The American Empire in a Changing World


Saturday, December 31, 2011

“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law”

“The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.  The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

read more from the ACLU....

''Obama Signs NDAA Bill With Signing Statement Clarifying Indefinite Detention Provisions''

signed on new yrs eve with nobody paying attention.....

"After a long battle over one section of the latest National Defense Authorization Act, President Obama signed the bill into law today - but with a signing statement. The statement, which can be read in full here, clarifies why Obama signed the bill and how the controversial provisions on indefinite detention will be treated. Although Obama says in the statement that he does not agree with the entire bill, passing it is necessary to maintain the operation of our military. He also added that the indefinite detention provision (section 1021) just codifies how our military currently operates rather than changing anything, and that "my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens."

read more from ology........

''Obama signs into law tough new sanctions against Iran’s central bank, financial sector''

"U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday signed into law tough new sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank and financial sector, in a move likely to deepen acrimony between Washington and Tehran.

The measures, meant to punish the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program, were contained in a $662 billion defense bill, which officials said Obama signed despite reservations about its impact on Iran policy and detaining terror suspects."

ndaa sign into law???? more from alarabiya....

''Iran delays missile test, ready for talks on disputed nuclear program''

"Iran delayed promised long-range missile tests in the Gulf on Saturday and Tehran signalled it was ready for fresh talks on its disputed nuclear program.

Iran's state media initially reported early on Saturday that long-range missiles had been launched during naval exercises, a move that may irk the West concerned over threats by Tehran to close off a vital oil shipping route in the Gulf.

But Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi later went on the English language Press TV channel to deny the missiles had in fact been fired."

read more from montreal gazette....

''Nigeria declares state of emergency''

lots of oil in nigeria......will nato get involved?.......

read more from aljazeera....

"Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in some northern and central parts of the country that have been hit hard by violence blamed on the radical sect, Boko Haram."

"In an address to the nation on Saturday, Jonathan said he would shut any borders with other nations in those areas covered by the decree."

''Pentagon created Arab Spring over decade ago''

engdahl and escobar........telling the truth........from

''U.S. in $3.5 billion arms sale to UAE amid Iran tensions''

petrodollar recycling?....... if we are in a depression, and i believe we are, why is oil so high?.........

read more from reuters...

"The United States has signed a $3.5 billion sale of an advanced antimissile interception system to the United Arab Emirates, part of an accelerating military buildup of its friends and allies near Iran.
The deal, signed on December 25 and announced on Friday night by the U.S. Defense Department, "is an important step in improving the region's security through a regional missile defense architecture," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement."

Steve Keen: "We are in a Depression"

video from the bbc.......

lets call it what it is and deal with it........CLOSE DOWN THE BIG MONEY CENTER BANKS....

Corrupt Government: ''The corporations that occupy Congress''

read more from reuters....

"James Madison wrote disapprovingly in 1792 of “a government operating by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty” where eventually “the terror of the sword, may support a real domination of the few, under an apparent liberty of the many.”

Some of the biggest companies in the United States have been firing workers and in some cases lobbying for rules that depress wages at the very time that jobs are needed, pay is low, and the federal budget suffers from a lack of revenue.
Last month Citizens for Tax Justice and an affiliate issued “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-10″. It showed that 30 brand-name companies paid a federal income tax rate of minus 6.7 percent on $160 billion of profit from 2008 through 2010 compared to a going corporate tax rate of 35 percent. All but one of those 30 companies reported lobbying expenses in Washington."

Corporate Welfare: "Boeing Beats Lockheed to Keep $3.5B Contract"

read more from bloomberg......

"Boeing Co. (BA) beat Lockheed Martin Corp. to win a $3.48 billion, seven-year contract that lets it keep its role as the primary developer of the U.S. shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Missile Defense Agency announced the contract in a statement today. The agency oversees the Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense, which includes interceptors in Alaska and California, ground- and sea-based radar, satellites and a command and control system."

''European Banks Have $10 Trillion in Claims Against US Rivals''

read more from newsmax....

"European banks hold as much as $10 trillion in claims against their U.S. counterparts, which reflects how vulnerable the North American financial system is to Europe's debt crisis, Forbes reports, citing Princeton University research.

For two years now, the European Union has managed to prevent countries like Greece and Italy from defaulting, which could send financial shockwaves to the U.S.

The crisis, however, rages on and continues to threaten financial stability worldwide.

European banks have made direct loans to U.S. businesses but also hold U.S. money-market deposits and U.S. mortgage securities."

''The $18 Trillion Threat Of The Unregulated Shadow Banking System''

its probably more than $18 trillion....maybe the author should read zerohedge.......

read more from forbes....

"You want to worry about money you can’t see– and don’t know where it is located?    Then, worry big-time  about some $5.8 trillion of the “shadow banking”  system that are in some kind of crazy-quilt daisy chain where they are pledged by some huge unregulated hedge fund or sovereign wealth fund, and then end up as collateral being used by yet another financial dealer. There’s no central collateral clearing desk or depositary– where all of these transactions can be observed. It means long term savings can be turned into short-term transactions that are part of the counter-party web of global financial markets.

If a hedge fund can use its Treasury bills to finance various transactions, which lead to related transactions,  how are we to monitor5 the use o the $5.8 trillion– much less the whole lot of $18 trillion in the system at the end of 2010?  You can be sure this IMF study won’t be the first investigation of this phenomenon."

Friday, December 30, 2011

''At least 1,077 US Military Bases Worldwide''

Story of the Year: "The 700 Military Bases of Afghanistan"

the story is from 2010 and as our country gets deeper and deeper in debt, it is important to remember where the money is going and why...........and all we got from this war was the patriot act and NDAA OF 2011......thanks congress......happy new year from NAKEDEMPIRE

from nick the story.....HERE

"A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) tells TomDispatch that there are, at present, nearly 400 U.S. and coalition bases in Afghanistan, including camps, forward operating bases, and combat outposts.  In addition, there are at least 300 Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) bases, most of them built, maintained, or supported by the U.S.  A small number of the coalition sites are mega-bases like Kandahar Airfield, which boasts one of the busiest runways in the world, and Bagram Air Base, a former Soviet facility that received a makeover, complete with Burger King and Popeyes outlets, and now serves more than 20,000 U.S. troops, in addition to thousands of coalition forces and civilian contractors." 

an interview with the author......

''Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield an alleged heroin hotbed''

a must more from

"Toor Jan was clearly nervous when he arrived at the guesthouse in Kandahar, Afghanistan. “If my boss found out I did this, he will shoot me,” the young heroin dealer told the Georgia Straight in an interview.

Toor Jan (not his real name) described last March how he sold large amounts of heroin to Afghan translators working at two NATO bases in Kandahar who, in turn, resold the heroin to NATO soldiers."

With between 200 and 700 daily flights, the Kandahar Airfield is the world’s busiest single-runway airport. The airfield/NATO base is the size of a small city, home to 30,000 NATO troops and contractors and, until recently, headquarters of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan."

A New Economic Disorder – ''When Old Western Powers & Emerging Markets Clash: Mohamed El-Erian''

read more from economy watch...

"A new economic order is taking shape before our eyes, and it is one that includes accelerated convergence between the old Western powers and the emerging world’s major new players. But the forces driving this convergence have little to do with what generations of economists envisaged when they pointed out the inadequacy of the old order; and these forces’ implications may be equally unsettling.
For decades, many people lamented the extent to which the West dominated the globaleconomic system. From the governance of multilateral organizations to the design of financial services, the global infrastructure was seen as favoring Western interests. While there was much talk of reform, Western countries repeatedly countered serious efforts that would result in meaningful erosion of their entitlements."

Currency Wars: ''Will the dollar, euro, yen or yuan prevail in 2012?''

read more from economy watch....

"The dollar has been used as the reserve currency for years. However, with the latest yen-yuan currency accord, there has been industry speculation over the future and the role of the dollar.

Following Japan and China’s currency and trade pact, several commentaries have surfaced analyzing the currency outlook for 2012."

''Dubai’s ruler plays down fears of nuclear Iran''

rhetoric to keep oil prices up?.....

read more from arabian business....

"Dubai’s ruler has said he does not believe Iran’s nuclear push is aimed at developing an atomic weapon and said the Persian state is realistic about the consequences of a strike against Israel.
In an interview with CNN, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum implied that rhetoric over the risk of a nuclear Tehran to Israel in recent weeks had been overblown.
“What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon?” he said. “For example, will they hit Israel? How many Palestinians will die? And you think if Iran hits Israel, their cities will be safe? They will be gone the next day.”

''On 10th anniversary, euro takes blame for economy''

from ap more from alarabiya........

"Just three years ago, the euro was being praised as the can-do currency that had delivered unprecedented prosperity in Europe.

Now, it’s widely derided as a hugely flawed experiment in the wake of a debt crisis that’s threatening its very existence - an uncomfortable backdrop as the currency’s notes and coins hit their first decade in circulation on Jan. 1.

The question is: Will it get to its 11th birthday, let alone 20th? In the euro’s tumultuous short history, it has already been heralded as the ultimate mark of a peaceful, united Europe; scoffed at as a giant act of hubris by a distant political elite; and credited with giving Europe a more influential voice in the world."

Afghanistan and Herion

a must read article about the new police state in america....NEmpire

read more from american thinker...

"Today, Afghanistan provides 90+% of the world's heroin while the largest military action in the 21st Century takes place in that country; the opium poppies in many cases grow right up to the razor wire of American bases.  A de facto civil war is taking place between the government and the narcotraficantes in Mexico that has cost 36,000 lives.  Today the street prices of cocaine and heroin are at historic lows.  It would seem that the War on Drugs is truly lost and that our government simply doesn't care.  And yet over $20 Billion/year is spent on the War on Drugs; most of it on law enforcement. This seems to be a very poor return on the investment."

''The federal government's total liabilities, unfunded obligations, and commitments and contingencies grew to over $65 trillion, an increase of over $4 trillion in one year!''

happy frickin new year America.........this country is run by sociopaths!!

read more from fiscal times....

"This $65 trillion plus federal financial hole amounts to over $550,000 per household, and median household income in America is only about $50,000 a year. Importantly, this $65 trillion hole will get deeper by at least $3-$4 trillion a year absent meaningful social insurance program reforms and other transformational changes in government."

''What Happened to the Gold Standard?''

read more from texas gop vote....

Lawrence White noted, “The gold standard is not a flawless monetary system. Neither is the fiat money alternative. In light of historical evidence about the comparative magnitude of these flaws, however, the gold standard is a policy option that deserves serious consideration…A gold standard does not guarantee perfect steadiness in the growth of the money supply, but historical comparison shows that it has provided more moderate and steadier money growth in practice than the present-day alternative, politically empowering a central banking committee to determine growth in the stock of fiat money. From the perspective of limiting money growth appropriately, the gold standard is far from a crazy idea.”

''Pakistan backs Iran’s nuclear bid''

read more from the news...

"Pakistan says its relations with China attained newer heights where the two countries signed a $1.6 billion Currency Swap Agreement, renewed the Five-Year Economic and Trade Cooperation Plan involving projects worth $14 billion and signed four agreements worth US$809 million for infrastructure and energy projects. “China will continue to be a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy for aeons to come. We take great pride in this unique and time-tested relationship,” the spokesman remarked."

To a question about the Iranian nuclear issue, he said Pakistan always supported IranĂ­s right to peaceful use of nuclear technology. Answering a question, he said Pakistan wanted to complete the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline as quickly as possible."

''Pakistan going ahead with IP pipeline, despite US coercions''

uncle sam wants pakistan to use TAPI pipeline....not happy.....

read more from pakistan tribune...

"Despite US pressure to desist from entering into an energy deal with Iran that would help lessen a mounting gas crisis, it seems Pakistan will be honouring its committment as work surges on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Iran state regulated Press Television reported on Thursday.
Iranian Press TV reported that construction work on the pipeline till Iran’s border has been completed.  And that the survey for the remaining feasibility on Pakistan’s land has concluded as well."

''Budget Collapse: Too Much Free Money''

to bad congress is owned by money printing wall street scum.......NEmpire....

read more from american spectator.....

"Congress need only mobilize its unique, Article I, constitutional power "to coin money and regulate the value thereof." From 1792 to 1971 Congress defined by law the gold value of the currency such that paper dollars and bank demand deposits were convertible to their gold equivalent -- by the people (1792-1914) and/or by governments (1933-1971). Congress should exercise this constitutional power to restore dollar-gold convertibility, because of the proven budgetary and economic growth benefits of a dollar as good as gold."

''Japan, India agree to boost maritime security cooperation''

read more from jakarta post...

"Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on Wednesday signed a joint statement enhancing cooperation in maritime security activities in the Indian Ocean.
Noda and Singh held talks at the Hyderabad House, an Indian government guesthouse, and agreed to boost the "Strategic and Global Partnership" between the two countries in fields of security and the economy.
The statement said the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy would conduct joint exercises next year."

Japan to double consumption tax

read more from japan times...

"The DPJ is discussing plans to comprehensively reform the nation's social security and tax regimes that would result in a two-stage tax hike. The tax rate would first rise to 8 percent from 5 percent in April 2014, and then to 10 percent in October 2015 to secure funds to support swelling welfare costs for the rapidly graying population.
The government meanwhile is aiming to streamline welfare services while accelerating efforts to curb public spending by cutting salaries for bureaucrats and reducing the number of parliamentarians, moves widely expected to help Noda gain public support for the tax hike."

''South Pole Records Warmest Temperature on Record''

read more from weather underground...

"On Christmas Day, December 25th, the temperature at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole site soared to an all-time record high of 9.9°F (-12.3°C) eclipsing the former record of 7.5°F (-13.6°C) set on December 27, 1978. The low temperature on December 25th was a mild (relatively!) 4°F (-15.5°C). Records at the site began in January 1957. Its elevation is 9,301 feet (2,835 meters)."

Thursday, December 29, 2011


read more from radiance weekly....

"President Barack Obama has set a course for confrontation with Beijing when he declared his intentions to send military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to “protect American interests” and to expand U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region. He declared in the Australian Parliament in Canberra on Thursday (Nov 17), “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” and “to deter threats to peace” in that part of the world."

Analysis: ''Libya’s long road to disarmament''

read more from irinews.....

"Mistrust of Libya’s interim administration is likely to deter tens of thousands of revolutionary fighters from complying with a massive new demobilization plan, according to analysts and former rebels.

“There is no full trust in the government,” said Adel AbdElmajid Zoubi, 28, who fought in the coastal town of Misrata, besieged for months by troops loyal to former leader Muammar Gaddafi. He spoke to IRIN on 27 December, having just returned from a protest demanding the government cleanse public institutions of remnants of the old regime.

He said he was disappointed the new government did not appear to prioritize revolutionaries and said he would not hand over his weapons until after elections - currently scheduled for June 2012 - and the creation from near-scratch of a new national army, in the wake of the demise of Gaddafi’s military machine."

Photo Essay: "20 Years Since The Fall of the Soviet Union"

view pics from the atlantic....

"Twenty years ago, on December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union, declaring the office extinct and dissolving the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a massive communist empire that had existed since 1922. The USSR had been in a long economic stagnation when Gorbachev came to power in 1985. In order to bring about change, he introduced several reforms, including perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (openness). 

Glasnost opened the floodgates of protest and many republics made moves toward independence, threatening the continued existence of the USSR. In August of 1991, a group of Communist Party hardliners frustrated by the separatist movement attempted to stage a coup. They quickly failed due to a massive show of civil resistance -- but the already-faltering government was destabilized even further by the attempt. By December of 1991, 16 Soviet republics had declared their independence, and Gorbachev handed over power to Russian president Boris Yeltsin, ending the USSR. Collected here are photos from those tumultuous months 20 years ago."

Jim Rickards: "The main job of THE FED is to protect the Banks"

Video's of the year

Dancers arrested...........Police brutality at Jefferson Memorial

a couple of days ago, we gave you the headline of the year, today we bring you the video's of the year.........please enjoy and look for the story of the year tomorrow........NEmpire....

Pepe Escobar on the Petrodollar....

regular readers of this blog know that we love pepe and his writing.........this is a long one, but well worth the read........

"Do you think there could be some sort a connection in the pricing of oil with gold in the future going ahead?

Pepe Escobar: I don’t know, Lars, honest answer. I don’t know. You know why? I would say it depends on a move connected to bypassing the petrodollar. And this move already started a few years ago. Iran wants to do it badly like yesterday. Russia already said: Yes, we want it. Venezuela already said in South America: Yes, we want it as well. But I think this is the nuclear option. Can you imagine the day when you have major oil producers inside OPEC saying: It’s not going to be the petrodollar anymore, it’s going to be our own currencies or it’s going to be a basket of currencies. That’s basically the end of the American hegemony for good.

The whole country will burn, basically.

Pepe Escobar: Exactly. The whole globe will burn. I see this as the nuclear option. A few years ago when Iran was establishing an energy bourse, in fact, they did, it’s already there.

Since 2008. [Oil Bourse Opens in Kish, published at Fars News Agency on Feb. 18, 2008]

Pepe Escobar: I remember in 2005, I interviewed the guy in charge of establishing this bourse in Tehran. We had a fantastic conversation, and then I got into a big fight with the editor at that time of Asia Times, because he said: If we publish this, the Americans will bomb our site tomorrow.

The Iranians said: This is our first step to entice people to start buying oil contracts with us at our bourse and not in New York or in London. And then I told this guy: You know what you’re doing when this thing goes ahead. You are going to be bombed by the U.S. tomorrow. They said: Yes, we know the risks. But the guy who was implementing this mechanism for us was a former trader in London actually. It was a very complicated messy affair."

''Spain's economy worsening, says central bank''

"The central bank said early indicators show that Spanish tourism, exports, spending and investment have been hit, which is likely to have led to a contraction in GDP in the fourth quarter.
In its December bulletin the bank said: "After the stagnation the Spanish economy showed in the third quarter, the available economic information, still incomplete, indicates activity contracted in the final months of the year."
Spain, which has the eurozone's third-biggest budget deficit, is already struggling under tough austerity measures and the highest unemployment rate for 15 years."

Syria Update: ''US Government Gives Green Light to MSM''

A MUST more from boiling frogs....

Sibel writes,

''The controlled reporting and propaganda by the Washington war machine has not been limited to the US mainstream media. Many popular quasi alternative channels have followed the exact same trend, the most troubling one being AntiWar.Com. For several months they refused to run any of these confirmed reports while they ran every single bit of propaganda coverage by the US mainstream media on Syria. Today, with the green light from Washington, and with the US MSM in the forefront, they ran the neocon-produced and widely neocon-quoted article on Obama’s not-so-secret plans on Syria. Check it out here.
I published a brief commentary on the very troubling switch of position and changes atAntiWar.Com, a site that I used to support and consider one of my favorites. Since their management change they have been banning not only me but other well-respected true alternatives. And they have been losing many supporters while gaining mystery-undisclosed funders. But the most troubling change is their consistent coverage of the New York Times, Washington Post and the rest of the US government and corporate propaganda machine. I have researchers who are compiling data on their recent changes, and running background checks on their new team members who have successfully altered this once truly valuable source of information."

''Gulf experts warn of consequences of a US-Israel strike on Iran''

read more from gulf news....

"However, Mustafa Alani of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center does not believe Iran is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz and switching off global oil supplies. He told Arab News: “Iran tried to close the Hormuz even during the long war with Iraq but could never manage it even for one day. We understand Iran’s capabilities all too well. Shutting the Hormuz through which more than 19 million barrels of oil passes every day isn’t an easy task and I don’t think Tehran would try it.”

Not everyone is convinced though that a war on Iran is imminent. N. Janardhan, a Gulf-based analyst and author of "Boom Amid Gloom: The Spirit of Possibility in the 21st Century Gulf" told Arab News: “As much as it’s alarming, it’s unlikely that the heightened US-Iran rhetoric would degenerate into conflict. All the involved parties already have enough on their plates to look for more trouble, which would surely be disastrous. If the US wanted to take military action, it would have been better off doing so while its troops were in Iraq. Its current economic and political woes suggest that it wouldn’t risk another misadventure.”

''We went into Afghanistan because of oil and gas pipelines and to run drugs''

oil & gas pipelines.......look for more stories in 2012....NEmpire

read more from veterans today....

"Today, America learned it had been “used” in Yemen.  Our drone attacks were based on “intelligence” that had us killing political enemies of a dictator no sensible person would accept a glass of scotch from without having it tested by the CDC.
Nearly 2 years ago, VT warned the DOD and CIA about this.  Then we caught an Israeli crew running a phony Al Qaeda cell there, hired to do that by the US, I have no doubt.  We are that crooked.
The Detroit “Crotch Bomber” was part of that effort.
Today, the Turks killed 35 “smugglers” in Kurdistan.  Why?  Israel has sent troops into Kurdistan after the US left.   They are running terror operations against Turkey and building a secret air base for attacks on Iran, drones initially. 
I know the area, everyone involved, it is a complex issue and I understand why Kurdistan is allowing it. I would go there, warn them, explain the consequences, lots of car bombs and such but I would be killed."

Shin, Hyun Song: ''Global savings glut or global banking glut?''

"It has become commonplace to assert that current-account imbalances were a key factor in stoking subprime lending in the US. This column says the ‘global banking glut’, i.e. the rise in cross-border lending, may have been more culpable for the crisis than the ‘global savings glut’. As the European banking crisis deepens, the deleveraging of the European global banks will have far-reaching implications not only for the Eurozone, but also for credit supply conditions in the US and capital flows to the emerging economies.

Since Bernanke’s 2005 speech (Bernanke 2005), it has become commonplace to assert that current-account imbalances were a key factor in stoking the permissive financial conditions that led to subprime lending in the US. The ‘global savings glut’ is what Ben Bernanke called it. This phrase provided a powerful linguistic focal point for thinking about the surge in net external claims on the US on the part of emerging economies. The biggest worries concern the financial stability implications of these large and persistent current-account imbalances.
But maybe the finger is being pointed the wrong way. My recent research suggests that the ‘global banking glut’ may have been more culpable for the crisis than the ‘global savings glut’ (Shin 2011).

As the European banking crisis deepens, the deleveraging of the European global banks will have far-reaching implications not only for the Eurozone, but also for credit supply conditions in the US and capital flows to the emerging economies. Just as the expansion stage of the global banking glut relaxed credit conditions in the US and elsewhere, its reversal will tighten US credit conditions. Its impact in the emerging economies (especially in emerging Europe) could be devastating. In this sense, there is a huge amount at stake in the successful resolution of the European crisis, not only for Europe but for the rest of the world."

"The US military uses mass media to influence public opinion"

h/p to infocyde for the link................from vigilant citizen....

"Here’s an interesting documentary describing how the US military use mass media to influence public opinion. From reality shows to the news without forgetting Hollywood movies, the Pentagon actively participates in the creation of “entertainment”. This is one example of how an agenda can be promoted through mass media. As we have seen in other articles, there are many more agendas that are pushed on the masses."

Q&A Noam Chomsky: "Dictatorships, US relations & state propaganda"

read more from egypt independent....

"Recently, he offered to share his personal views on post-Mubarak Egypt with Egypt Independent."
Egypt Independent: "What is your view on the unfolding of events regarding the military’s transitional period? And where do you think the US stands on this?
Noam Chomsky: From the outset, there has been every reason to expect that the US and the military, which are of course closely allied, would do what they can to limit functioning democracy."  

''GCC set to invest $968b 
in 1,638 new projects''

read more from khaleejtimes....

DUBAI - "Over the next decade, the GCC countries, underpinned by record high oil revenues, are planning 1,638 major projects worth more than $968 billion across various sectors, Kuwait Financial Centre, or Markaz, said.
Over 80 per cent of these projects are construction, infrastructure and petroleum industry related projects, the report said.
“The continued buoyancy of oil prices has allowed the GCC states to maintain their commitment towards continued investment in projects for growth and development,” the report said."

Op-Ed from Ireland: "Leaving the euro may be our least extreme option"

read more from david mcwilliams and independent ie...

"In the year ahead, the exchange rate question will rarely be far from the headlines. If we are to have a referendum -- which, according to the Finance Minister, will be a vote on whether we are in or out of the euro -- we should get our heads around what the exchange rate does, what having your own exchange rate allows you to do and why that might be a valuable alternative for Ireland.
At the moment, the central plank of Irish economic policy, backed by the IMF and the EU, is something called "internal devaluation" and the logic of it goes like this: Ireland is uncompetitive and needs to export its way out of the recession. As we don't have an exchange rate that can fall, we need to grind down wages over a period of years so that Irish industry can be competitive again."

''Russia’s Afghan Strategy: What Are Its Interests?''

"From the perspective of Russia, Afghanistan occupies an important geo-strategic, geopolitical and geo-economic position. The geo-strategic location of Afghanistan is such that it connects important regions like Central Asia and the Middle East with South and East Asia.
Owing to Russia’s natural sphere of influence in Central Asian countries, it wants Afghanistan to play the role of a bulwark which will protect its vulnerable southern border from illegal narcotics and Islamic extremism, which threaten the stabili¬ty of Russia and its strategic allies in Central Asia. As can be seen, Afghanistan is of key significance to Russia’s wider Central Asian policy and its claim to a great power status."

"Iran warns U.S. over Strait of Hormuz"

read more from reuters.....

"A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Thursday that the United States was not in a position to tell Tehran "what to do in the Strait of Hormuz," state television reported.
Tehran's threat to block crude shipments through the crucial passage for Middle Eastern suppliers followed the European Union's decision to tighten sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, as well as accompanying moves by the United States to tighten unilateral sanctions."

''Pakistan gears up work on Iran gas pipeline''

read more from pakistan's the nation...

"Shrugging off US pressure, Pakistan has geared up work on bilateral agreement with Iran including Pak-Iran gas pipeline.
Sources informed Wednesday that Pakistan has not backed from its trade agreement including gas pipeline project with Iran.
President Asif Ali Zardari also made it clear while addressing on the fourth death anniversary of his assassinated wife Benazir Bhutto that Pakistan would opt for trade with international community and would develop new trade blocks."

''With high murder and arson rates, Detroit's Mayor Bing's push to cut fire and police departments shocks workers''

read more from the freep...

"Detroit's police and fire departments -- already beset by staff and equipment shortages -- may lose a combined 200 officers and firefighters as part of a last-ditch effort to avoid an emergency manager, the Free Press has learned. 

Mayor Dave Bing, under intense pressure to cut costs before the city runs out of cash in April, also is urging police and firefighters to accept 10% pay cuts and other concessions."

''Israel, Iran Eye Baku''

lets throw Azerbaijan into the mix......

read more from the diplomat...

"Religious, cultural, and historical links notwithstanding, the Republic of Azerbaijan has had a difficult relationship with neighboring Iran ever since its independence in 1991. But tensions have reached new heights in the last couple of year years. 
This was no clearer than it was on August 9 this year, when Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of Iran’s armed forces’ Joint Staff Command, warned Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev that he would face “a dark fate” should he continue to expand ties with Israel."

''U.S. to sell jets to Saudis''

read more from ap via politico....

"The Obama administration is poised to announce the sale of nearly $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The deal will send 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more, for a total of $29.4 billion, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because the sale has not been made public."

The plan initially raised concerns from pro-Israeli lawmakers, but U.S. officials reassured Congress that Israel’s military edge would not be undercut by the sale. Additionally, there is now broad agreement among Israel, the Gulf Arab states and the West that Iran poses a significant and unpredictable threat."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

''Qatar builds Sunni intervention force of Libyan, Iraqi terrorists against Assad''

see the story below about the swiss selling arms to Qatar....

read more from debka file...

"The Qatar oil emirate, encouraged by its successful participation in the campaign to overthrow Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, has established a Sunni Arab intervention force to expedite the drive for Syrian President Bashar Assad's ouster, DEBKAfile's military sources report. The new highly mobile force boosts the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army, whose numbers have jumped to 20,000 fighters, armed and funded by Qatar and now forming into military battalions and brigades at their bases in Turkey."

''The Federal Reserve's Covert Bailout of Europe''

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"America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, is engaged in a bailout of European banks. Surprisingly, its operation is largely unnoticed here.

The Fed is using what is termed a "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangement" with the European Central Bank (ECB). There are similar arrangements with the central banks of Canada, England, Switzerland and Japan. Simply put, the Fed trades or "swaps" dollars for euros. The Fed is compensated by payment of an interest rate (currently 50 basis points, or one-half of 1%) above the overnight index swap rate. The ECB, which guarantees to return the dollars at an exchange rate fixed at the time the original swap is made, then lends the dollars to European banks of its choosing."

''Short-lived Swiss arms embargo to Qatar lifted''

syria?????????????? more from swiss info...

"The government is facing criticism for its decision to allow the resumption of war materiel exports to Qatar.

The delivery of laser targeting devices worth a total of SFr737,200 ($793,000) was suspended last summer after the Middle Eastern state violated an arms proliferation ban. Swiss-produced munitions were found in the hands of rebels in Libya.

The Switzerland without an Army group said the decision by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) was ludicrous.

“It is scandalous to sell arms to Qatar. Earlier this year its armed forces, together with the armies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, invaded Bahrain to suppress a peaceful pro-democracy movement,” a statement said.

The pacifist group argues that Switzerland is sending the wrong signal if it tolerates a violation of Swiss laws and treaties.

“Switzerland obviously does not mind if it gets walked over as long as the arms industry can make a profit.”

The case of Qatar is merely the tip of the iceberg, according to the group. “Seco as a rule does not check whether the countries adhere to the non-proliferation provisions.”