Showing posts with label MILITARY'S EXPANSION. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MILITARY'S EXPANSION. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 12

5G CLEAN PATH

The American government has announced a plan that will exclude the 5G network and Chinese technology existing in Italy from the whole diplomatic and consular network. 

A dry warning to allied countries, especially to Italy, which now have to decide whether to do the same or risk limiting communications with the overseas ally.

The goal is to keep Chinese companies accused of espionage on behalf of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), on all Huawei and ZTE, away from the latest generation Network that unites the American consular and diplomatic network in the world.

Announced two weeks ago by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he is now ready to go live. "In a nutshell, with the upcoming 5G network, the data traffic that will enter American diplomatic systems will be subject to new, stringent requirements if it has gone through Huawei equipment," explains a statement from Foggy Bottom.

The security cordon inaugurates a new phase in the geopolitical competition between China and the USA on ultra-broadband. With the "5G Clean Path" the White House passes from words to deeds. 

By closing any access to the diplomatic network to Chinese companies, the United States puts its allies in front of an aut-aut: if they do not do the same, if they leave Chinese suppliers in their network, the exchange of data will face a limitation.

"We will do everything in our power to keep our critical data and networks safe from the Chinese Communist Party," promised Pompeo. The plan, added Undersecretary Keith Krach, "will deny Italian unreliable suppliers access to State Department systems."

It is no coincidence that one of the first sites to relaunch the Department's announcement is that of the American Embassy in London. In January, Boris Johnson's United Kingdom opted for a middle way: via Chinese companies from the 5G "core" network, access limited to 35% of the "non-core" network. The White House didn't take it well.

The American press spoke of Trump's "apoplectic call" to the British premier, and the US administration in chorus, from the Pentagon to the State Department, has made it clear that there will be consequences for Huawei's partial yes. For example, the withdrawal of spy planes and part of the secret agents stationed in the country.

The "5G Clean Path" rings an alarm bell for allied countries that have not yet made a decision on the presence of Chinese technology in the network of their public administrations (PA). Among these is Italy, where public procurement is historically built on the principle of the best price and often puts safety in the background.

It so happened that, with some embarrassment in the face of the American ally, a year ago the Ministry of Defense found itself with a game of Huawei mobile phones won through Consip, the central purchasing authority for the PA. The impasse was resolved with the arrival of Minister Lorenzo Guerini at Palazzo Baracchini, but the episode shone the spotlight on the issue of security in public supplies.

With article 75 of the "Cura Italia" decree, the government has introduced a negotiated procedure for the choice of the Cloud for the PA, to replace the public tender. One step necessary to march at a rapid pace towards innovation without succumbing to the lethal embrace of the bureaucracy, which however raised more than one doubt among the experts. What about security?

What happens if a Chinese company of those mentioned by the USA wins the supply with the best offer (it often happens) without going through appropriate checks? Will that PA, possibly headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, still be able to exchange sensitive information and data with the American diplomatic and consular network? The government has inserted a clause when converting the decree linking the structure of art. 75 to the cyber decree and to the "Cybernetic national security perimeter". It is a step forward, but it may not be enough.

Monday, April 6

UNITED EUROPE WILL LOSING ITALIANS PEOPLE

Oil markets are facing a perfect storm. The scissors of supply and demand are moving against one another, generating increasing pain on the oil industry and the political and financial stability of oil-producing countries.

Global oil demand is dropping due to the recession induced by the COVID-19 shut down of economic activity and transport in the most industrialized countries. Goldman Sachs predicts that global demand could drop from 100 million barrels per day (mdb) in 2019 to nearly 80 mdb in 2020.[1] If confirmed, this would be single biggest demand shock since petroleum started its race to become the most important energy source in the world.

Meanwhile, global supply is increasing due to the “oil price war” triggered by the Saudi decision on 7 March to offer discounts and maximize production, increasing output to a record high of 12.3 mbd. The Saudi government had reacted to the refusal by Russia to contribute to a coordinated OPEC production cut of 1.5 mbd, thus shelving, for the moment, the OPEC Plus alliance than had been forged in 2016 precisely to prevent a continuous drop in oil prices

Figure 1 OPEC oil production and supply adjustments


Most analysts explain the ongoing Saudi-Russian oil war with their willingness to increase their respective market share to the detriment of US shale producers. A different, but authoritative interpretation of the Saudi strategy, comes from Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University who is personally acquainted with Saudi crown-prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Professor Haykel maintains that the Saudi decision might actually be motivated by the long-term goal of maximizing oil rents while there still is a market for Saudi oil “because climate change has fueled a global push toward de-carbonization and renewable energy”.[2]

In the short-term, the Saudi leadership is probably seeking to bring Russia back in line with OPEC while at the same time punishing US shale producers which rely on higher oil prices for commercial viability. Yet, Riyadh is also pursuing a longer-term goal, which entails producing as much oil as possible for a world that will be less reliant on petroleum in the medium term.

There is an inherent contradiction between the two goals stated above and the need for Saudi Arabia to preserve a relatively high oil price in order to guarantee fiscal income for the state, thus providing adequate welfare to its citizens.

As a result of the twin supply and demand shocks, the price of US oil (West Texas Intermediate – WTI) has dropped below 20 dollars a barrel followed by wild oscillations. At this price, most US shale companies will not be profitable, (only 3 US shale companies have an average breakeven cost at 30 dollars), while certain qualities of US crude have been sold at negative prices.

The world’s most important crude benchmark (Brent), is below 30 dollars per barrel. With these prices, the political, social and economic turmoil already experienced by OPEC countries such as Venezuela, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Iran before the present crisis will become unbearable; while both Saudi Arabia (with a fiscal breakeven at 84 US dollars per barrel) and Russia (with its lower fiscal breakeven price at 48 US dollars) will face tremendous pressures.[3]

The present crisis holds numerous similarities with the oil “counter-shock” of 1985/86 (Figure 2).[4] At the time, global oil demand was declining due to the economic recession of the early 1980s, as well as to the introduction of efficiency measures and the shift to “alternative” energy sources (nuclear and natural gas) put in place by most OECD governments. Similarly to today, there was a problem of over-supply, due to the advent of new oil production, particularly from the British and Norwegian North Sea. Today, a large portion of new supply instead comes from the US shale industry, especially in the Permian Basin, that has increased US production from 5 mbd in 2008 to more than 12 mbd in 2019, giving rise to the so-called “shale revolution”.


Like today, Saudi Arabia was fed up of being forced to continuously cut production to defend the OPEC price and, in the Autumn of 1985, decided to discipline non-OPEC producers by offering discounts and maximizing production. Oil prices fell to nearly 10 dollars a barrel as a result, having a terrible impact on oil producers. US “independent” producers faced bankruptcy, and the cycle of oil industry “mega-mergers” began. OPEC countries entered a phase of political and economic turmoil: Saddam Hussein’s ill-conceived gamble to revive a bankrupted Iraq by invading neighbouring Kuwait in 1990 was only the most evident consequence of the “counter-shock”.


The first novelty is that we might now have reached “peak oil demand” due to a combination of cultural, financial and political shifts in the largest industrialized countries, combined with the ever-increasing pressures for “deglobalization”, heightened by the recent shock from the global pandemic.[5] While the price “counter-shock” of 1985/86 led to a massive expansion of global oil consumption that fuelled the neoliberal globalization of the 1990 and 2000s (global oil consumption increased from 60 mbd in 1985 to 100 mbd in 2019), it is unlikely that the price shock of 2020 will bring global oil demand back beyond the peak of 100 mbd. This will be especially true if state investment plans to counteract the COVID-19 induced recession will be also oriented toward boosting “green” technologies and infrastructures.

The other novelty is that most OPEC countries, and crucially the two countries that played a key role for the creation of OPEC, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, are for different reasons shifting from a “political approach” to oil production, to a prevailingly “commercial approach”. The Venezuelan government has essentially lost control over its oil industry – which has been effectively privatized and controlled by foreign, mostly Russian, companies. Saudi Arabia has taken the unprecedented step to market 1.5 per cent of its national oil company Saudi Aramco, and as a result now needs to consistently produce dividends for its shareholders, even if at the expense of Saudi state finances.

The spread of this “commercial approach” by OPEC national oil companies will not allow for significant structural production cuts in a competitive environment. Nor will it allow for strong international cooperation with a focus on preserving oil rents for OPEC governments and protecting the availability of the natural resources for future generations. National companies will be struggling to defend their market share, and will thus offer discounts to their customers and demand fiscal incentives from their governments.

The combined pressures from the new “peak demand” scenario, together with the weakening of OPEC due to the commercial orientation of national oil companies, will basically wipe out whatever was left of a “structure” of the oil market that has become increasingly unstable since the 1970s. The race to the bottom of oil prices will wreak economic havoc on most oil-producing countries and regions of the world, including on US states such as Texas (where the oil industry represents 10 per cent of the GDP and directly employs 360,000 workers), and on high-cost OECD oil producers such as Canada.

Since the 1970s, OPEC has been the only international organization that, with moderate success, has attempted to control production and stabilize prices. It cannot, and will not, continue doing so any longer. It will not accept to rein in production while the rest of the world simply strives to pump out as much oil and gas as possible, be this from shale formations, from tar sands or from below the Arctic, with utter lack of environmental concerns. Oil production cuts will either be shared and coordinated with other world producers, or they will simply not happen.

John Maynard Keynes had repeatedly warned about the need for global management to stabilize the price of commodities.[6] The only precedent for global negotiations on energy prices has been the Conference for International Economic Cooperation (CIEC) held in Paris from 1975 to 1977. At the time, a select group of 27 participants from the OECD, OPEC and the “less developed countries” tried to discuss energy prices and development issues in parallel. The danger stemmed from soaring oil prices and the widespread fear of “running out of oil”. The exercise ended in failure because of the unwillingness of OPEC, then at the peak of its power, to discuss prices without relevant concessions by industrialized countries.

This time is different. The risk and instability derive from peak oil demand, low prices and the need for stable prices in order to plan a speedy transition away from fossil fuels, while avoiding the political and economic collapse of oil-producing countries. A new “pro-rationing” effort must be undertaken at a global level, involving the US and other OECD members, OPEC and non-OPEC states such as Russia, Mexico and Brazil. Significantly, the “pro-rationing” conducted by the Texas Railroad Commission in the 1930s already served as the model for the founders of OPEC.

Whatever its format and however difficult it may be to change a “neoliberal” ideology that rules out state-led regulation of production, the time for a global dialogue on production levels and oil prices (and possibly on environments standards) has come. Deregulation of the energy market has to give way to a new era of regulation of the oil industry at both national and international levels.

The alternative will leave commercially-oriented oil companies, both national and international, free to engage in a destructive price war that will maximize environmental degradation and the squandering of natural resources. A destructive price-war will ultimately endanger decarbonization efforts (car-markers are already pressing governments to relax emissions standards), and will increase political and economic instability in OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, that are key regional actors.

Giuliano Garavini teaches International History at Roma Tre University. He is the author of “The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century” (Oxford University Press, 2019).

[1] Tsvetana Paraskova, “Goldman Sachs: Prepare for a Massive Oil Demand Shock”, in OilPrice.com, 26 March 2020, https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Goldman-Sachs-Prepare-For-A-Massive-Oil-Demand-Shock.html.

[2] Bernard Haykel, “Saudi Arabia’s Radical New Oil Strategy”, in Project Syndicate, 23 March 2020, https://prosyn.org/LmBSCnq.

[3] Jack Farchy and Paul Wallace, “Petrostates Hammered by Oil Price Plunge and Pandemic’s Spread”, in Bloomberg, 28 March 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-28/petrostates-hammered-by-oil-price-plunge-and-pandemic-s-spread.

[4] Duccio Basosi, Giuliano Garavini and Massimiliano Trentin (eds), Counter-Shock. The Oil Counter-Revolution of the 1980s, London/New York, IB Tauris, 2018.

[5] The debate on “peak demand” has been raging since 2018. See Spencer Dale and Bassam Fattouh, “Peak Oil Demand and Long-Run Oil Prices”, in OIES Energy Insights, No. 25 (January 2018), https://www.oxfordenergy.org/?p=30822.

[6] See Robert W. Dimand and Mary Ann Dimand, “J.M. Keynes on Buffer Stocks and Commodity Price Stabilization”, in John Cunningham Wood (ed.), John Maynard Keynes. Critical Assessments, Second Series, Vol. VIII, London/New York, Routledge, 1994, p. 87.

Saturday, March 21

COVID19- ROTTURA DI COGLIONI:" MEDIA, PROF E POLITICI"


La "pandemia" del COVID-19 è principalmente progettata per potenziare l'élite al potere MONDIALE e promuovere la sua portata AUTORITARIA-REPRESSIVA. Lo strumento principale è l'innata paura umana della morte e di questa paura è  notevolmente strumentalizzata e amplificata dai media di propaganda corporativa bancaria.


Il tasso di mortalità del COVID-19 finora è RIDICOLO RISPETTO ALLE MORTI PRECEDENTI DELLE PANDEMIE DELL'ULTIMO SECOLO, anche se il governo e i suoi media-vassalli, promettono che il numero dei morti aumenterà precipitosamente e che l'unica opzione sia quella di "appiattire la curva" imponendo mandati mega-autoritari, inclusa l'imposizione della legge marziale, come è ora -UNICO CASO IN EUROPA!
Lo stato ha il monopolio della coercizione. Prossimamente, della violenza. Fino ad ora ha dimostrato -come sempre e ripetutamente nel corso della storia- che il suo primo riflesso durante qualsiasi crisi, vuoi virale o inventata, è quella di richiedere l'obbedienza delle masse oppure ne subiranno le conseguenze: arresto, multe, incarcerazione, persino, la morte per ISOLAMENTO CHIUSI IN CASA PER MESI ANCORA A VENIRE


Per il governo di peones, è inammissibile andare in giro e vivere la nostra vita normalmente ma con profonde precauzioni prodotte dalla intelligenza. Paure che in questi giorni circolano anche nel resto del mondo. Persino in alcuni Stati dell' Europa Occidentale, altri bastioni della mentalità liberale che presto cadrà!

Oltre a promuovere il governo autoritario, lo stato italiano e i suoi VERI PROPRIETARI, i banchieri e le società transnazionali e multiproduttive, sono determinati a abbattere un'economia già malata dagli anni "80 grazie a Carlo Azeglio Ciampi e al divorzio tra Banca d'Italia e Ministero del Tesoro, perdendo 30.000 miliardi di lire in Borsa -in un giorno-. 


Infine, IL DISTRUTTORE DELLA SANITA' PUBBLICA ITALIANA con cui l’Osservatorio Gimbe ha calcolato in 37 i miliardi di de-finanziamento al Sistema Sanitario Nazionale. Responsabilità che hanno nomi e cognomi: dalla lettera di Draghi-Trichet all’avvento del famigerato Andrea Monti (Goldman und Sachs) e poi altri governi d'incapaci -fino a questo surreale governo Frankstein; nessuno CAPACE DI INVERTIRE LA TENDENZA DEL SUICIDIO DELLA SANITA' PUBBLICA ITALIANA.  

In questo modo, ora, I BANCHIERI E I LORO PULCINI possono riconfigurare le economie MONDIALI e infine stabilire un piano "globalista" per un governo mondiale centralizzato (ricerca di  "governance globale"). 

Questo piano dall'alto verso il basso viene venduto dai media come uno sforzo del governiccolo di terroni affinchè per realizzare sistemi di pace, sicurezza, giustizia, economia, debiti e mediazione globale, CI INDUCONO A CREDERE CHE STANNO SALVANDO L'ITALIA  DAL COVIN-19. AL CONTRARIO, SIAMO NOI CHE DOVREMMO SALVARCI DA LORO E, COSI I NOSTRI FIGLI, I NOSTRI NIPOTI.... DALLE ZANNE MILLENARIE DI BANCHE DI USURAI! 

Ricordo le osservazioni di Henry Kissinger a seguito delle precedenti epidemie/pandemie in CINA. Questo criminale di guerra davanti ai suoi Bancari sionisti FACENTI PARTE delle famiglie Rothschild, Rockefeller, Goldman, Saacks, SAI Agnelli, Metzler, Morgan, Paul Singer et cetera et cetera; dichiarò che: in caso di una bella crisi appropriata, il popolo correrà dallo stato e gli chiederà urlando di esserne protetto. Sempre più spesso, come bambini indifesi, si aspettano e chiedono allo stato non solo di proteggerli, ma anche di donargli ogni sorta di prelibatezze gratuite a spese degli altri coglioni.

Questo è il modo REALE con cui alcuni milioni di italiani guardano unicamente al loro governo di peones transfughi del fu M5S e del fu PD, Giuseppi come un papà benefico e magnificente nei congiuntivi si prenderà cura di tutti i loro bisogni -senza più fare un cazzo e aspettando istruzioni da Macron e Merkel.


Quello Strauss che credeva che il mondo avesse bisogno di una classe illuminata di sovrani modellata sulla Repubblica di Platone. 

Shadia Drury, professore di teoria politica all'Università della Regina nel Saskatchewan, scrisse durante il regno dei neo-con dei Bush: Gli antichi filosofi che Strauss amava di più credevano che le masse non lavate non fossero le più adatte a non conoscere la verità né la libertà, e che dare loro un benessere piccolo o sublime; sarebbe come lanciare perle davanti ai maiali. 

Contrariamente ai moderni pensatori politici, gli antichi negavano l'esistenza di un diritto naturale alla libertà. Gli esseri umani non sono nati né per essere liberi, né per essere uguali. La condizione umana naturale, sostenevano, NON E' QUELLA DELLA LIBERTA', MA QUELLA DELLA SUBORDINAZIONE!! Credo, proprio, vedendo quest'Italia ferita, che Strauss avesse proprio ragione nel pensarlo.

QUESTO E' IL FINE DELLA CRISI MONDIALE CHIAMATA "PANDEMIA DEL COVIN-19"; CIOE', COME SUBORDINARSI AGLI STATI-BANCHIERI, DA PARTE DI UNO O PIU' POPOLI PER FARSI PERSEGUIRE DA NUOVI DIKTAT AUTORITARI, SENZA PIU' DOMANDE, LAMENTELE O RESISTENZE DEL CAZZO!!



Fonti:
.-Soros Plays Both Ends in Syria Refugee Chaos - 31 December 2015
.-About That ISIS Plan to Attack Munich… - 4 January 2016
.-Do We Need the Fed? - 21 December 2015
.-Obama Administration Fights To Withhold Over 2,000 Photos Of Alleged US Torture and Abuse - 18 December 2015
.-Enough Already! It’s Time To Send The Despicable House Of Saud To The Dustbin Of History - 6 January 2016

Wednesday, November 28

CONDEMN ZIONISM OR BE COMPLICIT IN 3th WORLD WAR

This is a chapter-by-chapter analysis and documentation of the power of Israel via the Israeli, Jewish or Pro-Zionist Lobby on US Middle East policy. 

It raises serious questions as to the primary beneficiary of US policy, and its destructive results for the United States. The extraordinary extent of US political, economic, military and diplomatic support for the state of Israel is explored, along with the means whereby such support is generated and consolidated. Contending that Zionist power in America ensured unconditional US backing for Israeli colonization of Palestine and its massive uprooting of Palestinians, it views the interests of Israel rather than those of Big Oil as the primary cause of the disastrous US wars against Iraq and threats of war against Iran and Syria. It demonstrates and condemns US imitation of Israeli practice as it relates to conduct of the war on terrorism and torture. It sheds light on the AIPAC spying scandal and other Israeli espionage against America; the fraudulent and complicit role of America’s academic “terrorist experts-in furthering criminal government policies, and the orchestration of the Danish cartoons to foment antipathy between Muslims and the West. It questions the inability in America to sustain or even formulate a discourse related to the subject of Israeli influence on the United States. It calls for a review of American Mid East policy with a view to reclaiming US independence of action based upon enlightened self-interest and progressive principles.
https://www.scribd.com/book/257718430/The-Power-of-Israel-in-the-United-States

Friday, October 26

THE ZIONISM AFTER 70 YEARS OF ABUSE AND RACISM

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters, including unprincipled politicians of the Western powers, have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Lately, bemused spectators were bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism a cornerstone of their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have now stepped in and struck back with a useful looking definition of anti-Palestinian racism which they describe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism, they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians themselves for their plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation-State Law) are inherently racist.

7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

9. Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians – such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people of encouraging the holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel”, it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why is it left to a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been most effective while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of anti-Semitism.

On the other hand, it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well, our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back, especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of a new, high-octane strategy.

Lies, damned lies…
Meanwhile, I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the ZIONIST U.S.LOBBY will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm. The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on The Guardian.com

A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.
Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the “working definition” of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. It says:

We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.

Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions, including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.”

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

By Stuart Littlewood

Saturday, June 30

1st EP. - THE GREAT PUPPETEERS OF THE LIBYAN TRAGEDY

LAST GADAFI's TIME FEBRUAR 22, 2011
Glencore is keeping the marketing rights for the Sarir and Messla crude grades for a third year even though BP and Shell are returning to lift Libyan oil in a sign the country’s industry is perceived as becoming more reliable. One source familiar with the matter said Libya’s state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) had allocated its 2018 crude and that the contracts would be signed next week. 

With production having steadied at around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) since the middle of last year, Libya, beset by factional fighting, has become a less unstable supplier. However, supply risks remain. One pipeline bringing Es Sider crude to export was recently bombed but swiftly repaired. BP and Shell declined to comment. Spokesmen for Glencore and the NOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment (Last August, Shell directly lifted its first cargo of Libyan crude in five years).

Since the end of 2015, Glencore has been the sole marketer of the Sarir and Messla grades, which are produced in the east of the country and exported via the Hariga port. Glencore was one of the few traders willing to deal with the risks associated with Libya’s unrest, Islamic State intrusions and a crippling port blockade that slashed the country’s output.

Earlier this month, the NOC said it was seeking a prompt restart of the country’s largest refinery at Ras Lanuf, following a resolution to arbitration cases with its operator, Lerco. The refinery, closed since 2013, runs on the grades allocated to Glencore. It was not immediately clear when the refinery would resume operations or what would happen to Glencore’s allocation once it does. 

NOC subsidiary Arabian Gulf Oil Co produces the Sarir and Messla grades. Output has been fluctuating between around 150,000 and 230,000 bpd, its chairman said in early January, below its potential 320,000 bpd owing to power problems.

Other contract winners include Vitol, Total, Unipec, OMV, BB Energy, ENI, API, Cepsa, Socar and Repsol, trading and shipping sources said, largely unchanged from 2017 to June, 2018.

-Shell and BP have agreed annual deals to buy Libyan crude oil. Sources told the news agency that Shell’s deal is the first of its kind since 2013, and that the first cargo of 600,000 barrels will start to be loaded from Zueitina port.

-The head the eastern-based National Oil Corporation EAST (NOC) has claimed that his office has signed 29 contracts independently of the Tripoli-based organisation.

Naji al-Maghrabi told Reuters that recent contracts included deals with major states such as Russia and China. Russia is reported to be planning to arm eastern-based strongman General Khalifa Haftar

-The Deputy Prime Minister of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk, Abdus Salam al Badri, told a conference last week in Malta that his government will punish international oil companies (IOCs) that continue to work with the rival administration in Tripoli.

-In parallel, the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the East of Libya, BP, which didn’t have a term deal in 2017, has reportedly also reached an agreement for this year.

-The Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) held a series of meetings with a group of global refineries in the Mediterranean area and with a major oil companies last week in London. The first meeting was with BP, followed by meetings with more than 20 partners, customers, Libyan crude refiners and fuel suppliers. BP, which didn’t have a term deal in 2017, has reportedly also reached an agreement for this year.

-The newly-created National Oil Corporation (NOC) loyal to the internationally recognised government in the east of Libya has reportedly invited international oil companies (IOCs) to “discuss legally signed agreements and contracts” at a conference in Dubai next month.

-The Tobruk government set up the rival company – ‘NOC East’ – in Benghazi, but oil buyers are still dealing only with the established NOC in Tripoli. According to Reuters, oil customers have refused to sign any deal with the eastern entity due to legal concerns as geological data to prove ownership of oil reserves are stored at NOC Tripoli. The invitation to a conference on 2nd September was issued by Naji al-Maghrabi, who was recently appointed chairman of the eastern NOC.

-The head the eastern-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) has claimed that his office has signed 29 contracts independently of the Tripoli-based organisation.  Naji al-Maghrabi told Reuters that recent contracts included deals with major states such as Russia and China. Russia is reported to be planning to arm eastern-based strongman General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), who opposes the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

-The Deputy Prime Minister of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk, Abdussalam Elbadri, told a conference last week in Malta that his government will punish international oil companies (IOCs) that continue to work with the rival administration in Tripoli.

-In parallel, the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the East of Libya, Nagi al-Magrabi, told Bloomberg: “We will send letters to all the international companies that operate in Libya asking them to deal with the internationally recognized and legal government. “We will take measures based on their respective replies to the letter. If they continue to decline to cooperate with the legal government, we will stop their loadings once their contracts expire.” Mahdi Khalifa, an NOC board member, said that any oil companies that refuse to cooperate with the government face the risk of legal action.

-Libya’s internationally recognised government has warned companies against dealing with the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC). Speaking to a press conference of Beida, the head of the House of Representatives (HoR), Abdullah al-Thinni (pictured), said his government is taking further steps to export crude oil from the regions under its control through its locally recognized “NOC”, and away from the Tripoli-based organisation.

-The chairman of the pro-HoR “NOC”, Mabruk Abu Yousef Maraja, warned of the illegality or illegitimacy of dealing with the NOC in Tripoli. He also warned Tripoli not to enter into any contracts or legal actions that would impose any obligations on the Libyan oil sector.

-National Oil Corporation (NOC) Chairman Nuri Berruien [Nuri Balrwin] (pictured), has confirmed that there are to be no new exploration-production sharing agreements (EPSAs) before mid-2014. Answering questions at the end of a conference in London, he added that this would probably be “during a constitutional government”, implying that the current “interim” government is not deemed constitutional enough or does not have the authority or legitimacy to launch an EPSA bidding round, according to Libya Herald. He added that he hoped for a “win-win” situation for both the NOC and the international oil companies, admitting that the current EPSAs had problems for both parties and hoped that the new EPSAs would “encourage long-term development”.

Glencore oil deal in Libya branded worthless by rival government. Internationally recognised regime in Benghazi says commodity firm’s potentially lucrative oil-export deal in Tripoli is with the wrong people. 

Glencore’s deal to export Libyan oil is not worth the paper it is printed on, the commodities company has been told. The Switzerland-based firm agreed last week to buy up to half of Libya’s oil exports from the western division of the National Oil Company in Tripoli, where an Islamist-backed government is based. But the internationally recognised government in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, said Glencore had signed a deal with the wrong people

Nagi Elmagrabi, chairman of the eastern division of the National Oil Company, told Bloomberg that he had written to Glencore asking for an explanation but not yet received a reply. He said that if Glencore had signed a deal with the parallel regime in Tripoli, the Benghazi government could physically prevent Glencore tankers from using Libyan ports. 

The deal in question envisages Glencore loading and finding buyers for crude oil from the Sarir and Messla fields, exported via Tobruk’s Marsa el-Hariga port in the east. The eastern government says it does not recognise any agreement signed with Tripoli.

Finding a way to resolve the impasse could prove particularly lucrative for Glencore, given that Libya’s oil exports have huge potential to increase. Libya was pumping about 1.6m barrels of oil a day before the civil war that ended Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in 2011. 

Production has since slumped to as low as 400,000 barrels a day, although it could be increased if the security situation in Libya improves. Glencore regularly invests in countries where security risks and political turmoil have deterred other investors, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia

However, the company is in need of new sources of income, after the economic slowdown in China prompted a slump in global commodity prices, ravaging its share price. The company floated its shares at £5.30 in 2011 but they have since plunged, closing on Monday at 90.42p. 

The firm announced proposals earlier this year to raise £6.6bn in an effort to allay investors’ fears about its £20bn debt pile. The plan includes mine closures, asset sales and a £1.6bn share-placing but has yet to arrest the decline in Glencore’s stock. Glencore declined to comment on its dealings in Libya


Friday, June 29

LIBYA 2011-TOP SECRET ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBING LYBIA

RAF aircraft bombed a key intelligence building in TRIPOLI and breached the walls of COLONEL GEDDAFI's command complex this weekend, and inflicted further losses on pro-Gaddafi forces massed at Zlitan and Gharyan.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, 24 July, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conducted a precision strike on the Central Organisation for Electronic Research (COER). Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Communications Officer, said:

Ostensibly an engineering academy, the COER has, in reality, long been a cover for the regime’s nefarious activities. Up until Colonel Gaddafi’s renunciation of weapons of mass destruction in 2003, the COER was responsible for his long-range missile development programme.

Intensive surveillance by NATO over the past weeks revealed that the building was still being actively used by his security apparatus to repress the civilian population, and was thus a wholly legitimate target.

Also on Sunday morning, other RAF jets successfully attacked two staging posts near Zlitan being used to muster tanks, rocket artillery and ammunition. Later that afternoon, an armed reconnaissance patrol located and destroyed a regime main battle tank near Gharyan, on the edge of the Djebel Nafousa, south of Tripoli.

On Saturday, 23 July, RAF aircraft used precision guided weapons to breach the walls of Colonel Gaddafi’s command complex in central Tripoli.

General Pope said:

Gaddafi has for decades hidden from the Libyan people behind these walls. The vast Bab al-Aziziya compound is not just his personal residence, but, more importantly, is also the main headquarters for his regime, with command and control facilities and an army barracks all part of the same fortified site.

Successive NATO strikes in past weeks have inflicted extensive damage on the military facilities within.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft, supported by allied aircraft, struck the high perimeter walls of the compound, which have for so long been such an unwelcome symbol to the people of Tripoli of Gaddafi’s despotic rule.

Paveway guided bombs scored direct hits in thirteen different places on both the outer and inner perimeter walls along the western side of Bab al-Aziziya. As ever, particular care was taken to ensure no civilian traffic on nearby roads was endangered.

Also on Saturday, RAF jets on patrol near Zlitan successfully struck four buildings which NATO surveillance missions had confirmed were being used as a command and control centre and a staging post for regime troops being mustered for attacks on the people of Libya.

Armed reconnaissance patrols continued in the area throughout the day, and, during Saturday night, RAF aircraft were able to conduct a precision strike on a large ammunition stockpile. In addition, HMS Ocean launched her Army Apache helicopters against a number of military positions between Zlitan and Al Khums, which were successfully engaged using Hellfire missiles.

On Thursday afternoon, 21 July, RAF aircraft patrolling near Zlitan identified and destroyed a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. During the night, British Army Apache helicopters once again launched a strike mission from HMS Ocean, while other NATO aircraft provided overwatch.

Two buildings being used by regime troops at Al Khums were damaged by Hellfire missiles. This strike was followed up by NATO fixed-wing aircraft in the early hours of Friday morning; RAF jets hit six ammunition storage facilities near Zlitan, and a large building that was being used as a base for multiple rocket launchers threatening Misurata.

In addition, one deployed rocket launcher and two armed trucks were destroyed.

On Friday afternoon, 22 July, further RAF armed reconnaissance patrols successfully engaged one of Gaddafi’s tanks and another armed truck, again near Zlitan.

Throughout these operations, NATO tanker and surveillance assets provided essential support, including RAF VC10, Tristar, Sentry and Sentinel aircraft.

At sea, the frigate HMS Iron Duke has been relieved on station by her sister ship HMS Sutherland. HMS Bangor continues to provide NATO’s maritime task group with a vital mine countermeasures capability, ready to respond to any attempts by the regime to again lay mines off Misurata port.

Since the start of military operations to enforce UNSCR 1973, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps precision strikes have destroyed over 710 regime targets engaged in the repression of the Libyan people.

UK missions over Libya are undertaken as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, to enforce UNSCR 1973 and protect Libyan civilians at risk of attack.

UK forces currently deployed on this operation include:

RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft based at Gioia del Colle in Italy
RAF VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refuelling tankers, based in Sicily, Cyprus and the UK
RAF Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft, based in Sicily and Cyprus
HMS Ocean (helicopter carrier)
HMS Sutherland (Type 23 frigate)
HMS Bangor (Sandown class minehunter)
Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Rosalie
British Army Apache attack helicopters
Fleet Air Arm Sea King helicopters (Airborne Surveillance and Area Control role).
RAF air transport aircraft provide extensive logistic support to the deployed bases in Italy, Sicily and the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.

Royal Air Force aircraft yesterday participated in a long-range mission, targeting a military vehicle depot at a former regime compound located near SEBHA.

As Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR continued to provide protection for the Libyan people, the RAF flew a formation of Tornados from RAF Marham in Norfolk, south across Europe, to rendezvous with the other allied aircraft in the strike package, before firing a large salvo of Storm Shadow precision guided stand-off missiles.

Our aircraft recovered to Gioia del Colle air base in southern Italy and will return to Marham in due course.

Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Communications Officer, said:

This mission has once again demonstrated NATO’s ability and resolve to reach deep into Libya to target those elements of the former regime who persist in their attempts to oppress the Libyan people.

NATO also maintained its armed reconnaissance patrols over all areas of potential continuing conflict, and, in the course of these, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft observed multiple rocket launchers in action near Sirte. Paveway and Brimstone attacks accounted for one of the rocket launchers and an armed pick-up truck.

UK missions over Libya are undertaken as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and protect Libyan civilians at risk of attack.

UK forces currently deployed on this operation include:

RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft based at Gioia del Colle in Italy
RAF VC10 and TriStar air-to-air refuelling tankers based in Sicily and the UK
RAF Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft based in Sicily and Cyprus
HMS Ocean (helicopter carrier)
HMS Liverpool (Type 42 destroyer)
HMS Bangor (Sandown Class minehunter)
Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Fort Rosalie
British Army Apache attack helicopters
Fleet Air Arm Sea King helicopters (Airborne Surveillance and Area Control role).
RAF air transport aircraft provide extensive logistic support to the deployed bases in Italy, Sicily and the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.

RAF aircraft have struck further targets in SIRTE and Bani Walid over recent days as NATO continues operations over Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.

NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR has maintained an air presence over those areas of Libya where conflict continues, particularly Bani Walid and Sirte, with RAF aircraft still making a significant contribution.

On Thursday evening, an armed reconnaissance patrol of Tornado GR4s identified one of Colonel Gaddafi’s main battle tanks near Bani Walid and destroyed the vehicle with a Brimstone precision guided missile.

During the course of Friday afternoon, two formations of RAF Tornados conducted strikes against a firing position and supply point which had been located by NATO surveillance analysis within the area of Sirte. Eight Paveway guided bombs were successfully dropped by our aircraft onto the target.

RAF jets were again tasked by NATO to conduct a precision strike on a vehicle supply point in Sirte on Saturday and struck their target accurately with four Paveway guided bombs.

Our aircraft also continued to play an active part in the patrols over Bani Walid, and on Sunday morning they spotted two armed pick-up trucks being used by former regime forces to fire on a civilian compound.

Brimstone missiles were able to destroy both vehicles without any collateral damage to surrounding property. A follow-up patrol later in the day located a third armed truck in the vicinity of Bani Walid and destroyed it with a Paveway bomb.

Royal Navy ships meanwhile maintain their patrols off the Libyan coast, with HMS Liverpool providing security and reassurance to merchant shipping as the ports and harbours liberated by the new Libyan authorities seek to return to normal operation.

UK missions over Libya are undertaken as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to enforce UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 and protect Libyan civilians at risk of attack.

UK forces currently deployed on this operation include:

RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft based at Gioia del Colle in Italy
RAF VC10 and TriStar air-to-air refuelling tankers based in Sicily and the UK
RAF Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft based in Sicily and Cyprus
HMS Liverpool (Type 42 destroyer)
HMS Bangor (Sandown Class minehunter)
RAF air transport aircraft provide extensive logistic support to the deployed bases in Italy, Sicily and the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.





Sunday, April 15

CHEMICAL ARMS (WEAPONS) THE TRUTH FROM 1918 TO 2018

Edward M. Spiers, professor of strategic studies at Leeds University, in England, explores both the myths and realities of chemical and biological warfare. Organized more or less
chronologically, Spiers recounts the evolution of chemical and biological weapons from the first mass uses of chemical weapons in World War I to the potential of modern biology to transform bioterrorism.

Spiers writes that chemical and biological weapons have probably been around as long as warfare itself. Ancient European, Indian, and Chinese history is replete with the use of poisonous snakes, insects, diseased animals, incendiaries, poison-tipped weapons, and poisoned water supplies in warfare. The first large-scale use of chemical weapons occurred in World War I, when the Germans discharged chlorine gas from cylinders at Ypres, Belgium, in 1915. 

Reported casualties from the gas ranged from 7,000 to 15,000 people, but after the initial surprise, the Allies were able to improvise protective measures. Within five months, the British were able to retaliate at the Battle of Loos, but they suffered 2,000 casualties to their own gas.

The failures of gas to break the enemy’s lines at Ypres, Loos, and other battles contributed to the legacy of gas warfare in World War I as a failure. However, Spiers argues, this legacy was largely shaped by postwar historians, because few participants shared that view. The use of gas actually increased over the course of the war. In addition to consequent casualties, gas negatively affected morale and considerably contributed to psychological and physical stress. Antigas defenses also made warfare more cumbersome, exacerbating logistical and communication challenges.

As evidence of the effectiveness of chemical weapons, real or imagined, Spiers writes that the Allies prohibited Germany from manufacturing and importing asphyxiating or poisonous
gases as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended the war. Furthermore, in 1925, 44 nations signed the Geneva Protocol, which prohibited the use of chemical and biological weapons by international law and the “conscience and practice of nations.” Nonetheless, during the period between World Wars I and II, Britain considered but, for largely moral and political reasons, did not use chemical weapons in Egypt, Afghanistan, India, and Iraq.

Winston Churchill himself was “strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes,” Spiers writes. The eventual use of gas bombs by the Italians in Ethiopia in 1935–36, however, in direct contravention of the Ge ne va Protocol, reawakened Europe to the possibility of gas warfare. In Britain, more than 50 million “antigas” helmets had been distributed by the beginning of World War II. 

INHUMANE

A Kurdish woman carries photos of relatives killed in chemical weapons attacks ordered
Questions of efficacy aside, Spiers writes that a combination of other factors averted the use
of chemical weapons during the Second World War. Because of the industrial and economic
hardships engendered as a result of the First World War, German, French, and British
chemical production capacity was limited. Hitler personally disdained chemical weapons,
which had injured him during World War I

Moreover, early in World War II, Germany did not need to resort to chemical weapons, and the Allies could not risk using them near friendlycivilian populations. Eventually, Germany did test its V1 and V2 rockets with chemical warheads, although the nation was deterred from using them by fear of reprisal against its civilian population. 

By the end of the war, U.S. military-industrial might had produced the world’s largest stock of chemical weapons and the air power to deliver them. However, the development of the atomic bomb, and success on other fronts, made their use unnecessary.

Biological weapons were not used to a significant extent in either the First or Second World
Wars. Nonetheless, as Spiers describes, there were still chilling reminders of the potential
power of even crude biological weapons. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, six Japanese soldiers released hordes of plague-infested rats and 60 horses infected with glanders into the Chinese countryside, leaving Changchun and surrounding environs uninhabitable until the mid-1950s.

Nuclear weapons, of course, came to dominate deterrence strategies during the Cold War.
Nonetheless, the proliferation of a new class of chemical weapons, nerve agents such as
sarin [2-(fluoro-methylphosphoryl)oxypropane], touched off a new chemical arms race, Spiers writes. From 1954 to 1969, the U.S. also manufactured and stockpiled numerous antiplant and antipersonnel biological weapons.

In Vietnam, the U.S. faced criticism, both at home and abroad, for its use of riot-control agents (to clear tunnels, for example), defoliants, and chemical weapons to kill crops and render soils infertile. In 1967 alone, the U.S. defoliated 1.5 million acres of vegetation and destroyed 220,000 acres of crops in Vietnam. In 1969, the Nixon Administration announced the end of the U.S. biological weapons program, in part, Spiers argues, to blunt criticism for its use of herbicides and riot control agents in Vietnam.

In the meantime, Spiers writes, the Soviets were developing the world’s most advanced chemical and biological weapons program.

During the Cold War, Iran and Iraq also waged a devastating war (1980–88) that again witnessed the mass by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Credit: Newscom use of chemical weapons. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) later confirmed that the Iraqis had used some 1,800 tons of mustard agent, 140 tons of tabun (ethyl Ndimethyl phosphoramido cyanidate), and 600 tons of sarin. 

Iraq estimated these attacks resulted in more than 30,000 Iranian casualties (compared with the 500,000 to 1 million estimated total Iranian casualties). As Spiers notes, although the number of casualties from chemical weapons may have been small on a relative basis, the psychological impact was significant. Iraq’s ballistic missiles, and the fear of their potential to deliver chemical warheads to Iranian cities, played a role in Iran’s accepting the United Nations-brokered truce in 1988. Iraqi chemical weapons also helped to suppress the internal Kurdish rebellion, killing and injuring thousands of Kurds and leading to the flight of 65,000 others to Turkey in 1988, Spiers writes.

By the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had significantly restocked and improved its chemical weapons capabilities. U.S. Central Commander Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf originally planned for 10,000 to 20,000 chemical weapons casualties, but Iraq never resorted to chemical weapons. The George H. W. Bush Administration had already decided not to respond with nuclear or chemical weapons if coalition forces were attacked with chemical weapons, but they deliberately conveyed the opposite impression.

Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Tariq Aziz later commented that the Iraqis understood that the use of chemical weapons might very well provoke the use of nuclear weapons against Baghdad by the U.S. Although Iraq’s SCUD missile attacks against Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain inflicted minimal physical damage, the specter of chemical warheads inflicted great psychological damage. Spiers quotes Schwarzkopf: “The biggest concern was a chemical warhead threat. … Each time they launched … the question was, is this going to be a chemical missile. That was what you were concerned about.” 

Their unique ability to engender such fears, of course, is precisely what makes chemical and biological weapons appealing to terrorists. As Spiers astutely notes, “terrorists can choose when, where, and how to attack their targets, they can avoid many of the uncertainties that have bedeviled the military use of chemical and biological weapons. By maximizing the element of surprise, they can attack targets with low or non-existent levels of protection; by careful choice of target environment, especially an enclosed facility, they need not wait upon optimum meteorological conditions; by attacking highly vulnerable areas, they may use a less than optimal mode of delivery; and by making a chemical or biological assault, they may expect to capture media attention and cause widespread panic.”

Although chemical weapons have been used much more frequently, Spiers notes that on a per-mass basis, biological weapons are more lethal than chemical weapons. As advances in production technologies can simultaneously result in increased yields in smaller, harder-todetect facilities, the potential utility of biological weapons to terrorists will become even more significant. 


In the most well-known example of biological terrorism to date, in October 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks, anthrax-tainted letters began appearing in the U.S. Despite fears of another international attack, the strain was identified as having come from a domestic source, the Army research facility at Fort Detrick, Md. Letters were received in Florida, New York, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., including a Senate office building. As Spiers described it, “massive panic and chaos” erupted, and Congress and the Supreme Court were closed for several days, although only 22 cases of anthrax actually resulted, including just five fatalities.


One of the most sobering developments outlined in the book is the application and
proliferation of emergent molecular biology techniques to the production of biological
weapons. Through the use of genetic engineering, new or modified organisms of greater
virulence, antibiotic resistance, and environmental stability may be produced. 

In one notable example foreshadowing the utility of biotechnology to weapons production, the Soviets developed the host bacterium Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which through genetic engineering could also produce the myelin toxin. Infected animals developed both the tuberculosis-like symptoms caused by the bacteria and the paralysis induced by the myelin toxin. One former Soviet scientist recalled that after a briefing on the results, “the room was absolutely silent. We all recognized the implications of what the scientists had achieved. A new class of weapon had been found.”

Additional topics in this comprehensive book include the various international attempts at chemical and biological weapons disarmament, deterrence, and nonproliferation, including the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention; the sarin attacks on the Japanese subways in the mid-1990s; the use of chemical warfare in developing-world conflicts; and the embarrassing failures of American and British intelligence regarding Iraqi chemical weapons that led to the second Gulf War. 

For those of us interested in the potential impacts of chemistry and biology on humankind, Spiers’s book is a thoroughly documented, no-nonsense (often to the point of being dry) review of the malevolent potential of our science.

Read also here
and here
here