Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Telling tales

Australia’s leading Zionist lobby, AIJAC, has been busy. In the latest edition of their monthly magazine, The Review, one writer claims there are “genocidal tendencies in Iraq and Gaza,” anti-Zionism is unquestionably always anti-Semitism, and the UN “is very much broken.” Such paranoia and victimhood would usually be the cause of a disadvantaged people, as opposed to an aggressive military power in the Middle East. Of course, it’s more politically convenient to be portrayed as the victim rather than the aggressor.

AIJAC’s Director of Policy Analysis, Ted Lapkin, contributed to the ABC Perspective program yesterday:

“In 2003, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage described Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement as the “A-Team” of Islamic terrorism. But twenty years earlier I was fighting as an Israeli army officer against that very enemy.

Israel serves as a canary in the mineshaft for the democratic world, providing advance warning of threats that later emerge to menace the West. Thus for reasons of pragmatism, as well as principle, Israel should be regarded as a cherished ally in the fight against global jihadism.

“This is a war, and we need all the friends we can get.”

Brave, noble Israel is vital in the “War on Terror”, or so we’re told. Israel’s true cost to the West is only now being realised. Take this striking opening from the 2002 Christian Science Monitor:

“Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 per person.”

Lapkin prefers to paint a different picture of the Jewish homeland:

“Israel is a progressive Western democracy in a global region that has hitherto been dominated by cultural backwardness and autocratic tyranny. Despite tremendous adversity, Israel has managed to build a first-world nation that combines the political values of liberty with cutting edge technological sophistication.”

A “first-world nation” thanks to American largesse and cynical strategic concerns. How long would Israel last without US aid? And does the average American tax-payer know, let alone approve, of how their money is being spent? Don’t count on it. The veil is starting to slip.

75 comments ↪
  • Wombat

    Comical_ali"Iran should be taken for its word, and if her government make these sorts of statements they have to live and deal with the consequences." I do not dispute that. Everyone shoudl be makde accountable for their actions. The question remains, what are acceptable consequences?"What they are developing alone is already in breach of a treaty which they signed – even if it is for "civilian purposes."Until you provide a some evidence (other than your assertion about what the Iranian's say) or link to support this claim, and make come distinction between the NPT and the Nuclear Safeguards agreement, I will maintain that your claim is false.As far as I am aware, there is the issue of breaches by Iran of the NPT protocol prior to Iran becomming a signatory to the NPT in late 2003. But as you are aware, you can breach a protocol to which you ahve not agreed.Anyway, all this aside, let's make no mistake about where this is headed. The US will attack Iran, no matter what the outcome of this NPT business.The US is playing the same game it played with Iraq. By creating confusing and diversions surrounding the matter of non proliferation and nuclear safeguards agreeemtns, they are turning this into a situation where Iran will be forced to prove a negative like they did with Iraq. Since proving a negative is impossible, the outcome is obvious. It is all about creting a pretext for an attack on Iran and regime change. i do not support the idea of Iran having a nuclear weapons capability in any way, but a war with iran is going to be a disaster beyond description.

  • anthony

    Addamo, the point of my post in relation to Iraq was that, acknowledging the Israelis were pushing for regime change, I believe it is unfair to hold the Israelis responsible for the actions of Iraqi terrorists who are targeting Iraqis.Had regime change been undertaken following the First Gulf War, would you subsequently blame the Kuwaitis for the inevitable ‘resistance’ in Iraq that would follow?

  • Ian Westmore

    Addamo_01 said… I should qualify that my sources do not specify whether the bombs are nuclear, but it has been reported that Iran's underground facilities are inpenetrable to conventional ground penetrating weapons.The links you provided indicate these are conventional weapons, so this wouldn't violate the NPT.My guess is that seeing as Israel does have an exisiting nuclear capability and technology sharing agreements with the US, they may be able to modify these weapons with their own nucelar warheads.Not sure about that. A nuke warhead gives you a different effect to conventional explosives. However, like you I suspect there is some collaboration going on. America can't produce new types of nukes under the NPT, but it can design them. OTOH, Bush doesn't seem to be inhibited by the NPT, he only cares about it as a tool to enforce his world view.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    anthony said… "If you are referring to Arial Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount,Noooooo … I'm referring to Mount Rushmore. *rolls eyes*And if you're referring to the Temple Mount, I see a Mount, but I don't see no Temple. And I don't see no Temple in the forseeable future either. Methinks the Messiah has gone for a very, very, VERY long walk with the dog. the Palestinian communications minister admitted that the Intifida had been planned before these events …. Arial Sharon did not start the Intifida, the Palestinians did! "If only Sharon had known! He could have saved 7 Palestinian lives. Then again, that's not his 'style', is it?And why the hell did he go to the Mosque for anyway? Is he a regular there? The lyrics seem so fitting (everyone sing along now):Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same You wanna be where everybody knows Your name.

  • Wombat

    Anthony, I agree that to suggest Israel is responsible for Iraqi terrorists/insurgents killing each other would be absurd. But equally absurd is the policy of regime change. Are not widespread conflict and often civil war not the usual consequences of the power vacuum that is created when removing the leadership of authoritarian regimes?Is regime change ratified by any international law, the UN charter of the Geneva conventions? If you want to prevent despots from maintaining power, the way to do it is to stop supporting them. My question to you is, how long would people like Sadam remain in power if the others did not arm and finance them?The answer to you're hypnotically about the Gulf War depends on how far you investigate the events that led to the invasion.Kuwait and the US are portrayed as innocents in the whole affair, when in fact they were incredibly duplicitous. There is ample evidence to suggest the invasion could have been presented by both parties.Did April Glasby, the US ambassador to Iraq, not tell Sadam that the US had no interest in the regional conflict and that it should be resolved between Iraq and Kuwait? Where not Hussein and the Amir of Kuwait were scheduled to have a meeting to resolve their disputes, but Amir chose to take off to London with his 300 concubines instead?Did James Baker not echo the same message as the US ambassador, and state that the US would not intervene while Dick Cheney was convincing the Saudi’s that Iraq was about to invade them (and got them to foot the bill for the war to boot) by showing bogus satellite pictures of Iraqi tanks along the border? The Saudi’s at the time had a good relationship with Iraq. They had just forgiven US$7 billion loan to Iraq as a token of appreciation for wearing down the Iranians. The Kuwaiti’s has just as much as stake in seeing Iran blunted, but demanded that Iraq pay back their loan with interest, while they were also busy stealing oil from Iraq.Who was behind the Goebells like propaganda that Hussein's soldiers took babies out of their incubators and let them die on the cold floor why none other than the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, USA. Was this not the story that convinced the world that they had no choice but to go to war with Iraq?Forgive me Anthony, i don;t meanto preach, but I get incredibly frustrated at the way events are sometimes. using shorthadn to describe complexed issues is often misleading.So in answer to your question Anthony, I guess the answer is, I’m not sure.

  • anthony

    Noooooo … I'm referring to Mount Rushmore. *rolls eyes*Sarcasm doesn’t work for you Edward, it just makes you sound like a wanker.Methinks the Messiah has gone for a very, very, VERY long walk with the dog.Care to elaborate? Is this an attack on Judaism, or simply a meaningless sentence to make it even more of a struggle to read your tedious post?And why the hell did he go to the Mosque for anyway? Is he a regular there? The lyrics seem so fitting (everyone sing along now)What do you think? Could Arial Sharon be a closet Muslim?No, Edward. I imagine Sharon wasn’t going there to visit al-Aqsa. He was visiting a site that is significant in Hebrew history. In any case you missed the point that I stressed in bold– The Palestinians started the Intifida.Addamo,You’re right. The world’s not black and white.I’m embarrassed to say I’m not particularly familiar with either the situation in Iraq or international law, and wont be engaging in a debate over this with you- I’m sure James will oblige, however!What I was stressing is that I do not hold Israel responsible for the death toll in Iraq, simply for their (what I consider) legitimate pressure for regime change. From my point of view, the US should also not be held responsible for Iraqi terrorists killing other Iraqis, especially when such a move is intended only to discredit the US. The world may not be black and white, but the calculated murder of children in the name of either Islam or ‘resistance’ is as dark as it gets.

  • Wombat

    Anthony,No need for embarrasment, believe me. I am certanly no expert on any of these topics. I'm sure james will bitch slap me with legalese when he gets round to it. I trust that common sense will guide me in teh mean time. ;-)Matters of responsibility is a fine line. The chaos in Iraq may not in itself be caused by the US directly, but there is no question in my mind that the US have no business being there. What's more, there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the US presence is fuelling the recruitment of the extremists.I'm just reading this news item ,"Report Says White House Ignored CIA on Iraq Chaos" in today's Washingon Post (http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/101305I.shtml). The title speaks for itself. The US did have a choice not to invade and set off this "hell on earth" that they were promised would happen. Like Lord Farkuad from Shrek, the powers that be in Washingon decided that it was a price they were willing to pay. So too, calculated murder goes hand in hand with acts of aggression such as the invasion of Iraq. What the US did to Fallujah was commit genocide. What moral standing does an occupying force have when it a) forces people to leave their homes, b) delcares those who choose to remain and protect their home a terrorist, c) then use napalm, chemical weapons, and god knows what else to obliterate the town? And all this was justified because they were supposed to be going after a one legged maniac, who the White House decided NOT to take out because his presence in Iraq could be included in Powell's speech to the UN and add weight to the case for the invasion.It doesn't get much darker than that.

  • James Waterton

    Ok, let's take Israel. They piss me off sometimes. I don't, for example like the way they sometimes shit on their friends. Take the example of them violating New Zealand's sovereignty by stealing its passports to use in clandestine missions. But Israel is worth supporting because of its neighbours, and what it's done to keep them in check.Someone mentioned Osirak recently. The world owes Israel a debt of gratitude for that – which even most sane luvvies accept – although they would have screamed blue fucking murder at the time. Iran's in exactly the same boat. They don't need nuclear power. They're swimming in oil. Why would they spend a fortune developing a civilian nuclear programme? It just doesn't make sense. Here's what I hope. I hope Mossad has penetrated deep inside Iran's administration. Hell, I'd be happy for them to use Australian – New Zealand, whatever it takes – passports or whatever they need if it helps them get inside. I hope they're infiltrating right now. I hope they're finding out all about Iran's nuclear programme – where its laboratories are, where the reprocessing plants are, where the scientists are living who are working on the programme, and where the installations that defend this monstrous programme are and how to defeat them. Then when they've got all the information they need to do the job right, I hope Israel blows the whole fucking lot sky high. I don't care how they do it, as long as they're successful. I'd applaud American assistance. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be a catastrophic scenario. Some nations can be trusted with nuclear weapons. Israel, a mature democracy, is one. Iran isn't. Then, when Israel's done the world a favour – just like they did in 1980 – I hope Iran goes absolutely apeshit. Hell, I'd *really* like it if they lobbed a few SCUDs (or whatever 1970s missile technology they're sporting) at Israel. The anti-missile defence system that Israel has developed could render them impotent – hopefully this drama is captured and beamed throughout the region, live, on al-Jazeera. I hope the Iranians realise how powerless they've become. I'm sure the majority of Loewenstein's cheersquad would howl with rage if such a scenario played out. Don't worry, boys. In ten years' time, you'll be conceding that Israel saved the world from a great dilemma – just like your predecessors did a few years after Osirak's demolition.

  • Ian Westmore

    James Waterton said…But Israel is worth supporting because of its neighbours, and what it's done to keep them in check.Have you considered that the neighbours wouldn't require checking if Israel didn't exist?Someone mentioned Osirak recently. The world owes Israel a debt of gratitude for thatHave you considered the possibility that Iraq (and now Iran) wouldn't be going down the nuke path if Israel didn't have nukes, and in the case of Iran it wasn't being threatened by America? Iran's in exactly the same boat. They don't need nuclear power. They're swimming in oil. Why would they spend a fortune developing a civilian nuclear programme? It just doesn't make sense.Checked the price of petrol lately? While its inflated price is due to many factors, one is that from here on in we will be living with less and less oil. At current consumption there is only about 50 years of the stuff left, but exponentially increasing demand in China and India means the pumps may start running dry in less than 20 years, much less if car ownership percentages there approach ours, which hopefully they won't.

  • anthony

    At current consumption there is only about 50 years of the stuff left, but exponentially increasing demand in China and India means the pumps may start running dry in less than 20 years, much less if car ownership percentages there approach ours, which hopefully they won't.Unless you take into consideration enhanced oil recovery techniques, the discovery and potential discovery of further oil reserves (for example, new sources in Russia), the potential to open up Alaska, the development of cars made to run on hydroelectric power (China is undertaking massive dam projects), declining costs of solar power, and greater willingness to at least consider nuclear power, despite the scaremongering of feral Greens crying “Chernobyl”, and ‘think of Gaea.”

  • James Waterton

    Anthony : the green/left has been screaming "We're running out of oil!!!" for decades now.Have you considered that the neighbours wouldn't require checking if Israel didn't exist?That's a complicated question, because it deals with 'what-ifs'. The salient point is that Israel does exist. And if any solution to the ME crisis you float involves dissolving the state of Israel, then I'm sorry, but you're chasing a phantom. Anyway, a country like Israel is useful for the West. The Middle East is so strategic because of its oil reserves. It's very handy for the West to have a nation like Israel to crack some skulls if they start to step out of line. They subsequently pull their heads in, we verbally distance ourselves from Israel in the process, the world keeps spinning.Checked the price of petrol lately?Um, yes I have. It's high, isn't it, Ian? Oh, you've got me there! However you ignore the almost certain fact that the state-owned Iranian oil company doesn't charge the state-owned electricity company market rates for oil. one is that from here on in we will be living with less and less oil.At current consumption there is only about 50 years (etc etc)There is plenty of oil in the world, both in crude reserves and alternatives such as tar sand deposits – which are enormous. Technology improvements are continuously making out of reach deposits viable and formerly exhausted wells produce again. As the Saudi oil minister conceded a few years ago, "the stone age didn't end due to a lack of stone and the oil age won't end due to a lack of oil."pumps may start running dry in less than 20 years, much less if car ownership percentagesYou just invented that 20 year figure, didn't you? And you're also pissing in the wind with the increased car ownership figures. Get back to me when you start dealing in reality, Ian.

  • Wombat

    Young James. You are a perfect example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Are you are talking about warfare or a video game?Does this elaborate side-show not seem a little bit familiar to you? Let me give you a hint – Niger uranium, aluminum tubes, 45 minute warnings, armed drones flying over the US West coast, mobile weapons laboratories, mushroom clouds over US cities.The US was all for Iran having nuclear power during the Shah's reign, the US glove puppet. Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld were among the most vocal supporters behind Iran's justification that they were entitled to alternative sources of energy.Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policyhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3983-2005Mar26.html“Iran's in exactly the same boat.” Same boat meaning what exactly? The only similarity between Iran and Iraq is that neither have nuclear arms, which is why the US is even contemplating an attack.“They don't need nuclear power. They're swimming in oil. Why would they spend a fortune developing a civilian nuclear programme? It just doesn't make sense.”It doesn’t if you don’t want it to make sense. Me thinks you’ve been too busy decoding George Bush’s undecipherable speeches to pay attaention in your econimics classes. The high prices of oil adds weight to Iran’s justification for diversification. Economically, Iran stands to gain significantly by exporting as much of it’s hydrocarbons as possible. If you’ve ever been to the land of the free, you’d find that you can’t buy cheap fruit in fruit growing areas, or cheap fish in some fishing villages because all product is exported.Iran has abundant hydrocarbons resources, but they are finite. Their predicament is that once their reserves are depleted, they have limited options for bring revenue into their country. That probably didn’t occur to you, but you’re not running a country. Some would argue that taking advantage of a financial windfall in the short term, and diversifying energy for the long term makes sound business sense. When all is said and done, the biggest threat Iran poses is to the US dollar. Iran is in the process of implementing it’s own oil bourse: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GH26Dj01.htmlhttp://www.energybulletin.net/7707.htmlBasically, this is Iran’s effort to move oil trading away from the petro dollar and trade in euros. Venezuela has already expressed it's desire to follow Iran;s lead. If this is successful and other OPEC countries follow suit, then the US becomes a 3rd world country overnight. The US borrows US$2 billion a day just to stay solventm and they can only do so as long as the US dollar is propped up by oil trading. US leaders know that it's debt is un-repayable. The only way to avoid the day of reckoning is to maintain the US dollar as he standard.A little reported fact is that Iraq did a similar thing. This move was initially mocked by Wall Street until Iraq started actually making money from the deal, which in turn, made NY brokers loose control of all bodily functions. One of the first things Dubya did after declaring “Mission accomplished” was to revert Iraqi’s oil trading back to the US dollar. Revisited – The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq:http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/RRiraqWar.htmlU.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraqhttp://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/19.htmlThe West has gotten so used to telling less developed countries what to do and how to do it, that when these countries show they can think for themselves, they respond like an abusive husbad who'd wife decides to leave him."Here's what I hope. I hope Mossad has penetrated deep inside Iran's administration."Rest assured your wishes have been granted. When you have time, check out “THE COMING WARS” by SEYMOUR M. HERSH. He reports that “The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer (meaning 2004).”And yes James, you can do your very own Mexican wave over the fact that “There has also been close, and largely unacknowledged, coöperation with Israel.”You may have heard of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), listed by the US State department as a terrorist organization. The US decided that terrorism is a good thing when it’s happens to your enemy, so the MEK is getting lots of encouragement (protection and money) from the CIA to go raise hell inside Iran. The same wingnuts who said Iraq would be a cakewalk, are adamant that the Iranian leadership is ready to topple and figure that the odd car bomb will do the trick."Then when they've got all the information they need to do the job right, I hope Israel blows the whole fucking lot sky high. "As I read this, I dawns on me who inspired the producers of Seed of Chucky. I picture a young James sitting on his father’s lap saying, “when I grow up I wanna be a Big Bad Chicken Hawk. I wanna get other people to blow things up, and kill lotsa ayrabs. And if I’m really lucky daddy, maybe the president will let me have a look at the doomsday button”Essential reading will be Bush’s memoirs “The road to manhood, how blowing up toads as child convinced me I was destined to be Commander in Chief” "I don't care how they do it, as long as they're successful."Why am I not surprised. You’re thousands of miles away so why would ytou be?. The fact that targets are deep undesground and clsoe to populated areas probably means using nuclear bunkler busters, which will spread deadly radioactive fallout over a vast area. Estimates have put the death toll as high as 1 million.What you might want to consider is that the Straight of Hormuz is the narrowest section of the Persian Gulf and that this is the only passage for oil tankers. Any ship passing is a sitting duck, so Iran could (and has threatened) to make this area impassable if attacked. Iran only has to keep this up for a week or two and whammo, instant international financial meltdown. All US ships in the region not only become floating coffins (thanks to the Sunburns) but also remain captive in the Gulf. Now you might assume that the US could take out the missile launching sites, but the Iranian coast in that region is mountainous and cratered with caves, which makes locating any such sites a nightmare. Then the US starts nuking Iran and we have WWIII. "I'd applaud American assistance. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be a catastrophic scenario. Some nations can be trusted with nuclear weapons."And nuclear first strikes would be what, a minor inconvenience?Would you would conclude that Pakistan is one of the success stories? You don’t seem too worried about the fact that the A.Q. Kahn network turned Pakistan in to the Harvey Norman store of nuclear proliferation?” I hope Iran goes absolutely apeshit. Hell, I'd *really* like it if they lobbed a few SCUDs (or whatever 1970s missile technology they're sporting) at Israel. The anti-missile defence system that Israel has developed could render them impotent – hopefully this drama is captured and beamed throughout the region, live, on al-Jazeera. I hope the Iranians realise how powerless they've become.”You might want to renew your subscription to Jane’s weekly. Russia leads the world in missile technology. While the USA were building billion dollar aircraft carriers to intimidate other countries, the Russians focused on something more practical. Conservative estimated suggest Russia is 10 years ahead of the US in terms of missile development. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/2/11/183950.shtmlGoogle SS-N-22 Sunburn and then you might want to rethink your definition of impotence. The U.S. Navy tried to purchase this missile from the Russian Navy in 1995, but Russia refused. Tell me if there is a defense system that has even a 1 in a million chance of stopping a missile that travels at over 2,800 km an hour at altitudes of between than 2-10 meters. This altitude means Sunburn cannot be detected or logged by radarAnd yes, the missile can be armed with a 200 Kiloton nuclear warhead.At that speed and altitude, the Israeli’s would be looking at a white flash before they even knew what was happening. We’re talking Damascus to Tel Aviv in around three minutesYou can read about it here:http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/moskit.htmYes it is an anti ship missile, but can be launched from a fighter plane, and is just as effective over land. And guess who has a bunch of these? Iran and Syria.That’s the good news. This thing has already been superseded by the new variant called the Onyx, which travels even faster, has double the range and larger capacity.Re Israel's Patriot Missiles, forget the sale pitch brought on by Gulf War 1. They are redundant. Do a search on S-300 Missiles. Yes Iran has these things too.http://www.sinodefence.com/missile/airdefence/s300.asphttp://www.astronautix.com/lvs/s300.htm"In ten years' time, you'll be conceding that Israel saved the world from a great dilemma – just like your predecessors did a few years after Osirak's demolition."I suspect that in ten tears time, you will pulling down the Bring Um On posters on your wall and ask your self, “what the hell was I thinking?

  • James Waterton

    Young Adam,You are a perfect example of how a little research can throw up a whole lot of crap and lead to some utterly muddleheaded conclusions. But, I'll give you your due – you've taken the time to write a War & Peace-type response. Which I'll rebut. Now, Adam. About your links. Did you actually expect me to view them, or did you just provide them hoping I'll simply take them as proof that you're not talking a bunch of crap? Bad news, dude. I'm looking at them. A lot of them aren't strong, to put it generously. Okay, let's go.The US decided that terrorism is a good thing when it’s happens to your enemy, so the MEK is getting lots of encouragement (protection and money) from the CIA to go raise hell inside Iran.Good. It's called subversion. A lot cheaper than war, and sometimes as effective. See Contras, Nicaragua.The same wingnuts who said Iraq would be a cakewalk, are adamant that the Iranian leadership is ready to topple and figure that the odd car bomb will do the trick.Sorry, who said that Iraq would be a cakewalk? Links, please. My recollection was that Bush & co were talking very long term regarding occupation. Oh, or are you talking about the military conquest of Iraq? Because that clearly was a cakewalk. Also, who is adamant that the Iranian leadership is ready to topple? Links, please. Adam, it's really not clever to invent things to bolster your case.That probably didn’t occur to you, but you’re not running a country.Actually, it did, and I wondered if it would be brought up here. I suspected that I wouldn't have to deal with it. To your credit, you did bring it up, and now I will. Under the NNPT, nations have a right to build a nuclear programme for civilian purposes. I personally believe that Iran forfeited that right when the IAEA exposed their secret nuclear programme back in 2002. Why were they running this secret programme when they had absolute legal authority to operate a civilian nuclear programme? The answer is obvious – they were trying to construct a bomb. Iran must not be allowed nuclear weapons. Go Israel! f this is successful and other OPEC countries follow suit, then the US becomes a 3rd world country overnight. And you have the cheek to lecture me about economics. No, it doesn't. You've provided a couple of dubious links that speculate that if the US dollar was no longer the international standard, the value of the USD would fall dramatically, causing economic meltdown. Neither of those articles actually say why a cheaper dollar would cause economic collapse in the USA – they and you are making the economic-curmudgeonly, amateurish mistake of creating twin nexuses between "strong currency and strong economy" and "weak currency and weak economy". If anything, a weaker US currency, whilst causing some short-medium term economic disruption – would right some of the current structural imbalances in their economy in the medium term. Your conspiracy-theorising links don't seem to have a clue about the actual source of the upwards distortion of the American dollar – and it's coming from Asia, not the Middle East. Most notably, China (although Japan's central bank is also a dab hand at this and has been doing it for decades – in fact, most of the Asian manufacturing economies do) is keen to ensure a strong dollar – and a relatively weak yuan, which is pegged at an artificially low rate to the dollar. Thus it buys enormous amounts of US treasury bonds at very low rates of yield; providing cheap debt to the US government (which is why it's so keen to run up these budget deficits we've been seeing post 9/11) and also promoting the Fed to maintain an expansionary monetary policy – allowing American consumers access to remarkably cheap credit. It also means the US consumer is able to buy masses of cheap (because of the weakness of the yuan) Chinese goods with their artificially expensive dollars. THAT'S why the American dollar is strong. If it was weakened because some oil trading nations start pricing their oil in Euros, I fail to see why this would be so catastrophic for the American economy. It should also be pointed out to you that four of the world's five top oil producing nations are strong US allies – namely; Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and now Iraq. Just for argument's sake, let's drop Iraq off the list. Do you really think that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait (who together hold about 40% of the world's crude reserves) are going to act in a way that contravenes the interests of their major ally? Get a clue, tinfoil hat man. A few links are no substitute for some sound knowledge on a subject like economics, Adam. There are a lot of hacks around, meboy. As you've just proven nicely. A little reported fact is that Iraq did a similar thing. Little reported fact? I was well aware of it. Now your article gets further into the business of tinfoil by speculating that the above shift by Saddam was a secret precursor to war. Evidence, gentlemen? With hindsight, we can definitely say that 9/11 made war with Iraq politically possible. I suppose you'll start claiming that the twin towers were toppled by neocon schemers itching to take out Saddam. No one in the administration predicted that event, and no one would have considered Iraqi regime change via a ground war realistic pre-9/11.Also, I should mention that the countries holding massive USD reserves – countries like China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan etc – stand to lose massively if the value of the USD falls substantially. How does this brace of nations stand as a counterweight to the resentful, scheming members (Venezuela, Iran) of OPEC? Just a thought for you.I also note your links are old, and for the most part, stale. Reading through a lot of them makes you realise that a lot happens in four or five years, or even one or two. So many of the predicted precursors for this apparent catastrophic shift away from the American dollar have failed to materialise, like the UK adopting the Euro (chance of that happening post referendum?) and a Japanese economic meltdown if the oil price cranks up from the $45-50/barrel price they were experiencing when the article was written. Well, the Japanese economy is showing signs of recovery (gasp!) during the same period as the oil price increased to $65-70/barrel (GASP!).Okay, let's put our military caps on. Rest assured your wishes have been granted.I hope so.As I read this, I dawns on me who inspired the producers of Seed of Chucky.(snip!)You dawns on you, Adam? Yadda yadda yadda. So much bile. Next! Estimates have put the death toll as high as 1 million.Evidence/sources, please.Russia leads the world in missile technology.And since when did Russia annex Iran – or Iran annex Russia, for that matter? Also, I don't see anything in your geriatric links that makes that specific claim. As things stand, they hold one world class anti ship missile. You might want to renew your subscription to Jane’s weekly.HAHA! Hilarious! You should take this show on the road, no really. Why is that funny? Because you've backed your claims with links that are over four years old! For example, that Newsmax article is dated 12 Feb, 2001! And, to make things funnier, the Bush White House's claim that "it would not seek to increase the Clinton defense budget" really worked out well for you, didn't it? With the enormous increase in military funding post 9/11, how much do you reckon went to missile technology R&D? I'd wager that it got at least its fair share. So. IF (and that's a big if) Russia – at the time – had superior missile technology (and not just in the form of one powerful missile – the Moskit), do you reckon they still do, four and a half years later? Considering the pile of cash the Americans have no doubt spent on missile technology in the ensuing years? Not to mention missile defence. How do you think the enormous discrepancy in R&D spending is going to pan out – in the favour of Russia or America? Do a search on S-300 Missiles. Yes Iran has these things too.So what? Iran has a bunch of SAMs. Big deal. And here's a link for you: <a href="http://www.janes.com/regional_news/europe/news_briefs/jdw010704_04.shtmlhttp://www.janes.com/regional_news/europe/news_br… />the Israeli’s would be looking at a white flashUm, what white flash? Presumably Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear weapons programme before white flashes become feasible. Any ship passing is a sitting duck, so Iran could (and has threatened) to make this area impassable if attacked. Iran only has to keep this up for a week or two and whammo, instant international financial meltdown. Could, for a short period of time. Don't you think the Americans have contingency plans for this (not exactly unthought of) scenario? It's why the Americans maintain a massive strategic oil reserve. Sure, Iran could block the pass for a period of time. It would cause an oil shock, the price of crude would spike. However, we're talking quite shallow waters here. Not that hard for engineers to unblock if the Iranians have sunk ships across the . Defeating Iran wouldn't take that long. If the Iranians somehow managed to dig in and hold their position for a long period of time, yes, there'd be grave consequences economically speaking. However, the Americans have proven that they're particularly good at Blitzkrieg warfare. I can't see the Iranians holding that part of the Persian gulf for that long – especially since the Saudis will be supporting the Yanks and allowing them to attack from their territory.Israel's Patriot Missiles, forget the sale pitch brought on by Gulf War 1. They are redundant.Israel doesn't use Patriots, smart guy. Whilst you were Googling up all these links you should have checked out Israel's capacities. <a href="http://www.army-technology.com/projects/arrow2/http://www.army-technology.com/projects/arrow2/<b… />In some ways I stand corrected. I underestimated Iran's missile technology – however your apocolyptic vision of white flashes over Israel is based upon Iran holding nukes as we speak – which doesn't appear to be the case. Like I said, Isreal would presumably neutralise that threat before it was operational. And I'm absolutely certain that the Americans have contingency plans in place to deal with the blocking (and subsequent unblocking) of the Persian gulf. Also, I'm quite sure they are aware of the Sunburn's capacities and have developed countermeasures – how effective these may be is anyone's guess. It's certainly a big "what if". However, there is more than one way to skin a cat and I'm quite sure American and Israeli military planners would factor in the potential of the Sunburn in the case of a military confrontation and create a strategy accordingly.I suspect that in ten tears time, you will pulling down the Bring Um On posters on your wall and ask your self, “what the hell was I thinking?We will see.

  • anthony

    One point James didn’t address (other than to dismiss it):As I read this, I dawns on me who inspired the producers of Seed of Chucky. I picture a young James sitting on his father’s lap saying, “when I grow up I wanna be a Big Bad Chicken Hawk. I wanna get other people to blow things up, and kill lotsa ayrabs. And if I’m really lucky daddy, maybe the president will let me have a look at the doomsday button”It seems to me that your accusing James of racism. Many posts here claim that any criticism of Israel is seen unfairly as automatically anti-Semitic, yet James criticises and stresses the need to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons- and you turn around and claim James has a strange desire to kill Arabs.… Just a point to ponder.

  • Ian Westmore

    James Waterton said…You just invented that 20 year figure, didn't you? Nope, it was stated by a Mobil rep on radio earlier this week, admittedly as a worst case scenerio.And you're also pissing in the wind with the increased car ownership figures. Get back to me when you start dealing in reality, Ian.Hmm. Lets see, China and India have the world's fastest growing economies, the peoples' wealth is increasing rapidly, but unlike every other country that has become prosperous they won't be clamouring for the toys that go with prosperity?Have you passed on your wisdom to all the car manufacturers busily building plants in these countries? BMW, DiamlerChrysler, GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda…. What fools they must be, huh?Yes, they want to eventually build cars for export, but the local markets is the primary focus ATM, for one thing its more profitable. Being a buyers market GM apparently makes 8 times as much on some models as it does back home. By 2020, possibly earlier depending on how the economy fares, new car sales will outstrip America's.India's market is expanding more modestly because of infrastructure constraints, less than 20%, but the luxury segment is growing by nearly 30% according to a BBC report back in June. Current annual sales are just over 1 million.

  • James Waterton

    Thanks for the convincing case you made about car ownership increasing. Three words: No Shit Sherlock. So, the 20 years you refer to is a worst case scenario? Well, I guess the much less if car ownership percentages…part is the worst worst absolute worst case scenario, eh? You don't think that oil companies factor in future projected consumption rates when they state that there's about (last time I checked) 37.7 years of oil left. Funny thing is that we've used oil for many years, and the projected reserve figure has constantly risen. This would suggest that we're discovering more oil than we're using.So about your 20 year figure. It's just more oil hysteria, Ian. Fact is that there is a crapload of oil around; I know industry insiders privately admit that they know of about 90 years of reserve. Trust me, Ian, we're not going to run out of oil before it's superceded by new energy source.

  • Wombat

    "It seems to me that your accusing James of racism. Many posts here claim that any criticism of Israel is seen unfairly as automatically anti-Semitic, yet James criticises and stresses the need to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons- and you turn around and claim James has a strange desire to kill Arabs."Give it a rest Anthony,James expressed a desire to set off a disaster in the Middle East and sailvated at the prospect. Who do you think is going to pay the price for that?

  • Wombat

    James,Thanks for your colourful repsonse. Going through it now and will need some time to repond as you might appreciate.Wil get back to you.

  • anthony

    James expressed a desire to set off a disaster in the Middle East and sailvated at the prospect. Who do you think is going to pay the price for that?Maybe I'm reading the wrong post- but, not he didnt. In any case he can answer for himself.Who do you think is going to pay the price if you meet the demands of Palestinians terrorists and agree to this BS 'right of return'? From memory, you hold the view that Israel should absorb 4 million Palestinian 'refugees' to make peace. As far as I know, you have not been accused of anti-Semitism for this. Do you understand the point i'm trying to make?Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic- equally, criticism of Iran, and demands to end its nuclear program (even if advocating direct intervention) are not racist. It is an unfair call.

  • Wombat

    "Who do you think is going to pay the price if you meet the demands of Palestinians terrorists and agree to this BS 'right of return'? From memory, you hold the view that Israel should absorb 4 million Palestinian 'refugees' to make peace. As far as I know, you have not been accused of anti-Semitism for this."Nope. Wasn't me. Who's BS right of return are you referring to? Israel has one of those BTW, except that theirs extends throughout the globe.I have no idea who is talking about absorbing anyone. Absorbtion assumes a denial that occupied terroroties are given that name because they belong to someone else.Criticism of Iran is obviously not racist. Applying double standards and advocting the whacking Iranians for something they haven't done, and without regard to the unavoidable loss of life, is.

  • Wombat

    James,The name is Andre, but I appreciate the personal touch.It’s pleasing to see you making an effort to actually formulate a worthwile argument, as opposed your lazy option of posting obnoxious drivel.I'm quite sure you're a capable "put me in my place" kind of person, if you're big on that sort of thing. Personally, I took exception to your flippant regard for the lives of those who would be caught it the crossfire of your lovely war, which is why I sounded off.Anwyay, answers to your rebuttal.“Now, Adam. About your links. Did you actually expect me to view them, or did you just provide them hoping I'll simply take them as proof that you're not talking a bunch of crap? Bad news, dude. I'm looking at them. A lot of them aren't strong, to put it generously. Okay, let's go.”Yes in fact I did. Why would I bother to otherwise? Be remindd that this started with you talking about Scuds, so your information was more than a decade old.“Good. It's called subversion. A lot cheaper than war, and sometimes as effective. See Contras, Nicaragua.”Well seeing you are in agreement with the Bushies and don’t believe in international law, or the notion of sovereignty, I guess you would consider this a non issue. Yes, the incursions into South America led to death squads wreaking havoc. They have left families destroyed, societies fractures and economies in tatters.No biggie right? We non chicken-hawks call inciting terror on other states, while decrying that the west does not give into terrorist demands , blatant hypocrisy and double standards. And to make it more palatable, you re-label it subversion, how very WASP of you. Of course, if another country even dared to try this stunt on US soil, it would likely be seen immediately an act of war.Anyway, I merely raised this because you stated that it was on your wish list. Being a good smaritan.“Sorry, who said that Iraq would be a cakewalk? Links, please. My recollection was that Bush & co were talking very long term regarding occupation.”That would make you’re recollection inaccurate. They talked about decades of war in reference to the war on terror, but not the one with Iraq. The public would never have settled for protracted, 200 billion dollar, 3 year campaign ahead of time.The part about long term occupation came post facto if you remember. Remember Dick Cheney’s last throes followed by Rumsfeld 5, 6 8, 12 years? “It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” Donald Rumsfeld, 3/7/03:“I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months” Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03:The administration’s top budget official [Mitch Daniels] estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion. (2003)Ricahrd Perl, one of the architects for he war insisted the US would be greeted as liberators. <a href="http://(http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HUG307A.html)(http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HUG307A.html)<br />Perles associate, Kenneth Alderman (Defense Policy Board: Member ) was the one came up with the term cakewalk,http://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/adelman_k/adelman_k.phphttp://www.newyorker.com/printables/talk/030414ta_talk_hertzberg“Oh, or are you talking about the military conquest of Iraq? Because that clearly was a cakewalk. In hindsight it apparently not. The Bathists and remainders of the Republican Guard who have since put up a fight, were not stupid. Having endured a protracted war with Iran, they obviously understood the virtue of patience. If you were them, would you partake in a suicidal butting of heads against a superior force or would you wait out the initial assault, and hope to pull them into urban warfare that would hopefully wear them down? It’s a matter of record that Vietnam is still a moot point in the the US, and that they would not be able to stomach heavy casualties or a long war.One of Rumsfeld’s clever tricks was to outsource the work to Private Contractors so as to hide the real death toll. So here we are 3 years later, 2000 US soldiers, US200 billon and according to Lancet, 100,000 Iraqi lives later. What do you say to that James? Go US of A?Also, who is adamant that the Iranian leadership is ready to topple? Links, please. “Michael Ledeen, one the most influential to the Bush gang a and member of the think tank American Enterprise Institute has been writing about this for years.http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200508191008.asp http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200509230815.asphttp://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen061603.asphttp://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3027ledeen_iran.htmlThere are rumors in Washington that he had a hand in the Niger Uranium forgery scandal. “I suspected that I wouldn't have to deal with it. To your credit, you did bring it up, and now I will. Under the NNPT, nations have a right to build a nuclear programme for civilian purposes. I personally believe that Iran forfeited that right when the IAEA exposed their secret nuclear programme back in 2002.”I am bewildered that someone with your apparent intellect is buying this charade regarding the NPT, which is why I didn’t raise it. If it hadn’t been the NPT Safeguards agreement contravention, I’m sure the Busheviks would have created something else out of whole clopth. In fact, I just read today that the U.S. State Department determined in August 2005 that "Iran was in violation of its CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] obligations because Iran is acting to retain and modernize key elements of its CW infrastructure to include an offensive CW R&D capability and dispersed mobilization facilities."How pathetic. As though the US and every other country aren't doing the same. The US is apparently buying up anthrax at the moment and no one blinks.Condeleeza Rice is traveling through Europe mindlessly parroting the line that Iran has to fulfill it’s obligations, when she clearly doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about. In spite of the fact that the IAEA has repeatedly stated that Iran are in compliance, Washingon has stated that this is irrelevant.How do we know that Washington wants to beat up on Iran. Let’s start with their brand spanking new ambassador to the UN, the psychopath extraordinaire, John Bolton. If you don’t know about this guy, I would highly recommend looking him up just for kicks. This guy is so dispised that he couldn’t even get a confirmation vote for the appointment from the Republican controlled senate. Of course, Bush appointed him anyway. This man has been repeatedly exposed for making things up about countries he wants America to invade. What’s more, he considers it his right to do so. He’s your kind of guy James, never lets facts get in the way of a case for war.Secondly, there is an interesting piece from an ex-CIA man, Phillip Giraldi. He discusses plans made by Cheney, to strike at Iran with tactical nukes in the event of a terrorist attack in the US. Note that this plan is not contingent on Iran having anything to do with the attack. Now there’s justice for you.And you’ll be pleased to note that the source is not a tin foil hat reference but the American Conservative magazine.http://www.amconmag.com/2005_08_01/article3.htmlI have been unable to verify when Iran actually became a signatories to the NPT, but it seems it was in late 2003. I understand that the Iranian’s weren’t signatories to the NPT at the time they were caught out by the IAEA, but I could be wrong. There is debate about whether Iran was in breach of the Paris Agreement, which was the fault of the E3, who took too long to get their act together (failing to provide a proposal after Iran agreed to an extension). This was a separate agreement to the IAEA, but seeing as it was an additional protocol Iran agreed to, their resumption theoretically contravened the NPT Safeguards agreement.Allteh more to scar th public with.Anyway, by your reasoning, Pakistan, India and North Korea have also foresighted the same right no? What is the US doing about it. Bugger all. What message does this put out to other countries? Get nuked up ASAP if you want to avoid a US invasion. “Why were they running this secret programme when they had absolute legal authority to operate a civilian nuclear programme? The answer is obvious – they were trying to construct a bomb. Iran must not be allowed nuclear weapons. Go Israel!”Go Israel? Do us all a favor and grow up James.Why were they running this secret programme? The NPT is not obligatory. The fact is that they are now fully co-operating and opent to the most extensive and intrusive ispections of any country ever. Should this co-operation not be maintained with some kind of incentive? Everything is accounted for according to the man that was 100% right about Iraq’s nukes also, El Baradei. What so the US have to say about that? They say it’s meaningless.If and when the US do strike Iran, a nuclear superpower will have nuked a non-nuclear state that is an NPT signatory and is co-operating with the IAEA, at the instigation of a state that is a non NPT signatory, that reportedly has over 100 nuclear bombs of it’s own.Don’t we live in an upside down world? You seem to think this is a smashing idea. Personally, I think it's lunacy.I agree that Iran should not be allowed to have nukes. But what is so secret about what they are dong since they signed the NPT and the IAEA has given them a clean bill of health? “And you have the cheek to lecture me about economics. No, it doesn't. You've provided a couple of dubious links that speculate that if the US dollar was no longer the international standard, the value of the USD would fall dramatically, causing economic meltdown.”Lecture you about economics. Well excuse me, but you seemed to be grappling with the long proven concept of sell high, buy low at the time, so I thought it necessary to jog your logic.I raised the issue of economics in reference to your dilemma as to why Iran would need or want nuclear power. The absence of your rebuttal to that point suggests that you are in agreement.I admit to getting distracted with the petrodollar tangent, which was largely irrelevant.I did not say a cheap dollar would be the issue so much as a dollar that is subjected to lower demand. The US borrows 2 billion a day to stay solvent. It’s debt is out of control. Even if a handful of countries move to the Euro, it will create a dollar surplus would it not? "If anything, a weaker US currency, whilst causing some short-medium term economic disruption would right some of the current structural imbalances in their economy in the medium term."Even the best possible outcome eventuates, do you think the US economy is any state to absorb short-medium term economic disruption? These are the most frightened people in the world. "Just for argument's sake, let's drop Iraq off the list. Do you really think that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait (who together hold about 40% of the world's crude reserves) are going to act in a way that contravenes the interests of their major ally?"There have been persistent rumors that Bush wants to take on Saudi Arabia when he runs out of targets, so allegiances are by no means set in stone. You don’t think the House of Saud would use any leverage to prevent this happening?Bush to Blair: First Iraq, then Saudihttp://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article319993.ece "Get a clue, tinfoil hat man. A few links are no substitute for some sound knowledge on a subject like economics, Adam. There are a lot of hacks around, meboy. As you've just proven nicely."Bravado. You’ve taken the least significant point of my post and turned it into a novel. Nice distraction."Little reported fact? I was well aware of it. Now your article gets further into the business of tinfoil by speculating that the above shift by Saddam was a secret precursor to war."Precursor? There was no time wasted in reverting Iraq’s oil trading back to the US dollar. It if was so insignificant, why the hurry or why at all?"Evidence, gentlemen? With hindsight, we can definitely say that 9/11 made war with Iraq politically possible. I suppose you'll start claiming that the twin towers were toppled by neocon schemers itching to take out Saddam."That they were itching for a war with Iraq is a matter of record. They were so arrogant they even wrote about it. That they were waiting for such an event to catalyze their plans is also a matter of record. That Rumsfeld started planning the Iarq invasion 5 hours after the Pentagon was hit is also on the record."No one in the administration predicted that event, and no one would have considered Iraqi regime change via a ground war realistic pre-9/11."Excuse me? No one predicted it? Isn’t this exactly what the madame Mushroom Cloud Rice said before she was forced to wipe the egg of her face and admit otherwise? Ever heard of the August 2001 PBD Entitled “Bin Landen Determined to Attack inside the USA? Ever heard of drilsl that were donucted to simulate that very event?Wake up.Ever heard of the Able Danger project, which traked 4 of the 19 high jackers up until at least a year prior to 911? Sad that you regard main stream sources as Tin Foil Hat Material.What about the fact that the Atta known to Pentagon before 9/11http://news.yahoo.com/s/chitribts/20050928/ts_chicagotrib/attaknowntopentagonbefore911"Also, I should mention that the countries holding massive USD reserves – countries like China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan etc – stand to lose massively if the value of the USD falls substantially. How does this brace of nations stand as a counterweight to the resentful, scheming members (Venezuela, Iran) of OPEC?"Everyone stands to loose and you could certainly argue that as the debtor, the US pulls the strings. But do you honestly believe that an energy hungry China will sit and do nothing if the US do attack/invade Iran, with who’m they have singed huge energy agreement? And if it came down to it and economic stalemate, who do you think will give in first? As for alliances, they are shifting by the day James. You seem to be convinced that things will remain set in stone. Israel recently pissed off the US with is military sales to China. The US is playing a balancing act with India and Pakistan. Sates will do what’s in their interest.“Okay, let's put our military caps on. “Yes lets. Do me a favor and do a Google on Missile Defense Failure."Estimates have put the death toll as high as 1 million."I have to concede that though I remember reading this, I have been unable to track the evidence down. Either way, I do believe the evidence was second hand source since such reports would hardly be public domain. I million deaths from the fallout of a nuclear stroke in a country of 60 million is not inconceivable.The important point however, is that in order to penetrate the underground targets inside Iran, the US will probably have to resort to tactical nukes. Some of these sites are apparently in populated areas. Fallout is unavoidable and deadly.“And since when did Russia annex Iran – or Iran annex Russia, for that matter? Did the US annex Israel? No. Do they have a military base there? Yes. Do they provide Israel with military hardware? Yes. You do the math Sherlok.Russians help Iran with missile threat to Europehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/10/16/wiran16.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/10/16/ixportaltop.htmlNeedless to say, iran already has this technology: Shahab-5http://www.missilethreat.com/missiles/shahab-5_iran.htmlRussia is already surrounded by US military bases on all sides. If Iran were taken and the leadership overthrown, the first thing the US would do is build another one. That’s not supposition, because like a weed, that’s what the US military does – especially when there is oil around."Also, I don't see anything in your geriatric links that makes that specific claim. As things stand, they hold one world class anti ship missile.”No they have a great deal more than that. They just developed a new BMRT-2UTTH – Topol-M SS-27http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/russia/rt-2pmu.htm“With the enormous increase in military funding post 9/11, how much do you reckon went to missile technology R&D?” Well as it turns out, throwing more money at something doesn’t always bear fruit, as the Missile Defense System goes to prove."I'd wager that it got at least its fair share. So. IF (and that's a big if) Russia – at the time – had superior missile technology (and not just in the form of one powerful missile – the Moskit), do you reckon they still do, four and a half years later? Considering the pile of cash the Americans have no doubt spent on missile technology in the ensuing years?" Tell me James, when was the last missile defense test the US conducted? How many words can you think of to describe complete and utter failure? Not just once, but the last 4 or 5 tests I believe going back a decade.What’s even more pathetic, is that the system was designed to defend against 1980 generation Russian ICBM missiles. How much money has been sunk into this project? Rediculous sums. As this issue goes to prove, cash does not guarantee invention or innovation.And while where on the subject of cash, check this out:Military waste under fire $1 trillion missing — Bush plan targets Pentagon accountinghttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/05/18/MN251738.DTLand here:Testimony before the House Appropriations Committee: Fiscal Year 2002 Defense Budget Requesthttp://www.dod.gov/speeches/2001/s20010716-secdef2.htmlThis last link puts the misappropriation at 2.6 trillion. I’m sure that could have gone toward dome serious hardware. Little wonder the CPA in Iraq misplaced 9 billion.Sems your fiscal exrtapolations just hit a brick wall.“Not to mention missile defence. How do you think the enormous discrepancy in R&D spending is going to pan out – in the favour of Russia or America?”Yeah missile defense. You should read this announcement that they are not going to upgrade the system. What they don’t mention is that the thing never worked in the first place.U.S. gives up on upgrading missile defensehttp://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20051013-044213-8370rAnyway, if US military spending is anything to go by, they will likely move to Weaponize Space. Why waste money on one project when you can waste more perusing another?Missile defense and Space Weapons have turned out to be nothing but a boondoggle for weapons manufacturers.“Um, what white flash? Presumably Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear weapons programme before white flashes become feasible”I agree this is another what if. The point is that the Iranians are not stuck with Scuds."Could, for a short period of time. Don't you think the Americans have contingency plans for this (not exactly unthought of) scenario? It's why the Americans maintain a massive strategic oil reserve."Given that the reserves capacity would last 2 months I would agree. "Sure, Iran could block the pass for a period of time. It would cause an oil shock, the price of crude would spike. However, we're talking quite shallow waters here. Not that hard for engineers to unblock if the Iranians have sunk ships across the . Defeating Iran wouldn't take that long."How would engineers unblock a straight that is guarded by anti ship missiles? Another what if I agree. Anyway, as for not taking very long to defeat Iran, that is meaningless. The US aren’t the only ones preparing for a war. Weren’t we told that Iraq wudl be short sharp and sweet?"If the Iranians somehow managed to dig in and hold their position for a long period of time, yes, there'd be grave consequences economically speaking. However, the Americans have proven that they're particularly good at Blitzkrieg warfare."Oh this is rich The US have proved they are particularly good at Blitzkrieg warfare against whom exactly? A completely demoralized and poorly equipped army that was devastated by a decade long arms embargo and sanctions, not to mention being flattened in Gulf War 1 and before that, barely surviving a protracted war with Iran. Great example.Any more where that came from?"I can't see the Iranians holding that part of the Persian gulf for that long – especially since the Saudis will be supporting the Yanks and allowing them to attack from their territory."Well, that’s an interesting point yes. you may be right.Now let’s look at Iraq for a moment. The US is bogged down at the moment against a bunch of guys running around with home made bombs, rifles and the odd RPG and SAM. US military have suggested they cannot defeat the insurgency militarily.Let’s assume the insurgency are primarily Sunni. Now let’s throw the Shia into the equation, who take their orders from Tehran, and who have been quiet until now. Do you think they re gong to sit on the sideline and clap if the US go after Iran?"And I'm absolutely certain that the Americans have contingency plans in place to deal with the blocking (and subsequent unblocking) of the Persian gulf.”One would hope so, but it seems you are flying high on faith here. The US has been exposed as being particularly prone to doing things badly when things don’t go according to plan. And with guys like Rumsfeld at the helm, who don’t like listening to advice, they have become like a dinsosaur – big muscle but small brain.“Also, I'm quite sure they are aware of the Sunburn's capacities and have developed countermeasures – how effective these may be is anyone's guess. It's certainly a big "what if".The only countermeasure that’s up to scruitiny is the Aegies system, which I read has had a mediocre success rate, but what do I know?Cheers

  • James Waterton

    Andre, I haven't started reading your reply yet bar the first few sentences – although I must admit my initial post was worded to be inflammatory. However, I do agree that Iran should be denied nuclear weapons.

  • James Waterton

    Okay, read it. I'll respond later today. If you want to access this thread, I suppose it would be easiest from the link I posted in the other thread. I don't think this site locks threads…

  • James Waterton

    Andre:It’s pleasing to see you making an effort to actually formulate a worthwile argument, as opposed your lazy option of posting obnoxious drivel.Well, I fight fire with fire, in regards to both worthwhile arguments and obnoxious drivel. Once again, to give you your due, this discussion is the most exercised I've been on Loewenstein's blog.Personally, I took exception to your flippant regard for the lives of those who would be caught it the crossfire of your lovely war, which is why I sounded off.Fair enough. To be honest, I posted the rant about Iran to excite the base here. So you're right, it was flippant and not particularly well-considered, because it was never supposed to be a serious argument. However, on a serious note, I do believe that Iran should be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons, and I think it's worth taking a military option – in the form of a strategic strike – to neutralise any pending nuclear threat.don’t believe in international law, or the notion of sovereigntyHang on. You're hitting the emotional strings pretty hard here, though not much thought is involved. Are you saying you believe in both? Pah. Impossible. The two are constantly at odds with each other and will never coexist as equals. Actually, what is known as 'international law' is the new kid on the block and is trying to muscle in on the nation state's turf. Thing is, the nation state still rules supreme. International "law" (it's not really law – law is unconditional and absolute. International "law" is but a series of agreements between states – which any state can opt out of at will) is destined to hang around as long as sovereignty is not threatened. Take a nation like China, for example. It bangs on about international law, but its true colours will show when it sees its sovereignty dishonoured/damaged. International law will be tossed out like yesterday's newspaper as it fights to maintain its sovereignty. International law is a paper tiger until an effective world government comes along. For me, that's the stuff of nightmares.No biggie right? There's been worse. The Contras were brutal. So were the Sandinistas. On the balance of things, I think Nicaragua is better off without a Sandinista dictatorship. The mainly native Indian Contras wouldn't have existed if the Sandinistas hadn't nationalised their traditional lands.We non chicken-hawks call inciting terror on other states, I'd rather achieve the more – shall we say – ambitious foreign policy objectives through subversion rather than war. Call me a softy – if done right, less people die – on both sides. Please don't tell me you're naive enough to think that there are never appropriate reasons for country A to do a nasty thing to country B. If you do, the you should realise that the world is a slightly more complex place than you believe.“It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” Donald Rumsfeld, 3/7/03:Yes, but are they talking about the occupation or the campaign to overthrow Saddam? It sounds like they're talking about the campaign – I doubt Rumsfeld would seriously assert that the occupation might last 6 days. Thanks for that awful link about Richard Perle – I've never seen so many exclamation marks in one article.In hindsight it apparently not.Oh come on. Here you're trying to have your cake and eat it too (well we were talking about a cakewalk). I'm sorry, but the invasion *was* a cakewalk. The Americans walked in, Saddam's regime disintegrated, the Americans took over. They even (foolishly, but that's another issue entirely) disbanded the entire Iraqi military. I'm finding it hard to comprehend just how much more conquered Iraq could get. Occupation is another issue, but it sounds like you don't even think we've got to the occupying stage yet! No, until every former Ba'athist militaryman – now insurgent – is rounded up and dealt with; only THEN will you proclaim the commencement of the occupation period. Up until then, it's still a hot war! You're in fantasy land.according to Lancet, 100,000 Iraqi lives later. A figure that has been widely disproven.Now, onto your Leeden links. Is he the only character you can dig up who's urging Bush and co to war with Iran? Anyway, he's not. I've read his articles in the National Review (but ignored the LaRouche link – sorry, but wouldn't trust the man, his organisation or their collective paranoia as far as I could throw them/him) – he basically says that the Iranian regime is built on very shaky popular support. He may be right when he says the mullahs are widely hated within Iran. He may be wrong. But *nowhere* is he urging military intervention. In fact, he seems to be openly spurning it in one article when he says "Our most potent weapons are political and ideological, but our actions have been almost exclusively military." The major point here is that there is *ZERO* evidence of some great war with Iran in the works. Yet, all the lefties are rushing around shrieking "Iran's next!!" As if! America is militarily and financially overstretched as is to militarily enact regime change in Tehran. Fomenting revolution by supporting democratic movements within Iran sounds like a great idea to me. And I'm not interested in dealing in your unsubstantiated "rumours". You wouldn't accept that level of evidence from me, I don't see why I should from you.I am bewildered that someone with your apparent intellect is buying this charade regarding the NPTI’m sure the Busheviks would have created something else out of whole clopth.Paranoid speculation. The US is apparently buying up anthrax at the moment and no one blinks.Oh, more rumours? Nope, this one's got the ring of truth to it, but the anthrax isn't for reasons you're thinking of. No, as is mentioned in this New Scientist article (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8044), the army is trying to procure anthrax. Not for weapons, though – they are after the Sterne strain of Anthrax that isn't toxic to humans, and – here's the kicker – it's mostly used in the production of vaccines. The Army had put the damn stuff out to tender, because they haven't been allowed to manufacture large quantities of biological warfare agents since the 70s! They also are attempting to procure fermentation equipment and "sheep carcasses to test the efficiency of an incinerator for the disposal of infected livestock." Just put your paranoia aside for a moment. Does it sound like the Army is attempting to construct WMDs with a shitload of anthrax of a harmless strain and a bunch of equipment more suited to developing vaccines? Here's what the experts had to say: They could be used to test procedures to decontaminate vehicles or buildings, or to test an "agent defeat" warhead designed to destroy stores of chemical and biological weapons…'I can definitely see them testing biological weapons delivery systems for threat assessment,"How terrifying! They're attempting to procure anthrax in an effort to develop techniques to neutralise an anthrax strike! Why isn't the world up in arms about this? Your uninformed rhetoric is spinning out of control, especially here:In spite of the fact that the IAEA has repeatedly stated that Iran are in compliance, Washingon has stated that this is irrelevant.Oh really?http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/08/11/iran.iaea/Check the age of that report. You were saying? Let’s start with their brand spanking new ambassador to the UN, the psychopath extraordinaire, John Bolton.Okay, so you named him. Then you went precisely nowhere with it. What's he got to do with Iran? What's your point? Do you have one? Like I said before, empty rhetoric.And you’ll be pleased to note that the source is not a tin foil hat reference but the American Conservative magazine.I read the link. Sounds rumour mill-ish to me. And the guy isn't telling the whole story – he has an axe to grind. That alone is obvious. Iranian’s weren’t signatories to the NPT at the time they were caught out by the IAEA, but I could be wrong.You are wrong. They signed up in 1968, ratified in 1970. <a href="http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt3.htmhttp://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt3.htm… />Anyway, by your reasoning, Pakistan, India and North Korea have also foresighted the same right no? What is the US doing about it. Bugger all.It's widely known that Pakistan and India held nuclear weapons long before they actually got around to testing them recently. North Korea claims to have nukes – that's unverified. If you want to know "what is the US doing about" North Korea – I'd say probably about the same what it's doing about Iran – working the diplomatic angle. It is only you and your colleagues who have this doomsday prediction of a pending invasion of Iran.Go Israel? Do us all a favor and grow up James.Awww…I'm vewwy tawwy. Admittedly I was being a bit provocative there. Glad it worked. The NPT is not obligatory.Sorry, weren't you championing international law above? Anyway, do, continue! The fact is that they are now fully co-operating and opent to the most extensive and intrusive ispections of any country ever…Everything is accounted for according to the man that was 100% right about Iraq’s nukes also, El Baradei. What so the US have to say about that?Dude, wtf are you on about? Have you been living under a rock for the past 6 months?http://www.mosnews.com/news/2004/09/29/iranuranprot.shtmlLook at that link. El Baradei even gets a mention. Sadly, he didn't back you up as you might have hoped. The diplomatic wheels are in motion. Iran has a serious case to answer. If Iran doesn't answer adequately – and the standard should be high due to its earlier breaches of the NNPT – then other options will need to be examined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.Personally, I think it's lunacy.Personally, I think your take on events is extraordinarily muddled and inaccurate. You give Iran a clean bill of health. Well, at least there's one of you. Iran only has another few billion to convince. Well excuse me, but you seemed to be grappling with the long proven concept of sell high, buy low at the timeSorry, what was I doing? I raised the issue of economics in reference to your dilemma as to why Iran would need or want nuclear power. The absence of your rebuttal to that point suggests that you are in agreement.Like I said earlier, I believe that because of its previous actions, Iran has forfeited the right to nuclear energy. Iran is a special case. The US borrows 2 billion a day to stay solvent.Who does? The federal government? If you're talking about the current account deficit, it's erroneous to view that as "borrowing". It means that capital is flowing into the country, not that it's being lent. You also ignore the USA's massive overseas assets and the returns received from them. The federal government will, at some point, have to pay off the public debt. American public debt isn't that high as a percentage of GDP. Japanese public debt, for example, is far higher.do you think the US economy is any state to absorb short-medium term economic disruption?In a word, yes. I don't think the US economy is as precarious as you believe. Certainly, there are structural imbalances, and some kind of correction seems likely. But economic collapse – to my mind – is unlikely. The Chinese economy is in a far more dire predicament. If you want to know more about this, I wrote extensively on the issue earlier this year. <a href="http://itneededtobesaid.blogspot.com/2005/07/china-chimera.htmlhttp://itneededtobesaid.blogspot.com/2005/07/chin… />There have been persistent rumorsAh, those rumours again. Did you hear them on Dailykos or DU? I'm sure that Bush will attempt to grapple with the Saudis at some point and lean on them to make them stop whipping up anti-Americanism at home. However, to suggest the Sauds are going to go Saddam's way any time soon is unfounded paranoia.You’ve taken the least significant point of my post and turned it into a novel.No, you've taken the point of your post where you were out-talked most convincingly and decided in hindsight that it's the least significant point. Precursor? There was no time wasted in reverting Iraq’s oil trading back to the US dollar. It if was so insignificant, why the hurry or why at all?Paranoia, again! Are you seriously trying to suggest that Iraq was invaded because they didn't trade in USD? Excuse me? No one predicted it?I didn't say "no one said it was impossible", and of course I'm aware of Able Danger, although it certainly didn't predict 9/11, so I can't understand why you're bringing it up. And I'm sure that Americans drilled for potential massive strikes. Though I challenge you to come up with one person in the Bush administration who said "What we'll do in regards to taking out Saddam is wait for a huge strike against us, on our soil, then we'll get him. Have the plans ready, boys, it's only a matter of time." No one said that, and you know it. 9/11 made regime change through military action politically possible. It simply wasn't before. But do you honestly believe that an energy hungry China will sit and do nothing if the US do attack/invade IranYep. They know what side their bread's buttered on. China absolutely relies on a bouyant US economy to stave off economic (and political) collapse. They would never risk sanctions. Read the link I posted above for more info.Sates will do what’s in their interest.I agree. That's why international law is such a crock. No they have a great deal more than thatWow, they have ICBMs. Tell me something I don't know. Okay, that's partially my fault. I meant to say "As things stand, they hold one world leading anti ship missile." , not "world class".Sems your fiscal exrtapolations just hit a brick wall.Um, why? Because governments waste money? Er…no shit sherlock.Tell me James, when was the last missile defense test the US conducted? Quite recently, actually. THere was one in 2002. Oh, and that one last month… <a href="http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/pdf/05fyi0061.pdfhttp://www.mda.mil/mdalink/pdf/05fyi0061.pdf<br />R&D funding is no guarantee of innovation, however it is directly linked to it. The point is that the Iranians are not stuck with ScudsOh my god. Is that what this is all about? I conceded the above in my last post! Bloody hell. How would engineers unblock a straight that is guarded by anti ship missiles?By neutralising the launch sites? Temporarily invading Iranian territory in close proximity to the gulf? I don't know, there are literally thousands of ways. Weren’t we told that Iraq wudl be short sharp and sweet?The war bit, yes. And it was. No one said the occupation would be. Just as no one is saying America should invade and occupy Iran. You just seem to think there's this dire plan afoot. America may attack Iran, certainly. However, I strongly doubt occupation would be part of the equation, simply because the Americans don't have the capacity to do so. We are dealing with a series of "what ifs", here. Who knows how a conflict between Iran and the USA would pan out. I have to say, however, my money's on the USA (assuming they aren't trying to occupy Iran). And I reckon if you were honest, you'd concede yours is too. Well, that’s an interesting point (the bit about attacking from Saudi) yes. you may be right.I think I could be. And the more I think about it, I think I didn't even choose the right country. Kuwait – yes, Sunni, noisily pro-American, noisily anti-Iran Kuwait – is in a far more strategic location. Kuwait would certainly allow the US to use its territory as a base to clear the Persian gulf and neutralise an Iranian attempt at blockade. it seems you are flying high on faith hereWell, I can't predict the future, so I suppose I am. But I reckon it's a pretty safe bet, considering that keeping the Persian Gulf clear is crucial for American oil supplies. I'm absolutely certain that would be the first objective the Yanks secure in the event of an attack. And with guys like Rumsfeld at the helm, who don’t like listening to advice, they have become like a dinsosaur – big muscle but small brain.Couldn't resist a bit more rhetoric, eh?The only countermeasure that’s up to scruitiny is the Aegies system, which I read has had a mediocre success rate, but what do I know?Probably about as much as I do, which is not a lot. Aegis is continually being upgraded, however. Since Sunburn has never been used in combat before, it's pretty hard to predict its true influence on a battle. However, I'm quite sure the Americans have intel on it and they would plan a strike with its capabilities in mind – ie because it's primarily an anti-ship weapon, they may not use carriers or much naval force. Why would they – they now have a perfectly good and enormous landing strip in nearby Kuwait. I don't know if anyone else is following this thread still – pity. I'm having a nice time. Cheerio!

  • anthony

    I don't know if anyone else is following this thread still – pity. I'm having a nice time.I am. Still salivating over Ted’s points. Heh heh…Andre, not that I want to distract you from your debate (assuming you will come up with another quaint rebuttal):Who's BS right of return are you referring to? Israel has one of those BTW, except that theirs extends throughout the globe.Just in case your actually being serious- many anti-Israelis advocate the return of so-called refugees from the 1948 war of independence, even though most left the area by the order of their Arab masters (expecting the slaughter of the Jewish infidels to follow), and because Radio Cairo’s Propaganda at 9:00 scared them shitless- i.e., the Jews will eat your children and rape your wives, and other works of fiction. They also ignored David Ben-Gurion’s invitation to return following the conflict. The UN, in all its wisdom, let the problem breed out of control, and several Arab leaders have admitted the ‘refugee camps’ are political tools- just pawns ready to swamp the chessboard. This is what I am referring to- the idea that these Palestinians should be allowed to return to Israel as Israeli citizens, vote in Hamas and set up some gas chambers.Israel is a sovereign nation, its immigration program is entirely just. I certainly wouldn’t call the emigration of 60,000+ Ethiopian Jews- who no other nation would take- to a better life BS as you imply.