Saturday, March 31, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Poised to Take Power in Egypt; Echoes of Russia's February Revolution, as Foreign Confidential™ Predicted

Disaster on the Brink of Becoming a Catastrophe

The Egyptian clerical fascist group that spawned Al Qaeda has broken its pledge not to field a Presidential candidate. Click here for the news.

The phased takeover echoes Russia's February Revolution of 1917. On January 31, 2011 Foreign Confidential™ predicted the Muslim Brotherhood would eventually take power--directly--in Egypt.

Leslie Gelb Agrees With Foreign Confidential™ Analysis that US, North Korea Could be Heading Toward a Nuclear Confrontation

Click here to read the Gelb piece; here and here for related Foreign Confidential™ early warnings.

The next two weeks are critical.

In Focus: Syria's Chemical Weapons

The Syrian regime's "toxic assets" are formidable. Foreign Policy:

Syria is not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international agreement that outlaws the production, possession, and use of chemical weapons and requires states that join the treaty to destroy their stockpiles. Therefore, precise information on the nature and quantity of its suspected chemical agents is lacking. The Syrian government claims that it does not have a chemical weapons program, only research sites for medical civilian use. However, the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies estimate that the country has a chemical weapons program dating from the early 1980s that is one of the largest and most developed in the world. Syria is also suspected of having a biological weapons program, but it is believed to be far less sophisticated than its chemical program. Thanks to assistance and knowledge obtained from the Soviet Union (and later Russia), Egypt, West Germany, France, Iran, North Korea, and possibly other countries over a period of 20 years, Syria was able to acquire an offensive chemical weapons capability that continues to serve as the regime's strategic deterrent against Israel's assumed nuclear capability and, perhaps more important, as an insurance policy against potential domestic threats. Syria allegedly has large quantities of mustard gas and sarin, which the regime has integrated over the years into its vast repertoire of missiles, rockets, artillery shells, and airdropped munitions. Mustard gas is a blistering -- though not necessarily fatal -- agent that was used extensively in World War I and reportedly during the 1980 through 1988 Iran-Iraq War. Sarin, which is lethal if inhaled even in very small quantities, is the nerve agent that killed 13 people and sickened about 1,000 during a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 by the Japanese cult of Aum Shinrikyo. In addition to mustard gas and sarin, Syria may also be in possession of VX, a deadly nerve agent that resists breaking down in the environment. In short, Syria's chemical weapons program is thought to be massive and diverse and can be used in combat operations and delivered through various means.

Assad Cousin: West Backs Wrong Rebels

An Israeli Newspaper's Astonishing Interview
With a Leading Syrian Exile … Named Assad

More than 10-and-a-half years after 9/11, the United States and Europe are helping to bring Al Qaeda-supporting Salafists, at worst, and the Al Qaeda-sympathizing Muslim Brotherhood, at best, to power in Syria, ignoring the country's secular opposition. The Salafists are backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the MB, by Turkey, which is in the grip of an Islamist regime that dreams of restoring the Ottoman Empire.

So says Rifat Assad's son, Ribal.

Ribal Assad jokes that "being called Assad is not the best way to gain friends today, especially being a relative of Bashar." Indeed, being the first cousin of the Syrian president who over the last year has overseen the murder of some 9000 Syrians in the bloody repression of the Syrian revolution is not a great distinction, but the 36 year-old son of the former vice-president and security chief is attempting, from exile, to clear the family's name.

"Only two members of the Assad family are in the regime," he insists. "The rest of the 99 percent of them are sitting at home without jobs" and he tells how the stooges of his cousin the president have persecuted his father, siblings and assorted cousins. He never calls the government in Damascus – the Assad regime. "It is a corrupt regime, a regime of killers, the worst dictatorship, but don't call them the Assad regime, or the Baathist or Allawite regime. There are two million members in the Ba'ath party, most of them are members because that is the only way they can get a job, not because they are killers."

Read the entire article here. It tragically supports what Foreign Confidential™ analysts and others have long been asserting--namely, that the United States and its NATO allies are not interested in supporting secular democracy in the Arab world and the so-called Greater Middle East. Rather, they aim to manipulate rightwing political Islam, or Islamism, by backing its rise to power in country after country.

The cynical, pro-Islamist policy, packaged as democracy promotion, is (a) incredibly self-destructive, as the blowback from the Carter-Reagan intervention in Afghanistan and the Carter administration-assisted overthrow of Iran's Shah proved, and (b) inherently threatening to Russia and China. Hence, Washington's worsening relations with Moscow and Beijing, and the close cooperation of the former Communist rivals in terms of countering and frustrating the U.S. with regard to stopping Iran's atomic advance and ending the Syrian carnage.

Extra: Click here for another interview with Ribal Assad; here, to access his organization's website; and below, for a recent TV news interview.

One hopes (against hope?) that the mainstream media will pay more attention to leaders like Syria's Ribal Assad and Iran's Reza Pahlavi. They are effective advocates for genuine … secular … democracy.

Speaking of Coups, China Targets Rumors

Chinese police are cracking down on Internet sites and users spreading "rumors and lies" of a possible coup attempt. Click here for the story.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Regime Change in Iran is Only Alternative to War

Hoping Against Hope for a Coup

Appeasement and attempts to actually align with Islamist Iran have made war with it inevitable; and the conflict could be absolutely horrific, involving, even, the use of nuclear weapons, given the Iranian-Hezbollah missile threat, the monstrous mullahocracy's repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map--and the Jewish State's presumed atomic arsenal.

Even if an agreement of some sort is hammered out to seemingly stop or control Iran's nuclear program--an October surprise is still possible--only a fool (or a fifth columnist) will celebrate the deal, for it will surely be riddled with holes big enough to accommodate WMD-tipped, Iranian ICBMs. No way will the world be able to inspect and monitor the numerous, secret nuclear "workshops" that have reportedly been scattered and well fortified across Iran.

Put differently, a phony peace pact-for-our-time--which at a minimum will have to include a non-intervention/non-interference pledge on the part of the United States--will initially serve to deter only Israel. It will feel more isolated and alone than ever … but also, over the long run, more reliant than ever on drastic measures to prevent the leveling of its cities and towns by enemy missiles.

So where does that leave us? Is there a way to preserve the peace without sacrificing the security of Israel and the Western world? (This reporter contends that the United States, not Israel, could be a nuclear-armed, Islamist Iran's first target because there is no known deterrent against an anonymous atomic attack on the U.S. homeland. In contrast with U.S. policy in this regard, Israel is assumed to have put in place fail-safe systems for the automatic obliteration of suspect nations should a nuclear device of any kind ever be detonated on or above Israeli territory.)

Yes. There is a way to preserve the peace--namely, regime change from within, through a popular revolution (which is highly unlikely considering that the Hitlerian regime has all the guns) or a military coup. Not since the mid-to-late 1930s has a coup been so badly needed. One hopes that a truly patriotic commander of the Iranian Army, or Artesh, as opposed to the SS-like Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), will come to the aid of his country before it's too late.

Admittedly, a coup is a long shot. The regular military has been thoroughly politicized; and the regime seems practically coup-proof. Accent on seems. Appearances can be deceiving, as shown by the awful events of 1978 and '79 that brought the bloodthirsty Ayatollah and his mad mullahs to power in the first place (with the complicity of the catastrophic Carter administration). Who knows what is really happening in Iran? (Washington certainly doesn't know.) There may in fact be an Iranian commander with the courage and skill to change history, someone capable of overthrowing the clerical fascist tyranny--the IRGC and its dreaded Basij stormtroopers will have to be utterly defeated--in order to pave the way for a new, democratic Iran. For all we know, he and his fellow officers and followers could be planning their daring mission right now.

Postscript: There may be a second way to prevent war--truly meaningful cooperation between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and China on a level not seen since the Second World War. Unfortunately, the prospects for this are far from bright in light of the history of the post-Cold War period and the current administration's failure to "reset" relations with Moscow.

Copyright © 2012 Foreign Confidential™

Reza Pahlavi Radio Farda Person of the Year

RFE/RL Radio Farda's audience has chosen exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the late deposed Shah of Iran, as the most important and most influential person of the Iranian year.

The selection is the result of an online poll that was timed to coincide with the Persian New Year and included thousands of respondents.

The 51-year-old Pahlavi has called for the prosecution of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on charges of crimes against humanity. He has also said he wants to unite diverse Iranian opposition groups and forces to eliminate the regime in Tehran.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who was awarded an Oscar for best foreign-language film, finished second by just a few votes.

Click here to learn more about Reza Pahlavi and his hope for a secular, democratic, prosperous--and truly progressive--Iran.

N. Korea Crisis Looms

And Iran is Watching ...
  • North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles off its west coast, as reported here.
  • Japan's defense minister ordered missile units to shoot down the North Korean long-range rocket if it passes over Japan. Click here for the story.
  • North Korea may actually be keeping China in the dark, as reported here.
The bottom line: North Korea is capable of anything at any time; and Pyongyang's proliferation partner, Iran, is watching … and benefitting from the rising tensions.

Endnote: The Kimist regime will never abandon atomic arms; the Islamist regime is closer than ever to acquiring them. The Obama administration's outreach to both rogue states has failed. (Click here for an up-to-date analysis of the North Korea failure--a "leap of faith" that has turned into "ashes.") The international community has failed to stop North Korea from committing nuclear and missile crimes--and crimes against humanity. (The latter include deliberately starving its people into submission, mass murder and systematic torture and brutality, and testing of chemical and biological weapons on prisoners, including children.) Sanctions and a secret war have slowed but have certainly not stopped Iran's atomic advance. (Click here to read Reza Pahlavi's report on crimes against humanity in Iran.)

So it goes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

US General Warns of Growing N. Korea Threat

Cyberwar and Chemical Capabilities
Plus Fears of Falling Rocket Debris ...

The top commander of U.S. forces in South Korea says he is concerned about North Korea's growing capability to carry out attacks through nonconventional means, such as cyber warfare and chemical weapons.

Speaking to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, General James Thurman said North Korea's advances in computer hacking and biological weapons, combined with its massive conventional military, pose a serious threat to South Korea.

“North Korea continues to pursue asymmetric capabilities, especially in the areas of nuclear, missile and cyber," Thurman said. "The development of these asymmetric capabilities and the forward stationing of its conventional forces provide North Korea the ability to attack or provoke the Republic of Korea with little warning.”

Missile Development Threatens US

Thurman added that, if left “unchecked,” the development of Pyongyang's missile capability could eventually threaten the United States.

But he said that the nearly 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea are well positioned to repel any potential attack from North Korea, which has the fourth largest army in the world.

Appearing at the hearing, Peter Lavoy, the acting assistant secretary of defense for Asia-Pacific security, said the debris from North Korea's planned rocket launch could cause casualties in North Korea's neighboring countries.

“The North Koreans have indicated that they will launch the missile in a southward direction," Lavoy said. "And, I don't know if we have any confidence on the stability of the missile or where the actual impact will be. A number of countries are potentially affected. This could fall on--the debris could fall on their countries; could cause casualties. This— this affects South Korea, of course, but also Japan — Okinawa, the island of Japan.”

Iranians Fighting in Syria, Say Rebels

Opposition sources say Iranians are fighting alongside regime soldiers to crush the rebellion. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chris Berry: 'Great Time to Invest in Energy Metals'

Now is the time to be invested in energy metals, says Chris Berry, president and founder of House Mountain Partners. The current worldwide desire for a higher quality of life is a trend that will continue, Berry says.

In an exclusive interview with Brian Sylvester of The Energy Report, Berry highlights the amount of research and development underway in the technology and energy sectors and why that spells a bullish message for lithium, graphite and uranium. An excerpt:

One of the core tenets of our investment philosophy is that innovation will drive commodity demand. By this I mean innovation in materials science will spur demand for commodities, specifically for metals. As tens of millions of people join the middle class, that puts upward pressure on commodities and leads to an infinite demand for finite resources. The only way I can see to remedy this, short of lowering our overall consumption, is to innovate and essentially do more with less. So with respect to a higher quality of life, the genie is out of the bottle in the emerging world and can't be put back in.

What we're seeing now in countries such as China and the U.S. is the spending of enormous sums of R&D dollars to innovate and patent next-generation discoveries focused on energy generation or energy storage. I liken this loosely to the Cold War in that during that era, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were trying to outspend each other militarily to ensure global supremacy of land, sea and air. The main difference between then and now is that the endgame in the Cold War was mutually ensured destruction and the endgame today, in terms of R&D spending on cleantech and greentech, is ownership of cutting-edge intellectual property and patents. That is what can sustain and foment a higher quality of life and also create jobs. Survival is still at stake; it's just in a different context.

EU Cybercrime Center to be Co-Located With Europol in The Hague

The European Commission plans to set up a European Cybercrime Centre to help protect European citizens and businesses against mounting cyber-threats.

The Centre will be established within the European Police Office, Europol, in The Hague (The Netherlands).

The Centre will be the European focal point in fighting cybercrime and will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, particularly those generating large criminal profits, such as online fraud involving credit cards and bank credentials.

It is estimated that, worldwide, more than one million people become victims of cybercrime every day. The cost of cybercrime could reach an overall total of $388 billion worldwide.

The EU experts will also work to protect social network profiles from illegal infiltration and to aid the fight against online identity theft. The Centre will also focus on cybercrimes that cause serious harm to their victims, such as online child sexual exploitation and cyber-attacks affecting critical infrastructure and information systems in the Union.

More Activity at N. Korea Launch Pad

Higher level of launch pad activity seen, as reported here.

In related news, The United States says it has suspended a food aid package to North Korea in response to Pyongyang's plans to carry out the missile launch next month.

Peter Lavoy, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and Pacific Security Affairs, told a Congressional hearing Washington is working with allies in the region to discourage the North from proceeding with the launch because it would violate Pyongyang's international commitments. He said the failure of North Korea to follow through on what it has promised raises concerns about the nutritional assistance the U.S. has offered as well.

"We have been forced to suspend our activities to provide nutritional assistance to North Korea largely because we have now no confidence that the monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the food assistance goes to the starving people and not the regime elite," Lavoy said.

Worrisome Report on Iran Nuclear Project

  • Nuclear Program Could Possibly Recover from Attack in 6 Months
  • Secret Uranium Enrichment 'Workshops' are Scattered Widely

War Fears After Sudan-S. Sudan Fighting

South Sudan has accused its neighbour Sudan of waging war against it after a second day of fighting along their oil-rich, disputed border--the worst confrontation since the countries split last year. Read more here.

EU Urges N. Korea to Cancel Rocket Launch

EU leaders are urging North Korea to scrap its illegal ballistic missile launch. Click here for the news.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Understanding Russia's Position on Syria

A must-read report from Konstantin von Eggert:

The negotiated solution that Russia is suggesting would involve external players and give Moscow time to bargain over its commercial and military interests in Syria. It will also help avoid “regime change” in its classic form. And this is the Kremlin’s main concern. Ever since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, but especially after the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, the Russian leadership is obsessed with the idea of the West engineering the overthrow of governments that for this or that reason it finds unsuitable. Vladimir Putin and his team seem to be convinced that something like that could happen to Russia. [Italics added for emphasis.]

Moscow’s adamant (until recently) stance on Syria has a lot to do with arms sales to Damascus and the Russian naval station in the port of Tartus. But it has even more to do with the Kremlin making a point internationally which is quite simple: “Neither the UN, nor any other body or group of countries have the right to decide who should and who should not govern a sovereign state”. If one looks at the Syrian crisis from this angle many of Moscow’s previously inexplicable actions take on a new, clearer meaning….

N. Korea Cyberwar Strength Grows

North Korea’s military has been increasing its ability to launch cyber attacks against American and South Korean forces, the top U.S. commander in the region said.

“North Korea employs sophisticated computer hackers trained to launch cyber infiltration and cyber attacks,” Army General James Thurman, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing today in Washington. “Such attacks are ideal for North Korea” because they can be done anonymously, and they “have been increasingly employed against a variety of targets including military, governmental, educational and commercial institutions.”

Thurman’s presentation for the House Armed Services Committee’s annual regional overview presented a starker appraisal of North Korea’s threat to South Korea and to U.S. forces than did his predecessor, U.S. Army General Walter Sharp, in testimony last year….

ECOWAS Suspends Mali

The West Africa regional bloc has suspended Mali and put a peacekeeping force on standby, as reported here. A junta seized power in Mali last week.

Romney Lashes Out at Obama and Russia

An absolutely outrageous outburst by the presumptive Republican candidate for President for the United States. Click here for the story.

At a time when there is so clearly an urgent need for meaningful U.S.-Russia cooperation (and U.S.-China cooperation), given Iran's atomic advance and the nuclear and missile crimes of Iran's proliferation partner, North Korea, the GOP frontrunner seems bent on making matters worse in every respect.

In Focus: Health Care in Israel

Health care in Israel is universal. Participation in a medical insurance plan is compulsory.

Health care coverage is administered by a small number of organizations, with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless of which organization they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means.

Health care in Israel is generally of high-quality and is delivered in an efficient and effective manner. Partly as a result of this, Israelis enjoy the fourth-longest life expectancy in the world--82 years.

Canada Pressured on Highly Enriched Uranium Use

Largest Producer of Medical Isotopes
Still Using Weapons-Grade Uranium
to Create Cancer-Treating Moly-99

Canada is being pressured to stop using atomic bomb-grade uranium to produce medical isotopes that are used to treat and diagnose cancer and heart disease. Click here for the story.

Annan Says Syria Accepts Peace Plan

The embattled Syrian regime and the opposition have apparently both accepted Kofi Annan's peace plan as fighting spills over into Lebanon. Russia and China also seem supportive of the plan. Read more here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Japan Denounces N. Korean Missile Test Plan

Japan demands international action to stop North Korea's April missile test. Will Japan's condemnation of the planned launch, reported here, trigger a violent North Korean response? Maybe. We'll soon know.

New Round of Iran Nuclear Talks to Start April 13; Iran's Proliferation Partner N. Korea to Fire Missile April 12-16

Iran and six world powers--the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China--have agreed to meet on April 13, as reported here.

The talks could coincide with North Korea's launch of a long-range, three-stage missile between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung.

The launch, assuming it occurs, is likely to serve Iran's interests, diverting attention from its nuclear program and testing the West's/Washington's abilities to manage two proliferation-related crises--and two major armed conflicts, potentially--at the same time.

Will North Korea Go Ballistic?

UPDATE: North Korea has moved a long-range rocket to its launch pad in what is clearly a show of force that is meant to overshadow the nuclear security summit taking place in South Korea's capital. The transportation by specially equipped railway cars of the so-called space rocket--really a ballistic missile--was observed by a U.S. satellite.

There is no telling what North Korea might do at any moment. Kimist North Korea is the most dangerous and unpredictable country on the planet, more dangerous, even, than its partner in proliferation, Islamist Iran, which is probably funding Pyongyang's planned ballistic missile launch in order to divert attention from the mullahocracy's nuclear program.

All kinds of aggressive acts and provocations on the part of North Korea are possible, including, in addition to the aforementioned, long-range missile launch, which is scheduled for mid-April, a new nuclear test and actual attacks on South Korean targets.

From Pyongyang's point of view, this week's nuclear summit in Seoul, South Korea, U.S. President Barack Obama's warning about the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons, and South Korea's warning that it might shoot down the North's missile if it passes over South Korean territory are acts of aggression, or, at the very least, useful pretexts for proving to the world that the North's "Military First" policy is still very much in effect following the death of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

N. Korean Atrocities Recall Nazi Horrors

Click here to read about Shin's Escape from Camp 14.

To paraphrase former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, if the international community can't put an end to the nuclear and missile crimes--and crimes against humanity--of North Korea, an impoverished country that is so obviously and seriously lacking in natural resources, arable land, industry and infrastructure, then, what meaning, if any, does the term international community have in this day and age?

N. Korean Missile Could Hit Australia

Regarding Pyongyang's planned ballistic missile launch, which, as of this writing, is still set for mid-April, U.S. officials have reportedly told Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines that the Kimist regime will be aiming its missile at an area near them. Australia is increasingly concerned the missile could land in its territory.

North Korea's previous long-range missile tests have been over Japan.

Al Qaeda Presence Grows in Africa

Al Qaeda's "footprint" is expanding in Africa, as shown by the terrorist group's relationship with Somalia's Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahedeen, which joined AQ in February 2012.

"News of the new union prompted celebrations in southern and central Somalia, areas long controlled by al-Shabaab," Rohan Gunaratna reports.

Al-Qaeda’s union with al-Shabaab threatens both the Horn of Africa—Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti—and East Africa, which includes Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Although al-Qaeda has suffered massive degradation since Osama bin Laden’s death, its footprint is expanding in Africa. It has already established an ideological and operational presence in three areas on the continent—the Maghreb, the Sahel and West Africa. A large Muslim population, an especially large youth population and porous borders make Africa ripe for ideological extremism and terrorism. Without significant international investment to fight poverty, corruption and poor governance, the influence of al-Qaeda and its associated groups will spread to other parts of Africa in the coming decade.

Click here to read Gunaratna's article.

Sarkozy Vows to Tackle Terrorism

In the wake of the March 19 massacre at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse of four French Jews--three of them children--by self-proclaimed Al Qaeda supporter Mohammed Merah, who died three days later in a shootout with security forces, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that if he is re-elected his first act will be to pass controversial anti-terrorism measures that target both online radicalization and radicalization in foreign training centers.

Le Figaro in English reports:
Sarkozy will probably base these internet anti-terrorism measures off of anti-internet pornography measures. A 2007 French law gives anyone who looks at child pornography online on a habitual basis up to two years in prison and a fine of up to €30,000. This law aims to target people who access these images without saving them on their hard drives.

French anti-terrorism officials are already using a European platform to track Islamist and terrorist Web sites as well as their users. The Loppsi 2 law also allows officials to bug the computers of perpetrators of serious crimes to keep tabs on what sites they visit.

The new measures would allow a suspect to be arrested just on the basis of what sites they visit….
Click here to read the entire article.

Taureg Tribe Challenging African Stability

Taureg "cooperation with various militant groups will continue to challenge stability in some of Africa’s most vital nations," according to Max Security Solutions.

A Max Security specialist reports on the "Taureg Factor" as follows:

Since the downfall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya early last year, weapons proliferation throughout the Middle East and North Africa is on the rise and of primary concern. It is now widely known that masses of Libyan weaponry have made their way into the hands of such militant groups as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Nigeria’s Boko Haram, and Somalia’s al-Shabaab. Libyan weaponry has traveled as far as the Gaza Strip and appeared in hand of militant groups there.

With the recent unrest in Somalia and Nigeria, the above-mentioned groups have been deeply reported on. However, one tribe, heavily active in Africa’s Sahel desert region is operating under the radar in comparison. The Tuareg tribe, composed of 1.2 million people, is historically nomadic. They have long roamed northwest Africa, primarily through the nations of Algeria, Libya, Mali, and Niger. Today, the group has become sedentary, the result of which has seen the Tuaregs actively engage such countries, particularly the Malian government, for stakes in power sharing and wealth benefits from the country’s natural resources….

Fact: There is No Motor Fuel Alternative to Oil

Electric Cars are Coal Cars, or Nuclear Cars;
Solar and Wind are Renewable Red Herrings

After decades of drivel, the level of American ignorance about energy is staggering; and the Obama administration and its supporters, including fawning mainstream media personalities, persist in obfuscating the energy issue.

Fact: there is no viable alternative to crude oil-derived gasoline and diesel for motor transport fuel, except, maybe, for costly--and environmentally threatening--coal liquefaction. Solar and wind, which the administration touts, have nothing … zero … to do with motor transport fuel. Solar and wind are intermittent, geographically limited sources of energy for generating electricity. (Electric cars are actually coal cars, or nuclear cars. Biofuels are a costly and cruel joke; biomass-derived gasoline may be possible; but cropland use issues are formidable, given the problems of world hunger and shrinking arable land.)

Fact: there is no viable alternative to coal for base load electricity generation, except for nuclear power. Solar and wind cannot be relied upon for the base load electricity that makes the grid--and our entire civilization--possible. (Again, electric cars are coal cars, or nuclear cars.)

Republicans are better on the energy issue; but they also obfuscate. For example, Republican Presidential candidates and lawmakers tend to paint with a way too broad brush when it comes to differences between offshore and onshore oil potential and the often conflicting interests of arguably American-in-name-only multinational oil companies and domestic independent oil producers. For the record, which is hiding in plain sight, the United States sits atop enough onshore oil to make the country energy self-sufficient just in the form of new oil that can be squeezed from old fields through what are known as enhanced oil recovery, or EOR, methods (which can also be used to produce heavy crude oil).

Copyright © 2012 Foreign Confidential™

India Worried About Pakistan Nukes

"Insider threat" is India's key concern--the possibility that Pakistani nukes could end up in Islamist terrorist hands. Click here for the story.

Obama Visits DMZ, Peers at N. Korea

Scanning hell on earth from one of the most dangerous places on the planet….

A U.S. Presidential show of solidarity with South Korea as the North observes the 100th day of mourning for Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. Click here for the story.

Analysts say the nuclear-armed Kimist regime is likely to react to Obama's visit; the period from now until mid-April could see several new provocations, including Pyongyang's planned missile launch.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Iran Sanctions Seen Pushing Up Oil Prices

Disaster on the brink of becoming a catastrophe….

Reuters political risk analyst Peter Apps reports Western sanctions have not only failed to stop Iran's menacing nuclear advance; the measures have "helped push oil prices to levels seen threatening the global economy." Even worse, he reports that "far from producing compliance, ratcheting up the economic pressure is making the Islamic Republic more volatile, unpredictable and perhaps dangerous," according to experts. Click here to read his piece.

One hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian and Chinese counterparts will discuss Iran in a truly serious way on the sidelines of the upcoming nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, as appeasement of Iran seems to have made war inevitable, much the way appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s made World War II inevitable.

RNW Leaving the Airwaves After 65 Years

Service to End May 11

The Dutch government is about to do to its legendary international broadcasting service what the Nazis could not do--kill it.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, which claims a weekly reach of about 50 million listeners, says it plans to close most of its services, including broadcasting to Dutch expatriates, and relaunch--mainly as a website--with a skeleton staff and a focus on producing content for audiences in countries "where free speech is suppressed or threatened."

An RNW spokesperson says the changes "have been forced on RNW by the Dutch government’s decision to slash our budget by 70 percent with effect from 1 January 2013."

The new budget will come from the Foreign Ministry rather than the Ministry of Education and Culture as at present.

"The editorial independence of RNW will remain sacrosanct," the spokesperson says.

RNW will hold a final, 24-hour marathon broadcast on May 10 and 11 to mark the end of its 65 years of service.

The Netherlands, ironically, is believed to have started the international broadcasting business, with regular transmissions starting in 1927 from shortwave stations to the Dutch East Indies--now Indonesia.

Broadcasts Inspired Dutch Resistance

Following the Nazi occupation during the Second World War, the Dutch government in exile was granted air-time on BBC transmitters. The Radio Oranje program was a daily commentary.

The Queen of the Netherlands, Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria, who was forced to leave her homeland, regularly appeared on the BBC and Radio Oranje, often calling Hitler the "arch-enemy of all mankind." Her late-night broadcasts on Radio Oranje, along with those of Winston Churchill, inspired the Dutch resistance. Here is the text of one of her 1942 speeches:

All nationals of the Netherlands, today remember the countless countrymen killed in the streets and squares of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Remember those who were tortured and subjected to Fascists in police stations and concentration camps. Relatives of those who are no longer with us, we cautiously extend our deepest sympathy to the people who rebelled to help Jewish families! Because we are the Dutch, tolerant people. Because we will not tolerate that the same people as we, Jewish men and women, Jewish children are tortured and killed. That is why we rebelled!

The Nazis outlawed listening to BBC and Radio Oranje. They even banned radios; but many Dutch people used small, self-built radios that could be hidden from the enemy. Some of these sets have survived and can still be found in museums and private collections.

The Germans also used a number of radio jammers that they turned on during the broadcasts.

One of the chief commentators on Radio Oranje, Henk van den Broek, was given the task of re-starting public broadcasting once the country was liberated. He began Radio Herrijzend Nederland, which eventually became RNW, in 1946, modeling it after the BBC.

RNW's English-language shortwave broadcasts to North America were discontinued in 2008 after a survey found that more listeners to the network were using the podcasting service instead of shortwave radios.

Memo to RNW Management: Your announced focus on producing content for countries where press freedom is limited is admirable and in keeping with RNW's noble wartime history. But before abandoning all other kinds of programming, you might also consider daily, 24/7, Internet-based broadcasting--in Dutch and in English, which has become the international language--of news and entertainment, including music, from and about the Netherlands. It would be relatively inexpensive to produce two such channels, featuring a mix of live and prerecorded programming. Assuming a viable business model, you may even be able to find a partner or investor or a sustaining, institutional sponsor--say, a large company or a leading, not-for-profit foundation--for the new, online venture. This reporter would be happy to help you.

BONUS: Click here to screen an archival gem, a 1985 TV documentary about an iceskating race narrated by an RNW radio star of the time; and below, for a recent, RNW video report from Sierra Leone (which has a lively, free press) about a youth-oriented "radio station in a box" donated by a Dutch NGO.

N. Korea, Iran Overshadow Nuclear Summit

World leaders including US President Barack Obama will launch a summit on the threat from nuclear-armed terrorists on Monday, but the atomic ambitions of North Korea and Iran are set to feature heavily.

North Korea's upcoming rocket launch has overshadowed the run-up to the two-day meeting in Seoul, which seeks agreement on locking down fissile material that could be used to build thousands of terrorist bombs.

Click here to continue. An especially chilling excerpt is set forth below.

The ACA [Arms Control Association] says there have been 16 confirmed cases of unauthorised possession of HEU or plutonium documented by the IAEA since 1993, mainly in the former Soviet Union.

Alexandra Toma of the Connect US Fund, which promotes nuclear non-proliferation, said a sophisticated extremist group could plausibly take advantage of such lapses.

"It takes only 50 kilograms of highly enriched uranium to make a crude nuclear bomb" the size of a grapefruit, she told a Seoul forum Thursday.

Obama to Visit DMZ

President Obama plans to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea--the most heavily-fortified border in the world.

Barbed wire, watchtowers and land mines line the DMZ, while across the nearly 250 kilometer-long stretch of land, an estimated two million troops--one million on each side—stand ready to resume battle at anytime.

The DMZ was established in 1953 as part of the armistice agreement that ended combat in the Korean War. There has never been a peace treaty, and the two Koreas have remained in a formal state of war ever since.

Although it is considered one of the most dangerous places on Earth, the DMZ has seen only isolated incidents of violence. In one of the most well-known cases, in 1976, North Korean soldiers killed two U.S. soldiers who were escorting a Korean work force using axes to trim a tree. The North Koreans killed the Americans with the workers' own axes.

International observers monitor the cease-fire at the DMZ, while U.S. troops are stationed alongside the South Korean soldiers.

Popular Tourist Attraction

Despite the threat of tensions, the zone—particularly the Joint Security Area where North and South Korean forces stand face-to-face—is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can get a glimpse of North Korean soldiers and an apparently uninhabited town, what is referred to as the North Korean “propaganda village.”

A VOA correspondent, Steve Herman, who has visited the area, says the tours are strict, from U.S. Army escorts to instructions on appropriate clothing, to warnings against pointing at anyone on the North Korean side.

“They get very upset," Herman says. "I mean, it's very hard when you see something over there in the North, and you're talking to someone you're with, and you say, 'Hey, look at that over there,' and you start to point. I mean, I've done that. And the soldiers admonish you pretty quickly about it."

Herman adds: "Another thing that you will sometimes notice is how the South Korean soldiers stand behind these blue buildings. They obscure half of their bodies so as not to be a prominent target for the North Korean troops, so that does give you some indication of how hazardous the duty is at the JSA and in the DMZ.”

The blue buildings belong to the U.S.-led United Nations Command. Tourists can go into one where the two sides have held negotiations. The building straddles the border, with the dividing line going straight through its negotiating table.

The zone has also become a common stop for U.S. presidents. When President Obama travels there for the first time on Sunday, he will follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Friday, March 23, 2012

US Accuses Iran of Backing Syria: So What?

Iran's clerical fascist regime should never have been allowed to come to power more than three decades ago, and certainly should not be allowed to acquire atomic arms. But that doesn't mean that it does not have the right to supply (sell?) its ally, Syria, surveillance equipment and guns and ammunition. Given the West's support for an armed revolt in Syria--following the unnecessary NATO intervention in Libya on the side of Islamist-led rebels and the Obama administration's emboldening of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed rebellion in Egypt--there is something ridiculous about this story.

Vanadium Batteries Could Benefit Solar, Wind

Rare Earth-Renewable Energy Breakthrough
Could Cut Coal Use for Generating Electricity

It's all about base load requirement--the minimum level of demand on an electrical supply system over 24 hours. Base load power plants are the foundation of a sound electrical system.

A rare earth metal called vanadium could provide an energy storage solution for some of the challenges renewable energy sources face. The intermittent nature of wind and solar power can make these distributed sources difficult for utilities to manage within the electrical grid. Vanadium flow batteries can accommodate renewable energy by storing massive amounts of electricity and releasing it into the grid as needed when demand increases.

China Rattled by Wild Coup Rumors

Rumors and whispers of rifles and coup plots, power struggles between "Maoists" and "economic reformers" … read all about it here. A specter is haunting China….

In fact, there is a struggle--between two immensely privileged factions of the Chinese Communist Party. One faction, known as neo-Maoists, or the New Left, basically champions the cause of the left-behind poor as political cover for profiting from and preserving the power of state-owned companies. The other faction, representing the richest party members, dreams of getting even richer through privatization schemes.

Both factions fear a popular uprising, another Cultural Revolution run amok, which would again result in a military crackdown.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

N. Korea Launch Pad Ready

New satellite imagery shows the North Korean missile launching site is ready, although there is no sign of a missile. As the launch is planned for on or around April 15, there is plenty of time for a missile to be brought to the site, experts say. Click here for the story.

Assad Refuses to Fall

After a year of bloodshed, the Syrian dictator is still in power, and predictions of his ouster have turned out to be premature, to say the least. Click here for the analysis.

Iran Scouted NYC Landmarks

Iranian agents or operatives scouted New York City landmarks. Click here for the story.

Amicor Announces Uranium Technology JV

Revolutionary Recovery Technology
Upgrades Uranium Ore Mechanically

Game-Changing Innovation

An agreement announced today by American Strategic Minerals Corporation ("Amicor") and Ablation Technologies LLC of Casper, Wyoming, ("Ablation") could change the face of uranium mining worldwide.

Colorado-based, publicly traded Amicor (OTCBB: ASMC) and privately held Ablation said they will form a joint venture to manufacture and operate a revolutionary recovery technology developed by Ablation.

The joint venture will be located at the Ablation manufacturing facility in Casper, and will be funded following further testing on Amicor's uranium ore, assuming results that are satisfactory to Amicor.

Processing is expected to start with Amicor's properties and other deposits in the Western United States following funding of the JV.

The innovative, patented technology mechanically separates the uranium-bearing fractions from the uranium-free fractions of uranium-bearing ores, reducing by as much as 95% the amount of ore required to be processed by conventional milling facilities. The process uses only water and does not require any chemicals or reagents--a plus for the environment.

Ninety percent of U.S. uranium resources are recoverable only by conventional mining and milling processes. With the Ablation process, it is believed that the need for conventional milling facilities will likely be reduced substantially. As milling is a costly part of uranium recovery process, the process will substantially reduce this component of uranium production.

The JV is expected to offer its recovery services to mining companies and further commit to process or purchase the concentrated materials from the recovery process.

To be Used at Amicor Mines

The new technology has been tested on a number of different deposits in the U.S., including the uranium/vanadium properties held by Amicor in the Uravan Mineral Belt, which is the oldest uranium mining area in the U.S., and historically the most productive uranium and vanadium region in Colorado.

It is expected that the technology will be used in the mining recovery process at Amicor's mines.

"The process developed by Ablation Technologies could be the most important development in uranium recovery in the last 50 years," said Amicor President and CEO George Glasier. "We believe that projects that are economically marginal at today's prices could be operated profitably as recovery costs will be reduced drastically. Projects that are economically viable at today's prices could likely see margins increased substantially."

The technology can also be used where past mining has left low-grade uranium material on the surface or below the surface. Processing this low-grade material can result in a more complete cleanup of old mine sites.

Foreign Confidential™ analysts believe the new technology has the potential to eliminate up to 90% of uranium tailings, the waste byproduct of uranium mining. Managing the environmentally hazardous waste is a significant cost factor in modern uranium mining and mine rehabilitation.

The new technology is also likely to have a huge impact on transportation of uranium ore, experts say, because it essentially upgrades the ore mechanically. Simply stated, moving the ore great distances could for the first time in the history of the uranium industry become economically attractive--akin to transporting iron ore or coal, only more so, considering the value of uranium. For example, uranium ore produced in the Western U.S. could be exported to China for milling--in ordinary shipping containers.

Mechanical upgrading of uranium ore should also make Western U.S. uranium competitive with Canadian uranium.

Amicor aims to become a major producer of uranium and vanadium in the U.S. Based out of Nucla, Colorado, at the center of the Uravan Mineral Belt, Amicor is engaged in fast-tracked uranium and vanadium mining projects on the Colorado Plateau, while maintaining long-term production with a diverse mineral resource asset base--13 separate properties in six states--throughout the Western U.S. Rare earth elements (REE), both associated with some of the uranium/vanadium ores, as well as stand-alone REE deposits, will be an additional focus, according to CEO Glasier.

Amicor's new venture could give it a global reach, analogous, say, to a domestic independent oil producer capable of operating internationally through application of proprietary technology and knowhow.

UN Chief Urges N. Korea to Cancel Launch

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “deep concern” over North Korea's plan to launch a satellite into orbit, and vowed to raise the issue at next week's nuclear security summit in Seoul.

Speaking Thursday in Malaysia, Ban said the missile launch threatens regional security and undermines recent advancements toward ending the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

“I urge the DPRK authorities to refrain from any such act that will destabilize the situation and peace and stability in the Korean peninsula, and that is against the aspiration and inspiration of the international community,” Ban said.

North Korea says the satellite launch, set for mid-April, is for “peaceful scientific purposes.” But Ban said the launch would be a “clear violation” of a U.N. resolution prohibiting North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.

Last month, North Korea agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, and stop missile tests, while the U.S. agreed to send North Korea badly needed food aid.

Victor Cha, the former director of the National Security Council for Asian Affairs, told VOA that when Pyongyang agreed to suspend ballistic missile tests, that “clearly” included a moratorium on satellite launches.

“There really is no distinction between their (proposed) satellite launch and a ballistic missile test, since they use the same technology to get this vehicle into orbit," Cha said. "There really is no difference.”

Meanwhile, Ban has vowed to bring up the issue at next week's high-profile nuclear security summit in Seoul. Pyongyang has warned that any resolution dealing with its nuclear program would be viewed as an “act of war.”

Emails Led French Police to Confessed Killer

The monster who murdered in the name of Al Qaeda made several missteps, including leaving an email trail, which led police to him. Click here for the story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rep. King: Hundreds of Hezbollah Agents in US

The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, asserted Wednesday that the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah may have hundreds of operatives based in the United States. He also said Hezbollah, not Al Qaida, poses the greatest terrorist threat to Americans.

King held a hearing Wednesday with former government officials testifying.

"Now, as Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons, and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran's secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hezbollah, which we know is in America," King said.

The Congressman said there are 84 Iranian diplomats in New York at the United Nations and in Washington, including some who are likely to be spies.

One of the witnesses to the panel, Mitchell Silber, is the New York Police Department's director of intelligence analysis. He said since 2005, New York law enforcement officers have interviewed at least 13 people with ties to Iran's government who were seen taking pictures of New York City landmarks. Police consider the activity to be pre-operational surveillance.

A Real Threat

Another witness, former FBI official Chris Swecker, agreed that Hezbollah poses a real threat.

"While al-Qaida has gained attention and notoriety with a series of sensational attacks, Hezbollah has quietly and strategically operated below the radar screen by avoiding overt terrorist attacks in the U.S.," Swecker said. "But, nevertheless, Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. citizens, and including 241 Marines in the bombing of the Beirut barracks" [in 1983].

A former drug enforcement official, Michael Braun, said he fears the confluence of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and global drug cartels. He said Hezbollah and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are working with cartels.

"They are now operating and working in close proximity and collaborating with Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking cartels, not only in the Western Hemisphere, but other locations such as Guinea Bissau in West Africa," Braun said.

Several witnesses said Tehran may now be prepared to carry out proxy attacks on U.S. soil. They cited a failed plot, allegedly by Iran, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. last October in a Washington restaurant.

Security Services Followed Suspect for Years

The school shooting suspect, still besieged, as of this writing, was tracked for years, as reported here.

French School Shooter Siege: Suspect Negotiating with Cops, Claims Al Qaeda Links; 3 Cops Injured in Gunfight

Click here and here to read the breaking news in English; here, for up-to-the-minute French reporting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Understanding the Drivers of Growth in Africa

By H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma,
President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

I believe that only growth can lift Sierra Leone out of poverty and into middle income status. But the only way to achieve that is to get right the key ingredients of growth. This is why my priorities for the next five years are power, infrastructure, private investment and education:

First, power, because only stable electricity supply enables businesses to function, from the IT to entertainment industry. Our first step will be the construction of a second hydro power plant at Bumbuna by 2017, lifting capacity to 400 megawatts. In parallel, we will improve our distribution network, and work is already underway to construct thermal plants with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts across the country over the next five years.

Second, infrastructure, because it is roads and ports and airports that let businesses maximise their opportunities from their goods and services, for import and export, home and abroad. The construction of a new international airport is already in the planning stage, and we will continue aggressive infrastructural development.

Third, private investment, because Government can only create the conditions for growth, but cannot itself sustain it – only private sector investment and businesses can. We have already begun to strengthen our own, domestic private sector through a new policy that will encourage foreign investors to participate in the strengthening of our local businesses.

And fourth, education for resilience and relevance in a globalized world. Education uplifts a nation, it raises incomes, it gives people chances to seize opportunities and meet the challenges of an ever-evolving world. Moreover, over three fourths the population of Africa are below 30 years, and their education is a prerequisite for their participation in and contribution to the greater growth of the continent.

Together, these priorities, if delivered, will transform Africa, and my country Sierra Leone into a vibrant, industrialised economy, and take it towards prosperity.

I said that Sierra Leone is blessed with natural resources. But that alone is not enough for sustained growth. And more importantly, that alone is not enough for growth to lead to prosperity across the population. What it requires is industrialisation – a strong domestic private sector, creating jobs along the value and production chain, and impacting directly on Sierra Leoneans – benefiting from the jobs, revenues and economic stability, and from the roads, electricity and infrastructure of lasting growth.

But Sierra Leoneans also have to be ready to benefit from this transformation. That is why I will also continue my reforms of health care, why successful agriculture – small scale and large scale – will remain the bedrock of our economy, why the civil service will continue to adapt and reform, and why I will continue to drive business reforms to make Sierra Leone internationally competitive.

And of course, we can make the most of the opportunity of our natural resource wealth only if we use it to transform our country for the better. That is why I will set up a transformation fund from our natural resource revenues that will earmark a share of these revenues for strategic investments.

We have started to develop all of these themes comprehensively for our next national development strategy, what I have called our Agenda for Prosperity.

My vision for Sierra Leone to achieve middle-income status by 2035, to continue to grow successfully over the next 25 years, is ambitious. But it is within our rights to be ambitious. Given our resource endowment, and our renewed determination, it is within our reach ... a nation on the move; a nation that is asserting its potential; a democratic country, tolerant, beautiful, and growing.

The above essay is an excerpt from President Koroma's keynote address to The Times Summit of Chief Executives and Political Leaders, which was delivered on his behalf in London on March 19 by Sierra Leone Finance Minister Samura Kamara. Click here to read the entire speech. The drivers of growth in Africa was the theme of the conference.

Obama to Visit DMZ

A strong show of support for U.S. ally South Korea ahead of Pyongyang's planned long-range rocket launch. Click here to read about President Obama's visit to the DMZ this coming Sunday.

Global Market Needs Canadian Oil Sands

By Daniel J. Graeber

Canada's natural resources minister told delegates at the International Energy Forum in Kuwait that his country was on the cusp of becoming an "energy superpower." Canada ranks No. 6 in terms of global oil production, but much of its crude exists in the form of oil sands.

European leaders are considering a measure that would classify oil sands as an environmental issue, prompting Canada to threaten to take the issue to the World Trade Organization. With the U.S. political system in a deadlock over Canadian crude, the Ottawa government is now working to convince the international community that the global market is in jeopardy if polices "discriminate against oil sands."

Drill-happy critics of the Obama administration are painting the Keystone XL oil pipeline planned from Alberta as a panacea to U.S. economic woes. Because of debates over the planned route through Nebraska, however, the White House has pushed the issue aside for now. The pipeline company behind the project, TransCanada, has opted for a smaller leg in the United States while the Canadian government has thrown its support behind the Northern Gateway pipeline meant for Asian exports.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said his presence at the IEF summit in Kuwait proved his country was "an emerging energy superpower." Canada has around 175 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, which means it's the only non-OPEC member in the global top five, just behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

European leaders in March were unable to reach a decision on whether or not to characterize oil sands as an environmental issue. Critics of oil sands note that its production releases much more CO2 into the atmosphere compared with regular crude oil and its tendency to sink in water makes it a particular concern if spilled. Some critics have dubbed it the dirtiest form of oil on earth and advocate an outright ban. The European government is set to consider the issue by June.

Discrimination Threatens Energy Security

Oliver, however, complained to IEF delegates that any policy that would discriminate against oil sands would be harmful to the global market and overall energy security. Last year, the global economy was threatened by a loss of crude oil from war-torn Libya, OPEC's No. 7, so sidelining oil sands from Canada could be much more severe.

"Our government believes that the free market is the most efficient and cost-effective means to ensure the proper allocation of resources for the development and supply of energy," said Oliver.

Just as Obama said there's no "silver bullet" that can magically push U.S. gasoline prices to something American consumers consider fair, there's nothing in a global market that's easily replaced. Singling out Canadian oil means potentially sidelining an oil supply larger than Iran's, something a depressed European economy could hardly stomach. But as with Iranian crude, if the Europeans don't want it, they don't have to buy it. While that's an oversimplification of the issue, the world still needs as much oil as it can get. Europe is embracing a greener economy. But until global economic engines run on something other than petroleum products, when Canadian crude oil is at stake, it's time to just let it flow.

Daniel J. Graeber writes for, where his article originally appeared. It is republished with permission of Foreign Confidential™ is unabashedly pro-oil sands (bituminous sands) and pro-heavy crude--solid and semisolid forms of heavy oil, respectively. Developing these commercially proven and available resources, along with the onshore crude that can be squeezed from old oil fields through enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods, would make the United States energy independent apart from oil imported from friendly, neighboring, democratic Canada. In that regard, that a Western Hemisphere energy alliance was not forged decades ago, before the advent of the anti-American Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, is simply scandalous. Venezuela's Orinoco River belt sits atop enough heavy crude to fuel the civilized world for generations. Another point: there is an overlap between heavy crude and EOR production technologies--and overwhelming evidence that EOR alone could make the U.S. energy independent. Google heavy oil, heavy crude, tar sands, oil sands, EOR, unconventional oil, etc. The truth, hiding in plain sight, is that the world is running … into … oil, the resource that makes modern civilization possible, the energy source on which the world runs … and will continue to run … for at least the next two decades.