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Shockfront

Monday, 02 May 2011

Tricks of the Libyan Trade

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Libyan rebels, but were afraid to ask. 


 
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Friday, 11 February 2011

Mubarak is gone

... it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, …

And the people rejoiced.

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Amongst the tanks.

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MUBARAK STEPS DOWN



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Nicely done, people. Nicely done.

Nonetheless, the fact of the matter remains that Egypt has moved from brutal dictatorship to military junta, brutality a hovering menace after reports that the military were torturing Egyptian civilian protesters.  The convergence of power vectors in Cairo is a triple point; stable under constant conditions.  Which mostly assuredly is something you cannot say is the case in Egypt.

And let's chalk another one up for the CIA: Suleiman, the latest in a long line of CIA asset presidents.  From what the world has seen of proudly, peaceably defiant Egyptians, that arrangement will not stand long.
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Monday, 03 January 2011

Sino-Russian oil pipeline goes operational

The new ESPO (Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean) pipeline has opened, while Russia has endevoured to become, once again, the world's largest oil producer, managing in 2010 to scrape 10.1m bbs per day out of their inevitably dwindling Siberian supplies as Putin struggles with an ailing economy and apparently hopes that short term production spikes will help the books.

Russia has begun oil shipments to China via an East Siberian link, with supplies delivered in January expected to hit 1.3 million tonnes, ….

Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, confirmed on Saturday that the supplies had begun.

Russia, the world's biggest crude oil exporter, has concentrated most of its 50,000km-long pipeline network in West Siberia, but the new Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline gives it access to the world's largest energy consumers' market.

According to the final schedule for crude oil exports and transit, in January-March 2011, Russia will ship 3.68 million tonnes of oil to China via ESPO.

"According to our plan, the input capacity 2,100 cubic metres per hour, that's 43,000 tonnes per day. This is what we have so far," Li Yunchao, an official with the China Petroleum Pipeline Company, told Al Jazeera.

An annual plan envisages the supply of 15 million tonnes (300,000 barrels per day). Many oil market participants expected it would effectively double Russian sales to China, which totalled 12.8 million tonnes (308,000 bpd) in the first 10 months of 2010.

Transneft started to ship the barrels along the first stage of the pipeline, which runs in a 2,757km arc above Lake Baikal. So far the oil had been transported only by rail to

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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Obama DoJ Refuses Cooperation on Polish "CIA Black Site" Investigation

Obama has bent over backwards eschewing investigations of the vast plain of Bush-era wrong doing, flopped about like a dying fish on the release of torture documentation, until finally flopping down dead no.   As a few choice Wikilieaks cables have shown, his "administration" has been equally intent on preventing anyone else from investigating the Bush regime.  After strong-arming both the Spanish and the Germans over their nascent investigations into rendition and torture at Gitmo, the Obama DoJ has been ordered to refuse cooperation with Polish authorities in their investigation of reported CIA administered "black sites."
The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected a request from prosecutors in Warsaw for assistance in the investigation into the alleged CIA prisons in Poland, where captives claim they were tortured.

On 18 March, the Prosecutor’s Office of Appeal in Warsaw filed a motion for legal assistance from the US Department of Justice into the probe.

On 7 October, reports the PAP news agency, the US informed prosecutors that the motion had been rejected on the basis of the international Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and that the U.S. authorities consider the matter “to be closed”.

The revelation that the US will not be cooperating with the investigation into the alleged black site, thought to have been in northern Poland near the Szymany air base, comes after a second man followed al-Qaeda suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in asking prosecutors in Warsaw to look into his case.

"According to the information we have, Abu Zubaydah was one of those people detained and interrogated by the CIA somewhere on the territory of Poland," Polish lawyer Bartlomiej Jankowski told journalists in the

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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Iran Suspends Fuel Delivery to Afghanistan

From Kabul --
Government officials expressed alarm on Wednesday about what they described as Iran’s unexplained ban on fuel exports to Afghanistan, asserting that at least 1,400 loaded tankers were parked on Iran’s side of three border crossings.

Abdul Karim Barahwe, the governor of Nimroz Province in western Afghanistan, said the Iranian authorities had started halting tankers bound for Afghanistan about 10 days ago. The effect is driving up fuel prices just as winter is setting in.

“We really don’t know the exact cause of the ban; Iran doesn’t officially say the cause of the ban,” he said. Now, he said, both the Interior and Commerce Ministries, as well as President Hamid Karzai’s office, “are trying to sort out this problem with Iran.”

The governor said that tankers full of fuel were backed up at the border crossings of Nimroz, Farah and Islam Qala.

There has been no word in Iran about a ban on Afghanistan-bound fuel. The restriction may reflect Iran’s own energy problems, caused in part by Western sanctions on the country over its nuclear program, as well as a sharp increase in Iranian fuel prices caused by a government phase-out of subsidies that began this month. Or it could represent an effort to retaliate against the United States for the sanctions, even though the fuel is not supposed to be supporting the American war effort.

Afghanistan is landlocked and relies heavily on fuel brought in by truck from Iran, Pakistan and the former Soviet republics.

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Halliburton settles, Cheney skates

The momentary happy days when Richard Cheney faced charges in Nigerian court are over.  Halliburton has settled (read bribed) the Nigerian anti-corruption police with a paltry thirty five million us dollars. Damn you, Dick Cheney!!!
US oil services group Halliburton agreed to pay Nigeria 35 million dollars to settle a bribery dispute which led to charges being filed against former US vice president Dick Cheney, it said Tuesday.

Nigeria had on December 7 filed an indictment against nine people and entities, including Cheney, who was head of Halliburton before becoming vice president after 2000 elections.

Under the agreement, "all lawsuits and charges against KBR (former subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root) and Halliburton corporate entities and associated persons have been withdrawn," the company said in a statement posted on its website.

Halliburton agreed to pay 32.5 million dollars to the Nigerian government, plus 2.5 million dollars in costs, the statement said.

Nigerian anti-graft officials had previously said a settlement of 250 million dollars was being sought which would include some 130 million currently frozen in Switzerland, with the rest paid in fines.

Those charged included Halliburton CEO David Lesar, former KBR head Albert "Jack" Stanley and KBR's current chief William Utt.

The case involves an alleged 182-million-dollar cash-for-contract scandal over 10 years, ending in 2005, concerning the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in southern Nigeria.

The consortium involved in the gas plant, TSKJ, was one of the nine indicted.
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Thursday, 02 December 2010

"We are filing charges against Cheney"

Now that got your notice.  And with good reason.  But these are not the charges you were looking for, those for torture, murder, illegal war, etc.
Nigeria's anti-corruption police said on Thursday they planned to file charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney in a $180 million bribery case involving a former unit of oil services firm Halliburton.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday summoned the country chief of Halliburton and last week detained 10 Nigerian and expatriate Halliburton staff for questioning after raiding its Lagos office.

"We are filing charges against Cheney," EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters, but declined to give any further details on what the charges were, or where they would be filed.

Houston-based engineering firm KBR, a former Halliburton unit, pleaded guilty last year to U.S. charges that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994 and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Niger Delta.

KBR and Halliburton, which was once headed by Cheney, reached a $579 million settlement in the United States but Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.
Nonetheless, if Nigeria, which seems to be getting rough with cheney oil interests -- why, just the other day, NIgerian authorities raided the offices of Halliburton, detained 12, and are about to question Halliburton's "country chief" -- is serious about this, and it is not entirely certain just how serious Nigeria can actually be, then this could prove interesting.  Of course, there's nary a breeze of this anywhere in the
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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Students Storm La Torre di Pisa, Colosseum

Bellisimo! Furtherance in taking the creepy little mobster down.
Click on image for a larger version
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Italian students stormed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Rome's Colosseum and blocked roads and railways Thursday in protest against university reform planned by Silvio Berlusconi's struggling government.

The measures, currently before parliament, include spending cuts and time limits on research.

Thousands of students marched in cities around Italy and occupied university buildings. One was injured during clashes with police in Florence, news agencies reported, but demonstrations were largely peaceful.

"We will block this reform," students chanted outside parliament buildings, waving smoke flares and banners.

They breached security at the Tower of Pisa, flying banners from the summit, and jumped over entrance turnstiles at the Colosseum.

The protest was the latest in a wave of demonstrations against austerity measures in Europe. In London, thousands of people rallied Wednesday against a rise in university fees.

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

"Evidence of Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11"

Yes, not exactly new news, but further confirmation of 9/11 as a known event.
“it’s absolutely unprecedented to see cases of insider trading covering the entire world from Japan to the US to North America to Europe.”

Kevin Ryan sums up the bits on all the massive equity shifts "a priori" 9/11, excoriating the 911 Commission report along the way, always as enjoyable as deserved.

Just after September 11th 2001, many governments began investigations into possible insider trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day. Such investigations were initiated by the governments of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, and others.
… in 2007, the 911 Commission released a memorandum summary of the FBI investigations on which its report was based.[2] A careful review of this memorandum indicates that some of the people who were briefly investigated by the FBI, and then acquitted without due diligence, had links to al Qaeda and to US intelligence agencies.
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Monday, 18 October 2010

"Drones Strikes Based on Scant Evidence"

Considering the air strike "success" rate, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.

From the stolid and indefatigable Gareth Porter:
New information on the Central Intelligence Agency's campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan directly contradicts the image the Barack Obama administration and the CIA have sought to establish in the news media of a programme based on highly accurate targeting that is effective in disrupting al Qaeda's terrorist plots against the United States.

A new report on civilian casualties in the war in Pakistan has revealed direct evidence that a house was targeted for a drone attack merely because it had been visited by a group of Taliban soldiers.

The report came shortly after publication of the results of a survey of opinion within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan showing overwhelming popular opposition to the drone strikes and majority support for suicide attacks on U.S. forces under some circumstances.

Meanwhile, data on targeting of the drone strikes in Pakistan indicate that they have now become primarily an adjunct of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, targeting almost entirely militant groups involved in the Afghan insurgency rather than al Qaeda officials involved in plotting global terrorism.

The new report published by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) last week offers the first glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes.

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Wednesday, 06 October 2010

AfPak Gets its War On

Pak forces up-arming the border with anti-aircraft batteries, threatening, or appearing to threaten, NATO airships penetrating sovereign airspace.  Difficult to tell if this is just for show, though it cannot be making any Muslim comfortable that the CIA are now openly drone-launching Hellfire missiles at mosques.  So, that's great.
Pakistan deploys anti-aircraft missiles on Afghan border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has strengthened its air defense with a view to preventing NATO forces from intruding into its territory from Afghanistan.

The strong US ally has installed anti-aircraft missiles in its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, well-placed sources told Arab News here on Monday.

“Now no helicopter will be able to escape after entering into Pakistani territory,” the official sources said.

Angered by repeated attacks by NATO helicopters on militant targets within its borders, Pakistan blocked one of the supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan after a strike killed three Pakistani soldiers in the western Kurram region.

Analysts and Western officials said Pakistan’s closure of the border for a few days would not seriously impact the war effort in Afghanistan, but it would create political tension that Pakistan could exploit.

And, upping the ante considerably in the gwot v gwai debate, which, for all intents and purposes appear as one and the same, the CIA are now attacking mosques.

two missiles from a suspected CIA drone struck a mosque in Mirali in North Waziristan, about 20 km east of the main town of Miranshah, intelligence officials said. Three people were killed.
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Sunday, 26 September 2010

FOIA State Department Documents Confirm "Pipelines and Imperial Missions"

One imagines a reprise to be in order:
U.S. government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and recently posted on the website of the George Washington University National Security Archive shed some additional light on talks with the Taliban prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including with regard to the repeated Taliban offers to hand over Osama bin Laden, and the role of Pakistan before and after the attacks.

One of the recently released State Department documents, from March 2000, notes that a proposed “gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan figured prominently in discussions” about the mutual goal between the U.S. and regional players of stabilizing Afghanistan. Discussions on another proposed pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan had also been proposed that were “more advanced”, and the Pakistanis had gone to Tehran to meet with Iranian officials “to pursue these negotiations”.

In furtherance of these more advanced discussions, documents reveal something known for sometime, but confirmation is always nice.

Rejecting the Taliban offers to have bin Laden handed over, the U.S. instead pursued a policy of regime change well prior to the 9/11 attacks. Jane’s Information Group reported in March 2001 that “India is believed to have joined Russia, the USA and Iran in a concerted front against Afghanistan’s Taliban regime”, which included support for Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, including “information and logistic support” from Washington.[8] Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik told the BBC that he had been told by senior U.
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Thursday, 23 September 2010

FARC leader Bricano killed by Colombian Military

Bombs or bullets?  They're not sure.
BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia's military killed the field marshal and No. 2 leader of the country's main leftist rebel group in bombing raids and combat at a major guerrilla encampment at the edge of the country's eastern plains, authorities announced Thursday.

The death of Jorge Briceno, 57, is a huge setback for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been reeling from a decade of pressure by the U.S.-backed military.

It was not immediately clear whether Briceno was killed by bombs or bullets.

[More …]

Wow, FARC has "field marshals"?  How very un-rebel of them.

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Monday, 13 September 2010

Pump up the Saudi arms volume

Back when the "Saudi arms deal" tickled $20 billion, thoughtful folks gave pause.  Rightly so. That was under Bush. Now, in the midst of an again faltering "economy," Obama has pushed the deal to$60 billion with nary a peep. Given the obvious economic distress the United States is currently suffering, even the Israelis are making no fuss.
The Obama administration is set to notify Congress of plans to offer advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to $60 billion, the largest U.S. arms deal ever, and is in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.

The administration plans to tout the $60 billion package as a major job creator—supporting at least 75,000 jobs, according to company estimates—and sees the sale of advanced fighter jets and military helicopters to key Middle Eastern ally Riyadh as part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran.
Iran, shmearan. The weapons industry in now one of the sole job growth industries in the US. Certainly, it is the major "good jobs" growth industry.

This is now what America has become: a blunt instrument, and the maker and seller of  blunt instruments. A weapons mill for the world.

It is a weapons mill society consisting of, presumably, "farmers", possibly just Cargill and Monsanto, who grow "food" of some sort, while those not fighting wars in foreign lands are busy in the homeland, making weapons for all those war fighters in parts of the world in which, oddly enough, the United States finds itself continually fighting, and making weapons to sell to those very
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Sunday, 12 September 2010

"The Collapse of American Liberalism"

The liberal class, to retain its positions of comfort and privilege, has essentially abandoned any serious defense of traditional liberal values.

When you, within a society, have a bankrupt liberalism … you descend inevitably into a period of moral nihilism. You remove that capacity for change, that mechanism by which change is possible.  And so this … legitimate rage, which is being expressed by huge numbers of the dispossessed within the United States, has no outlet through traditional political mechanisms, and finds expression in these proto-fascist movements… .
-- Chris Hedges
Collapse of American Liberalism
How shockfronty of Chris to put the seething political situation in the US thusly.


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