I wish all my readers a Happy New Year!
– Chinese President Orders PLA To Prepare For War (ZeroHedge, Dec 30, 2013):
The recent spate of bellicose militaristic rhetoric emanating out of Chinese state media has continued in the form of a 7,500 word Xinhua editorial which outlines how Chinese president Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for war.
According to a summary of the editorial, China’s “Mission Action 2013″ exercise was part of a move, “to deepen preparations for potential conflict to ensure that the troops are ready if called upon not only to fight, but to win.”
President Xi’s increased number of visits to PLA military zones over the past year are part of military reforms in order “to prepare his troops in the event of war,” the editorial stated.
– Russian Banks Buy 181.4 Tons Of Gold In 2013 (ZeroHedge, Dec 2013):
With headlines crowing of gold’s worst year since 1981 as a signal that the status quo is winning and proof positive that fiat-currency naysayers must be wrong, it would appear that the rest of the world’s central banks (and banks) have used the price depreciation to stack the precious metal. As Bloomberg reports,
- *RUSSIAN BANKS BOUGHT 181.4 TONS OF RUSSIAN GOLD IN 2013: RIA
- *RUSSIAN BANKS BOUGHT ALMOST 90% OF RUSSIA 2013 GOLD OUTPUT: RIA
This 5.834 million ounce addition (8.3% YoY) is more than double that of Russia’s central bank additions in 2013 with Bitcoin-favoring Sberbank piling up 48.5 tons alone in 2013.
– Former MSNBC host told not to warn people about Fukushima meltdowns: “The official gov’t position is that it’s safe” — “Now go explain that to people who served on the USS Ronald Reagan” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Dec 30, 2013):
The Young Turks, Dec. 29, 2013:
At 2:15 in
– Giant Crude Fireball Sends 1000s Running For Their Lives (Before It’s News, Dec 31, 2013)
– The Real Powers Behind President Barack Obama By Karen Hudes (Before It’s News, Dec 31, 2013)
– Ring Of Fire Exploding! 19,000 Flee Volcano Eruption In Indonesia (Before It’s News, Dec 31, 2013)
You can’t make this stuff up!
– FBI warns of terrorists toting copies of Old Farmers’ Almanac (Boing Boing, Dec 29, 2013):
My country grows stranger by the day. The elderly Italian lady who lives next door to me annotates her almanac to keep track of which moon phases bode best for planting, thinning, or harvesting fresh back yard arugula. Suspicious ways? She’s definitely attempting to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning. If the taste of the fresh, shared greens she drops off on my doorstep in brown paper bags are any proof — it’s working.
The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs “to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning.” It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways. “The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning,” the FBI wrote.
Link (San Francisco Chronicle)
– Starfish Wasting Disease outbreak could be due to radiation (News1130, Dec 30, 2013):
Scientist says radiation from nuclear plant damaged by 2011 earthquake can’t be ruled out
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Researchers say nuclear pollution from the 2011 earthquake in Japan that damaged the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant could be partially to blame for a disease wiping out starfish along the West Coast.
Dr. Peter Raimondi of the University of Santa Cruz says something is making starfish susceptible to whats believed to be a bacteria coined “Wasting Disease.” It essentially disintegrate the marine invertebrates into a white goo, after the starfish loses its legs.
He says what’s making sea stars unable to fight off the bacteria could be anything from warm water to toxins–but Raimondi also says scientists can’t rule out nuclear pollution, especially in light of the tsunami that followed the 2011 earthquake.
– New year, new laws: world will wake up to raft of changes in 2014 (Guardian Dec 31, 2013):
Countries around the world are ringing in the new year with a host of new regulations, appointments and legislation Here are some of the most important and most intriguing
– UN Official ‘Astounded’: Homeless Are Taken To Work In Fukushima, Ready To Die – Pastor: ‘At End Of Month, They’re Left With No Pay’ – Police: They End Up In Debt To Employers After Food And Housing Fees Deducted
– Forbes: “This is outrageous” — Homeless people are being sold to companies and put to work on Fukushima radiation – Gov’t-funded shelter supplying gangsters with workers (VIDEOS) (ENENews, Dec 31, 2013):
Reuters, Dec. 31, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers. […] Mitsunori Nishimura, a local Inagawa-kai gangster […] housed workers in cramped dorms on the edge of Sendai and skimmed an estimated $10,000 of public funding intended for their wages each month, police say. […] Nishimura is widely known in Sendai. Seiryu Home, a shelter funded by the city, had sent other homeless men to work for him […] “He seemed like such a nice guy,” said Yota Iozawa, a shelter manager.
Forbes, Dec. 30, 2013: More than a year after the earthquake, after the crisis at Fukushima went from bad to worse, the Japanese government commandeered the clean-up effort […] the report published this morning by Reuters suggests that the clean-up effort is still broken. […] Reuters revealed that the Yakuza, the notorious criminal syndicates that control Japan’s underworld, are filling a manpower void […] with homeless men they’ve recruited off the streets. […] This is outrageous.
– Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit (Der Spiegel, Dec 29, 2013):
Part 1: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit
The NSA’s TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.
In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410.
– Iranian Billionaire Promoting “PetroGold” With Turkey Arrested (ZeroHedge, Dec 31, 2013):
Earlier this week, in “Why The Turkish Government May Be The Casualty Of A $119 Billion PetroDollar Loophole” we said “dare to mess with the Petrodollar and the wrath of the US government will hunt you down… sooner or later.” Sure enough, after resulting in a Turkish government scandal, punishing its stock market and sending the Lira reeling, the blowback has reached Iran where billionaire Babak Zanjani was arrested yesterday on corruption charges, although in reality his chief transgression was allowing the Petrogold system to show that the Petrodollar is now longer irreplaceable.
Iran’s PressTV reported that the Monday arrest comes after 12 Iranian lawmakers accused Babak Zanjani of corruption, calling for an inquiry into his financial activities in a letter to the heads of the three branches of the Iranian government. “Experts say Babak Zanjani’s estimated net worth is around USD 13.8 billion. The corporate mogul, aged nearly 40, owns and operates many holdings and companies, including the UAE-based Sorinet group, Qeshm Airlines and Rah Ahan Football Club in Iran.” According to Head of Iran’s Supreme Audit Court Amin-Hossein Rahimi, Zanjani’s role in the course of transferring the country’s oil revenues involved breach of law.
– Poverty In Italy Rises To All Time High (ZeroHedge, Dec 31, 2013):
What can one say but: “because of the recovery?”
As Italy’s ISTAT reported yesterday, poverty in Italy has reached its highest level in at least 16 years “as the economic crisis has bitten, driving up unemployment and cutting wages, according to a report on social cohesion issued on Monday. Relative poverty, defined as a family of two living on a monthly income of 991 euros (847.61 pounds) or less, affected 12.7 percent of families, the highest level recorded since the current series of data began in 1997, the report by statistics agency ISTAT said.”
It was immediately unclear if this beat expectations of a 13% print, and thus was bullish for the Stalingrad and Propaganda 500.
The report, a compendium of data on issues ranging from employment to demographics, said poverty had deepened in all areas of Italy between 2011 and 2012. Relative poverty rose from 4.9 percent to 6.2 percent in the richer north and from 23.3 percent to 26.2 percent in the poorer south.
More from Reuters:
The report painted a grim picture of the impact of the country’s worst post-war recession, with joblessness at record levels, incomes squeezed and permanent, full-time employment declining. “As one of the countries most affected by the crisis, Italy registered a progressive decline in the main macroeconomic and social indicators in 2012,” Labour Minister and former ISTAT chief Enrico Giovannini said in the introduction to the report.
“Nonetheless social cohesion has held up, enabling the country to support sacrifices aimed at recovering financial stability and passing important reforms,” he said.
Well as long as “social cohesion” has held up, i.e., no civil war has broken out yet, all is well. Then again, some disagree:
From the article:
“One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”
– This is What Really Happens in the Drone Program from an Insider (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Dec 30, 2013):
Over the weekend, Heather Linebaugh wrote a powerful Op-ed in The Guardian newspaper lamenting the lack of public understanding regarding the American drone program. Heather should know what she’s talking about, she served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. She worked in intelligence as an imagery and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here are some key excerpts from her article:
– LA Times: Experts suggest bald eagle deaths are related to Fukushima radiation — Idaho officials reporting similar sickness — “It’s hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures” (AUDIO) (ENENews, Dec 30, 2013):
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 29, 2013: Bald eagles are dying in Utah — 20 in the past few weeks alone — and nobody can figure out why. […] Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis […] Many of the eagles were brought to the mammoth Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah […] Within 48 hours, most were dead. […] State wildlife specialists are baffled. […] At first, the agency’s disease scientists guessed the illness could be encephalitis, which is caused by the West Nile virus, but later ruled out that possibility. […] Officials at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center have their own theories. Some point to radiation from Japan after the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. […] A call from Idaho shed new light: A wildlife official said bald eagles there were also getting sick, suggesting the birds were arriving in Utah already in bad health.
– IT firms lose billions after NSA scandal exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden (Independent, Dec 30, 2013):
The National Security Agency scandal exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden has cost American technology companies billions of dollars in lost revenue as governments and companies in its important export markets of Asia refuse to entrust the handling of sensitive data to US companies. An analysis of financial filings from technology giants IBM and Cisco by The Independent on Sunday reveals the two businesses have seen sales slump by more than $1.7bn (£1.03bn) year-on-year in the important Asia-Pacific region since Mr Snowden revealed in June that US companies had been compromised by the NSA’s intelligence-gathering in the clandestine Prism programme.
“US companies have seen some of their business put at risk because of the NSA revelations,” said James Kelleher of equity research firm Argus Research.
– Second suicide bomber in Russia’s Volgograd kills 14 on bus (Reuters, Dec 30, 2013):
A bomb ripped a bus apart in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers in the southern Russian city in 24 hours and raising fears of Islamist attacks on the Winter Olympics.
President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his prestige on February’s Sochi Games and dismissed threats from Chechen and other Islamist militants in the nearby North Caucasus, ordered tighter security nationwide after the morning rush-hour blast.
The previous day’s similar attack killed at least 17 in the main rail station of a city that serves as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains.
– Meet The Minimum-Wage Homeless Who Are “Cleaning Up” Fukushima (For The Yakuza) (ZeroHedge, Dec 30, 2013):
“We’re an easy target for recruiters,” one homeless man explains. “We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we’re easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven’t eaten, they offer to find us a job.” As Reuters exposes, 3 years after the earthquake and tsunami that caused the meltdown at Fukushima’s nuclear facility, Northern Japanese homeless are willing to accept minimum wage (from yakuza-based entities) for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.
Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.
He isn’t a social worker. He’s a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.
“This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day,”
– Day After Saudi Arabia Gives Record $3 Billion To Lebanese Army, Lebanese Troops Fire At Syrian Warplanes (ZeroHedge, Dec 30, 2013):
That didn’t take long.
It was only yesterday that Saudi Arabia pledged a record $3 billion to prop up Lebanon’s armed forces, in what the WSJ described as “a challenge to the Iranian-allied Hezbollah militia’s decades-long status as Lebanon’s main power broker and security force.” Lebanese President Michel Sleiman revealed the Saudi gift on Lebanese national television Sunday, calling it the largest aid package ever to the country’s defense bodies. The Saudi pledge compares with Lebanon’s 2012 defense budget, which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute put at $1.7 billion.