Posts by Jaime Ortega-Simo:

    Interview: Present ISIL Middle East paradox?

    July 4th, 2015

    Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.

     

    Steven Emerson

    He is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Emerson and his staff frequently provide briefings to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, members of Congress and congressional committees, and print and electronic media, both national and international. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum.

    1) Abu Sayyaf was killed a month ago, how will that affect ISI operations in IRAQ and Syria? 

    I think the effect will be short lived. ISIS is an organization that has actually learned from the demise of core Al Qaeda. Its leadership structure is only superficially in the form of a pyramid.  But those intelligence specialists tell that  ISIS has learned the lessons from the demise of the core Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan by  building  in redundancy into parallel layers of leadership. So that if one leader goes down—killed or captured—his area of jurisdiction, whether it be ISIS finances or ISIS arms acquisitions or whatever, is not fatally affected.  This by the way is one of the reasons  why ISIS has remained so resilient in the face of some punishing US led strikes, albeit mostly  ineffective. Its an asymmetric terrorist group that  has created a symmetrical fighting organization—think of a conventional fighting force like the US Army which has multiple levels of built in leadership redundancy—that btw, is also fighting a symmetrical war unlike other terrorist groups. The only asymmetrical aspect of the ISIS strategy—and I don’t mean to be callous here—is the headline grabbing horrific decapitations and executions  of hundreds  and hundreds of  those it has designated the enemy which it has captured, ranging from Yazidi men to western journalists to Arab soldiers to Shiite civilians.

    2)  ISIL just captured Ramadi, and are trying to expel Syrian Armed Forces from Palmyra what message does that send to the those countries that support logistically and militarily govern by Haider Al-Abadi and Al-Assad? 

    Well, they have already as you know captured  Palmyra and have gone on to carry out a massive killing spree in the city of Syrian soldiers who did not make it out as well as other “enemies” it designated.  But I am not so sure of what your question means. If you are asking me, what is the effect of iSIS victory in Palmyra on those that support Al-Assad,  frankly  that is limited to only a few entities: Iran, Hizbollah and Russia. And we see that both Iran and Hizbollah have just redoubled their support of Assad’s regime in the belief that ISIS has made too many inroads. If I have misinterpreted your question, let me know.

    3)  If ISIL theoretically defeated Syrian Armed Forces, and controlled mayor cities in Syria, will Jabat-Al-Nusra oppose an Islamic Caliphate govern by Al-Baghdadi? Would they fight each other, despite greeting their rhetorical alliance combating western forces? 

    Well, you raise a very interesting question that used to be very hypothetical but given the losses by Assad recently, is not so hypothetical any longer. It is my belief that  if  the Syrian Armed Forces were defeated,  Jabat  Al Nusrat would never concede that ISIS had achieved that victory but rather that Al Nusrat itself—not ISIS– was either mostly or partly responsible for the victory. Hence, Al Nusrat would never recognize ISIS as the dominant military and political conqueror of a “liberated” Syria. And since Al Nusrat is an outgrowth and effective franchise of Al Qaeda, it would not agreed to ISIS  political dominance of territory that Al Nusrat has occupied or has sought to liberate.  For the past year or so, we have witnessed a very tentative cease fire between ISIS and Al Nusrat, who prior to that had been fighting each other with vicious ferocity. But that  defacto cease fire I believe would cease to exist if  ISIS declared itself the sole political and military heir to the territory of a liberated Syria. And in that scenario, it is my belief that would be a “settling of accounts” between Al Nusrat and ISIS much as we witnessed in Afghanistan in the 1980’s between the 7 different Mujahideen factions  once they victoriously ousted the Soviets.

    4) The US, and NATO, have financially supported Kurdish Pashmerga Troops, to help fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, but without ground troops are western forces doing enough? 

    In an answer, no. Vietnam taught us the limits of air power. Air power alone cannot win wars. Boots on the ground are also required. Without American and other Nato boots on the ground, I just don’t see enough firepower by the valiant Kurds.

    5) There is intelligence suggesting Recep Erdogan is supporting ISIL, with the help of Intra-Secret/Service-Intelligence in Pakistan because of their former ties with Saddam’s Bathist party who is entwined with ISIL fighting Kurds. Is this possible? 

    You have now entered the Middle East “Twilight Zone” (remember Rod Serling’s television series from the 1960s’?) where anything is possible and nothing is impossible. The only thing that I know for sure is that Erdogan has dragged his feet in joining the coalition against ISIS; he has refused to clamp down on the infiltration route to ISIS thru Turkey; he has refused to crack down on the illegal sale of black market oil by ISIS thru Turkish middlemen; he hatred for the Kurds is so visceral that he will do anything it seems to hurt them even if it means helping ISIS although indirectly;  and finally because ISIS ultimately is  the final perfection of the embodiment of the  Muslim Brotherhood,  a group whose values and  belief system  Erdogan religiously enforces (sometimes leading critics to charge him with being a self anointed Calif), then yes, anything is possible.

    6)  Is their a race between Al-Qaeda and ISIL to regain more power in the Middle East? The control of Lybia is not only ISIL’s target, but also Al-Qaeda’s? 

    Forget Al Qaeda. They are not looking to control the Middle East anymore. At this point they are looking only to hang on to franchises that are now defecting to ISIS.  ISIS is the new kid on the block.  ISIS is the only player in this race. Just look at the attacks in Saudi Arabia last week and in Tunis three weeks ago. And in northern Algeria.  Al Qeda in Yemen is AQ’s only remaining star franchise.

    7) Is there any other group outside of ISIL and Al-Qaeda who can present a serious hazard to western targets like the US or Europe? 

    I don’t see any other transnational group other than Hizbollah with the capabilities of hitting US or Europe. And Hizbollah’s  threat is totally controlled by what Iran wants. And since Iran wants a deal with the sanctions lifted,  Iran is going to play nice for the time being. But don’t expect that to last forever. And don’t expect Hizbollah to retire into an old age home even while it is still a player to be reckoned with via Israel.  Remember until  9-11, Hizbollah was the terrorist group that had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group.

    8) If ISIS takes down Assad’s regime, then it will be a battle between Al-Nusra, Ahrar- Al-Sham and ISIS because in Nov 2014, they started to attack each other. In case ISIS battled Al-Qaeda, and that is a high possibility, out of the two who would win? Who would receive more support from Qatar, Kuwait, KSA, Turkey and Pakistan? And who would be more successful in unifying with other jihadist groups like Ansar-Al Islam, Ansar Al-Sharia, Al-Tawid al Jihad, besides other smaller faction groups in the Middle East?   

    Already, ISIS has been battling the Taliban and winning their skirmishes as Taliban forces have been defecting to ISIS. Now when you raise the question of who would win in an Al Qaeda-ISIS confrontation, its hard to see that direct confrontation emerging at this time because the core Al Qaeda in Afghanistan has been decimated. What remains is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS has not ventured forth into Yemen at this point. So the only possible convergence of a confrontation between AQ and ISIS would be between AQ surrogates, like Al-Nusrat and Ansar Al Sharia (not really a surrogate of AQ though). In this case, I think that ISIS would win hands down.

    As for receiving support from those countries you mentioned, well you have to remember that ISIS is Sunni and so are those are countries overwhelmingly Sunni. Yet, there is no doubt that ISIS has been taking the battle to these Persian Gulf potentates, even though they are Sunni, because they are seen as Western puppets and committing apostasy. The question has been—ever since the US formed the Sunni coalition—how fierce will these Sunni oil rich regimes fight ISIS. Saudi Arabia certainly showed its military capabilities and willingness to flex it muscles going it alone but going against Iranian backed Shiites, a far more easily political target among its dominant Sunni population that ISIS.

    Even though these Arab regimes have participated nominally in the joint US led coalition against ISIS, their participation has been quite wanting. In the case of Turkey, well its got so many conflicts of interests regarding its own interests visa-vis the players in the ISIS/Syria/Kurdistan/Iran spectrum  that Turkey cannot be counted on to be a serious combatant against ISIS.  Turkey despises the Kurds and sees their victories as threats to Turkish national security. Turkey also maintains good relations with Iran.  And Turkey does not want to pick a fight with ISIS.  Conversely ISIS has not shown any real desire to confront Turkey head on or destabilize it unlike ISIS’ attitude towards Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya and even Egypt.

    As for who would be more successful in unifying the groups, all you need to do is watch how the once-AQ dominated brigades in the Sinai switched over ISIS as did Al Shabab and Boku Haram,  certain Libyan factions like we now are seeing with Ansar al Sharia.  Military momentum and Islamic ascendancy are certainly with ISIS and those two are as powerful magnets among certain Muslim populations as is the force of gravity in the earth’s atmosphere.

    9) Democracy does not to suit well the Middle East. Is this because politics will never take over religion? Is western democracy an illusion to reach in the Middle East? 

    Well, I would never use the term never. Remember the Protestant Reformation took hundreds of years and cost  hundreds of thousands of lives. It just seems at the present time that the stars of democracy are not in alignment for many countries in the Middle East. But I would not put the blame on religion or claim that this is a permanent status.

    10)  A lot of children seem to adopt religious radicalism with danger. Will the hate towards the west ever change the minds of these Middle Eastern children, of is frantic radicalization a process that cannot be achieved by democracy? 

    I am not so sure of your question here. There is good reason to associate religious radicalism with danger. And that doesn’t just apply to Islam but applies to all religions.  All religions, not just Islam,  have their fanatics and killers.

    Yet, Islamic terrorism is responsible for an average of about 65 to 70% of all international terrorism annually for the past decade according to US intelligence studies published by NCIS.   Why the disproportionate amount of terrorism within the Islamic world?  And when one looks at the  state sponsored media and  educational curriculum being studied in Islamic schools, not only in the Muslim world but also in the west,  outside educators, ngo’s and investigators have found  a frightening level of continued incitement,  conspiratorial allegations against the West and glorification of terrorist violence (rather than an emphasis on pluralism and non violence and equality) that is a natural breeding ground for violence.

    When the Palestinian Authority names and honors  public squares on the West Bank in the memory of the most horrific terrorists who carried out mass murders, what does that tell  the youth? When groups like CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, tell followers in the United States that the FBI is responsible for more “terrorism” than Al Qaeda, what does that invoke in the minds of its followers?  When  the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Sheik Yousef Al Qardawi, issue fatwas saying its religiously ok to kill Americans and Jews,  it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the consequences.  And when Muslim dissidents are murdered in the streets—let alone apostates—because they were condemned as  blasphemous for their views,  what lesson is drawn by the next generation?  You ask whether democracy can reverse this radicalization? I am not so sure. I think we in the west make a huge mistake in equating civil society with democracy.

    11) History has shown that in 1258 the brutal seizure of Mongols in Baghdad, gave lasting peaceful effects in the region up to 200 years. We have adopted democracy, but an Iron fist seems to be a better alternative to the sectarian violence shown in the Middle East. Has the issue of extermination, historically seen in 12th century by mongol troops ever been presented in congress as an alternative to defeat global Yihadist to secure national and international interest worldwide?     

    Whoa, this may be above my pay grade. If we equate modern day authoritarianism (eg the Mubarak regime, the Qaddafi regime) with what you call the “Iron Fist,” there is no doubt that as they say in the American Express commercials, “membership has its privileges.”  I personally am not  a fan of authoritarianism over democracy but we have to be real here: In the 1930’s, Hitler used democracy to obtain power. So democracy in and of itself without  the corollary values of an open pluralistic society is not a viable answer to sectarian violence. If anything, we have witnessed the tragedy of the Arab Spring turning into the Arab Winter because the nascent democratic movements were turned into violent jihadist power plays, leaving most of the populations more disenfranchised and more oppressed than even under their previous authoritarian rulers.  But you have raised a civilization question that has never been answered and may never produce a final answer. .

    – Will the issue of extermination be seriously examined only after another 9-11 strikes the United States?  

    Remember what Winston Churchill  said right after Czechoslovakia  was taken over by the Germans in 1938 with full complicity of Britain and France, “ Democracies act only when there is blood on the street.” How right he was.

    12) What is the best issue to resolve the problem? 

    I don’t have one. Sorry. I can only tell you that we in the west are being  been eviscerated  by the adopted  and delusionally progressive  notions of  multi-culturalism where no set of moral values is greater than any other. I totally disagree. I believe that the values of western civilization, of the separation of church and state, of  gender equality and secularism are values that are morally superior to other sets of value systems.  Of course, I will be charged with chauvinism, maybe even “fascism”  for saying such a thing. But that proves my point.

    If I cede ground to my critics, why should Hitler’s Nazi ideology be deemed morally inferior at the very least to other western value systems? Radical Islamic values are not mine. Nor ought they be accepted by the high priests of morality in today’s world as nothing more than religious fascism? The same goes with the Christian Identity Movement. But no one seems to have a problem recognizing the latter for that dangerous anti-civizational movement it is. Why it is so hard to recognize other values systems for the other regressive movements?

     

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    Till they blow up Las Vegas, ISIS won’t get exterminated

    July 1st, 2015

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

     

    Democracy, either socialistic or pro-capitalist based has had significant problems with sponsoring harsh military policies and mounting fierce national security programs.  National security means absolutely nothing if our president and congress don’t apply realistic measures to prevent terrorism from assaulting the US.

    The high US national security budget is a disaster. The TSA, just recently announced that 90% of bomb smuggling inside airports “would pass undetected through security screeners.” When they arrested American terrorist David Coleman Headley, despite the FBI email request for information, it was he (Headley) who eventually told the agents he was involved with the Bombay attacks in 2011, proving that relying on emails for counter-terrorism is not effective. The irony is that if Headley wouldn’t have confessed his involvement in the attacks, he probably would of being a free man.

    To prevent is to cure, without prevention life is a risky gamble challenged by a group of radical fanatics with clear intentions in what is that they are trying to accomplish — nothing else than the destruction of the US and other foreign allies. The UN subsists as nothing but a global fluke that promotes unrealistic progress and sanctions invented by thinkers who skip the realities of the past to promote new unproven ideas. World history is the only true standard of measurement that should be used when dealing with dangerous groups.

    The Mongols until this day have held a record which effectively combated and exterminated Jihad.  The aftermath stabilized the region for 200 years without carnage crippling violence in the Middle East. Instead of learning the lessons taught by once the most advanced military power (The Mongols), our military depends on the weak decisions Obama and his acolytes prescribe to our security — In other words a gun of roses!

    These useless politicians are nothing but hypocrites who want to go down in history as heroic figures that satisfied worldly demands in their quest to achieve world peace. Even at the cost of surrendering to the most despicable adversaries, weakening our military and national security for the sake of showing their greatness to future generations.

    As an imperfect human being, unlike Mr. Bill Clinton, I would have never had the courage to write a book titled ‘My life’ after being responsible for the non-intervention to defend Rwandan Tootsies during the terrible genocide that killed over 800.000 people. The same man who’s security policy forcefully hindered FBI’s agent John Oneill to travel to Yemen and interrogate the terrorist who eventually flew inside the Twin Towers.

    Bush was a terrible decision maker, but he did not rescind using force given the state of affairs he inherited. He targeted the wrong countries. Instead of aggressively targeting Iraq; Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar funded Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells and deserved unsympathetic punishment for their actions. The US should have invaded those countries shot radical clerics in the spot, blow up radical mosques, and executed wealthy Arab extremist sponsoring global jihad.  But Arab Gulf Lobbyist probably paid millions of dollars to prevent a full scale US Arabian invasion. Lobbying is bribery and should be abolished because it allows powerful institutions and countries to pay off congressmen in order to get away with punishment, but that is another topic.

    Obama on the other hand is a two faced president, strong in rhetoric but weak decision maker who is responsible for the rise of ISIS. Abandoning Iraq, pulling all key US advisers to help advice the weak Iraqi central government, bestowing Nouri Al-Malaki with power that he would later cruelly exert with Shia dominance over a mostly populated Sunni country.

    But what is the media focusing on?

    I understand civil liberties play an important role in our society, and such problems should be of concerned matters for those who seek change. Gays should be given rights, immigrants should be given citizenship but not without a price, and those who hang the modern day confederate flag (which is the battle flag, not the actual racist war flag) should be given the same rights not to remove their historic symbol from state buildings.

    These are all important daily stories that should be given attention, but given the current circumstances, radical Muslim fanatics don’t care about gay rights, immigrants or battle flags, they care about extinguishing our existence for us infidels to bow down to their caliphate by means of imposing the religious sword.

    The US foreign policy has weakened over time, and other rising countries will take our decline with great joy to satisfy their own global benefits.

    China and Russia cleverly watch the US move. When they feel our policies weaken, they gently strike with venom. Russia annexing Crimea, threatening Poland and Denmark and sending clandestine operations in Northern Ukraine to destroy Poroshenko’s nationalist government has imperialist significance attached to its budge.

    Last month China was caught hacking US technology. China is building a remarkable military apparatus (not recreational toys) for imminent expansion, recently bullying the Philippines illegally creating artificial islands in the territorial seas conceded by the Spanish in Asia a few hundred years ago.

    What is the US and the EU doing as a response? Endless paperwork and null sanctions to prevent conflict! But these politicians don’t seem to learn from the lessons of the past, instead they incredulously believe in Alice in Wonderland like world.

    Could you imagine the Roman Empire at its greatest strength dealing with ISIL as the west has done in the past decade with terrorism? Signing papers, assembling committees and not sending troops to not offend Arabs in the region? No, the Romans would of send their mighty army and wiped out all the insurrection successfully stabilizing the region in the blink of an eye. Carthage was destroyed by the Roman Empire, when Cartage’s momentum was about to challenge the Roman Empire expansion.

    That is history, and if anything history has shown that these bland politicians are the reason why emerging world powers fails to last against those who oppose greater force.

    But what is going to happen next?  Bad things are meant to happen sooner or later because instead of quick effective retaliation with forceful action, our western countries are gambling with the devil for the sake of democracy. Eventually, ISIL will go to a place that represents the hegemony of global capitalism like the city of Las Vegas, detonate two truck bombs in the middle of the Strip, and kill hundreds if not thousands of people from all tongues and languages. We can prevent this gruesome scenery from coming to reality using the force of nature that most western politicians constrain for their own interpretation of liberal justice, that is total annihilation.

    Its not hard to acquire a dirty nuclear bomb, all you need is to pay a former KGB, or a former ISI scientist looking for employment with a good tidy sum of money. Its not hard to ship the bomb to South America and Mexico, pay off a few cartel organizations, and then smuggle it through a drug tunnel to the Arizona-Texas border and it will be easier to assemble in the US. The rest is sad news as no one can prevent an attack of that magnitude in US territory, there is just not enough human resources to track everyone — it will happen!

    Radical clerics in Europe and the U.S. that speak against our western governments promoting violence, should be captured and executed without trial, their families deported back to their country of origin. Those protesting US action against terrorism, truly excuse violence and should be dealt with for treason and sent to their countries of origin revoking their citizen status without possibility of returning back. It’s not a complicated decision.

    The US military should invade Raqqa (ISIL’s capitol) and give a 24 hr warning to evacuate the city for the sake of children under 10, and then drop bacteriological weapons and exterminate everyone over the age of 10 without mercy for the youth are the seeds of radical indoctrination. Then ask ISIL to surrender or start another exterminating campaign in Mosul; eventually they will not only surrender, but be appalled with the same brutality they showed others.

    Applying such brutal methods of extermination works miracles and  we know this because the Mongols did it first in 1258 ac, it terrified the region flourishing peace for over 200 years.  In ISIL’s eyes, you are an animal, you are not a human being, and therefore we must apply that same logic to our enemies, and do it more brutally to win the psychological war.

    Democracy is a channel for failure in the Middle East. The Middle East can only be organized with regimes that support totalitarian dictatorships; sadly looking at democracy is utterly a waste of time because religious authority permeates the entire region since the dawn of the Fertile Crescent.

    Politics will never integrate in countries where radical Islamic teaching reigns unquestioned. ISIL is gaining great support worldwide and millions of people support its cause. Without stopping this extremist disease, soon places like Las Vegas will be the attraction of Islamic martyrs who will take the life of thousands of innocent Americans.

    Time to get down from the cloud, and fix the problem for the greater good.

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    The Vietnam War: After Forty Years

    May 19th, 2015

     

     

    By Lawrence S. Wittner.

     

    Today, 40 years after the American war in Vietnam ended in ignominious defeat, the traces of that terrible conflict are disappearing.

    Traveling through Vietnam during the latter half of April 2015 with a group of erstwhile antiwar activists, I was struck by the transformation of what was once an impoverished, war-devastated peasant society into a modern nation. Its cities and towns are bustling with life and energy. Vast numbers of motorbikes surge through their streets, including 4.2 million in Hanoi and 7 million in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). A thriving commercial culture has emerged, based not only on many small shops, but on an influx of giant Western, Japanese, and other corporations.

    Although Vietnam is officially a Communist nation, about 40 percent of the economy is capitalist, and the government is making great efforts to encourage private foreign investment. Indeed, over the past decade, Vietnam has enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. Not only have manufacturing and tourism expanded dramatically, but Vietnam has become an agricultural powerhouse. Today it is the world’s second largest exporter of rice, and one of the world’s leading exporters of coffee, pepper, rubber, and other agricultural commodities. Another factor distancing the country from what the Vietnamese call “the American war” is the rapid increase in Vietnam’s population. Only 41 million in 1975, it now tops 90 million, with most of it under the age of 30 — too young to have any direct experience with the conflict.

    Vietnam has also made a remarkable recovery in world affairs. It now has diplomatic relations with 189 countries, and enjoys good relations with all the major nations.

    Nevertheless, the people of Vietnam paid a very heavy price for their independence from foreign domination. Some 3 million of them died in the American war, and another 300,000 are still classified as MIAs. In addition, many, many Vietnamese were wounded or crippled in the conflict. Perhaps the most striking long-term damage resulted from the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange (dioxin) as a defoliant. Vietnamese officials estimate that, today, some 4 million of their people suffer the terrible effects of this chemical, which not only destroys the bodies of those exposed to it, but has led to horrible birth defects and developmental disabilities into the second and third generations.  Much of Vietnam’s land remains contaminated by Agent Orange, as well as by unexploded ordnance.  Indeed, since the end of the American war in 1975, the landmines, shells, and bombs that continue to litter the nation’s soil have wounded or killed over 105,000 Vietnamese — many of them children.

    During the immediate postwar years, Vietnam’s ruin was exacerbated by additional factors. These included a U.S. government embargo on trade with Vietnam, U.S. government efforts to isolate Vietnam diplomatically, and a 1979 Chinese military invasion of Vietnam employing 600,000 troops. Although the Vietnamese managed to expel the Chinese — just as they had previously routed the French and the Americans — China continued border skirmishes with Vietnam until 1988. In addition, during the first postwar decade, the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party pursued a hardline, repressive policy that undermined what was left of the economy and alienated much of the population. Misery and starvation were widespread.

    Nevertheless, starting in the mid-1980s, the country made a remarkable comeback. This recovery was facilitated by Communist Party reformers who loosened the reins of power, encouraged foreign investment, and worked at developing a friendlier relationship with other nations, especially the United States. In 1995, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments resumed diplomatic relations. Although these changes did not provide a panacea for the nation’s ills — for example, the U.S. State Department informed the new U.S. ambassador that he must never mention Agent Orange — Vietnam’s circumstances, and particularly its relationship with the United States, gradually improved. U.S.-Vietnamese trade expanded substantially, reaching $35 billion in 2014. Thousands of Vietnamese students participated in educational exchanges. In recent years, the U.S. government even began funding programs to help clean up Agent Orange contamination and unexploded ordnance.

    Although, in part, this U.S.-Vietnamese détente resulted from the growing flexibility of officials in both nations, recently it has also reflected the apprehension of both governments about the increasingly assertive posture of China in Asian affairs. Worried about China’s unilateral occupation of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea during 2014, both governments began to resist it — the United States through its “Pacific pivot” and Vietnam through an ever-closer relationship with the United States to “balance” China. Although both nations officially support the settlement of the conflict over the disputed islands through diplomacy centered on the ten countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, officials in Vietnam, increasingly nervous about China’s ambitions, appear to welcome the growth of a more powerful U.S. military presence in the region. In the context of this emerging agreement on regional security, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and U.S. President Barack Obama will be visiting Vietnam later this year.

    This shift from warring enemies to cooperative partners over the past 40 years should lead to solemn reflection. In the Vietnam War, the U.S. government laid waste to a poor peasant nation in an effort to prevent the triumph of a Communist revolution that U.S. policymakers insisted would result in the conquest of the United States. And yet, when this counter-revolutionary effort collapsed, the predicted Red tide did not sweep over the shores of California. Instead, an independent nation emerged that could — and did — work amicably with the U.S. government. This development highlights the unnecessary nature — indeed, the tragedy — of America’s vastly destructive war in Vietnam. It also underscores the deeper folly of relying on war to cope with international issues.

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    Sergio Lardón Rusiñol answers questions about PODEMOS political party

    March 5th, 2015

     

     

    Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.

     

     

     

    rsz_sergio_lardon

    Sergio Lardón Rusiñol.

    Expert professor of Spanish Political science and Law

     

    1) What does PODEMOS offer to Spain that the PSOE or PPV do not? Why is Pablo Iglesias consider the new hope for Spain’s youth?

    PODEMOS uses social networks as the main tool to reach their political goals. Thanks to social networks, they can send a message to everyone and it reaches them instantly. They use three tools: Twitter, Appgree and Reddit. Of course they have a Web where you can find any information that you need to know about their structure and funding regarding PODEMOS. Thanks to these tools all citizens independently if he or she support Podemos, can participate in open debates.

    PODEMOS is the political force in Spain who uses social media more and better than other parties. Nowadays, Internet is becoming more usual to get information, especially among younger people. Here PODEMOS is present and develop an intensive use of it. In recent months, some leaders of Podemos have been accused of corruption scandals. In every social network PODEMOS gave his supporters arguments to contrast the publications published in newspapers.

    PODEMOS represent the fight against inequality that the crisis and austerity measures has generated in Spain. The images of evictions of families with children, the deterioration of public services as the Health System or the citizen who lost their money savings in Bankia after the scandal of “preferentes” is the best oil to boost parties like Podemos. But we can not forget that the origin of PODEMOS is the 15-M (massive protest in Puerta del Sol in Madrid in May 2011). When the 15-M started, they didn´t have a political party who received their support, now with PODEMOS this possibility has become real.

    The economic crisis has broken the social contract in the Spanish society. Spanish people feel that they have no future and no jobs, and therefore they could not develop a normal life. This situation provokes frustration and many parts of society are staying outside of the system. Precisely, this layer of society is being mobilized by PODEMOS.
    2015 will be a year of rupture in Spain’s political landscape.

    The traditional parties who have been ruling Spain during fourty years have lost their power and now should share the power with other formations, not only Podemos could represent the left, but other parties in the right side are growing in the polls as the case of Ciudadanos or UPyD. The last poll of CIS (Sociological Research Centre) show how the younger (-25) don´t support and don´t feel identified with the traditional parties. This tendency is growing and represented a great challenge for PSOE and PP.

    Without doubt, Podemos reflect a generational change in Spain. A generation born in a democratic Spain, that didn´t live the transition and neither participated in this political process. Both PP and PSOE have been ruled by the same political and economic elite. The reality is that Spain has changed and a new generation, before or later, will arrive to public institutions. In this sense, in my opinion, the recent abdication of the former king Juan Carlos I is not casual and Felipe VI, independently if you believe in monarchy or not, connects better with this sociological change. In fact, in spite of recent scandals the monarchy is one of the most value political institutions by Spaniards, even Pablo Iglesias has showed his interest to interview the new monarch and exchange points of view.

    2) How did PODEMOS gain so much political terrain in such short period of time?

    One of the major successes of PODEMOS is the use of political language. For example, in his book “Disputar la Democracia” (Contested Democracy), Pablo Iglesias made some references to the democracy concept, a concept that is accepted as positive and the public opinion consider it as fundamental to defend. So, in this sense, according to Iglesias PODEMOS must show this concept and the public opinion must associate this concept with the position that you are defending. For example, the Health System support by the state is a democratic right, however, the austerity program that damages this system is antidemocratic. I wrote this example, but there are other concepts with similar situation as human rights or empowerment of citizens.

    In Europe the political debate has develop about the left and right axis. PODEMOS wants to break it and introduce another axis. The “people” and the “caste”, in other words, the persons who suffer the austerity programs against the persons who have a privilege position and never suffer it. We can take the owns words of Pablo Iglesias (leader of PODEMOS) to understand their position: “The power is not afraid of the left, they’re afraid of the people”.

    Normally, the 15-M is established as the turn point of political history of Spain and the roots of Podemos. It is true, but in 2012 there were political election in Galicia, a north region of Spain where for first time was set up a left alternative to PSOE with possibilities to win an election against the Popular Party or Conservatives. Curiously, Pablo Iglesias participated as adviser of this formation and in some declaration he explained that this experience gave him knowledge that yes, an alternative to PSOE is possible.

    3) A lot of socialist voters are turning to PODEMOS, does PODEMOS plan to help the working class by heavily taxing the wealthy (Corporations, Monolopolies…)?

    PODEMOS has modified their policies in several occasions including their political and economic programs. When they present their program to European Parliament election, they propose don´t pay part of the public debt or reduce retirement age to 60. However, when the poll were shown it gave them the possibility to gain the election of their message to be moderate and today their political and economic program is like the program of social democratic party, in fact the Nordics countries are in many aspects their reference. PODEMOS argues that the reason of this change is that the program to European Parliament is different regarding the program of national elections.

    PODEMOS has proposed their economic program in the documente “Proyecto Económico para la Gente” (An economic project to the people), that was elaborated by two prestigious university teacher, Vicenç Navarro and Juan Torres López. One of the first priorities is to facilitate the funding of the families and small/medium size enterprises, with different tools as ICO (Instituto de Crédito Oficial) with a Public Bank.

    One of the most important economic proposals of PODEMOS is the reduction of the workday to 35 hours by week. From his point of view, this measure would suppose a growth of demand in the labor market and could down the rate of unemployment. The critics of this demand defend that this measure is flawed; in fact, this measure was tried in France during the 90´ and didn´t give the resulted expect.

    One of the elements, in my opinion that characterize PODEMOS is their revivifications of national-popular interest. In 31 of January, PODEMOS called a great manifestation in Madrid and they labeled as “La marcha por el cambio”. In this meeting, the leaders of PODEMOS alluded concepts as patria (fatherland) or nation. In fact, they made reference to May of 1808 when the people of Madrid initiated an important riot against the Napoleon Army and this historic moment is considered as one of most important in the foundation of modern Spanish nation. In my opinion, it could be counterproductive that PODEMOS, who want to regenerate the political life in Spain, claim a riot that precisely brings to Spain more obscurity and banish any aspiration of freedom and liberty during the XIX century, the riots of May in Madrid, gave them power and supported the absolute monarchy of Fernando VII and definitely led away the liberal ideas and the illustration it represents.

    4) How does PODEMOS plan to keep up with pension plans, employment, and get rid of the Spanish brick bubble that has damage the Spanish economy?

    For PODEMOS, the capitalism and Business Company are not necessary caste. They establish clear distinctions. On the one side, the great economic power, represented for example with Santander Bank or entrepreneurs like Florentino Pérez, are caste. Entrepreneurs who obtain substantial economic benefits because they get public contracts, were defined by PODEMOS in this situation as “Capitalismo de amigos” (friendship capitalism). On the other hand, we find the small and medium size enterprises who sustain the system because they pay high tax, meanwhile the other simply don´t pay, according with the PODEMOS vision.

    Some economists in Spain estimate that the cost of corruption is approximately €40bn. Both the PSOE (socialist party) and PP (conservative party) have important cases involving corruption. The business association and unions also have corruption scandals. Even the Monarchy or Army, both of the most important and value for Spaniards institution suffer the problem of the corruption. A part of the fact that this landscape fueled the support of PODEMOS, also provides the argument to build one of the most important aspect of their political narrative, the crisis of the regime of 1978 born with the transition from Franco to democratic Spain. They defend that this degradation of public life in Spain is consequence of political and economic failure of this system and the economic crisis have accelerated it. As consequence the consensus that was accepted in 1978 like Monarchy, territorial organization or political style now is not valid, as consequence we need to change everything and give the voice to the Spanish people.

    On the other hand, PODEMOS also propose the creation of an especial government agency to haunt the tax fraud. In Spain, the estimation is that approximately a 20-25% is black economy and in addition the company establishes some of their benefits in tax heavens. In PODEMOS opinion, the tax income will improve if the government cope the two situations mentioned before.

    The nationalization of some strategic sectors is another measure that PODEMOS contemplate. This option is allowed in the Spanish Constitution and gives to Spanish government the possibility to fix prices, minimum services or expropriate the private property. For example, PODEMOS has announced that if they govern the country the energetic sector will be restructured and will obligate to companies supply energy to the families that nowadays have not the possibility to pay for it.

    5) According to a lot skeptics in the EU, PODEMOS is not a viable option to rule Spain. Do you agree?

    Many specialist critique the economic program of PODEMOS because it supposes an increase of public spending and to funding it, there is only one way, escalation of public debt and more tax to citizens and business. On contrary, it would be necessary to low tax and reduce the public debt and focus our effort in reduce our bureaucracy and improve the facilities to do business in Spain.

    Other of the measures of PODEMOS is the debt auditing removing the part that will be illegitimate. However, this plan crashes with a practical problems. When Spain issue debt, the persons or companies that buy this debt don´t know if their money will spend in building a hospital or fuel political corruption. So, how will PODEMOS establish the difference? It is technically difficult what creditors have the illegitimate debt and who don‘t. In any case, nowadays a majority of economist believe that is necessary to establish a new vision regarding the debt in south of European countries. Authors with a great prestige as Kenneth Rogoff or media as Financial Time defend the better option assuming that this debt is unaffordable, and as consequence a part of this debt must be forgotten.

    – President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, IMF president Christine Lagarde, and European Commission president Jean Juncker oppose change in Spain with PODEMOS. Will it affect the relationship with the EU if PODEMOS wins?

    For PODEMOS the austerity policy must end. They propose that the European Investment Bank become the tool to develop a great public inversion in infrastructures to boost the European economy.

    PODEMOS defend the modification of the European Central Bank as prerequisite to overcome the economic crises. The ECB must include in its statutes the goal of full employment and achieve the social welfare. In this sense, the ECB must buy, without any kind of restriction, public debt of European countries like the United Kingdom and United States did.
    One of the central issues of the political discourse of PODEMOS is the article 135 of the Spanish Constitution, a reform imposed from Berlin and Brussels. In the article, it stays fixed that the pay of Spanish debt has priority regarding the social welfare. PODEMOS aim to derogate this article and give priority to social welfare. However, the critics believe that the public debt does not belong to an abstract entity as one state, but belong to Spanish citizens and who must be paying it. As a consequence, we must impose a debt limit to not damage the Spanish economy.

    Recently has been discovered the name Luxleaks, where we discover like a country of the European Union as Luxembourg and his administration negotiated with multinational companies a tax heaven for them. PODEMOS criticized this reality and defends the necessity of establish a European common system to avoid the heaven tax countries, because it undermine the cohesion of European Union.

    PODEMOS have their political fate linked with Syriza, for better or worse. If the Government of Tsipras cope the pressure of Berlin and Brussels and achieve the success in their political confrontation, PODEMOS will be perceived like a valid and trusted political option. In fact, from mass media who give support to PP and the own Spanish Government have defended that there is no option for Greece, like there is in Spain. If finally the Spaniards discover that yes, there is a more important an different way to deal with the economic policy, Rajoy has an important problem in his hands.
    Some newspapers have published that the Troika want to have a strong position regarding the demands of the new government of Athens because they understand that to stop Syriza also could potentially stop PODEMOS in Spain, and they need to act to that, because Spain is too important to the Eurozone that one fail in Spain could provoke a collapse of the entire European system.

    – A lot of EURO skeptics have turned against Germany and France for imposing their rule over other countries with less financial power like Spain. Is there a possibility that Spain leaves Euro?

    Definitely not, too expensive and risky to the Eurozone and European Union, if you take in consideration the importance and seize of Spanish economy and the domino effect that could generate if Spain leaves Euro, especially regarding France or Italy.

    6) Will PODEMOS give Catalunya, and the Basque Country leeway to declare independence from Spain following the track of PSOE?

    The Basque Country has a special fiscal treatment. In 2012 the goal of Artur Mas (the head of Catalonian Government, the Generalitat), was to get the same special treatment for Catalonia, however the central government in Madrid reject this idea and as consequence the parties in Catalonia decided to take the way of independence. In any case, what happen in Catalonia could happen in the Basque Country but for now, the independence of Baste Country or its vindication is not part of a political agenda in Spain, at least in short term.

    PODEMOS in Catalonia has a political speech which confronts the regeneration speech of PODEMOS. The independency generates in Catalonia a feeling of illusion. In the rest of the country PP and PSOE don´t provoke a positive response to help Spain‘s future. In Catalonia, the independence is viewed as a possibility to build up a new country, a better country. Taking in consideration the polls, PODEMOS in Catalonia would be the three or four political parties in an electoral process, but a party with a paper hinge.

    In any case, PODEMOS defend the right of Catalonian people to decide their future, in other words, they accept the principle of auto-determination. However, this position is not clear because obviously if they defend openly the right of Catalonian people to decide their political future they will suffer a decline in polls. PODEMOS try to solve this problem with the idea that Spain need a new “Proceso Constituyente” meaning a complete revision of Constitutional Law, but in my opinion this solution won’t fix the problem, if Catalonia decide finally leave Spain, what will PODEMOS do? The response or perception could determinate the vote of many Spaniards.

    7) PP and PSOE accuse PODEMOS of lack of preparation. On their view, PODEMOS capability to improve Spanish politics is far from realistic, claiming its not organized well. What does PODEMOS response about these allegations?

    One of the most important handicaps of PODEMOS is appear to public opinion as a political force who could govern the country in an efficient way. PODEMOS need that the citizens in Spain imagine Pablo Iglesias in a meeting in Brussels as Prime Minister and defending the Spanish interest. In this sense the image of Pablo Iglesias is credible negotiating with Angela Merkel, if Podemos can transmit that they are a valid option, a serious option, then PODEMOS could win the next elections.

    PODEMOS is a transversal party. Here reside one of their strongest points, they need to obtain support of all segments of society. Without doubt, it is a strength and a prerequisite to gain a general election in Spain, but also it could become a weakness because cit ould generate internal contradictions and a lack of cohesion in their political project.

    An important problem of PODEMOS is that their support rest in urban areas, but lack structure in rural areas. For now, this problem is due because the party does not sufficient structure in all parts of the territory, we can not forget that this is a party with just one year of experience. Probably, we will see this problem reflect in the next election in March 22 in Andalucia, a vast region of Spain with an important vote from rural areas, and PODEMOS had not time to gain, step by step these potential voters.

    The big coalition between PP and PSOE is not probable, but not completely rejected. Some business association and important political and social figures in Spain have shown their support to this idea, especially if PODEMOS become the winner in the next election. I think that this scenario is possible only if PODEMOS could become a real option, but a grand coalition follows the German model and will be probably the electoral and political destruction of PSOE, as their voters never forget it and will be the next PASOK.

    It is true that PODEMOS has a lot of merits and they count with excellent strategist. But also is true that without the electoral and political dissolution of the PSOE the ascension of PODEMOS would be impossible. The economic crisis simply has destroyed the socialist party in Spain and it is difficult to know if this party will be recovering to its former position. In my opinion, the consequences of economic crisis only have accelerated this process because the socialist party has already shown an internal crisis. The true is that the present socialist party is unable to present a credible project to Spanish society and a credible project of Spain as country. Nowadays, the PSOE seem to become the regional party of the south and poorest part of Spain, specifically Andalucia, and the support will be limited to this region.

    8) Other critics point out that PODEMOS is a hidden communist ideological party. Has PODEMOS classify itself more towards socialism, communism or neither? If its not communist why do critics compare Pablo Iglesias with Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela, or SYZIRA in Greece?

    There are several elements that allow us to link PODEMOS will adopt some strategies used in Latin-American countries, mainly in Venezuela. In first place comes the CEPS Foundation, where the more important leaders of PODEMOS are member of this foundation. CEPS received between 2002 and 2012 3.7 millions of euros in political and economic advisory.

    Especially relevant is the role of Juan Carlos Monedero, number three of PODEMOS and was personal adviser of former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. In fact, Monedero participated in the redaction of current Constitution of Venezuela. Even other members of Podemos and regional leaders such as Luis Alegre (Madrid) or Gemma Ubassar also have collaborated with countries as Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia.

    We must detail that these people mentioned are social scientist and it is normal that they give support and advise to other countries, especially countries from Latin-America, a region with strong ties with Spain. There are also more examples of collaboration between other social scientist from Spain who give advice to other countries, these might not precisely be leftist governments otherwise the opposition parties will try to gain the power.

    More than the international ties between PODEMOS and Latin-American governments, from my point of view, there is other question that could damage the public opinion of PODEMOS. It is their connection with ETA or Batasuna, the basque terrorist group. I think that this link simply is not true and the accusation have no kind of foundation. However, the Spanish public opinion has suffered from ETA. This strategy is not new, when the 15-M surge, some political and media sector accused this movement that received support from Batasuna and ETA or recently, in the city of Burgos, had developed a strong movement against some decision of the authorities that some members of the Spanish government defined the protest. In some cases violent protest as terrorism act linked with ETA.

    In this sense, other interesting questions is the relation of PODEMOS with Iran. Pablo Iglesias develop a program of political debate named “Fort Apache” which is broadcast in Hispan TV, the Spanish language TV of Teheran. As consequence, Pablo Iglesias, for representing PODEMOS, was accused of receiving funding from Iran. In response, Iglesias argued that this program, Fort Apache, sold by a Spanish tv producer independent of Iglesias, to Hispan TV.

    9) Will Spain’s and US friendship be put in jeopardy with PODEMOS in power? What does PODEMOS expect from the US in response, if PODEMOS wins the elections?

    Only NATO has been mentioned by PODEMOS in their political program. In the manifesto “Mover Ficha” (Move Piece), in the foundational manifesto of PODEMOS, we found that this party proposes the exit of Spain from NATO alliance with a referendum. Traditionally, the left parties in Spain have a critical view regarding the NATO.

    A government with PODEMOS could crash with United States of America in several areas. The first, already mentioned, is NATO. The foreign policy of Washington in Latin America, specially the cases of Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela or Cuba would be another area of possible confrontation. However, there is not an inherent confrontation, with the recent rapprochement of Cuba-USA relation not understood by conservative forces in Spain. Until now, one of the criticisms about PODEMOS was precisely the idea of this new party to build another kind of relation between EU and Cuba.

    The Middle East is another issue where a possible government of PODEMOS could crash with USA. In this sense, we could highlight the support of PODEMOS regarding Palestinian cause against Israel. However, this position is not new in Spain’s political landscape because traditionally, the left in Spain advocates to the creation of Palestinian State, which is lighter than on 1986 Spain not establish a normal diplomatic relation with Israel. Nowadays we are living tension in Ukraine, between Russia and United Stated and European Union on the other side. PODEMOS, does not specify very closely their foreign policy, but in this case probably adopt a posture of dialogue and understand Russia. PODEMOS wants to build a trustful relation between European Union and Russia because both international actors share common geopolitical and economic interest.

    At the present, EU and United States are developing negotiation for the creation of a common free trade area; this possible agreement is label as TTIP. PODEMOS is contrary to this agreement because the sign of this treaty would be a disaster to industry and economy of European Union and for Spain. The confrontation with TTIP is not only with United States also reaching the European Institutions. The GUE/NGL group in European Parliament, the five MEP´s of Podemos belong this group, and disagree with the idea of TTIP.

    10) What would Spain look like in the future with PODEMOS in power, if they indeed win the elections?

    Without doubt, PODEMOS scare the political elite who is ruling Spain since the death of Franco. If Podemos win and conquer the power the reasons are obvious, but if the finally fail, PODEMOS will be an important wake-up call. In fact, just days after the election of 25 May to European Parliament, the government of Mariano Rajoy launched an economic package to fight the rate of unemployment among the younger.

    The Spaniards are aware that voting PODEMOS won’t solve the problems of the country in a few months. The unemployment rates will not descent from 25% to 5% with the magic prescription of PODEMOS. But they aspire to get the country back on its foot. A country without evictions, without corruption, a country with decent political leaders. For them, PODEMOS could represent the opportunity to regenerate the political system.

    The majority of experts coincide that the Spanish economy is recovering, and during 2015 the growth could achieve progress up too 3%. This will be more employment and the economic situation would improve. It is obvious that one of the main reasons to break forth is the economic crisis. The important question is to know is this recuperation will be sufficient to government. It seems, that the Popular Party bases for his political fight to send two essential messages to public opinion. One, the economic crisis is past, and second, PODEMOS is a menace to economic recuperation, so you should vote for us, lest you desire chaos to come to Spain.

    PODEMOS defend the necessity of expansive policies with the goal to reactivate the economy and from this posit start to decrease the unemployed helping business improve, so the economy will enter in a virtuous cycle and Europe will be competitive and afford the debt problem in a better situation.

    PODEMOS believe that Spain needs to change its economic model. The last economic development was based in two main pillars. On one side, the easy credit to families and companies. On the other side, a housing bubble that finally burst in 2008. PODEMOS defend the necessity to change the model to another base and add value and high quality, but in this sense nobody could counter it, and this position is shared with every political party in Spain.

    In my opinion, in case to obtain the power PODEMOS will cope with three main problems or spaces where they will find opposition. The first is the international institution like European Union or International Monetary Fund who believe that austerity and freedom market, without any kind of state control, are the key to a healthy economy. The second, PODEMOS will suffer a strong internal media campaign, confrontation with the most important companies in Spain (who already show their preoccupation with PODEMOS) and an important part of Spanish citizens, in this sense we should remember that the recent polls show that a growth among the people who say they will never vote for PODEMOS. In the last, but not least important, the own structure of state. Spain has an important number of public civil servants who rule the state, PODMOS could find that these people don´t support or not agree with them, and PODEMOS can´t change them. PODEMOS will need the support of the high rank official of public administration because without them, to implement the political program is impossible.

    PODEMOS has launched a goal maybe too high. PODEMOS must obtain the victory in 2015 because if they don´t get the disillusionment and frustration could provoke the disappearance of this newer political party and other parties as PSOE and IU with a solid national and regional structures could recover their lost votes again.

     

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    The Daily Journalist special: Secret societies do they exist?

    March 5th, 2015

     

     

    Questions by Jaime Ortega, interview by Barry Chemish.

     

    Barry Chamish. 

    Jon Phelps 

     

    I want to thank investigate journalist Barry Chamish for interviewing historical researcher Jon Phelps in his weekly radio show,  using my questions and correcting me on some of my historical misconstrues for the benefit of the public.

    Part 1: Secret Societies

    Part 2: Secret Societies

     

     

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    Need of second intervention in Libya

    February 16th, 2015

    By Pramod Sedhain.

     

     

    Despite the change of government following the uprising in 2011, Libya is still in conflict with the emergence of several militia outfits. The Libyan post-revolution transition has seen flared-up conflict in country. After the overthrow of the most provocative dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the country failed to guarantee the country’s safety and democracy. Gaddafi was murdered by rebel forces on 20 October 2011 in a culvert at his hometown in Sirte.

    People had hoped that Gaddafi’s fall would see stability in the country. They had hoped that the fall of Gaddafi regime would bring democratic changes in the country. However, the revolution only changed the system but failed to secure democratic system. The six-month long civil war toppled the 42-year dictatorial regime but power-struggle still continues in Libya.

    Libya’s transition is undoubtedly heading towards tragedy. Several militia groups are battling to gain political power by force. The interim authority is losing the grip of power. Libya is currently surrounded by fault line and Libya’s militia groups have overshadowed the government and leading to lawlessness. These militia groups claim to be legitimate giving threat to the entire democratic process. Libyan capital has seen several rival militias’ governments . International recognition central government operating only in the eastern city of Bayda .

    Extremist groups continue to expand more territorial control and secure some of the significant energy resources. Militia groups have become a fashion with the idea that well-armed militias can easily generate income, social identity and power supremacy. The situation in Libya is getting worse with power struggle getting more chaotic and violent. Rival factions, which are more powerful than the government, have seized several places with their respective self-ruling army.

    Armed fighters have hijacked people’s desire for democracy and stability. Brigades of fighters have gone out of control and unreliable central government’s initiatives to disarmament have failed. There have been growing conflicts between regional, religious and tribal groups in almost every major city with the internationally recognized government losing the major ground.  Fragile ethnic and tribal balance has led to anarchism, lawlessness and impunity.

    Deep division between former revolutionary factions has encouraged several radical terrorist groups. Global extremist groups have expanded their ground in Libya and their foothold is everywhere now. World’s most brutal and powerful terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has already a strong presence in Libya. Local extremist groups’ ties with global terrorist groups are the signs of growing threat and challenges to global security and regional stability.

    Libya’s extremist militia factions have alliance with global terrorist networks with the country now becoming an extremist hub and recruitment centre. Libya has become the initial contact point for recruitment and training for international terrorist groups. African extremist youths’ training in Libya is sure to destabilize the entire region. Some groups already have allegiance to Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. This notorious group kidnapped 21 Egyptians there.

    Libya is not only facing domestic chaotic situation but is also undergoing the biggest terrorist threat for the entire world. New international military intervention is necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks. The Western countries should not only monitor and track the terrorist activities but should need to initiate military action against them. Delay in military action will create a vacuum for radical militant groups.

    Western nations should not avoid or underestimate Libya because they have moral responsibility to take the country to a democratic path. Western nations, which were involved in intervention in Libya (air and naval, arms shipment for rebels and formation the anti regime collation to topple Gaddafi regime) need to go for second intervention to disarm the militias and prevent the country from, becoming another Somalia.

    Western nations, which were the architect in the task of removing the Gaddafi regime, have the moral obligation to political stability in Libya. The United States and France, especially, who led the NATO intervention campaign to topple the regime have to demonstrate another responsibility to create stability in Libya. Failure on their part will shatter the Libyan people’s hopes and the country’s future.

    Warlord and extremist militia could destabilize the whole region. Growing uncertainty, instability and civil war in Libya will have direct impact on the neighbors’ fragile border in Algeria (982 km), Chad (1,055 km), Egypt(1,115 km), Niger (354 km), Sudan(383) km, Tunisia(459) km and far from the boarder like Mali situation in 2013.

    The European doorstep, Libya is currently treading on a dangerous path even more than Iraq and Syria. Libya, the oil-rich North African nation was once the highest country in terms of per capita GDP in the region. Now almost country significant territory has become an armed smuggling route for extremist. The 1,759,541 sq km area nation has three traditional parts – Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica.

    They have now become hostile with each other while some regions wanting to separate from Libya. Political power and economic sharing negotiation is taking place with the facilitation from the international community. But, political stability is not possible without disarming the militant groups. Therefore, short term ground intervention and formation of professional and strong state security force, disarmament of all militia and tribal groups, massive surge operation of extremist groups is important.

    There is a need to deploy international peacekeepers for a certain period under the leadership of African Union (AU) on the ground. Without effective control of the borders, extremist groups, smuggling routes, as well maintaining of law and order, political solution is not possible.

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    Full Video of mass beheading of Egyptian Christian Coptic’s

    February 15th, 2015

     

    By The Daily Journalist.

     

    Full Video of mass beheading of Egyptian Christian Coptic's

    Graphic (Beheading of Christians)

    Full Video of mass beheading of Egyptian Christian Coptic’s

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    ISIS and Iran dissatisfied with new Chalie Hebdo edition

    January 15th, 2015

     

     

     

    By The Daily Journalist.

     

    Numerosas portadas del nuevo número de Charlie Hebdo que sale hoy a...

     

    The new cover of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has provoked a strong unease among the Muslim world, despite its conciliatory message.

    The Islamic State has described as “extremely stupid” the new issue of the satirical cartoons of Mohammed, after the terrorist attack in which 17 people were killed including the three jihadists: “Charlie Hebdo published cartoons back again concerning the Prophet and this is an extremely stupid act “, said the radius of the organization of the Islamic State.

    The cover of the first issue of the magazine after the attack shows a sorry Muhammad and crying holding a poster with the message ‘Je suis Charlie’ (‘I’m Charlie’) under the phrase ‘All Is Forgiven’ (‘It’s all forgiven ‘).

    Far from appeasing the spirits, the gala publication has also raised rage in Iran, which he described as “insulting gesture” the new cartoons “because they undermine the feelings of Muslims.”

    “We condemn terrorism around the world, but at the same time condemn this insulting gesture weekly” said the spokesman of the Iranian diplomacy, Marzieh Afkham. “The drawing undermines the feelings of Muslims and can repeat the vicious circle of terrorism,” he added.

    New wave of anger

    “The abuse of freedom of expression, which is currently widespread in the West, is unacceptable and should be avoided,” said the Iranian spokesman.

    The moderate president, Hassan Rohani, last week condemned “violence and terrorism”, whether in the Middle East, Europe and America, and considered that the attack on Charlie Hebdo would provoke a wave of Islamophobia.

    On Tuesday, an Egyptian official agency said the cover of the publication is a “provocative act unjustifiably for feelings and a half billion Muslims worldwide love and respect the prophet.”

    In a statement on its website, Dar el Ifta entity-an Egyptian official responsible for issuing fatwas (religious edicts) – ask those responsible for the weekly refrain from posting new cartoons against Muhammad and warns that disclosure will cause a “new wave of anger “in France and West complicating” coexistence and dialogue among civilizations pursuing Muslims. “

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    ISIS kills two FSB Rusian Spies

    January 15th, 2015

     

    By The Daily Journalist.

     

    Fotograma del vídeo en el que un niño asesina presuntamente a dos...

     

    A boy raises his gun, pulls the trigger and shoots two alleged Russian spies. It is the disturbing video released Tuesday by the media division of the self Islamic State (IS), which warns against any attempt by Western intelligence agencies operating in the lands of the caliphate proclaimed between Syria and Iraq.

    “They have confessed to working for the Russian intelligence (FSB, Federal Security Service), who were recruited in Russia and sent to the Islamic State. By the grace of Allah, are now in the hands of the puppies of the caliphate,” says an adult fighter before the child, not exceeding ten years of age.

    The video, 7 minutes and a half, including the interrogation of the executed. The detainees said that the Russian FSB (former KGB) ordered them to liquidate a senior IS member. “They also asked us to get information about Russian IS fighters shipped to Russia,” says one of the detainees of  Kazakh nationality. The video, carefully edited, omitted the name of the target.

    A slow, with the usual effects on the production of Al Hayat-the media division of IS for languages other than Arabic camera fragment shows the cold-blooded execution conducted by the minor. “After the caliphate became a land of Hijrah (emigration) and jihad (holy war), his enemies thought they could send their spies and agents to plot against the Islamic State, but Allah revealed their efforts and thwarted Putin’s plans” warns a voice input mode in Russian with translations in English and Arabic.

    The video concludes with a fragment of a previous interview, released in late 2014, in which the child calls himself Abdullah and being from Kazakhstan- declares its intention to be “mujahideen” (holy warrior). “I will be one of your murderers, infidel,” said smiling. Not the first time the IS discloses videos that boasts of using children in their actions. Two months ago they released a video showing children recruited by the IS in a training camp in the province of Nineveh in northern Iraq.

    A forced quarry

    The use of child soldiers is a practice that IS successfully tested in neighboring Syria to shelter from a brutal civil war. “Childhood has, from the outset, a priority propaganda IS through meetings ‘dawa’ (preaching) and the days of rest. They are the next generation, which can perpetuate the existence group, “explained a few months ago newspaper expert Ayman al Tamimi.

    In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital “de facto” caliphate proclaimed in late June, the IS fighters have established training camps to inoculate their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam to a promising legion of beardless. Among the lessons taught the organization schools the atrocious lesson of beheading “infidels”.

    Several parents were forced to send their children to camp reported the web ‘Syria Deeply’ to their offspring tested the skills of chopping heads blue eyed blonde dolls dressed in the orange uniforms worn at Guantanamo. The “brainwashing” as some have dubbed-parent has manufactured loyal and enthusiastic “mujahideen” as revealed in August Vice US News web. In one of the videos filmed in Raqqa, the youngest of a classroom IS yells at the camera: “We promise car bombs and attacks will destroy the enemies of religion, to all those who fought IS.”.

    In Raqqa and in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, children attend the stoning or crucifixion perpetrated in public places and in broad daylight. At his headquarters also an edict applied to the school curriculum deep pruning. “The following materials are permanently deleted: music, nationalist education, social studies, history, drawing, sports, philosophy ..” declared the statement.

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    PODEMOS surprisingly surpasses Spain’s PP and PSOE

    November 24th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    No one would have said it a year ago. Just six months ago, on the eve of the European elections, not even glimpsed the polls. Today, however, is emerging with increasing firm strokes as an unavoidable reality. PODEMOS, the new party born of rage in the streets, young teachers who question the above and down system lighting in Transition breaks with the interchangeable hegemony of the PP and the PSOE. It shatters the bipartisan game and breaks like a cyclone in the political landscape. General elections were held today, they would be the winners with 28.3% of the vote.

    The rise has been meteoric, like an explosion. A real big bang. Last May, the European elections, surprised the country that reap 1.2 million votes, 7.9% of the vote, which allowed to be released in the Strasbourg Parliament with five seats. Three months later, in late August, on an early survey course multiplied and almost tripled its intention to vote up to 21.2% – which was ranked as the third political option at only one point the PSOE and nine of PP. Today, surpasses not just socialists, but PP’s party.

    As of today PODEMOS will present itself as the first political force in Spain, with an intention to vote almost four times higher than that obtained in Europe, surpassing PP by two points, which achieved 26.3% – and more than seven to the PSOE, which would collect only 20%.

    With these results, the Congress of Deputies would be divided into three blocks – dominate the left, half a dozen mini-groups, none of which would reach the 5% representation.

    The pacts to form a solid government would be very difficult. The two possibilities openly present enormous complications: PODEMOS-PSOE agreement or a large PODEMOS-PP coalition.

    In both cases, the future of the Socialists presents itself as a dark shadow, on the verge of dissolution phagocytosed by the novel Push Party run by Pablo Iglesias. Doomed to final eviction from their traditional voters, for it would be unthinkable to go together right .

    The scenario that draws the survey may well be described as historic. It has never happened in Spanish politics: Come out of nowhere and take the win in an instant, like a magnet attracting from discomfort, disappointment, the desire to change and even rupture of a large part of the citizenry.

    The reasons for this dramatic turnaround are evident to all, although both the traditional formations have tried to ignore: the sacrifices imposed by blood and fire to overcome the crisis, rampant corruption of some while most drowning or lack of prospects for young people are few.

    If the data harvested PP and PSOE are compared with those obtained three years ago in the general election, the collapse is drawn in all its dimensions.

    PP 18 points left

    The PP has been left on the road 18 points and the PSOE, almost nine. Current forecasts voter dynamite theory as a fixed floor, or sits much lower than previously thought. The collapse of the ruling training, PP, is perhaps the most striking. The 44.6% who clinched the victory with an absolute majority has vanished in just three years. Never before for citizens had lasted so little.

    The rejection of the Spaniards to this party and its government is increasing. Just 14.6% pose Rajoy as having a good image, compared to 56.5% who neglects him as badly or very badly. And this group includes one in five of those who gave their vote. The percentage of those who reject Him fires among the youngest to over 68%. Rajoy is a president who clearly does connect with youth.

    But if the image of the leader is ailing, the whole government is ruinous. Less than 10% value to be good compared to 63% who suspends him unreservedly, including one in three popular voting. And although these percentages become evident, Rajoy refuses to make changes. His stated intention is to exhaust the legislature with the same faces with which it began.

    The drift of the PSOE in the last three years has been too painful. True, started from an electoral defeat, but away from starting the process of regeneration have only deepen their misfortune. The new leadership of Pedro Sánchez has been welcomed but may come too late, when the electoral base of the party as been undermined by populist forces newly minted.

    Socialist voters, especially young people, are tired of waiting. The PSOE knew three decades to embody the spirit of change, but that thrust and that ability to engage with the street just shows nothing is left. Now, is can the training aims to lead this second postdemocratic transition and, for the moment, a large part of the population says to be is excited about their message.

    The fact is that the new force led by Pablo Iglesias has entered the national political scene stealing followers left and right. With their appearance not only severely wounded are both great, also have good braking root expectations caressing smaller parties.

    This is the case of United Left (IU) -4.2% – which lost nearly three points over the result achieved in general and becomes a mirage 10% of the votes polled in the European elections.

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    ISIS leader injured according to Iraqi sources

    November 10th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    The leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded in the air strike attack on Saturday launched by the US-led international coalition against the jihadist organization meeting of the Iraqi people in a border with Syria. This has been confirmed on Sunday by two Iraqi officials quoted on state television and the Ap.

    An official of the Iraqi intelligence service has ensured that Islamic State informants have moved Al Baghdadi to a safe-haven, injured in the bombing which hit the Iraqi city of Al Qaim border with Syria, where it was held a meeting of the leaders of the group who proclaimed a caliphate somewhere between Syria and Iraq. A member of the Iraqi military, meanwhile, said that the leader of the IS has been hit by the attack.

    Iraqi state television also reported the same story. None of the sources, however, has detailed the extent of the injuries presenting SI leader. The chain of Saudi Al Arabiya television said yesterday, citing tribal sources, Al-Baghdadi-the self proclaimed caliph of all Muslims would be in “critical condition”. News about the possibility that the leader of the IS have been victims of airstrikes have circulated several times in recent months.

     

    United States without confirmation

    The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said yesterday in a statement late on Friday that carried out a series of air strikes on a convoy ten armored vehicles around Mosul could move SI leaders. “We can not confirm whether the IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was present,” the CENTCOM spokesman Patrick Ryder.

    Dozens of people were killed in the bombing, including the leader of the IS in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar and jihadist organization responsible for the Al Qaim, a strategic location on the route between the broad areas controlled by the IS Syria and Iraq.

    Two Witnesses told Reuters yesterday that the attack was directed against a home that housed a meeting of senior IS members. According to Mohamed al Karbuli, a deputy of the province of Al Anbar, “the international coalition struck a meeting of the leaders of the IS Saturday afternoon, killing and wounding dozens of people.” The politician added that the fighters had reached IS nearby a hospital in panic and ordered his immediate evacuation to their wounded so he could be treated.

    Al Baghdadi headed -for US offering a reward of $ 10 million (about 8 million) – has to date only one public appearance. It took place last July in a mosque in Mosul, Iraq’s second city in jihadist hands since June, five days after he was proclaimed the Caliphate. His organization, with a solid structure, has captured several tens of thousands of foreign fighters and consolidate administration in the territories of Syria and Iraq under his yoke

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    Midterm elections boils the U.S. executive branch

    November 6th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    It was a referendum that went against President Barack Obama and all he lost, but Ronald Reagan never had a Republican majority in the House of Representatives either, and prompted a revolution when Bill Clinton achieved its major legislative successes after losing by a landslide on the elections of 94.

    The key in both cases, was an opposition (Democrat with Republican Reagan and Clinton) willing to agree in the general interest and a very different style of President Obama.

    Rand Paul the Republican Senator from Kentucky and one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in 2016, showed sparks of interested from the American voters. On the contrary, he decided to bomb Obama laws from the new Senate President, who has no other choice but to veto the proposed bill.

    “Republicans today ignore the constructive engagement and all its platform in this election that has led to the demonization of Obama,” Robert Reich, the labor secretary under Clinton. “Obama has done virtually nothing to earn that commitment,” responded Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.

    To suddenly become responsible and government party, the Republicans will have to overcome first the civil war that divided Wall Street and big business on the one hand and the Tea Party on the other, very difficult if not even acknowledge that it exists.

     

    Usual punishment on the party in office

    The midterm elections almost always punish the party in office. This has happened in the last century and this time was no exception. Since 1898 the party has only increased the chairmanship seats in the House of Representatives in four mid-term elections: 1902, 1934, 1998 and 2002.

    In 2014 that was in the game, especially the majority in the Senate and Republicans six more seats needed to regain control in 2006, they have achieved and surpassed.

    Like any midterm election there has been the prelude to the next presidential in 2016. Republicans have received a vote of confidence to end the ‘guerrilla war’ they have with the Democrats and the executive, but nobody believes a miracle, so we must prepare for two years of blockade and rule by decree in the US.

    Poll after poll, the electorate has expressed frustration and suspended the management of the entire political class, Democrats and Republicans alike, so that the effect of yesterday’s results in the upcoming presidential election and depends on what you do to each other from today to change that mood.

    If the middle and lower classes are still seeing the benefits of recovery, with stagnant or falling wages, and the Republicans, rather than cooperate with Obama, block their major reforms, today’s victory may be futile to get the jackpot which is the White House. Democrats probably will advance the nomination and Hillary Clinton can emerge stronger.

     

    Weak domestic political institution

    The American presidency has a weak interior that includes foreign policy and strong political institution. When the opposition, in this case the Republican party is in control of both houses of Congress, the president has two choices: deal with the enemy if possible, or rule by decree in what you can and concentrate efforts on abroad.

    Not to be left alone, both options will have to consider the main candidates of his party to succeed him in 2016 as a concerned electorate, especially the parlous state of the country’s infrastructure, increasing internal and external image of insecurity and an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth.

    If Obama gives in to Republican pressure to increase defense spending, intensifying the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to postpone a deal with Iran or tougher sanctions on Russia risks losing the support of many Democrats.

    Hours before the polls closed, the president acknowledged in the radio station WNPR “This year was probably the worst for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower” because “at stake many states where Republicans have the advantage.” Such sincerity, contradicting his own vice president, Joe Biden, who had just anticipating a Democratic victory in the Senate by one or two seats, sounded foreboding. Low turnout, especially among young people and minorities, who did the rest.

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    American Strategy and the World-wide Western Security Web

    November 4th, 2014

     Professor Julian French.

     

     On 30 January, 1902 faced with global over-stretch the British forged the Anglo-Japanese Treaty with the Empire of Japan.  To conceive of such a treaty London had to a) take a global view; b) recognise its own growing weakness; and c) understand the need for capable allies that could ease pressure on British strategy world-wide.  With cuts planned between 2014 and 2020 greater than Europe’s entire annual defence investment and set against the huge defence investments being made by the illiberal powers America’s claim to be the only military power present in strength in every region of the world looks increasingly threadbare.  In other words, American strategy does not add up and the Americans need a rethink.

    Amidst the deep, rich black seams of Summit blah, blah that emerged from the September NATO Summit like so much Welsh coal dust on the west wind one phrase stuck out.  US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talked of a “core coalition” to take on Islamic State (IS) comprising the US, UK, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark (most notably in that order).  It was nothing less than a reconceptualisation of US strategy in a world in which the West is no longer a place but an idea.

    However, the implications of such a coalition-led US strategy for America’s four cornerstone military allies Australia, Britain, France and Japan are enormous.  Implicit in shifting US strategy is a witting or unwitting assumption that the changing correlation of emerging force will progressively work against Washington and by extension its allies.  Indeed, whilst the US will remain the world’s leading military power the ability of illiberal powers to complicate US strategic calculation will increase.

    Therefore, given the importance of allies and partners US strategy must be recast on on four interlocking principles.  1. For Washington to prevail in the multi-dimensional, multi-spectral security environment of the twenty-first century the US must be at the core of a world-wide security web of democracies and states with shared mutual interests. 2.  Much like Churchill’s 1945 vision of British strategy US strategy must leverage three concentric circles of power; NATO, Asia-Pacific allies, and partners across Asia and the Middle-East.  3.  US Strategy must establish force generation and command and control principles built on NATO Standards that forge allies and partners into effective coalitions.  4. Like the British of 1902 US Strategy must encourage its four core allies to generate ‘Mini-Me’ command and control hubs individually and in tandem and/or in partnership with each other.

    US European Command (EUCOM) must be the pivot of interlocking core and broad coalitions because it has such experience of working with allies and partners and can act as an effective broker, experimenter and mentor for both allies and partners alike. Indeed, EUCOM’s commander (COMEUCOM) who also doubles up as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), has a vital role to play as the lynch pin between allied and partner forces, on the one hand, and other US Combatant Commands worldwide.  Unfortunately, EUCOM is increasingly the poor sister of its COCOM counterparts, most notably Central Command (CENTCOM) because Washington places capability before strategy.

    Critically, a unifying force concept is needed that could promote all-important unity of effort and drive forward both core and broad coalitions.  Specifically, in the context of coalitions the US and its core allies need a Four-Forces-in-One Concept that would make the most out of the little bit of everything not much of anything forces they all possess.

    Take the British Future Force as an example which today reflects neither strategy nor affordability but a strange amalgam of the two.  Coalitions focused on the US are at the very heart of British security and defence strategy.  However, to be central to a US-friendly network of sufficiently-capable modular, adaptable and agile coalitions London will need a Hub Force strong enough to command coalitions, agile and expandable over time and built around and upon command assets across the six domains of conflict.

    Core Force agile enough to work across government with other departments and civilian agencies, adapted and adaptive to lessons from the campaign in Afghanistan.  An Integrated Force to provide planning and to promote ownership of planning for complex contingencies and consequence management both at home and with allies and partners.  Finally, an Effect Force able and geared to take on robust forced entry missions as and when required either in lead or as part of of US-led coalitions.

    Whilst the the Americans still possess the only truly strategic force i.e. a force that can do everything, all-of-the-time, everywhere sort of, that force today faces many of the same challenges the British faced in the late nineteenth century.  Still immensely strong on paper like the British a century ago the US faces emerging challenges to its home-base, threats to its world-wide lines of communications and to its key allies and partners from threats that merge security and defence, civilian and military, national and international.

    In a sense history is coming full circle for the Americans.  Like the British a century ago the US will needs allies and partners more not less.  Of late poor American leadership and the lack of any clear US idea of the role and utility of allies has seen its vital alliances and partnerships lose cohesion.  That must stop.  The West needs clear American strategic vision and a clear idea of the vital role of allied and partner armed forces in American strategy in a world that is undoubtedly safer when the US and the World-wide Western Security Web is strong.

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    NATO intercepts Russian jets flying on European airspace

    October 30th, 2014

     

    By The Daily Journalist

     

    The alerting services of NATO detected and monitored an “unusual” and unexpected activity of the Russian Air Force in the last two days. In a statement issued this afternoon, the Atlantic Alliance alerted that have been detected up to four different groups of fighter jets and Russian nuclear bombers “making significant military maneuvers in the European airspace over the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean addition to the Black Sea. ”

    This recent Russian airspace movement forced fighters to mobilize up to six different European countries, as these jets moved. The first, about three in the afternoon when the NATO radar found  and followed four Tu-95 bombers and four Il-78 in formation, who arrived from mainland Russia and flying over international airspace in the Norwegian Sea.

    The formation broke, and various devices were intercepted and followed by Air Force planes from Norway, Portugal and the UK.

    Keeping a very mild language, NATO from its headquarters in Belgium, has warned that Russian planes prevented radio contact with air traffic control authorities of the continent and were not using transponders which “poses a potential risk to civil aviation because drivers can not detect this type of appliance and ensure non-interference, “said the statement.

    Simultaneously, this afternoon, four planes were tracked by Turkish aircraft’s over the Black Sea. Like seven, Tuesday, on the Baltic also intercepted and identified by German aircraft’s. So far this year, 100 NATO Russian intrusions were officially detected,  all recorded in 2013.

     

    The gas summit goes on

    The timing for this new challenge Moscow is far from casual. Neither the affected territories. The airspace violations have taken place to begin with, in the vicinity of Norway, the country’s new Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.  And just as he gave his first official speech … and focused on relations with Russia. A few days after a Russian spy plane was detected over NATO territory since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    As if that were not enough, while the alerts distributed throughout Europe, with negotiators from Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission met in Brussels to try to reach a final agreement on gas supplies in the region. Stalled negotiations with Moscow,and these are now pressed for the winter. That, in a very timely manner, and despite what was expected, ended Wednesday without understanding.

    Moreover, these days Europe is just another complicated board game, which is played to decide the future of the two warships that France has built but whose delivery to the Russian Navy has been blocked after sanctions by the intrusion of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

    Dmitry Rogozin, a senior member of the Russian Defense Ministry said this morning that it had received the invitation to deliver the first Vladivostok, one of the two amphibious assault ships purchased by 1.200 million in November. And it showed a picture of a letter received from Paris. However, the government said yesterday through defense minister, Jean-Yves le Drian, that Hollande “has not made ​​a final decision and is not expected to be made at short notice either.”

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    CDC specialist answers questions about Ebola versus Super-bacteria

    October 29th, 2014

     

     

     

    Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.

     

    Melissa Brower, is a public affairs specialist for the CDC. 

    1.       Everyone talks about Ebola, (perhaps media hype) but isn’t KPC, MSRA, CRE or C. DIFF presently a more dangerous threat to the US than the African disease considering they’re 20.000 cases per year? – In your opinion, has the media done a fair job reporting on these new super bacteria diseases considering the amount of deaths caused by Super-Bacteria as oppose to media coverage on Ebola?

    It is true that drug-resistant infections do infect and kill many more people in the United States than Ebola.  However, the media attention on Ebola right now is not surprising given that the recent U.S. cases represent the very first time that this frightening disease has been seen in the United States.

    2.       Why is super-bacteria so deadly? And can antibiotics cure a patient been infected?

    People infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer and more expensive hospital stays, and may be more likely to die as a result of the infection. When the drug of choice for treating their infection doesn’t work, they require treatment with second- or third-choice drugs that may be less effective, more toxic, and more expensive.

    3.       Should people be more concerned about Ebola, or more aware about the spread of super bacteria? Which of the two is easier to get infected with?

    Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, sweat, urine, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.  Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. People also can become sick with Ebola after coming in contact with infected wildlife. For example, in Africa, Ebola may spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.

    Drug-resistant infections can spread in multiple ways, depending on the specific infection.  Please see the CDC website for more information about specific infections, including MRSAC. difficile, and CRE.

    4.       Have antibiotics used by humans cause to some degree super bacteria to become more resistant? (Perhaps also farm animal antibiotics used in animal farms)

    Studies indicate that 30-50% of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are unnecessary or inappropriate. There is no doubt that overprescribing and misprescribing is contributing to the growing challenges posed by Clostridium difficile and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. See the antibiotic resistance FAQ linked here for more info.

    5.       Are viruses like Ebola easier to stop than Super Bacteria? Have we contained Super Bacteria or found the right strategy?

    Antimicrobial stewardship interventions have been proven to improve individual patient outcomes, reduce the overall burden of antibiotic resistance, and save healthcare dollars. If everyone — healthcare providers, hospital administrators, policy makers, and patients — works together to employ effective antibiotic stewardship programs, we can improve patient care, more effectively combat antibiotic resistance and ultimately save lives.

    See this link for information on Ebola prevention.

    6.       Has the government contribute to help control Super bug disease? Could they do anything more effectively to prevent more deaths?

     Check out this link for information on the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

    7.       KPC, is the worst out of all Superbacteria strains, or is there a more deadly strain?

     There are other infections, such as MRSA and C. difficile infection, that are more widespread and therefore kill more people in the United States.  However, CRE is very concerning because it is on the rise among patients in medical facilities and these bacteria have become resistant to all or nearly all the antibiotics we have today. Almost half of hospital patients who get bloodstream infections from CRE bacteria die from the infection.  For more information, see our recent report, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013, which gives a snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs that have the most impact on human health. 

    8.       Have antibiotics stop to function at the virus and bacteria level? What is next?

     If you are asking what steps are being taken to combat antibiotic resistance, please see the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.  Also see CDC’s drug resistance website for additional information.

    9.       Ebola cases are nothing new to the US.  Why is Ebola so popular now as oppose to the isolated cases in the past?

    On September 30, CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States.  This person had traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas.  The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. 

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    Toshiba unveils android for home and office that speaks and signs

    October 13th, 2014

     

    By Alton Parrish.

    Toshiba Corporation revealed Tuesday that it had built a lifelike communication android that is being showcased at CEATEC JAPAN 2014 from October 7 to 11.The communication android can move its arms and hands effortlessly and perform Japanese sign language for visitors.Toshiba Corp. believes its humanoid communication robot will not only work at front-desk reception at offices but also assist with nursing care.

    The lifelike robot, which has smooth silicone-based skin, was jointly created by aLab Inc., Osaka University, Shibaura Institute of Technology and Shonan Institute of Technology.

    The Aiko Chihira android is equipped with 43 servomotors that move her arms and hands. While it is common to see androids and robots that can interact and converse, one that has also mastered sign language is unusual.

    Toshiba anticipates having enhanced Aiko Chihira’s technology so much by 2020 that it will be able to serve as an actual guide for foreign visitors to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

    More from Japan Times

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    A terrorist threat that would make a nuclear attack look childish

    October 10th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    3,318 miles away from New York City, a terrifying scenario silently awaits its awakening. More devastating than a nuclear bomb, an Island in the west coast of Spain, worries geologist trying to predict when a chunk of the Island might collapse into the ocean bed causing a massive tidal wave that scientist call a Mega Tsunami.

    Las Palmas located in the Canary Islands last volcanic eruption occurred on 1949. The volcanic lava combined with the heat pressure destabilized the tectonic plates of the Island, causing noticeable breaches on the rifts clearly visibly by tourist who visit Las Palmas.

    The trillions of tons of rubble have slowly precipitated into the coast for thousands of years, eruption after eruption, causing the Island to slide down into the Ocean for another imminent collapse.

    What worries people about this Island, is the possibility it could be targeted for a massive terrorist operation. The Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have tried and keep attempting to buyout ex-KGB, Ex-National Protection of State Secret members (China) and Ex- Intra-Services Intelligence (Pakistan) scientist.

    Many of these former scientist are verily passing by with government help, and would be tempted to become rich just by sharing classified information to these terrorist networks.

    Ignoring international sanctions, Iran is currently enriching Uranium, violating UN Security regulations. Would Iran achieve its goal to produce nuclear fusion, the possibility to reinforce Hezbollah militants with nuclear power remains an issue that needs to be addressed more seriously.

     

    U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerri has become the main advocate in gathering intelligence reports to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on US soil.

    If a terrorist organization where to detonate a nuclear bomb in Las Palmas, the destruction would be unimaginable. It could trigger the unstable part of the Island to fallout into the ocean floor, causing a 500ft wave that would head directly into the East Coast of The United States. The massive wave would spread into the sea, traveling at 700 Mph, arriving in less than seven hours into North America.

    Once the wave reached the coast, it would push up 20 miles inland, with a wave length of 50ft wiping out everything on its destructive path.

    New York City, Atlantic City, Miami, Ocean City Maryland, Virginia Beach, Boston.. Etc. Would be submerged under water. The total amount of deaths would square to be equivalent to dropping 20 nuclear bombs into major cities across the East Coast. The disaster would be staggering, and it would be the end of the U.S. economy as we know it.

    The Intelligence Community, and the Spanish Intelligence Service (CESID) should pay special attention, guarding with maximum security the perimeters surrounding Las Palmas Island. If accessible, terrorist would more likely use a dirty bomb, since they cannot manufacture, or transport a nuclear weapon without grabbing the attention of sea security patrols.

    For terrorist to be successful, they would either have to assemble the bomb inside the Island, or simply look for the Achilles-heel of the Island, station the boat near the target, and detonate the bomb.

    The treat is out there. And I am sure terrorist would be looking forward for such great opportunity. Shoot one bird, and kill twenty— Be aware!

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    Rousseff and Neves fight for presidency in Brazil

    October 6th, 2014

     

     

    By  The Daily Journalist.

    After an entire electoral career in the shadow of the female duo-Marina Dilma Aecio Neves, the PSDB, leapt more than expected getting a surprising 33.66% of votes in the first round of presidential elections in Brazil. They are ten points higher than polls on the eve of the elections. The short final distance achieved by the president, who scored 41.50% (about 40 million votes, seven more than Aécio) promises an exciting second round, as Rousseff will face not only Neves, but thousands of vows of retribution against their management.

    Among them, perhaps the great majority of electors of Marina Silva (21.29%), after frustration will have to take a stand perhaps neutralized in the event next day 26 in 2010, when concurred by the Green Party abstained from supporting the president and former party colleague or José Serra. Silva’s dream of being president faded with the click of voters in the electronic ballot box, as well as breaking the hegemonic bipartisan alternation all well since 1995.

    More than 142 million citizens had on their hand the destiny of Brazil, which also elected the vice president, 513 congressmen, 26 state governors and their corresponding regional deputies. The renewing energy that is breathed in marches June 2013 are not revived in the doors of polling stations. Brazil shouted as ever, but voted as always.

    A few meters away from the polls irregularities ever and more. Hundreds of prisoners, including 22 candidates for the propaganda Election Day showed support for other candidates — a practice prohibited by the Superior Electoral Tribunal. Among pamphlets papered halls across the country, was the image of a constituent slipping and falling when stepped faint. The novelty of the season were the selfies campaign, which is scattered across social networks despite its illegality.

    The amazing fresh air that came to Rio de Janeiro when the warmth of spring was expected did not cool the politics of the region, which will go to the second round with Peazo governor (PMDB) as a candidate. A little over a year, then-president of the same party, Sergio Cabral, lived besieged by protesters. Again, nothing to do with what is reflected in the polls.

    In Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, representing the PSDB, renewed his mandate in the first round with about 60% of the votes. Sao Paulo is the most populous state and where Dilma suffered defeat against Neves. Instead, Rousseff initialed PT domain in the less developed Northeast, where social support has been critical poverty. And, more surprisingly, beat Neves in Minas Gerais state Tucano ruled with high approval for eight years. In addition, the new governor, Fernando Pimentel, the PT and also breaks the peseedebista hegemony in the second most populated region of Brazil.

    In early September, had Dilma Silva and 37%, 33%. But Rousseff and her team launched the multi-million dollar communications equipment should destroy Marina. And it worked. Silva was weak, too sensitive, and bottomed in the polls on the eve of the election, with 21% of likely voters resurrecting Aécio Neves, the PSDB, hitherto out of all the pools. In the end, Brazil returned to bipartisanship in the polls, to the devil they know, and put aside dreams of renewal and new policy.

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    Maduro accuses the US of hypocrisy

    September 25th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro requested this Wednesday in New York for the United States Government to “rectify the erratic policies of bullying” his country, and asserted he would denounce us foreign policy to the General Assembly of the UN to “bring the whole truth “about Venezuela.

    “Our revolution has not fallen or will fall,” Maduro said in a meeting with the communities of the Bronx taken place at Hostos Community College.

    The president of the South American country has said that although he doubted about his participation in the General Assembly, he  decided to do so after reading this Sunday two critical stories about his policy in two of the most important newspapers in the United States, ‘The Washington Post’ and The New York Times.

    “What a coincidence,” he exclaimed, and argued. “They wanted to keep my trip to the organization of the United Nations Then on Sunday, I was still thinking if I would come or not come (…)  At the moment when I read the two editorials, thanks to ‘Washington Post’ and ‘New York times’ decided.’ Cause now I’ll have to carry the whole truth of our country “, he underlined.

    Maduro has ensured that these texts showed how elites from the United States “look over the shoulder”.

    “We are not better or intend to be, but we can not accept that we despise,” he continued.

    “We know that the attack on Venezuela is to try to prevent such a deeply popular democratic revolution, with a deep American identity with the flag of Bolívar and the spirit of  Hugo Chavez  the giant who continues riding in the XXI century to consolidate Venezuela, “he said.

    He added wryly, as if they were “securities of a Hollywood movie,” Venezuela is “a revolution beset by fatal obsession of those who want to own the world.”

    Accusations of political prisoners

    Maduro has responded to accusations of political prisoners, saying that “where there is enough political prisoners in the United States, starting with (the Puerto Rican Nationalist) Oscar Lopez Rivera, the oldest political prisoner in humanity, the Mandela of Latin America and the Caribbean. ”

    “President Barack Obama, has two years as president. Lance In the two years remaining messages for the time and they do transcend any positive memories from the people. Freedom Give Oscar and the three Cubans who are struggling against terrorism, “the Venezuelan leader asked.

    “Please be good and have kindness. Ask God to place a halo of light in your mind and in your heart to be inspired,” he  urged the American president.

    Criticism USA environmental policy

    Maduro, who took part today in the Climate Summit at the UN, has been highly critical of the environmental policies of the great powers.

    “Now they want to call green economy at the same monster that has destroyed rivers, seas, has been polluted and plundered the wealth and has exploited our people for over a hundred years of capitalism in the world,” he detailed.

    “All I have are green dollars that want to get bankers negotiating the destruction of the planet. But to change the climate must change the system,” he assured.

    And to prove that another business way possible, Maduro gave as an example Citgo, the oil company whose main shareholder is Texas Petroleos de Venezuela Oil company.

    “Our plans to strengthen Citgo is increasingly making the necessary investment to strengthen that Venezuela alliances in the United States,” said, and asserted that this company come “to more than 150,000 families in 25 states of the Union “which, according to the leader,” is  not garlic shell. ”

    Mature, thereby wished to express that he has nothing against the United States. “The only people there are anti’s own elites of the United States, which has sent to war to die for their young throughout the twentieth century,” he argued.

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    US and Allies strike ISIL strongholds in Raqqa

    September 23rd, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    United States and the group “allied nations against terrorism” began on Monday offensive air strikes against jihadist group Islamic State (IS). Te agreement was  announced in Syria two weeks ago by President Barack Obama, as the Defense Department reported to the North American country.

    “Forces of the United States and allied nations have begun attacks on IS in Syria using a combination of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles,” announced on Twitter Pentagon spokesman, Admiral John Kirby. Specifically, the international coalition aircraft have launched attacks targeting fifty groups in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir al Zur, which caused an unknown number of casualties, according to initial findings of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based on testimony from civil and medical services in the area.

    In Raqqa, the international aviation launched twenty bombings targeting bases and checkpoints of extremist organization in the city of the same name, their main stronghold on Syrian soil, and on its northern and western suburbs, as well as in the towns of Tel Abiad , Ain Tabaqa and Aisa. One goal of the attacks was the ancient seat of the provincial government of Raqqa, the IS had become one of its most important barracks.

    In these bombings, there were several victims, including extremists, although the IS evacuated their bases last week against the imminent American attack.

    Meanwhile, in Deir al Zur, international aircraft carried out attacks on twenty jihadi bases in the town of Al Bukamal border with Iraq, and around, and threw another eight in the eastern suburbs of the city of Deir al-Zur.

    The attacks have also attained positions of Al-Nusra Facing-the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda in the province of Aleppo, north of the country, according to data from the Observatory, which encrypts seven fighters and eight civilians dead at this point .

     

    Notice to Damascus

    The United States Central Command made ​​the decision to start the bombing of the IS in Syria on Monday after receiving authorization from Obama, Kirby said in a brief statement in which he did not elaborate more on the attacks “since the operation is in march “. The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, later confirmed that Washington had previously advised the government in Damascus to the start of the bombing, as recorded by Al-Jazeera. “The American side informed the Syrian permanent envoy to the UN that would hit the IS in Raqqa,” says the official Syrian news agency Sana.

    Official sources told CNN that all nations who collaborate with the United States in these attacks are Arabs, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.

    The American president had resisted until this September an attack in Syria, as a year ago he refused to intervene against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons. Progress in the last months of IS, a group strengthened in the Syrian civil war and the brutality of their beheadings of Western televised have forced Obama to launch a new military operation in the Middle East after a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan inherited by George W. Bush.

    Obama insists that this operation will be different from these contests because in no case will involve the deployment of American ground troops in the field, but faced skepticism from those who believe, even within the Pentagon, it is impossible to beat the IS without ground fighting.

     

    The chronology of a strategy

    Since the announcement of the offensive on September 10, Obama and the Congress of the United States Administration have been taking steps to implement the strategy drawn by the president.

    On the 15th, the United States launched the first attack on the IS near Baghdad as part of the expansion of its offensive in Iraq by sending 475 more soldiers, a figure that completes a total of over 1,600 since the start of the air strikes in that country on August 8.

    Until then the American offensive against IS in Iraq was limited to jihadists positions in the north to protect your personal or humanitarian reasons. Three days later, Congress authorized the arming of Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State, a “key element” for Obama’s strategy to stop the jihad group.

    The Islamic State, strengthened civil by the war in Syria and has not only gained power and ground in recent months, but also visibility. Their progress in Iraq and the brutal televised beheadings have shocked the Western world and presented this group as an even more formidable threat than Al Qaeda.

    United States continues to build a coalition as broad as possible countries to defeat the jihadists because one of the red lines of Obama is that America, unlike what happened in the years of George W. Bush does not act alone.

    The other red line is that there is no ground combat troops in Iraq or in Syria, so the President insists that this operation is not a new Iraq or Afghanistan, wars he inherited from Bush.

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