U.S. ‘Monitoring’ Development Of European Communication Network Proposals

In February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she’s going to talk to the President of France, Francois Hollande, about building a separate communications network for Europe so as to stop data from passing through the U.S. The U.S. has criticized such proposals and has said that they may breach international trade laws. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that obstructions to cross-border data flows are a serious and growing concern. Continue reading

NATO’s Military Decline

Vladimir Putin and his American apologists like to blame NATO’s post-Cold War expansion for his territorial conquests, which ignores that the alliance refused in 2008 to let Georgia and Ukraine even begin the process of joining. Those are the two countries the Russian has since carved up, and the question now is whether Russia’s expansionism will slap Western leaders out of their self-defense slumbers.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sounded the alarm last week in a visit to Washington. “I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern” of Russian strategy, he told an audience at the Brookings Institution. Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, he said, is “a wake-up call” that “must be followed by increased European investment in defense.” He might have included the U.S.

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George Soros warns British EU exit would trigger foreign company exodus

Coming from the man who almost single-handedly broke the British Sterling Pound and is a convicted criminal in France:

Billionaire speculator cautions over job losses but says Europe could still be pulled apart by deflation and slow growth

Billionaire speculator George Soros on Wednesday waded into the political row about Britain’s membership of the EU with a warning that a decision to quit would lead to an exodus of foreign-owned companies.

Soros said the argument for Britain remaining part of the EU could be summed up in one word – jobs – as he outlined his concerns that Europe could be pulled apart by decades of slow growth and Japanese-style deflation. Continue reading

Nuclear talks open with Iran and three unattainable US pledges to Israel re Fordo, Arak, enrichment

The second round of talks between the six powers and Iran – this time for a final, comprehensive resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program – opened in Geneva Tuesday, Feb. 18. But first, the Obama administration gave the Israeli government three pledges, debkafile’s Washington and Jerusalem sources reveal. It must be said, however, that none of those pledges is realistic.

One was a commitment to insist on the absolute shutdown of Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo. The second was the conversion of the reactor under construction at Arak from a heavy to a light water plant, in order to preclude the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons; and the third, to place a cap on the low-grade 5-percent enrichment of uranium. Continue reading

Merkel, Hollande to discuss European communication network avoiding U.S.

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.

Merkel said in her weekly podcast that she disapproved of companies such as Google and Facebook basing their operations in countries with low levels of data protection while being active in countries such as Germany with high data protection. Continue reading

New Debate on the Responsibility for War

BERLIN (Own report) – In the few months leading up to the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a new debate, over who was responsible for starting the war, is gaining momentum in Germany. As relevant publications – such as the bestseller, “The Sleepwalkers” by the historian Christopher Clark – show, “a shift in paradigm has taken place” in scholarship, according to a recent press article: “The German Empire was not ‘responsible’ for World War I.” The debate strongly contradicts the recognition that, even though Berlin did not bear it alone, it bore the primary responsibility for the bloody escalation of the 1914 July Crisis. This insight, which was derived particularly from the analyses of the historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s, is now being massively contested. Historians are strongly criticizing remarks, such as those by Christopher Clark, who, working closely with government-affiliated academic institutions, is denying German responsibility for the war. According to Clark, “the Serbs” are supposedly a priori “the bad guys” of the pre war era, while he openly displays his preference for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The denial of Germany’s main culpability for the war is “balm on the soul of educated social sectors, grown more self-confident” at a time when Berlin’s political power is again on the rise. Continue reading

Le Modèle Gerhard Schröder

And now we see the Èlysée Palace has buckled under pressure and capitulated to the (upcoming) Fourth Reich.

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is loudly applauding French President François Hollande’s adaptation of Germany’s model of austerity. His announcement of a cutback in public expenditures to clearly favor business, could “only be seen as good news,” declared Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German media point to the fact that Hollande has announced measures that – in certain aspects – are modeled on Germany’s “Agenda 2010,” which had been developed by the Federal Chancellery under the auspices of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the time, Federal Chancellery Chief of Staff under Gerhard Schröder. It had enabled Berlin to consolidate its economic predominance over Europe. Whether Paris will be able to imitate the German austerity policy is unsure. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy had tried, but he lost the presidential elections in the spring of 2012. Notwithstanding, in Berlin further steps to cut back on social welfare achievements are again in discussion. Yesterday, German President Joachim Gauck complained that the term “neo-liberal” has a negative connotation, which must be changed. Continue reading

Arab spring yields to Muslim winter

In France, more than 1000 cars were torched across the country on New Year’s Eve. It has become a tradition. As usual, the French media omitted to say most of the damage is done by young disaffected Muslim men and has become a form of protest.

In Iraq, the government has lost control of the city of Fallujah to the fundamentalist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, giving Islamists open control of a city for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2003. On Christmas Day, car bombs exploded outside three churches, killing 26 people and maiming 38, part of a campaign to remove Iraq’s rapidly decreasing Chaldean Christian population. Continue reading

Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

For more on SCADAs, please see the following previous posts:

Exclusive: Cyberattack leaves natural gas pipelines vulnerable to sabotage

UPDATE 3: U.S. probes cyber attack on water system

Security backdoor found in China-made US military chip

 

The NSA’s TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.

In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410. Continue reading

The Elusive European Army

In both militarily intervention and investment in the defense industry, Europeans lack coordination and have lost credibility. Yet, after the French intervention in the Central African Republic, the issue has returned to the spotlight and will be discussed at the summit on December 19 and 20.

In 1991, the Belgian foreign minister of the time, Mark Eyskens, remarked on the EU’s incapacity to develop a common defence policy when he described Europe as “an economic giant, a political dwarf and a military worm.” In recent years, there is no denying that the EU has become more active in this field. But the grand and often expressed ambition for real investment in a common security and defence policy, which includes an independent military capacity, has yet to [sic] realised. And this continues to be the case at a time when global change is obliging Europeans to engage in a more serious consideration of security as an issue in common. Continue reading

Maintaining Russian Power: How Putin Outfoxed the West

Putin’s ability to ‘outfox’ the West also comes from strong-arm tactics and both a combination of an incompetent American leadership, as well as arguably complicit — hence, more ‘flexibility’ from Obama in his second term.

In one of his many foreign-policy successes this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used power politics and blackmail to bring Ukraine back into Russia’s sphere of influence. But what is the Kremlin leader’s secret to success?

“We know,” Kirill said, launching into a hymn of praise for Putin, “that you, more than anyone else since the end of the 20th century, are helping Russia become more powerful and regain its old positions, as a country that respects itself and enjoys the respect of all others.” Continue reading

Goldman Sachs threatens to leave London if Britain leaves EU

Should it transpire, Frankfurt would likely be the winner as it’s slowly becoming the world’s new financial center. Paris only toes the German line.

Invetsment bank could switch European operations to Paris and Frankfurt

Goldman Sachs has said it would move much of its European business out of London if Britain leaves the European Union.

The warning from the world’s most powerful investment bank comes as political pressure for Britain to leave the EU mounts. Continue reading