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Friday, June 29, 2012

Urgent: Quietly Obama Declares a national emergency against Russia

After a 60 years of Nuclear Russia, now the United States declares a national emergency to deal with that threat..... 
How does he think it's going to deal with that????
You need Jesus NOW.

Executive Order--Russian Highly Enriched Uranium

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in view of the policies underlying Executive Order 12938 of November 14, 1994, and Executive Order 13085 of May 26, 1998, and the restrictions put in place pursuant to Executive Order 13159 of June 21, 2000, find that the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. 
Here is the link:

Healthcare explained video

Absurd...US Grants China Exemption on Iran Sanctions

The Obama administration on Thursday granted a last-minute exemption from its Iran-related sanctions to China and Singapore. China is the world's biggest purchaser of Iranian crude oil, while Singapore is a vital international trading hub for oil.

The US State Department said in a statement that the exemption was granted because both China and Singapore had “significantly reduced” their crude oil purchases from Iran. The exemption must be renewed every 180 days.

Beijing publicly insists that it does not support the US sanctions on Iran and has defended its crude purchases from Tehran as “absolutely reasonable and legitimate.” Iran provides almost 9 per cent of China’s crude imports.

China’s crude imports from Iran rose 35 per cent in May from a month earlier, returning to levels – 522,000 barrels per day – on a par with last year.

Earlier this year, a pricing dispute caused imports to drop dramatically, and China’s total crude imports from Iran over the first five months of this year were down 25 percent from the previous year because of the dispute.

The US measures, which came into force on Friday, allow the imposition of sanctions on financial institutions doing business with the Iranian central bank to facilitate oil trades if a country has not “significantly reduced” purchases of Iranian oil.

Tightening global sanctions have sharply reduced Iran’s crude exports, and some traders and analysts estimate that monthly exports could be almost halved in July from the previous year.

Earlier in June, the US granted exemptions to more than a dozen countries including allies Japan, India, Turkey and European countries, but reportedly hesitated over whether or not to give a waiver to China. Asian purchasers have accounted for more than 60 per cent of Iran’s oil exports.

Meanwhile, the US Congress is working on tougher sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales – a lifeline for the Iranian economy – after talks last week in Moscow over Iran’s nuclear program failed to make progress. The European Union is also mulling more stringent sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili sent a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, which warned the powers in imposing further sanctions against his country.
According to Jalili, sanctions are "not helpful" as they only hurt what he termed a "positive trend" in negotiations between Tehran and the major world powers. "Continued successful talks will only be possible in a spirit of cooperation," he wrote.
Israel National News

Violence In Damascus Escalates

With the attack on the Palace of Justice on Thursday, a pro-regime television station on Tuesday and the raid on a Republican Guard barracks in Damascus last week, it appears as if the Syrian rebels are getting closer and closer to President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack on the barracks by the Free Syrian Army, the main armed opposition group that is made up of soldiers who defected from the Syrian military, was the closest that rebels have come to the regime. By most accounts, the FSA has stepped up action in the capital city -- the attack on the main courthouse on Thursday, which wounded three people, was the latest advance -- but the small raid, while "just a test for when the battle does move to Damascus," according to the FSA, was done in the shadow of the presidential palace next door, making it a significant and symbolic action.

Likewise, the destruction of the al-Ikhbariya TV station was less strategic than it was a message. Although it's privately owned, the pro-government station is a poignant symbol of the Assad regime, which tightly controls the inbound and outbound flow of information. Syria prohibits foreign journalists from entering the country -- allegedly with deadly force at times -- and the only source of news comes from the government, which can report whatever they please.

The FSA has not claimed responsibility for the assault on the television station, but a spokesperson from the Syrian National Council (SNC), the political umbrella of the opposition, said that "newly defected soldiers from the Republican Guard" carried out the attack.

"There are dozens of resistance groups in all major Syrian cities, and they do cooperate in some operations sometimes," said Ausama Monajed, the Advisor to the Secretary General of the SNC.

International Business Times

The Possible Mark of the Beast RFID CHIP

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone uworships the beast and its image and receives va mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink wthe wine of God’s wrath,xpoured full strength into the cup of his anger, and yhe will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And zthe smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and athey have no rest, day or night, these uworshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Revelation 14:9-11

Eurozone leaders hold surprise overnight meeting

BRUSSELS, Belgium — French President Francois Hollande says the leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro are holding an unplanned meeting in the middle of the night to talk about emergency measures that might lower the borrowing rates of Italy and Spain.

Leaders of those two countries say their current borrowing rates are unsustainable. And they have refused to give their final approval to a proposed 120-billion euro (US$149-billion) stimulus plan unless immediate measures are taken to help them.

Hollande also said early Friday that discussions on the future deepening of the Europe’s economic and monetary union, as proposed by four senior EU officials, had been put off until October.

The clash highlighted tensions between northern creditor countries and heavily indebted southern states over the future shape of the troubled 17-nation currency bloc, now in the third year of a sovereign debt crisis.

“There’s no blockage, we keep on working and we move on,” he told a belated news conference, playing down the row.Hours later than planned, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy came out to announce a deal in principle on measures to stimulate infrastructure investment and give more capital to the EU’s soft-lending arm, the European Investment Bank.

However, Hollande confirmed that Italy and Spain had withheld approval of the growth pact until eurozone leaders agree short-term measures to stabilise markets, but said he expected a deal on Friday.

Financial Post

Saudis forces mass on Jordanian, Iraqi borders andTurkey, Syria reinforce strength

The Syrian crisis was Friday, June 29, on a knife edge between a Western-Arab-Turkish military offensive in the next 48 hours and a big power accord to ward it off.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report heavy Saudi troop movements toward the Jordanian and Iraqi borders Thursday overnight and up until Friday morning, June 29, after King Abdullah put the Saudi military on high alert for joining an anti-Assad offensive in Syria. The Saudi units are poised with tanks, missiles, special forces and anti-air batteries to enter Jordan in two heads:
One will safeguard Jordan's King Abdullah against potential Syrian or Iranian reprisals from Syria or Iraq.

The second will cut north through Jordan to enter southeastern Syriam, where a security zone will be established around the towns of Deraa, Deir al-Zour and Abu Kemal – all centers of the anti-Assad rebellion. The region is also the home terrain of the Shammar tribe, brethren of the Shammars of the Saudi Nejd province.
The Saudi units deployed on the Iraqi border are there to defend the kingdom against potential incursions by Iraqi Shiite militias crossing into the kingdom for reprisals. The Iraqi militias are well trained and armed and serve under officers of the Iranian Al-Qods Brigades, the Revolutionary Guards’ external arm.
Western Gulf sources report that Jordan too is on war alert.
Following the downing of a Turkish plane by Syria a week ago, Turkey continues to build up its Syrian border units with anti-aircraft guns, tanks and missiles towed by long convoys of trucks.

A Free Syria Army officer, Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh, reported Friday that 170 Syrian army tanks of the 17th Mechanized Division were massed near the village of Musalmieh northeast of Aleppo, 30 km from the Turkish border. He said they stood ready to attack any Turkish forces crossing into Syria.
As these war preparations advanced, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in St. Petersburg Friday for crucial talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They meet the day before the new UN-sponsored Action Group convenes in Geneva to discuss UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s latest transition proposal for Syria. He hopes for a political settlement that will ward off military intervention.
Invited to the meeting are the five veto-wielding UN Security Council members plus Turkey and Arab League envoys from Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq.

Annan proposes forming a transitional national unity government in Damascus that includes the opposition and excludes unacceptable regime members.
It was widely reported Thursday that Russia had agreed to this formula, even though it entailed evicting Bashar Assad from power. However, Lavrov stepped in to correct the record, stressing in reference to the Annan proposal that Moscow would not lend its support to “any outside interference or imposition of recipes in Syria.”
This position is doubly aimed at the intensive military movements afoot around Syria.
Clinton and Lavrov are therefore expected to go at the Syrian issue hammer and tongs. The outcome of their meeting will not only determine the course of the Action Group’s discussions but, more importantly, whether the Western-Arab-Turkish alliance goes forward with its military operation against Syria.

US-Russian concurrence on a plan for Assad’s removal could avert the operation. The failure of their talks would spell a worsening of the Syrian crisis and precipitate Western-Arab military intervention, which according to military sources in the Gulf is scheduled for launch Saturday, June 30.


Nigel Farage: Van Rompuy and Barroso worst people in EU since 1945

New Mayan Find Mentions 2012 Calendar Cycle End, But Does Not Predict Doomsday

Archaeologists have discovered a 1,300-year-old Mayan text carved on the steps of an ancient staircase in Guatemala that refers to the "end date" of the Maya calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 -- only the second artifact to do so.

A block from a staircase in Guatemala refers to the end of a particular subunit of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar -- an event that has caused some to predict doomsday, something that researchers say is bunk.

The reference to the end of a particular time cycle is no doomsday prophecy, but rather a political booster speech from a powerful ruler.

There are 56 intricate hieroglyphs carved on one block of the staircase that commemorate a royal visit to the site in the year 696 A.D. by King Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk of Calakmul a few months after he suffered a defeat from a rival king. After the battle, Yuknoom visted several of his allies in order to reassure them that he wasn't killed by his enemy, according to researchers.

"This was a time of great political turmoil in the Maya region, and this king felt compelled to allude to a larger cycle of time that happens to end in 2012," University of Texas at Austin researcher David Stuart said in a statement Thursday.

The discovery was announced on Thursday at the National Palace in Guatemala.

Fears of a Mayan apocalypse prophecy are based on the fact that the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which counts forward from a mythical creation date around 3114 B.C. One of the subunits of time within the Long Count calendar is the b'ak'tun, which corresponds to about 144,000 days. December 21, 2012 marks the transition from one b'ak'tun to the next.

Scholars of the Maya say there's nothing in the civilization's prophecy to suggest that they were expecting any kind of cataclysm at this point in time.

"In times of crisis, the ancient Maya used their calendar to promote continuity and stability rather than predict apocalypse," Macello Canuto, director of Tulane University's Middle American Research Institute, said in a statement Thursday.

Stockton, California files for bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Stockton, California, became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in U.S. history on Thursday after years of fiscal mismanagement and a housing market crash left it unable to pay its workers, pensioners and bondholders.

The filing by the city of 300,000 people followed three months of confidential talks with its creditors aimed at averting bankruptcy.

"We are now a Chapter 9 debtor," Marc Levinson, the lawyer who filed the city's voluntary petition in the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento (Case 12-32118) told Reuters.

Pleadings in support of Stockton's eligibility for Chapter 9 bankruptcy will be filed on Friday, Levinson said.

Stockton, which officially declared insolvency and its desire to restructure its debt, also filed a separate list of its major unsecured creditors.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, which manages Stockton's pension plan, tops the list. The retirement system has a $147.5 million claim for unfunded pension costs.

Other top creditors include investors holding $124.3 million of Stockton's pension obligation bonds, $40.4 million of the city's variable rate demand obligations, $35.1 million of the city's public facilities fees bonds and $31.6 million of the city's parking garage debt.

Wells Fargo Bank NA is listed as the trustee for the investors.

"We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to avoid bankruptcy," Mayor Ann Johnston said in a statement. "This is what we must do to get our fiscal house in order and protect the safety and welfare of our citizens."

Negotiations with creditors ended on Monday with Stockton failing to win enough concessions to help close its budget shortfall for the fiscal year starting on July 1. The city will also file a motion to request permission to share information from the confidential mediation process.


The Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, a rare event for U.S. municipal debt issuers, was left as the only option to close a deficit of $26 million in Stockton's budget for its the new fiscal year, according to city officials.

The budget approved on Tuesday by Stockton's city council suspends $10.2 million in debt payments and cuts employee compensation and retiree benefits by $11.2 million to help close the deficit.

About $7 million in savings would come from cutting retiree medical benefits for one year.

While the retiree medical benefits will eventually be eliminated, Stockton plans to leave its public pensions unchanged while in bankruptcy proceedings. Attempts to pare them would invite long and expensive challenges.

City Manager Bob Deis said he was out of options to balance the city's budget after deep cuts in recent years to Stockton's work force. City leaders rejected further cuts to the police department as Stockton is experiencing a surge in violent crime.

The city will maintain current levels of public services, although at the cost of Stockton shedding its retiree medical program and defaulting on more of its bonds, Deis told Reuters.

Stockton has already defaulted on about $2 million in debt since February, allowing the trustee for one of its bond insurers to seize a building once slated to be its future city hall and three parking garages.

"We need to spread the pain. What's left are creditors, our bondholders and retirees," Deis said.

Stockton has suffered a sharp drop in revenue since the collapse of its once red-hot housing market, forcing it to cut more than $90 million in spending in recent years.

The housing boom transformed the farming city into a distant bedroom community of the San Francisco Bay area, and the bust put it at, or near, the top of national foreclosure rankings in recent years.

Stockton becomes the nation's most populous city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. But Jefferson County, Alabama, remains the biggest municipal bankruptcy in terms of debt outstanding, as it had a debt load exceeding $4 billion when it filed in 2011. Stockton has about $700 million in bond debt.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded Stockton to default from selective default on Wednesday, citing the city's move toward bankruptcy and expectations that it will not substantially pay all of its obligations as they come due.

Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday cut to 'Caa3' various general fund-supported debts of the city, putting the ratings in the "substantial risk" category, one notch above the "may be in default, extremely speculative" grouping. Moody's said its move was based on Stockton's bankruptcy budget.

Yahoo News

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Russia may fly military cargo to Syria

MOSCOW: Russia may decide to fly a controversial military cargo of helicopters and air defense systems to Syria after it abandoned an attempt to ship the materiel by sea, a report said Wednesday.

The West wants Russia to halt all military cooperation with Syria because of the escalating conflict between the Damascus regime and rebels but Moscow has insisted it cannot break contracts.

A freighter, the Alaed, at the weekend docked in the Russian Arctic port of Murmansk after turning back off the British coast from a voyage to Syria to deliver the military cargo when its British insurer dropped cover.

"The three Mi-25 helicopters and air defense systems could easily be delivered to Syria by air," a military source, who was not identified, told the Interfax news agency.

"Russia has to fulfill its obligations. But everything will depend on if we can resist pressure from the West who want us to break military cooperation with Syria," the source said, adding a decision would be made soon.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has confirmed the Alaed was carrying three attack helicopters Moscow had repaired for Damascus under a previous agreement.

He said last week the cargo also included air defense systems but gave no further details on the type or quantity on board.

Russia delivers a range of limited air defense systems to Syria but reportedly has refused to provide the more advanced S-300 technology that it had previously also failed to give to Iran under Western pressure.

The Vedomosti business daily reported on Tuesday that Russia this year chose to withhold the S-300 from Syria, despite a $105 million delivery contract being signed by the system's producer and Damascus in 2011.

Military experts have speculated that the Alaed was carrying the more basic Russian Buk-M2e air defense systems for Syria, whose forces last week shot down a Turkish warplane off the Syrian coast.

In Murmansk, the Alaed's flag has been changed to a Russian flag from that of the Caribbean island of Curacao.

But Russia has yet to confirm if the ship will now make a repeat attempt to reach the Syrian port of Tartus or travel on to Russia's Far East port city of Vladivostok as originally planned.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Jun-27/178465-russia-may-fly-military-cargo-to-syria-report.ashx#ixzz1z5ViIiLo
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

Whistleblower Reveals Plan To Evacuate London During Olympics

Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An undercover journalist going by the pseudonym ‘Lee Hazledean’ has blown the whistle on astounding revelations about how he infiltrated the G4S – the company responsible for security at the London Olympics – and discovered shocking plans for the evacuation of London, 200,000 ‘casket linings’ being on standby, along with botched security procedures that leave the Games wide open to attack.

Hazledean’s interview with Tony Gosling, Bilderberg.org editor and host of BCFM’s Friday Drivetime, has gone viral on the web over the last few days. Hazledean is an undercover journalist for a television program in London and has worked with news agencies on hard-hitting subjects, but when he approached the mainstream media with his bombshell story, they showed no interest.

When Hazledean asked Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Andy Davies if he would run the story, Davies said he wasn’t interested and days later Channel 4 ran a puff piece about G4S which portrayed the organization as competent and trustworthy.

“I sent him an email, I called, he wasn’t interested and he said there’s a media blackout on this kind of story, that nobody would be interested in running it,” said Hazledean.

In the interview, Hazledean divulges how he merely had to fill in an application form to get a job with G4S, the private company providing security for the Olympics, that he underwent no background check whatsoever, and that his personal references were not checked.

Employees are given just two days of training to run airport-style security checkpoints which include body scanners, which Hazledean said “would be turned off completely” at peak times, meaning terrorists could just walk straight into the event with ammunition or explosives and have an excellent chance of remaining undetected.

“In fact, I was asked to be a would-be terrorist on the final training day and I was given a knife, a gun and an IED, and on all three occasions throughout the day I got through the metal detector and I also got through the x-ray machine scanner,” said Hazledean, adding that terrorists could quite easily stage a “massacre” given the lax nature of the security.

“They’re not training them properly…it’s quite open to a terrorist attack very easily and I don’t say that lightly,” said Hazledean, adding that he witnessed G4S members doing drug deals while training classes were taking place, while others were taking surveillance photos on their cellphones of supposedly secure areas. Hazledean said a lot of the security staff were poorly qualified and that many of them could barely speak English.

Hazledean also revealed how the large contingent of soldiers being brought into London for the Olympic Games included “a lot of UN troops being posted in and around London,” including American and German troops.

The whistleblower also revealed how unauthorized personnel were being handed G4S uniforms and that uniforms had been stolen.

Hazledean’s most chilling revelation was how he learned about preparations to evacuate London and how, “The security guards used for the Olympics will be at the forefront of getting the public out of London.”

“They seem quite serious about it, they’ve spent a lot of time on this,” said Hazledean, noting how G4S spent two hours talking about the evacuation of London in comparison to just half an hour talking about security screening procedures for the Olympics itself.

The whistleblower also noted how the 100,000 plus troops that would be stationed in London during the Olympics would be enough to carry out such a large scale evacuation.

Another chilling facet Hazledean learned was that 200,000 casket linings (temporary coffins) were being shipped in to London that can hold four bodies each. The whistleblower expressed his amazement at why security guards working on mundane screening procedures would need to be told such information.

The whistleblower also revealed how he was told Predator drones would be circling London in readiness for terrorist attacks, and that G4S employees were shown a video of a drone killing a group of people in Afghanistan.

Hazledean noted how G4S leaders saw the public as “the scum of the earth” and also told their employees that the police had no authority over them. He also related how one of the leaders told him that an event after the Olympics would be a “defining moment” for London but when pressed, refused to divulge what she meant.

Hazledean is not the first to blow the whistle on G4S. Earlier this month, data input clerk Sarah Hubble revealed that she was fired by G4S after complaining that G4S was cutting corners in their security preparations for the Olympics and that she herself had not been vetted.

Speaking with Infowars, Hazledean said that he had been making contingency plans for if his life was put in danger or if he became a target for the authorities in any other way after blowing the whistle on the scandal.

Asked about a meme circulating the web that conspiracy theories about a false flag attack occurring at the London Olympics are being deliberately allowed to proliferate in order to make ‘truthers’ look paranoid after nothing happens, Hazledean stressed that merely getting the story out was necessary as it could derail any planned attack.


Assad is confined to palace by his Republican Guard

DEBKAfile, citing Western intelligence sources, reports Thursday, June 28, that the Republican Guard battalion commander charged with the Syrian president’s security is keeping Bashar Assad shut away in his “Unity” palace. Assad and his family may not leave the building without the commander’s permission under an order current since the second half of last week. It is not clear to whom the commander defers in this case and who in fact actually determines whether Assad can come or go.

Asked by DEBKAfile if an element in the Republican Guard ordered the palace placed under siege to prevent the president and his family fleeing, those Western sources replied that the situation could be described as a “partial siege” which is constantly expanding. They added, in response to another question about the Syrian ruler’s freedom of movement, that neither Assad nor members of his family are able to leave the palace to go anywhere and they are aware of the restrictions placed on their movements.

"Because of the partial siege and these restrictions," said those intelligence sources, "Assad and his wife are both in very low spirits and the atmosphere inside the palace is very bleak." 

The video clips showing the Syrian president and his wife Asma happily playing badminton in the palace grounds were released this week by the regime’s propaganda arm – apparently to belie the rumors spreading in Damascus about the first family’s virtual imprisonment in their own palace.

In fact, say the sources, “"Inside the palace, Assad and his family are so mistrustful of their immediate circle that food tasters are on hand in to partake in advance of all the food and drink served them.” The tasters belong to the elite unit of Syrian military intelligence. They were brought in after at least two attempts by Syrian rebel associates to sneak poisoned food into the palace. It was discovered before causing harm or even death.

"Bashar Assad won’t even drink a glass of water unless his personal food taster first swallows at least a quarter of its contents."
It is important to note, said the Western sources, that access to the Assad palace on Mt. Qaisoun on the outskirts of Damascus is gained only through two underground roads which are fortified against aerial bombardment and invisible to spies in the sky. The two roads serve the separate entrance and exit from the palace.
All vehicles using the roads, including supply trucks, belong to Syrian intelligence services. The drivers and porters unloading the vehicles – although intelligence personnel - are all closely watched at all times, starting with detailed inspections when they arrive at the entrance to one of the roads.

The rebels’ success in planting poison in one of those closely vetted supply trucks attests to their success in penetrating some of the layers of security protecting the persons of the president and his family.


Government Says Food Stamps Assure Heath, Beauty & Happiness

US tests of Interceptor missile off Hawaii coast

The mission off Hawaii late Tuesday was against a medium-range, separating ballistic missile, the Pentagon agency responsible for it said.

The mock warhead split from the target's booster section, presenting what is supposed to be a more realistic attack scenario.

The United States plans to deploy increasingly capable versions of Raytheon's Standard Missile-3 through 2020 to help counter missiles that might some day be capable of delivering chemical, biological or nuclear warheads from Iran or North Korea.

The new model is to be put on land-based launchers in Romania in 2015 as well as on ships. It is a key part of President Barack Obama's plan to guard Nato's European territory from Iran, which is at odds with the US over its nuclear programme.

The Telegraph

Cybercriminals Build Massive Banking Fraud System in the Cloud

Cybercriminals have built a cloud-based fraud system that targeted wealthy people and commercial accounts in bilking primarily European banks of possibly billions of dollars, security vendors say.

The international ring targeted accounts with an average of $300,000 to $600,000, and attempted to transfer as much as $130,000 to bogus business accounts, Intel-owned McAfee said Tuesday. While McAfee did not know how much money was actually stolen, the vendor estimates that it ranged from $75 million to $2.5 billion.

The ring targeted banks in Europe and then expanded to Latin America and more recently the United States, where it had just gotten started, Dave Marcus, director of advanced research and threat intelligence at McAfee Labs, said. McAfee, which investigated the ring's operation over the last six months with Guardian Analytics, is working with law enforcement agencies to shut down the fraudsters.

What is unique about the fraud was the amount of automation used, a feat made possible through the use of cloud computing, Marcus said. The combination of remote servers and an intimate knowledge of banking transaction systems made it possible to automate the theft, rather than simply stealing user names and passwords and having someone manually transfer money from a computer.

"The automated nature of these attacks really require that kind of server/cloud functionality," Marcus said. "It can't all take place on the host [computer]. All of the logic and all of the sophistication really does reside on that [cloud] server."

McAfee first discovered the fraudsters operating in Italy, and later followed them to Germany, the Netherlands and other countries in Europe. In March, the ring was found operating in Colombia and one server was later traced to the United States. "It looks like it [the ring] just started making the transition to the U.S.," Marcus said.

The fraud started with an email cleverly disguised to look like it came from the recipient's bank. Clicking on a link in the message downloaded the malware that would later use web-injects to steal the information needed to perform fund transfers. Web-injects are fake pages or form fields launched while a person is on an online banking site.Ã'Â

McAfee, which dubbed the investigation "Operation High Roller" because of the wealthy victims, found 60 servers processing thousands of attempted thefts. Most of the transfers were for less than $10,000, with the highest reaching $130,000.

The fraudsters used common Zeus and SpyEye malware platforms as the base of the malicious code, which was customized for each targeted bank. Once the malware stole the needed information, transfers were performed via the control servers, which were even able to obtain the information needed to bypass smartcard readers often used in Europe for two-factor authentication. "We have not seen this level of sophistication before," Marcus said.

Besides the use of the cloud, the fraudsters had an impressive knowledge of how banking transaction systems worked. McAfee wasn't able to determine how the criminals gained that level of understanding. "You can't make a fraudulent transaction look like a valid transaction, if you don't know what you're doing," Marcus said. "And these guys know what they're doing."


Russia May Deploy First S-500 Missiles in 2013

S-400 Triumph air defense system

Russia's Armed Forces could receive the first of its next-generation S-500 air defense missile systems as early as in 2013, Air Force commander Maj.Gen. Viktor Bondarev said on Wednesday.

"I think that as soon as next year we will get the first of these (S-500) systems in service," Bondarev said at a RIA Novosti press conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Russian Air Force.

S-400 Triumf air missile defense system

The commander stressed that Russia's air defenses are in very good shape with new regiments of a formidable S-400 Triumf air defense system entering service every year.

The crews of air defense systems regularly carry out training drills to improve their efficiency.

“We have improved the response time to airborne threats to 3-4 seconds compared to the previous 9-10 seconds.

Russia currently has four S-400 regiments - two in the Moscow region, one in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, and one in the Eastern Military District.

By 2020, Russia is to have 28 S-400 regiments, each comprised of two battalions, mainly in maritime and border areas.

The S-400 Triumf long- to medium-range surface-to-air missile system can effectively engage any aerial target, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise and ballistic missiles at up to 400 kilometers and an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.

RIA Novosti

Why Is The Number Of Wildfires In The United States Increasing?

As America watches large sections of Colorado literally burn to the ground, many are wondering why all of this is happening.  There have always been wildfires, but what we are experiencing now seems very unusual.  So is the number of wildfires in the United States increasing?  As you will see later in this article, the answer is yes.  2011 was a record setting year for wildfires and this wildfire season is off to a very frightening start.  Right now the eyes of the nation are focused on the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.  It doubled in size overnight and it has consumed more than 300 homes so far.  It is threatening the city of Colorado Springs, and at this point more than 35,000 people have been forced to evacuate - including the U.S. Air Force Academy.  On Twitter and Facebook residents are describing what they are seeing as "the apocalypse" and as "the end of the world".  But this is just the beginning of the wildfire season.  We haven't even gotten to July and August yet.
The Waldo Canyon fire is rapidly becoming one of the most expensive and destructive wildfires in Colorado history.  The historic Flying W Ranch has already been burned totally to the ground by this fire.  Local authorities are struggling to find the words to describe how nightmarish this fire is.  The following are a couple of quotes from a CNN article....
Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs fire chief, described it as a "firestorm of epic proportions."
Gov. John Hickenlooper surveyed the Waldo Canyon Fire, telling reporters it was a difficult sight to see.
"There were people's homes burned to the ground. It was surreal," he said late Tuesday night. "There's no question, it's serious. It's as serious as it gets."
But this is not the only wildfire that is raging in Colorado.  Right now there are 10 wildfires burning in the state.  Overall, there are 33 large wildfires currently burning in twelve U.S. states.
If you will remember, New Mexico just experienced one of the worst wildfires that it has ever seen.  Conditions throughout most of the western United States are ideal for wildfires right now.  As USA Today reports, much of the western half of the country is under a "red flag warning" right now....
Throughout the interior West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fueled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.
But wait, didn't this kind of thing happen last year too?
Yes it did.
In fact, 2011 was one of the worst years ever for wildfires in America.  The following is a short excerpt from an EarthSky article....
Thousands of wildfires raged across the United States last year, 2011, burning a record amount of land, especially in the southern U.S. In fact, 2011 the third-most-active fire season since 1960 (when this record-keeping began) with respect to acres burned, according to preliminary data released from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in late December 2011. The NIFC will be releasing an official summary report detailing the 2011 wildfire season later in 2012, but for now you can read some of the details in the State of the Climate Wildfires 2011 report from NOAA.
During 2011, a total of 73,484 wildfires burned an estimated 8,706,852 acres (35,235 square kilometers) of land across the United States. Wildfire activity during 2011 was exceptionally high and was only exceeded in the historical record by wildfire activity during the years 2006 and 2007.
We have seen highly unusual wildfire activity throughout America in recent years.  In the article quoted above you can find a chart which shows that wildfire activity in the United States has been far above normal during the past decade.
Wildfire records have only been kept since 1960.  The 6 worst years on record for wildfires in the U.S. have all happened since the year 2000.  The following is from an Earth Island Journal article that I found....
In the United States, where some of the most accurate wildfire statistics are kept, the six worst fire seasons in the past 50 years have occurred since 2000. In Texas, nearly 4 million acres were burned in 2011, double the previous record. This included the Bastrop Fire last September that destroyed 1,600 homes and became the most destructive fire in Texas history. In Arizona more than one million acres were burned in 2011, a new record. The Wallow Fire, which destroyed nearly a half million acres, was the largest fire in Arizona history. The Pagami Creek Fire in northern Minnesota became the third largest fire in state history when it burned 100,000 acres in September 2011, most of this in an unprecedented 16-mile run on a single day.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that the number of wildfires in the United States is increasing and wildfires are becoming more powerful and doing more damage.
So what is causing all of this?
The truth is that this is happening because we are seeing exceptionally dry conditions throughout the western half of the United States.  In fact, according to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years.
The eastern half of the country also gets very hot during the summer, but they don't have as many wildfires because they get a lot more rain.
Many areas in the western half of the country have been experiencing drought conditions for quite a few years, and there seems to be no end in sight for the drought.
If you go check out the U.S. drought monitor, you will see that almost the entire southwest United States is experiencing some level of drought right now.
So what will July and August bring?
It is kind of frightening to think about that.
Earlier this year I wrote an article that postulated that we could actually see dust bowl conditions return to the middle of the United States.  Many readers were skeptical of that article.
But as much of the western United States continues to experience bone dry conditions and continues to be ravaged by wildfires, perhaps more people will understand how bad things are really getting in the interior west.
Just because we have made great technological advances as a society does not mean that we know how to tame nature.  We can attempt to contain the massive wildfires that are popping up all over the place and we can attempt to deal with the drought, but in the end we cannot stop what is happening.
So do you live in any of the areas that are being affected by these wildfires?
Do you have an opinion about why so much of America is on fire?
Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below....
Economic Collapse

U.S. Military Moving into Multiple Cities

Nervous investors fill Swiss safes with cash, gold

By Catherine Bosley

ZURICH, June 25 (Reuters) - Investors trying to protect their wealth from global economic uncertainty have been stashing bank notes, gold bars and other valuables in Swiss banks, fuelling demand for safe deposit boxes.

The euro zone debt crisis and fear that loose policy by central banks will stoke inflation have sent investors in search of extra security. New deals to prevent secret bank accounts in Switzerland being used for evading taxes may also be contributing to the trend.

Some banks in Switzerland, known for its financial stability, say they have even run out of space.

"We are experiencing a rise in demand for safety deposit boxes. This rise can't really be quantified, however. In many branches the safe deposit boxes are fully rented," said Albert Steck, spokesman at Migros Bank, a cooperative bank which serves retail clients.

Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) said requests for space in safes has climbed this year, as the euro zone debt crisis deepened and the outlook for the global economy worsened.

"Since the start of the year demand for safe deposit boxes has risen in the low single digits," said spokesman Igor Moser.

Baloise, an insurance company, said several bank clients had asked recently to raise the amount of coverage for the contents of safe deposit boxes.

"It's therefore likely that safes at some banks are somewhat fuller than they were a few years ago," said Baloise spokeswoman Jeanine Hoppe.

Another sign anxiety is rising, is that a phenomenon last seen when the financial crisis erupted in 2008 has reappeared: Appetite for Swiss franc bills has grown, according to Swiss National Bank data.

"This development was due largely to high demand for 1,000 franc notes, which points to the fact that the additional demand was primarily for storing money," an SNB spokesman said.


With central banks around the world flooding markets with liquidity, some people fear spiraling inflation. The wealthy want assets that keep their value if prices rises.

"So much money has been pumped into the system that people are worried about inflation down the road," said Bruno S. Frey, professor of economics at the University of Zurich. "You counter that by buying real assets of material value."

Gold is one option. An Italian businessman was recently caught trying to smuggle gold bars into Switzerland under his car seat. In further evidence of rising interest in gold, ZKB has seen demand for its gold-backed exchange-traded fund rise over 20 percent since 2009.

Fine art and property are also considered sure bets in troubled times. The Swiss housing market is booming and the price of fine art has been on the up.

"Assets barely earn interest and blue-chip stocks move in one week what they used to move in one year," said Ulrich Koerner, chief operating officer of Swiss flagship bank UBS .

"Against that backdrop, some people say they would rather buy a nice painting instead of a mutual fund."


The interest in real assets and in safe-deposit boxes may also be linked to offshore clients of Swiss banks, looking to find a way to circumvent pending deals with Germany, Austria and Britain that would tax their secret accounts.

Safe deposit boxes are not included in the tax deals, because their contents are not considered bankable assets.

Switzerland says safe deposit boxes cannot be used as a way for lots of people to get out of paying tax.

"It's not a way for people to escape the tax deal on a large scale," said Mario Tuor, spokesman for the Swiss federal office in charge of negotiating the agreements.

If account balances decline by more than 20 percent in the past two years, then the retroactive levy will be assessed based on the balance in late 2010, he said, precisely to prevent people from pulling money from their accounts.

But one private banker in Zurich told Reuters in May he was giving his "smaller" clients with less than $2 million in funds the following advice:

"If you have a small amount of undeclared money, the smartest thing you can do is withdraw it in cash and put it into a safe deposit box," the banker said.

The bilateral tax deals, which are scheduled to come into effect next year, preserve privacy by imposing a one-off levy on undeclared legacy capital, plus a tax on future earnings. Clients who refuse the tax face having their names revealed to foreign tax officials.

There is no official data on how much undeclared wealth is sitting in Switzerland, whose banks hold about $2 trillion in offshore assets. But according to some estimates Germans alone have 200 billion euros in untaxed funds in Switzerland.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ventura:"Remember Your Oath!"

Europe is out of savings.....

NATO Provokes Syria to War

Europe Has Three Days, Not Three Months, to Avoid 'Fiasco': Soros

Multibillionaire financier George Soros said Monday Europe's leaders have three days to agree on how to fix the euro zone crisis ahead of this week's summit of world leaders -- a dramatically shorter timetable than the "three months' window" he said at the beginning of June that Europe's leaders had to fix their problems.

Unless that is resolved in the next three days, then I am afraid the summit could turn out to be a fiasco. That could actually be fatal," Soros said on CNBC Monday morning. Soros, who is quickly becoming an éminence grise on the topic of the euro zone financial crisis, was making an appearance following the publication of an editorial in the Financial Times, where he warned the negotiating stance of German chancellor Angela Merkel going into this summit "threatens to turn the June summit into a fiasco."

In his Financial Times piece, Soros, the notable hedge fund manager -- who last month delivered an explanation of the euro zone crisis to an Italian economics conference that went viral -- suggested the best way to proceed involves some kind of German guarantee of the peripheral countries' debt "in return for Italy and Spain undertaking specified structural reforms." The idea is to have some austerity combined with a German safety net for the debt of weak economies, stabilizing the economic crisis in the Continent so as to hopefully spur growth. It is a pro-unification framework that "will be the prelude to the establishment of a full political union and the introduction of euro bonds," Soros notes in his article.

Monday, that sympathy became strong criticism, with Soros writing in the Financial Times piece that "the main obstacle is in German politics, which is mired in a “can’t do” mode" and that the current policy path espoused by that country "will make Germany the centre of an empire and put the “periphery” into a permanently subordinated position."

International Business Times

Russian Nuclear bombers test U.S. air defenses in Arctic war games

Russian strategic nuclear bombers threatened U.S. airspace near Alaska earlier this month and F-15 jets responded by intercepting the aircraft taking part in large-scale arctic war games, according to defense officials.

The Russian war games began the same day President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a frosty summit meeting in Mexico June 18.

U.S. officials said the arctic exercises over the Russian Far East and Pacific appeared to be a further sign of Russia’s hardening posture toward the United States.

The Obama administration made no protest of the bomber intrusions, according to the officials, in line with its conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking warmer ties with Moscow.

About 30 strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft took part in the war games that continued through June 25. The aircraft included Tu-95MS Bear H and Tu-160 Blackjack nuclear-capable bombers, along with Il-76 refueling tankers, A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, and Su-27 and MiG-31 jet fighters. Some 200 troops also took part in the Russian Strategic Aviation forces exercise.

A spokesman for the joint U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense command in Colorado Springs, which monitors air defense intrusions, had no immediate comment. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.

U.S. and Canadian F-15 and F-16 jets were involved in the intercepts that took place near the Air Identification Zone surrounding Alaskan airspace over the northern Pacific.

The exercises are part of increasingly aggressive Russian military activities in the arctic region in both the eastern and western hemispheres, which have created security worries among governments in northern Europe and Canada.

One official said the failure to publicize the threatening bomber maneuvers might have been related to Obama’s overheard promise in March to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev of “more flexibility.”

According to the defense officials, the arctic bomber exercises are part of Russian efforts to assert control over vast areas of the arctic circle that are said to contain large mineral and oil deposits.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former Alaska North American Aerospace Defense commander, said the Russian exercises should be a concern.

“The Russians continue to exercise our air defense identification zone, which shows Mr. Putin loves to let President Obama know that they still have global capability,” McInerney said in an interview. “So much for reset.”

McInerney also said the Obama administration kept the encounter between the bombers and U.S. fighters secret because “they obviously don’t want the world to know that the exercise was done deliberately to coincide with the Obama-Putin summit.”

Obama and Putin met in Los Cabos, Mexico June 18 in what aides described later as a “businesslike” encounter. The two leaders, however, were shown in video and photos as unsmiling and displaying a cool demeanor toward each other.

Russia’s government and military have threatened preemptive military attacks on future U.S. missile defense sites in Europe as part of a Russian propaganda campaign against those defenses. Moscow views U.S. and NATO missile defenses as threatening its strategic missiles.

Defense officials said Russian bomber exercises highlight Moscow’s targeting of the U.S. missile defense base at Fort Greely, Alaska, one of two major ground-based interceptor bases that are part of a limited integrated missile defense system against North Korean and possibly future Chinese or Russian missiles.

Additionally, the bomber exercises raised concerns that Russia was simulating cruise missile strikes aimed at disrupting U.S. oil pipelines in Alaska. Currently, the state’s Trans-Alaska pipeline delivers more than 11 percent of U.S. oil.

The Russian bombers involved in the exercises are equipped with long-range precision-guided cruise missiles, including nuclear and conventional missiles.

A similar bomber exercise in 2007 involved Bear H and Blackjack bombers that conducted simulated cruise missile attacks on the United States. Those bombers operated from strategic bomber bases at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi.

Military reference books state that Bear H bombers are deployed with six Kh-55 or Kh-55SM cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 1,800 miles away with either a high-explosive warhead or a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead.

Russian Air Force Lt. Col. Vladimir Deryabin, a Defense Ministry spokesman, told Russian state-controlled news agencies that the main purpose of the war games was to provide practice for strategic, fighter, and special aviation aircrews. The first phase involved the dispersal of aviation groups to air bases in the northern and eastern region. A second phase deployed aircraft that flew in groups with fighter cover, he said.

Deryabin said that the mission of the exercise was to “practice destruction of enemy air defenses and strategic facilities,” according to a June 25 dispatch by the Russian news agency Interfax.

State Department documents made public by Wikileaks have revealed that Russian offensive military exercises in the arctic during the past several years have been aimed at Moscow’s efforts to “emerge as the dominant arctic power by default.”

Such exercises have alarmed Norway’s government since many of the exercises took place near Norway’s coast.

International discussions on Russian military exercises in the arctic have been highlighted by Moscow’s failure to provide pre-flight notification of bomber exercise flights.

It could not be learned if the Russians notified the United States of the recent bomber exercises near Alaska.

Canada has complained that earlier Russian bomber flights were conducted without Russia notifying the Canadian government.

A classified 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy Moscow said Russia in May 2009 outlined its policy toward the arctic for 2020 and beyond, and said Moscow adopted a “cold peace” policy against Europe and the United States. It stated that the region will be used for strategic resources and that Moscow is seeking to claim exclusive control over an emerging northern sea route passage.

“The Arctic region, both within Russia’s legally clarified borders and in areas beyond, likely holds vast untapped resources of oil and gas,” the cable states. “While many Russian analysts are skeptical that any of these resources will be economically exploitable in the near future, the Russian leadership wants to secure sovereignty over these ‘strategic’ resources.”

As part of the arctic military expansion, Russia announced May 30 it was re-opening arctic air bases that had been closed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Russian officials have said the strategic air bases will be used for arctic operations and include airfields in the far north at Naryan-Mar, on Novaya Zemlya, and Franz Josef Land.

Naryan-Mar is a mainland strategic air base and Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land are islands.

Additionally, Russia has announced it is setting up an 8,000-troop Arctic Brigade that will be deployed on the Kola Peninsula, near Finland and Norway.

In 2010, Adm. James A. Winnefeld, then-commander of the Colorado-based U.S. North Command, said in an interview that Russia has continued to fly its strategic nuclear bombers near U.S. airspace as part of Moscow’s efforts to maintain what he termed the illusion of power.

“In some cases, this is about the illusion of power, where power is not quite there,” Winnefeld said from the Colorado Springs-based command known as Northcom. “They are trying to show the world that they are a powerful nation, and we’re not giving them the satisfaction.”

Washington Free Beacon