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Friday, December 31, 2010

Honor the WikiLeakers by Alexander Cockburn

Alexander Cockburn | Honor the WikiLeakers
Alexander Cockburn, Truthout: "When it comes to journalistic achievements in 2010, the elephant in the room is WikiLeaks. I've seen many put-downs of the materials as containing 'no smoking guns', or as being essentially trivial communications to the State Department from U.S. diplomats and kindred government agents around the world. Now, it's true that the cables were legally available to well over 1.5 million Americans, who had adequate security clearance. But trivial? Don't believe it. The cables show the daily business of a mighty empire acting in manners diametrically opposite to public pretensions. The cables form one of the most extraordinary lessons in the cold realities of international diplomacy ever made public. Normally, scholars have to wait for 10, 20, even 50 years to gain access to such papers."
Read the Article

Empathy Declining: ‘The American Personality Is Shifting In An Ominous Direction’

Empathy Declining: ‘The American Personality Is Shifting In An Ominous Direction’
December 30th, 2010 Via: Scientific American:

Humans are unlikely to win the animal kingdom’s prize for fastest, strongest or largest, but we are world champions at understanding one another. This interpersonal prowess is fueled, at least in part, by empathy: our tendency to care about and share other people’s emotional experiences. Empathy is a cornerstone of human behavior and has long been considered innate. A forthcoming study, however, challenges this assumption by demonstrating that empathy levels have been declining over the past 30 years.

The research, led by Sara H. Konrath of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and published online in August in Personality and Social Psychology Review, found that college students’ self-reported empathy has declined since 1980, with an especially steep drop in the past 10 years. To make matters worse, during this same period students’ self-reported narcissism has reached new heights, according to research by Jean M. Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University.

But the new finding that empathy is on the decline indicates that even when a trait is hardwired, social context can exert a profound effect, changing even our most basic emotional responses.


New Book on 9/11/01: Susan Lindauer, "Extreme Prejudice"

Posted on October 24, 2010 by Charles Edward Lincoln III

Posted: October 10, 2010 by slindauer2010 in Uncategorized

Tags: Patriot Act, 9/11, Iraq, Pre-War Intelligence, espionage, cover up, conspiracy, anti-terrorism, national security, suspense, spy thriller, michael collins, susan lindauer, mccain, Republican leadership, sarah palin, future terrorist attack, black budget, intelligence failures

The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq

What if the government decided to invent a great lie to sell a disastrous war and a questionable anti-terrorism policy? What would happen to the Assets who know the truth?

Former CIA Asset, Susan Lindauer, provides an extraordinary first-hand account from behind the intelligence curtain that shatters the government's lies about 9/11 and Iraq, and casts a harsh spotlight on the workings of the Patriot Act as the ideal weapon to bludgeon whistle blowers and dissidents. A terrifying true story of "black budget" betrayals and the Patriot Act, with its arsenal of secret evidence, indefinite detention and threats of forcible drugging, EXTREME PREJUDICE reveals one Asset's desperate struggle to survive the brutal cover ups of 9/11 and Iraq. EXTREME PREJUDICE delivers a high tension expose of the real facts surrounding the CIA's advance warnings of 9/11 and Iraq's contributions to the 9/11 investigation. For the first time, it discloses the existence of a comprehensive peace framework before the War, which would have accomplished all major U.S. objectives in Baghdad without a single casualty. A true life spy thriller that goes inside the Iraqi Embassy and prison on a Texas military base, EXTREME PREJUDICE reveals the depths of deception by leaders in Washington and London to promote a questionable image of their successful anti-terrorism policy, and the shocking brutality used to suppress the truth of their failures from the American people and the world community.

Above all, EXTREME PREJUDICE offers a critical examination from the defendant's chair of the Patriot Act's assault on the most cherished Constitutional rights in a Court of law, when liberty and freedom to dissent from government policy are the highest stakes.

"Susan Lindauer deserves unreserved admiration for this brave and moving account of her steadfast refusal to crumble under the shameful abuses to which she was subjected. She has provided us with an overdue exposure of the depths to which governments are all too prepared to descend to prevent disclosure of their dishonesty and malfeasance, her knowledge having been gained through bitter personal experience." –Robert Black, Q.C., Scottish architect of the Lockerbie Trial at Camp Zeist

"Unfolds like a suspense thriller from deep within the struggle for global sanity, at the hands of those perpetrating dark secrecy. Lindauer reveals faces of our national truth few Americans imagine. Chilling, heartbreaking, horrifying and hopeful, EXTREME PREJUDICE offers a depth of historical insight critical to transforming our future. Pay attention." –Janice Matthews, Director,
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What I want for myself in 2011 James Altucher, The Altucher Confidential

What I want for myself in 2011
James Altucher, The Altucher Confidential

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The beginning of the end of U.S. dominance in the Pacific Rim -- ELP Defens(c)e Blog

The beginning of the end of U.S. dominance in the Pacific Rim -- ELP Defens(c)e Blog

Where’s the Money? What to Expect in 2011 -- DoD Buzz

Where’s the Money? What to Expect in 2011 -- DoD Buzz

Is Iran About to Test a Nuclear Bomb In North Korea? By Reza Kahlili Read more:

Is Iran About to Test a Nuclear Bomb In North Korea?

By Reza Kahlili

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reason. “A Time to Betray,” his book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010.

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Remembering Chalmers Johnson

Remembering Chalmers Johnson

chal johnson.jpg
In November, my Japan Policy Research Institute co-founder Chalmers Johnson passed away. I wrote about him here at the time, but in early December I did an interview with WBEZ Chicago's Jerome McDonnell which I never posted here and really liked.
So, for those interested in Chalmers Johnson who I think was one of the nation's great intellectual giants of the last century, enjoy.
-- Steve Clemons

Top ten global events of the past decade from Stephen M. Walt by Stephen M. Walt

Top ten global events of the past decade

from Stephen M. Walt

Palestinian Leader Calls For New Peace Plan

Palestinian Leader Calls For New Peace Plan

Jordan Moving towards a Nuclear Future

Jordan Moving towards a Nuclear Future

[AMMAN] Jordan is to enter the nuclear age with the announcement on 9 December that construction of its first nuclear research and training reactor will begin by February next year.
The Jordan Centre for Nuclear Research, which will host the reactor, will be built at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, about 70 kilometres north of Amman.
Nedal Xoubi, nuclear fuel cycle commissioner of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), told SciDev.Net that the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR) will be built at the centre at an estimated cost of US$130 million. The building's foundation was laid last month (23 November).
"The new reactor is a keystone in the nuclear infrastructure of Jordan, as a new generation of nuclear engineers and scientists will be trained in the facility," he said.
A South Korean consortium is building the five-megawatt reactor, which will be used for radioisotope production and training and is expected to be fully operational by 2015.
A full nuclear plant will follow, in line with plans to lessen Jordan's dependence on fossil fuel.
"[We want] to transform Jordan from a net energy importer to a net electricity exporter by 2030, with the aim of making low-cost power available to sustain the country's continued economic growth, and to desalinate very much-needed water," said Khalid Touqan, chairman of Jordan Atomic Energy Commission.
"The pursuit of nuclear power is of crucial importance to a country like Jordan, which imports 96 per cent of its energy at a cost of 20 per cent of its gross domestic product and which faces severe water shortages," he said, adding that the kingdom has estimated uranium oxide reserves of about 70,000 tonnes.
But Ahmad Al-Malabeh, professor of earth and environmental sciences in the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment at the Hashemite University, said: "Having such an ambitious nuclear project requires creating a functioning system for radioactive waste management, in order to avoid an environmental disaster".
Al-Malabeh said that the JAEC should have been subject to an economic feasibility study to compare it with solar power.
"They focused on the nuclear option because of the existence of significant quantities of uranium, despite the fact that Jordan is in the solar belt, which is excellent for generating solar power."
Ahmad Alkofahi, the executive director of the Jordan Environment Society, said: "The environmental societies [of Jordan] are not against initiating a nuclear reactor, but solar and wind power should be initiated in the same way, as they are much better environmentally and economically".
By. Hanan Alkiswany
Source: SciDev


The Economy Will Add Only 127K Jobs A Month In 2011, And Unemployment Will Rise from Business Insider by Mike "Mish" Shedlock

The Economy Will Add Only 127K Jobs A Month In 2011, And Unemployment Will Rise

from Business Insider

2011 by Paul Craig Roberts


by Paul Craig Roberts

December 31, 2010

”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”
–Lewis H. Lapham

2010: The year that was in espionage

Most Dangerous Year Ever, From Secret Spaceships to Killer Drones from Danger Room by Noah Shachtman

Most Dangerous Year Ever, From Secret Spaceships to Killer Drones

from Danger Room

Cameron Hanover Perspectives On 2011 Energy Markets from zero hedge by Tyler Durden

Cameron Hanover Perspectives On 2011 Energy Markets

from zero hedge

1929 Parody


QE2, QE3, QE4


Recovery 2011


Abnormals Anonymous


New English-Language al-Qaeda Explosives Manual Released Online from SWJ Blog by Dave Dilegge
Via the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and The Daily Telegraph: New English-Language al-Qaeda Explosives Manual Released Online. From ICSR:
In the last few days, English-language jihadist forums have released a significant new book entitled The Explosives Course. Published in 2010 by al-Qaeda’s Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) and apparently compiled by former students of the now deceased al-Qaeda explosives expert Abu Khabab al-Misri (also known as Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar), it is among the most comprehensive and sophisticated manuals of its kind. The introduction claims that “this is the first book from a series of books aimed on this subject”, noting that further editions and updates will be forthcoming.
Targeting English-speaking audiences, it capitalises on the rise of ‘homegrown’ extremism in the US and Britain. This manual is widely available within online extremist networks and seeks to arm potential self-starters and ‘lone-wolves’ with the knowledge they often lack on creating viable explosive devices, in particular those living in the West who are motivated to act but unable to join terrorist training camps abroad. Following a recent rise in incidents of attempted attacks by US nationals on American soil, the US Attorney General Eric Holder claimed earlier this month that the threat of ‘homegrown’ terror “keeps me up at night”. He also warned that “the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant.”
For ICSR's full analysis click here and for the front page of The Explosives Course here. Also see Al-Qaeda bomb manual published on internet at The Daily Telegraph.
The ICSR is a partnership which brings together four academic institutions: King's College London; the University of Pennsylvania; the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Israel); and the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy.

Best of 2010: Big Bang Abandoned in New Model of the Universe

arXiv blog

Best of 2010: Big Bang Abandoned in New Model of the Universe

In July, we saw how a new cosmology successfully explains the accelerating expansion of the universe without dark energy; but only if the universe has no beginning and no end
kfc 12/31/2010
As one of the few astrophysical events that most people are familiar with, the Big Bang has a special place in our culture. And while there is scientific consensus that it is the best explanation for the origin of the Universe, the debate is far from closed. However, it's hard to find alternative models of the Universe without a beginning that are genuinely compelling.
That could change now with the fascinating work of Wun-Yi Shu at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Shu has developed an innovative new description of the Universe in which the roles of time space and mass are related in new kind of relativity.
Read the full post...

Problem Banks: Stress by State from Calculated Risk by CalculatedRisk

Some more interesting data
With the banking crisis ending its third year, it may prove useful to identify which states have experienced the most stress.

At year-end 2007, there were 8,536 insured institutions headquartered in the 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Since that time, 1,340 or 15.7 percent have either failed or made an appearance on the Unofficial Problem Bank List (see table below).

When ranking markets with a minimum of 15 institutions at year-end 2007, Arizona has experienced the most stress with 45.6 percent of its institutions having failed or being identified as a problem. Washington is a close second at 45.4 percent. The other stressed banking states that rank in the top ten include Nevada (43 percent), Oregon (40 percent), Florida (37 percent), Georgia (34 percent), California (34 percent), Utah (32 percent), Idaho (26 percent), and Colorado (25 percent).

The common theme among these is overexposure to commercial real estate lending, particularly residential construction & development loans, and the collapse of real estate markets. At the other end of the spectrum with comparatively little stress include Iowa (4.3 percent), New Hampshire (4.2 percent), and West Virginia (1.5 percent). Vermont is the only state that has not experienced a failed institution or one appearing on the Unofficial Problem Bank List. More at:

Why the Rich Are Getting Richer Foreign Affairs

Why the Rich Are Getting Richer Foreign Affairs

Why Can’t Europe Avoid Another Crisis? Why Can’t the U.S.? Simon Johnson

Why Can’t Europe Avoid Another Crisis? Why Can’t the U.S.? Simon Johnson

The Most Anticipated Products & Technologies of 2011 PCMagazine

The Most Anticipated Products & Technologies of 2011 PCMagazine,2817,2374755,00.asp

Can North Korea Change? - By Peter M. Beck from Foreign Policy by PETER M. BECK

Pyongyang's new ruler-in-waiting has many hoping for Chinese-style reforms in the world's last Stalinist state. But will the Kim family ever open up? We'd better hope so.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Arabs to go to UN against Jewish settlements Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Dec 30, 2010 The Palestinians and Arabs will shortly bring a draft resolution before the UN Security Council calling on Israel to halt Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said on Thursday. "We will go before the Security Council in the coming days to stop the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, capital of a Palestinian state, which is a red line for all Palestinians and Arabs," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
"We will present a Palestinian and Arab resolution," he told AFP from Brazil, where he is accompanying Abbas on an official visit.
Following a breakdown of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians over settlements, the Arab League announced on December 15 that it would seek a Security Council resolution against Israel, ordering a halt to Jewish settlements.
It also called on the United States, which has vetoed resolutions against Israel in the past, not to obstruct such a move.
The draft resolution is due to come before the United Nations in January, when Bosnia takes the rotating presidency of the Security Council from the United States.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians launched on September 2 were suspended three weeks later after an Israeli moratorium on settlement building expired and the Jewish state refused to renew it.

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N.Korea can build a nuclear bomb a year: ex US defence chief

Report: N.Korea increases flight drills despite fuel pinchSeoul (AFP) Dec 29, 2010 - A North Korean jet has crashed as the country intensified air force exercises following its attack last month on a South Korean frontline island which sent tensions soaring, a newspaper said Wednesday. A MiG fighter disappeared off radar screens last week as the impoverished communist state held unusually extensive winter flight drills, the Korea JoongAng Daily said, quoting a military source. North Korea usually keeps flight drills to a minimum because of severe fuel shortages. The paper said there had been a 150 percent increase in the number of military drills involving all three services compared to December 2009. "It shows that the North Korean military has been very tense after the attack on Yeonpyeong Island," it quoted the source as saying. A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on military intelligence matters.

The North also carried out a corps-scale live-fire drill in response to a joint live-fire exercise by South Korea's army and air force last Thursday, Yonhap news agency said earlier this week. The news agency said the North has test-fired artillery and multiple-rocket launchers five times this month alone. The Korea JoongAng Daily said there have been frequent sightings of North Korean submarines near the disputed Yellow Sea border and artillery was moved nearer to the coast. The South has staged a series of military exercises, including one with the United States, since the North shelled the island near the Yellow Sea border on November 23 and killed four people, including two civilians. Tokyo (AFP) Dec 29, 2010 Former US defence chief William Perry said North Korea was capable of producing one nuclear bomb a year and that Washington should consider high-level talks to defuse tension, in an interview published Wednesday. Perry, who served as defence secretary under president Bill Clinton, told the Nikkei daily that the US government should review its policies towards North Korea and impose economic sanctions to reiterate its stance against Pyongyang's nuclear programmes.
Then, Washington should coordinate policies with Seoul and Tokyo before eventually sending a special envoy for direct talks with Pyongyang, Perry told the Nikkei.
Perry suggested former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former US senator Sam Nunn, an expert on nuclear arms reduction, as possible candidates for such talks, the Nikkei said.
The interview was released in Japanese, with no original English text immediately available.
If North Korea dedicated all of its recently unveiled uranium enrichment facility to making weapons-grade fuel, it could build one nuclear bomb a year, Perry told the paper.
Perry said he had been briefed by American scientist Siegfried Hecker, who recently toured a new uranium enrichment plant with 2,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex.
The facility is likely designed for making fuel for a civilian reactor and not bombs, but there is no way to confirm whether North Korea has another facility to build nuclear weapons, Perry said.
The former defence chief said he still believed in diplomatic solutions to the North Korean crisis.

Commentary: Third World America?

- by Arnaud De Borchgrave
Washington (UPI) Dec 29, 2010
The old saw says if you owe the bank $1 million you're in trouble but if you owe $100 million, the bank's in trouble. The same logic is being applied to the $1 trillion the United States owes China. The Iraq war and subsequent occupation ran up bills of another $1 trillion and the Afghan war, with no end in sight, is at half a trillion dollars and counting.

Together, a government that's broke and a dysfunctional Congress, whose grand design is to kick the can into another year, shouldn't be surprised to see the erosion of America's power to influence events abroad.

Calling it a slide into Third World status, The Economist, still the world's most prestigious publication, points out, among scores of examples in some 30 states, that Hawaii has gone beyond laying off teachers and is now laying off students; that in Atlanta's Clayton County suburb the entire bus system is shut down; that Colorado Springs turned off one-third of its 24,000 street lights; that Camden, NJ, is planning to shutter its public library; and that in some cash-strapped locations, local authorities are giving up paved roads and returning to gravel -- or to nature.

By demanding more from their political and business leaders -- and even from themselves -- the people will determine whether America becomes a Third World country or the "more perfect union" the Founding Fathers envisaged, The Economist pontificated.

The transition to the second industrial revolution and a more perfect union will entail radical changes in secondary education where the United States is now treading water in the middle of the global pack. Science, math and literacy are woefully inadequate to cope with the new hybrid of chemistry, engineering and physics.

Nano-technology is about to change every aspect of our lives and usher in the next technology-driven industrial revolution. From sources of energy to drugs to healthcare -- and above all weapons -- this revolution will have a greater impact on society than the first one. It will be the cornerstone for a new innovative economy. The United States is still in the lead -- barely. Germany, Japan, China and India are moving up fast. Synthetic biology is on the verge of producing cheap, life-saving drugs, as well as innovative biofuels to alleviate the world's energy problem.

The obstacles are familiar ones -- policymakers and Congress with its 200-odd committees and subcommittees for 535 members of Congress. Artificial life in a lab? It's already here but well out of congressional sight.

Irrespective of the labels still pinned on U.S. President Barack Obama by his Republican opponents in private conversations -- that range from Communist to Socialist to foreign-born usurper -- potential leadership for a new America has been subsumed in crises not of his making.

Few have been as optimistic about the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace than Marwan Muasher, a brilliant Jordanian who has held almost all the important political and diplomatic jobs his country has to offer. He dismissed skeptics year in and year out. But now he has finally conceded. The time for a two-state solution has come and gone.

Muasher now says neither side can offer what the other party needs. A new paradigm is urgently needed. The United States can't escape, he says, the fact that it needs to put its own ideas on the table for there to be a serious move to solve the conflict.

The Jordanian statesman reluctantly faces up to the Israeli bottom line. 1) The Israeli economy is doing fine; 2) the wall provides almost total separation between the Palestinians and most Israelis; 3) many Israelis don't believe the status quo is necessarily a bad thing; 4) there is no incentive or burning desire to reach a settlement.

AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- is arguably Washington's most powerful lobby, backed as it is by 100,000 of America's most influential and wealthy Jews. AIPAC is the self-appointed guardian of Israel's security. Anything it objects to won't pass muster on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has resumed as some 300,000 Jewish settlers continue to consolidate their roots. Some 200,000 in East Jerusalem, what Palestinians insist has to be their capital, continue to expand house by house.

The entire Arab world is ready to recognize Israel in its pre-1967 war borders and deal with it as normal states do with others. Israel isn't interested, which leaves the Palestinians little choice. As Muasher, the prototype of a moderate Arab, puts it, "the Palestinians can either unilaterally declare statehood (as the Israelis did in 1948), or get the U.N. to accept a Palestinian state."

While the Israeli side can live with existing conditions for several more years, Muasher says if 2011 passes without a final resolution of the conflict, the status quo won't be sustainable. A fourth intifada? "It is a clear fact that radicalism in the Arab world is on the rise (and) the gridlocked peace process is a major reason for the frustration across the region," Muasher concludes.

Frequently overlooked is this perennial conflict was -- and still is -- the principal motivation behind Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorism.

The second albatross around Obama's neck is Afghanistan. The obvious solution -- short of several more years of stalemated fighting and diminished NATO involvement -- is what some influential Pakistanis whisper privately: Obama-ditches-Karzai while Omar-dumps-Osama. The latter was done years ago. Mullah Omar was already at odds with bin Laden three months before 9/11, as he made clear June 4, 2001, in the only interview he has ever given a Western reporter.

The Taliban cannot be fought or wished away. It will spend the winter rebuilding under the protection of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, not in FATA under drone surveillance and bombing, but in the relative tranquility of Quetta Shura in Baluchistan, under the watchful eye of Pakistani agents. There is no Afghan solution without Pakistan.

Julian Assange Threatens To Name Arab Leaders With CIA Ties The ultimate threat here and abroad.

Julian Assange Threatens To Name Arab Leaders With CIA Ties
The ultimate threat here and abroad.

Was Wired's Refusal To Publish WikiLeaker Manning's Chat Logs The 'Worst Journalistic Disgrace' Of The Year?

Was Wired's Refusal To Publish WikiLeaker Manning's Chat Logs The 'Worst Journalistic Disgrace' Of The Year?

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A New Alliance for Israel By Leon Hadar

For those interested here a link to my new op-ed on changing US-Israel relationship in Haartez:
A New Alliance for Israel
By Leon Hadar
Since it's in Hebrew here is the English translation (and have a healthy and happy 20011)
A New Alliance for Israel
By Leon Hadar
          “We cannot exist alone.” Israel’s national security axiom was acknowledged by President Shimon Peres during an address in November. “For our existence we need the friendship of the United States of America,” he stressed, adding: “It doesn't sound easy, but this is the truth.” It’s not easy for a client-state to admit that its own survival depends on a global patron.
          It’s even more challenging for leaders of a dependent state to recognize that the great power they are relying on is entering into an imperial twilight time. Inertia and wishful thinking explains why elites the empire’s capital and the provinces continue to share in the misconception about the hegemon’s ability to exert global influence
          But after a prolonged “recognition lag” it’s becoming clear that the U.S. is facing the prospects of geostrategic decline. The military is overstretched in two unwinnable wars and a decaying economic base is making it difficult to sustain expansive global commitments. The Unipolar Moment is coming to an end and rising global powers are helping generate a multipolar system.
          It seems, however, that Israeli leaders continue to operate under the illusion that the U.S. remains the paramount power. Israeli ultra-nationalists delude themselves that the muddled U.S. policy the Middle East and the its tensions with Israel are temporary, and that when the Republicans return to the White House the hegemon will rise again and together with its Israeli deputy will bring order to the Middle East.
          Members of the peace camp, regarding the support of a global patron not as a substitute for integrating Israel in the Middle East – but as an element in a strategy to achieve peace, believe that the role of Washington remains central to a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
          During the Cold War and in the brief Unipolar Moment Washington was in a position to work with Israeli and Arab moderates in promoting peace. But that window of opportunity for this U.S. role may be closing.
          Washington’s current difficulties in bringing peace to the Holy Land and disabling Iran’s nuclear capability reflect structural problems that are eroding American power. And hey are not going to be resolved anytime soon under either Democratic or Republican presidents.
           While the U.S. will not collapse with a bang a la the Soviet Union, it will cease being Number One. Traditional allies of the U.S. like Turkey, Japan and Brazil, are recognizing that and are hedging their strategic bets, maintaining close ties with Washington while trying to form alliances with like-minded regional and global powers.
          There is no reason why Israel should not pursue such a “hedging” strategy as it recognizes that U.S. military forces are going to disengage from the Middle East in the future and that the U.S.-Israeli alliance is bound to weaken.     
          Israeli rightists fantasize that Muslim terrorism would ignite a Clash of Civilizations and Israel would serve as America’s strategic outpost in the Middle East, forever depending on U.S. support for its survival. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has “threatened” Washington that unless it supports his radical Zionist agenda, Israel would ally itself with another global player.  
          But why would the European Union (EU), Russia, China, India or Turkey be interested in hooking up with a state that brings into the marriage a dowry in the form of the animosity of the entire Arab and Muslim worlds? Israel’s promise as a strategic ally lies in playing a constructive role in sustaining a stable and prosperous region.
          No one is suggesting that Israel sue for an instant divorce from Washington and jump into bed with China. But in this period of eroding American unipolarism and budding multipolarity, Israel should start reassessing it options – very much the way its leaders had done in the past.
          Chaim Weizmann anticipated the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and made a diplomatic bet on Britain -- a policy that resulted in the Balfour Declaration. Thirty years later, Ben-Gurion recognized that the British Empire was crumbling and took advantage of the evolving Cold War to win support from the Soviet Union and the U.S. for the new Jewish State. In fact, Stalin’s Soviet Union was the even more enthusiastic than the U.S. in supporting the establishment of Israel in 1948.         
          Israel cannot exist alone. But as an adherent of Realpolitik like Peres recalls from his own experience, interests do change. He was, after all, the architect of the Israeli alliance the French who helped develop its nuclear arsenal. Indeed, Israel’s survival depends on recognizing that international friendships come and go. It doesn't sound easy, but this is the truth. END

Dr. Leon Hadar און הדר-לי is a research fellow at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

"There's a Huge Difference Between What is Good for American Companies Versus What is Good for the American Economy"

Why Can’t Europe Avoid Another Crisis? Why Can’t the U.S.? from The Baseline Scenario by Simon Johnson

Why Can’t Europe Avoid Another Crisis? Why Can’t the U.S.?

By Simon Johnson
Most experienced watchers of the eurozone are expecting another serious crisis to break out in early 2011.  This projected crisis is tied to the rollover funding needs of weaker eurozone governments, i.e., debts falling due in March through May, and therefore seems much more predictable than what happened to Greece or Ireland in 2010.  The investment bankers who fell over themselves to lend to these countries on the way up, now lead the way in talking up the prospects for a serious crisis.
This crisis is not more preventable for being predictable because its resolution will involve politically costly steps – which, given how Europe works, can only be taken under duress.  And don’t smile as you read this, because this same logic points directly to a deep and morally disturbing crisis heading directly at the United States.

How Long Will Eurozone Survive? Expect some answers from the eurozone By Wolfgang Münchau

How Long Will Eurozone Survive?

Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times
Quite probably we will see more funding crises, as some eurozone governments and banks seek to refinance their debts. We must also be prepared for a public backlash against what in several countries are the most extreme austerity programmes since the 1930s. The euro, even if it survives the year, will remain a source of political, economic and financial instability for the eurozone itself and the world as a whole.

Jobs Forecast 2011 Calculated Risk vs. Mish

Jobs Forecast 2011 Calculated Risk vs. Mish
Calculated Risk, a good friend of mine, has come up with employment projections for 2011. He thinks the economy will grow by 2.4 million private jobs (200,000 a month), with an upside chance of 3 million jobs.

I think those estimates are extremely high and we will not come close to even 2.4 million jobs. I give my rationale below, but first let's see what Calculated Risk has to say.

The Shah's Atomic Dreams

The Shah's Atomic Dreams

More than three decades ago, before there was an Islamic Republic, the West sought desperately to prevent Iran's ruler from getting his hands on the bomb. New revelations show just how serious the crisis was -- and why America's denuclearization drive isn't working.

Revealed: The classified maps that show Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous... with number of high risk areas spreading

Revealed: The classified maps that show Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous... with number of high risk areas spreading

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Noble Energy confirms massive natural gas find at Leviathan offshore Israel

Noble Energy confirms massive natural gas find at Leviathan offshore Israel

Source: Noble Energy, Inc.
Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NBL) announced a significant natural gas discovery at the Leviathan exploration prospect offshore Israel. Drilled in the Rachel license, the well encountered a minimum of 220 feet (67 meters) of net natural gas pay in several subsalt Miocene intervals. Apparent reservoir quality is very good, and the intervals discovered are geologically similar to those intersected at Tamar.
Leviathan-1, located in approximately 5,400 feet (1,645 meters) of water, is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) offshore of Haifa and 29 miles (47 kilometers) southwest of the Tamar discovery. The results from the well confirm the pre-drill estimated resource range, with a gross mean for Leviathan of 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters). The Leviathan field is estimated to cover approximately 125 square miles (325 square kilometers) and, as a result of its size, will require two or more appraisal wells to further define total gas resources.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO, said, "Leviathan is the latest major discovery for Noble Energy and is easily the largest exploration discovery in our history. In the past two years, we and our partners have made three significant natural gas discoveries in the Levantine basin. Total gross mean resources discovered are estimated to be approximately 25 trillion cubic feet (700 billion cubic meters), with nearly 8.5 trillion cubic feet (240 billion cubic meters) net to Noble Energy's interest. The Leviathan discovery has further confirmed our geologic models and interpretation of this basin and validates that it contains significant natural gas resources."
David L. Stover, the Company's President and COO, added, "Our exploration program continues to deliver outstanding results. This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation. For nearly a year now, we have had a team evaluating market possibilities, which includes various pipeline and LNG options. It's our belief that the natural gas resources at Leviathan are sufficient to support one or more of the options being studied. We are excited to be leading the exploration and development in this new basin and look forward to determining the best development option."
Drilling at Leviathan-1 will continue to a planned total depth of 23,600 feet (7,200 meters) to evaluate two additional intervals. Current well depth is 16,960 feet (5,170 meters). Results from the deeper tests, which have a low chance of success, are expected over the next couple of months. The Company's second contracted rig will arrive in the Eastern Mediterranean in early 2011 to spud a Leviathan appraisal well located 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of the discovery well.
Noble Energy operates Leviathan, offshore Israel, with a 39.66 percent working interest. Other interest owners are Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with 22.67 percent each and Ratio Oil Exploration with the remaining 15 percent. The Company also operates Tamar in the Matan license and Dalit in the Michal licenses with 36 percent working interests.

The Dangers of a Nuclear Iran Eric S. Edelman, Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr, and Evan Braden Montgomery

The Dangers of a Nuclear Iran

Eric S. Edelman, Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr, and Evan Braden Montgomery
Iran's acquisition of a nuclear bomb would upend the Middle East. It is unclear how a nuclear-armed Iran would weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of brinkmanship, meaning that it could be difficult to deter Tehran from attacking the United States' interests or partners in the region. Read

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chinese and Indian Entrepreneurs Are Eating America's Lunch

Watch out, Silicon Valley: China and India aren't just graduating bad engineers and stealing intellectual property anymore. They're fostering innovations that will shake the world.

Summary Of Key 2011 Head And Tail Winds from zero hedge by Tyler Durden

Summary Of Key 2011 Head And Tail Winds

from zero hedge

America's Gulf Disaster: Accidental or Deliberate? by Stephen Lendman

America's Gulf Disaster: Accidental or Deliberate?
 by Stephen Lendman / December 29th, 2010

On April 20, an initial explosion, then a larger one, ignited BP's Deepwater Horizon platform. For over a day it burned before sinking, killing 11 crew members, releasing thousands of barrels of oil daily, and causing the greatest ever environmental disaster — criminal malfeasance by any standard.

Years from now, its full impact will be known, but already hundreds of thousands of people are harmed, local economies gravely impacted, and large parts of the Gulf contaminated by toxic hydrocarbons and dispersants, making seafood absolutely unsafe to eat.

Obama, administration officials, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and BP executives lied, claiming most oil disappeared, 96% of Gulf waters were safe and reopened, and seafood was safe to eat. False, according to mounting evidence confirming:

– layers of oil residue contaminating several thousand square miles of seafloor;

– elevated hydrocarbon levels in Gulf residents' blood, suggesting an epidemic of future illnesses, including cancer and others as lethal;

– massive dispersants use prevented clean-up by skimming;

– no practical way now to clean up spilled oil; and,

– dispersants bioaccumulate, making oil toxins more bioavailable to sealife, easier to absorb, and more harmful if ingested.

The effects will linger for decades, maybe generations, making critics wonder if willful intent was involved, given evidence, including:

• Washington and BP complicity in misreporting, coverup and denying the disaster's severity from start to capping to the most recent disturbing findings;

• virtual confirmation of the greatest ever environmental crime, contaminating large portions of the Gulf; destroying basic food chain elements that are building blocks for fisheries, birds, sea turtles and mammal populations;

• polluting coastal shorelines; and causing a massive public health problem with no federal aid to inform and mitigate;

• irreparable harm to the lives and livelihoods of potentially millions of Gulf residents;

• and BP's history of violations, exposing the industry's worst safety, maintenance, and environmental record, yet nearly always able to escape with small fines, penalties and settlements; no prosecutions; no pressure to operate responsibly; and no curtailment of government-let contracts, so no reason not to continue business as usual.

Yet after BP declared the Macondo well dead last September, the event died with it, disappearing from major media reports that were complicit with BP and Obama officials by misreporting it from the start.

No wonder critics ask: was Macondo's blowout accidental or willful? Was deliberate sabotage involved? Were the Obama administration and BP complicit in the greatest ever environmental crime with enormous global consequences? If so, why?

A November report showed BP ignored warning signs and used inadequate procedures to secure Macondo's integrity. Jointly prepared by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council (NRC), it said:

failures and missed indications of hazards were not isolated events during the preparation of the Macondo well for temporary abandonment. Numerous (faulty) decisions (preceded) abandonment despite indications of hazards, such as the results of repeated negative-pressure tests, suggest an insufficient consideration of risk and a lack of operating discipline.
As a result, safety was virtually ignored, including employee warnings that Macondo was a disaster waiting to happen. Moreover, the report found BP used only six centralizers (well casing centering devices in the wellbore) even though "modeling results suggested that many more (were) needed."

BP also didn't incorporate a "float shoe" at the well casing bottom – a devise containing a check valve to automatically activate in case of emergency. It's a vital extra precaution not used. In addition, BP chose not to remove drilling mud without first installing a "lockdown sleeve" on the production casing's wellhead seals. It would have protected against shifting position built up pressure.

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, its regulatory arm, was also cited for "not hav(ing) formal training and certification….for its inspectors." It means incompetents, not professionals, were in charge, leaving BP unregulated despite its poor safety, maintenance and environmental record — a red flag begging for close monitoring.

Most important is that longstanding safe operating practices would have prevented disaster, yet BP ignored them. Minimally, willful negligence should be charged. However, deliberate malfeasance is more accurate, revealing a manufactured crime for corporate gain despite short-term costs. Obvious red flags included suspicious BP stock transactions; CEO Tony Hayward sold about one-third of his holdings weeks before the explosion; Goldman Sachs sold BP stock worth over $250 million in Q I 2010, 44% of its investment: what did they, not the public, know? And Enormous Big Oil/Wall Street pressure was exerted to enact Obama-supported cap and trade legislation. After House passage, it stalled in the Senate.

The bill would have let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy, and also create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation.

It was about profits, not environmental protection, especially a potential $10 trillion market for derivatives speculation, a plum needing an environment crisis to enact, like last summer's salmonella scare. It provided impetus for lame duck session passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act – a food tyranny measure, benefitting agribusiness at the expense of small farmers and consumers.

Cap and trade is a stealth scheme to license pollution, raise energy prices, and provide a huge bonanza through carbon trading derivatives speculation. Corporate interests badly want it. It remains if the 112th Congress will oblige.

New York Times Deepwater Horizon Information

On December 25, writers David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul headlined, "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours," saying:

Months after the disaster, "Investigators have dissected BP's well design and Halliburton's cementing work, uncovering problem after problem." Besides attention on the failed blowout protector (BOP), the explosion "escaped intense scrutiny, as if" one problem caused the other. False.

Deepwater Horizon "had formidable and redundant defenses against even the worst blowout. It was equipped to divert surging oil and gas safely away from the rig. It had devices to quickly seal off a well blowout or to break free from it. It had systems to prevent gas from exploding and sophisticated alarms that would quickly warn the crew at the slightest trace of gas." The crew practiced responding to alarms, fires and blowouts, and "it was blessed with experienced leaders who clearly cared about safety."

In fact, Deepwater Horizon's disaster shouldn't have happened, yet it did. Why suggests willful malfeasance, given the huge profit potential involved, as explained above. Eleven lost lives, many injuries, billions in cost affecting one quarter only, a contaminated Gulf, and potentially millions of harmed coastal residents are inconsequential by comparison.

Based on interviews with 21 crew members, documents The Times obtained, sworn testimonies, and written statements from nearly all rig survivors, a disturbing picture emerges, especially a singular fact:

Crew members "died and suffered terrible injuries because every one of the Horizon's defenses failed on April 20," a near-impossibility, but it happened. "Some were deployed but did not work. Some were activated too late, after they had almost certainly been damaged by fire or explosions. Some were never deployed at all."

Everything that could go wrong did. Decisive steps weren't taken. Communications "fell apart." Warning signs were missed or weren't heeded, and "crew members in critical areas failed to coordinate a response." Paralysis, breakdown, and disaster resulted. "For many, the first hint of crisis came in the form of a blast wave."

Yet crew members weren't trained or prepared to handle worst type crises. Why not is key for Mocondo, what workers called a "well from hell," plagued by problems. "Heavy drilling fluid, called mud, kept disappearing into formation cracks. Less mud meant less weight bearing down on the oil and gas that were surging up. This set off violent 'kicks' of gas and oil that sent the (rig's team) scrambling to control the well."

In March, trouble halted operations for nine days. It was a hint of worse to come, and just a matter of time before occurring. Management should have taken extra precautions. Failure begs the question. Why not? Instead of instituting fail safe measures, they were systematically avoided. "In effect, they were daring the well to blow out." On April 20, it obliged.

What shouldn't, and under safe operating conditions couldn't happen, in fact, did. Once the BOP failed, nothing stopped oil and gas from "racing up the Horizon's riser pipe. Nine minutes later came the first explosion."

The crew trained for blowouts. Procedure called for "quickly installing a special valve on the drill pipe….Only minutes before the blowout, the drill shack" got "puzzling pressure readings" and sensed trouble. "The industry (long believed) BOPs were 'the ultimate fail-safe' " device.

Transocean said Horizon's BOP couldn't prevent blowouts this extreme. However, evidence shows poor maintenance crippled it. Its problems included dead batteries, bad solenoid valves, and leaking hydraulic lines. None should have happened, and all could have easily been fixed.

Yet they were "overlooked and ignored." Willful negligence or criminal malfeasance? Either way is damning, especially for an industry major with decades of expertise. Failure was inexcusable, suggesting willful intent.

"Transocean (also) never performed an expensive 90-day maintenance inspection that the manufacturer said should be done every three to five years." So do industry and federal regulations.

Despite two explosions, Horizon still shouldn't have sunk. Disconnecting the rig from the BOP would have cut off the fire's main fuel source, giving rig and crew a fighting chance. Witnesses differ on details, but agree on one basic point: "even with Horizon burning, powerless and gutted by explosions, there was still resistance to the strongest possible measure that might save the rig."

However, Horizon's "death knell….was the emergency disconnect system itself. Like so many of the rig's defenses, it failed" for unexplained reasons. "Horizon was still handcuffed to the well from hell." Evacuating fast was essential.

Major unaddressed problems, initial explosions, subsequent small ones, intense heat, and poor evacuation drills left 11 crew members dead. Their epitaph should indict BP officials and complicit Obama officials for homicide. Justice demands holding them accountable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at: Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.

The Charts That Mattered Most In 2010 from Clusterstock by Calculated Risk

The Charts That Mattered Most In 2010

Editors Note: Calculated Risk have put together the most important charts of 2010, and we've got the lot here.
Coverage stretches from unemployment to real estate to manufacturing, all of which had significant twists and turns in 2010.
This post originally appeared at Calculated Risk and is republished with permission.
Click here for the charts >

Helping our enemies work together Posted By Stephen M. Walt

The news that various Afghan and Pakistani insurgent groups are coordinating their activities more extensively is neither surprising nor encouraging. This outcome is exactly what balance of power theory (or if you prefer, balance of threat theory) would predict: as the United States increases its military presence and escalates the level of violence, its various opponents put aside their differences for the moment in order to deal with the more imminent danger.More at:

Without boldness from Barack Obama there is a real risk of war in the Middle East The United States, Israel and the Arabs

Please, not again

Without boldness from Barack Obama there is a real risk of war in the Middle East

Robert Scheer | In Money-Changers We Trust

Robert Scheer, Truthdig: "Two years into the Obama presidency, and the economic data is still looking grim. Don't be fooled by the gyrations of the stock market, where optimism is mostly a reflection of the ability of financial corporations - thanks to massive government largesse - to survive the mess they created. The basics are dismal: Unemployment is unacceptably high, the December consumer confidence index is down, and housing prices have fallen for four months in a row. The number of Americans living in poverty has never been higher, and a majority in a Washington Post poll said they were worried about making their next mortgage or rent payment."
Read the Article

US to Vatican: Genetically Modified Food Is a "Moral Imperative"

US to Vatican: Genetically Modified Food Is a "Moral Imperative"
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "Secret United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks detail efforts to promote genetically modified (GM) crops and biotechnology across the globe, including the Vatican, where US diplomats pushed the Roman Catholic Church to support biotech food in developing nations. Cables from embassies in Spain, Austria and even Pakistan reveal the US diplomats have clearly sided with the biotech industry, even as court cases and public debates over GM food raged in the US and abroad."
Read the Article
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Here Are 10 Of The Most Offensive Protest Signs Of 2010 Hello America.

Here Are 10 Of The Most Offensive Protest Signs Of 2010
Hello America.

China Now Has A Missile U.S. Aircraft Carriers Can't Defend Against U.S. Admiral alerts world to new threat.

China Now Has A Missile U.S. Aircraft Carriers Can't Defend Against
U.S. Admiral alerts world to new threat.

MAP OF THE DAY: The Target Range Of China's "Aircraft Carrier Killer" Missile The East Pacific has a new boss.

MAP OF THE DAY: The Target Range Of China's "Aircraft Carrier Killer" Missile
The East Pacific has a new boss.

THE ROVING EYE For drone warriors, the future is death

For drone warriors,
the future is death

Seduced by visions of a "stabilizing" pipeline cutting through huge swathes of Afghanistan and Pakistan, US President Barack Obama now has a hot war on in both countries. This will keep his spooks busy remote-controlling mayhem from the air. Take cover - the Year of the Drone is upon us. - Pepe Escobar (Dec 22, '10)

CHAN AKYA The value of a nuclear Iran

The value of a nuclear Iran
A nuclear-capable Iran may be exactly what is required to destabilize the Wahhabi establishment, reduce support for extreme groups such as al-Qaeda - and usher in a new era of democracy across the Middle East. If the issue of Iran's attitude towards Israel can be addressed comprehensively, a strong Shi'ite state may well suit the strategic requirements of both the West and Asia. (Dec 17, '10)