Sunday, May 19, 2019

It’s Not Just the Oil. The Middle East War and the Conquest of Natural...

Are the Wars in the Middle East and North Africa Really About Oil? The Iraq war was really about oil, according to Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officer and others. Dick Cheney made Iraqi’s oil fields a national security priority before 9/11. The...

Al Nusra Placed Explosives at UNDOF Site, Stole Vehicles, Uniforms

Al Qaeda linked militants have taken over UN positions in Golan, are wearing United Nations blue berets and after taking Fijian troops hostage they surrounded another UN base with explosives to prevent troops from evacuating, detonating one of the explosives. These are among the details in Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the beleaguered...

The CIA Helped Produce an Episode of Top Chef

What do the movies Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have in common with the novel The Devil's Light by Richard North Patterson; Bravo's Top Chef Covert Cuisine; the USA Network cable series Covert Affairs; the History Channel documentary Air America: The CIA's Secret Airline; and the BBC documentary The...

With Trump’s election, is stimulus spending back on Washington’s agenda?

Has John Maynard Keynes just won a ticket back to the White House? Keynes was the British economist who advocated government deficit spending to stimulate moribund economies. And that seems to be the principle undergirding the $1-trillion infrastructure construction plan that President-elect Donald Trump proposed shortly before election day. Trump...

Obama Went From Condemning Saudis for Abuses to Arming Them to the Teeth

In the 2002 speech against the Iraq War that helped propel him to the presidency, then-state Sen. Barack Obama denounced not just the looming invasion of Iraq, but also human rights abuses by our “so-called allies” in Saudi Arabia: Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle...

India Acts East

Washington’s pivot to Asia gets all the attention, but India's pivot east will redefine regional politics. Washington’s Asia rebalance, first articulated by President Barack Obama in a 2011 speech to Australia’s parliament, has received ample attention. India’s envisioned pivot to Asia has garnered far less. Nonetheless, India’s planned pivot is freighted with significance for the country’s economic prospects,...

In Odyssey for Chinese, Greece Sells Its Fabled Port of Piraeus

With the sale, China’s state-owned COSCO aims to turn a once-sleepy port into the “dragon’s head” of the New Silk Road. Beijing’s ambitions to build a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting China, Central Asia, and Europe took a big step forward Friday when Chinese state-owned shipping giant COSCO finally sealed a...

The Coming War on China

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter...

Oman Gas Projects Could Undermine U.S. LNG Market Ambitions

Two separate projects in the sultanate of Oman are about to turn the tiny Gulf country into an important international liquefied natural gas (LNG) player that the U.S. will have to contend with in its ambition to become the leader of this market. The first one is an agreement with...

Next Financial Crisis Could Overwhelm World’s Defenses, IMF Says

The global financial safety net has become increasingly fragmented, making it harder to respond to crises in a world roiled by volatile capital flows, International Monetary Fund staffers warned. Defenses haven’t kept up with the growth of external debt in recent years, the Washington-based fund said in a report released...

An exorbitant privilege? Implications of reserve currencies for competitiveness

Could the US prioritize domestic growth and jobs over its global responsibilities, sparking greater currency volatility that threatens competitiveness? Sharp exchange rate volatility is a sign of stress in the world currency system and has reignited debate about whether the dollar will continue to be the world's primary reserve currency...

Six Banks Pay $5.8 Billion, Five Guilty of Market Rigging

Six of the world’s biggest banks will pay $5.8 billion and five of them agreed to plead guilty to charges tied to a currency-rigging probe as they seek to wind down almost half a decade of enforcement actions. Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland...

Jordan’s Economy Sees Progress Despite Series of Shocks

Jordan maintains economic stability while coping with refugees, regional shocks Next phase to focus on creating jobs and improving business climate while continuing to strengthen public finances Sustained donor support will be essential to deal with the humanitarian crisis Jordan has made good headway toward stabilizing its economy in the face of...

Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass

Privacy advocates were aghast in October when the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21, leaving intact portions of the law they say make it more amenable to surveillance than actual security. Now, as CISA gets closer to the President’s desk, those...

Did Russia Really Hack U.S. Election Systems?

American e-voting is vulnerable to hacking, but that doesn’t mean Moscow’s agents hacked Illinois and Arizona voter databases — this time. When an FBI alert to state election authorities warning them of hacking leaked to the media this week, the result was one of studied panic. Two voter registration databases...

UN Peacekeepers Observe IDF Interacting With Al Nusra in Golan

UN troops monitoring the 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria have witnessed interactions between members of the Israeli Defence Forces and the Al Nusra Front who have taken over a large part of the Golan Heights. The information is included in a report by Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council issued...

Documents Show U.S. Military Expands Reach of Special Operations Programs

The United States is spending more money on more missions to send more elite U.S. forces to train alongside more foreign counterparts in more countries around the world, according to documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act. Under the Joint Combined Exchange Training program, which is...

IMF’s Prescription for Europe: Exploit Refugees with Low Wages

Economist calls IMF 'the sancta sanctorum of neoclassical/neoliberal thinking.' The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday released a report urging the European countries accepting a majority of refugees to "temporarily" pay them less than minimum wage. In its report, the IMF recommended implementing a short-term differentiation between asylum seekers and EU...

Report: Contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan 3-to-1

Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan still outnumber U.S. troops by a 3-to-1 margin according to new research released this week, raising questions again about the role those workers play in the ongoing wars overseas and the oversight they receive. The data, compiled by the Congressional Research Service and first reported...

The decline of the middle class is causing even more economic damage than we...

I have just come across an International Monetary Fund working paper on income polarization in the United States that makes an important contribution to the secular stagnation debate. The authors — Ali Alichi, Kory Kantenga and Juan Solé — use standard econometric techniques to estimate the impact of declines in middle...

The CIA Just Declassified the Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion

Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked "specific information" on "many key aspects" of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. But that's not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war...

Refugees and The Economy: Lessons from History

What can we learn from the Vietnamese, Cuban, Rwandan, and Syrian refugees crisis? As Syrian refugees started to reach the European continent, discussions about the “influx of migrants” dominated media outlets, with very little attention paid to the crisis of the refugees instead of the “refugees crisis.” Some cite national security...

Another 9/11 Intrigue: Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and Continuity in Government (COG) Measures on...

In 1993 I wrote a book, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, in which I said at the outset I was not going to try to solve the mystery of JFK’s murder but to examine the politics of it. I wish to argue here for similar research into the...

EIA: Turkey – International Energy Data and Analysis

Turkey is an increasingly important transit hub for oil and natural gas supplies as they move from Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East to Europe and other Atlantic markets. Turkey is well placed to serve as a hub for oil and natural gas supply headed to Europe and other...

Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned

Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to...

Saudis Planning For A War Of Attrition In Europe With Russia’s Oil Industry

Russia's central bank recently warned about the growing financial risks to the Russian economy from Saudi Arabia encroaching upon its traditional export market for crude oil. Russia sends 70 percent of its oil to Europe, but Saudi Arabia has been making inroads in the European market amid the oil...

Soros Hack Reveals Plot Behind Europe’s Refugee Crisis; Media Manipulation; Cash For Social Justice

In the two days since the Soros Open Society Foundation hack by the DCLeaks collective, several notable revelations have emerged among the data dump of over 2,500 documents exposing the internal strategy of the organization, which expose some of Soros' tactics to influence and benefit from Europe's refugee crisis,...

Declassified 28 Pages Suggest Ties Between Associate of 9/11 Hijackers and Former Saudi Ambassador

Twenty-eight pages of a 2002 congressional report on the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, released Friday, suggest potential links between some of the hijackers and people with ties to the Saudi government, but contain no independent evidence of a direct relationship. The release of the 28-pages, classified for more than...

United States Made Corruption in Afghanistan Pervasive and Entrenched

Afghanistan has long been a corrupt place. The United States has nothing to make it better. In fact, it’s made it worse, according to new findings released Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. In its first “Lessons Learned” report, the watchdog agency concluded that the American presence...

A Call to Keep The Fed’s Balance Sheet

Using the balance sheet to promote stability and scrapping the zero lower bound are among the fresh ideas. Another Jackson Hole economic symposium has come and gone. Fed Up, a group that's pushing for lower rates and asking the Fed to pay more attention to minorities and workers, is thrilled...

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