EU agrees to go beyond U.N. sanctions on Iran

The U.S. would see this as an act of war, if someone would do it to them.
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has agreed to go beyond United Nations sanctions on Iran, instructing its financial institutions to exercise “restraint” on export credits and allowing its navies to inspect all Iran-bound cargoes, a senior diplomat said on Wednesday.

Read moreEU agrees to go beyond U.N. sanctions on Iran

Obama Delivers Berlin Address: ‘A World that Stands as One’

‘A World that Stands as One’ = ‘A One World Order’ = ‘The New World Order’

Sen. Barack Obama’s vote for a federal surveillance law that he had previously opposed has sparked a backlash from his online advocates, who had energized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Source: CNN

The elite knows that in the coming election people will probably favor the Democratic candidate for a ‘change’ and thats why Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton before, stands for change. This is just manipulation.

And since John McCain is obviously no option, especially not for change, people who want to see a change will vote for Barack Obama.

Yet all these candidates are puppets set up by the elite.

All these candidates are after your emotional reaction to favor one candidate and reject the others, because if you are getting emotional about them, than you stop to think and then they have you.

If people would for a moment not look at the messenger but at the message, then a different picture would emerge.

Ron Paul does not have to say that he stands for change, because his actions speak louder than words.
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) waves as he arrives at the Victory Column in Berlin, July 24, 2008. (Associated Press)

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is speaking in Berlin. His remarks, “A World that Stands as One,” as prepared for delivery, follow:

“A World that Stands as One”
July 24th, 2008
Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

Read moreObama Delivers Berlin Address: ‘A World that Stands as One’

Dutch health system rated best, U.S. worst – polls

NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters Life! ) – Americans are the least satisfied with their health care system – and their President –, while the Dutch system is rated the best, according to new research.

Polls about health care in 10 developed countries by Harris Interactive revealed a range of opinions about what works and what doesn’t.

In the United States a third of Americans believe their system needs to be completely overhauled, while a further 50 percent feel that fundamental changes need to be made.

Read moreDutch health system rated best, U.S. worst – polls

ECB raises key rate to 4.25%

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank, spooked by soaring prices for food and fuel, raised interest rates Thursday, joining several other central banks in battling a global eruption of inflation.

The quarter-point hike, which the bank had signaled last month, had little initial effect on markets, with the euro treading water against the dollar and stocks staying relatively steady. Central banks in Sweden and Norway also raised rates this week, citing inflation. On Thursday, Indonesia raised its key interest rate for the third time this year, while India raised its key lending rate twice last month.

The Federal Reserve in the United States, where short-term interest rates are only half of those in Europe, has so far declined to join them.

The European Central Bank’s decision deepens a recent divergence in monetary policy across the Atlantic, ending a long period when it tended to follow the course set by the Fed.

But the sharp rise in inflation has put Europe’s bank into a policy bind because it has been accompanied, in recent days, by evidence that the economy here is deteriorating much like that of the United States.

Manufacturing activity in the 15 countries that use the euro shrank in June for the first time in three years, according to a survey of European purchasing managers. In Spain and Ireland, where a collapse in housing prices has magnified the problems, there is a real risk of recession.

Still, the European Central Bank, hewing to its inflation-fighting mandate, pressed on with the expected increase, moving the benchmark rate to 4.25 percent from 4 percent. Among other things, it is intended as a warning to unions not to use higher inflation as a lever to demand hefty wage increases.
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It was not clear, before an afternoon news conference chaired by the bank’s president, Jean-Claude Trichet, whether the rate increase would be a one-time gesture or the start of a cycle of tighter monetary policy.

Several economists said they doubted the bank could tighten much further, given the parlous economic situation.

“The ECB is hiking at a time when confidence is plummeting,” said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist at Deutsche Bank. “The question is, ‘what do you do when asset prices fall at the same time that consumer prices rise?’ The central bankers seem to have reached the end of the line.”

Read moreECB raises key rate to 4.25%

GLOBAL ECONOMY – Factories hit worldwide as commodity prices soar

LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) – Soaring commodity costs are denting manufacturing activity in Asia and Europe and the outlook looks bleak as new orders drop off in the face of rising prices, surveys showed on Tuesday.

Manufacturing activity in the euro zone contracted in June for the first time in three years while business confidence in Asia’s largest export markets is buckling and output has likely contracted further in the United States.

Purchasing managers indices showed manufacturing activity in the euro zone fell to 49.2 in June, China saw its index fall to a near three-year low of 52.0 while in Britain it contracted at its sharpest rate since December 2001.

The 50.0 mark separates growth from contraction. Factories worldwide have struggled in the face of soaring raw material and energy costs — oil hit over $143 a barrel on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan’s tankan corporate index of big manufacturers’ sentiment dropped to plus 5, from 11 in March, showing their mood has not been darker since 2003.

Read moreGLOBAL ECONOMY – Factories hit worldwide as commodity prices soar

Bush Fulfills His Grandfather’s Dream

It’s remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather’s major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft.

But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd, 2007, documenting President George W. Bush’s grandfather’s involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship.

I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.

Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he’d received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.

If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush’s early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya’s middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott’s business dealings went better, and he entered politics.

Now, the name Thyssen comes from a German named Fritz Thyssen, major financial backer of the rise of Adolph Hitler. Thyssen was referred to in the New York Herald-Tribune as “Hitler’s Angel.” During the 1930s and early 1940s, and even as late as 1951, Prescott Bush was involved in business dealings with Thyssen, and was inevitably aware of both Thyssen’s political activities and the fact that the companies involved were financially benefiting the nation of Germany. In addition, the companies Prescott Bush profited from included one engaged in mining operations in Poland using slave labor from Auschwitz. Two former slave laborers have sued the U.S. government and the heirs of Prescott Bush for $40 billion.

Until the United States entered World War II it was legal for Americans to do business with Germany, but in late 1942 Prescott Bush’s businesses interests were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Among those businesses involved was the Hamburg America Lines, for which Prescott Bush served as a manager. A Congressional committee, in a report called the McCormack-Dickstein Report, found that Hamburg America Lines had offered free passage to Germany for journalists willing to write favorably about the Nazis, and had brought Nazi sympathizers to America. (Is this starting to remind anyone of our current president’s relationship to the freedom of the press?)

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee was established to investigate a homegrown American fascist plot hatched in 1933. Here’s how the BBC promoted its recent story:

“Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush´s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.”

Read moreBush Fulfills His Grandfather’s Dream

Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran


The Israeli Air Force is known for its “inventive solutions to military problems,” says Bruce Riedel, a Middle East expert who has strong contacts to Israel. “Israeli military planners tell me it is mission doable.”

The Israeli government no longer believes that sanctions can prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. A broad consensus in favor of a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities — without the Americans, if necessary — is beginning to take shape.

Dani Yatom, a member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, was invited to attend a NATO conference in Brussels last year. While reviewing the agenda, Yatom, a retired major general, was surprised to see that the meeting was titled “The Iranian Challenge” and not “The Iranian Threat.”

When a speaker with a French accent mentioned that a US military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would be the most dangerous scenario of all, Yatom said, politely but firmly: “Sir, you are wrong. The worst scenario would be if Iran acquired an atom bomb.”

Yatom, 63, has spent most of his life in the military. He was a military adviser to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and, in the mid-1990s, was named head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. Nevertheless, Yatom, a member of the Labor Party, is not some reckless hawk. Unlike most Knesset members, he flatly rejects, for example, a major Israeli offensive against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But Yatom’s willingness to strike a compromise ends when he is asked what he considers to be the best response to the Iranian nuclear program. “We no longer believe in the effectiveness of sanctions,” says Yatom. “A military operation is needed if the world wants to stop Iran.”

When Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, expressed similar sentiments 10 days ago, they were viewed, especially in Europe, as the isolated opinions of a card-carrying hardliner seeking to score points with the electorate in a bid to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In truth, however, there is now a consensus within the Israeli government that an air strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities has become unavoidable. “Most members of the Israeli cabinet no longer believe that sanctions will convince President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to change course,” says Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yaakov Edri.

The one question over which Israel’s various political groups disagree is the timing of an attack. The doves argue that diplomatic efforts by the United Nations should be allowed to continue until Iran is on the verge of completing the bomb. That way, Israel could at least argue convincingly that all non-military options had been exhausted.

Read moreIsraeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran

German government backs enhanced surveillance


Wolfgang Schauble, Minister of the Interior for Germany, at the First International Security Forum of Ministers of Interior and Public Security in Jerusalem on May 29. (Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse)

BERLIN: Despite strong criticism from the opposition and even its own coalition partners, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government agreed Wednesday to give Germany’s police forces greater powers to monitor homes, telephones and private computers, maintaining that an enhanced reach would protect citizens from terrorist attacks.

But opposition parties and some Social Democrats who share power with Merkel’s conservative bloc criticized the measures in the draft legislation, saying they would further erode privacy rights that they contend have already been undermined, after revelations of recent snooping operations conducted by Deutsche Telekom, one of the country’s biggest companies.

Deutsche Telekom had for some time been monitoring calls of its employers, despite federal regulations on strict data protection.

The proposed legislation would for the first time give federal police officers the right to take preventive measures in cases of suspected terrorism.

The bill, for example, calls for video surveillance of private apartments, online computer searches and phone monitoring.

But the nature of the surveillance, which would require the approval of the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, has worried many Germans, with some commentators recalling the Nazi past and its vast machinery of spying. They also point to the more recent role of the Stasi, the hated secret police in the once Communist-ruled East Germany, which established a pervasive system of keeping tabs on almost everyone in the country.

The draft law was fashioned after months of intense debate led by Wolfgang Schäuble, the conservative interior minister, who has long wanted the security forces to be given more leeway for surveillance.

Read moreGerman government backs enhanced surveillance

Putin Calls U.S. ‘Frightening Monster’

May 31 (Bloomberg) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin compared the U.S. to a “frightening monster” and urged France to distance itself from its American ally.

“How can one be such a shining example of democracy at home and a frightening monster abroad?” Putin said in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde transmitted live to journalists in Paris yesterday.

Putin, speaking the day after meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said the U.S. was creating “new Berlin Walls” in Europe by pushing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to expand into ex-Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine.

The Russian prime minister, who passed on the presidency earlier this month to his handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, continues to set the foreign and domestic policy agenda. Under Putin’s eight-year presidency, Russia clashed with the U.S. and the European Union over matters such as NATO expansion and a planned U.S. missile-defense system in eastern Europe.

“France, I hope, will continue to conduct an independent foreign policy,” said Putin, whose interview was embargoed until publication by Le Monde today. “This is in the nature of French people, they don’t want their country tied down, and any French leader will have to respect that.”

The election of Medvedev, 42, a lawyer who has called for more dialogue between the East and West, has raised hopes of an eventual thaw. Still, Sarkozy decided to meet with Putin, breaking with the tradition of Group of Eight leaders of dealing with Russia at a presidential level, showing the 55-year-old former KGB colonel’s dominant influence.

Presidential Power

Under Russia’s constitution, the president is supposed to be solely responsible for foreign policy and has more formal authority than the prime minister, who can be fired by presidential decree and is charged with implementing Kremlin policies.

Putin “remains the pre-eminent power” in Russia, said Michael Emerson, a former EU ambassador to Moscow and an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. “The EU has to deal with the people who are there, both of them.”

Putin, who has threatened to point missiles at Ukraine should it host missile bases as a NATO member, said expanding the military alliance deeper into former Soviet territory risked a return to Cold War competition.

“NATO expansion means drawing up new dividing lines in Europe, new Berlin Walls,” he said. “This time we can’t see them, but they’re no less dangerous.”

Military Infrastructure

Putin said Russia sees “military infrastructure coming closer to our borders,” and denounced the U.S. for seeking a “monopoly in world affairs.”

Read morePutin Calls U.S. ‘Frightening Monster’

German Telecom Rocked By Spy Scandal

Former telecoms monopoly Deutsche Telekom over the weekend became the latest German firm to be rocked by revelations of spying on its employees.

Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s biggest phone company, confirmed on Saturday allegations in Spiegel magazine that it hired an outside firm to track hundreds of thousands of phone calls by senior executives and journalists in 2005-6.

It denied that the Berlin consultancy firm listened to the conversations, instead merely logging details on who phoned whom as well as the time and duration of the calls.

Spiegel said that “Operation Clipper” and “Operation Rheingold” were set up in order to identify the source of leaks of sensitive financial information to financial journalists.

Chief executive Rene Obermann, who was not in charge when the spying took place, said that state prosecutors and a law firm in Cologne were investigating the affair.

Less than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Stasi secret police in communist East Germany, Germans are particularly sensitive about infringements into their privacy.

Other firms have also been accused of spying on their own workers.

The biggest such scandal involved Lidl, one of German’s biggest budget supermarket chains, which reportedly violated labour laws by by installing hidden cameras in its stores to systematically keep tabs on staff.

Lidl even recorded employees when they used the toilet, their conversations while on break, and kept track on who their friends outside work were, reports said in March.

Anti-terrorism surveillance measures introduced by the government such as installing secret cameras in terror suspects’ homes and including biometric data on passports have also riled civil liberties groups.

May 25 08:04 PM US/Eastern

Source: AFP