Monday, October 20, 2014

LIBYA: FROM AFRICA’S RICHEST STATE UNDER GADDAFI, TO FAILED STATE AFTER NATO INTERVENTION

Global Research
October 20, 2014


This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.
After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.
The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.
On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.
On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.
The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.
America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.
In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.
Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.
Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.
Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.
In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya’s natural resources.
For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.
One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.
When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.
Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.
A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.
Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.
NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Asian Militaries Catching Up With the U.S. 10/19 by Mark Matheny | Politics Podcasts

Asian Militaries Catching Up With the U.S. 10/19 by Mark Matheny | Politics Podcasts

ISLAMIC STATE TRAINING PILOTS TO FLY IN THREE JETS

Reuters
October 17, 2014



Matheny's Note: Wow, ISIS now has jets too... what's next - Aircraft Carriers?? This is insane....

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time that the militant group had taken to the air.
The group, which has seized land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report and U.S. Central Command said it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.

IT’S STARTING: RUSSIANS AND CHINESE ARE DITCHING THE DOLLAR AND EUROPEANS ARE USING RENMINBI IN THEIR RESERVES

Economic Policy Journal
October 19, 2014


At present, US dollar accounts for roughly 61% of the world's foreign exchange reserves.

It's still a safe bet for most, not because the currency is actually strong, but because so many others are already so reliant on it.

Between those with reserves in and pegs to the US dollar, many countries have given their allegiance, and now have a vested interest in the health of the currency.

Due to this common interest, a sort of unofficial, involuntary alliance has been formed between them all.

Together, they’re all playing along, pretending that everything is fine. If the dollar collapses, they're all screwed, so they've got to get each other’s backs.

From the throne of the world’s reserve currency, the Federal Reserve, with the power to print the US dollar, feels dangerously omnipotent.

They can get away with just about anything. For now.

The central bankers get to print dollars and spend them at current prices, before the stuff hits the wider market and diminishes its overall value.

And for the time being they don’t really face any consequences. The whole world just absorbs it. Other countries really have no other choice.

But
they’re getting tired of putting up with this abuse, and the unrest is growing. New alliances are being made, this time to dethrone the dollar.

Just this week yet another currency swap agreement was made between the Chinese and Russian central banks. This time for 150 billion renminbi.

Trade volume between China and Russia will reach $100 billion (600 billion renminbi) next year, and is expected to reach $200 billion in 2020. This latest currency swap agreement will greatly reduce the need for dollars in their transactions.

Currently, 75% of trade between the two countries is settled in dollars. When they signed the agreement for the bilateral currency swap, Russian deputy Prime Ministers said this will “encourage companies from the two countries to settle trade in local currencies and avoid the use of a third country’s currency.”

Who do you think that was aimed at?

Threatened by the growing strength of China and Russia, the US is actively working to vilify the two. Between the headlines of war, both cyber and military, the government is unsubtly trying to bring back the days of yellow peril and the red scare.

However, it can't use the same tactics on its longstanding ally—Europe.

Even the European Central Bank has started discussions on the possibility of including the renminbi as one of its reserve currencies.

And the euro and the renminbi are already directly tradable as of this month.

On Tuesday the UK also became the first country besides China to issue a sovereign bond in renminbi.

This coincided with the issuing of 180 million renminbi of corporate bonds by China’s ICBC in South Korea. Another first. South Korea is firmly on the renminbi train as renminbi deposits in the country jumped 55-times in just one year.

It’s very clear where the trend is going. All these news items are pieces of the same puzzle. The US dollar’s throne is shaking as it’s losing its importance and status as the preeminent currency in the world. Renminbi is on the way up.

The whole existing order of a single ruling currency is currently being challenged.

A new financial era is coming.

Simon Black is Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking, Study Says

TIME
October 18, 2014

The link between soda and telomere length

Nobody would mistake sugary soda for a health food, but a new studypublished in the American Journal of Public Health just found that a daily soda habit can age your immune cells almost two years.
Senior study author Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at University of California San Francisco, wanted to look at the mechanisms behind soda’s storied link to conditions like diabetes,heart attack, obesity, and even higher rates of death. She studied telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes in every cell in our body, from white blood cells. Shorter telomeres have been linked to health detriments like shorter lifespans and more stress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, the study notes.
Epel and her team analyzed data from 5,309 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from about 14 years ago. They found that people who drank more sugary soda tended to have shorter telomeres. Drinking an 8-ounce daily serving of soda corresponded to 1.9 years of additional aging, and drinking a daily 20-ounce serving was linked to 4.6 more years of aging. The latter, the authors point out, is exactly the same association found between telomere length and smoking.
Only the sugary, bubbly stuff showed this effect. Epel didn’t see any association between telomere length and diet soda intake. “The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism,” she says.

Ebola Crisis: 1000 People Monitored In US

Before It's News
October 18, 2014

Today President Obama said regarding the Ebola Virus, “we can’t give in to hysteria.”
But who is kidding who when it was reported that at least 1,000 Americans are being monitored for Ebola.

Dallas: Whether by land, sea or air, the fear of Ebola has been spreading far faster than the growth in the number of people diagnosed with the disease.

As of Friday, about 1000 people are being watched for symptoms, have been asked to monitor themselves or have been urged to check with a counsellor at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The group includes a handful of people who have been ordered into quarantine, a larger group that is being closely watched with temperatures taken at least daily and a much larger group of travellers who may haven flown on a Frontier Airlines jetliner used at some point by an Ebola patient travelling with a low-grade fever.
Alarm: Pentagon workers walk through a pedestrian tunnel in the South Parking lot area that crosses under Interstate 95 highway during an Ebola scare.Alarm: Pentagon workers walk through a pedestrian tunnel in the South Parking lot area that crosses under Interstate 95 highway during an Ebola scare. Photo: AFP
 
None of those being monitored, regardless of their group, has exhibited any Ebola symptoms. The swelling numbers of those worried comes as President Barack Obama named a former White House adviser Ron Klain to co-ordinate US efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, after criticism the government’s response to the virus has been slow and inadequate. Mr Klain, a lawyer and businessman, was a senior White House aide to Obama and chief of staff to Vice-President Joe Biden. He will report to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice, a White House official said.

Separately, the World Health Organisation admitted it botched attempts to stop the spiralling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

In a draft internal document obtained by the Associated Press, the UN agency wrote that experts should have realised that traditional infectious disease-containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in the document.
In the US, the fear of Ebola infection has spread from California to Connecticut – places where people have said they had symptoms such as fever or vomiting, prompting official responses such as sending people home or to hospitals for testing. Schools in Texas and Ohio have been been closed, and false alarms have been sounded across the country. The Pentagon in Washington also had a scare a woman who had reportedly visited Africa reported feeling ill.
However, travel-related issues  are to the fore.
On Friday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced that a lab supervisor from a Dallas hospital is in isolation on a ship out of “an extreme abundance of caution”. The unnamed woman had no signs of illness and was considered to be a “very low risk” by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet the cruise ship, the Carnival Magic, was denied docking off the coast of Mexico and is headed back to Galveston, Texas.

The CDC also said two other Dallas hospital workers, who had travelled abroad and returned, had been asked to monitor themselves for signs for symptoms of Ebola. They had not been under the travel restrictions that are now in place for those who may have been exposed to the virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital.
Those travellers are among the 75 health-care workers who were involved in treating Thomas Duncan, who entered the hospital for the last time on September 28.

In all, Dallas officials said about 135 people are being monitored to some degree. They include four of Mr Duncan’s family and friends who shared a Dallas apartment for several days and have been quarantined for weeks, but their 21-day period of being physically cut off is scheduled to end on Monday. The boyfriend of Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola, is also being monitored at the Dallas hospital. He has not been identified beyond the fact that he works at Alcon, a Fort Worth-based eye-care company.

None have shown any symptoms.
Republicans have pushed Mr Obama to ban all travel from West Africa, where Ebola has already claimed more than 4500 lives. Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican presidential hopeful, backed that call on Friday.
“Air travel is in fact how this disease crosses borders and it’s certainly how it got to Texas,” Mr Perry said during a televised news conference, adding that there should be an exception for aid workers.
MCT, Reuters, AP
 

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