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'Drone bases in Africa' - US secret drone bases

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'US builds secret drone bases in Africa'

United States is to build a series of new secret drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in an attempt to target suspected militants in Somalia and Yemen.

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Iran

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دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت Image

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دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت

دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت
نویسنده و گوینده : نیک پاکپور.

نگرش یا نگاهی کاونده یا کافنده به ترفند یا توطئه تبهکارانهٔ تزریق نفت ارزان به بازار جهانی غرب که به مثابهٔ متدی مکار و مهندسی شده، آلبنه با جنگ و جدل یا کلنجار کژین کهنه و کهن ژئو پولیتیک نفتی ایالات متحدهٔ امریکا، به همراه منتها ی مقابله و محاربه و مداخله با ابزار و آفزار متروک و مخرب مرگ و موت و منفعت مکینه، در منطقه انرژی خیز خاور میانه و کرانه های مدیترانه تا شمال آفریقا، با آجندای پیشروی پیروزمندانه در پهنا و پراگمای ژئو اکنومیک و ژئو استراتژیک، یعنی چیزی را که در ترم های sane سیاسی یا political science امروزی به آن پیروزی یا پیشدستی پنهان و پوشیده، اعیان و آشکار در Great Game می گویند.

داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه Image

529 views

داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه

 داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه
ژرفشی پیرامون ژاژخایی بارک الحسین آل اوباما در مبارزه علیه ددمنشان داعش.
نویسنده وگوینده: نیک پاکپور
به باور گوینده، آنچه را که ما امروز در میین استریم مه دییا ” Mainstream media” غربی، به عنوان جنجال جنگی غرب علیه جهادیزم جانی، وحشی ـ وهابی، اسلامی ـ ارتجاعی، در منطقه خاورمیانه شاهد هستیم، در اصل و اساسش چیزی به جز یک رجز خوانی ره توریک گونه یا تبلیغات تعفن بار و تهوع آور، آغشته و آمیخته به انواع ترفندها، تزویرها، تحریک ها و توطئه های تموچین گونه برای تسخیر، تقسیم و تصرف و سپس تهی کردن و تخلیه کردن خاورمیانه از منابع، معادن و مینرال سرشار نفتی و گازی اش نمی باشد که از سالها پیش توست استراتژیست های ”Anglo-American” آلبته با سروری و سردمداری سبعانه و ساویج گونه زایونیزم جهاتی بطور مکارانه و مزورانه و میرغضبانه، مهندسی و معماری شده است

گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image

18,737 views

گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب

بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
Reference:BRICS
1-Putin and BRICS form Seed Crystal of a New International Monetary Pole
William Engdahl | July 25, 2014
2-BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance
By RT: Published time: July 15, 2014 18:14
3-BRICS against Washington consensus
BY By Pepe Escobar “Asia Times: Jul 15, '14”
4-Dollar dying; multi-polar world in offing
By F.William engdahl
4-US Dollar Suffers Serious Setback
By By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
5-Throwing BRICS at Israel
By Johnny Punish

Europe

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Dirty Work: UK importing migrants to fill employee shortages Image

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Dirty Work: UK importing migrants to fill employee shortages

British companies are being forced to import workers from abroad for fill jobs which locals just don't want. But the foreign labor actually comes at a high price, as Harry Fear explains.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

RAW: Police fire water cannon, crackdown on ‘secular’ teachers

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RAW: Police fire water cannon, crackdown on ‘secular’ teachers' protest in Turkey

Police used water cannon and tear-gas on protesters during a teacher’s union demonstration in Ankara, Saturday, detaining more than 100 people. The demonstration, organised by the teachers’ union Egitim-Is (Education and Science Workers' Union) kicked-off in central Tandoğan Square, marching under the banner of “Secular Education and respect for labour." - READ MORE http://on.rt.com/ykl7hdCOURTESY: RT's RUPTLY video agency, NO RE-UPLOAD, NO REUSE - FOR LICENSING, PLEASE, CONTACT http://ruptly.tvRT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Belgium: Protesters burn Merkel effigy to stop TTIP and TAFTA Image

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Belgium: Protesters burn Merkel effigy to stop TTIP and TAFTA

Hundreds took to the streets of Brussels Friday, demanding change to TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Area) agreements. Protesters attempted to block EU institution buildings which were to hold the last summit of the year, however, delegates had departed the summit on Monday. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To buy this video please contact the Ruptly Client Desk: cd@ruptly.tvVideo ID: 20141219-011----------------------------------Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RuptlyTwitter: http://twitter.com/RuptlyLiveLeak: http://www.liveleak.com/c/RuptlyVine: https://vine.co/RuptlyInstagram: http://www.instagram.com/RuptlyGoogle Plus: http://google.com/+RuptlyTVYouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/RuptlyTVDailyMotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/ruptlyVideo on Demand: http://www.ruptly.tv

Middle east

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Obama

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Obama's anti-ISIS plans backfire on boosting Baghdad

The US-led coalition has pledged to boost the number of forces fighting against Islamic State in Iraq. An extra 15 hundred troops will now be added to the over 3 thousand already there, to help train and advise local soldiers. Although the White House still insists they are not edging towards another ground war.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Israeli airstrikes hit targets near Damascus International Airport Image

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Israeli airstrikes hit targets near Damascus International Airport

The Syrian military has accused Israel of carrying out two airstrikes near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas near the Lebanon border, Syrian state TV reports. RT's Paula Slier reports.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

UK reopens Bahrain navy base after 40 yrs – to fight ISIS Image

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UK reopens Bahrain navy base after 40 yrs – to fight ISIS

The UK is returning to its naval base in Bahrain, a former British protectorate, after more than 40 years. The base will serve as the main British hub for operations in the Persian Gulf - READ MORE http://on.rt.com/z0cpjvRT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

United state

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Video: The Revolution Is Being Televised Pt. 1 Image

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Video: The Revolution Is Being Televised Pt. 1

by Paul Jay, The more you own, the more you are served and protected

Bio
Paul Jay, is CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network. Prior to TRNN, Jay was for ten seasons the creator and Executive Producer of CBC Newsworld's flagship debate programs, counterSpin and FaceOff.
Jay has produced and directed more than 20 major documentary films including "Return to Kandahar", "Lost in Las Vegas" and "Hitman Hart: wrestling with shadows", a feature length documentary, that was screened in 25 major festivals and won more than a dozen awards. It's been called "one of the most acclaimed Canadian films in years"(eye magazine), "A tale as bizarre as Kafka and as tragic as Shakespeare" (Ottawa Citizen) and "one of the best films of 1998"(Peter Plagens, art critic for Newsweek).
A past chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada, Jay is the founding chair of Hot Docs!, the Canadian international documentary film festival.
Transcript
Video: The Revolution Is Being Televised Pt. 1Police violence against people of color, that is illegal violence usually without consequence to the perpetrators, is not merely the product of too many law enforcement officers with racist attitudes.
Their name says it all. Police are enforcing laws, including with deadly force, to make people obey legislation that at its heart protects people that own property. The more you own, the more you are served and protected.
Of course we all want to live in a safer city and police play a significant role in that, but to address this violence we must recognize the underlying causes of street crime: unemployment, low wages, poverty, and completely irrational drug laws.
Unemployment is not a natural phenomenon that ebbs and flows; it's a product of a system that requires a big pool of available cheap labor to keep wages low. A myriad of legislation ensures that unions are weak and wages stay depressed. It's not a product of a free labor market, but what amounts to a regulated one.
When police use violence they do so as agents of a legal system (courts and prisons), that must keep a lid on people who fight back against desperate conditions. Whether they fight back blindly and often self-destructively, or more consciously and politically, the elites have passed laws that keep people in their place.
Of course the place for those in the elites, that is the top 20%, is to own 85% of America's wealth. On a global scale, the top 1% of the population owns 50% of the world's wealth. In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
Laws are designed to makes sure this inequality takes place, and make sure it stays this way. The police enforce these laws.
It's crucial to the elites that police feel free to use violence without much reservation. They don't want them second-guessing themselves. That's why a whole set of laws have been enacted that make it almost impossible to indict or convict a cop of using too much force.
If you've been watching The Real News, you've seen all of this reported on in many of our stories.
So how come mainstream television never connects these dots when reporting on Ferguson or police violence in other cities? If it needs to be said, the 1% owns the mass media and there's nothing like self-interest to make us see the world as one wants to see it – or to not see it at all.
It takes a Katrina or a militant mass protest for corporate media to acknowledge race in America – even though racism is inseparable from the issue of poverty and policing.
This society dehumanizes those it exploits. Racism is the ultimate dehumanizing of those who are super exploited. It justifies poverty level wages, mass unemployment and mass incarceration. It divides people of color from all those suffering desperate conditions.
Many TRNN guests have said the solution is not a retreat into ethnic identity, but a united front of all working, unemployed and enlightened people. Across the country, people are organizing and resisting. They are mobilizing in the streets and with an independent electoral strategy.
With your help, this revolution is being televised on TRNN.
Till the end of the year, every dollar you donate will be matched till we reach 200k. We believe that with sufficient resources, we can win the local TV market in Baltimore and then in many other cities across North America. It's a game changer.
Please help us Make Real News.
Thanks from everyone at The Real News Network
Paul Jay

Why Did The CIA Really Use Extreme Torture? Image

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Why Did The CIA Really Use Extreme Torture?

There is fairly good evidence that the prime motive for torture was not 9-11, says Patrick Cockburn the author of The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising

Bio
Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country's recent history. Cockburn's latest book is The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.
Transcript
Why Did The CIA Really Use Extreme Torture?SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
One reason cited by the CIA for the extreme torture they conducted is that they were swept up in the urgency of trying to figure out who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, also that they needed to find out quickly if there were going to be any further attacks on the U.S.
But if you take the timing of the extreme torture tactics conducted by the CIA and the military contractors, it tells a different story.
Our next guest, Patrick Cockburn, writes, "The CIA tortured al-Qaeda suspects because it wanted evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 in order to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003."
Here to elaborate on all of this is Patrick Cockburn. Patrick Cockburn is the author of the Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising. He is also a correspondent for The Independent of London.
Thank you so much for joining us, Patrick.
PATRICK COCKBURN, JOURNALIST, THE INDEPENDENT: Thank you.
PERIES: Patrick, you wrote that CIA tortured al-Qaeda suspects because it wanted evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. What evidence do we have of that link?
COCKBURN: Yeah, there's fairly good evidence that this was a prime motive for torturing the suspects. I mean, one explanation given in the last week or so has been that the CIA and other security agencies were desperate to see if there was going to be a followup attack following 9/11.
But this doesn't really ring true. The time they were torturing people was the end of 2002, March 2003. It was the runup and the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. And this is confirmed by people, doctors and others, who were at Guantanamo at the time or were intelligence officers who are well informed about what was happening and why, and they say, yes, that there was concern that there might be a followup attack.
But the pressure from the top and the second reason they were torturing people was a desperation to get a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which didn't exist and the CIA could have told the Bush administration early on didn't exist, because the jihadis in Iraq were blood enemies of Saddam Hussein--he had a lot of them in prison. So it was never likely to be there.
But there had been various sort of propaganda efforts. There'd been various articles in influential magazines in the U.S. saying that there was a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam. So this was certainly a prime motive for torturing these people.
PERIES: So this was a time when the Bush administration was preparing for war, shock and awe in Iraq, which some people link to the oil business that the Bush administration came from, rather than the 9/11 attacks. It is a time when they were also looking to prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Can you elaborate on this for us?
COCKBURN: That's correct, yes. These were the two justifications for invading Iraq. And the al-Qaeda connection, although it was kind of absurd to anybody who knew Iraq or knew anything about al-Qaeda and indeed was an invention--but it convinced a lot of people at the moment of the invasion of Iraq--polls show that a majority of people in America thought there was some connection between 9/11 and [Saddam Hussein], that there was a connection. Other polls showed there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. And there were other efforts, which have since been exposed. There was meant to be a meeting between one of the leaders of the hijackers on 9/11 with an Iraqi in Prague, in the Czech Republic. This was exposed as being false, because the guy, Mohamed Atta, was, I think, in Florida, was in the United States at the time, and his calls were recorded and so forth. So it just couldn't be true. But there was a very sort of strenuous propaganda effort to prove the connection, and it very largely succeeded at the time.
PERIES: Right. The propaganda machine was so severe that they were going to go into the extent of breaking international laws and national laws in order to obtain this information. Is there evidence in the torture report that alludes to or supports the position that you are taking here?
COCKBURN: Well, there is in a report, but there's a report that people have forgotten about, which is another Senate report. I think it was the Armed Services report, in a Senate Armed Services report in 2009, that has this very interesting information, quotes from a doctor in particular who was at Guantanamo, who was interviewed by army investigators in 2006 at the instigation of the inspector general. So there's evidence there as to what has happened.
But the present report avoids going into the issue of motivation, unfortunately, and focuses on what happened and the gruesome details of what happened. So people haven't really been looking at the motivation. And I think that the CIA, in their public statements, have been again and again emphasizing the [incompr.] after 9/11, the need to see if there was going to be followup attacks and so forth, and they've shied away from this very important other motive, perhaps more important other motive, for torturing people and trying to extract confessions saying, yes, indeed there was this connection. And if you look at the dates, which are known for the maximum torture of suspects who were tortured the most, then it fits in with the timescale of the invasion in 2003 and not with any urgency in seeing if there was going to be a repeat of 9/11 or some more limited followup attack.
PERIES: Right. And does that timeline, in terms of the torture, does it decline after 2003?
COCKBURN: No, it goes on afterwards, because I think once you've started things like that, they get their own bureaucratic momentum. They still would--it was in the interest of the administration to prove a connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. And I think that has more to do with bureaucratic momentum, the fact that the people in charge, they'd been outsourced to contractors, who are making a great deal of money, wanted to continue, and said, this is being very effective, although Senator Dianne Feinstein said, after the report was issued, has gone on saying there's absolutely no evidence that this produced the sort of useful information which the CIA claimed.
But I think that there's been an evasion of looking at the justification for the Iraq invasion, looking for confessions from al-Qaeda suspects as a way of establishing this very unlikely link with Saddam, that this--it has been referred to a little of the media, but generally important though it was, and demonstrably was, there's been not enough focus on it.
PERIES: Patrick, thank you so much for joining us and shedding light on this aspect of the report and the rationale for torturing, and thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
COCKBURN: Thank you so much.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

Die-In for Police Accountability Staged at Baltimore-Area Mall Image

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Die-In for Police Accountability Staged at Baltimore-Area Mall

Organizers disrupt traffic and shopping at the Towson Mall near Baltimore as actions demanding accountability for police brutality continue nationwide

Die-In for Police Accountability Staged at Baltimore-Area Mall
Organizers disrupt traffic and shopping at the Towson Mall near Baltimore as actions demanding accountability for police brutality continue nationwide

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  • Iran's window of opportunity
    By Chris Cook "Asia Times" The presidents of Iran and Russia have both recently been critical - as the collapse in the oil market benchmark price has continued to and even through US$60 per barrel - of what is perceived as being economic warfare conducted through the oil market by the Saudis and the United States. But sometimes all is not quite as it appears.I was honored in November 2011 to be a plenary speaker at a conference convened in Tehran by the Institute for International Energy Studies (IIES). I outlined - to a politely disbelieving audience - precisely how the global oil market was being financially manipulated and by whom.Moreover, I forecast then, and many times subsequently, that the oil market price would inevitably collapse to, and probably temporarily through, a price level of $60 per barrel.Merely to say that I was right would be worthless vanity adding nothing to the discussion. I mention my forecast only because I believe it gives my views some credibility in respect of constructive solutions for the predicament in which oil producers such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela now find themselves.The greatest market manipulation in history With a background in the regulation and development of markets and market instruments, I have considerable experience of the subject of undesirable market practices.If there is one thing that the history of commodity markets tells us it is that if dominant producers can support prices at a high level with other people's money then they will. This behavior has applied from diamonds to cocoa; from tin to coffee, and above all in a 10-year-long multi-billion-dollar copper market manipulation by Japan's Sumitomo and their copper trader, Yasuo Hamanaka. But all of these pale into insignificance by comparison with the manipulation of the crude oil market of the past decade.Market events 2004/2008 From around 2004 onwards, a major oil company began to enter into "oil loan" transactions whereby it would lend oil to investors - via a major investment bank with which the oil company was effectively in partnership - through sale and repurchase agreements. These passive investors were fearful of inflation, and wished to ensure that their capital retained its value by investing directly through prepayment for the intrinsic value of crude oil.The outcome for the oil company was that it could lock in the dollar proceeds of oil production and protect itself against price falls, while also obtaining an interest-free dollar loan from investors. The outcome for investors was that they were linking their investment to the price of oil through prepayment for crude oil, and therefore - as they saw it - they were protecting their capital against inflation.These financial investors entered an oil market with limited spare production capacity and which was and remains tightly controlled by a very small number of oil traders over the North Sea oil Brent/BFOE benchmark price. The oil price inflated first gradually, and then dramatically over a period of four years, culminating in a "spike" in price to $147/barrel in July 2008. This bubble in the oil market price then rapidly collapsed until by late 2008 the market price had fallen as low as $35/barrel.This caused considerable pain to oil producers generally, and to OPEC and Saudi Arabia in particular, who had cut production by some 1.5 million barrels per day to no apparent effect.Wall Street to the rescue Geopolitical bargains between Saudi Arabia and the US are nothing new, and for decades the US has guaranteed the continuation in power of the current Saudi government in exchange for the Saudi denomination of oil sales in dollars, and more importantly Saudi investment of dollar proceeds in the US.President Barack Obama, who has always been very close to financial interests in the US - whereas his predecessor George W Bush was very much a president very close to the interests of "Big Oil" - was elected in November 2008 and took office in January 2009.In my view, a geopolitical agreement was reached by the US with the Saudis at that point that the US would consent to oil prices at a minimum level satisfactory to the Saudis budgeted expenditure (perhaps $80/barrel) while in return the Saudis would act to ensure that US gasoline prices did not exceed a maximum level at which President Obama's chances of re-election were threatened - about $3.50 per US gallon.Viewing events through the lens of such a geopolitical deal to peg the oil price explains the rapid price reflation in 2009 achieved through a massive influx of prepay financial purchases of oil by risk averse funds.It also accounts for otherwise inexplicable Saudi market behavior such as shipping massive amounts of (prepaid) crude oil to the US in 2012 when the market price elsewhere was $20/barrel higher and for strange movements in US oil inventories. It also explains why OPEC meetings through the period were an exercise in tedium, where journalists assembled in Vienna to hear how "comfortable" Saudi oil minister Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi and OPEC secretary general Abdalla Salem el El-Badri were with the oil price.2014 price collapse It is said the cure for low prices is low prices, as high-cost producers cease production, and that the cure for high prices is high prices. The high oil prices ruling from 2009 to date have seen the entry into the market of new high-cost oil production, notably US shale oil, while we have also seen, perhaps not quite so visibly, considerable destruction in demand, as consumers use substitutes or simply become smarter.As a result, the physical oil market quietly became increasingly oversupplied, setting the scene for a fall in price. However, the price collapse when it came was in my analysis precipitated by the US government's decision to cease a long program of creating and pumping new dollars into the US economy - so-called quantitative easing (QE). This cessation, combined with a flow of investor funds from non-income-generating commodities into income-generating financial assets, meant that the flow of financial purchases of commodities necessary to keep the oil price supported came to an end.As I have long predicted, we are now seeing the oil market going through the "bust" phase of the boom/bust cycle, which has been made worse through being delayed for several years.So in summary, the US and Saudis between them have in my analysis been responsible for a five-year oil market manipulation which has in fact massively benefited oil producers everywhere, including Iran and Russia, to the tune of literally trillions of dollars.It is even possible that both the US and Saudis believed that this manipulation was sustainable indefinitely.But whatever they believed, the reality is now that oil producers are revisiting the painful conditions of late 2008, as I predicted. The current public position of the Saudis essentially rationalizes after the event the failure of a strategy that was never sustainable in the long term.So, what can be done about the current market crisis?A modest proposal Iranian President Hassan Rouhani set out one element of the solution in Davos earlier this year when he advocated new global multilateral institutions involving both producers and consumers.It is possible to imagine an international energy trade association consisting of what is essentially a consortium of producers in partnership with a consortium of consumers. The key is to ensure that the new institution includes no intermediary middlemen, the reason being that, unlike producers and consumers, middlemen have a vested interest in price instability and lack of transparency.A transition is not only necessary but is under way from a market paradigm of "energy-as-a-commodity", where market participants compete for transaction profits, to a market paradigm of "energy-as-a-service'", where participants collaborate to maximize shared surplus energy value. Ironically, the Saudis and US have, through opaque use of oil prepay instruments, unwittingly demonstrated the other element of the solution.It is open to producers such as Iran and Russia to collaborate by transparently creating and issuing - within a mutual guarantee and accounting agreement known as a "Clearing Union" - prepay energy credits. These would not be prepay crude oil credits (which are of no use to retail consumers) but would be returnable in payment for retail fuels such as gasoline and heating oil, or retail energy such as electricity, heat or power.Provided crude oil is no longer sold through exchange transactions, but is instead supplied on the basis of production-sharing agreements with refineries, it will then be possible for consumers to invest directly in flows of value from "energy-as-a-service" by using prepay energy product credits.For developed nations in the European Union and for the US, there will be a multi-trillion dollar business opportunity from the exchange of intellectual value of technology, know-how and knowledge for intrinsic value of energy saved.So my modest proposal to Presidents Rouhani and Vladimir Putin is to begin bilateral discussions for regional collaboration in respect of the creation of new energy market infrastructure commencing in the Caspian region. If successful, the resulting neutral market platform would then be extensible to the EU and to Eurasia as a whole.Such a Caspian initiative will enable the funding of a new Caspian Energy Grid as proposed by Azizollah Ramazani, the head of international affairs of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), at a recent UN-sponsored Energy Charter forum event in Ashgabat on the subject of "Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy".In this way, Iran may take the first step on a journey of transition to a resilient and stable energy economy of abundance from the current unsustainable and unstable dollar economy of scarcity.Chris Cook is a former director of the International Petroleum Exchange. He is now a strategic market consultant, entrepreneur and commentator.
  • Pakistan to execute 500 convicted terrorists 'within weeks'
    A man places a rose after lighting candles in front of portraits of the victims of the Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, during a candlelight vigil in Lahore December 19, 2014. (Reuters/Mohsin Raza) By RT Some 500 terror-related convicts are due to be executed in the coming weeks, according to Pakistan’s officials. There are an estimated 3,000 convicted terrorists in the country, and all could put to death after the recent attack at a Peshawar school.“The Interior Ministry has cleared these prisoners for execution and their clemency appeals have already been rejected by the president,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters in Islamabad on Sunday.The minister also revealed that the decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty was made in principle even before last week’s attack on a Peshawar school, which left 149 people dead, including 133 children, sparking widespread public outrage in Pakistan. “Army chief General Raheel Sharif had taken up the issue [of capital punishment] with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the Peshawar tragedy,” Nisar specified.“The experts’ group will most probably give its recommendations to the NAPC on Monday,” he said. “The panel will then discuss the plan in the evening.”On Tuesday, Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership is set to discuss its counter-terrorism strategy, prepared by the experts of the National Action Plan Committee (NAPC), and then the army will be tasked to implement the plan.Nisar said that the Pakistan Army “has never targeted the families and children of militants.”“If our aim was to target civilians, we could have wiped out Miramshah [town and administrative headquarters of the North Waziristan Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan] where both militants and civilians live side by side – with a couple of airstrikes,” the minister said. “But we do not target non-combatants.”“In Pakistan, militants and their sympathizers look like us and live among us. It is an internal war for us,” Nisar added, urging the nation “to stand up and join the fight.”Nisar acknowledged that Pakistan authorities are well aware of intelligence reports warning that mass executions of terrorists will inevitably increase the risk of terror attacks in the country.“But we should not let our guard down if we want to avenge the victims of the Peshawar attack… we are in a state of war,” Nisar said, adding: “We will win this war.” People hold funeral prayers for the victims of the Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, December 17, 2014. (Reuters/Mohsin Raza)READ MORE: Pakistan starts hanging militants in revenge for school massacrePakistan imposed a moratorium on capital punishment in 2008, but after the massacre by militants in Peshawar, PM Sharif reinstituted the death penalty.So far six convicts have been executed following the lifting of the moratorium. The latest four, executed this weekend, included Russian citizen Akhlas Akhlaq. All four had been convicted of attempting to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf.Pakistani federal government and authorities in the country’s four provinces have drawn up lists of convicted terrorists to be sent to the gallows soon. Preliminary estimates have put the number of terrorists awaiting execution at more than 3,000.The seven-year Taliban insurgency in Pakistan has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to Australian newspaper The Age.  
  • China pledges to help Russia overcome economic hardships
    Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. (AFP Photo/How Hwee Young) By RT China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.“Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation," Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists, China Daily reported Monday. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity."The offer of help comes as Russians are still recovering from the shock of the ruble’s worst crash in years last Tuesday, when it lost over 20 percent against the US dollar and the euro. The Russian currency bounced back the next day, but it still has lost almost half of its value since March.At his annual end-of-year press conference on Thursday, Vladimir Putin acknowledged the ruble has been tumbling along with the price of oil, and estimated that Western sanctions account for 25-30 percent of the Russian economic crisis. However, the president’s economic forecast is that the slump will not be a lasting one.READ MORE: Putin: Russian economy will inevitably bounce back, 2 years in worst case scenarioChinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng proposed on Saturday to expand the use of the yuan in trade with Russia. Reuters/Carlos BarriaHe said the use of the Chinese currency has been increasing for several years but western sanctions on Russia had made the trend more prominent, Reuters cited Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV as saying.Gao said this year’s trade between China and Russia could reach $100 billion, approximately 10 percent growth compared to last year.READ MORE: Russia-China trading settlements in yuan increases 800%The minister said he did not expect cooperation on energy and manufacturing projects with Russia to be greatly affected by the current crisis.“Many Chinese people still view Russia as the big brother, and the two countries are strategically important to each other,” Jin Canrong, Associate Dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, told Bloomberg. “For the sake of national interests, China should deepen cooperation with Russia when such cooperation is in need.” Gazprom’s Power of Siberia pipeline – to deliver 4 trillion cubic meters of gas to China over 30 years – construction commencing September 2014. (RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)China has been increasingly seeking deals in its own currency to challenge the US dollar’s dominance on the international market.READ MORE: Argentina to get $1bn in currency swap with China before end of 2014And Beijing is not alone in attempts to counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the US currency.BRICS, the group of emerging economies that comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, accounting for one-fifth of global economic output, has been pursuing the same goal. The five nations agreed in July to increase mutual trade in local currencies, and also to create a BRICS Development Bank with investment equivalent to $100 billion as an alternative to the Western-controlled World Bank.
  • WikiLeaks Releases Classified CIA Agents Tips on Infiltrating EU, Schengen
    By Sputnik According to documents published by WikiLeaks the US Central Intelligence Agency has issued advice for its agents on how to infiltrate international passport control systems, including in the European Union and the Schengen area.MOSCOW, December 22 (Sputnik) — The US Central Intelligence Agency has issued advice for its agents on how to infiltrate international passport control systems, including in the European Union and the Schengen area, according to two previously undisclosed documents published by WikiLeaks on Sunday.“The European Union’s Schengen biometric-based border-management systems pose a minimal identity threat to US operational travellers because their primary focus is illegal immigration and criminal activities, not counter-intelligence,” reads one of the documents, dated January 2012.The CIA advice booklet, entitled “Schengen Overview”, gives detailed information on customs procedures in Europe and threats they pose to agents using false documents. While biometric systems are currently not used for people with US documents, this could possibly change in 2015, increasing the “identity threat level”, according to the CIA.The second document, dated September 21, 2011, gives advice on how to pass airports screenings across the world.The manual, titled "Surviving Secondary", notes that airport watch lists may include names of confirmed or suspected intelligence agents and lists a number of signs that could disclose one’s identity, such as apparent nervousness and inability to speak the language of the passport-issuing country.The document also lists special security procedures in a number of international airports and underlines that a “consistent, well-rehearsed, and plausible cover is important for avoiding secondary selection and critical for surviving it.”According to the manual, accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn could help make the false identity more plausible.In a highlighted box entitled “The Importance of Maintaining Cover––No Matter What”, the CIA describes a situation where an intelligence officer was selected for secondary screening in a EU country, possibly due to “overly casual dress inconsistent with being a diplomatic-passport”.When the CIA officer’s bag screened positive for traces of explosives, he presented a cover story on having engaged in counter-terrorism training in Washington DC. Even though local security officials initially concluded that the agent had trained in a terrorist camp, he “consistently maintained” his cover story and was eventually allowed to proceed with his travels.The publication of the two travel advice documents is the second release within the WikilLeak's so-called CIA Series, which is set to continue next year.
  • Capital Controls: Global Experience
    By Valentin KATASONOV | 22.12.2014 | 00:00 "Strategic Culture Foundation" Capital flows started to move across borders many centuries ago. For a long time neither exporters nor importers of capital created any restrictions on the way. During the days of Great Depression in the 1930s some states introduced different capital controls (residency-based measures or outright prohibitions that a nation's government can use to regulate flows from capital market into and out of the country's capital account) to avoid significant economic destabilization. Cross border capital flows (export and import) could have undermined the balance of payments to cause fluctuations of national currencies exchange rates.The Bretton Woods Conference, formally known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, took place in 1944. It granted the right of governments to regulate excessive capital flows. The main terms of the agreement included an adjustably pegged foreign exchange market rate system: the exchange rates were fixed with the provision of changing them if necessary.Since late 1970s the world switched over to Jamaican fixed exchange rate or a pegged exchange rate. The currencies were pegged to dollar not backed-up by gold. The world ushered into the era of globalization. Full liberalization of capital operations practiced by the West became an integral part of the process.Financial and economic liberalization presupposed the involvement of third world countries into the process. That’s what the Washington consensus was worked out for. A set of specific economic policy prescriptions constituted the reform package promoted for crisis-hit countries. The prescriptions encompassed economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy. The International Monetary Fund-imposed condition to do away with any barriers on the way of cross border capital flows was an important element of the Washington consensus. In the 1990s the West exerted great pressure on the countries situated on the capitalist periphery to make them clear any obstacles on the way of capital movement. They immediately entered the zone of high financial turbulence created by speculators acting under the disguise of «investors». The International Monetary Fund cared little about abrupt exchange rate fluctuations. The financial crisis in South-East Asia in the 1997-1998 happened to be an acid test for the established order.Financial speculators acted according to the tried and tested scheme: 1) bringing into a country large amount of speculative capital to heat its economy: 2) sudden capital outflow and collapse of currency leading to economic turmoil; 3) purchase of assets at extremely low prices in national currency under-valued in relation to main international currencies.In the 1997-1998 the countries of South East Asia had to counter the activities of financial speculators acting in accordance with the prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund. They resorted to currency interventions spending the money taken from currency reserves. With the reserves depleted they turned to world lenders. There they had the International Monetary Fund with its sickly and threadbare Washington consensus dragging them into a vicious circle. All of a sudden one country got out of it. Malaysia led by Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad’ introduced capital controls. It banned currency operations related to cross border capital flows. The measure was a direct challenge to the International Monetary Fund and its backroom owners. Since September 1, 1998 local entrepreneurs were forbidden for a year to take currency and assets out of the country. A one year waiting period was also introduced for foreign portfolio investments to be transferred from Malaysia. The ringgit, the Malaysian national currency, was pegged to the US dollar. By the end of September 1998 the government added more currency controls to return the ringgit from offshore zones. The measures allowed the Malaysian central bank to significantly reduce interest rates without provoking devaluation of national currency. In September 1999 the capital controls were softened, for instance, a one year waiting period on portfolio capital outflows was replaced with a set of graduated exit taxes. In 2002 the capital controls were fully lifted. In 2014 the experts of International Monetary Fund had to admit that the measures introduced those days allowed Malaysia to accumulate currency reserves during a period of ringgit stability to trigger the economic recovery. Some time had passed and the Malaysian economic success made pale the performance of its neighboring countries facing economic hardships as a result of their consent to follow the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund. There are other examples of deviations from the Washington consensus prescriptions. At the turn of the century Argentina faced a financial and currency crisis. In December 2001, the Argentine government limited bank withdrawals to 250 pesos a week in order to stop the banking system from being bled dry. Foreign and national investors were forbidden to transfer assets out of the country, non-cash transfers had to be approved by central bank. In a year the bans on cash withdrawals were lifted. In June 2003, capital controls were abolished. The success was not as evident as in the case of Malaysia (in January 2002 the Argentine peso was devalued by 40%). Experts believe the measures were introduced too late.There is a well-known example – the pound sterling crisis occurred in the September 1992 as a result of policies implemented by financial speculators. It undermined the fragile balance of currency exchange rates in Europe (no euro existed those days). In response to the collapse of pound Spain devalued its national currency (the peso) by 5%. In a week capital controls were introduced to ease the pressure on the peso. The next day Ireland and Spain followed suit. The capital controls lasted for two months to be lifted in November 1992.The example of Iceland facing a financial crisis in 2007-2009 is worth mentioning. According to many experts, the financial crisis in Europe started in this small state. In 2008 three largest national banks collapsed, the national currency (krone) fell down and the capital outflow increased. The government introduced tough capital controls for residents and non-residents. The rate of national currency was stabilized in a short period of time. By the way, the capital controls in Iceland are still in force. The national central bank plans to lift them only by the end of 2015.The precedent of Cyprus is of interest too. A banking crisis hit the country in March 2013. With tacit approval by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund the Cyprus financial authorities tried to stop the crisis at the expense of investors. Actually a partial confiscation of deposits took place. The government restricted the withdrawal of bank deposits and financial transfers to other countries. Cyprus was the first Eurozone country to introduce capital controls. The measures are still in force there.In the United States the discussions on the possibility of ending the quantitative easing (the program of monthly purchases of government and mortgage bonds) started in the summer of 2013. It had to raise long-term interest rates and, consequently, lead to the outflow of capitals. The same year it made a number of countries introduce capital controls. In India the limit on personal remittances was cut to $75,000 per year and companies were barred from spending more than their own book value on direct investments abroad, unless they had specific approval from the central bank. Large foreign investments required the permission of regulator. Today some kind of cross border capital controls are introduced in all the BRICS member-states except Russia.I have enumerated only some examples of emergency capital controls introduced in order to ease the way out of currency, financial and economic crises. A number of states have capital controls permanently in force to prevent crises, for instance Chile, Brazil, Thailand and South Korea.First of all the controls are introduced to keep speculative capitals or «hot money» away. For this purpose the countries practice a mixture of economic and administrative measures. Taxes for foreign investors are topping the list of measures to take. For instance, in 2009 Brazil introduced a tax on the purchase of shares and bonds in the local market by non-residents. Chile is a classic example of a country practicing capital controls. The country has created a system of foreign capital inflow filters. The controls are believed to alter the structure of capital to make it more stable. The main condition is matching capital flows with the reserve requirement. The norms are differentiated.Today even the International Monetary Fund has to recognize that the introduction of cross border capital controls is a right thing to do.
  • Argentine court extends human right to freedom to orangutan
    An orangutan named Sandra (Reuters / Marcos Brindicci) By RT In an unprecedented decision, an Argentine court has ruled that the Sumatran orangutan 'Sandra', who has spent 20 years at the zoo in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, should be recognized as a person with a right to freedom.The ruling, signed by the judges unanimously, would see Sandra freed from captivity and transferred to a nature sanctuary in Brazil after a court recognized the primate as a "non-human person" which has some basic human rights. The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal.The "habeas corpus" ruling in favor of the orangutan was requested last November by the Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) alleging that Sandra suffered "unjustified confinement of an animal with proven cognitive ability."Lawyers argued that just as a person, the ape is capable of maintaining emotional ties and has the ability to reason, while feeling frustrated with her confinement. Furthermore, the legal team claimed that the 29-year old orangutan can make decisions, has self-awareness and perception of time. And therefore, all things considered, Sandra's presence at the Zoo constituted illegal deprivation of liberty.Habeas corpus is a fundamental legal term in human rights, dating back to the early fourteenth century during the reign of Edward I in England. At that time courts began requiring the monarchy to report the reasons behind restricted freedom of a subject. Orangutan in Argentina zoo set to be granted freedom from "unlawful imprisonment" http://cna.asia/1wcRBWj  "This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories," the daily La Nacion newspaper quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying.Sandra who was born in 1986 in the German zoo of Rostock, arrived in Buenos Aires in September 1994, where she’s spent 20 years behind bars. The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) claims Sumatran orangutan to be the most endangered of the orangutan species. Found only in the northern and western provinces of Sumatra, Indonesia, the species is fast losing its natural habitat to agriculture and human settlements.READ MORE: Apeus corpus? Chimps not human, says New York courtSandra's case is not the first in which "habeas corpus" was invoked to secure the release of wild animals in human captivity. However, in the US the two recent cases failed. A New York court, earlier this month has ruled that Tommy chimpanzee was not legally a person and is therefore not entitled to human rights. And in 2011, a lawsuit against SeaWorld to free five wild-captured orca whales was dismissed by the San Diego court.
  • Shopping in the Surveillance State
    December 21, 2014 AFP By Victor Thorn —So-called self-checkout registers have become ubiquitous in stores across the country. But be careful. Some people have been raising alarms, warning Americans that these seemingly convenient machines that get customers to scan and ring up their own purchases are turning law-abiding shoppers into suspected criminals. This is exactly what happened recently to singer and political activist Paul Topete, a longtime supporter of AMERICAN FREE PRESS.During a December 4 interview, Topete told this reporter of a recent occurrence that included Big Brother-style surveillance and a bizarre, drawn-out legal entanglement.“On June 23, a couple of weeks before I was set to host Freedompalooza, I stopped by my local Walmart to pick up a few things like cheese, potatoes, diapers, juice,” said Topete. “Seven weeks later I walked to my mailbox and found a letter from a district judge informing me that I’d been charged with retail theft.”Apparently, on that day in June, Topete went through the self-checkout aisle and bagged his own purchases. However, he said he was distracted by his child and the attendant and then walked out before putting his cash into the machine.“I forgot to pay for these items,” he said. “I simply put the bags in my cart and left the store, thinking nothing more about it.”Donate to usTopete said he had to go before a judge on November 21. “The cop wanted to charge me with shoplifting, but after viewing the surveillance videos, it became clear that I had no intention of stealing anything,” he said. “My kid and the attendant distracted me. I had a dozen other receipts from all the days surrounding June 23 proving that I always pay for what I buy. Fortunately, Walmart’s representative said that I only had to cover the cost of what I purchased that day, which was $26.”What’s most intriguing about this entire affair is how the authorities tracked down Topete. Store cameras followed him through every aisle to the self-checkout lane and then identified him in the parking lot where they zoomed in on his car’s license plate. The police then entered his plate in their database and discovered where he lived.Problems associated with self-checkout lanes have caused retail chains like Costco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons and Big Y to completely remove them.Nevertheless, analysts at technology firm TechNavio say that self-checkout terminals are here to stay and will likely increase in the U.S. by 15% over the next three years.Making matters worse, high-tech firms are getting ready to introduce computerized algorithmic surveillance cameras that profile customers using these self-checkout devices. If a shopper is deemed “high risk,” an alert will be sounded.Victor ThornVictor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.
  • DAV Top Brass Still Raking in the Dough While Vets Suffer
    December 21, 2014   AFP  •Many veterans concerned DAV leadership is gaming the system to line their pockets.By Dave Gahary —In 2013, this reporter wrote a series of articles and conducted an interview with an AMERICAN FREE PRESS subscriber, concerning the country’s largest charity for disabled veterans, who were paying certain employees more than the president of the United States, while almost completely ignoring the plight of the estimated 250,000 homeless veterans spread out across this once-great nation.Now, secretly-recorded videos taken in August, 2011 at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, reveals an organization that will do whatever it takes to add members to their rolls, even if they have no disabilities and regardless of what the organization’s own governing documents require. National Membership Director Anthony L. “Tony” Baskerville was caught on video admitting that the DAV will not question the validity of an applicant’s claim that they are disabled, stating, “You don’t have to prove anything here.”The DAV was founded in 1920 for disabled veterans of the U.S. armed forces returning from World War I, to help them and their families adapt to living with physical and mental disabilities. Chartered by the U.S. Congress and headquartered in Cold Spring, Kentucky, 1.2 million veterans are members of DAV, which makes it the largest charity of its kind. Every state in the union has a DAV Department, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and each of those has Chapters associated with it, currently around 1,300. The primary function of the DAV has been to serve as a veteran’s advocate for filing Veterans Administration (VA) disability claims, for which it has had great success, notwithstanding the record claims backlog of the VA. Over the past several years, the DAV has attracted annual donations exceeding $100 million in the form of contributions and grants from individuals and corporations.Donate to usPage 2 of the DAV’s national constitution, bylaws and regulations is clear as to who is eligible to join:Article III — MembershipAny man or woman, who was wounded, gassed, injured or disabled in line of duty during time of war, while in the service of either the military or naval forces of the United States of America, and who has not been dishonorably discharged or separated from such service, or who may still be in active service in the armed forces of the United States of America is eligible for membership in the Disabled American Veterans.At the convention, which this reporter attended as a commander of a DAV chapter in New Jersey, at one of the sessions in which Baskerville was chairing, the membership director became visibly irritated by the line of questioning of a member, who revealed that the application to join the DAV is flawed because anyone can claim they are disabled when they are not, Baskerville stated, “Alright,” then “Thank you, next,” in an annoyed, loud voice.There has been an ongoing concern with many DAV members that there are those in the organization, including its leadership, that may not be disabled, and may be taking advantage of the benefits of membership and leadership fraudulently.Picking up from the previous line of questioning, another member, stepping up to the microphone, who noticed the obvious flaw in the membership vetting process, stated, “I’ve always been under the impression that you have to be disabled before you can join this organization. What stops a person from lying?”“I’m not gonna question him,” snapped Baskerville. “I’m not gonna question why he wants to be a member of the DAV. He said that he had a disability in the service. It is not for me to question him. He’s the one who wanted to join us. That’s what you call comradeship. You believe in what another man has to say. You trust people. That’s what this world should be about.”In Baskerville’s world, his DAV “comrades”—his fellow DAV national officers—get paid between $5,000-$10,000 per week. The more members he can add to the rolls, regardless of their physical state, the more he can be rewarded.AFP Newpaper BannerDave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.Be sure to check out all of AFP’s free audio interviews. You’ll find them on the HOME PAGE, ARCHIVES & AUDIO section.
  • NY cops shooter was almost tracked after posting threats to avenge Brown and Garner
    An ambulance carrying one of the two New York Police officers who were shot dead passes by a New York Fire Department honor guard along Broadway in the Brooklyn borough of New York, December 20, 2014. (Reuters / Carlo Allegri) By RT The gunman who killed two police officers in New York before turning his gun on himself posted assassination threats on Instagram several hours before the killings. The man’s phone was traced by police just minutes before the tragedy.READ MORE: 2 New York cops murdered in ‘execution style’ ambushIsmaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old Afro-American, who was identified as the shooter by police, posted a picture of an automatic pistol and threatening messages on Instagram. They bore hashtags with the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were killed by police officers who were themselves later acquitted, sparking mass protests against police brutality across the US.“I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today,” Brinsley wrote. “They Take 1 Of Ours … Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” Early Saturday morning, hours before the attack on the police officers, Brinsley shot and seriously wounded a woman, presumably his ex-girlfriend, in Baltimore. He stole her phone and posted the threats from her Instagram account, Commissioner William Bratton of the New York City Police Department said at a press conference.It was the victim’s mother who first noticed the posts and alerted Baltimore police, who were able to track the phone in the 70th precinct of New York and pass that information together with Brinsley’s description on to the NYPD."At approximately 2:45 in the afternoon, Baltimore authorities sent a fax, a wanted flyer, to the NYPD and other agencies," Bratton said. "Tragically, this was essentially at the same time as our officers were being ambushed and murdered by Brinsley".Instagram said Saturday it was quick to take down Brinsley's posts as soon as the network became aware of them, apparently after they went viral in the wake of the murder, Reuters reported. Screenshots of the posts are circulating online. Both the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, whose deaths Brinsley was apparently threatening to avenge, as gathered from his Instagram posts, have condemned the killings of police officers.READ MORE: #ICantBreathe: Thousands march against police brutality across US (PHOTOS, VIDEO)“I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today,” civil rights advocate Reverend Al Sharpton said in a statement. “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.”A statement released Saturday by the Parks & Crump law firm says Brown's family rejects "any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated," AP reported.
  • Season of Goodwill… West Delivers Sanctions, Suffering and Conflict
    Season of Goodwill… West Delivers Sanctions, Suffering and Conflict By Finian CUNNINGHAM | 21.12.2014 | 00:00 "Strategic Culture Foundation" It’s the Season of Goodwill – and Western governments are showering us with a medley of their «gifts». Sanctions, austerity, lethal military aid and red-hot coals of conflict.Meanwhile, the contrast of Russian humanitarian aid to Ukraine could not be greater or more telling. This week another convoy of trucks from Russia – at least the tenth so far in recent months – is due to arrive in eastern Ukraine, bearing food, clothing, heating and toys for the war-torn children of Luhansk and Donetsk.Only in the cynical, mean-spirited West would such a juxtaposition of very different Russian conduct be misconstrued.As the world prepares to celebrate Christmas – an occasion of peace, joy and salvation for humanity – Washington and its allies in Canada and the European Union see fit to unleash more sanctions on Russia, fuel further misery and suffering in Ukraine, and perhaps most perniciously, to stoke conditions for larger war.Hard-hearted Western rulers just don’t seem to have a redeeming bone in their bodies or cell in their brains. At least in Charles Dickens’ classic novel ‘A Christmas Carol’, a story of redemption and hope, his horrible miserable character Ebenezer Scrooge was able to recognise the meanness of his ways and, in the end, repent. No such change for Western governments, it seems, who press on in their destructive, blind arrogance.As US President Barack Obama departed from the White House last Friday for Christmas holidays with his family in sunny Hawaii, he bequeathed his signature to a Congress «present» for the Kiev regime. Among the «goodies» are millions of dollars worth of lethal military aid for the regime that seized power in an illegal coup in February this year. That’s not an pejorative opinion about this regime: it is simply an objective fact. Of course, the Western governments and their media would disagree because they are inebriated on their own cocktails of propaganda.One wonders if Obama will remember when he is pulling crackers with his daughters around the Christmas dining table that the children of Ukraine will be cringing in fear from the crackle and thud of weapons that his government is funnelling into that country.Obama also signed off on new sanctions to hit the people of Crimea, for their audacity to vote in a referendum in March to secede from the neo-Nazi regime that his CIA shunted into power. The executive order from the White House prohibits the export and import of goods, technology, services and investment because of, as Obama put it, Russia’s «annexation and occupation of Crimea».Similar punitive measures were also forthcoming in the same week from the European Union and the Canadian government of Stephen Harper.These latest Western moves come on top of previous rounds of economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on Russia. This week – on the eve of the Christmas holidays – the Russian rouble hit new lows, partly as a result of Western sanctions, thus bringing uncertainty and anxiety to many Russian citizens. Moscow deplored the new round of sanctions as a reckless provocation, and in particular the approval by Washington to open the floodgate for weapons supply into Ukraine. The country has already seen nearly 5,000 deaths over the past eight months since the Western-backed Kiev regime launched a military offensive on the eastern Donbas regions against the Russian-speaking civilian population, simply because the latter, much like their compatriots in Crimea, refuse to recognise the CIA-backed coup that ousted the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. Under the subsequent «leadership» of oligarch Petro Poroshenko and CIA protégé Arseniy Yatsenyuk, along with a cabinet of foreign impostors, the regime has imposed an economic blockade on the people of Luhansk and Donetsk. Unable to win the military war against the people’s self-defence militia, the Kiev Reich has now resorted to a tactic of attrition and collective punishment. That is, more crimes against humanity. Western sanctions this week on Russia and promises of further military support will only embolden the already illegal regime in Kiev and its criminal conduct against the civilians of eastern Ukraine. Spare a thought for the children of Donbas who have to huddle around stoves in the midst of electricity black-outs and the constant fear of the Kiev military breaking the tentative ceasefire, as it has routinely flouted over the past two months. However, the benevolence of the Brussels plutocrats to their rogue progeny in Kiev is being strained. This week the unelected president of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker warned that further financial aid is no longer possible. Already the Brussels elite has forked out some €1,800 million to the coup-regime. Petulant demands for «more money» from the Brussels cash cow by Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are becoming unbearable. The largesse showered on this criminal regime (a UN human rights report last week cited systematic violations against civilians, including indiscriminate shelling of residential areas) is at the expense of EU citizens who are facing relentless austerity, unemployment, homelessness and welfare cuts. How is that for brazen cold blood among the Brussels bureaucrats? Unelected mandarins shovel public money to a neo-Nazi regime outside of the EU that is killing their own people and yet EU citizens are being denied basic human needs from austerity cutbacks – and at Christmas too! But, as noted, the EU plutocrats seem to be realising that the entity Washington and Brussels have sired in Kiev is a runaway train wreck, an insatiable Frankenstein monster. At the latest EU summit at the end of this week, Kiev’s tycoon-president Poroshenko was not invited to attend – a sharp change in tack from the customary indulgence afforded by Brussels. Also, when the arrogant Yatsenyuk was asked earlier this week when Kiev expected a further tranche of €200 million from the EU public purse, he snapped: «Let me put in a nutshell: yesterday!» To which European Commissioner Yohannes Hahn retorted that there would be no more money from EU taxpayers «until Kiev implemented certain reforms». Undeterred in his whining, Yatensyuk later told media: «We will do everything that was promised... but to overcome this period Ukraine needs to get some kind of cushion and this cushion is a new package of financial aid. It is difficult for us to fight with a nuclear state [Russia] which is armed to the teeth.» It was the usual shrill excuse-making, blaming everyone else, and expecting something for nothing. And what reforms does the EU want from Kiev? More neo-liberal economic reforms, privatisation, austerity, and general capitalist raping of the country. Nowhere in the EU-mandated reforms are an end to war, violations and crimes against humanity. A Christmas Carol? The EU is not only Scrooge unrepentant. It is also the biggest Stooge for American war-making. Happy Christmas everyone.