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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shale Oil, Some US Intelligence/Defense Whistleblowers, and More

- a lot of has been made by drastically fluctuating oil prices of late. Part of the reason for this has been the development of alternate sources of oil rather than just standard land and sea based drilling. If you don't understand what oil exploration some of the following films will help you
Oil Exploration Game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfWKztzNAzg
WARNING Fracking An Inconvenient Truth Watch Learn about Fracking Shale Gas what they dont say
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uokmsSi7LTY
How Oil are Drilled - Drilling Documentary - DOCS CHANNEL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYptR2nXLlA
Shale Boom & Bust - The Myth of US Oil Independence (w_ Dan Dicker)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZrQDWpq3Fs
CANADA - ALBERTA'S OIL SANDS _ TV documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=palyYInSn64
Most Advanced And Deepest Oil Rig In The World - Perdido Oil Rig Documentary - Discovery TV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xen5fTTx8DU
Counting the Cost - The new cold war - The race for Arctic oil and gas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZtMve6Rf-8
- one of the persistent theories regarding the Middle East is that the West doesn't care what happens as long as their continues to be cheap oil (some estimates indicate that for every $10 USD drop in oil prices it automatically drives up GDP growth by ~0.5%). The irony with shale/fracking as an increasingly viable option is that traditional suppliers are attempting to hit back through price manipulation. Some countries are driving the price of oil lower to make shale operations un-economical. Ultimately, this will mean that down the track they regain complete control of the market and be able to the price back up (and obviously profitablility). Some indicators say that exploration projects have halved but the break even price of operations vary drastically based on the project. I expect that a lot of US shale operations will need to turn the tap off at least temporarily if this trend continues. The irony for me is that ISIS may actually be a major source of cheap oil (you want stability but not enough that it begins to want for too much). It's a double edged sword which incorporates cheap oil and terrorism. Not a great choice to be honest if this was an actual strategic move...
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/20/us-crude-oils-break-even-cost-how-low-can-it-go.html
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-17/oil-is-cheap-but-not-so-cheap-that-americans-won-t-profit-from-it.html
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-20/siberian-surprise-the-numbers-behind-russia-s-oil-resilience
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets-idUSKBN0U401520151221 
blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/06/01/why-the-oil-price-will-fall-again/
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3475906-oil-shale-production-breakeven-and-marginal-costs-moving-the-goalposts
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/19/low-oil-prices-ahead-as-fracking-breaks-even-at-25barrel/
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/250440-opecs-war-on-us-shale-oil-midsummer-update
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/dec/14/ted-cruz/ted-cruz-misquotes-cia-official-makes-false-claim-/
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-usa-zombies-insight-idUSKBN0TT0FA20151210
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3748846-we-are-on-the-cusp-of-a-shale-oil-production-collapse
http://www.smarteranalyst.com/2015/12/11/u-s-shale-oil-production-is-collapsing-heres-why/
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/325635-oil-shale-prices-saudi/
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/10/shale-oil-drillers-write-40-oil-reserves/
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/07/cramer-opec-meeting-devastating-for-us.html
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/opec-strategy-leaves-many-at-risk-for-a-significant-crisis-2015-12?r=US&IR=T
http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/will-third-avenue-pop-the-postcrisis-asset-bubble-20151215-glogzf.html
http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/03/investing/opec-oil-prices-saudi-arabia-iran/index.html
- one of the interesting things about low oil prices and sanctions is how countries area dealing iwht them. Many of them are switching to internal substitution and development. Ironically, this may cut to core reason why the USSR was unsuccessful while the Western model is. Western prosperity requires globalisation and shifts low cost good/services elsewhere while closed models require them to be internal to the system (which can lead to internal disharmony, inflation, etc...). The reason why this is important is that it helps you understand the current state of affairs. Printing money in the way the US has been doing should be driving up inflation but what's actually happening is that since it goes to people who are already wealthy, other countries, waste (brings 'growth' but doesn't/can't effect prices overall if it is 'wasted' in the right type of way), and they are using third party proxies such as investment banks, etc... to control the flow of money through the system they can achieve growth while maintaining control of inflation. There's also one other thing, since they have relatively good control of the media (through denial of access), have had a history of politicising information/intelligence, and have a history of subtle coersion/destablisation/use of military force against other countries it gives us an understanding of why they aren't suffering debt crises jitters in spite of their fundamentals being out of kilter (even in comparison with some EU countries which have been struggling). Further background helps us understand why an alternate group of nations have formed up against the West. If the Western developmental model requires that less respect is paid to other countries (outside of the allied group) over an extended period it makes sense why opposition groups are so easy to form and have been waiting for an opportunity to break Western hedgemony
http://thediplomat.com/2015/12/connecting-the-dots-in-obamas-intelligence-scandal/
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/09/10/james_rosen_to_earnest_how_can_obama_say_bush_altered_iraq_intel_while_reports_say_defense_distorted_isis_intel.html
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/defense_spending
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/past_spending
http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2015/11/china-background-economic-warfare-and.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine
- one fundamental irony of all social systems is that they are mostly hierarchal but that their is often disportionate distribution of wealth. In the past, priests used to justify this as being a gift from God that should be honoured through wealth or bestowal of power. Now, we use it as a means of controlling inflation. The silly thing is this. If each talented person is given 'a turn' at some point in life we may be able to extract the best from them, control inflation, and distribute wealth more fairly as well...
- there's one other major thing. Since the USD is excepted as a reserve currency any group that wants to shake up the world order needs to break it's hedgemon. The acceptance of the Yuan/Renminbi into the IMF SDR group is one step towards this. However, what's also clear is that the US is taking countermeausures by forcing down the price of commodities making it less likely that a run on the currency is likely to snowball. Ultimately, this isn't a question of value but whether or not other countries continue to want to have the US playing such a large role in global affairs. That said, commidity reserve build ups by China (and some others) could simply be a way to hedge against the US just inflating their way out of their economic problems/debt
- it's obvious that non-Western countries have studied Western social development extensively. One interesting thing is that they see fewer differences between our models than people in the West perceive. We present a belief that our models of democracy are fundamentally better than theirs but they think that theirs is better because the rights of the individual versus the group are better. Moreover, things have changed. As indicated by accounts of Chinese students studying in the West, things aren't perceveived as being all that bad in China and Russia now. There are no major 'defections' that are taking place and students are more likely to appreciate the way things are back home than to continue to think that the West is vastly superior to China (and other alternatives). Other countries are gaining traction in the race for propserity and also increasing their success in winning 'hearts and minds'
- one of the more interesting things in Spain is that odd jobs are playing a greater role but that since the wages are so low people are left frustrated. The irony is that this is one possible model of economic development. Growth is solid (~3%) but it also takes away the risk of more time based investments (such as education, state based incentives/plans, global trade pacts, etc...). Provided that these people can gain the right experience along the way they also begin to understand how to start their own business, expand it, develop skills, etc... making them more marketable down the track. One interesting thing for me is whether or not the art of selectively creating and popping asset bubbles is how modern economies develop. The only perturbing thing for me is when the asset bubble is createdin something core like housing which can have massive impact upon affordability and people's lives overall
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/18/459854096/spains-economy-is-expanding-but-most-new-jobs-are-temporary
http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/17/news/economy/china-growth-real-beige-book/
- as a neutral, watching China and the US go at it has been completely hilarious at times. If you think about it a bit, people opposed to Chinese expansion are mostly standing by and increasing surveillance of the Chinese as they expand
http://www.smh.com.au/world/south-china-sea-us-agrees-to-spy-plane-deployment-in-singapore-20151207-glhuke.html
- as indicated previously on this blog and by many Americans themselves, China have been relatively late to the land reclamation party. The most obvious difference is the amount of territory they're attempting to claim seems to be much larger than others. They also seem to be developing their territory more
- at the end of the day, geo-politics is about different countries wanting different things. It seems silly that while the West should expouse
http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-f-35-strafes-the-presidential-debate%E2%80%93taiwans-trump-card-14622
http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/12/u-s-wants-war-russia-former-u-s-army-officer/

- some of the US defense/intelligence whistleblowers out there are actually incredibly interesting. I've gone in with the idea that they'res a chance that they may have been possible double agents, etc... It turns out that they are what they say they are. They just want to see the US take a different direction. The role of the media and how to control it (granting and denial of access is the most often used form which can have an impact on your bottom line obviously, concentration of media power, technical means are more subtle, etc...) can help to push through policy that you want makes a lot of sense given the right background
Uncovered - The War on Iraq • FULL DOCUMENTARY • BRAVE NEW FILMS (2004)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7MBv9FixxE
DOCUMENTARY - Edward Snowden - Terminal F (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd6qN167wKo
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ret. Pentagon Analyst - Media's Countdown to War in Iraq
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K73Ex9n_rY
Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski on 9_11 Iraq Propaganda Campaign
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJuBAVpLoA
'Empire of Corruption' - A Conversation with Karen Kwiatkowski
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfH8K3F6xRU
Antiwar Radio 06_12_2008 - Scott Horton Interviews Karen Kwiatkowski
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLKjdKxFOsI
Karen Kwiatkowski -11_17_11- Q&A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxexvuXbf5s
Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM exposes Fox News
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P74oHhU5MDk
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Kwiatkowski
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veteran_Intelligence_Professionals_for_Sanity
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Whistleblowers_Coalition
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/12/19/challenging-us-overseas-military-bases/
Karen Kwiatkowski @ Madison Liberty
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr_idK3wf4c
https://cpj.org/reports/2015/12/china-egypt-imprison-record-numbers-of-journalists-jail.php
http://www.inquisitr.com/1374304/wikipedia-bans-congress/
NSA Secrets Uncovered Snowden Coverup 2015 FULL Documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwS7cNk4slE
http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2015/11/middle-easternafricanasian-background.html
- one of the things you'll struggle with from time to time is why certain material is classified. In many cases, I'd think that it would actually make the task easier at times and it wouldn't make an iota of difference in policy making (even if your supposed 'enemy' knew)
- some of her proposals for reducing US debt/waste sound crazy but they would seemingly work. The other problem is that it feels like she lacks a bit of background in politics (aware that she ran for Congress). I'm uncertain how she would deal with the massive push back by some lobbyist groups, current politicians, and other supporters of the current state of affairs
Karen Kwiatkowski - 11_17_11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoD93pSEIKo
- the more you dig the more it seems the US isn't what it seems as a 'world leader'. Whether you're an ally, a neutral, or any enemy there are a number of fundamental problems with the US as it currently stands. The scariest problem is that they are the world's most only superpower and they're politicising intelligence (happens in many countries now. The problem is with some countries is that if you collect enough you can support any argument which allows you to do anything you want anytime). Namely, decisions are being made in spite of intelligence not as a consequence of it. There is also an internal conflict with regards to whether the US should have a relatively isolationist or more neo-conservative perspective of the world
AVTM + Karen Kwiatkowski for Congress - Intel Serves Politics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUI_MWpDKiY
2.2 Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans.'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylrkNfM9VHk
Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8OGleE15QU
AVTM + Karen Kwiatkowski for Congress - Intel Serves Politics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUI_MWpDKiY
Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8OGleE15QU
Ray McGovern Debates James Woolsey On Iraq War - Charlie Rose - Audio Only - 8_20_2004
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjP7_LwthfE
9_11 10th Anniversary - Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski on 9_11 Iraq Propaganda Campaign
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZlbH2_Cyqg
http://www.france24.com/en/20130713-egypt-petrol-fuel-morsi-cairo-muslim-brotherhood-islamist-energy-conspiracy
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/world-corruption-survey-most-israelis-believe-government-agencies-influenced-by-ulterior-motives.premium-1.534780
Documentary The World Without US - Documentary Films
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZiwayP3sBY
- I thought that it was just perhaps that administration. It's the appearance of invincibility/exceptionalism that is part of the key to the reason why the US maintains it's current position within the world. The more you look at the US the more 'normal' they appear
Ex-CIA Ray McGovernTalks About 911 Truth on C-SPAN Book Review
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUk3I3Bdkq0
Has the CIA Gone Rogue with Ray McGovern
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIKznr4tlWs
Ray McGovern - The Real Agenda of the American Empire Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORdVQIlI1t8
Hegemony Abroad Requires a Security State at Home - Ray McGovern on Reality Asserts Itself (2_2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn5frNq2DIs
- many developed economies are incredibly reliant on the appearance of invicibility/exceptionalism. The US, UK, Russia (and others) would have no nuclear, rocket, jet, stealth, and other capabilities had they not have been able to pick off some of the world's best scientists after the World Wars. Imagine if those scientists (and current) scientists stayed in their own country and commericliased their work there. How much of an impact would it have upon supposedly exceptional/developed economies? (the irony here is that if you know migrants you'd know that a lot of them would have preferred to have stayed in their home country. How different would the world look now if neither the US or Russia had any of these technologies or were behind the eight ball?)
- one of the striking things about some military people is just how intelligent some of them are. It's a waste of human capital that so many of them die for wars that exist for questionable reasons. Incredibly high suicide, mental illness, and homelessness levels among ex-servicemen when compared to the rest of the population. The troubling thing with some of activists out there is that if they manage to achieve revolution, what then? Will we end up with anarchy? The other issue is how will they take action? If they setup an alternate parallel system will the existing powers that be attempt to shut them down? Is it even possible to bring it down from the inside or is it the system too mature? Does that mean that it must be brought down from the outside?
The Perfect Storm - Vincent Emanuele keynote speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx0TkssHsWQ
Former US marine Vince Emanuele speaks out against the war in Iraq
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWHT7I9KTh0
US Activist and Iraq War Veteran Vincent Emanuele Speaks Out
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeywFJ8sXoY
http://www.globalresearch.ca/i-helped-create-isis-testimony-of-iraq-war-veteran/5496841
Vince Emanuele - War Veteran Talk. Sydney, Australia.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ytruq4h94
Antiwar Radio 08_01_2007 - Charles Goyette Interviews Karen Kwiatkowski
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4smNNrl2j0
Iraq War Veteran speaks out on the realities of recruitment, military service, Fallujah, and return
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_PjPb2KLnc
- One other thing is also very interesting now. In the past we could justifiably say that the people of USSR were 'oppressed'. There were more than enough stories indicating so. Now, things aren't so clear. Many students who come over to the US/West to study actually seem to have a greater appreciation for the way things are at home now and don't see the US/West as being that far ahead (if at all). For me, the US and China simply have different perspectives on how the world should be. In spite of what others say, I'm not convinced that greater Chinese/Russian roles globally is going to be any betterhttp://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/07/do-years-studying-in-america-change-chinese-hearts-and-minds-china-u-foreign-policy-student-survey/
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-in-many-developing-countries-still-think-Chinese-people-are-very-poor
https://www.rt.com/news/325700-fidel-russia-china-peace/http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2015-12-11/fidels-message-to-president-nicolas-maduro
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/14/china-russia-ties-in-focus-as-shanghai-cooperation-organization-kicks-off.html

- very interested to know how much bandwidth we'd save if we were to block all advertising, updates, and surveillance around the world. I know that even on a home network you can save double digit percentage figures just by blocking advertising and using a caching server alone...
NSA Secrets Uncovered Snowden Coverup 2015 FULL Documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwS7cNk4slE
http://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/28/microsoft-intensifies-data-collection-on-windows-7-and-8-systems/
http://www.itwire.com/your-it-news/entertainment/69265-amazon-slaps-svod-competitors-with-new-mobile-downloads
http://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/14/comparison-of-windows-10-privacy-tools/
https://github.com/WindowsLies/BlockWindows
http://www.cato.org/events/second-annual-cato-surveillance-conference
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/beingwatched/the-feeling-of-being-watched-a-documentary-film
https://theintercept.com/2014/07/09/under-surveillance/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10152478/Francois-Hollande-tells-the-US-to-stop-eavesdropping-on-Europe-if-it-wants-progress-on-trade-deal.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/19/russia-digital-soveriegnty-nsa-surveillance

https://www.nacdl.org/champion.aspx?id=35780
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/05/the-nsa-is-giving-your-phone-records-to-the-dea-and-the-dea-is-covering-it-up/?tid=pm_business_pop
http://www.ghacks.net/2010/08/11/how-to-block-specific-updates-in-windows-update/

- sometimes you just end up with some wierd file formats. WebM file support seems to be patchy
http://askubuntu.com/questions/34372/how-to-play-a-webm-video-file
http://www.webmfiles.org/how-to-play-webm-files/
http://askubuntu.com/questions/323944/convert-webm-to-other-formats
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18123376/webm-to-mp4-conversion-using-ffmpeg
http://www.noobslab.com/2013/04/latest-ff-multi-converter-for-ubuntu.html

- hard drive upgrade process on the Dell Inspiron 11
Inspiron 11 3000 (11.6" Haswell Touch)
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2168832
http://www.myfixguide.com/manual/dell-inspiron-11-3147-disassembly/
http://blog.parts-people.com/2014/12/08/dell-inspiron-11-3138-3000-hard-drive-caddy-removal-and-installation/

- hard drive upgrade process on the Asus X202e
http://www.durhamcomputerservices.com/theonbutton-blog/asus-vivobook-x202e-s200e-q200e-ssd-hard-drive-upgrade.html
http://www.jdhodges.com/blog/asus-x202e-hard-drive-upgrade-ssd/

- if you have a HP Pocket Playlist device the following information will be of some use to you
HP Pocket Playlist Supported Media File Formats
http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c03746192
Frequently Asked Questions for HP Pocket Playlist
http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=c03742792
Setting up HP Pocket Playlist
http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c03744485

- ever seen a smiling donkey? Now you have...
http://www.skynews.com.au/culture/offbeat/2015/12/09/smiling-donkey-rescued-from-floods.html

- inversing output of 'sed'
http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/145773/reverse-match-in-sed-replace-opposite-of-what-was-found
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/739477/how-to-reverse-sed-output

- grepping multiple words is acutally pretty simple, "ls | grep -iE 'mp3|mp4|ogg'"
http://www.unix.com/shell-programming-and-scripting/30329-greping-out-multiple-words.html
http://www.unix.com/linux/247334-how-search-multiple-word-using-grep-command.html

- not surprisingly, there are other anonymising networks out there besides Tor
https://gnunet.org/
https://geti2p.net/
http://www.idigitaltimes.com/best-alternatives-tor-12-programs-use-nsa-hackers-compromised-tor-project-376976
http://www.loudtechie.com/7-best-alternatives-to-tor-browser-for-anonymous-browsing/
http://alternativeto.net/software/tor/
http://fossbytes.com/best-alternatives-to-tor-browser-to-browse-anonymously/

Some quotes in the recent media:
- For China, Zheng’s legendary seven voyages of trade and discovery are testament to Beijing’s benign intentions towards its neighbors, and Malaysia – where he is believed to have visited at least five times – is a perfect place to illustrate this. “Today, when we look back at that past episode in China-Malaysia exchanges, we also admire Zheng He for what he had not done,” Li wrote in an op-ed published November 20 in major Malaysian newspapers ahead of his visit, noting that Zheng He had not plundered or colonized despite commanding what was then the most powerful fleet in the world.
http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/why-did-chinas-navy-gain-use-of-a-malaysia-port-near-the-south-china-sea/
- In light of the fact that all participants of the war in Syria have committed war crimes, American policymakers have to face some hard questions with no good answers: if there aren’t any good guys, who do we support—or do we support anyone? If we don’t take one side over the other, what happens to the violence in that nation and the millions of innocent civilians who will continue to live in fear? Can America, the land of the free and home of the brave, stand idly by while militias wage war in which tens of thousands die?

It may be that none of the warring sides represent or would support our values and thus, regardless of which side ultimately prevails, American interests will not be served. The best we could hope for might be to use U.S. diplomatic and humanitarian resources to encourage the combatants to resolve their differences, while trying to contain the violence and leading humanitarian efforts to lessen the suffering of the innocents.

Such a policy would likely be attacked as “defeatist” or as a failure to lead. But the hard facts are that despite our attempts to resolve civil wars in other countries in recent years, the result has been a worsening of the violence, an increase in the suffering of those we’ve sought to help, and ultimately the establishment of regimes that neither represent American values nor provide peace and democracy to their people.
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/the-pitfalls-good-guy-bad-guy-foreign-policy-14415
Experts, like the Dresden political scientist Christian Demuth, haven't ruled out the fact that "many people" at the PEGIDA demonstrations "had specific roles in the East German regime, in the Stasi or the Socialist Unity Party (SED)." However, he notes that this is a hypothesis.

What is true is that most of the people carrying Russian flags at the PEGIDA marches are older men.
http://www.dw.com/en/in-dresden-russian-flags-of-protest-against-islam-and-merkel/a-18865803
- The US Air Force (USAF) has lost one of its brand-spanking-new AC-130J Ghostrider Gunships, which had to be scrapped after a test-flight went horribly wrong: the crew lost control and “momentarily inverted”, losing approximately 5,000ft (1,500 m) of altitude. No one was killed during the crash, but the asset suffered $115 million worth of damage.
http://sputniknews.com/us/20151123/1030593966/us-ghostrider-gunship-loss.html#ixzz3sTnyFYGv
- So, "who is the commodity trader breaching every known law of funding terrorism when buying ISIS [ISIL] crude, almost certainly with the tacit approval by various ‘Western alliance' governments, and why is it that these governments have allowed said middleman to continue funding ISIS for as long as it has?" Durden wondered.
http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151121/1030496009/mysterious-middleman-buys-isil-oil-drops-oil-prices.html#ixzz3sTqEMeb1
- The classic chicken dinner has changed a lot over the years. For my grandparents it was a sign of contentment and prosperity. In his 1928 campaign for the US presidency, Herbert Hoover famously promised Americans "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". He wasn't to know that the Great Depression would hit the next year, sending many promises of wealth out the window.

Still, it wasn't too long before Hoover's promise became a reality, at least as far as chickens go. By the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos wanting to entice gamblers offered luxurious chicken dinners for $1.79 - about $11 in today's money. That was less than the average win on a single game, and so the phrase "winner winner, chicken dinner" was born.
http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-food/food-features/adam-liaws-summer-roast-chicken-dinner-20151122-gl4uhn.html.touch.html
- “A nuclear-armed bomber force makes little marginal contribution to deterring a large-scale nuclear attack,” two military experts wrote in their article for The National Interest magazine.
http://sputniknews.com/us/20151117/1030273239/us-new-nuclear-bomber.html
- Belgium has the highest number per capita of EU countries with Islamists who have traveled to fight in Syria, according to the UK-based Aon plc insurance company. Some 440 Belgian citizens are estimated to be fighting on the side of militants in Syria.
http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151124/1030670761/belgian-citizens-linked-with-isil.html
- It was the first suicide bombing in nearly a month in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and driven an estimated 1.5 million to 2.3 million people in the region from their homes.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/23/five-teenage-suicide-bombers-nigeria-cameroon-girls-islamist-boko-haram
- The official abandonment of 2015 as the year of an Iranian ICBM should lead U.S. policymakers to reshape certain U.S. missile defense programs and security policies.

The now-outdated 2015 projection emerged publicly for the first time with the release of an unclassified version of a 1999 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on foreign missile threats. The estimate concluded that, after North Korea, Iran was the hostile country most capable of testing an ICBM by 2015.

The 1999 NIE described analysts as being divided on the likely timing of Iran’s first test flight of an ICBM that could threaten the United States—from likely before 2010 to less than an even chance by 2015—but implied that most believed it would happen within the estimate’s fifteen-year timeframe.

This projection has been exploited by many members of Congress to try to accelerate costly projects to defend against long-range missiles. Although the 1999 NIE focused on the “first flight-test” development milestone rather than the traditional criterion of “operational capability,” this distinction was often ignored, heightening the apparent imminence of the threat.
http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/its-official-there-will-be-no-iranian-icbm-2015-14424
- ISIS has been digging tunnels for protection and movement throughout the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria, even before the U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign of airstrikes against the group more than a year ago. "This has been part of ISIS' strategy from the very beginning," said Lina Khatib a senior research associate at the Arab Reform initiative, a Paris-based think-tank. "ISIS has been well prepared for this kind of intervention."
http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/isis-dug-network-tunnels-under-conquered-iraqi-city-sinjar-n469366
- "President Hollande, my fellow Americans, let's remember we face greater threats to our way of life before. Fascism, communism, a First World War, a Second, a long Cold War, each and every time, we prevailed," Obama said. "Make no mistake: We will win and groups like ISIL will lose."
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/politics/obama-francois-hollande-paris-attacks/
- HONG KONG (AP) — The chairman of the Hong Kong arm of one of China's biggest securities companies goes missing. The head of another firm resurfaces after months incommunicado. An executive at a film studio is detained for allegedly taking bribes.

They're not plot outlines for crime novels but real life cases lifted from the normally dry Hong Kong stock exchange filings of Chinese companies over the past year.

The latest example came Monday when Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong unit of a Chinese securities company, said it was unable to reach its chairman and chief executive Yim Fung since Nov. 18, sending its shares plummeting 12 percent.

Speculation swirled in local media that his disappearance was related to a recently launched investigation into a senior official at China's securities regulator. That probe is part of a broad crackdown on the finance industry following China's stock market meltdown over the summer. The company said it would appoint temporary replacements for Yim but declined further comment.

Such cases would be highly unusual for other global financial centers, but have become commonplace in Hong Kong, where the city's stock exchange allows international investors to access an increasing number of mainland Chinese companies.

They highlight some of the risks of investing in China's public companies, which operate in an opaque political and legal system, and face additional uncertainty because of President Xi Jinping's ongoing and wide-ranging assault on corruption.
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/11/25/vanishing-china-execs-a-vexatious-mystery-for-hk-market
- Investors expect to see the first US interest rate hike since 2006 next month, which has pushed the greenback up by about 9 per cent against a basket of 10 major currencies this year. That only adds to the woes of commodities, which are mostly priced in US dollars, as it cuts the spending power of global raw-materials buyers and makes other assets that generate yields such as bonds and equities more attractive for investors.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/if-china-killed-the-commodities-boom-the-fed-is-about-to-bury-it-20151125-gl7mq7.html
- It all began in 2004, when under the guise of an aid project to help renovate the Palace of Government in Dili, spies from Australia's foreign intelligence service ASIS snuck in and installed listening devices.

They were targeting East Timor's prime minister at the time, Mari Alkatiri, and his negotiating team, who were in talks with the Australian government over a treaty dealing with oil and gas deposits in the Timor Sea.

The Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea is worth an estimated $40 billion and the treaty would map out how it was divided between East Timor and Australia.

East Timor is one of the poorest nations in the region; 50 per cent of children under five are malnourished and only half the homes have electricity.

Australia is East Timor's richest neighbour and the bugging operation gave the government the upper hand in the multi-billion-dollar talks.

Mr Alkatiri has described it as a crime.

"I have no doubt about this, even in terms of international law it's a crime," he said.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-25/east-timor-greater-sunrise-spy-scandal/6969830
- Getting the Islamic State off Twitter would be a monumental task. In a report released in March, the Brookings Institution said there were at least 46,000 active ISIS supporters on Twitter from September to December of last year. Based on geographic data, the most active users were in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and the United States.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/world/europe/anonymous-hackers-fight-isis-but-reactions-are-mixed.html
- There are probably plenty of things that frustrate you about air travel, but waiting to take off or disembark is probably high on your list. Why should you have to board well before the plane is ready to get moving? Airbus might have a way to cut that idle time to near zero, though: it recently received a patent for a detachable passenger cabin that would lift into the airport gate. Your aircraft would only show up when it's actually ready to go, and would spend far less time on the ground as a whole (as it's just swapping cabin pods). It could also eliminate the convoluted boarding process, since you could take your seat right away instead of forming a queue in the terminal.
http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/25/airbus-detachable-cabin-concept-could-save-you-time-at-the-airp/
- TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s top leader said Wednesday the United States is using “money and sexual attractions” to try to infiltrate the Islamic Republic and warned Iranians not to fall into the “enemy’s trap.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Revolutionary Guard commanders that authorities should take concerns about “infiltration” seriously and political factions should not use the issue against each other.

“The enemy sets up a network within a nation and inside a country mainly through the two means of money and sexual attractions to change ideals, beliefs and consequently the lifestyle,” he said in comments posted on his website and broadcast on state TV.
http://nypost.com/2015/11/25/ayatollah-says-america-is-infiltrating-iran-with-sex/
- N.U. is also working with the University of Vienna in Austria, which collects and analyzes ISIS propaganda, to prepare responses to those messages, which N.U. will disseminate online and at conferences.

Get news and analysis from Asia and around the world delivered to your inbox every day in the Asian morning.

A prevention center based in Indonesia, expected to be operational by the end of the year, will train male and female Arabic-speaking students to engage with jihadist ideology and messaging under the guidance of N.U. theologians who are consulting Western academia.

The film, “Rahmat Islam Nusantara” (The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam), has been translated into English and Arabic for global distribution, including online. The film explores Islam’s arrival and evolution in Indonesia, and includes interviews with Indonesian Islamic scholars.

In scene after scene, they challenge and denounce the Islamic State’s interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith, the book of the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, as factually wrong and perverse.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/world/asia/indonesia-islam-nahdlatul-ulama.html
- Saudi money has promoted the messianic radical wahhabism that, an increasing number of commentators are pointing out, Isis has fed on. As one observed this week referring to the Arabic acronym for Isis: “Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex”.

This is Britain’s “vital partner”. The Guardian reported last month how leaked diplomatic cables revealed that Britain conducted secret vote-trading deals with Saudi Arabia to ensure both states were elected to the UN human rights council (UNHRC).
http://www.theguardian.com/news/defence-and-security-blog/2015/nov/24/saudi-arabia-unashamedly-championed-in-uk-security-review
- Two American firms contracted by the Department of Defense have settled a lawsuit accusing them of having hired Russian programmers based in Moscow to write computer code for classified systems. The hires allegedly occurred as part of a $613 million contract, which was awarded by the US Pentagon to Massachusetts-based Netcracker Technology Corporation and Virginia-based Computer Systems Corporation (CSC). The two companies were hired to write software for the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a Pentagon outfit that provides the US armed forces with secure real-time combat communications. But in 2011, contractor John C. Kingsley, who had a supervisory role in the project, notified the US government that the two companies had farmed out part of the contract’s coding duties to programmers in Moscow and other Russian cities.

If true, Kingsley’s allegations would mean that Netcracker and CSC were in violation of federal regulations, which specify that only American citizens with the appropriate security clearances should be employed to work on classified communications systems. A subsequent government investigation, which lasted four years, gave rise to a lawsuit against the two companies. The court was told that the code written by the Russian programmers had allowed the installation of “numerous viruses” on the communications systems of the Pentagon “on at least one occasion”. Witnesses also accused Netcracker and CSC of being guided mainly by greed, since it was able to save over 60% of wage costs by employing the Russian programmers.
http://intelnews.org/2015/11/12/01-1809/
- On Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei spewed more anti-American broadsides in a special message to “world youth” reported by Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. The Shiite leader accused the U.S. of creating and supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban, the two Sunni militant groups that American troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

“Today, there are very few people who are uninformed about the role of the United States of America in creating, nurturing and arming al Qaeda, the Taliban and their inauspicious successors,” he said. “Besides this direct support, the overt and well-known supporters of takfiri terrorism — despite having the most backward political systems — are standing arrayed as allies of the West while the most pioneering, brightest and most dynamic democrats in the region are suppressed mercilessly.”

Takfiri are Sunni Muslims, such as leaders of the Islamic State terrorist group, who accuse other Muslims of being nonbelievers.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/29/ayatollah-khamenei-reaffirms-commitment-to-irans-i/
- I know that some people may judge people like my father and think he's a lower class and are ashamed of them, but here I want to tell you that they are the most respectable people in China—it's those people like my father who build the country and improve our living, not the politicians and bankers. Look around where you are living and working right now: the apartments, the city buildings, the roads... Many construction workers have given their utmost effort to build it.

Many construction workers like my father have only a little education, so they have no choice but to do the heavy work. Those people will persuade their children to have a better education. And now in China people like myself from the rural area can easily go to college; the university fee is not too expensive (about ¥5000 a year); every year we can borrow ¥6000 from the bank and we don't need to pay the interest, since our government paid for us and that was the fee. Our government also has some special policies for students from rural places. For me, I can receive about ¥3000 from our government. Also, if your grades are good enough, you can earn scholarships.

The young generation is the country's hope. After we have been well educated, we can expect a good future for ourselves and for our country.
https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-in-many-developing-countries-still-think-Chinese-people-are-very-poor

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