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IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis

Israel’s defence minister has confirmed that military plans to ‘uproot Hamas’ are about dominating Gaza’s gas reserves.

Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “won’t end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”

 

Full Article :-

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jul/09/israel-war-gaza-palestine-natural-gas-energy-crisis

Also :-

http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-and-natural-gas-the-israeli-invasion-and-gaza-s-offshore-gas-fields/11680

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 350 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Ron Paul: ‘Our Constitution Has Failed’

news.yahoo.com

Rep. Ron Paul, the iconic libertarian congressman from Texas, has delivered what will most likely be his final address to Congress.

In a sprawling, 52-minute speech to the House chamber, Paul lambasted U.S. government, politicians and special interests, declaring that the U.S. people must return to virtue before the governmentallows them to be free, and that the Constitution has failed to limit the scope of an authoritarian bureaucracy.

“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” Paul said. “The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”

For the retiring Republican, 77, the “current crisis” isn’t quite what it is for other members of Congress, who routinely use that word to describe the economic recession that followed the 2008 financial crash. To the Texas Republican, that’s part of it, but the causes are deeper, and it’s also a crisis of governmental authoritarianism and the vanishing of personal liberty.

“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” said Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist by training.

The problem isn’t just government’s size, but its use of force, both in starting preemptive wars and as it coerces U.S. citizens with police power. To Paul, this is the fault of Americans who no longer prioritize liberty, and it will lead to the unraveling of orderly society unless people change.

“Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,” Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.”

More than coercive, to Paul the government is also corrupt: “All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” he said.

Throughout his speech, Paul questioned not only the fundamental health of America’s social compact, but specifics like fiat money, the power of the Federal Reserve, the PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act modifications, undeclared war, the illegalization of medical marijuana, mandatory sentencing requirements for drug crimes, the illegalization of hemp, TSA searches, federal debt and borrowing, the White House’s authority to assassinate those it declares terrorists, the legalization of detaining U.S. citizens for national-security purposes, the political power of AIPAC, and the regulation of light bulbs and toilets in people’s homes.

For Paul, the list of grievances is long, and he might not have accomplished much in Congress: “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little,” he said. “No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration.”

In thinking about the champions of liberty, his lesson is a bitter one: “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,” but his prescription is hopeful.

Paul left the podium, for the last time, offering an “answer” to all of these problems: that people should choose liberty and limit government, and seek change within themselves.

“The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow,” Paul said, urging an end to two motives that have hindered U.S. society: envy and intolerance.

“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty. If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”

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Cameron on Standby to Send Warplanes to Gulf as Iranian Tensions Rise

Cameron weighs use of jets amid fears move could inflame situation

By Kim Sengupta

independent.co.uk

Britain is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf as the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme continues amid rising tension in the region, The Independent has learnt.

The possible deployment of the Eurofighter Typhoons follows talks with the United Arab Emirates to bolster the UK’s presence in the region at a time when Israel is threatening military strikes against Tehran and much of the Middle-East is in turbulence in the aftershock of the Arab Spring and Syria’s civil war.

The decision on whether to send the planes at such a volatile time will be made by David Cameron, after further talks with the rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and an announcement is expected to be made in the near future.

The arrival of British aircraft is bound to fuel the Iranian sense of insecurity even if there are assurances that the move is not aimed at them. The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday said European nations must be prepared to “take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East”.

Israel, whose Defence Minister Ehud Barak is in London at the moment with the Iran crisis the main topic of discussion, is said to be “fully aware” and supportive of the discussions over the warplanes.

The British Government has urged Israel to exercise restraint over Iran, pointing out that sanctions are having a crippling effect on the Iranian economy – with the fall-out from the punitive measures making the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad increasingly unpopular and creating frictions in the ruling hierachy.

However, at the same time, UK military commanders are looking at the possibility of sending British jets to a base in Abu Dhabi which is currently being used by American and French forces as a confidence building measure but also, crucially, in case there are attempts by the Iranians to block the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil supplies are shipped.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “The UK regularly deploys Typhoon to UAE as part of our routine exercise programme and to demonstrate our military commitment to UAE and the security of the wider region. We have a mutual interest with our GCC [Gulf] partners in ensuring peace and stability in the region, and exercises such as this allow us to practice working together.” The MoD added: “These deployments are not due to our concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme. As we continue to make clear, the Government does not believe military action against Iran is the right course of action at this time, although no option is off the table.”

However, The Independent has learnt from highly senior military and diplomatic sources that the Al Dhafra airbase, 20 miles south of Abu Dhabi, is being looked at as a possible station for the Typhoons. The base is in use by French Mirage fighter-bombers as well as the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing of the US Air Force with jets and Patriot missile batteries and well located for operations in the Gulf.

Tehran has been bitterly critical about the American and French presence in the Gulf saying that it was an attempt to intimidate and that it posed a threat to their national interests.

Mr Barak said in London this week that Iran appears to have pulled back from proceeding full-steam to acquire nuclear weapons. But he reiterated Israel’s determination to carry out a military strike without warning if it felt this was necessary and met senior British military commanders as well as ministers.

One senior British officer said: “We do not think there is any need for military action at the moment. But we are considering all eventualities and where the UK should position itself. The decision on deployment will be made on mutual interest and growing interdependence between the UK and the UAE in the long-term.”

It has not yet been decided which country would pay for the Typhoons’ presence. However, the UAE government picks up the operational costs for the French, which has been variously estimated to be between €20 million and €45 million per year.

The UK has carried out two air exercises with the UAE, one codenamed Al Khanjar in 2010, involving Eurofighter Typhoons, and another one this year, with Tornado GR4s. The Tornados are, however, being phased out by 2019 and BAE has stated that the UAE has “real and genuine” interest in buying 60 of its Typhoons in preference to the French Dassault Rafale.

A massive contract for the Indian Air Force has gone to the the Rafale instead of the Typhoon, but British military commanders insist the Typhoon deployment to Abu Dhabi is guided by strategic rather than commercial considerations.

Weapon of choice: Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon, introduced in 2003, was the result of an ambitious project by the governments of the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to build the most advanced multi-function fighter jet in the world. Despite coming in almost 75 per cent over budget and being delayed several times, the jet is seen as a technologically advanced modern aircraft with few rivals.

The Typhoon’s performance in the Libyan conflict last year, where it flew over 600 missions, earned it plaudits – and interest from the governments of India and Brazil. With a top speed of 1,320mph and impressive manoeuvrability in the air, the Typhoon has often been compared to the US Air Force’s F-35 fighter jet. In 2007, Saudi Arabia confirmed it had signed a £4.43bn contract for 72 Typhoons.

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Italy’s Berlusconi sentenced to jail for tax fraud

 

news.yahoo.com

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in jail on Friday for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediasettelevision company.

The 76-year-old billionaire media magnate, who was convicted three times during the 1990s in the first degree before being cleared by higher courts, has the right to appeal the ruling two more times before the sentence becomes definitive.

That process is likely to be lengthy and he will not be jailed unless he loses the final appeal. Even then, because the crime was committed when an amnesty to prevent prison overcrowding was in place, the maximum possible jail time would be one year.

The ruling comes two days after Berlusconi confirmed he would not run in next year’s elections as the leader of his People of Freedom (PDL) party, ending almost 19 years as the dominant politician of the centre-right.

Milan judge Edoardo d’Avossa told a packed court that between 2000 and 2003, there had been “a very significant amount of tax evasion” and “an incredible mechanism of fraud” in place around the buying and selling of broadcast rights.

The court’s written ruling said Berlusconi showed a “natural capacity for crime”.

During a phone call to an evening news broadcast on one of his own channels, Berlusconi said there was no link between his decision pull out of politics and the Friday ruling, and slammed the court for being politically motivated.

He called the verdict “political and intolerable,” and said it showed Italy had become uncivilized, barbaric and was no longer a democracy.

Berlusconi lawyers Piero Longo and Niccolo Ghedini said the ruling was “totally divorced from all judicial logic”, adding that they hoped the “atmosphere” at the appeals courts would be different.

Berlusconi, one of Italy’s richest men, became prime minister for a second time in 2001 after winning a landslide election victory. Even while he was prime minister, he remained in effective charge of Mediaset even though he had handed over control of day-to-day operations, the court said.

The four-time prime minister and other Mediaset executives stood accused of inflating the price paid for TV rights via offshore companies controlled by Berlusconi and skimming off part of the money to create illegal slush funds.

The investigation focused on television and cinema rights that Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest bought via offshore companies from Hollywood studios.

The court also ordered damages provisionally set at 10 million euros ($13 million) to be paid by Berlusconi and his co-defendants to tax authorities.

“POLITICAL HOMICIDE”

The flamboyant Berlusconi, who is still on trial in a separate prostitution case, resigned as prime minister a year ago as Italy faced a Greek-style debt crisis, handing the reins of government to economics professor Mario Monti.

Angelino Alfano, secretary of the PDL, said the ruling proved once again “judicial persecution” of the media magnate, while political rival Antonio Di Pietro, a former magistrate, hailed the decision, saying “the truth has been exposed”.

Should the ruling be confirmed on appeal, Berlusconi would also be forbidden from holding public office for five years, and from being a company executive for three years.

“This is not a sentence, but an attempt at political homicide,” Fabrizio Chicchito, the PDL’s chief whip in the Chamber of Deputies, said referring to the ban on holding office.

Now that Berlusconi has said he will pull out of politics, he may be focusing more on his business empire, which includes Mediaset, AC Milan soccer club, and Internet bank Mediolanum.

Shares in Mediaset, Italy’s biggest private broadcaster, fell as much as 3 percent after the ruling, and are down about 50 percent in the last year.

The broadcaster has been struggling against rivals like News Corp’s broadcaster Sky Italia and a host of online media, while its core advertising revenues are feeling the pinch of the recession.

The court acquitted Mediaset chairman and long-term Berlusconi friend Fedele Confalonieri, for whom prosecutors had sought a sentence of three years and four months.

Berlusconi has owned AC Milan since 1986 and the club have been European champions five times under his leadership. But the its fortunes have dipped in the past couple of seasons amid cost cutting, prompting repeated rumors of its possible sale.

He also is still on trial in the separate “Rubygate” case in which he is accused of paying for sex with a teenaged nightclub dancer when she was under 18 and thus too young to be paid legally as a prostitute. He denies the charges.

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s Warning Reveals His Moments of Memory Loss

By Robert Fisk

Israeli President “Bibi” Netanyahu on Guy Fawkes. The super-terrorist plans to blow up parliament and the King; the very nation will be liquidated. Fawkes was a Catholic rather than a Muslim – though Renaissance Europe was pretty good at bestialising both – but what a cartoon! I loved the curly fuse and the “flashy” bit on the end – Dan Dare versus The Mekon – and the red line drawn on the black line. It was all oh-so-convincing. Ninety per cent convincing.

Not since the last set of cartoons flourished in the UN Donkey House has the world been so gobsmacked. Then it was Colin Powell (I was in the Security Council chamber as a witness to this nonsense in 2003) who displayed his own cartoon of white-coated Iraqi chemists making weapons of mass destruction in a mobile laboratory. It was a railway train, for heaven’s sake. And, unlike Bibi’s bomb and fuse, it was actually meant to be a railway train. Cartoons, you see, can be taken literally or metaphorically. Or just plain insult the intelligence of ordinary folk; like Bibi’s – or cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed, for that matter. They all go “BANG” in the end. And I can see why Israel’s sorrowful defenders had to trash Bibi’s cartoon yesterday. Sure, it was awful – but the MESSAGE, that was the thing. Don’t let the cartoon distract you from the truth (albeit that cartoons are supposed to contain an inner truth, are they not?) and the truth according to Bibi was that Iran could have a nuclear bomb “BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT YEAR”.

But whoops! Here’s a little downgrading for the reader. “Iran is the centre of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is … more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb …” Bibi speaking on Thursday? Nope. The ex-Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, in 1996. And – I’m indebted here to the indispensable Roger Cohen – Peres himself said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999! That’s 13 years ago. And Ehud Barak – now Bibi’s Defence Minister – said in 1996 that Iran would have a nuke by 2004. That’s eight years ago. Maybe cartoons are all that’s left.

Of course, the think-tank loonies waffled on the networks, grinning idiotically over the cartoon but nodding sagely at Netanyahu’s warning – without bothering to recall those utterly false warnings in the past. You can’t cry wolf when the wolf is called Ahmadinejad.

Bloomberg’s columnist, Lisa Beyer, remarked that Netanyahu had noted “rightly, that Israel’s intelligence agencies are superb”. They are not. Israel’s intelligence on Lebanon has been pitiful for two decades, and it was these same “agencies” who assured Powell back in 2003 that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction. Later, we somehow forgot that little bit of false Israeli “intelligence” input.

Of course, the cartoon managed to distract us from the dignified speech by the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, whose condemnation of Israel’s land theft in the West Bank was infinitely more accurate than Netanyahu’s artwork. But Abbas spoke in Arabic, Netanyahu in American English. Only one man was going to be on the world’s screens yesterday. He did seem oddly hot under the collar about the UN’s almost-forgotten report on Israel’s cruelty during the 2008-9 Gaza war, when Israel’s “surgical strikes” – this is Bibi-speak – killed 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians. For a man obsessed with statistics, this one escaped Netanyahu’s memory.

But there you go. Iran is a dodgy place. Ahmadinejad is a crackpot, though he came across, in his new “moody” grey specs, as a bit more laid back than Bibi. Of course Iran’s going to have a nuke. Saddam was making one, too. Wasn’t he?

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Iran: Israel is world’s laughing stock

Top official in Tehran says Netanyahu’s UN speech ‘is mocked by entire world,’ brands PM’s bomb diagram as ‘silly reaction’ to Islamic Republic’s ‘growing power’

ynet 

A senior Iranian official derided Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN General Assembly speech, and asserted that the Islamic Republic’s “growing power and influence” have angered Jerusalem, the Iranian FARS news agency reported Sunday.

“The fake regime of Israel is mocked by everyone in the world today, although such cheap actions of the leaders of the occupying Zionist regime are nothing new,” top foreign ministry official Hassan Qashqavi said, referring to the cartoon-like bomb illustration that the prime minister presented at the UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday.

Netanyahu used the diagram and a red marker to demonstrate the Iran’s nuclear progress and press the international community to set a “red line” that would stop the atom program in its tracks.

Qashqavi, who was speaking at a ceremony in Iran’s southern city of Kangan, further claimed that Tehran’s might had angered Israeli officials so much that they were driven to using “silly” props.

Netanyahu, who returned to Israel from the US on Sunday, expressed contentment with his speech.

“During my visit here we drew a clear red line for Iran’s nuclear program and we strengthened our coordination with the US administration on the issue,” the prime minister wrote on his Facebook page prior to his flight. “I will continue to make every effort to ensure that the world’s most dangerous country doesn’t obtain the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

Despite the mockery on the part of the Iranians, the General Assembly week ended with an embarrassing incident for the delegation from Tehran; a cameraman who accompanied President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York decided to defect to the US.

According to some reports, Hassan Golhandan was soon expected to reunite with his family, which has left Iran for Turkey and now plans to continue to the US.

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