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Veteran’s Day Weekend Humor: World War I Explained On Facebook | Zero Hedge

Veteran’s Day Weekend Humor: World War I Explained On Facebook | Zero Hedge.

As we remember the fallen this weekend…

Prussia: Oh, f##k you France.

(click image for huge legible version)

 

You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure |

You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure |.

Are you ready for total grid failure

If you haven’t been in a bubble cut off from all forms of media lately, it would be impossible to have missed all of the warnings being issued about the impending loss of our electrical grid.

This isn’t just coming from so-called “gloom and doom” sites or from alternative media.  Major mainstream media sources such as ABC News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CBS News have all issued the alerts. Unfortunately, the hordes seem to be brushing these warnings off as something that cannot happen, because the reality is too unpleasant to even contemplate.  Many seem to think that they are far better to stick their heads in the sand and be assured it can never happen than to prepare ahead of time.

Who Is Ringing the Warning Bell?

In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the warnings over the past few months that most people are ignoring.

When Janet Napolitano stepped down from her role as head of the DHS she released an open letter to her successor.  One chilling tidbit she passed on was this.

The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way. (source)

Read more on Napolitano’s warning HERE.

But there’s more.  Big Sis isn’t the only one warning us about the possibility of a grid-down scenario.

Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has co-authored a book about the topic with David Hagberg – his novel Gridlock is a fictional account of a very real threat.

“Our power system is very vulnerable. You could see a shutdown by hackers in cyber terror. You could see it shutdown for days, weeks or months, crippling this country and causing enormous havoc.” (source)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also actively agrees with the threat assessment.  He released a report last May that said our power infrastructure was “highly vulnerable to attacks from Iran and North Korea” and as well as to natural threats such as geomagnetic storms from solar activity.

“With one well-placed keystroke, Americans could be plunged into darkness and chaos through the damage to our electric grid. Foreign enemies are employing Web warriors to attack our way of life, and it’s time that our actions respond to the potential threat.” (source)

Other people in the know have attempted to make the public aware of the potential for apocalyptic disaster, but few seem to be taking them seriously.

We are only one act of madness away from a social cataclysm unlike anything our country has ever known.
-Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Senior Member House Armed Service Committee

EMP is one of the small number of threats that could hold at risk the continued existence of U.S. civil society.
-Dr. Robert Hermann, Commissioner US Congress EMP Commission

Just one violent active region on the sun can cause continent-wide, perhaps even planetary-scale impacts to our critical infrastructure.
-John Kappenman, Principal Investigator US Congress EMP Commission

The Likelihood of a severe geo-magnetic event capable of crippling our electric grid is 100%.
-Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Senior Member House Homeland Security Committee

(source)

Former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has been preaching the dangers of EMP, whether deliberate or natural, for many years:

We could have events in the future where the power grid will go down and it’s not, in any reasonable time, coming back up. For instance, if when the power grid went down some of our large transformers were destroyed, damaged beyond use, we don’t make any of those in this country. They’re made overseas and you order one and 18 months to two years later they will deliver it. Our power grid is very vulnerable. It’s very much on edge. Our military knows that.

There are a number of events that could create a situation in the cities where civil unrest would be a very high probability.

I think that those who can, and those who understand, need to take advantage of the opportunity when these winds of strife are not blowing to move their families out of the city. (source)

Don’t forget the veiled warnings implicit in predictive programming entertainment.  One of last year’s biggest television hits was the show “Revolution“, which portrayed life 15 years after a deliberate takedown of the power grid.

GridEx Drill in November

And finally, if all of these warnings aren’t enough to alert your Spidey senses, here is one that is undeniable.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada intend to participate in a drill in November that will simulate the takedown of the grid.

An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thousands of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies, and more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.

The downed power grid simulation will reportedly focus on both physical and cyber attacks. The antiquated electrical system in the United States has been one of the most neglected pieces of integral infrastructure.

The disaster drill is being described as a crisis practice unlike anything the real power grid has ever experienced. The GridEX II drill Nov. 13-14 will focus primarily on how governments will react if the electrical grid fails and, for instance, the food supply chain collapses.

American utility companies are responsible for running approximately 5,800 power plants and about 450,000 high-voltage transmission lines, controlled by various devices which have been put into place over the past decades. Some of the utility companies which oversee the power grid reportedly use “antique computer protocols” which are “probably” safe from cyber hackers,” The New York Times reported.

“If an adversary lands a knockout blow, [experts] fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11,” The Times said.

If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season. (source)

The most alarming thing about this drill is the trend of suspected false flag events in America that have corresponded with “drills”.  Whether or not this will coincide in a real take-down of the grid remains to be seen, but one only needs to think back to events such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the Oklahoma City Bombing to see that there is a possibility that when “drills” occur, often the players are simply being moved into place right under the nose of the public.

What Can You Do to Be Ready?

It doesn’t honestly matter HOW the grid goes down. Whether it is an enemy attack, as in the novel One Second After, a government false flag in order to institute martial law, or a natural act that is the result of a solar flare, a long-term grid collapse will result in an extremely high death toll.

If you are already of the preparedness mindset, you’ll fare better than the average North American.  However, many people have never contemplated the following questions:

  • How will you get food if the grocery stores are closed?
  • How will you cook food if you are able to acquire it?
  • What will happen to the perishable food in your refrigerator and freezer?
  • How will you heat and cool your home if you are in an area subject to extreme temperatures?
  • What will you use for light once the scented candle that sits on your coffee table is gone?
  • How will you transport yourself if a) your vehicle doesn’t run because the computers are fried or b) it runs but you can’t get gas because the pumps at the station run on electricity?
  • What will you drink and wash with if the municipal water facilities are no longer providing water or if the pump on your well runs on electricity?

Find as many solutions as possible for the issues you would face if going for weeks (or longer) without power.  You must stay warm, eat, and drink.  Everything else is a bonus. You can live without the television, the video game console, the microwave in the kitchen, and the laptop.

Some people like to give arguments as to why they can’t resolve these issues.  They live in an apartment, they rent, they have a limited budget….the list is as long as indefinite detention.  The fact is, by realizing these things are necessary and refusing to face them and find solutions for your particular situation, you are setting your family up to suffer, and possibly even die, when it could be avoided.

A recent article encouraged readers who were new to prepping to start out by getting ready for a two week power outage.  Apply the following  information to create your own preparedness plan for the grid failure that is sure to come. Modify the suggestions to adapt them to your particular home, family, and climate.

Water

Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation.  If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.

Food and a Way to Prepare It

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking.

If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.

Click HERE for a short term food storage list

Click HERE to find a list of foods that require no cooking.

Heat (Depending on Your Climate)

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

Sanitation Needs

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.  Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)  Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handing food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work  when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom.  (At the first sign of a storm, we always fill the bathtub for this purpose.)  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored.

Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Candles
  • Kerosene lamps
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank camping lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Tools and Supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue
  • Sewing supplies
  • Bungee cords

If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.

First Aid Kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarheal medications.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special Needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Get Started Today

You can start right now – this very minute – all you have to do is grab a pad of paper and a pen.

  1. Begin by personalizing the suggestions above to fit your family’s needs and make a list of your requirements.
  2. Next, do a quick inventory – as I mentioned above, you may be surprised to see that you already have quite a few of the supplies that are recommended.
  3. Make a shopping list and acquire the rest of the items you need.  If you can’t afford everything right now, prioritize the most important things first.
  4. Organize your supplies so that they are easily accessible when you need them. It’s hard to find seldom-used items in the dark.

When the lights go out, don’t be left to the not-so-tender mercies of those who would place themselves in charge.  Maintain your independence by strengthening the position of your family.  Take steps towards preparedness and self-sufficiency so  that you won’t need the government’s assistance to weather the storm.

If you must comply to survive, your freedom is just an illusion. You’ve been warned – what you do with the information is up to you.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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THE SUBPRIME FINAL SOLUTION « The Burning Platform

THE SUBPRIME FINAL SOLUTION « The Burning Platform.

The MSM did their usual spin job on the consumer credit data released earlier this week. They reported a 5.4% increase in consumer debt outstanding to an ALL-TIME high of $3.051 trillion. In the Orwellian doublethink world we currently inhabit, the consumer taking on more debt is seen as a constructive sign. Consumer debt has grown by 5.8% over the first nine months of 2013, after growing by 6.1% in 2012 and 4.1% in 2011. The storyline being sold by the corporate MSM propaganda machine, serving the establishment, is that consumers’ taking on debt is a sure sign of economic recovery. They must be confident about the future and rolling in dough from their new part-time jobs as Pizza Hut delivery men. Plus, they are now eligible for free healthcare, compliments of Obama, once they can log-on.

Of course, buried at the bottom of the Federal Reserve press release and never mentioned on CNBC or the other dying legacy media outlets is the facts and details behind the all-time high in consumer credit. They count on the high probability the average math challenged American has no clue regarding the distinction between revolving and non-revolving credit or who controls the distribution of such credit. It is fascinating examining the historical data on the Federal Reserve website and realizing how far we’ve fallen as a society in the last 45 years.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g19/HIST/cc_hist_sa_levels.html

Revolving credit is a fancy term for credit card debt. Imagine our society today without credit cards. That sounds outrageous to the debt addicted populace inhabiting our suburban wasteland and urban badlands. What is truly outrageous is the fact we have allowed ourselves to be duped into $846 billion of revolving credit card debt charging an average interest rate of 13% by Wall Street bankers who have used the American Dream of a better life as the bait to lure a dumbed down easily manipulated populace into believing that material possessions purchased with high interest debt represented advancement rather than servitude. Debt accumulation is seen as a badge of honor. Keeping up with the Joneses is all that matters. Our shallow culture has no notion about the concept of deferred gratification or saving to pay for your wants.

A shocking fact (to historically challenged government educated drones) revealed by the Federal Reserve data is that credit card debt did not exist prior to 1968. How could people live their lives without credit cards? It must have been a nightmare. You mean to tell me when people wanted new clothes, jewelry, a TV, or to eat out at a restaurant, they actually had to save up the cash to do so? What kind of barbaric system would make you live within your means? The Depression era adults had somehow survived for over two decades after WWII without buying cheap foreign crap they didn’t need with money they didn’t have using a piece of plastic with a Wall Street bank logo emblazoned on the front.

1968 marked a turning point for America. LBJ’s welfare/warfare state had begun the downward spiral of a once rational country. We chose guns and butter, with the bill being charged to the national credit card. It was fitting that Wall Street introduced the credit card in 1968.

  • There were 200 million Americans in 1968 and $2 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $10 per person.
  • By 1980 there were 227 million Americans and $54 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $238 per person.
  • By 1990 there were 249 million Americans and $230 billion of credit card debt outstanding, or $924 per person.
  • By 2000 there were 281 million Americans and $650 billion of credit card debt outstanding, $2,313 per person.
  • By July of 2008 credit card debt outstanding peaked at $1.022 trillion and the population was 304 million, with credit card debt per person topping out at $3,361 per person.

Over the course of 40 years, the population of this country grew by 52%. Credit card debt grew by 51,000%. Credit card debt per person grew by 33,600%. This was a case of credit induced mass hysteria and it continues today. Have the American people benefitted from this enslavement in chains of debt? I’d venture to answer no. Who benefitted? The corporate fascist oligarchy of Wall Street banks, mega-corporations sourcing their crap from Chinese slave labor factories, and politicians in the back pockets of the bankers and corporate CEOs benefitted.

The evil oligarch scum grew too greedy and blew up the worldwide financial system in 2008. Since July 2008 credit card debt has declined by $175 billion, with the majority of the decrease from banks writing off bad debt and passing it along to the American taxpayer through their TARP bailout and 0% money from their puppet Bernanke. It bottomed out at $834 billion in April 2011 and has only grown by a miniscule $13 billion in the last 29 months, and only $1.7 billion in the last twelve months. The muppets have refused to cooperate by running up those credit cards. Not having jobs, paying 40% more for health insurance due to Obamacare, and real inflation exceeding 5% on the things they need to live, have caused some hesitation among the delusional masses. Even a government educated, math challenged, iGadget addicted moron realizes their credit card is the only thing standing between them and living in a cardboard box on a street corner.

Your owners have been forced to implement Plan B. The monster they have created is like a shark. The debt must keep growing or the monster will die. In 2008, the oligarchs were staring into the abyss. Their wealth, power and control were in grave jeopardy. Rather than accept the consequences of their actions like men and allowing the economy to return to normalcy, these weasels have doubled down by accelerating the debt production and dropping it from helicopters to subprime borrowers across the land, like unemployed construction workers named Gus getting a degree in liberal arts from the University of Phoenix while sitting in their basement in boxer shorts. The Federal Reserve Black Hawks are hovering over the inner cities dropping Bennie Bucks on the very same people they put in McMansions with no doc negative amortization subprime mortgages in 2005, so they can occupy Cadillac Escalades for a couple years before defaulting again. The appearance of normalcy is crucial to the evil oligarchs as they attempt to pillage the remaining loot in this country.

Before the credit card was rolled out in 1968, there was non-revolving debt strictly related to auto loans made by banks and credit unions. The Federal government was nowhere to be found in the mix as banks and consumers made economic decisions based upon risk and reward. There were $110 billion of loans outstanding to a population of 200 million, or $550 per person. The Federal government stuck their nose into the free market with the creation of Sallie Mae in the 1970′s. But they were still a miniscule portion of total consumer debt at $115 billion in 2008, or only 11% of total consumer debt outstanding. The chart below from Zero Hedge reveals what has happened since the oligarchs crashed the financial system with their vampire squid blood sucking tentacles syphoning the lifeblood from the American middle class. Non-revolving debt has increased from $1.65 trillion in July 2008 to $2.2 trillion today, solely due to Obama and his minions doling out subprime auto and student loan debt to anyone that can scratch an X on a loan document.

If middle class consumers were unwilling to borrow and spend, the oligarchs were going to use their control over the government to dole out billions to subprime borrowers in a final, ultimately futile, attempt to keep this Ponzi scheme going for a while longer. The subprime game worked wonders in the final phase of the housing bubble. And now the losses will fall solely on the 50% of Americans who actually pay taxes. It wasn’t a mistake the Federal government took complete control of the student loan market in 2009. It isn’t a mistake the only TARP recipient the Feds have not attempted to disengage from happens to be the largest issuer of subprime auto loans in the world – Ally Financial (aka GMAC, Ditech, ResCap).

In 2008 there was $730 billion of student loan debt outstanding, of which the Federal government was responsible for $120 billion. Five short years later there is $1.2 billion of student loan debt outstanding and the Federal government (aka YOU the taxpayer) is responsible for $716 billion. Using my top notch math skills, I’ve determined that student loan debt has risen by $470 billion, while Federal government issuance of student loan debt has expanded by $600 billion. The rational risk adverse lenders have reduced their exposure to the most subprime borrowers on earth, undergrads at the University of Phoenix and thousands of other “for profit” educational black holes across the country. Only an organization who didn’t care about getting repaid would lend billions to borrowers without a job, hope of a job, or intellectual ability to hold a job. A critical thinking person might wonder why student loan debt would rise by almost $500 billion in 5 years when college enrollment has grown by only 2 million. That comes to $250,000 per additional student.

The Federal government couldn’t possibly have distributed $500 billion to anyone with a pulse as a way to manipulate the national unemployment rate lower, because anyone in school is not considered unemployed. Do you think the $500 billion was spent on tuition and books? Or do you think those “students” used it to buy iGadgets, HDTVs, weed and Twitter stock? With default rates already at all-time highs and accelerating skyward and $146 billion of loans already in default, you don’t need a PhD from the University of Phoenix (where default rates exceed 30%) like Shaq to realize the American taxpayer is going to get it good and hard once again.

My personal observations during my daily trek through the slums of West Philly would befuddle someone who didn’t understand the oligarch scheme to create an artificial auto recovery by distributing auto loans to deadbeats, the SNAP army, and hip hop nitwits. As I maneuver quickly through the West Philly badlands in my four year old paid off compact car praying I don’t get caught in gang crossfire, I see an inordinate number of brand new BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillacs, and Jaguars parked in front of $20,000 dilapidated fleapits that tend to collapse during heavy rain storms. The real unemployment rate in these garbage strewn, disintegrating neighborhoods exceeds 50%. The median household income is less than $20,000. Over 40% of the adult population hasn’t graduated high school and 63% of the population lives below the poverty level. These people put the ”sub” in subprime. How can anyone in this American version of third world Baghdad afford to drive a $40,000 vehicle? The answer is they can’t. But you the taxpayer, out of the goodness of your heart and without your knowledge, have loaned them the money so they can cruise around West Philly in Jay Z or Kanye style.

Bernanke’s ZIRP creates the environment for mal-investment and reckless lending. With the Federal government owned Ally Financial leading the charge, the miraculous auto sales recovery is nothing but a bad loan driven illusion. With the Federal government pushing subprime loans like a West Philly drug dealer, the Too Big To Trust Wall Street cabal have followed suit providing financing to deadbeats with FICO scores of 500, no job, but a nice smile. When you can borrow from the Fed at 0% and loan money to SNAP nation at 18%, with a Bernanke unspoken promise to bail them out when the inevitable defaults come as a complete shock, this is why you see thousands of luxury automobiles parked in the urban kill zones across America.

Zero Hedge documented the new subprime bubble in a story earlier this week. As auto dealers allow losers with sub-500 FICO scores to drive off their lots with new cars, ZH summarized the next taxpayer bailout:

“No Car, no FICO score, no problem. The NINJAs have once again taken over the subprime asylum.”

Someone with a 500 FICO score has defaulted on multiple debt obligations in the recent past. The issuance of hundreds of billions of subprime debt can give the appearance of economic growth for a short period of time, just like it did from 2004 through 2007. Then it all collapsed in a heap because the debt eventually must be repaid. Cash flow is required to service debt. Maybe the West Philly subprime Mercedes drivers can trade their SNAP cards for cash to make their car loan payments, since they don’t have jobs. Even the captured MSM is being forced to admit the truth.

While surging light-vehicle sales have been one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy, it’s increasingly being fueled by borrowers with imperfect credit. Such car buyers account for more than 27 percent of loans for new vehicles, the highest proportion since Experian Automotive started tracking the data in 2007. That compares with 25 percent last year and 18 percent in 2009, as lenders pulled back during the recession. Issuance of bonds linked to subprime auto loans soared to $17.2 billion this year, more than double the amount sold during the same period in 2010, according to Harris Trifon, a debt analyst at Deutsche Bank AG. The market for such debt, which peaked at about $20 billion in 2005, was dwarfed by the record $1.2 trillion in mortgage bonds sold that year.

When has packaging subprime loans, getting them rated AAA by a trustworthy ratings agency, and selling them to little old ladies and pension funds, ever caused a problem before? With subprime auto loan issuance accounting for 50% of all car loans and an average loan to value ratio of 114.5%, what could possibly go wrong? Think about that for one minute. The government and Wall Street banks are loaning deadbeats $33,000 of your money to buy a $30,000 car, despite the fact the high school dropout borrower doesn’t have a job and has a history of defaulting on their obligations.

Can you really blame the borrowers? For the second time in the last decade the rich folk have generously offered to let them experience the good life, with debt that is never expected to be repaid. The people in West Philly live in rat infested, rundown, leaky shacks waiting for the 1st of the month to get their EBT card recharged. They have nothing, so they have nothing to lose. When the MAN offered to loan them $300,000 in 2005 so they could buy their very own McMansion, what did they have to lose? They got to live in a fancy house for a few years until they were booted out by the bank and left in exactly the same spot they were before the MAN came along. These people don’t even know what a FICO score means.

Now the MAN has knocked on their hovel door again and offered to put them in a brand spanking new Cadillac Escalade with no money down, requiring no proof of employment, and no prospects of  repaying the loan. Hallelujah, there is a God!!!  They get to tool around West Philly for a year or two impressing their fellow SNAP recipients until the repo man shows up and absconds with their wheels. They will be left right where they were, hoofing it with their $200 Air Jordans. Anyone with an ounce of brains (eliminates Cramer & Bartiromo) can see this will end exactly as all easy money, Federal Reserve propagated, and government sanctioned scams end.

“Perhaps more than any other factor, easing credit has been the key to the U.S. auto recovery,” Adam Jonas, a New York-based analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to investors last month. The rise of subprime lending back to record levels, the lengthening of loan terms and increasing credit losses are some of factors that lead Jonas to say there are “serious warning signs” for automaker’s ability to maintain pricing discipline.

In the last year 99% of all consumer debt issued was doled out by government drones, with no interest in getting repaid, to subprime deadbeats, with no interest in repaying. It’s a match made in subprime heaven with your tax dollars. As an Ivy League educated Wall Street banker CEO once said:

“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as  long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still  dancing.”

Chuck “Doing the Boogie Woogie” Prince – FORMER CEO of Citicorp – July 2007

You see it is always about liquidity, also known as Bernanke Bucks or QEternity. Without Bernanke and his Federal Reserve sycophants printing $2.8 billion of new money every single day, shoveling it into the grubby hands of his Wall Street bank bosses and a corrupt fetid festering pustule of a government running trillion dollar deficits and showering your money on loafers and welfare queens, this subprime final solution would not be possible. This is an exact replay of the subprime mortgage debacle, except the oligarchs have cut out the middleman. Holding the American people hostage for the $700 billion TARP bailout proved to be messy, with 90% of Americans against the ”Save a Corrupt Criminal Banker” scheme. This time, there will not be a vote in Congress when the hundreds of billions in subprime student loans and subprime auto loans go bad and become the responsibility of the few remaining American taxpayers. What’s another few hundred billion among friends when our annual deficits soar past $1 trillion, our national debt approaches $20 trillion, and our unfunded entitlement liabilities exceed $200 trillion?

When the music stopped in 2008, Chuck Prince bopped away with a $40 million severance package and you were left to sweep the confetti off the floors, pick up the empty champagne bottles and caviar plates, scrub the vomitorium, and pay for all the damages that occurred during the sordid subprime orgy of greed, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth. Somehow the distracted, techno-narcissistic, easily duped zombies have been lured into the subprime web of deceit again. We have only ourselves to blame as the corporate fascist oligarchs implement their final solution for the American middle class and our once proud nation – a bullet to the back of the head.

 

Iran Nuclear Programme Deal Fails Due To French Block: New Saudi-French Alliance Emerging? | Zero Hedge

Iran Nuclear Programme Deal Fails Due To French Block: New Saudi-French Alliance Emerging? | Zero Hedge.

While most pragmatists knew well in advance that optimism over an Iran nuclear programme deal emerging out of Geneva was very much displaced, few anticipated what the actual reason for the failure would be. Indeed, most had expected that the staunchest opponent to the deal, Israel PM Netanyahu who moments ago appeared on Face the Nation and made his case (saying Iran would have given up “almost nothing”) would have used his influence over the US as a key member of the 5+1 group of nations (US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Iran) to block any Iranian detente with the US, even though none other than John Kerry has been urging for the Iranian deal for weeks. So when news hit that it was France who had scuttled a deal with a last minute block, many were surprised.

FT reports:

“There was a possibility to reach an agreement with the majority of 5+1 but there was a need to have the consent of all and as you have heard . . . one of the delegations had some problems,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Facebook post referring to the six nations involved in the talks – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Iran. Three days of intense negotiations in Geneva, which went into early Sunday morning, failed to produce an interim agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme despite earlier optimistic predictions.

France appeared to be concerned that the proposal, which involved Tehran halting key parts of its nuclear programme in return for modest relief from tough international sanctions, did not apply the brakes hard enough on the country’s agenda.

Iran’s negotiating team was blessed last week with the strong support of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and ultimate decision maker, who urged hardliners not to weaken the diplomatic team during nuclear talks and said they were “children of the revolution”.

But the top leader’s official Twitter account on Sunday reposted his comments from a speech earlier this year in which he had condemned France’s alleged enmity toward Iran. “The officials of French government in recent years have shown explicit hostility toward the Iranian nation. This is a thoughtless and imprudent move,” the tweet said.

This means that once again the traditional narrative of Iran as an intransigent, obstinate negotiator falls apart, even if there had been an ulterior motive: the removal of Western sanctions against the improverished nation. So it will be up to the west to come up with yet another provocation that makes Iran seem like an irrational actor on the international arena.

However, a bigger questions arises: why did France break away from the US-led negotiating axis, just to side not only with Israel but with Saudi Arabia.

  Many ordinary Iranians, including the reform-minded public and those educated in the west, expressed outrage at France and accused it of trying to appease Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have been against any nuclear deal that would give Iran the right to enrich uranium.

“French cars occupy Tehran’s streets but instead France stabs Iran in the back,” said Mina, a 32-year-old businesswoman.

France’s alliance with Saudi Arabia against Iran is nothing new and we had seen it during the Iran-Iraq war [1980-88] when the Saudis paid France to give fighter bombers and missiles to Saddam [Hussein] to kill us,” said Narges, a university student of politics.

“We should boycott French fries and baguettes in a symbolic move,” said Mahdi, an electric engineer.

Even Iran’s hardliners who are in principle against any deal attacked France. Fars news agency, close to the elite Revolutionary Guards, ran a headline: “Tough negotiations in Geneva and a French gun-wielding frog.”

Which should at least partially answer the nagging question about who it is that Saudi Arabia has picked to fill the diplomatic void in the aftermath of the deterioration in relations between the oil-rich nation and the US.

Then again, a Saudi Arabia alligned with a France, which by implication is now operating against US interests should result in some truly comic events in the international diplomacy arena very soon. We can’t wait to find out just how Hollande’s socialist government proceeds to entertain the world with its foreign policy foibles.

Finally, for those who missed it, here is Netanyahu earlier today saying “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

CBS News Video

NSA leaks on Canadian surveillance coming, Greenwald says – World – CBC News

NSA leaks on Canadian surveillance coming, Greenwald says – World – CBC News.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald says there may be more Canadian spying revelations in the near future.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald says there may be more Canadian spying revelations in the near future. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

Glenn Greenwald — the journalist who, through his source Edward Snowden, revealed a massive domestic and foreign spying operation by the U.S. National Security Agency — says documents outlining Canadian surveillance will be published.

 

“The documents are quite complex. There are a lot of them. There is enormous amounts of reporting to do in Canada, one of the most active surveillance agencies in the world, because of how closely they work with the NSA,” Greenwald told Brent Bambury, host of CBC Radio’s Day 6.

 

“There are many, many, many more significant documents about Canadian surveillance and partnership with the NSA that will be reported and, I think, will be quite enlightening for the people of Canada.”

 

 

Greenwald, whose work helped spur an international debate on surveillance and privacy, dismisses critics who claim publishing classified government documents puts people in danger.

“I think not publishing the leaks puts [people] in danger because when you have a system of government in which people can exercise great power in the dark, that’s what is dangerous,” he said.

 

“Terrorists have long ago known that the U.S. and U.K. governments do everything possible to monitor their communications … We didn’t tell the terrorists anything they didn’t already know. What we’ve told people that they didn’t already know, ordinary citizens all around the world, is that this spying system is directed not at the terrorists but at them.”

‘Everything should be questioned’

Earlier this year, British agents oversaw the destruction the Guardian newspaper’s hard drives after the paper published revelations from Snowden’s leaks — a move Greenwald says demonstrated how desperate the government was to suppress the information.

inside-snowden-04589880Edward Snowden worked as a contract employee at the U.S. National Security Agency. (The Guardian/Associated Press)

 

“I think what it also underscored is just how precarious press freedoms are in the very Western countries that love to lecture the world about how vital and important they are,” he said.

 

“Everything should be questioned. No institutional authority is ever so formidable that they should be entitled to shield themselves from challenge and questioning. And I think that lies at the heart of the value of privacy, I think it lies at the heart of a belief in free speech as well.”

 

On Saturday, the Guardian confirmed its editor, Alan Rusbridger, will appear before a U.K. House of Commons committee over its decision to publish Snowden’s intelligence files after warnings from security chiefs that the leaks damaged U.K. security.

Disclosures about the activities of Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency and its close co-operation with the NSA have embarrassed British Prime Minister David Cameron and angered lawmakers in his ruling Conservative party who say they have compromised national security.

Civil liberties groups say the files have shown the need for more effective controls over intelligence gathering but spy chiefs have been highly critical about their publication.

 

4 Articles: GridEx II-Nov 13/14 North American Grid Failure Excercise

New York Times

As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York City during a blackout in 2003. More than 150 companies and groups will take part in a drill that will simulate attacks on the power grid.

By 

Published: August 16, 2013

WASHINGTON — The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.

This is why thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will simulate physical attacks and cyberattacks that could take down large sections of the power grid.

They will practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.

“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.”

One goal of the drill, called GridEx II, is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.

“If we fail at electricity, we’re going to fail miserably,” Curt Hébert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a recent conference held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Mr. Harrell said that previous exercises were based on the expectation that electricity “would be up and running relatively quick” after an attack.

Now, he said, the goal is to “educate the federal government on what their expectations should or shouldn’t be.” The industry held a smaller exercise two years ago in which 75 utilities, companies and agencies participated, but this one will be vastly expanded and will be carried out in a more anxious mood.

Most of the participants will join the exercise from their workplaces, with NERC, in Washington, announcing successive failures. One example, organizers say, is a substation break-in that officials initially think is an attempt to steal copper. But instead, the intruder uses a USB drive to upload a virus into a computer network.

The drill is part of a give-and-take in the past few years between the government and utilities that has exposed the difficulties of securing the electric system.

The grid is essential for almost everything, but it is mostly controlled by investor-owned companies or municipal or regional agencies. Ninety-nine percent of military facilities rely on commercial power, according to the White House.

The utilities play down their abilities, in comparison with the government’s. “They have the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies,” said Scott Aaronson, senior director of national security policy at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. “We have the grid operations expertise.”

That expertise involves running 5,800 major power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, monitored and controlled by a staggering mix of devices installed over decades. Some utilities use their own antique computer protocols and are probably safe from hacking — what the industry calls “security through obscurity.”

But others rely on Windows-based control systems that are common to many industries. Some of them run on in-house networks, but computer security experts say they are not confident that all the connections to the public Internet have been discovered and secured. Many may be vulnerable to software — known as malware — that can disable the systems or destroy their ability to communicate, leaving their human operators blind about the positions of switches, the flows of current and other critical parameters. Experts say a sophisticated hacker could also damage hard-to-replace equipment.

In an effort to draw utilities and the government closer, the industry recently established the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, made up of high-level executives, to meet with federal officials. The first session is next month.

Preparation for the November drill comes as Congress is debating laws that could impose new standards to protect the grid from cyberattacks, but many in the industry, some of whom would like such rules, doubt that they can pass.

The drill is also being planned as conferences, studies and even works of fiction are raising near-apocalyptic visions of catastrophes involving the grid

National Academy of Sciences report last year said that terrorists could cause broad hardship for months with physical attacks on hard-to-replace components. An emerging effort led in part by R. James Woolsey, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is gearing up to pressure state legislatures to force utilities to protect equipment against an electromagnetic pulse, which could come from solar activity or be caused by small nuclear weapons exploded at low altitude, frying crucial components

An attack using an electromagnetic pulse is laid out in extensive detail in the novel “One Second After,” published in 2009 and endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In another novel,“Gridlock,” published this summer and co-written by Byron L. Dorgan, the former senator from North Dakota, a rogue Russian agent working for Venezuela and Iran helps hackers threaten the grid. In the preface, Mr. Dorgan says such an attack could cause 10,000 times as much devastation as the terrorists’ strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.

North  American Electric Reliability Corporation 

The objectives of the NERC Grid Security Exercise (GridEx) series are to exercise the current readiness of participating Electricity Sub-sector entities to respond to a cyber incident and provide input for  ​security program improvements to the bulk power system. GridEx is a biennial international grid security exercise that uses best practices and other contributions from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
NERC conducted the first sector-wide grid security exercise, GridEx 2011, on November 16-17, 2011. The exercise was designed to validate the readiness of the Electricity Sub-sector to respond to a cyber incident, strengthen utilities’ crisis response functions, and provide input for internal security program improvements. The GridEx 2011 after-action report is below.
On November 13-14, 2013, GridEx II will exercise NERC and industry crisis response plans and identify actionable improvement recommendations for plans, security programs, and skills. The scenario will build on lessons learned from GridEx 2011 and include both cybersecurity and physical security components.
For more information and registration for GridEx II, click here.
—————

The Daily Sheeple

IRS Advises of Power Outage Ahead of Grid Ex Electricity Drill: “This service will be unavailable”

Mac Slavo
The Daily Sheeple
November 9th, 2013

(The Daily Sheeple) Next week on November 13th and 14th the Department of Homeland Security will be engaging in a widespread power outage drill involving scores of international government agencies and business in an effort to test the viability of a national response plan in the event of a cyber attackelectro-magnetic pulse attack or solar flare.

The Grid Ex II drill has left many concerned that it may coincide with an actual “false flag” attack, much like similar drills that were taking place on September 11th, as well as in Boston during the recent bombing.

Speculation abounds about the coming power grid drills, and a recent alert issued by the IRS.gov web site isn’t helping quell fears.

The following message has appeared on at least 50 pages of the IRS.gov web site within the last 48 hours, though the alert is not being displayed on most areas of the site:

Planned Outage: November 9 — November 12, 2013
This service will be unavailable beginning approximately 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 9, 2013 until approximately 7:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, due to a power outage. We apologize for any inconvenience.

irs-poweroutage-message

irs-poweroutage

Message forums on the internet suggest that many believe this may have something to do with the Grid Ex II drills, though no information from the IRS has been forthcoming.

– See more at: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/irs-advises-of-power-outage-ahead-of-grid-ex-electricity-drill-this-service-will-be-unavailable_112013#sthash.KvfHb9p3.dpuf

—————

Govern America

PREPARE FOR THE GRIDEX II NOVEMBER POWER GRID “DRILL”

This drill is scheduled to begin November 13, 2013. What is not being discussed is how much of the nation will lose power or, since it is a three-nation drill (United States and parts of Canada and Mexico), the entire U.S. will go “offline” so to speak. What we are told is that all food and water transport will stop, business and banking will stop, transportation and shopping will stop, communications will stop, and there will be no heat in homes, schools or places of business.  We are also told this will only be a “simulation”.  As such, it is best to be prepared one way or another, just in case.
Therefore, everyone will have to decide whether to go to work, whether to send their kids to school or have them possibly locked down, and they will have to decide whether they will have non-perishable foods and water on hand, alternative lighting and heating, medical supplies, etc., for what will likely be ordered sheltering in place.

Therefore, a few suggestions come to mind:

Have at least two weeks food and water stored for all family members and pets, preferably one month’s storage.

Have warm clothing, warm blankets and sleeping bags, gloves and hats.

Have extra medical supplies and prescription drugs if you know you will run out during mid-November. Have a quality First Aid kit, stocked.

Have extra firewood and a place to possibly cook outdoors. You might want to include a good tent and/or large tarps, ropes, bungee cords, and a good ax and wood saw.

Do NOT throw away yard sticks, burnable trash, cardboard, etc. Store them in boxes in the garage or a utility shed. If you do not have either, ask a neighbor if you can temporarily store them in their garage or shed. Buy wood matches and keep them in zip lock bags or plastic containers with lids.

You will have to decide whether you are going to send your children school. If so, pack food, water, and dress them very warmly and prepare them in advance that you may have no ability to contact them and that they may have to stay at school for several days.

Fill you cars with gasoline prior to November 10th, and try to store extra gasoline in a safe place.

If you can afford to do so, buy a Big Buddy propane heater, three or four 20 pound propane tanks (filled), and an adapter hose for the 20 pound tanks.

Have paper plates, paper and foam cups, plastic utensils, a good can opener or two, a good all-purpose tool, and keep all store bags.

Have plenty of toilet paper, sanitary supplies for girls and women, hand soaps, paper and hand towels, and have plenty of small plastic or grocery store bags.

Have several quality flashlights, A LOT of batteries. Several old-fashioned oil lamps with wicks and clear glass chimneys and a gallon or two of lamp oil will provide good light and quite a bit of additional heat.

If you have babies have stored formula, cleaned bottles, diapers, wipes, ointments, and plenty of warm baby blankets, hats, mits, booties, temperature-lowering medicines and electrolyte juices.

If you have senior parents or grandparents, get them prepared with all necessities.

Know how to shut off your natural gas.

Get laundry done prior to the drill.

Be aware that we have no real idea if this drill will include armies in our streets, forced relocations; business and/or school lock downs, or if this will be a drill that becomes a live “event” as occurred in Boston. Mostly, be prepared for many people to be unprepared and panicked should this drill play out in actuality. Be prepared to protect your home, families and supplies, and always keep working toward a six month supply of stored goods including garden seeds.  In today’s world and beneath today’s national and international political threats and policing systems, you just never know.  Stock up.

 

Activist Post: 11 Signs of a False Flag

Activist Post: 11 Signs of a False Flag.

Dees Illustration

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Throughout history, versions of the false flag attack have been used successfully by governments in order to direct the force of the people toward whatever end the ruling class may be seeking. At times, that end may be war, or it may be the curtailing of domestic civil liberties and basic human rights. In others, it is an economic agenda.

Indeed, false flags are themselves capable of taking on a wide variety of forms – domestic or foreign, small or large, economic or political, and many other designations that can often blur into one another. Each may serve a specific purpose and each may be adjusted and tailored for that specific purpose as societal conditions require.

For instance, the chemical weapons attack which took place inside Syria in August, 2013 serve as an example of a foreign false flag designed to whip up American fervor for war, on the platform of Responsibility to Protect similar to the Gulf of Tonkin.

Domestically speaking, a large-scale false flag such as 9/11, can be used to whip up both a massive public support for war and a popular willingness to surrender civil liberties, constitutional procedure, and constitutional/human rights. Economic false flags may take the form of manufactured “government shutdowns” or “government defaults” designed to create a demand for austerity or other pro-Wall Street solutions. Lastly, smaller-scale domestic false flags such as Sandy Hook orAurora, often involve the implementation of gun-control measures or a greater police state.

There are, of course, many different versions of false flag attacks and none fit into a tightly crafted classification beyond the generalized term “false flag.” As stated above, some false flags may indeed embrace an element of each of the different versions listed previously both in terms of methodology and purpose.

With that in mind, it is also true that, while massive false flag attacks are always a possibility, it has been the small-scale false flags coming in the form of “shooters” (most often of the “lone gunmen” variety), that have been used most effectively by the ruling class and its mouthpiece media outlets in recent years. While the scale of the attacks have diminished, their frequency has rapidly increased.

However, due to a growing competent alternative media and researching community, as fast as the false flag attacks are launched, a volley of deconstructions of the official narratives are being provided. While many criticisms of the official version of events are wildly incredible, bordering on paranoia and impossibility, there are capable outlets and researchers who are able to expose the false flag for what it is. Indeed, it is for this reason that the false flag has suffered serious setbacks in terms of its effectiveness as of late and why it continues to do so.

Because the false flag attack is designed to instill fear, panic, and a guided response from the general public, it is important to deconstruct the narrative of that attack as it is presented. However, we cannot simply be consumed by attempting to expose and deconstruct every false flag attack that comes our way. We cannot ignore the greater issues, the winnable battles, and the demands we must be making simply to expose each and every false flag. We cannot ignore the forest fire to extinguish the occasional burning bush. The false flag, after all, is only the symptom of the disease.

For that reason, it is important to enable the general public to recognize the false flag itself, not simply the questionable elements of a particular false flag which will soon be overtaken by a new one. We must train both ourselves and the public to recognize the signs of the false flag when it happens and thus render the attack neutral.

The following is a list of some of the most common elements of the false flag attack which should immediately be looked at in the event of some other incident that pulls at the heartstrings and emotions of the general public.

1. High Profile Event: The first question to ask would be “Is this a high profile incident?” The answer, of course, is fairly obvious. If an attack takes place at the World Trade Center complex causing the buildings to explode and collapse, or if it takes place at the White House, or Pentagon, it is clearly high profile. Thus, the location can be factored in. In other circumstances, however, the act itself may be the major factor such as the case in Sandy Hook Elementary School, a nationally unimportant location but a horrific act that made national news nonetheless. The most important factor, of course, is media attention. Regardless of location or the act, if the media picks up the story and runs it simultaneously on all major mainstream channels, the incident can be considered a “high profile event.”

2. Changing Stories: In informed researching circles, it is well-known that the information that comes out shortly after the event is usually the most reliable. This is not to discount the existence of confusion related to panicked reports coming from eyewitnesses and the like. However, the information coming out early on has not yet been subjected to the top-down media revision that will inevitably take place as the story becomes molded to fit the narrative pushed by the individuals who either directed the attack at the higher levels or at least have connections with those who are able to control the manner in which various media outlets report the event.

For instance, in times of false flag attacks, the initial reports may point to 5 gunmen. Very shortly after, reports may only mention two. Only a few hours after the attack, however, all references to more than one gunmen are removed entirely, with only the “lone gunman” story remaining. Any other mention of additional gunmen after this point is ridiculed as “conspiracy theory.”

3. Simultaneous Drills: One hallmark of the false flag operation is the running of drills shortly before or during the actual attack. Many times, these drills will involve the actual sequence of events that takes place during the real life attack . These drills have been present on large scale false flags such as 9/11 as well as smaller scale attacks like the Aurora shooting.

For instance, as Webster Tarpley documents in his book 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA, at least 46 drills were underway in the months leading up to 9/11 and on the morning of the attack. These 46 drills were all directly related to the events which took place on 9/11 in some way or other.[1] Likewise, the 7/7 bombings in London were running drills of exactly the same scenario that was occurring at exactly the same times and locations.

Although one reason may take precedence over the other depending on the nature and purpose of the operation drills are used by false flag operators for at least two reasons. One such purpose is the creation of intentional confusion if the drill is taking place during the actual attack. The other, more effective aspect, however, is using the drill as a cloak to plan the attack or even “go live” when it comes time to launch the event. Even more so, it gives the individuals who are involved in the planning of the event an element of cover, especially with the military/intelligence agency’s tight chain of command structure and need-to-know basis. If a loyal military officer or intelligence agent stumbles upon the planning of the attack, that individual can always be told that what he has witnessed is nothing more than the planning of a training exercise. This deniability continues all the way through to the actual “going live” of the drill. After the completion of the false flag attack, Coincidence Theory is used to explain away the tragic results.[2]

4. Cui Bono? The most important question to ask immediately after any high profile incident is “cui bono?” or “Who benefits?” If one is able to see a clear benefit to any government, corporation, or bank, then the observer becomes capable of seeing through the false flag attack immediately. Many of these questions can be answered by taking a closer look at the behavior of these organizations prior to the attack and shortly thereafter.[3]

For instance, the presence of legislation which would stand little chance of being passed before the attack but which is quickly passed (or at least heavily pushed) afterwards is one clue that the conveniently timed attack was actually a false flag. Patriot Act style legislation was actually written before 9/11 but stood little chance of passing in Congress due to the political climate in the United States at the time. After 9/11, however, the Patriot Act was fast-tracked through both Houses of Congress with virtually no debate and with the blessing of the American people.

Returning to 9/11, it is a fact that a number of individuals who were in positions of power within the US government during the time the attack occurred had desperately wanted to invade several Middle Eastern countries.[4] After the attacks, a war psychosis gripped the ruling class of the United States and the American public followed right along.

After the Underwear Bombing, we saw the rollout of the TSA full-body scanners, a technology which would not have been readily accepted prior to the incident and subsequent propaganda campaign. However, the scanners had been purchased one year earlier by a firm owned by Michael Chertoff, the former head of Homeland Security.

Likewise, in terms of the LAX shooting, TSA purchased 3.5 million dollars worth of ammunition in August. Yet, in August, TSA was not an armed agency. After the LAX shooting, however, talk has turned to arming the agency, thus indicating possible foreknowledge on the part of someone higher up in the governmental structure.

Of course, the same can be said for the explosion of crazed lone-gunman shooting sprees that took place all across the United States amid propaganda pushes for increased gun control measures.

5. Unanswered Questions: Another hallmark of the false flag operation is relatively obvious – the presence of unanswered questions regarding the details of the attack, the perpetrators, the motive and so on. Although the media narrative that takes shape soon after the attack will ignore these questions, they will inevitably remain if observers are able to think for themselves and focus only on the information. An example of such questions would be Building 7 on 9/11 or the questions of additional shooters at Aurora and Sandy Hook.

6. Case is quickly closed: Once an acceptable patsy and cover story is chosen by the media, all other opinions and questions are refused air time. Nothing that even slightly contradicts the official story is acknowledged as legitimate. Once this happens, the patsy, if still alive (in rare circumstances) is charged, prosecuted, and convicted in a largely secret or shadowy proceeding. In most cases, the suspect is killed in the process or shortly after the fact thus negating any first hand contradiction of the official narrative. Either way, the case is closed very soon after the event.

7. Suspects’ Connection to CIA, FBI, or Other Intelligence Agencies: One key aspect suggesting a false flag that should be looked for soon after the attack is any possible connection the suspect or group of suspects may have had with intelligence agencies. A connection to any one of these organizations and institutions may go some length in explaining how the attack was coordinated, the motivation of the perpetrators, the actual involvement (or not) of the suspects, and who actually directed the operation. For instance, on 9/11, many of the alleged hijackers had previously had close contact with the FBI, CIA, and other high-level intelligence agencies (both home and abroad).[5] Likewise, the Tsarnaev brothers who have been accused of masterminding and carrying out the Boston Bombing had ties to the FBI before the attack.

In many instances, connections to certain military agencies and communities should serve as the same red flag as connections to intelligence agencies since these institutions have largely been blended together.

8. Convenient Scapegoat: One clue leading an informed observer to suspect a false flag attack is the existence of the convenient scapegoat. Any false flag operation will have a carefully crafted narrative complete with a group of individuals set up for demonization. The OKC bombing had McVeigh and thus, “right-wing extremists” and “militias.” On 9/11, the group was Muslims. In many of the domestic shooting sprees, the demonization was set for gun owners. With the recent LAX shooting, the “perpetrator” was an “anti-government conspiracy theorist.” In the instance of the false flag, a readily identified pasty will exhibit all or most of the aspects of the group and social demographic set to be demonized.

9. Media Promotes A Narrative Against Scapegoat Groups and/or An Agenda To Take Liberties: One clue suggesting a false flag is that, immediately after the attack and after the perpetrators have been “identified” by “officials” and the media, corporate media outlets begin not only demonizing the demographic group to which the “perpetrator” belongs, but begins promoting “solutions” in order to prevent such an attack from ever happening again. This narrative will always involve the erosion of liberties, the greater implementation of a police state, a specific economic policy, or a march to war.

Simply put, the media promotes the PROBLEM, allows for and guides the REACTION, and then provides the pre-determined SOLUTION.

10. Government Begins to “Take Action” Against the Scapegoat or Moves Along the Lines of the Media Narrative: After a healthy dose of propaganda from mainstream media outlets regurgitating the terror of the attack, the perpetrator, and the police state solutions, the Government then begins to take action. Political speeches are given in order to capitalize on the fear and anger felt by the public and in order to reinforce the idea that government is there to act as protector. Political solutions are then offered as bills, executive orders, or political mandates whether it is the curtailment of the 4th Amendment, gun control, or military strikes on a foreign country.

11. Clues in pop media: Pop media clues, more accurately described as predictive programming, is more easily identified in hindsight. This often involves the portrayal of the very incident occurring in a movie or television show. In other instances, it may involve the conspicuous or even inconspicuous placement of random details of the attack into movies and television. For instance,The Lone Gunman, a short-lived spinoff of the X-Files carried a storyline in which a passenger plane was hijacked via remote control and was being flown into the World Trade Center towers. In The Dark Knight Rises, a very curious reference was made to Sandy Hook with a map of Newtown, Connecticut on the wall.

Conclusion

Although it is extremely important to educate the general public as to the nature and purpose of false flags, education cannot be a goal in and of itself. The public not only needs to know the truth surrounding specific false flag events as they appear, they need to understand the methodology of identifying them on their own and in real time.

Creating a culture in which the general public is able to recognize the false flag attack as it is happening, without the need for a massive push by alternative media sources, researchers, or activists, is the first step in not only rendering the tactic useless, but in corralling the force of the people toward true action or, at the very least, creating a culture in which that force cannot be corralled by the ruling class.

While false flag attacks must be addressed, we must not allow ourselves to be so easily diverted off a path of political action, mass mobilization, and the making of real attainable demands.

Notes:

[1] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA. 5th Edition. Progressive Press. 2011.
[2] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA. 5th Edition. Progressive Press. 2011.
[3] Griffin, David Ray. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Interlink Publishing Group. 1stEdition. 2004.
[4] Griffin, David Ray. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Interlink Publishing Group. 1st Edition. 2004.
[5] Griffin, David Ray. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Interlink Publishing Group. 1st Edition. 2004.

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

 

Alan B. Sielen | The Reverse Evolution of the World’s Oceans | Foreign Affairs

Alan B. Sielen | The Reverse Evolution of the World’s Oceans | Foreign Affairs.

The old man of the sea: the fringed blenny, photographed near Japan.

The old man of the sea: the fringed blenny, photographed near Japan. (Alexander Semenov / Science Photo Library)

Of all the threats looming over the planet today, one of the most alarming is the seemingly inexorable descent of the world’s oceans into ecological perdition. Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago.

A visitor to the oceans at the dawn of time would have found an underwater world that was mostly lifeless. Eventually, around 3.5 billion years ago, basic organisms began to emerge from the primordial ooze. This microbial soup of algae and bacteria needed little oxygen to survive. Worms, jellyfish, and toxic fireweed ruled the deep. In time, these simple organisms began to evolve into higher life forms, resulting in the wondrously rich diversity of fish, corals, whales, and other sea life one associates with the oceans today.

Yet that sea life is now in peril. Over the last 50 years — a mere blink in geologic time — humanity has come perilously close to reversing the almost miraculous biological abundance of the deep. Pollution, overfishing, the destruction of habitats, and climate change are emptying the oceans and enabling the lowest forms of life to regain their dominance. The oceanographer Jeremy Jackson calls it “the rise of slime”: the transformation of once complex oceanic ecosystems featuring intricate food webs with large animals into simplistic systems dominated by microbes, jellyfish, and disease. In effect, humans are eliminating the lions and tigers of the seas to make room for the cockroaches and rats.

The prospect of vanishing whales, polar bears, bluefin tuna, sea turtles, and wild coasts should be worrying enough on its own. But the disruption of entire ecosystems threatens our very survival, since it is the healthy functioning of these diverse systems that sustains life on earth. Destruction on this level will cost humans dearly in terms of food, jobs, health, and quality of life. It also violates the unspoken promise passed from one generation to the next of a better future.

Humans are eliminating the lions and tigers of the seas to make room for the cockroaches and rats.

LAYING WASTE

The oceans’ problems start with pollution, the most visible forms of which are the catastrophic spills from offshore oil and gas drilling or from tanker accidents. Yet as devastating as these events can be, especially locally, their overall contribution to marine pollution pales in comparison to the much less spectacular waste that finds its way to the seas through rivers, pipes, runoff, and the air. For example, trash — plastic bags, bottles, cans, tiny plastic pellets used in manufacturing — washes into coastal waters or gets discarded by ships large and small. This debris drifts out to sea, where it forms epic gyres of floating waste, such as the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which spans hundreds of miles across the North Pacific Ocean.

The most dangerous pollutants are chemicals. The seas are being poisoned by substances that are toxic, remain in the environment for a long time, travel great distances, accumulate in marine life, and move up the food chain. Among the worst culprits are heavy metals such as mercury, which is released into the atmosphere by the burning of coal and then rains down on the oceans, rivers, and lakes; mercury can also be found in medical waste.

Hundreds of new industrial chemicals enter the market each year, most of them untested. Of special concern are those known as persistent organic pollutants, which are commonly found in streams, rivers, coastal waters, and, increasingly, the open ocean. These chemicals build up slowly in the tissues of fish and shellfish and are transferred to the larger creatures that eat them. Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have linked exposure to persistent organic pollutants to death, disease, and abnormalities in fish and other wildlife. These pervasive chemicals can also adversely affect the development of the brain, the neurologic system, and the reproductive system in humans.

Then there are the nutrients, which increasingly show up in coastal waters after being used as chemical fertilizers on farms, often far inland. All living things require nutrients; excessive amounts, however, wreak havoc on the natural environment. Fertilizer that makes its way into the water causes the explosive growth of algae. When these algae die and sink to the sea floor, their decomposition robs the water of the oxygen needed to support complex marine life. Some algal blooms also produce toxins that can kill fish and poison humans who consume seafood.

The result has been the emergence of what marine scientists call “dead zones” — areas devoid of the ocean life people value most. The high concentration of nutrients flowing down the Mississippi River and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico has created a seasonal offshore dead zone larger than the state of New Jersey. An even larger dead zone — the world’s biggest — can be found in the Baltic Sea, which is comparable in size to California. The estuaries of China’s two greatest rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow, have similarly lost their complex marine life. Since 2004, the total number of such aquatic wastelands worldwide has more than quadrupled, from 146 to over 600 today.

TEACH A MAN TO FISH — THEN WHAT?

Another cause of the oceans’ decline is that humans are simply killing and eating too many fish. A frequently cited 2003 study in the journal Nature by the marine biologists Ransom Myers and Boris Worm found that the number of large fish — both open-ocean species, such as tuna, swordfish, and marlin, and large groundfish, such as cod, halibut, and flounder — had declined by 90 percent since 1950. The finding provoked controversy among some scientists and fishery managers. But subsequent studies have confirmed that fish populations have indeed fallen dramatically.

In fact, if one looks back further than 1950, the 90 percent figure turns out to be conservative. As historical ecologists have shown, we are far removed from the days when Christopher Columbus reported seeing large numbers of sea turtles migrating off the coast of the New World, when 15-foot sturgeon bursting with caviar leaped from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, when George Washington’s Continental army could avoid starvation by feasting on swarms of shad swimming upriver to spawn, when dense oyster beds nearly blocked the mouth of the Hudson River, and when the early-twentieth-century American adventure writer Zane Grey marveled at the enormous swordfish, tuna, wahoo, and grouper he found in the Gulf of California.

Today, the human appetite has nearly wiped those populations out. It’s no wonder that stocks of large predator fish are rapidly dwindling when one considers the fact that one bluefin tuna can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars at market in Japan. High prices — in January 2013, a 489-pound Pacific bluefin tuna sold for $1.7 million at auction in Tokyo — make it profitable to employ airplanes and helicopters to scan the ocean for the fish that remain; against such technologies, marine animals don’t stand a chance.

Nor are big fish the only ones that are threatened. In area after area, once the long-lived predatory species, such as tuna and swordfish, disappear, fishing fleets move on to smaller, plankton-eating fish, such as sardines, anchovy, and herring. The overexploitation of smaller fish deprives the larger wild fish that remain of their food; aquatic mammals and sea birds, such as ospreys and eagles, also go hungry. Marine scientists refer to this sequential process as fishing down the food chain.

The problem is not just that we eat too much seafood; it’s also how we catch it. Modern industrial fishing fleets drag lines with thousands of hooks miles behind a vessel, and industrial trawlers on the high seas drop nets thousands of feet below the sea’s surface. In the process, many untargeted species, including sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and large sea birds (such as albatross) get accidentally captured or entangled. Millions of tons of unwanted sea life is killed or injured in commercial fishing operations each year; indeed, as much as a third of what fishermen pull out of the waters was never meant to be harvested. Some of the most destructive fisheries discard 80 to 90 percent of what they bring in. In the Gulf of Mexico, for example, for every pound of shrimp caught by a trawler, over three pounds of marine life is thrown away.

As the oceans decline and the demand for their products rises, marine and freshwater aquaculture may look like a tempting solution. After all, since we raise livestock on land for food, why not farm fish at sea? Fish farming is growing faster than any other form of food production, and today, the majority of commercially sold fish in the world and half of U.S. seafood imports come from aquaculture. Done right, fish farming can be environmentally acceptable. But the impact of aquaculture varies widely depending on the species raised, methods used, and location, and several factors make healthy and sustainable production difficult. Many farmed fish rely heavily on processed wild fish for food, which eliminates the fish-conservation benefits of aquaculture. Farmed fish can also escape into rivers and oceans and endanger wild populations by transmitting diseases or parasites or by competing with native species for feeding and spawning grounds. Open-net pens also pollute, sending fish waste, pesticides, antibiotics, uneaten food, diseases, and parasites flowing directly into the surrounding waters.

 

Tangled up in blue: an Antarctic fur seal caught in a fishing net, South Georgia Island.

Tangled up in blue: an Antarctic fur seal caught in a fishing net, South Georgia Island. (Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott / Minden Pictures / Corbis)

DESTROYING THE EARTH’S FINAL FRONTIER 

Yet another factor driving the decline of the oceans is the destruction of the habitats that have allowed spectacular marine life to thrive for millennia. Residential and commercial development have laid waste to once-wild coastal areas. In particular, humans are eliminating coastal marshes, which serve as feeding grounds and nurseries for fish and other wildlife, filter out pollutants, and fortify coasts against storms and erosion.

Hidden from view but no less worrying is the wholesale destruction of deep-ocean habitats. For fishermen seeking ever more elusive prey, the depths of the seas have become the earth’s final frontier. There, submerged mountain chains called seamounts — numbering in the tens of thousands and mostly uncharted — have proved especially desirable targets. Some rise from the sea floor to heights approaching that of Mount Rainier, in Washington State. The steep slopes, ridges, and tops of seamounts in the South Pacific and elsewhere are home to a rich variety of marine life, including large pools of undiscovered species.

Today, fishing vessels drag huge nets outfitted with steel plates and heavy rollers across the sea floor and over underwater mountains, more than a mile deep, destroying everything in their path. As industrial trawlers bulldoze their way along, the surfaces of seamounts are reduced to sand, bare rock, and rubble. Deep cold-water corals, some older than the California redwoods, are being obliterated. In the process, an unknown number of species from these unique islands of biological diversity — which might harbor new medicines or other important information — are being driven extinct before humans even get a chance to study them.

Relatively new problems present additional challenges. Invasive species, such as lionfish, zebra mussels, and Pacific jellyfish, are disrupting coastal ecosystems and in some cases have caused the collapse of entire fisheries. Noise from sonar used by military systems and other sources can have devastating effects on whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Large vessels speeding through busy shipping lanes are also killing whales. Finally, melting Arctic ice creates new environmental hazards, as wildlife habitats disappear, mining becomes easier, and shipping routes expand.

IN HOT WATER

As if all this were not enough, scientists estimate that man-made climate change will drive the planet’s temperature up by between four and seven degrees Fahrenheit over the course of this century, making the oceans hotter. Sea levels are rising, storms are getting stronger, and the life cycles of plants and animals are being upended, changing migration patterns and causing other serious disruptions.

Global warming has already devastated coral reefs, and marine scientists now foresee the collapse of entire reef systems in the next few decades. Warmer waters drive out the tiny plants that corals feed on and depend on for their vivid coloration. Deprived of food, the corals starve to death, a process known as “bleaching.” At the same time, rising ocean temperatures promote disease in corals and other marine life. Nowhere are these complex interrelationships contributing to dying seas more than in fragile coral ecosystems.

The oceans have also become more acidic as carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere dissolves in the world’s water. The buildup of acid in ocean waters reduces the availability of calcium carbonate, a key building block for the skeletons and shells of corals, plankton, shellfish, and many other marine organisms. Just as trees make wood to grow tall and reach light, many sea creatures need hard shells to grow and also to guard against predators.

On top of all these problems, the most severe impact of the damage being done to the oceans by climate change and ocean acidification may be impossible to predict. The world’s seas support processes essential to life on earth. These include complex biological and physical systems, such as the nitrogen and carbon cycles; photosynthesis, which creates half of the oxygen that humans breathe and forms the base of the ocean’s biological productivity; and ocean circulation. Much of this activity takes place in the open ocean, where the sea and the atmosphere interact. Despite flashes of terror, such as the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004, the delicate balance of nature that sustains these systems has remained remarkably stable since well before the advent of human civilization.

But these complex processes both influence and respond to the earth’s climate, and scientists see certain recent developments as red flags possibly heralding an impending catastrophe. To take one example, tropical fish are increasingly migrating to the cooler waters of the Arctic and Southern oceans. Such changes may result in extinctions of fish species, threatening a critical food source especially in developing countries in the tropics. Or consider that satellite data show that warm surface waters are mixing less with cooler, deeper waters. This reduction in vertical mixing separates near-surface marine life from the nutrients below, ultimately driving down the population of phytoplankton, which is the foundation of the ocean’s food chain. Transformations in the open ocean could dramatically affect the earth’s climate and the complex processes that support life both on land and at sea. Scientists do not yet fully understand how all these processes work, but disregarding the warning signs could result in grave consequences.

A WAY FORWARD

Governments and societies have come to expect much less from the sea. The base lines of environmental quality, good governance, and personal responsibility have plummeted. This passive acceptance of the ongoing destruction of the seas is all the more shameful given how avoidable the process is. Many solutions exist, and some are relatively simple. For example, governments could create and expand protected marine areas, adopt and enforce stronger international rules to conserve biological diversity in the open ocean, and place a moratorium on the fishing of dwindling fish species, such as Pacific bluefin tuna. But solutions will also require broader changes in how societies approach energy, agriculture, and the management of natural resources. Countries will have to make substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, transition to clean energy, eliminate the worst toxic chemicals, and end the massive nutrient pollution in watersheds.

These challenges may seem daunting, especially for countries focused on basic survival. But governments, international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, scholars, and businesses have the necessary experience and capacity to find answers to the oceans’ problems. And they have succeeded in the past, through innovative local initiatives on every continent, impressive scientific advances, tough environmental regulation and enforcement, and important international measures, such as the global ban on the dumping of nuclear waste in the oceans.

So long as pollution, overfishing, and ocean acidification remain concerns only for scientists, however, little will change for the good. Diplomats and national security experts, who understand the potential for conflict in an overheated world, should realize that climate change might soon become a matter of war and peace. Business leaders should understand better than most the direct links between healthy seas and healthy economies. And government officials, who are entrusted with the public’s well-being, must surely see the importance of clean air, land, and water.

The world faces a choice. We do not have to return to an oceanic Stone Age. Whether we can summon the political will and moral courage to restore the seas to health before it is too late is an open question. The challenge and the opportunity are there.

 

Chris Hedges: The Detention of Greenwald’s Partner on Terrorism Charges Amounts to the “Criminalization of Journalism”.

Chris Hedges: The Detention of Greenwald’s Partner on Terrorism Charges Amounts to the “Criminalization of Journalism”..

Last Friday it was reported that British officials detained David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, earlier this year at London’s Heathrow Airport for his alleged, quote, espionage and, quote, terrorism for transporting documents provided by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Now joining us to discuss this and other recent revelations about the NSA is Chris Hedges. Chris is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He’s a columnist for Truthdig, author of many books, including the best-selling Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.

Thank you so much for joining us, Chris.

CHRIS HEDGES, JOURNALIST, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE NATION INSTITUTE: Thank you.

NOOR: So, Chris, let’s start off by getting your response to the British government accusing David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who often collaborates with Greenwald, of, quote, espionage and terrorism and saying those were some of the reasons why they held him for hours on end at Heathrow without letting him speak to his lawyer or anyone else.

HEDGES: Well, they didn’t just told him. They seized all of his electronic equipment–his computer, his phone–because they were looking for some of the files that Greenwald has been using to publish his stories that were leaked by Edward Snowden. And this is just part of the criminalization of journalism which has taken place not only within the United States but within countries like Great Britain as well.

NOOR: Britain doesn’t have the same safeguards for journalists as places like the U.S. do. It was also reported earlier this year that the British authorities threatened to seize The Guardian‘s hard drives containing a lot of this material. What are the bigger–what’s the bigger ramifications for journalism not only in Britain but the rest of the world?

HEDGES: Well, there aren’t any safeguards left within the United States as well. I mean, remember that the security and surveillance state seized all of the AP phone records. And let’s not forget that the security and surveillance state has the phone–all of the electronic communications of every journalist in this country. They’ve used the Espionage Act aggressively seven times, the last time being against Snowden, to make sure nobody does talk to the press to expose the inner workings of power.

So we once had, at least legally, more protection as journalists than were provided to journalists in Great Britain. But all of it’s gone up in smoke, both here and there. There is no protection left. Jim Risen at The New York Times is fighting back against government efforts to make him reveal his sources in the story on more or less wiretapping, and he said that he would be willing to go to jail rather than give up those sources. So this is kind of a global assault where we’re not at this point any more protected here than we are anywhere else. And what this really, I think, points to is the fact that the security and surveillance state is global and it serves, essentially, global power, which is corporate.

NOOR: Now, the NSA and its defenders, they cite 54 terrorist plots they have been able to supposedly thwart due to this massive spying. But a recent report by ProPublica found that the NSA was only able to provide evidence in four of those cases. Why do you think the NSA is not providing additional evidence for those remaining 50 cases?

HEDGES: Well, because they’re lying. And, you know, government officials like Clapper have been lying throughout this entire process. Barack Obama has lied. And that’s just part of, you know, the spin that they’re throwing out.

What’s interesting is that a lot of times when they lie, they get caught because of courageous whistleblowers like Snowden who expose their lives. And I was a victim of this in the–I was part of one of the plaintiffs in the Amnesty International v. Clapper lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court threw out the case because they said I and the other plaintiffs did not have standing. And they made that judgment on the fact that the government said that if any of us were being watched or had government surveillance, we would be informed.

Well, we now know that the government lied, and we know the government lied because of the leaks by Snowden. So this is a government that, like most governments, has a very callous regard for the truth. And, you know, if you believe that they stopped 54 terrorism plots, then, you know, come see me. I’ll sell you land in Florida, the Brooklyn Bridge.

NOOR: Ed Snowden has continued to provide outlets like The New York Times, which released a front-page story Sunday about ongoing new information about NSA programs, yet backers and supporters of the NSA continue to push back. Some of the arguments include saying, if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry about; this NSA spying shouldn’t concern you. Is there any historical precedent for citizens to be concerned about government surveillance? And how do you respond to arguments such as those?

HEDGES: Well, you don’t want to give this kind of power to the state, because–and I speak as a journalist–because it makes it absolutely impossible to carry out any serious investigation of power. No source is going to reach out to you, because they know full well that the government has all of the electronic footprints that you make in trying to contact a journalist. And I think one of the reasons that Snowden went public almost immediately is that he knew that the government had all of Greenwald’s communications and it he would very quickly trace it back to him. That’s the problem.

It’s not a matter of nothing to hide. That’s an inverted question. The government has a lot to hide. And this kind of mechanism is a kind of a failsafe device by which whatever the government wants to do, however criminal, however corrupt, however fraudulent, however anticonstitutional, it never gets found out. That’s the real issue.

NOOR: And in light of Snowden’s revelations about how the U.S. government is spying on the German government, including tapping Angela Merkel’s cell phone, over 50 public figures in Germany have called for the German government to grant Snowden asylum. What’s your response to this growing–both the growing backlash against what Snowden has revealed and growing support in places like Germany that he be protected?

HEDGES: Well, I hope he does get granted asylum. He’s only got a kind of temporary one-year asylum in Russia. And I hope some government steps in to give him the kind of safeguards that he should have within this country but is probably never going to get. You know.

I mean, the tapping of Merkel’s phone is a kind of window into how this pervasive intrusion of privacy and surveillance has nothing to do with terrorism. It has to do with iron control, even among people who are purported to be our allies. And it isn’t just Merkel–I mean, the millions of records that they swept up in Spain and France. And it is a absolutely staggering intrusion into the lives not only of Americans but of foreign citizens. And it has nothing to do with protecting those citizens, and it has everything to do with protecting a state, security and surveillance state, corporate state that has less and less legitimacy as these kind of revelations become more public. You know, it’s clear that we have undergone a kind of corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s global.

NOOR: Chris Hedges, thank you so much for joining us.

HEDGES: Thank you.

NOOR: You can follow The Real News @TheRealNews on Twitter, and you can follow me @JaisalNoor. Feel free to Tweet me questions, comments, or story suggestions.

Thank you so much for joining us.

End

Documents raise concern over industry influence on delayed oilsands emissions regulations | Pembina Institute

Documents raise concern over industry influence on delayed oilsands emissions regulations | Pembina Institute.

Simon Dyer — Nov. 8, 2013

This week, the Pembina Institute reviewed a package of documents obtained under Alberta’s Freedom of Information legislation about future Alberta and federal greenhouse gas regulations.

The documents cover correspondence between the oil and gas industry association — the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) — and Alberta’s environment ministry from January to May of this year. Obtained by Greenpeace’s Keith Stewart, the documents formed the basis of a report from the CBC.

 

Steam is emitted from a bitumen processing facility in the oilsands. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.If Alberta had indexed its $15/tonne price to inflation when it went into effect in 2007, it would likely reach $19 a tonne by 2020 — so a $20 price in 2020 is a token increase at best.

First off, their contents raise real concerns about the potential weakness of the future federal emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector. CAPP’s proposal is very weak, offering little more than a token increase from Alberta’s current regulations. Today, heavy industry facilities in Alberta face a 12 per cent emissions intensity target and a maximum price of $15 a tonne. Alberta’s regulations sunset next year and must be renewed; CAPP would like to see the next set of regulations moved to a 20 per cent target and a $20 a tonne price in 2020. (If Alberta had indexed its $15 a tonne price to inflation when it went into effect in 2007, it would likely reach $19 a tonne by 2020 — so a $20 price in 2020 is a token increase at best.)CAPP’s negotiating position has been reported before, so that’s not new. What these documents add is economic modelling of the impacts of that proposal, which would see oilsands emissions grow from 55 million tonnes (Mt) today to between 95 and 98 Mt in 2020. The cost to companies would grow from 10 cents a barrel today to a maximum of 23 cents a barrel. Overall, the proposal would fail even to achieve Alberta’s 2020 target — a goal that’s far weaker than the 2020 target Ottawa has adopted.

The industry’s briefing notes also stake out new positions in a couple of important areas: social license and the role of technology in improving the oilsands industry’s environmental performance.

  • On “social license,” meaning public support for their operations: In these documents, CAPP says that stronger rules are “unlikely” to improve the public’s perception of their industry. “The objection to the oilsands is ideological,” they write, so even if the strongest proposal on the table went into effect, “oilsands opponents would claim that they too were insufficient.”

For the record, we should note that when news of Alberta’s 40/40 proposal broke in April, we wrote that it “is encouraging, and it shows leadership.” The standard we used to assess that proposal, and any other proposal on the table, is whether it’s strong enough to help get Canada on track for its 2020 climate target. Since the federal government says it remains committed to that target, we think it’s an entirely appropriate way to assess the effectiveness of potential regulations for the sector. We also think that most Canadians would be supportive of the oilsands industry doing their fair share to reduce emissions.

  • On technology: Throughout its memo, CAPP objected to the proposals that would see a higher technology fund price — and thus leverage more technology deployment and innovation, two things they say publicly they want to support. Instead, CAPP’s private briefing note told the Government of Alberta that technology development is a cost to industry that affects the sector’s “near term competitiveness.”

Traffic near the Syncrude production site. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.

Traffic near the Syncrude production site outside Fort McMurray. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.

CAPP also makes the claim that the oilsands won’t reduce its emissions more quickly no matter which policy the government chooses, because “current technology is not yet available for deployment to a significant degree.” Thus, its own modelling concludes that the oilsands would reduce its emissions just 2 Mt below business as usual — in absolute terms, that means growing 100Mt rather than 102 Mt in 2020, a huge increase from 55 Mt today — under any of the scenarios for oil and gas sector regulations described in these documents.Pembina’s primary concern with regards to the oilsands has always been the cumulative impact of the oilsands which is driven by the pace and scale of development. While technology can help to drive down the carbon intensity of a barrel of oilsands crude over time, as CAPP itself shows it’s no panacea. The best way to control absolute greenhouse gas emissions is to manage the pace and scale of development — something governments and companies are reluctant to discuss.

Unhelpful to the case for the Keystone XL pipeline?

Interestingly, the industry’s briefing note also seems to undercut one of the key arguments for the Keystone XL pipeline.

This one takes a bit of explanation. The context is that President Obama said in June that he would only approve Keystone XL if it won’t significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, the U.S. State Department’s draft environmental assessment says the pipeline would have virtually no impact on greenhouse gas emissions because oilsands crude will find a way to market with or without Keystone XL. State’s analysis assumes that rail adds about $5 a barrel in extra costs to oilsands producers, relative to moving oil in a pipeline. In public, oilsands companies have been saying that rail is a viable option for them, one that allows the oilsands to keep expanding production.

In its private briefing note, CAPP says that a stronger environmental regulation would increase costs, “possibly lowering investments and reducing production.” Elsewhere in the briefing note, CAPP writes that under stronger regulations, “projects on the margin will be cancelled. Investments will go elsewhere.” CAPP concludes with a rhetorical question: “Will higher stringency requirements impact production and revenue? Very likely.”

But the most stringent proposal in these documents — Alberta’s 40 per cent target and $40 a tonne technology fund price — would add less than a dollar a barrel in new costs to oilsands companies.The most stringent proposal in these documents — Alberta’s 40 per cent target and $40 a tonne technology fund price — would add less than a dollar a barrel in new costs to oilsands companies.

There is no way to square those two perspectives. How does a dollar-a-barrel increase to address pollution curb oilsands production, while a five-dollar-a-barrel increase to ship oilsands by rail represents an insignificant cost that allows production to grow?

Industry can’t have it both ways.

To us, it seems clear that building a pipeline like Keystone — which provides oilsands companies lower-cost access to desirable markets — would create favourable conditions for oilsands expansion and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

None of the proposals on the table is likely to be strong enough to get Canada on track for its 2020 target.

Oilsands emissions grow significantly in all the scenarios on the table. The most stringent proposal would see at least a 60 per cent increase in emissions, reaching 88Mt in 2020 from today’s level of 55Mt.

But the Government of Alberta also looks at the total effect of these policy options on the province’s emissions and compares that to Alberta’s 2020 and 2050 climate targets. While none of the proposals would get Alberta on track for its 2050 target, both the federal and provincial proposals (as opposed to CAPP’s) could be strong enough to hit Alberta’s 2020 target.

We think these regulations should be designed to achieve our climate targets, so it’s heartening to see Alberta asking the right questions in the documents. Unfortunately, Alberta’s target is much weaker than Ottawa’s: Alberta allows provincial emissions to grow by over 25 Mt from the 2005 level, while Ottawa’s target requires national emissions to drop by 125 Mt from the 2005 level. So it’s safe to say that a regulation that only just achieves Alberta’s target is likely too weak to achieve Ottawa’s target.

Overall, what we read in these documents gives us real concern about the way these negotiations are heading. Getting the rules for oil and gas right is a make-or-break moment for Canada’s climate credibility. We need tough, effective rules to have any chance of hitting our national climate target in 2020.

In our view, strong rules are in the oilsands industry’s own best interests: as it stands today, the sector is facing tough questions about its environmental track record and doesn’t have good enough answers to give.

 

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