Italy fears ISIS invasion from Libya: ‘We will conquer Rome’

February 2015GEOPOLITICSROMELast weekend in Italy, as the threat of ISIS in Libya hit home with a new video addressed to “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” and the warning, “we are south of Rome,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi shuttered the Italian embassy in Tripoli and raised his fist with the threat of impending military action. Never mind that Italy has only 5,000 troops available that are even close to deployable, according to the defense ministry. Or that the military budget was cut by 40 percent two years ago, which has kept the acquisition of 90 F-35 fighter jets hanging in the balance and left the country combat-challenged to lead any mission—especially one against an enemy like the Islamic State. In fact, Renzi didn’t specify exactly who would wield that military might, and, two days later, when no one volunteered to lead the charge, he backtracked. “It’s not the time for a military intervention,” Renzi told an Italian television station Monday night and said the United Nations had to lead the way. “Our proposal is to wait for the U.N. Security Council. The strength of the U.N. is decidedly superior to that of the radical militias.”
Whether the time is right or not, there is no question that there is a palpable tension in Italy over the ISIS threat—Libya is just 109 miles away from the island of Lampedusa and 300 miles from Sicily—made worse by a 64 percent increase in illegal migrant arrivals by sea since last year. In all of 2014, more than 170,000 people arrived from Libya and Turkey, the highest number ever recorded. Last weekend, as the embassy staff made their way to Italy on a mercantile ship, 2,164 migrants left the same Libyan shores en route to Sicily. The week before, more than 300 people were lost in the same seas as their rickety fishing boats capsized before rescuers could save them. Anti-immigration politicians have argued for months that it would take little for jihad fighters to infiltrate a migrant boat and effectively end up taxied into Italy by rescue ships and the Italian navy. In a biting editorial in Il Giornale newspaper, owned by the Silvio Berlusconi family, Sergio Rame hypothesized that the recent influx was an attempt by terrorists to effectively “smoke out” the Italian navy into rescuing the migrants, in an attempt to lure the boats close to Libyan shores in order to launch an attack. The Italian government, which supports the rescue of migrants fleeing war, dismissed the theory.
Meanwhile, the Italian government said it is prepared to deploy 500 special anti-terrorism police to protect sensitive tourist sites in Rome.  What is disturbing is that something is drastically changing in the migrant-shuttling business, which has led defense analysts to warn that Italy has never been so exposed to an attack. For the first time since Italy started officially rescuing migrants in 2013—first through its now-defunct Mare Nostrum program and later through the European Union’s border control Frontex Triton mission—the smugglers, who usually melt in with the migrants, are armed and dangerous. Last weekend, smugglers wielding Kalashnikovs fought the Italian coast guard rescue boat to wrestle back a smuggler ship after the human cargo had been rescued and the boat seized. They hauled the boat back towards Libya, presumably to fill it up again. The Office of Migration in Rome says there could be as many as half a million people in camps waiting to come to Italy and the unrest will push them out faster. –Daily Beast
Posted in Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Immigration surge, New World Order, Political Corruption, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Rumors of War, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Vice in Religion | Leave a comment

Peace deal faltering: Putin demands surrender of encircled Ukrainian troops

February 2015GEOPOLITICS - Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling on pro-Russian rebels to allow besieged Ukrainian troops safe passage out of the encircled town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine. Speaking Tuesday in the Hungarian capital, Putin also urged the Kyiv government to allow its troops to surrender. Putin spoke alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as fighting raged in Debaltseve, despite an internationally brokered cease-fire announced last week by Putin and the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine. In the news conference, broadcast on Moscow television, Putin noted that Ukrainian troops were encircled at Debaltseve “about a week before” the truce deal was reached February 12. He also said he’d predicted last week that the encirclement at Debaltseve presaged “one way or another, for some time, that these clashes will continue.” But he said fighting elsewhere in the east had abated since the cease-fire was announced.
The main rebel group fighting at Debaltseve also insists the town was encircled before the cease-fire began Sunday, making it an internal part of the rebel-held region rather than part of the front lines where envoys agreed the fighting would stop. Under the terms of the cease-fire, both sides were to begin withdrawing heavy weapons from frontal areas Tuesday. But as the deadline passed, each side insisted it would not be the first to pull back from Debaltseve. Ahead of Putin’s comments in Budapest, Ukraine conceded that “several army units” were surrounded in the town. On Monday, separatists offered Ukrainian forces, said to number in the thousands, safe passage out of town if they laid down their arms. But Ukraine promptly rejected the idea, saying Debaltseve lies within its territory under the truce negotiated in Minsk. The devastated town has seen major fighting constantly since earlier truce efforts failed last month.
“As soon as the militants cease fire, the Ukrainian side will begin to withdraw heavy weaponry from the front line,” said Ukrainian military spokesman Anatoliy Stelmakh in televised comments. The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by Russia that supports the Minsk cease-fire deal, while calling on rebels to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Ukraine and a host of Western governments accuse Russia of stoking the rebellion in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east with arms and fighters, while the Kremlin denies providing direct support. With those denials flatly rejected by Western governments, the European Union on Monday unveiled a new round of sanctions against Moscow for its widely perceived role in the Ukraine crisis.  The new penalties target Russia’s deputy defense minister and 18 more individuals with travel bans and asset freezes.
Russia said it would make an “appropriate response” to the sanctions, while condemning them as “inconsistent and illogical” because they were issued within days of the cease-fire that Putin helped negotiate. The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it was not in the interests of Ukraine or the world to get into a “proxy war” with Russia over eastern Ukraine, a comment suggesting Washington is now shifting away from arming Ukrainian forces. “Our belief here in the administration, and I would be surprised if others disagree, is that getting into a proxy war with Russia is not anything that’s in the interest of Ukraine or in the interest of the international community,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. “And certainly, as we weigh options, we weigh that as one of the factors.” –VOA News
Posted in Arms Race, Austerity, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hoarding Resources, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Protests, Resource War, Rumors of War, Social Crime, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Unemployment rising, Violence | Leave a comment

Russia dumps most US paper ever as China reduces Treasuries holdings to January 2013 levels

February 2015ECONOMY - Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December – the lowest since June 2008.
It wasn’t just Russia: the country that has ever more frequently been said to be in the same camp as Russia – and against the US – namely China, also sold another $6 billion in Treasurys in the last month of 2014, which would have made its US treasury holdings equal with those of Japan, if only Tokyo hadn’t also sold over $10 billion in the same month.
And while we know that Russia used at least some of the proceeds to buy gold, the bigger question is: just what is China buying with all these stealthy USD-denominated liquidations, and how much gold does the PBOC really have as of this moment. –Zero Hedge
Posted in Banking Crisis, Boom and Bust Cycles, Conflict Among Nations, Currency - Economic warfare, Economic Collapse, Escalating hostilities, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Resources, New World Order, Squandered Resources, The Pyramid Model | Leave a comment

Changing Times: Radio Shack – U.S. electronic retail chain files for chapter 11 bankruptcy

February 2015ECONOMYFor years, RadioShack — the retailer that helped bring personal computers to the masses — outlasted untold predictions that it would buckle in the face of bigger rivals and online competitors. But its clock has finally run out. RadioShack, a long-ailing 94-year-old electronics chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday after striking a deal to sell up to 2,400 of its stores to the wireless service provider Sprint and a hedge fund that is its biggest shareholder. The Chapter 11 filing, made in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, took few unaware. RadioShack had not turned a profit since 2011, and its fate had been a regular topic of speculation in the retail and corporate restructuring circles. “The surprise is that they survived this long,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. “I didn’t think they’d last through Christmas 2013.”
But RadioShack is poised to live on, at least in much diminished form. Sprint and the hedge fund Standard General agreed to buy 1,500 to 2,400 of RadioShack’s 4,000 company-owned stores in the United States. Sprint is expected to run special “store within a store” departments in up to 1,750 of those stores. As so-called stalking-horse bidders, Sprint and Standard General will have to compete with potential rivals in a court-supervised auction. The remaining company-owned stores will then be closed. Until then, RadioShack will continue to operate normally through the Chapter 11 process. “These steps are the culmination of a thorough process intended to drive maximum value for our stakeholders,” Joe Magnacca, RadioShack’s chief executive, said in a statement. The company’s roots suggest its origins in a long-gone world, taking its name from the small wooden shacks on ships that held radio equipment. Another predecessor, the Hinckley-Tandy Leather Company, sold leather shoe parts to cobblers.
But the retailer once stood at the vanguard of the technological revolution. In 1972, it sold an all-electronic calculator. And in 1977, it sold one of the first mass market computers, with an operating system designed by Bill Gates. It was later a pioneer in sales of early mobile phones and laptops. But it has been roiled by the digital revolution, particularly with the rise of e-commerce, which has significantly diminished foot traffic to RadioShack’s thousands of brick-and-mortar stores. And sales of cell phones have slowed, giving rise to price wars and battering margins for third-party retailers like RadioShack. It has posted losses for the last 11 consecutive quarters. “The company has struggled to find its place in the market and, more important, with the consumer,” the retailer’s 2013 annual report read, calling the financial performance that year disappointing. RadioShack hired Mr. Magnacca — a former president of Duane Reade, credited with having reinvented that brand before it was sold to Walgreen — as chief executive in 2013. In announcing the appointment, the company expressed hope that Mr. Magnacca would be a “catalyst for change” and resuscitate the company.
But the financial decline continued, despite new management’s efforts. Mr. Pachter of Wedbush pointed to a Super Bowl spot that RadioShack ran last year poking fun at the dated image of its stores and advertising that they had been updated. The company’s single biggest problem, Mr. Pachter said, was its irrelevance. “Ask people under 30 what a radio is, and what a shack connotes,” he said. “It’s your grandmother’s store.” In March, RadioShack said that it planned to close up to 1,100 stores but announced two months later that its lenders had overridden those plans. It wound up closing about 175 stores last year, the company reported in a quarterly earnings statement in December. –NY Times
Posted in Age of Decadence, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Greed and Corruption, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model | Leave a comment

Central bank prophet fears QE warfare pushing world financial system out of control

Bank Burn
January 2015 FINANCIAL - The economic prophet who foresaw the Lehman crisis with uncanny accuracy is even more worried about the world’s financial system going into 2015. Beggar-thy-neighbor devaluations are spreading to every region. All the major central banks are stoking asset bubbles deliberately to put off the day of reckoning. This time emerging markets have been drawn into the quagmire as well, corrupted by the leakage from quantitative easing (QE) in the West. “We are in a world that is dangerously unanchored,” said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s Review Committee. “We’re seeing true currency wars and everybody is doing it, and I have no idea where this is going to end.” Mr. White is a former chief economist to the Bank for International Settlements – the bank of central banks – and currently an advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said the global elastic has been stretched even further than it was in 2008 on the eve of the Great Recession. The excesses have reached almost every corner of the globe, and combined public/private debt is 20pc of GDP higher today. “We are holding a tiger by the tail,” he said. He warned that QE in Europe is doomed to failure at this late stage and may instead draw the region into deeper difficulties. “Sovereign bond yields haven’t been so low since the ‘Black Plague’ how much more bang can you get for your buck?” he told The Telegraph before the World Economic Forum in Davos. “QE is not going to help at all. Europe has far greater reliance than the US on small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and they get their money from banks, not from the bond market,” he said. “Even after the stress tests the banks are still in ‘hunkering down mode.’ They are not lending to small firms for a variety of reasons. The interest rate differential is still going up,” he said.
The warnings come just as the European Central Bank prepares a blitz of bond purchases at a crucial meeting on Thursday. Most ECB-watchers expect QE of around €500bn now that the eurozone is already in deflation. Even the Bundesbank is struggling to come with fresh reasons to oppose it. The psychological potency of this largesse will depend on whether the ECB opts for shock-and-awe concentration or trickles out the stimulus slowly. It also depends on the exact mechanism used to conduct QE, a loose term at best. ECB president Mario Draghi hopes that bond purchases will push money out into the broader economy through a “wealth effect,” but critics fear this will be worse than useless if it leads to an asset bubble without gaining traction on the real economy. Classic moneratists say the ECB may end up spinning its wheels should it merely try to expand the money base. Mr. White said QE is a disguised form of competitive devaluation. “The Japanese are now doing it as well but nobody can complain because the US started it,” he said. “There is a significant risk that this is going to end badly because the Bank of Japan is funding 40pc of all government spending. This could end in high inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation.” –Telegraph
Posted in Age of Decadence, Apathy, Anger, Mistrust, Disillusionment, Austerity, Bank Run, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Class Division, Currency - Economic warfare, Economic Collapse, Fiat Money Printing Fiasco, Financial market turmoil, Greed and Corruption, Hoarding Resources, Political Corruption, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model, Troubled Banks, Unemployment rising, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Widening gap between rich and poor | Leave a comment

2015: More chaos in the Middle East, coup in Yemen, violence in Tel Aviv – will this be the year the region explodes?

January 2015SANA, YemenHouthi rebel militiamen seized control of the palace of Yemen’s president and clashed with guards outside his residence on Tuesday in an escalation of the violent crisis that has gripped the capital for days, raising fears of a coup in one of the Arab world’s most impoverished and insecure states. The president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, viewed by the United States as a crucial counterterrorism ally, was believed to be in the capital, but his exact whereabouts was unknown. He made no public statements as the fighting escalated, though Houthi leaders insisted that he was safe and in his home.
Later on Tuesday, the most senior Houthi leader, Abdel Malik al-Houthi, gave a televised speech indicating that the advances by his fighters were a warning to Mr. Hadi to accelerate political changes they have demanded, and not an attempt to depose him. But if the president does not respond, Mr. Houthi said, “all necessary measures will be open.” The mayhem that has convulsed Yemen, which left at least eight people dead on Monday in Sana, has also left citizens facing a leadership vacuum as the country is seized by crises, including spreading armed conflict and widespread hunger. The turmoil has been increasingly worrisome to American officials because Yemen is the base of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has asserted responsibility for a number of attacks, most notably the deadly assault on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris this month.
While the Houthis oppose Al Qaeda, they have vowed to curb American influence on Yemen’s government, which has cooperated for years with United States drone strikes against Qaeda leaders and their subordinates. The deterioration in Yemen preoccupied diplomats at the United Nations Security Council, which released a statement emphasizing that President Hadi was still the recognized authority. The statement “condemned the recourse to violence” and urged dialogue. The Houthi advance on Tuesday, and its leader’s ultimatum, cemented the group’s status as Yemen’s most powerful opposition movement. And Mr. Hadi, the steward of an internationally backed political transition plan, appeared more sidelined than ever. The Houthis’ rise  began in September, when Houthi fighters swept into Sana, seizing control of crucial government installations and vowing to force Mr. Hadi’s government to carry out political and economic reforms. The Houthi movement — which began as an activist group seeking greater rights for Yemen’s Zaydi Shiite minority and fought six wars against the central government — has consolidated its control in the capital and beyond. –NY Times
Palestinian stabs 11 in Tel Aviv: A Palestinian man stabbed 11 people on a Tel Aviv bus during the morning rush hour Wednesday before he was shot by corrections officers and taken into custody, officials said. Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posted a message on Twitter saying that authorities believe the incident is a terror attack. Eleven people were stabbed and three remain in critical condition, according to Lee Gat, a spokeswoman at Tel Hashomer hospital, and a statement from the Ichilov hospital. Rosenfeld said the suspect is a 23-year-old man from Tulkarem, located in the West Bank northeast of Tel Aviv. He said the man was being questioned by police and a heightened security presence was in effect in Israel’s second-largest city. The Times of Israel reported that the suspect was shot in the leg as he attempted to flee the scene.
Tel Aviv District Police Chief Bentzi Sau said that members of the Israel Prison Service were in a vehicle behind the bus and noticed it driving erratically. Sau said officers then jumped out of their vehicle and pursued the suspect when they saw him get off the bus. He added that the suspect had crossed into Israel illegally, but did not specify how. The stabbing is the latest in a type of “lone-wolf” attacks that have plagued Israel in recent months. About a dozen people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, including five people killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue. –Fox News
Posted in Anger, Arms Race, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Education Failures, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Gun violence, Hierarchal Control, Political Corruption, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Rumors of War, Squandered Resources, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Unemployment rising, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Violence | Leave a comment

High Tech World War: U.S. making plans for global cyber warfare – prepare for a day where nothing works

Cyber War
January 2015CYBER WARFAREThe Australian government is employing specialist surveillance officers to ready ourselves for the next generation of warfare, which will be fought with computers rather than guns. Working with the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand as part of the not-so-secret ‘Five Eyes’, the group has even bugged UN leaders Kofi Annan and weapons inspector Hans Blix. New leaks published by Spiegel, using information leaked from Edward Snowden, show how wars will be fought in cyberspace. And we’re not talking about a few stolen files or leaked movies, it will be the full take down of power plants, phone networks and transport systems. Five Eyes was originally an alliance between the US and the UK at the end of WW2 — an agreement to share intelligence. Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined the alliance in 1955, and since then intelligence data and facilities (such as Pine Gap in central Australia) have been shared between the nations.
In the 1970s the group was involved in the CIAs orchestration to overthrow Chile’s President Salvador Allende — something documents show Australia was heavily involved in. Since the September 11 attacks the capabilities of Five Eyes have been significantly increased, with the group spying on everyone from world leaders, to students on their Facebook accounts. A spokesperson from ASIO told that the alliance was crucial in providing protection to Australia. “Responding effectively to the transnational nature of security threats demands international cooperation between security and intelligence agencies,” they said. Adding, “Effective liaison relationships with international partners have proved to be vital in protecting Australia from the threat posed by foreign fighters returning from conflicts in the Middle East.”
From the eyes of the military, mass digital surveillance of the internet is just “phase 0”. This mass surveillance includes anything from private Facebook messages, to internet browsing history and even what has been purchased online. The surveillance will apparently be used to detect vulnerabilities in enemy computer systems, to then infiltrate and gain permanent access. Once that is done, words like “dominate”, “control” and “destroy” get thrown around to describe what Five Eyes will do after a successful phase 0. –
Posted in Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Cyber Attack, Economic Collapse, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Infrastructure collapse, New World Order, Preparation for War, Protests, Rumors of War, Social Meltdown, Surveillance - Police State, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model | 1 Comment

Iran promises ‘lightning strikes’ against Israel and ‘the collapse of the Zionist regime’

January 2015TEHRANIran was caught with its pants down over the weekend when an Israeli missile barrage took out a convoy near the Golan Heights in Syria, carrying 6 Iranian agents, including a Revolutionary Guard General and 5 members of the terrorist group Hezb’allah. The Iranians threatened retaliation “in due time and place,’ Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was quoted as saying. What were six Iranian nationals doing in Syria? The Israeli strike came just days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared that the terror group was preparing for a war in Israel’s northern Galilee region. It also occurred just a week after Iranian military leaders announced that they are operating missile sites in Syria, which potentially include a nuclear facility. Senior Iranian and Hezbollah commanders were likely planning a sophisticated invasion of Israel’s northern border in the weeks before they were killed by an Israeli airstrike over the weekend, according to Major General Eyal Ben Reuven, the former deputy head of the Israeli Defense Forces Northern Command.
The accuracy of Israel’s strike and the high-level nature of those Iranian and Hezbollah commanders killed indicates planning for a militant incursion into Israel’s northern region, according to Reuven, who said the airstrike shows a “very high level of intelligence” on Israel’s part. The high-level nature of the Iranian and Hezbollah operatives targeted by Israel suggests that an attack on Israel was imminent, according to Reuven, who handled top intelligence in the region during his time serving in the IDF. “If the highest level of Hezbollah commanders were in the Golan Heights and the high level of Iranians, it means that their idea, [what] they’re planning could be a kind of operation, an act against Israel on a high level,” Reuven said during a conference call Monday organized by the Israel Project (TIP). “It’s significant, the high level of this meeting, of this reconnaissance of the Iranians and Hezbollah.”
“It says something about what they plan, what kind of operation they planned,” he added. “If Israel has intelligence that says there is a kind of operation on the way to act against Israel, I think Israel would have a legitimate [reason] to do all we can to prevent it.” The strike that killed these 11 militants was “very, very professional,” according to Reuven, and would require “very, very high level intelligence” and “very accurate” targeting information. Iran quickly confirmed that one of its top commanders had been killed in the strike, according to Farsi language reports. A military operation on the Israeli border could have been a carbon copy of Hezb’allah’s snatch-and-grab of 2 IDF soldiers in 2006 that precipitated the war with Hezb’allah.  Both soldiers died, and Hezb’allah exchanged their bodies for 4 terrorist prisoners. In truth, Hezb’allah could not mount a significant invasion of Israel.  Any action would be more like a raid on isolated outposts or vulnerable military vehicles.  What’s significant is that the presence of such a high-ranking Rev. Guard general meeting with the terrorists in Syria means the personal involvement of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.  Revolutionary Guard generals don’t go traipsing off to Syria without permission of the top man. –American Thinker
Iran vows lightning strikes against Israel: General Muhammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, says Israel should anticipate “lethal lightning strikes” following the death of a senior IRGC general and other Iranian soldiers. The assassinations, Jafari says, are “the opening point of the collapse of the Zionist regime.” –Times of Israel
Posted in Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, New World Order, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model | 1 Comment

Iranian general killed with Hezbollah fighters in Israeli raid

January 2015DAMASCUSAn Israeli strike on Syria killed an Iranian general, Tehran confirmed Monday, as thousands of supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah gathered to bury one of six fighters killed in the same raid. The attack on Sunday near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights enraged Hezbollah’s supporters, but analysts said the group would avoid a major escalation with Israel. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards confirmed the death of one of their generals in a statement on their website. “General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and a number of fighters and Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah) forces were attacked by the Zionist regime’s helicopters,’ it said. “This brave general and some members of Hezbollah were martyred.”
A source close to Hezbollah said six Iranians had been killed in the attack. Hezbollah told AFP that it was not the source of that toll. Among Hezbollah’s dead was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of an assassinated commander from the group, and Mohammed Issa, a commander responsible for Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and Iraq. Once solely focused on fighting Israel, Hezbollah is now deeply involved in the war in neighboring Syria, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad.  ‘Resistance will decide response.’ With its forces spread thin, and little appetite in fragile Lebanon for a new conflict with Israel, analysts said Hezbollah would seek to respond to the raid without provoking a full-on war.
On Monday afternoon, thousands of mourners gathered in Hezbollah’s southern Beirut stronghold for Mughniyeh’s funeral. “God willing, the resistance will retaliate but the leadership of the resistance will be the one to decide the nature and timing,” said Hassana Sadaqa, as she prepared to pay her respects. Mourners chanted “Our party is Hezbollah, our leader is Nasrallah” as the coffin was carried through the streets and shots were fired into the air. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television said the six were killed as they carried out reconnaissance. But an Israeli security source said an Israeli helicopter carried our a strike on “terrorists” who were preparing an attack on the Jewish state.
Lebanese media weighed the prospect of conflict, with the Al-Safir newspaper saying Hezbollah needed something “more than a reply and less than a war.” In Israel, analysts made the same calculation. “Hezbollah doesn’t want a full-fledged war,” said Yoram Schweitzer, a former Israeli military counterterrorism chief. “It has a number of possibilities to respond in different arenas. We assume that it currently does not want full contact,” he told AFP. Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for 22 years until 2000 and the two countries are still technically at war. In 2006, Israel fought a bloody war against Hezbollah that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. –Yahoo News
Posted in Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Rumors of War, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model | 1 Comment

The US economy is so bad… even lottery sales are collapsing

Gambling V
January 2015ECONOMYFor what appears to be the first time on record, Powerball Lottery Sales declined year-over-year. As the following slides show, lottery sales declined 19% in FY14 vs FY13 and even more stunningly reflective of a nation whose disposable income (and hope) is in such short supply, sales in the first half of FY15 are down 40% from the first of FY14. As LaFleurs concludes, this will make it very challenging for most Lotteries to manage their budgets… -Zero Hedge
Casinos going bust: ATLANTIC CITY (AP) — Atlantic City has lost nearly half its casino revenue over the past eight years as competition in nearby states cannibalized its market and drove four casinos out of business. Figures released Wednesday by the state’s Gaming Enforcement Division show the casinos took in $2.74 billion in 2014, down 48 percent from a high of $5.2 billion in 2006. The decline would have been greater without the $122 million that Internet gambling provided last year. Four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closed in 2014 — The Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza. In 2014, Atlantic City’s casinos took in 4.5 percent less than they did in 2013. Excluding casinos that closed last year, the surviving eight gambling halls saw their revenue increase by nearly 8 percent, to $2.48 billion. –Press of Atlantic City
Las Vegas troubles: Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s largest unit is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as Thursday, the final gambit of a years long attempt to salvage a soured buyout. Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.’s Chapter 11 filing would launch the final stage of Apollo Global Management  LLC’s effort to save some of its $1.7 billion investment in the company, which it took private in 2008 with fellow buyout firm TPG. A Chapter 11 petition would follow months of contentious negotiations with creditors, a who’s who of Wall Street investors. The unit’s collection of casinos and hotels, including much of the Las Vegas Strip’s iconic Caesars Palace, is expected to operate normally as it works to persuade a judge to approve a restructuring plan that would transform it into a real-estate investment trust. –WSJ
Posted in Age of Decadence, Austerity, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Disillusionment, Economic Collapse, Economic Hardship or Loss, Financial market turmoil, Greed and Corruption, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Resources, Infrastructure collapse, Social Meltdown, Squandered Resources, Struggle for Survival, The Pyramid Model, Widening gap between rich and poor | 3 Comments