The End Of All Crossroads

Where the TAXI makes a stop, to ponder upon which road mayhap be true

Category: Middle East

Chemical weapons reports in Syria, exactly as warned

“American soldiers likely will be on ground in Syria, facing not just Assad’s army, but the Iranians and the Russian armies. The Russians already have about 100,000 soldiers in Syria. There have already been 40,000 deaths in Syria. Are you ready for four million?”

By Douglas J. Hagmann

4 December 2012: And so it begins, or should I say, so it continues. CNN is now reporting that an unnamed U.S. intelligence official claims that Assad’s Syrian forces are “combining chemicals that would be used to make deadly sarin gas for use in weapons to attack rebel and civilian populations.”

As I wrote here before in various reports pertaining to Benghazi, this was the plan all along and you are seeing it play out, albeit a bit behind schedule as Obama, Clinton and their national security advisers had to coordinate the Benghazi cover-up that few admitted existed and even fewer would report. Information about the use of chemical weapons, specifically gas, was detailed in the second part of my interview with an intelligence insider:

“One aspect of the weapons plan was to set up a false flag operation to make it appear that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. Imagine the outcry from the civilized world to the news that Assad ‘gassed’ his own people. That would be an invitation to NATO and the West to openly intervene. Don’t forget about the timing of all of this. Two months before the elections, and time was running out. The job of taking out Assad was not yet complete. Such an event would quickly advance this agenda. By this time, however, being caught and placed in a rather unenviable position between Russia and the U.S., the Turkish consul general was in a ‘CYA, clean-up’ mode, assuring that none of the chemical weapons that might have still been in Libya were headed for Turkey.”

Now, because no one has stepped in to expose the big lie behind Benghazi, it is nearly certain that the U.S. and NATO will become involved. By not exposing the big lie, American soldiers likely will be on ground in Syria, facing not just Assad’s army, but the Iranians and the Russian armies. The Russians already have about 100,000 soldiers in Syria. There have already been 40,000 deaths in Syria. Are you ready for four million?

As I wrote before, the fuse for WW III has been lit. You are witnessing history playing out right before your very eyes. I mapped out their plan. Has anyone been paying attention?

SOURCE:
http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/archives/7215

Russia will back Egyptian efforts to end Israeli aggression: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will back Egyptian efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.

 


In a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to support Cairo’s efforts directed at normalizing the situation in the Palestinian territory, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The remarks come after Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip on Friday, where he urged the world leaders to stop Tel Aviv’s attacks.

Qandil promised to intensify Egypt’s efforts to “stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce.”

On Thursday, President Morsi also condemned the Israeli aggression as “unacceptable” and warned it could lead to instability in the region.

Some 25 people have been killed and more than 250 others injured in the new wave of attacks since November 14.

The Israeli regime frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.

MAM/HMV

 

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/16/272661/russia-to-back-egypt-against-israel-putin/

Clashes over Internet rules to mark Dubai meeting

“More than 900 proposed regulatory changes have been proposed, but details have not been made public. Broad consensus is needed to adopt any items — the first major review of the U.N.’s telecommunications protocols since 1988, well before the Internet age.”

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

By BRIAN MURPHY
— Dec. 3 8:50 AM EST

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.N.’s top telecommunications overseer sought Monday to quell worries about greater Internet controls emerging from global talks in Dubai, but any attempts for major Web regulations will likely face stiff opposition from groups led by a high-powered U.S. delegation.

https://i0.wp.com/rense.com/general69/tia.jpg

The 11-day conference, seeking to update codes last reviewed when the Web was virtually unknown, highlights the fundamental shift from tightly managed telecommunications networks to the borderless sweep of the Internet.

Some at the Dubai conference, including a 123-member U.S. delegation with envoys from tech giants such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., worry that any new U.N. oversight could be used by nations such as China and Russia to justify further tightening of Web blocks and monitoring.

“Love the free and open Internet? Tell the world’s governments to keep it that way,” said a message on the main search page of Google.com with a link for comments directed to the Dubai conference, which opened Monday.

The agenda for the gathering of more than 1,900 participants from 193 nations covers possible new rules for a broad range of services such as the Internet, mobile roaming fees and satellite and fixed-line communications. Questions include how much sway the U.N. can exert over efforts such as battling cyber-crimes and expanding the Internet into developing nations.

The secretary-general of the U.N. International Telecommunications Union, Hamadoun Toure, said that accusations that the meeting could limit Web freedoms are “completely untrue” and predicted only “light-touch” regulations.

“Many countries will come to reaffirm their desire to see freedom of expression embedded in this conference,” he told reporters.

But the head of the American contingent, Ambassador Terry Kramer, said the U.S. would propose taking all Internet-related discussions off the table and concentrating on already regulated services such as phone networks.

“What we don’t want to do is bring in all the private networks, the Internet networks, the government networks, etc.,” he told The Associated Press. “That opens the door to censorship.”

The outcome of the Dubai gathering is far from certain.

https://i2.wp.com/images.fastcompany.com/upload/Map-Censor.jpg

More than 900 proposed regulatory changes have been proposed, but details have not been made public. Broad consensus is needed to adopt any items — the first major review of the U.N.’s telecommunications protocols since 1988, well before the Internet age.

The gathering is also powerless to force nations to change their Internet policies, such as China’s notorious “Great Firewall” and widespread blackouts of political opposition sites in places including Iran and the Gulf Arab states. Last week, Syria’s Internet and telephone services disappeared for two days during some of the worst fighting in months to hit the capital, Damascus.

Kramer told reporters last week in Washington that all efforts should be made to avoid a “Balkanization” of the Internet in which each country would impose its own rules and standards that could disrupt the flow of commerce and information.

“That opens the door … to content censorship,” he said.

The International Trade Union Confederation, representing labor groups in more than 150 countries, claimed a bloc that includes China, Russia and several Middle East nations seeks to “pave the way for future restrictions on both Internet content or its users.”

“It is clear that some governments have an interest in changing the rules and regulations of the Internet,” the confederation said in statement Monday.

Another battle that will likely take place in Dubai is over European-backed suggestions to change the pay structure of the Web to force content providers — such as Google, Facebook Inc. and others — to kick in an extra fee to reach users across borders.

“Potentially, the content developers — they could be Googles, they could be universities — would end up being charged potentially to have traffic sent abroad,” said Kramer in Dubai. “Either way, you slow down Internet traffic and you actually exacerbate the digital divide, the income divide, because you have a lot of people who are accessing things for free.”

Advocates of the changes say the money raised could pay to expand broadband infrastructures in developing countries.

Toure said he hoped for a “landmark” accord on trying to bring broadband Internet to developing countries. “The Internet remains out of reach for two-thirds of world’s people,” said Toure, who is from Mali.

The U.N. telecommunications agency dates back to 1865, when the telegraph revolutionized the speed of information. Over the decades, it has expanded to include telephone, satellite and other advances in communications.

SOURCE:

State Department Spent 4.5 Million for Embassy Art, Had No Money for Benghazi Security

December 2, 2012 By Daniel Greenfield

Remember Benghazi only happened because the State Department had no money for security. And the military had no money for planes. And Obama had no money for his campaign and had to rush to Vegas to fundraise with Beyonce.

https://i2.wp.com/www.usmagazine.com/uploads/assets/articles/56206-pic-beyonce-jay-z-obama-do-brush-off-shoulders-move-at-fundraiser/1348355145_beyonce-obama-g.jpg

Things that the State Department did have money for? Mosque renovations, promoting environmental awareness in Baghdad, and 4.5 million for Art in Embassies.

The New York Times reported in 2009 that Art in Embassies spends about $4.5 million a year for permanent art acquisitions; chief curator Virginia Shore said at the time that artists and dealers support the program via favorable pricing; for the embassy in Beijing, an outlay of $800,000 yielded works with an appraised value of $30 million.

So… maybe we can sell some of that as a profit and pay for bodyguards. Or we could just hand out medals to the artists in exchange for favorable pricing. Yes, let’s do that.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts to five artists who have shown “an enduring commitment” to the effort: Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahazia Sikander, Kiki Smith and Carrie Mae Weems.

It’s the first time the award has been given – and its future will likely depend on whether Clinton’s successors want to make it a tradition.

Let’s make it a tradition. Even if we have to strip security from all our embassies in war zones. This stuff, unlike human life, is really important.

There is of course a certain irony in that Clinton ordered the arrest and imprisonment of the Mohammed filmmaker, but is now honoring “controversial” artists who may offend Christianity, but don’t offend Islam.

Like every regime, the Obama regime has artists that it honors and artists that it imprisons. And the artists that it hands out medals too, like their Soviet counterparts, are delegitimized by their placement as the pet artists of a repressive regime.

Kiki Smith, one of the artists honored by Secretary of State Clinton, offended Catholics with pieces such as, “Virgin Mary,” a female figure stripped of her skin, with her tissues and muscles exposed. Another exhibit features Mary Magdalene growing fur on her body.

If Kiki Smith had depicted Mohammed that way, she would be in hiding and maybe in prison, depending on how many embassies Muslims burned afterward. But since she depicted a religion that Obama and his cronies hate, she’s getting her art placed in embassies and getting a medal instead. That is how things work in repressive regimes.

And just as a reminder that this isn’t art, it’s regime propaganda, here’s one of the “paintings” from the Art in Embassies exhibit in Stockholm. “Paul Rusconi, Barack Obama, 2008.” Sold for $20,000. You can see it up above. The new symbol of America. But I offer my own “artistic” take on Rusconi’s piece. One that might be better representative of what America under Obama truly stands for.

 

SOURCE:
http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/state-department-spent-4-5-million-for-embassy-art-had-no-money-for-benghazi-security/#.ULxDReZGDuE.email

[video + transcript] Ron Paul: How to End the Tragedy in Gaza


As of late Friday the ceasefire in Gaza seems to be holding, if tentatively. While we should be pleased that this round of fighting appears temporarily on hold, we must realize that without changes in US foreign policy it is only a matter of time before the killing begins again.

It feels like 2009 all over again, which is the last time this kind of violence broke out in Gaza. At that time over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, of which just 235 were combatants. The Israelis lost 13 of which 10 were combatants. At that time I said of then-President Bush’s role in the conflict:

“It’s our money and our weapons. But I think we encouraged it. Certainly, the president has said nothing to diminish it. As a matter of fact, he justifies it on moral grounds, saying, oh, they have a right to do this, without ever mentioning the tragedy of Gaza…. To me, I look at it like a concentration camp.”

The US role has not changed under the Obama administration. The same mistakes continue. As journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote last week:

“For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer…”

Last week, as the fighting raged, President Obama raced to express US support for the Israeli side, in a statement that perfectly exemplifies the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy. The US supported the Israeli side because, he said, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Considering that this president rains down missiles on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries on a daily basis, the statement was so hypocritical that it didn’t pass the laugh test. But it wasn’t funny.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, but she refused to meet with elected Palestinian leaders. Clintonsaid upon arrival in Israel, “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock-solid and unwavering.” Does this sound like an honest broker?

At the same time Congress acted with similar ignobility when an unannounced resolution was brought to the House floor after the business of the week had been finished; and in less than 30 seconds the resolution was passed by unanimous consent, without debate and without most Representatives even having heard of it. The resolution, H Res 813, was so one-sided it is not surprising they didn’t want anyone to have the chance to read and vote on it. Surely at least a handful of my colleagues would have objected to language like, “The House of Representatives expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders…”

US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.

Continuing to rain down missiles on so many increasingly resentful nations, the US is undermining rather than furthering its security. We are on a collision course with much of the rest of the world if we do not right our foreign policy. Ending interventionism in the Middle East and replacing it with friendship and even-handedness would be a welcome first step.

 

SOURCE:
http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2030&Itemid=69

UNGA votes in favor of Palestinian statehood upgrade

By HERB KEINON
LAST UPDATED: 11/29/2012 23:56
PA UN status upgrade approvedl US, Israel oppose Palestinian statehood bid; Abbas at the UN: The Palestinians are in desperate need of peace, but window of opportunity is closing.

Sixty five years to the day after the UN voted for the partition of Mandatory Palestine – a move the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected — the same body overwhelmingly voted Thursday to grant the Palestinian delegation there the upgraded status of non-member observer state.

The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly “enough of aggression, settlements and occupation,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said to the packed UN General Assembly on Thursday, ahead of the vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state.

Carlos Latuff

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” he said.

“We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace,” he said. “Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.”

Abbas said that the Palestinians will accept no less than “the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194.”

Abbas said nothing about immediately resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though he did pledge to “act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace.”

Abbas, who called the resolution a “birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine,” used the recent fighting in Gaza to frame his request for the statehood upgrade and painted both Israel and its birth in demonic colors.

“Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace,” he said.

“The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence,” Abbas continued, obviously not mentioning the rocket and missile bombardment of Israeli cities from Gaza.

“This aggression also confirms the Israeli government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace,” he said.

The Palestinian people, Abbas said, “miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history.”

In Abbas’ telling of history, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, dismissed the move as empty symbolic posturing, that will change nothing tangible on the ground, but push the chances of securing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians into the distant future.

The vote was not expected until after midnight, but Israel only expected that a few countries — the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands – would vote against the move.

The resolution was presented to the General Assembly by the representative of Sudan, who called this a victory for the “values of truth.”

Staunch European allies such as Germany and the Netherlands, who opposed Palestinian admission into UNESCO last year as a state, were among those who this time only abstained. And other friendly countries, such as Italy, voted for the move.
The vote took place on the annual “Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Senior diplomatic officials voiced deep disappointment at the EU vote. Up until a few days ago, when France declared that it would support the move, senior officials held out hope that the EU might abstain as a bloc, something that would have deprived the Palestinian Authority of a moral victory.

One senior official said that the recent fighting in Gaza tipped the European scales, with the Europeans worrying that if PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not gain some kind of diplomatic victory, he would loses all stature and authority.

“Had the vote taken place before the Gaza operation, the EU would have voted differently,” one official said.

Israel’s immediate reaction is expected to be the deduction from tax transfers it makes to the PA each moth of some NIS 800 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Hours before the vote, Netanyahu – realizing that Israel was facing a stinging diplomatic defeat — said that regardless of how many vote against Israel, “no force in the world will get me to compromise on Israel’s security.”

He also said no force in the world could sever the thousands-year-old tie between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Netanyahu said that the decision will “Not change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.”

Netanyahu’s comments came while touring an exhibit of recently declassified documents marking the upcoming 35th anniversary of Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, who said that none of the conditions he reiterated are even mentioned in the Palestinian’s UN resolution, said that peace is only achieved through negotiations and not by unilateral declarations “which do not take into consideration Israel’s vital security and national interests.”

Netanyahu recommended not being impressed by the applause that will likely be heard later at the UN.

“I remember the international community’s applause that the government of Israel received when it decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza,” he said. “We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon.”

Netanyahu said he would not enable another Iranian base to be established, this time in Judea and Samaria, a kilometer away from Jerusalem.

“It does not matter how many will vote against us, there is no force in the world that will cause me to compromise on Israeli security and there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” he said.

.

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” he said.

“We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace,” he said. “Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.”

Abbas said that the Palestinians will accept no less than “the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194.”

Abbas said nothing about immediately resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though he did pledge to “act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace.”

Abbas, who called the resolution a “birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine,” used the recent fighting in Gaza to frame his request for the statehood upgrade and painted both Israel and its birth in demonic colors.

“Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace,” he said.

“The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence.” Abbas continued, obviously not mentioning the rocket and missile bombardment of Israeli cities from Gaza.

“This aggression also confirms the Israeli Government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace.

The Palestinian people, Abbas said, “miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history.”

In Abbas’ telling of history, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, dismissed the move as empty symbolic posturing, that will change nothing tangible on the ground, but push the chances of securing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians into the distant future.

The vote was not expected until after midnight, but Israel only expected that a few countries — the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands – voted against the move.

The resolution was presented to the General Assembly by the representative of Sudan, who called this a victory for the “values of truth.”

Staunch European allies such as Germany and the Netherlands, who opposed Palestinian admission into UNESCO last year as a state, were among those who this time only abstained. And other friendly countries, such as Italy, voted for the move.
The vote took place on the annual “Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Senior diplomatic officials voiced deep disappointment at the EU vote. Up until a few days ago, when France declared that it would support the move, senior officials held out hope that the EU might abstain as a bloc, something that would have deprived the Palestinian Authority of a moral victory.

One senior official said that the recent fighting in Gaza tipped the European scales, with the Europeans worrying that if PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not gain some kind of diplomatic victory, he would loses all stature and authority.

“Had the vote taken place before the Gaza operation, the EU would have voted differently,” one official said.

The Prime Minister’s Office had no immediate reaction after the vote, but has made clear in recent days that it would free Israel of its obligations under the Oslo accord since Jerusalem views the move as a blatant violation of the underlying principle of those agreements: that all outstanding issues be resolved through negotiations, not through unilateral actions.

Israel’s immediate reaction is expected to be the deduction from tax transfers it makes to the PA each moth of some NIS 800 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation. Further steps are expected if the Palestinians use this new status and try to join other UN bodies or, as a result of their enhanced status, attempt to haul Israel or Israelis before the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court on war crime charges.

Hours before the vote, Netanyahu – realizing that Israel was facing a stinging diplomatic defeat — said that regardless of how many vote against Israel, “no force in the world will get me to compromise on Israel’s security.”

He also said no force in the world could sever the thousands-year-old tie between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Netanyahu said that the decision will “Not change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.”

Netanyahu’s comments came while touring an exhibit of recently declassified documents marking the upcoming 35th anniversary of Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, who said that none of the conditions he reiterated are even mentioned in the Palestinian’s UN resolution, said that peace is only achieved through negotiations and not by unilateral declarations “which do not take into consideration Israel’s vital security and national interests.”

Netanyahu recommended not being impressed by the applause that will likely be heard later at the UN.

“I remember the international community’s applause that the government of Israel received when it decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza,” he said. “We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon.”

Netanyahu said he would not enable another Iranian base to be established, this time in Judea and Samaria, a kilometer away from Jerusalem.

“It does not matter how many will vote against us, there is no force in the world that will cause me to compromise on Israeli security and there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” he said.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=294029

Syrian gunfire hits North Lebanon towns

“More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the outbreak of Syria’s anti-regime revolt in March 2011”

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

November 28, 2012

Gunfire from the Syrian side of the border hit North Lebanon after clashes erupted between regime forces and rebel gunmen.

According to a report by Voice of Lebanon (93.3) radio station on Wednesday, gunfire between Syrian rebels and regime forces hit Lebanese Armed Forces outposts, as well as Lebanese Customs offices in the towns of Bani Sakhr and Al-Bouqaia.

More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the outbreak of Syria’s anti-regime revolt in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Lebanon’s border regions with Syria have experience regular border violations, including shelling and gunfire as well as limited incursions by Syrian troops.

-NOW Lebanon

 

SOURCE: NOW Lebanon
http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=461290#ixzz2DYoeKlh2

 

Breaking: Western-backed Terrorists in Syria Slaughter Christians in Bombing

Tony Cartalucci
Prisonplanet.com
Nov 28, 2012

Twin car bombs carried out by the Western-backed so-called “rebels” have killed dozens of civilians in a Christian-Druze neighborhood in Damascus, highlighting the sectarian extremism, not “democratic” aspirations, as well as the level of depravity, driving opponents of the Syrian government. Immediately after the explosions, and as casualty figures began trickling in, Associated Press (AP) attempted to spin and downplay the act of terrorism, claiming in its report, “Twin car bombs kill 20 in Syria, hospitals say,” that:

“Syrian hospital officials say twin car bombs have killed at least 20 people in a Damascus suburb that is mostly loyal to President Bashar Assad.”

Excusing egregious acts of terrorism aimed at Syria’s civilian population by claiming those targeted were “mostly loyal to President Bashar Assad” has been a favorite tactic of AP, BBC, CNN, Fox News, and others. In reality, the vast majority of Syrians, from Christians to Druze, from Shia’a Muslims to moderate Sunnis, are targets of the sectarian extremist, Saudi-Wahhabi indoctrinated terrorists the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have been funding, arming, importing from across the region, and arraying against the people of Syria since at least 2007.

The terrorists in Syria have recently received a boost by the West, arranging for them a political front in Doha, Qatar to act as the reasonable “face” for their armed terrorism, portraying the premeditated destabilization by foreign terrorists as an indigenous struggle for “freedom and democracy.” Already, even that front has suffered setbacks, as its newly US-Qatari appointed leader, Moaz al-Khatib, has been revealed as not only involved with Western oil corporations, but also has declared on Al Jazeera his intentions of establishing an “Islamic state.”

Clearly, blowing up a neighborhood full of Christians and Druze would fall in line with just such a plan, driving yet more of Syria’s diverse population beyond its borders to live as permanent refugees – not with alleged plans of “freeing” the country, or gracing a multicultural society that has lived together for centuries with “democracy.”

To reiterate, the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia had planned as far back as 2007 to specifically use sectarian extremists to overrun and overthrow Syria. This was revealed in a report published by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh, titled “The Redirection.” Citing US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials, as well as former US intelligence agents, Hersh reported:

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Hersh’s report would also include:

“the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Clearly, that is exactly what is playing out now in Syria, despite the Western media’s best efforts to portray otherwise. The US Army’s own reports indicate that very hotbeds of violence in Syria today, match precisely with 2007 identified Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood epicenters that were supplying terrorists to Iraq to fuel similarly deadly sectarian violence there.

Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.”

Additionally, the sectarian nature of these Western-backed terrorists was also warned against in Hersh’s 2007 report, specifically noting that if the plan went ahead, a sectarian bloodbath would ensue – and those hit hardest would include the Levant’s Christian populations. Hersh would report:

“Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Clearly this threat has now expanded over to neighboring Syria’s Christian populations. Western-backed terrorism has already targeted Christians across Syria, as reported in the LA Times’ “Church fears ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Christians in Homs, Syria,” as well as in USA Today’s distorted, but still telling, “Christians in Syria live in uneasy alliance with Assad, Alawites.” With the recent bombing of a Christian-Druze neighborhood in Damascus to add to the list, it is clear a concerted campaign of genocide is aimed at Syria’s many minorities by Western-backed sectarian extremists – on record, purposefully arrayed against Syria for this very purpose.

The silence of the UN, as well as the continued covering up by Western media agencies regarding this premeditated genocide is an egregious crime against humanity, one becoming increasingly difficult to cover up. The fraud of NATO’s Libya intervention is now fully revealed, with Libya’s “freedom fighters” exposed as Al Qaeda thrust into power by Western arms, cash, and diplomatic recognition. In Syria, before the legitimate ruling government has been destroyed, the West’s “freedom fighters” are now revealed for what they truly are.

Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer

 

SOURCE: Prison Planet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/breaking-western-backed-terrorists-in-syria-slaughter-christians-in-bombing.html

US-led NATO intervention begins in Syria war. Patriots in Turkey

“The positioning of US anti-missile missiles in Turkey coincides with the rebels’ success in destroying the Assad regime’s key air and radar stations in southern Syria and along the Jordanian border. The two thrusts add up to a coordinated military effort in northern and southern Syria to seize control of the skies in both regions from Assad’s control and push his forces back into central Syria.”

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 27, 2012, 9:47 AM (GMT+02:00)

Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Middle East military spotlight swung around from Gaza to the Syrian war with steps for the start of US and NATO intervention in that conflict. Without spelling this out, a game changer began unfolding when a joint Turkish-NATO team began making a site survey for the deployment of Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems, manned by American military teams. The team, said the statement from Ankara, will assess where to station the missiles and how many would be needed. It reiterated that the system is “for defensive purposes” and not for a “no-fly zone or offensive operations,” but just for use “against an air or missile threat from Syria.”
However, the Patriots in combination with already installed elements of the missile shield, will command an area beyond the Turkish-Syrian border – all of northern Syria up to and including the embattled towns of Aleppo and Homs, debkafile’s military sources report.
Their presence will impede the operations of Assad’s most effective and lethal means of war against the rebels in that region – air force bombardment.
The positioning of US anti-missile missiles in Turkey coincides with the rebels’ success in destroying the Assad regime’s key air and radar stations in southern Syria and along the Jordanian border. The two thrusts add up to a coordinated military effort in northern and southern Syria to seize control of the skies in both regions from Assad’s control and push his forces back into central Syria.
A part of the US-Turkish plan affects Israel. Monday, debkafile reported exclusively that in a resounding blow to Bashar Assad’s ability to fight external enemies, Syrian rebels had destroyed the Assad regime’s most important electronic warning radar station facing Israel – M-1 – Monday, Nov. 26.

This Russian-built station monitored Israeli warplanes’ takeoff and landing activities at air bases in the Negev and Hatzerim in the south and tracked them up to the Syrian border. The facility was designed to guide Syrian missiles targeting any point on the Israeli map, in sync with air defense facilities south of Damascus and on the Golan Heights. The radar’s range also covered naval movements in Mediterranean waters off the shores of Israel and Lebanon.
Western military sources told debkafile that the destruction of this vital facility has blinded the two eyes which Syrian air, air defense and missile forces had trained on Israel. It has therefore crippled, though not completely dismantled, Bashar Assad’s ability to got to war against Israel, Jordan or Saudi Arabia.
M-1 radar also swept all parts of Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia where the important Tabuk air base is situated. Deployed there in addition to the Saudi Air Force are French fighter-bombers ready to go to war against Syria.
M-1 also relayed current data on Israeli military movements to Hizballah and would have been a vital source of intelligence in a potential Lebanese Shiites offensive against the Jewish state.
The Syrian ruler and his spokesmen have frequently threatened since the eruption of the popular insurrection that if Assad had his back to the wall, the entire Middle East would go up in flames, especially Israel.

In the last two days, the Syrian rebels have made additional gains: They were able to capture areas abutting on the Jordanian border, excepting only the Ramtha border crossing. They also seized the Marj al-Sultan military air field southeast of Damascus and adjoining Syrian Army 4th Brigade bases.
Most of the men of the 82nd Infantry Brigade guarding M-1 were killed in the fighting, fled or were taken prisoner.
Our military sources notes that after M-1, the Assad regime still retains two key radar stations: M-2 in Shanshar south of Homs, which covers central and northern Syria; and M-3 near Latakia which keeps an eye on the northern region up to the Turkish border and the eastern Mediterranean up to Cyprus.
All three radar stations were linked to the Syrian general staff, air force, air defense, missile and navy operations rooms and fed them the essential real-time intelligence data needed for decision-making at the highest level. However, the loss of M-1 seriously hampers the Syria army’s capacity to take on Israel or Jordan.

 

Goodbye Petrodollar, Hello Agri-Dollar?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2012 09:50 -0500

When it comes to firmly established, currency-for-commodity, self reinforcing systems in the past century of human history, nothing comes close to the petrodollar: it is safe to say that few things have shaped the face of the modern world and defined the reserve currency as much as the $2.3 trillion/year energy exports denominated exclusively in US dollars (although recent confirmations of previously inconceivable exclusions such as Turkey’s oil-for-gold trade with Iran are increasingly putting the petrodollar status quo under the microscope). But that is the past, and with rapid changes in modern technology and extraction efficiency, leading to such offshoots are renewable and shale, the days of the petrodollar “as defined” may be over. So what new trade regime may be the dominant one for the next several decades? According to some, for now mostly overheard whispering in the hallways, the primary commodity imbalance that will shape the face of global trade in the coming years is not that of energy, but that of food, driven by constantly rising food prices due to a fragmented supply-side unable to catch up with increasing demand, one in which China will play a dominant role but not due to its commodity extraction and/or processing supremacy, but the contrary: due to its soaring deficit for agricultural products, and in which such legacy trade deficit culprits as the US will suddenly enjoy a huge advantage in both trade and geopolitical terms. Coming soon: the agri-dollar.

But first, some perspectives from Karim Bitar on CEO of Genus, on what is sure to be the biggest marginal player of the agri-dollar revolution, China, whose attempt to redefine itself as a consumption-driven superpower will fail epically and very violently, unless it is able to find a way to feed its massive, rising middle class in a cheap and efficient manner. But before that even, take note of the following chart which takes all you know about global trade surplus and deficit when narrowed down to what may soon be that all important agricultural (hence food) category, and flips it around on its head.

Karim Bitar on China:

Structurally, China is at a huge disadvantage as it accounts for 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of arable land. Compare that with Brazil which has the reverse of those ratios. What that does for a country like China is to incentivise the adoption of technification. Let’s look at their porcine market, which represents 50% of global production and consumption. In China, to slaughter roughly 600 mn pigs per year, which is about six times the demand in the US, they have a breeding herd of about 50 mn animals. In the US, the comparable number is only about 6 mn so there is a huge productivity lag.

Owing to its structural disadvantages, China is much more focused on increasing efficiency. For that, it needs to accelerate technification. So, we’re seeing a whole series of government incentives at a national level, a provincial level and a local level, focusing on the need to move toward integrated pork production because that’s a key way to optimise total economics, both in terms of pig production, slaughtering, processing and also actually taking the pork out into the marketplace.

The Chinese government is important as a customer to us because of its clarity of vision on food security. It has seen the Arab Spring, and it is cognisant of the strong socio-political implications of higher food prices. Pork prices could account for about 25% of the CPI, so it knows it can be a major issue. It’s because of all these pressures, that China is more focused on responding to the food challenge. It’s a sort of a burning platform there.

…Take milk production in China and India. China is basically trying to leapfrog and avoid small-scale farming by adopting a US model. In the US, you tend to have very large herds. Today about 30% of US milk production is from herds of 2,000 plus, and we expect that to reach 60% within the next five years. Today in China, there are already several hundred dairy herds of over 1,000. However in India, there’ll be less than 50. The average dairy herd size is closer to five, so it’s very fragmented. So the reality is that a place like China, because of government policies, subsidies and a much more demanding focused approach to becoming self-sufficient, has a much greater ability to respond to a supply challenge rapidly.

The problem for China, and to a lesser extent India, however one defines it, is that it will need increasingly more food, processed with ever greater efficiency for the current conservative regime to be able to preserve the status quo, all else equal. And for a suddenly very food trade deficit-vulnerable China, it means that the biggest winners may be Brazil, the US and Canada. Oh and Africa. The only question is how China will adapt in a new world in which it finds itself in an odd position: a competitive trade disadvantage, especially its primary nemesis: the USA.

So for those curious how a world may look like under the Agri-dollar, read on for some timely views from GS’ Hugo Scott-Gall.

Meaty problems, simmering solutions

What potential impacts could a further re-pricing of food have on the world? Why might food re-price? Because demand is set to rise faster than supply can respond. The forces pushing demand higher are well known, population growth, urbanisation and changing middle class size and tastes. In terms of economic evolution, the food price surge comes after the energy price surge, as industrialisation segues into consumption growth (high-income countries consume about 30% more calories than low income nations, but the difference in value is about eight times). Here, we are keenly interested in how the supply side can respond, both in terms of where and how solutions are found, and who is supplying them. We are drawn towards an analogy with the energy industry here: the energy industry has invested heavily in efficiency, and through innovation, clusters of excellence, and access to capital has created solutions, the most obvious of which are renewable energy and shale. The key question for us is, can and will something similar happen in food?

It’s hard to argue that the ingredients that sparked energy’s supply-side response are all present in the food supply chain. In food, there’s huge fragmentation, a lack of coordination, shortages of capital in support industries (infrastructure) and only pockets of isolated innovation. We suspect that the supply-side response may well remain uncoordinated and slower than in other industries. But things are changing. Those who disagree with Thomas Malthus will always back human ingenuity. As well as looking at where the innovators in the supply chain are (from page 10), and where there are sustainably high returns through IP (e.g., seeds, enzymes etc.), we need to think about the macro and micro economic impacts of higher food prices, and soberingly, the geo-political ones.

Slimming down

Could the demand destruction that higher energy prices have precipitated occur in food? There are some important differences between the two that make resolving food imbalances tougher. Food consumption is very fragmented and there is less scope for substitution.

Changing eating habits is much harder than changing the fuel burnt for power. And, ultimately, food spend is less discretionary that energy, i.e., the scope for efficient consumption is more limited and consumers will not (and cannot) voluntarily delay consumption, let alone structurally reduce it. This means that higher food prices, especially in economies where food is a greater portion of household spending, will lead to either lower consumption of discretionary items or a reduced ability to service debt (with consequent effects on asset prices). When oil prices spiked in the late 1970s, US consumers spent c.9% of their income on energy vs. an average of 7% over the previous decade. And yet, the total savings rate rose by c.2% as they overcompensated on spending cuts on other items. 2007-09 saw a similar phenomenon too. Even the most cursory browse through history shows that high food costs can act as a political tinderbox (so too high youth unemployment), and we believe there is a degree of overconfidence with regard to the economic impact of food prices in the West: food costs relative to incomes may look manageable, but when there is no buffer (i.e., a minimal savings rate) then there are problems. Food spend as a percentage of total household consumption expenditure is a relatively benign 14% in the US, versus c.20% for most major European nations and Japan. This rises to c.40% for China and 45% for India. Of course, as wages rise, the proportion of food within total consumption expenditure falls, but that is only after consumption hits a ceiling. Currently, India and China consume about 2,300 and 2,900 calories per capita per day, compared to a DM average of about 3,400. If the two countries eat like the West, then food production must rise by 12%. And if the rest of the world catches up to these levels then that number is north of 50%.

The scramble for Africa’s eggs

In terms of ownership of resources, food, like energy, can be broken into haves and have-nots. While there are countries that have been successful without resources, it is quite clear that inheriting advantages (in this case good soil, climate and water) makes life easier. But that, of course, is only half the battle; what is also required is organisation, capital, education and collaboration to make it happen. Take Africa. It has 60% of the world’s uncultivated land, enviable demographics and lots of water (though not evenly distributed). Basic infrastructure, consolidation of agricultural land and minimal use of fertilisers and crop protection could do wonders for agricultural output in the region. But that’s easier said than done. Several African economies also need better access to information, education, property rights and access to markets and capital. Put another way, it needs better institutions. If Africa does deliver over the coming decades, rising food prices will alter the economics of investing in the region. The next scramble for Africa should be about food (while it is about hard commodities now and in the late 19th century it was about empire size). Fertiliser consumption has a diminishing incremental impact on yields, but Africa (along with several developing economies elsewhere) is far from touching that ceiling. Currently, Africa accounts for just 3% of global agricultural trade, with South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire together accounting for a third of the entire continent’s exports. But if the world wants to feed itself then it needs Africa to emerge as an agricultural powerhouse.

Higher up the production curve is China, which has been industrialising its agriculture as it seeks to move towards self sufficiency. Power consumed by agricultural machinery has almost doubled over the last decade, while the number of tractors per household has tripled, driving per hectare output up by an average of more than 20% over the same period.

Even so, in just the last 10 years China has gone from surplus to deficit in several meat, vegetable and cereal categories. So a lot more needs to be done, and a shortage of water could also prove to be an impediment, especially in some of its remote areas.

The power of the pampas

With significant surpluses in soybeans, maize, meat and oilseeds, Brazil and Argentina have led the Latin American continent in terms of food trade. Current surpluses are 6x and 3x 2000 levels, versus only a 30% increase in the previous decade, and are rising. A key impediment to boosting exports is infrastructure. Food has to travel a long way just to reach the port, and then further still to reach other markets. Forty days is possibly acceptable for iron ore to reach China on a ship from Brazil, but that would prevent several perishable food items from being exported. And hence, solution providers in terms of durability, packaging, refrigeration and processing will be in demand. Also, while you could attribute a lot of the agricultural success of LatAm economies to good conditions, they have also benefitted from the adoption of agricultural innovation. For instance, more than a third of crops planted in the region are as seeds that are genetically modified, versus more than 45% in the US and about 12% in Asia. Genetically modified crops are not new. They provide solutions to some of the most frequent constraints on agricultural yields (resistance to environmental challenges including drought and more efficient absorption of soil nutrients, fertilisers and water) or add value by enhancing nutrient composition or the shelf life of the crop. And while the adoption of GM crops and seeds is far from wholehearted, particularly in Europe, it’s most certainly a key part of the solution in economies that are set to face a more severe food shortage.

The last mango in Paris?

Europe’s deficit/surplus makes for interesting reading. Seventeen of the 27 EU countries face a food trade deficit, and yet, the EU overall recorded a surplus (barely) in 2010 for only the second time in the last 50 years (see chart). Broken down further, the UK is the largest food importer, followed by Germany and Italy, while the Netherlands and France lead exports thanks to their very large processing industries. If Europe’s future is one of relative economic decline, then reduced purchasing power when bidding for scarce food resources is an unappetising prospect. Therefore, it needs all
the innovative solutions it can muster, or import substitution will have to increase. It’s important to note that being in overall surplus or deficit can mask variety at the category level, i.e., Europe is a net importer of beef, fruit & vegetables, and corn, while its exports are helped by alcohol and wine specifically. Japan, in particular, is very challenged. It is the only country in the preceding table to show a deficit in every single food category.

We conclude our trip around the world in North America. Large-scale production, access to markets, a home to innovation
and favourable regulation has meant that the US (and Canada) continues to dominate some of the key agricultural resources such as soybeans, corn, fodder, wheat and oilseeds. Put this self sufficiency together with the medium-term potential for energy self sufficiency and relatively good demographics (better than China), and a rosier prognosis for the US, versus the rest of the Western world and parts of Asia, begins to fall into place.

Agri-dollars on the rise

Before we conclude, we need to devote a few lines to the geo-political and macro economic consequences of higher food prices. It’s likely that countries will act increasingly strategically to secure food supply, and that protections (e.g., high export tariffs) may well rise. It is also likely that there are special bi-lateral deals to access stable and secure food supply.

This could obviously damage the integrity of the WTO-sponsored system. Another consequence might be the emergence of agri-dollars, in the same way that petro-dollars emerged in the 1970s. This may seem far fetched (the value of the world’s energy exports is US$2.3 tn compared to US$1.08 tn for agriculture) but it’s important to think through the consequences. The big exporters, especially those with the scope to grow their output, may well have sustainable surpluses that can be reinvested into their economies (or extracted by a narrow part of society). Similarly, the consequence of being a net importer will be an effective tax on consumption: disposable income in the US would jump if oil was US$25/bbl.

As we have said, we would expect the big gainers of a meaningful rise in food prices in real terms to be Brazil, the US and Canada, while Japan, South Korea and the UK would face challenges. The top chart is important: look how China’s surplus has turned to deficit. What will happen if the Chinese middle class swells as it is expected to? And that’s the rub; what we have been used to in terms of food’s importance is set to change. How food moves around the world is likely to change, and the flow of currency around the world will also likely be impacted.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-24/goodbye-petrodollar-hello-agri-dollar