, competitive and innovative mobile payments and e payments are crucial if consumers are to enjoy the full benefits of the single market;

H. whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy, as well as the cybersecurity and security of electronic communications and networks are a priority in the digital single market, as these are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the creation of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it;

I. whereas the trans-European availability of widespread, high-speed and secure fast internet access and digital services in the public interest is essential for social and economic growth, competitiveness, social inclusion and the single market;

J. whereas research, development and innovation in the digital economy will help ensure that Europe remains competitive in the mid to longer term;

K. whereas a rapid deployment of high-speed broadband networks is crucial for the development of European productivity and for the emergence of new and small enterprises that can be leaders in different sectors, for example healthcare, manufacturing and the service industries;

L. whereas the private sector should play the leading role in rolling out and modernising broadband networks, supported by a competitive and investment-friendly regulatory framework;

M. whereas the digital single market is one of the most innovative sectors of the economy and is therefore playing a major role in the competitiveness of the European economy and contributing to economic growth through the development of e-commerce, while also facilitating the administrative and financial compliance of businesses and presenting consumers with a wider choice of goods and services;

N. whereas the digital single market not only offers economic benefits but also has a profound impact on the daily political, social and cultural life of EU consumers and citizens;

O. whereas a competitive digital single market cannot exist without fast, higher-capacity broadband and telecommunications networks across all EU regions, including remote areas;

P. whereas the existing and steadily widening digital divide is having a direct negative impact on the development of the digital single market, in terms of both access to the internet and e-skills;

Q. whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy and the security of electronic communications and networks are a priority in the digital single market, as these are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the securing of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it;

R. whereas online markets need to be both flexible and consumer-friendly if they are to grow and expand;

S. whereas e-commerce is an important complement to offline trade and a major driver of consumer choice, competition and technological innovation, and thus contributes to the European Union’s convergence into a knowledge-driven economy;

T. whereas unfettered competition and a level playing field for companies, which will foster investment, are vital to this sector of the economy as they will ensure its long-term sustainable development to the benefit of end-users; whereas effective competition is a good driver of efficient investment and can provide benefits for consumers in terms of choice, price and quality;

U. whereas in some areas of the digital single market there are vulnerabilities brought about by excessive market concentration and dominant operators;

V. whereas the challenge of market fragmentation and lack of interoperability in the European Union is an obstacle to the rapid development of the digital single market;

W. whereas employment created through the digital single market is, on average, highly skilled and remunerated and, as such, is an important contribution to the creation of quality and sustainable employment;

X. whereas the Commission should guard against antitrust behaviour affecting media plurality, in terms of both content provision and ownership, as access to information is key to a thriving democracy;

1. Calls on the Member States and the Commission, through sustained efforts of implementation of existing rules and enforcement of these rules, as part of an overarching strategy, to address all existing barriers that are hindering the development of the digital single market, while making sure that measures are impact-assessed, future-proof and fit for the digital age; believes that these efforts need to be at the heart of the EU’s efforts to generate economic growth and employment and strengthen its competitiveness and resilience within the global economy;

2. Stresses that any legislative proposal related to the digital single market must comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, so that rights enshrined therein are fully protected in the digital domain;

3. Highlights, in particular, the potential of e-commerce, which, it is estimated, could save consumers more than EUR 11,7 billion a year if they could choose from the full range of EU goods and services when shopping online;

4. While welcoming the growth of e-commerce, notes the dominant position in some Member States of only a few actors in the direct sale of physical goods or as a market-based platform for others to sell physical goods; stresses the need at European level to monitor and prevent the abuse of such dominant positions in terms of the availability of goods to consumers and the charges required of SMEs for using such market-based platforms;

5. Stresses the need to tackle and combat the digital divide in order to fully grasp the potential of the digital single market and to enable the inclusion of all citizens, regardless of their income, social situation, geographical location, health or age, in society in the digital era;

6. Notes, in particular, the need to address the obstacles which remain for consumers and businesses regarding e commerce, including online services, access to digital content, fraud prevention, website registrations, sales promotions and labelling;

7. Calls on the Commission to ensure the swift implementation of the single market for services and to ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules such as the Consumer Rights Directive, alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution, while ensuring the reduction of administrative burdens;

8. Calls for the swift adoption of the new modernised Data Protection Package in order to provide an appropriate balance between a high level of protection of personal data, user safety and control over one’s personal data and a stable, predictable legislative environment in which businesses can flourish in an enhanced single market for the benefit of end-users, a level playing field fostering investment, and an environment contributing to the attractiveness of the EU as a destination for businesses; calls on the Commission and the Member States to allocate the necessary resources to fight cybercrime by means of legislative measures and law enforcement cooperation, at both national and EU level;

9. Stresses the need to ensure a level playing field for companies operating in the digital single market in order for them to be able to compete; calls, therefore, on the Commission to properly enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of dominant position and to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services;

10. Notes that a level playing field for companies in the digital single market must be ensured in order to guarantee a vibrant digital economy in the EU; stresses that a thorough enforcement of EU competition rules in the digital single market will be determinant for the growth of the market, consumer access and choice and competitiveness in the long term; highlights the importance of affording consumers the same protection online as they enjoy in their traditional markets;

11. Urges the Council to make swift progress and open negotiations with Parliament on the proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, as this would, concretely, put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality, and improve consumer protection inside the digital single market; believes that this regulation could constitute a crucial step towards realising a single European mobile market;

12. Considers that the Commission should act to create and ensure a legislative and legally certain environment conducive to encouraging creativity and innovation for start-ups, micro-enterprises and SMEs;

13. Asks the Commission to put forward an initiative for digital entrepreneurship, since this is critical for the creation of new jobs and innovative ideas, including measures to improve access to finance for new digital entrepreneurs (for instance through crowdsourcing) and encourage second chances for failed entrepreneurs;

14. Stresses that all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, irrespective of its sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application;

15. Notes that the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given the potential development of search engines into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; calls, therefore, on the Commission to enforce EU competition rules decisively, based on input from all relevant stakeholders and taking into account the entire structure of the digital single market in order to ensure remedies that truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term means of achieving the aforementioned aims;

16. Furthermore calls on the Commission to act quickly to consider potential solutions tending towards a balanced, fair and open internet search structure;

17. Stresses that, when operating search engines for users, the search process and results should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, to ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and to maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by search engine operators;

18. Welcomes the announcement of further investigations by the Commission into search engine practices and the digital market in general;

19. Stresses the importance of ensuring an efficient and balanced framework for the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights, geared to the reality of the digital economy;

20. Encourages swift adoption and enactment of international provisions facilitating access of disabled users to digital content and to printed works through their digitisation;

21. Welcomes the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access for the visually impaired to books, and encourages all signatories to ratify the Treaty; believes that the Marrakesh Treaty represents a good step forward, but that much work remains to be done in order to open up access to content for people with disabilities, in addition to those affected by visual impairment; highlights the importance of further enhancing accessibility across a broad spectrum of areas, from copyright and search engines to telecommunications operators;

22. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop and implement EU and national regulatory frameworks in order to allow an integrated and secure online and mobile payments market, while ensuring the protection of consumers and customer data; underlines, in this connection, the need for clear and predictable rules, set out in legislation;

23. Recalls that cloud computing can become a powerful instrument for the development of the digital single market, and can offer economic benefits, particularly for SMEs, by reducing IT infrastructure and other costs; highlights in this connection the fact that, if cloud services are provided only by a limited number of large providers, an increasing amount of information will be aggregated in the hands of those providers; recalls, furthermore, that cloud computing also entails risks for users, in particular as regards sensitive data; calls for proper implementation of the European strategy to guarantee competitive and secure cloud computing;

24. Calls on the Commission to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing, which enable privacy-friendly, reliable, accessible, highly interoperable, secure and energy-efficient cloud services as an integral part of a future Union industrial policy; stresses that reliability, security and protection of data are needed for consumer confidence and competitiveness;

25. Underlines the need to ensure internet safety online, in particular for children, and to prevent child exploitation by ensuring that means are in place to detect and eradicate illegal child abuse images on the internet and by enabling means to prevent children and adolescents accessing age-restricted content;

26. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

The Gods of Money and Our Entrapment

The Gods of Money & Their New World Order Project: Endgame Has Begun

Attachment-1a

By RICHARD K. MOORE

 

Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.
– Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild

Perhaps the single most important thing to know about power in the world today is that most nations do not have control over their own currencies. Instead privately owned, for-profit central banks – such as the Federal Reserve System in the US – create money out of nothing and then loan it at interest to their respective governments. This is an incredibly profitable scam, but that’s not the worst of it.

Not only do the central banks have the power to create money for free, they also have the power to set interest rates, to decide how much credit is issued, and to decide how much money is put into circulation. With this power central banks can – and do – orchestrate boom and bust cycles, enabling the super-wealthy owners of the banks to profit from investments during the booms, and buy up assets at bargain prices during the busts. And that still isn’t the whole story.

The most profitable of all central bank activities has been the financing of major wars, particularly the two World Wars. When nations are engaged in warfare, with their very survival at stake, the governments stretch their resources to the limit in the competition to prevail. The struggle to get more financing becomes as important as the competition on the battlefield. Moneylenders love a desperate borrower, and vast fortunes have been made by extending credit to both sides in conflicts: the longer a war continues, the more profit for the central bankers.

Centralised Wealth Leads to Centralised Power

Some of the biggest men in the United States are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere, so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.
– Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th President of the United States

Our political systems, based on parties competing to get elected, are inherently prone to corruption. Just as the struggle for financing is important in military campaigns, so is it important in political campaigns. Wealthy donors are able to get special treatment, when it comes to legislation and regulation that affects their business interests. This kind of corruption, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.

A more effective way that wealth translates into power is by the placing of agents – individuals loyal to wealthy backers – into positions of influence and power. For example, when the Rothschilds and Rockefellers joined forces to establish the Federal Reserve, they recruited an unknown professor, Woodrow Wilson, promised to make him President, and secured a return promise that he would sign the Federal Reserve bill when the time came. With their influence over party bosses, their control of newspapers, and unlimited funding, they were able to get Wilson elected. He may have later regretted his bargain with the devil, as suggested in the above quotation.

A more modern example is Obama, who in 2009 was tasked by Henry Kissinger (himself a key agent of the Rockefellers) to create a “new world order.” Like Wilson, Obama appeared out of political nowhere, was rocketed into the Presidency, and proved his loyalty in office. In Obama’s case, this involved promptly turning the White House over to central-banker agents from Wall Street – Timothy Geithner and his buddies. They make the policy; Obama makes the speeches.

This kind of thing has been going on for centuries, first in Europe and later in the US. What began as the placement of a few key agents has evolved over time. What we have now is an international web of control, with key agents placed in political parties, governments and their agencies, the media, corporate boards, intelligence services, and the military. At the centre of the web are the central banking dynasties – the Gods of Money – who remain mostly behind the scenes, pulling the strands of real power.

The Engineering of Transformation

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States

Have you ever daydreamed about what you would do if you had wealth and power? For some the answer might be a life of leisure and indulgence, but for many their thoughts would turn to changing the world, making the world ‘better’. An iconic example would be Bill Gates, who would rather use the bulk of his fortune for making changes in the world – primarily to do with population reduction – than devote it to amassing still more wealth.

The Gods of Money are like that. They’ve had wealth and power, in great excess, for generations, and unlike you and me, they can do more than daydream. The business they have been engaged in for the past couple of centuries has not been to accumulate more wealth, rather it has been to transform the world into their own desired kind of private fiefdom. They have been accomplishing this in a series of transformational projects on a global scale. What is referred to as ‘The New World Order’ is simply the latest in this series of projects.

The Great America Project: An Ideal Base of Operations

When the American colonies achieved independence from Britain, a new nation was created that clearly had the potential to become a truly great world power. A huge continent, bigger than all of Europe, and with immense resources, was available to be conquered and exploited. If the Rothschilds could gain control of America, they could use it as a base of operations to consolidate their power globally.

During the 1800s the US grew to become a formidable industrial power. We associate this rise to power with names like Carnegie, Mellon, JP Morgan, and Rockefeller, who came to be known as the ‘robber barons’. However it was Rothschild money, and Rothschild-linked banks, which played the major role in financing this industrialisation project. The Rothschilds were carefully preparing their future base of operations. JD Rockefeller was the greatest of the robber barons, and he was able to join the Gods of Money pantheon on more or less equal terms with the Rothschilds.

With the US established as a major industrial power, the next step was for the Gods of Money to take firm control of this giant they helped create. As described above, this was accomplished with the usual behind the scenes manipulations through the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.

The World War I Project

The next step was to play the European powers off against one another. With the backing of the Rothschilds, as described in the book Hidden History (see sidebar on page 14 of this issue of New Dawn), a secret cabal of British elites engineered the ‘Great War’ with Germany, whose industrial and financial power was beginning to eclipse that of the British Empire. The cabal’s intention was to preserve British supremacy. The Gods of Money, however, were playing a deeper game. Germany lost the war, but it was the US that emerged as the main beneficiary, not Britain.

While the European powers were exhausting themselves in warfare, the US was supplying them with the means to do so, and those supplies were being paid for by loans made possible by the new Federal Reserve – which had been established just in time for that purpose. When the war ended, the European powers owed astronomical sums to the US, and the US had greatly expanded its industrial capacity in the process of supplying war materials.

Before the war, the US, Britain, and Germany were more or less on a par as industrial powers. With only negligible military involvement, the US emerged from the war by far the greatest industrial power, and the world’s wealthiest nation as well. But the US was only one Great Power among many. It did not have a world-class fleet nor did it have a world-class army.

The Fascism & Communism Experiments

The Grand Project of the Gods of Money has always been, as mentioned above, to transform the world into their own private fiefdom. With their Great America project they were building the geopolitical power base that would be needed to achieve that goal. But there remained the question of how they would rule their fiefdom once attained. They want to have absolute control over the population, and they wanted to experiment with different means of exercising such control.

They saw their first opportunity to experiment in the revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin. The Czarist regime in Russia was weakening, and had been forced, by the 1905 Revolution, to implement significant reforms. Weakened still further by defeats early in World War I, a second communist revolution had every probability of success. There was a danger, however, that the second revolution would lead to a democratic form of socialism, which would not be the kind of regime the Gods of Money wanted for their eventual fiefdom.

They saw in Lenin and Trotsky leaders with autocratic ideas that suited their purposes. They arranged for Lenin to be transported from Switzerland, and Trotsky from New York – both to St. Petersburg – where they created the Bolshevik faction and took control of the revolutionary aftermath. The Gods of Money then funded the development of the Soviet Union, and thus launched an experiment with an autocratic regime based on collectivist values.

The Gods of Money saw their second opportunity to experiment in the ideas of the superbly charismatic Adolf Hitler. When Hitler was arrested for leading the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, they arranged for him to be given a comfortable jail existence where he was able to develop his ideas in his magnum opus, Mein Kampf, which articulated a manifesto proposing, among other things, to seek Lebensraum and enslave the Slavs. Hitler’s ideas centred around nationalism, expansionism, eugenics, genocide, and brutal methods of population control.

If Hitler were to come to power in Germany, that would provide an opportunity to experiment with a quite different kind of autocratic regime. In addition, due to his expansionist ideas, and his hatred of communism, it would provide the means to carry out another project in geopolitical transformation, a second Great War. Hitler was also attractive to German elites, who saw in him a chance to restore Germany as a Great Power.

The rest, as they say, is history. By engineering the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic, and by other means, Hitler was indeed helped into power in Germany. He was no pawn however, and much of his hatred, due in part to the fact that the Rothschilds are Jewish, was aimed at the Gods of Money themselves, whom he referred to as the ‘Gnomes of Zurich’. That hatred did not detract from the value of the Nazi experiment to the Gods of Money.

The World War II Project

If we see that Germany is winning we should help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible.
– Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd President of the United States, NY Times, 24 June 1941

The next step in the Great America project was to play all the other Great Powers off against one another, on a grander scale than in the first Great War. This time, however, the US was to play a major military role, so that it could emerge from the war as not just one more Great Power, but as the world’s first global super power. A major military role, yes, but a highly leveraged one, where the US suffered negligible casualties compared to the astronomical casualties of most of the other combatants.

From their secure American base of operations, the Gods of Money helped arrange the rearmament of Germany and the rapid rise of Japan as a modern industrial and military power, while continuing to support the development of the Soviet Union. In this way, as they say, the ducks were all lined up in a row. The US then pretended benevolent neutrality and watched while Japan fought it out with China, and Germany fought it out with the Soviet Union.

The US bided its time and waited for the most opportune moment to join the fray. When the time came, the US systematically provoked Japan, and made no attempt to defend against the attack on Pearl Harbor, even though Roosevelt knew the exact time the attack was to occur. The American people had been strongly against entering the war, and Pearl Harbor, as planned, instantly transformed public opinion, enabling the US to enter the war with the overwhelming support of its people. A ‘Day of Infamy’ indeed, but every bit as much Roosevelt’s as Japan’s.

Again, the rest is history. At the end of the war the US had 40% of the world’s wealth and industrial capacity, dominance of the seven seas, permanent military bases spread around the world, and a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Every other major power was standing in rubble and drowning in debt, as intended. With the US established as the first global super power, the Gods of Money set out to create a postwar world order to be dominated by America.

The Postwar Regime: Establishing the Foundations for a Globalist State

In 1944, an international conference was convened at Bretton Woods, establishing new globalist institutions, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank, according to a design that had been worked out during the war by the Gods of Money’s Council on Foreign Relations. Under the guise of establishing a regime of world peace and stability, the US arranged for the other Western powers to be emasculated militarily. For its part, the US maintained and expanded its military muscle.

Whereas the Nazi experiment was terminated by the war, the Soviet Union survived as a Great Power. As the primary wartime ally of America, and in light of the professed harmonious intentions of the Bretton Woods system, the Soviets were looking forward to peaceful coexistence with the West, despite their considerable ideological differences. This was not to be, as it did not fit into the plans of the Gods of Money, as they continued with their Grand Project of global domination.

America and Britain, both firmly under the thumb of the Gods of Money, invented the myth of a ‘communist threat’, and proclaimed the Cold War, which served several purposes. First, it was accompanied by a policy of containment, which aimed to prevent the Soviets, and their Chinese ideological cousins, from participating in the postwar economic boom, and also in inhibiting nations, such as Korea and Vietnam, from choosing to follow a socialist path. Second, the Cold War provided an excuse for the US to continue expanding its military might and interventionist programs.

The Collective Imperialism Project

With the US as an unrestrained super power, a Pax Americana regime prevailed in what was euphemistically called the ‘Free World’. With no need to defend their separate empires, the former European Great Powers were able to participate along with America in a grand program of neo-imperialism. This led to the greatest era of economic growth the world had ever seen.

Growth became the expected norm; any episode of non-growth was considered an aberration. The expectation of growth became a structural part of national economies, leading to routine deficit financing, government borrowing, and increasing national debts – owed to the central banks. There was no Plan B: if growth faltered – a dreaded recession episode – the only recourse was to borrow still more, if an economy was to continue functioning.

The postwar growth boom led to unprecedented prosperity throughout the West, as well as in Japan, which in the postwar era could be considered part of the West. In addition, sweeping programs of social reform were introduced, such as the National Health Service in the UK, and even more far-reaching welfare-state arrangements throughout Western Europe.

Partly because of the dissolution of traditional empires, and partly because of the social-reform measures, there was a sense in the postwar world that democratic values were on the rise. Governments were being more responsive to the needs and wishes of the people. The Enlightenment values of personal freedom and the rights of citizens were enshrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seemed as if a new golden age of democracy and ever-improving social conditions had arrived.

Economic stability plus everlasting economic growth, along with peace guaranteed by a benevolent Uncle Sam: how sweet it was! With their postwar regime the Gods of Money had seduced the ‘Free World’ into a bubble of dependency. The UN Charter guaranteed the principle of national sovereignty, and no one (exception: Charles de Gaulle) seemed to realise that when someone else is guaranteeing your sovereignty, you no longer have sovereignty. Growth became the new opiate of the people, and no one seemed to realise that everlasting growth on a finite planet is a mathematical impossibility.

With most of the world willingly tied to a leash of dependency on American leadership, and with America firmly under the thumb of the Federal Reserve, the Gods of Money could now proceed to lead the world down the garden path toward total subjugation.

The Global Destabilisation Project: Nixon & the Gold Standard

For nearly 30 years, from 1944 to 1971, the Bretton Woods system operated more or less as advertised. The dollar was pegged to gold, with other currencies pegged to the dollar, providing the promised financial stability. Growth continued, providing the expected prosperity and rising living standards. However, with the US embroiled in a costly and unwinnable war in Vietnam, the American economy was beginning to falter. In 1971, in order to continue financing the war, Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard.

The Cold War project had provided an opportunity to abandon the stability project. Currency values could now fluctuate, enabling currency speculation, and introducing uncertainty into the valuation of international transactions. No great harm resulted at first, but a central pillar of financial stability had been removed. Today, only a tiny percentage of currency transactions have to do with the real economy, and the rest are rampant and destabilising speculation.

In 1980 the Gods of Money moved their destabilisation project into a higher gear. They arranged for their agents, Reagan and Thatcher, to take leadership in the US and UK, and a media propaganda campaign was launched to reintroduce the long-discredited doctrine of laissez-faire economics, which had created the horrific Dickensian conditions of the Victorian era.

Based on a fraudulent economic analysis promulgated by Milton Friedman’s Chicago School of Economics, the claim was made that reducing corporate taxes and regulations would lead to a stronger economy and benefits would accrue to all, including even government budgets. The charismatic Ronald Reagan talked about ‘getting government off our backs’, and proclaimed that ‘government is not the solution; it is the problem’.

There is of course much truth in those words, but increasing corporate power at the expense of government power was not at all a path to either prosperity or to personal freedom. One might have wondered how a career as a film actor and TV advertiser qualified someone to be President, but the mystery vanishes when one realises that the main job of the President is to tell lies convincingly to a credulous public, in support of the agendas of the Gods of Money.

Along with reducing corporate taxes and regulations, the new economic policies included encouraging corporations to move their operations to low-waged countries, which led to the de-industrialisation of both America and Britain. The Bretton Woods regime was being systematically undermined, and the decline of both stability and prosperity was thus ensured.

The European Union Project

The populations of continental Western Europe, having experienced on their own doorsteps the ravages of fascism and war, were less vulnerable to the kind of facile propaganda that succeeded so well with the more sheltered populations of Britain and America. A more nuanced campaign was required to destabilise continental Europe.

The propaganda campaign to sell the Maastricht Treaty didn’t talk about ‘getting government off our backs’, which wouldn’t have gone over very well in those economies, where the welfare state was both popular and successful. Instead it was argued that a European Union would put Europe on a par with the powerful USA, and it was even argued that the EU was necessary to prevent future wars among the European powers.

The reality of the EU was that it delivered Europe directly into the hands of the Gods of Money. Unlike the European nations themselves, which are governed by elected Parliaments and Prime Ministers, the Brussels regime is dominated by the European Commission, which is unelected and which the Gods of Money can easily arrange to be staffed by their own selected agents.

A central part of the pro-EU propaganda campaign had been promises about ‘subsidiarity’ – decisions were allegedly to be taken at the lowest possible level, depending on the issues involved: loss of sovereignty needn’t be feared. Brussels was to make decisions only on matters that affected the EU as a whole. Once the EU was established, however, the term subsidiarity began to disappear from usage, and over time more and more power has been shifted from national governments to Brussels. Today, every aspect of life in the EU is affected by reams of unreadable EU regulations.

The final nail in the coffin of European national sovereignty, and financial stability, came with the adoption of the Euro in 1999. Without the ability to control their own currencies, nations had no real control over their financial viability. Today the folly of a common currency, among nations with quite different economic circumstances, is well covered in the financial press. But the truth of this folly was there from the beginning, and the Gods of Money were well aware of it.

The Neoliberal Project & the Globalisation of Poverty

In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico. This treaty undermined the economies and sovereignty of all three nations. Under the guise of ‘free trade’, it was really about empowering corporations at the expense of nations – the Reagan-Thatcher revolution on steroids. Under such treaties corporations have the right to sue governments if regulations undermine corporate profits. Consumer safety, environmental protection, and worker’s rights are of little concern to the corporate-controlled World Trade Organization (WTO) process that renders judgments on such suits. Since then a number of similar ‘free trade zone’ treaties have been pursued involving various combinations of nations.

The Neoliberal Project got into high gear in 1995, with the establishment of the World Trade Organization, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO promptly launched a systematic campaign to increase the power of corporations, by means of ‘free trade’ treaties that are binding on all members of the WTO, including of course the EU. The overall effect of the Neoliberal Project has been to lower living standards, undermine national sovereignty, destabilise national finances, and in general to destroy everything that the Bretton Woods system was designed to protect.

In the so-called ‘third world’, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, the ravages of the Neoliberal Project have been extended still further by the actions of the IMF and by other means – as documented by John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hitman. Governments are encouraged, or forced, to take on debts that they have no ability to repay. When the governments then turn to the IMF for relief, additional loans are granted, but they are encumbered by draconian conditions. Governments are forced to cut social services, and are required to sell off national assets, such as water rights, at bargain basement prices to corporations. It becomes illegal, to give an example of what draconian means, for people to capture rainwater, as that is deemed to be stealing from the corporations that have bought the nation’s water rights. By such means poverty has been systematically created wherever the IMF has managed to dig in its claws.

Destabilising Enlightenment Values: The ‘War on Terror’

On 11 September 2001 the Gods of Money arranged for the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, and arranged also for that to be blamed on an imaginary Al Qaeda conspiracy to ‘destroy our freedoms’. In fact our freedoms have been destroyed – not by Al Qaeda, but by the Gods of Money themselves.

The Gods of Money were applying a lesson learned from the Nazi experiment: the demolition of the World Trade Center was a replay of the Reichstag Fire, which was also a ‘false flag’ event, blamed in that case on a ‘communist conspiracy’. Just as the Reichstag Fire was followed by the Nazi’s Enabling Act, so 9/11 was followed by the Patriot Act. Both Acts destroyed all constitutional guarantees of civil liberties, leading in both cases to concentration camps, the legitimisation of torture, indefinite detention without legal recourse, and the establishment of unaccountable police-state regimes.

Partly due to the psychological impact of 9/11, partly due to the hidden influence of the Gods of Money, and partly due to additional false flag events (e.g. the 7/7 bombings in London) governments everywhere have implemented ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation that seriously undermines civil liberties that had long been considered sacrosanct.

Besides enabling the domestic curtailment of civil liberties, the ‘War on Terror’ also became an excuse for military interventionism – one excuse among many. In addition, we saw the emergence of ‘humanitarian’ interventions, and the fabrication of excuses such as non-existent ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Such excuses enabled the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another interventionist tactic, used for example in Kosovo and Libya, has been the recruitment of mercenary terrorists to play the role of ‘domestic freedom fighters’. This then provides an excuse for ‘humanitarian’ interventions. In the case of Syria, mercenary terrorists have themselves been the primary means of destabilisation. One can hardly keep up with all the interventions. In Africa, the US has set up AFRICOM, a military command established to facilitate interventions and destabilisation throughout Africa.

One can identify geopolitical and economic reasons for these various interventions, such as control over energy and mineral resources. However, from a big-picture perspective, the overall effect has been to undermine the principle of national sovereignty, and also to create a large number of ‘failed states’.

Transforming Economics – Controlled Demolition of Capitalism

As mentioned earlier, economic growth cannot continue forever on a finite planet. Quite clearly the capitalism/growth paradigm must come to an end sooner or later. Based on these facts, many analysts have been predicting the collapse of civilisation. Some even see this as a good thing, an opportunity to build a new society from the ground up.

These analysts either don’t understand the degree to which power is centralised in today’s world, or else they assume those who have power are blind and stupid; the Gods of Money are neither. They’ve been planning the successor to the growth paradigm since the establishment of the Club of Rome in 1968, if not earlier. Rather than letting capitalism collapse of its own accord, they’ve arranged for a controlled collapse, so that they can fashion an outcome of their own choosing.

The financial collapse of 2008 did not happen by accident; it was a project engineered by the Gods of Money. There will be no recovery from the collapse because a recovery is not intended. Instead of an economy based on market activity, we’re to have a globally micro-managed economy, as presaged by the widespread deployment of ‘smart meters’. Lessons learned in the Soviet experiment are to be applied globally.

The foundation for the 2008 collapse project was the establishment of the ‘mark-to-market’ rule, also known as ‘Basel II’. This was an edict of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the central bank of central banks, with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. This rule requires banks to value their assets according to what they could be sold for immediately on the markets.

What this means is that a temporary slump in some asset value deflates the value of all related assets. This is of little concern in rising markets, but in any kind of serious downturn it can render a bank insolvent unnecessarily. Markets do fluctuate, and banks routinely ride out bumps in values. The mark-to-market rule means that a survivable market bump can turn into a derailment: a time bomb had been placed in the global financial system.

With this bomb in place, the stage was set for the demolition project. The first step, arranged by Wall Street agents of the Gods of Money, was the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act in the US. This gave Wall Street the freedom it needed to proceed with the rest of the project. Next, global credit lines were opened wide, creating all kinds of loans that could never be repaid, particularly in the US housing market. Those bad mortgages were then bundled into derivatives, and phony insurance was attached so that the derivatives could be given a triple-A rating. These toxic derivatives were then marketed aggressively on global markets.

A housing bubble had been created; the toxic derivatives spread the risk throughout the banking system, and the time bomb ensured that when the bubble burst the banking system would be rendered insolvent. In 2008 the bubble did burst, and the planned insolvencies immediately followed. But that was not the worst of it.

If a bank, or any business, becomes insolvent, the sensible thing to do is to place the business into receivership and arrange for an orderly disposition of its assets and liabilities. What this means in the case of an insolvent bank is that the bank can be closed down on a Friday, and re-opened on the Monday under state ownership. The bad loans can be handed over to the unsecured creditors, and normal banking operations can be resumed. The bank can then be operated by the state, or it can be sold back into the private sector.

As if this well-known, orderly procedure didn’t exist, the Gods of Money were able to promulgate a nonsense doctrine called ‘too big to fail’. In order to help facilitate this scam, compliant officials and media claimed that the banks were suffering not from insolvency, but only from a temporary liquidity crisis. Based on this lie, an insane program of bank bailouts was launched. Because the banks were insolvent, governments could not possibly fulfil their fraudulently assumed bailout obligations. As bailout payments became due, governments were forced to borrow to fulfil them. The Gods of Money now had governments exactly where they wanted them.

The outcome, as planned, was the transformation of bank insolvency into government insolvency. Governments got their needed loans, but with onerous conditions attached – the same kind of conditions the IMF had been attaching to loans to ‘third world’ countries for decades. Instead of the banks going into receivership, governments were being forced into receivership, beginning with those with the greatest bailout exposure – Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.

The Gods of Money sent their agents (troikas) into these countries, taking over control of national budgets. A regime of austerity was decreed, guaranteeing that there could be no economic recovery, and a sell-off of national assets began – at bargain basement prices. Countries like France and Germany have been economically strong enough to survive the initial assault, but as the global economy continues to deteriorate they will eventually be pulled into the trap of insolvency as well. The more they try to save the Eurozone, the more they will be mired in debt. The US is already over its head in debt, partly from bailouts, and partly for reasons of its own such as military over-extension.

Throughout the West the following scenario is being created: rather than sovereign nations operating according to market forces, we’ll have nations that are owned by the Gods of Money, operating on the basis of budgets allocated by the central banks. The goal of central governance will have been in practice achieved, by means of debt, and a regime of economic micro-management will have been achieved as well, as it already has been in the weaker economies.

The Endgame – De-Americanisation & the Empowerment of the UN

The Persian Gulf crisis is a rare opportunity to forge new bonds with old enemies (the Soviet Union)… Out of these troubled times a New World Order can emerge under a United Nations that performs as envisioned by its founders.
– US President George Bush Sr., State of the Union Address, 29 January 1991

In the context of multiple interventions, wars, drone strikes, etc., that the US, usually with the help of the UK, routinely engages in – with little or no concern for international law, public opinion, or consequences to civilians – it was extremely surprising that first UK Prime Minister David Cameron and then US President Obama abandoned their promise to respond to Obama’s ‘red line’ about Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, by referring the matter to Parliament and Congress, where ‘NO’ votes were all but certain to follow.

Not everyone recognised right away that a momentous shift was signalled by this unprecedented back down, but the magnitude of the shift soon became apparent to all as subsequent events began to unfold. The first remarkable follow-on event was the sudden rise to diplomatic prominence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Even that was eclipsed by the announcement Washington and Iran were to engage in what sounds like very promising face-to-face negotiations over the nuclear issue, to the dire chagrin of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who up until then seemed to be the tail wagging the American dog in the Middle East.

Such momentous shifts on a global scale do not happen by accident, as we have seen in our whirlwind review of two centuries of history. Such events must be interpreted in the context of the agenda of the Gods of Money, and in particular with their Grand Project, to transform the world into their own private fiefdom. They’ve ‘cleared the building site’ by destabilising the world in the many ways described above, and they’ve already begun to micromanage national budgets. The time has come, apparently, to get on with the formal installation of their New World Order. Not by force, but by popular acclaim.

The Sudden Emergence of Putin as a World Leader

There has been a struggle going on for some time between the US on the one hand, and Russia, China, and the BRICS nations on the other, regarding the latter’s desire for a multipolar world, rather than a US-dominated unipolar world. The persistence of the dollar as a reserve currency, and US exceptionalism in general, have been of serious concern, and always the US has been jealous to guard what it has seen as its legitimate prerogatives.

In the cases of Syria and Iran, for example, appeals for sanity from Putin and others were ignored, or responded to with traditional US arrogance. Suddenly all that’s changed. Putin in particular has been elevated to the status of respected world leader, and it would have been inconceivable only a short time ago that the US would leave Russia in charge of dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons. Putin has not changed his tune or his style; he’s saying the same things he’s always been saying. What’s changed is that he isn’t being dismissed by Washington. And the global media, controlled of course by the Gods of Money, is now featuring him in almost heroic terms. Multipolarism has become overnight a reality.

De-Americanisation

American interventionism, and outrage against it, is of course nothing new. But particularly since 9/11 such episodes have become more and more dangerous. With threats of war with Iran, a ‘pivot to the East’ aimed against China, and other recent moves, it seemed we were verging toward a situation that might even trigger a full-blown nuclear confrontation on a global scale – the fulfilment of the ominous ‘Project for a New American Century’.

The world, as we’ve been seeing in media reports since the ‘red line’ backdown, is more than ready to embrace de-Americanisation. American leadership, widely welcomed after World War II, has long-since passed out of favour. One can almost hear a sigh of relief when reading some of the optimistic words of pundits. And who could not be relieved by the turn of events we’ve seen since Washington no longer seems to be calling all the shots? When Obama speaks, we typically hear the rhetoric of a politician; when Putin speaks, we hear the reasoned words of an astute statesman.

The Empowerment of the UN

Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license… All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.
– David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club

It does not take much imagination to see where these developments are heading. Diplomacy is taking centre stage, and new voices are being heard in the discourse of the ‘international community’. Expectations are rising that long-standing tensions and long-simmering crises may finally become resolvable. As real results begin feeding into these expectations, as will happen when the Iran crisis is settled and when the media starts saying the right things, there will emerge what amounts to a public outcry to carry this progress forward, to make sure that reason and diplomacy become the norm in international relations.

Out of the created crisis of American exceptionalism we will be treated with a ‘solution’ – putting teeth into the United Nations (UN) process. No more American vetoes in defiance of global sentiment! No more American (or Israeli) military adventurism! Let the UN do the job it was designed to do, we will hear, to provide a forum where issues can really be resolved, and to have the ability to carry out the resulting decisions on the ground. A ‘reformed’ UN won’t be called a world government, but the kinds of powers granted by the ‘reforms’ will amount to the same thing. The word subsidiarity may emerge again, if needed, to silence dissenting voices, but as with the EU such assurances would be meaningless.

It is important to notice that these recent breakthroughs and shifts are all in the realm of geopolitics. In this push toward centralised governance all attention is being focused on war and peace issues. Everyone, presumably, wants peace and stability among nations. We are being offered an attractive wooden horse named Peace, and we’re not hearing much about what’s inside the horse. Beware of elites bearing gifts.

In fact we know quite a bit about what is carried within the horse, but I’ve space here for only an example or two. Agenda 21 is one the most frightening pieces of cargo the horse carries. This agenda starts with legitimate concerns regarding sustainability, and transforms them into a Green Monster that aims to micromanage every aspect of our lives, to an extent that makes the old Soviet regime seem almost like free enterprise by comparison. Anyone not familiar with Agenda 21 would be well advised to do some research.

In the realm of international relations there are some frightening indicators, in particular regarding drone strikes. One would hope those diabolic machines would be outlawed altogether if we’re moving toward a more harmonious world. But no, already the UN is considering the drone issue, and wants to set up some kind of rating system to distinguish good strikes from bad strikes.

Which brings up the whole question of ‘terrorism’. As I’ve claimed above, and the evidence really is decisive, much of what is called ‘terrorism’ is really either false flag operations, or else the acts of mercenaries working for Western intelligence agencies, in the pursuit of some destabilisation or regime-change project. If the pretence is to continue – in our diplomacy-based world – that all this ‘terrorism’ is real, and that civil liberties must continue to be sacrificed, then our wooden horse isn’t as attractive as it might first appear.

There are two things we can be sure of, regarding what comes with our wooden horse. First, the UN will end up micro-managing society, by means of unaccountable bureaucracies, like the IMF, IPCC, WHO, etc. Second, with so many of our traditional systems intentionally destabilised, we can expect that a ‘solution’ will be given to us, in terms of a new cultural and economic paradigm.

An earlier article of mine, published in New Dawn 128 (Sept-Oct 2011), went into some detail as to the kinds of cultural changes the Gods of Money most likely have in store for us, based on various available indicators:  ‘The Elite Plan for a New World Social Order’, viewable at http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/the-elite-plan-for-a-new-world-social-order; http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-elite-plan-for-a-new-world-social-order/27188

If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.

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RICHARD K. MOORE worked 30 years for leading Silicon Valley software firms, and then moved to Ireland to pursue his ‘real work’. Since then he’s been studying and writing about the problems humanity is facing, and exploring paths to solutions. He’s a prolific writer, with a popular blog, dozens of articles published in magazines and online outlets like globalresearch.ca, and has published a book, Escaping the Matrix: How We the People Can Change the World. Website: http://cyberjournal.org. He can be reached at rkm@quaylargo.com.

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 7 No 6

Taliban Fucked With the Wrong Family—It cost them 25 terrorist creeps

An Afghan mother claims to have killed 25 Taliban militants and injured several others after she found her son, who was a police, dead in a fierce gun battle with the insurgents at his check post in western Farah province.

“Reza Gul” the Afghan mother who rushed to take revenge of her son’s death stood behind an armament and claimed the lives of 25 insurgents.

Woken up by the gunfire, Reza Gul told TOLOnews that she had no other option but to pick up a weapon after she found her son, who was the in charge of an outpost, dead in front of her eyes.

“It was around 5 a.m. when my son’s check post came under the attack of Taliban,” Gul said. “When the fighting intensified, I couldn’t stop myself and picked up a weapon, went to the check post and began shooting back.”

Few minutes later, Gul was not alone when she found her husband, daughter, youngest son and daughter-in-law holding weapons and accompanying her in the fight against the insurgents.

“The fighting was intensified when we reached the battlefield along with light and heavy weapons,” said Seema, Gul’s daughter-in-law. “We were committed to fight until the last bullet.”
The fighting lasted several hours with 25 insurgents dead and many others wounded, she added.

“We started a kind of family war against the Taliban,” Fatima, daughter of Gul said, adding that she was personally preparing bullets for her father and mother to fight off the enemies.
Gul’s husband Abdul Satar stated they were ready to sacrifice the entire family, but not allow the Taliban to get closer to the check post.

“My young son who was a police officer was killed in front of my eyes,” Abdul Satar said. “I pulled aside his dead body and started fighting to defend my soil to prove that this is the soil of Malalay, the hero. I was committed to give up my life, but not my son’s check post.”

Sardar, the youngest member of the family, also participated in the battle by preparing bullets for his father.

“Taliban are foreigners, they are servants of Pakistan, if they attack 100 other times, I will continue to defend my country and will shed their blood to not let them dare to enter my village” the little fighter added.

“We are proud of the bravery of this family and this is a saga that will be remembered for long by police and residents of Farah province,” said General Abdul Razaq Yaqubi, the Police Chief.

Racist Provocateurs Brutally Murder Another Black Youth In Ferguson

Only “Wahhabicized” Qurans Allowed In the Kingdom of Head-Choppers

Saudi Arabia seizes copies of the Quran with ‘errors’

al arabiya

Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh. (Photo courtesy of alyaum.com)

 

Saudi authorities have seized copies of the Quran with printing errors, showcasing misinterpretation in the content related to other religions and sects, Saudi media reported on Wednesday.

Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh told al-Watan newspaper that those copies were printed outside the kingdom and were being distributed in mosques by well-wishers.

“We have noticed that some copies came from outside printers, from some Arab and Islamic countries. Some of those copies were not carefully produced and were commercially brought into [the kingdom] and distributed by well-wishers in some mosques without knowing and they think that every copy is flawless,” al-Sheikh was quoted as saying.

He said some verses had “errors” some religions and sects and highlighted the need for spreading awareness and stressing that “not every copy ot the Islamic holy book is safe.”

He said some of the copies were found near Makkah’s Grand Mosque.

OHIO POLICE STATE—PIGS

police shooting of Tamir Rice

Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice, on Nov. 25, 2014.

Cleveland police released a surveillance video that shows a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, being fatally shot by an officer seconds after he arrived on the scene. VPC

Zionist Brutality Repellent To Civilized People

Israel’s Horrible Strategy of Retribution

ideal media

The Irritated American

Israel's Horrible Strategy of Retribution

Ben Gurion: where is your modern-day equivalent? (PHOTO: file)

It’s very simple. It’s a cycle that goes round and round and round without end.

And Israel seems to like it that way.

If they didn’t, they’d cease engaging in the enraging behavior that has become their modus operandi for decades now.

Not once in all the years and years of peace brokering attempts by third parties has Israel ever stopped settlement building and expansion in the Occupied Territories–that is, the West Bank. This despite the begging and imploring to do so by any number of American presidents and leaders from around the civilized world.

Yet it doesn’t stop. There is no shortage of space in Israel “proper”– that is, the land that has been claimed by Israel as its official boundary .  .  . and that any Palestinians who lived in (and then fled from) those boundaries prior to the formation of the state in the 1940’s have no claim, regardless of house keys, land deeds, money paid, etc.

Yet despite this lack of anything near overpopulation in Israel, the religious right and “Hilltop Youth” in the country are determined to expand the country…heading out into the West Bank and building homes in isolated areas on strategic hilltops, and expanding existing illegal settlements to encroach even further into ancient Palestinian properties, farms, orchards, and the like.

And since the political leadership is petrified of the religious hardline in a country founded upon religious identity, this illegal expansion is rarely confronted. Thus, Palestinian property is encroached upon, orchards stolen, farms bulldozed–all for no purpose but for the excitement of religious adventure and reliving biblical tales.

Creating, with each stroke, hordes of displaced, naturally enraged Palestinians. Most of the rage has little to do with Israelis being Jewish–they could be Hindu, they could be Buddhist, they could be Christian, they could be Muslim: the rage is about theft, of about displacement, of being treated like dirt in your own land by folks who have no ethnic, genetic connection to the land but for their belief in religious scripture.

*

Over the past week, a horrible and disgustingly bloody attack was unleashed in Israel by vengeance-minded Palestinians, who attacked worshippers in a synagogue with handguns and meat cleavers.

The point is this: an awful and law-violating retribution is being wrought against the families of the attackers .  .   .  mothers, fathers, little brothers and sisters in elementary school, and the like. It’s a policy brought back into vogue despite the fact that it is a clear breaking of International Law: demolishing the homes that the attackers (shot dead on the spot) lived in– with bulldozers and wrecking equipment, and leaving those completely innocent relatives homeless as punishment.

This is a draconian form of vengeance that Israel formally ceased ten years ago, considering it far too severe, unjust, and completely counterproductive. All it does is instill a murderous rage in a whole new group of people, and radicalizes them. If these innocent family members didn’t hate Israel prior to the razing, you can be sure that they will be hellbent on rage and revenge afterwards. It’s as certain as 2 + 2= 4.

When Israel conducts military operations in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian people suffer incredible percentiles of collateral damage. The number of women and children who die (in addition to militants)  from shelling and air and rocket attacks are outrageously disproportionate to the tiny casualties on the Israeli side. When Israel commits crimes against innocents, there is no Palestinian military allowed to exist–thus, nobody can go into Israel to kill the killer, and then make the killer’s family homeless by demolishing the family dwelling.

Instilling this sense of extreme rage, injustice, and total military impotence in a people is formally and officially the Manufacturing of a Terrorist. There are no two ways about it.

Once upon a time, Israel understood this. They grasped the concept, and put the practice to a stop ten years ago.

Now, after the synagogue attack last week, and a couple of similar attacks in September and October, Israel has been attacking innocent families once again after killing perpetrators on the spot of the original crime.

This has got to stop, in the name of humanity and all that is decent. All it does is give Israel the reason they’re looking for to stay in the West Bank–for “security reasons.” It doesn’t deter terrorism; it multiplies it exponentially.

David ben Gurion, founder of Israel and it’s first Prime Minister, said to Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

Someday, another wise Israeli leader with that level of understanding will come around and solve this conundrum with this kind of empathy, purging of national guilt with a sense of a new beginning, and finally conciliation. We desperately need him–sooner rather than later.

Preston Clive

Ukraine Nationalizes Russia-to-Europe Diesel Pipeline, Russia Promises To Shut It Down

Ukraine court upholds nationalization of Russian pipeline

Russia-Today

RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko
RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko

The Ukrainian Supreme Commercial Court of Appeal has upheld the nationalization of 1,433 kilometers of pipeline through the country which it says was illegally registered in the name of a subsidiary of Russia’s Transneft.

A spokesman for Transneft, Igor Demin, told TASS that the company intends to appeal the decision, and added that it will lead to a decline in the transit of product, and “the pipeline asset will turn into a pile of iron.”

The nationalization primarily concerns the Samara of westerly direction pipeline, which is owned by part of Southwest Transnefteprodukt, a subsidiary of Transneft. The company also owns a part of the Grozny-Armavir-Trudovaya pipeline which is currently out of service.

Ukraine and EU countries get Russian diesel fuel through these pipelines.

In October, the President of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev said the company wouldn’t pump oil through Ukraine towards Hungary if the government went through with the nationalization of the pipelines. He said if that were the case Transneft would pump preservative solution into the pipes.

Viktor Orban’s “we will not be a colony” Speech

Viktor Orban speech, Budapest, 15.03.2012

The political and intellectual program of 1848 was this: we will not be a colony! The program and the desire of Hungarians in 2012 goes like this: we will not be a colony!

Hungary could not have stood against the pressure and things dictated from abroad in the winter of 2011-2012 if it were not for those hundreds of thousands of people who stood up to show everyone that Hungarians will not live as foreigners dictate it, will not give up their independence or their freedom, therefore they will not give up their constitution either, which they finally managed to draft after twenty years. Thank you all!

Don’t be misled if tomorrow you will read in the international press that there were only a few hundred people here in the square and even those who were here, rallied against the government.

As things stand, we have not been as strong as we are today for long decades.

As things stand today we are enough in numbers and in our resolve to fight for a free Hungarian life also, after fighting for our liberties.

Freedom for us means that we are not inferior to anyone else.

It means that we also deserve respect.

Freedom also means that de decide about the laws governing our own life, we decide what is important and what isn’t. From the Hungarian perspective, with a Hungarian mindset, following the rhythm of our Hungarian hearts.

Therefore we write our own constitutions. We do not need writing-lines, nor do we require the unsolicited assistance of foreigners wanting to guide our hands.

We are more than familiar with the character of unsolicited comradely assistance, even if it comes wearing a finely tailored suit and not a uniform with shoulder patches. We want Hungary to revolve around its own axis, therefore we are going to protect the constitution, which is the security for our future.

We have to ask and to respond to the biggest question. Will we submit ourselves to being at the mercy of others until death or will we rely on the virtues which make Hungarians Hungarians, which make sovereignty sovereignty and history history. Will we opt for the fate of a colony or for a Hungarian existence made up and made complete according to the best of our knowledge?

There is one thing that no one can question. Our freedom fights always meant a step forward for the world. They meant progress because we were right. We were right even if everyone denied this.

In 48 we said that we should tear down the walls of feudalism and we were proven right. In 56, we said we have to crack, we have to break the wheels of communism and we were proven right.

Today also, they look at us with suspicion.

They looked at us like this in 48-49, when Europe became silent, silent again, but then the feudalist world disintegrated all around Europe and strong nations were born in its place.

They looked at us like this in 56, but the communist tyranny, that we drove the first nail into, finally collapsed, allowing Europe to reunite again.

European bureaucrats look at us with distrust today because we said: we need new ways. We said we have to break out of the prison of debt and we also declared that Europe can only be made great again with the help of strong nations. You will see my dear friends that we will be proven right yet again.

It was not the feudalist vassals who caused the demise of feudalism, nor was communism destroyed by party secretaries. The rule of speculators will not be terminated by them or by bureaucrats, nor will they come help save the ditched carriage of Europe.

It is not going to be them, but instead it is going to be European citizens living off the fruits of their personal efforts. Because their world has to come. If it doesn’t, then the days of Europe are over.

The Youth of March also saw, what many in Europe today refuse to see, that financial independence is a precondition for freedom. This is why they had to include the indispensable demand for a National Bank on their 12-point list.

Although the Youth of March were not board members or bankers, they fully understood the weight of the issue of a national bank. They knew that an independent national bank is not one that is independent from its nation. An independent national bank is one, which protects the national economy from foreign interests. They knew and we also know well that anyone with common sense will not entrust the neighbours with the keys to the pantry.

Our Lithuanian, Czech, Latvian, Slovenian and Romanian friends have all stood up for us. Not only did they stand up for us, they also came, our Lithuanian and Polish friends are here to celebrate with us.

Glory to Lithuania!

God bless Poland!

We also have with us the silently abiding Europe of many tens of millions, who still insist on national sovereignty and still believe in the Christian virtues of courage, honour, fidelity and mercy, which one day made our continent great.

There are people, there are many people who still remember 56 and think that “you Hungarians were right”. We are capable of standing our ground against the injustice of stronger empires. This is why we are respected by those who respect us. This is why we are attacked by those who are against us.

We understand that Europe has a lot of problems. The clog wheels are creaking, muscles and tendons are flexing.

But as a thousand year old European nation we have one demand. We demand equal standards for Hungarians. As a European nation we demand equal treatment. We will not be second class European citizens. Our rightful demand is to have the same standards apply to us, which apply to other countries. We have learnt that the recovery of Europe and Hungary are inseparable from each other. Any time Europe found itself in distress, the fate of Hungary also took a turn for the worse.

We are not happy, but we understand that European unity is not a unity of saints, but we will not sit and watch idly, if any political or intellectual trend tries to force an unholy alliance on Europe.

Europe cannot surrender and give in; the feeling of belonging together may not weaken it any more. This would lead to the defeat and to the demise of Europe. This is why Europe cannot leave whole countries by the roadside.

If we don’t act in time, in the end, the whole of Europe can become a colony of the modern financial system.

Viktor Orban Walks in Putin’s Footsteps

Hungary’s Viktor Orban Walks in Putin’s Footsteps

Moscow Times

Hektor Pustina / AP

The wind is “blowing from the East.” That’s how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has described the recent swirl of Russian precedent and influence, the storm of ethnic chauvinism and anti-Brussels sentiment that begins in Moscow and whips low across the Ukrainian plains.

This storm is currently sweeping across Donetsk, and if Orban has his way, it’s heading directly toward the EU. How the EU will handle this rapidly approaching reality remains anyone’s guess.

Hungary’s Viktor Orban channels Putin’s rightist, ethnic-based rhetoric.

Orban last month called for the end of the “liberal state.” Six years after the economic recession battered Europe and four years after ascending to power, Orban claimed that the era of the welfare state had come to a close. Hungary, he said, would not become an economic colony of Brussels, but would develop itself into a “workfare” state.

Likewise, Hungary should form itself into a buttress against all that horrific tolerance that the EU has seen fit to promote. Amoral allowances like abortion rights and protection for sexual minorities may be fine for other nations, but they are not for Orban.

It’s time to “respect Christianity, freedom and human rights,” as Orban says, and to crack down on NGOs that receive funding beyond Hungary’s border. It’s time for the rise of the “illiberal state.”

If these parameters sound familiar, it’s not surprising. Russia has enacted conservative legislation rooted in similar arguments, and indeed in his speech Orban cited Russia as an appropriate model for political development.

Hungary’s democratic backslide has wrung more than a few hands over the past few years. Local media has become increasingly restricted, and opposition parties have repeatedly warned of electoral malpractice.

This latest speech from the president, as Human Rights Watch noted, was not necessarily unexpected. But it was still shocking.

After all, Hungary stands as a full member state of the European Union. It has now spent a decade as a member, having sloughed its communist, Soviet-dominated past. Budapest remains one of Eastern Europe’s jewels, and Hungarians are as entrenched in European economic and defense groupings as any other nation. Hungary is, in a sense, a quintessential EU nation-state.

And that’s what makes Orban’s calls so disturbing. It’s not simply that Orban has sought to curtail the powers and avenues of potential political adversaries. That would be understandable, although distinctly unfortunate.

What’s frightening about Orban’s policies is that he seems to be following Russia’s precedent. Not only has Budapest seen itself fit to mirror the Kremlin’s suppression of civil rights, but Orban has begun channeling the rightist, ethnic-based rhetoric that Putin has perfected.

Much as the Kremlin defended its annexation of Crimea by claiming that it was simply protecting ethnic Russian speakers, Orban has taken on the role of guarantor of the safety of Hungarian nationals, regardless of whether they are actually Hungarian citizens.

After the eruption of fighting in Ukraine, and as Russian nationalists began to craft the idea of a new, greater Russia, Orban wasted little time in calling for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in southwest Ukraine. In fact, while formalizing his call for an “illiberal state” last month, Orban was speaking to an audience of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, some of whom have begun agitating for greater autonomy in Transylvania.

Just as the Kremlin’s supporters envision a new Soviet Union, a century after the Austro-Hungarian Empire drew its last breath, fascist and nationalist groups within Hungary have begun clamoring for a greater Hungary, for an empire restored to the glory it once knew.

Whereas Putin has Alexander Dugin and his Eurasianists, who call for Russia to create a new empire in the East, in Hungary the openly anti-Semitic and extremist party Jobbik strongly influences Orban’s policies. There’s even a link between the two: When the Kremlin illegally annexed Crimea earlier this year, some Jobbik members voiced approval.

The internal dynamics within Hungary and Russia are distressingly similar. A populist, hard-right president has been painted as domestically centrist by the frothing, fascistic groups calling for territorial expansion and ethnic supremacy.

But where Russia has morphed into the EU’s bete noire over the past few months, Hungary is fully ensconced within Europe’s liberal structures. The EU’s supranational structures were supposed to buttress the rights gained since the fall of communism.

Orban, however, has seen fit to challenge that assumption. And he’s looking to Moscow as an example.

More than French concerns about defense industry profits, and more than British hopes of attracting Moscow’s oligarch money, the situation currently unfolding in Hungary presents Russia’s greatest challenge to the rights and protections achieved by the EU.

A decade ago, naysayers pegged Bulgaria as Moscow’s “Trojan Horse” in the EU. Greece, Cyprus and Italy have also earned the title. But these detractors were only half-right. Moscow’s precedent of autocratic intolerance, of ethnic-only borders, has in fact taken root in Budapest.

And Orban was only half-right, too, because there’s something coming from the East. But it’s not a wind. It’s a virus. And with Orban’s help, this virus has begun to infect the EU.

Casey Michel is a Bishkek-based journalist and a graduate student at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.

Hungarian President Viktor Orban Really Pisses Obama Off

[In addition to sticking its finger in Obama’s eye over its embrace of Putin’s South Stream project, Hungary is also fighting back against Obama/Soros and their armies of NGO social revolutionaries (SEE:  The Hungarian right’s latest: The Soros-Clinton-Obama axis).  As you can see in the speeches of American diplomats like Victoria Nuland (SEE: US state official slams Viktor Orbán and Fidesz in all but name), Hungarian President Viktor Orban has really pissed Obama off, as well as the entire EU.  More on Mr. Orban follows.]

US Directs Its Economic Terrorism At Hungary, Desperate To Kill SOUTH STREAM

Hungary–the country that dared to disobey the US and EU

Hungary Begins Laying Pipe for South Stream System

GEICO 500 - Practice

The United States Embassy did not give a substantive answer to the request of the Hungarian Nation on their part to who and what has been negotiated in 2011 with Peter Konya, the Gordon Bajnai’s 2014 Co-founder of the Solidarity movement leader.

As stated intention, “an informal nature” Communicating with governments or individuals.

– The United States government maintains close contact with the Hungarian government. And more frequent level discussions are taking place with regard to the areas in which the two countries work together. Fight against corruption, this also includes. We will continue with the Hungarian government of that matters will continue to work closely together – answered questions from the panel, who initiated the meeting, those who attended, what it was about, and that is still made a similar request.

Peter Konya admitted recently that even as a professional soldier, a lieutenant colonel discussed American diplomats. Konya stated that the only reasons then organized demonstrations and law enforcement objectives, as well as the democratic institutions and the legal system “downsizing of” informed the representatives of various levels of American diplomacy. Who they were, he refused to reveal, as advised to ask about the US embassy.

Konya in 2011, even references to “clown revolutionaries as” unleashing the potential of violence did, but added the solidarity and October 2013, seeing the “statue decision” when one depicting Viktor Orban hungarocellszobornak cut off his head .

 

 

ZIONIST Stench Killing Leviathan “Bonanza” for Big Oil

[SEE:  BIG OIL Doesn’t Like the Stench of Zionist Gas–No One Is Willing To Partner with Israel ; Report: Israel’s $15b gas deal with Jordan may be in jeopardy]

Energy companies will call final shots for Cyprus gas

Cyprus mail

Energy companies will call final shots for Cyprus gas

By Elias Hazou

Whereas the talks in Nicosia on Tuesday provide a political backbone for potential natural gas deals, it is the energy companies that will ultimately call the shots, energy expert Charles Ellinas has told the Cyprus Mail.

British energy outfit BG Group are currently desperate to secure gas supplies for their liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Idku, Egypt, which are operating at below capacity.

The Idku plant has a capacity of around 7.2 million tonnes of LNG per annum, but is currently working with around 2 million tonnes.

BG are exploring a number of options to plug that gap, with Cypriot gas from the Aphrodite field being one such alternative.

If developed, Aphrodite could plausibly yield anywhere from 3.5 to 4 million tonnes a year, channelled to Egypt by pipeline from the Aphrodite reservoir. The pipeline must be coupled with a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit built on top of the gas well. An FPSO is essentially a platform producing and treating the gas on-site.

The earliest completion date for such a project would be late 2019, Ellinas said. It is less capital-intensive than either onshore or marine-based LNG and, given falling LNG prices worldwide, would make more economic sense for Noble Energy, operators of the Aphrodite field.

Assuming Noble clinches a deal to pipe the bulk of the Aphrodite gas to Egypt, the revenues from the contract might then make it worthwhile to construct a second, small-diameter pipeline running from offshore Block 12 to Vasilikos on the southern coast of Cyprus, supplying small quantities of gas for domestic electricity generation here.

It’s understood that Noble has been discussing these scenarios with BG as well as with the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company.

By way of example, were Cyprus to buy the Aphrodite gas for $10 per million BTU (mmbtu), and the profits to be made are around $3 per mmbtu, Cyprus would pocket two-thirds ($2 per mmbtu) of the profits, as it owns two-thirds of the Aphrodite gas. That leaves a net cost of $8 per mmbtu for gas purchased from the Block 12 reservoir, a substantially lower price compared to importing natural gas via the so-called interim solution.

But when it comes to supplying BG’s gas-starved export plant, Cyprus faces stiff competition. BG has already signed a letter of intent with the partners in Israel’s Leviathan gas field for approximately 5 million tonnes of LNG a year. And BG is in talks with BP to link their two gas developments off Egypt’s coast. BP’s North Alexandria gas field is expected to come online next year – far sooner than Cyprus’ Aphrodite field – and could provide BG’s plant with up to 2 million tonnes of LNG per annum.

“Right now everything is on the table,” Charles Ellinas said.

The expert also drew a connection between the technical study for a Cyprus to Egypt pipeline – unveiled by the two countries’ energy ministers on Tuesday – and the ongoing gas supply tender put out by the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA).

DEFA chairperson Eleni Vasiliadou has confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that the validity period of the ‘interim gas’ tender has been extended – for a second time – to the end of January 2015.

DEFA on Tuesday began assessing the three remaining bidders’ revised financial offers. According to press reports, the prices quoted by the bidders hover around the $14 per mmbtu mark.

Time-wise, the new validity period of DEFA’s tender now coincides with the completion of the technical study for the Cyprus-Egypt pipeline.

“It’s very likely that officials are waiting on the Cyprus to Egypt pipeline analysis to come through before plunging ahead with the DEFA gas imports,” offered Ellinas.

US Officials Pleading With the EU Over Plans For Breaking-Up Google Monopoly Over the Internet

[US global dictators are desperate to maintain their total control over the Internet.  They are sticking to their usual routine, first diplomatic persuasion, followed by begging, then the crying gets underway, followed by the threats, before denying US services as a “penultimate” punishment, followed quickly by military measures (SEE: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Demands Google Search Dictatorship Be Broken-Up).]

US voices concern over Google break-up motion

Euractiv

[Shutterstock]

[Shutterstock]

The United States voiced concern yesterday (25 November) over a draft plan by two MEPs to break up Google Inc, saying politicians should not influence the EU’s antitrust inquiry into the world’s most popular Internet search engine.

The US Mission to the European Union said in an email it “noted with concern” the call for competition regulators to consider splitting search engines from other Internet services.

“It is important that the process of identifying competitive harms and potential remedies be based on objective and impartial findings and not be politicized,” it said.

The European Commission has been investigating Google for four years following complaints by rivals and has yet to come to a conclusion.

The comments by the US Mission came a week after Andreas Schwab, a German conservative, and Ramon Tremosa, a Spanish liberal at the European Parliament, unveiled a draft of their resolution saying that separating search engines from other commercial services would ensure a level playing field.

Parliament has no power to break up Google. But the proposal underlines widespread concerns among some EU politicians and companies about American dominance of the Internet, and could put pressure on the bloc’s antitrust regulators to take a stronger line against Google.

Andrus Ansip, the EU’s top official for digital markets, told Reuters on Monday he was concerned that some tech companies may be abusing their dominant positions but added that the Google investigations must not be rushed.

Every Drone Assassination Kills 28 Civilians

It takes 28 civilian lives to kill a single terrorist leader – UK human rights group

Russia-Today

https://i0.wp.com/www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/borowitz-drones.jpg

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator, unmanned aerial vehicle (Reuters / U.S. Air Force)

 

Eliminating a specific terrorist leader is a ‘targeted killing’ according to the US. However, Britain’s Reprieve human-rights group calculated that it takes about 28 innocent lives to take out a single terrorist leader, often with multiple drone strikes.

The UK human-rights group gave The Guardian the latest statistics (November 24) compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, on collateral damage from American drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

The statistics are the most striking in 10 years: attempts to kill 41 terrorist leaders resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, the vast majority – civilians and families.

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Jennifer Gibson, who headed Reprieve’s study.

Over the decade of ever-intensifying drone strikes in countries Washington has never actually declared war on, thousands of civilians have been killed – something the US has consistently denied.

“The only people we fire a drone at are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level, after a great deal of vetting that takes a long period of time. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody and think they’re a terrorist,” The Guardian cited the US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying at a BBC forum in 2013.

Yet the statistics speak for themselves: it takes dozens, sometimes hundreds of lives to eliminate a single Al-Qaeda or Taliban warlord.

Over the last eight years there have been several attempts to eliminate an Al-Qaeda leader called Ayman Zawahiri. Drones have proved ineffective – the man is still alive. In two known attempts, in 2006, as many as 76 children and 29 adults were killed.

If Zawahiri’s name sounds familiar to some Americans, this definitely cannot be said about Qari Hussain, a former deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban.

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013 (Reuters / Athar Hussain)

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013 (Reuters / Athar Hussain)

In 2008-2010 there were four attempts to get this man before missiles from an American drone killed him. But there was collateral damage: the US drones accidentally killed 128 people, including 13 children.

Most of the terror suspects were targeted in Pakistan, where a drone hunt after 24 terrorist leaders resulted in the deaths of 874 people, 142 of them children. The mission registered only six successful strikes.

This makes the terrorist/civilian drone death ratio in Pakistan as high as 1:36.

In Yemen, 273 people were killed (including at least seven children) in drone airstrikes targeting 17 terror suspects (terrorist/civilian death ratio 1:16).

However, 41 terrorist deaths claimed can’t actually be confirmed. Some have apparently been proclaimed dead twice, some have disappeared from American intelligence radar, and also identities have been mistaken. Others were even found dead under circumstances different from drone strikes.

There were 33 confirmed drone kills of the named targets, yet 947 people died in the attacks.

The statistics presented by Reprieve don’t cover other types of American drone strikes. These are the so-called ‘signature strikes’ against groups of people whose activities appeared to be ‘suspicious.’

The usually conservative US Council on Foreign Relations think tank assesses that in Afghanistan and Iraq, alone, some 500 drone ‘signature airstrikes’ have killed 3,674 people.

All CIA or Joint Special Operations Command drone strike operations are conducted in strict secrecy. Any information that is leaked is done so anonymously. So the data compiled by Reprieve is far from being complete.

“President Obama needs to be straight with the American people about the human cost of this program,” Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson told The Guardian. “If even his government doesn’t know who is filling the body bags every time a strike goes wrong, his claims that this is a precise program look like nonsense, and the risk that it is in fact making us less safe looks all too real,” Gibson said.

Lets talk about Hummingbird—(Parts 1 and 2)

goog hummingbirdLets talk about Hummingbird.

Samuel Barney

The age of Semantic Search.

The new Google Bots :

Google buys UK artificial intelligence startup Deepmind for £400m Google makes its biggest EU purchase yet with the technology that aims to make computers think like humans

Google Voice Search(also known as Search by Voice), Apple’s Siri, Window’s Cortana, all signs point to a market shift with more and more users expecting ease of use in all things. Nothing could improve our digital/physical lives more than a more intelligent AI.

Control the path to content & you control the web. Just like mobile overtaking desktop in usage we are approaching a time when voice search/query usage will overtake type/text search in the near future. The race for the first personalized intelligent AI is on.

If you have some time browse through Google’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning notice a trend? Now that you have indulged my theories let’s move on…

Are panda & penguin more important updates?

Panda and Penguin both are updates to the old platform(algorithm), where as Hummingbird is a completely new platform. Don’t freak out. The new engine from Google was up and running an entire month before their announcement.

No major ranking shift(s) have been reported as of now, that is not to say there won’t be in the near future. There’s a great FAQ & Hummingbird Unleashed from Search Engine Land & Moz, if you would like to get some basic perspective on how the mainstream SEO crowd is reacting.

Making Google history…

This marks the single largest change in how Google assigns value to websites since 2001. You might be thinking what about Caffeine?! Well Caffeine was an infrastructure change not a change in the algorithm.

Hummingbird — Google says — is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then. – searchengineland.com

Lets talk about Hummingbird. Part 2.

This is a continuation of Part 1 on Google Hummingbird.


Intelligent content insights. Quality or die.

One of the stated goals of Google’s Hummingbird platform is to better understand content. If your business needs depend heavily on online conversions, it’s time to start paying attention to user metrics. Content and the placement there of is paramount to capturing an organic audience for conversion.

User Metrics reign supreme.

Overview

  • Context
    • How comparable can your user query terms / referral anchor & content be to the destination content?
    • Exit %. Bounce Rate. Avg Time on Site / Page. This should always be at the top of your thinking.
    • Do you have a Heatmap? Don’t know about them? Check out this article from moz on analytics + heatmap.
  • Intent
    • Does your content seek to inform or simply promote. Nothing wrong with either that I know of as it relates to SEO, but this speaks to the scope of Hummingbird.
  • Value
    • How much does this content help users once they’re onpage.
    • Is your content remarkable?
    • Do your audience feel the need to start a conversation based on the scope of the content.
  • Original / Unique
    • Sourced content vs. Unique content : ratio
    • Horizontal? ( broad… ie Cars )
    • Vertical? ( specific… ie Cars > Manufacturers > Ford Motor Company > Mustang Shelby GT 500 > Engine > Performance Comparison > MPG > City vs Highway )
    • If your audience was only allowed one resource for this content, would yours be selected?

Think

“As the ancients Say wisely, have a care o’ th’ main chance,
And look before you ere you leap;
For as you sow, ye are like to reap.”
Samuel Butler Canto II, line 501.

One of the most beneficial things you can do for content is research. The more you know, the more accurately you can inform an audience. Ask questions, get to know the thought process of existing users & why they made previous conversions. Anything that can lend you insights into your target audience can go a long way. Below is a good video to hopefully explain some of our biology & how it affects behavior.

Simon Sinek: If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business

Before taking a stance on any one strategy it’s a good rule of thumb to find several resources on that audience before digging in.

Do

“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”Seth Godin.

Don’t get stuck in the conceptual & thinking phases just keep moving forward, put something on paper. Map an outline with clear goals & target conversion path, include reasoning for each. Publishing more content doesn’t always equate to more traffic / conversions, make sure it’s vertical( can be horizontal if you want but most likely you want a specific target audience ) content type.

Hummingbird strives to help with entities search as well, althought adoption is low to Schema as well. Other types of structured data standards are broadly ignored in favor of more streamlined approaches.

Conclusion

Hummingbird may not affect you now, but every inch you fall behind will add up. If Google has taught us anything post Panda+Penguin it’s that everything changes, constantly move forward or suffer the back of the line. I sincerely hope this has helped you better understand Google’s Hummingbird platform & SEO / Marketing best practices in general.

I won’t likely write Part 3 in this series until next month, as I have a few other topics SEO related I’d like to cover before then. That gives me more time to data mine for Hummingbird Insights before continuing this series as well.

 

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Demands Google Search Dictatorship Be Broken-Up

[In case anyone hasn’t noticed, or hasn’t been paying attention, Google’s infamous “secret algorithm” has been squeezing most blogs out of search results.  Even blogs which are treasure troves of information on the Imperial war on humanity, such as No Sunglasses, can no longer be found by “stumbling-upon” them in concerted searches on specific topics, using Google searches.  Prior to Google’s previous reworking of its search algorithm, called “Panda” (SEE:  Getting Squeezed-Out of Google Searches With the Panda Algorithm), which devastated the Alexa Ratings Index for this website and others like it, “therearenosunglasses” nearly always came up in most web searches pertaining to the American dictatorship.  Now, after the new algorithm rework, we are faced with Google’s next generation search barricade, called “Hummingbird” (SEE: Hummingbird Unleashed), which has flat-lined most of us.  The proof of Hummingbird censorship has been summed-up in this article from aangirfan, “TRUTH BLOGS UNDER ATTACK.”  It is impossible at this stage of the game to determine whether this can all be written-off to more of the same govt/corporate censorship of truth-tellers (a.k.a., “conspiracy theorists”), or it can be partially explained by the move to hand-held computers and the tendency to turn everything into another “APP” (SEE: Lets talk about Hummingbird—Parts 1 and 2)]

google-chains

Europe to call for ‘break up’ of Google in bid to end search monopoly

the inquirer

Drastic measures could be taken to ‘restore competition online’

Europe to call for 'break up' of Google in bid to end search monopoly

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT is reportedly going to call for Google be broken up into separate companies in a vote next week, in a bid to combat the online firm’s dominance.

Google has long found itself tied up in European investigations. Currently, the firm is involved in an antitrust investigation into its Android operating system, along with the ongoing case regarding its dominance in the search engine market, which was originally set to close in the summer of this year.

Europe could take drastic measures in a bid to put an end to this ongoing case, with a leak suggesting that a motion to break up the company could be on the agenda.

A draft motion seen by The Financial Timeswhich reportedly has support from Europe’s two largest political partiessays that an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services” should be considered as a potential solution to Google’s dominance.

It also calls for an end to Google’s “illegal and discriminatory treatment” and calls “to restore competition in the online marketplace.”

However, the report notes that the European parliament has no authority to force the break up of a company like Google, but that it does have the ability to influence the European Commission, who decides on new legislation.

One of the motion’s supporters, a Spanish MEP, told the website that such it is necessary to consider such a move as a long-term solution because the commission could not “ask the secret of [Google’s] algorithm.”

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said she will listen to Google and its various critics before deciding how to go forward with an antitrust inquiry.

“The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players; they are multifaceted and complex. I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps,” she said at a hearing in Brussels.

Google declined to comment on the report, but The Financial Times has heard that executives at the company are “furious” at the motion.

A vote on the motion is expected to take place in European Parliament next Thursday. µ

Kaspersky Labs Outs US/British Malware Attack On EU

Regin malware is the work of Western intelligence agencies, claims Kaspersky

the inquirer

Doesn’t seem to have infected any of the ‘Five Eyes’ nations

 

Symantec uncovers 'most sophisticated espionage malware tool' ever

THE REGIN TROJAN, which has been described as one of the “most sophisticated pieces of malware ever created” is the work of Western intelligence agencies, further research by security Kaspersky has claimed.

First uncovered and named by Symantec, the malware, dubbed a “top-tier espionage tool”, doesn’t seem to have infected any of the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ nations.

Since, Kaspersky Lab has revealed that 14 nations have so far been identified as being infected by Regin, including Russia, Iran and Germany, but not the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand or Canada, as the map below shows.

Kaspersky also noted that it is odd that Fiji and Kiribati are victims of Regin.

“Fiji and Kiribati are unusual, because we rarely see such advanced malware in such remote, small countries. In particular, the victim in Kiribati is most unusual,” it said. “To put this into context, Kiribati is a small island in the Pacific with a population of around 100,000.”

The report by Kaspersky also reveals that the Regin tool has been used to access mobile networks, undoubtedly to siphon off data, which again suggests the work of US and UK spy agencies in light of other operations revealed by Edward Snowden.

When it announced its discovery, Symantec said Regin had been used in spying campaigns against a range of international targets since at least 2008.

“A backdoor-type Trojan, Regin is a complex piece of malware whose structure displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen,” said Symantec.

“Customisable with an extensive range of capabilities depending on the target, it provides its controllers with a powerful framework for mass surveillance and has been used in spying operations against government organisations, infrastructure operators, businesses, researchers and private individuals.”

Backdoor.Regin is a multi-staged threat, and each stage is hidden and encrypted with the exception of the first stage.

The first stage starts a domino chain of decryption and loading of each subsequent stage to a total of five.

Each stage provides little information on the complete package, and only by acquiring all five stages is it possible to analyse and understand the threat.

Symantec said that the development of Regin could have taken years, and the malware’s authors have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks.

“Its capabilities and the level of resources behind Regin indicate that it is one of the main cyber espionage tools used by a nation state,” the security firm added.

Regin infections have been observed in a variety of organisations between 2008 and 2011, after which it was abruptly withdrawn. A new version of the malware resurfaced in 2013.

Symantec believes that some targets may be tricked into visiting spoofed versions of well-known websites, and that the threat may be installed through a web browser or by compromising an application.

Log files on one computer showed that Regin originated from Yahoo Instant Messenger through an unconfirmed exploit.

“Regin’s developers put considerable effort into making it highly inconspicuous. Its low-key nature means it can potentially be used in espionage campaigns lasting several years,” the firm added.

Symantec said that it is very difficult to ascertain what the malware is doing, even when its presence is detected, and that analysis of the payloads was possible only after decrypting sample files.

Pedro Bustamante, director of special projects at Malwarebytes, told The INQUIRER that Regin is the cyber equivalent of a specialist covert reconnaissance team.

“The analysis shows it to be highly adaptable, changing its method of attack depending on the target,” he said.

“It also has some very advanced evasion techniques that make it suitable for spending long periods carrying out undercover surveillance.”

Sec. Def. Hagel Fired for Outlying the Liar-In-Chief About “ISIS Threat”?

Cyprus To Beirut Cessna Flight Flew In Aimless Circles Before Crash Inside Turkish Declared Zone

[Was the Chief investigator’s son killed since then, on Cyprus?]

Yiannakis Loizou, head of the Air Accident Incident Investigation Board (AAIIB) October 25, 2014

Wednesday, in connection with the murder of 22-year old British Cypriot Michael Minas Loizou., November 19, 2014

Georges Obegi. A full life, a tragic death

l 'hebdo mag

Georges Obegi

On 22 October, passenger aircraft one of the senior officials of the holding company of the group Obegi sank off the Cypriot coast, while he was heading to Beirut.

Diamond-DA42--400x300 Diamond DA42

On the tarmac of the airport in Paphos, Cyprus Georges Obegi and instructor Avgoustinos Avgoustin prepare to board the Diamond DA42 Twin registered 5B-CLI. Obegi takes flying lessons from light aircraft and to validate his patent, he must make a night flight. The aircraft took off at about 6:20 p.m.. The flight plan, a way to Beirut. The trip takes an hour and twenty minutes. But at 9000 feet above the air base of Akrotiri [RAF Akrotiri], 50 kilometers southeast of Paphos, the aircraft began to make wide circles.  Akrotiri control tower contacted the aircraft. The pilot says he meets minor problems it tries to solve. The aircraft continued its course, respecting the flight plan, until it reaches 40 nautical miles from Larnaca where air traffic controller allows the device to perform a turning point [a correction] – in the aviation jargon a significant shift point. The plane did not perform.

Cyprus Cessna down

(LARGER MAP)  [After the initial electronic or mechanical malfunction, which caused DA-42/5B-CLI to fly in circles over British RAF Akrotiri Air Base (the same base used by the British to bomb ISIS positions).  An attempted course correction was followed by a sudden drop 3000 feet, before disappearing from radar completely approx. 45 miles S-East of Limasol.—ed.]
The pilot will explain to the control tower that he had to change course, he still encountered small problems, but it goes to the end point. It is 7:02 p.m.. The controllers will explain to investigators that they then heard a loud noise coming from the camera. The control tower then initiates a signal. A second attempt to contact the aircraft. In vain. Of 9000 feet, the plane passes 6,000 feet. At 7:04 p.m., the plane disappeared from radar screens between Larnaca and Beirut, at sea. The Cyprus Civil Aviation will alert at 19:18. Limassol authorities will dispatch two coastguard patrol boats and a helicopter. Lebanese side, the Minister of the Interior, Nouhad Machnouk, upon receipt of the information, in contact with the commander of UNIFIL, Colonel Luciano Portolano, requesting assistance. Three German ships of the UN force rushed for searches.
Also note the assistance provided by the Israeli coast guard under an international agreement on assistance at sea that the Israeli government has signed. Spotted by a Greek tanker, the first debris will be picked two or three hours later. We find the lifeless body of Obegi and his Cypriot teacher the next day around 12:15. The survey will be very difficult to carry out. These small devices are not equipped with a black box, no recording of radio communications system. The investigations will not only be based on the analysis of debris, fuselage lying in the background. The Director of the Cyprus office of investigations for the safety of civil aviation, Yiannakis Loizou says that “the plane was new” and “very experienced pilot.” The first elements are in possession of the investigators consider the folder to an unexpected mechanical problem.
http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafakrotiri/, the CEO of the company Total, also killed in a plane to Moscow.

Abi Ramia Julien

The heir of a family business
Father of three children raised with his wife Dana, George Obegi is the youngest son of Bechara Obegi and grand-son of Yordan Obegi, founder of the group of the same name in 1905 in Aleppo specializing in chemicals. He was at the head of three companies of the group: the agribusiness Wadi al-Akhdar, the Unifert company, specialized in agricultural chemicals and Obegi Chemicals that manufactures industrial chemicals. Obegi was also a member of the Board of Peugeot dealer for Lebanon and Syria. Holds a degree in Economics from the University of Paris IX-Dauphine, he pursued studies in administration at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC Paris) and an MBA from Insead (Fontainebleau) that make George Obegi a French captain of industry.

Pakistan’s CIA Drone Targets Become “Khorasan Group” In Syria

[SEE: Pakistan Taliban threatens to attack India ; The growing influence of ISIS now reaches Pakistan as Taliban leaders pledge allegiance to brutal jihadist group ; Pakistan Taliban’s Splinter Group Jundallah Pledges Allegiance to Islamic State ; Death squad singles out informants ]

https://i1.wp.com/conservbyte.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/RushSeeIToldYouNatReview.jpg

Tribal jirga meets Mehsud Taliban for peace talks

oneindia

Islamabad, Nov 2: A tribal jirga, a traditional assembly of leaders, in Pakistan met the Mehsud Taliban chief Khan Said Sunday to negotiate a peace agreement between government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a media report said. Tribal sources said an 11-member jirga which was announced a few days ago in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has started efforts for a peaceful settlement of conflict between the government and the TTP, Dawn online reported. It held an initial meeting with the Mehsud Taliban on Sunday and will put forth their suggestions to the government. The jirga headed by Ikramuddin, father-in-law of the slain TTP founder and chief Baitullah Mehsud, has 10 other key Mehsud tribal elders, the report said. IANS

Saudi King Forbids Dialogue Between March 14 Coalition (Future Movement) and March 8 (Pro-Resistance)

[SEE:  Ground being laid for talks between Future, Hezbollah ; Saudi Arabia asks UN to blacklist Hezbollah]

Riyadh nips Hezbollah-Future Movement dialogue in the bud

alakhbar

Riyadh has ‘red-lighted’ the planned dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement before it even began. The Saudi call for Hezbollah to be put on the list of terrorist organizations made at the United Nations threatens to renew tension between the two sides, following an undeclared truce in the media that did not last for more than a few days.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri visit the tomb of his father, the late Rafik Hariri. Al-Akhbar/Archive

 

Is there a fixed Saudi, and consequently Gulf policy, vis-à-vis Lebanon? Are these countries really keen on the stability of this country, as they claim, when they hardly spare any occasion to exacerbate its divisions? These questions and others are being asked after the new Saudi escalation against Hezbollah, which is likely to aggravate the already complex situation in Lebanon and the region.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Mouallimi called on the UN Security Council on Wednesday to place the Resistance Party on the list of terrorist organizations. In a special session on terrorism, Mouallimi called for punishing Hezbollah and other groups including the Abu al Fadl al Abbas Brigade, the League of the Righteous, and other “terrorist organizations fighting in Syria.”

Al-Akhbar learned that as a result of the new Saudi position, contacts will be made with Riyadh over the next few days to contain possible reactions. Well-placed sources warned against negative repercussions from the Saudi move over the ‘preliminary dialogue’ between Hezbollah and the Future Movement.

The sources expressed concern that this could put an end to the de-escalation that begun when Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaking during the Shia Muslim commemorations of Ashura, welcomed dialogue with the Future Movement. The sources told Al-Akhbar that the Saudi move, in addition to the sudden re-activation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) after a long period of inactivity, by summoning political witnesses, will create tensions in the country, and are indicative of a Saudi veto on dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah.

The sources asked, “How do the Saudis explain their position when barely two months have passed since their ambassador in Beirut Ali Awad Asiri celebrated his country’s National Day surrounded by deputies from Hezbollah? Why has Saudi Arabia made this call two days after the GCC summit, and as the UAE – which is influenced to a large extent by Riyadh’s position – placed a number of organizations on its terror list not including Hezbollah?”

The sources deduced that the Saudi policy is not yet ready to restore its balance in Lebanon and the region. The sources also had questions about Saudi-Israeli ‘intersection’ over trying to smear Hezbollah’s image as a resistance movement and link it to terrorism, something that Tel Aviv has sought for very long.

The sourced described Mouallimi’s speech at the UN as a ‘sound bubble’ that will have no results, recalling Nasrallah’s declaration that Hezbollah will be where it has to be in Syria. They said the Saudi UN envoy’s move “demonstrates real disappointment in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the failure of its project in Syria, with [Saudi]… making random accusations right and left.”

The sources pointed out that the Saudi envoy, in the course of justifying his call, cited the emergence of terror groups like ISIS and others, which he linked to the “practices of the Syrian regime” and the “sectarian policies of some countries,” rather than Saudi and Gulf support for these groups. The sources added, “Saudi Arabia is among the top supporters of terrorist Takfiri groups in Syria, which makes its talk about fighting terrorism lacking in any seriousness.”

The sources then linked the Saudi position to “growing concerns in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and real fear from the possibility of the parties reaching an agreement that would undermine the Saudi leadership’s hopes to step up the siege on Iran.”

The sources ruled out any practical effect of the Saudi position in light of the current balance of power in the international organization, and in light of the responses the Saudi envoy heard regarding his proposal.

Iran’s envoy at the United Nations Gholam Hossein Dehghani had responded to Mouallimi’s call by emphasizing the need to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and terrorism, and the need to support the resistance. He also criticized regional countries for failing to match their words with deeds, and said that few governments in the region have taken the threat seriously, while the rest did not control their borders, did not trop ISIS from recruiting, and did not stop the flow of financial support to these “criminal organizations.”

For his part, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorism in the region, denouncing the inconsistencies in its diagnosis of the roots of terrorism. He said that al-Qaeda and its ilk had all grown thanks to Saudi patronage in Afghanistan. Jaafari also said that the carnage in Syria is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, citing the call by 72 Saudi clerics for people to go for “jihad” in Syria, and wondered whether the Saudi government was serious about fighting terrorism.

(Al-Akhbar)

 

Obama Stops Lying About Afghanistan–We are there Forever, To Do Anything or Kill Anyone We Want

[Many observers have been stating the obvious for years, that America would NEVER LEAVE AFGHANISTAN(SEE: Manufacturing Justification for the NATO Takeover of Central Asia–Smashing Greater Central Asia – (Part One); (Part  Two) Risking the World; (Part III) Smashing Greater Central Asia; (Part IV) Smashing Greater Central Asia).]

Obama secretly extends US combat operation in Afghanistan

Russia-Today
U.S. President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Ethan Miller)

U.S. President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Ethan Miller)

President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order that expands the United States’ direct combat role in Afghanistan throughout 2015, the New York Times reported.

Signed over the last few weeks, the secret order permits American forces to continue to battle the Taliban and other militants that pose a threat to either the Afghan government or US personnel. According to the Times, US jets, bombers, and drones will be able to aid ground troops – be they Afghan or US forces – in whatever mission they undertake.

Under the order, ground troops could join Afghan troops on missions, and airstrikes could be carried out in their support.

If true, this marks a significant expansion of America’s role in Afghanistan in 2015. Previously, President Obama said US forces would not be involved in combat operations once the new year begins. He did say troops would continue training Afghan forces and track down remaining Al-Qaeda members.

Obama signed the secret order after tense debates within the administration. The military reportedly argued that it would allow the US to keep the pressure on the Taliban and other groups should details emerge that they are planning to attack American troops. Civilian aides, meanwhile, said the role of combat troops should be limited to counter-terror missions against Al-Qaeda.

The Times said an administration official painted the secret order’s authorization as a win for the military, but another said the US would not carry out “offensive missions” against the Taliban in 2015.

“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said. “To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”

The change in direction came as the administration faces pointed criticism from those who say the US withdrew from Iraq too quickly, allowing the so-called Islamic State to make rapid gains in a country whose military proved to be easily intimidated and defeated.

Meanwhile, new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has a much softer position on the US presence in his country compared to his predecessor Hamid Karzai. Ghani reportedly asked the US to keep battling the Taliban into 2015. He also removed restrictions against US airstrikes and joint raids that were implemented by Karzai.

It appears that the number of troops that will be operating in Afghanistan next year will remain unchanged from previous plans. There will be 9,800 soldiers left throughout next year, and that number will be cut in half by the end of the year.

By the end of 2016, the remaining troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan, ending the US military presence in the country.

House GOP File Lawsuit Against Obama

House Republicans on Friday filed a long-awaited lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of overstepping his executive authority when implementing his signature health care law.

And though the suit is centered on the Affordable Care Act, the GOP moved on the legal action the morning after the president announced he will unilaterally grant temporary relief to millions of undocumented immigrants.

“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.”

The suit, filed against the heads of Health and Human Services and Treasury Department, is centered on the White House decision to delay the employer mandate of the health care law and accuses the administration of unlawfully giving $175 billion to insurance companies.

House Republicans approved a bill authorizing the legal action in a 225-201 vote in July. No Democrats supported the measure.

The suit has been dismissed by Democrats as a politically motivated waste of taxpayer money. The president has said his actions have only been necessary because Republicans in Congress have refused to work with him.

Arming Kyiv With New Advanced Heavy Weapons Is Putin’s Line In the Sand

[SEE: Putin: ‘Russia Will Not Allow Ukraine to Defeat Rebels]

Russia warns US against supplying ‘lethal defensive aid’ to Ukraine

Russia-Today

Members of the "Donbass" self-defence battalion attend a ceremony to swear the oath to be officially included into the reserve battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine near Kiev June 23, 2014. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Members of the “Donbass” self-defence battalion attend a ceremony to swear the oath to be officially included into the reserve battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine near Kiev June 23, 2014. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Moscow has warned Washington a potential policy shift from supplying Kiev with “non-lethal aid” to “defensive lethal weapons”, mulled as US Vice President visits Ukraine, would be a direct violation of all international agreements.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that reports of possible deliveries of American “defensive weapons” to Ukraine would be viewed by Russia as a “very serious signal.”

“We heard repeated confirmations from the [US] administration, that it only supplies non-lethal aid to Ukraine. If there is a change of this policy, then we are talking about a serious destabilizing factor which could seriously affect the balance of power in the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevichcautioned.

Ukrainian army soldiers with an artillery field gun maneuver on the coastline near the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on October 21, 2014. (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)

Ukrainian army soldiers with an artillery field gun maneuver on the coastline near the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on October 21, 2014. (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)

His remarks follow US deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken Wednesday’s statement at a hearing before the Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs, in which he said that Biden may offer the provision of “lethal defensive weapons” as he visits Ukraine. Lethal assistance “remains on the table. It’s something that we’re looking at,” Blinken said.

“We paid attention not only to such statements, but also to the trip of representatives of Ukrainian volunteer battalions to Washington, who tried to muster support of the US administration,” Lukashevich said.

The Ministry made it clear that such a move by Washington would violate a number of agreements.

“This is a very serious signal for several reasons. First of all, this is a direct violation of agreements, including the ones achieved in partnership with the United States. I mean the Geneva Declaration from 17 April,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman.

US Vice President Joe Biden (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

US Vice President Joe Biden (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested lethal aid from the US during a visit to Washington in September.

READ MORE: Obama declines to give Ukraine ‘lethal aid’ despite Poroshenko’s plea

The American Vice President who has arrived in Kiev late Thursday has not yet made any official announcement, but Reuters’ sources point to the possibility that US might increase a “non-lethal” aid package to Kiev instead of opting to supply arms.

Under the non-lethal aid package, the US could deliver to Ukraine first Humvee vehicles and radars but as officials pointed out such deliveries would unlikely alter the conflict. Previous non-lethal aid to Ukraine announced in September included military equipment such as counter-mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars and other gear worth $53 million.

At the same time the US diplomatic branch announced that it will continue to send advisers to Kiev and has allocated funds to Ukraine to battle what both the US and Ukraine see as a threat from Russia.

Medical volunteers unpack individual first aid kits similar to those used by NATO during a ceremony where they were donated by Kiev's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko in Kiev October 31, 2014. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Medical volunteers unpack individual first aid kits similar to those used by NATO during a ceremony where they were donated by Kiev’s Mayor Vitaly Klitschko in Kiev October 31, 2014. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

“The United States, as you’re no doubt aware, is providing about $116 million in security assistance to help Ukraine in this effort,”State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Thursday. “This assistance also includes advising and training, and the United States will continue to send advisory teams to Kiev to help improve Ukraine’s combat medical care and to identify areas for additional security assistance.”

Rathke also said that lethal assistance to Ukraine is not yet “off the table.”

“Our position on lethal aid hasn’t changed. Nothing is off the table, and we continue to believe there’s no military solution. But we, in light of Russia’s actions, as the nominee mentioned yesterday in his testimony, this is – as he indicated, this is something that we should be looking at,” Rathke said.

For now all will be decided Friday when Biden is expected to hold talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Petro Poroshenko. Following the talks, Biden and Poroshenko will make a joint press statement.

Hamas–the CIA/Mossad Model for Islamist Radicalization

[SEE:  The Gaza Bombshell]

Hamas and IS and beyond

al-ahram

 

http://rosemheather.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/hamasflag_sm1.jpg

Some people dismiss claims that outside powers have manipulated the Arab political landscape, creating division and new movements, but the record suggests there may be merit to the allegations, writes Galal Nassar

As they marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, Palestinians were torn by discord, aggravated by Israeli measures aimed at voiding the Palestinian cause of its substance, such as expanding settlement construction, confiscating Palestinian property, Judaicising Jerusalem and, most recently, recurrent acts defiling Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The spike in tensions accompanies an outburst of angry and sustained recriminations between Fatah and Hamas, the two major factions of the Palestinian resistance, in the aftermath of bomb attacks that targeted the homes of Fatah officials in Gaza.

The worsening polarisation hampers the measures intended to enable the Palestinian Authority to reassert its control over Gaza (which may well have been the purpose of the attacks) after years of Hamas control. This, in turn, jeopardises the creation of a national unity government, reconstruction of Gaza, implementation of the Cairo Agreement, and a return to the provisions of the Gaza Crossings Agreement, the lifting of the blockade and resumption of negotiations with the Israeli occupation.

Hamas, since it was founded, has always played a curious role in the Palestinian resistance. This is in view of its birth as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (it is a member of the International Muslim Brotherhood, as stipulated in Article 2 of its charter), its conflicting affiliations, its ideological and organisational frame of reference, and its ulterior motives and aims.

Yet, however we might judge that movement, this does not diminish the Palestinian resistance, the struggle and sacrifices that the Palestinian people have endured over the decades, or the place that their cause has in the hearts and minds of every Arab.

In November 1994 I had an exclusive interview with Richard Hrair Dekmejian, political science professor at the University of Southern California and author of Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab world. A Syrian of Armenian origin, he acquired US nationality at a young age.

The interview appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly and was translated into Arabic by the late Saadeddin Wahba and published in his weekly column in Al-Ahram daily. Dekmejian, who had served as a political advisor to President Ronald Reagan, discussed the part Washington played in supporting and funding the idea of creating the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Why would Washington work to create an Islamic, fundamentalist entity to fight its ally, Israel, I asked?

He said that Washington and Tel Aviv wanted to pull the rug out from beneath Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Most of the members of these two organisations hailed from the political left and sometimes used a lexicon that did not connect with the general Palestinian public.

The Reagan administration believed that by setting up or supporting the creation of an Islamist movement that used religious rhetoric and language that resonated with large segments of the Palestinian street, it could create a schism and erode the popularity of the PLO and Fatah. The division could be exploited in any negotiating process and manipulate Palestinian and Arab emotions towards the realisation of certain ends.

Washington acted on this advice. The CIA, setting into motion the customary devices it uses in its covert operations, channelled $3 million through an intermediary to Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his aides, although of course Yassin was unaware of the provenance of the funds. (Neither Yassin, who was alive when the Dekmejian interview appeared in Al-Ahram, or any other Hamas leader ever denied or commented on the claims.)

Since that time, Hamas and its decisions have been subject to the pressures and conditions of its sources of funding and political support. These have been manipulated in such a way as to keep the movement in a permanent state of political and ideological collision with Fatah and the PLO and, subsequently, the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah officials.

Israel and Washington have constantly used that clash to cause negotiations to breakdown, to weaken Palestinian ranks and to facilitate the processes of settlement expansion, land confiscation and the Judaicisation of the occupied territories.

In addition to the these links, Hamas is organisationally linked to the International Muslim Brotherhood, which is also one of the movement’s most important sources of funding. Hamas is thus bound to Muslim Brotherhood policies and agendas, which do not necessarily mesh with the aims and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s actions and decisions are informed by its particular calculations of power balances and what best promotes its own interests, rather than by what is best for the Palestinian cause. The conflicting pull of Hamas’s affiliations was manifested in Hamas’s attitudes toward recent events in Egypt and the effect of these on Egyptian-brokered inter-Palestinian reconciliation, for example.

That the behaviour of Hamas is controlled from abroad because its leaders are subject to pressures from their (US, Qatari, Turkish) sources of funding, support and protection has rendered people in Gaza — and Palestinians in general — pawns to interests that often have no relationship to the interests of the resistance against a brutal occupying power.

This has led to actions that have often been counterproductive to the needs of the Palestinian cause and the welfare of the people who suffer under occupation and are struggling to win their freedom.

Hamas is no different from the other paramilitary movements that use religion and claim a monopoly on the truth in the name of Islam, and that have come to dominate the stage in the Arab nation and, in the process, hijacked, destroyed and distorted the humanitarian and democratic calling of the Arab Spring.

The scheme to establish and support Hamas is echoed in the creation of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS), Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, some Salafist fronts, Hizbullah, the Houthis and other such groups and movements. The model for this may well have been the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, fostered by the British embassy in Cairo as an instrument to drive a wedge into the Egyptian nationalist movement and to beat back other political forces.

With regard to Washington’s role in the creation and promotion of militant Islamist movements and other Islamist movements that have been thirsting for political power, I would like to call the reader’s attention to the testimony of some retired US intelligence officials cited in The Atlantic Monthly following 11 September 2001.

According to that testimony, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies at the time failed to detect the threat because they had lost the initiative after many of their agents were withdrawn from the field.

The agencies had built up a structure for collecting intelligence, assessing positions and controlling events from afar using “moles” who had been planted many years before among those movements. They grew their beards, prayed and thoroughly blended into the environment of those groups.

The former intelligence officials added that the agencies at the time had stopped creating new organisations that they could control from afar in order to promote US interests in the Middle East. But after disaster struck at the World Trade Centre, officials recommended reviving these “pre-emptive” policies.

I have little doubt that attempts to undermine the spirit and goals of the Arab Spring, the drives to promote the empowerment of the so-called “political Islamic current” and its political, intellectual and journalistic advocates and pundits, and the emergence of new regional roles for Hamas, IS and their sisters are manifestations of the faithful implementation of those former intelligence officials’ recommendations.

I wonder to what extent the Arab political and intellectual elites are aware of that game and its players. The evidence is that in order to formulate counterstrategies and measures to rescue our region from its tragic plights, and perhaps worse to come, we need to summon at least a modicum of conspiracy theorising in our analyses, and to drop the sarcasm while doing so, as the situation does not permit it.

REFORMING AMERICA’S EMERGENCY LAW REGIME

TOWARD COMPREHENSIVE REFORM OF AMERICA’S EMERGENCY LAW REGIME

Toward Comprehensive Reform of Americas Emergency Law Regime –download

university of mich law journal

 

Additional Files

MJLR_46-2_suppl_national_emergency_powers.pdf (67 kB)
Compendium of Emergency Powers Statutes

 

Patrick A. Thronson*

ABSTRACT
Unbenownst to most Americans, the United States is presently under thirty presidentially declared states of emergency. They confer vast powers on the Executive
Branch, including the ability to financially incapacitate any person or organization in the United States, seize control of the nation’s communications infrastructure, mobilize military forces, expand the permissible size of the military without
congressional authorization, and extend tours of duty without consent from service personnel. Declared states of emergency may also activate Presidential Emergency Action Documents and other continuity-of-government procedures, which confer powers on the President-such as the unilateral suspension of habeas corpus-that appear fundamentally opposed to the American constitutional order. Although the National Emergencies Act, by its plain language, requires Congress to vote every six months on whether a declared national emergency should continue, Congress has done so only once in the nearly forty-year history of the Act.  This Note and an accompanying online compendium attempt, for the first time since the 1970s, to reach a reasonably complete assessment of the scope and legal effects of the thirty national emergencies now in effect in the United States. The Note also proposes specific statutory reforms to rein in the unchecked growth of these emergencies and political reforms to subject the vast executive powers granted by the
U.S. emergency law regime to the democratic process.

“[The Founders] knew what emergencies were, knew the pressures they engender for authoritative action, knew, too, how they afford a ready pretext for usurpation. We may also suspect that they suspected that emergency powers would tend to kindle emergencies.”
Justice Robert Jackson, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer’

 

“A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States,” President George W. Bush proclaimed on September
14, 2001.2 “I hereby declare that the national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001.” 3 Over a decade later, with Osama bin Laden dead and the infrastructure of al Qaeda “taken apart,”4 this same emergency, and the vast powers it bestows, is still with us-along with twenty-nine other national emergencies that grant the President greatly enhanced powers to regulate the nation’s economic, military, and foreign affairs. 5 Although Congress has been required by statute, for nearly forty years, to vote every six months on whether a national emergency should continue, it has done so only once. 6
The current proliferation of national emergencies is exactly what the National Emergencies Act (NEA) was enacted to prevent. 7 The NEA has failed entirely in this regard. The story of its failure is a story of how the United States Congress achieved a moment of clarity about the vast emergency powers it had been delegating to the President for decades and the quantity and scope of unchecked emergency powers then in effect.8 It is a story of how Congress, with substantial support and cooperation from the Executive Branch,9 constructed a framework intended to comprehensively regulate and limit future declarations of national emergency.’0 And it is a story of how Congress, enabled by the judiciary, subsequently rendered its own work superfluous by consigning the NEA’s safeguards against the abuse of emergency powers to a state of disuse and irrelevance. ” I–READ HERE

 

11. See Bruce Ackerman, TheEmergency Constitution, 113 YALE L.J. 1029, 1080 (2004). The NEA specifies that “[n]ot later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.” 50 U.S.C. § 1622(b) (2006). Congress has never complied with the plain language of this section, however, as no such vote has ever occurred. Ackerman, supra, at 1080 (quoting Jules Lobel, Emergency Power and the Decline of Liberalism, 98 YALE LJ. 1385, 1417 (1989)). Furthermore, “despite the mandatory force of the word ‘shall,’ courts have found ‘no legal remedy for a congressional failure to comply with the statute.’ ” Id.
Courts and commentators have claimed that a present-day Congress may not bind a future one. See, e.g., U.S. v. Winstar Corp., 518 U.S. 839, 872 (1996) (“‘Acts of parliament derogatory from the power of subsequent parliaments bind not…. [T]he legislature, being in truth the sovereign power . .. acknowledges no superior upon earth, which the prior legislature must have been, if it’s [sic] ordinances could bind the present parliament.’ “) (quoting Blackstone) (alteration in original). Although this principle, of course, supports the proposition that a Congress may undo a law passed by a prior Congress, it does not mean that Congress is exempt from the operation of duly enacted, effective laws, such as 50 U.S.C. § 1622(b). Numerous Congresses have passed laws imposing obligations on Congress that would make little sense if they were not treated as legal obligations by future Congresses. See, e.g.C,o ngressional Accountability Act of 1995,

If Obama Pushes Putin Into WWIII, Then We Will Lose

Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO

pravda

Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO. 53936.jpeg

On September 1, 2014 the US State Department published a report, in which it was stated that for first time since the collapse of the USSR, Russia reached parity with the US in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. Thus, Washington admitted that Moscow regained the status that the Soviet Union had obtained by mid-70’s of the XX century and then lost.

According to the report from the State Department, Russia has 528 carriers of strategic nuclear weapons that carry 1,643 warheads. The United States has 794 vehicles and 1,652 nuclear warheads.

It just so happens that today, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces (SNF) are even more advanced in comparison with those of the US, as they ensure parity on warheads with a significantly smaller number of carriers of strategic nuclear weapons. This gap between Russia and the United States may only grow in the future, given the fact that Russian defense officials promised to rearm Russia’s SNF with new generation missiles.

The progress was made possible thanks to the treaty on the limitation of nuclear weapons, also known as START-3. The treaty was signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama on 8 April 2010 in Prague (came into force on 5 February 2011). In accordance with the document, nuclear warheads of the parties are to be reduced to 1,550 by 2021. The number of carriers (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers) is supposed to be cut to 700 units.

It was the first strategic agreement, after the treacherous policy of democrats, in which Russia managed to win significant advantages. In the treaty, the Americans, for the first time in history, undertook to reduce their strategic nuclear potential, while Russia won an opportunity to increase it. Furthermore, the new treaty removed important limitations that existed in the previous START 1 and START 2 treaties. It goes about the size of areas for the deployment of mobile ICBMs, the number of multi charge ICBMs, and the possibility to build railway-based ICBMs. Russia did not make any concessions.

Having written off Moscow as a serious geopolitical rival, flying on the wings of inaccessible military and technological superiority, Washington drove itself into a trap, from which it does not see a way out even in a medium-term perspective.

Recently, a lot has been said about so-called “sixth-generation wars” and high-precision long-range weapons that should ensure victory over enemy without coming into direct contact with its armed forces. This concept is highly questionable (The US failed to achieve victory in such a way both in Iraq and Afghanistan). Yet, this is the point, where Russia enters the parity line as well. The proof is long-range cruise missiles of a new generation that will soon be deployed on submarines of the Black Sea Fleet and missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla.

In today’s Russia, many find this hard to believe. This is a common belief for many of those, who still enthusiastically remain in captivity of the myths about the absolute “weakness” of Russia and the absolute “superiority” of the West. The myth was made up in the 90’s under the influence of Boris Yeltsin and his betrayal of Russian national interests. One has to admit that during that time, the myth was real, if one may say so.

Times have changed. One can easily understand the new state of affairs.

For example, let’s consider the potential of conventional weapons of Russia and the West in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). In this area, it is generally believed that NATO is a lot stronger than Russia. Yet, a first encounter with reality smashes this misbelief into pieces.

As is known, the main striking force, the core of combat power of the ground forces is tanks. By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Armed Forces had about 20,000 tanks in the ETO.

The Americans, in turn, deployed 6,000 heavy Abrams tanks on the territory of the allied group. Despite this, the combined potential of NATO forces in Europe was still significantly inferior to the Soviet potential. To compensate this imbalance, NATO strategists were forced to resort to tactical nuclear weapons (TNW).

In the first half of the 1950s, NATO conducted a research about what kind of forces the bloc should have to show reliable resistance to large-scale ground offensive of superior forces of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries. The calculations showed then that one required at least 96 full-fledged divisions for the purpose. Yet, the cost of armament for one of such divisions exceeded $1 billion. Plus, one required two or three more billion to maintain such a large group of troops and build appropriate infrastructure. This burden was clearly beyond the power of the economy of the West.

The solution was found in a move to deploy a group of US tactical nuclear weapons on the continent, and that was done soon. By early 1970s, the US arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons counted about 7,000 units of ammunition. The highest achievement in the area was the creation of weapons of selective action – neutron warheads (for guns of 203-mm and 155-mm caliber, and for Lance missiles) with a capacity from 1 to 10 kilotons. The warheads were seen as the key in combating land forces personnel, particularly Soviet tank crews.

Given the nuclear factor, to reflect “Soviet aggression,” NATO required to deploy only 30, rather than 96 divisions, and so they were deployed.

How do things work in this area now? In early 2013, the Americans withdrew the last group of heavy Abrams tanks from Europe. In NATO countries, over the last 20 years, one new tank would replace 10-15 old, yet still capable, tanks. At the same time, Russia was not decommissioning its tanks.

As a result, today Russia is the absolute leader in this regard. In mid-2014, the balance of the Defense Ministry had as many as 18,177 tanks (T-90 – 400 pcs., T-72B – 7,144 pcs., T-80 – 4,744 pcs, T-64 – 4,000 pcs, T-62 – 689 pcs, and T-55 – 1200 pcs.).

Of course, only a few thousand tanks are deployed in permanent readiness units, and most of them remain at storage bases. Yet, NATO has the same picture. Therefore, the decisive superiority of Russian tanks has not gone anywhere since the times of the USSR.

Here is another surprise. As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over NATO is even stronger.

The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.

To date, NATO countries have only 260 tactical nuclear weapons in the ETO. The United States has 200 bombs with a total capacity of 18 megatons. They are located on six air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 more atomic bombs. That is pretty much it. Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes of TNW – from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads! The US has 300 tactical B-61 bombs on its own territory, but this does not change the situation against the backdrop of such imbalance. The US is unable to improve it either, as it has destroyed the “Cold War legacy” – tactical nuclear missiles, land-based missiles and nuclear warheads of sea-based Tomahawk cruise missiles.


Top 5 Russian arms NATO is afraid of

How can Russia – the country that lost the Cold War – be ahead of NATO in terms of military power? One should look into the history of the problem to try to understand.

It is believed that by the beginning of 1991, the USSR had about 20-22,000 units of tactical nuclear weapons. They are nuclear warheads of air bombs, warheads for tactical missiles “Luna”, “Tochka”, “Oka”, nuclear warheads of antisubmarine weapons of the fleet, special warheads of air defense system missiles, nuclear mines and nuclear artillery shells of the Ground Forces.

This impressive arsenal was the result of forty years of an intensive arms race. Noteworthy, it was not the “totalitarian” USSR that started the arms race, but the liberal and democratic USA, which began developing and testing various types of tactical nuclear weapons in the early 1950s. The first example of a warhead of this class was the warhead for a 280-mm gun with the capacity of 15 kilotons. The warhead was tested in May 1953. Afterwards, nuclear warheads would be produced smaller in size, thus leading to the creation of warheads for self-propelled howitzers of 203-mm and 155-mm caliber that had a capacity from one to ten kilotons. Until recently, they were remaining in the arsenal of US troops in Europe.

Afterwards, the US Armed Forces received the following tactical missiles outfitted with nuclear warheads: Redstone (range 370 km), Corporal (125 kilometers), Sergeant (140 kilometers), Lance (130 kilometers) and several others. In the middle of the 1960s, the USA finalized the development of tactical missiles Pershing-1 (740 kilometers).

In turn, the Soviet military and political leadership decided that the equipment of American forces in Europe with TNW was creating a fundamentally new balance of forces. The USSR took decisive steps to create and deploy multiple types of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons. Already in the early 1960s, tactical missiles T-5, T-7, “Luna” were passed into service. Later, the non-strategic nuclear arsenal was expanded with medium-range missiles RSD-10, P-12, P-14 medium-range bombers Tu-22 and Tu-16, as well as tactical missiles OTR-22, OTR-23 and  tactical ones – P-17, “Tochka”, nuclear artillery of 152 mm, 203 mm and 240 mm caliber, tactical aviation aircraft Su-17, Su-24, MiG-21, MiG-23.

Noteworthy, the Soviet leadership had repeatedly offered Western leaders to start negotiations on the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons. Yet, NATO would persistently reject all Soviet proposals on this subject. The situation changed considerably only when the Union started shattering as a result of Gorbachev’s “perestroika”. It was the time, when Washington decided to take advantage of the moment to weaken and disarm its main geopolitical rival.

In September 1991, US President George H. Bush launched an initiative on the reduction and even elimination of certain types of tactical nuclear weapons. Gorbachev, in turn, also announced plans to radically reduce similar weapons in the USSR. Subsequently, the plans received development in the statement from Russian President Boris Yeltsin “On Russia’s policy in the field of arms limitation and reduction” from January 29, 1992. The statement pointed out that Russia stopped producing nuclear artillery shells and warheads for land-based missiles and undertook to destroy a stockpile of such weapons. Russia promised to remove tactical nuclear weapons from surface ships, attack submarines and eliminate one-third of those weapons. A half of warheads for anti-aircraft missiles and aircraft munitions was to be destroyed too.

After such reductions, the arsenals of tactical nuclear weapons of Russia and the United States were to keep 2,500-3,000 tactical nuclear warheads.

However, it turned out otherwise. The illusion of world supremacy played a cruel joke on Washington.

American strategists wrote off the “democratic” Russia after the collapse of the USSR. At the same time, during the Gulf War, US high-precision weapons successfully completed several large-scale combat tasks that had been previously planned for TNW. This prompted Washington to putting all stakes on a technological breakthrough. This led to the creation of “smart” weapons that were  becoming more and more expensive. The USA was gradually cutting the production of such weapons, and NATO’s high-tech arms proved to be completely inadequate for conducting large-scale combat actions with an enemy that would be at least approximately equal to the West from the point of view of its technological level.

Meanwhile in Russia, experts were quick to agree that against the backdrop of the post-Soviet geostrategic situation, reducing and eliminating tactical nuclear weapons was unacceptable. After all, it is tactical nuclear weapons that serve as a universal equalizer of forces, depriving NATO of its military advantage. In these circumstances, Russia simply borrowed NATO’s thesis of the need to compensate enemy superiority in conventional weapons by deploying tactical nuclear arsenal on the European Theater of Operations.

The situation had been developing according to the above-mentioned scenario for over two decades. The West, having discarded Russia, had been cutting its tanks and destroying tactical nuclear weapons. Russia, feeling its own weakness, kept all tanks and tactical nuclear weapons.

As a result, Russia overcome the inertia of collapse and started reviving its power, while the West, being lulled by sweet day-dreams of the liberal “end of history,” castrated its armed forces to the point, when they could be good for leading colonial wars with weak and technically backward enemies. The balance of forces in Europe has thus changed in Russia’s favor.

When the Americans realized that, it was too late. In December 2010, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, sounded the alarm. The Russians had more tactical nuclear systems than the USA, she said.  According to her, the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons was to be the next step.

In 2010, the Europeans, in the face of foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden, insolently demanded Russia should single-handedly establish two nuclear-free zones – the Kaliningrad region (enclave) and the Kola Peninsula – the territories of priority deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. The regions serve as the main bases for the Baltic and Northern Fleets. In case of the Northern Fleet, the region is a base for most of Russian SNF.

Since then, the Americans have repeatedly offered Russia to follow the flawed way of solving the “problem of tactical nuclear weapons.” They stubbornly insist on reaching an agreement to eliminate disparities on stocks of tactical nuclear weapons. They even tried to stipulate a condition for the effect of the START-3 Treaty. Thus, in accordance with Senator Lemieux’s amendment (Amendment 4/S.AMDN.4908), the START-3 was to come into force after the Russian side agreed to start negotiations on the so-called liquidation of imbalance of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia and the US.

On February 3, 2011, Barack Obama wrote in a letter to several key senators saying that the United States was going to start negotiations with Russia to address disparity between tactical nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation and the United States to reduce the number of tactical nuclear warheads in a verifiable way.  Alas, in 2012, Putin returned to the Kremlin, and the hopes of the West to deceive Russia though unilateral disarmament failed.


Russia won’t cut nuclear arsenal

Russian and Chinese Navies To Conduct Joint Exercises In Mediterranean In 2015

China’s President Xi Jinping (right) and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, attend a welcome ceremony at the Xijiao State Guest Hotel, before the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai, on May 20, 2014. Reuters/Carlos Barria

The navies of Russia and China have agreed to conduct naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean in spring 2015, according to a statement issued by the Russian navy on Wednesday. That brings two potential U.S. adversaries closer together and sees China assert its presence in a region, the Mediterranean, far from its shores in another development that marks its emergence as a serious military power.

Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu made the announcement after holding talks with his Chinese counterpart, Col. General Chang Wanquan, on Tuesday in Beijing. “We plan to hold another joint naval exercise in the spring of next year in the Mediterranean Sea and also joint doctrine navy exercises are planned in the Pacific,” said Shoigu.

Shoigu remarked that cooperation between the two countries’ militaries has improved in recent years and joint exercises are now a regular military feature. An exercise in May marked the third time the two had worked together and the first time sailors worked on combat exercises in mixed groups.

The planned exercises are part of a new military relationship between Russia and China that has become warmer in recent years, and they represent a shift from Mao Zedong’s army-centric military to a more flexible and capable fighting force that includes the navy and air force. In 2014, a Chinese crew performed in the World Championships Tank Biathlon and in Aviadarts, a large-scale aerial gunnery, navigation, formation and reconnaissance competition. Both were held in Russia. And while having conducted exercises in the Mediterranean as recently as January 2014 and July 2012, Chinese warships appearing in the region is still a relatively new development for an area that normally just supports NATO exercises.

Speaking of China’s armed forces, Shoigu said, “They have demonstrated that the morale and training of Chinese soldiers meet the highest standards.” He also expressed the view that such joint activities “are a good format for the exchange of experiences,” concluding that “our cooperation in the military field has great potential, and the Russian side is ready for its development on a wide range of areas.”

TTP Commander Allied with ISIS Dispatches Truckloads of Explosives From Karachi

[SEE: Six Pakistan Taliban Leaders Swear Allegiance to ISIS: Spokesman ; Blast at rally in Kurram region kills at least 18 ]

Family members stand near a boy injured in an explosion at a local hospital in Pakistani tribal area of Parachinar on Monday, May 6, 2013. – AP Photo—[Hafiz Ahmed‘s previous bombing]

Intelligence agencies warn of terror threat to Rawalpindi, Islamabad during upcoming PTI rally

siasat daily

Intelligence agencies have reportedly warned the law enforcement agencies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to step-up security as truckloads of explosive material are being transported to the cities from Karachi to target sensitive locations, sources said.

The intelligence sources also said on Wednesday that the terror group headed by Hafiz Ahmed, linked with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP), is involved, reported The News.

They added that the explosives are being transported via a truck, bearing registration number AK-707. The lorry is believed to have left Karachi last night, they said.

The sources warned that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ( PTI ) rally could be a possible target at D-Chowk on November 30. (ANI)

Our Syrian Moderates Eliminated By Our Barbarians

[Outstanding, informational piece of insight!  In overcoming the trend of violence for violence’ sake, we have to deal conclusively with gangsterism in all of its forms, whether that be in cities torn apart by gang violence or nations beset by the transnational terrorist, who fights in any name or place that allows wanton killing.  The ISIS/al-Qaeda phenomenon started as state intervention, using proxy “jihadists,” but rapidly unraveled as terrorist masterminds became rich from their enterprise.  Preventing the rise of warlordism for profit must become the primary directive for all world government efforts.  If world govt of some kind is inevitable, then it must be one which eliminates terrorism without employing terrorists.]

Foreign militants: Rebels without a cause

the straits times

Young people who are drawn to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s cause need to realise that lasting change can never be wrought through violence.

Published on Nov 19, 2014 9:20 AM
 35  127  0  0 PRINT EMAIL
— ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

For reasons that are complex, there has always been a morbid fascination with lost causes and the “bad guys”.

A cursory glance at what is on offer in cinemas will show that we are fascinated with mafioso gangsters, thugs, gun-slingers and ne’er-do-wells of all hues and shapes.

Today, the same macabre fascination has resulted in another development that is equally disturbing – that of young, angry and frustrated men and women who have chosen to travel across the globe to take part in what they regard as a conflict driven by causes that are higher than the law, nationhood and civic obligation.

The situation has been compounded by the fact that the foreign fighters who have gone to places like Iraq and Syria do not come from a single community, but from different nations of different backgrounds – from Muslim youth from the Muslim world to biker gangs from West European countries.

To oppose – violently – seems to be the in thing at the moment, for it is there that these individuals hope to discover their sense of identity and purpose.

These legions of angry souls feel that there is no other alternative than to resist whatever they perceive to be wrong or unjust via violent means. However, there are some simple truths that ought to be considered by those who think that social change can come about simply through violent opposition, or who feel that only violent opposition brings about any real change in the world.

For beyond the actual acts of violence that are committed in the name of change (whether for the sake of progress or a nostalgic longing to return to “another world”) lies an even more powerful, more hegemonic, order of knowledge and power that already dictates which kinds of violence are permitted and deemed sensible, and which kinds of violence will always be regarded as unethical and wrong.

States, for instance, do not beg the consent of the international community to defend themselves when they come under attack, any more than a victim of a robbery would need to ask permission to defend himself.

The hegemonic consensus that exists in the real world we live in already gives value to self-preservation under both circumstances and, thus, acts of self-defence are often accepted as understandable. The same, however, cannot be said of an individual who leaves the comfort zone of his own country to travel to another place and carry out acts of killing in the name of others.

Having lost before they left

THE foreign militants have failed to note that in this instance, their identities and status have been determined even before they left, for the wider consensus is that the violence being committed by the fighters in places like Iraq and Syria has no justification whatsoever.

Here, the consensus is wider than ever before: For starters, thousands of Muslim scholars, theologians and legal experts have opined that the movement calling itself the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” should never have associated its deeds with the religion it professes in the first place, for Muslim theological opinion is united in the view that there is nothing Islamic about beheading prisoners or attacking civilians.

Secondly, all the governments of all the countries concerned have unanimously declared that this is a violent, radical, militant organisation that is more an anti-state movement of belligerents than a group of individuals fighting for a more humane universal cause.

Thirdly, the militants have done themselves in by falling into the trap of oppositional dialectics, and by deliberately positioning themselves as a radical group that has set out to attack and destabilise the states they oppose.

As a radical militant fringe that has chosen to locate itself in opposition to its own faith community, states and governments, it seems to have lost on all counts.

Thus, while the militants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria may claim victories on the battlefield, they have lost the war even before it began. For from the beginning, they have already been configured as the negative Other, as radical extremists, and a militant threat.

Without the consensus of the international community, and crucially of their own co-religionists whom they claim to represent, these militants speak for no one but themselves and have painted themselves into a political and epistemic corner. How on earth could they claim to be “heroes of their faith”, when the mainstream voice of their own faith community has rejected them?

Between constructive change and self-destruction

DEALING with such groups will remain a challenge for states and societies in times to come, for in the globalised world we live in today, we are likely to see more instances of trans-border causes demanding the loyalty and support of people all over the globe.

Should the flashpoints that dot the globe continue to burn, in the future we may witness the rise of even more groups of an internationalist nature, from a range of religious and ethnic communities.

But in the course of deradicalising these militants, we need to emphasise, time and again, the simple logical fact that their choice of violent opposition – spectacular though it may be in terms of its gruesome outcomes – has also doomed them from the start.

Related to this is the need to understand the psychology of those who seem to be attracted to lost causes and assuming negative subject-positions; and this is not unique to the question of religious militancy, for it has also manifested itself in non-religious conflicts in the past.

We have seen the same during the Spanish Civil War (where thousands of other Europeans joined in) and in the mujahideen struggle against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. In all these cases, there is the lingering legal-philosophical question of what to do with those who have left their countries to commit acts of violence that would otherwise not be accepted back home.

None of this denies the need to discuss and understand the process of socio-political change, nor even the necessity of change at times. But for any kind of change to happen in a constructive, meaningful and sustainable way, it has to take place along modes and routes that are civil and emancipatory, not through senseless destruction and wanton violence.

The radical militants who are fighting their proxy war in Syria and Iraq may justify their actions in the name of a higher supra-state cause or a longing for past greatness lost, but what kind of society will there be left to build if, in the course of this violence, universities, libraries and houses of knowledge – that contain books of science, philosophy and theology of great value – are destroyed in their wake?

What kind of “civilisational victory” can they hope to attain if they effectively destroy the very foundations of that civilisation themselves?

In the same way gangsta rap often reproduces and perpetuates negative stereotypes that are demeaning and dehumanising, likewise the label of “radical militant” does nothing to improve the understanding of the complexities of the Arab-Muslim world today. Both are caught in the vicious circle of oppositional dialectics and, in both cases, they were lost causes even before they began.

stopinion@sph.com.sg

The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/invitation/story/foreign-militants-rebels-without-cause-20141119#sthash.3Cu6rEA5.dpuf

Free Syrian Army Flees Aleppo, Leaving Behind Saudi-Supplied Weapons for Nusra

Layout 1 source

Reportedly, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi commented on an alleged reunion of Al-Nusra with the Islamic State, that they “had nothing to discuss with munafiqs [hypocrites of Islam].”

Free Syrian Army abandons Aleppo, leader flees to Turkey

hurriyet

Some 14,000 militants of the Syrian rebel group have abandoned Aleppo, while its commander has fled to Turkey, according to Turkish security sources

Murat Yetkin

fsa bomb
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a locally-made weapon launcher during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on the Amerya front in Aleppo November 5, 2014. REUTERS Photo

 

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the recognized armed opposition group against the Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has ceased its resistance in Aleppo, Syria’s second biggest city, withdrawing its 14,000 militia from the city, a ranking Turkish security source told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 17.

“Its leader Jamal Marouf has fled to Turkey,” confirmed the source, who asked not to be named. “He is currently being hosted and protected by the Turkish state.”

The source did not give an exact date of the escape but said it was within the last two weeks, that is, the first half of November. The source declined to give Marouf’s whereabouts in Turkey.

As a result, the FSA has lost control over the Bab al-Hawa border gate (opposite from Turkey’s Cilvegözü in Reyhanlı), which is now being held by a weak coalition of smaller groups led by Ahrar al-Sham.

The source said some of the weaponry delivered to the FSA by the U.S.-led coalition in its fight against both Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria might have fallen into the hands of Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra, the Syria branch of al-Qaeda.

A weakening Western-supported opposition in Syria could not only put Aleppo in jeopardy, but also weaken the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq, which might affect the positions of other important players in the region, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

Is the fall of Aleppo near?

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan warned the international community on Nov. 6 that the fall of Aleppo, which is just 60 kilometers from Turkey, could expose Turkey to another wave of refugees.

Already hosting more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria, Turkish authorities worry that if Aleppo falls into the hands of ISIL or is subjected to a massive attack, a refugee flood of the same size could take place in a week’s time.

On the other hand, Turkey and the U.S. agreed during talks in Ankara on Nov. 12 for Turkish security forces to give military training to around 2,000 members of the FSA in a military facility near Kırşehir in Central Anatolia.

Now it could be understood in retrospect that Erdoğan was giving the heads up based on intelligence reports from the field.

Al-Nusra and ISIL alignment?

The news about the FSA evacuation came as claims in the Western media intensified about a rapprochement between al-Nusra and ISIL, which is denied by Turkish government sources.

One source talking on the condition of anonymity gave details about talks between al-Nusra and ISIL last week – information that was not possible to corroborate based on another source. According to field reports in Ankara, Abu Mohammad al-Gulani of al-Nusra has asked the leader of another Jihadist group (Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar – Army of Emigrants and Supporters) in Syria, Salahaddin al-Shishani (The Chechen), to intermediate for a cease-fire between his organization and ISIL.

The idea was that each of them fight against their “own enemy,” not each other. The contact was established in Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold in Syria (on Nov. 13, according to Turkish sources) and was rejected by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on the basis that they “had nothing to discuss with munafiqs [hypocrites of Islam].”

That might mean more bad news since it may lead to a dissolution in the ranks of both al-Nusra and other smaller groups that have been fighting in the Syrian civil war since 2011 and a growth for ISIL.

A recent statement on Nov. 10 by the outlawed Egyptian group of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Supporters of Quds, or Jerusalem) to join ISIL and rename themselves as the Sinai Province (wilayat) of the Islamic State could be regarded as a signal that its influence is growing. In a recent attack, Ansar killed 33 Egyptian security personnel on Oct. 24 near İsmailia in the Sinai Peninsula.

Halliburton Becomes Biggest Shark In Oilfield Services Pool, By Eating No. 3

 Halliburton goes hostile in big oil takeover bid

wdbj7

Baker Hughes says oil giant attempting take over board of directors

By Gregory Wallace

 

Halliburton

Jonathan Schaer/CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) –

 

Month-long merger talks between rival energy giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes aren’t going smoothly.

In a public statement Friday, Baker Hughes said Halliburton is attempting to “pressure” it into a deal “on Halliburton’s terms” and take over its board of directors.

Baker Hughes also released three written messages from its CEO, Martin Craighead, to Halliburton — messages that appear to show the talks have been strained.

For instance, Craighead wrote that a Baker Hughes attorney “offered to rearrange her schedule to meet three days earlier” than scheduled, but that Halliburton complained Baker Hughes’ lawyers were unavailable.

Five days later, Baker Hughes turned down Halliburton’s offer. The Baker Hughes letters say Halliburton was unwilling to budge.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

Craighead then wrote back to Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar.

“Your intransigence is not a reasonable response,” he wrote, “and your demand that we accept your offer in the next four hours … (is) entirely inappropriate.”

The talks come as the price of crude oil plummets, pressuring profits at oil exploration companies.

A merger could help the combined company cut costs, but even Baker Hughes acknowledged the deal would face intense scrutiny from government regulators in the U.S. and other countries.

Halliburton has been publicly silent on the matter. Neither company responded to requests for comment on Sunday.

Do Good Men Follow the Written Traditions Or the Living Word?

“People describe God as if they know what it is they’re describing. Or they deny God as if they have any comprehension of what it is they are denying.”Eckhart Tolle/”A New Earth”

“Not only is there an amazing willingness in the human mind to invest credence and faith in unproven facts, but there is more evil, more readiness than ever on the part of various sophisticated groups, to use this human weakness as a tool in controlling others.”
Jacques ValleeRevelations

The Insane Failures We Call US Foreign Policy

[SEE: The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?]

‘Sending troops back to Iraq is insanity’

Russia-Today
.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornet jets leave to support military operations against ISIL after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq (Reuters/Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel)

U.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornet jets leave to support military operations against ISIL after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq (Reuters/Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel)

There’s a conflict within the US leadership over the anti-IS strategy and they don’t know which way to turn, while the American public is weary of endless wars and sponsoring senseless military operations, antiwar activist Tighe Barry told RT.

RT: Do you believe there’s a conflict in the White House over the US and coalition anti-ISIS strategy?

Tighe Barry: There is a conflict within the White House, within Congress. The leaders of our country today don’t know which way to turn. They have had a completely failed policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and various other countries; they are reaching out and just trying to play whack-a-mole. This policy is not working. They need a grand strategy, they won’t get a grand strategy without including the voices of those on the peacemakers’ side. There are many people in this country that have the intelligence to work out the situation that we can politically get rid of a group like ISIS, where we can politically bring peace to places like Iraq, where if the US continues to back despotic leaders, prop up despotic leaders for 30-40 years and help them out, continue with this policy of torture, of jailing people in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib – this policy will look to the people that are fighting the people in the US and this coalition as if they are being invaded by a horde of haters, a crusade. I think that inside the White House there is much conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry has a different view, the president and even secretary of defense has a different view, General Dempsey has a different view, and they all are trying to figure out how just to whack this one mole and they can’t do it.

RT: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey acknowledged at Thursday’s hearing before Congress that anti-ISIS operation will require roughly 80,000 US-trained local forces. Basically, it means that US involvement will be much larger and longer than it was supposed. What’s your take on this?

TB: Absolutely! General Dempsey is not being naïve, and this is why the so-called hawks in Congress are trying to lead General Dempsey [to] commit the US to more boots on the ground. There are troops already, up to 3,800 that we know about because the US government has never been honest about troops throughout these 14 years of crusade in the Middle East. What we do know is that there are pilots and helicopter pilots there. And should one of these pilots go down, US troops will go in to save this person, they will be fired at and they will suddenly become combat troops. This will lead to the next domino – “We need these troops to defend those troops,” which means we are going to fund this war. The American public is wary of endless war, we are tired of sponsoring, of destroying our own economy to sponsor the military which is ill-equipped to fight. This is a political battle that needs to be fought by intelligent people, people that know how to use their politics and their minds to get us into the position where we can agree to find other peaceful means, to find the ends to these conflicts.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey (Reuters)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey (Reuters)

RT: What does the US public think about military operations in Iraq and Syria? Would it be difficult to get the public onside in this matter?

TB: It’s so easy to persuade American people right now. One year ago, I was sleeping on the streets in front of Congress and we stopped the war in Syria. These days all you need to do is to show a beheading video and now we are going to go to war once again with a mysterious group that we know nothing about. American public is unaware of what the real grievances are. Just like anyone who has been attacked, their families have been killed, their villages destroyed, they are angry and they want their voices heard. These are the political solutions I’m talking about. We can’t bring these people to the table, we can’t talk to them. But what the American public is hearing is, “You are in danger.” I heard a congressman in hearing today say: “We will all be beheaded if we don’t fight ISIS right now”. These people are ignorant, they are trying to sell their military equipment and power, they are not looking out for the best interest of Americans that are saying “no” to this war.

RT: How likely is it that the US will end up sending combat troops into Iraq again? If America’s aim really is destroying ISIS, shouldn’t it consider looking to Assad’s government and Iran?

TB: This is not our war. We are saying “no more war”, “no more boots on the ground”, “get these so-called advisers” as it was how they started the war in Vietnam; we are saying “no more” to this. We are not being sucked into this, [we have been] trying to push the American government to stop these crazy out-of-control wars. We finally have got our troops out of there and now they want to put them right back in. This is insanity. The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same bad results. The US people are tired of this and we believe that working with the government in Syria, finding a political solution to that problem, working with the people in northern Syria, working with the Iraqi government, working with the Iranians, working with the people in the region, talking to Turkey as if it was a sovereign nation and not the puppet of the US, having everybody come to the table – these are political solutions. But it can’t be done by a country whose first reaction to a video is to bomb. We have bombed thousands of times so far in Syria, in Iraq, and we have killed only 200 supposedly of their military personnel. This is a crazy war, we need to use the best minds in the world to end these conflicts once and for all, bring peace to the Middle East, solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, solve the conflict in Syria, allow the Syrian people and President Assad to come to the table and talk. And we can do this, we have the capability. We are America, supposedly we are very courageous; we should be able to be courageous enough to bring people to the table and not be the only voice at the table.

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014 (Reuters)

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014 (Reuters)

RT: What is causing the US to reconsider its policy on the Islamic State? (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)

TB: I don’t know if it has a policy on the IS. Assad said from the very beginning that he was fighting terrorism, and it has become quite clear that Assad was actually fighting terrorism. Not that it was a legitimate argument for the people of Syria – they wanted more freedom, they wanted more democracy – but the only way you can do these things is by bringing all the governments to the table. For some reason the Assad government that the US supported and propped up for so many years became its enemy, and now we can’t talk to Assad. This attitude where the US controls the governments of other countries has destroyed the entire world. The entire world economy has been destroyed by these crazy war efforts of the US and its so-called coalition. I still don’t see these coalitions, and if it’s a coalition, it’s a coalition with the governments like Saudi Arabia, which has a horrible human rights record; it has probably one of the worst human rights record in the world. They are partners in trying to take down ISIS, trying to stabilize the Middle East. Very bad policy… I don’t believe the US does have a policy.

RT: There are reports that ISIS has joined forces with the Al Nusra Front. If true, how much of a concern is this?

TB: I personally don’t see a big difference. Statements like “ISIS is joining with Al-Qaeda, Al Nusra in joining with Al-Qaeda”… I think US intelligence has been bad from the very beginning. Didn’t US intelligence tell us that Saddam Hussein, [with all his] weapons of mass destruction, was going to kill every American if he had the opportunity? I traveled in the Middle East, I’ve traveled to countries like Yemen, I’ve been to Pakistan, I’ve been to other countries – they do not hate us for our life style. They like Americans, they all want prosperity, good jobs, good homes, they want to feel safe in their communities. Safety has been hampered by the conflict that the US is bringing to these parts of the world.

If ISIS goes, there will be another group behind them that will be even more fierce, even more revenge. They’ll try a crazier stance to get the world’s attention for what should be gotten right now by using diplomacy, political powers in the region, bringing everyone to the table, talking to Russia and Iran, not creating more and more enemies. We have solutions, there are people in this world who are incredibly intelligent, and they can find solutions to the grand strategy that will finally bring peace.

US Files Official Complaint Against Lebanese Army for Making Its Own Decisions

Report: U.S. Complains to Lebanese Govt. for Attempting to Strike Russian Tank Deal

W460

The United States has reportedly questioned Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri’s decision to “diversify” the number of countries from which to obtain weapons as part of the Saudi military grant to the army, said As Safir newspaper on Saturday.

Widely informed sources told daily that the U.S. filed an official complaint to the Lebanese government, the army command in particular, for attempting to strike a deal with Russia on supplying the army with used T-72 tanks.

The U.S. is set to provide the army with new tanks.

The sources said that the U.S. presented the Lebanese powers documented information that “Lebanese and Russian mediators are set to make commissions worth the sum of the entire deal.”

The details of the figures were not disclosed, but they exceed 100 million dollars, said As Safir.

The Saudi grant is worth a billion dollars, which will be directed to the army and other security agencies in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, South Korea had expressed an interest in joining the list of countries partaking in the military deal.

It proposed that the Lebanese army purchase Korean military equipment, while it will grant Lebanon a modern frigate.

China had also proposed selling Lebanon weapons at reduced prices.

A Lebanese military delegation had traveled to Beijing recently to that end.

In August, Hariri announced that Saudi Arabia has provided Lebanon’s army with one billion dollars to strengthen security.

Earlier in November, Saudi Arabia and France inked in Riyadh a deal to provide the Lebanese army with $3 billion worth of French weapons.

Fuck Erdogan and His Northern Free Syrian Enclave, Obama Is Betting On His Fake Southern Front

[SEE: Does the “Southern Front” Exist? ]

“The Southern Front is nothing at all—it is words on paper, a mere declaration of intent, if even that.”

Syria rebels in south emerge as West’s last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere

Reuters

BEIRUT

Rebel fighters fire an anti-aircraft weapon towards what activists said was a helicopter belonging to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and dropping a barrel bomb in the old city of Aleppo November 12, 2014. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Rebel fighters fire an anti-aircraft weapon towards what activists said was a helicopter belonging to forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and dropping a barrel bomb in the old city of Aleppo November 12, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail

(Reuters) – With moderate rebels facing defeat by al Qaeda in Syria’s north, groups holding a corner of the south are seeking a higher profile and more help, as the last Western-backed forces holding out against both President Bashar al-Assad and the jihadists.

The southern rebels, described by Western officials as the best organized of the mainstream opposition, say they are the last hope for a revolution hijacked by jihadists. In recent days they have laid out a transition plan for a Syria without Assad, taking on a political role that in the past they left to others.

Washington says backing “moderate” rebels is central to its new strategy to defeat the jihadists without helping Assad, put in place since the United States began bombing Sunni Islamist fighters from Islamic State in Syria in September.

 

But since the U.S. bombing began, many Western-backed rebel groups have been hammered by both the government and jihadists. Last week, al Qaeda’s Syria branch, the Nusra Front, routed pro-Western rebels in one of their final strongholds in the north.

Assad’s forces control Damascus, the Mediterranean coast and much of the area in between. Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot, controls the east, while Nusra controls much of the northwest and is expanding at the expense of moderates.

The southern provinces near the Jordanian border are an exception, where rebels calling themselves the “Southern Front” still control territory and have managed to resist Assad while avoiding direct clashes with the Nusra Front.

Last week, 15 groups in the Southern Front drew up a political program, a step which separates them from the exile-led opposition widely seen across Syria as a failure.

As the rare non-jihadist movement which still controls territory, they hope to receive more aid from the West to avoid suffering the same fate as Western allies who have been crushed by jihadists and government forces elsewhere.

NOW IS THE TIME

In the past, rebels on the ground have mainly steered clear of politics, a subject left to umbrella groups like the largely exile-based National Coalition, which meets in Turkey. But leaders of the Southern Front say they have decided to take political issues into their own hands.

“We did not get involved in these matters before. We left them to others. But now it is time. We can no longer risk squandering Syria,” defected army officer Abu Osama al-Jolani, 37, southern commander of the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front, told Reuters in an interview over the Internet.

Their plan, still unpublished but disclosed to Reuters, calls for turning the Southern Front rebels into a civilian security force. National institutions including the military would be safeguarded, and a technocratic interim authority would be set up to be followed by elections.

The plan emphasizes protection for all Syrians regardless of religious, cultural or ethnic affiliations – language apparently aimed at reassuring Assad’s Alawite sect and Christians who fear the alternative to him is a radical Islamist government.

It could be in line with thinking in Washington, where CNN reported Obama wants a policy review, realizing Islamic State may not be defeated without a transition and Assad’s removal.

Abu Hamza al-Qabouni, a rebel leader from Damascus and part of the Southern Front, said the group had decided to move ahead with a political plan because there was no longer any point waiting for the war to be resolved countrywide.

“The problem of the north is very complicated. If we wait for a solution to it, years could go by without us solving the Syrian crisis.”

The movement could later grow to include other groups that also hold real power on the ground, said Bashar al-Zoubi, whose Yarmouk Army is one of the strongest groups in the south.

“The factions mentioned are some of the biggest, and this alliance will expand. Any transition or political process needs people on the ground to safeguard it.”

CHALLENGE

The effort presents a challenge to the Western-backed opposition coalition based in Turkey, which has little sway on the ground but claims political authority over the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) uniting mainstream rebel fighters.

The southern rebels “want to present themselves as a viable alternative to the Free Syrian Army in the north and the coalition, which was stillborn,” said Fayez al-Dweiri, a retired Jordanian general who follows the Syrian war closely.

Apart from in the south and pockets in Aleppo, “the FSA has been effectively decimated and no longer effectively exists,” Dweiri said.

A short drive from Damascus and bordering Jordan and Israel, the south is strategically important. Countries that oppose Assad could increase pressure on him by arming rebels there.

But foreign support has so far been limited, helping the rebels hold ground but not allowing a major advance northwards.

Meanwhile, Nusra Front is moving in. It set off an international crisis in September by seizing dozens of U.N. peacekeepers on the Golan Heights.

So far, Nusra has fought alongside the southern rebels against Assad’s forces, although the rebels say there is no coordination. Dweiri, the Jordanian general, said Nusra had not tried to impose its sway over the southern rebels because the south was the one area where the non-Jihadists were stronger.

Nevertheless Jolani predicted a battle ahead. Nusra had declared a war on all “national forces”, he said: “It started in the north and will soon apply it to the south.”

Jordan’s tight control of the frontier means the south has not been infiltrated by foreign jihadist fighters to the same extent as the north, where Nusra and Islamic State have gained from the arrival of hundreds of militants via Turkey.

Aid to southern rebels flows through Jordan, where a joint operations room of Western and Arab states funnels support to vetted groups, according to officials familiar with the process. Arms began reaching the southern rebels earlier this year.

“Support brought excellent results, particularly the TOW missiles which reduced the effectiveness of their tanks,” said Zoubi. But he added: “We need more”.

“From the south, we can build the nucleus that will be the hope for Syria.”

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Editing by Peter Graff)

 

Franklin Lamb—Disinformation Agent?

https://i0.wp.com/www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/At-the-front_2.jpg

Franklin Lamb—Disinformation Agent?

I have had my doubts about Franklin for some time now, but I have had trouble putting my finger on the suspicion behind the bad vibe, until this submission arrived in today’s mail (SEE: Mossad Targets Nuclear Engineers in Damascus).  This explains why I have stopped featuring his monthly reports…I have suspected that he might be furthering the Syrian rebel/CIA position, which also implies resistance to anything related to Hezbollah.  But, I could be wrong about this, as I may have been wrong about him from the beginning.  That is the way of a good disinformation agent, first appearing as a “sheep,” when they may have been a “goat” all along, an “angel of light,” instead of an agent of darkness.
The problem about Franklin Lamb, for me, has always been his history with London School of Economics (SEE:  London School of Useful Idiots), a tool of The Crown and the Empire.  (It was, after all, the LSE which produced the infamous “Sheik Omar,” who was the primary motivator in most of Pakistan’s most memorable “Al-Qaeda”/Pakistani Taliban terrorist conspiracies (alleged paymaster of 911 plot), remember mostly for the Daniel Pearl beheading and, according to Benazir Bhutto, “Omar Sheikh, he murdered Osama bin Laden“.)
It seems that the truth about Franklin Lamb’s agenda is finally coming to light through this post and previous monthly reports from the Syrian war zone.  After reading Mossad Targets Nuclear Engineers in Damascus, I am left with a feeling of Mullah hatred, which was not there before.  Even though it claimed to be a report on the assassination of Nuclear scientists in Damascus, this post proved to be a thorough argument that the anti-Iranian sanctions were having a powerful, “positive” effect.  He is justifying anti-Iran coalition war efforts, by helping to introduce a “new narrative” on Syria into the Internet blogosphere, one which brands Iran as an “occupying power” and the war in Syria as an Iranian war of aggression, NOT OBAMA’S WAR OF AGGRESSION.  He is pushing a report that has been produced by an Iranian dissident group, called Naame Shaam, without ever clarifying who authored the report titled “IRAN IN SYRIA – From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force,”  The following quote from the Naame report encapsulates the report’s anti-Iranian, pro-Free Syrian Army agenda.]
“The authors therefore propose a new narrative about the Syrian revolution and the current situation in Syria, as well as a new set of demands in light of this new reality. The war in Syria, they say, should be regarded as an international conflict that warrants the application of the four Geneva Conventions and the regime-held areas of Syria should be considered occupied territory – not metaphorically but in the strict legal sense of the word.
Recognising the war in Syria as an international conflict that involves a foreign occupation and a people struggling for liberation may also provide a powerful ‘legal weapon’ against the Iranian regime, namely that it is committing ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which
are considered even more serious war crimes than the ones outlined in chapter I. This is because, as an occupying force, Iran has certain ‘duties’ towards the Syrian population under its occupation.  Syrian revolution and the current situation in Syria, as well as a new set of demands in light of this new reality. The war in Syria, they say, should be regarded as an international conflict that warrants the application of the four Geneva Conventions and the regime-held areas of Syria should be considered occupied territory – not metaphorically but in the strict legal sense of the word.
Recognising the war in Syria as an international conflict that involves a foreign occupation and a people struggling for liberation may also provide a powerful ‘legal weapon’ against the Iranian regime, namely that it is committing ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which

are considered even more serious war crimes than the ones outlined in chapter I. This is because, as an occupying force, Iran has certain ‘duties’ towards the Syrian population under its occupation.”

Before this, Mr. Lamb was doing his best to promote the Western-oriented DAASH narrative, as devised by the Pentagon, that is, that ISIS was a threat to everyone and that it was beyond the capabilities of regional forces to deal with it, instead of pointing-out the truth.  Defeating ISIS would be a simple matter, if Sunni regimes had the will, or the Western green-light.  We need to hand the job of their own self-defense back to them and allow the Jordanian, Saudi, Egyptian air forces to do the work, while we just step back.  If American airpower is needed for the job, then we should provide concentrated heavy-bombing, sufficient to eliminate each target as it is identified by Sunni govt. forces on the ground (SEE: NUKE ISIS!!—Terrorist Email To Mr. Foley’s Parents and Link To Execution Video ).

Peter Chamberlin

ThereAreNoSunglasses

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

Obama’s Oil Weapon—(Pat Buchanan)

The Oil Weapon In America’s Hands–How Will We Use It?

western journalism

Avatar of Pat Buchanan Patrick Buchanan

We now produce more oil than Saudi Arabia; and the benefits are not only economic, but geostrategic.

In July of 1941, after Japan occupied French Indochina, the Roosevelt administration froze Japan’s assets in the United States.

Denied hard cash, Japan could not buy the U.S. oil upon which the empire depended for survival. Seeing the Dutch East Indies as her only other source, Japan prepared to invade.

But first, she had to eliminate the sole strategic threat to her occupation of the East Indies — the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor.

FDR’s cutoff of oil to Japan was thus a primary cause of WWII in the Pacific, which led to hundreds of thousands of U.S. war dead, the destruction of Japan, Mao’s triumph in China, and a U.S. war in Korea.

A second stunning use of the oil weapon came in 1973. Arab members of OPEC imposed an embargo in retaliation for Nixon’s rescue of Israel with an airlift in the Yom Kippur war. Long gas lines helped to bring Nixon down.

Now the oil weapon appears to be back in America’s hand.

Due to the substitution of natural gas for oil in heating homes and buildings, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracking, which enables us to bring oil and gas out of shale rock in places like North Dakota, U.S. production has exploded. We now produce more oil than Saudi Arabia; and the benefits are not only economic, but geostrategic.

Cuba excepted, there is no more hostile regime in Latin America than Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez. Oil accounts for 95 percent of his nation’s exports. Iran is almost wholly dependent upon oil sales for hard currency. Russia is the oil and gas supplier for much of Europe.

With the price of oil having fallen from over $100 a barrel to below $80 this week, all three nations are suffering plunges in revenue. The United States and Europe are also punishing Russia and Iran with sanctions on their energy sectors.

Iran’s production has fallen sharply. Oil-drilling equipment and the latest U.S. drilling technology that Russia has sought to bring on stream its vast Arctic reserves are being denied to her.

As the oil weapon was used by us against Imperial Japan and by the Saudis against us, we are now wielding this sword.

We should remember that it is double-edged.

While it would seem natural for Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, to cut production to tighten the oil market and let prices firm up and rise, the Saudis have continued to pump as the price has fallen.

What is Riyadh’s game?

Is the Saudi strategy to let prices fall to where it is no longer profitable for Americans to begin new fracking? Are the Saudis thinking of doing to the new oil-producing champion, USA, what we are doing to Venezuela, Russia, and Iran?

Riyadh may want to let the price of oil sink below where it makes sense for energy companies to prospect for new sources of oil or invest more billions in expanding production.

Are the Saudis out to cripple us with an oil glut?

Today, not only are Iran and Iraq producing below potential; so, too, is Libya. And we have been bombing ISIS’ oil facilities in Syria.

A contrarian’s question: Would we not be better off if these countries not only restored oil production, but also expanded production and put more oil on the market than they do today?

Demand creates supply, and a world oil market where there is more supply than demand would seem to be to America’s benefit. For we remain the world’s largest consumer of petroleum products.

And surely it is to our benefit to enlarge both the reserves and production of oil and gas in North America.

Price pays a huge role in creating, and shrinking, supply. And price, Adam Smith notwithstanding, is something we can control and manipulate, even as China manipulates its currency.

In “America’s New Oil Weapon” in National Review, Arthur Herman of the Hudson Institute urges the United States to take bold steps to increase our supplies of oil and gas.

We should relax the rules on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has 10 billion barrels of oil locked up. We should use as an economic weapon against OPEC the 700 million barrels in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We should allow the export of oil from the United States to enable us to cope with OPEC cutbacks. We should build the Keystone XL pipeline, and the other oil and gas pipelines between us and Canada now sitting in limbo.

What Herman is urging upon us is a new nationalism, a new way of thinking about international economics that puts the U.S. and its allies first, and uses our economic leverage to advance national rather than global interests.

Something the GOP Congress might think about when Barack Obama asks them to surrender their right to amend trade treaties with fast track.

The Israeli Nuclear Arsenal—2014

[SEE:  Mordechai Vanunu PHOTOS OF DIMONA–(updated 12-5-12)]

mushroom-cloud

[Mother Jones]

bulletin of atomic scientists

Israeli nuclear weapons, 2014

Abstract

Although the Israeli government neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, it is generally accepted by friend and foe alike that Israel is a nuclear-armed state—and has been so for nearly half a century. The basis for this conclusion has been strengthened significantly since our previous estimate in 2002, particularly thanks to new documents obtained by scholars under the US Freedom of Information Act and other openly available sources.1 We conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated. We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.

Nuclear policy issues

Since the late 1960s, every Israeli government has practiced a policy of nuclear opacity that, while acknowledging that Israel maintains the option of building nuclear weapons, leaves it factually uncertain as to whether Israel actually possesses nuclear weapons and if so at what operational status. Since the mid-1960s, this policy has been publicly expressed—and recently reaffirmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—as the phrase “We won’t be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East” (Netanyahu, 2011).

This statement is widely seen as a deception, because it is a long-held conclusion among governments and experts that Israel has produced a sizable stockpile of nuclear warheads (probably unassembled) designed for delivery by ballistic missiles and aircraft. Common sense dictates that a country that has developed and produced nuclear warheads for delivery by designated delivery vehicles has, regardless of their operational status, introduced the weapons to the region. But Israeli governments have attached so many interpretations to “introduce” that common sense doesn’t appear to apply.

Declassified documents from US–Israeli negotiations in 1968–1969 about the sale and delivery of F-4 Phantom aircraft show that the White House understood full well that “they [Israel] interpreted that [“introduction”] to mean they could possess nuclear weapons as long as they did not test, deploy, or make them public” (White House, 1969a: 1). In a memo prepared for President Nixon on the Israeli nuclear program, national security advisor Henry Kissinger stated: “This is one program on which the Israelis have persistently deceived us—and may even have stolen from us” (White House, 1969a: 7 of attachment).

Both the Johnson and Nixon administrations tried to get a clearer understanding of the Israeli interpretation of “introduction.” During a meeting at the Pentagon in November 1968, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Yitzhak Rabin, who later succeeded Prime Minister Golda Meir as Israeli prime minister, said that “he would not consider a weapon that had not been tested to be a weapon.” Rabin noted that this was his personal understanding as a former military leader. Moreover, he said, “There must be a public acknowledgement. The fact that you have got it must be known.” Seeking clarity, US Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Warnke asked: “Then in your view, an unadvertised, untested nuclear device is not a nuclear weapon?” Rabin responded: “Yes, that is correct.” So, Warnke continued, an advertised but untested device or weapon would constitute introduction? “Yes, that would be introduction,” Rabin confirmed (Department of Defense, 1968: 2, 3, 4).

In a follow-up exchange in July 1969, the Nixon administration plainly summarized its own understanding of the term “introduction”: “When Israel says it will not introduce nuclear weapons it means it will not possess such weapons.” The Nixon administration wanted Israel to accept the US definition, but the Meir government didn’t take the bait and instead claimed: “Introduction means the transformation from a non-nuclear weapon country into a nuclear weapon country” (Department of State, 1969a). In other words, Israel construed its pledge not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to mean that that introduction was not about physical possession but about public acknowledgement of that possession.

Kissinger saw a way out of the disagreement: He informed President Nixon that what the Israelis had done was to “define the word ‘introduction’ by relating it to the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty].” Kissinger’s argument was that the “distinction between ‘nuclear-weapon’ and ‘non-nuclear-weapon’ states is the one which the NPT uses in defining the respective obligations of the signatories.” By arguing that the NPT negotiations “implicitly left … it up to the conscience of the governments involved” by being “deliberately vague on what precise step would transform a state into a nuclear weapon state after the January 1, 1967, cut-off date used in the treaty to define the nuclear states,” and by arguing that the NPT does not define what it means to “manufacture” or “acquire” nuclear weapons, Kissinger concluded that the new Israeli formulation “should put us in a position for the record of being able to say we assume we have Israel’s assurance that it will remain a non-nuclear state as defined in the NPT” (White House, 1969b: 1).

Kissinger’s disingenuous interpretation provided the United States with a way out of a diplomatic dilemma via a tacit understanding between Nixon and Meir that the United States would no longer pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as long as the Israelis kept their program restrained and invisible—meaning that Israel would not test nuclear weapons and would not acknowledge in public its possession of such weapons.

The Nixon administration also tried to extract a pledge from Israel on the use of US-supplied aircraft. In the Israeli letter that requested the sale of 50 F-4 Phantoms, Rabin formally promised the United States that Israel “agrees not to use any aircraft supplied by the U.S. as a nuclear weapons carrier” (Embassy of Israel, 1968: 1). A similar promise was made in 1966 in connection with the sale of A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. It is not known if Israel made similar pledges when it acquired F-15 and F-16 aircraft in the 1980s and 1990s, or when it purchased F-35s—which will start to be delivered in 2017.

If a formal pledge was made also for the F-15 and F-16 aircraft, it would appear to rule out Israel currently using US-supplied aircraft in a nuclear strike role. But given the preconditions the Nixon administration discovered Israel had attached to the “no introduction” pledge, Israel may also have attached preconditions to the pledge not to “use any aircraft supplied by the U.S. as a nuclear weapons carrier.” What do “use” and “carrier” mean? Do they refer to equipping an aircraft with the capability to deliver nuclear weapons or do they refer to the act of employment itself? Does the pledge apply to US aircraft modified by Israel? And what does “nuclear weapons” mean? Similar to the interpretation of “introduction,” Israel may consider that as long as a nuclear bomb is not assembled nor its existence announced, a US-supplied aircraft is not being used (by Israel’s definition) as a carrier of nuclear weapons.

The tacit understanding that the Nixon administration reached with Israel about “introduction” may have resolved a diplomatic conundrum. But it failed to address the core issues: first, that Israel already possessed nuclear weapons, and second, that the United States would be seen as having a double standard when criticizing other Middle Eastern countries for pursuing nuclear weapons while turning a blind eye to Israel’s arsenal. And those have been irritants regarding the NPT and Middle Eastern security issues ever since, helping provide excuses for other countries in the region to reject criticism of their own weapons of mass destruction.

On a few rare occasions, some Israeli officials have made statements implying that Israel already has nuclear weapons or could “introduce” them very quickly if necessary. The first came in 1974, when then-President Ephraim Katzir stated: “It has always been our intention to develop a nuclear potential … We now have that potential” (quoted in Weissman and Krosney, 1981: 105). Long after his retirement, in a 1981 New York Times interview, former defense minister Moshe Dayan also came close to violating the nuclear ambiguity taboo when he declared for the record: “We don’t have any atomic bomb now, but we have the capacity, we can do that in a short time.” He reiterated the official policy mantra “We are not going to be the first ones to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East,” but his acknowledgement that “we have the capacity” and would quickly produce atomic bombs if Israel’s adversaries acquired nuclear weapons was a hint that Israel had in fact produced all the necessary components to assemble nuclear weapons in a very short time (New York Times, 1981).

During a press conference in Washington with US President Bill Clinton and Jordan’s President Hussein in 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made a similar statement, saying “Israel is not a nuclear country in terms of weapons” and has “committed to the United States for many years not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But at the same time,” he added, “we cannot be blind to efforts that are made in certain Muslim and Arab countries in this direction. Therefore, I can sum up. We’ll keep our commitment not to be the first to introduce, but we still look ahead to the dangers that others will do it. And we have to be prepared for it” (Rabin, 1994; emphasis added).

The ambiguity left by Israel’s refusal to confirm or deny the possession of nuclear weapons prompted the BBC in 2003 to bluntly ask former Prime Minister Shimon Peres whether the ambiguity was just another word for deception: “The term nuclear ambiguity, in some ways it sounds very grand, but isn’t it just a euphemism for deception?” Peres did not answer the question but confirmed the need for deception: “If someone wants to kill you and you use deception to save your life, it’s not immoral. If we wouldn’t [sic] have enemies we wouldn’t need deceptions” (BBC, 2003).

Three years later, in a December 2006 interview with German television, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to compromise the deception when he criticized Iran for aspiring “to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia” (Williams, 2006). The statement, which he made in English, attracted widespread attention because it was seen as an inadvertent admission that Israel possesses nuclear weapons (Williams, 2006). A spokesperson for Olmert later said he had been listing not nuclear states but “responsible nations” (Friedman, 2006).

Ambiguity is not just about refusing to confirm possession of nuclear weapons but also about refusing to deny it. When asked during a 2011 CNN interview if Israel does not have nuclear weapons, Netanyahu did not answer directly but repeated the policy not to be the first to “introduce” nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Undeterred, the journalist followed up: “But if you take an assumption that other countries have them then that may mean you have them?” Netanyahu didn’t dispute that but implied that the difference is that Israel doesn’t threaten anyone with its arsenal: “Well, it may mean that we don’t pose a threat to anyone. We don’t call for anyone’s annihilation … We don’t threaten to obliterate countries with nuclear weapons but we are threatened with all these threats” (Netanyahu, 2011).

The nuclear alert

One of the scenarios where Israel might decide to “introduce” its nuclear arsenal is in a crisis that poses a threat to the very existence of the state of Israel. It is widely believed such an incident might have happened in October 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, when Israeli leaders feared Syria was about to defeat the Israeli army in the Golan Heights. The rumor first appeared in Time magazine in 1976, was greatly expanded upon in Seymour Hersh’s book The Samson Option in 1991, and several unidentified former US officials allegedly stated in 2002 that Israel put nuclear forces on alert in 1973 (see e.g., Sale, 2002).

But an interview conducted by Avner Cohen with the late Arnan (Sini) Azaryahu in January 2008 calls into question the validity of this rumor. Azaryahu was senior aide and confidant to Yisrael Galili, a minister without portfolio who was Golda Meir’s closest political ally and privy to some of Israel’s most closely held nuclear secrets. In the early afternoon of the second day of the war—October 7, 1973—when the Israeli military appeared to be losing the battle against Syrian forces in the Golan Heights, Azaryahu said that the defense minister, Moshe Dayan, asked Meir to authorize initial technical preparations for a “demonstration option”—that is, ready nuclear weapons for potential use. But Galili and Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon argued against the idea, saying Israel would prevail using conventional weapons. According to Azaryahu, Meir sided with her two senior ministers and told Dayan to “forget it” (Cohen, 2013. For analysis of the Azaryahu interview and its implications, see Cohen (n.d.).)

A study by the Strategic Studies division of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) in April 2013 appeared to confirm Meir’s rejection of Dayan’s “demonstration option” and that Israel’s nuclear forces were not readied. The report states that even though the authors “did exhaustively scrutinize” the document files of US agencies and archives and interviewed a significant number of officials with firsthand knowledge of the 1973 crisis, “None of these searches revealed any documentation of an Israeli alert or clear manipulation of its forces,” and “none of our interviewees, save one, recalled any Israeli nuclear alert or signaling effort” during the Yom Kippur War (Colby et al., 2013: 31–32).

Even so, the single former official who recalled seeing an “electronic or signals intelligence report” at the time that “Israel had activated or increased the readiness of its Jericho missile batteries”—and the extreme government secrecy that surrounds the issue of Israeli nuclear weapons in general—led the authors of the CNA study to conclude that “the United States did observe some kind of Israeli nuclear weapons-related activity in the very early days of the war, probably pertaining to Israel’s Jericho ballistic missile force … .” (Colby et al., 2013: 34). The study’s overall assessment was that “Israel appears to have taken preliminary precautionary steps to protect or prepare its nuclear weapons and/or related forces” (Colby et al., 2013: 2; emphasis added).

The conclusion that Israel did something with its nuclear forces in October 1973—although not necessarily place them on full operational alert or prepare for a “demonstration option”—seems similar to the assertion made by Peres in 1995, who in an interview with the authors of We All Lost the Cold War “categorically denied that Jericho missiles were made ready, much less armed. At most, he insisted, there was an operational check. The cabinet never approved any alert of Jericho missiles” (Lebow and Stein, 1995: 463, footnote 47).

Evidently, some uncertainty persists about the 1973 events. But then, presumably as well as now, the Israeli warheads were not fully assembled or deployed on delivery systems under normal circumstances but stored under civilian control. And since no official confirmation was made back then either via a test or an announcement, no formal “introduction” of nuclear weapons occurred—at least in the opinion of Israeli officials.

Six years later, on September 22, 1979, a US surveillance satellite known as the Vela 6911 detected what appeared to be the flash from a nuclear test in the southern parts of the Indian Ocean (for background on the 1979 Vela incident, see Richelson, 2006). Despite widespread rumors about Israeli involvement in the test, which would constitute “introduction” of nuclear weapons by the Israeli definition, Israeli governments have continued since to state that Israel would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the region.

How many warheads?

Absent official public information from the Israeli government or intelligence communities of other countries, speculations abound about Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Over the past several decades, news media reports, think tanks, authors, and analysts have sized the Israeli nuclear stockpile widely, from 75 warheads up to more than 400 warheads. Delivery vehicles for the warheads have been listed as aircraft, ballistic missiles, artillery tactical or battlefield weapons such as artillery shells and landmines, and more recently sea-launched cruise missiles. We believe many of these rumors are inaccurate and that the most credible stockpile number is on the order of 80 warheads for delivery by aircraft, land-based ballistic missiles, and possibly sea-based cruise missiles (see Table 1).

Table 1.

Israeli nuclear forces, 2014

In 1969, the US State Department concluded: “Israel has moved as rapidly as possible since about 1963” in “developing a capability to produce and deploy nuclear weapons, and to deliver them by surface-to-surface missile or by plane” (Department of State, 1969b: 1; Department of State, 1969c: 3). By 1974, the CIA concluded: “Israel already has produced and stockpiled a small number of fission weapons” (CIA, 1974: 20). “Small” is a relative term; to some analysts it meant an arsenal of a dozen or two dozen weapons, but the public estimate would later balloon significantly.

Most publicly available estimates appear to be derived from a rough calculation of the number of warheads that could hypothetically be created from the amount of plutonium Israel is believed to have produced in its nuclear reactor at Dimona. The technical assessment that accompanied the 1986 Sunday Times article about former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu’s disclosures about Dimona, for example, estimated that Israel had produced enough plutonium for 100 to 200 nuclear warheads (Sunday Times, 1986a, 1986b, 1986c).2 In the public debate, this quickly became Israel possessing 100 to 200 nuclear warheads, the estimate that has been most commonly used ever since. There is uncertainty about the operational history or efficiency of the Dimona reactor’s operation over the years, but plutonium production is thought to have continued after 1986, making for a total of roughly 840 kilograms of plutonium for military purposes.3 That amount could potentially be used to build 168 to 210 nuclear weapons, assuming a second-generation, single-stage, fission-implosion warhead design with a boosted pit containing 4 to 5 kilograms of plutonium.4

Total plutonium production is a misleading indicator of the actual size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, however, because Israel—like other nuclear-armed states—most likely would not have converted all of its plutonium into warheads. A portion is likely stored as a strategic reserve. And given that Israel probably has a limited portion of its aircraft and missiles that are equipped to deliver nuclear weapons, it would in any case not produce many more warheads than it can actually deliver.

And this is where the estimates of 200 to 400 warheads strain credibility. Assuming that Israel has no more than 25 single-warhead land-based ballistic missiles, such a large stockpile would imply as many as 150 to 350 air-delivered bombs, or a significant inventory of other types of nuclear weapons. In comparison, the 180 US bombs deployed in Europe have roughly 20 bombs allocated to each nuclear-capable fighter-bomber squadron. Israel’s nuclear posture has not been determined by war-fighting strategy but by deterrence needs, so a more realistic estimate may be that Israel only has a couple of fighter-bomber squadrons assigned to the nuclear missions with perhaps 40 bombs in total.

The higher stockpile estimates appear to come from rumors that Israel has produced a significant number of other types of nuclear weapons, or tactical nuclear weapons. A variety of different sources over the years has claimed, without providing much evidence, that the other weapon types include artillery, landmines, suitcase bombs, nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons to take out electronic circuits, and enhanced radiation weapons (neutron bombs).5

Seymour Hersh’s 1991 best-seller, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, claimed that Israel had manufactured “hundreds” (Hersh, 1993: 276) of low-yield neutron nuclear warheads and that at least three nuclear-capable artillery battalions were established after 1973 with self-propelled 175-mm cannons assigned more than 108 nuclear artillery shells. Additional nuclear artillery shells were supplied for Israel’s 203-mm cannons. Moreover, Hersh claimed, the warhead that was tested in Israel’s suspected nuclear test in 1979 “was a low-yield nuclear artillery shell that had been standardized for use by the Israeli Defense Force” (Hersh, 1993: 271). The New York Times reported these claims but also mentioned that the “formal” United States intelligence estimate was “fewer than 100” warheads, quoted the Carnegie Endowment as saying that most outsiders estimated as many as 200 warheads, but ended on Hersh’s estimate of an Israeli stockpile of “300 or more” warheads (Brinkley, 1991).

Partly building on these claims, an article published in Jane’s Intelligence Review in 1997 by photo-interpreter Harold Hough used commercial satellite photos to examine Israel’s suspected missile base near the town of Zakharia. The article concluded that the base might house 50 Jericho II missiles and that five bunkers at a nearby depot were capable of storing 150 weapons. “This supports indications that the Israeli arsenal may contain as many as 400 nuclear weapons with a total combined yield of 50 megatons,”) Hough (1997) asserted.6

The satellite photos were not very clear, however, and imagery experts later pointed out that “close examination of the published photos indicates that many of these identified features are not visually evident” leaving “large uncertainty associated with these identifications” (Gupta and Pabian, 1998: 97). Possibly indicating similar doubts, a New York Times article reminded readers that a Rand Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon and reported by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz had concluded that Israel only had enough plutonium to make 70 nuclear weapons (Schmemann, 1998).

The Rand estimate was in the same range as the 60 to 80 nuclear warheads the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) listed in a 1999 classified report (US Defense Intelligence Agency, 1999).7 Leaked and later published in 2004, this report is to our knowledge the most recent publicly available document that provides an official estimate of how many nuclear warheads Israel has. The report, the timing of which coincided with the commissioning of the first of Israel’s six Dolphin-class submarines, also contained a projection for the arsenal by 2020: 65 to 85 warheads.

During the 15 years that have passed since the DIA report, Israel presumably has continued production of plutonium at Dimona for some of that time (although the reactor is getting old) and probably also has continued producing nuclear warheads. Many of those warheads were probably replacements for warheads produced earlier for existing delivery systems, such as the Jericho II missiles and aircraft. Warheads for a rumored Jericho III ballistic missile would probably replace existing Jericho II warheads on a one-for-one basis. Warheads for the rumored submarine-based cruise missile, if true, would be in addition to the existing arsenal but probably only involve a relatively small number of warheads.

Warhead designs

The large variety of warhead designs that would be needed to arm the many different types of launchers rumored to exist—reentry vehicles for ballistic missiles, gravity bombs for aircraft, artillery, landmines, and a neutron bomb—would be a significant technical challenge for a nuclear weapons complex that has only conducted one nuclear test, or even a few tests, 35 years ago.

It took other nuclear weapon states dozens of elaborate nuclear test explosion experiments to develop such varied weapon designs—as well as the war-fighting strategies to justify the expense. According to some analysts, Israel had “unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data” in the 1960s (Cohen, 1998: 82–83), so much so that “the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one” (Weissman and Krosney, 1981: 114–117). Until France broke off deep nuclear collaboration with Israel in 1967, France conducted 17 fission warhead tests in Algeria, ranging from a few kilotons to approximately 120 kilotons of explosive yield (CTBTO, n.d.; Nuclear Weapon Archive, 2001).

Based on interviews with Vanunu in 1986, Frank Barnaby, a nuclear physicist who worked at the British Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, later said that Vanunu’s description of “production at Dimona of lithium-deuteride in the shape of hemispherical shells … raised the question of whether Israel had boosted nuclear weapons in its arsenal” (Barnaby, 2004: 4). Although he didn’t think Vanunu had much knowledge about such weapons, Barnaby concluded that “the information he gave suggested that Israel had more advanced nuclear weapons than Nagasaki-type weapons” (Barnaby, 2004: 4).

Barnaby did not mention thermonuclear weapons in his 2004 statement, even though he concluded in his book The Invisible Bomb in 1989 that “Israel may have about 35 thermonuclear weapons” (Barnaby, 1989: 25). At the time, the director of the CIA apparently did not agree but reportedly indicated that Israel may be seeking to construct a thermonuclear weapon (Cordesman, 2005). Yet The Samson Option claims that US weapon designers concluded from Vanunu’s information that “Israel was capable of manufacturing one of the most sophisticated weapons in the nuclear arsenal—a low-yield [two-stage] neutron bomb” (Hersh, 1993: 199). The authors of The Nuclear Express in 2009 echoed that claim, stating that the product of Israel’s partnership with South Africa would be “a family of boosted primaries, generic H-bombs, and a specific neutron bomb” (Reed and Stillman, 2009: 174).

While a single-stage, boosted fission design warhead was probably within Israel’s technical reach at the time, the claim that Israel also was capable of producing two-stage thermonuclear warhead designs, or even enhanced radiation weapons (which are also two-stage thermonuclear designs), is harder to accept, based on the limited information that is publicly available about Israel’s nuclear testing and design history.

Whatever the composition of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, we neither see the indicators that Israel has sufficient nuclear-capable launchers for 200 to 400 nuclear weapons, nor understand why a country that does not have a strategy for fighting nuclear war would need that many types of warheads or warhead designs to deter its potential adversaries. In our assessment, a more credible estimate—taking into consideration plutonium production, testing history, design skills, force structure, and strategy—is an Israeli stockpile of approximately 80 boosted fission warheads.

Aircraft and airfields

Over the past 30 years, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has had several types of US-produced aircraft capable of carrying nuclear gravity bombs. These include the A-4 Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom, and more recently the F-16 and F-15E. Moreover, Israel has purchased 20 F-35A Lightnings to replace older F-16s, and plans to buy more.

The A-4 and F-4 served long careers as nuclear strike aircraft in the US military, and their potential roles as similar nuclear weapons delivery vehicles within the IAF was the focus of much attention at the time they were in use. As noted earlier, when it bought these aircraft, Israel formally promised the United States that it “agrees not to use any aircraft supplied by the U.S. as a nuclear weapons carrier” (Embassy of Israel,1968: 1). But the experience with Israel’s interpretation of its promise not to be the first to “introduce” nuclear weapons in the Middle East makes it hard to take its promise not to use American aircraft for nuclear missions without a pinch of salt.

Since the 1980s, the F-16 has been the backbone of the Israeli Air Force. Over the years, Israel has purchased well over 200 F-16s of all types, as well as specially configured F-16Is. Various versions of the F-16 serve nuclear strike roles in the US Air Force and among NATO allies, and the F-16 is the most likely candidate for air delivery of Israeli nuclear weapons at the present time.

Since 1998, Israel has also used the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle for long-range strike and air-superiority roles. The Israeli version is characterized by greater takeoff weight—36,750 kg—and range—4,450 km—than other F-15 models. Its maximum speed at high altitude is Mach 2.5. The plane has been further modified with specialized radar that has terrain-mapping capability and other navigation and guidance systems. In the US Air Force, the F-15E Strike Eagle has been given a nuclear role. It is not known if the Israeli Air Force has added nuclear capability to this highly versatile plane.

Regardless of what happens with the F-15E, Israel has decided to replace a portion of its F-16 fleet with a new plane under development in the United States: the F-35A. In so doing, it will become the first non-US country to operate the aircraft. The first F-35A—the Israeli version will be known as the F-35I (named “Adir” for “awesome” or “mighty”)—will arrive in 2017, with the first squadron expected to become operational at Nevatim Air Base in the Negev desert in 2018. Israel purchased 20 of an earlier F-35 design in 2012, and plans to buy over 100 of the new F-35Is, but the high cost of the F-35 might limit the plans. The F-35I will be adapted with Israeli weapons and has, unlike the F-15I and F-16I, the ability to fly long-range missions with internal weapons. The US Air Force is upgrading its F-35As to carry nuclear bombs, and Israel’s Channel 2 reported that an unnamed “senior level US official” refused to say if Israel had requested such an upgrade for its F-35 s (Channel 2, 2014).

It is especially difficult to determine which Israeli wings and squadrons are assigned nuclear missions and which bases support them. The nuclear warheads themselves may be stored in underground facilities near one or two bases. Israeli F-16 squadrons are based at Ramat-David Air Base in northern Israel; Tel Nof and Hatzor air bases in central Israel; and Hatzerim, Nevatim, Ramon, and Ouvda air bases in southern Israel. Of the many F-16 squadrons, only a small fraction—perhaps one or two—would actually be nuclear-certified with specially trained crews, unique procedures, and modified aircraft. The F-15 s are based at Tel Nof Air Base in central Israel, and Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev desert. We cautiously suggest that Tel Nof Air Base in central Israel and Nevatim Air Base in the Negev desert have nuclear missions.

Land-based missiles

Israel’s nuclear missile program dates back to the early 1960s. In April 1963, several months before the Dimona reactor began producing plutonium, Israel signed an agreement with the French company Dassault to produce a surface-to-surface ballistic missile. The missile system became known as the Jericho (or MD-620).

The first purchase of 30 missiles occurred in early 1966, but soon after the Six-Day War in June 1967 France imposed an embargo on new military equipment to Israel. Jericho production was transferred to Israel and the first two missiles delivered in 1968, with 10 more by mid-1969. The program was completed around 1970 with 24 to 30 missiles. Apparently not all were nuclear, with only 10 of the missiles “programmed for nuclear warheads,” according to the White House (Department of State, 1968: 2; White House, 1969a: 1).8 Apparently, the other missiles could be armed with chemical warheads, probably nerve gas (White House, 1969c). The short-range Jericho could deliver a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 pound) reentry vehicle, with a range of about 480 kilometers (298 miles). The accuracy was estimated to be roughly within 926 meters (approximately 0.6 miles) of its target (CIA, 1974: 22).

Most sources assert that Jericho was a mobile missile, transported and fired from a transportable erector launcher (CIA, 1974). But there have occasionally been references to possible silos for the weapon. A US State Department study produced in support of National Security Study Memorandum 40 in May 1969 concluded that Israel believed it needed a nearly invulnerable nuclear force to deter a nuclear first strike from its enemies, “i.e., having a second-strike capability.” The study stated: “Israel is now building such a force—the hardened silos of the Jericho missiles” (Department of State, 1969d: 7; emphasis added). It is not clear that the claim of “hardened silos” constituted the assessment of the US intelligence community, and only a few subsequent sources—all non-governmental—have mentioned Israeli missile silos.9 We did not find any public evidence of Jericho silos.

The Jericho range was sufficient to target Cairo, Damascus, and all of Jordan, but not the Soviet Union—which was gaining importance in Israel’s planning. In collaboration with South Africa, Israel in the late 1980s developed the medium-range Jericho II that put the southern-most Soviet cities and the Black Sea Fleet within range. Jericho II, a modified version of the Shavit space launch rocket, was first deployed in the early-1990s, replacing the first Jericho.

Unofficial estimates of the Jericho II’s range vary greatly and tend to be exaggerated—some even up to 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles).10 The Jericho was first flight-tested in May 1987 to approximately 850 km (527 miles). The trajectory went far into the Mediterranean Sea. Another test in September 1989 reached 1,300 km (806 miles). The US Air Force National Air Intelligence Center in 1996 reported the Jericho II range as 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) (NAIC, 1996).

Half of Iran, which has increased in importance to Israeli military strategy over the past two decades, is out of Jericho II’s reach. That includes Tehran (barely). Rumors abound that Israel has been developing a longer-range missile, publicly known as Jericho III, with an estimated range of 4,000 kilometers, or 2,480 miles. With such a missile, Israel would be able to target all of Iran, Pakistan, and all of Russia west of the Urals—including, for the first time, Moscow. Jericho III was first test-launched over the Mediterranean Sea in January 2008, again in 2011, and most recently in July 2013. Unidentified defense sources told Jane’s Defence Weekly that Jericho III constitutes “a dramatic leap in Israel’s missile capabilities” (Jane’s Defence Weekly, 2008: 5), but many details and current status are unknown.

How many Jericho missiles Israel has is another uncertainty. Estimates vary from 25 to 100. Most sources estimate that Israel has 50 of these missiles, and place them at the Sdot Micha facility near the town of Zakharia in the Judean Hills approximately 27 kilometers, or about 17 miles, east of Jerusalem. (There are many alternative spellings and names for the base, including Zekharyeh, Zekharaia, Sdot Micha, and Sdot HaElla.)

Commercial satellite images show what appear to be two clusters of what might be caves for mobile Jericho II launchers. The northern cluster includes 14 caves and the southern cluster has nine caves, for a total of 23 caves. This number of caves roughly matches the 24 to 30 missiles mentioned in a 1969 White House memo (White House, 1969a). Each cluster also has what appears to be a covered drive-through facility, potentially for missile handling or warhead loading. A separate circular facility with four tunnels to underground facilities could potentially be for warhead storage. Consequently, we conclude that estimates of 50 to 100 missiles are exaggerated and estimate that Israel deploys about two dozen mobile launchers for Jericho missiles.

Most reports only mention one missile site, but a US State Department background paper from 1969 stated that there was “evidence strongly indicating that several sites providing operational launch capabilities are virtually complete” (Department of State, 1969c: 4; emphasis added). The Sdot Micha base is relatively small at 16 square kilometers, and the suspected launcher caves are located along two roads, each of which is only about one kilometer long. Although this layout would provide protection against limited conventional attacks, it would be vulnerable to a nuclear surprise attack. For the Jericho missiles to have military value, they would need to be able to disperse from their caves.

Sea-based missiles and submarines

Rumors abound that Israel has developed a nuclear warhead for a sea-launched cruise missile, which would be launched from diesel-electric Dolphin-class attack submarines that Israel has acquired from Germany. Some rumors say that the nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missile is a modification of the conventional “Popeye Turbo” air-to-surface missiles, while others claim that Israel converted the US-supplied Harpoon—a long-standing US anti-ship missile—to nuclear capability.

It is difficult to say with certainty when the rumors first emerged or where, but one early candidate is a Center for Strategic and International Studies study from 1998, which listed: “Variant of the Popeye air-to-surface missile believed to have nuclear warhead” (Cordesman, 1998: 17). There was no source for the claim, but it quickly made its way into The Washington Times under the headline “Israel buying 3 submarines to carry nuclear missiles.” The article also referenced a June 8, 1998 report in the Israeli paper Haaretz “that Israeli military planners want to mount nuclear-armed cruise missiles on the new submarines” (Sieff, 1998).

An article published by Gerald M. Steinberg from Bar Ilan University in RUSI International Security Review in 1999 described “unconfirmed reports that Israel is developing a cruise missile (known as the Popeye Turbo) with a range of 350 kilometers, to be operational in 2002,” that “could become the basis of a sea-based second strike deterrent” (Steinberg, 1999: 215–224).

When the Clinton administration proposed returning the Golan Heights to Syria, the Israeli government responded with a $17 billion security package request that included 12 long-range BGM-109 Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles. (The US Navy possessed a nuclear-armed version of the Tomahawk between 1983 and 2012.) Israel argued that it would need the Tomahawk to compensate for the loss of strategic depth if it gave up the Golan Heights, although targeting Iran was clearly also a factor. But the Clinton administration turned down the Israeli request in March 2000.

Only three months later, in June 2000, an article in the Sunday Times quoted unnamed “Israeli defense officials” as saying that Israel had secretly tested a submarine-launched cruise missile to a range of more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) in the Indian Ocean (Mahnaimi and Campbell, 2000).

The reports about a nuclear Popeye cruise missile and a 1,500-kilometer cruise missile test were soon conflated into one missile, which has been referred to as fact in numerous publications ever since. After the widely respected book Deadly Arsenals printed this information in June 2002 (Cirincione et al., 2002), coverage in The Washington Post added unnamed former Pentagon and State Department officials who confirmed that Israel was arming three newly acquired diesel submarines with “newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.” The report said the US Navy monitored the Israeli cruise missile test, although a former Pentagon official cautioned: “It is above top secret knowing whether the sub-launched cruise missiles are nuclear-armed” (Pincus, 2002).

The lead author of the Sunday Times cruise missile test article, Uzi Mahnaimi, has written other articles about Israel’s nuclear capabilities, some of which later turned out to be incorrect. A 2007 article claimed “several Israeli military sources” had told the Sunday Times that two Israeli air force squadrons were training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters” (Mahnaimi and Baxter, 2007). In 2010, Mahnaimi claimed “the decision has now been taken” to continuously deploy at least one of Israel’s “submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles … in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.” The article quoted an unidentified navy officer saying that the “1,500-km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran” (Mahnaimi, 2010). These and other articles have caused media critics, including Marsha B. Cohen on PBS’s Frontline, to describe Mahnaimi as a “sensationalist” with “a long and consistent record—for being wrong” (Cohen MB, 2010).

Up until 2002, news media reports focused on a naval version of the air-launched Popeye Turbo missile. But in October 2003 the Los Angeles Times quoted unnamed US and Israeli officials saying that Israel had modified the US-supplied Harpoon cruise missile to carry nuclear warheads on submarines. “Two Bush administration officials described the missile modification and an Israeli official confirmed it,” the paper stated (Frantz, 2003).

This added to the mystery because the range of the Harpoon is even shorter than the range of the Popeye Turbo (110-plus kilometers, or about 68 miles, versus 300-plus kilometers, or about 186 miles). Former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh dismissed the Harpoon story: Anyone with even the slightest understanding of missiles knows that the Harpoon can never be used to carry nuclear warheads. Not even [Israel’s] extraordinarily talented engineers and its sophisticated defense industries can transform the Harpoon into a missile capable of doing this. It’s simply impossible. (Haaretz, 2003)

Sneh’s claim that “the Harpoon can never be used to carry nuclear warheads” is not entirely correct. Between 1973 and 1980, the United States considered equipping the Harpoon with a nuclear warhead, but the program was terminated (Cochran et al., 1984). Israel’s nuclear weapons engineering capability is much less advanced than that of the United States, and the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees US military sales abroad, told Arms Control Today that although Israel’s contract for Harpoon missiles does not explicitly prohibit Israel from modifying them to carry nuclear warheads, “we have had no reason to believe that the government of Israel had any intention to modify or substitute the warheads of these missiles” (Boese, 2003).

Contrary to the Harpoon rumor, the normally well-informed Avner Cohen writes in The Worst-Kept Secret that the submarine cruise missile developed for Israel’s sea-based strategic leg of its nuclear deterrent has been “developed and built in Israel” (Cohen A, 2010: 83).

Israel plans to operate six Dolphin-class submarines. The last three submarines are 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) longer than the first three due to the addition of an improved air-independent propulsion system. After delivery of the first three submarines, rumors of nuclear capability reportedly prompted Germany to demand that Israel assure that the additional submarines it wanted would not be carrying nuclear weapons (Ben-David, 2005).

Whether the German demand was actually made remains unknown, but in 1999, after delivery of the first Dolphin submarine, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak told the National Defense College that the submarines “add an important component to Israel’s long arm” (Barak, 1999). And the Israeli defense force chief of staff made it clear in 2005 that Israel was modifying its military capabilities in response to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons ambitions. “We cannot sit indifferent in the face of the combination of an irrational regime with non-conventional weapons. We have to concentrate all our efforts to create different capabilities that would allow us both to defend and to react” (Ben-David, 2005: 4).

Colonel Yoni, the head of the Israeli submarine fleet, in 2006 refused to comment on reports about the submarines’ rumored nuclear capability but added that “hitting strategic targets is not always a task the Air Force or the infantry can carry out … a submarine can perform the mission,” he explained. “The fact that foreign reports refer to the submarines as a deterring factor says something” (Greenberg, 2006).

In June 2009, Israeli defense sources reported that the INS Leviathan—one of the first three diesel-electric Dolphin-class submarines but without the air-independent propulsion of later purchases of submarine—had sailed through the Suez Canal on its way to a naval exercise. Some news media reported the submarine sailed for an exercise in the Persian Gulf, but instead it docked at the Israeli naval base at Eilat in the Red Sea. Speculations erupted about the deployment being a signal to Iran and therefore indirectly a confirmation of the Dolphin-submarine’s rumored nuclear capability, and that Israel might deploy submarines permanently at Eilat. But an Israeli defense official said there would be no permanent submarine deployment in Eilat: “If anything, we are scaling down our naval operations in Eilat” (Haaretz, 2009).

Even so, an article published by the Sunday Times—written by the same reporter that wrote the article about the 1,500-km cruise missile test and the plans to bomb Iran with low-yield nuclear bombs—claimed that Israel had made a decision “to ensure a permanent presence of at least one” of the Dolphin-class submarines in the Persian Gulf “near the Iranian coastline” (Mahnaimi, 2010).

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported in 2012 that the German government had known for decades that Israel planned to equip the submarines with nuclear missiles. Former German officials said they always assumed Israel would use the submarines for nuclear weapons, although the officials appeared to confirm old rumors rather than provide new information. The article quoted another unnamed ministry official with knowledge of the matter: “From the beginning, the boats were primarily used for the purposes of nuclear capability” (Der Spiegel, 2012).

Setting the record straight

From these examples, it should be apparent that there is much that is unclear about what kind of nuclear weapons Israel has, how many there are, under what circumstances they would be used, or how they would be delivered to their targets. All Israeli governments have preferred to keep this information secret. Nevertheless, from our examination of the publicly available information, we conclude that widespread claims of an Israeli nuclear stockpile of 200 to 400 warheads and 50 to 100 Jericho missiles are exaggerated.

In our assessment, based on analysis of available sources and examination of commercial satellite imagery, we estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen mobile Jericho missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small inventory of sea-launched cruise missiles. Much uncertainty remains, however, about the structure and diversity of Israel’s nuclear arsenal because of Israel’s policy of keeping its nuclear capability ambiguous and because other countries don’t reveal some of what their intelligence communities know.

Despite Israel’s stated policy that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East, there is little doubt that Israel has already introduced nuclear weapons in the region and that only a deception based on a narrow interpretation of what constitutes “introduction” keeps Israel from officially being a nuclear weapon state. Thanks to invaluable research by researchers such as Avner Cohen and William Burr, previously unknown nuances of Israel’s opaque nuclear policy have become available to the public.

Funding

This research was conducted with generous support from the New Land Foundation and the Ploughshares Fund.

Article Notes

  • 1 For collections of declassified U.S. government documents relating to Israel’s nuclear weapons capability, see Cohen and Burr (2006).

  • 2 Frank Barnaby, who cross-examined Vanunu on behalf of the Sunday Times, stated in 2004 that the estimate for Israel’s plutonium inventory—sufficient for “some 150 nuclear weapons”—was based on Vanunu’s description of the reprocessing plant at Dimona (Barnaby, 2004: 3–4).

  • 3 International Panel of Fissile Materials (2013: 20). For additional information about Israeli fissile material production, see International Panel of Fissile Materials (2010: 107–116).

  • 4 The 4 to 5 kilograms of plutonium per warhead assumes high-quality technical and engineering performance for production facilities and personnel. Lower performance would need a greater amount of plutonium per warhead and therefore reduce the total number of weapons that Israel could potentially have produced.

  • 5 For examples of claims about tactical and advanced nuclear weapons, see Hersh (1993: 199–200, 216–217, 220, 268, 276 (note), 312, 319).

  • 6 The 400-warhead claim apparently was based on an earlier article in the same magazine (Brower, 1997).

  • 7 The secret document was leaked and reproduced in Scarborough (2004: 194–223). It is important to caution that as a DIA document, the report does not necessarily represent the coordinated assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community as a whole, only the view of one part of it. An excerpt from the DIA report is available at Kristensen and Aftergood (2007).

  • 8 Another declassified document at the time stated: “Israel plans to produce and deploy up to 60 missiles” (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1969: 2).

  • 9 For examples of sources claiming Jericho missiles are deployed in silos, see Cordesman (2008); Missilethreat.com (2012). Cordesman references the Nuclear Threat Initiative country profile on Israeli missiles as the source for the silo claim. The NTI has since updated its page, which no longer mentions silos. See: http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/israel/delivery-systems/.

  • 10 For examples of large range estimates for the Jericho II, see Hough (1997: 407 –410); Missilethreat.com (2012).

References

Author biographies

Hans M. Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC, USA. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of nuclear weapons and the policies that direct them. Kristensen is a co-author of the world nuclear forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford University Press) and a frequent adviser to the news media on nuclear weapons policy and operations. He has co-authored Nuclear notebook since 2001. Inquiries should be directed to FAS, 1725 DeSales St. NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20036, USA; (202) 546-3300.

Robert S. Norris is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, USA. A former senior research associate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, his principal areas of expertise include writing and research on all aspects of the nuclear weapons programs of the United States, the Soviet Union and Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China, as well as India, Pakistan, and Israel. He is the author of Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project’s Indispensable Man (Steerforth, 2002) and co-author of Making the Russian Bomb: From Stalin to Yeltsin (Westview, 1995). He co-authored or contributed to the chapter on nuclear weapons in the 1985–2000 editions of the SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford University Press) and has co-authored Nuclear notebook since 1987.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin Interview with ITAR-TASS—Nov. 14, 2014

[SEE:  Vladimir Putin Speech–Valdai International Discussion Club’s XI session]

Putin: We are guided by interests rather than feelings in dealing with our partners

itar tass

November 14

Ahead of the G20 summit Russian President Vladimir Putin in an exclusive interview with TASS spoke about challenges that Russia and other participants of the summit will face

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

The G20 summit is to start Saturday in Australia’s Brisbane. Leaders of the world’s 19 biggest states and the EU will discuss issues of global economy. Ahead of the summit Russian President Vladimir Putin in an exclusive interview with TASS spoke about challenges that Russia and other participants of the summit will face.

 

– You are going to another G20 summit. To what extent is this format still in demand and relevant, and is it logical that some G20 countries, while striving to cooperate and develop the global economy, have been taking sanctions against one of the G20 members?

– Is this format still in demand or not? I believe it is. Why? The G20 is a good place for meeting each other, for discussing both bilateral relations and global problems, and for developing at least some sort of common understanding what this or that problem is all about, and how to resolve it. To make a road map for joint work. This is the most important. Hoping that everything that may be said there will be implemented is absolutely unrealistic, especially if one remembers that the decisions themselves are not mandatory. To an extent they are neglected. They are defaulted on then and there, when and where they are in conflict with somebody’s interests. First and foremost this applies to the interests of global players.

For instance, at one of the G20 meetings a decision was made to enhance the role of developing economies in the activities of the IMF and to redistribute quotas. The US Congress blocked that decision. Full stop. Both the negotiators and our partners are saying: well, we would be glad, we signed everything, we made that decision, but the Congress will not let it through. There you have it.And yet, the very fact that a certain decision has been formulated, that all international actors involved in the G20 found it right and fair and consonant with the current realities, this fact alone shapes the international public opinion and the experts’ minds in a certain way, and this has to be taken into account. The very fact that the US Congress has refused to pass this law indicates that it is the United States that drops out of the general context of resolving the problems facing the international community. One little thing: nobody cares to recall this. Some capitalize on their world mass media monopoly to hush up this information, to produce an impression it ostensibly does not exist.

You know what I mean. Everybody is talking about some current problems, including the sanctions and Russia, but in reality, in global terms it is the United States that defies decisions being made. This is a fundamental thing, by the way. But it is being neglected. That does not mean, though, that it is a useless format. I have already explained why. It does yield benefits.

– Possibly, it would make sense to make the decisions binding, wouldn’t it?

– That’s impossible. You know that there have been no such precedents in international practice. Except for the UN Security Council decisions regarding international security proper. But that procedure was generated in the very dramatic conditions of bloody World War II. It is just unrealistic to expect that these days some new mechanisms may be established to enforce compliance with decisions, let alone decisions in the sphere of economics. Let me say once again, all this is of moral, political and economic nature. Which is not bad at all in itself.

The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS

Now a few words about the sanctions some G20 countries have taken against Russia. Of course, they run counter to the very principle of G20 activities, and not only the activities of the G20 and its principles, they run counter to international law, because sanctions may be introduced only through the United Nations and its Security Council. Moreover, they are against the principles of the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the GATT. The United States itself created that organization at a certain point. Now it is crudely violating its principles. This is harmful and, of course, it does certain damage to us, but it is also harmful to the United States, because as a matter of fact the entire system of international economic relations is being undermined. I do hope, and I proceed from the understanding that in the final count the awareness of this will prevail and bygones will be bygones.– Are you planning to raise this question at the summit, or will it remain in the background and you will speak your mind only if the theme is raised…

– If this theme is mentioned, I shall speak on the subject, of course, but I am not going to propose these questions for discussion myself. The way I see it, it will be useless. All understand what they are doing. Those who impose the sanctions. What’s the use of drawing attention to this matter or asking for something? It’ll make no sense. Such decisions are made at the level of blocs and at the national level, they are made on the basis of our partners’ understanding of their geopolitical interests. I believe that’s just a mistake, even from the standpoint of their geopolitical interests.

Regrettably, the modern world exists within a very narrow horizon of planning, in particular, that in the sphere of politics and security. Everybody lives from election to election. This is a very narrow planning horizon. It leaves no opportunities for taking a broader perspective, for looking into a more distant future. That’s bad. But I hope that we shall discuss this. At the just-ended APEC summit there were discussions with practically all those who were in attendance over international problems and over bilateral problems, including the problems of sanctions that you’ve just mentioned.

– In the G20 there is a certain balance of force. On the one hand, there is the G7, and on the other hand, the BRICS countries and some associated states. Proceeding from what you’ve just said about each country pressing for its own interests, how do you see this balance of force – as a dispute that will eventually produce the truth or as a fundamentally new confrontation of two blocs?

– Firstly, I believe it will be very bad if some blocs begin to crop up again. That’s very counterproductive and even harmful to the world economy. We are on the subject of economics, aren’t we?

– Economics prone to a growing intrusion of politics.

– Right. But after all the G20 is an economic forum first and foremost. My suggestion is we move the center of gravity of our conversation in that direction. And here I would like to make a point. I have already mentioned the WTO, which has established certain rules of the game.

There is the mechanism called the IMF. Discussions are underway over perfecting the international financial mechanisms and international trading relations. You know that the Doha round of WTO talks is stalled. Why? The divergence of approaches and interests between the developing economies and the developed economies is the reason. In the meantime, in one case there emerges an imbalance of capital and in the other, imbalances of commodity flows. In the advanced economies there is a great amount of free capital, and the question is about the effective, reliable and safe placement of this capital in those regions and those economies of the world which will ensure stability, protect property and generate some profit, some revenues for the advanced economies. For this reason they export capital, and the developing countries form the commodity flows. Some would like to be certain their capital is well-placed, and others, the recipients of the capital, need the certainty that the rules of the game will not be changed at the sole discretion of those who export capital, including for political reasons.One and all should be aware that the world economy and finance these days are exceptionally dependent on each other. Take our case: imagine our partners have restricted the access of our financial institutions to international money markets. In the meantime, by drawing capital from international financial markets, our financial institutions finance our companies that import finished products from the very same industrialized economies, thereby supporting jobs, the social sphere and economic growth. If we stop doing that, disruptions will follow there. These are in-depth matters. They are not lying on the surface, they are not obvious at first sight.

Our joint work with the Federal Republic of Germany maintains some 300,000 jobs there. If there are no contracts, these jobs may be lost. True, some new bearings can be found, but it still remains to be seen what these bearings are. It is not so easy.

We are for doing away with imbalances, for working together, but this task is achievable only through joint efforts It is essential to present a common front to address all these issues that emerge on the way. If we take a different path… The United States is contemplating the creation of two associations: one trans-Atlantic, and the other, trans-Pacific. If these are going to be two self-isolated groups, the end result will be not the elimination of imbalances in the world economy but their exacerbation. Of course, we are for doing away with these imbalances, for working together, but this task is achievable only through joint efforts.

Just 20-30-50 years ago the situation was different. Why am I so certain that only joint efforts can be effective? The GDPs of the BRICS countries calculated at the purchasing power parity are greater than those of the G7. As far as I know, the GDP of BRICS is $37.4 trillion, while that of the G7, $34.5 trillion. What if they (G7) are told: ‘No, thank you, we shall be doing this and that here on our own and we don’t care how you will carry on?’ There will follow nothing but worse imbalance. If we really wish to decide something, we should decide it together.

– There has been much talk about the emergence of another G7 – the BRICS countries plus Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico. Do you believe this format may have a future?– As I have already said decisions must be made together. Everything is interrelated in the modern world, and if some regional associations, like the one we are building these days – the Eurasian Economic Union also involving Belarus and Kazakhstan – are to be created, they should emerge only as addenda to the existing global instruments that must be operating in compliance with these global rules.

– You spoke about imbalances in world economy, and the IMF is speaking about them, too. It is forecasting a possibility of new bubbles. Is Russian economy prepared to rebuff a new wave of the crisis?

– Yes, it is. We’re considering all the scenarios, including the so-called catastrophic fall of prices for energy resources, which is quite possible, and we admit of it. The Ministry of Economics and the Finance Ministry prefigure development of economy under each scenario. You see, the thing is I spoke about the imbalances of capital, on the one hand, and commodities, on the other hand. When they appear, in some cases owing to political considerations, and when they increase, then different countries – and especially the emerging economies –  become hard-hit and find themselves amid big complications. A country like ours finds the situation easier to cope with. Why? Because we’re producers of oil and gas and we handle our foreign exchange/gold reserves and government reserves sparingly. Our reserves are big enough and they enable us to feel assuredness over our ability to stay committed to social obligations and to keep all the budgetary processes and the entire economy within a certain framework. And what about those who don’t have these reserves? They will be hard up in a situation like that. But I’d like to say once again we’ll have a common discussion and will seek a common decision on changing things for the better and eliminating the imbalances.

– You mentioned the reserves right now. The funds that had been accumulated enabled us to get smoothly enough over the years 2008 and 2009. Isn’t time now to unseal those funds and to warm up and speed up our economy?

– I don’t think so. We were ready to unseal them anyway even before the discouraging events that are linked to fluctuations of the ruble’s exchange rate or the slide of oil prices. We spoke about a possible utilization of monies from the National Welfare Fund. We didn’t say it yesterday, did we? We said it two years ago. But it always happens this way in the circumstances the world economy and our economy have got into. And how does it happen? If funds are utilized, the spending has several target areas. One of them is infrastructure. That’s where we presuppose to invest the monies from the welfare fund. A supplementary automobile ring road around Moscow will be built. Many railway level crossings will be overhauled and new routes for the eastward haulage of cargoes will be built or upgraded. I mean the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the Baikal-Amur Mainline. Or take the high-speed railroads, as well as development of ports and airports. We planned all those things previously, too, and now that the market situation is getting worse, we’ll get down to them. Still this doesn’t mean we can simply eat the reserves out and overlook economic returns just because we’re solving current problems. That’s not the way for us to go.

– Quite naturally, the case in hand is structural reforms, for which time and money are always in short supply.

– Structural reforms do not require that much money. They call for political will and certain administrative steps. Either in the economy or in the social sphere.

– I’d like to say a few more words about infrastructure but let’s round up the National Welfare Fund issue. What’s your stance on the request from Rosneft (Russia’s major oil corporation – TASS) to allocate monies for itself from that fund?– If I were the CEO of Rosneft, I would request money, too. Why not? Who doesn’t ask for it now? Everyone’s asking for money and hoping to get it. If you take the government, I know their position because I spoke to the government and to Rosneft about it likewise. The government will make decisions not only with account of requirements of the corporation, which we treasure and which we’ll help without any doubt. It will also watch its practical activity and see how it’s going to invest and what benefits the entire national economy will get from this investment. This will be tangible assessment and I don’t rule out Rosneft may get some funds. Yet their size, amount, and terms will demand scrutiny and hurry is ruled out in this matter.

– Since no decision has been made yet, it looks like Rosneft hasn’t convinced anyone.

– You know, in the context of my visit to China, Rosneft is arranging an agreement with a major Chinese corporation on getting a 10% stake in the Vankor oilfield project. Along with the stake, the Chinese will get seats on the board of directors. But we are also making arrangements on selling oil from that deposit for the yuans. The amounts to be sold are really big. In this situation, our Chinese partners will be prepared to issue loans and to finance many transactions. Secondly, we’re moving away from the diktat of the market that denominates all the commercial oil flows in US dollars. We’re boosting as much as possible the use of national currencies – both the ruble and the yuan. Thirdly, this will additionally stabilize corporate finances.

We inspected the financial status of Rosneft recently and didn’t find any problems there whatsoever. Simply no financial problems. And if they need more money, I’d like to say once again they must prove the funds will be spent for well-specified purposes if they get them and there will be returns for the entire economy, on top of returns for the company.

– One of the proposals of the Australian presidency in the G20 is to set up a center of infrastructure investment. Given the priority that Russia is already attaching to infrastructures, does the proposal offer advantages? Or will it stand at variance with our work, if you take the sanctions?– Well, you don’t need to coordinate anything with anyone here. The fact simply proves – and one cannot but agree with the Australian proposal – that we’re on the right track. Absolutely in the mainstream, as it were. And the international community – the economic one in this case – abides by the same view of government actions in the situation that’s taking shape in world economy. The fact merely confirms we’re right and this is always pleasant and useful to know.

– Will this be a source of assistance for Russia or just a floor for sharing our experience?

– I think this will be much rather a floor for exchanging experience. And for training specialists, which is a fairly good thing, too. Besides, it means an extension of our own proposals in a sense. We formulated them at the G20 summit in St Petersburg.

– Here in Russia, a number of infrastructure projects you mentioned are in the phase of implementation while others have been halted. Take a bridge across the river Lena in Yakutsk or a seaport in Taman (a town on the Black Sea coast – TASS). What’s the future for these projects? Is it foreseeable or totally covered by smoke?

– It’s not smoke that’s in focus. We need to focus on feasibility. Should we build a bridge in Yakutsk or no? Of course we should. And what’s next? Yakutsk is home to more than 300,000 people. It’d be nice to give people a bridge so that they could move freely. Move this way and that way. Then the railway will get right into the city. Nice, isn’t it? Surely it is. I do love Yakutsk. The local people are wonderful and the republic (Russia’s constituent republic of Sakha-Yakutia – TASS) has immense mineral wealth. And everything there is to be developed. But when we discuss these things with my colleagues, they tell me the actual reason is bigger than the 300,000-strong population as such. The bridge is needed to stretch the railway out to a number of mineral deposits. On top of being socially significant, the project will also become economically grounded and rational. And if you take its extension farther on so that we could deliver more goods to the highly remote northern areas and get to certain deposits… Well, this is to be scrutinized. An in-depth professional study is essential. But on the whole that’s the movement in the right direction.

The same things apply to Taman. We must review the whole set of aspects related to infrastructure. Private investment, too. A private company is building an up-to-date seaport in that area for several years already and a foreign investor has been invited and he is investing billions there. We should watch it attentively. Are we going to put up competition to them? And what’s the cargo turnover? Or what about the railway infrastructure? Will it be sufficient for both ports? And where could we possible take the money right now to ramify that infrastructure so that it would service the two ports? Add to this the bridge to Crimea we also need to build. It’s not a matter of liking or disliking. Everything should be done competently and calculated very professionally.

– Coming back to the issue of the G20. It had apparently never mattered to you whether it was the G20, APEC or the previously- known G8, but it had always been your opportunity for tete-a-tete talk format. Your recent participation in the Beijing Summit was your first foreign trip following your sound address at the Valdai Club concerning the global security and the world order. Did you get any reaction from your foreign partners following that address?

– Actually, I did not. Talking with experts is the essence of the Valdai Club. It [the debate] somehow was free of any bounds. I agree that the debates there, just like many of them, are supposed to be in the same format, which somehow expresses the acute nature of shaping up the further direction of the debates – to provoke partners to come undone and express their opinions – so that we could jointly look for ways of possible solutions at an expert level. But pragmatic issues are more often discussed when we meet with counterparts at a bilateral level.– Placing the question differently, were there any changes in their attitude and had you any new issues to address them? Have you noticed anything of the kind?

– No, nothing happens that quickly. Time is necessary if someone wants to hear what I had exactly said. It must be all well digested at the administrative, governmental and presidential levels, starting at the notch of aides, experts, with discussions to be followed without any clamor and senseless chirping, which are usually attributed to such forums as the Valdai Club. It is better to talk in the calm of our offices.

All these debate forums are good for sincere talks. However, as I have said before, it is good to return to issues without any fuss in the calm of offices and discuss everything over. It requires time.

– Do you plan any personal meetings within the frames of the G20 summit?

– Yes, I have scheduled meetings there. With the German chancellor. A lot of meetings.

– Analysts say that your relations with [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel have recently become more strained and less friendly. Have you noticed it?

– No, I have not. You know that we are guided by interests instead of sympathies and antipathies.

– Were you also guided by the same interests in the past?

– Not just in the past, but always. And she has also been guided by same interests just like any other leader of a nation, state and government. This is why I see neither considerable changes nor any substantial alterations in the nature of our relations.

White House Should Acknowledge Saudi Arabia As the Source of Salafi/Wahhabi Terrorism

Mohammed Khaku: White House should confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism

the morning call

 

IRAQ-CONFLICT
Smoke rises from a bomb planted by Islamic State militants after it was detonated near the Iraqi village of Tuz Khurmatu in September. (ALI AL-SAADI, AFP/Getty Images)

 

Two million Muslims recently completed the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad. More than a billion Muslims across the globe turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to offer their five daily prayers. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina are the birthplace of Islam, yet extremism is being disseminated and propagated by the current rulers from there.

Unfortunately, many Muslim scholars and leaders turn a blind eye to this troubling reality. The Wahhabi/Salafi ideology, with a long history of spreading extremism resulting in killings, is behind this. The House of Saud is extremely unpopular among Muslims and is often referred to as “Um al fasad” (Arabic for “mother of corruption”). Regrettably, Muslim nations around the world also continue to remain silent.

Wahhabi bigotry has led to destruction of Islamic heritage sites in Mecca and Medina. If the Islamic State destroys Christian and Muslim shrines, it is because the precedent was set in 1925 by Wahhabis who demolished 1,400-year-old tombs in Jannat al Baqi cemetery in Medina. In recent years, Wahhabis carried out similar acts of vandalism by destroying religious sites from Indonesia to Mali.

The Saudis are now set on demolishing the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and other historical structures in the heart of Mecca and Medina. Over the last two decades, most of Mecca’s historic sites have been bulldozed and replaced by hotels and other concrete structures. Failure to protect them from destruction is the biggest tragedy for Islamic heritage sites.

The Saudi royal family claims to be guardians of holy places of Islam and profits hugely from pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, yet it is busy desecrating the holiest sites in the Islamic world. The oil-rich orthodox state funneled money to the Taliban, which detonated the Buddha statue in Bamiyan in 2000. The cultural vandalism in the destruction of Mecca is indicative of a profound ignorance of history, heritage, art and beauty.

Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia, where it is enforced as state ideology. Named after its founder, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Wahhabism insists on a literal interpretation of religious texts. Wahhabis believe those who don’t accept their version of religion are infidels.

Unlike a majority of Sunnis, Wahhabis are evangelicals who wish to convert Muslims and others to their version of Islam. Textbooks in Saudi schools and universities teach Wahhabi doctrine, and universities recruit students from around the world to train them in Wahhabi fanaticism before unleashing them on communities in places such as North Africa, Asia and the Balkans.

Wahhabism imposes the most severe restrictions on the freedom of women. They cannot obtain a passport or travel without permission of a male relative; they are not even allowed to drive cars. Extreme gender segregation and strict dress code are enforced.

Recently Saudi Arabia donated $100 million to the United Nations to counter extremism. It is hypocritical to finance extremists such as al-Qaida, the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and others while claiming to be fighting them.

For five decades, Saudi Arabia has sponsored Wahhabi extremism across the globe with revenue from oil and pilgrimages. Wahhabism’s explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools and mosques from Pakistan to the U.S.

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking last month at Harvard University, said America’s allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — are responsible for funding and arming extremists in the region.

Saudi-sponsored extremist terrorist groups — Islamic State, Taliban and al-Qaida — target Shias, often labeled as infidels. The Saudis are both anti-Shia and anti-democracy and preach hatred of non-Muslims.

Islamic State proudly brags about its claim of killing thousands of Shia Iraqi soldiers upon its incursion into Mosul. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark says Saudi Arabia and Qatar should take responsibility for creating the threat that both they and the West now face from Islamic State, adding “The Saudis have for years funded extremism. Their money’s all over the region.”

The U.S. is willing to aid and protect Saudi Arabia as long as oil companies receive lucrative contracts and weapons manufacturers can sell their wares. The Obama administration refuses to confront the evil ideology of Wahhabism or stand for democracy in Bahrain.

Muslims should be in no doubt that acts of terrorism do not speak for Islam, and that perpetrators of terrorism will get no shelter or moral support from people who love God.

Mohammed Khaku, who lives in Upper Macungie Township, is active in the Islamic community of the Lehigh Valley.

Obama and Shaitan’s Custodian

The absurdities of the alliance with Saudi Arabia

Chronicle Herald Canada

HENRY SREBRNIK

 

B97391885Z.120141112155958000G4Q7DFE3.11

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AP)

This is a place with no religious toleration for non-Muslims, an absolutist entity with no democratic institutions. And it beheads people.

It espouses an austere, puritanical and absolutist Islam, with incitements to jihad and conquest, and tries to export it to other countries.

Apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and blasphemers can face brutal persecution and death. Women are forbidden to drive or get jobs without permission from male relatives; all education is gender-specific.

Are we talking about the so-called Islamic State that now occupies large swaths of Iraq and Syria? No. We are referring to an America ally — the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab arrived in the central Arabian state of Najd in 1744 preaching a return to a “pure” Islam. He sought protection from the local emir, Muhammad ibn Saud.

In return for endorsing al-Wahhab’s form of Islam, now known as “Wahhabism,” ibn Saud would acquire political legitimacy. The religious-political alliance that they forged endures to this day in what is now Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s king is formally known as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” (in Mecca and Medina). The kingdom is governed by Islamic sharia law. No other law is deemed necessary and no contrary law is permissible.

The kingdom is patrolled by a religious police force that enforces the niqab for women. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious police beat women with sticks if their dress is considered immodest by Wahhabi standards.

Saudi Arabia forbids non-Muslim religious practice. For instance, on Sept. 5 Saudi police raided a house in Khafji, near the Kuwaiti border, and charged 27 Asian Christians with holding a church ceremony.

In the space of 18 days during August, the kingdom beheaded some 22 people, according to human rights advocates; it carried out a total of 79 executions last year. Many of those killed were convicted of relatively minor offences, such as smuggling hashish. There are also public whippings for various offences.

Saudi Arabia has no civil penal code that sets out sentencing rules, and no system of judicial precedent that would make the outcome of cases predictable based on past practice.

“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious,” remarked Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch.

Partly in reaction to the Shia resurgence in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon after 1979, Saudi Arabia, in order to assert its fundamentalist Wahhabi ethos, became stricter in its application of Islamic law, and increased its financial aid to ultraconservative Islamists and their schools throughout the world.

For decades now, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafi Islam (of which Wahhabism is one form) across the globe, funnelling support to clerics, satellite networks, political factions and armed groups. Al-Qaida, Nigeria’s Boko Haram, and the Somali al-Shabab are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings.

The Saudi government has appointed emissaries to its embassies in Muslim countries who proselytize for Salafism. The kingdom also bankrolls ultraconservative Islamic organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

Textbooks in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities teach this brand of Islam. The University of Medina recruits students from around the world and sends them to Muslim communities in the Balkans, Indonesia, Bangladesh and various African countries.

Dissidents in Raqqa, the Syrian town that is the Islamic State’s capital, have said that all 12 of the judges who now run its court system, adjudicating everything from property disputes to capital crimes, are Saudis.

Yet Saudi Arabia is considered by Washington an important American ally. Western countries, who need Saudi Arabia’s oil and see it as a counterweight to Iran, have turned a blind eye to most of this. Such is the practice of realpolitik in a volatile Middle East.

Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Libyans Strike Egyptian and UAE Embassies In Tripoli

[Both Egypt and UAE have recently been implicated in mystery airstrikes against Tripoli militants.]

Bombs Explode Near Egyptian, United Arab Emirates Embassies In Tripoli

Reuters

The wreckage of a car, which was destroyed when a bomb exploded, is pictured next to the Egyptian embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli November 13, 2014.  REUTERS-Stringer

The wreckage of a car, which was destroyed when a bomb exploded, is pictured next to the Egyptian embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli November 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

TRIPOLI, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Bombs exploded near the Egyptian and United Arab Emirates embassies in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Thursday though there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage in the attacks.

The blasts followed a series of car bombs on Wednesday mainly in towns under the control of the internationally recognized government, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is facing a challenge from a rival government set up in Tripoli.

Both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates followed other nations in pulling diplomatic staff out of the capital over the summer after armed clashes in Tripoli between armed factions battling for control of the North African state.

A Reuters witness said the Egyptian embassy bomb had slightly damaged buildings and some stores, but it was not clear if the embassy had been hit.

There were no immediate details of whether embassies were the target of the bombs or whether any staff or security guards were in the buildings at the time.

Three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is caught up in growing unrest as rival armed factions compete for power and control of the OPEC country’s oil resources.

One faction has taken over Tripoli, setting up its own government and parliament and forcing the elected parliament and administration of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to operate out of Tobruk.

Both sides have routinely accused each other of seeking support from neighboring regional powers, and many embassies and embassy staff have left the capital after armed clashes and the takeover of the city in the summer.

Rivals of Thinni’s government say neighboring Egypt has lent support to a renegade former Libyan army general, Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a campaign to drive Islamist factions out of the eastern city of Benghazi. His foes say he has received air support from Egypt, which is worried about the spread of Islamist militants.

International efforts led by the United Nations to mediate between the rival factions have so far failed to broker a ceasefire or bring the North African state’s main armed actors to the negotiating table. (Reporting Libya staff; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Nick Macfie and Ralph Boulton)

Obama Allowing Saudi-Turkeys To Back Him Into A Corner In Syria

[It seems that the Bandar/Erdogan wing is winning-out over the voices still arguing for sanity in Syria.  The Bandar/Erdogan option is to back Al-Nusrah over ISIL, since the former Free Syrian Army has been cannabalized by the radical Islamists and no longer exists as a proto-army.  Thanks to selective reporting by Western “legitimate” press, collective memory is fading about the origins of Nusra, much like media erasure of the US State Dept./CIA origins of the entire Syrian conflict (SEE: The Real “Moral Obscenity” In Syria’s Civil War Is How We Started It ).  Whatever remains of FSA fights alongside Nusra Islamists, NOT against them, thus accounting for Syrian “moderate” anger at coalition bombing of Nusra forces.  Western diplomats, who have unleashed this massive blood-letting and attempted to force regime-change upon the Syrian people, insist that they actually know what Syrians really want.  State Dept. geeks only know the minds of the people who have been agitated and won-over by them with their expertly-crafted psychological warfare.  Following Saudi-Turkey dictates to empower an Islamist govt. within Syria, will only expand the reach of the so-called Caliphate, even if we destroy ISIL and hand it to Nusra.  Golani, Nusra chief (SEE: The layers of fiction surrounding Al Nusra chief Abu Mohammed Al Jolani), and al-Baghdadi are the same—BOTH terrorist leaders were created by the US, either by the devious CIA, or in reaction to the inept, stumbling Pentagon efforts to brainwash former Islamists (SEE:  What is the truth about ISIS?).  Everything has conveniently been leading-up to an American invasion of Syria.  The only thing that has so far prevented this new, greater aggression, has been Vladimir Putin.  Whether, or for how long, he will continue to bear this burden of civilization against this anti-Imperialist resistance remains to be seen.

SLEIGHT OF HAND (SEE:  Obama Tries the “Good Islamist/Bad Islamist” Hat Trick In SyriaThe Original Syrian Media Report Revealing Bandar/Feltman Plan To Destroy the Middle East )]

Sources: Obama seeks new Syria strategy review to deal with ISIS, al-Assad

cnn

By Elise Labott, CNN Global Affairs Correspondent

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN.

The review is a tacit admission that the initial strategy of trying to confront ISIS first in Iraq and then take the group’s fighters on in Syria, without also focusing on the removal of al-Assad, was a miscalculation.

In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President’s national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state. These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were “driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy.”

Related: Obama’s “no strategy” comment sparks uproar

“The President has asked us to look again at how this fits together,” one senior official said. “The long-running Syria problem is now compounded by the reality that to genuinely defeat ISIL, we need not only a defeat in Iraq but a defeat in Syria.” The U.S. government refers to ISIS as ISIL.

Multiple senior administration officials and diplomats spoke with CNN on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions. The White House referred questions about the review to the State Department.

Meanwhile, other sources denied to CNN that Obama has ordered a review, but admit there is concern about some core aspects of the strategy. A senior administration official, responding to a CNN report, says there is an ongoing discussion and “constant process of recalibration.”

“There’s no formal strategy review of our Syria policy. What there is is a strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL that requires us to take a hard look at what we’re doing on a regular basis,” said Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser.

” And, as you know we’ve had regular meetings that the President has joined with his national security team on this issue and Syria has been an important subject at those meetings. And I think the President wants to make sure that we’re asking hard questions about what we’re targeting in Syria, how we’re able to degrade ISIL but also how we’re supporting opposition and building them up as a counterweight to ISIL but also ultimately of course to the Assad regime.”

And Alistair Baskey, spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement Wednesday evening, “The strategy with respect to Syria has not changed: While the immediate focus remains to drive ISIL out of Iraq, we and coalition partners will continue to strike at ISIL in Syria to deny them safe haven and to disrupt their ability to project power.”

He added, “Assad has been the biggest magnet for extremism in Syria, and the President has made clear that Assad has lost all legitimacy to govern. Alongside our efforts to isolate and sanction the Assad regime, we are working with our allies to strengthen the moderate opposition …”

‘Iraq first’ strategy now appears ‘untenable

In October the United States stressed an “Iraq first” strategy with efforts to degrade ISIS in Iraq as the priority and operations in Syria done to shape conditions in Iraq. Washington hoped that would give time for the U.S. to vet, train and arm a moderate Syrian rebels fighting force to combat ISIS, and ultimately the regime of al-Assad.

But with the Free Syrian Army struggling in a two-front battle against al-Assad’s forces and extremists from both ISIS and other extremist groups such as al-Nusra, U.S. officials recognize the “Iraq first” strategy is untenable.

“Developments on the ground have caused the national security team to collectively conclude we may not have time for Iraq first. In an ideal world you would drive ISIL out of Iraq and pivot to Syria. But if by then the moderate opposition has been smacked and ISIL is still there, that doesn’t help,” a senior administration official said.

Among the options being discussed are a no-fly zone on the border with Turkey and accelerating and expanding the Pentagon program to vet, train and arm the moderate opposition.

Turkey has called for a no-fly zone, both to protect its border and to provide relief to Syrian rebels facing airstrikes from the regime, but officials said Turkey so far has been vague about what troops and other assets it is willing to contribute to the effort.

The administration has asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip 5,000 vetted rebels within one year.

But efforts to expand the program to build Syrian rebel forces may also be stymied by the slow and complicated of vetting the fighters. More than four months after announcing an effort to train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN the vetting process had not even begun and logistics are still being worked out with the Turks and Saudis, who are hosting the training.

“The vetting hasn’t started. Once it does start, that will be about a three- to five-month process and then it’s about eight to nine months of training after that,” Kirby said in an interview with CNN last week. “So we still (have) a ways to go.”

A review would come as the military starts meeting with more than 30 countries to “further develop and refine military campaign plans to degrade and defeat” ISIS, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command, which is overseeing U.S. military efforts in Syria and Iraq.

Many of the President’s top national security advisers, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have long argued that Washington’s political strategy was unrealistic.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a blunt memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice in October that a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr was “expressing concern about overall Syria strategy” and expressing a fear that the U.S. is risking its gains in the war against ISIS if adjustments are not made. The official said the focus of the memo was the “need to have a sharper view of what do about the Assad regime.”

Related: Hagel wrote memo to White House expressing concern about Syria

“It has been pretty clear for some time that supporting the moderate opposition in the hopes of toppling Assad, isn’t going to work,” another senior official said.

In response to the revelations about the Hagel memo, the White House spokesman said his advisers would be “constantly assessing” the strategy.

“That means they want to consider a wide range of opportunities to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to protect and defend American interests around the world,” spokesman Josh Earnest said in an interview with CNN on October 31.

Kerry seeks to preserve fraying coalition

The U.S. is also trying to preserve a fraying anti-ISIS coalition.

Many Arab states have expressed frustration with what they perceive as an ambivalence by the United States toward getting rid of al-Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry and Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, have reported back to the White House that key allies such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey are calling for a framework for a political transition in Syria.

“What really tipped this into a more vigorous reassessment was hearing from our coalition partners that they are not convinced by the Syria part and this strategy only works if there is a more coherent Syria piece,” said a senior official

Efforts by the U.S. and Russia to strike a deal between al-Assad’s regime and the Syrian opposition forces broke down in January after a long-awaited and ultimately unsuccessful peace conference in Switzerland.

Now officials and diplomats said Kerry has in recent months intensified discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Russia about the possibility of a diplomatic tract to transition al-Assad and his inner circle out of power, while maintaining large parts of the regime and institutions of the state.

Brokered alAssad transition could take months

But any such transition could take time.

“It’s not going to be tomorrow and I don’t think anyone even believes that is physically possible. But even if it is a six- or 12-month plan, as long as it has an exit for Assad,” one senior Arab diplomat said. “But we are glad that we finally see a meeting of the minds with the U.S. that there needs to be a rethinking of the strategy.”

American officials and Arab diplomats said that while Russia has tacitly endorsed the idea of a Syria free of al-Assad, Moscow has done little to effect change on the ground.

“The Russians are not our friend here,” one of the senior administration officials said. “They have given vague expressions of empathy but that is not exactly the same as saying we are with you and are going to rid of him. They are still arming Assad and providing him direct support.”

Kerry has also raised the topic with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, officials said. Kerry has met several times in recent months to hammer out a nuclear deal ahead of a November 24 deadline, which officials stressed was the main topic of discussion and was not linked to any potential cooperation in Syria.

Last month President Obama sent a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei describing a shared interest in combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but it was unclear whether the letter made mention of the three-year civil war in which Iran has backed al-Assad.

Officials pointed to a debate within the Iranian regime about al-Assad’s fate, but there is little sign that the supreme leader or the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps are interested in getting rid of him.

Related: U.S. opens channels with Iran over ISIS

“The moderates are not calling the shots in Syria,” an official said. “The Iranians have come up with plans like constitutional reforms and ultimately an election, and it is better than nothing, but it still doesn’t include Assad going and it is not the basis for an agreement.”

Russia, Saudi Arabia split on alAssad

Arab diplomats have held out hope that if Saudi Arabia and Russia can agree on a political framework, Iran may rethink its insistence that al-Assad must remain in power and strike a deal on al-Assad’s fate. Saudi Arabia is the dominant country in the region pushing for the Syrian President’s ouster

“It is possible if Russia agrees, the Iranians will feel they are the only ones that who have not played a productive role,” one Arab diplomat said. “We know if we agree it will be the least common denominator, where you maintain whoever you can from the regime that doesn’t have blood on their hands. That is something we believe the Syrian people can accept.”

Ceasefires could provide room for political effort

Officials and diplomats said efforts by U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to secure a series of local ceasefires between the regime and Syrian opposition could help strengthen the administration’s efforts to speed up training of the Syrian rebels and Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to diplomacy to reach a political transition.

The United Nations says that de Mistura has proposed incremental freezes in fighting, starting with the city of Aleppo, so that neither side takes advantage of a lull in fighting. A senior U.N. official described the effort as “very preliminary,” but said de Mistura hopes to increase “frozen” areas and “knit them together,” which can create the atmosphere for a broader political agreement.

“This is creating the atmosphere from the bottom up,” one senior U.N. official said. “You don’t have to deal with the huge issues of the future of Assad. You can start dealing with a political arrangement in a place like Aleppo so you don’t have to use violence. This would be a way to reduce the suffering and the killing and destruction in the short term, which only helps ISIS.”

Former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who left his post in February out of frustration with the administration’s policy, said any reassessment of the strategy in Syria must also reconsider the coalition air campaign in Syria, which is squeezing the beleaguered opposition even further.

“The administration needs to have an honest assessment of whether or not its material assistance to the moderate opposition in northern Syria and the manner in which it has constructed airstrikes in eastern Syria has empowered or disempowered the same moderate opposition upon which it will it will depend to contain the Islamic state in Syria as well as play a vital role in achieving an eventually political solution in Syria,” Ford said.

“The air campaign so far has infuriated the Syrians fighting the regime. For the first time since the Syrian uprising started in 2011 they are burning American flags because they think we are helping the regime instead of helping them.”

CNN’s Jim Acosta and Leslie Bentz contributed to this report.

British “White Widow” Terrorist Leaves Kenya, Dies Fighting NovoRussian Troops

‘White Widow’ terrorist shot dead in Ukraine – reports

Russia-Today

Samantha Lewthwaite (‘White Widow’) (Photo: Interpol)
Samantha Lewthwaite (‘White Widow’) (Photo: Interpol)

The ‘White Widow’, a British female terrorist suspect who allegedly fought alongside ISIS terrorists in Syria and was sought internationally has reportedly been shot dead in Ukraine. The news was reported by Russia’s Regnum news agency.

Samantha Lewthwaite, 30, was allegedly gunned down two weeks ago. However, no independent confirmation was available.

Lewthwaite recently fought alongside one of Kiev’s most infamous squads – the Aidar battalion, which was condemned by Amnesty International for its unmatched cruelty in eastern Ukraine.

It was said to be “involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”

She was reportedly a sniper for the group. Her killer was also a sniper – allegedly one who travelled from Russia to fight near Lugansk.

The White Widow was deemed one of Britain’s and the world’s most wanted terrorists.

She left the country in 2009 before links to atrocities in Africa began to pop up.

A photo of fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011. (AFP Photo)

A photo of fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011. (AFP Photo)

Prior to that, she had been married first to the Jamaican-born British suicide bomber, Germaine Lindsay. Her second marriage was to a British-born Muslim extremist, who was reportedly killed in a shoot-out between two splinter groups within Al-Shabab.

She was also a mother of four.

In Africa she fought with the fearsome Al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia, who were implicated in Kenya’s Westgate shopping mall massacre of September 2013. It turned out she was actually the mastermind behind the operation.

Witnesses reported a white female among the assailants. 67 people died at the as a result of her Westgate plan.

She used a fake passport to escape Kenya to her supposedly native South Africa. That was the last anyone has heard of her until now, when she was apparently spotted in Ukraine.

Donbass Region Ukraine’s Only Source of Coal

Ukraine out in the cold this winter without coal from Russia, Donbass – Energy Minister

Russia-Today
Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuri Prodan (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuri Prodan (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

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Ukraine doesn’t see other options than to buy gas from Russia, or coal from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, to keep the country warm this winter, said Yury Prodan Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister.

“South Africa has refused to maintain further deliveries of coal to us. A new contract can be signed in at least a month and a half. We have no other choice but to turn to Russian suppliers and purchase their coal. The situation with coal supply is threatening. Energy security is at risk,” said Prodan at a government session Wednesday.

Ukraine now has just 1.7 million tons of coal reserves, which is critically low.

“There is a risk we won’t pull through the autumn and winter, but we continue to look for a way out,” he said.

The Prosecutor General’s office in Ukraine is investigating executives from the Ministry of Energy and the leading energy companies over coal purchases from South Africa and the funding of coal enterprises in territory beyond the control of Kiev.

READ MORE: Kremlin surprised Poland won’t give Ukraine free coal

Yury Prodan has been named as a witness in the case of coal supply from South Africa, and has rejected the allegation of inflated contract prices.

He said that once criminal proceedings were initiated Britain’s Steel Mont Trading refused to provide further deliveries of fuel. “Looking at what’s happening today, well-known European traders will refuse to supply coal, because shipping or payment can stop at any moment,” he said.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) to clarify the situation with the coal market.

“I asked the SBU to urgently investigate the situation and clarify who is behind the issue of coal market redistribution as it is a matter of national security,” he said at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The Energy Minister said American and Australian coal is 15-20 percent more expensive, the price of fuel with the right quality from Vietnam is higher as well. He will continue to look for the best suppliers and will try to resume shipments from South Africa, he said.

In the middle of October Ukraine asked Poland to supply coal charge-free.

The World Doesn’t Care About the Palestinian People

Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
The refugee camps which sprung up in 1948 became permanent residences in exile.

Is this UN agency merely a political tool for Western governments?

your middle east

For more than 60 years UNRWA has been providing housing and direct aid for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The refugees have no prospect of returning to Palestine, nor being integrated into Lebanese society. A number of Western officials now say that the international community deliberately sponsors the limbo via UNRWA.

All his life Salah Salah has been struggling for the Palestinian cause. His office in the Malaab area in Beirut, Lebanon is full of artefacts ranging from Cuban flags from his time as PLO’s representative in the Caribbean country to drawings of the Palestinian cartoon-icon, the child Handala. In the middle of the memorabilia sits 78-year-old Mr. Salah, the living proof of the presence of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He was 12-years-old when his village on the shore of Lake Tiberias came under attack and his life as a refugee began.

LIKE MOST PALESTINIANS, Mr. Salah can’t help but feeling split on the issue of UNRWA (United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), the UN agency founded in 1949 set to help the refugees until the crisis was solved. The organization was founded with a two-year mandate, which has been renewed every time it has expired.

“The Jews got Israel and we got UNRWA,” says Mr. Salah, echoing a Palestinian saying often heard in the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

The camps are scattered across the country and are home to more than 150.000 people. The exact number of Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon is disputed, but UNRWA estimates the number to be between 260.000 and 300.000.

“The Jews got Israel and we got UNRWA”

Mr. Salah’s oxymoronic view on UNRWA is a result of the fact that the organization still exists, symbolizing the UN’s inability to find a just solution to the Palestine/Israel-conflict, which the UN itself has a large share in creating. On the other hand, though, UNRWA still provides vital services to the Palestinian refugees.

“It is not UNRWA’s responsibility to find a solution. Their responsibility has always been to provide shelter, social security, health care, and education for the refugees,” says Mr. Salah, who is the present political leader of the PLO in Lebanon, but also a founding member of PFLP.

He continues: “UNRWA knows how hard the situation is for the Palestinians, so they should work by all means to improve the relief and services for the refugees. But instead of their services being increased, they are now decreasing their services.”

And it is true that UNRWA’s core budget does not match the growing number of Palestinian refugees in the same way it used to. According to the former UNRWA national director in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, who stepped out of office on October 1st this year, there is a number of structural reasons for this unfortunate mismatch, which in some cases cause “unacceptable” poor services at UNRWA facilities.

“Because UNRWA lives off of voluntary contributions it is actually up to the international community if it wants to live up to the obligation or not. UNRWA is struggling with a massive lack of funding, and right now the organization is not living up to its mandate to a satisfying extent,” says Ann Dismorr.

UNRWA was founded during the political turmoil in the wake of the Arab-Israeli War and therefore it was decided that the organization’s budget should be kept separate from the main UN budget. To this day this means that the member states of the UN are free to choose whether or not they want to contribute, and how much. Out of UNRWA’s core budget of $550 million last year Western countries funded more than 95 percent. The US was the biggest single contributor with its $130 million donation.

THE SECOND STRUCTURAL challenge UNRWA faces is caused by another decision from the late 1940s. Because of the general notion that the Palestine/Israel-conflict would be solved within a reasonable time period, the decision was made that the descendants of the original approximately 750.000 Palestinian refugees should be granted refugee status and thereby be given the same rights from UNRWA. Since the conflict is yet to be solved, UNRWA by January 1st 2014 registered more than 5 million Palestinians as refugees in its field of operations in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. This increase naturally puts more pressure on the UN member states to donate.

Especially among the Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon these factors have become highly important since the refugees there face a number of discriminatory laws and a general lack of basic civil rights. To name a few they are allowed neither public health care or education, they cannot work in the public sector or the army, there is an actual list of 30 other jobs they are barred from, they cannot own property, and they are not allowed to organize or go into politics. This, naturally, creates a dependency on UNRWA’s services.

“We live in a region which by the day becomes more and more complex and where unrest is a part of everyday life. That means that we in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon now have competing crises – and the donors don’t have unlimited funds. It is becoming a more challenging environment for UNRWA to work in,” says Ann Dismorr and stresses the fact that it is “absolutely not” helping the Palestinian cause that it is considered the old crisis in the region.

“It’s not even an impasse we are witnessing. It is actually a continuing aggravation of the situation for the Palestinians here,” says Ann Dismorr.

UNRWAhistory.jpg
Picture from 1948, Palestinians leaving their homeland. © UNRWA

According to a number of Western diplomats and officials in Beirut, who all speak on condition of anonymity, UNRWA serves more than just the purpose of providing aid. The funding of UNRWA is just as much a political tool used in a broader context in Lebanon and the region, they say.

“If we didn’t have UNRWA we would almost certainly have a continuous conflict in Lebanon. And if that was the case the Palestinians would be – even more than they already are – radicalized and supportive of groups such as Islamic State,” says one Western top diplomat who still, though, refers to the situation as “clearly disgraceful”.

The current uncertain situation in Lebanon is mainly caused by the war in Syria, which so far has sent well over a million refugees into Lebanon, a country half the size of Wales. Add to that a number of spillover conflicts between militant Islamists and the Lebanese army and Hizbollah.

“Right now nobody wishes to do anything about the Palestinians’ situation or try to push the Lebanese government into doing anything, because Lebanon is on the brink of chaos. Focus is on keeping the status quo and keeping Lebanon together in one piece. That simply gives the Palestinian refugee issue a lower priority.”

A former Western diplomat and now official with the UN explains UNRWA’s services this way: “The aid UNRWA provides is basically to make sure that the Palestinians don’t go crazy. UNRWA definitely serves a purpose of silencing the Palestinians – and that goes for the Palestinians in the whole region. We, the donor countries, are putting millions of dollars into this, and by doing that we are sustaining the conflict and the situation on the ground, where we don’t see any real progress. With the continuing funding of UNRWA the donor countries are actually recognizing the current way of operating. So in that way the Western support is highly political.”

ONE THING is the present unrest in the region, but according to one source the lack of Western interest in the refugee component of the broader Palestine/Israel-conflict also comes out of diplomatic considerations.

“The Palestinians have many friends but no allies. There are basically no Western countries that want to risk their relationship with Israel by working on a settlement of the refugee issue, because the only thing to be won is a loss of friendship with the US. So in that perspective it is fair to conclude that UNRWA – and the funding hereof – is contributing to the Palestinians’ Lebanese limbo,” says the source, who for years has been working with the Palestine/Israel-conflict for a number of European governments.

For decades UNRWA has been the subject of intense debates. One argument is that UNRWA by its very existence is prolonging the conflict, since the recognition of the Palestinian refugees and their right to return to their homeland prevents a pragmatic solution to the conflict. The pragmatic solution lies in the fact that it is unlikely for all the Palestinians to return, since there are now more than 7 million Israelis living in the disputed area, so the demand should be taken out of the negotiations or at least be altered.

The structural – and now historic – decisions about UNRWA are without a doubt making the issue of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon “extremely complex”, says the Middle East scholar Leila Stockmarr from Roskilde University in Denmark.

“The aid UNRWA provides is basically to make sure that the Palestinians don’t go crazy”

“On the one hand you can say, that if Western government find the Palestinian refugees’ right to return indisputable, then UNRWA is simply underscoring this right. It is part of UNRWA’s mandate that the organization can’t be dissolved before there is a solution to the conflict. On the other hand, this situation keeps many Palestinians claiming their rights, even though, for most of them it is highly unlikely that they will return,” says Leila Stockmarr.

Most Palestinians in Lebanon origin from northern Israel, which is within the Israeli 1967-borders, i.e. not within what is being negotiated about in the two-state solution.

According to the former UNRWA National Director in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, it is not all bad, though.

“If UNRWA was not present in Lebanon the Palestinian refugees would not have anything. They would be 69 schools and 7 health clinics short, and it’s not like the Lebanese state would step in and fill the gap. That is the harsh reality. The only thing that can stop the Palestinian suffering is if the international community works harder to find a political solution instead of turning their pockets inside out in search of more money,” says Ann Dismorr.

ACCORDING TO UNRWA approximately 66 percent of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live for less than $6 a day, but if the organization disappeared overnight that number would go up 14 percent. Add to that the advocacy work that UNRWA is doing to create awareness about the Palestinian refugees. One UNRWA staff member explains it this way: “We might be a band-aid – but we are a big flashy one!”

For 78-year-old Salah Salah advocacy and direct aid from UNRWA has not changed the fact that his temporary exile in Lebanon has turned into 66 years as a refugee. And there is nothing changing his feelings of being treated unjust.

“It is mainly the responsibility of the US and the Western European countries that Israel was created. Therefore it is also their responsibility to take care of the refugees their actions caused. They are responsible that I to this day am a refugee, and they have to recognize that responsibility,” says the PLO-leader.

He continues: “Right now the donors are using their money as a weapon against the Palestinians. They hope that by forcing the Palestinians to live in this poor situation the Palestinians will eventually give up and settle for any solution. But they forget, the Palestinians will never give up.”

Ann Dismorr was interviewed a few days prior to her departure as National Director of UNRWA in Lebanon.

Asger Gørup Nielsen

Asger is a Danish freelance journalist currently based in Beirut. He writes mostly about human rights issues and the overlooked stories in Lebanon. He is educated from the Danish School of Media and Journalism and the American University of Beirut.

Japan-China-Sinkaku-Diaoyu Statements of China and Japan

China and Japan reach four-point principled agreement on handling and improving bilateral relations

On 7 November 2014, State Councilor Yang Jiechi held talks with visiting National Security Advisor of Japan Shotaro Yachi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

Yang said that a long-term, healthy and stable growth of China-Japan relations serves the fundamental interests of both countries and their people, and it is China’s consistent position to grow China-Japan relations on the basis of the four political documents between the two sides and in the spirit of “taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future”. For reasons known to all, China-Japan relations have encountered persistent and serious difficulty. In recent months, the two sides have conducted rounds of consultations through the diplomatic channel to overcome political obstacles in the bilateral relations. The Chinese side has reiterated its solemn position, urging the Japanese side to face up to and properly handle such issues of great sensitivity as history and the Diaoyu Islands and work with the Chinese side for the improvement and growth of the bilateral relations.

Yachi said that the Japanese side attaches great importance to the strategic relationship of mutual benefit between Japan and China. Japan stands ready to proceed from the overall interests, conduct dialogue and consultation with the Chinese side to enhance common understanding and mutual trust, and properly handle disagreement and sensitive issues, with a view to advancing the process of improvement of Japan-China relations.

The two sides reached a four-point principled agreement on handling and improving the bilateral relations:

First, the two sides have affirmed that they will follow the principles and spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan and continue to develop the China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

Second, in the spirit of “facing history squarely and looking forward to the future”, the two sides have reached some agreement on overcoming political obstacles in the bilateral relations.

Third, the two sides have acknowledged that different positions exist between them regarding the tensions which have emerged in recent years over the Diaoyu Islands and some waters in the East China Sea, and agreed to prevent the situation from aggravating through dialogue and consultation and establish crisis management mechanisms to avoid contingencies.

Fourth, the two sides have agreed to gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogue through various multilateral and bilateral channels and to make efforts to build political mutual trust.

Yang stressed that the two sides need to uphold the political foundation for China-Japan relations in strict accordance with the spirit of the above-mentioned agreement, ensure the right direction for the growth of bilateral relations, properly handle sensitive issues in a timely fashion, take concrete action to build political mutual trust and gradually put bilateral relations on a track of sound development.

Yachi said that the four-point principled agreement is of great importance. The Japanese side will work with the Chinese side in the same direction.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Regarding Discussions toward Improving Japan-China Relations

min for affairs japan

Toward the improvement of the Japan-China relations, quiet discussions have been held between the Governments of Japan and China. Both sides have come to share views on the following points:

1. Both sides confirmed that they would observe the principles and spirit of the four basic documents between Japan and China and that they would continue to develop a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

2. Both sides shared some recognition that, following the spirit of squarely facing history and advancing toward the future, they would overcome political difficulties that affect their bilateral relations.

3. Both sides recognized that they had different views as to the emergence of tense situations in recent years in the waters of the East China Sea, including those around the Senkaku Islands, and shared the view that, through dialogue and consultation, they would prevent the deterioration of the situation, establish a crisis management mechanism and avert the rise of unforeseen circumstances.

4. Both sides shared the view that, by utilizing various multilateral and bilateral channels, they would gradually resume dialogue in political, diplomatic and security fields and make an effort to build a political relationship of mutual trust.

Obama Tries To Isolate Putin By Kissing Xi Ass In China

President Xi advocates new type of military relations with U.S.

Xinhua net

Editor: Yang Yi obamaxi

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcoming ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 12, 2014. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Wednesday proposed “a new type of military relations” that suits the new type of major-country relationship between China and the United States.

Xi made the remarks at the meeting with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama.

Xi said that defense departments of the two countries have signed agreements to establish a mutual reporting mechanism on major military operations and a code of safe conduct on naval and air military encounter between the two sides.

The two militaries should deepen exchanges, mutual trust and cooperation based on these agreements, he said.

China would like to make progress in the exchanges between senior officers of the two armed forces, smooth communication mechanism and conduct more joint trainings and drills with the U.S. side, he said.

Related:

China, US agree to boost anti-terrorism cooperation

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama reiterated on Wednesday that the two countries will carry out anti-terrorism cooperation by following the Charter of the United Nations and fundamental principles in international relations. Full story

Obama: US does not support “independence” of Taiwan,Tibet

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated on Wednesday that the United States does not support “independence” of Taiwan and Tibet.

He made the remarks when meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Full story

China, U.S. reach consensus on resuming ITA talks

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — China and United States has reached consensus on resuming negotiations on updating the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) by including more products, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday.

The two sides will work with other participants of the ITA to put an end to negotiations as soon as possible, the ministry said in a statement on its website. Full story

China, US to accelerate bilateral investment treaty negotiations

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — China and the United States have agreed to accelerate the bilateral investment treaty negotiations and will work hard to achieve agreements on core issues and major provisions by the end of this year. Full story

 

Jordan Taming Fire-Breathing Imams

To Counter ISIS, Jordan Orders Imams to Preach ‘Peaceful Islam’

arutz shiva israeli

In another move to crack down on ISIS supporters in the country, Jordanian authorities have ordered clerics to preach only moderate Islam.

By Cynthia Blank

Jordanian ISIS terrorist vows attack

Jordanian ISIS terrorist vows attack
Screenshot

In an effort to counter the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its effect on her borders, Jordan has imposed new rules on Muslim clerics.

In a mandatory meeting held at an auditorium in Zarqa and attended by hundreds of Muslim clerics, Jordan’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Hayel Dawood, ordered imams to preach moderate Islam – or else.

“You clerics are our ground forces against the extremists,” Hayel Dawood told them. “Once you cross the red line,” he added, “you will not be let back in.”

For months, Jordan has been fortifying its border against the rapidly advancing ISIS – who now controls large portions of Iraq and Syria – for fear that the terrorist organization would soon set its sights on the nearby Hashemite Kingdom.

Fear of the radical Islamist organization do not seem unfounded as ISIS terrorists have publicly called for King Abdullah’s execution, declaring him a traitor to Islam who has joined forces with the West.

In response, Jordan has put its air force and intelligence service to work with the United States led alliance against Islamic State.

To counter support for the terrorist group within Jordan itself, the kingdom is prosecuting ISIS recruiters as well as cracking down on anyone waving an ISIS banner.

Now, it also has turned its attention to religion – and the country’s 7,000 mosques.

Although Jordanian security offices have always carefully watched radicals for years, they never stopped allowing even prominent al-Qaeda-affiliated clerics from preaching – as long as they watched what they said.

Now, with the sudden rise of Islamic State, Jordan’s religious authorities are clamping down.

They have authorities have started a campaign coaxing and even pressuring Muslim clerics to preach messages of moderate or peaceful Islam.

Jordan’s imams, of which there are more than 5,000, traditionally give sermons after Friday prayers. And Dawood is touring the kingdom unveiling the set of new laws in a series of meetings for any religious leader who wishes to address Friday worshippers.

Jordan is specifically demanding that preachers refrain from any speech against King Abdullah II and the royal family, slander against leaders of neighboring Arab states, incitement against the United States and Europe, and support for jihad and extremist thought.

For those who deviate, the result could be banishment from the pulpit for life – or worse. Offenders who openly praise ISIS could be brought to court to face charges under the country’s enhanced anti-terrorism law.

While Jordan’s moderate approach to Islam has been applauded in the past by US officials for emphasizing positive messages of charity, respect and tolerance, some Jordanian clerics are taking umbrage at being told what to preach.

They’ve left no space for us in the mosques,” Mohammed al-Shalabi, an elder leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafis in Jordan, said to The Washington Post. “They’re not even allowing anyone to use the words ‘Islamic State.’”

But Jordanian authorities maintained their stance on the matter: “We have preachers using the pulpit for political means, to launch attacks on private individuals and the state,” Dawood said, stressing that, “This will not be tolerated.”