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"economics" ... more from RT. (It will be interesting when the increasingly visible authoritarian nature of various western nations apply the sort of censorships Cameron just indicated is enforced. Where will people interested in the truth go for information that aids in having a better understanding of world events? how will access to that information be controlled? Interesting times indeed.)

Ecuador’s Correa in Moscow amid reheated NSA debate
Published time: October 29, 2013 11:23
[Ecuador's President Rafael Correa takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on October 29, 2013 (AFP Photo / Alexander Nemenov)]
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The president of Ecuador, one of the most vocal critics of the US’s spying methods is in Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin. The visit comes as a fresh portion of NSA revelations compels the US to face a new wave of international pressure.

Rafael Correa, who is due to meet President Putin later in the day, has already addressed the issue of NSA surveillance in his interview with RT’s Spanish channel, Actualidad.

At first they said it was necessary for fighting against terrorism. I don’t know if Angela Merkel is a terrorist. I think it is clear they used surveillance programs for economic reasons, for helping their transnational companies,” he said, referring to the latest leaks, according to which the NSA had an ear to the phones of 35 world leaders, including the German chancellor.

Ecuador’s president also said the NSA scandal revealed double standards in global politics, as Correa believes any other country would have been put on international trial for such large-scale spying.

But in this case nothing is going to happen, because international justice, as in the Chevron case, still does not work. And until now justice works only for the convenience of the stronger. In this case the stronger is the USA,” Correa said.

Upon his arrival in Moscow, the president stated he was in Russia to boost the friendly relations the two countries have been enjoying for 70 years. This friendship gained a new momentum this year when the two countries would not yield to US pressure over the issue of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor. Having leaked loads of sensitive documents to the media, Snowden applied for asylum in dozens of countries to be welcomed by only a few, Russia and Ecuador among them.

In June last year Ecuador already granted asylum to another whistleblower, wanted in the US, Julian Assange. Correa believes that European countries could actually help to end his confinement at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

It’s now totally up to Britain, Sweden and Europe to resolve the situation. Britain is quite capable of granting a safe passage from the country to Assange, just the way it should do,” he said.

It is expected the name of Snowden, who currently lives in Russia, to be inevitably mentioned during the meeting between Putin and Correa, as well as the general issue of NSA surveillance.

Latin American leaders have from the very start refrained from concealing their irritation over US surveillance practices and were much more vocal in their condemnation than their European counterparts.

The fact that Ecuador’s economy largely depends on exports to the US did not prevent Rafael Correa from being openly critical of Washington’s tactics. His leftist government declared it would not change its mind about offering Snowden asylum even if it was threatened with sanctions.

In July the visit to Russia of another Latin American leader, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia resulted in a major international scandal, when his plane was denied airspace and forced to stay for twelve hours in Vienna. Correa then reacted with quite explosive remarks, urging other South American leaders to “take action.” Through his Twitter account the president said the situation was a test for all the Latin American states to see if they had “graduated from the colonies.”

[An image grab taken on October 12, 2013 shows US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow on October 9, 2013 (AFP Photo / Wikileaks)]

Correa further built on his reputation as Latin America’s major anti-US voice in early October, when he compared US President Barack Obama’s speech on “America’s exceptionalism” with the rhetoric of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Correa’s visit to Russia comes at a time when the US is feeling growing pressure from European leadership, citing “lack of trust” in America over fresh NSA revelations. The level of NSA-tapped phone calls appears to amount to around 60 million a month in Spain, 46 million in Italy and 70 million in France.

US surveillance, though, is only one item in the far-reaching agenda of Putin and Correa’s meeting. Mutual trade, which reached a record breaking $1.3 billion in 2012, is going to be a major topic.

The two countries have several energy sector projects to discuss, such as Ecuador’s proposal to Russia’s giant Gazprom to create an alliance with the Ecuadorian Petroamazonas. The Latin American country wants to develop its own natural gas reserves instead of buying liquid gas from abroad, as it is doing now.

Ecuador is reportedly gathering evidence and information about its domestic hydrocarbons potential, which it will eventually hand over to Gazprom International for further evaluation.

Currently, Russian companies are already taking part in another energy project - the construction of the Toachi-Pilaton hydroelectric plant, at a cost of over $ 1 billion.

The two countries might also cooperate in diversifying their economies from dependence on raw materials. Correa, who on Monday visited St. Petersburg, called on the city’s scientists to visit Ecuador and participate in the creation of a science city, specializing in bio- and nanotechnologies, information systems and the textile industry. The Ecuadorian President is also expected to visit Russia’s IT hub in Skolkovo, while in Moscow.

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john daugela 29.10.2013 11:50

my first comment from massachusetts/usa... reacting with dsgust to NSA obviously blocking me out of a popular site where people express thoughts in a democratic forum...the problem?....i dared to focus on generals alexander and clapper lying to a congressional committee re NSA activities and not being fired or jailed..yet edward snowden lives in exile for telling the truth

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Der Spiegel

Quantum Spying: GCHQ Targeted Engineers with Fake LinkedIn Pages

Elite GCHQ teams targeted employees of mobile communications companies and billing companies to gain access to their company networks. The spies used fake copies of LinkedIn profiles as one of their tools. By SPIEGEL Staff more... [ Comment ]

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post #1

Are people from the United States allowed to talk about the Kurdish question, the NSA, US Russia relations?

this one led to this one (which in turn reminded me of '63 bildeberg meeting)...

Syrian conflict: Kurds becoming an increasing factor in the region 5 Published time: December 14 ..aand ...What's Left

November 25, 2002

War, NATO expansion and the other rackets of Bruce P. Jackson

By Stephen Gowans

Unless you're in the business of getting filthy rich by manufacturing hi-tech weapons, you've probably never heard of Bruce P. Jackson. But Jackson is a household name in some circles.

When the Republican Party needed a chair for its Foreign Policy Subcommittee during the last presidential campaign, it looked to Jackson. Jackson's committee recommended more defense spending.

And Jackson is one of the founders of the US Committee on NATO, an outfit formed in 1996 to promote the expansion of the North Atlantic alliance. Every time a new Eastern or Central European country is admitted to the US-led club, the US defense industry--which ends up being the supplier of equipment new NATO countries must purchase to ensure their militaries are "inter-operable" with the US air force, army, navy and marines--gets richer.

"The Project on Transitional Democracies is a multiyear project aimed at accelerating the pace of reform in Europe's post-1989 democracies and advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic." Who's the president and founder? Bruce P. Jackson. What are the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic? The principal institution is NATO. And what exactly is meant by "advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into" the Euro-Atlantic institutions? What it means is advancing the date the US arms industry can expect purchase orders to start rolling in from the newly integrated (that is, NATO-ized) "transitional" democracies.

You'd think between his work overseeing the US Committee on NATO and the Project on Transitional Democracies that Bruce P. Jackson would have little time for anything else. But it turns out that Jackson is indefatigable; he's also on the Board of Directors of the Project for the New American Century, a Bush cabinet-connected group that advocates a global US empire based on an indomitable US military; which means, of course, more military spending.

And if that's not enough, Jackson is also the chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), a group which aims to persuade the American people of the necessity of "liberating" the world's second largest source of oil, which is to say pressing into service all those expensive warplanes and missiles the US defense industry produces for the Pentagon. This is to be done in the name of ousting Saddam Hussein, a "monster," with the unfortunate (though apparently necessary) side-effect of ushering what could be as many as 500,000 Iraqis into early graves. But what's hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives against "liberating" Iraq, and a bonanza of new purchase orders for the US defense industry, to say nothing of US oil companies controlling Iraq's oil?

One of the main beneficiaries of war on Iraq could be Lockheed Martin, which supplies the Pentagon with many of the weapons systems that will be used, and will need to be reordered, if, and when, Bruce P. Jackson gets his wish and Washington orders an attack (as it seems it surely will.) Lockheed Martin is (to quote from its website) "a customer focused, global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products, and services for government and commercial customers," which is to say it's the world's largest manufacturer of stuff to slaughter people on a massive scale, and until recently it was also the employer of one Bruce P. Jackson. According to the CLI website "between 1993 and 2002, Mr. Jackson was Vice President for Strategy and Planning at Lockheed Martin Corporation," which means that while Jackson was founding the US Committee for NATO and the Project for Transitional Democracies; while he was serving on the board of the Project for the New American Century; and while he was chairing the Republican Party subcommittee on foreign policy--all of which advocated more defense spending--Bruce P. Jackson was also working for a company that stood to gain the most from stepped up spending on weapons.

To say this is a racket is to say more than needs to be said, but it's a racket that operates on many levels, some of which aren't as obvious as others. Take, for example, NATO's expansion. That the alliance has no raison d'être and hasn't for a decade is plain. Once the Warsaw Pact collapsed, NATO should have been out of business. But NATO's enlargement presents a number of attractive possibilities to Washington, which have nothing whatever to do with the painfully obvious nonsense about the alliance being necessary to fight terrorism (or whatever poor excuse US presidents trot out from time to time to justify the organization.) Accordingly, NATO has not only survived, it's flourishing, much like a buggy whip manufacturer paradoxically flourishing after the invention of the automobile.

An expanding NATO allows Washington to strengthen its influence over a number of weak Eastern and Central European states. It also allows Washington to establish a military presence that rings a potential adversary, Russia. The idea that Russia could become a NATO member--broached every once in a while and then quickly dismissed without explanation--points to hemming in the only country (other than China) able to challenge the US as being a principal, though tacit, NATO objective. "If you make the case for Russia in NATO," observed Alexander Haig, once supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe and later Reagan's Secretary of State, "then there would be no reason for NATO. You would have to rechristen it and change its overall objective" (UPI, January 7, 2002.) So, in other words, NATO expansion is a scam -- it has nothing whatever to do with what it's said to have to do with.

What's more, since the goals of expanding US influence in Europe, and encircling Russia, could be achieved without Washington also demanding that new NATO members (most of which are poor) bump up military spending, it's doubly a scam; it's a business generating program for US weapons manufacturers, though at the same time something a Vice President for Strategy and Planning at Lockheed Martin Corporation might find close to his heart.

Another scam is the idea that the US is promoting democracy in the former Communist countries it invites into its exclusive "buy Lockheed Martin" club. What Washington is really promoting is multiparty elections, in which what's variously called "pro-democracy," "pro-reform," or "Western-friendly" parties and coalitions are bankrolled by various State Department-connected NGOs and are therefore able to dominate elections by virtue of superior US-provided organization and funding. The targets of this US largesse, not surprisingly, then undertake "reforms," which see publicly owned enterprises sold to Western, and usually American, investors, and, the inevitable integration into NATO, with its purchase orders for Lockheed Martin and other US defense contractors. The NGOs that shower attention and money on these pro-Western parties claim to be in the business of promoting democracy and reform, but what they're really promoting is Quisling parties, whose pro-democracy orientations amount to nothing more than being pro-Lockheed Martin. Where the Quisling parties fail, as in Belarus, the victors, refusing to open their treasuries to be plundered by Mr. Jackson's former employer, are denounced as "nationalists," "dictators," "strongmen," and are accused of having risen to power through electoral fraud. A program of US-engineered destabilization soon follows, to culminate eventually in a coup which brings "reformist" forces to power, along with new orders for Lockheed Martin. The scam is that it's not democracy that's being promoted, but the interests of US weapons manufacturers and other American firms.

The war on terrorism, insofar as it's prosecuted by military means, is also a racket, for how can F-16s, cruises missiles, and tanks stamp out terrorism? Even the Pentagon acknowledges that no country can take on the US militarily, and therefore adversaries will pursue "asymmetrical" means to attack the US (assuming any country is dumb enough to do so), which is to say, methods which cannot be met and defeated by a conventional military response. But if they can't be met by conventional military means, why--other than to generate new purchase orders for the defense industry--are conventional military means used?

The Pentagon flexed its mighty, Lockheed Martin supplied muscles, in Afghanistan, and to what avail? Those alleged to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks were neither captured nor killed, and have now, we're told, regrouped, and are in the process of plotting future attacks. So, if the war on terrorism is genuine, it's being lost, and for reasons that shouldn't be too surprising. The US military, built for war against other militaries, or simply for bombing countries into submission, is being used against non-military (or asymmetrical) forces; that is, those it's not competent to deal with.

The alternative is that the stories about bin Laden are a scam, aimed at justifying an endless war to provide a cover to expand US hegemony through military means, as well as to furnish an endless stream of purchase orders for Bruce P. Jackson's former employer. This view is not without its supporting points. In the first place, we know very little about who plotted and carried out the 9/11 attacks, apart from what Washington has said, and Washington has said precious little, other than bin Laden and his al-Qaeda associates are responsible. How Washington knows this is unclear, since it refuses to disclose its evidence, and anyone who asks for it is immediately branded a conspiracy theorist. That Washington could be paltering with the truth is more than a possibility; already, Bush and his cabinet have been caught lying boldly on Iraq (about reports that don't exist and unmanned aircraft that pose no threat), and Washington's penchant for falsehood in matters of war is infamous. Secondly, the campaign of bombing Afghanistan achieved none of its stated goals (capturing bin Laden and Mullah Omar and disrupting al-Qaeda) but has brought Washington a whole lot closer to achieving some of the cherished goals set out in Bruce P. Jackson's Project for a New American Century, including a robust American military presence in--and therefore, effective control of--Central Asia. In other words, Washington has achieved militarily what it can achieve militarily (conquest) and has failed to achieve militarily what it knows it can't achieve militarily (wiping out al-Qaeda). Conveniently, with the latter goal beyond reach, the pretext for achieving the reachable goals of conquest remains indefinitely.

Unless you think democracy is equivalent to fattening the bottom lines of US defense contractors and Western multinationals, then NATO expansion and promoting "democracy" in Eastern and Central Europe are rackets; unless you believe boosting the profits of US oil companies and Lockheed Martin is synonymous with liberating a country from a tyrant and rooting out terrorist infrastructure, then the impending war on Baghdad, and the ongoing war on terrorism, are also rackets; and Bruce P. Jackson, former Vice-President for Strategy and Planning at Lockheed Martin Corporation, is one of the principal racketeers. It's more than regrettable that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and numberless others who will eventually be caught in the war on terrorism, will die, and that countless people in former Communist countries will be poorer, so that Bruce P. Jackson and his fellow racketeers, and the shareholders of Lockheed Martin, can enjoy the fruits of booming weapons sales.


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What's Left there are also related issues that helps me understand the new Sweden, which is vastly different from the one I knew. I'm trying to make sense of the role sweden has choosen to play in various events since the death of Palme. Something more poignant these days with the death of Mandela and the broader recognition of the role Cuba played in the defeat of Apartheid South Africa, === I maintain that the Kurdish issue is pivotal as an indicator of the character of adversaries in the region.
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On the other hand, DSK had been alerted in advance that his political opponents back in France –the UMP Party– somehow had managed to gain access to his personal communications and, more amazingly, “he had already been warned by a friend in the French diplomatic corps that an effort would be made to embarrass him with a scandal(Epstein, 2011). It is telling that DSK had previously anticipated that he would be the target of a conspiracy masterminded by political enemies and engineered to topple him through accusations of an alleged rape (Allen, 2011).


“Honey Traps” and the Strauss-Kahn Affair: A Stealthy Coup d’état at the IMF?


Edited by Steven Gaal
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Syrian Kurds are insisting on having their own delegation at next month's peace talks in Geneva. The Kurds say their demands must be heard, as they differ from the government’s and the opposition’s.

Driven by a strong fighting spirit and an urge for sovereignty, the Kurdish influence in the Middle East has been growing little by little. It’s in Syria where the Kurds face their toughest fight for independence, though.

Kurds are caught up in the middle of a bloody civil war. Their territories are being claimed by Al-Qaeda, their villages raided and their people killed.

According to unconfirmed reports that emerged earlier this year, some 450 Kurds, including 120 children, were allegedly slaughtered by al-Qaeda-linked rebels fighting against the Syrian government. Iranian TV channel Al-Alam reported in early August that militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Front attacked the town of Tal Abyad, killing over a hundred children, 330 women and elderly near the Turkish border. A Kurdish journalist, Barzan Iso, told RT that al-Qaeda started attacking Kurdish villages in late July, and that a number of Kurds had been kidnapped afterwards.

Eleven civilians were killed when a Syrian warplane bombed a Kurdish village in the oil-producing province of Hasaka in northeastern Syria in April. According to Kurdish activists, the raid also killed mostly women and children.

Residents of the Kurdish village of Basufane, some 45 kilometers from Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, told RT that the ongoing war only makes them tougher fighters, however.

In Syria, Kurds they make up about one-tenth of the population, having suffered repression for decades.

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( Even former pro Israeli insider gets close to grim truth,See the photo below,these people had lives-homes-high hopes. They now live in the reality created Burce P. Jackson and his backers. SEE POST #18 above) , Gaal)


Beyond Syria: Collateral Damage and New Alliances

By Wayne White (Source: LobeLog)

Photo: Under a striking, overcast sky, a long line of women wait to register with the UNHCR in the Lebanese town of Arsal on Nov. 13.

The reverberations of the desperate war inside Syria have increasingly radiated outward. In addition to the massive Syrian refugee exodus, Lebanon and Iraq in particular have been impacted adversely by heightened instability and violence. Yet actions associated with both have only increased their vulnerability. By contrast, the Turks and Iraq's northern Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have boldly ramped up their mutual cooperation, in part to form a common front to counter an unwelcome rival Kurdish alliance taking shape inside Syria.

Despite rising violence in Lebanon, so far Iraq has been the most heavily affected overall of Syria's neighbors. In addition to the almost daily backdrop of horrific bombings and attacks by gunmen on Shi'a and government-related targets (like those of Dec. 16 killing 65), there has been a surge in execution-style killings and beheadings, with bodies dumped in various locales (characteristic of the dark days of the 2006-2008 sectarian violence). Recently, Iranian workers on a gas pipeline in north central Iraq were also the objects of a massacre. Al-Qaeda associated elements have been the prime culprits, but Shi'a militias have become more active as well.

With more than 8,000 Iraqis already dead this year from extremist violence, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned earlier this month of more danger from a jihadist "Islamic emirate" that could take hold in much of Syria. Yet, the Baghdad government's own marginalization and persecution of Iraq's Sunni Arab community under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been the leading cause for the powerful revival of Sunni Arab extremism in Iraq and its close linkage to the parallel phenomenon in Syria.

Meanwhile, hardline Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri (who has inspired Shi'a militias in Iraq for years) issued a fatwa on Dec. 15 pronouncing "fighting in Syria legitimate" and declaring those who die there "martyrs." This fatwa probably will send many more Iraqi Shi'a into Syria to join over a thousand already believed to be fighting for the regime. But it also could intensify seething sectarian tensions within Iraq.

Other notable developments affecting Iraq, however, involve its northern Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). KRG President Masoud Barzani made his first visit to Turkey in any capacity since 1992 in mid-November. The obvious aim was to support Turkish President Erdogan's peace efforts focused on the extremist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as well as to help Ergodan secure more Kurdish favor in Turkey's March 2014 municipal elections.

Such high-profile assistance from Iraq's Kurds would seem odd but for two other pressing matters. First, both Turkey and the KRG were alarmed by the declaration before Barzani's visit by Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria of an interim administration for an autonomous Kurdish region there. Although repressed in the pre-civil war era, these militias are believed to have made their move with the approval of the Syrian government, and to have received aid from Assad's allies, Iran and the Maliki government (relationships both Erdogan and Barzani oppose). Moreover, the Iraqi Kurds and the Turks fear the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), with links to the radical PKK, is behind the recent unity move.

For Damascus, any such agreement probably represents a cynical wartime concession of iffy standing simply to harness the bulk of Syria's 2 million Kurds against anti-regime Sunni Arab rebels. Support from the regime probably also made possible the only UN airlift of winter relief supplies for any area outside government control into this predominantly Kurdish region. The only other airlifts to rebel areas associated with the Syrian regime have involved bombs.

Syrian Kurdish militias have been battling various rebels for over a year. On Dec. 13, cadres of the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reportedly seized 120 Syrian Kurdish hostages near the Turkish border north of Aleppo, the latest of a number of such kidnappings. There has also been heavy skirmishing between the ISIL and extremist al-Nusra Front rebels and Syrian Kurdish militias along the edges of the Kurdish-controlled zone.

The second key driver in Barzani's and Erdogan's warming ties is oil. For years, Maliki's government has been at odds with Barzani's KRG over the KRG's efforts to award its own contracts for large-scale oil and gas exports. KRG patience may have run out. In late November, Turkey and the KRG apparently came close to finalizing a comprehensive oil and gas deal - the latest move in Ankara's cooperation with the KRG that has angered Baghdad.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz assured Iraqi officials on Dec. 1 that "any exports must be with the approval of the Iraqi government." But with Iraq still balking over fears of greater KRG autonomy, the Turks and the KRG are keeping the pressure up; on Dec. 13, test flows of limited amounts of KRG crude were sent through a new pipeline already completed to carry Iraqi Kurdish exports Turkey sorely needs to diversify its energy dependence and secure oil and gas at a likely discount.

Lebanon has been paying ever more dearly for the ongoing sectarian violence just across its lengthy Syrian border and Hezbollah's military intervention in Syria. Indeed, given Lebanon's own complex sectarian mosaic, overspill was inevitable, with an ongoing litany of clashes, killings, threats, and squaring off otherwise among Sunni, Alawite and Shi'a communities radiating out from the border.

Tensions and sectarian violence, however, also have been rising in core areas of Lebanon. In the northern city of Tripoli, with a majority Sunni Arab community, a Lebanese soldier died and 7 others were wounded in a Dec. 5 clash with extremists sympathetic to the Syrian rebels. More than 100 have died in Tripoli so far this year in gun battles and a bombing pitting Sunni militants against the army, the police, Tripoli's minority Alawite community, or Lebanese Shi'a elements. As a result, Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, recently turned security there over to the army for 6 months.

Probably most damaging for Lebanon has been Hezbollah's intervention in Syria, sending thousands of seasoned fighters to reinforce those of the Assad regime. Hundreds of its combatants have been killed in action, and heavily Shi'a-populated areas of Beirut in particular (home to many Hezbollah fighters) have not simply remained a quiet "home front" away from Hezbollah's war across the border.

Bombings like the one against the Iranian Embassy in Beirut and nearby buildings on Nov. 19, which killed two dozen, have hammered Shi'a neighborhoods. On Dec. 4, a Hezbollah commander back from the Syrian front, Hassan al-Liqqis, was gunned down in front of his residence. Hezbollah blamed the Israelis, but it is more likely he was another victim of rising home-grown violence. Today, Hezbollah claims it thwarted an attempted car bombing believed to have been aimed at one of its bases in the largely Hezbollah-controlled Bekaa Valley 20 miles east of Beirut.

Many assumed through the 1st year of the Syrian conflict that refugees would comprise the main burden faced by Syria's neighbors, but the savagery and destruction wrought by the Syrian regime especially magnified even that challenge far beyond early worse-case scenarios. The virtual explosion of the rebel al-Qaeda factor, Hezbollah's robust intervention, and the anti-rebel stance taken - or forced upon - most of Syria's Kurds was not foreseen. All this further complicates ongoing efforts to find some path out of the Hellish Syrian maelstrom, be they Western efforts to oust Assad & Co. or the recently revived international efforts to bring the parties together for talks in Geneva. All things considered, the prospects for an effective way forward out of this crisis remain grim.

About the Author: Wayne White is a former Deputy Director of the State Department's Middle East/South Asia Intelligence Office (INR/NESA). Earlier in the Foreign Service and later in the INR he served in Niger, Israel, Egypt, the Sinai and Iraq as an intelligence briefer to senior officials of many Middle East countries and as the State Department's representative to NATO Middle East Working Groups in Brussels. Now a Scholar with the Middle East Institute, Mr. White has written numerous articles, been cited in scores of publications, and made numerous TV and radio appearances.

... Payvand News - 12/18/13 ... --

Edited by Steven Gaal
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as stated previously the Kurds are a litmus test regarding how groupings deal with them.


more economics:

“There is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying,” said Snowden, from a teaser aired late on Saturday.
If an industrial giant like Siemens has something that the NSA believes “would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it,” the whistleblower said, giving an example.


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Kurds create their own transition government in northern Syria
Damascus - Just a day before the Geneva 2 talks began, the Kurds in Syria declared a provincial government in the northeast area of Syria that they control.
The Syrian Kurds wanted to attend Geneva 2 as a separate delegation from the Syrian National Coalition. They claimed that their demands differ from both those of the Assad government and the opposition that seeks regime change and an end to Assad's rule. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) that is the dominant Kurdish party in Syria said that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United States obstructed their request and hence they were not invited. The People's Defence Unit (YPG) the main fighting force in Kurdish-controlled areas is linked to the PYD.
A municipal council will govern an area that includes the cities of Hassaka and Qamishli and will have its own president, ministers of foreign affairs, defense, justice and education, as reported by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. Elections are to be held in four months time. According to a report in Russia Today: " The announcement came following a meeting of the Legislative Assembly of the Democratic Autonomous Government of Western Kurdistan, “attended by all members of the Assembly which is made up of 52 parties, civil society organizations, youth and women’s movements and 15 independent individuals,” Firat news agency reported. "
The Kurdish drive for more autonomy worries Turkey as Kurds in Turkey have long demanded autonomy as well. The Syrian Kurds are not on good terms with other rebel groups, particularly Islamist fighters who tried to take control of territory held by Kurds last year. The Kurds have been for the most part not been attacked by Assad forces while they concentrated on other rebel groups. As a result some accuse the Kurds of being allied with the Assad regime.
There are splits within the Kurds with the PYD being aligned with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) that has a history of violent struggles with the Turkish government that has killed thousands over three decades. Some other Kurdish parties have agreed to attend the talks as part of the western-backed Syrian coalition. Neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan has strained relations with the YPG-ruled Syria: The YPG has stopped rival groups from entering the Kurdish enclave. Syrian Kurds suspect Barzani, the leader of the Iraqi Kurds, of wanting to extend his control into their territory. Publicly, Barzani has said only that he wants to keep the Kurds united.
For its part the Turkish PKK has been quite critical of the opposition which opposed the presence of the YPG claiming that the opposition was no better than the Assad regime in that both would marginalize Syria's Kurdish minority. A statement from the group said:
“At a time when all sides are being invited to the conference, the Kurds’ demand for participation has been overlooked, Their [the Syrian opposition’s] attitude is no different from that of the Baath regime. They don’t take seriously the demands of the Kurdish people, just like Turkey's attitude.”
More details of Kurdish attempts to build an autonomous area in Syria can be found in this Reuters article. The city of Qamishli is jointly controlled by Kurds and Assad forces. The latter control a nearby military base, and the airport and even some of the city center. You can still fly to the city from Damascus. Most of the city is controlled by a Kurdish police force:
For now, the two sides seem to co-exist. Fighters pass each other like ghosts. At a square in the heart of the city, Syrian soldiers on trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns drove through a crowd of school children crossing the street, just as a Kurdish patrol drove past on the other side of the square. In this part of Syria there is already a ceasefire between the two sides that has been agreed to some time before Geneva 2. The Syrian Kurds had declared an autonomous government earlier last November.
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"What does Dalyight Saving have to do with the price of eggs in China?"

MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The United Russia faction at the State Duma has approved in the first reading a bill on re-introduction of the so-called “winter time.” The parliamentary hearing of the bill is due on June 10, the State Duma’s first deputy head of the industry committee, Vladimir Gutenev, told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

“The issue of re-introducing the ‘winter time’ may be settled this autumn already,” he said.

Over past 100 years, Russia’s timekeeping system changed seven times.

Before the revolution of 1917, Russia’s timekeeping was based on the Sun/local time. For the first time the “summer” time (one hour ahead of local time) was introduced by a decree of the Provisional Government of July 1, 1917. However, after the October Revolution, Lenin’s government moved the clock hands one hour backwards. In the 1930s, the clock hands were moved one hour forward once again. Then a break followed in the experiments with moving time, and the “summer time” (DST) was introduced only in 1981. Following that, clock hands were moved in 1991 and 1992. Those changes have caused many claims*. Doctors have even revealed a new disease - de-synchronisation (disruption of normal life). In February 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev announced from 2011 the country would be using the “winter time.”

Right now, Russia is the only country in the world, which uses the “summer time” the year round.

*what is my claim? (It concerns the reason for change.)

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Edited by John Dolva
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'Iraqi Kurds close to declaring independence'
Jerusalem Post‎ - 21 hours ago
Ofra Bengio, editor of the forthcoming book Kurdish Awakening: ... Barzani would prefer “to sell out Syrian Kurds to al-Qaida rather than allow ...
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