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Total number of comments: 46 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:16)

Oliver T

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  • Here we go Again: Trump Admin Threatens Iran
  • The Real Problem with the Iraq War: It was Illegal
    • Chilcot didn't make any legal findings because it was an Administrative Inquiry not a Judicial Inquiry.

      Sir John Chilcot is a bureaucrat, he is unqualified to make any findings of criminality. We've known that since Gordon Brown established the inquiry.

      Mayvbe the USSC should be charged - after all it was them who appointed Bush as President

  • Could Hillary Clinton's promise of a gender-equal cabinet change US Politics forever?
    • Not sure that comparison of a US cabinet appointments, from the population at large, by a powerful president can be fairly compared with that of a Parliamentary democracy where the appointments are selected from a very limited pool of elected representatives.

      US cabinet members usually have some degree of expertise and relevant experience in the areas to which they are appointed. In a Parliamentary system they might at best have a passing interest, but by and large they are appointed to appease factions and special interests.

      You can get away with having an incompetent secretary of whatever in a Parliamentary cabinet because they have less say in making decisions, whereas Presidential cabinet members have much more autonomy.

      So bottom line - a Cameron or Trudeau can get away with playing gesture politics with his/her cabinet appointments, but a US President first and foremost should choose competent people.

  • How Americans Hate: 8-fold increase in Islamophobic Crime since 2000
    • Perhaps Jewish people are more likely to report hate crimes than other groups. They appear to have much stronger support structures they can lean upon.

      Reporting a crime against ones person (as opposed to property crimes) can be just as traumatic for the victim as the crime itself - just ask the millions of women who don't report rape and domestic violence crimes.

  • Visualization: How ISIL vastly exaggerated its Influence and Everyone Bought it (The Atlantic)
    • Both major parties are guilty as the other of inventing existential threats . It's a condition from which Empires have suffered throughout history.

  • Pakistan and the US: Quarrel or Divorce?
    • I imagine there will be more than a few here who don't read the German Media. Here's a recent article from Die Speigel, its in English, its two pages which may not be obvious, see bottom right corner of text. Gives a nuanced spin on what's happening next door in Afghanistan.

      Power Plays in Afghanistan : Laying the Groundwork for Civil War ==>> link to

    • And lets not forget where Khalid Sheik Mohammed was hiding out, not a cave in Waziristan, in an apartment in Rawalpindi, the main Pak Army garrison town 11m (20km) from Islamabad.

    • Difference is that this time its on their terms and with WTO rules and with support of their Asean neighbours, not on US military spec diktat terms.

  • Assassinating Dreams in Egypt: Amr
    • Can someone explain why the elections are being conducted in 12-rounds, over a period of four-month

      Egypt isn't that big, 80M people, the vast majority of whom live along one river valley. Compare that with India's 1,200M or Indonesia's 235M over thousands of islands.

      Makes me very pessimistic and suspicious

  • Anti-Liberal Netanyahu Slams Arab Spring as Anti-Liberal
    • Well I can't argue with that Juan.

      But Netanyahu's words are not entirely unexpected, I'm surprised its taken him this long. Oppressive regimes always prefer to deal with tyrannical regimes. They're so much more predictable, and susceptible to corruption and graft. And tyrannical regimes don't have those darned voting thingies where the people can change the government.

      Anti Liberal is the Agunah link to

  • Muslim Brotherhood and Liberals Confront Military Rule in Egypt
    • Juan wrote - "What we saw in Turkey in the past decade is that if a party receives a large enough public mandate, its ability to stare down the military is much enhanced. "

      But that took 70-80 years to bring about with coups and several military juntas. Indonesian civil society seems to have reached an working relationship with the Indonesian military in a less than a decade.

      OK so the Indonesians are not Arabs, but nor are the Turks, Both Indonesia and Egypt have Colonial histories, whereas Turkey has an an Imperial history.

      I think Indonesia is just as valid as a "model" for Arab Democracies as is Turkey, Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world and its a functioning stable democracy. Indonesia also doesn't have a bunch of quasi-secular liberal elites in Jakarta trying to trade in sovereignty to a quasi super-state for a fistful of euros - like Turkey has in Istanbul.

  • OWS under Pressure: Banks Bailed out, People Sold Out
    • Remember how the last Crash was about sub-prime mortgage debt being bundled up as AAA rated derivatives. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t understand, just keep that thought in mind

      They are at it again, and they’ve added a twist – Ponzi schemes, that’s what Bernie Madoff is doing 130+ years in prison for!

      Only this time its not sub-prime $200,000 US home mortgages they playing with. Its sovereign debt, sub-prime multi million Euro Zone sovereign bonds! All that yelling by Obama and Geithner at Europe about fixing the euro is to cover there asses, or should I say to protect their Wall St buddies. One large US brokerage has already failed, MF Global, which was run by Jon Corzine – ring a bell, yep, the former governor of New Jersey.

      The US MSM doesn’t want Americans to know about this stuff, because it demonstrates the failure to tighten regulations after Credit Crunch 1 and as Juan wrote the failure of the Obama to prosecute. His administration is riddled with the people responsible for Crash 1 – like Timmy G. The failure to tighten up regulations lies with both the Administration and Congress, on both sides of the aisle.

      If you think why should I care, I’m in America, and this is all about Europe. Well outfits like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are in this up to their necks and they’re American as apple-pie and Wall Street, as was MF Global. US institutions needing a bailout will be bailed out by American taxpayers, European taxpayers will bail out their own institutions,

      So Buckle Up Folks, Hunker Down – Here Comes Credit Crunch 2 link to

      Oh, a couple of Chinese bankers were asked why China wasn’t buying the Euro Sovereign bonds, here’s what they said.

      The president of state-owned fund CIC, Gao Xiqing said . “We are no white knights, we have to save ourselves.”

      The chairman of China Merchants Bank, Ma Weihua said “No smart person invests in these kinds of bonds. We cannot sacrifice our interests to help others.”

      I sometimes refer to the US President as ObamaDontCare, that’s wrong, he’s ObamaDontKnow.

  • Muslim- and Liberal-Hater Breivik Confronted by Survivors in Open Court
    • And probably to the Brown Army Faction in Germany link to

      Where it seems the police have been at least of decade of bombings & killings, including a female police officer.

  • GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
  • Could Electronic Communication Cooperatives Protect Us?
    • Since the advent of social media the various monetarist & neo-liberal economies around the world have been lurching from one crisis to another - I suspect that's no accident.

      I'm not talking conspiracies. Before SocMed there was a lot of information that was inherently private because there was no easy way of distributing it, and a lot of that information was transient anyway - so by the time you got to the pub at 5pm what happened at 11am is history.

      Last week someone at S&P put a message on a blog or SocMed site that gave the impression that France's credit rating had been down graded from AAA to AA. The original error was corrected within a few minutes, but by then tens maybe hundreds of thousands of twitter, facebook, rss messages had hit traders screens etc etc.

      A few months ago there was an event on the NYSE that caused some flash trading software to go beserk, the Dow Jones moved something like 500 points in seconds. Its possible that a SocMed message triggered that event - I don't think they ever told us what really happened - or I probably missed seeing it.

      I know 2008 was the bad mortgages and I know the euro problems are due to imbalances between the EZ states, but SocMed plus the 24*7 MSM is creating instability.

  • Perry's Lapse likely owing to Bad Faith and Destructive Politics
  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • Perhaps a better option would be for the US to withdraw to the Western Hemisphere where it lives, and leave the rest of us to get on with our lives where we live.

      In other words mind your own business and get out of our faces and we'll mind our business and keep out of your way.

      Perhaps when you've learnt some humility & grace and to act like a responsible adult rather than steroid hyped hubris filled bully we can renew the acquaintance.

  • Newt's new Crusade against the Arab Spring
    • Whilst the majority of FPM supporters are Christian, some of its party membership does come from the Shia community. Not sure if any FPM Parliamentary Members are Shia.

      Lebanon has not had a census for 80 years, we know there have been large numbers who've emigrated - especially from the Christian Marounite and Sunni communities. So I take figures on the relative sizes of the different Lebanese communities with a shovelful of salt.

    • Yusef, its not liberal democracy that doesn't work, it's neo-liberal economics that doesn't work.

      And don't believe those those who say you can't have one without the other

      China practices Marxist economics within a totalitarian state. Saudi Arabia practices neo-liberal economics within a totalitarian state. The USA practices neo-liberal economics within a liberal democracy. Norway practices Marxist economics within a liberal democracy.

      Which one of those countries rates #1 on the latest UN Human Development Index - Norway.

      Case rests

    • I thought the reason he kept changing his position was because of his underwear.

    • Expecting US Presidential candidates of any religious or political persuasion to have joined up policies, especially foreign policies and even more especially MENA foreign policies is like expecting The Pope to announce he's going to get married next week.

      Great post Juan - last week I had to practically waterboard another blogger to convince him that one of the founders of Ba'athism was a Lebanese Christian.

  • Godzilla Carbon Emissions in 2010 Unprecedented
    • Odd that they don't seem to think much came from the melting tundra around the Arctic Ocean, at some stage its presumably going to have a Big Belch.

      Also odd that they don't mention vehicle sales - I believe India's vehicle production grew by 30%+ in 2010, presumably someone is buying them. Here's the EIA figures for India, look at oil imports, they are also rising steadily. link to

      India and China still have a huge way to go to catch up with North America & Europe on per capita energy consumption. And the US with a mere 311M people is still increasing its rate of emissions faster than India's 1,200M people.

      India's always been hot - that's why Emperors, Princes, and East India Company built all those Hill Stations. Try one next time, I stayed at one controlled by the Army, very pukka, quiet, cool, inexpensive.

  • Berube on Libya and the Left
    • The ICG published its paper on R2P in the CFR Foreign Affairs in 2002
      The UN agreed to the RtoP in 2005, the UN SC adopted it in 2006.

      So on what basis is this "(mis)use of the "responsibility to protect doctrine" over the last two decades" made. The concept has barely existed for one decade and the actuality for barely 5 years.

      It doesn't take much effort to fact check these days.

    • The "so NATO could get at the oil" thesis doesn't stand up

      More that 70% of Libya's oil was already being pumped by Eni (Italy), Totale (France) and Repsol (Spain), most of the other 30% was being pumped by the Russians, the Brits and the Chinese in that order. Companies like KBR and Haliburton already had large lucrative oil services contracts.

      I cant see the sense in going to war to get something you already have

    • The military actions between the collapse of the Soviet Union included:

      The first Gulf War which had UN blessing because Iraq invaded Kuwait. Universal global approval for the action and the leadership of President G.H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker - and IMO rightly so.

      The eventual action in former Yugoslavia, after watching hundreds of thousands ethnically cleansed from the Krijina, the destruction of Vukovar, the establishment of concentration and rape camps in places like Cavtat etc etc.

      Outstanding achievement awards for 15000ft bombing of Fleeing Refugees on Tractors, Plywood Tanks in Muddy Fields, a Chinese Embassy and couple TV Stations.

      My memory is that some Repubs opposed these interventions; saying this a problem for the Europeans; IMO they were right. But the EU states were busy smuggling former Soviet countries into their Union, negotiating monetary unions that no one in their right mind believed would ever work, and green lighting entry into their currant bun folly to anyone willing to sign on the dotted line. George Soros did the UK a favour by making sure they wouldn't fall into this trap.

      Meanwhile President William J Clinton and Madame Secretary Indispensable Albright found that Repub position to be indefensible. So they set about creating the Bosnian Badlands & the Kosova Kleptocracy aided and abetted by left wing eurocrats and brussel sprouts like Bernard Kouchner.

      Those were the days.

    • If you do the numbers on Libya's oil revenues over the past 40 years its very hard to get to anything like US$200 billion of revenue let alone "savings"

      For most of that time oil prices were under $20 a barrel and Libya has zero debt. The man made underground river cost tens of billions, most of which went to Europe for material, no money was borrowed - cash on the line. Then there was all the money he gave to African countries - Uganda, Ghana, Niger, the African Union HQ in Addis etc.

      I posted the numbers here somewhere a couple of months ago, from memory I came up with a guesstimate closer to $40 billion. I did not include interest earned, because I couldn't find much info on where the money was invested. Apart a bit of info on the Siberian Alumina refinery deal that Tone Bliar negotiated with the Gaddafi's for JP Morgan.

    • Article 1 of the TNC Interim Constitution has stated that basis of the new Libyan legal system shall be Islamic Law (Sharia) since it was first published in April 2011.

      The head honcho of the TNC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, graduated from the department of Shari'a and Law in the Arabic Language and Islamic Studies faculty of University of Libya in 1975.

      What is the MSM on about, cant they read or something.

      Israeli law is based on Jewish Rabbinical Law, Anglo Common Law is based on Christian Canon Law as is European Roman Law, what would you expect a Muslim country to use as the basis for its legal system - Druidic Law, Confucianism.

    • Just for the record - Gaddafi's ties to Europe were MUCH, MUCH, MUCH closer to Europe than to China.

      Europe buys 80% of Libya's oil, Italian, French and Spanish oil companies pump about 70% of it.

      The value of weapons sold to Gaddafi between 2005-2010 by NATO countries was more than 50 times the value of weapons sold to Libya by China.

      China has some non-productive oil leases, some construction and maybe some telecomms contracts in Libya.

  • Would Obama Greenlight an Israeli Attack on Iran?

      Iraq’s decline into penury followed the destruction of its nuclear facilities, At the time Iraq, aided and abetted by its Arab neighbours, the West and the Soviet Union, was at war with Iran; arguably the latter won, or at least it didn’t lose.

      I am not implying a causal relationship between Operations Babylon & Iraqi Freedom, merely reminding me of the recursive twists and turns that history takes along the path of apparent progress.

      Iran’s fate will be the same as that suffered by Iraq & Afghanistan, devastation, penury and the destruction of its also ancient culture. It also raises the prospect of a swathe of flourishing poppy plantations from the Mediterranean Sea (once Syria’s been sorted) to China’s western borders.

      Happy days once more on the Paradise Road, now where are my worry beads, hair braids and leather sandals, don’t tell me I left them in Kathmandu, too :)

    • Assuming the US forces were out of Iraq then

      a) the Mahdi Army would have to get to them;

      b) the US forces wouldn't be in "occupation" mode, they'd be in "aggressive defence" mode and then in "aggressive attack" mode - the Mahdi Army would be destroyed within hours by Super Cobra's, Vipers and A10's.

    • I don't see why US relations with the Arab world be suffer if it attacked the Iranians. Most Arabs are Sunni, most Iranians are Shiite. Most Arabs are Semites, most Iranians Indo-Europeans.

      Sunni's and Shiite's have been hostile towards one another for 1300 years, Arabs and Iranians (Persians) have been have been hostile towards one another for 3,000 years.

      A Wikileaked cable revealed that Saudi Arabia urged the US to "cut of the head of snake" - they were referring to Iran.

      The Arab states bankrolled Saddam Hussein's 8 year war with Iran in the 1980's.

    • Yes,it's sometimes easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permissions.

      But the USAF shooting down Israeli planes - not unless they were attacking the US homeland.

    • Maybe he's preparing for another "Lead from Behind" operation

      Listen to his press conference with Sarkozy at the Cannes Film Festival (oops G20 Summit)

      And here we have "British Chief of Staff in Secret Visit to Jerusalem link to

  • A Hot Wet Thousand Years and 10 Green Energy Stories to Avert it
    • There is no reason why the human species should exist for ever, no other species ever did,

      We're just another species, get used to it and get over it.

    • If you can a problem with Jesper's link - I think this is where he was trying to get you link to

    • I think what Juan is trying to say is

      The energy providers wouldn't sell (produce) the 15 terawatts if the consumers did not consume (buy) the 15 terawatts.

  • Likud Government takes Revenge on Palestinians for UNESCO Membership
  • UNESCO Palestine Vote Isolates US Further
    • He who pays the piper calls the tune.

      So I hope your pockets are deep Zandru.

  • Mahoney: New Leadership in Kyrgyzstan Fateful for US Bases in Central Asia
    • So while the US urges Turkey to get itself into the European Union, the same US seeks to deter Kyrygzstan from joining the RBK Union.

      ** sigh, walks away shaking head **

  • Kabul Bombing of US Bus Leaves 13 Dead
  • Why a No-Fly Zone won't Work in Syria
    • Libya was not about oil - the Italian, French & Spanish oil companies already had the leases, companies like Haliburton and KBR were well entrenched in the services sector. Why would NATO attack a country to get something it already had!

      The reason not much Libyan Oil goes to the US is because US refineries are not designed to use Libya's very light oil.

    • 2) This is what was supposed to happen re women candidates in Tunisian Elections, it is not quota system as such - link to

      3) Re Lockerbie bomber, al-Megrahi, he is said to be close to death, TNC have said categorically that he wont be extradited link to

  • Political Pluralism breaks out in Tunisia
    • Financial irregularities by secular left wing Popular List party results in candidate disqualification. Popular List is led by Hachmi Hamdi a London based exile, Hamdi was born & raised in Sidi Bouzid.

      Protests hit Sidi Bouzid after historic Tunisia poll link to

  • Is Syria in Civil War?
    • Civil war, swivel war, MSM drivel war
      what does it matter - people die just the same.

      Tunisia looks hopeful
      Egypt looks doubtful
      Libya looks frightful
      Syria looks awful

      why is aleppo so quiet ?

      thanks for your efforts

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