‘Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.
Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.
The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.
The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.’
- ‘Regin’ malware comes from western intelligence agency, say experts
- Regin: Top-tier espionage tool enables stealthy surveillance
- American spyware Belgacom hacked identified
- Malicious malware Regin used to hack Belgacom
- Interview: Belgacom reflects on espionage affair
- GCHQ Used Fake LinkedIn Pages to Target Engineers
- NSA Spied on European Union Offices
- China’s Army Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.
- Did Russia Just Hack the White House?
‘Industrialized countries face a future of increasingly severe blackouts, a new study warns, due to the proliferation of extreme weather events, the transition to unconventional fossil fuels, and fragile national grids that cannot keep up with rocketing energy demand.
“We need a fundamental re-think about how electricity is generated and distributed and who controls this,” said lead author Prof Hugh Byrd of Lincoln University, a specialist in international energy policy and urban sustainability. “It is not in the interests of the privatized power industry to encourage less electricity consumption.”
Every year, millions of people around the world experience major electricity blackouts, but the country that has endured more blackouts than any other industrialized nation is the United States. Over the last decade, the number of power failures affecting over 50,000 Americans has more than doubled, according to federal data.’
- Are You Ready for the Blackout Epidemic Coming Our Way?
- Report: Exhaustion of cheap mineral resources is terraforming Earth
- Aging US Power Grid Blacks Out More Than Any Other Developed Nation
- Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure
- As Temperatures Climb, So Does the Risk of Blackouts
- Exergy and the City: The Technology and Sociology of Power (Failure)
- White House Grid Resiliency Report (2013)
- Power Blackout Risks Report (2011)
- Water Demand for Energy to Double by 2035
- World Water Development Report 2014
- Report: Fracking water use could lead to severe droughts
- A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
- Fracking Is Making California’s Drought Worse, Say Activists
- The European Energy Markets Observatory Report (2014)
- Whispers from the Ghosting Trees
‘Thousands of people have protested against Czech President Milos Zeman on the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which ended communist rule.
Demonstrators carried football-style red cards as a warning to Mr Zeman, while others threw eggs. One accidentally hit the German president.
[…] Some Czechs feel that certain aims of the revolution, such as the promotion of human rights, have been sidelined by Mr Zeman.
They also worry that the president, a former communist, is too close to both Russia and China.’
‘More than 10,000 Hungarians rallied in Budapest on Monday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, accusing him of employing corrupt public servants and cosying up to the Kremlin.
The numbers who turned up at Parliament for the rally — billed by organizers as a “Day of Public Outrage” — were much smaller than the crowds that protested a planned tax on the Internet last month and forced Orban to shelve the plan.
Alleged corruption has become a new rallying cry for Orban’s opponents after the United States said it was barring entry to six Hungarian public servants, including the head of the tax authority, on suspicion of being associated with graft.
Although Hungary — like many former Eastern Bloc countries — adopted the form and institutions of a liberal democracy following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Orban’s government has tilted in a more authoritarian direction. In late July, he said publicly that he wanted to construct an “illiberal state” in the mold of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.’
- Thousands attend Hungary ‘public outrage day’ protest
- Hungary The Next Ukraine?
- EU uneasy about Hungary’s closeness to Russia
- Russia’s relations with Hungary warm as ties with West chill
- Hungary PM, accused of flirting with Kremlin, at Russia soccer match
- Hungary to start South Stream construction in 2015 despite western pressure
- Hungary says South Stream pipeline only way to ensure gas supply
- Protesters urge Hungary PM to scrap Internet tax
- Orban Says He Seeks to End Liberal Democracy in Hungary
‘Romania’s incoming president Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday his party might try to topple Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government next year, an early sign of the instability that might follow his surprise victory.
A national vote is not due until 2016 but Iohannis, speaking in his capacity as leader of the center-right opposition National Liberal Party, said his party might look to forge new alliances to unseat Ponta as early as next year.
Iohannis beat frontrunner Ponta in the weekend’s presidential election, promising in his campaign to step up Romania’s fight against corruption and make it a more attractive place for foreign investors.
He scored an early victory on Tuesday when parliament bowed to his calls to scrap legislation aimed at keeping politicians out of jail, which was introduced last year to relieve pressure on overcrowded prisons but sparked outrage.’
- Klaus Iohannis: ‘Romania must make the most of its opportunities’
- Second Romanian foreign minister resigns over election row
- Romania’s Chamber of Deputies rejects amnesty and pardon draft law
- Can Romania’s New President Revive EU Enlargement?
- Romanian PM calls for stability after poll defeat
- Romania Bucks Nationalist Wave With Election Shock
- Provincial mayor inflicts shock defeat in Romania presidential vote
‘Tell me, friend: do you find the current world situation confusing? Are you having trouble sorting through the bewildering array of alarums, provocations, reassurances, and trite nostrums offered up by pundits and politicos? Can’t tell if the glass is half-full and rising or half-empty, cracked, and leaking water fast? Not sure if you should go long on precious metals and stock up on fresh water, ammo, and canned goods, or go big into equities and assume that everything will work out in the long run?
Today’s world is filled with conflicting signals. On the one hand, life expectancy and education are up, the level of violent conflict is down, and hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the past several decades. Private businesses are starting to take human rights seriously. And hey, the euro is still alive! On the other hand, Europe’s economy is still depressed, Russia is suspending nuclear cooperation with the United States, violent extremists keep multiplying in several regions, the odds of a genuine nuclear deal with Iran still looks like a coin toss, and that much-ballyhooed climate change deal between the United States and China is probably too little too late and already facing right-wing criticisms.
Given all these conflicting signals, what broader lessons might guide policymakers wrestling with all this turbulence? Assuming governments are capable of learning from experience (and please just grant me that one), then what kernels of wisdom should they be drawing on right now? What do the past 20 years or so reveal about contemporary foreign policy issues, and what enduring lessons should we learn from recent experience?’
‘Matthias Fekl, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, has made it clear that France will not support the inclusion of the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) in a potential TTIP agreement. The ISDS is a point of heated debate between the EU and the United States. EurActiv France reports.
Europe’s fears over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are not abating, while America is beginning to show signs of impatience. Europe and the United States have reached a standoff in the TTIP negotiations, over the question of the Investor State Dispute Settlement.
This mechanism could give companies the opportunity to take legal action against a state whose legislation has a negative impact on their economic activity.
“France did not want the ISDS to be included in the negotiation mandate,” Matthias Fekl told the French Senate. “We have to preserve the right of the state to set and apply its own standards, to maintain the impartiality of the justice system and to allow the people of France, and the world, to assert their values,” he added.’
- Cameron promises to fire ‘rocket boosters’ under controversial EU-US TTIP trade deal
- Merkel urges Europeans to speed up TTIP talks with US
- TTIP: Germany Accused of Hypocrisy over Opposition to ISDS Clause
- European Commission Served with Lawsuit over TTIP and Ceta Negotiations
- TTIP: How the world’s largest trade deal affects you
- European Commission mulls TTIP minus investor arbitration
- NHS boss Stevens and the TTIP ‘trade’ lobbyists who threaten our NHS
- TTIP and ISDS: The Obscure Trade Clause Threatening to Tear European Politics Apart
- European Commission swamped by 150,000 replies to TTIP consultation
- What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
‘The Velvet Revolution that kicked off in Prague 25 years ago Monday was a seminal event in the collapse of communism. Try explaining that to children who have only known democracy.
That’s the challenge tackled by two veterans of the uprising as the massive student protests faded ever further into the past. They wanted to capture the excitement of the rallies, the brutality of police beatings and the surreal repression of a nation that Vaclav Havel — later president — dubbed “Absurdistan.”
So renowned puppet designer Miroslav Trejtnar and filmmaker Tatana Markova teamed up to present the Velvet Revolution in a 30-minute movie that tells the story of more than a dozen children of the revolution — now parents — through the magic of animation.’
Editor’s Note: Harald Kujat is a retired general officer of the German Air Force. He served as Chief of Staff of the German armed forces from 2000-2002 and as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2002-2005. This clip is taken from one of the most popular political talk shows in Germany. Below is a brief summary of what Kujat said.
Editor’s Note: The Russian’s are clearly involved in supporting the Eastern Ukraine rebellion, but take everything NATO says with a large dose of salt. They have been hyping up an imminent Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine and even Eastern Europe for much of this year and we still haven’t seen one. That’s not to say that the Russian’s wouldn’t, but NATO also have a military budget to justify.
‘The European Union will start paying closer attention to sales of invasive surveillance software, which has previously flowed from European companies to countries with questionable human rights records.
Under new EU rules issued recently, certain kinds of monitoring software will require a license to export. Those license applications would provide more transparency about where the software is going, and could potentially allow governments to block unsavory sales.
As The Intercept has reported, companies like Milan-based Hacking Team or FinFisher, of Munich, sell to countries where authorities appear to have used the software to spy on dissidents and the press. Hacking Team implants have been discovered on the devices of Moroccan and Ethiopian journalists, while leaked FinFisher documents showed that activists and political opposition members in Bahrain had been targeted.’
Editor’s Note: John Weeks is a professor emeritus of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He is author of ‘The Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy’.
- Far right tests Europe’s democracies
- Europe’s financial troubles are said to be fueling far-right
- 9 Scariest Far-Right Parties Now In The European Parliament
- EU elections: Anti-EU parties on the rise across Europe
- Europe’s Dark Core: The Neo-Nazi Movements on the March
- The rise of far right parties across Europe is a chilling echo of the 1930s
‘In September 2013, Greek authorities took the unprecedented action of arresting a number of members of the far-right political organization Golden Dawn — including its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos. In the wake of the economic crisis, Golden Dawn has risen to become Greece’s third major political party, despite regular reports linking the organization to hate crimes. The trigger for these arrests was the murder of Pavlos Fyssas a.k.a. Killah P, a rapper whose songs often carried anti-fascist sentiments. His death sparked an investigation into Golden Dawn, leading to members being charged with crimes including murder, running a criminal organization, weapons offenses, and reported assaults on immigrants. In the days surrounding the first anniversary of Fyssa’s death, VICE News traveled to Greece to attend a protest in the rapper’s memory and see how the events of the past year have affected Greece’s anti-fascist movement.’ (VICE News)
- Golden Dawn offenses date back to 1996, lawyers say
- Greek prosecutor orders all Golden Dawn MPs to face criminal trial
- Golden Dawn: Australian branch of far-right Greek party raises cash
- SS songs and antisemitism: the week Golden Dawn turned openly Nazi
- Greece’s Golden Dawn party describes Hitler as ‘great personality’
- Golden Dawn photos shock Greece
- Greece’s financial crisis has led to a rise in violent attacks on refugees
- The Terrifying Rise of Greece’s Nazi Party
- The rise of Golden Dawn and the far right
- Who are Golden Dawn?
- Golden Dawn
‘Approximately 130,000 people (100,000 according to police and 200,000 according to the marchers) from both Flemish- and French-speaking regions marched in one of Belgium’s largest mass protests since the general strike of 1960-1961. Workers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, transport, public transit, port, steel and aerospace industries struck and joined the protests.
Members of several youth groups and pseudo-left organizations broke into and briefly occupied the headquarters of the Federation of Belgian Corporations (FEB) in Brussels.
Workers were protesting the Michel government’s plans to raise the pension age to 67, carry out a 10 percent cut in the public sector wage bill, force long-term unemployed workers to work for their unemployment benefits, cut health spending, and push through a €3 billion wage cut by delaying the indexation of wages on prices. This last measure would cost the average worker €336 (US$417.27) per year.’
‘Just three years after NATO’s military intervention in Libya ended and was widely heralded by its proponents as a resounding success, that country is in complete collapse. So widespread is violence and anarchy there that “hardly any Libyan can live a normal life,” Brown University’s Stephen Kinzer wrote in The Boston Globe last week. Last month, the Libyan Parliament, with no functioning army to protect it from well-armed militias, was forced to flee Tripoli and take refuge in a Greek car ferry. The New York Times reported in September that “the government of Libya said . . . that it had lost control of its ministries to a coalition of militias that had taken over the capital, Tripoli, in another milestone in the disintegration of the state.”
Sectarian strife and economic woes destroyed efforts by the U.S. and U.K. to train Libyan soldiers, causing those two nations last week to all but abandon further programs: “not a single soldier had been trained by the U.S. because the Libyan government failed to provide promised cash.” AP reports this morning that an entire city, Darna, has now pledged its allegiance to ISIS, “becoming the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to join the ‘caliphate’ announced by the extremist group.” A report issued by Amnesty International two weeks ago documented that “lawless militias and armed groups on all sides of the conflict in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes.” In sum, it is almost impossible to overstate the horrors daily faced by Libyans and the misery that has engulfed the country.
All of that prompts an obvious question: where did all of the humanitarians go who insisted they were driven by a deep and noble concern for the welfare of the Libyan people when they agitated for NATO intervention?’
- The US ruined Libya
- Libyan fiasco should be a warning
- How a Libyan city joined the Islamic State group
- Libyan parliament takes refuge in Greek car ferry
- Cameron’s plan to train Libyan soldiers had makings of disaster from the start
- Libyan Militias Seize Control of Capital as Chaos Rises
- Libya: ‘Rule of the gun’ amid mounting war crimes by rival militias
- The Libya War argument
- The fraud of “humanitarian wars”
- Adam Smith on foreign wars . . .
- House rejects Libya authorization measure
- Why Libya sceptics were proved badly wrong
- From Libyans – ‘Thank You, America!’
- Obama’s Libya speech: Full text
- Clinton on Qaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died”
- Sarkozy and Cameron in Libya: Heroes for a Day
- Sarkozy, Cameron visit Libya for victory lap, pep talk
- Despite Airport Incident, Henry Kissinger is Wrong about Libya
‘[…] People’s reactions in Germany to the Snowden revelations differed to those in Britain or America. There was full-on national outrage when it was revealed that even chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone had been bugged. I know this already, vaguely, in theory, but it’s a different matter to actually come to Berlin and hear person after person talk about it. I start out with three names, three high-profile “digital exiles” who have all taken refuge in the city: Poitras, Appelbaum and Sarah Harrison, another WikiLeaker who was with Snowden during his time in transit in Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow and helped him apply for political asylum in 21 countries. But I end up with reams of others. And, I can’t help thinking that Berlin, the city that found itself at the frontline of so much of the 20th century’s history, has found itself, once again, on the fracture point between two opposing world orders. And I wonder if the people I meet are the start of the internet fightback; if Berlin really is becoming a hub for a global digital resistance movement.’
Editor’s Note: Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and a former senior managing director at Bear Stearns. I would HIGHLY recommend reading her new book “All The Presidents’ Bankers“, quite possibly the best work on the history of America’s financial elite that has ever been written. She is also author of “It Takes A Pillage” and a novel “Black Tuesday“. You can check out more of her work at her website, or via the select links below.
‘The recent spike in global political-financial volatility that was temporarily soothed by European Central Bank (ECB) covered bond buying and Bank of Japan (BOJ) stimulus reveals another crack in the six-year-old throw-money-at-the-banks strategies of politicians and central bankers. The premise of using banks as credit portals to transport public funds from the government to citizens is as inefficient as it is not happening. The power elite may exude belabored moans about slow growth and rising inequality in speeches and press releases, but they continue to find ways to provide liquidity, sustenance and comfort to financial institutions, not to populations.
The very fact – that without excessive artificial stimulation or the promise of it – more hell breaks loose – is one that government heads neither admit, nor appear to discuss. But the truth is that the global financial system has already failed. Big banks have been propped up, and their capital bases rejuvenated, by various means of external intervention, not their own business models.
In late October, the Federal Reserve released its latest 2015 stress test scenarios. They don’t even exceed the parameters of what actually took place during the 2008-2009-crisis period. This makes them, though statistically viable, completely irrelevant in an inevitable full-scale meltdown of greater magnitude. This Sunday [Oct 26th], the ECB announced that 25 banks failed their tests, none of which were the biggest banks (that received the most help). These tests are the equivalent of SAT exams for which students provide the questions and answers, and a few get thrown under the bus for cheating to make it all look legit.
Regardless of the outcome of the next set of tests, it’s the very need for them that should be examined. If we had a more controllable, stable, accountable and transparent system (let alone one not in constant litigation and crime-committing mode) neither the pretense of well-thought-out stress tests making a difference in crisis preparation, nor the administering of them, would be necessary as a soothing tool. But we don’t. We have an unreformed (legally and morally) international banking system still laden with risk and losses, whose major players control more assets than ever before, with our help.’
- Nomi Prins: Dodd-Frank Turns Four and Nothing Fundamental has Changed
- Nomi Prins Interviewed on the Keiser Report
- Nomi Prins On The History of the Global Banking Elite
- All the President’s Bankers: Interview with Nomi Prins on Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion
- Nomi Prins: The bankers behind FDR and the Glass-Steagall Act
- Nomi Prins: The Inevitability of Income Inequality
‘[…] The central problem is what the negotiators call investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The treaty would allow corporations to sue governments before an arbitration panel composed of corporate lawyers, at which other people have no representation, and which is not subject to judicial review.
Already, thanks to the insertion of ISDS into much smaller trade treaties, big business is engaged in an orgy of litigation, whose purpose is to strike down any law that might impinge on its anticipated future profits. The tobacco firm Philip Morris is suing governments in Uruguay and Australia for trying to discourage people from smoking. The oil firm Occidental was awarded $2.3bn in compensation from Ecuador, which terminated the company’s drilling concession in the Amazon after finding that Occidental had broken Ecuadorean law. The Swedish company Vattenfall is suing the German government for shutting down nuclear power. An Australian firm is suing El Salvador’s government for $300m for refusing permission for a goldmine over concerns it would poison the drinking water.
The same mechanism, under TTIP, could be used to prevent UK governments from reversing the privatisation of the railways and the NHS, or from defending public health and the natural world against corporate greed. The corporate lawyers who sit on these panels are beholden only to the companies whose cases they adjudicate, who at other times are their employers.’
- This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy (Response one & two)
- Private letter from fourteen states in support of the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS)
- The Economist on ISDS: “a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people”
- ICSID’s Largest Award in History: An Overview of Occidental Petroleum Corporation v the Republic of Ecuador
- Philip Morris sues over Australian plans to ban logos from cigarette packets
- Australian mining is poisoning El Salvador. It could soon send it broke, too
- Chart Shows Who Didn’t Participate In Catalan’s Symbolic Referendum
- Catalonia vote: 80% back independence, says official
- Catalonia Votes For Independence; Spain Says It Won’t Happen
- Catalonia’s quest for statehood (25 min programme)
- ‘The more the state stops us, the more we will push for freedom’
- Catalans hope for big turnout in symbolic independence vote
- Catalan independence rivals plan to skip referendum
- Spain’s PM calls for dialogue with Catalan leaders
‘[…] Some 250,000 people were held and interrogated on political grounds from 1945-1989, often simply for expressing the desire to leave. Millions fled before the border was sealed; thousands of those who could not were prevented from ever achieving their potential because of their backgrounds or political beliefs.
When Germany reunited, the new government took on the mammoth task of investigating the crimes of the former East, vowing to compensate and rehabilitate those who had been wronged, and explain their suffering to future generations.
But even with work well under way, the German government noted early last year: “..two worrying tendencies with regard to the former East Germany – a belittlement and romanticization of the dictatorship, or total ignorance.”‘
- Memories of a former Stasi prisoner
- Reunited but still battling a sinister hangover
- The Stasi files: Germany’s 600-million-piece puzzle
- The computer that can piece together Stasi documents
- How sex, lies and the Stasi demolished the Berlin Wall
- Stasi Code Breakers Find Jobs Guarding NATO Secrets
- Western Drugmakers Tested Medicines on Unwitting East Germans
- Western drug firms bought East German patients to use as human guinea pigs
- STASI: East Germany’s Secret Police (Documentary)
- The Lives of Others (2006 Film)
- Wikipedia article on the Stasi
- AP reporter asks Admiral Kirby: Has NATO expanded to Russia, or Russia moved towards NATO?
- NATO can put troops wherever it wants, says new secretary-general
- New NATO Chief Open to Russian Rapprochement
- US and Europe at odds over NATO expansion to Ukraine, Georgia
- Mikhail Gorbachev: West should stop dragging Ukraine into NATO
- German DM: No Need to Spend as Much on Military as NATO Wants
- Former US Ambassador to Moscow: To Resolve Ukraine Crisis, Address Internal Divisions & Russian Fears of NATO
- Ukraine Ceasefire Takes Hold, but an Expanding NATO Raises Threat of Nuclear War: Interview with Stephen Cohen
- NATO to create high-readiness force to counter Russian threat
- A third of Germans fear NATO-Russia war over Ukraine, poll finds
- NATO Considers Missle Defense Shield Directed Against Russia
- NATO Expansion Plan Raises Specter of Iron Curtain
- Over $1 TRILLION spent on “defense” by NATO members apparently not enough
- Senator Feinstein: The U.S. Is Now At Cold War Levels With Russia
‘The publication on Wednesday of details from 28,000 pages of leaked files from PricewaterhouseCoopers, by media organisations in 26 countries, about the tax affairs of some of the largest multinationals on the globe is an example of the way technology is changing journalism.
The investigation has exposed the complex tax arrangements of many companies and individuals, including the Irish food group Glanbia and members of the Sisk family, which owns the construction and healthcare group of the same name. Their methods, which are perfectly legal, save large sums in tax.’
‘The landlocked European duchy has been called a “magical fairyland” for brand-name corporations seeking to drastically reduce tax bills.
Pepsi, IKEA, FedEx and 340 other international companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg, allowing many of them to slash their global tax bills while maintaining little presence in the tiny European duchy, leaked documents show.
These companies appear to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes, according to a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a team of more than 80 journalists from 26 countries.’
- EC President Juncker Facing Credibility Crisis After Latest Luxembourg Tax Avoidance Scandal
- Luxembourg tax files: how tiny state rubber-stamped tax avoidance on an industrial scale
- Jean-Claude Juncker’s real scandal is his tax-haven homeland of Luxembourg
- Why big time tax dodgers love Jean-Claude Juncker
- Luxembourg PM resigns over spying scandal
‘In 1975, West Germany was often under varying degrees of lockdown. Roadblocks were set up at autobahn exits and identification was checked; groups of heavily armed police were seen in city centers holding machine guns and looking menacing; and airports were under armed guard. The reason given for this military-like presence was the existence of a leftist terror group known as the Rote Armee Fraktion. While the State response was disproportionate to the actual strength of the group, one would never know this given the governmental response. Besides the ever-growing presence of police in the citizens’ daily lives, there was also the creation of the Bundeskriminalamt, which was something like the 1970s German equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and today’s Department of Homeland Security in the US. A powerful agency at its inception, its strength grew even more after the passage of the Radikalenerlass (Anti-Radical Decree) in 1972, which forbade civil employment for anyone the State considered to be linked to several primarily leftwing political organizations. The law, which reminded Germans of the Berufsverbot laws under Hitler, was opposed by a substantial percentage of the nation’s residents and was the target of a concerted campaign by writers, artists and intellectuals to end it.
Another aspect to West Germany’s political culture in the 1970s had to do with the activities of the media. During the decades after World War Two the best-selling newspaper in West Germany was Das Bild. This tabloid was published by the Springer publishing company, which was owned and managed by the right-winger Axel Springer. Das Bild’s articles and editorials regarding the student movement, the counterculture, and various other manifestations of German society that did not agree with its publisher’s worldview fanned the flames of the reactionaries in the country. The best comparison to today’s media would be the news outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch, with Fox News and the New York Post being the most like Das Bild. Among other charges, leftist radicals considered the paper to be partially responsible for the attempted assassination of Rudi Dutschke in Berlin in 1968.’
‘On October 31, a new United Nations General Assembly First Committee resolution on depleted uranium (DU) weapons passed overwhelmingly. There were 143 states in favor, four against, and 26 abstentions. The measure calls for UN member states to provide assistance to countries contaminated by the weapons. The resolution also notes the need for health and environmental research on depleted uranium weapons in conflict situations.
This fifth UN resolution on the subject was fiercely opposed by four depleted uranium-shooting countries — Britain, the United States, France and Israel — who cast the only votes in opposition. The 26 states that abstained reportedly sought to avoid souring lucrative trade relationships with the four major shooters.
Uranium-238 — so-called “depleted” uranium — is waste material left in huge quantities by the nuclear weapons complex. It’s used in large caliber armor-piercing munitions and in armor plate on tanks. Toxic, radioactive dust and debris is dispersed when DU shells burn through targets, and its metallic fumes and dust poison water, soil and the food chain. DU has been linked to deadly health effects like Gulf War Syndrome among U.S. and allied troops, and birth abnormalities among populations in bombed areas. DU waste has caused radioactive contamination of large parts of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and perhaps Afghanistan.’
- US will use depleted uranium in Iraq again ‘if it needs to’
- Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide”
- Iraq calls for global treaty ban on depleted uranium weapons
- World Health Organization Covers Up Iraq War Crimes
- How the World Health Organisation covered up Iraq’s nuclear nightmare
- Still dangerous after 30 years: Uranium particles from DU weapons
- We’ve moved on from the Iraq war, but Iraqis don’t have that choice
- Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers
- In a State of Uncertainty: impact and implications of the use of depleted uranium in Iraq
- Study: Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009
‘The last British soldiers were airlifted out of Afghanistan last week, marking the sorry end of Britain’s fourth failed invasion of Afghanistan. With them went the last detachment of US Marines in Helmand.
Well has Afghanistan earned its title, “Graveyard of Empires.”
To be more precise, this honor belongs to Afghanistan’s Pashtun (or Pathan) mountain tribes, who bend their knees for no man and take pride in war.
In my book, “War at the Top of the World,” I called Pashtun “the bravest men on earth.” Later, I would add the fierce Chechen to that illustrious fraternity.
The old imperialists are gone, but the occupation of Afghanistan continues. The new regime in Kabul just installed by Washington to replace uncooperative former ally Hamid Karzai, rushed to sign an “agreement” allowing the United States to keep some 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan for years. This garrison will be exempt from all Afghan laws.
However, there’s much more to this arrangement. The US combat troops, tactfully labeled “trainers” or “counter-terrorist forces,” are too few in number to dominate all Afghanistan. Their task is to defend Kabul’s sock puppet government from its own people and to defend the all-important US Bagram airbase.’
- Afghan President: Corruption, Security Top Issues
- Inspector General: Army Refuses to Stop Giving Contracts to Taliban Backers
- Afghanistan ‘less dangerous’ so cuts Australian military’s pay
- Growing a better future: the war-torn gardens of Afghanistan
- As Afghanistan looks for investment, China eyes stability
- Poll: US sceptical about Afghan war
- Afghan Prison Renovation Incomplete, Auditor Says
- Senate ‘Roadmap’ to Keep Billions Flowing into Afghanistan
- Taliban Kills Prosecutors, Kidnaps Police in Latest Operations
- Green Berets: Afghan Troops Hide During Fights, Rely on US
- NATO Vows Long-Term Air Support for Afghan War
- War amputees in Afghanistan face harsh lives of discrimination and poverty
- Afghan economy struggles amid security fears as U.S. troops pull out
- The New Surge in Afghanistan: Drug Production
- State Dept Spent Millions Upgrading Afghan TV Sports Coverage
- UK military ‘made wrong calculations’ on Afghanistan
- Surprise: U.S. Drug War In Afghanistan Not Going Well
- “My Father was Killed by a Computer”, says 7 Year Old Afghan Child
- New Afghan government calls on Taliban to join peace process
- U.N. agency to cut food rations for 1 million Afghans over funding
- Germany regrets ‘mistakes’ in Afghanistan mission
- Nearly $500 Million Pentagon Plane Project Netted $32,000 in Scrap Metal
- Afghanistan: CIA-Backed Warlord Behind 2001 Massacre of 2,000 POWs Becomes Vice President
- U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan hit two-year high
- New Afghanistan pact means America’s longest war will last until at least 2024
- Afghan President Karzai warns successors to beware of US
- Pepe Escobar on Afghanistan’s new “power-sharing” charade
- $1 Trillion Trove of Rare Minerals Revealed Under Afghanistan
- Amnesty International Report Details Crimes by US/NATO Forces in Afghanistan
‘[…] Bomber flights near NATO territory are not anything new, and happen from time to time. The amount of hype they receive is generally dependent on whether or not NATO is of a mind to make Russia out to be a threat at the time it takes place.
With no violation of NATO airspace, there is no reason to believe any of this is anything out of the ordinary, and is a continuation of NATO trying to portray Russia as starting a new Cold War for the sake of pushing military spending increases alliance-wide.’
- U.S. chides Russia over military flights in Europe
- NATO accuses Russian bombers of flying close to its airspace
- Back to Cold War as Russia probes NATO defences
- ‘Unusual’ Russian Flights Concern NATO
- NATO jets track ‘unusual’ Russian bomber sorties
- RAF Scrambled to Intercept Latvian Aircraft Over Kent
- NATO Has Intercepted 26 Russian Jets In The Past Two Days
- NATO: Russia Ramping Up Military Probing in Baltics
‘[…] When Romania’s departing conservative president, Traian Basescu, first declared last month that Mr. Ponta, long a political enemy, had worked as an undercover agent, he tapped into a rich vein of Romanian political culture clogged with accusations and counteraccusations of undercover skulduggery.
“We are obsessed with spies,” said Robert Turcescu, a prominent television journalist who shocked his colleagues, his viewers and also his own family by suddenly announcing on air last month that he was until last month an undercover agent for Romanian military intelligence, though he had never informed on his colleagues.
Too many Romanians still have what he called “incomplete résumés,” he said in an interview, and needed to come clean about their hidden allegiances. Only then, he added, will the country finally overcome the traumas left behind by Nicolae Ceausescu, the Stalinist dictator who ruled here from 1965 until 1989.’