Volunteers for Planetary Climate Action (VPCA)
what can the regular people / armchair activists do to promote awareness of and action on this information?”
I woke up feeling FREAKED and shaking. Even with the negative ionizers going in the house, I could feel the ‘impending doom’ thoughts and the ‘allergies’ beginning. Remember, these satellite images are about 4 hours old when posted, so this massive, poisonous mess should be on top of us very soon. YUCH. YUCH. YUCH.
Date: Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM
Subject: European Parliament accepts Skyguards petition
25th March 2014 – European Parliament accepts
the Skyguards petition on aerial spraying/HAARP
On 25th March 2014, national day of commemoration of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution of 1821, a pleasant surprise came to us from Brussels: acceptance by the European Parliament of the petition on aerial spraying and HAARP submitted a year ago by the Skyguards group following the two-day conference “Beyond Theories of Weather Modification – Civil Society against Geoengineering” that was held there at that time.
The President of the Petitions Committee Erminia Mazzoni wrote to us: “I would like to inform you that the Committee on Petitions considered your petition and decided that the issues which you raise are admissible in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, insofar as the subject matter falls within the sphere of activities of the European Union.
The committee began its examination of your petition and decided to ask the European Commission to conduct a preliminary examination of the various aspects of the problem. The committee will continue its examination of your petition as soon as it is in receipt of the necessary information.”
I think it would be appropriate for activists, active citizens and voters to draw the attention of candidates for election to the European Parliament to the Open Letter drawn up by the Skyguards group, and above all the candidates of the party of Mr. Stavros Theodorakis, who has distinguished himself in ridicule not only of activists but also of parliamentarians and scientists who have dared to do anything other than reproduce the uninformed “humour” and slander which Mr. Theodorakis evidently finds satisfying.
What was said and asked on last year’s television programme by Mr. Theodorakis: “Are they spraying us?”
6. In defiance of reason, the spraying scenario plays even in Parliament.
If Mr. Theodorakis manages to achieve representation in the European Parliament, we look forward with interest to the relevant depositions that will be made to the European Commission by his followers. Or perhaps they will try to avoid the subject.
We are not going to allow them to do that.
Just as an afterthought, “Are they spraying us” was screened by the mass-circulation MEGA channel, Mr. Theodorakis’ employer, which also clearly supports his excursion into politics. (If you wish to see the full version of this terrible programme, press here, unfortunately with out-of-synch English subtitles towards the end).
MEGA has just been arraigned by the Greek Radio and Television Council for a news bulletin aired on 12th October 2013, just after the arrests of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn leadership, during which MEGA put forward a condemnation of “the two extremes”, demanding that the Leftist SYRIZA party condemn violence “wherever it comes from”. Specifically the demand was for SYRIZA to condemn the mass anti-austerity demonstrations of 2010 in the course of which three employees lost their lives in a fire, started by arsonists, at the Marfin Egnatia Bank in Athens.
The indictment of MEGA was launched by private individuals who said that they regarded “manipulative tactics of that kind” as “unacceptable”: “we ask that you examine to what extent they are consistent with the sound practice of objective news reporting.”
The Radio and Television Council called the management of MEGA to account for “violations of the Constitution in respect of objective presentation of information and news” and of radio and television legislation on “the obligation of radio and television stations to present truthful, accurate and, as far as possible, comprehensive, presentation of facts, with all due care and responsibility.”
Stavros Theodorakis’ politics are also, in their way, a politics of condemnation of “the two extremes”, those extremes being left-wing and right-wing “populism”. They fit in well with what has been called the dominant global politics of “the extremist centre”. And in today’s situation of generalized disorientation and desperation in Greece, they are a politics that appeals to the disillusioned and gullible audiences of MEGA and a handful of other such channels. But they contain a reality deficit, and the European Parliament has perhaps now provided an opportunity for that to be made evident to even to the most naïve.
Wayne Hall 5th April 2014
Josefina Fraile Martín – Terra SOS-Tenible Giulietto Chiesa ex member of European Parliament 2004-2009 / Alternativa
Geoengineering and our Disintegrating Climate
There is NO natural weather on planet Earth, NONE. This map of 2013 weather extremes should be thoroughly examined. The climate engineers can easily make it snow in the desert, while completely cutting off the precipitation anywhere they want, even to rain forests. The entire planetary climate system is being forced well past the breaking point. Anthropogenic activity has done immense damage to Earth, geoengineering more so than any other single cause, it is the epitome of human insanity. If the all out assault on our biosphere continues, we have no chance of survival, none. All of us must engage in the fight to expose and stop climate engineering and other significant sources of damage to the planet or we will very soon have nothing left to salvage.
Lesack is the lead author on Local spring warming drives earlier river-ice breakup in a large Arctic delta. Published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, the study has co-authors at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Alberta and Memorial University.
Its goal was to understand how warming global temperatures and the intensifying Arctic hydrological cycle associated with them may be driving increasing water discharges and more rapid ice breakup in the Arctic’s great rivers.
But the researchers stumbled upon an unexpected phenomenon while trying to figure out why the Mackenzie River’s annual ice breakup has been shortening even though its water discharge isn’t increasing, as in Russian rivers.
Just slightly warmer springs with unexpected snowfall declines — rather than warmer winters or increasing river discharge, as previously suspected — can drive earlier-than-expected ice breakup in great Arctic rivers.
The Mackenzie exemplifies this unexpected phenomenon. The researchers discovered this by accessing records dating back to 1958 of the river’s water levels, snow depths, air temperatures and times of ice breakup.
This finding is significant, as Arctic snow and ice systems are important climate-system components that affect the Earth’s ability to reflect solar radiation.
“Our surprising finding was that spring temperatures, the period when river-ice melt occurs, had warmed by only 3.2 degrees Celsius. Yet this small change was responsible for more than 80 per cent of the variation in the earlier ice breakups, whereas winter temperatures had warmed by 5.3 degrees but explained little of this variation,” says Lesack.
“This is a strong response in ice breakup for a relatively modest degree of warming, but further investigation showed that by winter’s end snow depths had also declined by one third over this period. The lesser snow depths mean less solar energy is needed to drive ice breakup.”
Lesack says this is the first field-based study to uncover an important effect of reduced winter snowfall and warmer springs in the Arctic — earlier-than-expected, climate-change-related ice breakup.
“The polar regions have a disproportionate effect on planetary reflectivity because so much of these regions consist of ice and snow,” says Lesack. “Most of the planetary sea ice is in the Arctic and the Arctic landmass is also seasonally covered by extensive snow. If such ice and snow change significantly, this will affect the global climate system and would be something to worry about.”
Lesack hopes this study’s findings motivate Canadian government agencies to reconsider their moves towards reducing or eliminating ground-based monitoring programs that measure important environmental variables.
There are few long-term, ground-based snow depth records from the Arctic. This study’s findings were based on such records at Inuvik dating back to 1958. They significantly pre-dated remote sensing records that extend back only to 1980. Without this longer view into the past, this study’s co-authors would still be in the dark about the more rapid than expected Arctic melt and planetary heat-up happening.
Quotes by Lance Lesack
- “Our work suggests that the effects of reduced winter snowfall should be further investigated in other aspects of the changing Arctic, such as the surprisingly rapid reduction in sea-ice cover and the unexpected collapses of several Canadian ice shelves.”
- “Our findings should also be of interest to people and industries that exist in the Arctic, where changes in the growth and decay of rivers, lakes or sea-ice may affect their daily lives. Ice roads and shipping over them depend on knowing when the ice roads can be travelled upon or when ferry crossings can be operated during open water.”
- Canada’s Mackenzie and several Russian rivers are among the Arctic’s gigantic waterways. The hydrological cycle is the cycling of water from the oceans to the atmosphere and back down to the continents, which the rivers then drain back to the ocean. Planetary warming hastens this cycle, which should lead to higher river discharge, more rapid river ice breakup, and ultimately more extreme weather patterns.
- About a third of the size of Switzerland and reaching 200 kilometres inland, the Mackenzie River delta sits at the end of Canada’s longest river and sustains 45,000 lakes.
- The Mackenzie River delta and other Arctic deltas are considered biological hotspots because their sites have much higher biological productivity and biodiversity than their surrounding Arctic environment. Their peak river levels enhance marine ecosystems by flushing nutrients and organic matter from vast deltas that sit at freshwater-ocean water interfaces into the ocean.
- In 2007 SFU geographer Lance Lesack co-authored a study that found rising water levels in the Mackenzie River delta, induced by climate-related sea-level rise, were three times higher than predicted. The authors worried that the faster-than-expected changes could have important impacts on the region’s human and animal life, and industry.
Local spring warming drives earlier river-ice breakup in a large Arctic delta
Lance F. W. Lesack, Philip Marsh, Faye E. Hicks and Donald L. Forbes
Like a giant elevator to the stratosphere
Recent research results show that an atmospheric hole over the tropical West Pacific is reinforcing ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the climate of the Earth.
Potsdam, 3 April 2014. An international team of researchers headed by Potsdam scientist Dr. Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute has discovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon over the South Seas. Over the tropical West Pacific there is a natural, invisible hole extending over several thousand kilometres in a layer that prevents transport of most of the natural and manmade substances into the stratosphere by virtue of its chemical composition. Like in a giant elevator, many chemical compounds emitted at the ground pass thus unfiltered through this so-called “detergent layer” of the atmosphere. Scientists call it the “OH shield”. The newly discovered phenomenon over the South Seas boosts ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the future climate of the Earth – also because of rising air pollution in South East Asia.
Or to be more accurate: almost nothing. The ozone concentrations in his measurements remained nearly constantly below the detection limit of approx. 10 ppbv* in the entire vertical range from the surface of the Earth to an altitude of around 15 kilometres. Normally ozone concentrations in this part of the atmosphere are three to ten times higher.
Although low values at an altitude of around 15 kilometres were known from earlier measurements in the peripheral area of the tropical West Pacific, the complete absence of ozone at all heights was surprising. However, after a short period of doubt and various tests of the instruments it dawned on the worldwide recognised ozone specialist that he might be onto a phenomenon yet unknown to science. A few research years later and after the involvement of other colleagues came confirmation: Markus Rex and his team on board the “Sonne” had tracked down a giant natural hole over the tropical South Seas, situated in a special layer of the lower atmosphere known as the “OH shield”. The research results on the newly discovered OH minimum will be published soon in the journal “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics”, with the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen and other international research institutions as partners.
“Even though the sky appears to be an extensively uniform space for most people, it is composed of chemically and physically very different layers,” Markus Rex explains the complex makeup of the atmosphere.
The air layers near the ground contain hundreds or even thousands of chemical compounds. This is why winter and spring, mountains and sea, city and forests all have a distinct smell. The great majority of these substances are broken down into water-soluble compounds in the lower kilometres of the atmosphere and are subsequently washed out by rain.
Since these processes require the presence of a certain chemical substance, the so called hydroxyl (=OH) radical, this part of the atmosphere is called the “OH shield”. It acts like a huge atmospheric washing machine in which OH is the detergent.
The OH shield is part of the troposphere, as the lower part of the atmosphere is called. “Only a few, extremely long-lived compounds manage to make their way through the OH shield,” says Rex, “then they also get through the tropopause and enter the stratosphere.” Tropopause refers to the boundary layer between the troposphere and the next atmospheric layer above it, the stratosphere. Particularly substances that enter the stratosphere unfold a global impact. The reason for this is that once they have reached the stratosphere, their degradation products remain up there for many years and spread over the entire globe.
Extremely long-lived chemical compounds find their way to the stratosphere, even where the OH shield is intact. These include methane, nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), halons, methyl bromide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are notorious as “ozone killers” because they play a major role in ozone depletion in the polar regions.
After many years of research scientists now understand the complicated process of stratospheric ozone depletion very well.
“Nevertheless measured ozone depletion rates were often quite a bit larger than theoretically calculated in our models,” Markus Rex points out a long unsolved problem of atmospheric research.
“Through the discovery of the OH hole over the tropical West Pacific we have now presumably made a contribution to solving this puzzle.”
And at the same time discovered a phenomenon that raises a number of new questions for climate policy.
Researchers are now tackling these questions in a new research project funded by the EU with around 9 million euros, i.e. “StratoClim”, which is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute. Within this project a new monitoring station will be established in the tropical Westpacific, together with the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen.
“We have to realise,” reminds the Potsdam atmospheric physicist, “that chemical compounds which enter the stratosphere always have a global impact.” Thanks to the OH hole that the researchers discovered over the tropical Pacific, greater amounts of brominated hydrocarbons can reach the stratosphere than in other parts of the world. Although their ascent takes place over the tropical West Pacific, these compounds amplify ozone depletion in the polar regions. Since scientists identified this phenomenon and took it into account in the modelling of stratospheric ozone depletion, their models have corresponded excellently with the actually measured data.
However, it is not only brominated hydrocarbons that enter the stratosphere over the tropical West Pacific. “You can imagine this region as a giant elevator to the stratosphere,” states Markus Rex using an apt comparison. Other substances, too, rise here to a yet unknown extent while they are intercepted to a larger extent in the OH shield elsewhere on the globe. One example is sulphur dioxide, which has a significant impact on the climate.
Sulphur particles in the stratosphere reflect sunlight and therefore act antagonistically to atmospheric greenhouse gases like CO2, which capture the heat of the sun on the Earth. To put it simply, whereas greenhouse gases in the atmosphere heat the globe, sulphur particles in the stratosphere have a cooling effect. “South East Asia is developing rapidly in economic terms,” Markus Rex explains a problem given little attention to date. “Contrary to most industrial nations, however, little has been invested in filter technology up to now. That is why sulphur dioxide emissions are increasing substantially in this region at present.”
If one takes into account that sulphur dioxide may also reach the stratosphere via the OH hole over the tropical West Pacific, it quickly becomes obvious that the atmospheric elevator over the South Seas not only boosts ozone depletion, but may influence the climate of the entire Earth. In fact, the aerosol layer in the stratosphere, which is also composed of sulphur particles, seems to have become thicker in recent years. Researchers do not know yet whether there is a connection here.
But wouldn’t it be a stroke of luck if air pollutants from South East Asia were able to mitigate climate warming? “By no means,” Markus Rex vigorously shakes his head. “The OH hole over the South Seas is above all further evidence of how complex climate processes are. And we are still a long way off from being in a position to assess the consequences of increased sulphur input into the stratosphere. Therefore, we should make every effort to understand the processes in the atmosphere as best we can and avoid any form of conscious or unconscious manipulation that would have an unknown outcome.”
Why is there an OH hole over the West Pacific?
The air in the tropical West Pacific is extremely clean. Air masses in this area were transported across the expanse of the huge Pacific with the trade winds and for a long time no longer had contact with forests or other land ecosystems that produce innumerable short-lived hydrocarbons and release them into the air. Under these clean air conditions OH is formed from ozone through chemical transformation to a great degree. If there is hardly any ozone in the lower atmosphere (= troposphere), as is the case in the West Pacific, only little OH can be formed. The result is an OH hole.Ozone, in turn, forms in the lower atmosphere only if there are sufficient nitrogen oxides there. Large amounts of nitrogen oxide compounds are produced in particular by intensive lightning over land.
However, the air masses in the tropical West Pacific were not exposed to any continental tropical storms for a very long time during their transport across the giant ocean. And the lightning activity in storms over the ocean is relatively small. At the same time the lifetime of atmospheric ozone is short due to the exceptionally warm and moist conditions in the tropical West Pacific. In this South Sea region the surface temperatures of the ocean are higher than anywhere else on our planet, which makes the air not only quite warm, but also quite moist.
The ozone is thus quickly lost, especially directly above the water. And due to the lack of nitrogen oxide compounds little ozone is subsequently formed. Rapid vertical mixing in the convection areas that exist everywhere over the warm ocean and in which the warm air rises takes care of the rest. Finally, there is no more ozone in the entire column of air in the troposphere. And without ozone (see above) the formation of OH is suppressed.
What impact does the OH hole over the West Pacific have?
The OH molecule is also called the detergent of the atmosphere. Nearly all of the thousands of different chemical substances produced by people, animals, plants, fungi, algae or microorganisms on the ground or in the oceans react quickly with OH and break down in this process. Therefore, virtually none of these substances rises into the stratosphere. In the area of the OH hole, however, a larger portion of this varied chemical mix can enter the stratosphere.
The tropical West Pacific is one of the most remote regions on our planet. That is why extensive measurements of the air composition have yet to take place in this area. There is also a considerable gap in the otherwise dense network of global ozone measurement stations here. Even in the past measurements from the peripheral sections of the now investigated region showed minimal ozone values in the area of the upper troposphere, but not the consistently low values that have now been found across the entire depth of the troposphere. The newly discovered phenomenon reveals itself in its full scope only through the measurements that were conducted to such an extensive degree for the first time and was thus not able to be grasped at all previously.*One part of ozone per billion by volume (ppbv) means there is one ozone molecule for every billion air molecules.
Press release from the Alfred Wegener Institute, which conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid-latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
What’s missing from David Keith’s climate change charm offensive
Last Sunday, CBC listeners across Canada enjoyed their morning coffee and took care of a few chores around the house while the calm, mellifluous vocal cadences of Michael Enright and his guest David Keith washed over them. Keith, Enright said while introducing his guest, is a prominent and well-respected scientist, and the author of “The Case for Climate Engineering.”
Although both David Suzuki and Al Gore had branded Keith’s proposals “insane, utterly mad and delusional in the extreme” Enright took pains to reassure listeners that his guest — a Harvard professor — was perfectly sane. Enright was kinder to Keith than Stephen Colbert had been a few months previous, and so unfortunately avoided a number of tough questions.
Climate Geoengineering is the process of attempting to counteract climate change by large-scale methods other than reducing carbon emissions. These include spraying tonnes of sulphuric acid into the atmosphere (Keith’s preferred option), mounting giant space mirrors to reflect sunlight and slow its warming effects, dumping tonnes of iron filings into the ocean to stimulate plankton growth, and sucking carbon out of the atmosphere with giant fans.
These measures have been opposed both because of their unpredictable effects and the fact that they give an excuse to rich countries to continue to increase carbon emissions on the basis of trumped-up techno-promises. In the same breath, Keith acknowledges and dismisses these criticisms.
Environmentalists who oppose geoengineering, Keith told Enright, are “more committed to their answer to the problem than really thinking in what I feel is a morally clear way about what our duties are to this generation and reducing the risks that they feel.”
Keith made the case for geoengineering, but he also made the case that those who oppose geoengineering are doing so because they have priorities other than slowing down the effects climate change. He aligned geoengineering with concerns about “how we want to leave the planet for our great-grandkids.” He took the time to talk about kayaking trips, and how he was motivated by a love of the natural world.
Keith didn’t take the time to mention a few other details. For those who are skeptical about Keith’s case for geoengineering, here are five things that Keith didn’t mention, and Enright kindly didn’t bring up.
1. David Keith runs a geoengineering company funded by tar sands money
In addition to being an author and a professor, David Keith heads up Carbon Engineering, a Calgary-based startup that is developing air-capture technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The company is funded by Bill Gates, who is also a geoengineering proponent, and by N. Murray Edwards, an Alberta billionaire who made his fortune in oil and gas. Edwards is said to be the largest individual investor in the tar sands, and is on the board of Canadian Natural Resources Limited, a major tar sands extraction company. Carbon Engineering hopes to sell the carbon dioxide it extracts to oil companies to help in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)- a technique for squeezing more fossil fuels out of the ground which will in turn be burnt to produce more atmospheric carbon.
2. The geoengineering that Keith proposes could be disastrous for the Global South
A study of the likely effects of one of the methods Keith is promoting, spraying sulphuric acid into the atmosphere with the aim of reflecting sunlight could cause “calamitous drought” in the Sahel region of Africa. Home to 100 million people, the Sahel is Africa’s poorest region. Previous droughts have beendevastating. A 20-year dry period ending in 1990 claimed 250,000 lives. Other models predict possible monsoon failure in South Asia or impacts on Mexico and Brazil, depending where you spray the sulphur.
3. Keith’s geoengineering proposals are deeply aligned with the financial interests of the fossil fuel industry
If oil, natural gas and coal companies can’t extract the fossil fuels that they say they’re going to extract, they stand to lose trillions of dollars in stock value, $2 trillion in annual subsidies, and about $55 trillion in infrastructure. David Keith’s enthusiasm for geoengineering plays to the commercial interests of these companies whose share value depends on their ability to convince investors that they can continue to take the coal out of the hole and the oil out of the soil. This may be why fossil-sponsored neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute have been so gung-ho for geoengineering research and development along exactly the lines that David Keith proposes. For example there is very little difference between what Keith proposes and what the American Enterprise Institute’s Geoengineering project calls for.
4. Climate scientists just issued a new round of criticisms of geoengineering
In the most recent report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released before Keith’s interview aired, climate scientists loosed a new salvo of problems with various geoengineering schemes. “Geoengineering,” according to the report, “poses widespread risks to society and ecosystems.” In some models, Solar Radiation Management (SRM) — what Keith is pitching — “leads to ozone depletion and reduces precipitation.” And if SRM measures are started and then stopped for whatever reason, it creates a risk of ”rapid climate change.”
5. There’s already a widely-backed moratorium on geoengineering
While David Keith discussed possible ways of governing geoengineering internationally he failed to mention that at least one UN convention was already dealing with the topic. The broadest decision yet on geoengineering, a 193-country consensus reached at the UN Convention on Biodiversity specifies that unless certain criteria are met, “no climate-related geo-engineering activities that may affect biodiversity take place.” The moratorium is to remain in effect until geoengineering’s impacts on biodiversity and livelihood are analyzed, scientific evaluation is possible, and “science based, global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms” exist.
In the interview, Keith said outright that he wants to bypass such a system. He considers the input of Africa and South America, and much of Europe and Asia as unnecessary in order to move forward with a geoengineering scheme. It would be enough, he told Enright, to gain the agreement of a small but powerful “countries with democratic institutions,” citing China as an example, along with the US and the European Union. David Keith has been recognized for his achievements in applied physics, but when it comes to political science, it may be time for him to hit the books.
Sentencing Corrupt Bankers to Death by Firing Squad
By Patrick Winn
For the most part, American bankers whose rash pursuit of profit brought on the 2008 global financial collapse didn’t get indicted. They got bonuses.
Odds are that scandal would have played out differently in Vietnam, another nation struggling with misbehaving bankers.
The authoritarian Southeast Asian state doesn’t just send unscrupulous financiers to jail. Sometimes, it sends them to death row.
Amid a sweeping cleanup of its financial sector, Vietnam has sentenced three bankers to death in the past six months.
One duo now on death row embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Their co-conspirators caught decade-plus prison sentences.
In March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam Development Bank, another government-run bank, was sentenced to death over a $93-million swindling job.
According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, several of his colluders were sentenced to life imprisonment after they confessed to securing bogus loans with a diamond ring and a BMW coupe. And last week, in an unrelated case, charges against senior employees from the same bank allege $47 million in losses from dubious loans.
None of this would impress Bernie Madoff, mastermind of America’s largest ever financial fraud scheme. The combined amount from all three Vietnamese cases adds up to less than 1 percent of his purported $18-billion haul.
But these death sentences nevertheless are high profile scandals in Vietnam.
That’s the point. Human rights watchdogs contend that splashy trials in Vietnam are acts of political theater with predetermined conclusions. The audience: a Vietnamese public weary of state corruption. But these sentences also sound loud alarm bells to dodgy bankers who are currently running scams.
“It’s a message to those in this game to be less greedy and that business as usual is getting out of hand,” said Adam McCarty, chief economist with the Hanoi-based consulting firm Mekong Economics.
“The message to people in the system is this: Your chances of getting caught are increasing,” McCarty said. “Don’t just rely on big people above you. Because some of these [perpetrators] would’ve had big people above them. And it didn’t help them.”
Like most nations that crush dissent and operate with little transparency, Vietnam is highly corrupt.
According to a World Bank study, half of all businesses operating within the communist state expect that gift giving toward officials is required “to get things done.” Transparency International, which publishes the world’s leading corruption gauge, contends Vietnam is more corrupt than Mexico but not quite as bad as Russia.
Unlike in America, where judges can’t sentence white-collar criminals to death, Vietnam can execute its citizens for a range of corporate crimes.
Amnesty International reports that death sentences in Vietnam have been handed down to criminals for running shady investment schemes, counterfeiting cash and even defaulting on loans. This is unusual: United Nations officials have condemned death for “economic crimes” yet Vietnam persists with these sentences — as does neighboring China.
Though statistics on Vietnam’s opaque justice system are scarce, a state official conceded thatmore than 675 people sit on death row for a range of crimes, according to the Associated Press.
It’s still unclear how the bankers will be killed. Vietnam’s traditional means of execution involves binding perpetrators to a wooden post, stuffing their mouths with lemons and calling in a firing squad. The nation wants to transition to lethal injections. But European nations refuse to export chemicals used in executions (namely sodium thiopental) to governments practicing capital punishment.
Fraudulent bankers are receiving heavy sentences at a moment when Vietnam is enacting major financial reforms.
For decades, Vietnam has been slowly transforming its communist-style, state-run market into a more open and competitive arena. In the post-reunification era, the government owned every bank in Vietnam. Today, state-run banks control only 40 percent of all assets.
This push to bank in a more Western style has ushered in improvements as well as temptations to swindle. According to the UN economist Vu Quang Viet, Vietnamese credit laws passed in 2010 “simply copied the lax US law now widely believed to be at least partially responsible for the financial debacle in 2008.”
Campaigns to root out corruption are promoted as a way to entice foreign investment, which could help prop up Vietnamese banks whose growth has slowed from a sprint to a jog.
But the recent death sentences aren’t really intended to prove the reformers’ sincerity to the outside world, according to McCarty.
“They don’t care about foreigners. It’s all internal politics,” McCarty said. Foreign banking honchos wouldn’t be impressed by a few executions anyway. “If you really want to want to resolve the problem, you can’t just arrest people,” he said. “You’ve got to improve accountability and transparency in the entire system.”
A leading Vietnamese newspaper, Thanh Nien, is also pushing for system-wide cleanup in lieu of showcase trials against a few corporate criminals.
An op-ed in the paper recently compared death sentences for corruption to fighting fire with fire. The preferred approach would be dousing corruption before it burns through public funds. “It is better to prevent corruption,” the paper opined, “than deal with it after the fact.”
Unemployment and Low Wage Employment in America: Another Fraudulent Jobs Report
The March payroll jobs report released April 4 claims 192,000 new private sector jobs. Here is what John Williams has to say about the claim:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliberately publishes its seasonally-adjusted historical payroll-employment and household-survey (unemployment) data so that the numbers are neither consistent nor comparable with current headline reporting. The upside revisions to the January and February monthly jobs gains, and the relatively strong March payroll showing, reflected nothing more than concealed, favorable shifts in underlying seasonal factors, hidden by the lack of consistent BLS reporting. In like manner, consistent month-to-month changes in the unemployment rate or labor force simply are not knowable, because the BLS cloaks the consistent and comparable numbers.”
Here is what Dave Kranzler has to say:
“the employment report is probably the most deceptively fraudulent report produced by the Government.”
As I have pointed out for a decade, the “New Economy” jobs that we were promised in exchange for our manufacturing jobs and tradable professional service jobs that were
offshored have never shown up. The transnational corporations and their hired shills among economists lied to us. Not even a jobs report as deceptive and fraudulent as the BLS payroll jobs report can hide the fact that Congress, the White House, and the American people have sat sucking their thumbs while corporations maximized profits for the one percent at the expense of everyone else in the United States.
Let’s look at where the alleged jobs are. The BLS jobs report says that 28,400 jobs were created in March in wholesale and retail sales. March is the month that Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Staples, Radio Shack, Office Depot, and other retailers announced combined closings of several thousand stores, but more retail clerks were hired.
The BLS payroll jobs report claims 57,000 jobs in “professional and business services.” Are these jobs for lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and managers? No. The combined new jobs for these middle class professional skills totaled 10,400. Employment services accounted for 42,000 of the jobs in “professional and business services” of which temporary help accounted for 28,500.
“Education and health services” accounted for 34,000 jobs or which ambulatory and home health care services accounted for 28,000 of the jobs.
The other old standby, waitresses and bartenders, accounted for 30,400 jobs. The number of Americans dependent on food stamps who cannot afford to go out to eat or to purchase a six-pack of beer has almost doubled, but the demand for restaurant meals and bar drinks keeps rising.
There you have it. This is America’s “New Economy.” It the jobs exist at all, they consist of lowly paid, largely part-time employment that fails to produce enough income to prevent the food stamp rolls from doubling.
Without growth in consumer income, there is no growth in aggregate consumer demand. Offshoring jobs also offshores the income associated with the jobs, resulting in the decline in the domestic consumer market. The US transnational corporations, pursuing profits in the short-run, are destroying their long-run consumer base. The transnational corporations are also destroying the outlook for US universities, as it makes no sense to incur large student loan debt when job prospects are poor. The corporations are also destroying US leadership in innovation as US corporations increasingly become marketeers of foreign-made goods and services.
As I predicted in 2004, the US will have a third world work force in 20 years.
The unemployment figures are as deceptive as the employment figures. The headline unemployment rate of 6.7% does not include discouraged workers. When discouraged workers are included among the unemployed, the US rate of unemployment is 3.4 times higher than the announced rate.
How many times has John Williams written his report? How many times have I written this article? Yet the government continues to issue false reports, and the presstitute financial media continues to ask no questions.
The US, once a land of opportunity, has been transformed into an aristocratic economy in which income and wealth are concentrated at the very top. The highly skewed concentration at the top is the result of jobs offshoring, which transformed Americans’ salaries and wages into bonuses for executives and capital gains for owners, and financial deregulation, which produced financial collapse and the Federal Reserve’s bailout of “banks too big too fail.” The trillions of dollars of new money created by the Federal Reserve has produced massive inflation of stock prices, making owners even richer.
Sooner or later the dollar’s value will suffer as a result of the massive creation of new dollars. When that occurs, the import-dependent American population will suffer a traumatic drop in living standards. The main cost of the bank bailout has yet to hit.
As I write I cannot think of one thing in the entire areas of foreign and domestic policy that the US government has told the truth about in the 21st century. Just as Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, Iran has no nukes, Assad did not use chemical weapons, and Putin did not invade and annex Crimea, the jobs numbers are fraudulent, the unemployment rate is deceptive, the inflation measures are understated, and the GDP growth rate is overstated. Americans live in a matrix of total lies.
What can Americans do? Elections are pointless. Presidents, Senators, and US Representatives represent the interest groups that provide their campaign funds, not the voters. In two decisions, the Republican Supreme Court has made it legal for corporations to purchase the government. Those who own the government will decidewhat it does, not those who vote.
All Americans can do is to accept the serfdom imposed on them or take to the streets and stay in the streets despite being clubbed, tasered, arrested, and shot by the police, who protect the power structure, not the public.
In America, nothing is done for the public. But everything is done to the public.
The Global Financial Tsunami End Game: The Petro-Dollar Regime is Finished?
Once trade in oil is no longer denominated in the US Dollar, the bells will toll for the demise of the US Dollar and the global fiat money system.
Prominent Malaysian lawyer and author Matthias Chang
A few weeks ago, I had a private high-level discussion with some experts in geopolitics, economics and global finance and I had only one objective for participating in the discussion – to find out what was not said and or avoided in the discussion by the participants.
I learned early in my political career as a student anti-war activist that more can be learned from anyone and in any situation by what has not been said and avoided than from all the hours of lengthy dialogue. In most cases, I already knew the positions of the participants on the subject matter of the discussion from their writings, interviews, press statements, their educational backgrounds and their careers. Usually anything that is being said in a discussion reflects the latest position on the participant’s previously declared stance on the subject matter.
And quite often, what has been revealed through discussions may not necessarily reflect the entirety of the participant’s stance. The difficulty is to be conscious of what the participant has not said and detect what are his reservations and why the reluctance to disclose his thoughts on the matter. In the day-long discussions, I had only intervened twice and I took no more than ten minutes at the most to elicit the reaction that I had anticipated.
The first intervention was in relation to the inevitable implementation of the “Bail-In” (the confiscation of depositors’ monies in financial institutions to pay the bondholders / other creditors) to rescue the Too Big To Fail Banks (TBTF), the template being taken from the Cyprus experience for which all the relevant global central banks and institutions such as BIS, IMF, the World Bank have prepared the groundwork.
No response whatsoever. It was a minefield no one wanted to venture near! The second intervention goes to the very core of the present financial system which is anchored on the “Petro-Dollar”. Again, no response save a cursory deflection, “I don’t know about the petro-dollar”, and the discussion veered off to an irrelevant and an unrelated matter.
I have always known that it is most difficult to tell the truth to “Power” and the vested interests. Once a message is released, it takes on a life of its own and it is not easy to suppress the message in the present inter-connected globalised world. That being the case, it is better to shoot the messenger. I am not saying here that I have been shot. It will take more than a bullet to get rid of me. But, you do get my point.
I do apologise for this rather long preface to the meat of this article. What I am trying to tell you is that truth will always emerge in unexpected circumstances. And as many philosophers have said, “God works in mysterious ways”.
I have written many articles on the Petro-Dollar being the lynch-pin of the US Dollar fiat money system and that once trade in oil is no longer denominated in the US Dollar, the bells will toll for the demise of the US Dollar and the global fiat money system. The renowned financial analyst and author, James Rickards has written two best sellers, “The Currency Wars” and now his latest, “The Death of Money”. And in his recent interview by Max Keiser, he explained that during the Cold War, the “M.A.D. Doctrine” (Mutually Assured Destruction) prevented a nuclear war between the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the US, as if one superpower were to launch a pre-emptive first strike, there would be enough nuclear missiles remaining in the targeted superpower to retaliate with an equally devastating Second Strike.
In the last few months, we have witnessed a variation of the nuclear M.A.D. Doctrine and for which I have been warning for as long as I can remember but my ringing of the alarm bells have fell on deaf ears.
The “Financial Nuclear Weapon” (the sale of oil in a currency other than the US dollar) which was previously deployed by Saddam Hussein resulted in the total destruction of Iraq, but it failed to deter other countries pissed off with the highhandedness of the Global Policeman.
Libya made another attempt and it resulted in the destruction of the country and the brutal murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi. Next was Iran. The US and the global financial war party found it much more difficult to isolate and annihilate Iran, even when she was threatened with outright nuclear attack by US and the rabid Israel. And in spite of unprecedented sanctions against Iran (which constitute economic warfare and are war crimes in itself), Iran stood defiant.
The leading members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Russia and China restrained themselves so as to preserve global stability. However, the war party faction of the Obama regime (the leftovers of the Bush regime) took such restraint as weakness and went on a spree of regime change throughout the world to undermine the growing strength of BRICS.
The straw that broke the camels’ back was the unbridled and reckless coup against the elected President of Ukraine by US and NATO and orchestrated by the US State Department and led by the war-monger Victoria Nuland. She openly admitted on CNN that the US had disbursed through such organisations as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over US$ 5 Billion to facilitate the coup with the support of the oil giant Chevron.
This was an unprecedented treachery as a few weeks before the bloody coup, the relevant stakeholders entered an agreement to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine brokered by Russia and endorsed by the EU. Victoria Nuland could not and would not accept the check-mate and so she launched the bloody coup giving no choice to Russia to support the self-determination of Crimea where the majority of the citizens were Russians and where Russia’s Black Sea fleet was located.
The US blatantly threatened Russia in her own backyard. The rest as they say is history.
The infantile and moribund Obama regime, followed sheepishly by member countries of the EU, with Britain playing the “bellboy” declared that sanctions would be imposed on Russia, an act of extreme provocation. This unnecessary provocation was made in spite of the fact that the most brutal sanctions could not break the tenacity of the Iranians. As expected, Russia took no notice of the provocations by the US. Peeved that the bully theatrics had no effect, JP Morgan as the financial proxy stopped a money transfer from the Russian Embassy in Kazakhstan to insurance agency Sogaz. The simple message to Russia was – “Kow-Tow to the US War Party or face financial and economic ruin”. If this is a pre-emptive financial nuclear strike by the US, it is a badly calculated move. Someone in the State Department as well as CFR etc. have neglected to tell Obama (and I am being generous here as I am refraining from calling it a most stupid gambit ever) that in a poker game when the opposite side is holding all the Aces, one do not make any calls when one is holding a weak hand! The fun has now started and the world will soon see the bankruptcy of the US financial empire grounded on the Petro-Dollar.
Russia has launched a devastating counter-strike. But, the silly Obama announced that he will impose a new phase of sanctions against Russia! I will leave it to you to draw the relevant conclusions when you have finished reading the below brilliant analysis by Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge of the just declared financial nuclear war.
I quote: US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal
On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar
*U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
*U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
*U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS
We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness. As we explained earlier in the week, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.
“If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”
And here is Voice of Russia, “Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar”: The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.
The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.
Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency.
The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.
First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must ditch the dollar. “They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partnercountries,” he said.
Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “I’ve spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don’t mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.
Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said. It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange.
In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that ” it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies “. Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.
Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.
It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We’ll soon find out.
Recap of My Preface
Could the above analysis by Tyler Durden be the reason for the total silence at the High-Level discussion in which I participated recently?
God indeed works in mysterious ways. The Petro-Dollar Global Fiat Money System is teetering at the precipice!
I hate to say it, but I told you so!
Posted 14 hours ago on April 6, 2014, 9:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Our dear friends, Cecily McMillan is going to trial and we need all y’all occupiers to show up and support!
You are needed to come out full force and show the court system that we stand with our friends and that we will bring #Justice4Cecily.
In an unbelievable turn of events, Ms. McMillan faces 2nd degree assault charges stemming from a 2012 encounter with the NYPD that left her beaten and unconscious.
Join us at 9:15 am at 100 Centre Street, Room 1116 Part 41, New York, NY 10013 In the best interests of her trial, everyone who comes needs to wear proper business casual clothing and remain calm and respectful in the courtroom.
There will be breakfast and hot tea in the morning on Monday outside the courthouse for supporters!
Oh, and did you know?
“Officer Grantley Bovell has been accused of running a motorcyclist off the road to make an arrest, kicking a suspect in the face while he was on the ground, and slamming an arrestee’s face into the stairs on an MTA bus. Bovell was also one of the 500 officers ensnared in the vast ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx, and was again internally disciplined for his role.” – Cop’s Record Of Excessive Force Allegations Will Be Sealed For OWS Trial, Gothamist
Do this: “Tell everyone you know about Officer Bovell’s history of abuse.” Tweet it. Sing it. Facebook it. Bring it on a sign. Let’s get the truth out there.
Done. Now, you are needed—RSVP here:
The best thing that you can do is come to the courthouse to bear witness to the egregious treatment of Cecily by the “justice” system, and to let them know that we won’t stand for it. The trial starts tomorrow and will likely continue for the next week or two. Court starts at 9:30 am each day, except for Thursday, when our judge will be unavailable, at 100 Centre St, Part 41 (room 1116). Please wear business casual as our appearance can affect the jury!
We aren’t entirely sure how quickly or slowly things will move, but here’s a tentative schedule of events – we’ll update as we can:
April 7th – Jury Selection
April 8th – Opening Arguments
April 9th – Prosecution Case
April 11th – Defence Case
April 14th – Closing Arguments
April 15th – Jury Deliberation
Members of the Justice For Cecily Support Team will be around to answer any questions. Stay tuned into http://justiceforcecily.com/
#Justice4Cecily #Justice4Cecily #Justice4Cecily
Israel’s High Court Endorses War Crimes
Israel High Court justices declined to hear petitioner Marwan Dalal.
He’s an Israeli Arab jurist. Earlier he served as a Hague International Criminal Court senior prosecutor. He’s the only Palestinian ever to serve in this capacity.
On April 2, Israeli “Supremes” heard evidence of IDF war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza. A previous article explained.
Dalal filed a 52-page petition. He addressed Israel’s:
- preemptive 2006 Lebanon war;
- its Operation Cast Lead Gaza aggression (December 2008 – January 2009,) and
- murdering nine Turkish Mavi Marmara Gaza humanitarian mission activists in May 2010 in cold blood.
Evidence against Israel is damning. It’s overwhelming. It’s indisputable. It’s incontestable. Systematic coverup followed.
Israel remains unaccountable for high crimes too grave to ignore. On April 3, Israeli Supremes rubber-stamped approval.
They ruled crimes of war and against humanity are OK. Their terse statement lied saying:
“The petitioner didn’t provide enough evidence that could prove the connection between the respondents and the events that, as the petitioner sees them, could be called ‘war crimes.’ “
From July 12 – August 14, Israel attacked Lebanon preemptively. It blitzkrieged large areas mercilessly. It did so lawlessly.
It killed over 1,000. It caused vast destruction. It displaced around one-fourth of Lebanon’s four million population. It willfully targeted civilians.
It admitted doing so. It called them legitimate targets. It defined its Dahiya Doctrine strategy. It’s named after a Beirut suburb. Israel destroyed it entirely.
At the time, it said it’s how future wars would be fought. Disproportionate force will be used against civilians and non-military-related infrastructure.
Doing so reflects prohibited collective punishment. International law forbids attacking non-combatants and targets unrelated to military necessary.
Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, and other Lebanon cities and towns were attacked.
Terror bombings destroyed or damaged ports, Beirut International Airport, roads, bridges, other infrastructure, schools, hospitals, power stations, commercial sites, factories, dams, civilian neighborhoods, government buildings, mosques, churches, radio and TV stations, an orphanage, Sidon’s refugee camp and other non-military targets.
Jiyeh’s utility plant south of Beirut was struck. Doing so caused massive oil spillage. Over 90 miles of coastal waters were affected.
Biodiversity was damaged. Heightened cancer risk followed. Many thousands of Lebanese remain vulnerable.
A land, sea and air siege was imposed. Illegal weapons were used. They included depleted uranium, chemical agents, as well as white phosphorous bombs and shells. They burn flesh to the bone.
So-called thermobaric bombs were dropped. They contain polymer-bonded or solid fuel-air explosives. They penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels.
Their blast pressure sucks oxygen out of affected areas. It horrifically affects people in them. It’s a terror weapon designed to kill and destroy monstrously.
On July 19, a bus carrying Israeli tourists and others was attacked. Eight deaths were reported.
It bears repeating. Israeli war crimes were indisputable. Lawless collective punishment is longstanding Israeli practice. It persists daily. It does so in multiple ways.
From December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009, Israel waged lawless aggression on Gaza. On September 15, 2009, Goldstone Commission findings were damning.
It reported “evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”
“While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right of self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.”
Defensive rocket attacks responded to repeated Israeli provocations. Israel lawlessly used them as a pretext for naked aggression. Operation Cast Lead followed.
On September 21, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) said:
It’s clear “that the IDF had not distinguished between civilians and civilian objects and military targets.”
“Both the loss of life and the damage to property were disproportionate to the harm suffered by Israel or any threatened harm. Israel’s actions could not be justified as self-defense.”
“The IDF was responsible for the crime of killing, wounding and terrorizing civilians (as well as) wonton(ly) destr(oying) property and that such destruction could not be justified on grounds of military necessity.”
HRC members called IDF crimes so grave, “it was compelled to consider whether (genocide) had been committed.”
It said Israel “committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly genocide in the course of Operation Cast Lead.”
On May 31, 2010, lawlessly interdicted Freedom Flotilla vessels in international waters. Doing so constitutes piracy. They were bringing vitally needed aid to besieged Gazans.
Nine Turkish nationals were aboard the Mavi Marmara mother ship. They were massacred in cold blood. Dozens of other activists on board were wounded. Everyone was arrested.
At the time, UK-based Stop the War Coalition activists called it “(y)et another act of Israeli barbarism.” Thousands of Gazans protested angrily.
Mass anti-Israeli protests followed in Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran, Ankara, Istanbul, Beirut and other regional cities.
Israel’s propaganda machine reached new highs of duplicity. Damage control prioritized coverup. Big Lies drowned out truth.
Forensic evidence was damning. Victims were shot multiple times at close range. Some in the back.
A Human Rights Council (HRC) investigation criticized Israel’s “outrageous attack on aid ships attempting to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip.”
It called doing so “piracy, (an) act of aggression, (a) brutal massacre, (an) act of terrorism, (a) war crime, (a) crime against humanity, unprovoked…unwarranted…atrocious, (and) brutal.”
It said humanitarian activists onboard were “peaceful, innocent, noble, unarmed, (and) defenseless.”
Attacking them “was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive, inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers.”
“Israel made “a deliberate attempt…to suppress or destroy evidence.” Its own version of events was fabricated. Fake videos were used. So were other falsified materials.
Crimes against humanity were committed. So was piracy. HRC members called Israeli guilty as charged.
It said “a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation.”
“The preponderance of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion.”
Attacking Mavi Marmara activists was well-planned in advance. Premeditated murder was indisputable.
Israeli commandos had photos of Turkish nationals marked for death. They murdered them in cold blood.
They remain unaccountable. So do Israeli commanders and responsible government officials.
No Israeli official or military commander was held accountable for Lebanon and Cast Lead war crimes. None for earlier acts of aggression.
None for daily crimes against humanity. None for ongoing ones. None since Israel was established in 1948.
None for decades of systematic slow-motion genocide. Israeli Supremes continued a longstanding tradition.
They turned a blind eye to high crimes too grave to ignore. They endorsed what demands accountability. Perhaps one day. For sure not now.
Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?
Journalist Seymour Hersh has unearthed information implicating Turkish intelligence in last summer’s Sarin attack near Damascus that almost pushed President Obama into a war to topple Syria’s government and open a path for an al-Qaeda victory
Last August, the Obama administration lurched to the brink of invading Syria after blaming a Sarin gas attack outside Damascus on President Bashar al-Assad’s government, but new evidence – reported by investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh – implicates Turkish intelligence and extremist Syrian rebels instead.
The significance of Hersh’s latest report is twofold: first, it shows how Official Washington’s hawks and neocons almost stampeded the United States into another Mideast war under false pretenses, and second, the story’s publication in the London Review of Books reveals how hostile the mainstream U.S. media remains toward information that doesn’t comport with its neocon-dominated conventional wisdom.
In other words, it appears that Official Washington and its mainstream press have absorbed few lessons from the disastrous Iraq War, which was launched in 2003 under the false claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was planning to share hidden stockpiles of WMD with al-Qaeda, when there was no WMD nor any association between Hussein and al-Qaeda.
A decade later In August and September 2013, as a new war hysteria broke out over Assad allegedly crossing President Barack Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons, it fell to a few Internet sites, including our own Consortiumnews.com, to raise questions about the administration’s allegations that pinned the Aug. 21 attack on the Syrian government.
Not only did the U.S. government fail to provide a single piece of verifiable evidence to support its claims, a much-touted “vector analysis” by Human Rights Watch and the New York Times – supposedly tracing the flight paths of two rockets back to a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus – collapsed when it became clear that only one rocket carried Sarin and its range was less than one-third the distance between the army base and the point of impact. That meant the rocket carrying the Sarin appeared to have originated in rebel territory.
There were other reasons to doubt the Obama administration’s casus belli, including the irrationality of Assad ordering a chemical weapons strike outside Damascus just as United Nations inspectors were unpacking at a local hotel with plans to investigate an earlier attack that the Syrian government blamed on the rebels.
Assad would have known that a chemical attack would have diverted the inspectors (as it did) and would force President Obama to declare that his “red line” had been crossed, possibly prompting a massive U.S. retaliatory strike (as it almost did).
Plans for War
Hersh’s article describes how devastating the U.S. aerial bombardment was supposed to be, seeking to destroy Assad’s military capability, which, in turn, could have cleared the way to victory for the Syrian rebels, whose fortunes had been declining.
Hersh wrote: “Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed.
“‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’
“The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.”
According to Hersh, the administration’s war plans were disrupted by U.S. and British intelligence analysts who uncovered evidence that the Sarin was likely not released by the Assad government and indications that Turkey’s intelligence services may have collaborated with radical rebels to deploy the Sarin as a false-flag operation.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan sided with the Syrian opposition early in the civil conflict and provided a vital supply line to the al-Nusra Front, a violent group of Sunni extremists with ties to al-Qaeda and increasingly the dominant rebel fighting force. By 2012, however, internecine conflicts among rebel factions had contributed to Assad’s forces gaining the upper hand.
The role of Islamic radicals – and the fear that advanced U.S. weapons might end up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists – unnerved President Obama who pulled back on U.S. covert support for the rebels. That frustrated Erdoğan who pressed Obama to expand U.S. involvement, according to Hersh’s account.
Hersh wrote: “By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the [U.S] cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’”
‘Red Line’ Worries
Recognizing Obama’s political sensitivity over his “red line” pledge, the Turkish government and Syrian rebels saw chemical weapons as the way to force the President’s hand, Hersh reported, writing:
“In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability.
“‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond [to small chemical weapons attacks] in March and April.’”
The dispute between Erdoğan and Obama came to a head at a White House meeting on May 16, 2013, when Erdoğan unsuccessfully lobbied for a broader U.S. military commitment to the rebels, Hersh reported.
Three months later, in the early hours of Aug. 21, a mysterious missile delivered a lethal load of Sarin into a suburb east of Damascus. The Obama administration and the mainstream U.S. press corps immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Syrian government had launched the attack, which the U.S. government claimed killed at least “1,429” people although the number of victims cited by doctors and other witnesses on the scene was much lower.
Yet, with the media stampede underway, anyone who questioned the U.S. government’s case was trampled under charges of being an “Assad apologist.” But we few skeptics continued to point out the lack of evidence to support the rush to war. Obama also encountered political resistance in both the British Parliament and U.S. Congress, but hawks in the U.S. State Department were itching for a new war.
Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a bellicose speech on Aug. 30 amid expectations that the U.S. bombs would start flying within days. But Obama hesitated, first referring the war issue to Congress and later accepting a compromise brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to have Assad surrender all of his chemical weapons even as Assad continued denying any role in the Aug. 21 attacks.
Obama took the deal but continued asserting publicly that Assad was guilty and disparaging anyone who thought otherwise. In a formal address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013, Obama declared, “It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.”
Suspicions of Turkey
However, by autumn 2013, U.S. intelligence analysts were among those who had joined in the “insult to human reason” as their doubts about Assad’s guilt grew. Hersh cited an ex-intelligence official saying: “the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’
“As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular.
“’Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’
“Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’”
According to the thinking of Turkish intelligence, Hersh reported, “Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’”
Hersh added that the U.S. intelligence community has been reluctant to pass on to Obama the information contradicting the Assad-did-it scenario. Hersh wrote:
“The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’”
Like the bloody U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, last year’s near U.S. air war against Syria is a cautionary tale for Americans regarding the dangers that result when the U.S. government and mainstream media dance off hand in hand, leaping to conclusions and laughing at doubters.
The key difference between the war in Iraq and the averted war on Syria was that President Obama was not as eager as his predecessor, George W. Bush, to dress himself up as a “war president.” Another factor was that Obama had the timely assistance of Russian President Putin to chart a course that skirted the abyss.
By Seymour M. Hersh
Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels. Continue
By Pepe Escobar
The Kremlin knows time is on its side – so it would be totally counterproductive to even contemplate “invading” eastern Ukraine. Continue
By Eric Margolis
After 12 years of using everything in its arsenal short of nuclear weapons, the mighty US military has failed to defeat lightly-armed Taliban forces. Continue
By Peter Foster
Tony Blair knew in detail about the CIA’s secret kidnap and interrogation programme after the September 11 attacks and was kept informed “every step of the way” by MI6, a security source has told The Telegraph. Continue
By Lawrence Davidson
Most of those who organize and participate in the movement to boycott Israel know that the two-state solution is dead in the water. Continue
Tutu Condemns US Efforts to Curb Free Speech on Palestine
By Archbishop Desmond Tutu
I am writing today to express grave concern about a wave of legislative measures in the United States aimed at punishing and intimidating those who speak their conscience and challenge the human rights violations endured by the Palestinian people. Continue
By Glenn Greenwald
This week, the Associated Press exposed a secret program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development to create “a Twitter-like Cuban communications network” run through “secret shell companies” in order to create the false appearance of being a privately owned operation. Continue
By Paul Craig Roberts
“the employment report is probably the most deceptively fraudulent report produced by the Government.” Continue
By Sadhbh Walshe
A DuPont trust-fund creep gets probation. A black woman looking for a job cries in jail for a week. Something’s wrong here. Continue
April 7, 2014
- My Dad & the World’s Most Accurate Atomic Clock – On pedigree. Time is the most accurage measurement known to man, and Boulders NIST is seen as the leader in providing that accuracy — and my dad has received awards for his leadership role in that industry, particularly in Boulder. (Free Energy Blog; April 7, 2014)
April 6, 2014
- QEG feature page build-out; Interview link – We would like to offer this PESWiki site as one of the clearing houses / grand central stations for the roll-out of the Quantum Energy Generator. I should also mention that I finally got the interview uploaded that I’ve been working on since Thursday. (Free Energy Blog; April 6, 2014)
April 5, 2014
April 4, 2014
Respected Members of Congress:I am calling on you to begin an investigation of the Drug Program in Colombia (CIA; DEA and other Agencies of the U.S. Government ) for the cover-up of the promotion of paramilitary groups and narcotraficantes to infiltrate and support the violent actions in Venezuela.I am also requesting an investigation and complete report about the cover-up of narcotraffic activities and associations of ex-president Alvaro Uribe of Colombia. The CIA and DEA have apparently decided that the defeat of Chavismo in Venezuela is more important than the capture of major drug traffikers who flood the U.S. with their poison products.As you well know (if you study history) the U.S. contracted the U.S. Mafia groups to assassinate Fidel Castro some years ago. So the use of illicit killers and criminals is part and parcel of CIA criminal activities.Recently it has been observed that the CIA is totally out of control , illegally spying on members of Congress and intimidating their families.WHEN DO YOU SUPPOSE THIS IS GOING TO BE STOPPED!I am quite serious about this request for an investigation and will share this mail with the hundreds of press contacts which I have as well as all my 3,000, worldwide contacts. After that, I shall make the request to the United Nations Committees on Human Rights and the Interamerican Council on Human Rights!Who determines U.S. foreign policy? The CIA and DEA gangs? Or is there a democratic process which represents the people of the United States?Thank you,David BayerTel: 51-56-506073
The Age of the Oligarchs: U.S Elections and Media Up for Sale
Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch.
The concentration of power in the hands of billionaire “oligarchs” may be most alarming in places like Ukraine but the United States is moving in the same direction as wealth is consolidated at the top — and both elections and media are up for sale.
The chaos in Ukraine can be viewed, in part, as what happens when a collection of “oligarchs” – sometimes competing, sometime collaborating – take control of a society, buying most of the politicians and owning the media. The political/media classes become corrupted by serving their wealthy patrons and society breaks down into warring factions.
In that sense, Ukraine could be a cautionary tale for the United States and other countries that are veering down a similar path toward vast income inequality, with billionaire “oligarchs” using their money to control politicians and to pay for propaganda through media ventures.
Depending on your point of view, there may be “good oligarchs” and “bad oligarchs,” but the concept of oligarchy is antithetical to democracy, a system in which governance is supposed to be driven by the informed consent of the majority with respect for minority rights. Instead, we’re moving toward a competition among oligarchs with the “people” mostly as bystanders to be manipulated one way or the other.
On Wednesday, a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court lifted limits on total amounts that an individual can contribute during a campaign cycle, an extension of the 2010 ruling on Citizens United allowing the rich to spend unlimited sums on political advertising. It was another step toward an American oligarchy where politicians, activists and even journalists compete to satisfy one “oligarch” or another.
Regarding political spending, that can mean the energy tycoon Koch Brothers financing the Tea Party or Americans for Prosperity to tear down government regulations of businesses. Or it can mean casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson staging his own “primary” in which Republican hopefuls compete to show who would do the most for Israel. Or – from a liberal perspective – it can be billionaire investor Tom Steyer pressing for action on man-made climate change.
On the Right, there also have been vast investments in propaganda – from books, magazines and newspapers to talk radio, TV and the Internet – by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife, an imbalance countered, in only a relatively small way, by a few liberal “oligarchs” who have started their own big-budget Web sites.
And, despite the appearance of a few “left-of-center” U.S. sites, there continues to be a lock-step consensus – across the nation’s media – regarding most international conflicts, such as the recent crises in Syria and Ukraine. In those cases, these liberal “oligarchic” sites are as likely to go with the conventional wisdom as the right-wing “oligarchic” sites.
So, if you want to find critical reporting on U.S. interference in Ukrainian politics or a challenging analysis of U.S. claims about the Syrian chemical weapons attack, you’re not likely to find them at ProPublica, which is backed by ex-subprime mortgage bankers Herbert and Marion Sandler and is edited by well-paid traditional journalists from the mainstream press, like Stephen Engelberg, formerly of the New York Times. Nor at FirstLook.org funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Though both ProPublica and FirstLook do some fine work on certain topics – such as the environment and privacy rights, respectively – they haven’t shown much willingness to get in the way of U.S. foreign-policy stampedes as they run out of control. Presumably, that would make their funders nervous and possibly put their larger business interests at risk.
Another new media “oligarch,” Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has shied away from reining in “the neocons who brought us the Iraq War.” He has left neocons like Fred Hiatt and Jackson Diehl in charge of the opinion section of Official Washington’s hometown newspaper. Their positions on Syria and Ukraine have been predictable.
And, of course, other mainstream outlets – like the New York Times, the Daily Beast and the major TV networks – have completely fallen into line behind the conventional wisdom. Most coverage of the Syrian civil war and the Ukraine crisis couldn’t have been more submissive to the U.S. government’s propaganda themes if the stories had been written by Radio Liberty or the CIA.
Anyone looking for journalistic skepticism about the mainstream U.S. narrative on these touchy issues has had to seek out Internet sites like Consortiumnews.com which relies on mostly small donations from readers.
But the broader problem is the debilitating impact on democracy when the political/media process takes on the form of some super-hero movie in which super-human combatants do battle – crashing from building to building – while the regular humans mostly watch as powerless spectators as the chaos unfolds.
The Ukraine Mess
In Ukraine’s case, this process was telescoped in time because of the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, which was followed by the triumphal intervention of Western “free-market” advisers who descended on Kiev – as well as Moscow – with self-confident prescriptions of privatization and deregulation.
Very quickly, well-connected operatives were scoring mind-boggling deals as they gained control of lucrative industries and valuable resources at bargain-basement prices. Billionaires were made overnight even as much of the population descended to near starvation levels of poverty and despair.
In Russia, strong-willed nationalist Vladimir Putin emerged to put some brakes on this process, banishing some oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky into exile and jailing others like Mikhail Khordorkovsky. However, in Ukraine, the oligarchs continued buying politicians and finally created a crisis of confidence in government itself.
Though public resentment of political corruption was a driving force in the large protests that set the stage for the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, the manipulation of that popular anger may end up impoverishing Ukrainians even more by entrenching oligarchic control even further.
Not only has the Washington-based International Monetary Fund moved to impose “macroeconomic reforms” that will slash spending on Ukraine’s already scant social programs, but “oligarchs” are moving to take direct control of the government.
For instance, the coup regime in Kiev appointed billionaire steel magnate Serhiy Taruta as governor of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine where many ethnic Russians live. Taruta quickly moved to suppress pro-Russian sentiment.
As part of the crackdown, the Kiev regime arrested Pavel Gubarev, who had called himself the “people’s governor.” Mikhail Dobkin, a pro-Yanukovych former regional governor who indicated he would seek the presidency, was arrested on sedition charges.
Governor Taruta also has called for some of the IMF’s more draconian demands to be put off until after political resistance to the new order in Kiev has faded.
“People are concerned with one thing,” Taruta told the Washington Post in a flattering story about his leadership. “If we show we can provide help and support, we will calm the situation down. Three to four months from now is the time to talk about financial reform in Ukraine.”
That would mean delaying the harshest elements of the IMF plan until after the scheduled presidential election on May 25, meaning that the voters will have already gone to the polls before they get a taste of what’s in store for them. By then, they may have another billionaire industrialist, Petro Poroshenko, as their new president. He is now the leading candidate.
According to Forbes magazine, there are now about 1,600 billionaires in the world, worth a total of around $6.6 trillion. The writing seems to be scribbled on the walls of Ukraine as well as the United States and around the globe that we are entering the Age of the Oligarchs.
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Subject: What I’m doing in Borneo
Hello dear friends,I wanted to share with you a bit about my visit to Borneo, where I stayed with the Dayak Benuaq tribe, whose rainforest is being bulldozed by palm oil companies. I was so moved by their unshakable commitment to the forest that I started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds for them to hold a traditional 64-day vow ceremony to restore balance to the forest and community.
I will be returning to Borneo soon so I can be on the ground there as a bridge builder between supporters and the tribe. This is a big cross-cultural experiment in friendship and connectedness. I hope you’ll have a look and see if it leaves you inspired!
I’ve called the campaign, A Borneo Tribe is losing their forest. What would love do? click here to read >
Here is the short video that goes with it, if you’d like a quick introduction:
I’d love to hear your take on it, and if you find it thought-provoking, please pass it on to friends who might be receptive. With the help of my friend and collaborator, Tesa Silvestre, we already have a small but enthusiastic circle of supporters who are interested in really bringing this to the world. It’s exciting — especially for a semi-hermit like me! If you are moved to participate, let me know, and if you don’t have much time, it would be such a great help for you simply to pass this on. It is an unusual offering, best shared friend to friend.
For those who haven’t heard about how my work in Borneo came to be, I recently posted an essay on my blog with the same title as the campaign. It recounts the feeling that spurred this journey, and the wonderful people I met along the way. click here to read >
I will be interviewed for two radio shows and a live talk next week about all of this, and will let you know when I have the air times. They will be recorded, in case you miss them but want to listen in later.
Thanks for reading. Would love to hear from you on all of this! It’s all very dear to my heart.
News Links, April 6-7, 2014
Brussels Says “No” to France Proposal for Deficit Target Leniency
Five signs that the global economic recovery may be an illusion
Australia’s House Prices ‘Flashing Red’, Debt to Income at Record Level
## Airline Death Spiral ##
Mexico flagship airline Mexicana declared bankrupt
## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Hagel: US strongly committed to protecting Japan
US sending 2 warships to Japan to counter NKorea
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.
Boeing To Sell Parts to Iran; Are Airplanes Next?
GE says U.S. approved overhaul of 18 aircraft engines for Iran
A majority of South Koreans distrust the rich and disapprove of the way they think many of the country’s wealthy accumulated their fortunes, according to a new survey.
Central African Republic is in a ‘state of anarchy’ according to UN Secretary General, with French and African peacekeeping soldiers in need of further assistance
Pitched battles flare at Brussels austerity protest
Ukraine in emergency talks with EU neighbours on gas imports
## Got food? ##
Newbie Urban Gardeners May Not Be Aware Of Soil’s Dirty Legacy
Inflation Watch: Global Food Disruptions, Commodity Prices Soar
Uncontacted Tribes Die Instantly After We Meet Them
The Director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance of the United States Department of the Interior sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the Department of Commerce that addresses the Interior Department’s concern that cell tower radiation has had negative impacts on the health of migratory birds and other wildlife.
A block of flats has been built in Zurich for people who claim to suffer from hypersensitivity to chemicals and electromagnetic radiation
Scientists develop dissolvable electronics
## Japan ##
The total cost of building and refurbishing venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will likely more than double to ¥380 billion, according to an estimate by the Tokyo metropolitan government, which will shoulder the cost. The amount has ballooned from the initial estimate at the time of its bid to host the 2020 Games.
Japan Orders Strike Against Any North Korean Missile Deemed a Threat
Japan could exercise the right of collective self-defense “on the other side of the globe” if national security required it, said Shigeru Ishiba, the Liberal Democratic Party’s No. 2 official.
In the four months since passage of the contentious state secrets protection law, 108 local assemblies have submitted written opinions to the central government and Diet calling for its abolition.## China ##
Soaring Chinese Gold Demand And Its Geopolitical Strategy
Research shows that 57 per cent of all those who live in poverty live in the suburbs of England and Wales. There are significant socio-economic features in the suburbs which have been largely ignored.
Supermarkets back in the dock over 15m tons of annual food waste
David Willetts, the Universities Minister, tells Labour’s Liam Byrne that the government expects 60 per cent of students’ loans will never be fully repaid, costing taxpayers billions of pounds
Five signs the London property bubble is reaching unsustainable proportions
Zillow Study Shows 1 in 3 Homes are Unaffordable, Meanwhile Vacation Home Sales Soar
This Chart Is A True Picture of How QE “Solved” The Unemployment Crisis In America
Once upon a time, a summer spent scooping ice cream could pay for a year of college. Today, the average student’s annual tuition is equivalent to 991 hours behind the counter.