Simon Brown: Six Biggest Religious Right Threats to America!

With many legislatures tilting right, and "prayer" caucuses on the prowl, Church State separation may be in trouble in the coming year. Multiple courts have said "no" to states that want public schools to teach "intelligent design" creationism in science classes, but that doesn't faze Montana State Rep. Clayton Fiscus (R-Billings). Fiscus, a Tea Party favorite, whose professional background is in real estate, asked the legislative services staff of the Montana House of Representatives in November to come up with a bill for the 2013 legislative session, that would require public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution. Lawmakers like Fiscus often push their agenda in defiance of established constitutional law, and sometimes hope they can create a case to convince the US Supreme Court to overturn previous decisions that contradict their personal beliefs. Americans United combated a wide array of state level legislative schemes in 2012, that sought to tear down the critical safeguards that keep church and state separate. With most state legislatures starting their annual sessions this month, here is a look at some of the top threats of church state separation expected in 2013, including school voucher bills, creationism ploys, "conscience" exemptions, anti shariah legislation, and so called "religious freedom" and "prayer" caucuses. Americans United anticipates proposals that benefit religious and other private schools, to surface in many states this year, with major pushes expected in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Texas and Tennessee. In new Jersey, a voucher scheme is likely in the works, thanks to the persistence of Governor Chris Christie (R). Christie tried to implement a program in 2012, with a proposal that would have cost the state $825 million. It would have provided 40,000 eligible students with vouchers, $8,000 for elementary school, and $11,000 for high school, the Newark Star Ledger reported.      

Gordon Duff: Press TV: The Truth About Americans and Guns.

With the discussions of gun seizures in the US, discussions primarily tied to stock manipulation scams within the sporting goods and arms industry and National Rifle Association, it is, perhaps, time we took a look at American gun owners. Are they a force that will protect America from tyranny, or are they more a gullible and dangerous tool of powerful special interest groups? During the 1980's, the "militia movement" in the United States, built on the example set by author J B Campbell, a good friend, an example intended to represent an armed and organized independent force, free from empty rhetoric of the two political parties. Before a year was out, half the members of "militia" groups were FBI informants, and a mysterious influx of money, put those who claimed to be fighting tyranny solidly behind the Israel lobby and Wall Street. The largest of the groups, the Michigan Militia, actually disbanded when Bush 43 came to office, stating: "There is no longer a need to defend freedoms in the US, since we trust totally in President Bush." As Jim W Dean so often says,"You just can't make things like that up." What I saw so very clearly then, and even more clearly today, is that too many gun owners are obsessed with their own "2nd Amendment rights" and are willing to "burn down" the rest of America's freedoms in the process. The majority of gun owners are not just oblivious to constitutional guarantees, but have been wildly in favor of drone attacks, Gaza bombing, torture and rendition, illegal surveillance and suspension of habeas corpus. On the whole, were we to look for what is best in America, those who favor freedom and equality for all, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Gun owners are far from the top of the list. I am an American gun owner, collector and gunsmith. I know guns, I have used guns in combat, including as an Advisory Team Leader in Vietnam. It is my belief, and not without reason, that Homeland Security sends out gangs to collect guns and rounds up "dissidents," the NRA membership will be standing beside them.     

Tom Burghardt: Fraud, Money Laundering and Narcotics.

Impunity of the Banking Giants. No Prosecution of HSBC. In another shameful decision by the US Department of Justice, earlier this month, federal prosecutors reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UK banking giant HSBC, Europe's largest bank. Shameful perhaps, but entirely predictable. After all, in an era characterized by economic collapse, owing to gross criminality by leading financial actors, policy decisions and the legal environment framing those decisions have been shaped by oligarchs, who quite literally have "captured" the state. Founded in 1865 by flush with cash opium merchants, after the British Crown seized Hong Kong from China, in the aftermath of the First Opium War, HSBC has been a permanent fixture on the radar of US law enforcement, and regulatory agencies for more than a decade. Not that anything so trifling as terrorist financing, or global narco-trafficking  mattered much to the Obama administration. As I peviously reported, when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued their mammoth 335 page report, "US Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing, HSBC Case History," we learned that among the "services" offered by HSBC subsidiaries and corresponding banks were sweet deals, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, with financial entities with ties to international terrorism and the grisly drug trade. Charged with multiple violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for their role in laundering blood money for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, as a sideline HSBC's Canary Wharf masters conducted a highly profitable business with the alleged financiers of the 9/11 attacks, who washed funds through Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank. While the media breathlessly reported that the DPA will levy fines totaling some $1.92 billion, which includes $655 million in civil penalties, the largest penalty of its kind ever levied against a bank, under terms  of the agreement, not a single senior officer will be criminally charged. In fact, those fines will be paid by shareholders which include municipal investors, pension funds, and the public at large!     


Jim W. Dean: Organic WMD Tested in 1945 off New Zealand!

The United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests of a tsunami bomb, designed to destroy coastal cities by using underwater blasts to trigger massive tidal waves. As many of you know, I love to say: "You just can't make this stuff up." Even now, we are still discovering that more way of killing masses of civilians were being experimented on all the time. That this happened in New Zealand, with their long anti nuclear history, is even more bizarre. But that is what a World War does to people: Stimulate their killing instincts. We are re-posting this Telegraph piece, God Bless them for printing it, not only as a dusty musty old archived find, but for one much more important. If they were discovering little goodies like this during WWII, for creating 'natural' disaster, how far do you think the science has come since then: Light years maybe? And if you were wondering why something like this has not seen the light of day after all these years, you are correct, if you are thinking that 'they' would not want us asking nerdy little questions about whether such kinds of organic weapons design was still being done. We already know, that the best cover for domestically produced UFO's is to have them viewed as extra-terrestial only because then no one will be asking about how the development money was approved without public oversight, in, God Forbid, a Democracy! The tests were carried out in waters, around New Caledonia and Auckland, during the Second World War, and showed that the weapon was feasible, and a series of ten large offshore blasts could potentially create a 33 foot tsunami capable of inundating a small city. The top secret operation, code named "Project Seal", tested the doomsday device as a possible rival to the nuclear bomb. About 3,700 bombs were exploded during the tests, first in New Caledonia, and later at Whangaparaoe Peninsula, near Auckland. The plans came to light during research, by a New Zealand author andfilm maker, Ray Waru,who examined military files buried in the national archives. "Presumably, if the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might have been tsunamiing people,"said Mr Waru. "It was absolutely astonishing. First, that anyone would come up with the idea of developing a weapon of mass destruction based on a tsunami, and also that New Zealand seems to have successfully developed it to a degree that it might have worked."          

Alan Hart: The message From an Israeli Think Tank,

all pro-Palestinian activist groups need to hear! One of the best articles I read in the whole of 2012, was published at the tail end of the year, on 30 December, by Ha'aretz. As my regular readers know, I think Ha'aretz is the most honest newspaper in the world, because of its reporting and analysis of what's really happening in the Zionist state. The article was written by Barak Ravid. The headline over it was Think tank: Israel's poor international image is not the fault of failed hasbara, the Hebrew word for explaining and advocacy, for which read propaganda. The subject of the article was the first report of a new Israeli think tank, Molad, The Center for the Renewal of Democracy. Outside Israel, there are probably very, very few people who have heard of Molad, so let's start with what is. Here is Ravik's own description: "Molad, established less than a year ago, in January 2012, is a think tank devoted to providing Israel's liberal left with new ideas regarding matters of foreign policy and security, as well as socioeconomic issues. The new study is the first project released by Molad, as part of an effort to infuse leftist ideas in Israeli public discourse. This effort, the center believes, will help resuscitate a political camp, which is currently on its deathbed." Molad's governance includes a Public Council, chaired by a former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Avran Burg, who for some years, has been expressing with passion his disillusion with what Israel has become, and his fears about where it is taking the Jews. In an op ed for the New York Times last August, he castigated Prime Minister Netanyahu for his "warmongering"and Israel for its "unconscionable treatment of the Palestinians." As Ravid noted, Netanyahu and his closest advisers believe that Israel's poor and deteriorating image of the world, is the result of a hasbara failure, and that a more effective presentation of Israel's case, and increased advocacy efforts, will solve a large portion of the country's woes in the international arena.    

Global Research E-Newsletter: This Year, Arm Yourselves with Knowledge!

We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications, whose directors have attended our meetings, and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world, if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is more sophisticated, and prepared to march towards a world government. "The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto determination practiced in past centuries." David Rockefeller, Bilderberg, 1991. If you wish to live in a world, that is sophisticated enough to be a world government, run by an intellectual elite and global bankers, then by all means, continue to read the Washington Post, New York Times, and Time Magazine to get all your information. If, however, the idea of a select coterie of a global intellectual financial elite running the world, does not sound like the ideal society for humanity's future, we must continue to shine the lights of publicity on the actions of powerful individuals and institutions, bringing a critical eye to their ideologies and actions. This is the aim and objective of Global Research and the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG), which holds no promises of discretion, and have NOT attended Bilderberg meetings. The aim is plainly stated: We are here to battle the tide of misinformation, and expose the "New World Order." We have been able to develop our activities, thanks to contributions from our readers. To maintain our independence, we do not seek donor support from private or public foundations. Our commitment is to make Global Research articles available to the broadest possible readership, on a non-commercial basis, without the need for a "log-in" for paid subscribers. With a view to achieving the above objectives, while improving the form and content of our website, we have a membership program for Global Research readers, with free gifts for our members!    


William Lazonick: Robots Don't Destroy Jobs.

Rapacious corporate executives do. Americans are understandably upset about profits without prosperity. Corporate executives seem to be the big winners, while the middle class is declining, and young people face a bleak economic future. How did this happen? It's easy to blame technology, especially the automation that supposedly displaces workers, but that's not the real story: The fact is, that automation creates jobs. It's the misuse of corporate profits that is destroying them. There was a time, when high corporate profits meant bright employment prospects for most members of the US labor force. That relation between profits and prosperity was strongest in the immediate post World War II decades, when US corporations led the world in manufacturing, provided workers with career long employment security, and reinvested profits in productive capabilities in the United States. For the past three decades, however, the pursuit of corporate profits has been at the expense of prosperity for an ever growing proportion of the American population. This disconnect between profits and prosperity began in the 1980's, with permanent plant closings that cost production workers their middle class jobs. It increased in the 1990's, as major US corporations scrapped the career with one company norm, that has prevailed for salaried employees, and it became common even for college educated people with a couple of decades of work experience, to find themselves on the wrong end of the pink slip. Then, in the 2000s, as US corporations accelerated the globalization of production activities, the jobs of all members of the US labor force, no matter what their level of educational attainment, became vulnerable to competition from qualified people in lower wage areas of the world. Profits without prosperity is now starting to get attention in the mainstream press. In his New York Times op-ed, "Robots and Robber Barons", Paul Krugman seeks to explain why, with corporate profits up, labor compensation is down. As part of the ongoing digital revolution, he argues, robots are throwing American workers out of their jobs.    

Robert O'Dowd: Superstorm Sandy Victims Left in a Lurch!

Despite promises, decisions made not to allow a vote for aid to Super-storm Sandy victims. Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reneged on his promise to allow a vote on aid to victims of Super-storm Sandy, according to an irate Representative Peter King, R-NY. Northeast lawmakers learned late Tuesday night that the House Republican leadership decided to not allow a vote to aid to Super-storm Sandy victims. The Associated Press reported that Republican Peter King, R-NY, said he was told by the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had decided to abandon a vote this session. Cantor, who sets the House schedule, did not immediately comment. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters that just before Tuesday evening's vote on "fiscal cliff" legislation, Canter told him that he was "99.9 percent confident that this bill would be on the floor, and that's what he wanted." A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel said, "The speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month." In remarks on the House floor,, King called the decision "absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities." The Senate approved a $60.4 billion measure Friday, to help with recovery from the October storm, that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey and nearby states. The House Appropriations Committee has drafted a smaller, $27 billion measure, and a vote had been expected before Congress' term ends Thursday at noon. More than $2 billion in federal funds has been spent so far on relief efforts for 11 states, and the District of Columbia struck by the storm, one of the worst ever to hit the Northeast. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund still has about $4.3 billion, enough to pay for recovery efforts into early spring, according to officials. The unspent FEMA money can only be used for emergency services, said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-NJ. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are receiving federal aid.  

William Dean A. Garner: America's History Books:

Time for a rewrite. The Reptilian Jesuits have rewritten history to suit their needs, and ensure its widest possible dissemination in all forms across the globe. It's time to correct their fiction.  Now that we know they've duped us for hundreds of years, and even longer with others in place of the Jesuits, I feel it's time to correct all the fiction they have created. Question is, do we burn all those useless books, even the really sexy looking ones with exotic leather covers and gilded titles? Yes, this includes the greatest historical novel of all time, The Bible. I don't care which version, pick one. For the burning , we'll choose all versions. I have this thing against burning books, but in light of the fact we'll be scorching a Himalayan size pile of crap, I'm all in. In fact, I'm striking the first match, of what will surely be the biggest bonfire in the history of mankind. Let's start with anything written about US politics, which was originally designed to divide and conquer the unsuspecting masses. There have been countless treatises published on the morally right Democrats and the war mongering Republicans, all great entertainment, if you dig detritus. How many authors spent years and decades studying the various political parties' philosophies and practices? How many books were birthed from bogus PhD dissertations and Master's theses? And how many careers focused on the virtues of the elephant and the donkey? Thousands of books, I'm certain. No, I didn't do in depth research on the topic, I was sitting in a nice bar instead. I'm taking a wild guess, something the authors of the above mentioned books did all the time. Still do. I almost feel sorry for the professor of political studies at any University who is considered the world expert on the Democratic party. Everything that weenie has done, is an outright lie. Everything, and he's gotten government and private grants over the years to support his sham wow.  Probably bragged on himself at cocktail parties and donor receptions. Now look at him. He gets a front row seat at the bonfire, an excellent opportunity to consider his next career.  


Charles Eisenstein: Everything We Tell Ourselves About America -

and the world is wrong: Why we need a new story that gives meaning to the world. Every culture has a Story of the People to give meaning to the world. Every culture has a story of the people,, to give meaning to the world. Part conscious and part unconscious, it consists of a matrix of agreements, narratives, and symbols that tell us why we are here, where we are headed, what is important, and even what is real. I think we are entering a new phase in the dissolution of our Story of the People, and therefore, with some lag time, of the edifice of civilization built on top of it. Sometimes I feel intense nostalgia for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Superbowl was important, in which the world's greatest democracy was bringing democracy to the world, in which science was going to make life better and better. Life made sense. If you worked hard, you could get good grades, get into a good college, go to grad school or follow some other professional path, and you would be happy. With a few unfortunate exceptions, you would be successful if you obeyed the rules of our society. If you followed the latest medical advice, kept informed by reading the New York Times, and stayed away from bad things like drugs. Sure there were problems, but the scientists and experts were working hard to fix them. Soon a new medical advance, a new law, a new educational technique, would propel the onward improvement of life. My childhood perceptions were part of this Story of the People, in which humanity was destined to create a perfect world through science, reason, and technology. To conquer nature, transcend our animal origins, and engineer a rational society. From my vantage point, the basic premises of this story seemed unquestionable. After all, it seemed to be working in my world. Looking back, I realize that this was a bubble world, built atop massive human suffering and environmental degradation, but at the same time, one could live within that bubble, without need of much self perception. The story that surrounded us was robust. It easily kept anomalous data points on the margins,  

Devon DB: What are the Benefits of Going Off The Fiscal Cliff?

It was reported recently that Senator Harry Reid thinks that the fiscal cliff is coming, saying that Republicans would be to blame, if we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we are headed. The media has been talking up the fiscal cliff, and making it seem as if we are going to the end of the world. However, we should have actively been expecting this, seeing that last year the super committee didn't come to a deal, and thus effectively resigned the nation to this fiscal cliff, yet there could be a silver lining to all of this. Before getting into what the benefits of going of going off the cliff, it must first be stated that the fact of the matter is that the fiscal cliff itself is not a cliff. Rather, it is a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts, that will automatically go into effect on January 1st of the new year. The cliff gets rid of some of the tax breaks for the rich, and for corporations, while also instituting a 7.6 to 9.6 percent across the board cut in all discretionary spending, except programs for low income Americans, with the cuts being evenly divided between defense and non-defense programs. While this would definitely hurt the agencies, we need that hurt, as it is defense that needs to be cut most, as it has been doubling since 2001. The fact of the matter is, that the US government has tried again and again to get the debt and deficit under control, but each time they have spectacularly failed, with the most recent failing in memory being the debt ceiling debacle in which the US credit rating was downgraded, so it seems that this is the only way for the country to get its act together. Going over the so called fiscal cliff would force Washington to actually do something about its fiscal policies. Yet the real silver lining lies in the American people. After having been pulled hook, line, and sinker for several years by politicians saying that they care about the American people and the country, only then turn around and do what is best for their re-election chances and corporate donors, the American people will hopefully come to the realization that the political class does not care about them!    

Dr. Ismail Salami: Toward Balkanization? Syria Swings between Hell and Dialogue!

Admittedly, it is not hard to imagine how someone can predict a vision of hell in a country like Syria, which has become a hornet's nest of terrorism, and that which is tumbling into further chaos and bloodshed: Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, "has predicted 100,000 people could be killed in the next year, as Syria moves toward "Somalization" and rule by warlords." Apart from his foreboding tone, his remarks are testimony to a broader gamut of interference at the hands of those who have infiltrated into the country from abroad. In point of fact, what is corroding Syria is not an internal unrest, but a foreign made crisis. The Syrian opposition group insists that the start of dialogue would be made possible only with the departure of President Assad, and says that it would not be ready to engage in any dialogue with Russia without any clear agenda. "If Russia has a proposal to stop the bleeding in Syria, it should submit it, and we will respond," Mouaz al Khatib, head of the main bloc of Syrian opposition groups, has told Al Jazeera." "We can't meet with the Russians without a clear agenda." Russia and Iran are playing pivotal roles in preventing a human catastrophe in the country, and seeking to resolve the crisis through diplomacy. After talks in Moscow on Saturday with Lakhdar Brahimi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia could not press Assad to give up power. Besides, he has once again clarified his country's stance on Syria, and said Russia "isn't in the business of regime change." He has repeatedly said, both publicly and privately, including during his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi not long ago, that he has no plans to go anywhere, that he will stay in his post until the end, that he will, as he says, protect the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth. There is no possibility of changing his position." The implication is very simple. Russia does not want regime change in Syria, as there is supposedly no point in seeking such a solution. This policy is also strongly shared and seconded by Iran, which has already set forth a six point peace plan for Syria. Hossein Sheikholeslam, an adviser to Iran's Majlis speaker for international affairs, has said that Tehran's six point peace plan would be the only solution to the unrest in Syria, and that no country should intervene in the internal affairs of the Arab country.        


The Economist: The lunacy of the long distance runner!

Vomit, bleeding nipples and hallucinations. Why would anyone in their right mind rub the Spartathlon? Parthenon is lit, but Athens is still dark. In the gloom, a cleaner is sweeping the pedestrianized road that runs beneath the southern slope of the Acropolis, and in the trees behind the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an ancient stone theater, Lycra clad figures are urinating everywhere. These are the last few minutes before the start of the Spartathlon, one of the world's toughest ultra marathons. The 310 runners in this year's race are doing their final stretches. Energy supplements are being taken, running belts are being checked, caps with neck flaps to protect against the sun are being adjusted. Many athletes have a crew to support them during the race. There is time for some final words of encouragement before the runners edge towards the starting line. At 7am precisely, as dawn approaches, the race begins. The field strings around the Acropolis and past the agora, the heart of ancient Athenian life, before heading into the early morning traffic. The pace is gentle, an average runner can keep up for the first kilometer easily, but this race is about distance, not speed. After that first kilometer, another and another, and another lie ahead. Everyone in the field has completed at least a 100km, 67 mile race. For this event, they will have to run 245km, or almost six consecutive marathons within 36 hours. Only 72 of them will end up making it all the way to historical Sparta. This year's Spartathlon, which took place in late September, was the 30th. Its heritage goes back much further. The most famous ultra marathon in history was that run by Pheidippides, an Athenian who made the journey to Sparta in 490 BC. His mission was to ask the Spartans for their help in fighting the invading Persians. Herodotus, a historian, records that he reached Sparta on the day after the day he left Athens. The Spartans were celebrating a religious festival, so they could not offer help until after the Athenians had dispatched the Persians at the battle of Marathon! 

Prov Michel Chossudovsky. Understand the Globalization of Poverty

And the New World Order. In this expanded edition of "Chossudovskys" international best seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order, which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife, and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty. This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically. In this new enlarged edition, which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction, the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs, and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalization. "This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely." Choice, American Library Association (ALA). "The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on, the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion." Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly. Barely a few weeks after the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, overthrowing the elected government of President Salvador Allende, the military Junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet ordered a hike in the price of bread from 11 to 40 escudos, a hefty overnight increase of 264%. This economic shock treatment had been designed by a group of economists called the Chicago Boys. At the time of the military coup, I was teaching at the Institute of Economics of the Catholic University of Chile, which was a nest of Chicago trained economists, disciples of Milton Friedman. On that September 11, in the hours following the bombing of Presidential Palace of La Moneda, the new military rulers imposed a 72 hour curfew. When the university reopened several days later, the Chicago Boys were rejoicing. Barely a week later, several of my colleagues at the Institute of Economics were appointed to key positions in the military government.            

Dean Henderson: David Rockefeller: The Looting of Iran!

Under the iron-fisted rule of the US puppet Shah of Iran, who came to power after the 1953 BP sponsored Mossadegh coup, Chase Manhattan, which later merged with JP Morgan to become JP Morgan Chase, issued letters of credit for all Iranian oil exports and monopolized deposits from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), even after Iran nationalized Four Horsemen oil interests to create NIOC. Chase controlled the Pahlevi Foundation, which owned an oil company, twelve Iranian sugar refineries, electronics firms, cemetaries, mines, industrial bakeries, the country's General Motors franchise, and a slew of banks, including the Shah's personal piggy bank, the Bank Omran. While "Omran" means development, the Pahlevi Foundation focused only on developing the fortunes of both the Shah and Chase Manhattan. David Rockefeller, whose family controls majority interest in the bank, Chaired Chase. The Rockefellers added to their fortune during the Shah's reign, taking in far more oil deposits in the country than it made in loans. By 1978, Iran had become the world's fourth largest oil producer, supplying 18% of both Japan's and West Germany's oil, 50%of Israel's and 100% of the South African apartheid regime's. Yet the average Iranian worker languished in poverty. Other Western banks behaved in similar fashion. This did not go unnoticed by Iran's Central Bank Governor Al Reza Nobari, who watched as his country sank deeper onto debt, while the Shah and his American bankers got filthy rich. Nobari declared, "All the banks knew, that the Bank Omran was the Shah's personal repository for his pocket money, but they went on lending to Bank Omran. Citibank lent, for example, $55 million to the Shah's sister, Princess Ashraf for a housing project. On the site of the housing project, she built a palace." The Shah bought a share in Krupps, the huge German arms manufacturer. He owned numerous hotels in Tehran, houses in Beverly Hills, Manhattan, Acapulco and the Swiss Alps. He bought entire islands in the Seychelles, and owned a race horse stud on a farm in Surrey, England. The standard of living of the average Iranian continued to head south.       


Global Research News: Russian Forces Protect Syria's

Chemical Weapons Stockpile against Terrorists! According to the Israeli Intelligence News outlet, DEBKA, Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles are being protected by Russian forces. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that "Syria has consolidated its chemical weapons stockpile in one or two locations, and they are under control." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are training Syria's military. We have kept a close watch over its chemical arsenal, Debka, December 22, 2012.
Related content: Russian Foreign Ministry: Danger of Syria Chemical Weapons Falling into the Hands of Terrorists. Russia is concerned by the prospect of Syrian chemical weapons falling into terrorist hands. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Thursday: "The greatest danger is that parts of Syria continue to fall in the hands of terrorists. We reported yesterday: 10,000 US troops, as well as French, British and NATO troops are massing off the coast of Syria for a potential invasion. "Anonymous US sources are claiming that Syria is mixing chemical weapons. US NATO Supported Syria Rebels use Chemical Weapons against Government Forces: Militants fighting against the Syrian government have used chemical weapons against the army in Daraya near the capital, Damascus, military sources say. According to a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard, at least seven Syrian soldiers were killed on Saturday. US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons. The US and some of its European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, according to a senior US official and several senior diplomats, CNN reports. US funded training: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross post original Global Research articles on community internet sites, as long as the text and title are not modified!

Michel Chossudovsky: Wiping Countries Off the Map!

Who's failing the "Failed States". Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread, that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, Israel must be wiped off the map. Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made. The United States has attacked, directly or indirectly, some 44 countries throughout the world, since August 1945, a number of them many times. The avowed objective of these military interventions has been to effect regime change. The cloaks of human rights and of democracy were invariably evoked to justify what were unilateral and illegal acts. This is a Pentagon memo that describes how we are going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off, Iran. I said, Is it classified? He said, Yes sir. I said, Well, don't show it to me. General Wesley Clark, Democracy Now, March 2, 2007. Washington is in the business of destroying a very long list of countries. Who is "Wiping Countries off the Map"? Iran or the United States? During a period which is euphemistically called the post war era, extending from 1945 to the present, the US has directly or indirectly, attacked more than 40 countries. While the tenets of US foreign policy are predicated on the "spread of democracy", US interventionism, through military means and covert operations, has resulted in the outright destabilization and partition of sovereign nations. Destroying countries is part of a US Imperial project, a process of global domination. Moreover, according to official sources, the US has a total of 737 military bases in foreign countries. The Washington based National Intelligence Council (NIC) in its Global Trends report, December 2012, predicts that 15 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will become "failed states" by 2030, due to their potential for conflict and environmental ills". The list of countries in the 2012 NIC report includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, DR Congo, Malawi, Haiti, and Yemen. In its previous 2005 report, published at the outset of Bush's second term, the National Intelligence Council has predicted that Pakistan would become a failed state by 2015, "as it will be affected by civil war, complete "Talibanisation" and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons".    

Chris Hedges: The Idol Smasher!

Ishmael Reed has spent the last five decades smashing idols. Idols of race, idols of capitalism, celebrity idols, and the idols of national virtue and greatness. His essays, novels, poems, plays, songs and cartoons routinely shatter the delusions and myths of a nation stubbornly unwilling to confront its past or understand its present. He rips open a history that saw white Europeans exterminate one race and enslave another, to create the nation's prosperity, a past that includes the violent plundering of nations around the globe: Cuba, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan among them, to show us what we have become. He names the corrosive disease of empire. He excoriates what Alexis de Tocqueville called our "perpetual practice of self applause." He battles back against the sophisticated forms of propaganda, especially from Hollywood, that perpetuate patriotic fantasies, and pander to the dark streams of paranoia, racism and fear that run like electric currents through white society. Reed's righteous fury is a heartening antidote to the squeamishness of liberals and the lunacy of the right wing. He says the editors of The New York Times, and most other major media outlets "sound like they get their instructions from Julius Streicher, the Nazi propagandist, when it comes to blacks." He calls the HBO series "The Wire", "a Neo Nazi portrait of of black people" and dismisses the movie "Precious" as a film that makes D W Griffith look like a progressive." "Lazy, no good black people, who are welfare cheats, sitting around eating chicken, and having sex with their children, right out of Lee Atwater, Master of tactics for Bush and GOP, Paul Ryan playbook, he said of the portrayals in Precious, when I reached him by phone at his home in Oakland California, "The wonderful novelist Diane Johnson was right, when she said that largely white audiences are thrilled by images of black people as dysfunctional. This has become a billion dollar market, which led critics to assert that Black Bogeyman movies sell better than sex, according to the critic C Liegh McInnis.     


Adele M Stan: Senate Leaders Work Through Weekend

to Avoid Fiscal Spending Cuts. After a White House meeting with congressional leaders of both parties, President Barack Obama appeared in the White House press room to urge lawmakers to vote on a package that would avert the automatic across the board spending cuts and tax hikes that are scheduled to go into effect on New Year's Day, if the Congress fails to act by December 31. The cuts and hikes law, known as the sequester, and dubbed the "Fiscal Cliff" by Federal Chairman Ben Bernacke, were passed into law last year under Republican pressure, in return for a lifting of the debt ceiling that allows the government to borrow enough money to meet its obligations. Emerging from this meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, announced their plan to work through Saturday to arrive at a deal, that the Senate could take up on Sunday, December 30. Any bill passed by the Senate would then have to see a vote in the House, which has already passed two bills on spending and revenue measures that are unacceptable to Democrats and to the president. While the president wants to raise income taxes on households earning more than $250,000 per year, the bill passed by the House in August would maintain the Bush era tax cuts on all Americans, including the wealthiest. The House also passed a package of spending cuts, intended to replace the sequester cuts, including repealing sections of Obama-care, including the funding of state based exchanges for the purchase of affordable individual health insurance policies. Other cuts target Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program, all of them unacceptable to the White House. The bill, HR 6684, which passed the Republican led House on December 19, is clearly an ideological statement, and not a piece of legislation that would stand a chance of passage in the Democratic held Senate. Yet, because the House passed these bills, Speaker John Boehner is insisting the Senate take up the job of hammering out a workable deal. The House is also slated to vote on Sunday on any bill that Reid may bring to the Senate floor. Appearing in the White House press room on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama demanded that congressional leaders bring a proposal, regardless of its prospects for passage, to the Senate floor for an up or down vote.  

Tony Cartalucci: The United Nations Syria "Peace Plan"

is a Fraud! UN "peace envoy" Lakhdar Brahimi is attempting to broker a transitional government ahead of proposed elections in Syria. For Brahimi, his efforts are not only in vain, they are entirely disingenuous. The proposal of a "transitional government" in the midst of what is in fact a foreign invasion, funded, armed, and perpetuated openly by foreign interests, violates both Syria's sovereignty and the UN's own founding charter. It would be not unlike a UN envoy visiting Poland at the beginning of World War II, and proposing a transitional government in the midst of the Nazi invasion. The UN would clearly be a facilitator of justice, not a broker of peace. The LA Times reports in their article, "Lakhdar Brahimi works to revive Syria peace plan". "Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi made a new push Thursday to draw Syrian officials and rebels into negotiations, aiming to revive a plan for a transitional government and elections that faltered because of disagreements over the future of President Bashar Assad." The UN has categorically failed to delineate between legitimate opposition inside of Syria, and bands of roving armed terrorists committing wide scale atrocities against the Syrian people, many of which are not even from Syria, all of whom are heavily armed by the US, NATO, and its regional allies including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar as part of a long standing plan to effect regime change in both Syria and Iran. The Western Press is not only supporting the UN's disingenuous efforts, it has gone through great lengths to de-legitimise any opposition in Syria that refuses to pick up arms, or that speaks out against foreign intervention. While the LA Times attempts to make the UN plan seem reasonable, with only Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Russia standing in the way of peace, in reality, the plan is yet another effort to frame the conflict as a political struggle, instead of the foreign invasion it actually is. The armed "rebels" the UN is refusing to condemn, constitute foreign Al Qaeda fighters, including the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office, listed international terrorist organization, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Al Nusra, also known as "Al Qaeda in Iraq," and Syria Muslim Brotherhood extremists. None of these terrorist factions would be negotiated with by Western nations, if by some means their weapons turned around from Syria and back toward the West,yet the West demands that they not only be recognized and negotiated with, but indeed handed the entire nation of Syria to rule over.         

Mike Stathis: Solving the Mystery of America's Persistently

High Jobless Rate. In many respects, much if not all of the economic gains made in the United States from the past decade have been wiped out due to Wall Street malfeasance. Looking forward, I expect America to lose at least another decade. While some of the economic turmoil is certainly due to the biggest real estate collapse in US history, a much larger portion is the result of the weak job market, which is likely to persist for a number of years. Although the real estate market appears to have bottomed, you should not expect anything other than a very gradual rise from here. In the absence of bubble conditions, the rate of real estate appreciation generally tracks that of inflation. The biggest lift to the real estate market would come from lasting improvements in the job market. Thus, it's important to identify the real reasons for the persistently high unemployment rate so that adequate solutions can be designed. If the factors accounting for the continued weakness in the labor market are not addressed, America stands a good chance to lose much more than a decade. Establishment economists have offered some ridiculous explanations when trying to account for the high unemployment rate. The purpose of this propaganda is to distract attention away from misguided economic policies, put in place by  America's fascist government. Before we discuss the establishment's explanation of the high jobless rate, let's examine some facts about the US labor market. Since mid 2009, there have been between 3.5 and 6 unemployed Americans for every job opening. This means jobs have been in short supply. This ratio is roughly double what it was in the last recession in 2001. This data reflects, in large part, that job openings are one fourth lower now than they were in the last recovery. In the first 12 months of the so called "recovery" there were 32 million job openings. While this may sound like a large number, it was 10 million fewer openings than the first 12 months of the prior recovery, which was known for being a so called jobless recovery. The shortfall in job openings during the current "recovery" compared to the previous one is widespread. Job openings continue to be small in number in nearly every sector including labor intensive service industries, such as hospitality, entertainment, and accommodation. Layoffs during the early stages of this recovery are comparable to those in the prior recovery, and thus cannot explain the lasting high unemployment rate.