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Iran Says It Could Terminate European Oil Sales Next Week

Iran
© ISNA
Escalating retaliatory threats over the West's nuclear sanctions, Iran warned on Friday that it could terminate oil sales to Europe as early as next week, and it bluntly advised Arab oil producers that any attempt by them to replace Iranian exports would be considered unfriendly.

The threats came as Iranian officials repeated their willingness to re-engage in negotiations with the Western powers over Iran's uranium enrichment program, although the prospects for such a resumption appeared to grow more uncertain. Iran also was preparing to play host this weekend to a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitor, which issued an incriminating report about Iran's uranium enrichment program two months ago.

That report elevated Western suspicions that Iran was laying the groundwork to build an atomic weapon despite Iran's repeated assertions that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful ends.

USA

US Plans for Perpetual War

Obama, Panetta
© unknown
Defense Secretary Panetta and President Obama
As an attack on Iran remains temporarily on the backburner and Syria, home to "US-identified" terrorist group Hamas, moves up the queue as the next target for military intervention, both are part of a larger strategy proposed to newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996.

The "Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" suggested a "new approach to peace' premised on a 'clean break' from the Oslo peace process of the 1990's. Oslo would have withdrawn Israeli troops from the occupied territories while affirming Palestine's right of self-determination. Rather than pursuing a 'comprehensive peace' with the Arab world, Clean Break advocated an aggressive pre-emptive military strategy to destabilize Iraq and eliminate Saddam Hussein. In addition, Clean Break retained the 'right of hot pursuit' anywhere within the occupied territories and encouraged 'seizing the initiative' by "engaging" Hezbollah, Syria and Iran to trigger ultimate regime change.

The key authors of that document, American neo-cons Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Douglas Feith (who Gen. Tommy Franks called the 'f... stupidest guy on the face of the earth" ie Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, pg 281), soon found themselves influential national security positions within a receptive Bush Administration from which to proselytize their recommendations.

Die

Is Sarkozy About to Throw in the Towel?

Sarkozy
© Getty Images
President Nicolas Sarkozy will be fighting for his political life when he makes a live appearance on French TV tonight. Some senior figures within his own party fear that he has already lost all chance of winning the two-round presidential election in April and May. There is speculation - possibly rooted in wishful thinking - that Mr Sarkozy may soon be tempted to throw in the towel and allow another senior centre-right politician to run in his place.

Sources within his centre-right party insist that the President will make no dramatic statements tonight. He will not say that he is pulling out of the race. Nor will he declare - yet - that he is a candidate for another five-year presidential term. His TV address to the nation will be purely presidential, they insist: announcing a programme of "urgent" and "revolutionary" reforms to make the struggling French economy more competitive. This will include a controversial plan to shift part of the high pay-roll tax burden on French employers to a higher rate of VAT.

But the tone and contents of Mr Sarkozy's address will be closely watched by supporters, and rivals, within his centre-right party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP). The President upset some of his supporters last week with off-the-record comments in which he said that he would give up politics if he lost the election.

War Whore

Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran

A crew loaded a 'bunker buster
© Defense Threat Reduction Agency / Associated Press
A crew loaded a 'bunker buster' at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2007; the military hopes to make the bomb more powerful.
Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn't yet capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.

The 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea to cloak their nuclear programs.

But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, wouldn't be capable of destroying some of Iran's facilities, either because of their depth or because Tehran has added new fortifications to protect them.

Doubts about the MOP's effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb's ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, the officials said.

The push to boost the power of the MOP is part of stepped-up contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program, say U.S. officials.

Stormtrooper

Doctors Without Borders says it halts work in Libyan city's prisons because of torture

Image

The crimes being committed by the US/NATO's agents in Libya are so heinous, anyone who can leave the country is doing so.
Medical group halts work in Libyan city's prisons

Doctors Without Borders has suspended its work in prisons in the Libyan city of Misrata because it said torture was so rampant that some detainees were brought for care only to make them fit for further interrogation, the group said Thursday.

The announcement was compounded by a statement from Amnesty International saying it has recorded widespread prisoner abuse in other cities as well, leading to the death of several inmates.

The allegations, which come more than three months after former leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed, were an embarrassment to the governing National Transitional Council, which is struggling to establish its authority in the divided nation.

Doctors Without Borders said that since August, its medical teams have treated 115 people in Misrata who bore torture-related wounds, including cigarette burns, heavy bruising, bone fractures, tissue burns from electric shocks and kidney failure from beatings. Two detainees died after being interrogated, the group's general director said.

Vader

Torture and Abuse in Libya

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Born in the USA... CIA and MI6-trained Libyan rebels are torturing ordinary Libyan civilians en masse. Once protected by Ghaddafi, now even Western aid groups are fleeing the hell unleashed by their governments in Libya.
NATO's alleged "responsibility to protect" was subterfuge. Months of terror bombings left Libya a charnel house.

Africa's most developed country was ravaged. Tens of thousands were killed, multiples more injured, and millions left on their own sink or swim.

When is war not war? It's when mass killing and destruction are called the right thing. It's also when terrorizing and traumatizing an entire population goes unaddressed.

Add horrific torture to other crimes and abuses, according to Amnesty International (AI), Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Stormtrooper

Russia Must Be Ready for Space, Cyber Wars

Image
© RIA Novosti. Alexandr Utkin
Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov
Russia must be ready for wars in space and in networks, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov said on Saturday.

"As you see, warfare center has moved to aerospace and information spheres, including cyber security, from traditional war theatres on land and sea. Concepts of network-centric war have made great progress," Makarov told an Academy of Military Sciences meeting. "We appraise how ... this question is being solved in Western leading countries."

Stop

Huge Israeli Heron TP drone that can reach Iran crashes during routine flight

The Israeli military says a drone that can fly as far as Iran has crashed in central Israel on a routine experimental flight.

The military says there were no injuries in Sunday's crash, and it was investigating the incident.

The Heron TP drone is also known locally as the Eitan. It has a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making it the size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet. It is the largest unmanned aircraft in Israel's military arsenal.

The drone figures to be featured prominently in any potential Israeli operation against Iran and its expanding nuclear program.

Bad Guys

United Nations Preparing to Manage Global Mental Health

UN logo
© n/a
In a world where national sovereignty is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, announcements that the United Nations will be taking the lead on any variety of topics is no longer shocking. Indeed, there is a real push across the world to view the United Nations as the ultimate authority on virtually every issue, from human rights to nutritional content in food.

Through decades of propagandizing, the United Nations has developed an undeserved reputation for humanitarianism and democracy. As a result, the vast majority see the United Nations as a benevolent organization which they can call on to defend human rights in their home countries. Unfortunately, national sovereignty rarely enters into the equation anymore, as the average citizen tends to look straight to the United Nations to address their concerns, bypassing their own governments.

As case in point, a recent report by AFP, entitled, "Experts urge U.N. to address mental health," discusses how a recent article in PLoS Medicine, a reputable medical journal, has called for the United Nations General Assembly to develop a plan to tackle mental, neurological, and substance-abuse disorders (MNS).

The article was authored by Vikram Patel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Judith Bass from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the United States, among other contributors. They write, "The time has come for recognition at the highest levels of global development, namely the U.N. General Assembly, of the urgent need for a global strategy to address the global burden of MNS disorders."

Nuke

Nukespeak: The Selling of Nuclear Technology from the Manhattan Project to Fukushima

nukespeak book cover
© n/a
Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Nukespeak: the Selling of Nuclear Technology from the Manhattan Project to Fukushima by Stephen Hilgartner, Richard C. Bell and Rory O'Connor. Check out more about Nukespeak and buy the book here.

Global Warming Opens a Door

None of the nuclear industry's public relations campaigns during the 1980s were able to wrest the industry from the quagmire of the Dark Age. Just when the accident at Three Mile island was finally beginning to fade into the past, along came the 1986 meltdown of the Russian reactor at Chernobyl.

The imagery from Chernobyl was far more horrifying than anything from Three Mile island. All in all, the images brought back all of the fears unleashed with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the events that cast such a pall over the early development of nuclear power.

But in 1988, a flicker of hope appeared, when the issue of fossil-fuel driven climate change jumped onto the public agenda with the dramatic Senate testimony from climate scientist James Hansen to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 23, 1988.