Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Truth Behind The Iraq Invasion And A Possible US Conflict With Iran

It is now openly obvious why the US (and its 'coalition of the willing') invaded Iraq (without UN backing) in 2003 under the banner ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. It wasn't for the reasons the Bush administration maintained at the time (suspected WMD, a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, etc. etc.) but to do with the petrodollar. Many people suspected that oil was the underlying reason but few were aware of the more important need to maintain the 'petrodollar recycling' system.

Petrodollar recycling was introduced by the US in the early 70's, when Middle Eastern countries were beginning to produce oil of their own under the OPEC group of nations. Previously, most of the worlds oil was supplied by the US and all trading in this market was carried out using US dollars. When OPEC came into competition with the US oil giants, the Americans struck a deal with their Middle Eastern counterparts in which they would supply Saudi Arabia, etc. with arms as long as OPEC traded their oil in dollars. This meant that if a country wanted oil, for example Japan, they had to sell to the US their home-produced products (Toyota cars for example) in order to raise the necessary dollars to buy their oil from an OPEC country. These dollars were then invested back into the US by, for example, Saudi Arabia and this left the US in a great position. As long as they could print enough dollars to meet demand they would continue to dominate the worlds oil markets and would (and did) make a fortune doing so. This is what ultimately has made the US into the worlds only superpower, with the ability to afford the necessary military might to match.

Thirty years later, at the turn of the millenium, this cosy arrangement came under threat. Saddam Hussein announced his intention to begin trading oil in the other world currency - Euros - and began doing so before the US invasion in 2003. This gave the US serious concerns. With a massive dept of trillions of dollars (made worse by the habit of the average US citizen to spend far more than they saved, using credit to do so) the US could not afford to stand by and watch the petrodollar recycling system be undermined. The risk to the country's status as sole superpower was massive and with the debt the prospect of US economic collapse was very much a reality.

When elected into office, George Bush had as priority #1 to sort out this petrodollar threat by gaining control of Iraq and in 2003 he invaded. One of the first post-war actions was to revert the country's oil trading currency back to the US dollar, even though this meant that approximately 13% of Iraqs trading value was instantly lost (because the Euro was worth more than the dollar at the time). The invasion was also to serve as an example to neighbouring oil producers not to go down the same 'petroeuro' route.

Unfortunately, Iran has plans to begin trading its oil in Euros and Saudi Arabia is giving serious consideration to the idea. Should this happen the US is likely to economically implode, with its massive military very quickly becoming an unaffordable asset. America would become little more than just another country and its global influence would be consigned to the history books, something that is regarded as unthinkable by the corporate elite.

So the US looks increasingly likely to carry out an attack on Iran, probably involving tactical 'battlefield' nuclear weapons (in an attempt to destroy underground installations there). It is not because the Iranians are close to producing their own nuclear arsenal (the Washington Post reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran’s nuclear program revealed that, “Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years.” (see source) but rather to keep the petrodollar on track.

Wargame simulations carried out by the US resulted in the following conclusion being reached by Sam Gardiner, the retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades: “After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work.” The problem is, as was highlighted in the Iraq invasion and post-war years, that the neo-cons in the Bush administration are prone to acting illogically and against advice provided by people who know far better than themselves. Internationally-respected reporter Seymour Hearsh wrote the following in The New Yorker one year ago:

In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’ the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned – not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there."

However, a disturbing article by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi who, in an article entitled “In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran,”, said:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing – that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack – but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Should the US decide to carry out such an attack on Iran, China would undoubtedly become involved, since its massive economic expansion is heavily reliant on oil from the region. With Iran planning on introducing its Euro-based trading system in March this year (coinciding with Israel accelerating its US-backed strike plan - see source) events are likely to come to a head very soon. The US is leading us down a road to potential global conflict in order to protect its dominance in the world oil markets and is seemingly likely to bring about the pre-conditions to justify an attack regardless of the consequences. Hopefully there will be no 'coalition of the willing' giving Bush and Cheney some kind of international credibility and this may help to deter them from following their plans through, but we're surely in for a bumpy year, one in which the spectre of the US administration and its shadowy backers showing its true colours is quite horrifying.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Green Glow-in-the-Dark Pigs Successfully Bred by Scientists

Green glowing pigs have been successfully bred by scientists in Taiwan by adding the genetic material from jellyfish into a standard embryo. They hope that the experiment will help with research into stem cells and human diseases.

The theory is that when, for example, stem cells are taken from the pigs and used in another animal the green glow will remain with the original cells, making their progress easier to track.

The pigs are green throughout, including internal organs, unlike previously modified versions which were only effected on the surface. In the daytime they display a greenish tinge but in the dark they glow brightly when subjected to blue light.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dutch Company Selling Nazi Helmets to World Cup Fans

A company in the Netherlands has upset the countries football authority because it is offering orange Nazi-style helmets to Dutch fans for this years soccer World Cup, being held in Germany.

The firm, Free Time Products, has defended its product by saying "During the World Cup the playing field is different. We ought to be able to poke a bit of fun at our arch-rivals the Germans."

Supporters are referred to as "infantry" and, when in groups, as "battalions" by the company website which is promoting the helmet. The Dutch authority, the KNVB, say "They claim not to want to emphasise the war, but are achieving the very opposite."


a Dutch fan wonders whether to buff his helmet just one more time.....

Israeli Attack on Iran Possible in March

The Glasgow Herald has issued a report in which it says Israel has rehearsed its plans to attack Iran and may well do so as early as March. The aim of such a strike would be to put back Irans nuclear developments by 2 years or more.

A primary target would be the enrichment plant at Natanz which this week broke the seals put on the facility in 2004. According to the report, Iranian defectors say as many as 5,000 centrifuges are ready for installation at Natanz.

The report also describes how Israels elite 69 Squadron has prepared for attacks using F-15E bombers and cruise missiles. The country fears that if uranium enrichment is allowed to continue Iran will have useable nuclear weapons by 2007.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Iraq: 3 Years On And The Reasons For War Are Still Weak

In 2003 Terry Jones wrote the following article for The Guardian which is as true today as it was then:

"I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I!

For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.

As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one.

Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want!

And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us.

That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way.

Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq.

Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it? How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.

Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims?

It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out.

My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come.

It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

How To Beat Government Internet Censorship

Many people in the world, particularly those living in China and certain parts of the Middle East, have restricted internet access or have their rights to free speech stopped by government censors. There are, however, many organisations who can help these people beat such oppressive systems and here are links to their websites ( bold-typed words are hyperlinks):

Peacefire - Peacefire is a "people for young people's freedom of speech" organization, not a "young people for freedom of speech" organization. In other words, you can join at any age if you are against censorship for students and people under 18 in general. Peacefire used to be more of a "teens only" group, but we realized that there was no point in excluding what any potential members had to offer, simply based on their age.

Anonymizer - Anonymizer is the leading provider of Internet privacy and security solutions for consumers, corporations, organizations, and government agencies. The company provides safe and secure Web experiences to millions of global Internet users. Its Web site is home to the world's most popular Internet privacy service, Anonymous Surfing™, which defends users from the most prevalent Internet privacy and security threats. Anonymizer identity protection solutions have been used to protect billions of Web pages without a single security breech since the company's inception in 1995.

Unipeak - The Internet was not designed with web security or user privacy protection in mind.
Each time you visit a web page, you leave personal information exposing yourself to:
  • Online consumer monitoring and profiling
  • Adware, Spyware, Trojan worms & Web bugs.
  • Online eavesdropping
  • Identity theft and online fraud
  • Intrusive marketing and advertising

Unipeak’s job is to protect your privacy by

  • Filter out unwanted advertising such as banners and popups.
  • Defeat advertiser tracking and harmful web software
  • Encrypt your computer's IP address so that you are untraceable
  • Provide a secure domain for you to access your e-mail in public locations
  • Connect securely to insecure websites.
  • Prevent monitoring of network traffic.
  • Route around networking problems.

Anonymouse - Many mice surf the web under the illusion that their actions are private and anonymous. Unfortunately, it isn't so. Every time you visit a site for a piece of cheese, you leave a calling card that reveals where you're coming from, what kind of computer you have, and other details. And many cats keep logs of all your visits, so that they can catch you! This service allows you to surf the web without revealing any personal information. It is fast, it is easy, and it is free!

Proxyweb - While surfing the Internet you leave a record of your IP address, operating system and browser type, web pages last visited, and save numerous cookies, java scripts, adware, spyware, trojans and viruses to your hard drive. Malicious web site owners, hackers, identity thieves, spammers, etc. can use this information to probe your PC for security holes and possibly gain unauthorized access. By using an anonymous proxy server its IP address is visible while yours is kept private.

Guardster - Guardster offers various services to let you use the Internet anonymously and securely. From our popular free web proxy service, to our secure SSH tunnel proxy, we have a variety of services to suit your needs.

Webwarper - WebWarper is a free Web service that:
  1. Saves traffic in 2-3 times: textual part of all pages is compressed using gzip
  2. Provides antivirus protection!
  3. Assures anonymity: your IP address becomes invisible for most cases
  4. Accelerates your access to sites

The Cloak - provides

  • HTTP and HTTPS anonymous proxy: hide your identity from the sites you visit
  • Encrypted connection: hide your surfing from local snooping
  • Remote cookies: keep cookies at our site, and delete them after each session
  • User configurable content filtration: selectively remove Javascript, Java, and active content
  • FREE anonymous browsing

Stupid Censorship - a service which will remove all cookies (except certain proxy cookies), remove all scripts (recommended for anonymity), remove ads, hide referrer information and will show a URL entry form.

Please note, all descriptions are from the service providers themselves. Users are advised to read through the website FAQ's where possible.