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1st Quarter, 2017  

The emerging sub-prime pension scandal

Failing pension funds in Texas (police & firemen in Houston & Dallas) and California (public officials -relying on CalPERS) are having to cut pay outs. In the case of CalPERS by up to 60%. These failures are the outcome of poor risky investments, lavish executive perks and because of past reliance on junk bonds and derivatives purchased in search of "yield". This distortion is a direct outcome of quantitative easing and the low interest rate policies. The sub-prime pension scandal has began to spread, just like the sub-prime mortgage crisis, across the Atlantic to Europe and will have similar outcomes.

The more troublesome aspect is that in trying to save the pension funds politicians are likely to follow the disastrous route of bank bail outs leaving the tax payer to foot the bill. It is clear that governments need to re-introduce regulations that prevent not only the sale of predatory derivatives (the cause of the whole recent financial crisis) but also to prevent any private or state organization compensating for such bad decision making by calling on tax payers to pay up when they had nothing to do with the decisions.

Bit coin passes $1,000

Bit coin has jumped some $250 , from $750 to $1,000, in just a month or so as a result of uncertainty surrounding paper currencies resulting from the general economic situation but also as a result of the Indian and Venezuelan withdrawal of high value notes so as to enforce banking of funds to secure value by substituting high value notes for more lower value notes.

Vermont Electricity facility Russian hack - nothing of the kind

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Moscow could be behind intrusion into a laptop owned by a Vermont electricity utility but like the New York Times they appear to be incapable of checking their facts. According to Ibn Nr, the Vermont intrusion is a simple hacker's code known as P.A.S. and its version is V.3.1.7 which is designed to review content on Word Press sites. It runs from PHP once decrypted and it can be accessed using FireFox or Chrome browsers. The latest version of P.A.S. is V.4.1.1. This utility provides browser, explorer and search functions of directories, data base downloads and a port scanner that can bind ports to operations. It can force intrusion though to FTP and POP3 operations, can provide command line control of some operation systems functions and can show the server configuration.

This can be downloaded from the site of the builders: http://profexer.name/pas/download.php. This will not have been placed via a network, it needs to be downloaded, so there is nothing linking this to Moscow although the web site shows "Made in Ukraine". Not exactly something to be used for covert operations.

John McAfee on Cyber-security

In an interesting exchange between Larry King and John McAfee, John McAfee made some straightforward statements on the topic of cyber-security.

The over-emphasis on the part of the USA, on cyber warfare meant that not enough investment or thought had been given to the development of protection against attacks. As it is, most systems in the USA and elsewhere are vulnerable to attack. The current dynamic is somewhat like the old cold war when in fact different sides can inflict considerable damage on the other but do not do so for fear of retaliation. The current grid systems linked to internet and radio controlled networks mean that whole energy systems and certain manufacturing and laboratory processes can be rendered inoperable. In spite of this, there is no defence.

Obama's spoiler tactics & wild accusations

Obama is dragging his decline in status as an end of term president to a low ebb. While Russia, Turkey and Iran have achieved a substantive move towards a lasting peace in Syria, Obama has authorized the supply of lethal weapons to "moderates", while the media and un-named officials accuse Russia of hacking, Obama has acted by expelling over 30 Russian diplomats. Russia has shown a more practical approach to Syria and a more mature approach to the fantasy tails coming out of the Beltway from Clinton devotees, bent on damaging relations with Russia. Thus Russia has not entered into the expected tit for tat response concerning the expulsion of diplomats making the USA look childish.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated that Obama’s “bitter” and “helpless” team has undermined the White House’s reputation. With the outgoing president not leaving “any” major foreign policy achievements as part of his legacy and instead of “putting an elegant period” to his two presidential terms has “made a huge blot” with his latest decision to impose more sanctions on Russia, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two diplomatic compounds in the US. She wrote: “Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own president. Not by international terrorists, not by [the] enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own their master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote, labeling the current administration “a group of foreign policy losers, bitter and narrow-minded.”

Zakharova also said that with its incoherent foreign policy, Obama’s administration has inadvertently debunked a long-cherished myth of America’s exceptionalism that claims a special place in the world.

“This is it, [the] curtain [has dropped]. The bad performance is over. The whole world, from the front row to the balcony, is watching a devastating blow to America’s prestige and its leadership, dealt by Barack Obama and his semi-literate foreign policy team, which has exposed its main secret to the world – exceptionalism was a masked helplessness.” “No enemy of the United States could have done worse,” Zakharova concluded.

European values?

A growing myth is emerging to mould a new image for Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. Barack Obama has just wound up a visit to Germany where he went out of his way to say what a stalwart ally Angela was. There is a major effort to somehow build her up as the role model of common values, liberty and the rule of law. However, somewhat typical of the dying Obama administration, he overlooks the inconvenient truth that she was instrumental in preventing Europeans gaining free expression and helped sustain the growing unacceptable European democratic deficit. It was Angela Merkel who encouraged all heads of state in the Union, in an open letter, not to provide the people of Europe with referenda on the introduction of the new European Constitution which had been hacked out in a participatory vacuum by Giscard d'Estaing. The other heads of state, many recent arrivals from ex-soviet regimes and few democratic inclinations willingly followed Merkel's advice, including Tony Blair. The result was the introduction of the infamous Lisbon Treating which extended the power of the unelected European Commission by introducing a foreign service and majority non-veto voting. Angela Merkel has very weak democratic credentials and cannot be trusted.

Bashing RT...

A journalist from the TV channel Russia Today (RT) at a US State Department press briefing in Washington, asked the State Department spokesperson, Admiral Kirby, to provide the names and locations of 5 Syrian hospitals he stated had been bombed by Russian and Syrian air forces. As is usual at such briefings State Department officials seldom can produce evidence for the most of the extreme assertions that they constantly level against Russia. In this case Kirby lost control and ranted on about why the journalist didn't ask such questions of the (her) military authorities in Russia. He then went on to say he does not consider RT journalists to warrant the same treatment as the other assembled journalists. When asked why, he said because RT is state owned. This type of snide remark coming from a State Department official is a disgrace. RT is not state owned it receives funding from the Russia state just as does Voice of America, BBC in the UK and Die Velt in Germany.

The State department press briefing have always been run by third rate individuals who think it is smart not to answer the more searching questions that often come from RT journalists and this is a government department that lectures the world about "values" and "transparency" etc etc.,

Russian propaganda?

Although US State Department and even Hillary Clinton have referred to RT as Russian propaganda the range of independent shows that accept no editorial orientation is impressive including world famous Larry King's "Politicking", Afshin Rattansi's "Going Underground", Edward Harrison and Ameera David's "Boom Bust" to name just a few. The reality is that RT is one of the few media that truly supports independent journalism that promote alternative interpretations of events. It is this that the US State Department does not want because it cuts across their desire to not admit alternative points of view or neutral stands. RT has provided the third party US Presidential candidates with air time which was not provided to the people of the USA by mainstream US outlets, many of which seem to be staffed by State Department stenographers.

Sky News wasting people's time

Sky News announced that at 10.00 am on Sunday, 8th January, Theresa May would be provided with the opportunity to explain her "shared society" concept. When the time arrived Theresa May was confronted with a bunch of tired worn out questions on issues of no interest and no time was left, at all, for Theresa May to say anything about her "shared society" vision. Essentially Sky News and the journalist concerned, Sophy Ridge, simply wasted a lot of people's time and essentially showed no consideration for Theresa May. Journalists need to realize that people watch programmes to hear what guests have to say and they should allow them time to say what they have to say. Filling up a programme with their own, or their editor's, "agenda of unrelated questions" designed to entrap a captured target on camera is bad journalism. It is an insult to those who turned to the programme based on Sky News' misleading announcement and was an affront to the Prime Minister. Theresa May was very patient but she should have reminded the journalist that she came to discuss a specific topic then, maybe, this programme would have been more informative and we could all move on with our life.

An embarrassing, unintelligent report

The Director of National Intelligence has released a highly embarrassing report entitled,"Background to "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections": The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution."

This report is embarrassing because it is such an amateur cut and paste job with little input from professional intelligence analysts and containing basic errors in facts, out-of-date information and other details pointing to a product of a seriously uninformed team. It is even worse that the "dodgy dossier" signed by Tony Blair in the run up to the Iraq war which he attempted to pass off as an intelligence assessment. These reports are highly politicized and products of the post-truth and "fake-fact" environment that permeated the Westminster filter bubble under Blair then and that pervades today's Beltway.

For an "intelligence briefing" dealing with such serious accusations, the range of levels of certainty of conclusions in the document are unacceptable for any responsible decision-maker. The assessment contained in the unclassified report is stated to be supported with "high confidence" by the CIA and FBI and by NSA with moderate confidence. At the back of the document three levels of confidence are defined with the high confidence, this being the highest level, signifying that "High confidence in a judgement does not imply that the assessment is a fact or certainty; such judgements might be wrong". This definition which, in reality, is a disclaimer, and is simply not serious for the field of cyber crime. It also provides no justification for the deportation of 35 Russian diplomatic staff from the USA.

Margarita Simonyan

Rather than provide anything convincing concerning Russia's attempt to influence the US election, the document provides a considerable amount of irrelevant information on the Russia Today (RT) channel.

For those interested in understanding the rise of cross-border news of which RT is a world leader, it is worth reading the independent report produced by PwC UK (Pricewaterhouse Coopers UK plc) entitled The rise of cross-border news. Margarita Simonyan, Editor in Chief of RT explains the reason for this independent report as, "We wanted to understand the motivation of viewers and readers of cross-border news - and we believed this understanding would help all providers of global news deliver a service that meet users' needs".

Also, in order to clear up the misinformation concerning RT propaganda see the internal APE Brief RT_20160520. Our APE General Editorial Advice is that little or no additional resources should be allocated to this non-story.


©Glenn Francis

The Voice returns with Tom Jones & will.i.am

The Voice Programme has transferred from BBC to ITV and its talent contest will make its debut on Saturday night (7th January, 2017). Tom Jones will return as a judge together with will.i.am and there will be two new judges, the Oscar and Bafta-winning singer Jennifer Hudson and singer Gavin Rossdale, as well as will.i.am who moved with the show from the BBC.

Tom Jones was unceremoniously sacked from the BBC Voice with no explanation or notice and the ratings of the programme immediately fell. The British public did not approve of this cavalier and disgraceful action by the BBC.

It is expected that with his return the new Voice will do well. will.i.am commented that a change in record label from Universal to Polydor should contribute to the contest producing some stars but the choice of song is really important in achieving this.

British media exaggerating significance of EU Rep resignation

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK government's representative to the European Union, has resigned earlier than expected to make room for someone to manage the Article 50 negotiations for BREXIT. UK Media have taken the opportunity to label this as a rift and a problem for the UK government; it really isn't. If Sir Ivan intended his email sent to staff as a criticism of government, then he should not remain in any case, since some dedication to UK interests is required.

On the other hand, the volumes of reports and documents spewed out by Berlaymont on EU progress tend to be very misleading and uninformative, patching over the many inefficiencies and cock-ups that exist in the implementation of European Commission funded activities. Like any large political organizations the EU peps up its operational image on the basis of internal propaganda that staff seems to believe. Therefore the notion that the EU and the Commission has more professional negotiators, leaving the UK at a disadvantage, is not a wholly correct representation of the required dynamics under Article 50. The Commission and Council have a well known highly structured crystalline structure that they wish to maintain and its weaknesses are also well known. The UK has a specific global mission and not one to be constrained by the EU in economic terms and definitely not by political considerations. The EU staff have little experience in operating where flexibility is required simply because political constraints do not allow them to be flexible, their degrees of freedom are limited. Concerning the significance of the UK market for many European Union Member State economic sectors, the UK has far more bargaining power and an ability to introduce needed adjustments than is generally admitted.

Washington Post trips up again for peddling fake news

In the third wire in the Botequim column on the right, we explained why a statement of the Washington Post was not true in the post entitled: "Vermont Electricity facility Russian hack - nothing of the kind."

This sort of third rate sensationalist journalism is tiresome and dishonest or just plain sloppy. No wonder less and less people trust such mainstream media. The Washington Post has now withdrawn their assertions concerning Russian involvement.

Can Theresa save Britain?

As yet, the strategy for Britain in securing a beneficial separation from the European Union, has not been declared by the government. However, what is becoming clear in this initial phase of the post-referendum period is that people are becoming increasingly informed about events and procedures associated with the European Union. This is resulting in increasing numbers supporting the referendum outcome to leave the European Union.

First of all the bad-tempered reactions at the Commission and Council under Donald Tusk were unbecoming and disrespectful of a democratic decision. Passing from that knee-jerk reaction we then witnessed a range of member State heads essentially threatening Britain with harsh terms for exit. The general thrust was, and remains, one of threats and attempted intimidation. This behaviour, which many in Britain consider to be alien to the isles and to hark back to former "Continental times", is a taboo in Britain. Britain entered a major war on September 3, 1939 to fight this type of political arrogance which thrives on the maintenance of a regime of fear. So much for the so-called "European values".

This recent awakening of this sensitivity has been intensified by the very recent revelations concerning the alleged behaviour of what was the governing party in Macedonian, a country that expects to join the European Union. It seems that this political party secured a majority of votes, in the recent election, on the basis of corrupt agricultural policies (see next article) managed under a regime of fear and intimidation. However, the Macedonian example also serves to highlight the ongoing waste of EU taxpayer's money on so-called pre-accession technical assistance programmes to agriculture, which is not used effectively. The EU-funded agricultural programme is Macedonia ineffective because of a constant interference by unelected agents from the main party (VMRO-DPMNE) in policy to ensure that it generates or funds and votes for the party1.

Significant doubts are now being raised as to the efficacy of the election monitoring groups used during this election, including Skopje-based NGOs. It is notable that they limited their attention to polling stations while ignoring the well-known role of agricultural policy in influencing votes. Under the typical alleged operational characteristics of VMRO-DPMNE, which include the issuance of threats and intimidation of nationals, in any walk of life, who criticize the government or have differing opinions, neutrality is something hard to come by in today's Macedonia. It is this constant theme of callous indifference to the treatment of people of a country which paints a depressing picture of the real values of Europe of today and the Europe to come. The European Commission, in its lax oversight of pre-accession processes under a governments that abuse human freedom is resulting in failures in this process and a significant loss of resources. This simply lays the foundation for an increasing democratic deficit and decadence in values in the European Union.

Forgetting about the economy, NATO and markets, a primary factor of importance is the reign of the community conscience in guiding governance. Theresa May can help save Britain from this depressing environment called Europe by pushing ahead with BREXIT so, at least, we can preserve values we hold dear.

1A detailed review on Macedonian agricultural policy corruption is under preparation by a consortium of investigative journalists to be submitted to the British Parliament and Parliament of the European Union.

Macedonia, is this the EU to come?

The next group of countries that are likely to become Member States of the European Union are the Balkan counties of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria have already joined the EU.

Macedonia is a country, often considered to be a laboratory where it is possible to assess the possible contributions of Balkan countries to the future social, political and economic change in Europe.

Macedonian agricultural policy, a voting machine
Macedonia has just undergone a general election where the previous governing party, the VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO–DPMNE) had been accused of corruption and wiretapping and a political crisis arising from an attempt to pardon those responsible. The EU sent a mediator who openly declared the former government to have been operating a regime of fear and intimidation. In spite of this image the recent election resulted in VMRO-DPMNE achieving a majority with a reduced number of MPs but insufficient to form a government. This comeback is considered to be an obvious sign of the continued pervasive corrupt influence of VMRO-DPMNE over the voting mechanism.

The rural areas provided the balance in votes that ensured that VMRO-DPMNE secure a slim majority in spite of it's negative image. This ability to maintain a vote in the rural areas is related to the VMRO-DPMNE's secret weapon of defective agricultural policies which continue to defy EU requirements and where the process of allocation of subsidies and grants lacks transparency. Therefore, no matter how many international observers were at the ballot stations, the operational aspects of vote purchases, rigging and corruption occurred out of sight of the international observers who accordingly could not really detect anything. This is why VMRO-DPMNE remained so confident throughout the election.

Although Macedonia is a small country, this development has helped erode confidence of informed observers in many in Member States of the likely future state of democracy in Europe. It has thrown into question the effectiveness of the European Commission in preparing countries for accession. The problem is that the majority of the potential new members are countries with similar political establishments with dubious democratic credentials. It has become evident that one of the stronger vectors resulting in BREXIT was that sovereignty was considered to be a risk of being increasingly undermined by the inevitable rising democratic deficit in the EU; immigration, although a trigger, was only a secondary issue. The outcome of the Macedonian election only plays into a negative narrative of European Commission incompetence contributing to an inevitable increase in the EU democratic deficit to come. These perceptions are at play increasingly in France, Austria, The Netherlands and other countries where Euro-skepticism is on the rise. This imperils the future cohesion of the EU.

Pre-accession agricultural policy changes are an area where the European Commission has normally been considered to be reasonably effective in past enlargements and having had a positive influence. In the case of Macedonia, it appears to be failing badly.

Read more ....   

UK leads European growth in people power bases

Jeremy Corbyn
Real News reported earlier this year that the British labour party had become the largest socialist party in Europe since Jeremy Corbyn had been elected as leader. In a Blairite attempt to remove him, another leadership election was imposed on the party and Jeremy Corbyn was returned as leader with the largest majority ever obtained in the history of the party.

Corbyn is a strong proponent of people power and listening to what the costituents want and need. However, the UK "mainstream" media continue to wallow in their parochial filter bubbles casting doubt on the ability of Jeremy Corbyn to win a general election. Last time we reported on the Labour party membership it stood at around 500,000; it has since increased by 140,000 to 640,000 (almost 30% within 6 months). It just keeps on growing, especially amongst the young and increasingly, well-informed so-called "middle class" voters.

Unlike the post-truth and fake news shambles that characterises the mainstream media and the chattering classes centred in London, Corbyn has been giving some comprehensive speeches which are convincing. A common criticism is "where is the detail?", but many of the more attractive innovations introduced by the failed Chancellor George Orborne and even lately by Chancellor Philip Hammond, were filched from the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is more careful. The conventional national media try to ignore these messages and the foreign media even more so. This is a major oversight of foreign media in ignoring the development and platform of the largest political party in Europe. Fortunately some alternative media such as APE have picked up on the key content and this is convicing more people that Labour has something to offer. This advance has been helped by the current confusion in the Conservative government concerning BREXIT.

Our correspondent in London informs us that although the media ignore Corbyn and the Government ministers talk in terms of their being "no opposition", the growth in people power under the Labour parrty and which effectively keeps Corbyn in an unassailable position, is giving rise for concern; some have become convinced that if there were a snap election, Labour would win.

Clinton's Useful Idiots

It is a bad day when a "respected" media is shown to be involved in post-truth sensationalism and fake news. This appears to be the case of the Washinton Post.

The Washington Post has issued an editor’s note that admitted its reliance on the information on the PropOrNot website. This site claims to be supported by nonpartisan experts on “Russian propaganda” but is becoming increasingly evident that the information provided is largely made up. The Post had claimed that Russia was running an increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign that was influencing the US presidential election and made reference to their sources as being PropOrNot describing this website as being supported by independent researchers who determined that Russian state media, RT and Sputnik News produce biased articles designed to punish Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump as well as contributing to the undermining of faith in American democracy.

As is common of poor and irresponsible journalism the Post and PropOrNot provided no evidence in support of their assertions.

PropOrNot has listed numerous organizations as allies yet social media carry numerous statements from these allies stating that they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story. Journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that [PropOrNot]," ....this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.”

In conclusion the source of misleading libelous propaganda that has been slandering President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Party through association with non-existent manipulations by Russia and various private media, who cover Russian affairs, has been, and remains, this mediocre website PropOrNot and the Post has willingly acted as a distributor of the resulting fake news based on a post-truth strategy.

Putin's Useful Idiots

An American NGO called the Henry Jackson Society, has just published a document by an Andrew Foxall of the so-called Russia Studies Centre. This document is entitled, "Putin's Useful Idiots: Britain's Left, Right and Russia", demonstrates a lamentable misunderstanding of Russia's policy with repect to so-called left and right movements worldwide. There is no depth to this document with most references being all very recent, most dated 2016 and one or two 1990s vintage. In fact the analysis is plain wrong and reflects perhaps the writer's age and lack of experience with the fundamentals of Russian motivations going back beyond the initiation of World War II. The writer has simply bought into the recent Clintonesque and John Kerry State Department-driven paranoia about Putin. The personalisation of this document, centred on Putin, is typical of the brand of knee jerk journalism that is the US mainstream media today. This cannot be considered to be a serious researched document reflecting the current motivations of Putin.

Any amateur student of history knows that Russia has a well-established habit, like the USA, of funding sympathetic political movements. In fact the USA dedicates somthing like 500 times more funding to foreign political movements and NGOs than does Russia. Indeed, Russia learned some of these techniques from the USA. It is notable that although there is ample evidence of USA funding of foreign political activity as well as regime change supported by bloody wars, the Clinton campaign and security agencies in the USA could not come up with any evidence for Russian interference in the recent US election. Of course even the FBI was accused of acting on behalf of Russia. There is by contrast excessive amounts of evidence concerning USA interference in foreign elections as well as support of the so-called right in Ukraine as well as terrorist groups in the Middle East and of strong political support for Saudi Arabia in spite of evidence of their involvement in the murderous events of 9-11 in downtown New York. One cannot equate this behaviour with anything to do with freedom, democracy and the rule of law but the author of this document does not want to be bothered with such details but simply wants to deliver on attacking Putin.

One bizarre recommendation by this individual is a that politicians should be required to register the fact that they will participate in coverage by such media organizations as RT. This is a MacCarthyism excess. RT receives funding from the Russian government in the same way as Voice of America in the USA or BBC in the UK. Most US mainstream media are essentially stenographers for US government output, especially in the case of foreign affairs and State Department output so that on these stations it is difficult to get alternative point of view across. A self-imposed or funded censorship creates enormous bias in news coverage, indeed, the experience of Bernie Sanders during the primaries, provides ample evidence of this. RT has a range of programmes that are managed by people who would not accept any editorial orientation from RT. For example Larry King and his program "Politicking", Ameera David's "Boom Bust" and Afshin Rattansi's "Going Underground"". These are all programs that provide a rational and alternative view of opinions and all off them grill interviewees from any side.

Finally, to highlight where this document goes wrong, like the USA, Russia provides "support" to people whose ideas are potentially against the interests of the country. Such people, mainly on the right, are seduced into misunderstading of provision of platforms, and even funding, signifies support for their basic philosophies; it doesn't and never has done. It is largely designed to raise their profile and expose them so as to line up domestic opinion against them. This succeeded in the case of the National Front and most other ultra right wing UK parties to the benefit of the UK population.

In disagreement with Stalin, Leon Trotsky pointed out the danger of the right (Fascists) and Stalin made him pay the ultimate price. However, the lesson arising from the Nazi fiasco caused Russia to finally understand Trotsky's analysis at a great human cost. The recent Ukraine events saw the US State Department support of neofascist paramilitary units. There were calls for NATO expansion into Ukraine. NATO, however, had demonstrated its willingness to alter its etablished defensive role willy nilly to pursue a proactive regime change in Libya, under the guise of an innocent "no flight zone". This created a significant change in the perception of the stablity of NATO as a reliable adversary alliance both within the UK as well as in Russia. The evidence is there for all to see that NATO's intervention resulted in chaos and the spread of ISIS and a major European immigration crisis which Muammar Gaddafi had predicted and had prevented. This led, naturally, to the Crimean outcome in light of the important Russian naval base and ethnic make-up of Crimeans, mainly Russian speakers. Ukrainan events at the time was showing TV coverage of Ukrainan neo-fascists clubbing members of Russian ethnic groups to death. This is not to argue that what has occurred is right it is simply to point out that there were good reasons for this move in strategic terms as well as in terms of the security of the population in Crimea. When the West acts in a way that does not demonstrate a consistent strategy there is a problem of predictability resulting in instability. The only way to stop this growing global chaos is to take decisive actions.

In such a world there is a need for balanced rational analyses to identify options for possible soltions. The shallow nature of this journalistic publication devoid of objective analysis with rights reserved by a UK registered charity calls into question why this organization has a charitable status when it is wasting money on such polemic that contributes nothing to the debate.

The best way to predict the future is to create it

The title to this section is a quote from Peter Drucker the management guru who died in 2005. Drucker concentrated on the business unit but his insights remain important for the macroeconomy as well as human action in general. The current chaos in the fields of foreign affairs and economics are essentially caused by perceptions that are not based on fact, that is, evidence, and yet governments are taking decisions based on visions and assertions.

In "diplomatic circles" the oft heard statement that "all options are on the table!" normally means that as a last resort, violence and aggression will be used to secure what some countries desire. Economic sanctions are in fact an act of war that cause the populations of target countries to suffer. No country has the right to undermine the standards of living of people of another nation as a basis for changing the policies of governments over which the same people have no real influence. Democratic principles will seldom cause populations subjected to sanctions to overthrow governments. In western "democracies" the electorates are similarly unable to secure governments that reflect their will. We all suffer from a leadership incapable of predicting the future and even less able to create one that is motivated by the common human conscience that desires peace and goodwill for all. This is the leadership crisis embodied in the political party systems.

The USA and now European are increasingly aping of the Israeli model that has been imposed for over some 65 years, a policy model of intentional destruction, of the dispossession of the Palestinians, economic sanctions, ethnic cleansing and extra-constitutional looting of the land and natural resources of others; a case study in criminality, the perversion of power and decadence of leadership. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are examples of the substitution of mindless destruction for any attempt to create viable peaceful futures. Syria has exposed the hypocrisy of the "war on terror" becoming one where terrorists are fully supported by the USA, its coalition and middle eastern states some of which are implicated in the 9-11 atrocity and which launched this terrible period of inhumane destruction.

Apeurope authorizes detailed study on the costs & benefits of Brexit

During the Apeurope Annual General Meeting held on 10th October, Group correspondents registered their extreme frustration at the absense of evidence-based positions, on all sides, during the recent European referendum. With the decision to leave the European Union, this lack of clarity continues. The vascillation and delays by all British polictical parties in defining any coherent position is alarming and the posturing of the European Commission officials and some heads of state of Member States is unacceptable. Therefore, in the continued absense of any positive government or Commission action the Apeurope Board has authorized a study on the "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union". This study will analyse the sector and foreign trade partner potential opportunities, gaps and impacts arising from the new options that now exist with BREXIT. This has the objective of providing a basis for identifying mutual benefits to the remaining European Union's members and to the UK.

Salt & Vinegar option under BREXIT

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, assertion that no BREXIT is better than hard BREXIT and that leaving will only leave salt and vinegar. This exposes a behind-the-scenes effort on the part of a wide range of interest groups to try and reverse the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

What is not being accepted is that no one has quantified the benefits of remaining. In the 1980s UK European Commissioner Cockburn commissioned a study called "No Europe". This was supposed to calculate the benefits of being in Europe. The initial study came up with no benefits so the study was repeated, again coming up with no significant benefits. This report was a source of embarrassment and was therefore binned by the Commission. However, the fundamental message of the report was not lost on those who had read the report, especially some members of the UK Conservative party. It should be remembered that Cockburn was a UK Commissioner proposed by the Thatcher government. The bottom line here is that many in Britain know that the European Commission has no bargaining position if a country wishes to leave the EU because it is not possible to quantify the benefits of remaining. Any "hard exit" will prejudice European exporters to the UK. This means trying to punish, or threatening to punish the UK, bordering on economic sanctions, will only hurt Europe. This is why there is a panic in the European Commission.

The return of the UK fishing grounds
will be a major economic and social benefit

On the question of foreign investment in the UK drying up with BREXIT, some recent confidential corporate executive conclaves are concluding that the UK's prospects are better outside the EU because the economy will grow faster than the EU as a result of the incremental growth in UK trade with non-EU countries. The organization of negotiating teams, with many members coming from British Commonwealth countries, is impressive and there is a large build-up of trading profiles being prepared, not with the EU, but with a long list of global partners. Whereas the UK started BREXIT with weak negotiation resources the current capabilities have already surpassed the somewhat sclerotic approach associated with the EU Commission typified by secrecy and a very poor public image such as their poorly handled TTIP negotiations.

There is a poorly appreciated fact surrounding the UK regulatory environment for financial services and a long established flexibility in the way the UK-based financial sector handle just about any challenge, sets London apart from any other world financial centre. This has its drawbacks but remains a well known, but seldom admitted, reality. The European Commission dreams that BREXIT will result the global financial centre migrating to Frankfurt, or anywhere else in mainland Europe, but according to traders this is unlikely to come true for the foreseeable future. At the moment European centres do not have the right combination of capabilities, experience and regulatory environments or, frankly, any track record to contemplate substituting London as the global financial centre.

Donald Tusk does not appear to understand that the British have a preference for eating fish and chips with salt and vinegar and this tradition will continue after BREXIT.

The Whale in the coming BREXIT talks

In some of the preparatory exchanges concerning the Apeurope Study "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union" one delegate pointed out that one of the most shocking give-aways by the Heath Conservative government, when the UK entered the European Union in 1972, was the UK's fishing grounds, amongst the most productive on the planet. This had a significant negative social and economic impact on the British fishing industry. BREXIT provides the damaged UK fishing industry and the UK fishermen the opportunity to regain their former prominent contribution to Britain's Agricultural, Fisheries and Forestry sector by supplying the UK with home-caught fish.

The current catch value, official and unofficial, is around £500 million. Much fish coming to the UK market goes through large EU-based factory ships who simply sell fish caught within these waters to UK fishermen or land the fish for port-side markets. With BREXIT the national fishing communities' income could double to around £1 billion.

The re-establishment of British sovereignty over the former UK fishing grounds would be a major tangible benefit of BREXIT. In preparation to this major benefit it would make sense, in terms of managing the total manageable catch (TAC) to come to agreement with Iceland on management and to only permit EU vessels to fish under license paid to the UK treasury. License income would be used to monitor fish stocks and prevent abuse arising from unacceptable catching practices such as avoiding catching and killing very young fish needed to grow stocks for the sustainability of the industry.

This could become the Whale in the BREXIT negotiation fish tank when discussions get going. Several countries, France and Spain and indirectly The Netherlands, have much to lose with this aspect of BREXIT. The solution, of course, is for EU Commission and other Member State heads to stop their talk about punishing Britain for BREXIT but to come to a satisfactory settlement of things like this; there are many more to come and Emancipation News will be setting these out here.

US foreign policy is a ridiculous "Show Time" for gullible media; little credibility remains

The sheer hypocrisy of the histrionics of the USA UN ambassador and the lack of logical argument of the US State Secretary and the absurd off stage statements by leading US military figures is ridiculous. We witness a bunch of mavericks playing a high stakes poker game while the Commander in Chief, so-called, seems to be ignored. No one believes that the US attack on the Syrian army was a "mistake" as John Kerry claimed. This attack could be "called off" because it was already "mission accomplished". The terrorist attack on the humanitarian mission was immediately blamed on Syrian and Russian air attacks while the US ignored the drone evidence provided by Russia on the local terrorist vehicle pulling a howitzer. The biggest problem that runs through the US narratives and bluster is a complete lack of evidence to back up accusations relating to Russian actions in Syria, cyber attacks on some disparate Democratic Party servers and events in the Ukraine. However, the evidence that does exist supports the emerging truth that the US foreign policy is barbaric, currently protecting rapists and beheading terrorists who run a sex trade based on innocent women, selling them through online sites by having their so-called "moderates" iter-mingle with these terrorists in civilian areas to protect them from attack. The latest show by these hypocrites has been in the Security Council of the UN to demand "investigations" into war crimes. The burning alive of innocents by US repeated attacks on the hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan and the recent attack by Saudi Arabia killing 150 individuals in the Yemen are war crimes.

White Helmets in Syria alleged to be phony NGO, involved in staged propaganda, funded by UK government, with HQ in Turkey

Journalists who have recently visited Syria report that the White Helmets who feature in many media in the West saving children following "attacks by the Syrian government or Russians" are closely embedded in the terrorist groups and only work in the areas occupied by the same. It is alleged that they have a budget of something like $100 million and employ about 3,000 individuals who are involved in staged, heavily edited, videos designed to accuse either the Syrian government or Russians of atrocities. It is further alleged that the White Helmets and heavily armed off camera, have been involved in killing Syrian Civil Defence personnel and raiding and stealing their equipment and mopping up after beheadings and executions by the terrorist organizations. These allegations are so serious that the British Government needs to be asked to explain why they waste public funds on such an organization closely involved with ISIS and Al Quaeda and others and organized to mislead the British public with distorted propaganda.

How bad Fed decisions triggered the financial crisis

Criticisms have been leveled at banks for selling mortgages to people who were at risk of defaulting. Central Banks have a responsibility to monitor any such exposure as a fundamental input to interest rate policy. The Fed had maintained an interest rate range of between 2% and 5% up until 2005. It is evident that with this history, if people buy into loans at 2% there is always the risk that interest rates will more than double if rates go up to 5%. If mortgagees are fully stretched at 2% they will default at 3% or 4%. This is clear. In spite of the well known growth in mortgage lending during 2002 through 2004 when interest rates were reduced to less than 2%. However, by 2005 Fed had doubled rates up to over 4% and then in 2006 raised rates to 5.25% in June a 300% increase over June 2004 (1.25%). This massive rise cause the precipitation of the sub-prime mortgage defaults. The contagion was spread by mainly US banks creating derivatives from the sub prime mortgages and mis-classifying then as AAA and purposely dumping these on the markets where a large number of European banks fell into the trap of purchasing them without looking at the fundamentals already in train. It is notable that the LIBOR rates began to rise in early 2008 as some banks saw this as an illicit means to serve their interests in increasingly precarious times.

In the end the lax extra-constitutional financial authority arrangements in relation to bank regulations and the lack of oversight of the derivatives grey markets by Central Banks, set the conditions a financial disaster caused largely by poor management standards, no checks and balances deployed by central banks and the corporate greed of banks. Unfortunately a lack of political leadership did not resist the call for bank bail outs ending up with governments arbitrarily confiscating money from their constituents to compensate banks and bankers for their inept management decisions. The public have paid the price that bankers should have paid. The price is austerity policies while banks are provided with cheap money which is not flowing to investment and the real economy. This disastrous "monetary policy" of quantitative easing has led to falling investment and real incomes and the levels of financialization increasing causing asset bubbles and stock market booms as a result of corporations purchasing their own shares to benefit executive incomes. The associated share prices have no relationship to the fundamentals of corporate performance. The massive over-exposure of the financial markets to derivatives that rely on low interest rates to generate a margins has created a "sub-prime financial sector", now more in debt than in 2005/2006. This is why central banks are unable to raise interest rates. Central banks now understand the lessons of 2004 through 2005 but don't want to admit it. A move in interest rates from 0.25% to 1% would represent a 300% rise and this would cripple many major financial institutions and cause yet another financial crisis.

Britain's unusual social transition that could become a revolution

In the last year Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the unexpected leader of the Labour party and a referendum on the EU resulted in the BREXIT vote to be closely followed by the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the expected leader of the Labour party with an increased mandate. Given the dreary media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn and general criticism leveled against him it is worth noting that since his first election the Labour party has amassed a membership larger than all of the other UK political parties put together. The Labour party has become the largest political party in Europe. The unusual aspect about this transition is that in Europe, party growth has been taken up by parties who have been set up as alternatives to the conventional parties. In Britain the growth and expression of resentment against conventional parties has been a embodied by a rejuvenated Labour party returning to its roots. It is not certain how long this drive for membership will continue but is very significant. Even if it is claimed that people only joined to vote for Corbyn therein lies an important message, either way, Jeremy Corbyn is gathering a general approval. The more this process continues the weaker will become Corbyn's main rivals in the form of Blairites and others in the Parliamentary Labour party who see politics purely in terms of affording them power and status; they need to pay more attention to the swell of the social movement that is contributing to the increasing numbers of members of the Labour party. There is a need to switch emphasis from elitist and exclusive think tank cliques and secretive "cabinet" or sofa style decision-making involving a handful of politicians leading to top down impositions on the majority. There is a need to return to the old English idea of the constitutional debates involving the people and that ranged in the 17th Century giving rise to the to bottom up identification of constitutional principles that have never been bettered. At the moment, it looks as if the only political party likely to deliver this revolutionary approach is the currently expanding Labour party.