Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christopher Colombowicz: America's discoverer Polish not Portuguese, claim historians


Christopher Colombowicz: America's discoverer Polish not Portuguese, claim historians

The Daily Mail -UK, Last updated at 9:43 AM on 29th November 2010

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333895/Christopher-Columbus-Polish-Portuguese-claim-historians.html#ixzz16igur1eB

He is celebrated as the humble Italian weaver who ended up discovering the Americas.

But the conventional wisdom relating to Christopher Columbus is under threat after academics concluded the explorer was actually a Polish immigrant.

An international team of distinguished professors have completed 20 years of painstaking research into his beginnings.
Not so humble origins: New evidence suggests that voyager Christopher Columbus was not from a family of humble Italian craftsmen as previously thought - but the son of Vladislav III, an exiled King of Poland

Not so humble origins: New evidence suggests that voyager Christopher Columbus was not from a family of humble Italian craftsmen as previously thought - but the son of Vladislav III, an exiled King of Poland

The fresh evidence about Columbus’ background is revealed in a new book by Manuel Rosa, an academic at Duke University in the United States.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333895/Christopher-Columbus-Polish-Portuguese-claim-historians.html#ixzz16ijvIk1F
‘The sheer weight of the evidence presented makes the old tale of a Genoese wool-weaver so obviously unbelievable that only a fool would continue to insist on it,’ Rosa said.

The academic argues that the only way Columbus persuaded the King of Spain to fund his journey across the Atlantic Ocean was because he was royalty himself.

For some reason he hid the true identity of his Polish biological father from most people during his lifetime, and history books have been none the wiser.

‘Another nutty conspiracy theory! That’s what I first supposed as I started to read... I now believe that Columbus is guilty of huge fraud carried out over two decades against his patrons,’ said US historian Prof. James T. McDonough.

Other historians first doubted Columbus’ Polish roots, but Rosa’s findings have been steadily gaining followers as the evidence comes to light.

‘This book will forever change the way we view our history,’ said Portuguese historian Prof. Jose Carlos Calazans. National Geographic is reportedly interested in making a documentary.

Until now, it was believed that Columbus, who was born in the Italian city of Genoa in 1451, was the son of Domenico Columbo, who was a weaver and had a cheese stall in a market in the city.

At the age of 22 Columbus started working for Genoese merchants trading throughout the Mediterranean, and three years later took part in a special trading expedition to northern Europe, docking at Bristol before continuing to Ireland and Iceland.
Voyage of discovery: When Columbus persuaded financiers to back his voyage west in 1492, he had completely miscalculated the distances and thought that Asia would be where America is

Voyage of discovery: When Columbus persuaded financiers to back his voyage west in 1492, he had completely miscalculated the distances and thought that Asia would be where America is

Throughout the 1480s, when Columbus was in his 30s, he traded along the African coast.

Historians say it is a myth that navigators thought the world was flat before Columbus sailed west – they had been using the stars at night as a primitive navigation system that assumed the earth was a sphere.

What sailors including Columbus didn’t know is how big the earth was, and how long it would take to sail round it.

When he persuaded financiers to back his voyage west in 1492, he had completely miscalculated the distances and thought that Asia would be where America is: he arrived in the Bahamas, thinking he was somewhere off the coast of China.

Columbus undertook three more return journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, each time hoping that he had found another part of Asia.

He set up Spanish colonies and became governor of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, but was later put on trial in Spain for alleged abuse of power.

After Columbus’ death in 1506, European explorers continued to set up colonies and eventually empires in north and south America.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333895/Christopher-Columbus-Polish-Portuguese-claim-historians.html#ixzz16iheAFJi

So the Americans re-write history AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN!

Monday, November 29, 2010


War Strategies (II)
(Own report) - NATO is incessantly continuing its expansion and is extending its worldwide alliance system in preparation for future wars. This is gleaned from the military pact's new "Strategic Concept", according to which, NATO will intensify and broaden its various "partnerships"; show a stronger presence on the Arabian Peninsular and consolidate cooperation with countries of Eastern Asia and the Pacific Basin. Initiated already in the 1990s, this project aims at the long-term assurance of Western global predominance. According to an analysis by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), NATO's activities, particularly in Eastern Asia and the Pacific realm are colliding with the interests of the People's Republic of China. An escalation of long-standing tensions between the West and Beijing are expected. In this context, cooperation between NATO and Moscow is aimed at preventing an eventual alliance between Russia and China.
Alliance Systems
NATO's long-term expansion from its transatlantic origins began back in the 1990s - at a time when, following the end of the confrontation of systems, the military alliance was preparing to rise to the status of global hegemonic power. The first major steps were the wars against Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. They were accompanied by the establishment of a scaled down system of alliances, launched in 1994 with the "Partnership for Peace" (PfP) program. Several of the countries that were soon accepted into this cooperation program are today full members of NATO. PfP is currently comprised of 22 countries, including formerly neutral European countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Ireland, but also CIS member nations, which provides NATO with a foothold in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Seven North African and Middle East countries are members of the "Mediterranean Dialogue," initiated by the military alliance in 1994. Four countries of the Arabian Peninsular are cooperating with the Western powers alliance within the framework of the "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative", founded by NATO in 2004. This is how the war pact has been able to solidly establish a foothold in the world's most important raw materials regions.
As Far as Eastern Asia
The new "Strategic Concept" [1] adopted last weekend by NATO, provides for the systematic expansion of its various "partnerships." The practical military cooperation with the countries in the "Partnership for Peace" is to be broadened. NATO also wants to intensify the "Mediterranean Dialogue", which could also include the acceptance of new members. This holds true for the "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative," which also is to be enlarged. Having already surpassed the Middle East and Central Asia to extend as far as Eastern Asia and the Pacific realm, the war alliance announces its global aspirations: it is "prepared to develop political dialogue and practical cooperation with any nations and relevant organizations." Since 2004, the United States, in particular, has been insisting that NATO build up strong footholds both in the People's Republic of China's mediate and immediate backyard and establish loose "partnerships" with those countries. The war in Afghanistan, with numerous countries around the world - including from Eastern Asia and the Pacific - participating alongside NATO, has proven helpful for the extension of relations. Today NATO considers Japan and South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand, to be "contact countries".
War Cooperation
As an exemplary case, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) has studied NATO's cooperation with Australia, which had been intensified over the past few years. The author based his study on decades of close military policy cooperation between Australia and the USA, established by the 1952 ANZUS Treaty ("Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty"). In 2005, the Australian government decided to send a military attaché to NATO headquarters. In 2006, the foreign minister of Australia and the General Secretary of NATO broadened the expansion of these relations, which was confirmed the same year at NATO's summit in Riga. Soon thereafter, Canberra sent reinforcements to the Australian troop contingent in Afghanistan, which, with approx. 1,500 soldiers, is today one of the larger contingents. Of course Australian troops have taken part in NATO military exercises to train for joint operations.
Springboard Australia
Australia could serve as "the ideal springboard for NATO to gain a foothold in the South Pacific" writes the SWP author in reference to the cooperation's geostrategic background. The alliance is seeking to establish a stronger presence in a region, where the rising People's Republic of China is gaining influence. Accordingly, the SWP notes that Beijing - which is already "concerned" with the strong US involvement in the South Pacific Region - will hardly be joyous about NATO's intrusion into its southern flank. But, Berlin's government advisor simultaneously warns, it is still to be seen whether cooperation with Australia will be crowned with success, because various NATO members lack the strength to stretch their means of influence all the way to the Pacific and Canberra is vacillating between differing strategic points of departure. Whereas one sector - particularly found in the conservative political milieu - seeks to have a display of power in relations with China and strong cooperation with the West, a second tendency - particularly represented by members of social democracy - are for integrating the People's Republic by means of regional cooperation. Therefore cooperation will have to be sought.[2]
Isolate China
The strategic rivalry with China is also playing a role in the context of the NATO-"partnership" that has recently received extensive media attention - NATO's cooperation with Moscow. "NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance," the Heads of States and Governments of the NATO nations affirm in the "Strategic Concept": They are determined to "enhance the political consultations" as well as "practical cooperation."[3] Observers note that NATO and Russia have already expanded their cooperation in the war on Afghanistan: Russia is participating in the destruction of poppy fields and allowing rail transport across its territory for the Western war alliance's arms supply. NATO has even been allowed to transit armored vehicles to the Hindu Kush via Russia. This is affecting Beijing indirectly, because of its cooperation with Russia in military policy, based on the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" (SCO), established in 2001. If the West would succeed in drawing Russia closer to NATO, China would become isolated among the major powers.[4]
Partner, Not Member
The network of scaled down "partnerships" is not only useful to the West because it can, to various degrees, bind numerous countries around the globe to NATO, but also because these countries are simply "partners" and not members of this war alliance. They have no voice in strategic decisions and ultimately remain at the mercy of Western planning. At best, according to the "Strategic Concept," they have the right to participate in decisions concerning operative questions in the NATO-led missions, in which they are participating. The geo-strategic project behind this system of "partnerships" serves to systematically stabilize western hegemony.
[1] Active Engagement, Modern Defence. Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty. Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon
[2] Henning Häder: Chances and Limits of NATO's Global Partnership with Australia; SWP Working Paper FG6-WP No 7, November 2010
[3] Active Engagement, Modern Defence. Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty. Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon
[4] Der SCO gehören China, Kasachstan, Kirgisistan, Russland, Tadschikistan und Usbekistan an. Beobachterstatus haben Indien, Iran, die Mongolei und Pakistan, locker verbunden sind ihr Belarus, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan und Sri Lanka sowie die Staatenbündnisse ASEAN und GUS.

Playing Chicken With China


Playing Chicken With China

By John Lott, FoxNews.com, November 26, 2010

The Federal Reserve has already injected hundreds of billions of new dollars into the economy since the recession started. Normally, when the government prints up more money, dollars are worth less and that is what we call inflation. But inflation has been surprisingly low.

One measure of the money supply, M1, which includes currency as well as checking accounts, soared by 26 percent between August 2008 and September this year. The amount of currency more than doubled. But prices barely changed.

As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke goes forward with plans to print up another $880 billion, someone has to ask why the past increases didn't produce the inflation that everyone thought they would.

So where did all that new money go? Many blame businesses for hoarding cash. Obama recently said: “corporate profits are doing just fine. [But] they're holding onto a whole bunch of cash -- they're kind of sitting on it.”

But that isn’t happening. Companies don't just keep huge piles of cash lying around. Even if they aren't spending the money, they are putting it in the bank or they buy bonds. In either case the money is recirculated to others, not hoarded. Companies are indeed wary of starting projects and with all the uncertainty they face. And who can blame them? Yet, they are not the ones making the money disappear.
It turns out that the culprit is not so close to home. China is trying to keep the U.S. dollar more valuable than the Chinese currency, the Yuan. That sounds counter-intuitive, but a more valuable dollar means that it is relatively cheap for Americans to buy Chinese products – and that helps Chinese manufacturers’ sales.

The problem for the Chinese government is that when we print more dollars, the opposite happens.

So if the Chinese want to keep the dollar relatively expensive, what can they do? They buy up the newly printed dollars that are causing the dollar to depreciate.

While the M1 money supply has soared by $364 billion since August 2008 and the new currency we have printed up grew by over a trillion dollars, China alone has accumulated almost $500 billion in U.S. currency reserves, about $200 billion after netting out changes in China’s U.S. Treasury bond holdings. The exact increase in China's dollar reserves isn't precisely known by anyone outside of the Bank of China, but it is probably pretty close to the exact total. Other countries have also increased their reserve holdings of dollars.

The problem is that holding on to all this cash is really very costly for the Chinese. They can't turn around and spend the dollars, or all the additional dollars in circulation will again lower the value of the dollar -- defeating the very reason that the Chinese accumulated the dollars to begin with.

Yet, keeping a lot of cash around that doesn't even earn interest means that the Chinese are giving up a lot of money just to keep the price of their products relatively cheap. They don't even spend it on buying American goods. The more money that Federal Reserve puts into circulation, the more money that the Chinese have to buy up.

In a speech last week, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, pointed to this huge increase in reserves by the Chinese. "Foreign exchange reserves by selected major emerging market economies . . . have risen sharply since the crisis and now surpass $5 trillion--about six times their level a decade ago," he said at a central bank conference in Frankfurt Germany.

"China holds about half of the total reserves of these selected economies, slightly more than $2.6 trillion."

It may seem like a pretty good deal for Americans. We give the Chinese pieces of paper (or their equivalent) and they give us goods. But no one, not even the Chinese, are going to be willing to do this forever. It would be great for us if they would let this go on, but at some point just piling up dollars and giving us products is going to be too costly for them. And when they dump all those dollars, the real problem starts. All that pent up inflation is going to be released.

Indeed, the process may be starting. Just this last Wednesday, the Chinese and Russians announced that they would quit using the dollar for trade between their two countries.

The U.S. is playing a high stakes game of chicken. Will the Chinese want to hoard more dollars as the U.S. government prints up nearly a trillion more dollars? Money that will just sit around and not even earn interest? The irony is that despite the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration attacking the Chinese propping up the value of the dollar, we must hope that they continue doing just that. If the Chinese start dumping dollars, not only will the $880 billion come back, but so might all the other money that the Chinese have been absorbing over the years.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a FoxNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime."(University of Chicago Press, 2010), the third edition of which was published in May.

Bernanke and the Fed are pushing back


Bernanke and the Fed are pushing back
Bernanke and the Fed are pushing back

Credit: AP File Photo

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is adopting the tactics of Washington infighting in defense of his policies.
By Journal Staff and Wire Reports | THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: November 28, 2010


Faced with unusually sharp ideological attacks after its latest bid to stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve now faces a challenge far removed from the conduct of monetary policy: How to defend itself in a hyperpartisan environment without becoming overtly political.

Caught off guard by accusations from congressional Republicans, Sarah Palin, Tea Party activists and conservative economists, the central bank and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, are pushing back, making their case on substantive grounds but also haltingly adopting the tactics of Washington battle, like strategically placed interviews, behind-the-scenes assuaging of opponents and reaching out to potential allies on Wall Street and Capitol Hill.

The stakes are high.

Earlier this month, one House conservative announced legislation to strip the Fed of its mandate to promote jobs and have it focus solely on containing inflation.

The attacks, coupled with criticism from foreign officials, have introduced enough uncertainty into global financial markets to potentially undercut the Fed’s plan to drive down interest rates, which rise or fall as investors anticipate Fed action.

Since the Nov. 3 announcement, Treasury yields have risen as the bond markets seemed to be doing what they normally never dare do: Fight the Fed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, at 2.67 percent on Nov. 3, fell to 2.53 percent on Nov. 5. But then came a reversal that caught traders by surprise. The yield was up to 2.92 percent by Nov. 15, before falling slightly, to 2.80 percent last week.

Behind the scenes, Bernanke has signaled that he is steadfast on the Fed’s plan to buy $600 billion of government securities through June in an unorthodox effort to push down long-term interest rates and spur the anemic recovery. In doing so he is trying to make clear to the markets that the Fed will not reverse course unless there is a compelling reason to do so, like a big increase in inflation expectations or a sharp rise in commodity prices.

Whether the uptick in yields represents genuine market anxiety about the Fed’s inflation-fighting commitments, or that the Fed’s policy has already been effective at accelerating the recovery, the attacks are a distraction and could hurt the Fed’s ability to set policy.

“That is certainly the effect of congressional criticism,” Alan Greenspan, Bernanke’s predecessor, said.

Bernanke, who unlike Greenspan shuns the Washington social circuit, lacks close ties to conservative Republicans, even though he was first appointed by President George W. Bush and served briefly as his top economic adviser.

But lately he has stepped up his outreach, meeting with members of the Senate Banking Committee and explaining the Nov. 3 decision in an opinion-page article and a speech.

But the efforts have only had partial success. After meeting with Bernanke on Wednesday, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, said, “The bottom line is that the Fed is attempting to spur job growth because the Obama administration has done so much to inhibit it.”

Fed officials concede that they left an opening for their detractors by timing their latest move — the decision to resume the asset-purchase strategy known as quantitative easing — for the day after the midterm elections. Operating outside the political calendar, the Fed’s policy-making committee had long planned to convene Nov. 2 for two days.

The Fed had signaled its intentions to the markets. Starting in August, when it hinted that the recovery was so weak as to require additional support, stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell in anticipation of the Fed’s announcement.

But Bernanke and other top officials, unaccustomed to partisan considerations, did not anticipate the political fallout.

“The fact that immediately after an election which was a historic rejection of American liberalism and the borrowing and the spending and the bailout agenda of the recent past, for the central bank, for the Federal Reserve, to unilaterally announce $600 billion in printed money going into the economy, I think is at odds with the goals of the American people,” said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, who is the chairman of the House Republican Conference and has ties to the Tea Party.

Pence introduced legislation that would strip the Fed of one of its two legally mandated goals — promoting maximum employment — and have it focus on fighting inflation and preserving the value of the dollar.

The Fed has taken criticism over the recession and Wall Street bailouts, but in the overhaul this year, it helped defeat proposals to strip away its power to regulate and supervise banks.

Bernanke, who had thought the worst was behind him, was unsettled by the suddenness of the recent attacks. He has said that the Fed was in a no-win situation; if it had not acted, it would have been criticized for ignoring the painfully slow pace of the recovery.

Bernanke faces at least two years of scrutiny by a Republican-controlled House; the chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the Fed is likely to be Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a libertarian who wants to abolish the central bank.

“The Federal Reserve’s decisions are appropriately debated in the public forum and the Fed should explain and be held accountable for them,” said Donald L. Kohn, who retired this year as the Fed’s vice chairman. “But I have the sense that this is being turned into a partisan issue and that is worrisome to me.”

The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

Free Speech

Free Speech

by Mike Masnick

Thu, Nov 18th 2010 11:10am

This is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill --...

Filed Under:
censorship, coica, senators

The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet
from the free-speech-isn't-free dept

This is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill -- despite a bunch of law professors explaining to them how this law is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What's really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it here because it's seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy. There's very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we figured it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet this morning:

* Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
* Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
* Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
* Dianne Feinstein -- California
* Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
* Russ Feingold -- Wisconsin
* Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
* Arlen Specter -- Pennsylvania
* Jon Kyl -- Arizona
* Chuck Schumer -- New York
* Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
* Dick Durbin -- Illinois
* John Cornyn -- Texas
* Benjamin L. Cardin -- Maryland
* Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
* Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
* Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
* Al Franken -- Minnesota
* Chris Coons -- Delaware

This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like (in this case, content some of its largest campaign contributors do not like). We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don't buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement. This law takes down entire websites based on the government's say-so. First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It's really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.

Update: Some people in the comments are claiming this is not about censorship, so I've put up a new post explaining in detail why this bill is all about censorship.

US Government seizure of the internet has begun

The U.S. government has begun seizing websites without warning or a trial. The Department of Homeland Security [SIC!!!] has so far seized 76 websites it claims are engaged in copyright violations. Here's why this marks the beginning of the government takeover of the internet:

US Government seizure of the internet has begun; DHS takes over 76 websites
Saturday, November 27, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)

(NaturalNews)--As part of a new expansion of government power over information, the Department of Homeland Security has begun seizing and shutting down internet websites (web domains) without due process or a proper trial. DHS simply seizes web domains that it wants to and posts an ominous "Department of Justice" logo on the web site. See an example at http://torrent-finder.com

Over 75 websites were seized and shut down last week, and there is no indication that the government will stop such efforts. Right now, their focus is websites that they claim "violate copyrights," yet the torrent-finder.com website that was seized by DHS contained no copyrighted content whatsoever. It was merely a search engine website that linked to destinations where people could access copyrighted content. Google also links to copyrighted content -- does that mean the feds will soon seize Google, too?

These seizures were conducted on the basis of language in the DMCA law, which is vastly overreaching in its powers (it was passed to appease the music recording industry and the RIAA). Even so, the U.S. Senate is right now considering passing yet another law -- COICA -- the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/...), a new law that would give the federal government even more power to shut down websites it opposed.

Read more about COICA here: http://www.usa-anti-communist.com/w...

And here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris...

Here's the list of 19 US Senators who voted to censor the internet via the COICA bill: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...

Government could shut down alternative health websites
Where is all this going? Today the U.S. government is targeting websites focused on copyright violations, but if the public tolerates this government-sponsored censorship of the web, it's only a matter of time before these government powers are expanded to control the content of the internet.

Over the last few years, several U.S. Senators have already attempted to outlaw vitamins and nutritional supplements. One lawmaker even suggested that "alternative health" information should be outlawed on the internet in order to "protect" people from information that isn't aligned with the drugs-and-surgery approach to sick care. It's only a matter of time, it seems, before the U.S. government uses its new power of seizing internet websites as an information warfare weapon to silence anyone who opposes FDA and the Big Pharma agenda.

In fact, under these new laws, there's no limit to what websites the U.S. government could choose to seize and shut down. This is the beginning of the federal takeover of the internet, where all websites that don't fall in line with "official" government-approved information are now potential targets of DHS seizures.

One music website seized by DHS -- RapGodFather.com -- was seized merely because its users posted comments linking to file-sharing websites (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/...). The site had 150,000 members, but as of today, it is the property of "Homeland Security Investigations." (http://rapgodfathers.com/)

See the TorrentFreak.com news report on this important story here: http://torrentfreak.com/music-linki...

All websites using the word "Face" could soon be seized
The reach of tyrants knows no limits. As widely reported throughout the popular press last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has assigned Facebook a trademark monopoly over the word "Face." (http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/23/pa...) This means that any website using the word "face" could theoretically be seized by the DHS under the DMCA.

Lest you think this is some impossible exaggeration of the law, keep in mind that governments always misuse laws to go far beyond their original intended purpose. The RICO Act, for example, which was originally passed in 1970 to combat the mafia, is now used nearly every day against individuals and small businesses (http://www.ricoact.com).

Similarly, the Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks was originally intended to be applied to international terrorists. But now in the United States, it is routinely used against animal rights activists and environmental protection groups (http://www.aclu.org/national-securi...).

These rogue abuses of federal law create a pattern of expanding government powers that increasingly threaten the Constitutional rights of American citizens. To seize a person's website without due process is both a violation of that person's First Amendment rights (Free Speech) as well as their Fifth Amendment rights.

The Fifth Amendment states:

No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

And yet this seizure of websites by the DHS is doing precisely that -- depriving people of property without due process of law.

The U.S. federal government, as we have increasingly seen through the actions of the TSA, DEA and DHS, does not recognize nor honor the Bill of Rights. Nor does it believe the U.S. Constitution has any authority whatsoever. The upshot of this is that all Americans citizens are now living under a system of government tyranny, where government agents may molest you at the airports or seize your website if they don't like what you're saying online.

Take action: Sign the petition
Help stop the government takeover of the internet. Sign this petition:

In order to protect your access to NaturalNews.com and stay in contact with us in case the DHS ever attempts to seize our web domain, be sure to join our email list by entering your email address at http://www.naturalnews.com/ReaderRe...

That way, we will be able to reach you by email with any important updates or announcements.

About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.TV, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called BetterLifeGoods.com that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs. He's also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NaturalNews subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org

Friday, November 26, 2010



This is good news! Glad to see that the Brits are starting to realise that the EU has very little advantage for them.
If Britain got out of the European Union it will be a blow to the NWO which controls the EU.
The EU is a monstrosity that was created by the politicians and their big bank cohorts. Almost all the power is centred in Brussels from where they rule the 33 diverse counties with different cultures, traditions and languages.
When a member country Austria, who in terms of their constitution, had to give the right wing leader, Jurg Heider a cabinet post after he obtained 25% of the votes in an election, they threatened to throw Austria out of the EU if they acted in terms of their own constution.The result? He never received his post in the Austrian government
Jurg Heider later died in a mysterious car accident.
Every nation should have the right to be ruled by their own people who understand their aspirations and their wants and needs.

Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2010 5:16 PM
Subject: Get out!

Story Image

Those on board the European gravy train have mounted one power grab after another

Thursday November 25,2010

THE Daily Express today becomes the first national newspaper to call for Britain to leave the European Union.

From this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is Better Off Out.

The famous and symbolic Crusader who adorns our masthead will become the figurehead of the struggle to repatriate British sovereignty from a political project that has comprehensively failed.

After far too many years as the victims of Brussels larceny, bullying, over-regulation and all-round interference, the time has come for the British people to win back their country and restore legitimacy and accountability to their political process.

Benedict-Ratzinger Now Scandalizes His "Conservative" and Motarian Supporters

Benedict-Ratzinger Now Scandalizes His "Conservative" and Motarian Supporters
The "Condom" Newpope Now Embraces Both Heterosexuals and Homosexuals

Description: Benedict-Ratzinger's Controversial Book

Benedict-Ratzinger Holds His New Book, Licht der Welt [Light of the World]
Which Has Brought Him into a Firestorm of Controversy
Because of His Confusing and Contradictory Statements on Prophylactics
In Which He Contradicts What He Said Just Last Year in 2009
Even "Conservative" Novus Ordinarians and Motarians Think that He's Gone South

Without having the guts to say so directly, it appears that the falsely-termed "conservative" Newpope, Benedict-Ratzinger, has effectively reversed Catholic teaching and dissed his Conciliar predecessor pope, Paul VI, authority of the 1968 Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae. Benedict-Ratzinger also seems to have embraced the pagan theology of JPII known as the "Theology of the Body." For further information on that subject, click on FAQ10: How Do You Explain These Traditional Catholic Beliefs? in the TRADITIO Network's Library of Files (FAQs and Traditional Apologetics) in the section "Modernism and 'Theology of the Body.'"

So this is how a Newpope attempts to change traditional Catholic teaching now. Not even in a spurious Newpapal document, but in a book interview! Maybe, as some have suggested, he is just infected with the commercial bug, trying to get a bigger cut for his books. But this time Benedict-Ratzinger has unleashed a firestorm of outrage against him from his normally clueless admirers, the "conservative Novus Ordinarians and Motarians. He has been exposed in the doctrinal and moral realm as exactly what we TRADITIO Fathers have called him from the time of Vatican II: not a "traditionalist" by any stretch of the imagination, but an out-and-out Modernist.

Moreover, Benedict-Ratzinger has been exposed once again as an gross incompetent as Newpope. Who would have thought that one of the most ecclesiastically-experienced prelates in Newchurch would bungle the job as badly as he has in just five years? He's not much of a priest, given his thoroughly immoral actions by subjecting under his own handwritten warrants tens of thousands of Newchurch children to rape by his bishops and presbyters. He's not much of a bishop either, since he is the first Conciliar pope never to have been consecrated as a bishop in the traditional Catholic rite, but only "installed" in the Freemason Bugnini's New Ordinal of 1968, modeled on the installation of Protestant ministers.

As if his original statement pertaining to male homosexuals weren't radical enough, Benedict-Ratzinger on November 23, 2010, extended his controversial statement about condoms for male prostitutes to non-prostitutes, both male and female, both homosexual and heterosexual, having AIDS/HIV. "This is if you're a woman, a man, or a transsexual," his spokesman reported. (Now Benedict-Ratzinger is into transsexuals?) Just a year ago, he told the world that condom use only worsens the AIDS problem. [Some information for this Commentary was contributed by the Associated Press and Reuters.]

Has this Newpope gone senile? He doesn't seem to be able to maintain a consistent theological thought -- if he ever did. But, then, Modernists never do. Morality is always a moving target for them. The truth is likely that the Modernist Newpope is deliberately playing his "conservative" Novus Ordo and Motarian supporters for the fools that they truly are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

China, Russia quit dollar

China, Russia quit dollar
By Su Qiang and Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-24 08:02
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China, Russia quit dollar

Premier Wen Jiabao shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on a visit to St. Petersburg on Tuesday.ALEXEY DRUZHININ / AFP

St. Petersburg, Russia - China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

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Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

"About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies," Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

The yuan has now started trading against the Russian rouble in the Chinese interbank market, while the renminbi will soon be allowed to trade against the rouble in Russia, Putin said.

"That has forged an important step in bilateral trade and it is a result of the consolidated financial systems of world countries," he said.

Putin made his remarks after a meeting with Wen. They also officiated at a signing ceremony for 12 documents, including energy cooperation.

The documents covered cooperation on aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communiqu. Details of the documents have yet to be released.

Putin said one of the pacts between the two countries is about the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Russia by China's Tianwan nuclear power plant, the most advanced nuclear power complex in China.

Putin has called for boosting sales of natural resources - Russia's main export - to China, but price has proven to be a sticking point.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who holds sway over Russia's energy sector, said following a meeting with Chinese representatives that Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree on the price of Russian gas supplies to China before the middle of next year.

Russia is looking for China to pay prices similar to those Russian gas giant Gazprom charges its European customers, but Beijing wants a discount. The two sides were about $100 per 1,000 cubic meters apart, according to Chinese officials last week.

Wen's trip follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's three-day visit to China in September, during which he and President Hu Jintao launched a cross-border pipeline linking the world's biggest energy producer with the largest energy consumer.

Wen said at the press conference that the partnership between Beijing and Moscow has "reached an unprecedented level" and pledged the two countries will "never become each other's enemy".

Over the past year, "our strategic cooperative partnership endured strenuous tests and reached an unprecedented level," Wen said, adding the two nations are now more confident and determined to defend their mutual interests.

"China will firmly follow the path of peaceful development and support the renaissance of Russia as a great power," he said.

"The modernization of China will not affect other countries' interests, while a solid and strong Sino-Russian relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries."

Wen said Beijing is willing to boost cooperation with Moscow in Northeast Asia, Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in major international organizations and on mechanisms in pursuit of a "fair and reasonable new order" in international politics and the economy.

Sun Zhuangzhi, a senior researcher in Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new mode of trade settlement between China and Russia follows a global trend after the financial crisis exposed the faults of a dollar-dominated world financial system.

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.

Wen arrived in the northern Russian city on Monday evening for a regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government.

He left St. Petersburg for Moscow late on Tuesday and is set to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday.

Agencies and Zhou Wa contributed to this story.

China’s future?

BusinessWorld http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=21768

Thursday, November 25, 2010 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
Strategic Perspective -- by René B. Azurin
China’s future?

A corporate executive who pays $349 a year to subscribe to the weekly "global intelligence" reports of the Texas-based firm Strafor gave me entrepreneur George Friedman’s book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (2009), and urged me to read it. I did leaf through it and found many of Friedman’s forecasts badly reasoned. His comments on the "geopolitical fault line" of the Pacific Basin were, however, interesting in the context of the present US-China confrontation on currency and trade.

The increasingly strident insistence of the US that China let its currency appreciate vis-à-vis the US dollar is really a demand for China to raise the price of its exports so that American demand for Chinese goods will contract and US firms can better compete. In this way, the US hopes to grow its economy out of the high unemployment caused by the current global recession. In pursuit of this objective, the US is apparently deliberately letting the value of the dollar slide against other currencies and wants China (in particular) to correct what is widely considered a seriously and deliberately undervalued renminbi. Unmistakably, the signs of a trade war loom on the horizon.

Friedman notes that the US "consumes massive amounts of Asia’s industrial products" and that this "devastates certain American economic sectors and regions by undermining domestic industry. What benefits consumers can simultaneously increase unemployment and decrease wages, creating complex political cross currents within the United States." Friedman therefore contends that, "regardless of the overall benefits of trade with Asia, the United States could wind up in a situation where domestic political considerations force it to change its policy towards Asian imports." He then adds, "If the United States barred Chinese products, or imposed tariffs that made Chinese goods uncompetitive, China would face a massive economic crisis. The same would be true for Japan and other Asian countries." He pointedly stresses, "Countries facing economic disaster become unpredictable."

Asia’s two major powers, Japan and China, "are heavily dependent.... on exports to grow their economy." A shift in American policy to "try to reshape economic relations in the Pacific Basin... (in response to) domestic pressure... is far from unimaginable," says Friedman. He observes, "Economically, the United States is dependent on trade with Asia, but not nearly as dependent as Asia is on trade with the United States." It should be pointed out, however, that the question of who is ultimately more dependent on whom is based on a whole slew of factors and conditions affecting the character and direction of development in each individual country. Still, it’s already an inextricably interconnected world.

"Militarily," Friedman adds ominously, "the United States could shut down access to the Pacific Ocean whenever it wished."

Although Friedman concedes that the Chinese economy’s "surging dramatically in the past thirty years" has made it "a significant power," he argues that China’s growth cannot be "unending" and that the rate of growth must eventually diminish. He then argues that "slower growth means substantial social and political problems." He says that "China’s economy is not nearly as robust as it might seem, and its political stability, which depends heavily on continuing rapid growth, is.... precarious."

Those problems lead Friedman to conclude that China may not even "hold together as a unified country." Just to provide the flavor for this argument, it relates what is happening in China today to what happened in China in the mid-19th century when "the Europeans forced their way in, engaging China in intense trade." This resulted in "dramatic increase in wealth in the coastal areas that were engaged in trade" but also a "massive increase in inequality between China’s coast and the poor interior regions." Observes Friedman, "This disparity also led to the weakening of the central government’s control over the coastal regions and to increased instability and chaos" which lasted until Mao and his Red Army overthrew Chiang’s central government in 1949, assumed power, and closed the country again to foreigners. Friedman notes that Mao actually failed in his efforts to cause coastal trading regions like Shanghai to join the "revolution" and observes that those wealthy areas "preferred close ties to (and even domination by) the Europeans."

In essence, Friedman argues that Deng’s re-opening of China after Mao’s death is a "gamble" that "China could open its borders, engage in international trade, and not be torn apart by internal conflict." He (Friedman) clearly does not believe that the bet will pay off and that China can sustain "an indefinite balancing act" wherein it will "gradually shift resources away from the wealthier coastal regions toward the interior without meeting resistance from the coast and without encountering restlessness in the interior." The basic reason why Friedman thinks this will be so difficult to achieve is that he sees China as engaging in "profitless" growth, pricing its exports significantly below cost. These "(p)rofitless exports drive a giant churning of the economic engine without actually getting it anywhere."

As Friedman sees it, "China is (today) held together by money, not ideology. When there is an economic downturn and the money stops rolling in, not only will the banking system spasm, but the entire fabric of Chinese society will shudder. Loyalty in China is either bought or coerced. Without available money, only coercion remains. Business slowdowns can generally lead to instability because they lead to business failure and unemployment. In a country where poverty is endemic and unemployment widespread, the added pressure of an economic downturn will result in political instability."

The Stratfor founder sees three possible future scenarios for China. In the first, China will continue "to grow at astronomical rates indefinitely." He does not believe this can happen. In the second, there will be a "recentralization of China, where the conflicting interests that will emerge and compete following an economic slowdown are controlled by a strong central government that imposes order and restricts the regions’ room to maneuver." He thinks this probable but "difficult to pull off." In the third, a severe economic slump will cause China to "fragment along traditional regional lines, while the central government weakens and becomes less powerful." He thinks that this is the most likely outcome.
"Any discussion of the future has to begin," says Friedman, "with a discussion of China." All right then.

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QE2 & The Great Misdiagnosis


QE2 & The Great Misdiagnosis

By Jim Willie CB

Nov 24 2010 1:45PM

Use the above link to subscribe to the paid research reports, which include coverage of critically important factors at work during the ongoing panicky attempt to sustain an unsustainable system burdened by numerous imbalances aggravated by global village forces. An historically unprecedented mess has been created by compromised central bankers and inept economic advisors, whose interference has irreversibly altered and damaged the world financial system, urgently pushed after the removed anchor of money to gold. Analysis features Gold, Crude Oil, USDollar, Treasury bonds, and inter-market dynamics with the US Economy and US Federal Reserve monetary policy.

The backdrop has turned dire on several front simultaneously. The great millstone around the USEconomy's neck continues to drag it down. CoreLogic reported 2.1 million units have created a swamp in Shadow inventory of the housing market. That equates to 23 months inventory, whereas normal is 7 months. They tallied the growing tumor of bank owned properties as a result of home foreclosures, also called the REOs (real estate owned). Look for no housing market recovery for at least another two years. Starting in summer 2007, the Jackass forecast each year has been for another two years of housing market declines, all correct. Ireland might be squarely in the news, but the big enchalada is Spain. The Irish banks have presented a grand headache for the European banks, with a $150 billion exposure. Ironically, Ireland has done more to reduce its budget spending effectively than any EU member nation, yet is left to twist in the soft rain. They cut their government budget by 20%. The USGovt budget grows every year without remedy or remorse. Few seem to remember that Irish fund managers lost the German civil service pension funds a couple years ago, a source of hidden tension and great resentment. Spain will rock Europe and the Euro currency in the springtime. The gold price consolidation will center on the Spain debt crisis hitting fever pitch, with the Euro hit. Then again, perhaps a mammoth new wave of European gold demand will neutralize any USDollar stability. On Tuesday this week, the Euro fell by 200 basis points, but the gold price was stable like a rock. That is notable strength. But the bigger story of strength is with silver. The round robin of destruction to major currencies that makes the Competing Currency War, the race to the bottom in rotated currency debasement, it will lift gold & silver in a round robin of strong demand.


The US bankers often go home to mommy and order a giant slosh of monetary inflation whenever in deep intractable trouble, like after the previous mistake in QE1 when ordering a giant slosh of monetary inflation. The USFed, led by the academic professor with no business experience, has ordered a fresh supply of gasoline from a lit fire hose, but he does so on a collapsing building. Bernanke has very erroneously diagnosed lack of liquidity within the system to be the underlying problem. He has prescribed a huge swath of 'free money' to be sent into the bond market as a solution. He has prescribed that cheap money continue to be delivered to the USEconomy. Bernanke has failed to notice the insolvency in banks, and has failed to notice that 0% has yet to prompt any revival in lending among banks. Bernanke is fighting INSOLVENCY with LIQUIDITY for a second time after learning nothing the first time.

The USTreasury 10-year yield has risen from a grand bond market dare, not at all from evidence of growth. Bond players dare the USFed to create another $1 trillion in new money. In no way does another lift in retail spending constitute a recovery. Household insolvency rises every month from worsening home loan balances. The USFed wants households to spend more on borrowed funds, yet they have depleted home equity and vanished income security. No, US bankers are confused with their wrecked financial engineering aftermath and the broad banking system insolvency that they refuse to acknowledge or discuss. Ever since the April 2009 decision by the USCongress to bless the falsified accounting practices by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the big US banks have masked their ruined balance sheets, sold stock for their dead entities, and pretended to act as banks. Instead they are mere carry trade shells taking advantage of the USTreasury yield differentials, and storing the cash profits in the USFed, where it earns interest.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble from Germany was hostile in public remarks toward the desperate monetary decisions. At the recent G-20 Meeting, Schauble called USFed Chairman clueless openly (his word), describing his policies as reckless (his word). He ridiculed the USGovt approach to urge China and Germany to reduce their trade surpluses. Take surpluses as signs of success and competent industrial and policy management, where the US is void. He gives his nation credit for a strong competitive industry. He cites a direct contradiction. Schauble said, "The American growth model, on the other hand, is in a deep crisis. The United States lived on borrowed money for too long, inflating its financial sector unnecessarily, and neglecting its small and mid-sized industrial companies. There is no lack of liquidity in the USEconomy, which is why I do not recognize the economic argument behind this measure." Exactly on both counts!!! The USFed is fighting insolvency with liquidity rather than debt restructure for a second time, after learning nothing the first time. The US economists have lost their way so badly, that they no longer comprehend the concept of legitimate income. The US counselors push for putting more cash in consumer hands, regardless of where it comes from. Call it heresy, or call it incompetence, or call it blindness from the Keynesian bright lights that burn bright in the inflation laboratory.

New money does not cure an insolvent banking system or insolvent households. No sterilization of QE2 is in the plan, to serve as protection for the USEconomy. Not in QE2!! My forecast is for the hollowing out of the USEconomy from a massive cost drain with puny export benefit, compounded by continued income erosion. Price inflation will be labeled as growth, even income growth, the chronic sins. The borrowing costs have been near 0% for 18 months with no economic response, making Bernanke's points again vacant, myopic, and deficient. He is fighting an endemic insolvency problem with amplified monetary inflation. A voice with hint of wisdom came from former New York Fed President E Gerald Corrigan Corrigan. He said, "Even in the face of substantial margins of under-utilization of human and capital resources, efforts to achieve an upward nudge in today's very low inflation rate make me somewhat uncomfortable." His experience came under ex-USFed Chairman Volcker during the late 1970 decade, who raised interest rates to 20% to combat inflation, pushing the economy into the 1981-82 recession. That was the final chapter of anti-bubble USFed chieftain linneage. Since the Greenspan Era, it has been full speed ahead with inflation engineering, asset bubble creation, erudite apologists, permitted bond fraud, careful collusion, and reckless management. They have systemic failure to show for it.

The claim by Bernanke and a supporting chorus of economists that QE2 will bolster USEconomic competitiveness is fallacious, and patently backwards as usual. It will push the US further into a wasteland, a vestibule to the Third World. The higher cost structure uniformly imposed will render great damage in a profit squeeze for businesses and discretionary spending squeeze for households. New money does not cure an insolvent banking system or insolvent households. It presents a new problem of significiant price inflation. They want it, so they can call it growth!! Producing high value products efficiently and cost effectively makes the nation competitive. Imposing a fair tax structure that is stable, reasonable, and with proper incentives makes it competitive. Having an active legal prosecution staff to combat bond fraud and defense appropriation fraud makes it competitive. Having a strong education system makes it competitive. A weaker currency raises the cost structure, increases import costs, and assists the export trade if a nation has one. The United States has shipped a large segment of it away in the last 10 years to China, after having shipped a larger segment away in the 1980 decade to the Pacific Rim. Not only did the US promote its financial sector, but it denigrated the industrial sector as dirty. By removing a significant portion of the nation's capacity to generate legitimate added value income, the USEconomy was left vulnerable to debt overload and insolvency. The US Ship of State was hoisted on its own petard. For those ignorant of naval terminology, that means the US killed itself in a great display of cannon backfire in recoil. The QE2 initiative will be disastrous from many angles, certain to push the nation into an Inflationary Depression, from the current chronic Deep Recession.


Increases to the silver margin requirement in futures contracts should be viewed as the final act of desperation. It is a device to control price within the paper silver arena. However, in a grand backfire, a higher margin produces a lower price for the physical buyers, who eagerly step up to place and fill orders. The margin maintenance hike on November 9th was six times greater for silver than for gold. The Big Four US banks are caught in an historically unprecedented short squeeze, bleeding $billions. Tuesday November 9th saw a powerful gold & silver price downdraft. The COMEX raised the silver margin requirement in a bland attempt to slow a raging bull market amidst a broken global monetary system. One week later they raised the margin again for both monetary metals. The price downdraft continued. But some calmer winds in Europe enabled precious metals prices to recover. Silver has snapped back much more than gold.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange raised the margin requirements for silver on November 9th. It was highly motivated. They wanted to prevent a blowout upside move in silver past $30 before Christmas, and to relieve some of the pain to the Big Four US banks. Unlike gold & silver, no margin hikes were doled out for soybeans, corn, sugar, or cotton despite their concurrent price gains. The message is clear, that desperation has set in relative to precious metals, as conditions are breaking down badly. The CME sent out a memo raising the margin maintenance requirements for silver futures by up to 29%, from $5000 to $6500 per contract. Initial positions have a slightly higher margin. It is their right, being the market maker. Let not their fast disappearing silver inventory deter their path. Less than two weeks later, the CME raised the silver margin maintenance requirement another 11.5% to $7250 in a sign of desperation. They also raised the gold margin, but only by 6% from $4251 to $4500 in a symbolic gesture. The CME motive is less about risk mitigation concerns and more driven by the desire to restrain the bull market movement. The investment world will regroup long before Christmas, like in the next week or two. Just when the European woes focused on Ireland, and a rescue aid package seemed in the offing, the silver price jumped upward by $2.00 on a single day, November 18th, a strong telegraph across the paper-physical silver table. The Powerz cannot halt the silver juggernaut, which will see $30/oz by January. If a double hike in the silver margin is the best they have, then they are truly whistling in the grave yard.

The demand for gold is global, diverse, and motivated by the gradual disintegration of the monetary system. Sovereign bonds that support the major currencies are in deep trouble the world over. The consensus actions toward Quantitative Easing, also known as hyper monetary inflation, have boosted demand for gold & silver monumentally in a natural offset. Dozens of nations and billions of people around the world are slowly awakening to the grand deception of money itself and the crumbly foundation that make up fiat currencies. They are losing money in supposedly safe government bonds, a trend without precedent. Most of Southern European nations will declare debt default within two years. Foreign central banks are attempting to diversify their oversized US$-based reserves without causing a run on the USDollar. Gold is gradually being seen as part of the solution, at least in private wealth preservation. Gold is the new reserve safe haven asset, since it is true money.

Important changes have come to the precious metals market. Silver has taken a leadership role. It has broken out in Europe to new highs. Its snapback was impressive after the weak-kneed COMEX hike in margin requirements. Silver is no longer only seen as just an industrial metal, a commodity, but rather as a safe haven alternative, a monetary brother to gold. The European Union bond fracture has wrought great damage to the structural foundation of the global monetary system. It is exposed as having a debt backbone, a paper spine fashioned of weakness, vulnerable to central bank abuse. Money is fleeing the EU Govt bonds, and fleeing even to some extent the USTreasurys. Horrible publicity has befallen the Big Four US banks with class action lawsuits at a time when Asian buyers have targeted the silver market. The Asians of unidentified origin (probably China) have descended with waves of layered orders, exploiting the discount offered from the paper impact after the margin hikes by COMEX officials. Recall that the US & China are locked in a trade war. The louder the USGovt accuses China of currency manipulation, the more they bid up Gold & Silver on the quiet. The strongest months of the year for Gold & Silver are December and January. The margin hike seemed designed to interrupt momentum. It only delayed the next powerful upward thrusts in price.


The nature of the Gold & Silver markets is two-headed. The price discovery aspect is driven by the paper futures contracts. Intended as devices to aid in pricing, to protect from drawn out periods under which business is conducted with commitments made, the paper futures arena turned into a monster two decades ago. The paper tail has led the metal dog, a backwards condition. Some important developments have taken place in recent weeks and months. Secure allocated account holders at both the COMEX and LBMA have forced the situation, demanding physical delivery of futures contracts. They openly cite their distrust, as suspicion is aroused of improper lease of allocated accounts. Huge delivery demands have come from Chinese and Arab investors. The remarkable new wrinkle is that silver paper price ambushes have led to strong silver physical purchases. Stories abound of an Asian assault on the silver market underway. Interviews granted by those with direct information have appeared on reliable websites. The skirmishes result in backfires to the paper market mavens, as they offer repeated discounts to the Asian physical buyers, who grab at the discounts with layered orders, as reported. Therefore, the actions by the paper mavens works to accelerate their own destruction. Investors should hope for occasional ambushes, so that the physical side can reload and obtain more physical metal at lower prices. Also, with occasional bouts of consolidation, the price advances are more stable. A very bizarre pathogenesis of the silver paper market is evident, hidden from view.

The London contact source has shared details to the inner workings of the Asian silver market assault on New York and London with an update. The Asian buyers have been squeezing the shorts in the silver market, causing great pain as the silver price has risen 50% since late summer. After the drop in price from a brief touch of $29 down to the low $25's, the physical market has responded with strong demand. Keep in mind that the paper silver market is the opposite, a key point. The bizarre anomalous paper market results in more selling when the price drops, the opposite to normal. The ambush catches the leveraged players off guard, forcing paper position sales in sudden liquidations. So a collision is in progress. The paper arena cannot produce enough silver after the raids push down the paper price in order to relieve their tenuous short condition. By pushing down the paper price, they must bring to the table the discounted silver at the lower price, in physical deliveries. The paper market is playing directly into the hands of the physical participants who want to drain the exchanges of their bullion metal. The credibility of the London source was enhanced by the quick jump above $26 as he predicted earlier in interviews. He described lines being crossed between the paper and physical orders, stops, covers, and delivery demands. Details are provided in the November Hat Trick Letter. Great intrepid work by King World News for developing the valuable source.

A staggering rise in physical demand is noted from Chinese & Indian buyers. Physical demand growth more than offsets the miner de-hedging, a process almost wound down fully. Investment demand globally is skyrocketing. According to the World Gold Council, global demand for gold bars climbed by over 30% between 2Q2009 and the second quarter this year. De-regulation in China might permit much broader gold ownership. That would unleash huge demand and pressure the Anglo bankers. Chinese demand has been strong for years, soon to reach a higher gear. With domestic mine output not expected to grow much next year, China will tap the global market, pushing up the gold price. New rules in China have already enabled tremendous increases in private gold demand, whose volume surpasses and overwhelms European central bank sales. The Chinese gold demand in 2010 will be a mammoth consensus estimated 500 tonnes. It will rise by as much as 20% in the year 2011, enough to surpass India as the top consumer in the next three years. Demand is forecasted to rise to around 600 tonnes in 2011, according to a Reuters survey of five analysts. Recent Chinese Govt restrictions imposed on property investment and speculation in other markets have resulted in more money going into gold and jewelry, which seems a calculated policy by the crafty government officials in Beijing. Gold will not burn their citizens in a bubble bust. Jewelry demand has risen by an average of 7% annually in steady fashion.

Investment demand for gold in China has surged by 60% in 2009 to 150 tonnes. On an annualized basis, China is on course to import 118 tonnes of gold through Hong Kong. Domestic gold mine output is expected to be flat inside China for 2011, the first time in years. Couple strong demand and flat output, and big net import of gold bullion will result. The Peoples Bank of China announced in August a relaxation of gold rules, a prelude to broader reform of financial markets pertaining to bonds and currencies. Banks would be permitted to export and import more gold in a program to drive the development of their market in the precious metal. Regard this as a direct assault on the COMEX in New York and LBMA in London, since huge physical gold demand will ramp up to a staggering high level. The PBOC wants to draw gold tonnage into their country without disrupting market equilibrium unduly, as it diversifies more of its burgeoning $2.6 trillion in FOREX reserves.


A great battle is being waged, but not presented in the light preferred by the Jackass. Witness the Tenth Amendment battle by the states versus the USGovt on the federal front. The battle has myriad microcosms in the mortgage court decisions made against the big Wall Street banks. So far the decisions favor the people, but the USCongress is busy preparing an unconstitutional bill to permit interstate contracts and possibly to whitewash any mortgage contract fraud. Bank lobby funds flow briskly to the craftsmen of the legislation. If challenged, such a bill might not withstand a constitutional battle. Sheeple justice versus mega-banks could reveal a quintessential states rights battle versus the federal govt controlled by the banking syndicate. Local judges are taking action against obvious criminal and predatory behavior by the big US banks. Some Florida homeowners were foreclosed by the big banks when no home loan was active in force. The Robo-Signers have captured much attention in document forgery. People who challenge are often winning their homes free & clear. Fraudulent attempts to foreclose and seize homes are being interrupted by those who challenge, and demand to prove property title. Legal precedents are set. Banks are worried. Regard the battle as an extension of the Tenth Amendment challenge, with proxy brigades doing battle. The big US banks represent the federal authority when a certain lens is applied.

The struggle in my view reveals a bigger macrocosm, where the states are pitted against the federal government. The proxy warriors for the states are local courts, where mortgage jurisdiction lies. The proxy warriors for the USGovt are the big Wall Street banks, whose syndicate has taken control of the national government bodies in their financial ministries. The states are fighting and winning the battle on home property challenges. Recall that in separate movements, 20 states have invoked the Tenth Amendment in a struggle to wrest back control from the New York and WashingtonDC syndicate. Their turf struggle has been over taxation, waged war, national security directives, border immigration, even threats of pandemic. Witness numerous local battles, erupting conflicts that serve as substitutes for state revolt against the encroaching federal apparataus. The legal structure favors the states. Watch the movements in reaction in counter-attack. What comes next might be Fascist Business Model corrupt extensions. The November Hat Trick Letter includes a review of some legal cases and their implications, which seem to be centered in metropolitan New York City. Some confusion might come from different decisions in different jurisdictions that lack consistency across the 50 states. That lack of uniformity might work to the advantage of upholding state rights, since the nation has always favored individuality of the states, a strength from diversity. Either way, a gigantic hairball is building within the system pipelines at a time when the majority of states are ruptured with huge budget shortfalls and pension shortfalls. They point a finger to the Wall Street corner where the housing & mortgage bust rendered damage. They point a finger to the USGovt colossus where the bloat exists, the deficits have expanded, and the control is centered.

By the way, notice how Bank of America quietly is approaching the funeral parlor. Word from my sources tell of Wall Street buying heavily the Credit Default Swap contracts for Irish and Portuguese Govt debt, in order to lift the bond yields enough to create a renewed crisis. That accomplishes two goals. EU financial distress creates some selling pressure for the Euro currency, thus supporting the USDollar. But a buoyed buck did not soften the gold price!! Sabotage of PIIGS sovereign debt is the order of the day so as to force the situation in Europe, which is stuck. The US bankers sense the need for contagion and crisis to befall Europe once more. Ruinous monetary policy is being exported from US locations. In the recent spring months, the USDollar was given a relative lift from Greek financial woes. This time, the effect will not be the same. Perhaps they can engineer an eerie calm in the FOREX currency market. The USDollar image and condition are so damaged and crippled, that the funds in flight will find Gold & Silver in heavy volumes. But the more hidden motive is to provide effective diversion from Bank of America. It is in a death spiral that requires almost daily cash infusions. As one source put it, "The wires for funds transfers at the Federal Reserve are burning from daily rescues of BOA." Witness the demise of Bank of America, again. Its own 200-day moving average serves as a ceiling on a dark pathway leading to the cemetery. Its managed death decline has come without news items. The mortgage mess is their curse.


The solution to the USEconomy and financial structure is long past available with the removal of the USTreasury gold. Here is a solution that could have worked. QE2 is the antithesis of a solution, one certain to cause great damage. Collateral, industry, and smaller government are the cornerstones to a solution. The $500 billion in gold collateral leased in the 1990 decade by Wall Street would be useful nowadays. People grope for bonafide solutions. Try this: Multiply the gold price 7-fold to obtain a hefty realistic $10,000 price level, sufficient to provide $3.5 trillion for US banking system collateral. Presto, some stability for the USDollar vis-a-vis the USGovt debt. Then the task shifts to reducing the USGovt deficit by means of terminating the endless war based upon dubious motives, ending Medicare largesse, cutting entitlements from pensions, eliminating several worthless agencies (like Energy and Homeland Security), and offering major incentives for the return of US manufacturing industry to US shores. The defense budget must be cut by 50%, and be declared no longer sacred. But the opportunity is long gone, since the USTreasury of gold was leased and sold for a few $trillion in private Wall Street gains. The usual suspects are deemed national heros.

These steps could have constructed the foundation for recovery, with $300 to $600 billion in budget cuts. Painful but progress. In two years, the deficit could have been tremendously reduced. That math works for me, but it is too late really. The nation repeatedly kicked the can down the road, the road that leads to the Third World. The opportunity for solution begins with a placement of gold collateral for both currency and debt, and a basis of industry for legitimate income. Both are absent, due to wretched leadership and profound corruption, as debt suffocates the system. Almost all attempts toward remedy mask the true motive at work, the preservation of power. The remedies turn out to be deceptive, adding $trillions to the clean-up bill without results. The squander of new money and the dissipation of asset bubbles are the essence of the Gold bull, which will take it well past $2000 in the coming two years, and much higher. The policy is not about solution, but rather power over money. Hyper-inflation, economic deterioration, and USTreasury default lie directly ahead, just a matter of time. Gold is the personal lifeboat, whose silver oars row to safety.


From subscribers and readers:

At least 30 recently on correct forecasts regarding the bailout parade, numerous nationalization deals such as for Fannie Mae and the grand Mortgage Rescue.

"As for your financial and economic analysis, I appreciate your contemptuous style and how you bring facts and commentary to your readers before most of the alternative media and light years ahead of the mainstream press. You are a beacon in a dangerous storm."(DanC in Washington)

"You have the unique ability to sift through the mountains of disparate economic data and hearsay and weave them into a coherent compelling storyline. The amount of unbiased factual information you provide is unparalleled in the industry (and desperately needed in these scary times). I love your no holds barred approach to dealing with the narrow minded purveyors of dis-information in the industry."(BobA in North Carolina)

"I think that your newsletter is brilliant. It will also be an excellent chronicle of these times for future researchers." (PeterC in England)

Jim Willie CB Editor of the "HAT TRICK LETTER"
Subscribe: Hat Trick Letter
November 24, 2010


Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 25 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at www.GoldenJackass.com. For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at JimWillieCB@aol.com

Aviation Security Threats and Realities


Aviation Security Threats and Realities
November 23, 2010 | 1824 GMT

Aviation Security Threats and Realities

Related Links

* Airline Security: Gentle Solutions to a Vexing Problem
* The Case for Screening Air Passengers Rather than Belongings

By Scott Stewart

Over the past few weeks, aviation security — specifically, enhanced passenger-screening procedures — has become a big issue in the media. The discussion of the topic has become even more fervent as we enter Thanksgiving weekend, which is historically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. As this discussion has progressed, we have been asked repeatedly by readers and members of the press for our opinion on the matter.

We have answered such requests from readers, and we have done a number of media interviews, but we’ve resisted writing a fresh analysis on aviation security because, as an organization, our objective is to lead the media rather than follow the media regarding a particular topic. We want our readers to be aware of things before they become pressing public issues, and when it comes to aviation-security threats and the issues involved with passenger screening, we believe we have accomplished this. Many of the things now being discussed in the media are things we’ve written about for years.

When we were discussing this topic internally and debating whether to write about it, we decided that since we have added so many new readers over the past few years, it might be of interest to our expanding readership to put together an analysis that reviews the material we’ve published and that helps to place the current discussion into the proper context. We hope our longtime readers will excuse the repetition.

We believe that this review will help establish that there is a legitimate threat to aviation, that there are significant challenges in trying to secure aircraft from every conceivable threat, and that the response of aviation security authorities to threats has often been slow and reactive rather than thoughtful and proactive.


Commercial aviation has been threatened by terrorism for decades now. From the first hijackings and bombings in the late 1960s to last month’s attempt against the UPS and FedEx cargo aircraft, the threat has remained constant. As we have discussed for many years, jihadists have long had a fixation with attacking aircraft. When security measures were put in place to protect against Bojinka-style attacks in the 1990s — attacks that involved modular explosive devices smuggled onto planes and left aboard — the jihadists adapted and conducted 9/11-style attacks. When security measures were put in place to counter 9/11-style attacks, the jihadists quickly responded by going to onboard suicide attacks with explosive devices concealed in shoes. When that tactic was discovered and shoes began to be screened, they switched to devices containing camouflaged liquid explosives. When that plot failed and security measures were altered to restrict the quantity of liquids that people could take aboard aircraft, we saw the jihadists alter the paradigm once more and attempt the underwear-bomb attack last Christmas.

In a special edition of Inspire magazine released last weekend, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) noted that, due to the increased passenger screening implemented after the Christmas Day 2009 attempt, the group’s operational planners decided to employ explosive devices sent via air cargo (we have written specifically about the vulnerability of air cargo to terrorist attacks).

Finally, it is also important to understand that the threat does not emanate just from jihadists like al Qaeda and its regional franchises. Over the past several decades, aircraft have been attacked by a number of different actors, including North Korean intelligence officers, Sikh, Palestinian and Hezbollah militants and mentally disturbed individuals like the Unabomber, among others.


While understanding that the threat is very real, it is also critical to recognize that there is no such thing as absolute, foolproof security. This applies to ground-based facilities as well as aircraft. If security procedures and checks have not been able to keep contraband out of high-security prisons, it is unreasonable to expect them to be able to keep unauthorized items off aircraft, where (thankfully) security checks of crew and passengers are far less invasive than they are for prisoners. As long as people, luggage and cargo are allowed aboard aircraft, and as long as people on the ground crew and the flight crew have access to aircraft, aircraft will remain vulnerable to a number of internal and external threats.

This reality is accented by the sheer number of passengers that must be screened and number of aircraft that must be secured. According to figures supplied by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in 2006, the last year for which numbers are available, the agency screened 708,400,522 passengers on domestic flights and international flights coming into the United States. This averages out to over 1.9 million passengers per day.

Another reality is that, as mentioned above, jihadists and other people who seek to attack aircraft have proven to be quite resourceful and adaptive. They carefully study security measures, identify vulnerabilities and then seek to exploit them. Indeed, last September, when we analyzed the innovative designs of the explosive devices employed by AQAP, we called attention to the threat they posed to aviation more than three months before the Christmas 2009 bombing attempt. As we look at the issue again, it is not hard to see, as we pointed out then, how their innovative efforts to camouflage explosives in everyday items and hide them inside suicide operatives’ bodies will continue and how these efforts will be intended to exploit vulnerabilities in current screening systems.

As we wrote in September 2009, getting a completed explosive device or its components by security and onto an aircraft is a significant challenge, but it is possible for a resourceful bombmaker to devise ways to overcome that challenge. The latest issue of Inspire magazine demonstrated how AQAP has done some very detailed research to identify screening vulnerabilities. As the group noted in the magazine: “The British government said that if a toner weighs more than 500 grams it won’t be allowed on board a plane. Who is the genius who came up with this suggestion? Do you think that we have nothing to send but printers?”

AQAP also noted in the magazine that it is working to identify innocuous substances like toner ink that, when X-rayed, will appear similar to explosive compounds like PETN, since such innocuous substances will be ignored by screeners. With many countries now banning cargo from Yemen, it will be harder to send those other items in cargo from Sanaa, but the group has shown itself to be flexible, with the underwear-bomb operative beginning his trip to Detroit out of Nigeria rather than Yemen. In the special edition of Inspire, AQAP also specifically threatened to work with allies to launch future attacks from other locations.

Drug couriers have been transporting narcotics hidden inside their bodies aboard aircraft for decades, and prisoners frequently hide drugs, weapons and even cell phones inside body cavities. It is therefore only a matter of time before this same tactic is used to smuggle plastic explosives or even an entire non-metallic explosive device onto an aircraft — something that would allow an attacker to bypass metal detectors and backscatter X-ray inspection and pass through external pat-downs.

Look for the Bomber, Not Just the Bomb

This ability to camouflage explosives in a variety of different ways, or hide them inside the bodies of suicide operatives, means that the most significant weakness of any suicide-attack plan is the operative assigned to conduct the attack. Even in a plot to attack 10 or 12 aircraft, a group would need to manufacture only about 12 pounds of high explosives — about what is required for a single, small suicide device and far less than is required for a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Because of this, the operatives are more of a limiting factor than the explosives themselves; it is far more difficult to find and train 10 or 12 suicide bombers than it is to produce 10 or 12 devices.

A successful attack requires operatives who are not only dedicated enough to initiate a suicide device without getting cold feet; they must also possess the nerve to calmly proceed through airport security checkpoints without alerting officers that they are up to something sinister. This set of tradecraft skills is referred to as demeanor, and while remaining calm under pressure and behaving normally may sound simple in theory, practicing good demeanor under the extreme pressure of a suicide operation is very difficult. Demeanor has proved to be the Achilles’ heel of several terror plots, and it is not something that militant groups have spent a great deal of time teaching their operatives. Because of this, it is frequently easier to spot demeanor mistakes than it is to find well-hidden explosives. Such demeanor mistakes can also be accentuated, or even induced, by contact with security personnel in the form of interviews, or even by unexpected changes in security protocols that alter the security environment a potential attacker is anticipating and has planned for.

There has been much discussion of profiling, but the difficulty of creating a reliable and accurate physical profile of a jihadist, and the adaptability and ingenuity of the jihadist planners, means that any attempt at profiling based only on race, ethnicity or religion is doomed to fail. In fact, profiling can prove counterproductive to good security by blinding people to real threats. They will dismiss potential malefactors who do not fit the specific profile they have been provided.

In an environment where the potential threat is hard to identify, it is doubly important to profile individuals based on their behavior rather than their ethnicity or nationality — what we refer to as focusing on the “how” instead of the “who.” Instead of relying on physical profiles, which allow attack planners to select operatives who do not match the profiles being selected for more intensive screening, security personnel should be encouraged to exercise their intelligence, intuition and common sense. A Caucasian U.S. citizen who shows up at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi or Dhaka claiming to have lost his passport may be far more dangerous than some random Pakistani or Yemeni citizen, even though the American does not appear to fit the profile for requiring extra security checks.

However, when we begin to consider traits such as intelligence, intuition and common sense, one of the other realities that must be faced with aviation security is that, quite simply, it is not an area where the airlines or governments have allocated the funding required to hire the best personnel. Airport screeners make far less than FBI special agents or CIA case officers and receive just a fraction of the training. Before 9/11, most airports in the United States relied on contract security guards to conduct screening duties. After 9/11, many of these same officers went from working for companies like Wackenhut to being TSA employees. There was no real effort made to increase the quality of screening personnel by offering much higher salaries to recruit a higher caliber of candidate.

There is frequent mention of the need to make U.S. airport security more like that employed in Israel. Aside from the constitutional and cultural factors that would prevent American airport screeners from ever treating Muslim travelers the way they are treated by El Al, another huge difference is simply the amount of money spent on salaries and training for screeners and other security personnel. El Al is also aided by the fact that it has a very small fleet of aircraft that fly only a small number of passengers to a handful of destinations.

Additionally, airport screening duty is simply not glamorous work. Officers are required to work long shifts conducting monotonous checks and are in near constant contact with a traveling public that can at times become quite surly when screeners follow policies established by bureaucrats at much higher pay grades. Granted, there are TSA officers who abuse their authority and do not exhibit good interpersonal skills, but anyone who travels regularly has also witnessed fellow travelers acting like idiots.

While it is impossible to keep all contraband off aircraft, efforts to improve technical methods and procedures to locate weapons and IED components must continue. However, these efforts must not only be reacting to past attacks and attempts but should also be looking forward to thwart future attacks that involve a shift in the terrorist paradigm. At the same time, the often-overlooked human elements of airport security, including situational awareness, observation and intuition, need to be emphasized now more than ever. It is those soft skills that hold the real key to looking for the bomber and not just the bomb.

Read more: Aviation Security Threats and Realities | STRATFOR

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'?


Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'?
November 23, 2010 | 1755 GMT
Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'?
Getty Images
Smoke rising from South Korea’s Yeonpyeongdo Island near the border with North Korea on Nov. 23

North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident raises several questions, not the least of which is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the real “red line” for conventional weapons engagements, just as it has managed to move the limit of “acceptable” behavior regarding its nuclear program.
Special Topic Page

* Conflict on the Korean Peninsula

North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), their disputed western border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident damaged as many as 100 homes and thus far has killed two South Korean soldiers with several others, including some civilians, wounded. The South Korean government convened an emergency Cabinet meeting soon after the incident and called for the prevention of escalation. It later warned of “stern retaliation” if North Korea launches additional attacks. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch additional strikes, and accused South Korea and the United States of planning to invade North Korea, in reference to the joint Hoguk military exercises currently under way in different locations across South Korea.
Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'?

The incident is the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang near the NLL this year following the sinking of the South Korean warship ChonAn in March. Over the past several years, the NLL has been a major hotspot. While most border incidents have been low-level skirmishes, such as the November 2009 naval episode, a steady escalation of hostilities culminated in the sinking of the ChonAn. The Nov. 23 attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo represents another escalation; similar shellings in the past were for show and often merely involved shooting into the sea, but this attack targeted a military base. It also comes amid an atmosphere of higher tensions surrounding the revelation of active North Korean uranium enrichment facilities, South Korea’s disavowal of its Sunshine Policy of warming ties with the North and an ongoing power succession in Pyongyang.

Over the years, North Korea has slowly moved the “red line” regarding its missile program and nuclear development. It was always said that North Korea would never test a nuclear weapon because it would cross a line that the United States had set. Yet North Korea did test a nuclear weapon in October 2006, and then another in May 2009, without facing any dire consequences. This indicates that the red line for the nuclear program was either moved, or was rhetorical. The main question after the Nov. 23 attack is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the red line for conventional attacks. If North Korea is attempting to raise the threshold for a response to such action, it could be playing a very dangerous game.

However, the threat North Korea’s nuclear program poses is more theoretical than the threat posed by conventional weapons engagements. Just as it seems that a North Korean nuclear test would not result in military action, the ChonAn sinking and the Nov. 23 attack seem to show that an “unprovoked” North Korean attack also will not lead to military retaliation. If this pattern holds, it means North Korea could decide to move from sea-based to land-based clashes, shell border positions across the Demilitarized Zone or take any number of other actions that certainly are not theoretical.

The questions STRATFOR is focusing on after the Nov. 23 attack are as follows:

* Is North Korea attempting to test or push back against limits on conventional attacks? If so, are these attacks meant to test South Korea and its allies ahead of an all-out military action, or is the North seeking a political response as it has with its nuclear program? If the former, we must reassess North Korea’s behavior and ascertain whether the North Koreans are preparing to try a military action against South Korea — perhaps trying to seize one or more of the five South Korean islands along the NLL. If the latter, then at what point will they actually cross a red line that will trigger a response?
* Is South Korea content to constantly redefine “acceptable” North Korean actions? Does South Korea see something in the North that we do not? The South Koreans have good awareness of what is going on in North Korea, and vice versa. The two sides are having a conversation about something and using limited conventional force to get a point across. We should focus on what the underlying issue is.
* What is it that South Korea is afraid of in the North? North Korea gives an American a guided tour of a uranium enrichment facility, then fires across the NLL a couple of days after the news breaks. The South does not respond. It seems that South Korea is afraid of either real power or real weakness in the North, but we do not know which.

Read more: Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'? | STRATFOR