Khamis, 3 Mac 2016

Russia Bans US GMO Imports

(F. William Engdahl, NEO) Russia is making consequent its decision last fall to ban the commercial planting of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO in its agriculture acreage. The latest decision, effective February 15, 2016 does not at all please Monsanto or the US Grain Cartel.

On February 15, a Russian national import ban on soybeans and corn imports from the United States took effect. The Russian food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor announced that the ban was because of GMO and of microbial contamination and the absence of effective US controls on soybean and corn exports to prevent export of quarantinable grains, also known as microbial contamination. The Russian food safety regulator added that corn imported from the US is often infected with dry rot of maize. In addition, he said, corn can be used for GMO crops in Russia. The potential damage from import and spread of quarantinable objects on the territory of Russia is estimated at $126 -189 million annually.

Striking the heart of the GMO cartel

The Russian decision is a huge blow to USA agribusiness. For decades, the US grain cartel companies–ADM, Cargill, Bunge–have dominated the global trade in soybeans and corn, the most widely used animal feed for cattle, pigs, chickens because of its high protein content.

Today, the contamination of national agriculture and the food chain in different countries, even those banning planting of GMO crops, typically comes in through a back door, namely, the free import of GMO contaminated corn and soybeans. I’ve been told by people in a position to know that EU agriculture policy is determined less by European farmer organizations, for example, than by the large US agribusiness lobby of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Cargill and friends. Similarly, though until recently the Chinese government officially banned planting or licensing of GMO crops inside China’s commercial agriculture, GMO has inundated the country via a loophole that allows unrestricted import of GMO soybeans. Today more than 60% of all soybeans consumed in China or used for animal feed is GMO. The Russian decision, to my knowledge is the first blow to be struck against the powerful GMO agribusiness cartel. Thank US sanctions in effect that the crisis created the opportunity.

As a long-term two year independent laboratory rat experiment has demonstrated, a diet of GMO soybeans or GMO corn over a period of more than six months produces virulent tumors in the GMO-fed rats and excessive early mortality. Were we to eat a diet of McDonald GMO-contaminated hamburgers for a six month period, I shudder to imagine the human damage that would wreak. McDonalds hamburger patties, I was told by an insider in the grain trade, contains beef supplemented with up to 30% GMO soybeans. Today almost 100% of soybeans on the world market are GMO, most from Monsanto.

With this latest ban, the Russian authorities almost make complete their decision, announced September 2015, to rid the country of GMO for consumption by humans or animals.

That decision still left a gaping loophole by not also banning GMO soybeans and GMO corn. After this latest decision, now the only loophole remaining, which is still significant, to rid Russian agriculture entirely of GMO contamination, is to extend the GMO soybean and GMO corn import ban to all countries which cannot conclusively demonstrate their corn or soybeans are GMO free, using the same criteria used for US soybean and corn imports.

Today the USA is the world’s largest followed by Argentina and Brazil. The three countries produce 85% of all world soybeans. And almost all of that, aside from pockets of certified GMO-free acreage in Brazil, is GMO contaminated.


Then come India and China, each with around 5% of the world total. China recently changed its GMO policy and seems intent on the dubious policy of becoming a leading GMO soybean and maize producer with the $43 billion ChemChina takeover bid last month of Swiss GMO and pesticide giant, Syngenta.

Soybeans are high protein and are used in almost every industrial food product today from chocolate bars (lecithin) to the feed for KFC fried chicken, to soy drinks. Because of the power of the GMO lobby over the past two decades, almost all that soybean food is GMO. As well, the GMO comes into the food chain via so-called high protein “power feed,” a mix of soybeans and corn. Soybean meal and soybean hulls are widely used in animal feeds. This 44% – 48% protein meal is the most common source of protein in feed used in poultry, hog and dairy rations. Corn Gluten Meal, made from processing corn, has a 60% protein content and is used widely for poultry and dairy cattle feed in the USA, Canada and the EU.

Despite the fact that a majority of EU member countries, including Germany, have chosen to ban planting of GMO, a Brussels loophole permits ADM and Cargill unlimited import of soybeans or corn that is GMO. That way the food chain is contaminated via GMO in the animal diet.

Since near 93% of USA corn today and 94% of its soybeans are GMO today, a safe rule-of-thumb is the precautionary principle–ban it unless proven GMO-free, which is precisely what Russian authorities have done. The Precautionary Principle is simply that, if regulatory authorities are not 100% certain it is GMO-free, prohibit it.

The US-based agribusiness cartel, led by Cargill and Monsanto, ensured that the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture, written by a former Vice President of Cargill, Daniel Amstutz, prioritized the right of free trade above that of national food health and safety. The latest move by the Russian Federation authorities shows that a major food-producing nation, today surpassing the USA as world’s largest grain producer, in part thanks to the foolish US sanctions on Russia, is prioritizing the health and safety of its citizens above the corporate interests of agribusiness. That’s a healthy development.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Ref: http://journal-neo.org/2016/02/26/russia-bans-us-gmo-imports/

Selasa, 16 Februari 2016

Who is Fighting the Invisible War on Russia?

(Gordon Duff, NEO) It may not be the United States. There is a war going on, not in Syria or against Eastern Ukraine or the dozen other hot spots around the world. World War III may already be under way, started over Sinai when an airliner was downed, or over Ukraine when another was downed or maybe on the pages of a newspaper.

Image result for russian warGovernments spend nearly as much on the stuff of conspiracy theories, hoaxes, black propaganda, or even organizing their own opposition, be it phony activist groups or even terror organizations than they spend on spying on their own people, and we are learning how much that has cost with frightening revelations nearly every day.

Before we move into background, we might want to take a minute to look at something. In today’s world of “internet reality” where a viral YouTube video a child could create with computer generated graphics and crisis actors may well now be preferred to the old standby, attacking yourself using agent provocateurs wearing enemy uniforms.

Governments have found that events like 9/11, claimed by engineers, scientists and investigators to be something totally different that claimed by the Bush regime in Washington, are no longer needed to start wars or justify the takeover of American government by organized crime, most probably the real reason for the 9/11 “event.”

What can safely be assumed is that nothing is what it seems, no terror group, no “outrage,” not even the geopolitical conflicts fed the masses. Anyone who refuses to knuckle under to organized crime is targeted for regime change, typically begun by either sanctions, a color revolution or a “just add water” instant terror group like ISIS or Boko Harum, intelligence agency constructs so obvious that little explanation is needed.

Image result for We are Not CharlieYou see, one government can never accuse another of a false flag attack, not and risk being accused of spreading “conspiracy theories,” no matter how lame the event such as the 7/7 London attacks debunked by John Anthony Hill in his film, Ripple Effect, or the Charlie Hebdo “event” in Paris, deconstructed by Dr. Kevin Barrett in his widely banned book, “We are Not Charlie.”

The question today, or how we begin, is taking a quick look at the highly acclaimed somewhat fictional political television show in America called Madame Secretary. In this very popular mainstream network fictional drama, a woman becomes Secretary of State when her corrupt predecessor is murdered in what is later learned, on the TV show at least, to be a plot by the CIA to bring about a war with Russia.

A few episodes later something quite amazing happens. Though characters in this type of drama are usually fictional and bashing Russia or Iran has been a Hollywood staple for some time, a new and very unexpected plot line emerges.

In this story, the President’s plane, Air Force One, is “hacked,” taken control of totally and is nearly destroyed, killing the fictional president played by veteran actor Keith Carradine. Russia is immediately blamed and America retaliates by disabling Moscow’s power grid through.

Then something quite amazing happens. As both Russia and America approach a nuclear confrontation, it is learned that the real attack was staged, not by Russia, but by the new government of Ukraine, a government brought to power by a US backed coup. The new president of Ukraine had ordered the terror attack, remind you the “fictional” new president of a not so fictional Ukraine, in order to blame Russia and convince the US to flood Ukraine with weapons, “lethal aid” as opposed to advisors.

Ukraine believed that a false flag ploy might actually bring in American forces, which as we learn, would have been subjected to attack by Ukrainian Secret Service dressed as Russian troops.

Image result for Madam SecretaryThis is the question we pose, was this plotline in Madame Secretary, framed with a highly accurate depiction of Washington politics and American policymaking procedure set in a much respected television drama the only way a certain “official channel” in Washington could explain is position on the MH17 downing? The comparison between the real and fictional events are simply too close to ignore. Now we can do some background.

Yesterday, the UK Guardian, the world’s last mainstream “investigative news organization,” reported that 470,000 had been killed in the Syrian conflict, a much higher figure than given before. The source for that figure, which any reasonable analyst can assume will be blamed on Russia or the Assad government in Damascus, was not just obscure, it was a total fabrication.

The Guardian and the hundreds of other news organizations that picked up the story, were quoting the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Within minutes a web page was found, one created from a template in less than an hour.

A Facebook listing was found as well as well as several online voluntary listings typically used by ad hoc groups such as the 1.5 million “non-governmental organizations,” or NGO’s the UN no longer bothers to be involved with anymore.

There is no membership for the SCPR, no governing board, no officers, no offices listed, no specifics of any kind. When I reported this to Veterans Today’s editor, Jim W. Dean, he immediately assumed defacto control of the ethereal organization, not assuming they were a harmless hoax but rather, though done in a humorous vein, they are something else.

Maybe the vacuous “SCPR” is just like the “SHRO,” the source of the long debunked sarin gas stories that nearly brought the world to war, yes the good old “Syrian Human Rights Observatory,” the all-powerful source of information the Guardian, Washington Post and other news organizations still use.

Some months ago, it was found initially by Veterans Today and then by Russia Today that the “SHRO” was actually one man living over a noodle shop in the bleak British town of Coventry. The hundreds, maybe even thousands of news stories issued by him, as one man is not a “group” or “organization,” were all simply made up. The “confirmed reports” that nearly brought the world to war were not so innocent inventions.

Worse still, in the United States, the profound anti-government movement, a combination of militia extremists, white supremacists, the Israeli-Saudi-Turkish lobby and organized crime, which includes not only Wall Street but their real lifelong partners in narcotics and human trafficking, the Pentagon and running America’s political parties.

Somehow, in the process those opposing Washington’s excesses were to embrace not only closed borders but became torture advocates, push for expanded police powers, lower wages, fewer consumer and environmental protections and elimination of all oversight of election fraud.

Image result for jail Obama and ClintonThus, those screaming to jail Obama and Clinton also hail “boots on the ground” in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and seizure of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Let’s suppose America’s elections are rigged, that Bush was never fairly elected, that congress is bought and paid for with drug money and that America’s courts, media and police are totally corrupt, run by drug cartels or paid off by foreign intelligence services.

Then, were this last statement a safe assumption, and I believe this to be the case, wouldn’t every political, intellectual and social function that failed to take these “facts” into account be nothing more than folly and delusion?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

Reference

Ahad, 7 Februari 2016

Zika: Why Biotech is Imperative to National Security


(Ulson Gunnar - NEO) When we think of national security, we think of tanks, jets, missile defense systems and more recently, information space. But what about the realm of the microscopic, the biological or the genetic?
453453454Whether you think biotechnology, genetics and microbes constitute another plane upon the modern battlefield or not is irrelevant. Someone else already does, and they have a head start on the rest of the world.
Genotype Specific Bioweapons

The Project for a New American Century or PNAC for short, penned a particularly unhinged policy paper in 2000 titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.”
In it, among many other things, it specifically writes:
Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and “combat” likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and perhaps the world of microbes. 
…advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.
Advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes sound like the stuff of science fiction, and even if it were developed, it would be by the “bad guys,” right?

Wrong. As a matter of fact, the Western-backed apartheid government in South Africa in the 1980’s under Project Coast, attempted to create genotype specific bioweapons aimed at sterilizing the nation’s black women. PBS Frontline’s article, “What Happened in South Africa?” would recount:
In 1998 South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission held hearings investigating activities of the apartheid-era government. Toward the end of the hearings, the Commission looked into the apartheid regime’s Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) program and allegations that it developed a sterility vaccine to use on black South Africans, employed toxic and chemical poison weapons for political asssassination, and in the late 1970s provided anthrax and cholera to Rhodesian troops for use against guerrilla rebels in their war to overthrow Rhodesia’s white minority rule.
While South Africa’s entire CBW program was abhorrent, what is particularly frightening is the use of South Africa’s national vaccination program as a vector for infecting black women with viruses meant to sterilize them. Now that vaccination programs are being pushed globally, there lies the danger that such weapons could be used against entire regions of the planet.

PBS would elaborate further on the CBW program, stating that the South African government:
Developed lethal chemical and biological weapons that targeted ANC [African National Congress] political leaders and their supporters as well as populations living in the black townships. These weapons included an infertility toxin to secretly sterilize the black population; skin-absorbing poisons that could be applied to the clothing of targets; and poison concealed in products such as chocolates and cigarettes.   
PNAC’s dream of genotype specific bioweapons then, is not some far-off science fiction future, it is something that has been pursued in earnest for decades, and apparently by interests aligned to the West, not enemies of it.
Zika and GM Mosquitoes 

Though it is so far impossible to confirm a link between the two, it is troubling nonetheless to see the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus spreading in Brazil precisely from where GM (genetically modified) mosquitoes were released several years ago.
A 2012 entry in Nature titled, “Brazil tests GM mosquitoes to fight Dengue,” would report:
Scientists in Brazil say an experiment to reduce populations of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegyptimosquito, by releasing millions of genetically modified (GM) insects into the wild, is working. 
More than ten million modified male mosquitoes were released in the city of Juazeiro, a city of 288,000 people, over a period of time starting a year ago.
The US CDC (Center for Disease Control) would report that Zika virus cases in northeast Brazil were first officially recognized in early 2015, with international hysteria finally reached early this year. The cases seem most concentrated in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, upon the borders of which the city of Juazeiro lies.

What could have happened between 2011 and 2016 that might have led to this development? Could the GM mosquitoes designed to stamp out dengue have mutated in some unpredictable way? And could this experiment have caused the Zika virus itself to mutate in an unpredictable way? It already has mutated once, allowing it to spread among humans more prolifically.

Or what if GM mosquitoes supposedly meant to wipe out dengue were serving as a vector for something else entirely? We can only imagine the sort of stories, excuses and feigned ignorance the South African government would have conjured had its genotype specific bioweapons worked, and black women began turning up sterilized in huge numbers after receiving their “vaccines.”

Mosquitoes as a Vaccine Vector 

Using mosquitoes as a vector to deliver engineered genetic material to humans as a sort of involuntary, inescapable “vaccine” is already a reality. The London Telegraph in its article, “Genetically modified mosquitos could be used to spread vaccine for malaria,” reported in 2010 that:
Experts believe “flying vaccinators” could eventually be a radical new way of tackling malaria.
The new approach targets the salivary gland of the Anopheles mosquito.
Scientists in Japan have engineered an insect producing a natural vaccine protein in its saliva which is injected into the bloodstream when it bites. 
The “prototype” mosquito carries a vaccine against Leishmania, another potentially fatal parasite disease spread by sand flies.
And if mosquitoes can naturally deliver viruses, and scientists can alter what mosquitoes carry and infect hosts with, it is possible to engineer viruses to deliver virtually anything into targeted populations much in the same way viruses are re-engineered into vectors in labs today through a process called gene therapy. In the wrong hands, this technology and these techniques could become terrifying weapons.

For those in the middle of the Zika virus hysteria, perhaps it already has.

How Could They? Why Would They?

To answer “how could they possibly do something so diabolical?” we need only think back to 2003 and recall how the United States intentionally lied to the world, then between its initial invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, killed upward to a million people. This includes several thousand of its own soldiers and civilians, many of whom it appears were killed by militants armed and funneled into the country by the United States’ closest regional allies, with the US’ resolute backing.

To answer “why” American and European special interests seek to render any particular population sick, weak and they and/or their offspring incapable of  perpetuating a viable civilization, PNAC itself sums it up quite clearly:
The United States is the world’s only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world’s largest economy. Moreover, America stands at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world’s other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.
A population racked with birth defects, diminishing health and IQs and a lack of physical vitality constitutes the enemy every hegemon throughout history has dreamt of facing both on the battlefield and upon the grand chessboard of geopolitics.

Whether the Zika outbreak is linked to some insidious biowarefare program, an experiment gone wrong or simply the forces of nature, it showcases the danger biology can pose and reminds us of what greater dangers may yet await us if we do not properly prepare and protect ourselves.

Domestic Biotech is Imperative to National Defense 

It has been almost painful to watch the rest of the world attempt to catch up to the United States and Europe in the information war. For decades the West dominated information warfare without contest.

Only now have nations like Russia, China, Iran and others finally caught up and in some cases exceeded Western capabilities. Only now are nations finally investing seriously in information and cyber warfare capabilities. Only now does it seem that nations realize the folly of depending on others for both information, and information technology.

Russia recently decided to switch to local computer processor manufacturers to run on all computers used for official business. This is because foreign corporations making processors imported into the Russian Federation had been apparently compromised on the factory floor with the cooperation of these foreign corporations by US intelligence agencies.

We can easily imagine the danger of having US intelligence agencies getting into Russia’s IT infrastructure through these backdoor passes. It doesn’t take much imagination to think about the trouble US intelligence agencies could cause if they could get inside Russia’s human, natural and agricultural genomes.

Developing a viable domestic biotech industry is not only a matter of economic prosperity, but clearly also a matter of vital national security. Foreign corporations should no better be able to access a nation’s “genetic code and files” than it can its computer code and files. After all, genetic information is not entirely unlike digital information.
Brazil and other nations that have invited foreign biotech corporations to meddle with their human, natural and agricultural genomes are likened to those nations who hand their vital infrastructure over to foreign interests only to find out through Wikileaks years later the sort of invasive spying, abuses and other means of self-serving treachery this access has been exploited for.

Let’s not wait for Wikileaks to tell us 10 years from now just how bad the nations of the world had been infiltrated and exploited through biotechnology before we recognize this industry as absolutely vital to national security and begin investing in it domestically, rather than outsourcing it overseas.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

References
  1. http://journal-neo.org/2016/02/07/zika-why-biotech-is-imperative-to-national-security/
  2. http://landdestroyer.blogspot.my/2016/02/zika-why-biotech-is-imperative-to.html

Sabtu, 23 Januari 2016

Saudi Arabia is on the Brink of Regime Change

Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam bersabda:

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى وَأَحْمَدُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ قَالَا حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ عَنْ سُفْيَانَ الثَّوْرِيِّ عَنْ خَالِدٍ الْحَذَّاءِ عَنْ أَبِي قِلَابَةَ عَنْ أَبِي أَسْمَاءَ الرَّحَبِيِّ عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ قَالَ
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقْتَتِلُ عِنْدَ كَنْزِكُمْ ثَلَاثَةٌ كُلُّهُمْ ابْنُ خَلِيفَةٍ ثُمَّ لَا يَصِيرُ إِلَى وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَطْلُعُ الرَّايَاتُ السُّودُ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ فَيَقْتُلُونَكُمْ قَتْلًا لَمْ يُقْتَلْهُ قَوْمٌ ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ شَيْئًا لَا أَحْفَظُهُ فَقَالَ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَبَايِعُوهُ وَلَوْ حَبْوًا عَلَى الثَّلْجِ فَإِنَّهُ خَلِيفَةُ اللَّهِ الْمَهْدِيُّ

Telah menceritakan kepada kami Muhammad bin Yahya dan Ahmad bin Yusuf keduanya berkata; telah menceritakan kepada kami Abdurrazaq dari Sufyan At Tsauri dari Khalid bin Al Khadza dari Abu Qilabah dari Abu Asma Ar Rahabi dari Tsauban dia berkata,
"Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam bersabda: "Kelak tiga orang akan berperang di perbendaharaan kalian ini (iaitu Ka'bah), dan kesemuanya adalah anak khalifah. Dan tidak ada yang menang melainkan satu orang, lalu muncullah bendera-bendera hitam dari wilayah timur,lantas mereka memerangi kamu (orang Arab) dengan suatu peperangan yang belum pernah dialami oleh kaum sebelummu. Jika kalian melihatnya, maka berbaiatlah kepadanya walaupun sambil merangkak di atas salji, karena sesungguhnya dia adalah khalifah Allah Al Mahdi."
Sunan Ibnu Majah, Kitabul Fitan Bab Khurujul Mahdi 5:4074: Mustadrak Al-Hakim 4:463-464.

Saudi Arabia is on the Brink of Regime Change  by Peter Lvov

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It seems that Saudi Arabia has started to undergo the transformation various experts predicted. Those became obvious when the sitting king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud replaced his deceased elder brother Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in January 2015, and made a number of quite unusual arrangements within the ruling elite, appointing the head of the Ministry of Interior Muhammad bin Nayef from Abdullah’s clan the Crown Prince, while his 33-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman Al Saudfrom the Sudairy clan received the appointment of Deputy Crown Prince. Even back then it was clear that within a short period of time the king would try to hand over all power in the country to his own son by sidestepping Muhammad bin Nayef, while he himself would retire due to Alzheimer’s disease, becoming sort of a “king-father” with no real power, but with the right to an advisory vote on important decisions. Needless to say, it’s a direct violation of the tradition of succession to the throne from brother to brother that has been in place in Saudi Arabia, that is going to be replaced by the father-to-son succession. To make such a transition one should be able to carry out a coup d’etat or win the approval of the succession board, which is formed according to different sources by 7 or 11 members of the Al Saud dynasty.

Now it seems that the wheels of the political machine are moving again. Last week reports from Riyadh indicated that his disease is taking a toll on the king and he wants to renounce his reign in favor of the Crown Prince. But then neighboring states, especially Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, started hinting that the members of the Saudi royal family along with the sheikhs of the strongest tribes, which are the foundation of Al Saud’s rule, are extremely dissatisfied with the sharp deterioration of the economic and social situation in the country, leading to a major drop in their personal incomes. It is no secret that Riyadh increased the volume of oil production to weaken the positions of its main competitors – Russia, Iran and Venezuela. But the kingdom had to take a punch as well, it was forced to unseal its reserve fund and cut the funding of numerous social programs.

And then came the execution of 47 Shia public figures, including the popular human rights activist Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. The executions were designed as a form of retaliation to Iran and Hezbollah for the help they have provided to the Syrian people in the fight against pro-Saudi militants. This step provoked massive unrest in the Shia areas of the kingdom, the areas that produce the better part of all Saudi oil. The country has found itself on the brink of a civil war and a military conflict with Iran at the same time, which has also provoked major discontent in the West. After all, the West needs a politically loyal Iran, a country in which huge investments can be made, especially in oil and gas sectors, in order to push Russian out of the European gas market and the international oil markets at the same time. In this context Tehran is forced to carry on relying on Moscow in the confrontation with Saudi Arabia to ensure its safety and continue providing military assistance to Syria, Iraq and Shia rebels in Yemen.

Now the highly respected Institute for Gulf Affairs is stating that the king of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is preparing to renounce the throne in favor of his son Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, and has since brought his country to the brink of a disaster.

It means that the 80-year-old Salman is trying desperately hard to persuade his brothers on the succession board to allow him to change the principle of succession of the Saudi throne, since he’s ready to leave, but not so ready for his nephew Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud to rule the country. What the king has been doing is allegedly done “only for the sake of the stability of the kingdom.” Although the reality of the situation is clear – should Salman retain his position, the disintegration of the kingdom is imminent, with certain Shia areas breaking away, while the regions on the border with Yemen which are mostly populated by Yemeni tribes, more than happy to return home. Moreover, the Minister of Interior used to be a habitual cocaine user, so he was only able to “produce” two daughters, and now he’s somewhat incapable of producing more children. Should the king manage to carry out the above described scheme, he will become the first Saudi monarch to leave the throne to his son.

And the fact that there’s a growing crisis in Saudi Arabia was evident from the cuts in subsidies and bonuses that king Salman started at the beginning of this year to reduce the country’s total dependence on oil. After decades of extensive use of oil revenues to subsidize companies’ payment of generous salaries and providing enormous social benefits, falling oil prices struck Saudi Arabia at its heart. It’s enough to say that revenues from oil exports in 2015 alone dropped by half. Ultimately it’s hard to say which country suffers the most from these oil wars – Russia or Saudi Arabia, since the latter has virtually no other sectors to support the economy. Saudi economist Turki Fadaak believes that Saudi Arabia is exiting the policy of “universal welfare”, so there’s an ongoing psychological shift in the minds of the ruling elite of the state. Fadaak is convinced that the ultimate aim of king Salman’s measures is to eliminate the Saudi dependency on oil. But is it really? According to leading international experts – the answer is a resounding “no”, with all the arguments to the contrary nothing more than fantasy.

Although initially it seemed that Salman, who came to power after the death of his brother, King Abdullah, will continue his course, after assuming the throne Salman generously spent over 30 billion dollars from the budget on bonuses for civil servants, military personnel, and students. Additionally, prices for basic goods and services, including fuel, electricity and water prices were kept at extremely low levels due to government subsidies from oil revenues. However, due to falling oil prices, under the pressure of such costs the budget started to rupture. The most important thing now for the kingdom is to execute the transition from the extremely lavish social security system to a productive economy, but then the subjects of the king will be forced to cut their costs, and it looks that they do not agree with this notion. And accusations in the imminent economic collapse will go Salman’s way, so it is better for him to leave now, before protests even start.

It is curious that Saudi Arabia has been rather realistic about its budget for the year 2016, since it was based on the average price of oil keeping at the level 29 dollars per barrel. Last year, the Saudi budget deficit amounted to almost 98 billion dollars and the costs were considerably higher than it was originally planed due to bonuses for civil servants, military personnel and retirees. In 2016 the authorities decided to put up to 49 billion dollars into a special fund to provide funding for the most important projects in case oil prices drop even further. But it was Saudi Arabia back in 2014 that proposed new tactics for OPEC, that implied that there would be no cuts in the level of production, the tactics that drove oil prices to today’s levels.

So we are to learn pretty soon should Riyadh choose the path of the utter and complete collapse of the kingdom, or the path of giving power to the young and pragmatic technocrats who are going to pursue a comprehensive oil policy. Either way, Saudi Arabia will be forced to put an end to the costly military adventures in Syria and Yemen as well as its confrontations with Russia and Iran.

Peter Lvov, Ph.D in political science, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

References:
  1. http://al-faedah.blogspot.my/2015/01/kematian-raja-abdullah-pemicu-hadits.html
  2. http://journal-neo.org/2016/01/23/saudi-arabia-is-on-the-brink-of-regime-change/

Jumaat, 15 Januari 2016

Jakarta Blasts: ISIS Inc Strikes Again

Was Jakarta Getting Too Cozy with China?

January 15, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - Here is what we are expected to believe regarding coordinated bombings and mass shootings that took place on Thursday in the capital of Southeast Asia's nation of Indonesia - an economically and geopolitically crucial state.

We are to believe that the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) - named so because it allegedly exists and primarily operates in Iraq and Syria - is fighting the Syrian government, nonexistent moderates the US claims it is arming and funding to the tune of several billions of dollars a year since 2011, the Iraqi government, the Kurds, Russia, Lebanon's Hezbollah, and Iran. And also, allegedly, ISIS is fighting the combined military power of the United States, France, England, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar.

Yet we are expected to believe that ISIS has the time, energy, resources, and inclination to attack Indonesia in a spectacular, large-scale bombing and mass shooting?

And why? Where does Indonesia fit into the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria?" According to the West's official narrative, Indonesia doesn't fit in at all except in the most abstract, ideological way imaginable.

But if you understand that:

  1. The US and its allies created ISIS on purpose to fight its proxy wars in the Middle East, North Africa, Central, East, and Southeast Asia for it; 
  2. The US is NOT fighting ISIS by any means, and is only using the organization's existence in Syria and beyond to justify extraterritorial military aggression and meddling across the globe;
  3. Indonesia has been defying US pressure to join Washington's proxy conflict with China in the South China Sea and; 
  4. Indonesia has been fostering closer economic and military ties instead with China itself ...
...then ISIS attacking Indonesia's capital of Jakarta makes perfect sense.

It was punitive. It was also a warning to Jakarta that it has a choice; subjugation by the West, or destabilization.

The same choice was given to Thailand in August of last year when US-Turkish-backed terrorists blew up 20 people in the heart of Bangkok. This was after it became clear that a definite and permanent shift was made by Bangkok toward Beijing, with new defense industry contracts being sought, existing ones being fulfilled, joint military exercises being organized with China to replace Vietnam-era exercises generally held with the US, and massive infrastructure projects being pursued jointly by Bangkok and Beijing.

The attack in Bangkok also took place as it became abundantly clear that US-backed political fronts in Thailand were being rooted out and denied any future opportunities to find themselves back in power.


Likewise, Indonesia - while paying lip service to Washington's war of words with China in the South China Sea - has been growing perhaps "too close" for Washington's liking to Beijing.

Jakarta had just signed a multi-billion dollar massive rail infrastructure deal with China. Not only does this bring Indonesia and China closer together, it will continue to do so over many years to come. The deal also came at the expense of America's allies and geopolitical proxies in Tokyo who also attempted to bid for expanding Indonesian rail infrastructure, but lost out to Beijing.

For now, despite the threats, attacks, and attempts to undermine and subvert Thailand for its geostrategic shift, Bangkok has decided not to capitulate to Washington. It has remained relatively un-confrontational with the US in words, but in actions, it has pivoted away from the US' own "pivot toward Asia."

Indonesia now has a choice. Allow the US to leverage this recent attack to reassert both its designs and ambitions upon Indonesia and give its proxy political fronts and proxies scattered across Indonesia's political landscape, police, military, and business community, or to join Thailand and others in a long-term vision that sees Asians maintain primacy over Asia, not Washington.

Taken from : http://landdestroyer.blogspot.my/2016/01/jakarta-blasts-isis-inc-strikes-again.html

Isnin, 11 Januari 2016

Russia Breaking Wall Street Oil Price Monopoly

Author: F. William Engdahl
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Russia has just taken significant steps that will break the present Wall Street oil price monopoly, at least for a huge part of the world oil market. The move is part of a longer-term strategy of decoupling Russia’s economy and especially its very significant export of oil, from the US dollar, today the Achilles Heel of the Russian economy.

Later in November the Russian Energy Ministry has announced that it will begin test-trading of a new Russian oil benchmark. While this might sound like small beer to many, it’s huge. If successful, and there is no reason why it won’t be, the Russian crude oil benchmark futures contract traded on Russian exchanges, will price oil in rubles and no longer in US dollars. It is part of a de-dollarization move that Russia, China and a growing number of other countries have quietly begun.

The setting of an oil benchmark price is at the heart of the method used by major Wall Street banks to control world oil prices. Oil is the world’s largest commodity in dollar terms. Today, the price of Russian crude oil is referenced to what is called the Brent price. The problem is that the Brent field, along with other major North Sea oil fields is in major decline, meaning that Wall Street can use a vanishing benchmark to leverage control over vastly larger oil volumes. The other problem is that the Brent contract is controlled essentially by Wall Street and the derivatives manipulations of banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP MorganChase and Citibank.

The ‘Petrodollar’ demise

The sale of oil denominated in dollars is essential for the support of the US dollar. In turn, maintaining demand for dollars by world central banks for their currency reserves to back foreign trade of countries like China, Japan or Germany, is essential if the United States dollar is to remain the leading world reserve currency. That status as world’s leading reserve currency is one of two pillars of American hegemony since the end of World War II. The second pillar is world military supremacy.

US wars financed with others’ dollars

Because all other nations need to acquire dollars to buy imports of oil and most other commodities, a country such as Russia or China typically invests the trade surplus dollars its companies earn in the form of US government bonds or similar US government securities. The only other candidate large enough, the Euro, since the 2010 Greek crisis, is seen as more risky.

That leading reserve role of the US dollar, since August 1971 when the dollar broke from gold-backing, has essentially allowed the US Government to run seemingly endless budget deficits without having to worry about rising interest rates, like having a permanent overdraft credit at your bank.

That in effect has allowed Washington to create a record $18.6 trillion federal debt without major concern. Today the ratio of US government debt to GDP is 111%. In 2001 when George W. Bush took office and before trillions were spent on the Afghan and Iraq “War on Terror,” US debt to GDP was just half, or 55%. The glib expression in Washington is that “debt doesn’t matter,” as the assumption is that the world—Russia, China, Japan, India, Germany–will always buy US debt with their trade surplus dollars. The ability of Washington to hold the lead reserve currency role, a strategic priority for Washington and Wall Street, is vitally tied to how world oil prices are determined.

In the period up until the end of the 1980’s world oil prices were determined largely by real daily supply and demand. It was the province of oil buyers and oil sellers. Then Goldman Sachs decided to buy the small Wall Street commodity brokerage, J. Aron in the 1980’s. They had their eye set on transforming how oil is traded in world markets.

It was the advent of “paper oil,” oil traded in futures, contracts independent of delivery of physical crude, easier for the large banks to manipulate based on rumors and derivative market skullduggery, as a handful of Wall Street banks dominated oil futures trades and knew just who held what positions, a convenient insider role that is rarely mentioned inn polite company. It was the beginning of transforming oil trading into a casino where Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP MorganChase and a few other giant Wall Street banks ran the crap tables.

In the aftermath of the 1973 rise in the price of OPEC oil by some 400% in a matter of months following the October, 1973 Yom Kippur war, the US Treasury sent a high-level emissary to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 1975 US Treasury Assistant Secretary, Jack F. Bennett, was sent to Saudi Arabia to secure an agreement with the monarchy that Saudi and all OPEC oil will only be traded in US dollars, not Japanese Yen or German Marks or any other. Bennett then went to take a high job at Exxon. The Saudis got major military guarantees and equipment in return and from that point, despite major efforts of oil importing countries, oil to this day is sold on world markets in dollars and the price is set by Wall Street via control of the derivatives or futures exchanges such as Intercontinental Exchange or ICE in London, the NYMEX commodity exchange in New York, or the Dubai Mercantile Exchange which sets the benchmark for Arab crude prices. All are owned by a tight-knit group of Wall Street banks–Goldman Sachs, JP MorganChase, Citigroup and others. At the time Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reportedly stated, “If you control the oil, you control entire nations.” Oil has been at the heart of the Dollar System since 1945.

Russian benchmark importance

Today, prices for Russian oil exports are set according to the Brent price in as traded London and New York. With the launch of Russia’s benchmark trading, that is due to change, likely very dramatically. The new contract for Russian crude in rubles, not dollars, will trade on the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX).

The Brent benchmark contract are used presently to price not only Russian crude oil. It’s used to set the price for over two-thirds of all internationally traded oil. The problem is that the North Sea production of the Brent blend is declining to the point today only 1 million barrels Brent blend production sets the price for 67% of all international oil traded. The Russian ruble contract could make a major dent in the demand for oil dollars once it is accepted.

Russia is the world’s largest oil producer, so creation of a Russian oil benchmark independent from the dollar is significant, to put it mildly. In 2013 Russia produced 10.5 million barrels per day, slightly more than Saudi Arabia. Because natural gas is mainly used in Russia, fully 75% of their oil can be exported. Europe is by far Russia’s main oil customer, buying 3.5 million barrels a day or 80% of total Russian oil exports. The Urals Blend, a mixture of Russian oil varieties, is Russia’s main exported oil grade. The main European customers are Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. To put Russia’s benchmark move into perspective, the other large suppliers of crude oil to Europe – Saudi Arabia (890,000 bpd), Nigeria (810,000 bpd), Kazakhstan (580,000 bpd) and Libya (560,000 bpd) – lag far behind Russia. As well, domestic production of crude oil in Europe is declining quickly. Oil output from Europe fell just below 3 Mb/d in 2013, following steady declines in the North Sea which is the basis of the Brent benchmark.

End to dollar hegemony good for US

The Russian move to price in rubles its large oil exports to world markets, especially Western Europe, and increasingly to China and Asia via the ESPO pipeline and other routes, on the new Russian oil benchmark in the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange is by no means the only move to lessen dependence of countries on the dollar for oil. Sometime early next year China, the world’s second-largest oil importer, plans to launch its own oil benchmark contract. Like the Russian, China’s benchmark will be denominated not in dollars but in Chinese Yuan. It will be traded on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange.

Step-by-step, Russia, China and other emerging economies are taking measures to lessen their dependency on the US dollar, to “de-dollarize.” Oil is the world’s largest traded commodity and it is almost entirely priced in dollars. Were that to end, the ability of the US military industrial complex to wage wars without end would be in deep trouble.

Perhaps that would open some doors to more peaceful ideas such as spending US taxpayer dollars on rebuilding the horrendous deterioration of basic USA economic infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013 estimated $3.6 trillion of basic infrastructure investment is needed in the United States over the next five years. They report that one out of every 9 bridges in America, more than 70,000 across the country, are deficient. Almost one-third of the major roads in the US are in poor condition. Only 2 of 14 major ports on the eastern seaboard will be able to accommodate the super-sized cargo ships that will soon be coming through the newly expanded Panama Canal. There are more than 14,000 miles of high-speed rail operating around the world, but none in the United States.

That kind of basic infrastructure spending would be a far more economically beneficial source of real jobs and real tax revenue for the United States than more of John McCain’s endless wars. Investment in infrastructure, as I have noted in previous articles, has a multiplier effect in creating new markets. Infrastructure creates economic efficiencies and tax revenues of some 11 to 1 for every one dollar invested as the economy becomes more efficient.

A dramatic decline for the role of the dollar as world reserve currency, if coupled with a Russia-styled domestic refocus on rebuilding America’s domestic economy, rather than out-sourcing everything, could go a major way to rebalance a world gone mad with war. Paradoxically, the de-dollarization, by denying Washington the ability to finance future wars by the investment in US Treasury debt from Chinese, Russian and other foreign bond buyers, could be a valuable contribution to genuine world peace. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2016/01/09/russia-breaking-wall-st-oil-price-monopoly/

Jumaat, 8 Januari 2016

Washington Quietly Lifts Sanctions on Russian Rockets

January 7, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) -  Washington, who leveled widespread sanctions against Russia in an increasingly tenuous bid to isolate and undermine the stability of Moscow, has found itself humiliated and backtracking as it lifts bans on Russia's RD-180 rocket engines.



And even as Washington does so, the US media finds itself still painting Russia as a villain even as the US finds itself forced to buy rockets from a nation it claims invaded Crimea, is fostering a "hybrid war" in eastern Ukraine, and is bombing US-backed "rebels" in Syria. It is worth mentioning that Russia's RD-180 rocket engines, possessing unparalleled performance US firms have yet to match, will be used to launch payloads into Earth orbit for the US Department of Defense. 

Popular Science in its article "Congress Moves to Lift Ban on Using Russian Rocket Engines" claims:
After Russia invaded Crimea, Congress swore off Russian rocket engines. But its ban on using these rockets to launch military payloads into space was perhaps a bit too hasty. A new bill approved by Congress has found a way to nullify the ban. 
United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that has long been the primary contractor for launching Defense Department payloads into space, relies on the Russian-made RD-180. ULA recently declined to bid on a launch contract due to its limited supply of rocket engines, and the Pentagon is not happy. Though ULA is developing a new engine, the BE-4 is years away from reaching the launch pad. This is, after all, rocket science that we're talking about.
While Russia did not in fact "invade Crimea," Popular Science is correct in pointing out that a ULA-made replacement for the Russian RD-180's is years from becoming a reality.

Popular Science also hints toward another reason that might be behind the lift of sanctions on Russian rockets:
ULA has long had a monopoly on military payload launches. SpaceX recently got permission to use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch military payloads as well, right around the time ULA dropped out because of the ban. If the ban is lifted, it means ULA and SpaceX will take part in the first competition for a military launch since 2006--and that could translate into savings for the U.S. government.
Ironically, a desire by ULA (a joint venture between defense industry giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin) to maintain their monopoly and all the unwarranted power and wealth associated with it, has forced them to do business with one of the nations it and a collection of other special interests on Wall Street, in Washington and in London have been attempting to undermine, divide and destroy for decades.

SpaceX seeks to disrupt and decentralize the aerospace industry, a direct threat to Boeing and Lockheed Martin both in short-term and long-term regards.

And it seems that both in short-term and long-term regards, the strategy of these special interests on Wall Street, in Washington and in London, is incoherent and self-defeating. As it attempts to isolate and undermine Moscow, it finds itself threatened by disruptive business models and innovators at home in America. To tamp down domestic competition, these interests have ended up rolling back sanctions against foreign competitors.

Impotent and incoherent, it appears that the US has managed to do more harm to itself than to Russia. While Russia is certainly suffering from sanctions, should it overcome them, it will come out stronger and more self-sufficient on the other side. For the US however, win or lose against Russia, it is clearly harming itself in the process.

For the global public looking on, flooded daily with news and op-eds about how much of a threat Russia is to global peace and stability, the fact that the US Department of Defense is still essentially buying rockets from Russia to put American satellites into orbit should serve as a reminder that nothing resembling actual principles, facts or honesty guides US foreign policy or how it is presented across US and European media. 

If the US finds itself unable to justify continued sanctions against Russian rockets, rockets used in vital roles for maintaining US defense capabilities, how is the US continuing to justify other sanctions against Russia that remain in place? Are these sanctions in place simply because the businesses being hurt by them across the West lack the lobbying power of Boeing and Lockheed Martin? And are we expected to continue believing Russia is such a "threat" but still America's primary partner in launching defense satellites into space, not to mention American and European astronauts and supply missions to the International Space Station?

In fact, flip-flopping on Russian sanctions seems like it should indicate to various stakeholders in Washington and London's international order that it is looking less like an organized global enterprise, and more like a blind tropism seeking profits wherever it finds them, even if they are over the edge of a cliff. For these stakeholders, it may be time to consider divesting and/or diversifying into something truly looking with its eyes open toward the future and toward real progress.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

Ref: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.my/2016/01/washington-quietly-lifts-sanctions-on.html