Saturday, June 30, 2012

US-Russia Relationship Overshadows Geneva Talks on Syria

Washington's (worsening) relationship with Moscow is casting a shadow over talks in Geneva aimed at ending the Syrian bloodbath. Officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council--the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France--gathered Saturday in Switzerland's second most populous city, a center for international finance and diplomacy. Envoys from Arab countries were also in attendance. Read more.

Comment: The diplomats should use neutral Switzerland as an inspiration for a possible solution to the Syrian crisis, strange as this may seem. A politically neutral, federated Syrian state, comprised of, say, three autonomous provinces, or cantons, would be in the best interests of all concerned parties, including the U.S., Russia, and Syria's neighbors--Arab states as well as Israel. Russia could conceivably keep its naval installation at Tartus; and Russian arms companies could be compensated over time for losing $1 billion in annual sales of weapons to Damascus (in the wake of losing $4 billion in yearly sales to Libya following the NATO-backed, Islamist-led takeover of that Arab nation).

Related: Reflections on the Tragedy of Syria

Copyright © 2012 Foreign Confidential™

Iran Arming Warships With Short-Range Missiles

Iran is clearly preparing for a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf. Click here for the story.

Egypt's President Vows to Free Terrorist From US Jail

'Moderate' Muslim Brotherhood Leader Makes Fiery Speech 

In his first public speech, Egypt's Islamist leader, Mohamed Morsi, vowed to free the blind sheik jailed in the United States, Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Read more.

Another Iran is emerging.

Related: Many Egyptians Fear Islamization 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Murdoch Sums Up Papers' Future in a Word: Digital

When asked by analysts about his papers’ future, Mr. Murdoch replied: “The answer is one word: digital.” He said the new company would double down on its digital efforts and that news was “the most valuable commodity in the world” even if  “people are buying fewer papers printed on crushed wood.” 

-June 29, 2012 article in The New York Times about Rupert Murdoch's plans to separate the media and entertainment and publishing divisions of News Corporation

Read the entire article here--essential reading for anyone with a serious interest or involvement in media and advertising.

IDF Preparing for New Kind of Syrian Threat

The IDF is preparing for a new threat--possible waves of Islamist terrorist attacks along Israel's northern border with Syria resulting from a total breakdown of regime authority across much of the Arab country. The Syrian situation is increasingly complex and dangerous. Read more.

Dozens Reported Killed in Syria Shelling

Syrian opposition sources say the Assad regime's "relentless" shelling of a Damascus suburb killed dozens of people. Read more.

Senior Iran Official Says US Makes Empty Threats

Iran's parliamentary speaker says the United States makes empty attack threats against Iran in order to pressure and disrupt other countries.  Read more.

Asteroid Hunters Raising Money for Orbiting Space Telescope

Massive Asteroid Collision Could End Life on Earth

Scientists are raising money to launch a space telescope into a Venus-type orbit in order to track menacing, monster-sized asteroids.  Read more.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Foreigners Baffled by US Health Care Controversy

Except for the United States, every civilized nation on earth, including Israel, France, the UK, and Canada, has universal health care. In contrast, America's for-profit health care system seems cruel and inhumane to citizens of those and other democracies.

Obamacare, as Republicans insist on referring to the (ironically Republican/Romney-rooted) Affordable Care Act, will help to alleviate some suffering. But the controversial law, upheld today by the U.S Supreme Court  (which has evolved into an ant-democratic, monarchial body) is basically a boon to a loathsome insurance industry that labors night and day to find ways to deny ordinary people the coverage for which they and/or their employers have paid.

Many of America's foreign friends--especially Europeans and Canadians--are baffled by the U.S. health care controversy. They understand that most Americans have long wanted universal health care in the form of national health insurance--meaning Medicare for all--and that Obamacare is at best merely a small step toward achieving this critically important goal.

Hollande Challenges German Austerity

The French president is leading the European rebellion against German austerity. Read more

Israeli Idiot Stages 'Miss Holocaust Survivor' Pageant

A shandah that boggles the mind … an arrogant Israeli idiot staged a "Miss Holocaust Survivor' pageant. Read more.

Fascist-Loving Latvia's Austerity Model Exposed

The so-called success is a scam--made possible by dividing ethnic groups--which can't be exported. Read more.

Greek Bank Worker Commits Suicide

German Austerity Claims Another Greek Life

German austerity claimed another life in Greece today when an agricultural bank worker plunged to his death from the Acropolis. Read more.

Germany is bent on leveraging its economic dominance of Europe into political dominance, forcing nations like Greece to surrender sovereignty to a Berlin-run economic and monetary union. Austerity-obsessed Angela Merkel is the first German chancellor since Hitler to attempt such a radical change in Germany's power relations with its neighbors--an overthrow of the status quo.

But the strategic objective extends beyond Germany. The economic and financial elites aim to restructure Europe through a massive and unprecedented upward transfer of wealth that will drive the middle classes into poverty and push the poor to the edge of extinction. The project's purpose is to strip European workers of their rights and benefits in order to bring them into line with Third World pay levels and living standards.

An iron heel is descending.

Related: Greek Mother and Son Jump to Their Deaths

US Downs Missile in Space to Test Shield

The United States successfully used a Raytheon intercept missile in a high-stakes test of a missile shield designed to defend against possible future attacks by North Korean and Iranian nuclear warheads.  Read more.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mongolia Sits Atop World's Largest Untapped Coal Deposit

Click here to read all about the scramble for resources in Mongolia, the international rivalry, the stakes, the intrigue. Mongolia is in the news.

Syrian Rebels Attack Pro-Regime TV Station

Journalists and Security Guards Massacred 

Battles Rage Near Damascus 

Sunni Islamist-led rebels, including Al Qaeda terrorists from neighboring Iraq, are escalating their war on the Assad regime, which is still backed by Shiite Islamist Iran--and Russia. Read more

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

S. Korea, Japan to Sign First Military Pact

A historic agreement will soon be signed, which will give South Korea access to Japanese intelligence on North Korea. Read more.

Assad Says Syria in 'State of War'

Syria's embattled dictator says the country is in "a real state of war from all angles." Read more.

Iran VP Makes Anti-Semitic Speech at Conference

Iran's vice president delivered a Nazi-like, anti-Semitic speech at an international conference. Read more.

World Population 18.5 Million Tons Overweight

Obesity Seen as Environmental Problem

Being fat is not usually considered an environmental problem. But that notion might be changing. A new global study estimates the world's adult human biomass--the total weight of people living on the planet and suggests that obesity is taking a heavy toll on the world's energy resources.

For years, scientists have tracked the number of people on earth, creating health initiatives and food-need forecasts based on population growth projections. But body mass, which directly determines a person's energy and food requirements, rarely gets the spotlight.

To fill this gap, a team of London-based researchers drew on 2005 body mass data from the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Its results, published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health, estimate the total adult human population weighs 287 million tons, of which 15 million tons are due to overweight and 3.5 million tons due to obesity.

The data also reveal striking differences among regions of the world. North America weighs in with just six percent of the Earth's population but 34 percent of its human biomass due to obesity. In contrast, Asia, with more than half the world's population, has less than 13 percent of its obesity-related biomass.

More importantly, individual body mass levels are rising around the world. The study's authors say that if all other nations had the same average body mass as the U.S., the world's total human biomass would increase by 58 million tons. That would be like adding nearly a billion world-average-weight people to the planet. The researchers say this would have dire consequences for the world's ability to feed itself.

“Unless we tackle both population and fatness,” says study collaborator Ian Roberts, “our chances are slim.”

A Terrible Choice in 2012

American voters, and American Jewish voters in particular, face a terrible choice this November--between Hooverism and Islamism, that is to say, between an apparent champion of rightwing economic policy and a proven backer of rightwing political Islam. 

Rightwing economic policy--austerity amid recession, slashing social services under cover of fiscal reform, reducing the wages and benefits of workers and stripping them of their rights in the name of global competitiveness--threatens to drive the middle class into poverty and to grind the poor into dust.

Rightwing political Islam aims to enslave humanity and to physically destroy the United States and Israel through terrorism, subversion--and atomic arms. Tiny Israel is a one-bomb country; the huge United States is incredibly vulnerable to sea-based nuclear missile attacks on its coastal cities and to an EMP strike that could overnight plunge the superpower back into the early 19th century by wiping out the U.S. electrical grid and communication systems. Experts estimate that 90% of the U.S. population would perish from the effects of the prolonged blackout--including lack of food, drinking water, medicine and heat--which would go on for years, maybe even decades.

There is no known defense against an EMP attack--or a ballistic missile attack on a city--launched from a seemingly civilian cargo ship. The Obama administration, like the Bush administration, has inexplicably ignored the threat.

Obama can claim credit for killing Bin Laden and decimating Al Qaeda. But the President has narrowed the definition of the Islamist enemy to Al Qaeda and certain of its affiliates while engaging (appeasing and attempting to align with) practically all other Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood--which Obama helped to come to power in Egypt--and allowing Islamist Iran to come closer than ever to developing nuclear weapons. Thanks in large measure to his policy, the three biggest military powers in the Middle East--except for Israel, which the leaders of these countries would like to wipe out--are now ruled by Islamists. Of course, the reference is to Turkey, Iran, and Egypt. Turkey's military, traditional guardian of the country's secular system, appears to have been neutralized--the process began during the Bush administration, when the men in uniform were warned by Washington against any attempt to save the nation--and it is probably just a matter of time before Egypt's junta is dismantled and the Egyptian military is brought under Muslim Brotherhood control through a combination of purges, infiltration and indoctrination, and attrition. According to Obama, Turkey is an established, model Islamocracy; Egypt, an emerging model; and Iran's Islamic system merely needs to be reformed, not smashed. Catastrophe looms. 

 So, with all that in mind, which will it be--pick your poison--a vote for Hooverism or a vote for Islamism?

Endnote: The only hope, assuming Romney is elected, which is a reasonable assumption given the level of voter dissatisfaction over Obama's failure to revive the economy, is that the ultra-rich, Republican flip-flopper--arguably the most unprincipled U.S. politician ever to run for President--will betray his rightwing, austerity-obsessed supporters and move much more toward the middle of the road in order to prevent the utter ruination of the national and world economies.

Copyright © 2012 Foreign Confidential™

How Obama Lost Canada: Foreign Affairs

The Obama administration has brought U.S.-Canada relations to their lowest level in decades, and the errors in policy and judgment extend beyond economic issues. Essential reading in Foreign Affairs. Click here.

Muslim Brotherhood Victory Emboldens Islamists

The presidential election victory of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood candidate is emboldening Islamists across the Middle East. Read more.

Nearly 11 years after 9/11, radical Islam is not only unbeaten and still ascending but surging rapidly. In fact, Egypt now has a president who doubts Al Qaeda's role in the mega-terrorist attack.

Related Article: The Evils of the Muslim Brotherhood 

Hamas Gaining at the UN

The Obama administration's support for the UN Human Rights Council has helped Hamas to score a shocking (even by UN standards) victory over Israel--a meeting championing the destruction of the Jewish State that was hailed on the UN website. Read more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Egypt's New President Doubts Al Qaeda Role in 9/11

Egypt's new president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, doubts Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. Read more.

It doesn't get much worse: the Obama administration helped to overthrow a longtime American ally, the peace preserving Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, in order to team with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that spawned both Al Qaeda and the assassins of Mubarak's peacemaking predecessor, Anwar Sadat.

The undermining of Mubarak and loss of Egypt to radical (rightwing political) Islam recalls the Carter administration's abandonment and betrayal of Iran's Shah. Obama's foreign policy debacle, combined with his failure to revive the U.S. economy--and mixed messages on the reasons for the failure and what needs to be done to end the depression--could ruin his chances for reelection. 

Putin to Israel: Don't Rush to Strike Iran

Russia's president visited Israel, expressed support and friendship, but warned against attacking Iran, citing the example of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Read more.

Turkey Demands NATO Support Against Syria

NATO-member Turkey is escalating tensions in the Middle East in response to the Syrian (or Russian?) downing of a Turkish fighter jet. Read more.

Notwithstanding Syria's crimes against humanity and evil axis with Islamist Iran, there is no reason to root for Turkey. Its "moderate" Islamist regime is aiming to set a dangerous precedent that could someday be used against … Israel.

Forgotten History: When Donald Duck and Goofy Were Secretly Enlisted by FDR to Counter Nazi Influence in Latin America

Click here and here to read about the CIAA--the double "A" is not an error--also known as the Rockefeller Agency, a sophisticated effort to neutralize the Nazi blueprint for dominating Latin America; and below, to view the trailer for the animated Walt Disney feature film that was part of the successful U.S. program, which specialized in pro-democracy, anti-Axis propaganda.

Postscript: Nelson Rockefeller, who was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to lead the CIAA, believed in the importance of convincing Latin Americans to accept what Rockefeller called the U.S. "credo" as set forth below:
I believe that my best interests are linked with the U.S. ... I believe that my best interests will be harmed by the Axis ... I believe that the U.S. is going to win this war, although it will be a difficult struggle ... Therefore I am supporting the U.S. and stand ready to cooperate with the Americas and to make additional personal sacrifices along with the American people so that I can help the U.S. win the war and establish a better world.
The credo should be revived and again promoted in light of today's penetration of Latin America by Hitler-admiring Islamists (aided by leftwing radicals whose all-consuming hatred of the United States leads them to make common cause with the most repressive and reactionary elements on earth--religious fanatics who, given the chance, as they proved in Iran after the overthrow of the Shah and are likely to also prove in Egypt in the coming months, will naturally slaughter the left as soon as it has outlived its usefulness to the jihad). A modern-day version of the CIAA is urgently needed.

Rocky Start for New Greek Government

Greece's new coalition government is off to a bad start, plagued by health problems and resignations. Read more.

The government won't last long, according to Foreign Confidential™ analysts. Greece has been crushed by German austerity. Greek democracy is hanging by a threat, thanks to severe spending cuts during recession that have plunged the country into depression--a cruel harbinger of what's in store for the rest of Europe absent effective resistance to German economic dominance.

Morsi's Commitment to Clerical Fascism Belies Liberal Myth

God is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations. 
-Muslim Brotherhood credo

Egypt's fundamentally anti-American, clerical fascist (Islamist), new president, Mohamed Morsi, has a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, was an assistant professor at California State University, and two of his five children were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens.

So much for the liberal myth of peace through cultural exchange. Like peace through free trade, the notion that exposing America's enemies to America will make them love America and appreciate democracy is just that--a myth. And a dangerous one to boot, because it is commonly believed to be true--and assiduously promoted by legions of liberal educators, pundits and politicians.

In fact, the opposite is often the case. Islamists who visit or study in the U.S. typically hate the country even more than those who only know the "Great Satan" from afar. For example, many Iranian students who embraced the Ayatollah Khomeini and were instrumental in overthrowing Iran's Shah, a pro-Western, modernizing monarch, studied in the U.S. And Hani Hanjour, the Saudi Al Qaeda pilot who flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11, lived in the U.S. off and on throughout the 1990s, taking flying lessons at several different flying schools.

The late Egyptian author, Islamist theorist and leading Muslim Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb, whose writings shaped the views of Al Qaeda, was famous for his intense hatred of the United States, a country he knew from firsthand experience. Wikipedia explains:

The turning point in Qutb's views resulted from his visit to the United States, where he aimed for further studies in educational administration. Over a two-year period, he worked in several different institutions including what was then Wilson Teachers' College in Washington, D.C., Colorado State College for Education in Greeley, as well as Stanford University. He also traveled extensively, visiting the major cities of the United States and spent time in Europe on the return journey to Egypt. 
On his return to Egypt, Qutb published an article entitled "The America that I Have Seen." He was critical of many things he had observed in the United States: its materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, "poor" haircuts, superficiality in conversations and friendships,  restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling, "animal-like" mixing of the sexes (which "went on even in churches"), and strong support for the new Israeli state…. 
Qutb noted with disapproval the sexuality of American women:
The American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs—and she shows all this and does not hide it.
He also commented on the American taste in arts:
The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other. The American’s intoxication in “jazz” music does not reach its full completion until the music is accompanied by singing that is just as coarse and obnoxious as the music itself. Meanwhile, the noise of the instruments and the voices mounts, and it rings in the ears to an unbearable degree… The agitation of the multitude increases, and the voices of approval mount, and their palms ring out in vehement, continuous applause that all but deafens the ears.
Qutb concluded that major aspects of American life were primitive and "shocking", a people who were "numb to faith in religion, faith in art, and faith in spiritual values altogether". His experience in the U.S. is believed to have formed in part the impetus for his rejection of Western values and his move towards Islamism upon returning to Egypt. Resigning from the civil service, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1950s and became editor-in-chief of the Brothers' weekly Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, and later head of its propaganda section, as well as an appointed member of the working committee and of its guidance council, the highest branch in the organization.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Egypt's New President Will Break Israel Peace Pact: Prediction

Egypt's new leader is giving Washington and the Useful Idiots of the West what they want to hear. Click here for the story.

But don't believe the clerical fascist (Islamist) lies. A Muslim Brotherhood government will find a rationale to break Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

When push comes to shove, the forces of radical (rightwing political) Islam--from Cairo to Tehran--will overcome their theological and ideological differences in the interest of destroying the Jewish State. To believe otherwise--to accept the soothing words at face value--is downright suicidal.

UPDATE: Morsi Seeks Improved Iran Ties to Create Regional "Strategic Balance"

Islamist Declared President of Egypt

Huge Victory for the Muslim Brotherhood 

What Obama's 'Outreach' and 'Engagement' Policies Have  Wrought: Springtime for Clerical Fascism (Rightwing Political Islam), Winter for America and Israel and Christian and Secular Muslim Arabs

Another domino falls.

Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood--the Hitler-admiring group that spawned Hamas and Al Qaeda and the assassins of Anwar Sadat--has been declared the winner of the country's presidential election. Read more.

The horrible, historic development is a foreign policy disaster for the United States that could have a negative impact on President Obama's reelection chances. There is no denying that Obama emboldened the MB and that the U.S. policy of engaging (appeasing and aligning with) the clerical fascist (Islamist) group contributed mightily to its conquest of the Arab world's most populous nation. Understandably focused on the depression and impressed by Obama's killing of Bin Laden and decimation of Al Qaeda, most Americans have not tuned into his embrace of radical (rightwing political) Islam, a policy that, in democracy's name, has facilitated the Islamist takeover of Libya, stirred up the Islamist uprising in Syria, worsened relations with Russia, and allowed Islamist Iran to come closer than ever to acquiring atomic arms.

The tip-off to what was coming--conveniently ignored by fawning media outlets--was Obama's odious outreach to organized Islam, treating a world religion as if it was a superpower, in line with Islamist ideology, which posits an Islamic nation that transcends all national and ethnic boundaries--starting with his Cairo speech to "the Muslim world," to which once-banned MB leaders were noticeably invited at U.S. insistence. Why didn't Obama, after taking office, address the Arab world, or simply visit and address Egypt and Jordan and Morocco … and Israel? Why the conceptual lumping of non-Arab Turkey with Egypt? The reasons are both clear and terribly troubling. The world's greatest democracy has cynically and stupidly become the leading force behind the most serious threat to democracy's survival since World War II and the end of the Cold War.

Obama's signature foreign policy achievement has been to make overt and respectable a discredited, decades-old, covert strategy--support for rightwing political Islam--which dates to the Eisenhower administration's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood against Nasser. Where's the outrage?

Endnote: In a very real sense, the MB's electoral victory is the culmination of Sadat's fatal embrace of the group more than 40 years ago. Himself a former MB member, Sadat used the Islamists to counter Nasserites, socialists and Communists, and was encouraged to do so by Saudi Arabia, which supported Egypt (and some of Sadat's business associates) financially. Sadat even exploited Islamic themes in the planning and conduct of the October (Yom Kippur) War of 1973--during Ramadan. The propaganda resonated with Islamized masses whose clerics had blamed Egypt's disastrous defeat in the Six-Day War of 1967 on Nasser's pan-Arab/pseudo-socialist political ideology, pro-Soviet orientation (under cover of Third World nonalignment) and fierce opposition to Islamism and Islamic fundamentalism. The "Ramadan War" nearly ended catastrophically for Egypt--Israel was prevented by the U.S. from destroying an Egyptian army--but the appearance of at least a partial victory over the hated Jewish State was seen by Islamists as heaven-sent. When Sadat stunned the world by going to Jerusalem and negotiating peace with Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin, the Islamists, including the Brotherhood and its various offshoots and affiliates, turned viciously against the Egyptian leader. Like his U.S. allies, Sadat ignored the Islamist threat until it was too late to stop it--and he paid for the mistake with his life.

Related Archived Article: Beware the Muslim Brotherhood 

Saudis Plan to Fund Syrian Rebels

Secret War to Replace Shiite Islamist Iran's Secular Ally, Assad, With a Sunni Shiite Islamist 'Democracy' Continues Across Blood-Soaked Syria

U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey (a full NATO member hailed by Washington as a model "Islamist democracy") are stepping up their support for the Syrian rebels. Read more.

Click here to read an on-the-scene report on the divided, Islamist dominated insurgents.

The West is bent on installing an Islamist (clerical fascist) government in Syria under cover of democracy promotion and humanitarian intervention. Incredible! Nearly 11 years after 9/11, the United States is still trying to ride the Islamist tiger without being eaten by it.

New Korean Conflict Looms on Eve of 62nd Anniversary of War

On the eve of the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, tensions are high, another conflict seems increasingly likely, and some 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea are essentially nuclear hostages. Of course, there is no debate in the United States over the necessity of keeping them there and no discussion of the impotence of the international community with regard to preventing further North Korean provocations.

Speaking of which,  the Kimist regime could again attempt to mar and overshadow a U.S. national holiday, Independence Day--July 4--by testing a nuclear weapon and/or missiles or attacking a South Korean target.

Click here to read about the Forgotten War, which was never formally declared and has technically never ended.

Venezuela Transferred F-16 to Iran

Venezuela is helping Iran to prepare for war. Read more.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Forbes Columnist Mark Admomanis: 'Russia Has Had a Better Response to the Financial Crisis than the US Government'

Shocking but true: Russia's response to the economic crisis has been better than the U.S. response; and U.S. economic policy is "badly broken." Read more.

Ahmadinejad Again Visits Venezuela

Chavez Meeting Highlights Iranian Leader's Sixth Latin America Tour

The new Hitler and his tropical Mussolini appear to be preparing for war with the United States. The two presidents described the relationship between their countries as a sacred alliance. Ahmadinejad praised Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution; Chavez hailed Iran's Islamic Revolution. Read more.

Related Articles:
Experts Fear New Conflict 
Ahmadinejad Aims to Attack America

Friday, June 22, 2012

US-S. Korea War Games Warning to North

Biggest Live-Fire Drill Since Korean War

The United States and South Korea staged live-fire military exercises north of Seoul and included North Korea's flag among the targets. The drills are meant to warn Pyongyang against aggression; but the use of the North's flag seems unnecessarily provocative. Read more.

EU Leaders Agree to Push Stimulus as Crisis Worsens

But Merkel Still Stands for Austerity During Depression 

Job Creation at Last the Rallying Cry

Good news. European leaders are apparently at last opposing overly aggressive Germany, which has been bent on forcing its weaker neighbors to accept austerity--severe spending cuts--during the worst economic crisis since the Second World War. Read more.

None dare call it imperialism? Germany's policy could be considered a form of economic imperialism as it aims to overthrow the status quo through the economic restructuring of entire nations. Pauperizing the middle and working classes, stripping them of political power, reducing them to Third World (developing/emerging nation) levels, dismantling social services for once and all, rolling back the clock to a distant, brutal time when workers could more easily be ground up, used and discarded like so much garbage or industrial waste … in the name of competitiveness … and fiscal reform … these seem to be the strategic objectives of Berlin's perfidious policy.

Prominent Political Scientist Supports Iran Getting Nukes

Kenneth Waltz says Iran acquiring atomic arms would be a good thing; even more alarmingly, perhaps, a nuclear-armed Iran is now considered an inevitability by many, if not most, Washington insiders. Read more.

Incredible. Waltz is a so-called neorealist, or defensive realist. If he was alive today, the father of political realism, Hans J. Morgenthau, who was both a leading critic of the Vietnam War, seeing it as an unnecessary and unwise intervention, and a strong supporter of Israel, would surely be shocked--maybe even sickened--by the reasoning. Morgenthau (under whom this reporter was privileged to have studied) stressed the crucial importance of a nation's intentions in the context of understanding an imperialist foreign policy as one that aims to overthrow the status quo, or power relations among nations.

Like Germany in the years leading up to World War II, Iran is pursuing an imperialist foreign policy; unlike Hitler, however, whom Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clearly admires, the Islamist nation is making its intentions known, musing openly about Israel's destruction, a "world without America and Zionism," etc. That Waltz and others who share his hair-brained views can't or refuse to see this, that they are repeating or simply ignoring the fatal error of Neville Chamberlain and the advocates of appeasement, is astonishing--and frightening.

A nuclear-armed Iran is inevitable? Apocalyptic clerical fascists with atom bombs--inevitable? Heaven help us if that's the case.

Endnote: There is a real need to take back realism--to revive classical political realism--in light of Waltz's nutty neorealism and the "offensive realism" of John Mearsheimer, a fierce critic of Israel.

Syria's Fate, Russia's Fear: Analysis

Turkey and the West are backing a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria, which is increasingly likely to split along sectarian lines. At the end of the day, Russia will accept an ethnically divided Syria rather than allow it to become a springboard for Islamist penetration of Russia itself. Read more.

The East is a tricky place. But Washington appears to have learned nothing from the horrific blowback of its massive, covert intervention in Afghanistan, which, along with aiding and allowing the Islamist takeover of Iran, unleashed the clerical fascist monster that is rightwing political Islam. The author of the above-referenced analysis is spot-on--but diplomatic. Given the way events have unfolded, Moscow must believe that Washington remains wedded to its decades-old policy of trying to manipulate Islamism in order to contain and arguably crack apart Russia (and China).

The Obama administration has clearly and effectively embraced Islamism while decimating Al Qaeda and killing its notorious leader, Osama Bin Laden, a man who might never have amounted to anything, politically, but for America's secret war in Afghanistan--the largest-ever covert operation in U.S. history. Apart from AQ and its best known affiliates, all other Islamist groups and governments are considered OK to "engage" (appease and align with) by an administration that is ironically regarded as "progressive" by its admirers  and leftwing by its critics.

There is nothing progressive about rightwing political Islam. "Moderate" radical Islam is a deadly oxymoron. Fascism is fascism is fascism. Shame on the Democratic administration and on Republican politicians, like John McCain, who persist in stupidly referring to fascists as "freedom fighters." The U.S. debases itself--and insults the memory of all those who perished in the Second World War battling to defeat fascism or as innocent victims of the Nazi-fascist murder machine--by backing a modern-day Hitlerian menace that aims to enslave humanity and, with that objective in mind, will not rest until it brings about America's destruction and the destruction of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

Related Articles:
Syria Shoots Down Turkish Warplane; Pilot Alive 
Taliban Storm Afghan Hotel

Copyright © 2012 Foreign Confidential™

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stalemate in Syria?

Syrian civil war--a stalemate seems to be setting in as a fighter pilot defects to Jordan. Read more.

Beyond Spying: 'Flame' Can Attack and Destroy Computers

Understanding the most sophisticated computer virus--click here.

Austerity-Mad Elite Ignoring 1930s Lesson

Harsh austerity in recession/depression destabilizes democracy. Read more.

Related Article: Nowotny Backs Down

Greece Threatened With Formal Third World Status

Another win for German austerity: Greece could be relegated to "emerging market" status. Read more.

Greece Swears in Pro-Austerity Prime Minister

Samaras Takes Office Before Cabinet Announced

The three-party coalition will be weak and could easily collapse within a few months. Read more.

Comment: The EU was a good idea--up to a point. But the common currency was a bad idea. German austerity amid recession was an even worse idea--the harsh measures have failed everywhere. Greece is in a depression; Greek democracy, increasingly in danger of being overthrown. What is happening is unprecedented in the history of postwar Europe; that Germany should be chiefly responsible for the devastation is disturbing, to say the least.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

World Leaders Urge 'Fiscal Responsibility' as Europe Falls

Presidents and Prime Ministers Argue About Austerity Vs. Stimulus

Leaders of the UK, Germany, and South Korea are insisting on austerity, incredibly, with Europe on the brink of collapse and the United States stuck in a managed (for now) depression. Read more.

Seoul has nerve. If not for Washington, South Korea would long ago have been conquered by China-backed North Korea. A defense dependent that is reliant on the physical presence within its borders of some 30,000 U.S. troops really has no business lecturing its ally and other nations about anything.

Related: Greece Close to Coalition as Athenians Queue for Free Fruits and Vegetables

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Junior Miners Play Major Role in West Africa Iron Ore Boom

But Giant Rio Tinto is Rumored to be Eying Entry into Sierra Leone by Backing Ex-Military Ruler and Opposition Party Presidential Candidate 

Chad Fraser reports that West Africa is on the verge of becoming one of the world's biggest iron ore producing regions, attracting both senior and junior mining firms. In fact, the juniors could be the key to the iron ore boom. Read more.

The role of the juniors is especially important in Sierra Leone. Industry sources say Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest producer of iron, is eager to enter the country and, in this regard, is rumored to be backing the main opposition party's presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio, against incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma in elections set for November. The multinational mining and metals behemoth was recently a sponsor of a prestigious conference in Montreal, Canada at which Bio spoke.

With the apparent exception of Rio Tinto, Koroma enjoys widespread support from the international community because of his reputation as a peaceful, pro-business leader--in sharp contrast with Bio, a controversial figure who served briefly as a military ruler during Sierra Leone's long civil war.

The Montreal conference website includes a biography of Bio that is noteworthy because the write-up transcends mere flattery to reveal an obvious political bias:
Bio does have a credible prospect of becoming President of Sierra Leone, once again, against the milieu of discontent and hardship currently afflicting this poor West African nation.

Syria Splitting, Al Qaeda Gaining

US-Russia Rivalry, Intervention in Syria Creates Opportunity for Al Qaeda

How North Korea Could Conquer the South

A South Korean security expert outlines the worst-case scenario: North Korean guerrilla attacks against the South--which would plunge the country into chaos--followed by a full-scale invasion. The expert agrees with Foreign Confidential™ that the North intends to conquer the South. Read more.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Austerity Failing, Forcing World into Depression

Spending cuts in a recession … slashing social services … pauperizing the middle classes … crushing the working poor … austerity has failed, utterly. Read more.

Greek Neo-Nazis Exploiting Depression

What German austerity has wrought: an environment in which Hitler's admirers are thriving. Read more

Russia Preparing to Defend Naval Base in Syria

Confrontation With the West is Possible

Russia is preparing to defend its citizens in Syria and its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus. Read more.

The Syrian situation is fraught with danger--another foreign policy disaster on the verge of becoming a catastrophe. The Obama administration should not have meddled in Syria--on the side of Islamists. Russian cooperation is key to containing or removing the Assad regime--and to containing or removing the Iranian regime. But the United States has acted as if the Cold War never ended. The bipartisan blunders are mind boggling.

Germany on Greece Bank Bailout: There's Nothing to Negotiate Except Time-Frame of 'Structural Reforms' (Slashing Spending)

Germany is taking a hard line on Greece. Read more.

Sudan Students Demonstrate Against Austerity

Students at Khartoum University defied the clerical fascist regime, which responded with classic police violence. Read more.

Islamists Claim Win in Egypt Election; Army Takes Power

The Muslim Brotherhood claimed an election victory in Egypt as the army grabbed power. Read more.


The situation in Egypt is a disaster on the verge of becoming a catastrophe. It is also a huge headache for the Obama administration, which undermined the Mubarak government and emboldened and encouraged the Islamists. Events in Egypt will expose the administration's policy of embracing rightwing political Islam in general while decimating Al Qaeda in particular. The administration's strategy has been to narrow the definition of the Islamist enemy to the organization that attacked the United States on 9/11. Practically all other Islamist groups--including the Taliban and Iran's monstrous mullahocracy--are presently or have in the recent past been regarded by the administration as fit to "engage."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

'Perfect Storm' Hammers UK Working Poor

Oxfam reports:
The combination in the UK of economic stagnation and public spending cuts is causing substantial hardship to people living in poverty. This amounts to a "Perfect Storm" of falling incomes, rising prices, public service cuts, benefit cuts, a housing crisis, and weak labour rights. By making different political choices, the government can both protect people in poverty and help to stimulate economic recovery in the short term, and set the UK on the way towards economic, social and environmental sustainability in the long term. 
Read more.

Japan Shifting Out of Nuclear Power

Japan is moving away from nuclear power and into renewables in a major way, with incentives that could unleash billions of dollars of investments in clean technologies. Read more.

Big Win for Socialists in France

Francois Hollande's party has worn a historic parliamentary majority, giving the left a free hand to govern. Read more.

Another Stalemate Looms in Greece

Pro-Austerity Party Ekes Out Victory

The New Democracy Party won. But the victory was too narrow to form a government outright. So another stalemate looms. Read more.

The results are actually astonishing, considering the mass unemployment and devastation that austerity has wrought: 25% of all Greek workers and half of younger Greek workers are unemployed. Those are the official numbers; the real numbers are widely assumed to be much higher.

North Korea Accuses Clinton of 'Reckless Criticism'

The Kimist regime--world's worst dictatorship--on Sunday accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of "reckless criticism" of its human rights record and vowed to bolster its "nuclear deterrent." Read more.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Greece Will Vote, World Will Watch

What Austerity Has Wrought: Boom in Soup Kitchens 

Greek voters will cast ballots Sunday in the second parliamentary election in the past six weeks.

Observers worldwide will be watching the poll, which is seen as a referendum on the euro.

Arguably, however, the vote is a referendum on forced austerity. Five years of severe spending cuts in the name of "reform" have mired the country in a deep and worsening depression. Soup kitchens reflect the growing poverty. Officials say it's not only the homeless who go to eat there, but also many who have homes but not enough money to buy food. Starvation, homelessness, and suicides are increasing Twenty-five percent of workers and half of all young people are unemployed.

Not surprisingly, many Greek voters support Alexis Tsirpas, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), who aims to repeal the austerity measures imposed by Greece's Eurozone partners.

Huge Anti-Austerity Protests

In related news, huge anti-austerity protests took place Saturday in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The largest confederation of Portuguese workers (the CGTP) organized a rally in Lisbon to protest against the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission--the institutions that are enforcing austerity, which is strangling some southern European countries.

The confederation of Italian labor unions (CGIL ) organized protests to demand lower taxes for workers and retired people, more resources toward reducing unemployment, and more efforts by the government to catch tax evaders.

In Spain's capital Madrid, protesters rallied against government plans to save the country's leading bank, Bankia.  Eurozone leaders last week approved a $125 billion loan to shore up Spain's leading banks which are in trouble, but warned of the need for "reform."

Protesters accused the government of being more concerned with saving the country's financial systems than with easing austerity measures that hurt ordinary people.

Such loans usually carry an obligation on the part of the borrowing country to slash social services and cut spending. Harsh economic measures have caused hardships and sparked anger and unrest in southern European countries.

Friday, June 15, 2012

IMF Urges More Pain for Spain

The austerity-mad IMF wants Spain, which is mired in recession/depression, to raise taxes and cut the salaries of government workers. Read more.

Greece Plagued by Crime, Political Violence

Austerity has driven Greece to the edge of the abyss as election day approaches. Read more.

Related Articles:
Austerity Cripples Greek Healthcare System
Greece Pushed to the Brink

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Spain's Banks Went from Paradigm to Pariah

Spain's banks cooked the books. Read more.

Egypt's High Court and Army Act to Save Nation from Islamism

A June surprise! Egypt's high court and military--the men in uniforms are still the party that matters most in Egypt-- today moved to save the country from becoming another Iran. Read more.

The dramatic development is a nightmare for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Obama administration, which emboldened and encouraged the clerical fascist group to overthrow America's longtime ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The betrayal and abandonment of Mubarak recalled the Carter administration's catastrophic betrayal and abandonment of Iran's Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a modernizing monarch--and key American ally. Both administrations cravenly tried to jump aboard the Islamist bandwagon. Carter also secretly intervened in Afghanistan on the side of Islamist warlords in order to lure the Soviets into a disastrous land war--an intervention that Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, escalated into America's largest-ever covert operation.

More than a decade after the policy of covertly and overtly supporting rightwing political Islam, dating to the Eisenhower administration's secret backing of the MB against Nasser, backfired, or blew back, in the most horrific way on 9/11, Washington has apparently learned … nothing … from its fatal errors. 

Then, again, George W. Bush showed the nation that he learned nothing from the Vietnam debacle by needlessly attacking and invading Iraq. But that's another story. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Greek Neo-Nazis Threaten Anti-Immigrant Hospital Raids

Germany Indifferent as Austerity Destabilizes Greek Democracy

Greece's neo-Nazi party, which is exploiting the country's economic crisis, is threatening to raid hospitals and schools in order to attack and expel immigrants. Read more.

Related: Italian Politicians Warn Germany May Trigger Decline of the West

Tsipras to EU: 'Bailout is History'

Anti-Austerity SYRIZA Leader, Expected to Win Greece Election, Insists Nation Can Remain in Eurozone and Renegotiate  Financial Assistance 

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is expected to win the Greek elections this Sunday, warned the EU against trying to bully him into accepting the austerity-tied bailout, calling it "history." Read more.

IEA Says Iran Storing 42 Million Barrels of Oil at Sea

Iran's floating oil storage rose to 42 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency. Read more

China Supplied N. Korea With Mobile Missile Launchers: Report

A Japanese paper says China supplied North Korea with mobile missile launchers last year in violation of a UN ban on arms sales to the country and the United States and Japan refrained from exposing the illicit shipment in order to avoid antagonizing China. Read more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Millions of North Korean Children Stunted and Malnourished

Hell on earth….

The UN says millions of North Korean children are not getting the food, medicine, health care they need, leaving them stunted and malnourished. Read more.

Iran Says it Plans to Build Nuclear Sub

Iran continues to push, probe, taunt and defy. Now, the monstrous mullahocracy claims that it can and will build a nuclear-powered submarine, which could be used to justify uranium enrichment at levels that would allow the regime to covertly make nuclear weapons. Read more

US to Strengthen Military Capabilities in South Korea

More Attack Helicopters and Stronger Missile Defense 

The top commander of U.S. forces in South Korea is seeking more attack helicopters, intelligence aircraft, and a strengthened missile defense system as part of what he says is an effort to enhance “war-fighting capabilities.”

General James Thurman said at a forum in Seoul Tuesday that he is confident the Defense Department will meet his request for increased military capacity, which comes amid heightened fears of military provocation by nuclear-armed North Korea.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened attacks against several conservative media outlets in Seoul after they criticized new leader Kim Jong Un. Seoul has also recently accused Pyongyang of jamming satellite navigation signals, which affected commercial jets and ships in the South.

Thurman said it is his “number one priority” to remain ready to defend South Korea against “any North Korean provocation, whether it would be strategic, tactical,” or “asymmetric.”

There are also concerns that North Korea may attempt a third nuclear test following the embarrassing failure of a long-range missile launch in April, despite Pyongyang's insistence that it is not preparing for such a test.

U.S. and South Korean forces held joint live-fire military exercises Tuesday in the South Korean city of Pocheon.

The U.S. currently has nearly 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea, which has for more than 60 years remained in a technical state of war with the North. The agreement that ended the 1950-'53 civil war was only a truce.

European China Expert Warns of Worsening US-China Relations

A Brussels-based China expert believes that tensions between the United States and China could lead to a new, Cold War-like competition in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Read more.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet Medinsky, the Goebbels of Resurgent Russia

A Profile of Putin's Controversial New Culture Minister 

By Tom Balmforth

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact "deserves a monument." The U.S.S.R. never occupied the Baltic states, it just "incorporated" them. An infamous picture of a Nazi-Soviet military parade in Poland in 1939 was "photoshopped." Anti-Semitism in Tsarist Russia has been "greatly exaggerated."

Alternative history? Speculative fiction? No, these are actual snippets from the academic writings of Russia's new culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky.

Kremlin allies have praised the controversial author's unexpected May 21 appointment. Andrei Isayev of the ruling United Russia party calls Medinsky "an energetic man, a good manager and ideologue." Likewise, Yelena Drapeko, who sits on the State Duma's Culture Committee, says he is "entirely qualified" and "professional."

But among the opposition and many scholars, his appointment has been condemned and met with a blend of shock and disappointment.

The bespectacled 41-year-old academic and author of more than a dozen history tomes has been accused by his peers of everything from dubious scholarship, to plagiarism, to outright propaganda.

Mark Solonin, a historian and specialist on World War II, likens Medinsky to the Third Reich's notorious propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, and calls his appointment an insult to Russia's rich cultural heritage.

"They have selected a fairly mediocre propagandist and, what's more, a propagandist of the shameless Goebbels variety," Solonin says. "The fact that they are appointing that kind of propagandist to the post of culture minister in a country that gave the world Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, and Tolstoy--this, of course, is a certain challenge and a certain signal. What did they want to say with this message?"

Best-Selling Writer

A prolific writer, Medinsky is best-known for his best-selling series "Myths," in which he purports to debunk stereotypes purportedly dreamed up by foreigners to besmirch Russia and its people. One title, for example, is titled: "On Drunkenness, Laziness and Cruelty."

One of the more controversial volumes, "War. Myths of the USSR. 1939-45," has been derided by Aleksei Isayev, a World War II historian, as "agitprop" and "nonsense."

The books have nevertheless been huge hits with the public. In 2009, the daily "Kommersant" reported the series had become the "most widely circulated history book in modern Russia."

They were also well received by the Kremlin. In 2009, Vladislav Surkov, who was then deputy Kremlin chief of staff and the regime's informal ideologist, said of the first volume of "Myths," "The concept of the book is very divisive and contentious, but it is absolutely to the benefit of Russia."

Accusations Of Plagiarism

Prior to his appointment as culture minister, Medinsky was last in the spotlight in January, when a group of historians accused him of plagiarizing his doctoral dissertation. One Russian history website has collated 16 paragraphs and stretches of text from his paper that strongly resemble extracts by other historians.

Medinsky denies the allegations. But historian Lev Usyskin nevertheless says the plagiarism charges should disqualify him from serving as culture minister.

"A person in that kind of position must meet certain moral standards. And we all know what kind of standards Vladimir Rostislavovich Medinsky conforms to. We know about his doctoral dissertation in which they discovered a large portion of plagiarism," Usyskin says.

"The bits that weren't plagiarized did not conform to the slightest academic rigor. This is actually a fraudulent scientific degree. The doctor himself knows this perfectly well -- this is a person who is not embarrassed to stand before the world as a fraudster," he adds. "His morals are clear."

In the late 1980s, Medinsky studied English and journalism at the prestigious Moscow State Institution of International Relations and worked in the press office of the Russian Embassy in Washington in 1991-92.

A noted scholar of the Russian intelligence services, Amy Knight, wrote in "The New York Review of Books" that these two facts "[raise] the possibility that he was on the foreign intelligence rather than the diplomatic track. Journalism has long been a cover for spying among Russians."

After the Soviet breakup, Medinsky returned to Moscow and, at the age of 22, was named head of the Russian branch of the Ya Corporation, a public-relations firm. In 1998, he took a job in the press office of the tax police.

In the 1999 State Duma elections, he worked as campaign manager for the Fatherland-All Russia party, which eventually merged with United Russia. He served two terms in the State Duma and in 2010 then-President Dmitry Medvedev named him to the Presidential Commission Against the Falsification of History.

Medinsky failed in his attempt to win a third term in the Duma in the December 2011 elections.

Why Medinsky?

Analysts are divided, and puzzled, over the motivations behind such a controversial appointment.

Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a member of United Russia and expert on political elites, says she knows the reason Medinsky was appointed but "cannot tell the press."

Political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov of the Petersburg Politics Foundation notes that United Russia promised its leading members ministerial positions. He also suggests that Surkov, now the government's chief of staff, has close ties to Medinsky and could be behind the appointment.

Perhaps the simplest explanation is given by Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Moscow-based Panorama think tank. The Kremlin, he suggests, simply couldn't find anybody else.

"It's not the kind of position that people fight for. It's not easy to find a person for this post," Pribylovsky says. "Perhaps there was a competition between fools and they simply chose the most patriotic one."

Copyright © 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

Tiny, Oxygen-Producing Plant Organisms Threatened

A new study spotlights a potentially disastrous threat to plankton--the single-cell organisms that support all life on our planet. Read more.

Why Natural Gas Could Replace Gasoline

Daniel Graeber Interviews Raymond Learsy 

Massive natural gas discoveries and new extraction techniques have led many to claim natural gas as the fuel of the future that could ensure U.S. energy independence, reduce geopolitical risks, and help meet U.S. electricity demands for the next 575 years.

Yet why have we seen so many negative publications and reports? Does natural gas really have a place in our future and is it the golden chalice we have been led to believe? reporter Daniel Graeber sought answers to these and other questions from the well known author and energy trader Raymond Learsy, whose latest book, Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues, takes a critical look at the oil sector--specifically, how certain elites have gamed the system.

In the interview Raymond talks about the following:
  • Why natural gas could displace gasoline
  • The top three forms of energy for national security
  • The New York Times vendetta against natural gas
  • Nuclear energy's place in America's energy future
  • The future of fracking
  • Why we can't rely on coal for future power generation What do you think is the link between say the New York Times and some of the concerns in the commodity market?

Raymond Learsy: Well, some of the reporting of the New York Times I feel is weighted too heavily on the fiction that surrounds the pricing of oil. I've written a number of posts, some of which are in my new book, some of which are in my previous book, that deal with the way the New York Times repeats without any serious, in-depth questioning the sort of general handouts of the oil industry and OPEC. For example, if Saudi Arabia says, "Oh, we're having difficulty meeting current demands," there's no insightful discussion of what their potential is, how long they've been sitting on the fence before they expanded their production capability, etc., etc. It's always taken at face value. And then, of course, you have this extraordinary series of articles that came forward earlier in 2011 about natural gas. Yeah, I saw that at Huffington Post. I actually used that in one of my media classes.

Raymond Learsy: Did you? Yes.

Raymond Learsy: Well, thank you. I'm flattered. This was unbelievable for a leading newspaper to really take on the mantle of yellow journalism and to attempt to defame a whole new vista and direction of energy and the potential of what natural gas holds to place it into question and, thereby make people less focused on it, taking it less seriously, when it is really the golden chalice that has been given to us to make the U.S. energy independent. Okay.

Raymond Learsy: I'm just amazed at the kind of language they use and the way that they try to undermine the whole focus on the development of natural gas in this country and elsewhere. And that much of what had been written that placed the whole natural gas enterprise into doubt was based on exchanges of emails that were unattributed. In other words, we didn't know who sent the emails. Right.

Raymond Learsy: We had nothing but hearsay, and a very editorialized hearsay, supporting a particular pre-program point of view. Well.

Raymond Learsy: I mean it was shocking. Well, why do you feel that's the case? I guess we could look at the New York Times as some kind of the benchmark for U.S. journalism. What is the motive? Or is it lazy journalism? Or something else? Why do you feel the media, the New York Times specifically, is offering a mischaracterization of the energy markets?

Raymond Learsy: Let me show you this. It is from a study that MIT made shortly after the New York Times articles and I don't think it was specifically meant as a rebut to the New York Times, but it goes into a great deal of detail that natural gas will result in demand reduction and displacement of coal-fired power by a gas-fired generation. And because of its more limited CO2 emissions further de-carbonization of the energy sector will be required and natural gas provides a cost effective bridge to such a low carbon future. In other words, natural gas, the way it's structured, it's enormous availability (we are finding more and more of it since these articles have been written), and it's extraordinary low cost, present a very real danger to other forms of hydrocarbons. And I don't know quite what the New York Times' love affair is with the oil industry, but their articles were something that placed the whole idea of natural gas as a substitute, not simply for coal, but eventually for transportation fuel replacing gasoline, into jeopardy.

It just bedazzles me because you have at the current price of natural gas, which is about two and a half dollars an MMBtu, right? We have crude oil selling today at $95 a barrel. A week ago it was $100 a barrel. Yes.

Raymond Learsy: At $2.50 an MMBtu, the amount of energy that is delivered by that quotient of natural gas, the price of oil would have to be around fifteen dollars a barrel. Okay.

Raymond Learsy: And so if we were able to convert our transportation fleet for the use of natural gas, which we have in plentiful supply in this country, we would no longer have to import crude oil, etc., and we would be in a position to displace gasoline. Instead the New York Times undermines and places into question the one solution and salvation that we have for true energy independence. Okay. So, what about other renewable forms? I've had some
discussions with some folks at Rand recently about converting from a highly carbon intensive economy to a low carbon economy and the conversation always winds up on things like infrastructure, on things like converting everything from petroleum to natural gas to wind. Where does that conversation factor into this conversation?

Raymond Learsy: Well, I mean, you have other alternatives. You have nuclear energy, but on the other hand you do have a situation where we have not built a nuclear facility since the 1970s and China is going to be building 25 nuclear facilities in the next 15 years. Now, the question needs to be asked seriously and analyzed seriously, who is going to be better off at the end of 15 years? We, without having built any, or the Chinese with having built 25? Right.

Raymond Learsy: And can we build them safely? And can we solve the problems of waste disposal? Now the Russians have done that. The Russians are very extensive in their nuclear facilities and they moved all of their waste disposal up into the edge of the Arctic somewhere in one of the peninsulas bordering on the Arctic Sea. And it's not only that, they've taken in waste disposal not only from their own plants but from other European plants such as France. Look at France, 80% of its electrical energy is generated, by nuclear power. Right.

Raymond Learsy: So we are trailing the rest of the world in something at least, in a focus on nuclear energy. And then in terms of coal we have enormous reservoirs of coal, but on the other hand the carbon footprint of coal is far greater than that of natural gas. Right.

Raymond Learsy: Basically on all these issues there are three items of focus; economy, national security and the environment. Natural gas gets top marks on all three. Coal gets top marks on two of three. Crude oil gets top marks on maybe one of three. And nuclear energy is still, we're still debating how safe it is and how comfortable we are with it. Right.

Raymond Learsy: And then of course we have alternatives; ethanol, bio fuels, hybrid cars, etc., etc., all of which could substantially reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. The carbon footprint of natural gas is far less than that of gasoline, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of our energy consumption. Well, then what about the fracking debate? I know a couple weeks ago Sierra Club had filed a few suits with the Department of Energy, I believe, protesting liquefied natural gas export facilities planned for Louisiana ports on the premise that it's going to lead to more fracking, which is the hot issue of today in terms of the new energy debate.

Raymond Learsy: Fracking is something that has to be studied and has to be mastered and I think the oil companies are not irresponsible, they're not irresponsible entities. They fully understand their civic responsibilities and also their commercial and their legal responsibilities. They are beginning to take this problem and really work it through to the point where it is going to be as safe as it reasonably can be and then we have to consider is it safe enough?

I mean, with all of these problems the environmental groups look at them from one point of view only and what we need is leadership where all these things are taken into consideration; the economy, national security and the environment, and where the judgment is made based on the pros and cons of each of these energy sources. I don't think that is really done, nor is it discussed in a lucid, candid way and with regard to natural gas. I mean, we are the beneficiaries of something we didn't even know existed four or five years ago.

And the potential in terms of our economic development, in terms of our national security is enormous. The question is how much of a problem is it environmentally and can the oil companies really deal with it in such a way that it is minimal. So, let's take it a step further and kind of work our way back to the media argument because I think that there isn't one; you can't really have a motivating campaign on energy based on pragmatism. You need some level of excitability, and if you're calling for elimination of this myopic debate on fracking, it doesn't make for a sexy headline. It's not as motivating as the doom and gloom of the Keystone/Nextel pipeline or ethylene glycol in your drinking water and people lighting their taps in their kitchen on fire because of the natural gas concerns. How does the public mentality figure into the conversation on natural gas?

Raymond Learsy: Well, I think the people have got to be made aware what the benefits are. You have something like the New York Times articles that I'm referring to which make virtually no reference to fracking. What they make reference to is loaded estimations of how much natural gas there is, inferring that they have been spiked by the oil companies and by the investors. It's unbelievable some of the language that went into this and a year and a half later it's been proven total consummate nonsense.

The amount of natural gas that is extant in this country has already been proven to be enough to last us a hundred years and we've just begun to scratch the surface on searching for it and on developing it. And it's amazing, not only this country but China is becoming a major producer of shale gas, Europe and Poland have also had major finds of shale gas. All around the world shale gas seems to be the answer to energy dependency. What everybody should do is read the MIT study. Let me give you the details of it. Right.

Raymond Learsy: You know, if they don't want to order my book, they can order the MIT study, which, If I had my druthers between ordering my book, which is called "Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues," and this study, I would order the study. The future of natural gas which is an interdisciplinary MIT study and I'm sure it can be gotten from MIT. It's called The Future of Natural Gas and it was published in June of '11. Okay.

Raymond Learsy: What it tells you is the dramatic potential of natural gas in terms of our energy consumption and usage. And it is done in great detail by a whole bevy of authorities who really spent time, effort and enormous amount of research in coming up with this, not like the New York Times. Okay. So, just to wrap it up, I remember, and as I said at the beginning of our conversation, I had referenced your Huffington Post article from last year when we were debating, the responsibility of the news media. Now I remember shortly after that article came out, I think about two weeks later, the ombudsman, the public editor at the New York Times, refuted the original article. I'm sure very few people read that because it probably didn't run as high profile as the previous story and I also...go ahead.

Raymond Learsy: The gas article in the New York Times was a front-page article and the public editor had his article on the second page of the Weekly Review section on Sunday. Right.

Raymond Learsy: So, you're right, I mean the perception of the public editor's comments were, I'm sure, barely read by a handful of people. Right. Then if I'm not mistaken, roughly a month later the New York State Legislature voted on fracking.

Raymond Learsy: Mm-hmm. Is that correct to your knowledge?

Raymond Learsy: I don't know if it was a month later or so. Shortly after.

Raymond Learsy: They put it all on hold. Now do you think that that had anything to do with the New York Times article?

Raymond Learsy: Well, I think, yeah, the New York Times article gave natural gas, shale natural gas, a very bad taste. I mean, it gave it the illusion of being in the hands of shysters and people who were simply, I mean there were comments with words like "it's all about the money." I mean the kind of language that was used was incredible and without very much substantiation.

And I'm sure people don't follow these issues day to day and I'm sure it made it very easy rather than seeing natural gas as a source of economic energy for New York State. Not only energy but economic advancement, especially at a very difficult time in the economy. It was very easy to dismiss after the holy of holies, the New York Times, wrote about it in the manner that they did. Good. So I mean what's the final word on natural gas? We understand the perception that public reactions rise and fall with the sun, and it's an excitable issue as it becomes a new issue as time goes on, you know, level heads sort of prevail. Where do you see the natural gas debate in say 2020?

Raymond Learsy: Well. I think people will be, in 2020, will be saying aren't we fortunate to be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and that we have been able to develop this natural resource, this American resource, safely, responsibly and it has enhanced the lives of almost every American. Natural gas is a feedstock for much of our chemical production. Natural gas has been an absolute shot in the arm to our steel industry; the piping and the new drilling equipment that is being used and produced. It has created, in places like North Dakota where you also have shale oil as well as shale gas, a boom.

There is massive employment, not unemployment, but employment to the point they can't fill jobs in North Dakota and they can't find a place to live, they can't find apartments and they can't find a place to stay. I mean, the boom there is staggering and that boom is going to spread around the United States, if it's permitted to do so, if we have a coherent, intelligent and sensible discussion on this issue. And I think that the potential is so enormous that by 2020 the whole idea of energy independence will have been dissipated because of our resources in natural gas.

Related: Natural Gas Storage Vital for Industry Growth