Search This Blog

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Could Julian Assange Be Prosecuted for the Afghan War Logs? BY JOSHUA E. KEATING | JULY 30, 2010

The U.S. government has accused Julian Assange, of the self-styled whistleblower website WikiLeaks, of endangering the lives of U.S. troops and their Afghan allies by publishing more than 75,000 classified documents related to the war in Afghanistan. "The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. The New York Times  also reported that "Justice Department lawyers are exploring whether Assange and WikiLeaks could be charged with inducing, or conspiring in, violations of the Espionage Act." Do they have a case?
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Committee to Defraud the World

Seal of the United States Department of the Tr...Image via Wikipedia
To say now that 'No one knew' or 'I was mistaken' or 'I was just doing as I was told' is another in a series of lies and deceptions that have supported one of the greatest frauds in the history of the world.

But this is not history. This episode of fraud is still playing itself out now. And to fail to understand the depth and breadth of this madness is to place oneself in peril, and in the power of those who are twisting the Western economic and political system even now to satisfy their lust for wealth and power. You are only successful if you can keep what you kill.

Glass-Steagall fell after a decade long campaign involving hundreds of millions in lobbyist money spread lavishly around the Congress, led by Sanford Weil of Citibank, supported by key banking and political figures in the Congress and at the Fed. It involved Senator Phil Gramm, who helped to put a stake in the heart of the financial regulatory process under the Reagan free markets banner, and who recently said the problem is that the middle class were a bunch of whiners. As did his wife Wendy, who as the chairperson of the CFTC had exempted Enron from regulatory oversight, and then left to take a position there on its board of directors.

Like the Mortgage Backed Securities scandal it involved surprisingly few principal players, like Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, who used their power and influence to silence and ostracize critics, and promote a climate of reckless disregard for the public trust under the meme of 'efficient markets' and deregulation. This might have been an innocent policy error if it did not involve premeditated theft on a massive scale, followed by cover ups, denials, and a control fraud that exists even today.

But it also involved literally thousands of collaborators and enablers, from mainstream media people, economists, analysts, and other thought leaders to politicians and regulators who saw that it was to their advantage to at least passively support this scheme which they knew very well was a fairy tale, a fraud, class warfare by a new name, but were able to hide their own guilty consciences behind self-serving rationalization and the shield of plausible deniability.

History, and hopefully the justice system, will sort this all out. It is difficult, even now, to get one's mind around the enormity of it. This is its most powerful weapon. Who could be such monsters, so amoral, so destructively sociopathic? Future generations will regard it as an episode of madness, driven by a few people in a tight circle of self-reinforcing thought, people with remarkably similar cultural and educational backgrounds, driven by a consuming lust for power, that were able to dupe and delude an entire nation made vulnerable by propaganda, a co-opted press, and apathy.

In the meanwhile all the great mass of people can do is to watch, and wait, and seek to protect themselves from these ravening wolves grown increasingly desperate, as their arrogance comes to a tragic fall. They can vote out incumbents, but the parties choose the candidates, and too often they resemble competing crime families of special interests more than pillars of a representative government, saying one thing to get elected and doing another thing once in office.

This is the approach of trouble when hubris is at its height, and the few feel they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, if only they can gain more power, and necessarily become more ruthless. They are trapped in a cycle of fear and greed. The fear provokes the lies and the cover ups, but the greed promotes the extension of the fraud and the theft, requiring even more lies and cover ups. The operative word is 'over reach,' in a classic late stage Ponzi scheme. This will undoubtedly add to the confusion as the truth is assaulted by the big lie.

The last vestiges of polite society are often shed as the downfall reaches it final conclusion, at the end, when all is revealed, at last. And so there will be great danger.

The Committee To Save the World
John Hathaway
July 2010

Eleven years ago, the cover of Time Magazine (right) featured Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Lawrence Summers posing heroically over the headline: "The Committee to Save the World."

The sidebar was: "The inside story of how the Three Marketeers have prevented a global meltdown—so far." The reverent tone of the 2/15/99 article strikes a note of discord in the sour investment climate of today. The article gushed: "In the past six years the three have merged into a kind of brotherhood………What holds them together is a passion for thinking and an inextinguishable curiosity about a new economic order that is unfolding before them.." In today's less exuberant world, the picture, the headlines, and the content of the article are laughable and mildly irritating.

The "brotherhood" perfected the recipe of papering over market crises with layers of
debt financeable only by negative real interest rates. Their passion for thinking about the new economic order gave birth to capital markets more akin to casinos than rational allocators of capital. In the words of Ambrose Evans Pierce: "Central banks were the ultimate authors of the credit crisis since it is they who set the price of credit too low, throwing the whole incentive structure of the capitalist system out of kilter, and more or less forcing banks to chase yield and engage in destructive behaviour."

Subsequent iterations and mutations of world saving committees have become routine. The committee of Jean Claude Trichet, Angela Merkel and IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn attempted to rescue the euro, the euro zone, and by extension, the global financial system. Their effort came a scant two years after Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke teamed up to rescue the mortgage market and the U.S. banking system. The price of these two bailouts alone exceeds $2.6 trillion and still counting.

In a December 23, 2007 Op-Ed piece penned for the NY Times, Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw wrote: "The truth is the current Fed governors, together with their crack staff of Ph.D. economists and market analysts, are as close to an economic dream team as we are ever likely to see." Two years later, the number of those who still believe in the magical powers of policy making leadership has plummeted.... Read the rest here.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Is a new war in the Middle East becoming inevitable? By Volker Perthes Commentary Saturday, July 31, 2010 (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News

Is Mideast War Inevitable?

Volker Perthes, Daily Star

AP Photo

Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s former prime minister, is a thoughtful man with deep experience in Middle Eastern politics. So when he speaks of “trains with no drivers that seem to be on a collision course,” as he recently did at a private meeting in Berlin, interested parties should probably prepare for unwanted developments. Of course, no one in the region is calling for war. But a pre-war mood is growing.
Four factors, none of them new but each destabilizing on its own, are compounding one another: lack of hope, dangerous governmental policies, a regional power vacuum, and the absence of active external mediation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

White House Urges WikiLeaks To Not Publish More Secrets -- Voice Of America

Logo used by WikileaksImage via Wikipedia

The White House is urging the website WikiLeaks to not publish any more classified documents related to the Afghan war, saying it is important that no more damage be done to U.S. national security.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told NBC television Friday that all the administration can do is implore whoever has the documents to not post them.

He said a Taliban spokesman in the region stated that the Taliban is already going through the tens of thousands of documents that have already been posted to find the names of people who cooperated with international and American forces in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

More News On Wikileaks

W. House urges halt to spilling of war secrets -- Washington Times/AP
White House Implores Wikileaks: Don't Post More Documents -- CBS News
Wikileaks urged to stop publishing Afghan leaks -- ABC News (Australia)
U.S. worried more secret documents may be released -- Reuters
State Department Fears More Leaked Files -- FOX News
We're powerless to stop Afghan war WikiLeaks, admits White House -- The Australian
Leak of secret cables feared -- Straits Times

Taliban Study WikiLeaks to Hunt Informants -- The Lede/New York Times
Taliban in Afghanistan says they will target informants outed by WikiLeaks for working with U.S. -- New York Daily News
Taliban Says It Will Target Names Exposed by WikiLeaks -- Newsweek
WikiLeaks 'has blood on its hands': U.S. anger over Afghan revelations as FBI joins inquiry -- Daily Mail
Afghan leak: Wikileaks' Assange denies 'blood on hands' -- BBC

Army Broadens Inquiry Into WikiLeaks Disclosure -- New York Times
U.S. military launches review of IT security after Wikileaks breach -- Computer World
More on Mullen, Twitter, and the Ethics of WikiLeaks -- James Fallows, The Atlantic
What They Said: The WikiLeaks Leaks -- Wall Street Journal
Julian Assange: is 'Wikileaker' on a crusade or an ego trip? -- The Telegraph
There will be blood: Leaking Afghan war secrets will cost our friends their lives -- New York Daily News editorial
Is WikiLeaks An Editor-In-Chief Or Prolific Source? -- David Folkenflik, NPR
Wikileaks: White House implores Assange to desist, but why should he? -- The Guardian
Enhanced by Zemanta

US economic recovery loses momentum from LEAP/Europe 2020

Seal of the United States Department of CommerceImage via Wikipedia
America's recovery from its worst recession since the 1930s is losing momentum as more of the the country's consumers save rather than spend.

Growth in the world's largest economy cooled to a 2.4pc pace in the second quarter of the year from 3.7pc in the first three months of the year, a report from the Commerce Department showed on Friday. Consumer spending, which makes up the lion's share of the economy and has, until recently, helped power global growth, rose 1.6pc in the quarter, down from 1.9pc at the start of the year...

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is al-Qaeda racist? Posted by Michael Mumisa - 30 July 2010 11:53

Barack Obama's race may have added significance in the terror group's warped worldview.

On 13 July 2010, Barack Obama gave an interview to the South African Broadcast in which he attacked al-Qaeda and its supporters' disregard for African life. The White House went on to describe al-Qaeda as 'racist' and for treating black Africans like 'cannon fodder' . Right-wing commentators have since been on a war path accusing Obama for getting angry only when the victims of terrorism are black . His supporters have been at pains to explain that his statement was part of a discussion on Islam in Africa and that his critics are mischievously interpreting it out of its original context.
Whatever Obama's original intention was, he touched on a sensitive topic within Muslim communities which Muslim scholars, particularly in Africa, have been expressing since the August 7, 1998 al-Qaeda bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Qaeda and its supporters have successfully been able to justify their violence not only by manipulating theology but also on the basis of what many in Africa believe are racist readings of certain narrations (known in Arabic as 'ahadith') attributed to the Prophet of Islam. Since Obama's election such 'Prophetic narrations' have been widely circulated, discussed, and commented upon on Arabic websites and forums supportive of al-Qaeda.

On Iran, Liberals Are Enabling Another Disastrous War

WMD world mapImage via Wikipedia
It was the liberal "hawks" and the New York Times, by failing to ask the right questions of the case for war, that did more to make the war a "thinkable" option for America than any neocon. They allowed the question to be posed simply as one of whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or not. And because nobody could give an absolute assurance in the negative, the argument became "better safe than sorry". The liberals and the New York Times offered no challenge, and asked no questions, of the basic assumption that if Saddam had, in fact, had a couple of warehouses full of VX gas and refrigerator full of anthrax, that necessitated launching a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of upward of half a million Iraqis (and thousands of Americans) and left America weaker and more vulnerable.In 2003, the United States launched an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a country that had neither attacked nor threatened it — and we, and the Iraqis, are still living with the consequences.

Going to war in Iraq was made possible — easy, even — for the Bush Administration not only by Republican hawks and neocon extremists (the wannabe Army Corps of Social Engineers) baying for blood, but even more importantly, by supposedly sober and moderate liberal voices — the Peter Beinarts, Ken Pollacks, George Packers and the editors of the New York Times — not only failing to challenge the basic logic of the case for war, but providing their own more elegant (although equally brutal when stripped of their high-minded rhetoric) rationalizations for invading Iraq.On Iran, Liberals Are Enabling Another Disastrous War

And the bad news is that they're doing it again on Iran.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Scylla and Charybdis on the Sea of Japan

Jul 30th 2010, 11:23 by T.D. | TOKYO

THE Japanese government has postponed publication of its annual defence white paper—which should have been released today—ostensibly because it needs time to add material on the sinking of a South Korean naval ship. Which seems a rather lame excuse, given that the Cheonan was sunk in March; a comprehensive investigation, which Japan accepted, was published in May. More probably the delay has something to do with the Takeshima islands. The Takeshimas, a pair of jagged islets surrounded by scattered rocks, are administered by South Korea, which refers to them as Dokdo. The defence report would have been obliged to reiterate Japan's inconvenient claim to this inconvenient bit of real estate.

Each country considers the islands to be a part of its own sovereign territory, and both countries’ claims go back hundreds of years. In South Korea the subject is extremely touchy—memories of Japanese colonisation remain fresh. In July outrage over the issue drove a South Korean man to throw a stone at the Japanese ambassador. When the Japanese prefecture nearest the islets hosted a "Takeshima Festival" in 2005, one angry South Korean mother protested by cutting off her own little finger, as well as that of her son. A disgruntled man set himself on fire.

South Korea’s government has asked that Japan’s refrain from referring to the Takeshima question. But the Japanese government is said to be unwilling to omit its mention. Still, South Korean sentiments would seem to factor into Tokyo's thinking, in so far as the paper was postponed. Its publication has been pushed back to September or later, to avoid clashing with a sensitive anniversary: August 29th, the centennial of Japan’s formal annexation of Korea.

Conservative parties and newspapers in Japan gripe that the government does not take territorial issues seriously enough. They hint that the relatively new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government may not be sufficiently manly to maintain Japan’s position in a rising Asia. "Failure to say what Japan needs to say could be interpreted as a willingness by our government to make concessions" sniped the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's best-selling daily.

Meanwhile, a draft report by an advisory panel convened by the prime minister, Naoto Kan, called for a softening in the country's stance against possessing, producing or permitting nuclear weapons to pass through Japan. Instead, to some extent, they should be accepted as a necessary deterrent. The same draft recommended easing the rules against exporting the country's high-tech military hardware, which today can be sold only to America. In all, the DPJ faces a tough balancing act when it comes to upholding Japan's territorial claims (some of them dodgy) and its defence interests (however legitimate) without angering its neighbours.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, July 30, 2010

World's Marine Scientists Call for Large-Scale "National Parks at Sea" Scientific Statement Released for World Oceans Day

Yellowfin tuna are being fished as a replaceme...Image via Wikipedia

Washington, DC — More than 257 marine scientists (PDF) from 37 countries are calling for the establishment of a worldwide system of very large, highly protected marine reserves as "an essential and long overdue contribution to improving stewardship of the global oceanic environment."

While small marine reserves are known to protect some species, large reserves—comparable to large national parks on land—are necessary to better protect sea life in our oceans, which cover 71 percent of the planet.

By signing the statement (PDF), the experts endorsed the scientific case for designating very large, highly protected marine reserves and called on policymakers to take bolder action in establishing these areas. The statement issued by Global Ocean Legacy, a project of the Pew Environment Group, was released today for World Oceans Day.

"The need to set aside more and larger marine reserves as one means of ensuring the continued health of our oceans is well-accepted among marine scientists," said Dr. Bernard Salvat, noted coral reef scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Paris' Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). "We have to work on very large trans-boundary marine protected areas with intergovernmental agreements. We now need to speak out to educate governments and the public about the crisis facing our oceans and the long-term benefits of establishing large, no-take marine reserves."

Overfishing, pollution and climate change are adversely affecting the health of the world's oceans, and ultimately threatening the livelihoods, food security and economic development of millions of people. Very large reserves can help reduce these problems, according to a recently published book, The Unnatural History of the Sea, by Dr. Callum Roberts with the University of York.

Less than 0.5 percent of the world's oceans are fully protected from extractive or destructive activities. Large, no-take marine reserves have been shown to blunt the effects of excessive commercial fishing by offering a refuge for sea life to breed and spawn, providing for healthier fisheries as the fish swim into surrounding areas, and thus ensuring more resilient coastal economies. Because the ecosystems in ocean reserves are healthier, they are also more resistant to the damage caused by pollution, climate change and a wide range of other development activities.

"More than a century after nations had the foresight to protect important landscapes like Yellowstone National Park in the United States and Kruger National Park in South Africa, they have just begun to turn their attention to protecting similarly significant places in the sea," said Jay Nelson, director of Global Ocean Legacy. "The world's leaders need to recognize what more than 245 marine scientists from across the world understand: that the designation of very large, highly protected marine reserves is critical to maintaining the health of the ocean environment."

Global Ocean Legacy, a project of the Pew Environment Group in partnership with the Oak Foundation, Lyda Hill, the Robertson Foundation and the Sandler Foundation, strives to protect and preserve Earth's most important and unspoiled oceanic ecosystems. Its goal is to work with local citizens and governments to secure the designation of a handful of world-class, no-take reserves that will provide ecosystem scale benefits and help conserve our global marine heritage.

BACKGROUND: To date, Global Ocean Legacy's work with local partners and governments has been pivotal in the designation of some of the world's largest ocean reserves, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and the British Chagos Protected Area in the Indian Ocean. Collectively, these areas contain more than 70 percent of the world's no-take waters.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Who Pays for Agricultural Dumping? Farmers in Developing Countries

Timothy A. Wise, "Brazil and the United States may have settled, for now, their long-running WTO dispute over U.S. cotton subsidies, but the issues it raised remain. After all, Brazilian producers were not the only ones hurt by U.S. dumping of its highly subsidized cotton on world markets, which not only took market share from competing producers, it depressed the international price for all producers."
Enhanced by Zemanta

July 2010

Map of Afghanistan showing the security situat...Image via Wikipedia

Enhanced by Zemanta

Four More Years Of War -- Just For Starters - Dan Froomkin

A Hospital Corpsman attached to the 3rd Battal...Image via Wikipedia
The ever-accumulating case against the war in Afghanistan was bolstered this week by WikiLeaks's dissemination of over 70,000 previously secret reports documenting in vivid and unvarnished detail the brutality and futility of the American mission thereBut even as the public's patience with the war in Afghanistan is growing shorter, the timeline for an American troop withdrawal appears to be growing longer.

There are increasingly clear signs that President Obama's vow to start withdrawing American troops less than a year from now will be fulfilled through a technicality if at all, and that the real timeline for significant troop withdrawal -- barring a change in course -- now extends at least to 2014, if not far beyond.
Enhanced by Zemanta

MAP OF THE DAY: Alarming German Study Shows Ocean Has Bigger Problem Than Oil Spill

The foundation of the ocean food chain, phytoplankton, is declining at a much faster rater than expected. Phytoplankton are down 40 percent since 1950 and disappearing at a rate of one percent yearly. Scientists don't know what the effects will be, but clearly it's not looking good.
Sorry, this is another global warming story.
"We had suspected this for a long time," Boris Worm, the author of the study for Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "But these figures still surprised us." At this point, he said, one can only speculate as to what the repercussions might be. "In principal, though, we should assume that such a massive decline is already having tangible consequences," said Worm. He said that the lack of research on the food chain between phytoplankton and larger fish in the open ocean is a hindrance to knowing the extent of the damage.
Check out a map of the decline below. No, this wasn't caused by BP. Yes, this is incomparably more severe.
Plankton disappearance since 1950

Getting Out of Afghanistan - The Nation Editorial Board

Emblem of AfghanistanImage via Wikipedia

Getting Out of Afghanistan

The Editors | July 29, 2010
Eight months after President Obama announced his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and to expand the counterinsurgency war there, we have seen enough—enough to know that the strategy cannot work, and enough to understand that the costs of continuing the war far outstrip any conceivable benefits.
This conclusion was more than buttressed by the WikiLeaks release of 92,000 classified military documents, which reveal that the Pentagon has repeatedly overestimated its ability to control events; that the Taliban have much broader support, including the active assistance of the Pakistani intelligence services, than has been portrayed; and that the Afghan army and police, whose training is the centerpiece of our eventual exit strategy, are even more distrusted by the Afghan people than has been reported. Virtually everything in the war logs confirms that this is a conflict we should not be waging.
After nearly nine years of war, it is clear that Afghanistan—with its complex regional and ethnic divisions, its long history of fierce resistance to occupying forces, its decentralized governance and tribal system, and its susceptibility to the interference of neighbors—does not lend itself to successful counterinsurgency.
In addition, a majority of Americans oppose the war, which is increasingly being questioned by politicians and pundits. As other presidents have learned, it's not possible to wage a war that lacks public support and for which there is no clear measure of success. It is therefore time for the president to change policy; we cannot afford to wait for the policy review scheduled for December. The administration should take the advice of a majority of House Democrats and begin planning the "safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment" of US troops and start work on a regional diplomatic initiative to support reconciliation in Afghanistan.
As laid out by Obama last December, the administration's strategy has two goals: one, to reverse the Taliban's momentum in order to make them more pliant to negotiations at a time of Washington's choosing. The other is to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan government so that it can hold, and eventually assume complete responsibility for, areas cleared by the surge of US and allied forces. These two objectives were to come together in the spring offensive in Marja and in a summer offensive in Kandahar, in the Pashtun heartland.
But, as the Pentagon admits, the offensive in Marja fell far short of the objectives. It revealed that even with overwhelming force, we cannot fully clear and hold territory with our own troops, let alone install a local government that can withstand Taliban intimidation.
Particularly problematic has been the performance of the Afghan government and security forces. Even if the Pentagon had been able to clear the area, transferring control to the Afghan security forces is a distant dream. Because of that, US commanders have indefinitely postponed the Kandahar offensive. The Obama administration may have softened its public criticism of President Karzai, but the Afghan government is a stew of corruption and opportunism, hardly able to deliver the most basic services. Meanwhile, the government seems more determined than ever to pursue its own agenda, which often conflicts with Washington's. Standing up to the Americans may give Karzai a semblance of popular legitimacy he otherwise lacks, but it undercuts any partnership.
None of these factors can be easily changed by the newly appointed commander, Gen. David Petraeus. Trying to force Karzai to fall into line or exercising more direct control over the Afghan security forces would make the United States appear more like an occupier. And Petraeus's proposal for building up village defense forces is fraught with problems, not the least of which is that it would empower local militias and warlords and add more fuel to the civil war.
In short, it simply is not in our power to produce the kind of Afghan government our strategy calls for. There are three reasons we should change course now.
§ Time is not on our side. Indeed, there is good evidence that we will be in an even more difficult position in six months or a year. The Pentagon presents counterinsurgency as a benign force to protect the population, but—as the WikiLeaks revelations about civilian casualties show—it is also deeply disruptive and destabilizing and can make reconciliation more difficult. Even if we are able to eliminate many Taliban leaders, younger and more radical ones may take their place. The US military has killed a large number of insurgent leaders, yet the Taliban have only grown stronger and more determined. Better to negotiate with the ones we know today than those who may be radicalized by the fighting to come.
§ The war is expensive—in money and lives and in the distraction it creates from other international and domestic goals. A drawdown of forces would allow Obama to stop the loss of American and Afghan lives, reduce the drain on the federal budget and redeploy resources to create jobs and rebuild the battered US economy. If there is no prospect of success, it is immoral to continue putting lives on the line and wasting money and resources that could create jobs and improve lives at home.
§ The uncertainty over whether the administration will adhere to the July 2011 drawdown—along with the steady stream of bad news from Afghanistan—has led to growing opposition in Congress, which is beginning to reflect public opinion. In June a majority of House Democrats supported legislation demanding an exit strategy and a timetable for withdrawal, and in late July the number of Democrats voting against supplemental funding for the war tripled, to more than 100—among them David Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
For these reasons, political and diplomatic progress over the next year will be difficult. It would be better, therefore, for the administration to clear the air with a firm timetable for withdrawal and redirect its efforts toward regional diplomacy than endure another year of infighting and backstabbing. This would change the "America as occupier of Muslim land" narrative to "America as regional peacemaker." As much as some may associate Afghanistan with the attacks of 9/11, the crisis there is now a regional one, not a national security threat that requires nearly 100,000 US troops and more than $100 billion a year. So it calls for a regional solution—one that needs American diplomacy, not American boots on the ground.
Afghanistan poses a key test of President Obama's leadership, in part because it is one in which he must reverse course. But that change would offer immediate and long-term benefits to the nation if he acts with wise leadership now.

Enhanced by Zemanta

China Daily: Chen Bingde Orders Military To Keep Close Eye on 'Changing Situation'

Map of the South China SeaImage via Wikipedia

CPP20100730053001 Beijing China Daily Online in English 0020 GMT 30 Jul 10
[Article by Ai Yang and Li Xiaokun from the "World" page: "Military Told To Keep Close Eye on Situation"]

Beijing - A top military officer has warned the Chinese military to keep a close eye on the changing situation amid a large-scale naval exercise in the South China Sea, held at the same time as a joint Washington-Seoul drill, State media reported on Thursday.

According to China Central Television, Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Chen Bingde, as well as the navy commander and other high-level military leaders, oversaw a naval exercise on Monday, the second day of the US-ROK maritime drill.

The CCTV program showed major warships of the North China Sea Fleet and East China Sea Fleet appearing in the drill organized by the South China Sea Fleet, without mentioning a specific location.

"It is one of the drills in China's naval history that involved comprehensive cooperation and included the launch of many missiles," CCTV said. The drill is just one of a slew of exercises the People's Liberation Army undertook before and during the US-ROK drill in the Sea of Japan, which is known as the East Sea in the ROK.

While Washington and Seoul completed their first joint exercise on Wednesday, Seoul said that the two sides will "present a joint military exercise every month until the end of the year." An ROK official also said a US-ROK drill is scheduled to take place in the Yellow Sea in September.

Li Jie, a researcher with the Chinese navy's military academy, told China Daily that Beijing has shown it has the determination to protect its territory not only through diplomatic speeches but also by demonstrating its military strength. "If the bottom line were to be crossed, then China would firmly react," Li said.

Li also said the actions further stress that the South China Sea is one of China's core interests. "The fact that the chief personally watched the performances implies that the region is seen as highly important, and the drills are considered vital," he said.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Choosing Netanyahu Over NATO

NOAA: State of the Climate, 2009

NOAA: State of the Climate, 2009
from - The Council on Foreign Relations by Council on Foreign Relations


Majority Of Pakistanis Call India A Threat, US Enemy -- Times Of India

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on July 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Majority Of Pakistanis Call India A Threat, US Enemy -- Times Of India

WASHINGTON: Though terror groups continue to strike in their country, a majority of Pakistanis still consider India as a major threat, view America as an enemy and are far less concerned about Taliban and al-Qaida.

While Pakistanis express serious concerns about the US, they have also deep worries about neighbour and long-time rival India than extremist groups within Pakistan, according to the prestigious Pew Research Centre opinion poll carried out inside Pakistan.

Read more ....
Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 Pakistanis view US as enemy -- AP
Most Pakistanis see US as an enemy -- ABC News (Australia)
59 pc Pakistanis view US as enemy: PEW report -- Daily Times
Most Pakistanis View U.S. as Enemy, Want War Over, Survey Finds -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Pakistanis See India as Biggest Threat: Survey -- Wall Street Journal
Pakistanis see India as greater threat than Taliban, Al-Qaeda: Poll -- Sify News
Pakistanis regard India as greatest threat -- IBN Live
Majority of Pakistanis less concerned about LeT -- Economic Times of India
Poll: Pakistanis less worried about extremists -- AP
Pakistanis 'less wary' of Taliban -- Al Jazeera

U.S.-China Tensions Continue To Escalate US should stop meddling in Asian issues - by Wang Hui -

U.S.-China Tensions Continue To Escalate
US should stop meddling in Asian issues
- by Wang Hui - 2010-07-30

The Political Spinning of the WikiLeaks Release: Anti-war Whistleblowing or War Propaganda - by Larry Chin

The Political Spinning of the WikiLeaks Release: Anti-war Whistleblowing or War Propaganda
- by Larry Chin - 2010-07-30

DE BORCHGRAVE: Gusher of Wikileaks Activists hope documents will undermine war support

DE BORCHGRAVE: Gusher of Wikileaks

Activists hope documents will undermine war support
Enhanced by Zemanta

Book Review: 'The Bomb' By Marcus Raskin,

The Bomb

Howard Zinn died recently at the age of 87. His last book, The Bomb, is about his experience as a bombardier in World War II, and about the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is also the story of his hatred of war and of how he came to confront its stupidity and criminality throughout his life, in the South fighting for civil rights and wherever justice was denied.

IMF Says U.S. Financial System May Need $76 Billion in Capital

IMF Says U.S. Financial System May Need $76 Billion in Capital
Enhanced by Zemanta

Damage Control: Downplaying WikiLeaks Revelations by Stephen Lendman

When truths are too disturbing to conceal, downplay them, change the subject, and blame others, not responsible Washington officials and key allies, culpable politicians and media misinformation masters suppressing and misreporting the facts, their well-oiled spin machine counterattacking WikiLeaks — revelations too sensitive to explain, a potential game-changer otherwise, so pundits and reporters duck them.
Above all, WikiLeaks “Afghan War Diaries” are a powerful indictment of wars, their true face, the mindless daily slaughter and destruction too disturbing to reveal, for Julian Assange:
“the vast sweep of abuses, everyday squalor and carnage of war… one sort of kill after another every …
Enhanced by Zemanta

Neocon Nutballs Ramp Up Campaign Bomb Iran? By GARETH PORTER

Neocon Nutballs Ramp Up Campaign

Bomb Iran?

The Real Aim of Israel's Bomb Iran Campaign by Gareth Porter

Ahmadinejad makes a call to arms

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's hint that Iran could come under attack in the next few months could be a political gamble to make it easier for him to show flexibility on the nuclear question. Simultaneously, allusions to an imminent attack are a call for national mobilization in preparation for confronting the military muscles of a Western superpower and its Israeli ally. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi (Jul 30, '10)
Enhanced by Zemanta

A Persian message for Obama


Washington has done the right thing in accepting Iran's overtures for nuclear swap talks without preconditions as they give Barack Obama a ladder to climb down from his high horse. The United States president may yet come to see that a US-Iran grand bargain has much to offer, and could even help the US avoid what is perilously close to strategic failure in Afghanistan. - M K Bhadrakumar (Jul 30, '10)
Enhanced by Zemanta

The U.S. Colossus with Feet of Clay

Globalist Perspective

By Norman Bailey | Wednesday, July 28, 2010
What explains the rapid downward slide of the United States over the past two decades? And are there any realistic options to reinvigorate the United States? Norman Bailey, a former NSC official, argues that there has been a bipartisan disregard for the principles upon which the United States was founded.

Scientists Uncover Global Distribution Of Marine Biodiversity

File image. Nova Scotia, Canada (SPX) Jul 30, 2010 In an unprecedented effort that will be published online on the 28th of July by the international journal Nature, a team of scientists mapped and analyzed global biodiversity patterns for over 11,000 marine species ranging from tiny zooplankton to sharks and whales. The researchers found striking similarities among the distribution patterns, with temperature strongly linked to biodiversity for all thirteen groups studied.
These results imply that future changes in ocean temperature, such as those due to climate change, may greatly affect the distribution of life in the sea. The scientists also found a high overlap between areas of high human impact and hotspots of marine diversity.
Much research has been conducted on diversity patterns on land, but our knowledge of the distribution of marine life has been more limited. This has changed through the decade-long efforts of the Census of Marine Life, upon which the current paper builds.
The authors synthesized global diversity patterns for major species groups including corals, fishes, whales, seals, sharks, mangroves, seagrasses, and zooplankton. In the process, the global diversity of all coastal fish species has been mapped for the first time.
The researchers were interested in whether there are consistent "biodiversity hotspots" - areas of especially high numbers of species for many different types of marine organisms simultaneously.
They found that the distribution of marine life showed two fundamental patterns: coastal species such as corals and coastal fishes tended to peak in diversity around Southeast Asia, whereas open-ocean creatures such as tunas and whales showed much broader hotspots across the mid-latitude oceans.

The study also assessed the overlap between hotspots of marine diversity and human impacts, i.e. the combined effects of fishing, habitat alteration, climate change and pollution. Human impacts were found to be particularly concentrated in areas of high diversity, suggesting the potential for severe species losses in these regions.
Co-author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University also highlights the need to maintain biodiversity in the face of these impacts: "biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems are often tightly coupled, with highly diverse ecosystems providing more goods and services that benefit human beings, as well as being more resilient in the face of disturbance, than less diverse ecosystems. The observed concentration of human impacts in our richest marine areas is a worrying indication of our growing footprint in the oceans."

Enhanced by Zemanta

Russia back in Latin American arms market

File image: Mi-171Sh. Moscow (UPI) Jul 29, 2010 Russia's arms export agency Rosoboronexport will deliver eight helicopters to Peru, the first post-Soviet arms sale to the Latin American country.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Russia Moves to Sell Shares in State Companies By ANDREW E. KRAMER

Privatizations of some type had been expected since the onset of the financial crisis, but the scale of the plan suggested that the crisis in public finance elsewhere in Europe was catching up with Russia, too. Until recently, the Russian government under the former president and now prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, had been bulking up its share in the economy through nationalizations.
The program approved Wednesday involves 11 companies, including the national oil company, the national railroad, a fleet of merchant marine vessels, two state banks and a company managing hydroelectric dams, said Aleksei Uvarov, the director of the property department in the ministry of economy.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Deutsche Bank: If The Bush Tax Cuts Go, Then The Recovery Is Dead In 2011 from Clusterstock by Vincent Fernando, CFA
Peter Hooper at Deutsche believes that an end of the Bush tax cuts could remove a full 2.5% form U.S. GDP in 2011. This could be enough to kill the economic recovery:
Deutsche Bank:
We assess the potential for fiscal drag over the year ahead based on (1) an update of the impending unwinding of the Obama stimulus program (ARRA), and (2) alternative scenarios for extension of the Bush tax cuts. If a political stalemate in Washington results in no extension, fiscal drag could reach 2.5% of GDP next year, enough to bring a sluggish recovery to the stalling point. This includes 1% drag from unwinding of ARRA, 1% from scheduled tax increases as the cuts expire at the end of 2010, and 0.5% from failure to pass a fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax.
If the Administration’s tax extension package is passed, the drag in 2011 will fall to a bit less than 1.5%, and if the Republican across-the-board extension passes, it will fall to around 1%. Either way, we think that pent-up private demand would be sufficient to keep a moderate recovery going.
Thus the worst situation according to Mr. Hooper would be one where the government does absolutely nothing.
(Via Deutsche Bank, The growing risk of a fiscal drag on the US, Peter Hooper, 28 July 2010)
Enhanced by Zemanta

NOAA: Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries from PEN by Pace Law Library

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2009 State of the Climate report dated July 28, 2010 draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.
Enhanced by Zemanta