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07-01-2013, 12:41 PM #18
US Spying on EU – A Big Charade?
US Spying on EU – A Big Charade?
EU state leaders have knowingly and willingly agreed to let the American intelligence services spy on European citizens.
”It’s clear that the European parliament must intervene at this point through a public inquiry.” - Simon Davies
According to some “angry” EU politicians are we now faced with prospects of a breaking trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phone calls and emails from top officials. Some of those top officials are now raising their voices in anger, demanding explanations, apologies, etc., from top US officials. But it seems like they all knew about it, and excepted it.
Well, just a couple of hours ago there was an aftershock.
The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had “second and third-party status” under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.
Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as ‘first party’ while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy ‘second party’ trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have ‘third party’, or less trusted, relationships.
. . .
07-12-2013, 11:38 PM #19
Secret Maps of the Ancient World - Charlotte Harris Rees
Some less covered views, esp. not by the establishments...
The Asiatic Fathers of America
“In 2006 Charlotte Harris Rees published an abbreviated edition of her father’s The Asiatic Fathers of America. Through her painstaking research she went on to publish two more books of her own - Secret Maps of the Ancient World and now Chinese Sailed to America Before Columbus: More Secrets from the Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr. Map Collection. Both of these books are the results of much more evidence that was gathered by the author in her extensive research and tireless scholarly pursuit. These books are recommended reading for all who are interested in revisiting world history in a new light.”
Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, Former Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress (Retired);
Dean Emeritus, Ohio University Libraries
Charlotte Rees and Dr.Hwa-Wei Lee
More about Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr. and Charlotte Harris Rees
Reviews of “Secret Maps of the Ancient World” | Gavin Menzies
This website serves as a focal point for ongoing research into pre-Columbian voyages to the New World. Our research team was set up to receive and disseminate all information received via this website.
Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World — State of Globe
by Hans Christian Faerden on September 26, 2012
Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World
The longer we study the real history of this world, not only the history of the winners, the more we will understand how much no one ever told us. I do not know the truth about this map, but there is a lot of info available suggesting that there must have been very special cultures here on earth back then.
Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World
Published on Sep 25, 2012 by DiscloseTruthTV
Researcher Charlotte Harris Rees discussed Asian maps (see below) dating as far back as 4,000 years ago that show the coastlines of the Americas. Picking up on the work of her father who collected these maps, she suggested that the ancient Chinese were seafaring and traveled to America far before Columbus' arrival. As further evidence, she cited genetic markers that are shared only by Asians and Native Americans.
Charlotte Harris Rees, author of 'Secret Maps of the Ancient World' embarked on an exciting journey of discovery after finding out that her late father, Dr. Hendon Harris Jr. (the author of The Asiatic Fathers of America), had been right: the Chinese were in America thousands of years before Columbus. Charlotte's book lays out overwhelming evidence (including DNA tests) in support of her father's conclusions.
For years after his death in 1981, Dr. Harris' map collection lay forgotten in a box under his son's bed. Hoping to verify their accuracy, Charlotte and her brother took the maps to the Library of Congress in 2003, where they have been studied for the last few years.
In this exciting segment, Charlotte tells us how DNA sampling can reveal the entire migration history of a people, recounts her experiences with the Library of Congress, and shares her thoughts on why this startling discovery has been overlooked despite having been in plain sight. This is a great time to rethink history and to step into the thrill of discovery. Join us in this modern-day adventure!
"I never said that my family's maps are 4000 years old but that they are copies of copies of copies of maps that date back 4000 years. They are related to a Chinese geographical account that old. Our particular maps are Ming dynasty. Still old, but that would date back almost 500 years."
- Charlotte Harris Rees ~ http://www.harrismaps.com
“Secret Maps of the Ancient World“
In 1972, Dr. Hendon M. Harris Jr., a third generation missionary born in Kaifeng China, was browsing in an antique shop in Korea when he came across an very old cartography book comprised of wood block-printed maps outlining ancient settlements in Korean. When he flipped through the pages, there was a map of the world. This map was Chinese. The Korean name for that type map is Ch’onhado meaning “Chinese map.” This map of the world not only documented known major land masses such as Asia, India, Africa Australia and Europe – many by their ancient names – also included both the continents of North and South America. Most shocking was that this map showed words describing China’s fabled Fu Sang written in an area on what is now called North America.
Prior to his death in 1981, Harris had collected 7 of these map books and found 23 other similar maps of this style in prestigious museums and collections around the world. The oldest of the Harris maps are believed to be from the Ming dynasty but the world map in each edition is now thought to have descended from a much earlier Chinese map.
In 2003, Charlotte Harris Rees, together with her brother, Hendon III, took the Harris Map Collection to Dr. John Hebert, Chief of Geography and Maps at the Library of Congress. The maps were there for three years while they were studied. Charlotte Harris Rees, initially a skeptic, published /Secret Maps of the Ancient World/ in 2008. Endorsed by Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, retired Chief of the Asian division of the Library of Congress, her extensive research puts forward a compelling case that ancient mapmakers from Asia came to the Americas and documented the terrain of the New World long before the arrival of Columbus.
"The history of a nation is, unfortunately, too easily written as the history of the dominant class." - Kwame Nkrumah
"History is written by the victors." - Winston Churchill
07-13-2013, 03:56 AM #20
The Code Has Been Inserted Into Android OS, Or 3/4 Of All Smartphones
The NSA Has Inserted Its Code Into Android OS, Or Three Quarters Of All Smartphones
Over a decade ago, it was discovered that the NSA embedded backdoor access into Windows 95, and likely into virtually all other subsequent internet connected, desktop-based operating systems. However, with the passage of time, more and more people went "mobile", and as a result the #NSA had to adapt. And adapt they have: as Bloomberg reports, "The #NSA is quietly writing code for Google’s Android OS."
Is it ironic that the same "don't be evil" Google which went to such great lengths in the aftermath of the #Snowden scandal to wash its hands of snooping on its customers and even filed a request with the secretive FISA court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests, is embedding #NSA code into its mobile operating system, which according to IDC runs on three-quarters of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter? Yes, yes it is. Btw FISA is shortened for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the #NSA’s programming in Android OS. "All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com." Scigliano says, declining to comment further.
Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. #NSAofficials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include #NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. #NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, “Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.”See, there's no need to worry: the reason the #NSA is generously providing the source code for every Google-based smartphone is for your own security. Oh but it's open-sourced, so someone else will intercept any and all attempts at malice. We forgot.
The story continues:
In a 2011 presentation obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek, Smalley listed among the benefits of the program that it’s “normally invisible to users.” The program’s top goal, according to that presentation: “Improve our understanding of Android security.”Well one wouldn't want their bug to be visible to users now, would one...
Vines wouldn’t say whether the agency’s work on Android and other software is part of or helps with #PRISM. “The source code is publicly available for anyone to use, and that includes the ability to review the code line by line,” she said in her statement. Most of the #NSA's suggested additions to the operating system can already be found buried in Google’s latest release—on newer devices including Sony’s Xperia Z, HTC’s One, and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S4 (YES SAMSUNG as well, they must know about #NSA code in Android used in their Smartphones). Although the features are not turned on by default, according to agency documentation, future versions will be. In May the Pentagon approved the use of smartphones and tablets that run Samsung’s mobile enterprise software, Knox, which also includes #NSA programming, the company wrote in a June white paper. Sony, HTC, and Samsung declined to comment.But that's not all:
[No wonder the USA govt banned the hardware made by Huawei and ZTE... "less friendly and cooperative" can't join the big guy league / :me ]
The #NSA developed a separate Android project because Google’s mobile OS required markedly different programming, according to Smalley’s 2011 presentation. Brian Honan, an information technology consultant in Dublin, says his clients in European governments and multinational corporations are worried about how vulnerable their data are when dealing with U.S. companies. The information security world had been preoccupied with Chinese hacking until recently, Honan says. “With #PRISM, the same accusations can be laid against the U.S. government.”In short: the (big brother supervised) fun never stops in Stasi 2.0 world. Just buy your 100 P/E stocks, eat your burgers, watch your Dancing With The Stars, pay your taxes, and engage in as much internet contact with other internet-addicted organisms as possible and all shall be well.
Oh, and from this...
To this (courtesy of @paradism_)
* * * * * * *
# A newly revealed #PRISM slide ~ Two Types of Collection: Upstream and #PRISM
# NSA spy scandal: It’s even worse than Snowden says | Veterans Today
Like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden is a media-trumpeted whistleblower hero. Like Assange, Snowden has striking, TV-star good looks. Like Assange, Snowden is involved in a dramatic TV-style chase across countries and continents.
It’s almost like Assange and Snowden are starring in their own reality-TV shows.
With all the hoopla about Snowden (and before him, Assange), it’s easy to forget all of the other whistleblowers who have revealed even more explosive information.
Consider two other NSA whistleblowers: Russ Tice and James Bamford.
Russ Tice is a former NSA intelligence analyst who has also worked for the US Air Force, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a real US intelligence insider, many pay grades above rookie contractor Edward Snowden.
. . .
If the mainstream media publicized the most dangerous whistleblowers, the American National Security State would come crashing down.
# How The Snowden Leaks And NSA Surveillance Are Bad For Business | Forbes
Reddit general manager Erik Martin noticed something strange when he was at a conference in Latvia last month. There was a contest held, with a prize of one year’s free web-hosting for a small business — a decent value, a fairly normal prize. But when it came time to award it, nobody in the audience wanted it. It was from a U.S.-based company, and this was just days after Edward #Snowden's landmark leaks about the #NSA's #PRISM program hit the press. With that hanging over them, people at the conference would have preferred to go with a different country.
There’s a general sense of unease about the U.S. government’s relationship to the internet right now, and it’s starting to affect how international consumers choose their web services. I talked with Christian Dawson, head of hosting company Servint and co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, a group founded to inform the public and lawmakers about, as he puts it, how the internet works. He says that while it’s hard to put together any true statistics at this point, he’s heard a lot of anecdotal data about U.S.-based hosting and other web service companies losing business to overseas competitors since the #Snowden leaks.
“We have a great fear that we are going to see a big exodus for US-based businesses over the information that’s been leaked,in part because there’s this tremendous lack of transparency, and lack of transparency is the absolute worst thing for these situations,” he says. “We’re competing on a global scale, and if people don’t have a reason to trust the host they’re using, they can go elsewhere in just a couple of clicks.”
"According to Dawson, fear of the Patriot Act had already been dogging U.S. hosting companies for years, and the #Snowden leaks just added fuel to the fire. In a global market as fluid as something like web hosting, a lot of consumers would just as soon prefer to take their business elsewhere."
# Microsoft Helped The NSA Bypass Its Own Encryption Software, Spy On Its Clients
A few days ago, when we reported that NSA code had been inserted in Google's Android open-sourced OS (much to the fury of open-source code advocates everywhere), we noted that it has been public information that over a decade ago, Microsoft had inadvertently left clear signs that it was providing backdoor access to its legacy Microsoft operating systems. It turns out that this was merely the beginning.
According to another just released report by the Guardian citing Snowden files, "Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian."
From the Guardian:
The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret #PRISM program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.
None of this is any surprise: that America's electronic communication sector is in bed with Uncle Bush and Uncle Obama was made abundantly clear in ""You Should Use Both" - How America's Internet Companies Are Handing Over Your Data To Uncle Sam." Still, prima facie proof that corporations systematically betray the privacy of their clients in order to curry favor with the government should be troubling if only to those who are not in the same state of completely symbiotic relationship with the government and whose sustinence depends on preserving Big Government at all costs, which as we will shows in a post shortly is just over 110 million Americans.
More from the Guardian explaining how anyone using Microsoft products should be aware that the NSA logs every single keystroke:
The latest documents come from the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the "crown jewel" of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as #PRISM.
Microsoft's co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked "for many months" with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow #PRISM access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.
A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. "The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes."
The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.
Actually make that the NSA, as well as the FBI and CIA.
The information the NSA collects from #PRISM is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.
The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of #PRISM using software that "enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to #PRISM".
The document continues: "The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of #PRISM collection of any selector…" As a result, the author notes: "these two activities underscore the point that #PRISM is a team sport!"
** What company will ever have an R&D budget again? Who will ever spend money developing a new product when we all know that the spooks have copies of all of our company secrets? Does anyone really believe they're not selling them?
Now ask yourself: What happens to employment when product development stops?
# Is Someone Listening?
With the revelation that the federal government, through the National Security Agency, has been collecting phone and Internet records of U.S. citizens in the name of preventing terrorism, Americans are wondering whether private communication exists. In the infographics below, we explore how this surveillance works and the history of domestic spying programs (because, let’s face it, they’re not new)and how, even with broader knowledge of the government’s activities, a minority of Americans oppose such programs.
* Many Smart TVs from Samsung (and probably other brands) have cameras embedded in them. Read on "Samsung's latest TV sets' built-in cameras spark concerns | Mail Online"
The new models, which are closer than ever to personal computers, offer high-tech features that have previously been unavailable, including a built-in HD camera, microphone set and face and speech recognition software.
This software allows Samsung to recognise who is viewing the TV and personalises each person’s experience accordingly. The TV also listens and responds to specific voice commands.
High-tech: Samsung's latest sets feature built-in HD cameras, microphone sets and face and speech recognition software
What is to stop the govt from looking into your living room?
Gary Merson, who runs website HD guru, said that because there is no way of disconnecting the camera and microphone, users cannot be 100 per cent sure that Samsung is not collecting data and passing it on to third parties.
* The breaking point for the human species will be its collective apparatus built to predict every thought of yours before it occurs. All in the name of science, right?
# Experts: Obama’s plan to predict future leakers unproven, unlikely to work | McClatchy
WASHINGTON — In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.
The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.
Obama mandated the program in an October 2011 executive order after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government secrecy group."
They're becoming just a shade unhinged to the paranoid side...lol...but who will really watch the watchers ;-)
Recalling this one, a remnant from the Berlin walls? STASI 2.0
# So let's delve a little deeper into Orwell's thought via the so-called "book within the book", wherein he lays out the "controlled insanity" by which The Party exercises absolute dominion over everyone, quite literally in thought, word, and deed.
I remember reading "1984" in high school and college and thinking man, that would would be horrendous. THIS IS IT. Orwell couldn't have written this story better - and this is real life, we are living it!!!
The genius of Orwell (his real name: Eric Arthur Blair, lived from 25 June 1903 to 21 January 1950, known by his pen name George Orwell) was that he pretty much had it figured out long before the presence of television set..
But so did the USA's Founding Fathers long before Orwell and then the Chinese famous strategist, Sun Tzu, long before all of them.
So what does that tell you.... human nature does not change. The behaviour of dictators & tyrants is the same since the beginning of time to Julius Caesar to Joseph Stalin to present days. The behaviour of the unknowing masses is also well documented.
See also George Orwell - Complete works, Biography, Quotes, Essays
# "Security-Enhanced": the 21st Century Orwellian Double-Speak for "Enhanced Spyware" which is used on the unknowing masses. There is definitely some more wicked **** hardwired and outside the OS that we don't know about.... and here comes into play the various powerful smartphones from those big names with all kinds of tracking capabilities incl. the facial recognition, various location services and many other "knowing you" features...
# "You can have all the source code in the world. But if a blob is being compiled in and you don't know what's in there instruction by instruction, control is out of your hands.And I bet there's a shitload of blobs in Android."
For the rest of users, there's always a FOTA to deliver the extra loads :-) FOTA: Firmware Over-the-Air, used for upgrades to mobile phones and tablet computers. Big names such as LG, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Motorola, Sony produce FOTA capable phones.
# Wipe the ROM and roll your own: "Welcome to the tabletroms.com development community" ~ Some good stuff in there. Couple wickedly extend battery life. More coverage on Android's vulnerability: http://threatpost.com/
# "SELinux, SE Android has got nothing to do with snooping and exposing one's privacy. #NSA developed SELinux initially in conjunction with open-source community and is now only in an advisory role to companies like www.tresys.com & Red Hat that develop policies on a full time basis. SELinux, as I know it in its current form, is only used for securing individual systems from vulnerabilities post penetration attack." </sarc>
# You know it's the endgame on Prison Planet when every one is admitting..."Yeah...We're Bugging You....SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL" ? I've said it once...I'll say it again...."The Matrix was a documentary".
ALL of your data is being collected, cataloged and permanently stored by numerous agencies.
ALL OF YOUR DATA - from your smart electric and smart electronic uses, your phone, your purchases, banking records, medical records, school records, transportation (GPS tracking), tax info, property info ... etc. The keyword here is the attributive "smart". Just about everything you do, in particular those done with your smart devices. BIG BROTHER is just closely watching you.
# Btw Eric Schmidt has been a regular attendee of the BILDERBERG annual conference for the last 7 years.
"Without any objection from Google is the key. And this kind of ubiquitous back door electronic spying is precisely one of the things that Assange (WikiLeaks) has warned about in his book. This weekend I read the transcript of Eric Schmidt's interview of Assange. Most interesting. First of all, Schmidt is a techno lightweight compared to Assange. Second, it is obvious from Schmidt's book as well as his 7-year Bilderberg participation held annually, that this revelation is part of Google's great benevolent future for Borg Mankind." ~ WilliamBanzai7
# “If you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide"
The Eternal Value of Privacy
Bruce Schneier - 2006.05.18
The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line:"If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"
Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition." "Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.
Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." – John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
# About Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York in 2008
It was only a matter of time before the Patriot Act was used for other than its intended purpose.
For instance, on Feb. 14, 2008, Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York, wrote a flaming editorial in Washington Post about predatory lending.
The piece is very critical of the Bush administration and it's defense of banks making deceptive loans without regard to ability to pay.
One month later, Spitzer resigned on March 17, 2008 after an embarrassing payment to an escort service was dug up via the Patriot Act. Very dreadful.
# NSA spied on Latin America for energy and military intel — RT News (2013-07-10)
The #NSA's spy program encompasses most countries in Latin America, new cables released by Edward #Snowden have confirmed. The data gathered on military affairs and “commercial secrets” has provoked a flurry of furious rhetoric from regional leaders.
# Snowden confirms NSA created Stuxnet with Israeli aid — RT News (2013-07-09)
The Stuxnet virus that decimated Iranian nuclear facilities was created by the #NSA and co-written by Israel, Edward #Snowden has confirmed.
# Hitting the reset: NSA spying targeted BRICS — RT News (2013-07-08)
Members of BRICS featured high on the list of countries singled out for special consideration by the National Security Agency’s intensive #PRISM program, which collected data on billions of telephone and internet records globally.
An article published at the weekend in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper makes the observation that "Brazil…appears to stand out on maps of the U.S. agency as a priority target for telephony and data traffic, alongside nations such as China, Russia..."
Brazil, Russia and China are three prominent members of the international association, which goes by the acronym BRICS, which also includes India and South Africa.
"The #NSA interception of the Russian leader’s G20 communications came just hours after President Obama and Medvedev met for the first time , and in the midst of the much-hyped ‘reset’ between the former Cold War foes. During their meeting, the two discussed a wide range of thorny issues, including the global financial crisis, nuclear disarmament and Washington’s controversial decision to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe."
"Last month, #Snowden boarded a plane from the United States to Hong Kong with a mountain of sensitive US documents, which he released once safely inside the China-owned territory. On June 23, the American whistleblower boarded a plane for Moscow, where he has been holed up in Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone ever since."
# New Snowden leak: Australia’s place in US spying web — RT News (2013-07-08)
Ex-#NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward #Snowden has disclosed his first set of documents outlining Australia’s role in #NSA surveillance programs, picking out four facilities in the country that contribute heavily to US spying.
The locations of dozens of the US’s and associated countries signal collection sites have been revealed by #Snowden who leaked classified National Security Agency maps to US journalist Glenn Greenwald, which were then published in the Brazilian newspaper “O Globo.”
The sites all play a role in the collection of data and interception of internet traffic and telecommunications on a global level.
Australian centers involved in the #NSA's data collection program, codenamed X-Keyscore, include Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap in central Australia and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station in the country’s north, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility on the west coast, and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside the capital, Canberra.
New Zealand also plays a role, with the Government Security Communications Bureau facility at Waihopai, on the northern point of South Island, also contributing to the program.
X-Keyscore is described as a “national Intelligence collection mission system” by US intelligence expert William Arkin, according to Australian newspaper The Age. It processes all signals prior to being delivered to various “production lines” that deal with more specific issues including the exploration of different types of data for close scrutiny.
The different subdivisions are entitled Nucleon (voice), Pinwale (video), Mainway (call records) and Marina (internet records).
Warning sign on the road to Pine Gap
A spokesman for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declined to comment on the revelatory map, saying that it was not government practice to comment on intelligence matters, according to national broadsheet The Australian.
Australia is one of the “Five Eyes” – an alliance of intelligence-sharing countries which include of the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
When documents were published pertaining to the British signal intelligence agency, GCHQ’s “#Tempora” program, #Snowden reportedly commented that the other partners in the “Five Eyes” intelligence “sometimes go even further than the [National Security Agency] people themselves.”
“If you send a data packet and if it makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it,” he said.
In an interview published online last weekend in advance of its printing in German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ this week, #Snowden argued that the #NSA was ‘in bed with the Germans’ commenting that the organization of intelligence gathering in countries involved with the organization is such that political leaders are insulated from the backlash, going on to denounce “how grievously they're violating global privacy.”
Germany reacted to the report on Monday, with German chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, telling Reuters that the Federal Intelligence Agency’s (BND) cooperation with the #NSA “took place within strict legal and judicial guidelines and is controlled by the competent parliamentary committee.”
The US and its affiliates have intelligence facilities distributed worldwide in a variety of US embassies, consulates and military facilities. In an earlier report by Der Spiegel, also based on revelations by #Snowden, it was revealed that the #NSA bugged EU diplomatic offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks.
# International confidence in US economy ‘crumbling’ after Snowden leaks (2013-06-25)
Along with exposing widespread international surveillance, Edward Snowden has revealed how exactly the US is financing its military ambitions, according to Max Keiser.
RT: Surely not even you can make any kind of link between the Snowden saga and the US economy?
Max Keiser: The American economy runs on the confidence, confidence that the world accepts the US dollar as world reserve currency, confidence that the US bond market will remain the standard. And what we are seeing is a sell-off in a bond market and a sell-off in the stock market, because confidence in the US and its ability to maintain a global empire through interest rates and the Central Bank policy is crumbling before the world’s very eyes.
What’s interesting is that Edward #Snowden worked for Booz Allen. Booz Allen allegedly along with a few other companies are the masterminds behind LIBOR market rigging, energy market rigging, FOREX market rigging. And this is really the fuel that keeps the American military empire going, because the American economy itself cannot support its military ambitions so they’ve resorted to market manipulation and the kind of intelligence that Edward #Snowden is able to aggregate is key to manipulating markets in ways that make Booz Allen, allegedly, the channel for billions and billions of dollars into America’s military campaigns.
And this is really about money, markets and manipulations. It’s not about security. It’s not to do with anything that the White House says...
RT: Can you also give us an idea of how some of those big companies like Google, or Facebook could actually benefit from this surveillance program #PRISM? Is there a financial gain from them?
MK: Absolutely, because all of the manipulation involves rigging the indexes. And the indexes are all data-sensitive. So, if you can manipulate the data, you can manipulate the indexes and you manipulate the markets. And if you have advanced knowledge of that inside information you can make billions of dollars of front-running, high-frequency trading (HFT), algorithmic trading. And, of course, all the banks on the Wall Street are in on this and all the banks in the UK.
It’s very telling that the foreign minister of Ecuador said that, look “you are talking about us extraditing Edward #Snowden what about bringing back those bankers we asked you to bring back to Ecuador who we caught rigging and terrorizing our market?” What about the Icelandic bankers that have been asked by the government of Iceland to be extradited back to Iceland that are being held in the UK? What about these other instances where banking terrorists are being sheltered in the US and the UK? They’re not responding to extradition agreements. So this’s all about financial legerdemain, unfortunately, Americans don’t have enough money to fight their wars anymore so they have to resort to snooping, data-gathering, and market manipulation.
# Netflix, Facebook — and the NSA: They’re all in it together - Salon.com
#NSA, Netflix, Facebook and other e-commerce goliaths are collaborating on tools that track us in very intimate ways
On June 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that for the last few years the National Security Agency has been relying on a software program “with the quirky name Hadoop” to help it make sense of its enormous collections of data. Named after a toy elephant that belonged to the child of one of the original developers of the program, “Hadoop,” reported the Journal, is a crucial part of “a computing and software revolution … a piece of free software that lets users distribute big-data projects across hundreds or thousands of computers.”
“Revolution” is probably the most overused word in the chronicle of Internet history, but if anything, the Wall Street Journal undersold the real story. Hadoop’s importance to how we live our lives today is hard to overstate. By making it economically feasible to extract meaning from the massive streams of data that increasingly define our online existence, Hadoop effectively enabled the surveillance state.
And not just in the narrowest, Big Brother, government-is-watching-everyone-all-the-time sense of that term. Hadoop is equally critical to private sector corporate surveillance. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon, Netflix — just about every big player that gathers the trillions of data “events” generated by our everyday online actions employs Hadoop as a part of their arsenal of Big Data-crunching tools. Hadoop is everywhere — as one programmer told me, “it’s taken over the world.”
The Journal’s description of Hadoop as “a piece of free software” barely scratches the surface of the significance of this particular batch of code. In the past half-decade Hadoop has emerged as one of the triumphs of the non-proprietary, open-source software programming methodology that previously gave us the Apache Web server, the Linux operating system and the Firefox browser. Hadoop belongs to nobody. Anyone can copy it, modify, extend it as they please. Funny, that: A software program developed collaboratively by programmers who believe that their code should be shared in as open and transparent a process as possible has resulted in the creation of tools that everyone from the #NSA to Facebook uses to annihilate any semblance of individual privacy. But what’s even more ironic, and fascinating, is the sight of intelligence agencies like the#NSA and CIA joining in and becoming integral players in the world of open source big data software. The #NSA doesn’t just use Hadoop. #NSA programmers have improved and extended Hadoop and donated their changes and additions back to the larger community. The CIA actively invests in start-ups that are commercializing Hadoop and other open source projects.
They’re all in it together. The spooks and the social media titans and the online commerce goliaths are collaborating to improve data-crunching software tools that enable the tracking of our behavior in fantastically intimate ways that simply weren’t possible as recently as four or five years ago. It’s a new military industrial open source Big Data complex. The gift economy has delivered us the surveillance state.
Hadoop’s earliest roots go back to 2002, when Doug Cutting, then the search director at the Internet Archive, and Michael Cafarella, a graduate student at the University of Washington, started working on an open-source search engine called “Nutch.” But the project did not get serious traction until Cutting joined Yahoo and began to merge his work into Yahoo’s larger strategic goal of improving its search engine technology so as to better compete with Google. Significantly, Yahoo executives decided not to make the project proprietary. In 2006, they blessed the formation of Hadoop, an open-source project managed under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation. (For a much more detailed look at the history of Hadoop, please read this four-part history of Hadoop at GigaOm.)
Hadoop is basically a nifty hack. The definition, per Wikipedia, is surprisingly simple: “It supports the running of applications on large clusters of commodity hardware.” Bottom line, Hadoop provides a means for distributing both the storage and processing of an enormous amount of data over lots and lots of relatively inexpensive computers. Hadoop turned out to be cheap, fast and scalable — meaning it could expand smoothly in capacity as the flows of data it was crunching burgeoned in size, simply though plugging in extra computers to the network. Hadoop was also fundamentally modular — different parts of it could be easily replaced by custom designed chunks of software, making it seamlessly adaptable to the individual circumstances of different corporations — or government agencies.
Hadoop’s debut was timely, addressing not only the problems Yahoo faced in managing the enormous amounts of data produced by its users, but also those that the entire Internet industry was simultaneously struggling to cope with. Basically, the Internet had become a victim of its own success. The enormous flows of data generated by users of the likes of Facebook and Twitter far overwhelmed the ability of those companies to make sense of it. There was too much coming in too fast. Hadoop helped companies cope with the tsunami — it was, in the words of Jeff Hammerbacher, an early employee of Facebook, “our tool for exploiting the unreasonable effectiveness of data.”
Before Hadoop, you were at the mercy of your data. After Hadoop, you were in charge. You could figure out all kinds of interesting things. You could recognize patterns in the data and start to make inferences about what might happen if you made tweaks to your product. What did users do when the interface was adjusted like this? What kinds of ads made them more likely to pull out their credit cards? What did that batch of millions of Verizon calls reveal about the formation of a potential terrorist cell? Facebook wouldn’t be able to exploit the insights of its so-called social graph without tools like Hadoop.
“Hadoop has become the de facto standard tool for cost-effectively processing Big Data,” says Raymie Stata, who served as chief technology officer at Yahoo before eventually starting his own Hadoop-focused start-up, Altiscale. And the significance of being able to cheaply process Big Data, to accurately “measure” what your users are doing, he added, is a “big deal.”
“Once you can measure what’s happening ‘out there’ — [you can] then use those measurements to understand and ultimately influence what’s happening out there.”
With engineers at multiple companies recognizing that Hadoop offered solutions to the specific challenges they faced on a daily basis, Hadoop quickly secured the critical mass of cross-industry support necessary for an open-source software program to become an essential part of Internet infrastructure. Even engineers at Google chipped in, although Hadoop, at its core, was basically an attempt to reverse-engineer proprietary Google technology. But that’s just how the Internet has historically worked.
For decades, so-called gift economy collaboration, in which the community as a whole benefits from the freely donated contributions of its members, has been a potent driver of Internet software evolution. As I wrote 16 years ago, when chronicling the birth of the Apache Web server, the success of open source software “testifies to the enduring vigor of the Internet’s cooperative, distributed approach to solving problems.” Hadoop, which down to its fundamental structural essence is a distributed approach to solving problems, emblematized this philosophy at its core.
So, in a sense, Hadoop’s success was just the same old story. But back in the mid-’90s, around the time that one of the first open source success stories, the Apache Web server, was taking off, I’m not sure that anyone would have predicted that the National Security Agency and CIA would end up becoming stalwart participants in the gift economy. Even though it makes total sense, in principle, that the fruits of government-funded software development should be shared with the general public, there’s still something cognitively disjunctive about intelligence agencies that shroud their every activity in great secrecy contributing to projects built on openness and transparency. On the one hand, employees of the #NSA are appearing at conferences discussing how they have adapted Hadoop to solve the problems of dealing with unimaginably huge data sets, but on the other hand, we’re not supposed to know anything about what they are actually doing with that data.
The intertwining of the intelligence agencies with the larger open source software community could hardly be more incestuous. In 2008, a group of Yahoo employees that eventually included Doug Cutting formed a start-up designed to commercialize Hadoop called Cloudera. The CIA, through its In-Q-Tel (named after James Bond’s Q character) venture capital arm, was an early investor in, and customer of, Cloudera. The #NSA built a significant piece of software that works “on top” of Hadoop calledAccumulo designed to add sophisticated security controls managing how data could be accessed, and then promptly donated that code to the Apache Software Foundation. Later, a group of #NSA software engineers formed another spinoff company, Sqrrl, to commercialize Accumulo.
What all this means is that the improvements to tools that the #NSA is making, with the aim of more efficiently catching terrorists, are propagating into the private sector where they will be used by Facebook and Neftlix and Yahoo to more accurately target ads or influence our purchasing behavior or provide us with content algorithmically shaped to our very specific desires. And vice versa. Innovations and increased capabilities pioneered by private companies trickle back to the #NSA The collective boot-strapping never stops.
Again, in principle, there is nothing necessarily wrong going on here. There is no one to blame. Some of the fiercer apologists for unfettered free markets might complain that government involvement in open source projects unfairly competes with private sector proprietary businesses, but a much stronger case can be made that any software development work that is funded by taxpayer money should by definition be considered freely sharable with the wider public. The #NSA should probably be applauded for helping to improve Hadoop. And if the capabilities unlocked by Hadoop result in the prevention of some horrific terrorist act, then every programmer who contributed a line of code to the project justly deserves some congratulation.
But there’s also an intriguing inversion occurring here of what, for better or worse, we might call the purpose of the Internet. The Internet was initially created by the U.S. government to facilitate the sharing of information between geographically separate research centers. The Internet took off in the mid-’90s in large part because the general public recognized it as a phenomenal tool for sharing information with each other. The fact that so much of the Internet’s infrastructure was also built from code that was freely shared seemed like a pleasing match of form and function.
Free software and open-source software evolution is frequently driven not so much by hope for financial gain but by individuals looking to solve their immediate engineering problems. Over time, on the Internet at large, one of those problems has turned out to be the gnarly challenge of how to manage all the data created by all those people sharing so promiscuously with each other. Hadoop can justly be seen as the natural response to all that promiscuous sharing. And it certainly helped solve the problems faced by engineers at Facebook and elsewhere.
But what ended up getting enabled by the success of Hadoop is something significantly different than good old peer-to-peer sharing. The ability to make sense out of petabytes of data isn’t necessarily useful to you or me. But it’s god’s gift to the profit-minded corporations and terrorist-seeking intelligence agencies seeking to leverage the data we generate for their own purposes, to measure our behavior and ultimately to influence it. That could mean Netflix figuring out exactly what combination of plot twists and acting talent proves irresistible to streaming video watchers or Facebook figuring out exactly how to stock our newsfeeds with advertisements that generate acceptable click-through or Twitter knowing exactly where we are on the surface of the planet so it can pop up a sponsored tweet pushing a coupon for a happy hour at the bar just down the street — or the #NSA spotting a peculiar pattern of pressure cooker purchases. This is no longer about sharing information with each other; it’s about manipulation, control and punishment. It’s about keeping stock prices up.
We’re a long, long way here from the ideal gift economy, where everyone brings their home-cooked delicacy to the potlatch. We’ve arrived at a destination where the tools offer more power to them than to us.
I posed a version of this analysis to Michael Cafarella, one of the original authors of Hadoop, now a computer scientist at the University of Michigan. He conceded that “there’s a certain irony that the open ideas of open source have enabled the construction of systems that can undermine openness so substantially.”
But Raymie Stata, who has been closely involved with the growth of Hadoop for the last seven years, warned against “conflating ‘open source software’ with ‘Open Society.’”
“Everyone involved with Hadoop in the early days certainly did believe that Hadoop, as a piece of open source software, would make the world a better place. I can’t say, back then, that we saw Hadoop moving from cyberspace to the real world, but we did recognize that it would become foundational to building Internet applications of the future, and we wanted to contribute to advancing that agenda.
“But individuals who find common ground in contributing to open source projects do not, as a whole, share beliefs on what constitutes the ideal ‘Open Society,’” said Stata. “Is using Big Data to make inferences about people a Bad Thing at all, no matter who does it? Or is it no big deal? Or does it depend on who’s doing it, and for what reason (and with what transparency)? Should we be more worried about Big Business, or Big Government?”
“I guess in some ways this incident is evidence that it’s hard to encode ideals in a piece of software,” said Cafarella. “The right way to do that is via legislation.”
Cafarella’s point is hard to dispute. Brian Behlendorf, one of the founders of the Apache Software Foundation, told me that at one juncture, contributors to the various software projects managed by Apache had argued over whether the license that determined the rules for how their code could be shared should include restrictions against organizations using that code for purposes deemed morally or ethically unacceptable by the open source software programmer community. But it was relatively quickly determined that to attempt such restrictions would open up an impossible to resolve subjective can of worms. Society at large has to figure out what limits it wants to put on the surveillance state, on what either Facebook or the #NSA is allowed to do.
It’s also important to acknowledge that as users of online services, we benefit in many ways from our instant-gratification, access-to-everything, always on lives. But still: When we first started to log on, did we realize what the tradeoffs would be? Did we know that we were entering the Panopticon? That we would be making it substantially easier than ever before for governments and businesses to track our behavior and monitor our every whim?
Behlendorf says we kind of did. He recalls his days, fresh out of college in 1995, working for HotWired, Wired magazine’s first foray into online publishing. AT&T was running an ad on HotWired, under the theme “Imagine the Future,” that pictured an arm with a “wrist-watch phone” on it.
“Someone printed it out,” said Behlendorf, “put it up on the wall, and wrote in black marker over the top of the ad, ‘NSA primate tracking device.’”
And guess what? We went ahead and built it.
# Is PRISM Damaging Cloud Computing?
#PRISM and Providers
In June and July, former analyst – and now tourist-on-the-run whistle blower – Edward #Snowden leaked a set of slides and shared knowledge of the #NSA's spying program with the Guardian. The leaked slide deck in question stated that the #NSA had direct access to the servers owned by the following companies: Microsoft; Yahoo; Google; Facebook; PalTalk; YouTube; Skype; AOL; Apple.
When asked by the media, companies such as Microsoft and Google refuted claims that they provide the #NSA with direct access to their servers. You’ll notice in the original slide (shown above) that it refers to when data “collection” started, not when they obtained access. That is a subtle difference.
The NSA's new $1.7bn facility in the heart of Mormon country: Utah Data Center in Bluffdale
Sited on an unused swath of the national guard base, the Utah Data Center, which is
the largest facility, spans 1 million sq ft and use 65 megawatts of power.
NSA's largest facility, Utah Data Center
Prior to this scandal we were wondering why the #NSA was building adata center in Utah that will be capable of storing 5 zetabytes of data. That is over 5 billion terabytes of information! Every time you tweet, every time you Skype, every embarrassing Facebook photo post – it’s all captured and stored for trend analysis and historic reference by the #NSA.
Disclosing Data Without Your Consent
What does this mean to cloud computing? The emergence of the public cloud created a lot of hype from marketing people, and exciting opportunities for IT architects and solutions designers. Amidst all the noise, a few quietly voiced their concerns. Previous legislation by the U.S. government and programs by US security services have caused great discussion about the suitability of U.S.-owned services. The Patriot Act gives security services almost unfettered on-demand (rather than a regular copy) access to data stored in US-owned data centers, no matter where those data centers are located.
# Motorola secretly spies on Droid phone users every 9 minutes, collects personal data | Computerworld Blogs (2013-07-03)
You know the NSA is “listening,” nabbing Verizon customers’ cell phone metadata, but did you know that Motorola is listening too? A security engineer with a Motorola Droid X2 smartphone discovered that Motorola is silently slurping up personal info like passwords, GPS data from photos, email addresses, and usernames to name but a few. His phone is checking in with Motorola every nine minutes. Even worse, the data is often sent over an unencrypted HTTP channel. As a Slashdot comment stated, “The NSA would like to thank Motorola for their cooperation.”
This all started when Ben Lincoln wrote about this new disturbing discovery on Beneath the Waves:
In June of 2013, I made an interesting discovery about the Android phone (a Motorola Droid X2) which I was using at the time: it was silently sending a considerable amount of sensitive information to Motorola, and to compound the problem, a great deal of it was over an unencrypted HTTP channel.
# Set of slides and shared knowledge at the net resource - anon
# Alternative search engines: DuckDuckGo - Ixquick / Startpage
Tweets? Twitter? #PRISM#Snowden#NSA #surveillance#Tempora
"It doesn't matter to me whether Shakespeare or Bacon wrote the sonnets or plays. What matters is the words.
Likewise, it matters not (to a great degree) whether he is a limited hang out or red herring or whether he is the real deal.
The effects are that many more people over the whole world are aware of the pervasive government spying and data collections.
That is a good thing. Regardless of the intentions.
Is what he said about the #NSA true? You know it is.
Are more people around the globe becoming more aware than before? You know they are." ~ samsara, netizen
"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
"The Roman Empire was very, very much like us. They lost their moral core, their sense of values in terms of who they were. And after all of those things converged together, they just went right down the tubes very quickly." - Benjamin Carson
"A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous..." - George Orwell, English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950
07-13-2013, 05:57 AM #21
Great stuff! A compulsory subject for theorists. Two thumbs up!!
07-16-2013, 03:08 AM #22
Get Ready For The Next Great Stock Market Exodus et al.
Get Ready For The Next Great Stock Market Exodus
2013-07-12 Brandon Smith
In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. The mortgage-driven Xanadu that was the late 1990s and early 2000s seemed just too good to be true. Many of us pointed out that such a system, based on dubious debt instruments animated by the central banking voodoo of arbitrary fractional reserve lending and fiat cash creation, could not possibly survive for very long. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon.
The Federal Reserve had cheated America out of an economic reset that was desperately needed. The 1980s had brought us utter destruction disguised as “globalization.” Our industrial center, the very heart of the American middle class that generated enormous wealth and decades of opportunity, had been dismantled and shipped overseas to the lowest bidder. It was then that the U.S. economy actually died; we just couldn’t see it. From that point forward, Americans were fully dependent on the charity of central bank money creation and international bank lending standards. The collapse that should have occurred in the 80s was delayed and thus made more volatile as the Fed artificially lowered interest rates and allowed trillions upon trillions of dollars in dubious loans to be generated. Free money abounded, and average citizens were suckered royally. Their greed was used against them, as they collateralized homes they could not afford to buy more crap they didn’t need. Of course, you know the rest of the story...
Today, credit markets remain frozen. Lending is nowhere near the levels reached in 2006. The housing market is showing signs of life; but that’s only because most home purchases are being made by banks, not regular people, for pennies on the dollar, as bankrupt properties are then reissued on the market for rent rather than for sale. If you are lucky, maybe one day you’ll get to borrow the keys to the house you used to own. And, millions of higher-paying full-time jobs have been lost and then replaced with lower-paying part-time-wage slavery positions. The image of American prosperity carries on, but it is nothing but a cruel farce; and anyone with any sense should question how long this false image can be given life before the truth dawns.
The novice will question why it is necessary to re-examine all of this information. Is it not widely known? Am I not simply preaching to the choir a message heard over and over again since the crash of 2008? Maybe - or maybe it is time for us to finally apply some foresight given our knowledge of the recent past.
Why did 2008 creep up on so many people? Weren’t there plenty of economists out there “preaching to the choir” at that time? Weren’t there plenty of signals? Weren’t there plenty of practical conclusions being made about the future? And yet, the world was left stunned.
The truth is, human beings have a nasty habit of ignoring the cold hard facts of the present in the hopes of using apathy as a magical elixir for future prosperity. They want to believe that disaster is a mindset, that it is a boogeyman under their bed that can be defeated through blind optimism. They refuse to accept that disaster is a tangible inevitability of life that pays no heed to our naïve, happy-go-lucky attitudes. The American people allowed themselves to be caught off guard in 2008, just as they are setting themselves up to be caught off guard again today.
Again, the reality is clear; the Federal Reserve has propped up equities and bonds using money created out of thin air — so much so that both markets have become totally reliant and disturbingly addicted to fiat injections. The distribution of this fiat threatens the continued dominance of the dollar as the world reserve currency and will invariably lead to currency collapse and hyperstagflation. This process is much more likely to climax in the near term given the accelerated rate of quantitiative easing within our system to date and the accelerated rate at which our primary lenders (namely China) are dumping the dollar in bilateral trade with each other. The endgame is obvious, but I still fear millions of people within this country and around the world will be shell-shocked once again by a renewed crash.
The argument is always the same: “Yeah, things might get dicey, but it won’t be as bad as all the doom-mongers claim, and probably not for many years.”
Similar statements were made by naysayers before the Great Depression and before the 2008 crash. So why are the skeptics wrong again this time around?
The Stimulus Fantasy
Let’s put this in the simplest terms possible: Stimulus is now the lifeblood of our economy. There is nothing else sustaining our nation. Period. Stimulus in the form of bailouts and QE are keeping the stock market and bonds afloat. This means that the continued existence of equities, and the continued existence of healthy treasuries, and thus the foundation of our currency, our general economy, and a functioning (or barely functioning) government, is completely dependent on the Fed continuing to print.
In recent weeks, the Fed hinted at possible intentions reduce or remove stimulus measures, which would effectively shut down the life-support machine and let the patient drown in his own fluids.
Day traders and common investors are not very bright, but they do understand well that no stimulus means no stock market and no bond market. In response, indexes have become erratic, shifting on the slightest rumor that the central bank might continue QE for a little longer. Pathetically, the Dow Jones now rallies upward whenever bad financial news hits the wire, as insane investment groups pour in money in the hopes that dismal economic developments might cause the Fed to extend the bailout bonanza.
In our modern nightmare era of hyper-centralized economy, one word or rumor from Ben Bernanke now determines whether stocks dramatically rise or fall. This is NOT the behavior of a healthy and vibrant fiscal system.
The anatomy of American finance and trade has been horribly mutilated; and clearly, such a monstrous creation cannot last. Stocks are supposed to perform based on the true profitability of individual businesses as well as the political and social health of the overall culture. The wild printing of paper money by private banking magnates is not a catalyst for a successful economy. Whether the Fed actually ends QE is ultimately irrelevant. No fiscal structure can survive when it abandons fundamentals for fantasy. Either QE continues, becoming less and less effective in staving off negative results in equities, inspiring a flight from the dollar leading to a crash, or QE ends, exposing the inevitability of negative results in equities, leading to a crash. If the Fed ends stimulus, the process of collapse will merely take place slightly faster than if stimulus remains.
But every historic economic crisis has a defining moment, a moment in which the tide turned overwhelmingly sour for a majority of the public. The question now becomes what, exactly, will trigger the avalanche?
Precious Metals Signal Secret Shift To Asia
As I have discussed in numerous articles over the years, China's shift away from the U.S. consumer and the U.S. dollar is well under way. Over half of the world's major economies now have bilateral trade agreements in place which remove the dollar as the world reserve currency in trade with China and the ASEAN economic bloc. China is issuing trillions in Yuan and Yuan denominated bonds around the globe, setting the stage for a higher Yuan valuation and allowing Chinese consumer markets to replace American consumer markets as the number one driver of manufacturing in export countries. At the same time, China has increased its purchases of precious metals exponentially to the point that the nation is now set to become the largest holder of gold and silver in the world in the next two years. This is clearly in preparation for a currency crisis event...
The buying spree in Asia seems to directly contradict the "paper market" value of metals in recent weeks. Demand for gold and silver has only increased throughout most of the world, even in light of Federal Reserve suggestions that QE might end. Manipulations within metals markets by the CME and JP Morgan explain half the story, but there may be another issue at work.
It is very possible that the COMEX is now essentially broken, and that gold and silver ETF's (paper gold and silver) are decoupling from the street value of physical metals during the last gasp of a failing system. In the near term, I believe that premiums on physical coins and bars will skyrocket, even as the official market prices of those metals is held down. At the same time, China, Russia, and other countries heavily invested in gold may break from Western COMEX valuations completely using their own metals markets to establish their own prices.
As the dollar loses its world reserve status, the countries holding the most physical gold in their coffers stand to weather the storm most effectively, and because U.S. gold stores have never been officially audited, we have no idea if America has any reserve whatsoever.
Crushing Energy Prices Coming Soon?
While China continues a careful strategy of decoupling from the dollar and the U.S. consumer through bilateral agreements and trading blocks, another issue is arising: the issue of energy. I would like to note that despite globally diminishing oil demand caused by the 2008 credit collapse, gas prices have experienced little to no deflation. I would also like to note that after the Federal Reserve hinted at shutting down QE, oil was one of the few commodities that continued to rise.
This has not been caused by a lack of supply, as many American-based companies ramp up production. (I am aware of all the arguments behind peak oil. As soon as a peak oil proponent can show me an example of oil demand not being met because of a legitimate lack of supply, then I’ll be happy to consider that peak oil is the main cause of price increases.)
The fact is current regressive global demand and ample supply should have led to lower gas prices, not higher. If speculation was the cause, then price shifts within the oil market should have been far more volatile, with increases lasting weeks or perhaps months, but certainly not years. The only plausible explanation for this kind of commodity activity is a weakening of the currency it is directly tied to. The petrodollar is slowly but surely coming to an end.
I believe the next market exodus may be triggered by the weakening effects of stimulus (or the removal of stimulus altogether) along with extreme energy prices cause by steady inflation and a global political crisis in the near future.
China, being strangely and consistently prophetic when it comes to economic calamity, has recently established an astonishing oil trade deal with Russia, which plans to supply China with an alternative petroleum source for the next 25 years. (This news went almost completely unnoticed by the mainstream media.)
Now, keep in mind that in 2010, China and Russia signed an agreement completely removing the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade. The dollar has been the world reserve and the only currency used to purchase petroleum for decades. The Russia/China oil deal changes everything. It sets a trend toward the removal of the petrodollar function of the Greenback which ultimately destroys any credibility the currency has left. This news flies in the face of dollar proponents who consistently claim that the dollar's ties to oil make it invincible. Apparently, there are some weaknesses in the armor.
Ongoing social unrest in Egypt has also made oil markets jumpy, being that the Suez Canal oversees the transfer of a significant portion of the world’s oil shipping. Clearly, there are two opposing factions within the country vying for power, and regardless of who is best suited to U.S. interests, the Egyptian people overall have no love for the West. There is a distinct chance of a shooting war, similar to Syria, in the coming months in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the engineered conflict in Syria continues to go exactly as I predicted in my article'The Terrible Future Of The Syrian War'.
Syria remains an explosive trigger point for regional war which will, in the end, draw in Iran and result in the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, which annually handles the shipping of about 20 percent of the world’s oil. All trends point toward higher gas prices over the horizon, and the U.S. economy is barely able to survive on the cost of energy we have today.
So Close They Can’t See It
Reduced stimulus combined with adversely high oils prices may very well be the tumbling boulders that bring down the mountain. We are close now. Beyond the undeniable economic factors, the very fabric of American government is crumbling. Corruption is openly rampant. Scandals are exposed daily. The establishment leadership is unapologetic and grows even more despotic with each truth that escapes into the open air. They are becoming MORE bold, not less bold, and those of us who seek transparency in all things, from politics, to economics, to surveillance, are being attacked as the source of the problem rather than the solution.
Collapse, from a historical perspective, seems to occur when the searchlights of the individual mind are dimmest, when the threat is the greatest, and when we are most comfortable in our ignorance. In 2008, the U.S. public was mostly oblivious to the danger, and they were painfully stung. Today, I hope that the liberty movement, the alternative media, and alternative economic analysts have created a window of opportunity by which millions of people can this time see the writing on the wall and prepare accordingly. At this point, there is no question that Americans have been warned. Whether or not they pay heed, is out of our hands.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
# New Zealand's economy is rapidly disintegrating, as part and parcel of the "Chinese Flu" (as China's tightening its credit and restructuring its economy under the new leadership amidst the slowdowns in global demand for manufactured goods thus its export, in turn causing much slowdowns in global commodity demand), just as Australia has.
Australia's economy is going down rapidly. We may have a positive GDP, but most major sectors are already in recession/contraction (call it what you want) and have been for many months. Now the mining and energy sector is chucking a spaz too, the whole top-end is stagnant or recessing.
And so much for the insane blurb at the beginning of 2013 that real estate was going to approximate the idiotic surge in prices in 2009. However the media keeps pumping the story that demand and price is higher, because RBA rates are currently low, and structural RE shortages etc. So how screwed in the head can one get? ... to buy an overpriced house, at top of the market, on a 30 year mortgage, just before a wave of global sovereign defaulting, trade war and currency collapses... because a transient RBA rate is currently low. Just last week numerous commentators saying Australia never had it so good, problem is, it's only good for a tiny fraction, the rest are all screwed.
Just read the newspaper there. FortescueMetalGroup's (FMG) Andrew Forrester said everything is okay. That's why, after nearly going belly up with iron ore at ~$90 a few months ago, he has slashed a couple of thousand jobs and halted expansion of Berth 5 even though it's now +$130/ton.
It's reckoned that the earnings this Christmas will be weak with lower AUD strength limiting battler's ability to make various non-essential purchases. Demand was even struggling with high AUD, but now the imports are going to be ~10% higher, as inventories are replenished at weaker AUD. Who's going to be paying up to 10% more retail for those non-essentials?
And that does not even factor in the major gasoline price increase we're now seeing. That has to flow through too. A falling AUD is a good thing, yes, but only if it really plunges, and takes oil down with it. But what we have now is not only higher prices (i.e. new records coming very soon), but a comparative REAL price that's well above what we effectively experienced in June-July-Aug 2008.
Retailers are going to get smashed, and before Christmas I suspect. Just today unemployment rose above the level we experienced in first half of 2009, and it's very likely to rise from here. RBA, meet the beast of ZIRP.
Australian Unemployment Unexpectedly Climbs to 5.7% in June | Bloomberg
There's not going to be soft landings all around.
As far as currencies go, the last thing the EU nor Japan can tolerate at this point in the game of high stakes poker, are reflating currencies. Ask Korea how that's working out for them.
The last 4+ years have been an absolute debt-fueled reflationary boom (inevitably destined to bust as they do), just verify this juicy morsel of prima facie evidence as to how a debt/deficit dependent economy (i.e. a negative real growth one) needs more debtors in order to merely tread water:
White House pushes for home loans to people with weaker credit | Business News (2013-07-13)
# If one looks around or listens with decent filters to the ads all around it's fairly obvious to anyone with rational thought that the only thing that matters is DEBT. Just notice on how aggressive the banking sector and credit card companies are in offering all kinds of consumer's credits (even sweetening their offers with 'guaranteed' approval crap). In short: MORE DEBT!!
# Ben Bernanke now can see both the rock and the hard place simultaneously. He can't threaten to shut off the QE (Quantitative Easing). He can't threaten to keep it either.
He realizes that he cannot stop QE to Infinity for it'll bust the stock market (just note the sacrosanct Dow Jones index). On the other hand it's hard for him to print money if oil continues to ramp. Imagine a world of September with WTI at $130. Then Fed will have to print money in order to lend it to end users. They are monetizing the debt (and will continue to do so). They are devaluing the currency. That in essence means decreasing one's standard of living (raises equal or greater than inflation mean you are treading water). Worse, it would prompt more long holders of bonds outside the US to dump them adding a bit more fiat on the pile floating around out there. Energy prices always effect the economy in the immediate term. Food, getting to work, shopping, public transportation, etc. Energy is simply the core ingredient.
Who could have imagined that jamming trillions into the monetary system could lead to a conundrum. Bernanke can't even open his toxic mouth anymore without wrecking at least one market.
Btw, WTI (West Texas Intermediate) is light, "sweet" crude oil commonly referred to as "oil" in the Western world, considered a "sweet" crude because it is about 0.24% sulfur, a lower concentration than North Sea Brent crude. WTI is high quality oil that is easily refined.
Read on "The Bernanke Conundrum"
"Ben Bernanke gave a press conference after the last Fed decision where he laid out the Fed`s plans for exiting their stimulus program and the market to put it bluntly freaked out with Bonds yields soaring, and all other asset classes selling off sharply. The Fed didn`t like the reaction, especially with bond yields jumping much higher than they ever anticipated, and immediately sent numerous Fed governors to the media trying to talk back the market, again especially bond yields.
The catch 22 is that they cannot exit now without markets and asset classes freefalling back to natural sustainable levels, yet markets are at hundred year highs! The real problem is that if they cannot exit now, then they push markets and asset classes even higher artificially to even more unsustainable levels! The drop becomes even more pronounced a la the Tech bubble where stocks trading in the 100`s dropped to zero, silicon valley had their fire sale for property as all the business built up around unsustainable market valuations came crashing back to reality..." ~ EconMatters
# Theoretically this is about trying to "pay down" partially the sovereign debt with cheaper debased currencies with each world currency taking their turn and of course all orchestrated so that no one currency falls completely out of favor. If done correctly years over years, the debt can be paid off (diluted) partially with a cheaper debased currency in each country and no one knows the difference at the end. Repeat, no one knows the difference EXCEPT the price of commodities and precious metals will be up sharply in all currencies, at one point of time! INFLATED currencies allow the DEBT systems to continue issuing more DEBT. Then the Central Planner Overlords will tell us it's a growing economy when in reality we know it's an INFLATION masquerading as growth.
Yet in reality none of the Keynes Overlords have ever planned on paying down anything... because they KNOW in the long run, they're dead! Just shift the burden to the future generations!!
In the meantime, the Central Planner may sing the same tunes over and over again: rinse, clean, repeat
"TAPER, MORE PRINTING, economy is strong, economy isn't strong, the sky is blue, the sky isn't blue."
Maybe that's the strategy. Just change their minds so often every short period and keep people perplexing
However, things may be starting to unravel... going rampage beyond their controls. There are massive bubbles all over the places, it is scary.
* * * * *
Leaked IMF Report Shows Dangers for US Economy | Daniel Amerman CFA | FINANCIAL SENSE
"A confidential internal International Monetary Fund report was recently leaked to the Wall Street Journal, with the contents later being made public by the IMF. The contents of this report have major implications for Europe, but even greater implications for the United States.
Greece is not the only nation that has what could be called an "artificial" economy, if we define an artificial economy as being one where both economic output and employment levels are each materially dependent on the government borrowing money that it can't possibly pay back under normal circumstances.
And arguably the globe's largest "artificial" economy is also the globe's largest economy – which is that of the United States of America.
As I have previously covered in detail in a series of articles which includes, "The Economic Deception At The Heart Of The Fiscal Cliff", the economic situation in the United States is in fact much worse than what can be seen at the surface level of government statistics and the financial media's reporting thereof."
* * * * *
9 Plagues That Are Collapsing Capitalism « The Burning Platform
By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com
Let me be blunt: Our capitalist system is approaching failure.
Or, perhaps better said: Our marginally capitalist, partly-free market systems are approaching a massive collapse.
Not because of what capitalism is, mind you, but because the powers that be have bastardized it.
Capitalism can bear many distortions and abuses, but it is not indestructible.
And, make no mistake, the ‘capitalist’ system we have today has been massively corrupted, so much so that it’s sagging under the load… and will continue to do so until the proverbial straw breaks its back.
The 9 Plagues
- The average producer is being stripped bare. In the US, for example, the total take of taxes has not risen dramatically, but fewer and fewer people actually pay them. There was a big uproar during the last election cycle over the fact that 47% of working-aged Americans paid no income tax. That means that the half who do work (read suckers) are paying the whole. And more than that, they are also paying for the many millions who are on food stamps and disability. Producers are being punished and abused, made into chumps.
- Thrift is essentially impossible. I’ve explained this in detail previously, but a hundred years ago, it was possible for an average person to accumulate money. Mechanics, carpenters, and shop owners slowly filled their bank accounts with gold and silver. It was common for them to make business loans and to retire comfortably. But now, all of our surplus is drained away to capital cities, where it is poured down the drains of welfare, warfare, and political lunacy. Money has been removed from the hands that made it, and moved into the hands of non-producers, liars, and destroyers.
- In 2008, US federal government regulations cost an estimated $1.75 trillion, an amount equal to 14 percent of US national income. Let me restate: Simply complying with regulations costs American businesses more than $1,750,000,000,000 (that’s $1.75 Trillion) every year. This, again, is money taken out of production and wasted on political lunacy.
- Small businesses are being squeezed out. Take a look at the two graphs below, and understand that as small businesses are squeezed out, only the large corporations remain. These days, only the largest and best-connected entities are able to get their concerns dealt with (by the politicians they fund). Small operations are cut off from the redress of their grievances and are crushed by taxes and regulation. And don’t forget the comments of Mussolini:
- The average producer is being stripped bare. In the US, for example, the total take of taxes has not risen dramatically, but fewer and fewer people actually pay them. There was a big uproar during the last election cycle over the fact that 47% of working-aged Americans paid no income tax. That means that the half who do work (read suckers) are paying the whole. And more than that, they are also paying for the many millions who are on food stamps and disability. Producers are being punished and abused, made into chumps.
Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.
While there may be no dictator, state/corporate partnerships are taking over commerce in the West.
- The military industrial complex is out of control. Their lobbying, fear-mongering, and spending can only be characterized as obscene. Dwight Eisenhower was right when he warned us about this in 1960. It is sad beyond measure that so few Americans took him seriously. Trillions of dollars and millions of productive lives are being spent on the war machines of the West. Never forget that wars destroy massively and produce nothing.
- All the Western nations now feature large enforcer classes, composed of bureaucrats, law enforcement units, inspectors, and so on. In the US alone this amounts to several million people – none of whom produce anything, and all of whom restrain producers from producing. Millions of people are paid to restrain commerce.
- We now have a very large financial class in which blindly aggressive people make millions of dollars. The problem is that finance is not productive. It may allocate money in beneficial ways (though it often allocates mainly to itself), but it doesn’t actually produce anything. At present, the allocators get the big bucks, and the producers get scraps.
- The modern business ethic has become about acquisition only. In more enlightened times, it was also about creating benefit in the world, or at least creating newer and better things. Mere grasping is an insufficient philosophy for capitalism; it leads to dark places.
- Every nation on the planet is using play money and forcing their inhabitants to use their play money. Moreover, they have super-empowered a small class of Central Banking Elites, who make fortunes on their currency monopolies, and who are entirely unknown to the producers who unwillingly (and unknowingly) purchase jets and yachts for them. Our money systems have brought back aristocracies; a class that is both hidden and immensely powerful.. . . .
* * * * *
The economy isn’t coming back
Posted on July 10, 2013 by mrchumpy
Presently Americans wait with bated breath, watching sales numbers and unemployment statistics, grasping for signs that an economic recovery is underway. We search for signals that indicate we’re growing, that there will be a job for everyone who wants one, and that the United States will resume the prosperity and standing in the world it once had.
We wait in vain.
The economy isn’t coming back. On the contrary, it’s a patched-together mess on its way to the crapper. Though the Obama administration might crow about a tepid recovery, even today’s insufficient economy is itself a lie, propped up by governments printing money to buy their own bonds and simulate growth. The Dow ascends to ever more lofty heights, and yet few believe it’s tied to improving conditions for regular people. China, the economic engine of the world, is now slowing precipitously, and experiencing serious market declines and confidence problems. Europe is an economic mess, and when the EU eventually implodes (it really is a when and not an if), it will send shocks through the rest of our globalized world.
Sometimes it takes a cartoon character to show the absurdity of our global economic system
(click to play video)
. . .
* * * * *
David Stockman's Non-Recovery Part 5: Peak Debt And The Wages Of Keynesian Sin
In the final section of this five-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) on the dismal reality behind the non-recovery, David Stockman explains what lies ahead. He details in his new book 'The Great Deformation', that the mainstream notion that there is a choice between fiscal austerity and fiscal stimulus is wishful thinking. It does not recognize that owing to the triumph of crony capitalism and printing-press money America has become a failed state fiscally. What lies ahead is a continuous, mad-cap cycling back and forth - virtually on an odd-even day basis - between deficit cutting and fiscal stimulus to the GDP.
As Stockman notes, the proximate cause of this recession waiting to happen is the federal government’s unfolding encounter with Peak Debt. The latter is not a magical statistical point such as a federal debt ratio of 100 percent of GDP, but a condition of permanent crisis - "no viable economy can survive on chronic fiscal deficits nor can it fail to save at a sufficient rate to fund a healthy level of investment in productive capital assets. The blithe assumption to the contrary which animates current policy rests on self-serving clichés such as “deficits don’t matter” and the Chinese savings glut." So the American economy faces a long twilight of no growth, rising taxes, and brutally intensifying fiscal conflict. These are the wages of five decades of Keynesian sin - the price of abandoning financial discipline.
. . .
More about Stockman's latest book:
The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America by David A. Stockman
“In The Great Deformation, David Stockman – former US congressman and budget director under Ronald Reagan – tells the story of the recent crisis, and takes direct aim at the conventional wisdom that credits government policy and Ben Bernanke with rescuing Americans from another Great Depression. In this he has made a seminal contribution. But he does much more than this. He offers a sweeping, revisionist account of US economic history from the New Deal to the present. He refutes widely held myths about the Reagan years and the demise of the Soviet Union. He covers the growth and expansion of the warfare state. He shows precisely how the Fed enriches the powerful and shelters them from free markets. He demonstrates the flimsiness of the present so-called recovery. Above all, he shows that attempts to blame our economic problems on "capitalism" are preposterous, and reveal a complete lack of understanding of how the economy has been deformed over the past several decades…Thanks to The Great Deformation, not a shred of the regime’s propaganda is left standing. This is truly the book we have been waiting for, and we owe David Stockman a great debt.”
Who's David A. Stockman?
David Alan Stockman (born November 10, 1946) is a former U.S. politician and businessman, serving as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985), under Ronald Reagan administration.
Stockman was born in Fort Hood, Texas, of German descent, and was raised in a conservative family. He graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1964 and received a B.A. in history from Michigan State University, East Lansing, during 1968. He performed graduate studies at Harvard University, 1968–1970 and 1974–1975. He attended Harvard Divinity School.
He was elected to the US House of Representatives for the 95th Congress and was reelected by two subsequent elections, serving from January 3, 1977, until his resignation January 21, 1981, to accept appointment as Director of the Office of Management and Budget for U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in his 30s.
ANOTHER book worth to mention here:
The Final Crash: Addictive Debt and the Deformation of the World Economy by Hugo Bouleau
"It's a wonderful book and gives a world view of the global debt crisis."
"Hugo Bouleau’s (pseudonym of the author) book was for me, perhaps the most riveting reading of 2008. Bouleau writes the book not only from his practitioner experience as an asset manager for a large private bank in the Channel Islands (he is also a fellow of the Securities & Investment Institute), not only from his educational background from City University in London, but from that of a concerned citizen of the world who realises the core issue of the financial crisis, the one that remains largely uncovered in the day to day reporting, that of debt and leverage, in particular, that of irresponsible debt, and excessive leverage.
Some of the things mentioned in the ‘Final Crash’ (written in 2006, published in 2007) have already come to pass, but it is the breadth of knowledge and tying together discordant worldwide occurrences as well as policy changes then putting them into a meaningful and understandable story that mere mortals can comprehend which is the true genius his work." ~ Karl Deeter
"The consequences of printing press money are horrendous. If you could make the world rich by having all the central banks print unlimited money, then we have been making a mistake for the last several thousand years of human history." - David A. Stockman, 2012
07-17-2013, 01:07 AM #23
China and Russia sign US$270 billion energy deal over the next 25 years
Here are some more elaboration into the significances and size of the long term energy cooperation between Russia and China.
China, being strangely and consistently prophetic when it comes to economic calamity, has recently established an astonishing oil trade deal with Russia, which plans to supply China with an alternative petroleum source for the next 25 years. (This news went almost completely unnoticed by the mainstream media.)
Now, keep in mind that in 2010, China and Russia signed an agreement completely removing the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade. The dollar has been the world reserve and the only currency used to purchase petroleum for decades. The Russia/China oil deal changes everything. It sets a trend toward the removal of the petrodollar function of the Greenback which ultimately destroys any credibility the currency has left. This news flies in the face of dollar proponents who consistently claim that the dollar's ties to oil make it invincible. Apparently, there are some weaknesses in the armor. ~ Brandon Smith, Alt-Market.com
Russia and China oil cooperation estimated at the unprecedented $270bn – Putin
Published time: June 20, 2013 16:40
Edited time: June 21, 2013 13:13
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) welcomes Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli during their me
The value of 25 years of cooperation between Russia’s state oil major Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will be $270 billion, said President Putin at the economic forum in St. Petersburg.
Under the contract Rosneft will export 360.3 million tonnes of crude to China.Boosting economic ties with the Asian Pacific region, especially in energy issues, is now the focus for Russian authorities, Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). On Thursday the heads of Russia and China announced drafting a major oil contract, where“prospective crude deliveries to China will top hundreds of millions of tonnes and exceed $60 billion,"Putin said. However, later on Friday the President clarified that the $60 billion figure classified then as ‘unprecedented’ was just a part of the prepayment, with the total cost of the energy deal between the countries being many times bigger – at $270 billion over 25 years.The issue of increasing exports of Russian oil to China has been repeatedly raised this year.Rosneft’s intention to boost oil supplies to China has been underpinned by opening the second line of Russia’s East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline in December 2012.
Vladimir Putin (R) examining stands with updates on the construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline and the export route from Russia to China (RIA
“Expansion of cooperation between Rosneft and China is utterly positive for the company, as it creates additional market outlet, which is important given the aggressive growth of its resource base,”according to Ivan Anoshkin, an analyst at Invetscafe.
New export markets for energy resources seems to be the thing that Russia really needs, as “there are many saying two thirds of yet to find resources on the planet would be in the arctic,” according to Tim Dodson, executive vice president at Statoil, talking at the SPIEF.Rosneft is the only Russian company producing oil for exports to China. Tatneft, Russia’s oil transportation company, also has contracts with China, with its oil exports estimated at 6 million tonnes a year. However, the oil transporter buys the commodity from Rosneft. Rosneft oil supplies to China stand at 15 million tonnes a year, which is planned to be boosted 250% - to 37.8 million tonnes.Given that the projected capacity of the ESPO stands at 31 million tonnes a year, Rosneft needs to use alternative export routes. These might include via the pipeline network through Kazakhstanor via the Kozmino oil port.“However, as a vector to the tightening energy relations between the two countries, the optimal variant looks to be to construct additional pipeline capacity,” the Investcafe analyst concluded.
China and Russia sign US$270 billion energy deal | Asian Power (2013-06-24)
Pact will deepen their existing energy industry cooperation.
The deal will see Russia supply oil to China worth US$270 billion over the next 25 years. Russia will pump 365 million metric tons of oil to China starting next month.
The deal was signed June 21 between Rosneft, Russia’s oil and gas monopoly, and China National Petroleum Corporation, China’s largest state-owned oil and gas producer.
The oil is likely to be delivered to China via the existing Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline that will pump direct into the Chinese region of Mohe in Heilongjiang.
Russia has been looking for new markets for its energy exports because of shrinking demand in Europe, its traditional market. Rosneft is to open a refinery in Tianjin in cooperation with a Chinese company in the second half of the year.
In 2009, the two countries reached a framework agreement in which Russia would deliver about 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China annually for 30 years starting from 2014.
China, the world's largest energy consumer, used 145 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year and will import 78.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2014.
China, Russia sign US$270b oil deal
Xinhua, June 22, 2013
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Russian oil giant Rosneft on Friday signed a long-term agreement for oil deliveries with an estimated value of 270 billion U.S. dollars, a good progress made in energy cooperation between the two neighboring countries.
The deal was inked during Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli's visit to Saint Petersburg, Russia, for an international economic forum.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli delivers a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 21, 2013. [Xinhua]
Energy cooperation between China and Russia holds great potential and has gained steam in recent years as the overall ties between the two nations are in their best status than ever.
"Russia and China are strategic partners, and the cooperation in energy has been positive," Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, saying his company would cooperate further with Chinese partners.
It is believed that the CNPC-Rosneft deal would reshape the geographic feature of Russia's oil exports, which currently are mostly Europe-oriented.
For China, the world's second largest economy and a major energy consumer, Russia could offer it with oil and gas to power growth, while for Russia, China would become an ideal export destination for its energy as demand in its main market -- Europe -- wobbles amid economic woes.
Also on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a plenary session of the forum that Russian energy company Gazprom is readying contracts for the gas deliveries to Japan and China.
The Chinese vice premier, who began his visit in Saint Petersburg Wednesday, is due to leave Russia Saturday. His visit came in the wake of the successful summit held in Moscow between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Putin in March, which is intended to translate the latest highest-level consensus into concrete results, with energy cooperation coming high up on the agenda.
The Chinese vice premier's schedule was packed with bilateral meetings with Russian political leaders, including Russian President Putin, as well as business leaders in the country's energy sector.
"China would like to work together with Russia to maximize the potential for bilateral economic cooperation and translate the best ever political relationship into results of practical cooperation," Zhang said at a meeting with Putin Thursday.
Analysts said the frequent high-level contacts between China and Russia play an important role in boosting bilateral cooperation.
"Frequent contact between the two countries' leaders has created a political foundation for further economic cooperation," noted Wu Hongwei, a researcher with the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
The two countries are also exploring new areas to deepen relations.
When meeting with Putin, Zhang proposed that the two countries should carry out the projects already agreed upon in such areas as energy, infrastructure and investment, while expanding two-way cooperation in high-tech industry, launching new forms of cooperation such as joint research and production, and introducing new projects in new energy, environmental protection and manufacturing.
Putin said the two countries have designated energy and high- tech technology as the two areas of priority for further development, and cooperation in the long-term, large projects are showing strong momentum.
"Both governments have strong will to strengthen cooperation, and I believe the practical cooperation between Russia and China has a bright future," he added.
Russia Hastens China Energy Pivot With Oil, LNG Supply Deals - Bloomberg (2013-06-21)
Russia signed deals to supply China with crude oil and liquefied natural gas, deepening the embrace between the world’s largest energy producer and the fastest-growing major economy.
OAO Rosneft (ROSN) agreed on long-term contracts to supply more than 2.6 billion barrels of crude oil to China National Petroleum Corp. over the next 25 years. The Beijing-based company also agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in OAO Novatek (NVTK)’s Yamal liquefied natural gas project, the first time a Chinese company will participate in a Russian gas-export project.
President Vladimir Putin is encouraging energy producers to make deals with China, responsible for 77 percent of the growth in global energy demand last year, as consumption of oil and gas falls in traditional European markets. The development of fields in Russia’s Far East (3360) that are nearer to Asia than Europe is hastening the shift.
The deal between Novatek, Russia’s second-largest gas producer, and CNPC shows Russia’s willingness to end OAO Gazprom (GAZP)’s monopoly on gas exports in a quest to open markets in Asia. Gazprom has been negotiating to export gas to China for more than a decade without reaching an agreement.
The $20 billion Yamal LNG project, where France’s Total SA (FP) is also a partner, will liquefy gas from fields above the Arctic circle for shipment around the world. Novatek, controlled by billionaire’s Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko, expects the first cargoes in 2016. CNPC will buy 3 million tons of LNG a year under today’s agreement.
China’s rising energy needs are driving world demand growth. It shares a border with Russia, which holds the world’s second-largest gas reserves after Iran, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s statistical review published June 12.
Demand in China will grow by 12 percent a year over the next five years as it absorbs one-third of new LNG supplies worldwide over that period, the International Energy Agency said yesterday in its Medium-Term Market Report.
TNK = BP Acquisition
The deal includes a $70 billion prepayment, according to Putin. That is more than Rosneft’s net debt, which surged to 1.78 trillion rubles ($54 billion) at the end of March, following the $55 billion acquisition of Russia’s third-largest crude producer TNK-BP.
“It secures a good market for Rosneft and helps the balance sheet,” said Bob Dudley, chief executive officer of BP, which became a 18.5 percent shareholder in Rosneft this year after the sale of TNK-BP. “It also secures a long-term crude supply to a country where energy demand is growing very rapidly.”
China’s demand for crude oil to more than 10 million barrels a day in 2012, or 12 percent of global consumption, according to statistics compiled by BP. Europe’s demand dropped 2.5 percent last year. Likewise, gas demand jumped 9.9 percent in China and dropped 2.3 percent in Europe.
China in $270b oil deal with Russia | People's Daily Online (2013-06-22)
China and Russia are to deepen their existing energy industry cooperation after signing a deal to supply oil to China worth $270 billion over the next 25 years.
The deal will see the supply of 365 million metric tons of oil to China starting from next month, according to media reports.
Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft, was widely quoted after being interviewed during Russia's annual economic forum in Saint Petersburg, who said deliveries could start as early as this year.
The oil is likely to be delivered to China via the existing Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline that will pump direct into the Chinese region of Mohe in Heilongjiang province.
The deal was signed on Friday between Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation, the country's largest State-owned oil and gas producer.
Asked to comment on the report, a source from CNPC told China Daily that the deal had been in discussion for months, since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow and an agreement was signed in March.
The source said the price of the deal had been a major sticking point between the nations.
During his visit to Russia on Thursday, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said that China was keen to work together with Russia to maximize the potential for bilateral economic cooperation.
Russia has been looking for new markets for its energy exports because of shrinking demand in Europe, its traditional market, said Liao Na, the vice-president of energy consultancy ICIS C1 Energy.
"The seller and the buyer both have strong willingness to reach the deal provided the price was comfortable for each of them.
"It is a good timing, considering current international oil prices," she said, adding that most institutions and commodity consultancies do not expect any dramatic oil price fluctuations.
She said after the deal was finalized, Rosneft is scheduled to open a refinery in Tianjin in cooperation with a Chinese company, in the second half of the year.
In 2009, the two countries reached a framework agreement in which Russia would deliver about 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China annually for 30 years starting from 2014.
China, the world's largest energy consumer, used 145 billion cu m of natural gas last year and will import 78.5 billion cu m of natural gas in 2014, according to data from ICIS C1 Energy.
Liao said the two countries also have huge potential for cooperation in non-traditional energy sectors, and Russia may become the next major supplier of coal to China.
How China and Russia Came Together on Natural Gas Deal | Caixin Online (2013-05-07)
"(Beijing) – President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia in late March brought advances that could end nine years of tough talks between China and its northern neighbor over natural gas transmission.
China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country's largest producer of gas, signed a memorandum of understanding with Russian energy giant Gazprom in late March. The two agreed that from 2018 to 2048 Gazprom would send 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually through a pipeline into China."
Xi Jinping visits Moscow to raise the prospects of between China and Russia’s energy deals [2013-3-1]
"Xi Jinping has picked Moscow as the first foreign capital he will visit as Chinese president, raising hopes that Russia and China will finally agree the terms of a gas supply deal that has been in the works for more than six years. Gazprom sees the fast-growing Chinese market as critical to its plan to globalise Russian gas trade, but has so far been unwilling to reduce gas prices enough get China to sign up for supplies.
But with rival Russian gas producers suddenly courting China, Gazprom may have to cave in. A string of Russian officials have been in Beijing this month in a flurry of energy diplomacy ahead of Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit. Among them was Alexander Medvedev, deputy head of Gazprom, who met the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday to try to break a deadlock in negotiations of a deal that would see Russia supply up to 68bn cubic meters a year of gas to China through new pipelines across Siberia."
OF COURSE, NOT all parties share the positive outlook for the close energy cooperation between Russia and China, the two giant countries that share a land border as long as 3,645 km.
One of the them, The Diplomat, lamented its adverse views in below article just recently:
Russia’s Energy Deals with East Asia: Who Wins? | The Diplomat (2013-07-03)
". . .
Indeed, these recent agreements, coming on top of earlier ones signed in March, now ensure China access to the Arctic fields of both Novatek and Rosneft, enhancing China’s economic and political position in this crucial sector. Novatek is unlikely to be able to enforce a price on China; quite the contrary given the abundance of Chinese sources from other producers. In fact, the Yamal project may come to depend on Chinese financing, not necessarily an optimal outcome.
Chinese sources now report that growing political contact will encourage more large deals with Russia. Already the recent contracts give China another leg up on its rivalry with South Korea and Japan in the Russian Far East. China also stands to profit handsomely in financial terms given the loans it has already made to Rosneft and the terms under which Rosneft must now operate.
And those benefits for Rosneft, and indeed Russia? A closer look raises some serious questions. As The Moscow Times reported recently, Rosneft will need to find a way to increase the carrying capacity of the pipeline to China, and find the oil to fill it. Ultimately the funds and supply to meet these demands are likely to be at the expense of the Russian consumer. As the paper reports, Rosneft has already stopped fulfilling its obligation to supply a refinery that produces gas for the domestic market.
Meanwhile, as we have noted, the balance of need between China and Rusisa heavily tilts in China’s favor, because Russia and Rosneft need its purchases much more than China needs them. While this deal undoubtedly boosts China’s oil and LNG supplies as well as its ties to the Arctic and leverage over Russia, can Rosneft meet its new responsibilities? And even if it does, does Russia really gain in Asia beyond what it already had?
The conventional refrain is that time will tell, but this seems to be another case where Rosneft has been able to persuade Beijing and Moscow that what’s good for Rosneft is good for Russia. That’s a contention that remains decidedly unproven."
Stephen Blank is Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute.
Last edited by kelana; 07-17-2013 at 01:21 AM. Reason: addition
07-19-2013, 07:45 AM #24
Detroit Files Largest Municipal Bankruptcy In History (2013-07-18)
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013
BREAKING: City of Detroit Files for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy
If the Chapter 9 filing is approved, Detroit’s case would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.
The tax base has been destroyed. From CNBC:
Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them.
Kevin Orr, a bankruptcy expert, that was hired by the state in March, has said that long-term debt was more than $14 billion and could be between $17 billion and $20 billion.
Likely those holding any of the $11 billion in unsecured debt will get next to nothing.
Justin Amash ✔ @justinamash
Per person, the debt of the U.S. government ($54K/person) is about twice as large as the debt of the City of Detroit ($26K/person).
3:52 AM - 19 Jul 2013
74 RETWEETS14 FAVORITES
Detroit Files Largest Municipal Bankruptcy In History
ROB WILE JUL. 18, 2013, 4:15 PM
Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, the AP's Ken Thomas reports. The full filing can be found below.
"Right now, the City cannot meet its basic obligations to its citizens," Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed off on the filing, said in the petition. He added, "Right now, the City cannot meet its obligations to creditors."
This means a judge will now have to sort out which entities Detroit owes money to will get their money back.
The move proved inevitable after two municipal pension funds sued city emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
It's the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, dwarfing Jefferson County, Ala.'s $3.1 billion sewage district restructuring.
In June 2012, the City of Stockton became the largest-ever city to file for bankruptcy, at the time.
The Motor City faces $20 billion of long-term liabilities. The Wall Street Journal's Matt Dillon says those holding onto $11 billion in unsecured debt are basically staring into the abyss, facing the prospect of getting next to nothing from the city's obligations.
The pension funds want to block Orr's attempt to drastically reduce the amount of benefits owed to current and former city workers.
The funds are fully aware that they could still face such cuts even if the city is forced to go to court, but say they'd prefer to fight the cuts there. Here's the Freep's cut from their suit:
It appears imminent the governor will grant the emergency manager the unconditional power to proceed under Chapter 9 (bankruptcy) and the emergency manager will seek to have the city’s pension debts impaired pursuant to Chapter 9 unless the retirement systems and their participants accept the emergency manager’s unilateral imposition of significant impairments to their accrued financial benefits.
Detroit News' Robert Snell Tweets the city has listed more than 100,000 creditors.
Detroit Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Filing - WXYZ by webteam2410
. . .
Detroit has officially filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy
It's the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history on top of it.
Detroit—The city of Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history Thursday afternoon, culminating a decades-long slide that transformed the nation’s iconic industrial town into a model of urban decline crippled by population loss, a dwindling tax base and financial problems.
The 16-page petition was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s office was making plans this afternoon to hold a Friday morning news conference at the Maccabees Building, 5057 Woodward in Midtown, according to a source. It’s the same location where the governor declared a financial emergency for Detroit on March 1.
- Now let's see who got all the money
- Who gets the NEW money
- And who gets screwed the worst !!
And just to show you how absurd these rating bureau's are "Detroit Files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy As Moody's Raises US Outlook".
And in an example of absolutely sublime timing, Uncle Warren Buffet's Moody's just hiked its outlook on the US from negative to stable.
MOODY'S: U.S. Aaa SUPPORTED BY SECURE STATUS OF U.S. DOLLARS
Detroit files for record bankruptcy - The Hill's On The Money
Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, filed the request to begin what will be the biggest municipal bankruptcy in United States history. Chapter 9 status would shield the municipality from some $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.
"Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) added that the situation had been forming for 60 years.
"From a financial point of view, let me be blunt: Detroit's broke. It's been spending 38 cents on the dollar towards legacy costs. That number was projected to grow to 65 cents on the dollar. That's not a sustainable situation."
"Filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy leaves restructuring Detroit's finances to a federal bankruptcy judge and Orr. The process could take years, and is likely to be contentious."
. . .
The City of Detroit has long been bankrupt -- but now it's official.
On Thursday, the City of Detroit petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. The petition has been assigned case number 13-53846. No judge has yet been assigned to hear the case.
Detroit files for bankruptcy, setting off battles with creditors, pensions, unions | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Detroit on Thursday became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy, a historic move sure to ignite complex battles in coming months with creditors, pensioners and unions who stand to lose significantly as the state tries to rescue a city whose failure Gov. Rick Snyder said was 60 years in the making.
Bankruptcy and restructuring experts said the filing will initiate a new round of battles in federal court, potentially setting national precedents on matters ranging from whether bondholders get repaid when cities run out of money to whether public pensions, previously thought to be sacrosanct under the Michigan Constitution, are protected in municipal bankruptcies.
PDF: Read the bankruptcy filing
Lawsuit over pensions
This week, the city’s two pension funds, which have claims to $9.2 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities, filed suit in state court to prevent Orr from slashing retiree benefits as part of a bankruptcy restructuring.
Ambac Assurance Guaranty, which insures some of the city’s general obligation bonds, has also objected to Orr’s plan to treat those bonds as unsecured, meaning they’re not tied directly to a revenue stream and would receive pennies on the dollar of their value. Ambac and other creditors have threatened to file suit.
One of Orr’s deal with creditors, widely reported to be Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS AG, to pay a $344-million swap with a $255-million debtor-in-possession loan, appeared to be instrumental in the timing of the bankruptcy filing.
The deal gives the city access to $11 million a month in casino tax revenues that Orr has said is key to maintaining city services while negotiations, in or out of bankruptcy court, take their course with other creditors and unions.
Strategy of filing
Plunkett Cooney bankruptcy lawyer Doug Bernstein, who is not involved in the bankruptcy and is not representing any parties related to it, said Thursday that the timing of the filing likely was driven by a growing number of legal challenges.
The eligibility fight could be prolonged if creditors mount a significant challenges. In other communities that have filed for Chapter 9 protection, such fights have extended the process a year or more, including Jefferson County, Alabama, and Stockton, California, two of the largest municipal bankruptcy filings so far in the U.S.
Detroit’s debts and liabilities dwarf both of those communities, making it by far the largest of its kind in U.S. history.
The stakes involved are enormous. Analysts warn a bankruptcy could drive up bond costs for cities statewide, and the losses that could be forced on the city’s 30,000 current and retired city workers remain unknown.
The city has lost more than half of its population over the past 60 years. In 1950, the city was the fifth-largest city in the country with a population of about 1.8 million.
Meredith Whitney on Muni Bonds and Red State-Blue State Migration
By: Money_Morning, 2013.07.09
Frank Marchant writes: In 2010 Meredith Whitney made an earth shattering statement during a CBS's "60 Minutes" interview that rocked the municipal bond investment world.
"There is not a doubt in my mind that you will see a spate of municipal-bond defaults,"said Meredith Whitney on Dec 19, 2010. She continued, "You could see 50 sizable defaults, and 50 to 100 sizeable defaults, more. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."
The muni bond market fell far short of Whitney's prediction. But many today feel she was merely ahead of her time.
Recently Detroit has defaulted on its muni bonds leaving investors hoping to get 10% return on their original investment, but there are no guarantees.
As Detroit moves closer to bankruptcy California has 10 cities facing the same fate. The cities of Atwater, Azusa, Compton, Fresno, Hercules, Mammoth Lakes, Monrovia, Oakland, San Jose and Vernon are ready to file for bankruptcy following the now bankrupt Stockton's lead.
Money Morning's Shah Gilani recently talked to Whitney in an exclusive interview about her new book, The Fate Of The States: The new Geography of American Prosperity
She believes that wealth and opportunity are moving away from the coasts and toward the central corridor. The states of California, Florida and Nevada benefited from the housing boom. However instead of budgeting wisely, local governments spent their windfall profits as fast as they came in on pay increases for public employees, pension increases and pay hikes.
When the housing boom ended, the money stream became just a trickle of new capital. The states were left with pensions they couldn't pay and employees they couldn't afford. They were forced to raise taxes for schools and essential public services.
In contrast a much different scenario was developing in the interior states: N. Dakota, Texas, Indiana. These states avoided the housing crisis. Because foreclosure was not a serious problem they found themselves rich in capital with money to offer tax incentives to companies to relocate and retrain new employees.
These central states are also positioned to reap the massive benefits of from the oil and natural gas boom.
Whether or not this trend is irreversible is anybody's guess but Whitney's track record at predicting trends is pretty impressive. This is why Money Morning wanted to get her opinion:
On the much talked about the Red state-Blue state migration Whitney has definite ideas on the, "How's and Whys'" of the migration.
The Red State-Blue State Migration
. . .
"At some point the entire scheme crashes, probably when enough people recognize that the greater fool theory is in danger of exhausting the quantity of fools."
Last edited by kelana; 07-19-2013 at 07:49 AM. Reason: formatting
07-21-2013, 08:55 AM #25
Here is an idea that seems to fit, a Panopticon is being laid down.
Read up on the Panopticon if you don't know what it is here.
In essence, the Panopticon is a theoretical prison where the inmates are kept in line because they know their every move is being watched. Inmates are much less likely to behave badly because they know they will be caught every time.
The interesting thing about the Panopticon is that the inmates do not actually need to be watched all the time. They just need to THINK they are being watched all the time, and the controllers of the Panopticon will get the same behavior they desire without the expenditure (or in the case of the entire country or planet, the impossibility) of watching everything.
More of this thought at VT.
* * *
From Michael Krieger:
Congressman: Did You Think This Program Could be Indefinitely Kept Secret from the American People?
Government Attorney: “Well we Tried”
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the committee, said he was surprised that the programs had been kept secret for so long.
“Do you think a program of this magnitude gathering information involving a large number of people involved with telephone companies could be indefinitely kept secret from the American people?” Goodlatte asked.
“Well,” ODNI general counsel Robert S. Litt said with a slight smile, “we tried.”
- From a Washington Post article yesterday
07-25-2013, 01:07 AM #26
Asians, Africans to pay £3000 cash bond deposit for UK visa
Asians, Africans to pay £3,000 cash bond deposit for UK visa (2013.06.23)
Visitors from Asian and African nations will have to pay £3,000 cash bond deposit to enter Britain.
The Sunday Times newspaper said the pilot scheme, according to which visitors aged 18 and over would be forced to pay £3,000 for a six-month visit visa, will target visitors from November this year.
Moreover, the money would be forfeited in case of overstay.
According to reports, the plans which aimed at preventing abuse of immigration rules in the country, will initially cover India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana.
“This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain," Home Secretary Theresa May was quoted as saying.
Published: June 23, 2013 19:11 IST | Updated: June 23, 2013 22:53 IST
Indians to pay £3,000 cash bond deposit for U.K. visa
Move targeted at non-white Commonwealth countries for reducing immigration levels
India has been put on a list of “high-risk” Asian and African countries whose citizens would be required to deposit £3,000 cash bond when they apply for a British visa.
The money would be forfeited if they overstay.
Controversially, the move is targeted only at people from non-white Commonwealth countries as part of the Tory-led government’s resolve to drastically cut down on immigration levels.
A similar attempt by Canada had to be abandoned amid protests that it was discriminatory.
According to The Sunday Times, the scheme — aimed at preventing abuse of immigration rules — will initially cover India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana.
“They have been designated ‘high-risk’ countries, from which visitors aged over 18 on six-month visit visas will be forced to pay the £3,000 from November. The countries are being targeted by the Home Office because of the high volume of visitor visa applications and relatively high levels of fraud and abuse,” it said.
The Home Office said these countries posed “the most significant risk of abuse” by their citizens.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the move was part of the government’s policy to make the immigration system “more selective.”
“This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain … In the long run, we are interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services,” she said.
OPINION - allAfrica.com
Nigeria: £3,000 UK Visa Bond - Is Government Huffing and Puffing?
BY LES LEBA, 1 JULY 2013
Nigerians were recently agitated by the British government's proposed demand for a £3000 bond as prerequisite for the issuance of a six-month visa for visitors from Nigeria, and five other Commonwealth countries to the United Kingdom.
The British High Commissioner, on his side, noted that the financial bond was a way of tackling abuse of the UK immigration system. In an attempt to assuage the concerns expressed, the UK mission advised that, the bond would only affect a small number of the highest risk Nigerian visa applicants, and those who do not violate the original terms of entry would receive a refund on return to Nigeria.
However, critics observe that the conservative party in the UK hopes to reap political, security and financial benefits from the 'visa bond' policy, when effected. In recent years, the results of elections in several European countries have been critically influenced by a swelling demand by electorates for tougher immigration policies, as indigenous European populations become seriously concerned about what they consider as the threat of liberal immigration policies to their culture and social welfare.
It is also expected that the requirement for a visa bond would enhance security by selectively reducing entry to potential fundamentalists and terrorist materials.
Thirdly, critics also, see a 'parasitic' financial benefit in the proposed policy. For example, the British High Commission confirmed that over 180,000 Nigerians apply to visit the UK annually; in reality, with current visa fees of about N20,000, this would translate to over N3.6bn annually; i.e. a sizeable revenue source that may, in fact, be adequate to run the UK mission in Nigeria.
Indeed, if each visa applicant pays the new bond price of £3000, the British treasury will forcibly collect over £540m from Nigerians. Furthermore, if only 10 per cent of applicants pay the £3000 bond, this would still mean an interest-free loan of about £54m from economically beleaguered Nigerians, just for the joy of visiting a Commonwealth nation, which arguably became sumptuously endowed from the sweat of the people and wealth of its former colonies.
Curiously, francophone countries, from whom the British derived minimal capital, and indeed, other politically more volatile Arab states have been exempted from the visa levy. Incidentally, there is no indication that the bond refunds would earn any interest for the six months 'loan' to the UK government by Visa applicants.
Visitors from India and other 'high risk' countries in Asia and Africa will be forced to pay £3,000 cash bond before they enter UK | Mail Online
Visitors from India and other 'high risk' countries in Asia and Africa will be forced to pay £3,000 cash bond before they enter UK
- Plans by Home Secretary mean visitors lose their cash if they overstay visa
- India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to be targeted
- Pilot scheme will later be extended to cover work permits and student visas
UK £3,000 visa bond: Finally, London ‘Bridge is falling down’
Rated the 6th largest oil producing nation in the world, Nigeria is also termed the “Giant of Africa” and its dense population makes it the most populous black nation in the world.
- Plans by Home Secretary mean visitors lose their cash if they overstay visa
07-25-2013, 02:08 AM #27
SPIEGEL's Coverage on NSA Spying Scandal
NSA Spying Scandal - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Related articles, background features and opinions about this topic.
* * * * *
Snooping Fears: German Firms Race to Shield Secrets
By Claus Hecking
DPAThe ruins of a former Cold War NSA listening post on the outskirts of Berlin.
Edward Snowden's revelations about data surveillance have left German firms feeling acutely vulnerable to industrial espionage. In the medium-sized business sector, which contains a host of world leaders in high-tech fields, the race is on to shield vital know-how.
. . .
Other companies were taken by surprise, though. Be it Prism, Tempora or XKeyscore, reports about mass electronic surveillance and tapped Internet hubs and trans-Atlantic data lines have alarmed German companies. Many firms are now worried that the intelligence services aren't just trying to pinpoint terrorists but to get at German industrial secrets as well. They fear that their lead over US, British and French competitors could be at risk. And they've suddenly realized that they've got to do something to protect themselves against the organized theft of data.
"The reports of the activities of intelligence services are a wake-up call for many companies. It sent alarm bells ringing," said Rainer Glatz, director of product and know-how protection at the VDMA German engineering association. In the past, warnings of hacker attacks and IT espionage often fell on deaf ears. But now Germany's small and medium-sized business sector, or Mittelstand, often described as the backbone of the German economy, has woken up to the risk. "There is growing sensitivity," said Glatz. "In many firms, the management boards are now thinking about how they can shield themselves better."
Berlin and the NSA: Questions Mount for Merkel's Chief of Staff
By Veit Medick
Getty ImagesThe Federal Chancellery in Berlin has become the new focus in the NSA snooping scandal.
Revelations that German intelligence services have been using US spying software could create problems for Angela Merkel and her chief of staff, who is responsible for coordinating the agencies. Opposition politicians are demanding answers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped to tune out of politics this week during her annual hiking holiday in northern Italy But that may prove difficult following the latest revelations in the spying scandal involving America's National Security Agency (NSA) and its mass surveillance of German communications.
Over the weekend, SPIEGEL reported on NSA documents seen by the magazine's journalists from the trove of data provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, indicating not only that German intelligence agencies worked together with the NSA, but also that they deployed some of its tools -- even after Merkel became chancellor.
That, combined with indications that German intelligence agencies may have been playing fast and loose with data privacy laws in Germany, has the opposition foaming. "The latest media reports about the close relationship between German and American intelligence services confirm the impression that the German government either feigned ignorance, kept quiet about its complicity or that the intelligence agencies have gotten out of control," Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic challenger for the Chancellery, said in a Monday statement.
"The most alarming news is that the government of Ms. Merkel appears to have made the interpretation of the G-10 law (which establishes the conditions under which surveillance of German citizens is permissible) more flexible in order to make it easer to provide protected data to foreign services," he added. "Now it has to be clear that the time of playing this issue down has passed."
"The issue here goes to the core of our democracy and constitutional state," Steinbrück said. "That's why it is to be expected the chancellor herself demand a binding pledge from the US government to immediately cease the spying on citizens, companies and possibly official locations in millions of instances."
. . .
'Key Partners': Secret Links Between Germany and the NSA
Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly said she knew nothing about American surveillance activities in Germany. But documents seen by SPIEGEL show that German intelligence cooperates closely with the NSA and even uses spy software provided by the US. By SPIEGEL
It was a busy two days for the surveillance specialists of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency. At the end of April, a team of 12 senior BND officials flew to the United States, where they visited the heart of the global American surveillance empire: the National Security Agency (NSA). The purpose of their mission can be read in a "top secret" NSA document which SPIEGEL has seen -- one of the trove of files in the possession of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
According to the document, BND President Gerhard Schindler repeatedly expressed an "eagerness" to cooperate more closely with the NSA. The Germans, the document reads, were looking for "guidance and advice."
Their wish was fulfilled. Senior employees with the NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate were assigned to look after the German delegation. The Americans organized a "strategic planning conference" to bring their German partners up to speed. In the afternoon, following several presentations on current methods of data acquisition, senior members of a division known as Special Source Operations, or SSO, spoke to their German guests. The SSO, one of the most secretive groups within the intelligence community, is the division that forms alliances with US companies, especially in the IT sector, for data mining purposes. Snowden describes this elite unit as the NSA's "crown jewels".
The journey to Washington wasn't the first educational trip by German intelligence officials across the Atlantic this spring -- nor was it the last. Documents from Snowden that SPIEGEL has seen show that cooperation between Berlin and Washington in the area of digital surveillance and defense has intensified considerably during the tenure of Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to one document, the Germans are determined to "strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation."
08-01-2013, 03:20 AM #28
How CNN uses disaster to propagandize against a government | Hidden Harmonies
How CNN uses disaster to propagandize against a government
Western propaganda has become an art-form, and for the unsuspecting audience, it is invisible. If you decide to be critical though, you will immediately see how thinly-veiled the propaganda is. Some of you might have heard about the recent high-speed rail crash in Spain, killing 69 people according to the latest count [correction: the death toll is 80 /ed.]. The weird coincidence is that China’s Wenzhou crash was exactly 2 years ago. Below are two articles from CNN reporting on the crashes. On the right column is of China’s crash two years ago and on the left column is a recent coverage for Spain’s. Notice how the Spain article is about the accident while the article on China is a condemnation of China’s HRS and governance. CNN can find tons of criticism and dissatisfaction on Spain’s Internet too if it wants. Yes, right now. CNN can find critical things to write about the Spanish government: for example, Spain woefully under-funds its infrastructure. These are CNN’s explicit choices to make. See the glaring difference in the articles as a result of the choices CNN made. Welcome to “free” press.
.................................................. .................................................. .....................................
Report: Train derails in Spain, killing 69By Al Goodman. Elwyn Lopez and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 1:12 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
Chinese netizens outraged over response to fatal bullet train crashBy Steven Jiang, CNN
July 26, 2011 5:16 a.m. EDT
Madrid (CNN) – A high-speed passenger train derailed as it hurtled around a curve in northwestern Spain on Wednesday, killing dozensand injuring more than 100, a regional official said.By Thursday morning, the death toll had reached 69, Galicia regional government official Samuel Juarez told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Pictures of the scene showed a train car snapped in two and another car on fire.Rescue crews and fellow passengers pulled out bodies through broken windows and pried open doorsas stunned survivors looked on. Police escorted bloodied passengers from the wreckage.
More than 20 injured victims remained in critical condition early Thursday, said Agustin Hernandez Fernandez of the Galicia infrastructure ministry.
State railway Renfe said the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The train had 218 passengers aboard and was nearing the end of a six-hour tripfrom Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m., the railway said.
It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. The train was capable of going up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), the chief spokesman for Renfe said.
Residents who lived near the tracks told the Voz de Galicia newspaper that they heard a thunderous bang when the train crashed. Many of them rushed to the area with blankets and bottled water for the injured, the newspaper reported.
“The train had broken in half. Some pieces were on top, some pieces were on the bottom,” said Ivette Rubiera Cabrera of Florida, who caught a glimpse of the wreckage while on a family vacation in Spain and sent photos to CNN’s iReport.
“It was quite shocking,” she said. “We had never seen anything like that. We had just been on the train last week.”
Oscar Mateos told Spain’s El Pais newspaper that he saw fellow passengers thrown to the ground, then tossed from one side of the train to the other.
“Help came in five minutes, but that time became an eternity,” he said. “I helped people get out with broken legs and many bruises.”
Alen Perez, 16, said he had been walking nearby and saw passengers helping each other out of the train.
Emergency vehicles swarmed the scene. There were several bodies on the ground, he said.
Photos he took of the crash site showed mangled pieces of a train car and black smoke billowing out of the wreckage.
Investigators are looking at all possible causes of the crash, a senior aide to Spain’s prime minister said Wednesday; their initial assessment is that it likely wasn’t the result of terrorism.
Are you there and safe? Tell us what’s happening
Renfe’s spokesman said he did not know how many crew members were aboard the train when it crashed. Normally there would be at least five crew members on a train like that, he said.
Firefighters, police and psychologists were at the scene, the Galicia government said in a statement. In Twitter posts, officials said blood donations were needed as a result of the crash.
Spain’s train infrastructure authority said it was investigating.
The crash occurred shortly before a large annual celebration was set to start in Santiago de Compostela, a popular tourist destination.
Local officials canceled festivities planned for Wednesday night and Thursday.
Beijing (CNN) – Nationwide outrage continued Monday in China over the government’s response to a deadly bullet train collision last weekend, even as operations resumed on the affected high-speed rail lines.A bullet train was struck from behind Saturday night by another train near Wenzhou in eastern Zhejiang province, killing at least 38 people — including two American citizens — and injuring almost 200. The first train was forced to stop on the tracks due to a power outage and the impact caused six cars to derail, including four that fell from an elevated bridge.
Although Chinese reporters raced to the scene, none of the major state-run newspapers even mentioned the story on their Sunday front pages. A user of Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, first broke the story and increasingly popular social media outlets then provided millions of Chinese with the fastest information and pictures as well as the most poignant and scathing commentaries.
By the time the railway ministry held its first press conference more than 24 hours after the collision, the public had seen not just reports of passengers trapped inside dark trains or images of a mangled car dangling off the bridge — but also bulldozers crushing mangled cars that had fallen to the ground and burying the wreckage on site.
“How can we cover up an accident that the whole world already knew about?” said a defiant railway ministry spokesman Wang Yongping. “They told me they buried the car to facilitate the rescue effort — and I believe this explanation.”
Wang was terse when reporters asked him to explain the fact that a toddler girl was being pulled out of the wreckage alive 20 hours after the accident — and long after authorities declared no more signs of life in the trains.
“That was a miracle,” he said.
Blaming lightning strike-triggered equipment failure as the cause of the accident based on preliminary investigation, Wang put on a brave face on the safety of China’s controversial high-speed rail.
“Chinese technologies are advanced and we are still confident about that,” he said.
While some state media echoed Wang’s sentiment, many netizens questioned his every statement from the death toll to the cause and called him the face of a ministry mired in allegations of corruption and ineptitude.
“This land is a hotbed for the world’s most sprawling bureaucracy and most cold-blooded officials,” user “chenjie” wrote on Sina Weibo.
Netizens also dug up an old video clip showing the railway ministry’s chief engineer proudly telling state television in 2007 that China had developed modern technologies to ensure bullet trains never rear-end each other.
The quick sacking of three top local railway officials in Shanghai — who were in charge of the affected rail lines — failed to placate the public, either. The announced new Shanghai railway chief prompted more scorn than applause, as the replacement — the railway ministry’s chief dispatcher — was once demoted for his role in another fatal train accident in 2008 that killed 72 people.
In a user-generated opinion poll on Sina Weibo on the government’s handling of the accident, more than 90 percent of the 30,000 respondents chose the option “terrible — it doesn’t treat us as humans.”
Now the world’s second-largest economy, and flush with cash, China has built the world’s longest high-speed rail network — boasting more than 8,300 kilometers (5,100 miles) of routes — in a few short years. The government plans to pour over $400 billion into rail projects in the next five years.
The massive investment and rapid construction have long raised public doubts on the new lines’ safety and commercial viability. The skeptics’ voices became louder after the former railway minister — a champion of high-speed rail — was sacked for corruption early this year.
Even the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail — the ministry’s newest and proudest project — has broken down several times since its much-touted launch less than a month ago.
“It’s not the faster, the better,” Sun Zhang, a railway professor at Tongji University in Shanghai and a long-time railway ministry consultant, told CNN last month. “We have to take safety, economics and environmental impact into consideration.”
“Strategically we can talk about a great leap forward in the industry, but tactically we have to do things step by step,” he added.
Back online, many users — already jittery about safety in their daily life — now view China’s high-speed rail, long considered a symbol of the country’s fast rise, as a metaphor of its troublesome approach to development.
“This is a country where a thunderstorm can cause a train to crash, a car can make a bridge collapse and drinking milk can lead to kidney stones,” user “xiaoyaoyouliu” posted on Sina Weibo. “Today’s China is a bullet train racing through a thunderstorm — and we are all passengers onboard.”
Last edited by kelana; 08-01-2013 at 03:27 AM.
08-01-2013, 04:46 AM #29
Battles between the Realists vs. Pollyannas: Achuthan vs. Bloomberg & Schiff vs. CNBC
Lakshman Achuthan: The US Entered Recession Last Year And "Is Worse Than Japan In the 90s"
Despite Tom Keene's best efforts to appear fair-and-balanced, this brief interview on Bloomberg TV places ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan in the uncomfortable position of destroying every propagandized 'fact' that the mainstream media is entrusted with disseminating to the Pavlovian investing community. From recessions with job growth ("we believe a US recession began in 2012") to the wealth divide and from GDP revisions to job quality differentials, Achuthan warns the US is becoming Japan, "U.S. growth over the last five years is weaker than Japan during the Lost Decades." Keene's insistence that things are on-the-up (though admitting that Achuthan's call on the decline in growth was correct) is met with the rhetorical question, "you wouldn't have four years of zero-interest rate policy and quantitative easing if everything was okay."
Watch the corresponding Bloomberg TV video 'Achuthan vs. Bloomberg' here.
At 1:05, Achuthan stuns the Bloomberg anchors - "We believe that a recession began last year. Time will tell if that call is correct."
[below is the script]
To which they retort...
"The jobs situation is great"
[LA] ...the job market is not doing well, all headlines aside. When you – I think the core thing here, and something that concerns us quite a bit, is the types of jobs that make money. So if you happen to be between the age of 35 and 54, since this so-called jobs recovery began three-and-a-half years ago, you’ve actually seen job losses, not gains, okay?"Who is doing well?"
Job losses for 35 to 54 year-olds approaching a million jobs lost. Now that happens to be, that 20-year span of your life, happens to be where you make the most money, and where you spend the most money. And so I think that is at the core of why, when you say, “Hey, jobs are great,” people say, “Eh, you know, it doesn't feel that way.” And they're right.
[LA] Madison Avenue is not the country. It's not the world we live in, actually. It's kind of a little bit of a bubble, and as is some of the luxury items, to tell you the truth, right? If you are doing well, financially generally, then in the recent economy, you’ve been doing very well because you’ve seen real estate prices recover sharply, and you’ve seen the stock market recover sharply. To switch gears here, it's good – If you're around Wall Street, you're probably close to the helicopters which are spewing out cash. And that's a pretty good thing."But most people are not near Wall Street"
[LA] Most people are near Main Street. And that is why there is all this kind of disconnect. The President is doing what he’s doing. The policymakers are saying – The conservatives are saying, “Hey, there’s too much regulation and too much taxing.” The liberals are saying, “Let’s do some more Keynesian stimulus and other things.”
And I think everybody’s missing what’s going on, which is that growth is not there. Growth has been downshifting since before the Great Recession. And it's not only happening in the U.S.
And that's ailing the aggregate economy.
"but again, jobs are improving?"
[LA] First off, all you have now are preliminary numbers... All that gets revised massively, that defines where the economy is. And secondarily, you cannot get away from the fact that 35 to 54 year olds have lost almost a million jobs since this jobs recovery began. That's where you make your money. You don’t make your money as a kid. And you don’t make your money when you're about to retire."but The Fed sees growth..."
[LA] Of course. They would like you to believe that everything’s okay, and things are relatively under control, except their actions suggest otherwise, right?"Short-term GDP growth might be weak but growth is around the corner"
I’ve never heard a Fed Chairman call a recession. They’ve always said there isn’t one. And then they’ve said, “if you don’t do” – or, “If I didn't do what I was doing, there would be one,” when there is, in fact, one going on, if you look at the history.
But I just want to say plainly that you wouldn't have four years of zero-interest rate policy and quantitative easing and Q-ternity if everything was okay.
[LA] ...tomorrow, you're going to get a revision, and a preliminary number for the latest quarter and then a revision to the history. And when you do that, and when you see that, I want you to understand that GDP, following recessions, gets revised. It gets revised much more than you think...
It gets revised – On the last few recessions - Two to four percentage point revision, almost always downward, following the last few recessions. And you're sitting here applauding about a 1% growth
In the first six months you get about 10% of the revision. There are subsequent revisions to come. So tomorrow is not [the end]
"but how can we be in recession if we are creating jobs?"
[LA] ...you have had recessions where you’ve had positive job growth for eight or so months...I think Main Street agrees with us.
In the ’73 – ’75 recession, which was a severe global recession, you had positive jobs growth. Now, to your point, there are also revisions to the jobs data. Geoffrey Moore was Commissioner of BLS at one time, and knows that the information that is used to define recession: output, employment, income and sales – Those things all get revised massively.
Before Lehman, if you look back, those jobs data, on average, are revised down 140,000 per month. And you're sitting here, rightly reporting that we’re hoping for 150,000 to 180,000. I'm suggesting that that is well within the range of the revisions that you need to go negative. And on top of that, now, anyone who’s in the moment of their life when they're supposed to make money, is not making money. They’ve lost almost a million jobs, 35 to 54.
[LA] ...This is an inconvenient thing I'm saying here, that there is no growth, and it's going the other way. Now if you're the Fed, and you're the only game in town, you're at zero interest rates, and you're trying the wealth effect, you have to say it's working, and you have to say, “Now I can taper.” If you're a politician maker, you say, “You should use my policy.”On The US Becoming Japan,
But what’s happening is growth has been declining since before the last recession. And it's not only happening here.
Five years ago, the summer before the Lehman collapse, ECRI’s research found that U.S. economic growth had been stair-stepping down in successive economic expansions, going back to the 1970s. So, even before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and deleveraging concerns came to the fore, we predicted a feeble economic expansion to follow the then-ongoing recession.Source: ECRI and Bloomberg TV
We extended our research to other major developed economies, most of which exhibited similar patterns of slowing trend growth. Driven by deep structural changes, these patterns were likely to result in low trend growth for many years to come – with or without the deleveraging that followed the GFC.
In the chart, the rear row of green bars depicts average GDP growth in each economy from 1980 to the beginning of the 21st century (for Japan the green bar shows average GDP growth from 1980 to 1992, which saw the first recession of its “lost decades”).
Japan’s entry into its lost decades (1992 to present, red bar), and the other developed economies’ entry into the 21st century (yellow bars), saw major downshifts in growth.
Notably, the U.S. and other major developed economies have experience slower growth in the last five years (blue bars, front row) than Japan experienced in its lost decades (red bar). Chinese GDP growth has also declined.
The bottom line: around the world, long-term trends in growth have downshifted, already resulting in weaker recoveries and more frequent recessions than most had expected when the 21st century began. The response, following Japan’s example, has been more and more quantitative easing, which has been unable to break this pattern of long-term declines in trend growth.
But to those betting on a return to much stronger trend growth, either after the end of deleveraging or after policy changes, it is simply not convenient to recognize that the downshifts in growth are global in nature, and predated both the GFC and supposed policy mistakes.
# ECRI co-founder and COO: Lakshman Achuthan is sharp and frank but he should keep in mind about the Michael Hasting's fate.
# It's the battle of the Realists vs. Pollyannas :-)
Tom Keene did not know what to do with Achuthan... PRICELESS!
WATCH the videos at below links:
Lakshman Achuthan vs. Bloomberg
Peter Schiff vs. CNBC
definition of POLLYANNA: a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything
— Pollyanna adjective
— Pol·ly·an·na·ish also Pol·ly·an·nish adjective
# JAPAN had an equity blow off top in 1989 that took the Nikkei from high of 40,000 to as low as 7000, over 24 years uninterruptedly, and the ill-fated Japanese people have just voted for confidence in the ultimate Keynesian failure policy represented by Abenomics as effectuated by the current BoJ governor, Kuroda, because they've pushed the Nikkei up a few thousand points in NOMINAL terms through currency debasement, even though it's lost 95%+ of its value, and is the ultimate widow maker - and it's going to play out in similar manner in the U.S. as a matter of mathematical certainty, and yet, you have the ultimate propagandist tools like Tom Keene spewing horseshit on behalf of the statist financial press organs such as Bloomberg L.P.
It's one thing to have a lost decade or two when your population is homogeneous and very well behaved. Also the Japanese don't ask for much: a small car, a tiny house, a little fuel and food. Things can go on pretty smoothly.
But when your population wants swimming pools, 24/7 central air and heat (yes, that is a luxury, gasp) monstrous automobiles and appetites, well, then that's a different story. When the heavily armed crying babies start whining about their freedom, I mean their luxuries, being lost, it gets silly, then it gets ugly.
# Deeds matter, not words!
Like Achuthan implied, watch what the Fed is doing, NOT what they are saying!
What really matters is that the ruling class has been getting richer and richer for the past five years.
# The true extent of slowdown in the world economy can be judged by the data points which are NOT subjected to adjustments by the government such as Change in Electricity and Fuel consumption, Ratio of working population to the total population of a country, Miles driven, Baltic Dry Index, Change in commercial Rental Rates etc.
Countries around the world are taking on more debt without any fruitful attempts to curb their expenditures. This has resulted in a much more fragile and artificially held up financial system which is on a much shaky ground than it was in 2008. In 2008 companies failed due to excessive leverage and debt and now countries are likely to default because they took on the same bad debt on themselves.
There is no economic recovery because all the efforts of politicians, government, central banks etc are focused on saving banks instead of targeting job creation which is the only way economy can recover.
The weakness in the democratic process ensures the victory of the Wall Street over the Real Economy for the foreseeable future. Things are definitely going to get much much worse before they get better for the real economy i.e. for more than 90% of the population.
A Lost Battle : Wall Street Vs. The Real Economy | The Market Oracle
The following activities of the worldwide financial institutions, motivated by the sole motive of maximizing profits, created the biggest financial bubble in the history of the world :
- Lending money to borrowers (individuals, corporates and governments) who had insufficient income or assets to pay off the loans undertaken.
- Engaged in and encouraged massive speculation in the currencies, bonds, equity and commodities exchanges.
- Use of leverage in the form of Derivatives and High Frequency Trading to game the process of price fixing on electronic exchanges.
# The United Kingdom has been in a depression since 2008. The government is fudging the figures to pretend it isn't.
See it here.
"I can help with what has been happening with the GDP implied deflator as I covered some changes made to it back in October of last year on my Notayesmanseconomics blog. If you read the explanation linked to below it will become clear why the implied deflator now longer follows RPI and in fact that the consumer section (where RPI is most relevant) no longer does either. For the same reality economic growth in the UK will be recorded as higher than before…"
* RPI = Retail Prices Index; CPI = Consumer Prices Index.
# SEE ALSO "Japan; from quagmire to Abenomics to collapse! Part III"
This is the last article of the three-part series.
Japan has been in a stable, but unsustainable, equilibrium for years. Its leaders know it is unsustainable and in their immense wisdom, decided to manage the whole system in order to achieve a sustainable development. However, this will prove fraught with danger since moving an unsustainable system away from its steady-state runs the risk of unleashing a gale wave of unintended consequences. The problem of course is that the people now in charge of moving the Japanese system from its current constellation have absolutely no idea on how to get it from where it is back on sound footing. The reason is simple, as with most policy quacks they are taught by other quacks. Some of the teachers even have Ph.D.’s. in quackery to prove to lesser quacks who truly master the art of quacking; we call them economists.
"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
"Madoff taught us that you can make promises in the future ad infinitum as long as you have more dummies entering than exiting the scheme." - Kyle Bass
“Lots of people are betting on the greater fool..."
08-01-2013, 06:52 AM #30
08-01-2013, 12:05 PM #31
Perception management is the name of the games they're throwing out daily.
The short answer: NO! (One can't just say that BBC is more credible than CNN)
The UK has The City of London, a financial enclave as the counterpart of the Wall St.
Hint: there are some good reading under the entries of "Who Owns The Media? The 6 Corporations"
08-01-2013, 01:34 PM #32
08-01-2013, 09:16 PM #33
Six Media Companies Control 90% Of What We Read, Watch, and Listen to
The Real Reason They Still Play 'Mrs. Robinson' On The Radio
By Sara Critchfield
Stations haven't been playing "Mrs. Robinson" for years just because everyone likes Simon & Garfunkel (although I really do love them!). It's because a huge percentage of stations' playlists match all across the country. So much for thinking that media exposes us to new and different ideas, eh?
An Upworthy original graphic.
These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America
ASHLEY LUTZ JUN. 14, 2012
This infographic created by Jason at Frugal Dad shows that almost all media comes from the same six sources.
That's consolidated from 50 companies back in 1983.
NOTE: This infographic is from last year and is missing some key transactions. GE does not own NBC (or Comcast or any media) anymore. So that 6th company is now Comcast. And Time Warner doesn't own AOL, so Huffington Post isn't affiliated with them.
But the fact that a few companies own everything demonstrates "the illusion of choice," Frugal Dad says. While some big sites, like Digg and Reddit aren't owned by any of the corporations, Time Warner owns news sites read by millions of Americans every year.
Here's the graphic:
Source: “Media Consolidation: The Illusion of Choice (Infographic)”, November 22, 2011 by Jason (Frugal Dad)
Few related links:
- Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read
By Michael Snyder, 2010.10.04
- 6 Media Giants Control 90% of What We Read, Watch, or Listen to
- Who Owns the Media? | Free Press
Note that the late Eustace Mullins did elaborate and warn about this TV network and media consolidation and domination many decades ago!
And if you pay attention to your local printed newspaper's international section, you may notice that an overwhelming portion of the international news are actually fed by the few aggregated news agencies only:
-Thomson Reuters (or simply Reuters);
-the Associated Press (AP), which is a subsidiary company of Thomson Reuters; and
-the Agence France-Presse (AFP)
08-02-2013, 12:38 PM #34
What Google Knows About You
What Google Knows About You
Earlier, we reported the personal narrative of Michele Catalano who recounted how one day she found herself face to face with six agents from the joint terrorism task force. The reason? "Our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history."
The answer of "who" was watching should be far clearer in the aftermath of the Snowden revelations from the past two months. But instead of rehashing the old story of the NSA intercepting and recording virtually every form of electronic communication that exists, or ruminating on what filters Ms. Catalano triggered to lead to this truly disturbing outcome, perhaps a better question is just what is it that Google knows about each and everyone who uses its interface daily, which in this day and age means everyone with a computer. As it turns out, pretty much everything.
Here is the thought, and not so "thought" experiment that the WSJ's Tom Gara ran yesterday, before Ms. Catalano's story had hit, to uncover just how rich his informational tapestry is in the repositories of the firm that once upon a time urged itself, rhetorically, to "not be evil."
Let’s run through a little thought experiment.The snapshot in question:
Imagine there’s a list somewhere that contains every single webpage you have visited in the last five years. It also has everything you have ever searched for, every address you looked up on Google GOOG +1.86% Maps, every email you sent, every chat message, every YouTube video you watched. Each entry is time-stamped, so it’s clear exactly, down to the minute, when all of this was done.
Now imagine that list is all searchable. And imagine it’s on a clean, easy-to-use website. With all that imagined, can you think of a way a hacker, with access to this, could use it against you?
And once you’ve imagined all that, go over to google.com/dashboard, and see it all become reality.
For a piece complementing today’s story on Google and privacy by the WSJ’s Amir Efrati, I took a deep dive into Google Dashboard, a kind of Grand Central Terminus for all the information the company has stored on you. It’s a truly amazing amount, especially if, like me, you have been a heavy Gmail user since its launch in 2004. As long as you are logged into Gmail, or any other Google account, the company isn’t just keeping track of how you use its own service — it’s noting every site you visit on the web.
Here’s a snapshot of the kind of data we found on my Google Dashboard, put together as a graphic for today’s newspaper. It includes my 64,019 Google searches, and 134,966 Gmail conversations:
Gara's purely theoretical ruminations continue:
The idea that all of this data exists as a mass of ones and zeros deep in a server farm in California, being studied by disinterested robots to serve up better search results and more relevant ads, is something most of us can process in the abstract.Or six joint terrorism task force agents showing up on your front step just because you googled "pressure cookers."
But the fact that it is all viewable right now, on a user-friendly Web page complete with its own search service (yes, you can run Google searches on your own web history), is something else entirely. For example, I searched for every website I’ve ever visited containing the word “octopus.” And yes, the results were wonderful.
Of course, if somebody else managed to access my Google Dashboard — and the chances of this happening are well above zero — they could search for things far less innocent than an eight-tentacled sea creature. The bad possibilities seem endless, from digital blackmail to much deeper forms of identity theft.
But wait, there's more.
Because it is not just the NSA, and its downstream enforcement tentacles, that has open access to the informational nexus that is Google and its "Don't be evil" creed.So does the FBI.
The WSJ is again on the trail.
Law-enforcement officials in the U.S. are expanding the use of tools routinely used by computer hackers to gather information on suspects, bringing the criminal wiretap into the cyber age.
Federal agencies have largely kept quiet about these capabilities, but court documents and interviews with people involved in the programs provide new details about the hacking tools, including spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links—techniques more commonly associated with attacks by criminals.
People familiar with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's programs say that the use of hacking tools under court orders has grown as agents seek to keep up with suspects who use new communications technology, including some types of online chat and encryption tools. The use of such communications, which can't be wiretapped like a phone, is called "going dark" among law enforcement.
A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment.
The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.'s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.
There is more but the gist is clear: all those seemingly ridiculous surveillance methods used by Jack Bauer and countless other fictional characters... they were all too real.
Just as real, in fact, as the Big Brother predicted by George Orwell so many years ago. And just as real, although we will need another Edward Snowden to reveal it, as the modern-day equivalent of Room 101.
Digital Privacy Black Paper | Sovereign Man (pdf)
Last edited by kelana; 08-02-2013 at 12:53 PM. Reason: addition