Saturday, 13 April 2013

TROLLING ALONG: If the conflicting data feel like a stream of dissonance, ask yourself why.

Ever since Moses came back down with Ten Commandments and claimed they were from God, it’s been difficult to get at the Truth. 

But the complexity and subtlety of contemporary disinformation make it well-nigh impossible to get anywhere near it. The Slog explains why this is happening, who’s doing it, and what they’re trying to achieve.

‘Eurozone output rose greater than expected in the month of February,” wrote Reuters this morning. By gum, one thinks, things might be looking up. And Reuters suggests such a thought might indeed be appropriate: the data, it reports, are ‘giving hope the currency bloc will return to growth this year’.

Except, of course, it’s complete bollocks. Almost all of it is energy production – because Europe just had one of the coldest winter/spring spells on record. What’s more, whereas German production is up 95, ClubMed’s is down….especially in Italy at -8%. Which, of course, simply exacerbates the problem the eurozone already already has. Overall, real factory production continued to fall compared to data from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that ‘Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said “everything is in place” for euro-area officials to sign off on a 10 billion-euro rescue for Cyprus’……the only snag being that Nicosia doesn’t agree: it thinks it needs more. Or does it? Lest we forget here, Cyprus’s contribution to its own rescue has risen from €7bn to €13bn. Cyprus isn’t as yet asking for anything from anyone, because it is rescuing itself, remember?

In fact, didn’t Cyprus decide to use its own gold to raise the new larger amount? No actually, it didn’t: it was told to by the Troika. And then this morning, Mario Draghi ordered the Cypriot government not to sack Panicos Demetriades, the central bank governor, over his handling of Cyprus’ worsening financial crisis.

Over his handling of the crisis? Wasn’t the confidence crisis set off by the Troika’s haircut idea? Nonononononono….that was Nicosia’s idea. Well, that is…er, after it turned up a week last Thursday and was told to find a way to cut 40% of depositor hair by the FinMin’s eurogroup.

OK fine, but at least Brussels is trying to sort out the mess, right? The Wall Street Journal ran a big piece today saying ‘Europe is embarking on a new attempt to pull its banks out of the molasses of its debt crisis, hoping an aggressive cleanup of toxic assets will get banks to lend again and kick-start its flailing economies.

The push is being led by several key officials in Brussels and Frankfurt, who want to see a new round of much-tougher stress tests before the European Central Bank becomes the euro zone’s main banking policeman next year, according to four European officials familiar with the talks. They are backed by the continent’s richer countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and Finland.’

Ah. This is a new one on me. Or rather, it isn’t: the same story was salted out all over the place on February 26th. Then it appeared again on March 18th. Now here it is yet again on April 12th. But it’s bullsh*t: I have yet to find anyone in a position to know who has seen or read anything about such a new stress test.

But nihil desperandum friends, because ‘EU’s Rehn Calls for Faster Banking Union’ wrote the WSJ yesterday. Ollie can call all he likes, but his calls rarely seem to be answered: the same story appeared last June at Reuters and in the New York Times. It’s cobblers: the pace remains that of a snail on Valium, because half the people supposed to be in the damn thing are insolvent anyway.

€ € € € € € € € € € € € € €

There are three factors at play in all this misreporting. First, it tends almost always to appear on mainstream American news sites. Second, it is represents almost nothing beyond some eurocrat’s wishful thinking. And third, in the eurozone theatre it follows an obvious pattern most of the time: the deliberate sowing of confusion.

Why is this? It’s simple really…and I’ve observed it so many times now, I will not countenance any of the ‘just a conspiracy theory’ tripe – if only because that sort of trollesque assertion is part of the same process.

These are the reasons it happens. First, the US is desperate to keep American investors calm about what’s happening in the eurozone. Second, most Americans are very badly informed about Europe. Third, all US news sites and stations are under enormous pressure to fill time and space with apparent ‘news’. Fourth, a helluva lot of journalists are lazy and superficial – especially econo-financial journalists. Fifth, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin are at loggerheads most of the time, and brief against each other 24/7. And finally, it suits the European Commission press room to run about carrying mirrors and trailing smoke: this creates controversy, disagreement, and multivariate interpretation….it provides the distraction and distortion to line up the deception.

Some fifteen months ago – well before the triumphant return of Barack O’Drama to the Oval Office was assured, I kept being told by American sources about professional troll swarms being employed by the White House to go into GOP sites and spread mayhem by attacking threaders, authors and each other.

It all sounded a bit far-fetched and paranoid to be honest: it proved to be anything but. It is in fact extremely sophisticated, and has since spread into almost every sphere of what gets ‘reported’ online.

Ever since being attacked here last year, I have to spend about half an hour a day monitoring new threaders, and checking their IP addresses. In the last eight months alone I have banned and spammed out a staggering 5,723 obvious plants either commercial or political.

One still misses a few of course – seasoned bloggers email me now and again to point them out. Sometimes I ban them too: sometimes I leave them in, string them along, even agree with them now and then.

After all, I don’t see why disinformation-spreading should be all one way.

The net effect is that nobody knows who to trust any more….and this too is entirely intentional. The Stasi in East Germany not only corrupted citizens by getting them to spy on neighbours or else…it benefitted massively from spreading distrust and suspicion….because that led to more ‘credible deniability’. (An invention of that nice Nixonian Mr Haldeman, by the way).

Nowhere is this pernicious practice of troll swarming more commonplace and obvious than in ClubMed – and especially in Greece. A lot of it is laughably amateurish: Turks calling themselves Demetriou or Maria turn up talking rubbish and barely able to spell, and Germanic-origin mercenaries thread complete tosh that gives away their ignorance of all things Hellenic. I do too occasionally, but that’s because I am ignorant about Greece: I love the country and its people, but I rely upon a small regiment of helpers to politely point out when I’ve written something culturally daft.

Just as annoying is the time I devote to checking the provenance of something given to me discreetly. One has to do that every time of course, but now the process has become ridiculous. Reports are falsified, newspaper dates doctored, Wikipedia entries altered….on and on it goes. And of course, that’s the idea: ‘better not write that, it may be a trap’. They slow you down, and make you cautious. I have been suckered twice since Christmas. It’s not good for morale, I can tell you.

Most of the Anglo-Saxon media were reeled in by Lord McAlpine in this manner. He spotted a silly BBC error about paedophilia, and he plus other allies have been bashing them for it ever since. Yet again today, McScalpine pitched up saying he was “absolutely astonished” that the Beeb was allowing an anti-Maggie song to be broadcast. What is he after, soviet censorship? Of course he is, the crafty old bugger: he wants his enemies to demoralised, and thus easier to annihilate.

Alf McAlpine isn’t astonished by anything. Except, perhaps, how easy it is to take people in.

The Left, meanwhile, has been running pieces over the last 48 hours claiming that Buckingham Palace ‘disapproves’ of the choice of St Paul’s Cathedral for Baroness Thatcher’s funeral service. I disapprove too, but I’ve been trying to stand up the reports and I don’t believe a bloody word of it. However, it suits the Mirror and the Guardian to remind people about Maggie’s delusions of grandeur….every bit as much as it suits the Telegraph and the Express to use verbs like ‘snub’ and ‘refuse’ when it comes to reporting on the BBC’s unwillingness to go along with brainless idolatry.

I posted about the Baroness three days ago. My verdict, and the preference for brevity, still stand. I am at Thatchuration point with all this propagandic mud-slinging. But yes, OK – I too am trying to persuade: I used to be one of those ghastly advertising men building brands and creating jobs, oh woe is me, what a capitalist swine I was. But my persuasion is now as it was then: open, honest, and well-intentioned. I find it sweetly ironic that those claiming to be anti-Stalinist (it’s an easy position to adopt, after all) increasingly use the Brechtian Good Lie to make their ‘case’.

Two opposing lies make only a cacophony of noise to drown out the truth. They require us to be vigilant at all times.

Hat Tip -

The Slog



Mistreating Palestinian Children


Societies perhaps are best judged by how they treat prisoners, their most disadvantaged and children.
On March 20, Israeli soldiers mass arrested about 30 children. Obama arrived the same day. Every child passing Tareq Bin Zeyad street was seized. They were heading for school in Hebron.

They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station. They were interrogated with no adult present. Israel’s Youth Law requires it. Shin Bet pays it no heed. Children are isolated from parents. They’re terrorized. It’s standard Israeli practice.

Mistreating Palestinian Children

Targeted children committed no crimes. An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers “operated in the area today in order to contain rock hurling at security forces (following an increase in) rioting.”

At least 14 were aged 11 or younger. Some were young as 8. Israel treats children like adults. International law is clear. A child is anyone under age 18. State Parties are legally bound to treat them accordingly.
Principle 1 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child says:
“Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.”

They’re entitled to special protections and opportunities. It’s to help them develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially. It’s so they’ll do it under conditions of freedom and dignity.

They include the right to life, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace. For over four decades, Israel systematically denied Palestinians all rights.

On March 31, Haaretz headlined “The IDF must stop arresting children,” saying:
On March 20, Israeli soldiers “ambushed and arrested” Palestinian children. At least 18 were under age 12. They’re below “the minimum age at which they can legally be held responsible for a crime.”
“This large-scale roundup was arbitrary.” Soldiers grabbed every child they saw. First and second-graders aged 8 or younger were taken.

Doing so was reprehensible. International law forbids it. So does Israeli law. Arrests came days after a UNICEF report. It’s titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention.”
It sharply criticized Israel. It said around 700 Palestinian children aged 12 – 17 are arrested annually. It’s about two per day. Thousands have been mistreated. They’re terrorized. They’re harshly interrogated.
Doing so “amount(s) to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Convention on the Rights of the Child mandates that they be kept safe from harm.

Article 4 states:
“Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.”

Article 37 states:
“No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly.”

Other provisions mandate State Parties to ensure that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.”

Israel spurns international law. It violates its own. It ignores its High Court rulings. According to UNICEF:
“In addition to Israel’s obligations under international law, the guiding principles relating to the prohibition against torture in Israel are to be found in a 1999 decision of the Supreme Court, which is also legally binding on the Israeli military courts.”

“The Court concluded that a reasonable interrogation is necessarily one free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that this prohibition is absolute.”
Based on interviews UNICEF conducted, abuse and mistreatment persist. It’s consistent during arrest, transfer, detention and interrogation.

Heavily armed soldiers break into homes pre-dawn. Parents and children are terrorized. Threats and physical violence follow. Fundamental rights are systematically denied.

UNICEF calls Israeli mistreatment “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” Children are taken from their families. They’re detained. They’re terrorized under harsh conditions. Many become traumatized.

“In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights.”

On March 29, Gideon Levy headlined “Aged eight, wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, and placed in Israeli custody,” saying:
Hebron area Palestinian children “never made it to school this week. IDF troops lay in ambush for them.”
Hebron residents were unnerved. They saw dozens of Israeli soldiers on streets and rooftops. They were justifiably frightened.

Children were arrested indiscriminately. An International Solidarity Movement volunteer videotaped what happened. She sent it to B’Tselem. It’s available on its web site and YouTube.

Israel deported the photographer the same day. Western media ignored what happened.
“Ahmed Abu Rimaileh woke up at 7 that morning,” said Levy. His mother gave him pocket money. He left for school. He stopped to buy cookies. He kept another shekel for recess.

He was about to leave the store. Seven or eight children rushed in. So did soldiers. Arrests followed.
Ahmed was scared. He began crying. He and other detained children “were thrust into an army vehicle.” Some sat. Others stood. One child was hit. They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station.

They were placed in a closed courtyard. They were told to sit on the ground. Children over age 12 were separated from younger ones. They were taken to Ofer Prison.
“Children asked to go to the bathroom but were forbidden to do so.” Police asked who threw stones. No one confessed. They were asked if they knew who threw them. Two older children were named. They’d been arrested and separated from others.

Ahmed was released. The next day he didn’t want to go to school. Who could blame him. His parents persuaded him. He didn’t go to classes. He stayed in the principal’s office all day.

“He wants to be a doctor when he grows up….His mother says he is a good student and a good boy.” He has “seven brothers and sisters. The five boys sleep in one room, on two beds and on mattresses on the floor.”
Ahmed’s mother knows Israeli arrests happen often. “We are used to it,” she said. It doesn’t make it right. It gets worse. Palestinian children are terrorized, traumatized, tortured, abused, and imprisoned. Most sentences range from two weeks to 10 months.

Sworn affidavits obtained from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI), Adalah, DCI-Palestine, and other human rights groups say systematic cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are commonplace.
Children are forcefully arrested, painfully handcuffed, blindfolded, intimidated, verbally abused, strip searched, beaten, threatened, isolated, sexually threatened and abused, and forced to sign confessions in Hebrew they don’t understand.

It’s standard practice. On average, it happens twice daily. What’s a child to do? Going to school, running errands for parents, or playing with friends is risky. Normal life under occupation’s impossible.

Charging children with stone throwing is commonplace. It’s unconscionable. It happens daily. Under Military Order 1651, Section 221, it’s punishable as follows:
against people or property, it carries a maximum 10 year penalty; for children aged 13 or younger, it’s six months; and throwing stones or other objects against moving vehicles risks up to 20 years imprisonment; for children 13 or younger, it’s six months.

In practice, it’s two weeks to 10 months. It’s unjust, improper and lawless. It persists. Anything goes is policy. Young children are treated like adults. Some never fully recover from the experience.



Top Economic Advisers Forecast War and Unrest

Kyle Bass, Martin Armstrong, Larry Edelson, Charles Nenner, James Dines, Nouriel Roubini, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber and Jim Rickards Warn of War


We’re already at war in numerous countries all over the world.
But top economic advisers warn that economic factors could lead to a new world war.
Kyle Bass writes:
Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.
Martin Armstrong writes this week:
We will be updating the Cycle of War. Obviously, it is time once again. Especially since that model also hit to the day 3 times in a row.
Similarly, Larry Edelson wrote an email to subscribers entitled “What the “Cycles of War” are saying for 2013″, which states:
Since the 1980s, I’ve been studying the so-called “cycles of war” — the natural rhythms that predispose societies to descend into chaos, into hatred, into civil and even international war.
I’m certainly not the first person to examine these very distinctive patterns in history. There have been many before me, notably, Raymond Wheeler, who published the most authoritative chronicle of war ever, covering a period of 2,600 years of data.
However, there are very few people who are willing to even discuss the issue right now. And based on what I’m seeing, the implications could be absolutely huge in 2013.
Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – says there will be “a major war starting at the end of 2012 to 2013”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.
Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war is epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.
Nouriel Roubini has warned of war with Iran. And when Roubini was asked:
Where does this all lead us? The risk in your view is of another Great Depression. But even respectable European politicians are talking not just an economic depression but possibly even worse consequences over the next decade or so. Bearing European history in mind, where does this take us?
He responded:
In the 1930s, because we made a major policy mistake, we went through financial instability, defaults, currency devaluations, printing money, capital controls, trade wars, populism, a bunch of radical, populist, aggressive regimes coming to power from Germany to Italy to Spain to Japan, and then we ended up with World War II.
Now I’m not predicting World War III but seriously, if there was a global financial crisis after the first one, then we go into depression: the political and social instability in Europe and other advanced economies is going to become extremely severe. And that’s something we have to worry about.
Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:
A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.
“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”
Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:
We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. And Brazilian president-elect Rousseff said in 2010:
The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.
Jim Rickards agrees:
Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.
As does Jim Rogers:
Trade wars always lead to wars.
And given that many influential economists wrongly believe that war is good for the economy … many are overtly or quietly pushing for war.
Moreover, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that the Iraq war was really about oil , and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And see this and this. If that war was for petroleum, other oil-rich countries might be invaded as well.
And the American policy of using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence – and of considering economic rivalry to be a basis for war – are creating a tinderbox.
Finally, multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:
What happened to [Libya's] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.
Indeed, senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:
Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.
Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal thinks the central banking initiative reveals that foreign powers may have a strong influence over the rebels.
This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.
Indeed, some say that recent wars have really been about bringing all countries into the fold of Western central banking.

Many Warn of Unrest

Numerous economic organizations and economists also warn of crash-induced unrest, including:


S0 were on the verge of WWIII.
In our not so great country how will we be protected?
Do we dust off the old WWII Bunkers and batten down the hatches hoping for the best or 'Duck and Cover'?

Let's face it that is ALL we can do.

Our Governments have been wasting Billions of Pounds of OUR TAXES on Foreign Aid instead of constructing Nuclear Bunkers/Fall out shelters to protect its citizens.

Wouldn't it be ironic if our Aid Taxes went on to pay for massive Underground Shelters in the Third world leaving us in Britain to suffer the fate of Thermonuclear war.
Russia has been building, on a huge scale, underground bunkers to protect its citizens.

Why haven't our Governments been doing the same for us, are we not worthy of life/survival?
Maybe they think that after its all over no one would want to live in Post-Apocalyptic Britain.
Or maybe they've decided that if anyone is going to be saved its going to be them.

Then again this could all be just scaremongering, but wouldn't it be better to err on the side of caution, just in case?

Whichever way and whatever happens we are always going to be shat on by the Elites of Westminster, and we pay them to do it too.