Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yemen: US pressuring Saudi Arabia to stop bombing? Much more!

Just a quick round up-
There sure seems to be lots of action taking place, let's catch up with some of it:

1-U.S. pressures Saudi Arabia to stop bombing Iran-backed rebels in Yemen

That is farcical. Stop providing logistics and refuelling and the bombing will soon stop
"While Pentagon officials have said they are still backing the now month-old Saudi bombing campaign against on Houthi rebel targets in Yemen, the White House is increasingly signaling a desire for the campaign to come to an end.
“There is no military solution to the crisis in Yemen, and the humanitarian situation will only worsen if the conflict continues,” President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice said on Wednesday night.
Speaking before the Arab American Institute’s Annual Kahlil Gibran Gala in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Rice said the administration is “working with all parties to end the violence so that U.N.-led political negotiations can resume promptly and humanitarian access can be restored.”
 2- Iranian warships at entrance to key strait?
"Two Iranian destroyers, sent to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships, have reached the entrance of Bab el-Mandab, a strategic strait between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran's navy said Thursday.

In another sign of tensions between Gulf rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the Saudi charge d'affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran to hear a "strong protest" over Saudi military action which prevented an Iranian plane from landing in Sanaa.

"We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates," said the head of the Iranian navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

The navy has sent the Alborz and Bushehr destroyers to patrol the entrance to the strait, he added"

3-Saudi led coalitions air drops weapons

"The Saudi-led coalition aircrafts airdropped arms and weapons in the city of Taiz, west of the country to support the Popular Resistance. Popular Resistance  have been involved in fierce clashes with the Houthis and forces loyal to the Ex President Ali Abdulla Saleh for weeks. Sources from the Popular Resistance said that the arms dropped by the coalition would  change the course of the fighting. Although the type of weapons haven’t been publicly announced local sources said that the arms included night-vision snipers, communication devices, and anti- tank weapons.  The weapons were mainly dropped in areas controlled by the Popular Resistance, however, local military sources said that some arms fell in the hands of Houthi forces, while others  were taken by civilians that refused to hand them to the Popular Resistance.

Earlier the Popular Resistance managed to regain control over several strategic locations north of the city. Residents said that violent clashes are still ongoing and that Houthi forces continue to bomb areas including Masbah, Al Rawdha, Al Hassab, and the Central Market with heavy artillery. Witnesses reported casualties among civilians living in these areas, and  locals also reported that troops from the Republican Guards and Special Forced (formerly know as Central Security forces) carried out night attacks on civilians who cooperated with the Popular Resistance and forces belonging to the 35th Armored Brigade"
 Is this a weapons drop to Al Quaeda of Yemen or the Green Berets in Yemen? Seems to be much confusion on the ground right about now........

4- Saudi-led coalition destroys Yemen runway after Iran defies blockade

Coalition warplanes destroyed the runway at Sanaa’s rebel-held airport Tuesday after an Iranian plane “defied” a blockade on Yemeni airspace, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led alliance said.
Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri said the pilot of the Iranian plane dismissed the coalition’s warnings not to fly in to Sanaa airport after entering through an unauthorised route.
“This forced air forces to destroy the runway at Sanaa airport to prevent him from landing” and forced him to turn back to Iran, he told Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-funded television network.
Planes flying to the Yemeni capital must pass through Saudi Arabia’s Bisha Domestic Airport in the south which is assigned with the duty to “search any plane going to Sanaa”, said Assiri.
A Sanaa airport official told AFP that coalition warplanes had bombed Sanaa airport in the afternoon after three planes carrying aid landed at the facility on Tuesday morning.
Assiri confirmed that planes bringing aid from Doctors Without Borders, the International Migration Organisation, and other humanitarian groups had landed in Sanaa on Tuesday.
However, with the runway now destroyed, planes carrying aid would be unable to land until it is repaired by Iran-backed Shia rebels who control the airport, as well as the capital.

5-More on the Iranian Plane and Saudi bombing of the runway afterwards

Slightly different version:

On Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said it had prevented an Iranian commercial plane from landing in Sana’a airport.
Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri told Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone that the plane had been given permission to land but had missed a deadline specified to enter Yemeni airspace.
The plane’s pilot had not answered calls from air traffic control in Jeddah to land in Bisha Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, so that the plane could be searched, which Asiri said was a routine measure following the coalition’s enforcement of a blockade over Yemeni airspace. Asiri added that the Iranian plane had agreed to follow the measures prior to heading into Yemeni airspace.
After bypassing the agreed-upon route, the plane headed straight for Sana’a, which resulted in coalition warplanes scrambling to track the aircraft. When the pilots did not respond to additional calls from coalition’s warplanes to follow procedure, the coalition’s planes bombed Sana’a airport’s runway to prevent the Iranian plane from landing.
The pilot of the Iranian plane was then informed the runway had been targeted and promptly changed course, heading toward Omani airspace.

Scary times. Scary times- I will update asap


6-Gulf rejects neutral Yemen talks as air raids continue

 Riyadh--Gulf foreign ministers on Thursday rejected holding on neutral ground talks between rival political forces in Yemen, where Iran-backed Huthi rebels have defied air strikes and refused to give ground.
They insisted after a meeting in Riyadh that the talks be held in Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab coalition that has been bombing the Shiite rebels since late March.
Iran has proposed holding United Nations talks on ending the war in Yemen at a neutral venue, excluding all countries from the coalition.
But in a statement after talks at a Riyadh airbase the six Gulf Cooperation Council states "affirmed their support to intensive efforts by the legitimate Yemeni government to hold a conference under the umbrella of the GCC secretariat in Riyadh."
The conference would be attended by "all Yemeni parties and components supporting legitimacy as well as Yemen's security and stability," said GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani.

Don't miss from earlier today!!!!!

Top Ten Oil Reserves, Globally. Canada comes in 3rd!

What happens to Humanity when the Internet is in Everything. Everywhere. Always??

Top Ten Oil Reserves, Globally. Canada comes in 3rd!

South American nation Venezuela tops the list, followed closely by Saudi Arabia.

And, CANADA, the Saudi Arabia of North America comes in at number 3
Think I'm kidding with the comparison. Certainly, I am not! Canada is Saudi Arabia in more ways then just oil inventory. Bad governance. Largely impoverished populace thanks to plunder by elites within and outside of the country.
Just like Saudi Arabia Canada’s populace gets no benefit from the nations resource wealth.
Unlike Norway. Or Libya did, until NATO’s destruction and plunder of that nation.
Sadly most Canadians are unaware of how we are being stolen from. But then our leaders like it just that way!

Here are the top countries with the biggest proven oil reserves, as reported by EIA.
1. Venezuela
Proven oil reserves in 2013 (billion barrels): 297.6
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2,489.2

Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia last year to become the holder of the largest oil reserves in the world. However, annual oil production of the OPEC supplier is considerably less than the Kingdom.
2. Saudi Arabia
Proven oil reserves (billion barrels): 267.91
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 11,545.7

Saudi Arabia has almost one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves and ranks as the largest producer and exporter of oil in the world.
3. Canada
Proven oil reserves: 173.105
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 3,854.4

Canada’s oil sands are a significant contributor to the recent growth in the world’s liquid fuel supply and comprise the vast majority of the country’s proven oil reserves.
4. Iran
Proven oil reserves: 154.58
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 3,538.4

International sanctions have drastically impacted Iran’s energy sector – the country’s oil production fell dramatically in 2012, from over 35 million barrels per day in 2011 to just over 3.5 million bpd in 2012.
5. Iraq
Proven oil reserves: 141.35
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2,986.6

Despite having large proven oil reserves, increases in oil production have fallen behind ambitious targets because of infrastructure constraints and political disputes, says EIA.
6. Kuwait
Proven oil reserves: 104
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2,796.8

Kuwait boasts the second largest oil reserves in the GCC, behind Saudi Arabia and is also among the world’s top 10 largest exporters of total oil products.
7. United Arab Emirates
Proven oil reserves: 97.8
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 3,213.2

Enhanced oil recovery techniques continue to underpin strong crude oil production totals and are an important strategy for extending the life of the country’s aging oil fields, states EIA.
8. Russia
Proven oil reserves: 80
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 10,397

Russia, which also holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves and the second-largest coal reserves, is the second biggest oil supplier in the world after Saudi Arabia.
9. Libya
Proven oil reserves: 48.01
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 1,483

The holder of Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, Libya saw a disruption in oil production in 2011 due to conflict, but the country has recovered, and subsequently, has begun to increase supplies.
10. Nigeria
Proven oil reserves: 37.2
Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2,524.1

Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources are the mainstay of the country’s economy, but EIA states that development of the sector is often constrained by instability in the Niger Delta.

Please don't miss this earlier post!

What happens to Humanity when the Internet is in Everything. Everywhere. Always??

What happens to Humanity when the Internet is in Everything. Everywhere. Always??

Before you read this article- Let's pause and reflect on a few facts:

- Don’t count on any government to act in YOUR best interest.
-No one will save you, but you and each of us doing our part as individuals cooperating collectively to maintain our privacy and our human dignity.
-Because interested parties want these all intrusive devices to proliferate to the point where we don’t have a second of privacy over out entire life time, doesn’t mean it has to happen- We can reject out of hand- that which does not serve our individual human interests
-In my opinion this level of intrusiveness serves us in no way, shape or form. The purpose of this technology is to control the human inhabitants of the global farm and generate profit along the way.
 - If you see yourself as an individual that should be controlled from birth to death then please go along to get along
- However, if you see yourself as a noble, free human with a will of your own and a mind to make your own choices then the time has come to reject your enslavement. (And you are free with a will of your own, that much is obvious, or the elites wouldn't work so hard to manipulate you)

That all said this links us back to the technocracy mentioned the other day- Personally, the information in this article, just creeped me out completely.  I shudder.
This week Google’s Eric Schmidt was on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he suggested that the future Internet will be, in one sense, invisible — because it will be embedded into everything we interact with.

“The Internet will disappear,” he predicted (via The Hollywood Reporter). “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time.

“Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”
This is not an especially outlandish forecast, given the trajectory of connected devices. Analyst Gartner calculated there were some 3.8 billion such ‘smart objects’ in use last year, and forecast 4.9 billion this — rising to 25 billion in circulation by 2020. (The global human population was estimated at around seven billion, at the last count.) In other words the sensornet is here, it’s just not densely (or evenly) distributed yet.
Google already owns Nest, a maker of connected devices for the home, such as a smoke alarm and learning thermostat. Google-Nest also owns Dropcam, a Wi-Fi security camera maker. Mountain View is clearly making a bid to be the nexus of the ‘connected home’ — which, along with the ‘connected car’ (of course Google is also building driverless, Internet-tethered cars), is the early locus for the sensornet. See also: wearables (‘connected people’), and the fact smartphones are gaining additional embedded sensors, turning our pervasive pocket computers into increasingly sensory mobile data nodes
One of Davos’ more outlandish (perhaps) predictions for our increasingly connected future came from a group of Harvard professors who apparently sketched a scenario where mosquito sized-robots buzz around stealing samples of our DNA, as reported by Mail Online. “Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible,” computer science professor Margo Seltzer is quoted as saying. “How we conventionally think of privacy is dead.”
Technology is neither good nor bad, it is a tool,” she said. “However, hammers are tools too. They are wonderful for pounding in nails. That doesn’t mean that someone can’t pick up a hammer and use it to commit murder. We have laws that say you shouldn’t murder; we don’t specialize the laws to call out hammers. Similarly, the laws surrounding privacy need to be laws about data and usage, not about the technology.
Since we can't rely on those that we allow to lead us to enact appropriate 'laws' to protect our privacy  nor should we because this will be illusory at best, it is up to each of us to act in our own interests!

With your permission?
What especially stands out to me from Schmidt’s comments at Davos is his afterthought caveat — that this invisible, reactive, all-pervasive future sensor net will be pulling its invisible strings with your permission.

Perhaps he was paying lip-service to the warning of the FTC’s Chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, at CES earlier this month that building connected objects — the long discussed ‘Internet of Things’ — demands a new responsibility from businesses and startups to bake security and privacy protections into their products right from the get go.
“[The Internet of Things] has the potential to provide enormous benefits for consumers, but it also has significant privacy and security implications,” she warned. “Connected devices that provide increased convenience and improve health services are also collecting, transmitting, storing, and often sharing vast amounts of consumer data, some of it highly personal, thereby creating a number of privacy risks.”
The only way to guarantee vast quantities of your private information, data and all those personal details of your life remain private is to reject the technology out of hand- And tell everyone you will reject it outright. Send that message loud and clear.
Ramirez said that without businesses adopting security by design; engaging in data minimization rather than logging everything they can; and being transparent about the data they are collecting — and who else they want to share it with — by providing notifications and opt outs to users; then the risks to users’ privacy and security are enormous.
The problem with those well-meaning words from a consumer watchdog organization is that we are already struggling to achieve such rigorous privacy standards on the current Internet — let alone on a distributed sensornet where there’s no single, controllable entry point into our lives. The Internet and the mobile Internet can still be switched off, in extremis, by the user turning off their router and/or powering their phone down (and putting it in the fridge if you’re really paranoid, post-Snowden).

But once a distributed sensornet has achieved a certain penetration tipping point, into the objects with which we humans are surrounded, well then the sheer number of devices involved is going to take away our ability to trivially pull the plug. Unless some kind of regulatory layer is also erected to provide a framework for usage that works in the interests of privacy and consumer control.
Without such consumer-oriented controls embedded into this embedded Internet, the user effectively loses the ability to take themselves offline, given that the most basic level of computing control — the on/off switch — is being subducted beneath the grand, over-arching utility of an all-seeing, always on sensornet. (Battery life constraints, in this context, might be viewed as a privacy safeguard, although low power connectivity technologies, such as Bluetooth Low Energy, work to circumvent that limit.)
In parallel, a well-distributed Internet of Things likely demands greater levels of device automation and autonomy, given the inexorable gains in complexity generated by a dense network of networked objects. And because of the sheer number of connected devices. And more automation again risks reducing user control.

Connected objects will be gathering environmental intelligence, talking to each other and talking to the cloud. Such a complex, interwoven web of real-time communications might well generate unique utility — as Schmidt evidently believes. But it also pulls in increased privacy concerns, given how many more data points are being connected and how all those puzzle pieces might slot together to form an ever more comprehensive, real-time representation of the actions and intentions of the people moving through this web.
Earlier generation digital technologies like email were not engineered with far-sighted privacy protections in mind. Which is why they have been open to abuse — to being co-opted as part of a military industrial surveillance complex, as the Snowden revelations have shown, offering a honeypot of metadata for government intelligence agencies to suck up. Imagine what kind of surveillance opportunities are opened up by an ‘invisible’ Internet — which is both everywhere but also perceptually nowhere, encouraging users to submit to its data-mining embrace without objection. After all how can you resist what you can’t really see or properly control?

That is exactly the Internet that Schmidt wants to build, from his position atop Google’s ad sales empire. The more intelligence on web users Google can harvest, the more data it can package up and sell to companies who want to sell you stuff. Which, for all Google’s primary-colored, doodle-festooned branding, is the steely core of its business. Mountain View has long talked about wanting search to become predictive. Why? Because marketing becomes a perfect money-pipe if corporates can channel and influence your real-time intentions. That’s the Google end game.
Learning about human intention from the stuff people type into search engines is laughably crude compared to how much can be inferred from a sensornet that joins up myriad, real-time data-dots and applies machine learning data-mining algorithms dynamically. More dots are already being joined by Google, across multiple web products and its mobile platform Android — which brings it a rich location layer. Doing even more and deeper data mining is a natural evolution of its business model. (Related: Google acquired AI firm Deep Mind last year — a maker of “general-purpose learning algorithms”)
The core reality of the Internet of Things is that a distributed network of connected objects could be deliberately engineered to catch us in its web — triangulating our comings and goings as we brush past its myriad nodes. The more connected objects surround us, the more data points wink into existence to be leveraged by the Googles of the digital world to improve the accuracy and texture of their understanding of our intentions, whether we like it or not.

So while the future Internet may appear to fade into the background, as Schmidt suggests, that might just signify a correspondingly vast depth of activity going on in the background. All the processing power required to knit together so many connections and weave a concealed map of who we are and what we do.

The risk here, clearly, is that our privacy is unpicked entirely. That an embedded ‘everywhere Internet’ becomes a highly efficient, hugely invasive machine analyzing us at every turn in order to package up every aspect of our existence as a marketing opportunity. That’s one possible future for the sensornet.

But it seems to me that that defeatist argument is also part of the spinning which vested interests like Google, whose business models stand to benefit massively, engage in when they discuss the digital future that they are trying to shape. Technology is a tool. Diverse applications are possible. And just because technology makes something possible does not also mean it is inevitable.
That's right- Possible, but, not inevitable- The choice is ours, now. For future generations.
As Seltzer says, we need to be thinking about how we want the data to flow or not flow, rather than throwing our hands up in horror or defeat. What is also clearly necessary — indeed, I would argue, is imperative — is joined up thinking from regulators to comprehend the scope of the privacy risks posed by increasingly dense networks of networked objects, and how the accumulation of data-points can collectively erode consumer privacy. A clear-sighted strategy for ensuring end users can comprehend and control the processing of their personal data is paramount.

Without that, the risk for startup businesses playing in this space is that the rise of more and more connected devices will be mirrored by a parallel rise in human mistrust of increasingly invasive products and services.

In the hyper personal realm of the Internet of Things, user trust is paramount. So building a framework to regulate the data flows of connected devices now, while the sensornet is still in its infancy, is imperative for everyone involved.

In the offline world we have cars and roads. We also have speed limits — for a reason. The key imperative for regulators now, as we are propelled towards a more densely-packed universe of connected devices, is coming up with the sensornet’s speed limits. And fast.
 Regulators can't be trusted to act in our best interests- they haven't thus far. No reason to think they suddenly will- It's up to us. You. Me. We.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iran Seizes Cargo Ship? What was it doing so far from the beaten path?

Trying to figure out what's going on here?
Quoting from two articles:

IBT and  RT

-A cargo ship has been seized by Iranian naval forces and taken to the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, on the Strait of Hormuz, a tweet Tuesday from the Saudi Arabian-owned Al Arabiya news website

This whole narrative originates with Saudi Arabia.

- While it's not yet clear where the ship was intercepted, a live feed on ship tracking site shows one ship with the Marshall Islands' flag, the Maersk Tigris, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The ship was on its way from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the website reported. The Pentagon has confirmed that the ship seized by Iran is the Maersk Tigris. 

Clearly the ship was in Iranian territorial waters. The question is why?

-"The master was contacted and directed to proceed further into Iranian territorial waters. He declined and one of the IRGCN craft fired shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris," said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, referring to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. "The master complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island."

The ship was already in Iranian waters- the ship master was contacted and told to proceed further into the water, likely for inspection- The ship master declined and shots were fired across the bridge, at which point the master decided to comply- Why did this ship enter Iranian waters at all?

 -After the shots were fired the Tigris issued a distress call and the USS Farragut, a destroyer, was deployed to investigate. It's not yet clear what the destroyer may do when it reaches the area.

-While the ship does not belong to a company from the United States, the fact that it is registered in the Marshall Islands is politically important to the U.S. A little-known treaty between the two states makes the U.S. responsible for the Pacific island nation's defenses.

-"The government of the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense matters in or relating to the Republic of the Marshall Islands," states the Compact of Free Association signed in 2003 between the two.

Still wondering why the ship went off it's course?

RT has an image, that can't be placed here- which really makes one wonder how this ship got soooo of course.... Unless?

Testing the waters?
A way to boost oil prices?- Oil up after Iran seizes cargo ship; weak dollar supports

From earlier today, more important, the impending push back from the petro chemical corporations regarding their abominations known as GMO's

The "Science" of being anti- GMO? Scientism as Religion- Chemical Manipulation of Humanity!

The "Science" of being anti- GMO? Scientism as Religion- Chemical Manipulation of Humanity!

Why am I posting this so called ‘science’ article? From ‘science daily’
After reading this I asked myself two questions
Is this science?
Or is this Scientism? Keep in mind that I am NO fan of "isms"
Scientism defined:
 “Scientism is a matter of putting too high a value on natural science in comparison with other branches of learning or culture.”
Science and a presentation of it as infallible, moral and all knowing, is religion.
Scientism abounds in recent times- and this article is Scientism at it's most blatant. The Science Daily piece tells us that philosophers and plant biotechnologists, using cognitive science, will explain to us all why we foolishly oppose GMO’s?

The conclusion????- Basically it’s because we are irrational and ignorant. Relying on something innate in humankind- Intuitive knowledge- which the religion of scientism rejects.

What science is necessary to come up with this type of conclusion? None.
This is straight up public relations.
 The article is entirely based on an appeal to authority. The authority of the new religion
“Scientism” The key sentence is right here-
"Scientists aren't generally involved with the public understanding of GMOs, not to mention the science of GMOs is highly counterintuitive and therefore difficult to convey to a lay audience--so they have been at a disadvantage form the start."
So, what we will likely be witnessing in the very near future is  positive presentation/spin for GMO’s via the scientist as God, talking down to us all, as if we are ignorant, uneducated dregs needing to be told by an authority figure that GMO’s are great for us.

In plain language what we will be soon exposed to is a hard sell. Using straight up, ordinary public relations, logical fallacies and all sorts of ad hominem garbage to erode our confidence in ourselves. To belittle our intuition-  which is an innate knowledge- that informs us of danger etc., This innate knowledge appears to be informing humanity, globally, that there is something very wrong with GMO’s. There is nothing wrong with that global human intuition. It’s is quite likely a mode of discernment humans developed through the ages for dam good reason. There is a very sensible and logical reason for us having that feeling of concern or danger when it comes to GMO's. I'm going to explain that directly below-

Before you read this pseudo science article-

  I’m going to give you all one reason that GMO’s should be rejected outright.-  There are of course a multitude of reasons to reject these abominations, but, one stands out in my mind as being of the utmost importance. Unsurprisingly, that reason is not mentioned in this article.

Food belongs to mankind!!!  -It always has. It always should. Food, healthy clean food is the birthright of mankind (Birthright- a natural or moral right, possessed by everyone of humanity) 

Saving seed, sowing seed and harvesting the production of the seed via the  partnership between the planet & humanity is an absolute human right.

The creation of GMO’s takes that birthright away from us all- It denies us all access to that which developed alongside us through time- GMO’s gives control of our planetary legacy to a big multinational corporation, for their profit. This denial of what is rightfully ours leaves humanity enslaved to the whims of a corporate entity that has just one purpose: Profit.

That one reason, stands alone, as reason enough to reject GMO's outright.
The article masquerading as science, that is not: Psychology of the appeal of being anti-GMO
A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. In a paper published April 10 in Trends in Plant Science, they argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form opinions on GMOs on a case-by-case basis, thereby not focusing on the technology but on the resulting product.
"The popularity and typical features of the opposition to GMOs can be explained in terms of underlying cognitive processes. Anti-GMO messages strongly appeal to particular intuitions and emotions," says lead author Stefaan Blancke, a philosopher with the Ghent University Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences. "Negative representations of GMOs--for instance, like claims that GMOs cause diseases and contaminate the environment--tap into our feelings of disgust and this sticks to the mind. These emotions are very difficult to counter, in particular because the science of GMOs is complex to communicate.
Examples of anti-GMO sentiment are present around the world --from the suspension of an approved genetically modified eggplant in India to the strict regulations on GM crops in Europe. Contributing to this public opposition, the researchers suspect, is a lack of scientific understanding of genetics (not even half of the respondents in a US survey rejected the claim that a fish gene introduced into a tomato would give it a fishy taste) as well as moral objections to scientists "playing God.
"Anti-GMO arguments tap into our intuitions that all organisms have an unobservable immutable core, an essence, and that things in the natural world exist or happen for a purpose," Blancke explains "This reasoning of course conflicts with evolutionary theory--the idea that in evolution one species can change into another. It also makes us very susceptible to the idea that nature is a force that has a purpose or even intentions that we shouldn't' meddle with."
While religious beliefs, particularly those that hold a romantic view of nature, have been accused of generating some of the negativity around GMOs, Blancke and his co-authors argue that there's more to the story. Using ideas from the cognitive sciences, evolutionary psychology, and cultural attraction theory, they propose that it is more a matter of messages competing for attention--in which environmental groups are simply much better at influencing people's gut feelings about GMOs than the scientific community.
"For a very long time people have only been hearing one side," Blancke says. "Scientists aren't generally involved with the public understanding of GMOs, not to mention the science of GMOs is highly counterintuitive and therefore difficult to convey to a lay audience--so they have been at a disadvantage form the start."
The researchers believe that understanding why people are against GMOs is the first step toward identifying ways to counteract negative messages. Blancke and co-author Geert De Jaeger, a plant biotechnologist, started in their community by developing a public lecture to dispel myths about GMOs. They urge others to build science education programs that can help balance out anti-GMO campaigns.

"We want to bring the two sides more together," Blancke says. "You cannot say every GMO is bad. You have to look at each case separately to make a judgement."
When the hard sell comes and it will, don't buy into it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Patrick Wood- Technocracy Rising

 H/T Henrik and Red Ice Radio

 A very worthwhile listen! Take the time, please.

Patrick Wood is an author and lecturer who has studied elite globalization policies since the late 1970's, when he partnered with the late Antony C. Sutton to coauthor Trilaterals Over Washington. Patrick is with us to introduce his latest book, Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation. This follow-up to his works on the Trilateral Commission details how the organization quietly adopted a modified version of historic technocracy to craft a movement it called a “New International Economic Order.” Patrick outlines where the technocracy movement took root, and how this ideology ended up producing programs such as Sustainable Development, Agenda 21, Green Economy and Smart Growth. He defines the technocratic economic system that was born during the 1930’s Great Depression, designed to replace capitalism’s price based system with an energy based system and currency. We discuss the philosophy at the heart of technocracy, envisaging how this “rule by experts” becomes problematic when a few select people take over a movement and manipulate it for their best interests. 

If you are interested in a more extensive interview?

Caravan to Midnight

Skip the 13 minute intro and you're there!- I'm listening now..........

An example of the technocracy in planning-

"GM Canada is hiring an additional 100 software and controls engineers for its Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ont., which will have a new focus on the "connected car" and green technologies"
Connected = Controlled
  "Plans to make the centre an innovation hub for the "connected car," including wireless systems that will help drivers navigate, avoid traffic jams and improve gas mileage as well as provide entertainment options"

This 'connected' car will clearly be the non human driver car, or there would not be entertainment options. When technology no longer serves my interest. I'm no longer interested in the technology.

So, there it is, unless you as a human are ok, with kettling & herding along with the inevitable human factory farming..... it's time to take a stand. Or be rolled right on over.

Another Israeli strike on Syria? Right at the border against "Terrorists"

I had doubts about the first one-  But this one, which Israel admits too... I DO NOT believe this news, as presented, at all!

 Israel controls this border area with the Golan heights. Only their militants get in and out.
One reason this story may have appeared in the media is so Israel can claim there is a threat at their border- When there has never been a threat at their border!
So many people, including myself have pointed out the obvious collusion between Israel and their Islamic allies- That Israel needed something to happen to cover for it's malfeasance and shore up it's victim narrative was plainly obvious and inevitable

Israel reported no casualties counts for their alleged airstrike. The narrative and body count is bolstered, conveniently, by the the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - But SOHR claims Syrian soldiers were killed. If it was Syrian soldiers then it was not on Israel's side of the border. Israel's admission to making this strike- their failure to provide a casualty count, when they should have been able to- Along with SOHR playing it's role. Adds up to a narrative fail
We don't even know how the missile was fired! By air or by land?
Then Netanyahu hits social media to shore up the bullshit!?

The military said it carried out the strike after troops saw "a group of armed terrorists" approach the border with an explosive intended to target Israeli troops. It said that Israeli aircraft "targeted the squad, preventing the attack."
It did not offer any casualty figure for the strike. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four Syrian soldiers were killed by a missile fired from Israeli-occupied territory in the Golan. Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said it was not clear whether the missile was fired by a plane or from a vehicle.
Can't even get the lies straight?
On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent messages commending the soldiers involved in the strike.

Israeli soldiers patrol the Golan Heights after airstrikes killed militants allegedly trying to plant a bomb.
CNN  Israeli airstrikes target alleged militants on border

 This is the image the media runs with after Israel allegedly bombed via air or land, not sure, militants with explosives?

The strikes, that may not have took place at all, are alleged to have happened on the Israeli side of the border?

The Israel Defense Forces said the airstrikes were carried out in the occupied Golan Heights against four militants who crossed into the area from Syria.

Bloomberg- Israel Kills Armed Militants From Syria in Strike on Golan
Same image showing nothing of substance- same story

Oddly enough this morning there were reports questioning the previous airstrike also?

Mentioned here:  Syria-New Israeli Airstrikes? Syrian Opposition genuflects to Israel & Angelina Jolie Performs

The latest?  Doubts cast over Israeli airstrike against Hezbollah in Syria

So, did Israel actually launch a strike?  Who, if anyone at all, was killed? Is this an entirely contrived narrative? Just what is fact and what is fiction in these multiple conflicting narratives? The first casualty of war is always truth. If anyone can fill in some blanks, please do?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ISIS “We’ve Arrived” in Yemen & threaten the Houthis

I do wonder if the US and company can accidentally, more then once, drop them weapons?
Perhaps Israel can accidentally drop weapons also?

The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threating to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.
Like most Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) videos, the 9-minute-long clip was professionally shot and edited - with CGs and catchy background music.
Of course, it's professionally shot and edited! 

I feel a flashback coming on...ISIS: Online Campaigns/Slick Productions and Western Connections!

It showed around two dozen IS fighters in full military gear training in the desert area, which is claimed to be located near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
The jihadist carried AK-47s, heavy machine guns and RPGs and then fired from some of their weapons.
After that, the apparent commander of the group stuck the black IS flag into the sand and pronounced that the “soldiers of the Caliphate" have arrived in Yemen to “cut the throats” of the Houthis.
"We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied," the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.
 He then addressed all able-bodied Sunni men in Yemen to join him the battle against the Houthis.

 The video was posted online on Friday, a day after a newly-announced division of the IS, the Green Brigade, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Shiite rebels.
The Green Brigade?

Not to be confused with NATO's Stay Behind group "The Red Brigades"  (facetious)
Red Brigades/Green Brigades- No matter the label- The Stay Behind/Islamist irregulars function in the same way- fulfilling the same agenda

Aldo Moro

A group that terrorized Italy and murdered Prime Minister Aldo Moro. A Prime Minister who had earned the displeasure of the NATO/Atlanticist elite psychos. Particularly one Henry Kissinger
Moro's widow, Eleonora, later said Henry Kissinger had warned her husband against his strategy. "You will pay dearly for it," he is alleged to have said.

From earlier today:

Syria-New Israeli Airstrikes? Syrian Opposition genuflects to Israel & Angelina Jolie Performs

Syria-New Israeli Airstrikes? Syrian Opposition genuflects to Israel & Angelina Jolie Performs

Breaking News: Has Israel launched multiple airstrikes in recent days?

Opposition video, uploaded to Youtube, just isn’t enough for me, so, can’t be sure- Definitely needs confirming, but, here is the reporting on this news

LA Times
Israeli warplanes (allegedly) struck military targets in Syria early Saturday, according to media reports that were not confirmed by Israeli or Syrian officials.

According to Arab media and pro-opposition sources in Syria,  the strikes (allegedly) targeted several bases belonging to Syrian missile brigades in the mountainous Qalamoun region near the Syrian-Lebanese border.

Reportedly, the targets were Syrian army brigades said to keep long-range missiles and other strategic weaponry. 

Syrian pro-opposition sources uploaded a video to Youtube depicting columns of smoke rising from what was said to be the base of a Syrian army brigade, one of many bases and other military installations in the Qalamoun area.

Also Saturday, reports emerged on Al Arabiyah that Israeli aircraft had carried out two strikes Wednesday against Hezbollah targets in the same area; one alleged target was a large weapons convoy headed for the Lebanese-based Shiite militia heavily engaged in fighting alongside Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime. Unconfirmed reports claimed three people were killed in Wednesday’s attack.

Saturday’s strike was the latest of at least seven strikes allegedly carried out by Israeli forces in Syria in the last two years. Israel’s military declined to comment on the reported strike.
Syrian Opposition Group looking forward to servitude in Israeli interests
An official from one of the main opposition groups in Syria sent a letter of congratulations to Israel for Independence Day on Thursday.

The Free Syrian Army’s Mousa Ahmed Nabhan said he hoped that next year the day would be marked at the Israeli embassy in Damascus.

Angeline Jolie performs at the UN
She is after all an actor- And a despicable human being. She is acting when she ‘cares’- 

I give this performance, along with all her others, two thumbs down!
Plus several rotten tomatoes all while throwing my popcorn at the screen! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ECB: What if Greece Issues a Parallel Currency?

 A very interesting read!
Greece should issue it's own public currency.The ECB, however, is less enamoured of the idea, for what should be the most obvious reason.  It would be a publicly issued currency outside the grasp of global private central bankers

The European Central Bank has analysed a scenario in which Greece runs out of money and starts paying civil servants with IOUs, creating a virtual second currency within the euro bloc, people with knowledge of the exercise told Reuters.
Greece is close to having to repay the International Monetary Fund about 1 billion euros in May and officials at the
 ECB are growing concerned.
Although the Greek government has repeatedly said that it wants to honour its debts, officials at the ECB are considering the possibility that it may not, in work undertaken by the so-called adverse scenarios group.
Any default by Greece would force the ECB to act and possibly restrict Greek banks’ crucial access to emergency liquidity funding. (In other words the private banksters would have to crush Greece down)

Officials fear however that such action could push cash-strapped Athens into paying civil servants in IOUs in order to avoid using up scarce euros.(But if the private banksters crush Greece, then Greece will be left with no choice but to issue a public currency)
It appears the ECB has a dilemma.  If they push Greece to repayment, Greece may issue a parallel, public currency. If the ECB restricts Greek banks and liquidity funding, Greece may issue a parallel, public currency.

«The fact is we are not seeing any progress... So we have to look at these scenarios,» said one person with knowledge of the matter.
A spokesman for the ECB said it «does not engage in speculation about how specific scenarios regarding Greece could unfold.»
One Greek government official, who declined to be named, said there was no need to examine such a scenario because Athens was optimistic it would reach a deal with its international lenders by the end of the month.
Greece has dismissed a recent report suggesting it would need to tap all its remaining cash reserves across the public sector, a total of 2 billion euros, to pay civil service wages and pensions at the end of the month.
 Plundered savings
Experts at the ECB have concluded that using IOUs to pay public sector wages would probably fail to avert a full-blown crisis and could even threaten Greece’s future in the 19-country euro zone.
Those officials believe that up to 30 percent of Greeks would end up receiving such government IOUs rather than payment in euros, which would only put further pressure on Greek banks because those workers were likely then to plunder their savings.
The private banksters appear to have a real problem on their hands?
The banks would then be forced to tap increasing amounts of emergency liquidity funding or boost their capital base.
But the banks could not use the IOUs as security for drawing down the emergency credit because the ECB would not accept them.
«The IOUs, I just don’t think it can work,» said the first person who spoke to Reuters. «That could effectively be it, they would be out (of the euro).»
Those fears were voiced by others familiar with ECB thinking.
«With a parallel currency ... you are getting to something so tailored that you are almost in Grexit,» said a second person. «It is something that is outside the institutional set-up.»
Yes, it would be outside of the private institutionalized banker set up- It would however be a return to a public currency issued without debt. As was done in Canada, not so long ago. (And it worked beautifully here)
A default by Greece could force the ECB to intervene and insist that any security offered in return for emergency funding be cut in value to reflect the country’s default status.
Greek officials insist that there is no plan for default.
However in a recent letter from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to German chancellor Angela Merkel, he said wages and pensions would have to take priority before repayment of debt if he was forced to make a choice.
The conclusions of the ECB’s ‘adverse scenario’ group is in line with the message euro zone officials have been sending to Athens for some time, namely that they should not go it alone with radical measures.
For the ECB, the introduction of a type of second currency in Greece would also hamper it in setting borrowing costs in the euro zone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cold Winter, Cool Spring-Arctic & Algonquin Ice Grows & Thickens- Ontario Cap & Trade

So far, it’s been a cool spring. In fact we are headed for a consecutive run of  below freezing temps.
- 1 C or 30 F. Heading towards the end of April... Yahoo? Not!
Thankfully the crocus have made it out.
Daffodils have yet to show their teapot/saucer blooms, though, they usually appear in March.

Here again like last year- NO leaves on the trees. Buds, yes. Leaves, no.
It’s April 21/2015. We are again about a month behind. Hopefully by May we will have leaves on the trees? No one talks about the weather being too cold. Always about the ‘warming’. The alleged man made global warming and carbon. We've had much of that talk here in Ontario as of late. I'll get to that.
Got some work done last week to prep the garden. The soil is too cold.  Too wet.
But, we are hopeful Our tomato seedlings are doing beautifully, in the house. Have I mentioned we love tomatoes? And we save our heirloom seeds from year, to year, to year? The seeds were given to us, many years ago, by a family member long gone now.

Something, noticeably different from even last year, was the lack of robins. You see turning up the soil, or over as is properly said, exposes a veritable smorgasbord of worms- And Robins are a bird that loves worms- But none came to eat the exposed wrigglers. That was a first.

american robin

It’s quite likely the cold had something to do with it.
But no one talks about the cold weather, only about the global warming.
No one that is, except for me.  The cold has been hard on the birds. Very hard on them. As has been mentioned previously here at the blog
The cold has been hard on the Robins
Nova Scotia, Canada:

Mark Elderkin, a species at risk biologist in the wildlife division of the Department of Natural Resources, believes this past season has gone on longer than ever recorded.

“Historically, we might have to go back to 1872 to find similar conditions. In February of that year 171 centimetres of snow fell,” he said.

But for 2015, “everything is later.” Winter-like weather has gone on a month longer than usual, prompting many Nova Scotians to start feeding apples to starving robins recently.
If the Robins come round to pull up worms in the garden I’ll be pleased

The Government Of Canada released new maps of the Arctic-

 These maps are going to become more crucial for big oil to drill baby drill! Big Oil needs to know ice conditions. And contrary to all the media lies- Arctic Ice is expanding and thickening.

Arctic Ice 06

Arctic Ice 2014

One can just imagine how much more ice there is after the long cold winter of 2014/2015?

Not only has the ice expanded it has gotten thicker- Nearly 10 inches thicker.

Does anyone imagine that would be happening if the Arctic was really warming?
An increased volume of Arctic sea ice has been detected in Canada

The European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled the results of their five-year CryoSat satellite mission, revealing that the Arctic floes monitored in the north have become thicker by an average of 9.8 inches, or 17 percent, compared to the thinnest winter ice the agency detected in the region in 2013.

Imaging from the satellite showed a large portion of the Beaufort Sea was covered in ice. This area registered as bare water on the map based on the results from eight years ago.
But, why are they really and truly measuring all this ice?

"This new capability goes far beyond CryoSat's original purpose, which was to collect measurements for scientific research," Professor Andy Shepherd, CPOM Director and the CryoSat's principal scientific advisor, said.
"The mission is now an essential tool for a wide range of services operating in areas of the planet where sea ice forms."

A wide range of services operating in areas of the planet where sea ice forms.....?
You all know what is operating in areas of the planet where sea ice forms, right? Of course!
British Petroleum. Royal Dutch Shell. Rosenoft. Exxon. Etc

"Scientists hope that the information gathered through the CryoSat satellite can help organizations working in the Arctic create a safer plan of operations"

Organizations- Safer plans of operation- That’s all for "BIG OIL" And oil exploration in the Arctic. As it always has been.All these oil companies engage in practices that weaken the Arctic Ice-
No warming necessary-

Perhaps the brutal cold of the past years will save the Arctic? Though it may kill plenty of wildlife in the process
Yet another  tidbit regarding the persistent cold.

Hat tip to slozo who left this earlier in the month-
I'm super late commenting here, but . . . I just got this link to the Friends of Algonquin Park (eastern Ontario for you non-Canucks).

Key phrase in the report is, it's the thickest ice depth ever recorded, since they started the records in 1964.

 Algonquin Provincial Park
"Due to another bitterly cold winter and the slow onset of warmer temperatures, ice out in Algonquin Park is anticipated to be much later than average (average is April 27). Ice thickness recently measured in the South Arm of Lake Opeongo remains at 64 centimetres (25"). Measurements have been kept since 1964 and current ice depths set a new record for this date in time.
About the park

And one last point of fact-

 Being a former greenpeace supporter, no money support anymore but still receiving their emails, it had come to my attention that there was a ‘global warming march’ being held in Quebec City- Load up them buses! No police head bashers of course, unlike the student protests, but, that's a story for another day.
Noticed the march didn’t get much coverage? Could it have been because the protest took place in mid April with snow blanketing the ground? Would too many people notice that contradiction?

Images from the Quebec City "protest" Apparently the contradictions were lost on the indoctrinated?

Ontario is set to start cap and trade-

It’s a cash grab. A way to create another wall street bubble.
A way to enrich the bankers. And the big oil monopolies. And that’s all it ever was intended to be.

Ontario's Cap & Trade Regime could raise 2 billion a year

A carbon cap-and-trade system in Canada’s most populous province is projected to raise as much as $2 billion annually, early government and third-party estimates show.
 Carbon has now been made into a commodity. Carbon will be traded. And absolutely nothing will change except you and I will be further impoverished. Because this entire "carbon" narrative is just another big lie perpetrated to further impoverish/control the people (carbon based life forms) and to enrich banks/bankers/wall street and continue propping up the oil companies. Like having taxpayer dollars used to help organizations working in the Arctic ice- you know safer plans of operation and all that.

By the Way? April blizzard takes Moscow by surprise

That's about what my tulips look like right now- without the snow, thankfully
Check out the images and read the comments

Eulex Report Exposes EU's Complete and Total Failure in Kosovo

Kosovo- Is a criminal state.

Kosovo was mentioned just the other day, here at the blog, in the post: Serbian President’s Plane takes Harrowing Plunge- US concerns about Serbian/Russian Cooperation?

You're supposed to believe the EU 'failed' to reign in the corruption.  This claim of failure is the same as the blowback meme- Hollow words. Devoid of meaning. Just spoken or written to give cover to any number of situations/outcomes that could be easily predicted & prevented had some person or group actually desired to do so.

I personally doubt the EU did anything but apply lipstick to Kosovo pig. Or to use a different metaphor- The window dressing, did exactly that which is was designed to do. Nothing.
Something that is intended to make a person or thing seem better or more attractive but that does not have any real importance or effect
When you think about Kosovo and it's many failings- Think about the future terror states of Ukraine & Kurdistan for this is their future. The one that is being written for them, by the global war/terror machine.

Eulex is the largest, costliest, and most ambitious mission ever deployed by the Union. At peak, it employed three times as many officials as the 11 other ongoing missions combined.
It was also given an unprecedented mandate: besides monitoring and advising domestic authorities, its investigators, judges, and prosecutors have the power to confront serious crime.
Unprecedented mandate. Largest and costliest, most ambitious mission- Failed
So much window dressing.........
The rationale of these choices is that political corruption, organised crime, and poor governance are so pervasive in Kosovo that they threaten the stability of the Balkans and Europe’s internal security.
In 2008, when Kosovo became independent and the EU deployed Eulex, the new state risked being captured by a largely unaccountable political-economic elite, which partly overlaps with Kosovo’s criminal elite.
To avert this outcome and to allow reform, the administration of justice in the most delicate sectors was entrusted to Eulex.
But , as I argue in a book which came out just a couple of weeks ago, the international community has failed to prevent this state capture.
Eulex’s poor performance and grave mistakes, in particular, confirmed the untouchable status of the criminal segments of Kosovo’s elite, and, thereby, indirectly assisted them in strengthening their control over the country.
In stark contrast with the line followed by most Western powers, and some analysts, Jacque’s report corroborates this analysis.
He notes that corruption remains “omnipresent” in Kosovo, adding that, while Eulex could not have been expected to root it out completely “it should, nevertheless, have been possible to lay the foundations of a system capable of fighting corruption”.
As no such foundations have been laid, Jacque, rightly, concludes the mission ought to be either reformed or withdrawn.

The need for success

His reform proposals are less persuasive, however, because his analysis largely neglects Eulex’s structural defects: a visibly irrational allocation of resources; poor internal accountability and external oversight; and weak judicial independence.
One of Jacque’s suggestions - reducing the autonomy of the prosecutors - might actually exacerbate the last problem, as it could expose them to even greater influence by Eulex management.
This was always a serious impediment to fighting high-level corruption because Eulex management is politically vulnerable to manipulation by Kosovo’s elite.
This, I suppose, is the main reason why the mission disregarded several well-documented cases of alleged corruption involving the elite (a paper accompanying my book describes the seven cases of which I have direct information).
Such vulnerability is not just due to the management’s weak accountability, but also to the West’s approach to state-building in Kosovo.
Eulex was set up to fail- It's management vulnerable to manipulation by Kosovo's elite
The political repercussions of their decisions to intervene militarily, in 1999, and then to support Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia, led those powers to be less interested in achieving real progress in the new state than in pretending that it is a state-building “success story”.
They need Kosovo to succeed, or to appear to succeed, in order to justify their past, controversial actions.
This is one important reason why Eulex - a promising and well-conceived form of intervention - achieved such unsatisfactory results.
The Jacque report is important, therefore, because it contradicts the false narrative of the “success story” and sheds some light on Kosovo’s real problems. But does its publication, admirable though it is, mark a policy shift on the part of the EU?
The credibility of the EU, Europe’s internal security, the stability of the Balkans, Kosovo’s development, and the practice of state-building would all benefit from such a shift.
Eulex certainly gave cover to the Kosovo crime state exactly as window dressing should
But does this new report signal a shift in EU policy?
I would say NO.

New teeth?

But I wonder whether Washington is ready to support it, and whether the EU can make the shift, because if Eulex is to be given real teeth, it would require a change of approach at the highest levels in Brussels and because Kosovo’s elite will fiercely resist a new Eulex mandate in order to protect its criminal interests.
Whether Eulex will be reformed or withdrawn, its overall performance over the past seven years ought to be rigorously audited.
Drawing lessons from the Kosovo precedent and holding those responsible for its failure to account are the necessary first steps to equip the EU with the capacity to deal with other weak and failing states near its borders.
If the Russian aggression ceases in Ukraine, it, like Kosovo, will require outside help to reform its political-economic system. The stakes in Ukraine are even higher and the EU can scarcely afford to repeat the mistakes which Eulex made.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oil Rich Nations Selling Off Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace

Being a bit under the weather yesterday & today, I'm just going to make a quick post while apologizing for not addressing the comments- Sorry :(
But, thanks for leaving them :)

An interesting read via Bloomberg & if anyone wants to offer up some insights, well, that would be very much appreciated! Bloomberg
In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.
Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.
If oil and other commodity prices remain depressed, the trend will cut demand for everything from European government debt to U.S. real estate as producing nations seek to fill holes in their domestic budgets.
“This is the first time in 20 years that OPEC nations will be sucking liquidity out of the market rather than adding to it through investments,” said David Spegel, head of emerging markets sovereign credit research at BNP Paribas SA in London.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is the prime example of the swiftness and magnitude of the selloff: its foreign exchange reserves fell by $20.2 billion in February, the biggest monthly drop in at least 15 years, according to data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. That’s almost double the drop after the financial crisis in early 2009, when oil prices plunged and Riyadh consumed $11.6 billion of its reserves in a single month.
The International Monetary Fund commodity index, a broad basket of natural resources from iron ore and oil to bananas and copper, fell in January to its lowest since mid-2009. Although the index has recovered a little since then, it still is down more than 40 percent from a record high set in early 2011.
 Reserves Drop
A concomitant drop in foreign reserves, revealed in data from national central banks and the IMF, is affecting nations from oil producer Oman to copper-rich Chile and cotton-growing Burkina Faso. Reserves are dropping faster than during the last commodity price plunge in 2008 and 2009.
In Angola, reserves dropped last year by $5.5 billion, the biggest annual decline since records started 20 years ago. For Nigeria, foreign reserves fell in February by $2.9 billion, the biggest monthly drop since comparable data started in 2010.
Algeria, one of the world’s top natural gas exporters, saw its funds fall by $11.6 billion in January, the largest monthly drop in a quarter of century. At that rate, it will empty the reserves in 15 months.

Sales Decline

Excluding Iran, whose sales are subject to some sanctions, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are expected to earn $380 billion selling their oil this year, according to U.S. estimates. That represents a $350 billion drop from 2014 -- the largest one-year decline in history.
“The shock for oil-rich countries is enormous,” Rabah Arezki, head of the commodities research team at the IMF in Washington, said in an interview.
Oil-rich countries will sell more than $200 billion of assets this year to bridge the gap left between high fiscal spending and low revenues, Spegel said.
To whom will the oil rich countries sell these assets?
The draw down reverses a decade-long inflow into the coffers of commodity-rich nations which helped to increase funds available for investment and boost asset prices. Bond purchases have helped to keep interest rates low.
Does this suggest the end of the recent run of impossibly low interest rates?
(At the time we purchased our home we thought the super low mortgage rate of 10 percent was a blessing, but, the rates now are  as low as less then 2% and in Canada we have a housing bubble that is set to burst!)
Generally speaking bankers prefer inflation to deflation- so higher rates to increase inflation?
Oil producers recycled a large portion of their petrodollars -- a term coined for the dollar-denominated oil trade -- by buying sovereign debt of the U.S. and other countries. As they draw down reserves, Middle East countries are likely to sell “low-yielding European assets,” George Saravelos, strategist at Deutsche Bank AG, said in a note to clients.

Potential Effects

The potential impact of the selloff has divided analysts and officials.
One argument is that petrodollars and other commodity-linked foreign reserves are not a large enough force in an ocean of investments from pension funds, asset managers, insurers and individuals to make a real impact in asset prices and overall liquidity. Plus, bond purchases by central banks involved in so-called quantitative easing mitigates the impact of sales.
The other school of thought, broadly backed by the IMF, says that petrodollars matter because they’re significant enough to turn market sentiment as flows switch direction.

Market Sentiment

The change in commodity-related foreign reserve flows will have “an impact around the margins” in global markets, said Albert Edwards, global strategist at Societe Generale SA.
The disagreement is partly due to a lack of transparency. Tracking the change in commodity-driven savings is difficult because not all countries release timely data and some don’t disclose the size of their sovereign wealth funds.
Nonetheless, available data shows foreign savings by commodity-rich nations are dropping across the board. In Chile, the world’s top copper exporter, foreign savings fell $1.9 billion in February, the biggest drop in three years.
Analysts and officials anticipate that commodity-rich countries will continue selling off foreign assets through the year.
The IMF’s Arezki said that unless they cut spending, resources-rich nations “have no choice but to draw on their financial assets when available” as oil prices are well below the fiscal break-even needed by many exporting nations. The IMF estimates that many oil countries would only balance their budgets if crude prices recover to $75 or higher.
Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said in February that the world’s largest oil exporter had enough reserves to to last for “quite some time.”
“We have learned from the past,” Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf told CNBC. “The oil market, everybody knows, goes through ups and downs and peaks and valleys.”
 I know some of you are more savvy on this topic then myself, so share some thoughts!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sales of US (and British) Arms FUEL the Arab State Wars

First a bit of a rant:

As has been said previously, if not ISIS, the western warmongering nations will simply create/conjure some other 'terror' group/enemy to justify the very actions they themselves have already planned for.

 One very strong motivation to create the conditions for near endless war is of course, the generation of profits for the military, industrial, oil, banking complex.

That obvious, goes without needing to be said, FACT, is made abundantly clear in the article below:

Sales of US arms fuels the wars of Arab states via CNBC
It's quite clear conditions are being created for a vastly larger conflict

Of course, I will highlight the interesting bits. 

 To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin's F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.
As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business
 Last week, defense industry officials told Congress that they were expecting within days a request from Arab allies fighting the Islamic State — Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt — to buy thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons, replenishing an arsenal that has been depleted over the past year.
 The United States has long put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms can sell to Arab nations, meant to ensure that Israel keeps a military advantage against its traditional adversaries in the region. But because Israel and the Arab states are now in a de facto alliance against Iran, the Obama administration has been far more willing to allow the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf, with few public objections from Israel.

Israel and the Arab state in a de facto alliance against Iran- The GCC nations and Israel have long been in a defacto alliance!
 "When you look at it, Israel's strategic calculation is a simple one," said Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The gulf countries "do not represent a meaningful threat" to Israel, he said. "They do represent a meaningful counterbalance to Iran."
The Gulf countries, like their NATO/Israeli/Sunni Kurd irregular fighters, are no threat to Israel.
They have been allied for a good long while now. All talk of Israel being surrounded by hostile neighbours, perpetually threatened and portrayed as 'victim', are total perception management claims to justify Israel's barbarity.
 The region's turmoil, and the determination of the wealthy Sunni nations to battle Shiite Iran for regional supremacy, will lead to a surge in new orders for the defense industry's latest, most high-tech hardware.
 Saudi Arabia spent more than $80 billion on weaponry last year — the most ever, and more than either France or Britain — and has become the world's fourth-largest defense market, according to figures released last week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks global military spending. The Emirates spent nearly $23 billion last year, more than three times what they spent in 2006.
Qatar, another gulf country with bulging coffers and a desire to assert its influence around the Middle East, is on a shopping spree. Last year, Qatar signed an $11 billion deal with the Pentagon to purchase Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defense systems. Now the tiny nation is hoping to make a large purchase of Boeing F-15 fighters to replace its aging fleet of French Mirage jets. Qatari officials are expected to present the Obama administration with a wish list of advanced weapons before they come to Washington next month for meetings with other gulf nations.
 The money spent on mass destruction, redirected, could ensure that not one child on this planet ever went hungry- And we're supposed to believe the psycho elites we allow to lead us, really care?!
Come on people!
American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company's chief executive, Marillyn Hewson,(I always wonder if she is related to Mr Globalist:  Paul Hewson aka Bono?) has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales' becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue
American intelligence agencies believe that the proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America's future arsenal of weapons.
 But with the balance of power in the Middle East in flux, several defense analysts said that could change. Russia is a major arms supplier to Iran, and a decision by President Vladimir V. Putin to sell an advanced air defense system to Iran could increase demand for the F-35, which is likely to have the ability to penetrate Russian-made defenses.
 "This could be the precipitating event: the emerging Sunni-Shia civil war coupled with the sale of advanced Russian air defense systems to Iran," Mr. Aboulafia said. "If anything is going to result in F-35 clearance to the gulf states, this is the combination of events."
At the same time, giving the gulf states the ability to strike Iran at a time of their choosing might be the last thing the United States wants. There are already questions about how judicious Washington's allies are in using American weaponry.
"A good number of the American arms that have been used in Yemen by the Saudis have been used against civilian populations," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, an assertion that Saudi Arabia denies.

If the US was even slightly concerned about massive civilian casualties, in any country, their arms makers would not be selling weapons. The US would not be refuelling the Saudi planes that drop the American made bombs. The US would not be supplying logistical assistance to aid the strikes with American made weapons, on civilians.

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