Dean Henderson: The Freemason BUS & the House of Rothschild!

In 1789 Alexander Hamilton became the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. Hamilton was one of many Founding Fathers who were Freemasons. He had close relations with the Rothschild family, which owns the Bank of England, and leads the European Freemason movement. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Ethan Allen, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Brown and Roger Sherman were all Masons. Roger Livingston helped Sherman and Franklin write the Declaration of Independence. He gave George Washington his oaths of office, while he was Grand Master of the New York Grand Lodge of Freemasons. Washington himself was Grand Master of the Virginia Lodge. Of the General Officers in the Revolutionary Army, thirty three were Masons. This was highly symbolic, since 33rd Degree Masons become "Illuminated." Populist founding fathers led by John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine, none of whom were Masons, wanted to completely sever ties with the British Crown, but were overruled by the Masonic faction led by Washington, Hamilton and Grand Master of the St. Andrews Lodge in Boston General Joseph Warren, who wanted to "defy Parliament but remain loyal to the Crown". St. Andrews Lodge was the hub of New World Masonry, and began issuing Knights Templar Degrees in 1769. All US Masonic lodges are to this day warranted by the British Crown, whom they serve as a global intelligence and counterrevolutionary subversion network. Their most recent initiative is the Masonic Child Identification Program (CHIP). According to Wikipedia, the CHIP programs allow parents the opportunity to create a kit of identifying materials for their child, free of charge. The kit contains a fingerprint card, a physical description, a video, computer disk, or DVD of the child, a dental imprint, and a DNA sample.

Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap: Historical Roots of the US "War on Terrorism"

The Pathology of a Single Superpower, NATO and Beyond: The incisive and carefully researched article originally published by Covert Action Quarterly in 1999 sheds light with tremendous foresight on the historical evolution of the US led "War on Terrorism" and the articulation of what has been described as "Global NATO". Secretary of State Madeleine Albright referred to the August 1998 missile assaults against Sudan and Afghanistan, allegedly in retaliation for the US embassy bombings in Africa two weeks earlier, as "unfortunately, the wars of the future." In one sense, she was lamenting the likelihood of various Islamic forces retaliating against American civilian targets. There is, as Albright understands, another side to these wars, more than guided missiles launched from a thousand miles away, with no danger to US troops. American military strategy calls for "the use of overwhelming force to minimize United States casualties". But it is not that simple: Former CIA Director Robert Gates was more precise: "Our people and our government must accept another reality as potential official American targets are hardened, terrorists will simply turn to non official targets, businesses, schools, tourists and so on. We can perhaps channel the threat away from the United States Government, but not away from Americans." What grand scheme, then, is in place, that may bring these "unfortunate" wars back home, against civilians? Recent US strategy, to implement the administration's self appointed role as global policeman, is now defined by its evolving military unilateralism, at home and abroad. With the end of the Cold War, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US at last realized its objective to be the world's only superpower. Though Washington and Wall Street had always been possessed of a rapacious ambition to control the world's economy, what globalization is all about, there is now the conviction in many quarters that it is developing the military capability to do so.    

Nicola Nasser: Israel's Doomsday E-1 Settlement

Diabolical Encroachment to Prospective Palestinian State: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has definitely crossed an international red line to vindicate a swift and firm rejection from Israels closest allies, when he announced plans recently to build a new settlement on a corridor of occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, which will render any prospective Palestinian contiguous state territorially impossible. Daniel Seidemann, the Israeli founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem, has condemned it as the doomsday settlement, and not a routine one. Netanyahu risks a diplomatic confrontation, that will not develop into a diplomatic isolation of Israel, because Israels allies have decided to pressure him to backtrack, by incentives and disincentives instead of sanctions, in the words of the British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Summoning Israeli ambassadors to protest Netanyahu's plans by Australia, Brazil, France, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Spain was nonetheless an unusual international outcry, because if implemented, his plans would alter the situation, with Jerusalem as a shared capital increasingly difficult to achieve, according to William Hague, thus seriously undermining the two state solution of the Palestinian Israeli conflict, according to the French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot, which is a solution without which there will never be security in Israel, according to the Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. The international outcry is not against the Israeli policy of settlements on Palestinian occupied land per se, but against this one particular E-1 settlement, which was Netanyahus answer to the overwhelming recent recognition of Palestine as a non member state by the UN General Assembly. Because, on the ground, the site of some 4.6 square miles (12 square km) of this settlement on the easternmost edge of eastern Jerusalem will close the only territorial link between the north and south of the West Bank, and sever it from East Jerusalem, the prospective capital of the State of Palestine, thus undermining any viable and contiguous Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, and turning the recognition of the UN General Assembly on November 29, 2012 as merely a Palestinian paper achievement.      


The Economist: Democracy in America, American Politics!

The Democrats and the Fiscal Cliff: Not much on the table. Democrats say it so often that it has become something of a mantra: There will be no deal to resolve America's fiscal mess, unless Republicans agree to higher tax rates on the richest Americans, but they seldom talk about their side of that bargain. The cost cutting reforms to such entitlements as Medicare, the goverment's health care scheme for the old,and Social Security, its pension scheme, that they are expected to offer in return. As more and more Republicans grudgingly accept the prospect of higher taxes, the Democrats will soon have to decide what they can stomach on entitlement reform. To judge by Obama's latest offer in his negotiations with John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the answer is, not much. The president will not even discuss Social Security, the White House says, on the ground that it is not a big contributor to the deficit. As for Medicare, the president is willing to make relatively modest savings by passing more of the cost of the program to drug companies by haggling for lower prices, and to the rich, by making them pay more for their coverage. Neither of these ideas, while sensible enough in itself, is remotely radical enough for Republicans' tastes. Nor is the sum the president proposed to save the result: $400 billion, just a quarter of the $1.6 trillion he is seeking in tax increases. Such tough talk delights the left, however. Mr Obama's stance, says the AFL- CIO, America's biggest trade union federation,"keeps faith with the voters". Bernie Sanders, a senator who describes himself as a socialist, has commended the president for his refusal to touch Social Security. "Thanks for fighting to end Bush tax cuts for top 2%", tweeted Move On, a left wing pressure group. Such outfits are anxious to dissuade Mr Obama from repeating the offer he made to the Republican leadership last year, during their previous round of negotiations on the budget. At the time, he expressed willingness to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare, and to use a stingier method to increase Social Security payments in line with inflation. 

Pepe Escobar: Obama in Tehran?

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which the United States is a regional power, not a superpower. A world in which the globe's mightiest nation, China, invades Mexico and Canada, deposing the leaders of both countries. A world in which China has also ringed the Americas, from Canada to Central America, with military bases. A world in which Chinese officials openly brag about conducting covert operations against and within the United States. A world in which the Chinese launch a sophisticated and crippling cyber attack on America's nuclear facilities. A world in which the Chinese send spy drones soaring over the United States, and position aircraft carrier battle groups off its shores. What would Americans think? How would Washington react? Perhaps something like Iran's theocratic leadership today. After all, Iran has seen the United States invade its neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, announce covert operations against it, surround it with military bases, fly drones over it, carry out naval operations off its coast, conduct a gigantic build up of military forces all around it, and launch a cyber-war against it. Imagine again, in this alternate universe, that China forged military alliances throughout the Americas, pulling Mexico and Canada, as well as Caribbean and Central American nations into its orbit. Imagine that it started selling advanced military technology to those countries. How might the US government and its citizens respond? It's a question worth pondering, given Washington's recent reactions. Last month, for example, the US quietly announced plans to further flood the Middle East with advanced weaponry. According to November notices sent by the Pentagon to Congress, the Department of Defense intends to oversee a $300 million deal with Saudi Arabia for spare parts for Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Humvees,, and another for $6.7 billion in new advanced aircraft. Add to this a proposed sale of $9.9 billion in Patriot missiles to Qatar, a $96 million deal with Oman for hundreds of Javelin guided missiles, and more than $1.1 billion in Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles for the United Arab Emirates.

Kari Huus: West Point Cadet Quits, cites 'criminal' behavior of officers

Blake Page, a senior at West Point, has announced he will leave the military academy to protest what he says is unconstitutional proselytizing by officers and discrimination against non religious cadets. Page has learned from his superiors at West Point that he will be given an honorable discharge, and not be required to pay "recoupment" costs for three and a half years at the military academy. He told NBC News that when out processing it finished, he will move to Minnesota and "continue the work I've started in whatever way I can." Original Post: A West Point cadet publicly announced his decision to quit the prestigious military academy, just months before graduating, to protest what he sees as the illegal infusion of military procedures and events with fundamentalist Christian proselytizing. To call attention to his move, senior Blake Page wrote a scathing commentary on West Point, published Monday in the Huffington Post. "Countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution," wrote Page, who was slated to graduate in May. "These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against West Point. He could be required to pay the Army some $200-$300,000 in "recoupment" costs for his time at West Point. "It's a very unusual move," said Elizabeth Hillman, professor of law of California Hastings College who specializes in military law. She said that while many cadets struggle with issues of conscience, few leave as a result. "Cadets will tell you it's very hard to leave," she said. "It's much harder to leave than to stay.""This kid just torched his career in the Army,and his degree at West Point," said Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for total separation of church and state. He likens Page's move to those of Rosa Parks in the civil rights movement and monks who light themselves on fire to protest Chinese policies in Tibet. "People should recognize courage when they see it." 



Ann Larson: Wall Street, Coming to Your Town! and Destroying It.

The European debt crisis, and the ensuing austerity fueled chaos, can seem to Americans like a distant battle that portends a dark future, yet a closer look reveals that the future is already here. American austerity has largely taken the form of municipal budget crises precipitated by predatory Wall Street lending practices. The debt financing of US cities and towns, a neo-liberal economic model that long precedes the current recession, has inflicted deep and growing suffering on communities across the country. In July 2012, Mayor Christopher Doherty of Scranton, Pennsylvania, reduced all city employees' salaries to the minimum wage. With a stroke of his pen, wages for teachers, firefighters, police, and other municipal workers, many of whom had been on the job for decades, dropped to $7.25 per hour. The city, the mayor explained, simply could not pay them more. Ron Allen, who reported the story for NBC Nightly News, repeated this assessment. Cities like Scranton, he said, "just don't have the money" to pay city employees more than the minimum wage. Officials blamed the crisis on a declining tax base, on reduced revenue from the state, and on public sector labor contracts that the city could no longer afford. What does it mean to say that a former steel town in decline "just doesn't have the money" to pay its bills? It means that it no longer has access to credit markets controlled by the big banks. For years, Scranton officials, like officials across the United States, have been selling municipal bonds to finance everything from basic services to development projects. Scranton's problems careened out of control, when the city's parking authority threatened to default on its bonds. Wall Street responded aggressively by cutting off its credit line, and city workers paid a steep price. American style austerity arrived in Scranton under the guise of budget cuts blamed on public employees, whose salaries and pensions had nothing to do with the economic crisis.

Ryan O'Neill: Wikileaks, Anonymous, "Media Instruments"

Throughout early 2011, the European liberal left were in a frenzy over the Arab Spring uprisings that were sweeping across the region. The Mainstream Media supplied around the clock coverage of the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square as we were told that the people of the Arab world were standing up to tyranny and demanding the democratic freedoms and human rights that are held in such high esteem in the west. However, this hysteria took a dark turn in February and March of that year, when armed gangs managed to take control of Benghazi in Libya, and everyone from FOX News to far left political organizations immediately began to hail these events as part of some progressive revolution. In London, demonstrations began to break out in support of these rebel groups and members of the Socialist Workers Party even scaled the walls of the Libyan Embassy and replaced the Libyan flag with that of the King Idris flag, which represented the Benghazi rebels. Its incredibly problematic when organizations in the West feel they not only have a right to attach themselves to developments and struggles throughout the third world, but that they can instinctively and egotistically act on them. This type of behavior rarely considers the importance of contextualization and takes sides in such conflicts, depending on which narrative fits their romantic notions of global revolution, and which version their newly assumed role would sit more comfortable with. Wiki-leaks and Anonymous for instance, despite being relatively new organizations, are merely a new form of such behavior. The problem is that most of these groups in the west are based on the liberal ideas of individualism and human rights, formed in more privileged societies that exist in comfort at the expense of oppressed nations. While following a neo-colonial agenda, countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom are capable to portray themselves as progressive, philanthropic nations delivering democracy, aid and human rights to poorer nations and their apparent protection and tolerance of such free and democratic values among their own populations, only to serve to support such claims.      

Stephen Lendman: NNC's News Interviews Lendman!!

NNC's Iman Soleimani conducted the interview. He did another last October. US foreign policy, its phony war on terror, its human rights record, imperial wars, belligerent diplomacy, and anti Iranian agenda were discussed. NNC (Namavaran Network Corporation) initially operated as a cultural and publishing institute. It trained bilingual journalists working with foreign media. More recently it began "giving press services to foreign media by recruiting its trained journalists." It's now one of Iran's largest media operations. It works collaboratively with major TV and News services. Questions and answers are below. Editing was done as needed. Final comments follow. NNC: Can we call the dominant pattern of US foreign policy realistic? Lendman: Longstanding US foreign policy seeks unchallenged global dominance.. Perhaps US leaders call that realistic. It's barbaric, hugely destructive, and lawless. Ultimately it won't work. America's decline and fall accelerates. One day, humanity may go down with it. US strategy includes toppling independent governments. It want's subservient pro Western puppet ones replacing them. Post 9/11, every country America attacked was independent. So are Syria, Iran, and others on Washington's target list. Lots remain to feed America's rage to fight. When other methods fail, war is the bottom line option of choice. Throughout world history, nations that adopted this strategy failed. Overreach and overspending toppled them. America is no different. Nor is Israel. Living by the sword assures one day perishing by it. NNC: In your opinion, are concepts like fighting terrorism and promoting democracy merely cover for the pursuit of US interests? Lendman: America's so called war on terrorism is phony. Ronald Reagan waged his own version on "international terrorism." The dirty game repeats. It involves creating enemies when none exist, stoking fear, and waging imperial wars. Permanent war is official US policy. Washington spends more on militarism and war-making than all other nations combined. At the same time, vital homeland needs go begging. America maintains the world's largest military capability by far. With all categories included, over $1.5 trillion annually is spent on so called defense. The Department of Homeland Security is included. So are 16 intelligence agencies.


Lynn Stuart Parramore: The Obscenely Rich Men Bent on Shredding the Safety Net

New York magazine calls it a "Mass Movement for Millionaires." The New York Times' Paul Krugman sums up the idea: "Hey, sacrifice is for the little people." The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a huge, and growing coalition of powerful CEOs, politicians and policy makers on a mission to lower taxes for the rich, and to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid under the cover of concern about the national debt. The group was spawned in July 2012 by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, architects of a misguided deficit reduction scheme in Washington back in 2010. By now, the "fixers" have collected a war chest of $43 million. Private equity billionaire Peter G Peterson, longtime enemy of the social safety net, is a major supporter. This new Wall Street movement, which includes Republicans and plenty of Democrats, is hitting the airwaves, hosting roundtables, gathering at lavish fundraising fetes, hiring public relations experts, and traveling around the country to push its agenda. The group aims to seize the moment of the so called "fiscal cliff" debate to pressure President Obama to concede to House Republicans, and continue the Bush income tax cuts for the rich, while shredding the social safety net. The group includes Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Honeywell's David Cote, Aetna's Mark Bertolini, Delta Airlines' Richard Anderson, Boeing's W James McNerney, and over 100 other influential business honchos and their supporters. Corporations represented by the fixers have collected massive bailouts from taxpayers, and gigantic subsidies from the government, and they enjoy tax loopholes, that in many cases bring their tax bills down to zero. Sometimes their creative accountants even manage to get money "back" from Uncle Sam. For instance, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, Boeing has paid a negative 6.5 percent tax rate for the last decade, even though it was profitable every year from 2002 through 2011.     

The guardian: Martin Chulov in Beirut. UN to Withdraw non Essential Staff from Syria!

The United Nations is preparing to evacuate all non essential staff from Syria, citing the "prevailing security situation" amid growing fears in Washington that the beleaguered regime is considering using chemical weapons. The European Union also announced it was cutting back its activities in the country and on a fast moving day of diplomatic and military action the Syrian government's foreign ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, was reported to have defected. The UN's undersecretary for safety and security, Gregory Starr, announced that the organization had also cancelled all missions to Syria from abroad, and suspended its activities inside the war ravaged country. The decision marks the final step before a full scale evacuation, a move that has not been ordered at any point during Syria's steady descent into chaos over the past 20 months. Up to 25 of about 100 foreign staff may leave this week, it said, adding that more armored vehicles were needed after attacks in recent weeks on humanitarian aid convoys and the hijacking of goods or vehicles. Some convoys were caught in crossfire between government and rebel forces, including an incident near the airport, in which two staff were injures, it said. The UN deploys more than 1,000 national and international staff in Syria, but movement and communications have become more difficult due to intensified fighting near the capital and a 48 hour internet blackout last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. While there has been intense fighting on the ground, particularly in Damascus, in the past few days, there is also growing concern that the Syrian regime is contemplating using chemical weapons. Syria on Monday denied it planned to use its chemical weapons stockpile, after reports that the US has observed officials moving some components of the program. "Syria has stressed repeatedly that it will not use these types of weapons, if they were available, under any circumstances against its people," the foreign ministry said.  

Prof. James Petras: Legal Imperialism and International Law!

By now we are familiar with imperial states using their military power to attack, destroy and occupy independent countries. Boatloads of important studies have documented how imperial countries have seized and pillaged the resources of mineral rich and agriculturally productive countries, in consort with multi national corporations. Financial critics have provided abundant data on the ways in which imperial creditors have extracted onerous rents, royalties and debt payments from indebted countries and their taxpayers, workers, employees and productive sectors. What has not been examined fully is the over arching legal architecture which informs, justifies and facilitates imperial wars, pillage and debt collection. While force and violence, especially through overt and covert military intervention, have always been an essential part of empire building, it does not operate in a legal vacuum: Judicial institutions, rulings and legal precedents precede, accompany and follow the process of empire building. The legality of imperial activity is based on the imperial states judicial system and its own legal experts. Their legal theories and opinions are always presented as over ruling international law, as well as the laws of the countries targeted for imperial intervention. Imperial law supersedes international law simply because imperial law is backed by brute force, it possesses imperial colonial air, ground and naval armed forces to ensure the supremacy of imperial law. In contrast, international law lacks an effective enforcement mechanism. Moreover, international law, to the extent that it is effective, is applied only to the weaker powers and to regimes designated by the imperial powers as violators. The very judicial processes, including the appointment of judges and prosecutors who interpret international law, investigate international crime and arrest, sentence and punish guilty parties, are under to the influence of the reigning imperial powers. In other words, the application and jurisdiction of international law is selective and subject to constraints imposed by the imperial and national power.   


Veterans Today: Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today's News!

These are compiled from the latest sources. 1. Walter Reed to rename cancer treatment unit to honor Murtha. When a group of military wives approached John Murtha in the 1990s concerned they couldn't get mammograms in military hospitals, the late congressman said, "That just can't be." If we are going to have women in the military, then we're going to provide mammograms," his widow, Joyce, told the Tribune Review. 2. Truman grandson plants seeds of Hiroshima reconciliation. In October, a visitor delivered a small plastic bag, containing several tree seeds to the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. The seeds had fallen from trees, still standing, that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. 3. JBLM soldiers return home, adjust to life away from war. Spending the better part of a year under the Afghanistan sun has a way of making gray skies look lovely. "It's nice to see clouds and rain, said Army Capt Benjamin Meier, just back last week from a mission leading a Stryker company in a tough part of Kandahar province. 4. Pentagon to expand Defense Intelligence Agency's network of spies. The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, US officials said. 5. Schools for children of military families hurt by looming sequestration. In one tiny Texas school  district, that serves the children of active duty and retired military parents at Randolph Air Force Base, sequestration is not some future abstraction or political game. 6. Ex Guardsman Copes With Help Of Service Dog. Paragould AR Daily Press. Jason Dowdy, who did not come back as the same man he once was after serving an 18 month tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-05 with the Arkansas National Guard." An IED explosion "left him with three skull fractures, deafness in his right ear, no sense of smell or taste," and "a left ankle broken in two places," yet he found PTSD "was what had affected him the most since coming home. Dowdy, who once remained in his house for nine straight months, now gas a service dog, a blue Doberman named Charger, courtesy of "Sherri's Project, a non profit organization that trains service dogs for wounded and injured veterans."

Larry Beinhart: Three Things You Have to Know About the "Fiscal Cliff". l

Obama won, Romney lost. That is a crisis averted and a very good thing, but the contest is hardly over. The election was essentially an intermission in a long drama over economics. What's going to happen in the upcoming act? A sharp change? Muddled compromise? A new stalemate? According to the coming attractions, the episode up next is a really big action scene: The Fiscal Cliff! Here's the action. Three vehicles, plus some scooters along for the trip, are all racing straight toward a cliff! They have no brakes! If any of them go over the edge, according to promotional videos on the action news, it will hurt the whole economy, slow our growth and plunge us into a recession. If they all go over together, it will be really, really, super bad. The biggest one, visualize it as Tony Soprano's Cadillac Escalade, is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Vehicle number two has less than half the weight. It's the expiration of Obama's Social Security tax cut, an everyman's sort of car, call it a Ford Taurus. The third is a pick up truck. A simple one, a bit smaller than the Taurus, But! What you gotta worry about is the payload in the back! Tanks of propane! If this baby hits the ground it blows up in everybody's face. Especially the face of your local congress person. The bomb is sequestration. That's a misappropriated term, but in this case, it means that the failure to reach a deficit cutting deal launches an instant spending cut of approximately $100 billion. Like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, shrieking "off with their heads," it lops 8 percent off the top of all discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is the money we spend inspecting food, testing drugs, running federal courts, running the FBI, DEA and the Border Patrol, supporting education, doing research, maintaining national parks, keeping airplanes from colliding, and collecting taxes. Roughly 9 percent will also be cut from military spending. These cuts will not be done surgically. No thought, planning, care, or precision will go into the process. It will be done Grim Reaper style, swing the scythe and slash everything in the way. Those are the big three. The other financial events on the same schedule include the Affordable Care Act, aka Obama-care, which can be regarded as a new tax, "other" tax provisions that come to an end, the unemployment benefits extension ends, and the rates Medicare pay will go down.

The Economist: Asia: Diplomacy with North Korea!

North Korea's announcement on December 1st that it will attempt for the second time this year to put a rocket into space is likely to have landed like a bombshell on the capitals of South Korea, America, Japan and even China. There have been reports, based on satellite imagery, that a launch was under preparation at the Sohae space center on the west coast, but few were inclined to believe the worst, until they had official notification from Pyongyang. Even in the highly unlikely event that the regime of the young Kim Jong Un were sincere in declaring that the launch, which is scheduled to go off sometime between December 10th and 22nd, is an innocent attempt to put a satellite into orbit, the timing could hardly be more explosive. The technology it takes to push a rocket into space is uncomfortably similar to the technology that could send a nuclear warhead flying on a ballistic missile. The window for the launch, which diplomats in Washington, Seoul and their allies regard as a violation of a UN ban on North Korean nuclear missile tests, overlaps with the first anniversary of the death of Mr Kim's father, Kim Jong II, which is to be marked on December 17th. But it also covers December 19th, when South Korea holds a presidential election in which relations with the North were bound to be a big bone of contention, and on December 16th, Japan, which is always twitchy about the trajectory of North Korean rockets, takes to the polls. The proposed launch will come just weeks after the recent re-election of Barack Obama, and probably scuppers any chance that he will re-engage quickly with the North, a failed launch in April ended hopes of a food aid deal from the Americans, and finally the move coincides with the emergence of China's new leader, Xi Jinping. Only one day earlier, a senior Chinese envoy had visited North Korea on behalf of Mr Xi. Whether or not the missile launch was discussed is not known, but China has long sought to impress on Pyongyang its desire for peace and stability on the peninsula. South Korea was swift to warn its neighbor against what it deems a serious provocation. It is likely to be seen in the south as a misguided attempt to influence the outcome of their tight presidential race.          


Chris Hedges: Iceland's Leaders!!

One country refused to bail out its derelict banks and slash social spending amid the financial crisis, and guess what? Unlike the euro-zone and the United States, it's making a sturdy comeback. Iceland's stock market plunged 90 percent in 2008. Inflation reached 18 percent, unemployment shot up nine-fold and its biggest banks failed. This was no recession. It was a full blown depression. Since then, the country has steadily improved. By September of this year, it repaid its IMF rescue loans ahead of schedule. Unemployment dropped by half, and its economy will have grown by roughly 2.5 percent by the beginning of 2013. So what's Iceland's secret? According to the editors at Bloomberg News, it's a refusal to do what virtually every other nation that was pummeled by the crisis did: Adopt policies of economic austerity. Iceland's approach was the polar opposite of the US and Europe, which rescued their banks and did little to aid indebted homeowners. Although lessons drawn from Iceland, with just 320,000 people and an economy based on fishing, aluminum production and tourism, might not be readily transferable to bigger countries, its rebound suggests there's more than one way to recover from a financial meltdown. Nothing distinguishes Iceland as much as its aid to consumers. To homeowners with negative equity, the country offered write offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value. The government also provides means tested subsidies to reduce mortgage interest expenses: Those with lower earnings, less home equity and children were granted the most generous support. The International Monetary Fund's mission chief to Iceland has sung the nation's praises too. "Iceland has made significant achievements since the crisis," Daria V Zakharova told Bloomberg in August. "We have a very positive outlook on growth, especially for this year, and next year, because it appears to us that the growth is broad based."  

Chris Hedges: Katrina, All Over Again!!

Argi Tzenis, 76, is standing in the hall of her small brick row house on Bragg Street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She is dressed in a bathrobe and open toed sandals. The hall is dark and cold. It has been dark and cold since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast a month ago. Three feet of water and raw sewage flooded and wrecked her home: "We never had this problem before," she says. "We never had water from the sea come down like this." Hurricane Sandy, if you are poor, is the Katrina of the North. It has highlighted the inability of utility companies, as well as state and federal agencies, to cope with the looming environmental disasters that because of the climate crisis will soon come in wave after wave. But, most important, it illustrates the depraved mentality of an oligarchic and corporate elite that, as conditions worsen, retreats into self contained gated communities, guts basic services and abandons the wider population. Sheepshead Bay, along with Coney Island, the Rockaway's, parts of Staten Island and long stretches of the New Jersey coast, is obliterated. Stores, their merchandise destroyed by the water, are boarded up and closed. Rows of derelict cars, with the tires and license plates removed and the windows smashed, line the streets. Food distribution centers, most of them set up by volunteers from Occupy Sandy Recovery, hastily close before dark every day, because of the danger of looting and robbery. Storm victims who remain in their damaged homes, often without heat, electricity or running water, clutch knives against the threat of gangs that prowl at night through the wreckage. This storm, amid freakish weather patterns such storms will become routine, resulted in at least $71.3 billion in property damage in New York and New Jersey. Many of the 305,000 houses in New York destroyed by Sandy will never be rebuilt. New York City says it will have to spend $800 million just to repair its roads, and that is only the start. The next hurricane season will most likely descend on the Eastern Seaboard with even greater destructive fury. A couple of more hurricanes like this one, and whole sections of the coast will become uninhabitable.

Nile Bowie: Malaysia: Victim of America's Irregular Warfare?

The issue of civil society groups receiving funding has been a major point of discussion in Malaysia during recent times, causing controversy and drawing criticism from activists to members of Parliament alike. Some activists tend to view Putrajaya's investigation into rights advocacy groups like SUARAM, a noted recipient of a foreign funded destabilization campaign aimed at regime change in Malaysia a claim that has been generally dismissed by Bersih goers and the like. With the nation's 13th General Election looming, some see talk of foreign plots as tired rhetoric, while others fail to grasp the deeper machinations of foreign influence, and do little more than finger pointing at political opponents. In this instance, the pages of a leaked US military document provide valuable insight into the nature of foreign plots, potentially aimed against Malaysia. TC 18-01 Special Forces  Unconventional Warfare is listed on the US Army's official website, and can only be accessed by authorized officials within the American government, though a leaked copy has been made available and can be viewed by clicking here. The document is significant because it provides a step by step definition of Washington's irregular warfare and unconventional warfare tactics. The manual illustrates the sheer impunity with which the United States conducts its foreign policy, aimed at illegally interfering into the political affairs of foreign nations, with an aim to destabilize and reorder them to further American economic interests. Dr Christof Lehmann describes the manual as: A step by step guide of how to create, manipulate, co-opt and make use of a countries population, persons of special interest inside the country as well as expatriates, organizations inside as well as outside the country, towards a subversion. Beginning with manipulating dissent into demonstrations, the polarization of a population, riots and armed insurgencies that require action by security forces, and psychological warfare by means of media, step by step, in logical sequence, towards a full scale war, based on humanitarian principles and the pretext of bringing democracy and freedom.     


United Nations: Full Text of UN Resolution on Palestine

Sixty seventh session Question of Palestine. Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao, People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe and Palestine: draft resolution. Status of Palestine in the United Nations. The General Assembly, Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and stressing in this regard the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970, by which it affirmed inter alia, the duty of every State to promote through joint and separate action the realization of the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, Stressing the importance of maintaining and strengthening international peace founded upon freedom, equality, justice and respect for fundamental human rights, Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, Reaffirming the principle, set out in the Charter, of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, Reaffirming also relevant Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, of 20 August 1980, 1397 (2002) of 12 1 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. 12-60736 (E) 281112*1260736* A/67L.28 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008, Reaffirming further the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, 2

John Glaser: Netanyahu: Palestine Vote at UN is Meaningless!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN General Assembly vote implicitly recognizing Palestine as a state was "meaningless" and will do nothing to realize actual statehood. The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution upgrading Palestine to a "non member observer state," from a "non member observer entity." The upgraded status could make it easier for the Palestinians to bring Israel to trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. Israel, and of course the US, along with 7 other marginal outliers, had fiercely opposed the Palestinian bid, but it passed anyway in a 138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions. "This is a meaningless resolution that won't change anything on the ground. No Palestinian state will arise without an arrangement ensuring the security of Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said in a statement on Thursday.  What he meant by this was that no Palestinian state will ever arise, so long as Israel has anything to do about it. The Israeli leadership, especially Netanyahu and his right wing Likud Party, dreams of a Greater Israel with full sovereignty over the territories currently recognized as Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza. "The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is through direct negotiations without preconditions, not unilateral decisions at the UN," Natanyahu added. But unilateral is a funny way to describe a resolution that is in accord with an overwhelming international consensus, and anyway, the establishment of the Israeli state after WWWII was exactly the kind of UN authorized unilateral action Netanyahu now supposedly derides for Palestine. Netayahu also said any political settlement needs to come from direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but Israel has derailed those negotiations by continuing illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank. Decades of the defunct peace process has revealed it to be merely a scheme to provide Israel with more time to colonize additional Palestinian land.     

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: The Geopolitical Chess Game behind the Israeli Attack on Gazay

The recent hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel have to be viewed in context of a broader geopolitical chessboard. The events in Gaza are tied to Syria and the US's regional alliance system. Syria has been compromised as a conduit for weapons to Gaza, because of its domestic instability. Israel has capitalized on this politically and militarily. Bejamin Netanyahu has not only tried to secure his own election victory in the Knesset through an attack on Gaza, but has used the US sponsored instability in Syria as an opportunity to try and target the arms stockpiles of the Palestinians. Netanyahu calculated that Gaza will not be able to rearm itself, while Syria and its allies are distracted. The bombing of the Yarmouk arms factory in Sudan, which Israel says was owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was probably part of this plan and a prelude to Israels attack on Gaza. In this chess game, sit the so called "Moderates", a misleading label jointly utilized by Messrs George W Bush Jr, and Tony Blair to whitewash their regional cabal of tyrants and backward regimes alongside the Obama Administration and NATO. These so called Moderates include the desert dictators of the feudal Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, and Turkey. In 2011, the ranks of the Moderates were augmented by the NATO installed government of Libya, and the GCC/NATO supported anti government militias that were unleashed in Syria. On the other side of the chessboard defiantly sits the Resistance Bloc composed of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah partners in Lebanon, like Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement, the so called Palestinian Rejectionist's, and Iraq. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as a new regional force, is being increasingly prodded into the Moderate camp by the US and the GCC, in an attempt to ultimately play the sectarian card against the Resistance Bloc. Israels attack on Gaza was a litmus test. All those voices continuously pushing for America's McJihad against the Syrian government in the name of freedom vanished from their podiums or suddenly went silent, when Israel attacked Gaza. Al Jazeeras tele- preacher Yusuf Al Qaradawi and Saudi Arabias dictator selected Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz went silent. Adnan Al Arour, the Saudi based exiled kooky Syrian cleric who,as one of the spiritual heads of the Syrian anti government forces, has threatened to punish anyone who says that Al Qaeda is among their ranks, and even berated Hamas and the Palestinians for fighting Israel. The fighting in Gaza really placed them in a fix. Here we see the contradictions in their Arab Spring. We now see who really pays lip service to Palestinian liberation and who does not. Moreover, the foreign supporters of the Syrian National Coalition, a rehash of the Syrian National Council, are ironically all supporters of Israel.       

Jim W. Dean: Here is the Hidden Palestine UN Vote List.

Our Thanks to VT Commenter Blake, and No Thanks to the UN and Mass Media for Hiding the List. Jewish Lobby Bullying Exposed in Australia. The Aussies even showed up to contribute! The next trick is how to bring about regime change and sanctions against Israel. Dear Folks, here it is, a piece on United Nations history, a bookend of sorts to the desperately for post war loans one, where votes for bought and extorted for the creation of Israel. I have to hand it to the early Israeli Intel people for pulling one over on Truman. They bribed him at a key moment in his Presidential campaign. We saw a repeat of that, of sorts, with Netanyahu's crude attempt to match what is expected Israel's leaders during an election year, sell the Jewish vote whether they really control it or not. Their real backer was the Soviet Union, who wanted them right near the Suez Canal to create mayhem, while the Soviets were figuring a way to take over Europe. The boat loads of post war Jews were filled with Soviet Jewish partisan fighters. Some of the captured ones even came from the concentration camps, where they helped the Germans knock off their Orthodox Jewish opponents on orders from Moscow. Those Jews who helped kill off their own, and then went to Israel as atheist, communist Jews to lay claim that to the "Land that God Gave Us" is one of the Intel coups of history despite it's sad toll. Years later a major Zionist, who happened to have been a block commander in the Warsaw ghetto and helped organize the deportations, was spotted on the streets of Tel Aviv by one Jew who survived his work, and took the opportunity to dispatch his former tormentor to the lower regions. There was a big trial of course, where all kinds of nasty things came out about how some of the best Jew killers were welcomed with open arms by the early Zionists, as long as they had helped kill Orthodox Jews who opposed them. All this is virtually unknown in the US, then and now. Why did I share all that with you? Well, it's because I am still pissed off how all the world's mass media all seemed to lose their UN country tabulations last night. All of them. I find that strange, don't you?    

Preston James PhD: UFOs are IFOs (A Detailed Examination)

A Detailed Examination of Available Evidence Strongly Suggests That "Unidentified Flying Objects" (UFOs) are actually "Identified Flying Objects" (IFOs). This article presents what is suspected to be the USG's secret view of UFO's, based on a reasonable interpretation of available facts and anecdotal reports, without meeting the high standard of clear and convincing evidence. Some of the most interesting reports that have been provided are anecdotal first hand witness reports that remain in the "highly possible" category. Despite all the speculation, rumors and hearsay that we have, there are some small but powerful nuggets of truth that have appeared from time to time, which help construct a realistic appraisal of what the USG's actual view of UFO's really is. We know that numerous eyewitness reports have come forth from reliable individuals since 1947, up to the present, which are not easily discounted. We also know that many have claimed that national security was invoked, and they felt threatened to keep quiet about what they saw firsthand, and felt compelled to assume the position that they saw and knew nothing other than the official USG position. Within the last 10 years over 50 excellent and credible witnesses with national security credentials have come forth, and made public disclosures that normally would involve extreme sanction, and yet to date nothing appears to have been done to sanction them, such as was done in the past to such individuals that told what they saw. Several members of Congress had been talked to, and expressed an interest in having these witnesses testify in a special Congressional hearing to get the truth about UFO's out to the public once and for all. Afterwards, for unknown reasons, any such actions have stalled, and nothing has been done so far. Here is the statement of the individuals that spoke out at the National Press Club. Anyone interested can watch the whole presentation and all of the witnesses that made statements that day. We know that Congressman Steven Shiff from New Mexico pressed hard for answers and declassification on Roswell, and like so many witnesses who talked, including Phil Sneider died mysteriously. Then there is the remarkable case of Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona. Even his power as high ranking Senator and a USAF Major General was not enough to gain access to this highly classified information. Senator Goldwater told friends that while a Major General of the USAF Reserve, he tried to get access to the secrets held at Wright Patterson, and was told by General Curtiss Lemay, "no way, you don't have the necessary security clearances".          

Devon DB: The Legal Creation of Race in America

When examining history, it seems that a narrative has evolved over time that slavery somehow just happened in the United States due to the need for cheap labor, and that Africans were chosen because they could do that labor the best. While this is true, it is far from the full reality of the situation. Like slavery, race took time to be created and accepted by the population, and like slavery, race had to be created from a legal framework. For this, we need to look no further than colonial Virginia. It must be acknowledged that there was and is some debate over whether or not Africans that came to Virginia in 1619 were slaves, or that they slowly but surely transitioned to slavery. Yet, despite this, there is still evidence that in the mid 1600s, laws were being made to create race. Interestingly enough, slavery was not originally sought after in colonial Virginia as, in spite of its seeming superiority, it was actually not as advantageous as indentured labor during the first half of the century "due to the high morality of Virginia immigrants. Such morality created a situation where there would be no advantage in owning a person for their entire lives rather than a few years, especially since a slave cost roughly twice as much as an indentured servant. Though, this morality was in reality due to economics as up until the 1640s, the main crop for Barbados and Virginia was tobacco. However, Barbados made a switch to cotton, and then finally to sugar in the early 1640s. This discouraged white indentured servants from going to Barbados, as sugar production required such strenuous labor that men would not willingly undertake it. Thus, colonial Virginia was given an influx of indentured servants. Virginia's transition to slave labor was slow as even though it became more advantageous to own slaves rather than have indentured servants in 1660, in that year the Virginian assembly allowed Dutch slave ships exemption from local duties, however, in that year the Navigation Acts were passed, resulting in Virginia not implementing slavery as fast as this created a situation which would decrease the number of slaves as fast as this created a situation which would decrease the number of slaves that could be imported. It also did not help that Virginia was now in competition with sugar planters in the Barbados over this smaller supply of slaves.