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North Korean Tanker Burning In Libya After Navy Opens Fire | Zero Hedge

North Korean Tanker Burning In Libya After Navy Opens Fire | Zero Hedge.

The Libyan defense minister took over duties as prime minister this morning as the Libyan parliament voted “no confidence” in the current prime minister after a North-Korea-flagged tanker broke the “blockade” from a rebel-held port. The ouster of the PM appears to have bolstered confidence in the anti-rebel oil-stealing that we discussed yesterday, and resulted in

  • *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS

The oil tanker – The Morning Glory – had at least 234,000 barrels of oil aboard but is now “under complete control” of Libyan government authorities. However, as Bloomberg reports, the North Korean tanker is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.

It’s been a busy morning for Libya:

The rebels started it..

  • *EAST LIBYA REBELS ANNOUNCE START OF OIL EXPORTS, NABAA TV SAYS
  • *LIBYA REBELS SEEK TO SELL OIL FROM ALL PORTS THEY CONTROL: TV

And for a while they were right…

  • *OIL TANKER ESCAPES LIBYA NAVY INTO INTERNATIONAL WATERS:JAZEERA
  • *LIBYAN MP HUWAILI SAYS TANKER ESCAPED TO INTL WATERS: NABAA TV
  • *LIBYA’S HUWAILI SAYS GOVT TO ASK INTERPOL TO TRACK TANKER

Which led to:

  • *LIBYAN PARLIAMENT OUSTS PRIME MINISTER, AP SAYS
  • *LIBYAN DEFENSE MINISTER WILL ASSUME ROLE OF PM FOR 15 DAYS

 

Via BBC,

Libya’s parliament has dismissed PM Ali Zeidan after a tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held port reportedly broke through a naval blockade.

 

MPs called a vote of confidence in Mr Zeidan amid reports that the North Korean-flagged ship had escaped to sea.

 

Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister.

 

Earlier, Libyan officials had said they had “complete control” of the tanker as it tried to leave Sidra port. However, rebel fighters rejected the assertion.

 

Separatist militants have occupied three major eastern ports since August.

 

They are seeking a greater share of the country’s oil revenues, as well as autonomy for eastern Libya.

 

The oil tanker – named Morning Glory – was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude oil at the Sidra terminal.

 

It was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since the separatist revolt against the authorities in Tripoli erupted in July.

which resulted in:

  • *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS

And, as the Libya Herald reports,

The North Korean-flagged oil tanker that left Libya this morning after loading an illegal shipment of oil is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.

 

Part of the ship is burning because it was shot at,” General National Congress (GNC) member Abdullah El-Kabier told the Libya Herald. He was unable to give more details or identify who had fired on the tanker.

We suspect Mr. Kim will be displeased (or is this a way to distract from Ukraine and get the North Koreans to rattle some sabres?)

North Korean Tanker Burning In Libya After Navy Opens Fire | Zero Hedge

North Korean Tanker Burning In Libya After Navy Opens Fire | Zero Hedge.

The Libyan defense minister took over duties as prime minister this morning as the Libyan parliament voted “no confidence” in the current prime minister after a North-Korea-flagged tanker broke the “blockade” from a rebel-held port. The ouster of the PM appears to have bolstered confidence in the anti-rebel oil-stealing that we discussed yesterday, and resulted in

  • *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS

The oil tanker – The Morning Glory – had at least 234,000 barrels of oil aboard but is now “under complete control” of Libyan government authorities. However, as Bloomberg reports, the North Korean tanker is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.

It’s been a busy morning for Libya:

The rebels started it..

  • *EAST LIBYA REBELS ANNOUNCE START OF OIL EXPORTS, NABAA TV SAYS
  • *LIBYA REBELS SEEK TO SELL OIL FROM ALL PORTS THEY CONTROL: TV

And for a while they were right…

  • *OIL TANKER ESCAPES LIBYA NAVY INTO INTERNATIONAL WATERS:JAZEERA
  • *LIBYAN MP HUWAILI SAYS TANKER ESCAPED TO INTL WATERS: NABAA TV
  • *LIBYA’S HUWAILI SAYS GOVT TO ASK INTERPOL TO TRACK TANKER

Which led to:

  • *LIBYAN PARLIAMENT OUSTS PRIME MINISTER, AP SAYS
  • *LIBYAN DEFENSE MINISTER WILL ASSUME ROLE OF PM FOR 15 DAYS

 

Via BBC,

Libya’s parliament has dismissed PM Ali Zeidan after a tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held port reportedly broke through a naval blockade.

 

MPs called a vote of confidence in Mr Zeidan amid reports that the North Korean-flagged ship had escaped to sea.

 

Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister.

 

Earlier, Libyan officials had said they had “complete control” of the tanker as it tried to leave Sidra port. However, rebel fighters rejected the assertion.

 

Separatist militants have occupied three major eastern ports since August.

 

They are seeking a greater share of the country’s oil revenues, as well as autonomy for eastern Libya.

 

The oil tanker – named Morning Glory – was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude oil at the Sidra terminal.

 

It was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since the separatist revolt against the authorities in Tripoli erupted in July.

which resulted in:

  • *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS

And, as the Libya Herald reports,

The North Korean-flagged oil tanker that left Libya this morning after loading an illegal shipment of oil is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.

 

Part of the ship is burning because it was shot at,” General National Congress (GNC) member Abdullah El-Kabier told the Libya Herald. He was unable to give more details or identify who had fired on the tanker.

We suspect Mr. Kim will be displeased (or is this a way to distract from Ukraine and get the North Koreans to rattle some sabres?)

Have I reached my personal limit?

Just a quick post this morning with some thoughts on the latest geopolitical mess in Europe over the Ukraine. The following is my online comment to a HuffPost article:

*****
It’s interesting how many people have taken the role of the judge, jury, and executioner so soon into this latest geopolitical crisis. It is impossible for any of us to truly understand all the complexities involved. It is also impossible, except in hindsight usually, to develop a reasonable and balanced perspective on events. We have our own leaders involved in creating and selling a narrative that supports their actions. We know they have lied to us about many things in the past, so why would anyone trust them now? The West is so blatantly hypocritical it is embarassing. How quickly we forget the recent invasions of Libya or Iraq. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am tired of the elite (all sides) using the planet’s depleting resources and ‘wealth’ (that is always confiscated from the masses in one way or another) to fight their wars. Not to mention the fact that it is always the children of the general public (very rarely, if ever, the elite’s children) that are sent off to fight these wars. A pox on all their houses!
*****

Let’s You and Him Fight | KUNSTLER

Let’s You and Him Fight | KUNSTLER.

So, now we are threatening to start World War Three because Russia is trying to control the chaos in a failed state on its border — a state that our own government spooks provoked into failure? The last time I checked, there was a list of countries that the USA had sent troops, armed ships, and aircraft into recently, and for reasons similar to Russia’s in Crimea: the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, none of them even anywhere close to American soil. I don’t remember Russia threatening confrontations with the USA over these adventures.

The phones at the White House and the congressional offices ought to be ringing off the hook with angry US citizens objecting to the posturing of our elected officials. There ought to be crowds with bobbing placards in Farragut Square reminding the occupant of 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue how ridiculous this makes us look.

The saber-rattlers at The New York Times were sounding like the promoters of a World Wrestling Federation stunt Monday morning when they said in a Page One story:

“The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?”

Are they out of their chicken-hawk minds over there? It sounds like a ploy out of the old Eric Berne playbook: Let’s You and Him Fight. What the USA and its European factotums ought to do is mind their own business and stop issuing idle threats. They set the scene for the Ukrainian melt-down by trying to tilt the government their way, financing a pro-Euroland revolt, only to see their sponsored proxy dissidents give way to a claque of armed neo-Nazis, whose first official act was to outlaw the use of the Russian language in a country with millions of long-established Russian-speakers. This is apart, of course, from the fact Ukraine had been until very recently a province of Russia’s former Soviet empire.

Secretary of State John Kerry — a haircut in search of a brain — is winging to Kiev tomorrow to pretend that the USA has a direct interest in what happens there. Since US behavior is so patently hypocritical, it raises the pretty basic question: what are our motives? I don’t think they amount to anything more than international grandstanding — based on the delusion that we have the power and the right to control everything on the planet, which is based, in turn, on our current mood of extreme insecurity as our own ongoing spate of bad choices sets the table for a banquet of consequences.

America can’t even manage its own affairs. We ignore our own gathering energy crisis, telling ourselves the fairy tale that shale oil will allow us to keep driving to WalMart forever. We paper over all of our financial degeneracy and wink at financial criminals. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We’re constructing an edifice of surveillance and social control that would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels turn green in his grave with envy while we squander our dwindling political capital on stupid gender confusion battles.

The Russians, on the other hand, have every right to protect their interests along their own border, to protect the persons and property of Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, not long ago, were citizens of a greater Russia, to discourage neo-Nazi activity in their back-yard, and most of all to try to stabilize a region that has little history and experience with independence. They also have to contend with the bankruptcy of Ukraine, which may be the principal cause of its current crack-up. Ukraine is deep in hock to Russia, but also to a network of Western banks, and it remains to be seen whether the failure of these linked obligations will lead to contagion throughout the global financial system. It only takes one additional falling snowflake to push a snow-field into criticality.

Welcome to the era of failed states. We’ve already seen plenty of action around the world and we’re going to see more as resource and capital scarcities drive down standards of living and lower the trust horizon. The world is not going in the direction that Tom Friedman and the globalists thought. Anything organized at the giant scale is now in trouble, nation-states in particular.  The USA is not immune to this trend, whatever we imagine about ourselves for now.

Let’s You and Him Fight | KUNSTLER

Let’s You and Him Fight | KUNSTLER.

So, now we are threatening to start World War Three because Russia is trying to control the chaos in a failed state on its border — a state that our own government spooks provoked into failure? The last time I checked, there was a list of countries that the USA had sent troops, armed ships, and aircraft into recently, and for reasons similar to Russia’s in Crimea: the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, none of them even anywhere close to American soil. I don’t remember Russia threatening confrontations with the USA over these adventures.

The phones at the White House and the congressional offices ought to be ringing off the hook with angry US citizens objecting to the posturing of our elected officials. There ought to be crowds with bobbing placards in Farragut Square reminding the occupant of 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue how ridiculous this makes us look.

The saber-rattlers at The New York Times were sounding like the promoters of a World Wrestling Federation stunt Monday morning when they said in a Page One story:

“The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?”

Are they out of their chicken-hawk minds over there? It sounds like a ploy out of the old Eric Berne playbook: Let’s You and Him Fight. What the USA and its European factotums ought to do is mind their own business and stop issuing idle threats. They set the scene for the Ukrainian melt-down by trying to tilt the government their way, financing a pro-Euroland revolt, only to see their sponsored proxy dissidents give way to a claque of armed neo-Nazis, whose first official act was to outlaw the use of the Russian language in a country with millions of long-established Russian-speakers. This is apart, of course, from the fact Ukraine had been until very recently a province of Russia’s former Soviet empire.

Secretary of State John Kerry — a haircut in search of a brain — is winging to Kiev tomorrow to pretend that the USA has a direct interest in what happens there. Since US behavior is so patently hypocritical, it raises the pretty basic question: what are our motives? I don’t think they amount to anything more than international grandstanding — based on the delusion that we have the power and the right to control everything on the planet, which is based, in turn, on our current mood of extreme insecurity as our own ongoing spate of bad choices sets the table for a banquet of consequences.

America can’t even manage its own affairs. We ignore our own gathering energy crisis, telling ourselves the fairy tale that shale oil will allow us to keep driving to WalMart forever. We paper over all of our financial degeneracy and wink at financial criminals. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We’re constructing an edifice of surveillance and social control that would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels turn green in his grave with envy while we squander our dwindling political capital on stupid gender confusion battles.

The Russians, on the other hand, have every right to protect their interests along their own border, to protect the persons and property of Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, not long ago, were citizens of a greater Russia, to discourage neo-Nazi activity in their back-yard, and most of all to try to stabilize a region that has little history and experience with independence. They also have to contend with the bankruptcy of Ukraine, which may be the principal cause of its current crack-up. Ukraine is deep in hock to Russia, but also to a network of Western banks, and it remains to be seen whether the failure of these linked obligations will lead to contagion throughout the global financial system. It only takes one additional falling snowflake to push a snow-field into criticality.

Welcome to the era of failed states. We’ve already seen plenty of action around the world and we’re going to see more as resource and capital scarcities drive down standards of living and lower the trust horizon. The world is not going in the direction that Tom Friedman and the globalists thought. Anything organized at the giant scale is now in trouble, nation-states in particular.  The USA is not immune to this trend, whatever we imagine about ourselves for now.

UAE, Egypt plotting coup in Libya, say Libyan RoR rebels | StratRisks

UAE, Egypt plotting coup in Libya, say Libyan RoR rebels | StratRisks.

Source: WB

Libya Shield

The Libyan “Revolutionaries Operations Room” (ROR) said that it acquired “documented information” regarding plots by the UAE and Egyptian military-led authorities to meddle in Libyan affairs and to abort the Libyan revolution.

According to the Middle East Monitor, in a Facebook statement the ROR claimed that UAE’s security agencies has recently formed two “cells” to circumvent the Libyan revolution and to stop Libyan oil exports.

The statement read: “We received information that UAE’s security apparatus has formed two high level cells. The first aims at overthrowing the new Libyan regime, the Libyan National Congress, and confronting the rise of Islamists. The second cell is a specialized media one based in Amman, Jordan.”

According to the statement, the “media cell” is primarily tasked with disseminating news that would serve the agenda of the “security cell”. Part of its agenda is to distort the image of Islamists, particularly with their rising popularity in Libya, the statement claims.

The ROR claimed that it obtained all information related to the “security cell” in Libya, and that it is led and funded by the UAE. It claimed that the cell has been operating in Libya since January 26, 2013.

“A high level Libyan source told ROR that a group affiliated with Mahmoud Gebril abducted Abu Anas Al-Libi based on a request from the UAE which immediately handed him over to the American CIA.”

The statement claimed that Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan leads the security cell, while the members of the cell are counter-revolutionary figures in Libya, including Al-Saadi Al-Ghadhafi who managed to escape from the rebels, and a Libyan close to the Egyptian coup leader Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

The ROR affirmed that the “security cell” is based in Abu Dhabi, and convenes regularly with the protection of UAE security.

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Do more to prevent war | www.timesrecord.com | The Times Record

Do more to prevent war | www.timesrecord.com | The Times Record.

BY DAVID SWANSON
GUEST COLUMN


David Swanson

David Swanson

Polls showed a large percentage of us in this country supporting the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and even — though somewhat reduced — the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But not long after, and ever since, a majority of us have said those were mistakes.

We’ve opposed attacking Iran whenever that idea has entered the news. We opposed bombing Libya in 2011 and were ignored, as was Congress. And, by the way, advocates of that happy little war are rather quiet about the chaos it created.

But last September, the word on our televisions was that missiles must be sent to strike Syria. President Barack Obama and the leaders of both big political parties said they favored it. Wall Street believed it would happen, judging by Raytheon’s stock. When U.S. intelligence agencies declined to make the president’s case, he released a “government” assessment without them.

Remarkably, we didn’t accept that choice. A majority of us favored humanitarian aid, but no missiles, and no arming of one side in the war. We had the benefit of many people within the government and the military agreeing with us. And when Congress was pressured to demand approval power, Obama granted it.

It helped more that members of Congress were in their districts with people getting in their faces. It was with Congress indicating its refusal to support a war that Obama and Kerry accepted the pre-existing Russian offer to negotiate. In fact, the day before they made that decision, the State Department had stressed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would never ever give up his chemical weapons, and Kerry’s remarks on that solution had been “rhetorical.”

The war in Syria goes on. Washington sent guns, but refrained from air strikes. Major humanitarian aid would cost far less than missiles and guns, but hasn’t materialized. The children we were supposed to care about enough to bomb their country are still suffering, and most of us still care.

But a U.S. war was prevented.

We’re seeing the same thing play out in Washington right now on the question of whether to impose yet more sanctions on Iran, shred a negotiated agreement with Iran, and commit the United States to joining in any war between Israel and Iran.

In January, a bill to do all of that looked likely to pass through the Senate. Public pressure has been one factor in, thus far, slowing it down.

Are we moving away from war?

The ongoing war in Afghanistan, and White House efforts to extend it beyond this year, might suggest otherwise. The military budget that still eats up, across various departments, roughly half of federal discretionary spending, and which is roughly the size of all other countries’ military spending combined, might suggest otherwise. The failure to repeal the authorizations for war from 2001 and 2003, and the establishment of permanent practices of surveillance and detention and secrecy justified by a permanent state of war, might suggest otherwise. As might the ongoing missile strikes from drones over a number of nations.

But you’ll notice that they don’t ask us before launching drone strikes, and that their assurances that no innocent people are harmed have proven highly misleading.

War may be becoming acceptable only as what its advocates have long claimed it was: a last resort. Of course if we can really make that true, we’ll never have a war again.

DAVID SWANSON will be speaking at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.

Libya declares state of emergency – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Libya declares state of emergency – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

Libya has declared a state of emergency as the air force attacked gunmen in the remote south to end unrest between rival armed groups that have been clashing for days.

The General National Congress, Libya’s highest political authority, took the decision on Saturday during an “extraordinary session” after the parliament put the army on alert as gunmen stormed the air force base, Tamenhant, near the southern city of Sabha, an official said.

“A force was readied, then aircraft moved and took off and dealt with the targets,” Abdul-Raziq al-Shabahi, defence ministry spokesman, told reporters in Tripoli.

He said the army was tracking the attackers after they fled into the desert.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said a small group of gunmen had entered the air force base outside Sabha, 770km south of the capital Tripoli, but the government was in control of the town and its civilian airport.

“This confrontation (at the air base) is continuing but in a few hours it will be solved,” the prime minister told a televised address, without elaborating.

Zeidan said he had sent his defence minister to Misrata to instruct troops based there to move to the south.

“The troops from Misrata have been commissioned by the government to conduct a national task … to spread security and stability in the region,” he said in the address.

Tribal clashes

Local sources said the clashes that started last week were sparked by the death of a rebel chief linked to the Awled Sleiman, adding that the tribe accused the Toubou of murdering him.

The Toubou are black oasis farmers by tradition who also live in southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger, who have repeatedly said they were being marginalised.

Western powers fear the OPEC producer will slide into instability as the government struggles to contain heavily-armed groups and tribesmen who helped topped Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm.

Big money behind war: the military-industrial complex – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

Big money behind war: the military-industrial complex – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

Perpetual war represents perpetual profits for the ever expanding business and government interests [AFP]
In January 1961, US President Dwight D Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn the nation of what he viewed as one of its greatest threats: the military-industrial complex composed of military contractors and lobbyists perpetuating war.

Eisenhower warned that “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” had emerged as a hidden force in US politics and that Americans “must not fail to comprehend its grave implications”. The speech may have been Eisenhower’s most courageous and prophetic moment. Fifty years and some later, Americans find themselves in what seems like perpetual war. No sooner do we draw down on operations in Iraq than leaders demand an intervention in Libya or Syria or Iran. While perpetual war constitutes perpetual losses for families, and ever expanding budgets, it also represents perpetual profits for a new and larger complex of business and government interests.

The new military-industrial complex is fuelled by a conveniently ambiguous and unseen enemy: the terrorist. Former President George W Bush and his aides insisted on calling counter-terrorism efforts a “war”. This concerted effort by leaders like former Vice President Dick Cheney (himself the former CEO of defence-contractor Halliburton) was not some empty rhetorical exercise. Not only would a war maximise the inherent powers of the president, but it would maximise the budgets for military and homeland agencies.

This new coalition of companies, agencies, and lobbyists dwarfs the system known by Eisenhower when he warned Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence… by the military-industrial complex”. Ironically, it has had some of its best days under President Barack Obama who has radically expanded drone attacks and claimed that he alone determines what a war is for the purposes of consulting Congress.

Investment in homeland security companies is expected to yield a 12 percent annual growth through 2013 – an astronomical return when compared to other parts of the tanking economy.

Good for economy?

While few politicians are willing to admit it, we don’t just endure wars we seem to need war – at least for some people. A study showed that roughly 75 percent of the fallen in these wars come from working class families. They do not need war. They pay the cost of the war. Eisenhower would likely be appalled by the size of the industrial and governmental workforce committed to war or counter-terrorism activities. Military and homeland budgets now support millions of people in an otherwise declining economy. Hundreds of billions of dollars flow each year from the public coffers to agencies and contractors who have an incentive to keep the country on a war-footing – and footing the bill for war.

Across the country, the war-based economy can be seen in an industrywhich includes everything from Homeland Security educational degrees to counter-terrorism consultants to private-run preferred traveller programmes for airport security gates. Recently, the “black budget” of secret intelligence programmes alone was estimated at $52.6bn for 2013. That is only the secret programmes, not the much larger intelligence and counterintelligence budgets. We now have 16 spy agencies that employ 107,035 employees. This is separate from the over one million people employed by the military and national security law enforcement agencies.

The core of this expanding complex is an axis of influence of corporations, lobbyists, and agencies that have created a massive, self-sustaining terror-based industry.

The contractors

In the last eight years, trillions of dollars have flowed to military and homeland security companies. When the administration starts a war like Libya, it is a windfall for companies who are given generous contracts to produce everything from replacement missiles to ready-to-eat meals.

In the first 10 days of the Libyan war alone, the administration spent roughly $550m. That figure includes about $340m for munitions – mostly cruise missiles that must be replaced. Not only did Democratic members of Congress offer post-hoc support for the Libyan attack, but they also proposed a permanent authorisation for presidents to attack targets deemed connected to terrorism – a perpetual war on terror. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers an even steadier profit margin. According to Morgan Keegan, a wealth management and capital firm, investment in homeland security companies is expected to yield a 12 percent annual growth through 2013 – an astronomical return when compared to other parts of the tanking economy.

The lobbyists

There are thousands of lobbyists in Washington to guarantee the ever-expanding budgets for war and homeland security. One such example is former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff who pushed the purchase of the heavily criticised (and little tested) full-body scanners used in airports. When Chertoff was giving dozens of interviews to convince the public that the machines were needed to hold back the terror threat, many people were unaware that the manufacturer of the machine is a client of the Chertoff Group, his highly profitable security consulting agency. (Those hugely expensive machines were later scrapped after Rapiscan, the manufacturer, received the windfall.)

Lobbyists maintain pressure on politicians by framing every budget in “tough on terror” versus “soft on terror” terms. They have the perfect products to pitch – products that are designed to destroy themselves and be replaced in an ever-lasting war on terror.

The agencies 

It is not just revolving doors that tie federal agencies to these lobbyists and companies. The war-based economy allows for military and homeland departments to be virtually untouchable. Environmental and social programmes are eliminated or curtailed by billions as war-related budgets continue to expand to meet “new threats”.

A massive counterterrorism system has been created employing tens of thousands of personnel with billions of dollars to search for domestic terrorists.

With the support of an army of lobbyists and companies, cabinet members like former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, are invincible in Washington. When citizens complained of watching their children groped by the TSA, Napolitano defiantly retorted that if people did not want their children groped, they should yield and use the unpopular full-body machines – the machines being sold by her predecessor, Chertoff.

It is not just the Defense and DHS departments that enjoy the war windfall. Take the Department of Justice (DOJ). A massive counterterrorism system has been created employing tens of thousands of personnel with billions of dollars to search for domestic terrorists. The problem has been a comparative shortage of actual terrorists to justify the size of this internal security system.

Accordingly, the DOJ has counted everything from simple immigration cases to credit card fraud as terror cases in a body count approach not seen since the Vietnam War. For example, the DOJ claimed to have busted a major terror-network as part of “Operation Cedar Sweep”, where Lebanese citizens were accused of sending money to terrorists. They were later forced to drop all charges against all 27 defendants as unsupportable. It turned out to be a bunch of simple head shops. Nevertheless, the new internal security system continues to grind on with expanding powers and budgets. A few years ago, the DOJ even changed the definition of terrorism to allow for an ever-widening number of cases to be considered “terror-related”.

Symbiotic relationship

Our economic war-dependence is matched by political war-dependence. Many members represent districts with contractors that supply homeland security needs and our on-going wars.

Even with polls showing that the majority of Americans are opposed to continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new military-industrial complex continues to easily muster the necessary support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. It is a testament to the influence of this alliance that hundreds of billions are being spent in Afghanistan and Iraq while Congress is planning to cut billions from core social programmes, including a possible rollback on Medicare due to lack of money. None of that matters. It doesn’t even matter that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the US the enemy and said he wishes that he had joined the Taliban. Even the documented billions stolen by government officials in Iraq and Afghanistan are treated as a mere cost of doing business.

It is what Eisenhower described as the “misplaced power” of the military-industrial complex – power that makes public opposition and even thousands of dead soldiers immaterial. War may be hell for some but it is heaven for others in a war-dependent economy.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and has testified in Congress on the massive counter-terrorism budgets and bureaucracy in the United States.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Libya Warns: Oil Tankers At Closed Ports “Will Be Destroyed” | Zero Hedge

Libya Warns: Oil Tankers At Closed Ports “Will Be Destroyed” | Zero Hedge.

Armed groups, demanding autonomy for eastern Libya, have invited foreign companies to buy oil from ports they have seized in defiance of the central government in Tripoli. As Reuters reports“If a ship docks in one of the closed ports,” warned Libya’s defense ministry, “then we will destroy it,” but the group, led by tribal leader and 2011 civil war hero Ibrahim Jathran, shrugged off Tripoli’s warning, stating “we welcome global oil companies … The oil security guards will guarantee the safety of tankers.” The development adds to an air of chaos as the weak Tripoli government struggles to rein in the armed groups that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but which kept their guns and are now demanding political power and a bigger share of the country’s oil wealth.

 

Via gCaptain (Reuters),

Armed groups demanding autonomy for eastern Libya have invited foreign companies to buy oil from ports they have seized in defiance of the central government in Tripoli.

 

In an announcement on Tuesday, they also pledged to protect tankers loading crude, after the Libyan defence ministry said it would destroy vessels using ports in the east, which are under control of the protesters linked to a self-proclaimed regional government.

 

 

On Monday, the Libyan navy said it fired warning shots at a tanker trying to load oil at the eastern port of Es-Sider, which was seized with two other terminals by the autonomy group in August. The three harbours accounted previously for 600,000 barrels a day.

 

But the group, led by tribal leader and 2011 civil war hero Ibrahim Jathran, shrugged off Tripoli’s warning by inviting foreign companies to buy eastern oil.

 

 

“We welcome global oil companies … The oil security guards will guarantee the safety of tankers,” said Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, prime minister of Jathran’s self-declared government in the eastern Cyrenaica region.

 

Workers at the seized ports had returned to work, he said. A newly founded oil company called Libya Oil and Gas Corp would be dealing with potential buyers. A new army and coast guard, made up of Jathran’s battle-hardened fighters, would secure the ports.

 

 

Libya’s defence ministry had earlier warned potential buyers against any docking at the seized ports. “If a ship docks in one of the closed ports, and it does not leave the port again, then we will destroy it,” said Defence Ministry spokesman Said Abdul Razig al-Shbahi.

 

The risks of an escalation were clear over the weekend when the Libyan navy said it opened fire on a vessel trying to reach Es-Sider before the tanker, Baku, turned back to Malta.

 

 

The confrontation has raised worries that Libya, also struggling with Islamist militias and armed tribesmen, might break apart as Cyrenaica and the southern Fezzan region demand political autonomy.

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