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Thu, 30 Mar 2023
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In Arctic oil battle, Shell starts preliminary drilling

© Shell
Shell's Noble Discoverer drilling rig sits above an oil field in Alaska's Chukchi Sea on Saturday, Sept. 8.
More than 20 years after the last drill bit went into the Chukchi Sea floor off northern Alaska, a Shell drilling rig on Sunday began work that the company hopes will lead to a bonanza that adds to its bottom line and extends Alaska's oil economy.

"Today marks the culmination of Shell's six-year effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves, which are believed to lie under Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf," Shell Alaska Vice President Pete Slaiby said in a statement.

Welcomed by the Obama administration, the exploration in Alaska's Arctic waters has become a major battleground for environmental groups, which fear oil spills in the pristine area already threatened by warming temperatures and reduced sea ice.

"The melting Arctic is a dire warning, not an invitation to make a quick buck," said Dan Howells, a campaign director for Greenpeace.

Shell has paid the U.S. $2.8 billion for lease rights to areas in the Chukchi and neighboring Beaufort Sea, and the U.S. estimates those waters hold 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Comment: So are they making an "effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves," or drilling at a "known petroleum reservoir?"

Inquiring minds want to know. Perhaps it's like this:

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. - there are things we do not know, we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld


Uncle CyberSam Prepares To Defend Your Internet For You

cyber security graphic
© MyOpera
There was a time when the NSA would not know the content of this sentence minutes (or depending on the speed of typing, hours) ahead of our general readership. Those days are now gone, primarily thanks to the Patriot Act, which however merely accelerated the inevitable Orwellian destination to which American society was otherwise headed and which made constant "supervision" and "vigilance" of every US citizen a necessity (for some eyewatering details read "We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State" - Big Brother Goes Live September 2013). There was, however, one aspect of society over which the US government did not have Chinese-type "firewall" supreme authority: the Internet. Now, as a result of an Executive Order being quietly drafted, the president of this once great country, together with the Department of Homeland Security formed in response to the events of September 11, is about to grasp supreme control over this last bastion of New Normal expression and content dissemination, naturally under the guise of protecting the people. Because as Bloomberg reports, President Obama's administration is drafting an executive order that would create a program protecting vital computer networks from cyber attacks.

The premise: the US government needs to defend the feeble and defenseless private sector from all enemies, foreign and domestic, because, it would appear, the private sector is incapable of defending itself. And Uncle Sam is more than happy to supervise and take charge of said "defense." "An executive order is one of a number of measures we're considering as we look to implement the president's direction to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today's cyberthreats," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an e-mailed statement today. "We are not going to comment on ongoing internal deliberations." Also, did we mention that the US president's decision for the greater private good would be unilaterally imposed, without the benefit of a democratic vote: after all executive orders, of the type Obama has issued 134 so far, do just that: circumvent the popular vote. We did? Good.


Copyright trolls censor internet content with false claims of infringement

copy rights
© Unknown
The battle over free speech on the Internet has been uphill for those who are victimized by the US government and professional trolls.

The entertainment industry, namely the RIAA and MPAA have been at the frontlines, claiming copyright infringement as they have employed Internet providers as spies to look for potential violators.

As cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SOPA and PIPA came together to create the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which "effectively creates a 'cybersecurity' exemption to all existing laws".

This big brother legislation would have given the power to the corporations to allege copyright infringement which would empower them to spy on users online activity, personal data, ISPs, search engines, social networks, text messages, phone calls, emails and all other digital correspondence.

CISPA inspired protests across the nation while over 3 million corporations in the domestic US supported the bill.

Just last month, the Department of Homeland Security was central in the taking of domain names for websites without due process or explanation - simply using the blanket claim of copyright infringement.

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano received correspondence from several members of the House of Representatives who were in protest of the domain name seizures, citing that the copyright claims were questionable and that the websites were clearly being censored for alternative reasons.

The letter stated that:
Our concern centers on your Department's methods, and the process given, when seizing the domain names of websites whose actions and content are presumed to be lawful, protected speech.
Fraudulent claims of copyright infringement are rampant across the Internet. During the Hugo Awards, the Ustream video of the show was censored by a digital restriction management (DRM) robot that shut down the broadcast of the Hugo Awards due to "copyright infringement" of material displayed during the show. The DRM robot was "incorrectly programmed" to interpret the show as a violation of copyright and disrupted the broadcast.

Magic Wand

Dollar Deception: How Banks Secretly Create Money

It has been called "the most astounding piece of sleight of hand ever invented." The creation of money has been privatized, usurped from Congress by a private banking cartel. Most people think money is issued by fiat by the government, but that is not the case. Except for coins, which compose only about one one-thousandth of the total U.S. money supply, all of our money is now created by banks. Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) are issued by the Federal Reserve, a private banking corporation, and lent to the government.1 Moreover, Federal Reserve Notes and coins together compose less than 3 percent of the money supply. The other 97 percent is created by commercial banks as loans.2

Don't believe banks create the money they lend? Neither did the jury in a landmark Minnesota case, until they heard the evidence. First National Bank of Montgomery vs. Daly (1969) was a courtroom drama worthy of a movie script.3 Defendant Jerome Daly opposed the bank's foreclosure on his $14,000 home mortgage loan on the ground that there was no consideration for the loan. "Consideration" ("the thing exchanged") is an essential element of a contract. Daly, an attorney representing himself, argued that the bank had put up no real money for his loan. The courtroom proceedings were recorded by Associate Justice Bill Drexler, whose chief role, he said, was to keep order in a highly charged courtroom where the attorneys were threatening a fist fight. Drexler hadn't given much credence to the theory of the defense, until Mr. Morgan, the bank's president, took the stand. To everyone's surprise, Morgan admitted that the bank routinely created money "out of thin air" for its loans, and that this was standard banking practice. "It sounds like fraud to me," intoned Presiding Justice Martin Mahoney amid nods from the jurors. In his court memorandum, Justice Mahoney stated:


Money as Credit

What is the origin of money? This video, written by Ellen Brown and narrated/produced by Bob Bows, is a exploration of money as credit, how history shows us we've moved from money as a unit of account to money as a unit of value.


Protecting their own: Scotland's killer psychopaths may escape murder charges


Scotsman Gordon Brown, accused by former government colleagues of being "ruthless" and "Stalinist". Are we to absolve the Iraq war crimes of Blair's former henchman on the basis of an "impairment", namely a lack of conscience? The argument is absurd on the face of it and can only mean one thing: psychopaths in power are trying to protect themselves from inevitable public backlash.
Some of Scotland's most ­notorious killers could escape murder charges under new legislation that grants concessions to criminals who can prove they are psychopaths.

Under the Criminal Justice Act, which came into force in June, offenders accused of murder who are diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorder could face a lesser charge of culpable homicide on the grounds that they have "diminished responsibility", and so avoid an automatic life sentence.

A number of Scotland's most infamous murderers have been referred to as psychopaths, including Peter Tobin, who was convicted of killing three young women, and Malcolm Webster, who murdered a former wife and attempted to kill a second. Peter Manuel, hanged in 1956 for murdering seven people, was said to be "at the apex of psychopath".

Last night, victim support campaigners argued the move could lead to "significant distress and confusion" for relatives seeking justice.

Comment: While the focus here is on criminal psychopaths, you can bet that subcriminal psychopaths in power - that is, psychopaths who behave within the law and often, in fact, end up writing the law - are behind this move.

Yes, psychopaths are lacking empathy, but does this "impairment" mean we're going to let them get away with murder? Only a psychopath could come up with such legislation!


Iraqi Court Finds Sunni Vice-President Guilty of Running Death Squads; Sentenced to Death

Tariq al-Hashemi

Tariq al-Hashemi
Baghdad - An Iraqi court on Sunday found the nation's Sunni vice-president guilty of running death squads against security forces and Shiites, and sentenced him to death in absentia.

Tariq al-Hashemi, who has denied the charges, was not in court to hear the verdict against him. He fled the country after the terror charges were levelled against him in December, and is currently in Turkey.

The Baghdad courtroom was silent Sunday as the judge, who said his name could not be released for fear of violent reprisals, announced the verdict convicting al-Hashemi and his son-in-law of the killings of a lawyer and a security official. The two were acquitted in a third case for a lack of evidence, the judge said.

The charges against al-Hashemi, one of the country's highest-ranking Sunni officials, have fueled simmering Sunni and Kurdish resentments against the Shiite prime minister, who critics claim is monopolizing power, and led to a near-paralysis of Iraq's government.

Star of David

Israeli forces, illegal settlers attack West Bank farmers

A group of illegal Jewish settlers along with Israeli soldiers has attacked Palestinian farmers in the occupied Palestinian territory of West Bank, injuring three of them.

An Israeli soldier scuffles with a Palestinian farmer as villagers are prevented from working on their lands in the West Bank village of Tuqua on May 30, 2012.
Israeli soldiers and settlers scuffled with Palestinians as they prevented them from working on their lands. Israeli troops even fired gun shots during the clashes on Saturday.

The incident came two days after several Jewish settlers assaulted a number of Palestinians in Qasra village, which is located south of Nablus.

Head of the village council Abd al-Atheem said on September 6 that the illegal settlers, under Israeli soldiers' protection, attacked the southern part of the village and pointed their guns at Palestinians to make them leave their lands.

He added that Israeli troops demanded Palestinians to show all their records of land ownership.

Alarm Clock

Iran slams Canada for 'non-professional' embassy closure

Iran's Foreign Ministry has slammed Canada's unilateral decision to sever ties with Tehran calling it a "non-professional, unconventional and unjustifiable" move.

Iran's Foreign Ministry building, Tehran
In a statement released on Saturday, Iran's Foreign Ministry has described the decision as "an abuse of international law" saying that Canada is responsible for the safety of the Iranian diplomats.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry added that the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is known for adopting "extremist and failed policies."

The statement further said that Canada's financial support of the extremist and violence-seeking forces in the region as well as the racist Zionist regime of Israel has made it a source of threat to international security and stability.

The ministry added that the extremist regime of Canada has made the "hasty" move to divert the attention of the public opinion from the success of the Islamic Republic of Iran in hosting the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Iran's Foreign Ministry emphasized that it will use all possible means to take the necessary measures for the continuation of consular services to the Iranian citizens of Canada in the best possible way.

Ottawa has shut its embassy in Tehran and has ordered Iranian diplomats to leave Canada within five days. The Canadian government has also frozen the bank accounts of many Iranian nationals living in Canada and banned money transfers to Iran.


The Myth That Japan Is Broke: The World's Largest "Debtor" Is Now the World's Largest Creditor

Japan's massive government debt conceals massive benefits for the Japanese people, with lessons for the US debt "crisis."

In an April 2012 article in Forbes titled "If Japan Is Broke, How Is It Bailing Out Europe?" Eamonn Fingleton pointed out that the Japanese government was by far the largest single non-euro zone contributor to the latest Euro rescue effort. This, he said, is "the same government that has been going round pretending to be bankrupt (or at least offering no serious rebuttal when benighted American and British commentators portray Japanese public finances as a trainwreck)." Noting that it was also Japan that rescued the International Monetary Fund (IMF) system virtually single-handedly at the height of the global panic in 2009, Fingleton asked:
How can a nation whose government is supposedly the most overborrowed in the advanced world afford such generosity?
The betting is that Japan's true public finances are far stronger than the Western press has been led to believe. What is undeniable is that the Japanese Ministry of Finance is one of the most opaque in the world ...
Fingleton acknowledged that the Japanese government's liabilities are large, but said we also need to look at the asset side of the balance sheet:
[T]he Tokyo Finance Ministry is increasingly borrowing from the Japanese public not to finance out-of-control government spending at home, but rather abroad. Besides stepping up to the plate to keep the IMF in business, Tokyo has long been the lender of last resort to both the U.S. and British governments. Meanwhile it borrows 10-year money at an interest rate of just 1.0 percent, the second lowest rate of any borrower in the world after the government of Switzerland.

Comment: In other words, the current private banking system is nothing more than a cartel run by parasites which drains productivity and creativity from the real economy while enriching those who not only do not contribute anything to society but who in fact drain it of its resources. The government could simply be creating money to pay for things instead of 'borrowing' it from private bankers who create it with an accounting sleight of hand then charge interest on it. The cruelty of the current system is exposed by the fact that there is never enough money to pay off the principal and the interest, meaning that there will always be a permanent underclass of people who are left without a chair when the music stops and the banksters call in their loans.

Can we say this is done by design?

Ellen Brown's Web of Debt is a must-read to understand how economics, the financial system, banking and the money supply really works.