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Fri, 24 Sep 2021
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Dollar

Bahrain killings bring Mid-East turmoil to epicentre of world oil supply

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© Unknown
Bahrain killings bring Mid-East turmoil to epicentre of world oil supply
Escalating violence in the oil states of the Persian Gulf and North Africa have pushed Brent crude prices to a 30-month high of $104 a barrel, and raised widespread concerns over the stability of global oil supplies for the first time since the Mid-East turmoil began.

At least four protesters were killed in a bloody crack-down in Bahrain after tanks entered the capital and security forces smashed a tent city in the main square, opening fire with grapeshot. The situation is fraught with risk since a Sunni monarchy rules a Shia majority with mixed Iranian ancestry and sympathetic ties to Tehran.

"Bahrain is the main danger, not because it is intrinsically important, but because it could trigger intervention by Saudi Arabia," said Faysal Itani, a Mid-East expert at consultants Exclusive Analysis. "We have heard reports that the Saudis have already dispatched troops and equipment to put down the uprising".

Up to 20 people may have been killed in Libya's "Day of Anger" as the Ghaddafi regime faced its first big threat, while there was a fifth day of violent clashes in Yemen. Iran's plans to send two warships through the Suez Canal to bolster its Syrian ally led to hot words with Israel, notching up tensions further.

Vader

British death merchants supplied Bahrain with weapons for murdering protesters

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© John Moore/Getty Images
Medical staff receive an injured protester after police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four and wounding many more
MoD to review arms export licences after Bahrain clears protesters with UK-made crowd-controls weapons such as teargas and stun grenades

The British government has launched a review of arms exports to Bahrain after it emerged that the country's security forces were supplied with weapons by the United Kingdom.

After a bloody crackdown in the capital, Manama, left up to five people dead and more than 100 injured, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the government will "urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the [UK and European Union] criteria".

Despite long-running concerns among activists over Bahrain's human rights record, British firms were last year granted licences, unopposed, to export an arsenal of sometimes deadly crowd control weapons. Licences approved included exactly the kind of weapons and ammunition used by Bahraini riot police to clear the Pearl Roundabout protest encampment, including shotguns, teargas canisters, "crowd control ammunition" and stun grenades.

"We closely consider allegations of human rights abuses," said Burt. "We will not authorise any exports which, we assess, might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, which might be used to facilitate internal repression."

Che Guevara

The Arab Revolutions and Us: Start Quaking in Your Boots!

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In his latest debate on the France 2 TV channel, discussion show anchor Yves Calvi expressed alarm about the possible rise of Islamism in Egypt and Tunisia. However, here we will consider how, if we leave the emotionally-charged media coverage to one side and attempt to analyse the contradictions between the West and the Arab world rationally, these revolutions are less of a threat than an example for us Westerners to follow. We have the opportunity to create a fairer world. Why be afraid?

Astonishing. On Monday 7th February, the title of the discussion programme Mots Croisés, ('Cross words'), presented by Yves Calvi on France 2, was "The Arab revolutions and us". While no-one dared challenge the legitimacy of the popular moments setting Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the region alight, the presenter and some of his guests nevertheless raised the Islamist spectre, a sure-fire way to send a shiver down viewers' spines. There was talk of "fears of an Iranian scenario", "enthusiasm for freedom but also a sense of anxiety" or indeed "prudent rather than unconditional support". With great subtlety, Calvi also asked whether democracy was "playing into the hands of the fundamentalists". Special praise also goes to prominent 'intellectual' Alain Finkielkraut who, true to form, managed to slip in his view of "a phenomenon heading more towards a clash of civilisations than the establishment of a democracy looking to provide its people with a dignified and decent life."

Should Westerners be afraid then of the Arab revolutions ? Is the Near and Middle East, indeed the whole world, at risk of plunging into chaos ? Are we about to be overrun by bearded burqa-wielding fanatics, in an assault on civilised Europe ? To answer these questions, we need first to analyse the profound contradictions between the West and the Arab world. As we shall see, the differences have very little to do with a heated clash of civilisations, and are very much linked to a system based on the quest for maximum profit which has led the West to pillage and oppress the Arab peoples. Naturally, Calvi and his guests refrained from analysing these systems, preferring rather to base their discussions on irrational fears - so much better for viewing ratings. It also means we can seek to subjugate the savages and the fundamentalists without once calling ourselves into question.

Bad Guys

No Iran Warships Set to Enter Suez Canal, Egypt Says, And Yet Israel's Schizoid Delusions Persist

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© Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday that Iran was planning to send two gunboats through the canal to Syria, which would involve sailing through the eastern Mediterranean, off Israel’s coast.
Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said no Iranian warships have applied to use the route since yesterday, when Israel's foreign minister accused Iran of a "provocation" by planning to send two naval vessels to Syria via the waterway.

"No Iranian war vessels have passed through the Suez Canal today and not yesterday," the authority's head of traffic, Ahmed El Manakhly, told Bloomberg Television in an interview. "We didn't have any requests for any Iranian vessels to pass through the canal."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Iran was planning late yesterday to send two gunboats through the canal to Syria, which would involve sailing through the eastern Mediterranean, off Israel's coast.

Dollar

Bernanke: Don't blame easy money for capital swings

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© Larry Downing/REUTERS
Speaking ahead of a diplomatic summit in Paris Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended easy money policies in advanced economies against the charge they are overheating emerging markets.
Paris - U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended easy money policies in advanced economies against the charge they are overheating emerging markets, saying factors such as exchange rate rigidity are also to blame.

Speaking ahead of an economic summit in Paris that will include many critics of the Fed's aggressive bond buying program, Bernanke acknowledged that strong capital flows from advanced economies to emerging markets may be having negative spillover effects.

"Capital flows are once again posing some notable challenges for international macroeconomic and financial stability," he said in remarks prepared for delivery to a Banque de France event in Paris before meetings of the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 leading economies.

However, he said that although policy-makers in the emerging markets clearly face challenges, such concerns should be weighed against stronger emerging market growth and steps emerging economies themselves can take.

Cult

Propaganda Alert: Al-Qaida No. 2 issues video after Egypt upheaval

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© AP/IntelCenter
Undated photo of Ayman al-Zawahri
Cairo - Al-Qaida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued the terror network's first message since the upheaval began in Egypt, saying the country's rule has long "deviated from Islam" and warning that democracy "can only be non-religious."

The wave of popular protests that ousted Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, appeared to have caught al-Qaida off guard. The terror group had long called for the destruction of Mubarak's regime - and al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor, was part of a militant uprising against Mubarak in the 1990s that was crushed.

But the demonstrations were led by secular, liberal activists calling for greater democracy - in stark contrast to the Islamic state that al-Zawahri and al-Qaida call for. In past videos and messages, al-Zawahri has frequent denounced democracy because it replaces God's laws with man's.

In the 34-minute videotape issued Friday, al-Zawahri makes no mention on the protests or Mubarak's fall. The video is dated to the Islamic lunar month of Safar, which corresponds with the dates Jan. 5-Feb. 3. It gives no more specific date for its creation.

Comment: Playing both sides of it aren't 'they?' Certainly the part 2 version of the Al-CIAda video will make reference to Mubarak leaving and be made available by the folks at IntelCenter.


Bad Guys

Russia may tweak Arctic park border for oil firms

Moscow - Russia's Natural Resources Ministry wants to set an Arctic nature reserve's borders in a way that environmentalists say will subvert existing boundaries to accommodate the oil drilling plans of BP and Rosneft.

Last month BP -- seeking to recover from the impact of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- and Russia's state-run major Rosneft said they would drill for oil in three huge offshore blocks in the Arctic Kara Sea.

Two of these blocks, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) map, encroach on waters that are part of a protected national park and are home to polar bears and whales.

The government ministry argues that the border has yet to be demarcated, while the environmental group said it was fixed when the park was created in 2010.

Black Cat

US vetoes UN vote on Israeli land grab and genocide

For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
© Gallo/Getty Images
For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as "illegal" and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.

He added that the European Union's three biggest nations hope that an independent state of Palestine will join the United Nations as a new member state by September 2011.

The Obama administration's veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. An abstention would have angered the Israelis, the closest US ally in the region, as well as Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in the American Congress.

Comment: Keep in mind that the USA reportedly gives Israel approximately $8.3 million dollars in aid every day! As long as the USA continues funding Israel while not taking a firm outspoken stand against the illegal settlements and the killing of Palestinians the USA will remain complicit in those crimes.


Video

'Really, really creepy' Nazi 3-D films discovered

Germany Olympics
© Associated Press
Berlin's Olympic Stadium in 1936. Filmmaker Philippe Mora says 3-D photography “was a huge fad in Nazi Germany. They had 3-D magazines. They shot everything, the Olympics, everything, on 3-D film, as well as regular film.”
An Australian filmmaker has discovered two perfectly preserved 3-D films the Nazis made 75 years ago as part of their propaganda machine.

Tucked on a shelf in the Federal Archives in Berlin, the 30-minute films were part of "the Nazi effort to control minds," Philippe Mora told the Star on Thursday.

"It's scary stuff. They were more advanced at doing it than we even knew."

As part of his research into a documentary on how Nazi Germany's Third Reich obsessively recorded itself, Mora discovered an intense fascination with 3-D imagery.

"It was a huge fad in Nazi Germany. They had 3-D magazines. They shot everything, the Olympics, everything, on 3-D film, as well as regular film."

Comment: "In essence advertisements for the glories of living in Nazi Germany, the films show young, attractive people singing, dancing, barbecuing bratwurst, camping and riding around in Mercedes-Benz cars."

Replace the words "Nazi Germany" with "Democratic America" and this sentence accurately describes many modern American television commercial programs, where everyone is having fun partying while the state crumbles and the world burns.


People

Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people

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These days, with Facebook and Twitter and social media galore, it can be increasingly hard to tell who your "friends" are.

But after this, Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my "friends" even real people?

In the continuing saga of data security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discredit progressive bloggers, they also crafted detailed proposals for software that manages online "personas," allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake people as they'd like.