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Russia Says Will Stand Firm With China on Syria

Image
© Reuters/ Sana/Handout
People unfurl a giant flag as they attend a rally to show support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus January 11, 2012.
Russia will offer Washington no explanation for arms deliveries to Syria and together with China will prevent the U.N. Security Council from approving any military intervention in the conflict-torn nation, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Using his annual news conference to draw lines in the sand on Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said veto-holding Security Council members Russia and China would stand firm against foreign intervention.

"We will insist - and we have an understanding with our Chinese colleagues that this is our common position - that these fundamental points be retained in any decision that may be taken by the U.N. Security Council," Lavrov said.

"If somebody intends to use force ... it will be on their conscience. They will not receive any authority from the Security Council," said Lavrov, who also emphasized that Russia and China oppose any sanctions against Syria.

Russia has been the most vocal supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a 10-month government crackdown that the United Nations says has killed more than 5,000 civilians, refusing to join calls for him to step down.

Dollar

The Global Elite Are Hiding 18 Trillion Dollars In Offshore Banks

beach @ sunset
© n/a
In recent days, the fact that Mitt Romney has millions of dollars parked down in the Cayman Islands has made headlines all over the world. But when it comes to offshore banking, what Mitt Romney is doing is small potatoes. The truth is that the global elite are hiding an almost unbelievable amount of money in offshore banks. According to shocking research done by the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banks. And that figure does not even count any money being held in Switzerland. That is a staggering amount of money. Keep in mind that U.S. GDP in 2010 was only 14.58 trillion dollars.

So why do the global elite go to such trouble to hide their money in offshore banks? Well, there are two main reasons. One is privacy and the other is low taxation. Privacy is a big issue for those that are involved in illegal enterprises such as drug running, but the biggest reason why people move money into offshore banks is in order to avoid taxes. Some set up bank accounts in foreign nations because they want to legally minimize their taxes and others set up bank accounts in foreign nations because they want to illegally avoid taxes. You would be absolutely amazed at what some large corporations and wealthy individuals do to get out of paying taxes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the rest of us don't have the resources or the knowledge to play these games, so we get taxed into oblivion.

So why do they call it "offshore banking"?

Well, the term originally developed because the banks on the Channel Islands were "offshore" from the United Kingdom. Most "offshore banks" are still located on islands today. The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man are examples of this. Other "offshore banking centers" such as Monaco are actually not "offshore" at all, but the term applies to them anyway.

Bad Guys

Are Multinational Corporations Psychopathic?

Image
© Unknown
The infamous decision of the NeoConservative, pro-corporate, anti-democratic members of the Supreme Court in their 2010 "Citizens United" decision granted personhood to corporations. The ruling, which allows unlimited and anonymous funding of political campaigns by inanimate paper corporations, has further emboldened the already too-powerful, greedy and easily corruptible multinationals and their conservative political lapdogs to tighten control, via their campaign contributions (aka "investments or bribes"), over both centrist and right-wing lawmakers and Republican governors in both state and national legislatures. It is estimated that big corporations, through their lavish use of campaign money bribery, control the vast majority of our "elected" national leaders, both Republican and Democrat.

The five Supreme Court justices that decided the 5-4 decision in favor of corporate personhood, made legal the absurd notion that non-human American corporations deserve the same constitutional rights as flesh and blood humans.

At the time of the decision, I recall being horrified, not just at the decision, but at the lack of outrage at this clearly outrageous Constitution-crippling decision. The objections that were expressed by the small number of progressive commentators that were allowed media time, was quickly shouted down by the talking heads and the right-wing politicians that appeared 24-7 on the corporate-controlled media.

And what should have elicited massive civil disobedience was quickly drowned out of the public consciousness by the orchestrated buzz about Toyota's recall of accelerator pedals - most of which had never caused any serious accidents, much less deaths. The massive media coverage of Toyota successfully drowned-out the Citizens United decision by a thousand to one margin.

Comment: For more information on psychopathy, see these Sott links:

Beware the Corporate Psychopath

Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes


Bad Guys

When Will Environmentalists Ever Wake Up? The Great Pipeline Scam

obama
© Guardian

In another ridiculous moment of political trickery, Obama managed to dupe a major chunk of the American environmental movement yesterday by refusing to authorize the construction of the Keystone Pipeline now. The keyword in that sentence which seems like it is being largely ignored by the enviros is now, because what Obama did do is leave open the possibility of authorizing the construction of a pipeline any time in the future, say just after the election? And not that it matters much, as pipeline or not Tar Sands are already being refined all across the United States in increasing amounts. This great victory being celebrated by 350.org, Bill Mckibben and the no carbon crusaders out there is a complete farce to manipulate voters as we head into the latest corporate sponsored election.

Why is it so hard for seemingly good and well intentioned people to see the reality in front of them? Climate change will not be reversed by temporarily stopping this pipeline and Tar Sands are still moving forward full steam ahead. The Petrolarchs will get their Tar Sands Oil to market anyway they can pipeline or not. As was widely reported in the mainstream media, the state department made sure to leave the door open for Trans Canada to go ahead with another proposal for the construction of the pipeline. Trans Canada says they are preparing to start construction on schedule, knowing full well that this is already a done deal. Is it Obama's nurturing language that fools them? "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," Obama said. How many times will these well intentioned people allow themselves to be fooled? It seems that many of these good folks often get swept away by the feel good headlines and rarely read beyond the first two paragraphs of an article. Obama should be thanking the idiot republicans for this one, as it was a good way to rally a part of his most gullible base.

Vader

US, Outlawing dissent: Rahm Emanuel's new regime

Rahm Emanuel
© Aude Guerrucci/POOL/EPA
Former White House chief of staff and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
On the pretext of policing upcoming G8 and Nato summits, Chicago's mayor has awarded himself draconian new powers

It's almost as if Rahm Emanuel was lifting a page from Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine - as if he was reading her account of Milton Friedman's "Chicago Boys" as a cookbook recipe, rather than as the ominous episode that it was. In record time, Emanuel successfully exploited the fact that Chicago will host the upcoming G8 and Nato summit meetings to increase his police powers and extend police surveillance, to outsource city services and privatize financial gains, and to make permanent new limitations on political dissent. It all happened - very rapidly and without time for dissent - with the passage of rushed security and anti-protest measures adopted by the city council on 18 January 2012.

Sadly, we are all too familiar with the recipe by now: first, hype up and blow out of proportion a crisis (and if there isn't a real crisis, as in Chicago, then create one), call in the heavy artillery and rapidly seize the opportunity to expand executive power, to redistribute wealth for private gain and to suppress political dissent. As Friedman wrote in Capitalism and Freedom in 1982 - and as Klein so eloquently describes in her book:
"Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function ... until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

Eye 1

Britain Admits Moscow Spy Rock


Britain has for the first time admitted it was spying when Russia's state security service, the FSB, accused British diplomats of using a transceiver hidden inside a rock on a Moscow street.

Footage showing the alleged spies using the device was aired on Russian TV in January 2006. The FSB described it as "absolutely new spy technology."

The UK Foreign Office then denied the claims.

But in a BBC documentary due to be broadcast later today, Jonathan Powell, then Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief of staff, admitted the footage was genuine.

Stop

Obama Plugs Oil Pipeline, GOP Protest

Obama
© The Associated Press/Charles Rex Arbogast
GOP leaders jumped on the news that President Barack Obama is stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada, and charged him with putting his political fortunes ahead of the good of the country.

In a tweet ostensibly directed at Obama, the National Republican Congressional Committee said, "U just turned ur back on 20k american workers & energy security what r u gonna do next? I'm going 2 Disney World."

On Thursday, Obama is schedule to fly to Disney World - locared in the swing state of Florida - to tout new regulatory initiatives.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also slammed the announcement, saying that "Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is as shocking as it is revealing."

"If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin," Romney said.

Laptop

Israeli Hackers Hit Saudi Stock Exchange

jewscounterhack
© Home Box Office
We're not saying that 0xOmar looks like this.
Israeli hackers quickly retaliated yesterday against Monday's online disruption of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Airlines' websites by launching a counterstrike, taking down the websites of the Saudi Stock Exchange and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Going by the name "IDF-Team," the Israeli hacking group reportedly paralyzed Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange site, and caused significant delays to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in a series of coordinated cyberattacks, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

In a statement posted to Pastebin, the IDF-Team (named after the country's military, the Israeli Defense Force) said its hack was payback for the unsuccessful attempt to take down El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

"If the lame attacks from Saudi Arabia will continue, we will move to the next level which will disable these sites longer term," IDF-Team wrote. That disruption "may come to weeks or even months. You have been warned."

Laptop

Israel Rattled as Hackers Hit Bourse, Banks, El Al

jewshacked
© Reuters
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks past an El Al Israel Airlines logo at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv,in this file picture taken August 22, 2011.
Hackers disrupted online access to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Airlines and three banks on Monday in what the government described as a cyber-offensive against Israel.

The attacks came just days after an unidentified hacker, proclaiming Palestinian sympathies, posted the details of thousands of Israeli credit card holders and other personal information on the Internet in a mass theft.

Stock trading and El Al flights operated normally despite the disruption, which occurred as Israeli media reported that pro-Palestinian hackers had threatened at the weekend to shut down the TASE stock exchange and airline Web sites.

While apparently confined to areas causing only limited inconvenience, the attacks have caused particular alarm in a country that depends on high-tech systems for much of its defense against hostile neighbors. Officials insist, however, that they pose no immediate security threat.

"They have demanded an apology for Israel's defensive measures," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on his Facebook page, alluding to the conflict with Palestinians.

Comment: Giving the PTB MORE reason to shut down the internet.

Geeze, it's starting to look a lot like False Flag terrorist attacks every day. You know, like so-called Palestinian suicide bombers?


Bad Guys

US Feds shut down file-sharing website

One of the world's largest file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company executives were charged with violating piracy laws, federal prosecutors said.

An indictment accuses Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart online piracy.

The Justice Department said in a statement said that Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and three others were arrested Thursday in New Zealand at the request of U.S. officials. Two other defendants are at large.

Megaupload was unique not only because of its massive size and the volume of downloaded content, but also because it had high-profile support from celebrities, musicians and other content producers who are most often the victims of copyright infringement and piracy. Before the website was taken down, it contained endorsements from Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, among others.

The Hong Kong-based company listed Swizz Beatz, a musician who married Keys in 2010, as its CEO.

Before the site was taken down, it posted a statement saying allegations that it facilitated massive breaches of copyright laws were "grotesquely overblown."

Comment: Do watch this very informative video for more information on the the behind-the-scenes manipulation of the entire piracy "problem".