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 Continue reading »
– 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)
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: Continue reading »
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.
– 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.
– Obamacare Rollout COO Retires “After 41 Years Of Outstanding Public Service” (ZeroHedge, Dec 30, 2013):
The COO of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who supervised the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, is retiring. Michelle Snyder is the second official to depart the
sinking shipCMS following CIO Tony Trenkle’s resignation in November. While in charge of day-to-day activities, the allocation of resources, and “standing up new programs and activities required by the Affordable Care Act,” the NY Times reminds readers that Kathleen Sebelius said “Michelle Snyder is not responsible for those debacles.” We can only wonder at the retirement package this 41-year veteran will receive…
The No. 2 official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who supervised the troubled rollout of President Obama’s health care law, is retiring, administration officials said Monday.
– Americans React To End Of Jobless Benefits: “I Just Don’t Know What To Do, Except Pray” (ZeroHedge, Dec 29, 2013):
“It’s going to put my family and me out on the streets,” is a perspective shared by many of the 1.3 million Americans about to lose their emergency unemployment claims. The program, started during the recession, was intended to help jobless people after they exhausted state benefits, typically lasting six months. House Republicans resisted continuing the benefits without budget cuts elsewhere to cover the cost. As Bloomberg reports, opponents say the extended benefits discourage the unemployed from accepting jobs and that the program should be curtailed, given the recovery in the nation’s labor market.
“It lacks compassion for the victims of the recession and, economically, it’s shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, which backs policies that help low-income workers. “The timing is very premature. The evidence is that people who want work can’t find it.”
– Strontium, PFOA and toxic chemicals found in one-third of U.S. water supply (Natural News, Dec 29, 2013):
You may want to think twice before further drinking or even bathing in unfiltered tap water, as a new report set to be published next year has found that a striking percentage of the U.S. water supply is contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that an astounding one-third of U.S. water systems contain traces of at least 18 unregulated and potentially hazardous contaminants, many of which are linked to causing endocrine disruption and cancer.
Based on a nationwide survey of 25 unnamed water utilities, scientists found traces of the herbicide metolachlor, for instance, a pesticide commonly applied to conventional corn, soy, cotton, safflower, potato and other crops, as well as the heavy metal strontium, which is linked to causing bone problems. Other chemicals identified include so-called perfluorinated compounds like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which numerous scientific studies have found can cause thyroid disease and various types of cancer.
“Traces of 18 unregulated chemicals were found in drinking water from more than one-third of U.S. water utilities in a nationwide sampling,” reports Environmental Health News (EHN). “Included are 11 perfluorinated compounds, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial compound, a metal and an antidepressant.”
More than 250 potential hazardous compounds detected in tap water
H/t reader M.G.:
“Is this the mining towns of 19c Virginia? The wage slaves of 19th century UK
This story is the worst I have ever seen………corporate and gang power exploiting the homeless to work at Fukushima, and charging them for it. Why isn’t this covered?
I guess we know the answer, corporations are run by criminals, and we also have criminals in charge of our countries.
Read this if you can stomach it.
This is the most appalling and evil story I have read on the subject. I only hope there is a special hell for these guys……..”
The Yakuza at work …
– 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 (VIDEO) (ENENews, Dec 29, 2013):
Reuters, Dec. 29, 2013: SPECIAL REPORT- Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up […] Some say better homeless than going into debt by working […] Gangsters run Fukushima labour brokers […] Sendai, the biggest city in the disaster zone, has emerged as a hiring hub for homeless men. Many work […] cleaning up radioactive hotspots […] Seiji Sasa, 67 [recruits] homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. […] homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say. […] a shelter funded by the city […] sent other homeless men to work for him […] 55-year-old homeless […] worker’s paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 […] The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread.
Kenichi Sayama, general manager at subcontractor Fujisai: “If you don’t get involved (with gangs), you’re not going to get enough workers […] The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs.”
Yasuhiro Aoki, Baptist pastor and homeless advocate: “Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages […] Then at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all.”
– Newspaper: Unprecedented declines in Alaska king salmon… related to impact from Fukushima? No comment, says NOAA biologist — Record low numbers seen in major fishery on Canada’s west coast, “alarming decrease” (ENENews, Dec 29, 2013):
Juneau Empire, Dec. 29, 2013: […] the king [chinook] salmon — has fallen from its throne. […] Alaska has seen unprecedented declines in recent years […] scientists like Joe Orsi and Jim Murphy, both fisheries research biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are digging deeper into […] the cause of the startling downward trend. […] When asked about the potential impact Fukushima may be having on king salmon stocks in the Gulf of Alaska and elsewhere in the state, Orsi would not comment. “I’ve been told to refer you to the (Environmental Protection Agency),” he said, “Because I’m not an expert on the topic.” Calls and emails to the EPA were not returned in time and digging on the federal agency’s site revealed no current information on radiation from the Fukushima disaster. The last posted monitoring results occurred in June of 2011.
Bellingham Herald, Dec. 5, 2013: “[…] we see from test fisheries that the Chinook numbers returning to the Fraser River system were at a record low,” explained Ken Balcomb, executive director and principal investigator for The Center for Research and a science advisor to the whale watch association. […] [An] alarming decrease of an important identified food resource […]
Islander Sound, Dec. 25, 2013: [A] dismal return of Chinook salmon to the Fraser River.
– Bailout Of World’s Oldest Bank In Jeopardy, Rests On Hope That “Ship Does Not Sink” (ZeroHedge, Dec 28, 2013):
The ongoing debacle of Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi (BMPS) took a turn for the worst today. The bank’s largest shareholders (MPS Foundation) approved (read – forced through) a delay in a EUR 3 billion capital raise, which the bank needs to avoid nationalization, until May. The delay (which will cost the bank EUR 120 million in interest) allows MPS more time to liquidate their 33.5% holding before their stake is massively diluted. Management is ‘considering’ resignation and is “very annoyed,” but the city Mayor is going Nationalist with his delay-supporting comments that “we cannot let the third biggest bank in this country fall prey to foreign interests.” So Europe is recovering but they can’t even raise a day’s worth of POMO to save the oldest bank in the world?
Italy’s third-biggest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena was forced to delay a vital 3 billion euro ($4.1 billion) share sale to raise capital until mid-2014 because of shareholder opposition, plunging its turnaround plan into uncertainty.
– Caught On Tape: Suicide Bombing In Russia’s Fifth Largest Train Station Kills 15, One Month Ahead Of Sochi Games (ZeroHedge, Dec 29, 2013):
Two months ago, we reported when a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a bus in the Russian city of Volgograd, located 400 miles northeast of Sochi where the winter Olympic games begin in just over a month.
The explosion was caught on dashcam (the video can be seen here). But more than a mere isolated terrorist incident in a region of Russia which has historically been rife with conflict between Russia and Chechen separatists, this explosion, which took place just after Russia managed to impose its will in the Syrian conflict’s outcome, and left Saudi (and Israeli) relations with the US in tatters, we reminded readers just who is the invisible hand behind all terrorist activities in proximity to Sochi: Saudi Arabia.
– Shelters Fill as Rent Aid Disappears (Wall Street Journal, Dec 27, 2013):
New York City residents who received rent subsidies are flocking to homeless shelters.
New York City homeless shelters—swelling with record-high populations not seen since the Great Depression—are increasingly being sought out by people who participated in a now-defunct rent-subsidy program designed to reduce homelessness, according to a report to be released Saturday.