Article 43

 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Real Rogue Nation

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Conventional wisdom holds that we are afraid of dying and that religion helps assuage those fears. Now, empirical evidence seems to show that reminders of our mortality cause us to lash out violently at those who threaten not only our lives, but also our belief systems.
- Beth Kephart

America Is The Rogue Nation

By Charley Reese
Anti War
June 28, 2008

One gets the impression that THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE in Washington WHO BELIEVE that ISRAEL or the U.S. can BOMB IRAN’S nuclear reactors, fly home, and it will be mission complete.

It makes you wonder if perhaps there is a virus going around that is gradually making people stupid. If we or Israel attack Iran, we will have a new war on our hands. The Iranians are not going to shrug off an attack and say, “You naughty boys, you.”

Consider how much trouble Iraq has given us. Some 4,000 dead and 29,000 wounded, a half a trillion dollars in cost and still climbing, and five years later, we cannot say that the country is pacified.

Iraq is a small country compared with Iran. Iran has about 70 million people. Its western mountains border the Persian Gulf. In other words, its missiles and guns look down on the U.S. ships below it. And it has lots of missiles, from short-range to intermediate-range (around 2,200 kilometers).

More to the point, it has been equipped by Russia with the fastest anti-ship missile on the planet. THE SS-N-22 SUNBURN can travel at Mach 3 at high altitude and at Mach 2.2 at low altitude. That is faster than anything in our arsenal.

Iran’s conventional forces include an army of 540,000 men and 300,000 reserves, including 120,000 Iranian Guards especially trained in unconventional warfare. It has more than 1,600 main battle tanks and 21,000 other armored combat vehicles. It has 3,200 artillery pieces, three submarines, 59 surface warships and 10 amphibious ships.

It’s been receiving help in arming itself from China, North Korea and Russia. Unlike Iraq, Iran’s forces have not been worn down with bombing, wars and sanctions. It also has a new anti-aircraft defense system from Russia that I’ve heard is pretty snazzy.

So, if you think we or Israel can attack Iran and not expect retaliation, I’d have to say with regret that you are a moron. If you think we could easily handle Iran in an all-out war, I’d have to promote you to idiot.

Attacking Iran would be folly, but we seem to be living in the Age of Folly. Morons and idiots took us into an unjustified war against Iraq before we had finished the job in Afghanistan. Now we have troops tied down in both countries.

For some years now, I’ve worried that we seem to be more and more like Colonial England arrogant, racist, overestimating our own capacity and underestimating that of our enemies. As the fate of the British Empire demonstrates, that is a fatal flaw.

The British never dreamed that the “little yellow people” could come ashore by land and take Singapore from the rear or that they would sink the pride of the British fleet, but they did both.

I suppose no one in Washington can imagine the Iranians sinking one of our carriers in the Persian Gulf. How’d you like to be the president who has to tell the American people that we’ve lost a carrier for the first time since World War II?

Exactly how the Iranians will respond to an attack, I don’t know, but they will respond. In keeping with our present policy, our attack on Iran would be illegal, since under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Who would have thought that WE WOULD BECOME the rogue nation committing acts of aggression around the globe?

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/29/08 •
Section Revelations
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The Next Recession Part 24

This Recession, It’s Just Beginning

By Steve Pearlstein
The Washington Post
June 27, 2008

So much for that second-half rebound.

Truth be told, that was always more of a wish than a serious forecast, happy talk from the Fed and Wall Street desperate to get things back to normal.

It ain’t gonna happen. Not this summer. Not this fall. Not even next winter.

This thing’s going down, fast and hard. Corporate bankruptcies, bond defaults, bank failures, hedge fund meltdowns and 6 percent unemployment. We’re caught in one of those vicious, downward spirals that, once it gets going, is very hard to pull out of.

Only this will be a different kind of recession—a recession with an overlay of inflation. That combo puts the Federal Reserve in a Catch-22—whatever it does to solve one problem only makes the other worse. Emerging from a two-day meeting this week, Fed officials signaled that further recession-fighting rate cuts are unlikely and that their next move will be to raise rates to contain inflationary expectations.

Since last June, we’ve seen a fairly consistent pattern to the economic mood swings. Every three months or so, there’s a round of bad news about housing, followed by warnings of more bank write-offs and then a string of disappointing corporate earnings reports. Eventually, things stabilize and there are hints that the worst may be behind us. Stocks regain some of their lost ground, bonds fall and then—bam—the whole cycle starts again.

It was only in November that the Dow had recovered from the panicked summer sell-off and hit a record, just above 14,000. By March, it had fallen below 12,000. By May, it climbed above 13,000. Now it’s heading for a new floor at 11,000. Officially, that’s bear market territory. We’ll be lucky if that’s the floor.

In explaining why that second-half rebound never occurred, the Fed and the Treasury and the Wall Street machers will say that nobody could have foreseen $140 a barrel oil. As excuses go, blaming it on an oil shock is a hardy perennial. That’s what Jimmy Carter and Fed Chairman Arthur Burns did in the late ‘70s, and what George H.W. Bush and Alan Greenspan did in the early ‘90s. Don’t believe it.

Truth is, there are always price or supply shocks of one sort or another. The real problem is that the underlying fundamentals had gotten badly out of whack, making the economy susceptible to a shock. The only way to make things better is to get those fundamentals back in balance. In this case, that means bringing what we consume in line with what we produce, letting the dollar fall to its natural level, wringing the excess capacity out of industries that overexpanded during the credit bubble and allowing real estate prices to fall in line with incomes.

The last hope for a second-half rebound began to fade earlier this month when Lehman Brothers reported that it wasn’t as immune to the credit-market downturn as it had led everyone to believe. Lehman scrambled to restore confidence by firing two top executives and raising billions in additional capital, but even that wasn’t enough to quiet speculation that it could be the next Bear Stearns.

Since then, there has been a steady drumbeat of worrisome news from nearly every sector of the economy.

American Express and Discover warn that customers are falling further behind on their debts. UPS and Federal Express report a noticeable slowdown in shipments, while fuel costs are soaring. According to the Case-Shiller index, home prices in the top 20 markets fell 15 percent in April from the year before, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that mortgage delinquency rates doubled over the same period—and that’s for conventional home loans, not subprime. United Airlines accelerates the race to cut costs and capacity by laying off 950 pilots—15 percent of its total—as a number of airlines retire planes and hint that they may delay delivery or cancel orders of new jets from Boeing and Airbus. Goldman Sachs, which has already had to withdraw its rosy forecast for stocks, now admits it was also too optimistic about junk bond defaults, and analysts warn that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch will also be forced to take additional big write-downs on their mortgage portfolios.

Meanwhile, General Motors, already reeling from a 28 percent plunge in the pace of auto and truck sales, now confronts the fact that it won’t get any help this time from GMAC, its once highly profitable finance arm, which is reeling from an increase in delinquencies on home and auto loans. With the carmaker hemorrhaging cash, whispers of a possible default sent the price of insuring GM bonds soaring on the credit default market.

You know things are bad when middle-class Americans have to give up their boats and Brunswick, the nation’s biggest maker of powerboats, is forced to close 10 plants and lay off 2,700 workers.

For much of the year, optimists took comfort in the continuing strength of the technology sector and exports to fast-growing countries around the world. But even those bright spots have dimmed.

Tech stocks got hammered yesterday after software maker Oracle and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion warned that the pace of corporate orders had slowed.

And both India and China raised interest rates and bank reserves sharply in an effort to tame inflation and slow their overheated economies, even as the air continued to rush out of their real estate and stock market bubbles.

Like the rain-swollen waters of the Mississippi River, this sudden surge of downbeat news has now overflowed the banks of economic policy and broken through the levees of consumer and investor confidence. At this point, there’s not much to do but flee to safety, rescue those in trouble and let nature take its course. And don’t let anyone fool you: It will be a while before things return to normal.

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Posted by Elvis on 06/29/08 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Mother of All Privacy Battles Part 7

We know that it’s the same user over and over again. ...
We see every site you go to, and what you did on those sites.  ...
We know you’re going to Vegas. ...
We not only know which of our ads you clicked on,
we know every other ad you’ve clicked on!
- Robert Dykes (CEO) PRESENTING NEBUAD at ONMEDIA NYC 1/28/2008.

An Open Response To NebuAd

By Rob Topolski
June 24, 4008

Dear NebuAd,

In YOUR STATEMENT regarding my RECENT REPORT, “NebuAd and Partner ISPs: Wiretapping, Forgery and Browser Hijacking” you state the following:

“Transparency and consumer-privacy protection are core to our business. Reasonable review of materials that have been made available online would have educated the organization that NebuAd requires its ISP partners to provide robust notice to their subscribers prior to deployment of the service.”

For the record, I would like to make it clear that:

· NebuAd’s claims of transparency are hollow. Your company WILL NOT REVEAL THE NAMES OF ISPS THAT USE YOUR SERVICE, NOR WILL YOU REVEAL THE ADVERTISING NETWORKS where your targeted ads may appear, NOR DO YOU REVEAL HOW MICRO-TARGETED YOUR SERVICE GETS.

· NebuAd’s claims of privacy are dubious, since we don’t know who your ad partners are, we also don’t know who we are trusting with the very specific information that you are sharing about us.  We do know that YOUR MANAGEMENT RANKS ARE HEAVY WITH FORMER EMPLOYEES OF CLARIA (EX GATOR ), A COMPANY OFTEN LINKED TO SPYWARE. Your site does CLAIM THAT YOUR PRIVACY PRACTICES WERE REVIEWED by the PONEMON INSTITUTE, with a September 2007 “Privacy Review of NebuAd, Inc.’s Behavioral Advertising Solution” report that cannot be located on Ask, Google, Yahoo, or on Ponemon’s own site.

· NebuAd’s claim that I did not review the website is false.  Naturally, I completely reviewed all of the materials on your website prior to authoring the report. I also reviewed other data and PUBLIC STATEMENTS BY YOUR CEO.

· NebuAd’s claim of robust notification doesn’t work. While you say that your ISP partners must provide robust notice robustly notify its customers prior to deploying NebuAd, the CUSTOMERS REMAIN UNINFORMED.  I observe that most ISPs that you are known to work with only QUIETLY ALTERED THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE or Technical Support files prior to going online with NebuAd.  Most CUSTOMERS ARE SURPRISED TO LEARN that everything they see and do on the Web was already being sold to you by their ISP.

“All ad networks use a small piece of code that is temporary and operates only within the security framework of the browser to invoke the placement of ad network cookies. The code NebuAd uses is no different, and is clearly demarcated outside of and does not modify any publisher code.”

This, too, requires a response.

· As mentioned in my REPORT, NebuAd injects its cookies by forging TCP packets using a hardware device in the middle of the network.  This is not something that all ad networks do.

· As detailed in my REPORT, NebuAd’s code is appended to the web page code, in an extra packet that appears to come from servers owned by Google or Yahoo (not NebuAd).  This is why you can claim any demarcation. However, there is no demarcation between the publishers code and your injected code that indicates that the code is not from the publisher and that NebuAd is the source of the injected script.  The packet is a forgery and the reason is obvious—if the injected packet would properly identify its source in the IP header, the customer’s computer would properly ignore it. This is by intentional design, and is why I characterize NebuAd’s programming as usurping the intentions of the application and operating system designers.

Having read this response, I expect that you will stop misinforming the public about my report.  This matter deserves debate, not disinformation.

Sincerely,

/s/
Robert M. Topolski
Chief Technology Consultant
FREE PRESS and PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE

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Posted by Elvis on 06/28/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Embarq Ready For Nebuad

Embarq’s six month old outsourced, insecure, ad-infested DNS TAINTING SERVICE - already ruined their reputation.  There’s little doubt in my mind that they’ll deploy Nebuad under their customers’ noses without regard to it’s legaility or it’s customers’ wishes.

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ISPs still considering tracking Web use

By Peter Svensson
Washington Times
June 24, 2008

Although a large Internet service provider has backed away from technology that tracks subscribers’ Web use in order to deliver personalized advertising, two other broadband companies said Wednesday they are still considering whether to deploy it.

Phone companies EMBARQ Corp. and CenturyTel Inc. have both completed trials of the same tracking system, from online advertising company NebuAd Inc., and are now considering whether to proceed.

The largest U.S. Internet provider that had been actively looking at Web tracking, Charter Communications Inc., announced Tuesday that it had canceled its planned test because customers had raised concerns.

The technology gathers data on the interests of Web surfers by looking at the sites they visit. It passes the information to online advertising companies, without revealing a surfer’s identity, so they can display more relevant ads on Web sites. For instance, a surfer who visits sites about dogs might see more banner ads for dog food.

The system has been criticized by privacy advocates and legislators. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, wrote to Charter asking it to put the test on hold to give time for discussions. Markey chairs the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

“We are not currently using behavioral targeting tools and have not decided whether to move forward with them, either through NebuAd or with ANY OTHER vendor,”

said Debra Peterson, spokeswoman at Embarq.

The Overland Park, Kan., company is the country’s ninth-largest ISP, with 1.34 million broadband lines at the end of March.

Tony Davis, the head of investor relations at CenturyTel, said it was his understanding that the reaction to Charter’s proposed test had to do with cable-industry regulations that don’t apply to a phone company.

“So at this point it’s not affecting our thinking,” Davis said.

Monroe, La.-based CenturyTel had 586,000 broadband customers at the end of the first quarter.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/26/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bad Moon Rising Part 28 - The Coming Catastrophe - Iran

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“Israel has said a strike on Iran will be “unavoidable” if the Islamic regime continues to press ahead with alleged plans for building an atom-bomb.”
- London Daily Telegraph, 6/11/2008

“Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany joined President Bush on Wednesday in calling for further sanctions against Iran if it does not suspend its uranium enrichment program.” Mr. Bush stressed again that “all options are on the table,” which would include military force.
- New York Times, 6/11/2008

The Coming Catastrophe?
The finishing touches on several contingency plans for attacking Iran

By David DeBatto
Global Research
June 23, 2008

We are fast approaching the final six months of the Bush administration. The quagmire in Iraq is in its sixth painful year with no real end in sight and the forgotten war in Afghanistan is well into its seventh year. The “dead enders” and other armed factions are still alive and well in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan again controls most of that country. Gas prices have now reached an average of $4.00 a gallon nationally and several analysts predict the price will rise to $5.00-$6.00 dollars per gallon at the pump by Labor Day. This, despite assurances by some major supporters of the decision to invade Iraq that the Iraq war “will pay for itself” (Paul Wolfowitz) or that we will see “$20.00 per barrel” oil prices if we invade Iraq (Rupert Murdoch).

One thing the Pentagon routinely does (and does very well) is conduct war games. Top brass there are constantly developing strategies for conducting any number of theoretical missions based on real or perceived threats to our national security or vital interests. This was also done prior to the invasion of Iraq, but the Bush administration chose not to listen to the dire warnings about that mission given to him by Pentagon leaders, or for that matter, by his own senior intelligence officials. Nevertheless, war gaming is in full swing again right now with the bullseye just to the right of our current mess Iran.

It’s no secret that the U.S. is currently putting the finishing touches on several contingency PLANS FOR ATTACKING Iranian nuclear and military facilities. With our ground forces stretched to the breaking point in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of the most likely scenarios involve a ground invasion. Not that this administration wouldnt prefer to march into the seat of Shiite Islam behind a solid, moving line of M1 Abrams tanks and proclaim the country for democracy. The fact is that even the President knows we can’t pull that off any more so he and the neo-cons will have to settle for Shock and Awe Lite.

IF WE INVADE Iran this year it WILL BE DONE using hundreds of sorties by carrier based aircraft already stationed in the Persian Gulf and from land based aircraft located in Iraq and Qatar. They will strike the known nuclear facilities located in and around Tehran and the rest of the country as well as bases containing major units of the Iranian military, anti-aircraft installations and units of the Revolutionary Guard (a separate and potent Iranian para-military organization).

Will this military action stop Irans efforts to develop nuclear weapons? Probably not. It will probably not even destroy all of their nuclear research facilities, the most sensitive of which are known to be underground, protected by tons of earth and reinforced concrete and steel designed to survive almost all attacks using conventional munitions. The Iranian military and Revolutionary Guard will most likely survive as well, although they will suffer significant casualties and major bases and command centers will undoubtedly be destroyed. However, since Iran has both a functioning Air Force, Navy (including submarines) and modern anti-aircraft capabilities, U.S. fighter-bombers will suffer casualties as well. This will not be a “Cake Walk” as with the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003 when the Iraqi Army simply melted away and the Iraqi Air Force never even launched a single aircraft.

Not even close.

If the United States attacks Iran either this summer or this fall, the American people had better be prepared for a shock that may perhaps be even greater to the national psyche (and economy) than 9/11. First of all, there will be significant U.S. casualties in the initial invasion. American jets will be shot down and the American pilots who are not killed will be taken prisoner - including female pilots. Iranian Yakhonts 26, Sunburn 22 and Exocet missiles will seek out and strike U.S. naval battle groups bottled up in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf with very deadly results. American sailors will be killed and U.S. ships will be badly damaged and perhaps sunk. We may even witness the first attack on an American Aircraft carrier since World War II.

That’s just the opening act.

Israel (who had thus far stayed out of the fray by letting the U.S. military do the heavy lifting) is attacked by Hezbollah in a coordinated and large scale effort. Widespread and grisly casualties effectively paralyze the nation, a notion once thought impossible. Irans newest ally in the region, Syria, then unleashes a barrage of over 200 Scud B, C and D missiles at Israel, each armed with VX gas. Since all of Israel is within range of these Russian built weapons, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and virtually all major civilian centers and several military bases are struck, often with a result of massive casualties.

The Israeli Air Force orders all three squadrons of their F-16I Sufa fighter/bombers into the air with orders to bomb Tehran and as many military and nuclear bases as they can before they are either shot down or run out of fuel. It is a one way trip for some of these pilots. Their ancient homeland lies in ruins. Many have family that is already dead or dying. They do not wait for permission from Washington, DC or U.S. regional military commanders. The Israeli aircraft are carrying the majority of their country’s nuclear arsenal under their wings.

Just after the first waves of U.S. bombers cross into Iranian airspace, the Iranian Navy, using shore based missiles and small, fast attack craft sinks several oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, sealing off the Persian Gulf and all its oil from the rest of the world. They then mine the area, making it difficult and even deadly for American minesweepers to clear the straits. Whatever is left of the Iranian Navy and Air Force harasses our Navy as it attempts minesweeping operations. More U.S casualties.

The day after the invasion Wall Street (and to a lesser extent, Tokyo, London and Frankfurt) acts as it always does in an international crisis irrational speculative and spot buying reaches fever pitch and sends the cost of oil skyrocketing. In the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iran, the price of oil goes to $200.00 - $300.00 dollars a barrel on the open market. If the war is not resolved in a few weeks, that price could rise even higher.  This will send the price of gasoline at the pump in this country to $8.00-$10.00 per gallon immediately and subsequently to even higher unthinkable levels.

If that happens, this country shuts down. Most Americans are not be able to afford gas to go to work. Truckers pull their big rigs to the side of the road and simply walk away. Food, medicine and other critical products are not be brought to stores. Gas and electricity (what is left of the short supply) are too expensive for most people to afford. Children, the sick and elderly die from lack of air-conditioned homes and hospitals in the summer. Children, the sick and elderly die in the winter for lack of heat. There are food riots across the country. A barter system takes the place of currency and credit as the economy dissolves and banks close or limit withdrawals. Civil unrest builds.

The police are unable to contain the violence and are themselves victims of the same crisis as the rest of the population. Civilian rule dissolves and Martial Law is declared under provisions approved under the Patriot Act. Regular U.S. Army and Marine troops patrol the streets. The federal government apparatus is moved to an unknown but secure location. The United States descends into chaos and becomes a third world country. Its time as the lone superpower is over.

It doesn’t get any worse than this.

Then the first Israeli bomber drops its nuclear payload on Tehran.

David DeBatto is a former U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent, Iraqi war veteran and co-author the “CI” series from Warner Books and the upcoming “Counter to Intelligence” from Praeger Security International.

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Bad Moon Rising
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15
Part 16 - Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20
Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24 - Part 25
Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30
Part 31 - Part 32 - Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35
Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45
Part 46 - Part 47 - Part 48 - Part 49 - Part 50
Part 51 - Part 52 - Part 53 - Part 54

Posted by Elvis on 06/25/08 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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