“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Julian Assange speech: The truth behind the corrupt attempt to drag the US into a war with Iran. 45 foreign and hostile military bases surround Iran. The lies of Britain, the US, Israel and corrupt Main Stream Media.

Resistance From a Cage: Julian Assange Speaks to Norwegian Journalist Eirik Vold
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00
By Eirik Vold, Truthout | Interview

This is an exclusive English translation of an interview published Saturday, February 16, 2013, in the Norwegian news outlet Dagens Næringsliv.

Julian Assange is the itinerant hacker from the Australian Outback who gave the world the biggest leak of secret documents in history. Seven months into his embassy asylum, the cyber crusade for transparency goes on.

This is not the first time that WikiLeaks has come under attack, Assange tells me.

"We had been through a couple of fights. With a commander at the Guantanamo base. We were sued by a Swiss bank. One of my cryptographer friends was ambushed by intelligence agents in a parking lot in Luxembourg. They tried to make him tell them things about WikiLeaks."

A cryptographer friend? Does that sound a bit like having a "hobbit friend" to you? Then let this be a warning: If you are not used to a modern Internet vocabulary, the story of Julian Assange is full of characters that may seem like they are out of a science fiction novel: cryptographer friends with vital secrets looking over their shoulders in order not to get caught; eccentric professors about to conjure up a quantum mechanics machine with the power to destroy all of cyberspace if it falls into the wrong hands; tiny torrent files, floating around in abstract space, unintelligible and meaningless when separated, but powerful information packages able to knock down governments if sewn together the right way and delivered to the masses. And they are all real and alive. Just as real and alive as the Swedish prosecutors and their extradition request for Assange or the CIA agents on a mission to stop WikiLeaks from leaking - as real as the heavy wooden door I just opened on my way into the Ecuadorian embassy in London and then shut carefully behind me. Aside from the will of a controversial South American president, that door is now the only barrier between Julian Assange and me on the inside, and the police officer from Scotland Yard (London Metropolitan Police) waiting patiently on the outside with handcuffs, a gun and orders to arrest and deport my interviewee.

Travelers in the Australian Outback

"I do what I do because I saw the opportunity," Assange says. "Because I was born in a Western country, with the necessary education and material resources. And because I care about these issues."

Don't even bother to ask if he became the world's most famous leaker and the West's number-one dissident because of his special family background and childhood in the Australian Outback.

"I really don't like that approach," he says.

But Assange does have a special background. He was born on July 3, 1971, in the medium-sized town of Townsville on the tropical northern coast of Australia. The French-sounding surname, Assange, is said to be an Anglification of the Chinese name Ah Sang. A Taiwanese pirate, it is said, brought that surname to Australia. Assange grew up with his mother. They lived in hiding for about five years due to a conflict over the custody of Julian's half brother and moved about 30 times before Julian was 14.

Some describe Assange as a distrustful person, at times bordering on paranoid. Is that why he started the interview by asking me questions about my Spanish, as he heard me make small talk with someone who I thought was an Ecuadorian embassy employee?

"Where did you learn your Spanish? Why do you speak with a Cuban accent?"

His voice and body language, however, reveal curiosity rather than distrust. Assange has always asked questions - and was always willing to go all the way to get the answers.

Meet Mendax

It was during his youth that Assange started to take advantage of the opportunities that come from growing up in a First World country: literacy, sufficient money to buy a computer, and access to the Internet. Meet Mendax, the online pseudonym of the 16-year-old hacker Julian Assange. Today Assange is seen by many as the world's first great "ethical hacker." His hacker team, called "the international subversives" had strict rules for their activities: "Don't damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don't change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information." Others believe the pseudonym Mendax, which is Latin for "deceitful," is the most precise way of describing Assange's personality. Everyone, however, seems to agree that he was an extremely talented hacker.

In 2002, Assange entered the university. With his restless nature, he went through two different universities and jumped between natural sciences, philosophy and neuroscience. The grades he obtained were rather mediocre, but one particular experience proved decisive.

"I became critical of the academy. Mathematics in the university was financed by the US government and military establishment. We had to work with mathematical models that were used to make military bulldozers, such as were deployed in Iraq and employed by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes. There were quantum mechanical models that could be used for mass espionage on the Internet."
No academic title came out of Assange's university studies in Canberra and Melbourne. But the typical hacker outlook - rebellious, but apolitical - went through a deep metamorphosis. Faced with what Assange calls "the ivory tower's connections to economic power relations on the ground" and global geopolitics, Mendax merged with the political consciousness of Assange the university student.
The result was WikiLeaks.

In 2006, a year after Assange strolled out of campus for the last time, WikiLeaks was founded in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. During WikiLeaks' first years, Assange traveled between international conferences with geeky names like Chaos Communications Congress. WikiLeaks arranged meetings and Assange would talk to the journalists who bothered to listen. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks staff silently stretched its probing tentacles through cyberspace in its search for secrets. Big secrets.

The Rebel Library 

January 8, 2010 - the WikiLeaks Twitter account posts a request for help in decrypting a video about a "U.S. bomb strike on civilians." Three months later, the world witnessed a pristine video recording from 2007 of two Apache artillery helicopters attacking a group of defenseless Iraqis, among them two Reuters press photographers, with 30 millimeter anti-armor ammunition.

"The Collateral Murder video became the iconic video of the Iraq war," says Assange proudly.

But we had seen nothing yet. During 2010, WikiLeaks released three more enormous leaks: The Afghan War Diary, in which US military servicemen provide the naked truth about NATO's killing of Afghan civilians, lies, secrecy and support for a corrupt undemocratic Afghan regime; a similar package from Iraq, called the Iraq War Logs, and finally, Cablegate, a collection of cables sent between Washington and US embassies in 274 countries, dating from 1966 to 2010.
Assange explained how US foreign policy was exposed as violent and dishonest, how the revelations made the ground shake beneath corrupt and oppressive regimes and corporations all over the world and stimulated revolutions, as in Tunisia, and reformist movements in Ghana and Kenya.
WikiLeaks is "a rebel library of Alexandria," Assange declares, making a parallel to the largest known library of classical antiquity.

"With Cablegate, we have provided the largest geopolitical encyclopedia of how the world actually works that ever existed. It's really hard to think of anything in modern times that comes close to this."

Assange paints in grandiose words, but insistently backs them up with numbers. All together, the three releases contain more than 700,000 documents. With its 251,276,536 words, Cablegate alone constitutes the greatest package of classified material ever released.

Has he read all the documents?

"No, but I've read thousands, many thousands."

"It's too much; it's impossible to read it all, or get the full overview of all the revelations. But the impact all over the world is enormous. Every single one of our releases causes thousands of reactions, and they always give people more insight," he says.
The chase begins. Assange has still not revealed how WikiLeaks got the Collateral Murder video decrypted. Presumably, one of his cryptographer friends had something to do with it. But in the Pentagon, eyes turned to a young American soldier on duty in Iraq. On May 26, 2010, Private Bradley Manning was arrested.

"We started to realize that the heat was really coming down on us," Assange says. And it certainly was.

"We were tipped off that we were being followed. Journalists reported about US pressure on different countries - Germany and Australia - to make them prosecute us legally. There were public calls for my assassination from leading American politicians; proposals for laws that WikiLeaks be declared a terrorist organization. The Pentagon announced that it had put together a task force of 120 defense and intelligence personnel. The CIA and the FBI had theirs, too," he says.
In the United States, WikiLeaks' domain name in California was shut down. Bank of America announced that all transactions dealing with WikiLeaks would be blocked. Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Western Union and Amazon followed. German tax authorities started to investigate WikiLeaks.
"Friends of mine were stopped and interrogated in airports. People who only had remote connections to WikiLeaks started to lose jobs and contracts," he says.

But the FBI may have been closer than Assange imagined. In 2011, the Bureau sent a group of agents in a private jet to Iceland. Without the knowledge of the government of Iceland, the FBI agents hunted down suspected WikiLeaks allies and brought them to the US embassy in Reykjavik for interrogation.

They Can't Stop Us

During the two-and-a-half hour interview, only once did Assange display his characteristic impatience when he thinks a journalist says something stupid. The occasion was my interruption of a long argument about how powerful elites trick potential opponents into passivity by giving the impression that they have a greater capacity to harm than they actually have. "But you are afraid," I ask - or, rather, I state.

"That's a silly statement," Assange responds.
A short awkward silence follows.
"So you believe that those who are after you exaggerate their ability to harm you?"
"Those who want to harm WikiLeaks constantly exaggerate their ability to harm us. They are mostly incompetent people."
Is this the cocky Mendax, talking about helpless old policemen in their clumsy hunt for an agile young hacker in cyberspace? Has Assange forgotten that he's entering his seventh month holed up in a 50-square-meter embassy out of fear of ending up like Bradley Manning?
"This isn't about me. What happens to me is not important, beyond the practical difficulties it might create for WikiLeaks."

Assange goes back to a televised Pentagon press conference from 2010 to explain what he means.
"They demanded that WikiLeaks hand over all the documents, eliminate all the copies and cut off all contact with whistleblowers in the US military. Or else they would, and I quote, 'compel us to do so.'"

But WikiLeaks didn't obey.

"Yes, they put great pressure on us, financial and legal measures that are still ongoing. But we haven't removed a single thing," says Assange.

He thinks the Pentagon has lost face, that their threats are degraded after WikiLeaks ignored their demands and continued publishing.

"The first time we took it seriously, but when they repeated the same demand afterwards, we just laughed about it. They might be able to take revenge on WikiLeaks, but they couldn't stop us."

The WikiLeaks Philosophy

"The left? The left is still stuck in the 1960s," Assange states drily. Ideologically, he is closer to the free market, even though he says markets always tend to evolve into monopolies unless they are forced to work freely.

Assange might not be afraid, but he is clearly taking a huge personal risk with his disclosure activities. There must be a driving force within him, and it is definitely not a political ideology.

Assange takes a deep breath.

"I can answer long and theoretically, or short, depending on your audience."

Assange is service-oriented now. Or just very eager to be correctly understood when he is about to answer why a world full of freely competing news media, political movements and research institutions really needs publishers of secret material like him. Assange wants to make a deeper point. WikiLeaks, he says, is about more than just scandalous revelations and splashy headlines.

"In the same way that the ability to solve physical problems is limited by our understanding of physical laws, the ability to solve societal problems depends on our insight into human institutions. All political theories on how the world is and how it should be are built on such an understanding."

By "institutions" Assange means governments, private companies and other networks of power groups. The problem, he explains, is that while institutions constantly change as they absorb new technology and make old theories outdated, the information about how they actually work is concealed, kept secret.

"Much of what we are being presented, and upon which we build our understanding of the world, is designed to make these institutions palatable for the outside world."

"This is why only by knowing the internal communications of these institutions can we understand how they really work. So, if we want to make the world more just, if we want humanity to reach its heights and not its lows, then the first step is to get access to that information," he says.
"And then there's the media."

Mainstream Media Disappoints

From high theoretical spheres, Assange brings the discussion down to earth again. Or rather down into the mud, to what was to become a dirty conflict between WikiLeaks and the mainstream media.

But it started as a sweet tango. WikiLeaks did the initial work; The New York Times, Der Spiegel and other leading news publications provided their best writers and huge readerships, maximizing the global impact of the revelations.

"I was quite impressed by their work and what we achieved together in the beginning," Assange admits.
Then it all went downhill.

Assange speaks with indignation about Western news media turning an American document about an Iranian missile purchase into "fear propaganda" by censoring the expert assessment in the same document which showed that the purchase did not constitute any threat, about Der Spiegel choosing not to publish information that shed some unfortunate light on Angela Merkel, about the terrible accounts of Task Force 373 and their killing of innocent Afghans - which The New York Times refused to publish - and about what Assange considers an intentional personal smear that reached its low point in August last year, when The New York Times wrote that he refused to flush the toilet.

"Media organizations start off small. But when they grow, they are invited to sit down with the powerful. Then they become part of the same powerful elite that they are supposed to be critically monitoring," he explains.

"It's shameful," Assange says, "that a handful of activists in WikiLeaks have published more secret documents than the entire establishment press, with all its billion-dollar budgets, technical competence and human resources, all together."

A South American Savior

June 19, 2012: Ecuador's government announced that Assange had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and requested political asylum in Ecuador. Swedish prosecutors want him extradited to Sweden to question him about sexual assault allegations from two Swedish women. Both said they had voluntary sex with Assange in August 2010, but one claim, among other things, is that Assange ripped off a condom and continued intercourse without consent. So far, the closest prosecutors have come to presenting evidence in the cases is a torn-up condom that later turned out not to have any trace DNA from Assange.[1] Assange has offered to answer questions by telephone, or to go to Sweden, provided that that country guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States, where alleged whistleblower Manning has been held under conditions that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture deemed "cruel and inhuman." The Swedes rejected the offer.
So, why did Assange choose to apply for political asylum in a country popularly known as the "banana republic" par excellence of South America?

"Ecuador's president Rafael Correa is really a special person," Assange says, his voice filled with admiration.

"He belongs to a new generation of leaders. People like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela have also achieved impressive things, but he is still a military leader. Correa is a US-educated PhD economist. A nationalist in the good sense of the word and a social reformer. This is a very interesting combination."
On August 15 last year, however, a lot of people doubted that this lifeline would be enough to save Assange. In response to Ecuador's granting political asylum to Assange the day before, the British government sent a letter wherein it threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of the embassy and go in to arrest Assange. International media described warnings about economic sanctions with catastrophic consequences for Ecuador if Assange was not sacrificed. Most analysts seemed to believe Ecuador would give in. Correa reacted by gathering the entire South American continent behind a declaration that unanimously condemned the threat and scared the British government into a humiliating retreat.

Assange smiles when asked what happened to the pale, hunched up and morally defeated refugee that I had read about in the British press lately. Life as a persecuted person may be rough, but Assange also has a lot of friends. The British movie director Ken Loach donated a running machine, and a former British intelligence agent gives Assange martial arts training at the embassy.
"I'm improving my boxing too, now," Assange says.
The mysterious boxing trainer - Assange does not provide his name - is not the only former intelligence agent who has sided with the Australian rebel librarian." 

A recent letter to the British newspaper The Guardian in support of Assange was signed by an impressive list of former CIA agents and former colleagues from other agencies. On January 25, the CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for blowing the whistle on waterboarding torture by the US military, while the torturers continue to go free. These are hard times for talkative military and intelligence personnel in the US, and many see Assange and WikiLeaks as their voice.
In addition, a broad spectrum of intellectuals, musicians, politicians from the left and right, hackers and even celebrity feminist Naomi Klein have thrown their support behind Assange and demand that he get free passage to Ecuador. The EU parliament voted against the US-imposed banking blockade against WikiLeaks. Last week, Iceland's interior minister Ogmundur Jonasson revealed that he told the FBI agents to get out of Iceland when he found out about the illegal interrogations in the US embassy.

"We have support from all over the world. But the level of support is found in countries that have toppled bad governments in the past, and where the internal archives of the fallen regimes have been central elements in the public debate afterward," Assange explains, pointing to countries like the former apartheid regime of South Africa and former East Germany.

But the rape allegations, whether rooted in reality [2] or not, have stuck to Assange's name now, it seems, and have undermined his support in some parts of Europe.

"You are not very popular in Sweden, are you?"

"Not in the media, but polls show that I have the support of about 55 percent of the Swedish people. That is right in the middle compared to other countries, and better than in the US and Great Britain," he says.

A Way Out

A lady whom I had first thought was an Ecuadorian embassy employee turns out to be part of the team of the world's possibly most famous judge, Baltazar Garzón, who has taken on the task of leading Assange's legal defense.
Garzón has already confronted Great Britain in another high-profile extradition case in the past. In 1998, the former military dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, was arrested in London on the orders of Interpol. Garzón wanted him extradited to Spain to have him prosecuted for murder, torture and kidnappings committed during his 17-year dictatorship. The British government, however, released Pinochet and let him return to Chile as a free man. Now Garzón is trying to convince the British government that Assange is innocent and does not deserve a harsher treatment - so far, in vain.

Nevertheless, Assange is still optimistic.

"We are many people working hard to make the US drop persecution of WikiLeaks," he says, and seems to believe that the accusations from Sweden will also disappear if the US gives up its goal of crushing WikiLeaks.

"But right now, it does not really seem that the cases against you and WikiLeaks are about to disappear. Don't you have another plan to get out of here?"

I ask the question while peeking out from the tiny gap between the old-fashioned curtains in the room. It is no more than two meters from the window to the ground beneath, and it looks dark and abandoned. Earlier speculations had it that the Ecuadorians would attempt to smuggle Assange out in a diplomatic bag and into a speed boat waiting in the river Thames a good kilometer south of the embassy, and then into international waters.

Assange has a different escape route planned. It goes via the upcoming parliamentary elections in Australia. He will be a candidate for the newly founded WikiLeaks party.

"25 percent of the electorate says it will vote for me. I have supporters from the social democrats, the conservatives and the Green Party. And the support is uniform all over the country," says Assange.

And the election campaign has not even started. The Australian police has said Assange's legal problems abroad do not impede him from being a candidate in Australia.
Still, escape "in a British police car" is the option with the lowest odds, only 1.38, at the Irish bookmaker site Paddy Power, which takes bets on how the celebrity refugee will leave the embassy in the end. A seat in the Australian senate stands at 3.5.

As the bets keep rolling in, Assange makes the best out of life on 50 square meters. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks continues pumping out secret documents. In spite of mutual distrust, smearing and accusations of censorship, WikiLeaks and the establishment media hold on tight to each other. It still takes two to tango. WikiLeaks needs access to the public and newspapers need splashy headlines. According to Assange's most recent numbers, there is a WikiLeaks-based article in almost every second issue of The New York Times. The tones might have soured, but neither can afford to stop dancing.

1. Perhaps notably, one of Assange's attorneys said at his 2011 extradition hearing that he would not challenge that the women "found Mr. Assange's sexual behavior in these encounters disreputable, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing towards the boundaries of what they were comfortable with." Also of note is that rape laws vary from country to country. -Truthout editors

2. In fact, some progressive leaders' assessments of the allegations' validity have cast a disturbing light on the way in which rape is viewed by large contingents of the left, at least when one of their own is accused. Some have dismissed the allegations immediately - perhaps calling into question their underlying assumptions about women and rape. In a news analysis about the Assange situation earlier this year, Truthout's Alissa Bohling quotes Claudia Garcia-Rojas, a journalist who spent three years at the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls and Young Women: "Just because the men in the quote-unquote, like, 'the movement,' are involved in social justice work, this doesn't mean that they can't participate in the patriarchy, in some of the more horrid crimes." -Truthout editors


  1. He has powerful enemies, but they are playing in the 20th Century.

    The oil, and fighter jet crowd might win this round, but I'll bet on the cyberspace, renewable energy bunch for the long run.

    1. It's not good to get caught in the wrong century.

  2. Debbie Wasserman Schultz -what a waste of a hyphen.

    I know - lets kill all the Jews,stone the women, smoke dope with the ten year olds, and get drunk.

    Forget about farming.


    1. re: DebbE,
      ...not to mention a hymen.

    2. Now boobie is attacking Jewish American female politicians.
      Out of content and not within the prevue of the thread, or any other related subject.

      Evidence he is a woman hating antisemitic boob.
      Just another hater.

    3. Content should have been "context".

      mea culpa

    4. A severe misreading of what I have said, as expected.


  3. From FUBAR to Focus

    Pushing himself across America, 60 miles/day.

  4. WASHINGTON — A C.I.A. officer directly involved in the 2005 decision to destroy interrogation videotapes and who once ran one of the agency’s secret prisons has ascended to the top position within the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, according to current and former intelligence officials.

    The officer, who has been serving in the position in an acting role for several weeks since the retirement of her direct boss, is one of a small group of candidates being considered to take over the job permanently.

    The decision about whether to keep the officer in the job presents a dilemma for John O. Brennan, the new C.I.A. director, who said during his confirmation hearing last month that he was opposed to the brutal interrogation methods used by the spy agency in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    1. No Problemo, for John O. who tilts w/the winds.

      ...and she fills in an affirmative-action slot beautifully.

    2. Probly makes a damned good Bulldyke to introduce introduce innocent young Pfc initiates to the New PC Priesthood.

    3. Affirmative-Action Slut.

      Kid worked for a Male Bull-Dyke Marine for 3 years.

    4. University of Hawaii would not fire him even after he (repeatedly) assaulted a Female Japanese underling with racial slurs.

    5. ...also worked with an ex-Warthog Pilot that turned out to be a child-molester.

    6. Look at the date, 2005.

      Those that support continued or expanded foreign adventures should be standing with the President, as he is following the Bush Plan to the letter, even using the same minions to implement it...

      Stay the Course!

  5. Iran Summons Saudi Envoy over Riyadh’s Espionage Allegations

    TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi charge d'affaires in Tehran to hear Iran's strong protest at Riyadh's claims about Iran's involvement in alleged spying activities in Saudi Arabia.

    In a statement on March 19, Saudi Interior Ministry said that the country's authorities "have arrested 18 people, including an Iranian and a Lebanese, on charges of espionage for a foreign country".

    The Saudi charge d'affaires was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry here in Tehran on Wednesday due to absence of the Arab country's ambassador to Tehran.

    Last week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry categorically denied Riyadh's claims about Iran's involvement in alleged spying activities in Saudi Arabia.

    In a statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast rejected Saudi Arabia's claims about the presence of an Iranian national in an alleged spy network in the country.

    The Iranian spokesman dismissed the allegation as a "baseless and repetitive scenario."

    "Raising such baseless issues at the media levels is merely for domestic consumption," Mehman-Parast said.

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  7. Nice post but it wast not by by me.

    I have been sleeping with my cat.


  8. (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of large-scale Russian military exercises in the Black Sea region on Thursday, his spokesman said, in a move that may create tensions with Russia's post-Soviet neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.

    Putin issued the order to start the previously unannounced maneuvers at 4 a.m. Moscow time (12.00 a.m. EDT) as he flew back from an international summit in South Africa, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters by telephone.

    "These are large-scale unannounced test exercises," Peskov said, adding that 36 warships and an unspecified number of warplanes would take part. "The main goal is to check the readiness and cohesion of the various units."

    He did not say how long the exercises would last.

    Putin has stressed the importance of a strong and agile military since he returned to the presidency last May after four years as prime minister. In 13 years in power, he has often cited external threats when talking of the need for unity in Russia.

    Russia's Black Sea fleet, whose main base is in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, was instrumental in a war with Georgia in 2008 over the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Is Putin sending a signal to the ass-stabbers in Turkey about their new enthusiasm for US missiles in Turkey?

    BEIRUT -- A major Syrian opposition coalition took a seat as the legitimate government of Syria at an Arab League summit Tuesday, and the group’s outgoing leader promptly pushed for the United States to use Patriot missile-defense batteries against Syrian warplanes.

    Moaz Khatib, who resigned from the opposition coalition on Sunday amid reports of deep divisions in its ranks, said he put the Patriot missile request to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting last month in Rome.

    “I have asked Mr. Kerry to extend the umbrella of the Patriot missiles to cover the Syrian north and he promised to study the matter,” Moaz Khatib said in a speech, reported the Reuters news agency from Doha, where the 22-member Arab League was meeting.

  11. Remember the ass-stabbers are getting some recent mea-culpas from Bibi after Obamas newly found eternal friendship ass kissing tour:

    In a makeshift trailer set up on the tarmac at Israel's Ben Gurion airport, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netayahu called Turkish Prime Minister Racep Erdogan and Netanyahu apologized for the nine deaths that resulted from the boarding by Israeli soldiers of a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara.

    Netanyahu's office issued a press release late Friday following the 30-minute call, which took place just before Obama boarded Air Force One for his flight to Jordan. Israel-Turkey diplomatic relations have been severed ever since the 2010 incident, in which the Mavi Marmara led a flotilla bound for Gaza meant to break the Israeli naval blockade. After repeated warnings, Israeli soldiers forcibly boarded the ship and were met by passengers wielding homemade weapons. In addition to the nine passenger deaths, more than a dozen other passengers and several Israeli soldiers were injured in the clash.

    Obama and Netanyahu had spoken about the need to repair Israel-Turkey relations in their bilateral meetings and Netanyahu made the first step in the Friday phone call. Netanyahu told Erdogan that he regretted the deterioration of relations between the two countries. Netanyahu also said he had seen Erdogan's recent comments in a Dutch newspaper, where Erdogan said his claim that Zionism was a "crime against humanity" was misinterpreted.

    "[Netanyahu] made clear that the tragic outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident was not intended by Israel and that Israel regrets the loss of human life and injury," Netanyahu's office said in the release. “In light of Israel’s investigation into the incident which pointed to a number of operational mistakes, the Prime Minister expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury and agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation/nonliability.”

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  13. DUBAI - Iran's foreign ministry said the country was not linked to a group of alleged spies arrested in Saudi Arabia, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

    Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it had detained an Iranian, a Lebanese, and 16 Saudis for spying. Political analysts and press in Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia have accused Shi'ite Iran of being behind the alleged espionage.

    The two countries are locked in a struggle for influence across the region, backing opposing sides in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Gulf Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Riyadh last month, issued a statement condemning what they said was Iranian "meddling" in their countries - an accusation Tehran rejects.

    Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, denied that an Iranian national was involved in the alleged spy ring and called the allegations a "repetitive scenario", according to Iran's English-language Press TV on Sunday.

  14. Conclusion;

    No cakewalk through Syria and Iran by the eternal and special relationship troika.

    Putin is throwing a turd into the Sevastopol.

  15. Note to self. Expand on this. The same crowd that brought us the last 10 years still has the itch despite their stunning failures

    “Afghanistan was COIN’s Waterloo.” What was wrong with COIN in Afghanistan? Was that, as an expeditionary counterinsurgent, “you are as performant as the host nation government you support”?

    FK: Yes, that's basically it. I'm not the one who makes that argument. As a general principle, it’s a core principle of COIN doctrine.

    A French colonial officer, Col. David Galula, wrote a book in 1962 called Counterinsurgency Warfare. Petraeus, Nagl, Kilcullen - all the leading COIN thinkers read and re-read Galula's book. In it there's a chapter titled "Prerequisites for a Successful Insurgency." He lists the characteristics of a country that make it prime bait for insurgents, that increase the odds an insurgency will win.

    They included: a corrupt central state, a largely rural and illiterate population, a bordering state that's used as a sanctuary... Add them up, it's a portrait of Afghanistan. David Kilcullen made a point in a 2008-09 COIN manual that he wrote for civilian policymakers: “it is folly," he wrote, to undertake a COIN operation abroad if it's petty clear the regime isn't interested in reforming.

    He also wrote that, before going with a COIN operation, US policymakers "must" make a calculation of how interested the regime is in reform. This is a calculation the Obama administration didn’t know to make during its first year in office - and that the military commanders who advised the president purposefully avoided, or evaded.


    1. Russia would be totally bankrupt were it not for Wilson's War.
      Sad fact is, before Russia, Wilson, and all who followed, the 'Stan
      was a damned site nicer and more peaceful place.

  16. Take an axe to the Pentagon list of generals. Half seems about a nice place to start.

  17. The Homeland Protection Racket is developing the smell of cordite

    WND recently reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has purchased well over a billion rounds of ammunition over the past year.

    The magnitude of the federal government’s ammunition buildup has been making headlines over the last few weeks, as members of the military, police departments and consumers are finding shelves bare when they want to buy ammunition.

    Alarms over the situation have developed just as the Obama administration is pushing hard on its agenda of gun control.

    But the full impact may not yet have developed, as WND has uncovered plans by the FBI to spend up to $100 million over five years on millions of rounds for its machine guns and pistols.


  18. Nat Gas is probably about ready for another run. Storage is down about 26% (800 Billion Cu Ft) from last year, and going the wrong direction.

    Storage Report

    1. $4.08/kcuft

      Up 112% from the now-legendary "Rufus Low."


  19. Jon Stewart goes off, big-time, on Obama's VA:

    This is F'n Criminal!

  20. The United States, The Eurozone, China - Odd Man Out?

    I posted the hypothesis a year or so, ago, that the stagnation of supply/higher prices of oil would sink the weakest economies first, and then continue up the ladder to the next weakest, and so on.

    My hunch was that the Euro countries would fall first, followed by either the U.S., or China. I mentioned that the popular wisdom was that China would be the "last man standing," but that I wasn't so sure. I'm still not sure about the U.S./China race, but it looks like I was right about the Eurozone.

    Scary Eurozone Graphs (scary, but not unexpected)

  21. Our noble allies, the Syrian Rebels, in a move of heroism:

    The students were killed on Thursday when rebel mortar bombs landed on the canteen of Damascus University’s College of Architecture, two pro-government television channels said.

    One station, Ikhbariya, showed images of doctors pumping the chests of at least two young men and blood splattered on the floor of what appeared to be an outdoor canteen.

    A young women was shown walking in a hospital and bleeding heavily from her face.

    The college is in Baramkeh, a central Damascus suburb where mortar attacks by rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have intensified this week.

    The university is surrounded by government buildings, including the Ministry of Defence, the headquarters for state media and the president’s official residence.

    1. While the Noble Syrian Rebels are killing architectural students ( Mortar fire killed at least 15 students in Damascus on Thursday, with state media blaming “terrorists," its term for Syrian rebels who are increasingly targeting President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power.), guess who has set the rebels up with a field hospital:

      According to an AFP report, Israeli authorities confirmed the hospital was built at military outpost 105 in the occupied Syrian territories where injured militants fighting against Damascus are being treated near the Syrian border.

      Reports further indicate that 11 anti-Damascus militants, who were wounded during the ongoing violence in Syria, have been sent to hospitals in northern Israel for treatment last month. Eight of them returned to Syria, while another three remained in Israel for further treatment.

      On Wednesday, two militants, who were critically wounded in Syria, were reportedly evacuated to Israeli hospitals under the authorization of the Israeli military. One of them was pronounced dead several hours after being hospitalized with the other one in critical conditions.

      The report clearly proves Israel's support for the militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

      Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have lost their lives in over two years of turmoil that broke out in Syria in March 2011.

      Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.

    2. That is going to turn out to be a bad idea.

  22. Anschluss Israeli Style

    Haaretz devotes part of its front page to an article showing that the division of state land in the West Bank heavily favors settlements. The article shows that 30% of state land in the West Bank was allocated for settlement development, while only 0.7% was given to Palestinians. The article looks all the way back to 1967, when Israel captured the territory, finding that most of the land was given to settlements after 1979. Aside from the 30% allocated to settlements, 11% was used for government buildings and industry, and 7% was designated for public buildings or given to cellular companies.

    1. Does Haaretz mention that the arabs favored putting Jews into German ovens in World Was Two?


    2. Does Haaretz mention that the Arabs favored putting Jews into German ovens in World War Two?


  23. Hamdoon sat in his pickup in Cheyenne, Wyoming and nursed his early morning coffee from McDonald's, checked his fuel gauge, and thought of how the antelope had escaped from the old cats, by running like hell. He turned to his right, put his arm on the armrest.


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