Sunday, November 23, 2014

Russia And China To Hold Naval Exercises In Mediterranean, Door Opens For Scrutiny Of Federal Reserve




Russia And China To Hold 2015 Naval Exercises In Mediterranean, Pacific


Russia and China have committed to a pair of 2015 naval exercises as a sign of growing military cooperation between the two countries, Russia’s minister of defense said this week.
“We plan to conduct a regular joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean next spring,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Russian TASS news agency.
“Another joint naval drill is planned in the Pacific.”
The announcement from Shoigu follows a Beijing meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan in which the two countries pledged greater military-to-military cooperation against the backdrop of the so-called U.S. rebalance to the Pacific.
“We believe that the main goal of pooling our effort is to shape a collective regional security system,” Shoigu said.
“We also expressed concern over U.S. attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the [Asia-Pacific Region].”
Shoigu did not specify the nature of the exercises but Russia and China completed a bilateral exercise in May.
Joint Sea Exercise 2014 was the third between the Russian Navy and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since 2011 and featured 14 surface ships, two submarines, nine fixed wing aircraft as well as helicopters and special operation forces (SOF), state controlled Xinhua news service wrote in May.
The new exercises are part of a trend that, “has visibly expanded and gained a systemic character,” Shoigu said.
Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated the same earlier this year.
“It would be no exaggeration if I said that the cooperation between our two countries is at its highest level in history,” he said in May.
Russia has stepped up its surface presence in Asia in the last few months.
Earlier in October, the Black Sea flagship — guided missile cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) — conducted rare live fire drills in the South China Sea.
Russia also sent a flotilla of four surface ships off of the territorial of Australia ahead of the G-20 summit in Brisbane.
Shoigu said Russian deepening military ties with China was essential for regional security.
“Amid a highly volatile world situation, it becomes particularly important to strengthen reliable good-neighborly relations between our countries,” Shoigu said.
“This is not only an important factor for security of states but also a contribution to peace and stability on the Eurasian continent and beyond.”



The new Republican majority in the Senate opens a door for a new level of scrutiny of the Federal Reserve, the quasi-public organization that largely controls U.S. monetary policy behind closed doors.
“Will we finally get a vote on audit of the Fed in the Senate?” asked Julie Borowski in a column on the website of the conservative and libertarian lobbying group FreedomWorks.
“The GOP-led House overwhelmingly passed bills to audit the Fed in 2012 and 2014. Back in September, it passed with a bipartisan vote of 333-92. Yet, it was basically dead on arrival in the Senate,” she wrote. “For reasons unconfirmed, Harry Reid refused to allow a vote on the bill – even though he cosponsored audit legislation in the 1990s. The Senate companion bill, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has 31 cosponsors but never even made it out of committee.”
But with Harry Reid no longer in charge of the Senate, she said, “we’re far more likely to get a vote on audit the Fed.”

The fight for the audit dates back years. Paul’s father, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, repeatedly introduced bills calling for an audit that were adopted in the House but went nowhere in the Senate.
The argument against the Fed centers on Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which assigns to Congress the power to coin money. There is no mention in the Constitution of a central bank, and it wasn’t until the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that the Fed was created.
Ron Paul previously has said: “Throughout its … 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy.”
He proposed repeatedly the idea of auditing the Fed to determine exactly what it has been doing and then begin making corrections.With a book titled “End the Fed,” he’s made no secret of his ultimate goal.

In the book, he argues that the Fed “is both corrupt and unconstitutional.”
The book described the Fed as “inflating currency today at nearly a Weimar or Zimbabwe level, a practice that threatens to put us into an inflationary depression where $100 bills are worthless.”
He contends the Fed, created by private interests, is at fault for much of America’s financial woes over the years.
That the Fed is at least partly to blame for the financial problems that have developed in the U.S. seems not to be in dispute.

It was longtime Fed Chairman Bernanke who admitted as much.
Bernanke said it was the Fed that caused the Great Depression. It was the longest and worst depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world. While originating in the U.S., it ended up causing drastic declines in output, severe unemployment and acute deflation in virtually every country on earth.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., was a staunch ally of Ron Paul’s legislation to audit the Fed. He has said it’s remarkable that the public knows virtually nothing about an institution with so much power.
“Congress has basically abdicated its duty to control money and the monetary supply and control of our money supply as a nation over to this semi-governmental agency that’s not really governmental,” he said. “In reality, we have had no auditing. We have absolutely no idea what they’re doing over there.”
Broun said the Fed housing policy was partly to blame for the housing bubble and crash.
“They’re still managing our monetary supply,” he said. “They’re creating more and more dollars that have no or very little value behind them. Our dollars are becoming worth less and less. As time goes on, they’re going to be worthless.”


Helping Terror Go Nuclear




Helping Terror Go Nuclear


Last Tuesday’s terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue killed five people: four rabbis (including three born in the USA) and a Druze police officer. Two Palestinians entered during morning prayers and attacked worshipers with knives, meat cleavers, and a handgun. Congress showed moral clarity when blaming the horrors on Hamas and Palestinian Authority incitement, but Obama’s statements were perfunctorily “balanced.”Obama warned of a “spiral” of violence – an obtuse refrain of those suggesting moral equivalency between terrorism and the fight against it. Obama also misleadingly claimed that “President Abbas...strongly condemned the attacks” omitting that Abbas did so only after pressure from the administration and with equivocation (Abbas suggested a link between recent terrorism and visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, as if to justify the attacks). It’s also worth noting that Palestinians celebrated the massacre (as they did after the 2013 Boston bombing and the 9/11 attacks).

Obama’s weak reaction is consistent with his mostly impotent response to ISIS terrorists who behead Americans and Mideast Christians and grow their Islamist empire by the day. Frighteningly, his approach to Iranian nukes follows the same meek pattern, but the stakes are exponentially higher, because when Iran goes nuclear, so does terrorism.
Iran is already the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, without nuclear weapons. Iran-supported Hamas has already tried to commit nuclear terror: last summer, Hamas launched rockets at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor. How much more dangerous will Iran become when it has nukes? Even if Iran doesn’t directly commit nuclear terrorism, an Iranian nuclear umbrella will embolden the regime and the terrorist organizations it sponsors. 
President Hassan Rouhani’s election vastly improved the public face of Iran’s nuclear program, and Obama was charmed too. Obama has been unilaterally weakening the sanctions against Iran by not enforcing them. He has threatened to thwart any Congressional attempt to limit his nuclear generosity by simply lifting sanctions without Congressional approval. Yet despite these concessions and Rouhani's smiles, human rights abuses in Iran have actually worsened.  


The media’s anti-Israel bias is well known (they can’t even get a simple story about vehicular terrorism against Israelis correct (compare how The Guardian writes accurate headlines when Canada suffers an Islamist car attack but not when Israel does). So if Obama accepts Iran’s nuclear program and Israel then attacks it, the media will be even harsher on Israel (even though the world will be silently relieved, if Israeli courage succeeds at neutralizing what scared everyone else).
Russia, the serial spoiler, suggested extending nuclear talks past the November 24th deadline. Iran will undoubtedly agree to more enrichment time (while it keeps stonewalling the IAEA’s investigations into it nukes), as it did last July. For Obama, a bad agreement or an extension looks far better than concluding that talks have failed and issuing more empty threats to stop Iran militarily. And so U.S. foreign policy will continue its freefall, as the world’s bad actors will want to see what they can extort from a leader even weaker than President Carter. While Carter permitted Iran to hold 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days, Obama may allow Iran to hold the world hostage with nuclear terrorism. It's now dreadfully obvious: without massive public pressure, Obama will help Iran get nukes. Anyone concerned about nuclear terrorism should sign this petition:http://www.nobombforiran.com 









The Jerusalem Police Department last week seized two large shipping containers marked as carrying Christmas ornaments to Arab Christian residents of the capital, but which were also transporting a large number of “cold weapons.”
The containers arrived in Israel from a supplier in China over two weeks ago. The buyers form the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina went to retrieve the shipment, but not before raising the suspicions of customs officers at the port.
Days later, police raided the warehouse where the containers had been taken. They did indeed find Christmas ornaments, but under those were hidden 18,000 fireworks, 5,200 commando knives, 4,300 flashlights concealing an electric shocker, 5,500 regular electric shockers, and 1,000 samurai swords.

All of this was en route to the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, where violent riots have become a daily occurrence, and have of late escalated into deadly attacks against the city’s Jewish residents.
The operation was launched specifically to stop the shipment fireworks, which have been used with increasing frequency to attack police officers, synagogue and other Jewish targets.
Watch the Jerusalem Police video of officers unpacking the containers:






In what many have previously likened to a form of child abuse, many Palestinian Arab children from the youngest ages are taught to hate and to seek out violent confrontation with Israeli Jews.

A weekend report in Israel’s Yediot Ahronotnewspaper highlighted this heart-breaking phenomenon by interviewing four child rioters from Jerusalem who were so seething with hatred that they would rather “martyr” themselves than play or study as normal children.

“We are ready to die as martyrs, we have nothing to lose,” said one child from the Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat. “Our heads aren’t in studies at all, we are always planning what to do against the police.”
Another 13-year-old boy said that he no longer attends school “because I want to continue our struggle.” His justification for taking violent action in lieu of studies? The death of an Arab motorist who ran over and killed two Israelis earlier this month as part of what has become known as the “Car Intifada.”
Young Arabs were told that the incident was a mere traffic accident (even though security camera footage showed the driver purposely enter the light rail track), and that the driver was murdered by Israeli security forces.
And they come even younger than that. An eight-year-old rioter told the newspaper that “Allah willing we’ll succeed in liberating Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Summing up the sentiment among the children of Jerusalem’s Arab-dominated eastern neighborhoods, two other boys said they were “proud” of engaging in daily violence, and that “all of us here are ready to sacrifice our lives and die as martyrs.”



Satellite images show China is building an island on a reef in the disputed Spratly Islands large enough to accommodate what could be its first offshore airstrip in the South China Sea, a leading defense publication said on Friday.
The construction has stoked concern that China may be converting disputed territory in the mineral-rich archipelago into military installations, adding to tensions waters also claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.
IHS Jane's said images it had obtained showed the Chinese-built island on the Fiery Cross Reef to be at least 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) long and 200-300 meters (660-980 ft) wide, which it noted is "large enough to construct a runway and apron."
The building work flies in the face of U.S. calls for a freeze in provocative activity in the South China Sea, one of Asia's biggest security issues. Concern is growing about an escalation in disputes even as claimants work to establish a code of conduct to resolve them.
Dredgers were also creating a harbor to the east of the reef "that would appear to be large enough to receive tankers and major surface combatants," it said.




Saturday, November 22, 2014

Israel Considers Military Action Against Iran





Cornered But Unbound By Nuclear Pact, Israel Reconsiders Military Action Against Iran


Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program.

But sharing details of the deal under discussion with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of the deadline, Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.

World powers have presented Iran with an accord that would restrict its nuclear program for ten years and cap its ability to produce fissile material for a weapon during that time to a minimum nine-month period.


Should Tehran agree, the deal may rely on Russia to convert Iran's current uranium stockpile into fuel rods for peaceful use. The proposal would also include an inspection regime that would attempt to follow the program's entire supply chain, from the mining of raw material to the syphoning of that material to various nuclear facilities across Iran.


Israel's leaders believe the best of a worst-case scenario, should that deal be reached, is for inspections to go perfectly and for Iran to choose to abide by the deal for the entire decade-long period.

But "our intelligence agencies are not perfect," an Israeli official said. "We did not know for years about Natanz and Qom. And inspection regimes are certainly not perfect. They weren't in the case in North Korea, and it isn't the case now – Iran's been giving the IAEA the run around for years about its past activities."

"What's going to happen with that?" the official continued. "Are they going to sweep that under the rug if there's a deal?"

On Saturday afternoon, reports from Vienna suggested the P5+1 – the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – are willing to stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran.


But compounding Israel's fears, the proposal Jerusalem has seen shows that mass dismantlement of Iran's nuclear infrastructure – including the destruction, and not the mere warehousing, of its parts – is no longer on the table in Vienna.

"Iran's not being asked to dismantle the nuclear infrastructure," the Israeli official said, having seen the proposal before the weekend. "Right now what they're talking about is something very different. They're talking about Ayatollah Khamenei allowing the P5+1 to save face."

Yet, more than any single enforcement standard or cap included in the deal, Israel believes the Achilles' heel of the proposed agreement is its definitive end date – the sunset clause.

"You've not dismantled the infrastructure, you've basically tried to put limits that you think are going to be monitored by inspectors and intelligence," said the official, "and then after this period of time, Iran is basically free to do whatever it wants."

But the treatment of Iran as any other signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty –189 countries are members, including Iran – would allow Tehran to ultimately acquire "an industrial-sized capability," the Israelis say. "The breakout times [to a nuclear weapon] will be effectively zero."


"You've not only created a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power today, because they have the capability to break out quickly if they wanted to," the Israeli official contended. "But you've also legitimized Iran as a military nuclear power in the future."

From the moment this deal is clinched, Israel fears it will guarantee Iran as a military nuclear power. There will be no off ramp, because Iran's reentry into the international community will be fixed, a fait accompli, by the very powers trying to contain it.

"The statement that says we've prevented them from having a nuclear weapon is not a true statement," the Israeli official continued. "What you've said is, you're going to put restrictions on Iran for a given number of years, after which there will be no restrictions and no sanctions. That's the deal that's on the table."

Without an exit ramp, Israel insists its hands will not be tied by an agreement reached this week, this month or next, should it contain a clause that ultimately normalizes Iran's home-grown enrichment program.

On the surface, its leadership dismisses fears that Israel will be punished or delegitimized if it disrupts an historic, international deal on the nuclear program with unilateral military action against its infrastructure.

By framing the deal as fundamentally flawed, regardless of its enforcement, Israel is telling the world that it will not wait to see whether inspectors do their jobs as ordered.

"Ten, fifteen years in the life of a politician is a long time," the Israeli said, in a vague swipe against the political directors now scrambling in Vienna. "In the life of a nation, it's nothing."

Whether Israel still has the ability to strike Iran, without American assistance, is an open question.

But responding to claims by that same official, quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, over Netanyahu's courage and will, the Israeli official responded sternly: "The prime minister is a very serious man who knows the serious responsibility that rests on his shoulders. He wouldn't say the statements that he made if he didn't mean them."

"People have underestimated Israel many, many times in the past," he continued, "and they underestimate it now."









Iran has supplied Lebanese terror group and Iranian proxy Hezbollah with missiles “that can reach Dimona,” according to a new report in the semi-official Fars news agency.

The report said the Iranian Revolutionary Guards delivered a new class of missiles, “Fateh,” with ranges of 250-350 kilometers and which can fit a 500kg warhead.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Brigadier-General Sayed Majid Moussavi told the news agency that the new missiles will allow Hezbollah to hit any place in Israel, “including targets in the south on the occupied terriroty.”

“Dimona is an easy target,” he was quoted as saying.


Iran’s muscle-flexing comes as negotiations are underway in Vienna between world powers and Tehran aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. The deadline for an agreement is November 24.
Last week, the same Iranian general issued a similar threat to Israel, warning that Palestinian terror groups, in addition to Hezbollah, also had advanced Iranian weapons.
“Considering the range of their missiles, they are able now to attack all targets from southern to northern parts of [Israel],” Moussavi said last week.

Uzi Rubin, a missile expert and former Defense Ministry official, told the Associated Press in May last year that Fateh-110 rockets would constitute a “game-changer” if they were to fall into the wrong hands.
Launched from Syria or south Lebanon, such missiles could reach almost anywhere in Israel with high accuracy, he noted in response to reports of Israeli strikes around Damascus.
“If fired from southern Lebanon, they can reach Tel Aviv and even [the southern city of] Beersheba,” Rubin said.
The rockets are five times more accurate than the Scud missiles that Hezbollah has fired in the past, according to Rubin.
“It is a game-changer because they are a threat to Israel’s infrastructure and military installations,” he said.