?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
10 November 2013 @ 01:47 pm
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: A Major Threat To Sovereignty  
.
When a private panel can pass judgements that overrule national laws and judgements democracy goes out of the wide open stable doors. Any government signing up to the TPPA or similar agreement is working against national interests and should be prosecuted for it. Ceding sovereignty, such as successive UK governments have done in signing treaties and agreements with the European Commission is treasonous, but due to the thoroughly corrupt UK justice system no charges have been brought.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA): When Foreign Investors Sue the State
Martin Khor
The investor-state dispute system, whereby foreign investors can sue the host-country government in an international tribunal, is one of the issues being negotiated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
In the public debate surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), an issue that seems to stand out is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. It would enable foreign investors of TPPA countries to directly sue the host government in an international tribunal.
In most US free trade agreements (FTAs) with investor-state dispute provisions, the tribunal most mentioned is the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration court hosted by the World Bank in Washington.
ISDS would be a powerful system for enforcing the rules of the TPPA, which is currently being negotiated by the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Any foreign investor from TPPA countries can take up a case claiming that the government has not met its relevant TPPA obligations.
If the claim succeeds, the tribunal could award the investor financial compensation for the claimed losses. If the payment is not made, the award can potentially be enforced through the seizure of assets of the government that has been sued, or through tariffs raised on the country’s exports.
ISDS is related to relevant parts of the TPPA’s investment chapter. One of the provisions is a broad definition of “investment” which includes credit, contracts, intellectual property rights (IPRs), and expectations of future gains and profits. Investors can make claims on losses to these assets.
Under the “national treatment” provision, a foreign investor can claim to be discriminated against if the local is given preference or other advantage.
Under the clause on fair and equitable treatment, which is contained in many existing trade and investment treaties, investors have sued on the ground of non-renewal or change in the terms of a licence or contract and changes in policies or regulations that the investor claims will reduce its future profits.
Finally, investors can sue on the ground of “indirect expropriation”. Tribunals have ruled in favour of investors that claimed losses due to government policies or regulations, such as tighter health and environmental regulations.
The arbitration system has come under heavy criticism, including that the tribunal decisions are arbitrary and can contradict decisions of other tribunals in similar cases.
There is often a situation of conflict of interest. A few lawyers monopolize the international investment arbitration business; they act as lawyers in one case and as arbitrators in other cases. In a few cases, an arbitrator was on the board of directors of the parent company of the investor that took up the case.
There is a pro-investor bias in many cases, with decisions or arguments that are quite clearly unfair to the governments being sued. However, there is no appeal possible.
Another issue is the high awards and the strong enforcement, including seizure of assets. The claims have tended to be very high in recent years, running to billions of US dollars. Awards are usually lower, but recent ones can also be very high, such as the $2.3 billion award granted by ICSID to an American oil company against Ecuador.
The ability to enforce these awards through seizure of assets owned and located abroad by the government makes ISDS a very powerful instrument.
Other recent investor-state dispute cases include one taken against South Africa by a European mining company claiming losses from the government’s black empowerment programme, and a $2 billion claim against Indonesia by a UK-based oil company after its contract was cancelled because it was not in line with the law.
Australia has also been sued for billions of dollars by the tobacco company Philip Morris because of its regulation that cigarette boxes cannot promote the logo and brandnames. An American company Renco sued Peru for $800 million because its contract was not extended after the company’s operations caused massive environmental and health damage.
There are several implications of ISDS under the TPPA. Not conforming to TPPA rules can carry a heavy penalty, since the government can be sued in an international court, and thus governments will be constrained when formulating future policies or implementing existing ones.
It would be difficult for a government to make new policies, as it cannot predict whether certain policies it wishes to introduce or change are allowable, since it is uncertain or unpredictable how a tribunal will view this; the view of a particular tribunal can differ from that of another.
The country’s judicial sovereignty will be affected. Investors will choose to take up cases in the international tribunal where their chances of success and the payout are higher than in local courts.
The country will become vulnerable to multi-million-dollar and billion-dollar legal suits taken by foreign investors. Potentially this may cost the government a lot of financial resources.
The TPPA talks are still going on, and thus the ISDS component can still be negotiated. However, there is probably limited room for negotiation on the key aspects, since the US is unlikely to deviate from the main points in its existing FTAs.
If ISDS is deemed to pose too many problems, one option is to ask for an exception, i.e., that it does not apply to the country concerned, similar to what Australia has requested. It is, however, doubtful whether such a request will be granted by other TPPA countries.
Source globalresearch.ca/the-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tppa-when-foreign-investors-sue-the-state/5357500
Martin Khor is Executive Director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental policy think-tank of developing countries, and former Director of the Third World Network.

The Origins and Evolution of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
T Rajamoorthy
The agreement being negotiated by the US-led 12-nation regional trade bloc known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has engendered much controversy. Its origins can be traced to a little-known four-party free trade agreement concluded in 2005 by New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei. It was US participation and its subsequent hegemonic role in the later negotiations of this group (collectively known as the Pacific Four or P-4) that resulted not only in an expansion of its membership but also in the setting of an agenda for what critics charge is a ‘corporate charter’.
THE free trade agreement being negotiated by the regional bloc known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has provoked widespread opposition in the countries involved in its negotiation. Today the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is rightly perceived and condemned as a US-led attempt to penetrate and dominate the economies of the region.
Continues globalresearch.ca/the-origins-and-evolution-of-the-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp/5357495
 
 
 
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
RIAA and copyright
The TPPA model looks very similar to that of the RIAA which bought copyright law amendments in its favour then incorporated prosecution for profit into its business model.
I expect Monsanto is rubbing its hands together in anticipation.
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
A libertarian farmer’s take on GMO labels
Interesting take from the POV pushing for federal enforced labelling is inviting further government interference.

By Rady Ananda
Last night, two real-food icons debated whether the federal government should mandate labeling of genetically modified foods: Dr Joe Mercola, who runs the world’s most popular alternative health site, and farmer and author Joel Salatin, who’s been featured in several documentaries including Food, Inc. and Fresh.
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and its founder, the Weston A Price Foundation, hosted the fundraiser in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of a weekend long conference. Five hundred people attended the sold-out dinner and debate, and 160 people bought tickets to watch the event online.
Modeled after the Lincoln-Douglas debate style, Joe vs. Joel ran for 32 minutes and delivered far more than the organizers expected when tempers ran high.
Highly entertaining and educational, the debate was ruled a tie by food author David Gumpert who moderated the debate in a black-and-white striped referee’s shirt. The resolution debated was worded as follows:
It is resolved that the federal government should mandate GMO labeling on foods.
Mercola took the position that labeling GMOs is vital to raising public awareness because GMOs are killing us, and the environment. The federal position that genetically modified foods are “substantially equivalent” to real food, he said, “is legalized fraud.” He sees the 20-year presence of GM foods at a critical stage that must be immediately addressed by federal involvement.
Salatin, more energetic and emotional, opposes federal involvement in GMO labeling, and gave the libertarian take on Big Government. His 9-minute opening argument against federal involvement in food commerce was so profound, so common sensical, so radically free, that it’s worth the $20 donation fee (available until December 3) to watch the two-hour presentation.
Continues http://www.activistpost.com/2013/11/a-libertarian-farmers-take-on-gmo-labels.html
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 04:11 pm (UTC)
Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing: How the Public Was Duped into Socialism (But Got Totalitarianism)
[but got eco-fascist corporatism]
A story of Obamacare, Fabian Socialism, 1984 and the incremental hijacking of our lives.
Aaron Dykes
The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, may be a functional nightmare, PR blunder and a deeply divisive issue, but it represents a momentous power grab for the rise of Socialism in America – which though once a haunting specter, has gradually become a reality.
Individuals in the United States have less power over their own lives than ever before – as millions of Americans are losing their coverage, and all who refuse to join the system face mounting fines and penalties. Senator Harry Reid, for one, admitted that the current health care law was moving the country towards a single payer system managed by the federal government.
The attempt to fully nationalize health care has been rightly criticized as a “Fabian” move on the part of President Obama and his cohorts. The term evokes Fabian Socialism, the influential group behind the British Labour Party and the London School of Economics who wielded the power of some the 20th Century’s most famous authors to sell not only a socialist-collectivist system, but one run on behalf of the oligarchical elite and managed by technological experts.
Continues http://www.activistpost.com/2013/11/wolves-in-sheeps-clothing-how-public.html
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
IRS Advises of Power Outage Ahead of Grid Ex Electricity Drill
Mac Slavo
Next week on November 13th and 14th the Department of Homeland Security will be engaging in a widespread power outage drill involving scores of international government agencies and businesses in an effort to test the viability of a national response plan in the event of a cyber attack, electro-magnetic pulse attack or solar flare.
The Grid Ex II drill has left many concerned that it may coincide with an actual “false flag” attack, much like similar drills that were taking place on September 11th, as well as in Boston during the recent bombing.
Continues http://www.activistpost.com/2013/11/irs-advises-of-power-outage-ahead-of.html
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
CBS Benghazi Report: Was It Really Erroneous or Are They Bowing to Government Pressure?
Every reader of alternative media knows that the reports from the mainstream are generally biased. They are biased towards the government, corporations, and banks. The “news” is rarely more than fiction generated to shed the best possible light on those entities, while keeping people firmly in line with their fear-invoking reports. "Truth" rarely enters into the stories breathlessly espoused by well-coiffed anchors.
That’s why I was surprised to see that CBS’s 60 Minutes did an in-depth story that was completely damning to the administration.
I was not surprised, however, when all traces of the video were removed from YouTube.
Nor was I surprised when 60 Minutes subsequently issued a complete retraction and apology for the story.
Dylan Davies, the source for the report, wrote a book that was brought to print by the powerhouse publishing company Simon & Schuster. The book is called The Embassy House, and was written under the pseudonym Sgt. Morgan Jones. It was published last month by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster, which is, incidentally, owned by CBS. (Can you see how this works?) Simon & Schuster, in classic damage control fashion, is pulling the book off shelves.
Davies has now been “discredited” by none other than our own government. That would be the same government that allowed Hillary Clinton to play hooky from the Congressional hearings about the massacre. (Perhaps protecting her potential 2016 run for the presidency?) The same government who put other witnesses in fear of their lives and would not allow them to speak publicly about the ordeal. The same government that sees the coverup unraveling and is still trying to knit the pieces back together.
Let’s take a look at the “discrediting” of this alleged witness.
Here http://www.activistpost.com/2013/11/cbs-benghazi-report-was-it-really.html
More smoke and mirrors, no more than we expect from the enemy media outlets.
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
Strongest recorded typhoon
Bodies in the streets, a plague of looters and 10,000 dead in one city alone: Filipinos struggle to cope with huge typhoon that was 'like a tsunami'
Photos http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2496954/Philippines-super-typhoon-Haiyan-powerful-storm-history.html
(Anonymous) on November 10th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Strongest recorded typhoon
Just what climate scientists have been warning about for years.

Typhoon Haiyan: what really alarms Filipinos is the rich world ignoring climate change.

"Typhoon Haiyan, like Bopha, will be seen widely in developing countries as a taste of what is to come, along with rising sea levels and water shortages. But what alarms the governments of vulnerable countries the most is that they believe rich countries have lost the political will to address climate change at the speed needed to avoid catastrophic change in years to come."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/08/typhoon-haiyan-rich-ignore-climate-change
Re: Strongest recorded typhoon - clothcap on November 10th, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Strongest recorded typhoon - (Anonymous) on November 10th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
Half-ton ‘napalm’ bomb kills 37 in attack on Syrian school
Human Rights Watch: 'Air force conducted 56 incendiary weapon attacks'
Report includes 37 people injured in 'napalm-like' bomb on school
Present report to Convention On Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva
Half-ton ‘napalm’ bomb kills 37 in attack on Syrian school
Louise Callaghan
A young boy awaits treatment in Aleppo after suffering burns in a bomb attack A young boy awaits treatment in Aleppo after suffering burns in a bomb attack (Niclas Hammarström / Kontinent)
THE Syrian air force conducted at least 56 incendiary weapon attacks on its own citizens between November 2012 and this September, killing at least 41 civilians and wounding 71, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
The report, to be presented at the annual meeting this week of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, claims that the targets included schools.
One such attack on the town of Urma al-Kubra, near Aleppo, on August 26 killed at least 37 and wounded 44, most of them secondary school pupils preparing for exams.
Mary Wareham of the arms division of Human Rights Watch said the 500kg bomb used to attack the school contained a fuel similar to napalm, which killed several of the students instantly.
A female student who witnessed the attack told America’s NBC news that “my classmates were burning. It felt like judgment day.”
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Middle_East/article1338565.ece
More at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2497136/Syrian-air-force-killed-dozens-children-napalm-bomb-attack-school-prepared-exams.html
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
SANA: More terrorists getting killed in continued confrontations with the army
Provinces; Army units on Sunday carried out operations against terrorists' gatherings, eliminating dozens of them and destroying their weapons in several areas around the country.

*Army units eliminate terrorists and destroy their hideouts in Damascus Countryside
Army units eliminated entire terrorist groups near the towns of al-Qasmiye and Deir Salman in Damascus Countryside, with Ibrahim Juma'a being among the dead terrorists, in addition to destroying a hideout used by terrorist group leaders along with everyone inside it and three cars transporting weapons and ammo to terrorists in the village of Tal Hazrama in al-Nashabiye area.
Other units clashed with terrorist groups on the outskirts of al-Sbaineh town, eliminating a number of them including Samer Sadek, while a unit eliminated all members of a terrorist group who had barricaded themselves in Barada factory between al-Sbaineh and al-Hajar al-Aswad.
A number of terrorists including Khaled Airout were killed and their equipment was destroyed in the farms of Zebdin town and between the towns of Mesraba and Madyara.
An army unit eliminated terrorists near Zamalka in the direction of the southern ring road, while other units eliminated six terrorists in Jobar area and three in al-Qaboun area.
Another unit clashed with terrorists southeast of Sayyeda Sukaina Shrine in Daraya town, eliminating a number of them including Ahmad al-Qadri, while a second unit destroyed terrorist hideouts in Yabroud area.

*Army units eliminate terrorists in Deir Ezzor and its countryside
Units of the armed forces targeted gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir Ezzor, killing many of them.
An official source told SANA that the army units killed scores of terrorists, including Anas Malla al-Fajer, Mahmoud Ziad al-Touma and Ibrahim Shlash, and injured others .
The source added that an army unit killed 4 terrorists in al-Mra'aiyeh village, including Bassam al-Mrai'a.
The source pointed out that terrorist Shuja'a Nuiji, leader of the so-called terrorist group" al-Muhajrein Brigade" was killed during a clash with another terrorist group affiliated to the so-called "Islamic State in Iraq and Sham" near Mhaimdiyeh village in Deir Ezzor countryside.

*Army units destroy terrorists' boats in al-Rastan Lake
A unit of the armed forces destroyed a number of terrorists' boats loaded with weapons and ammunition and seized 5 others in al-Rastan lake in Homs countryside.
An official source told SANA that terrorists were attempting to transport weapons and ammunition to support the armed terrorist groups in al-Rastan and al-Houla, who suffered heavy losses by the Syrian army.
The source added that the seized boats were full of weapons and ammunition.

http://213.178.225.235/eng/337/2013/11/10/511652.htm
Continued under
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: SANA: More terrorists getting killed in continued confrontations with the army

*Terrorists' gatherings eliminated in several areas in Idleb
A unit of the armed forces confronted an armed terrorist group that tried to attack a military post in Jisr al-Shughour in the countryside of Idleb, according to a military source.
The source told SANA that the army soldiers left all the terrorist group' members dead and wounded.
Several terrorists' gatherings were targeted in the villages and towns of Mar'yan, Bzabour, Kfarshlaya, Ma'rata, Kfarrouma, al-Derriyeh, al-Sheikh Sendian, al-Shughr and Ein Laros. The gatherings were eliminated and the terrorists' weapons were destroyed.
SANA quoted the source as saying that an army unit killed all members of an armed terrorist group in Mar'yan village in the surrounding of Jabal al-Zawiyeh in the countryside, in addition to destroying their weapons and ammunition.
Terrorists Khalid Khatib and Qassem Da'doush were identified among the dead.

*Terrorists killed in clashes with the army units in Homs
Units of the armed forces eliminated armed terrorist groups in the villages of Mahin, Hawarin and al-Hadath in Homs countryside and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.
A military source told SANA on Sunday that terrorists' hideouts and gatherings were destroyed in the village of al-Khaldiyeh in al-Dar al-Kabira, Izz-eddin, al-Rastan city and al-Ghanto, killing and injuring a big number of terrorists.
The source added that army units clashed with terrorists near the national hospital in al-Karabis neighborhood and near Khadijeh al-Kobra school in al-Kusour neighborhood and near al-Amal hospital and the Teachers Syndicate in Jouret al-Shaiyah neighborhood and al-Waer towers, killing a number of them.
On Saturday, the army units also regained control over al-Ghanto-Talbiseh road after eliminating armed terrorist groups which were committing killing and looting acts against the citizens.
http://213.178.225.235/eng/337/2013/11/10/511652.htm
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
Army seizes full control of several areas in Aleppo countryside
B. Mousa/ H.Said/ M. Ismael
Aleppo, (SANA)- Units of the armed forces on Saturday seized full control of the areas of Brigade 80, the FM station, the General Company for Roads and Bridges (RODCO), aL-Manar gas station and Falaha factories in the countryside of Aleppo After destroying the last terrorists gatherings.
The source told SANA that the army units destroyed large amounts of terrorists' weapons and ammunition and dismantled hundreds of explosive device which were planted by terrorists to thwart the army advance.
An army unit established full control over the town of Tal Eren in the southeastern countryside, eliminating the remaining terrorists in it and destroying their equipment.
http://213.178.225.235/eng/337/2013/11/10/511697.htm
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
Breaking News Syria
Latest Articles
18:39PM Targeting Palestinian camps proves coordination between terrorists and Israel: al-Mikdad
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28718.html
18:09PM Syrian Arab Army retakes a key base in Aleppo countryside besides other areas
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28717.html
17:36PM Baath Party official: Syria's victory over terrorism a victory for the entire Arab nation
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28716.html
16:58PM Italian navy arrests 16 human traffickers off Libya
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28710.html
15:58PM ISIL assassinates MP Mijhem al-Saho on Deir Ezzor-Palmyra road
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28704.html
14:22PM Russian Defense: terrorism in Syria is our arch-enemy
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28699.html
14:07PM Patriarch Yazigi thanks Russia for supporting Syria
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28697.html
14:01PM PM: Parties and countries involved in war on Syria should be held accountable
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28695.html
12:01AM Two people killed, 68 others injured in Saudi police campaign against foreign workers
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28687.html
11:22AM Syrian Opposition: Israel is not an enemy anymore, but a partner
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28684.html
10:55AM Al-Qaddoumi: Saudi Arabia partner in manufacturing terrorism in Syria
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28679.html
09:50AM 5.5 earthquake strikes Japan, no tsunami warning
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28673.html
08:38AM Premier: Parties and countries involved in war against Syria should be held to account
http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/28668.html

Newsflashes
17:49PM Damascus Countryside: A father and his three children reported martyred after 7 mortar shells hit Jaramana
11:06AM Damascus: Injuries reported after two mortar shells landed in Kafrsouseh area
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC)
Israel using US Congress to stop deal with Iran: Gareth Porter
Investigative journalist Gareth Porter says that Israel is using its powerful influence on US Congress to stop a deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
“I think we see a pattern here of Israel playing its name cards which are of course its control over the majorities of both the House and the Senate in the US Congress and its very powerful influence on French policy toward Iran,” Porter said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday.
“So, the combinations of those two things I think are the main threats now to a deal being reached,” he added.
The latest nuclear talks between Iran and the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany ended in Geneva without a deal. But the two sides planned to meet again later this month.
More http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/11/10/334049/israel-using-congress-to-stop-iran-deal/
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
Informative essay, nicely put together
An explosive Israeli-Saudi nexus has emerged!
TRADITIONAL FOES IN A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE . . .
Selvam Canagaratna
If there was no mistaking Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s ‘charm offensive’ when he addressed the UN General Assembly in late September, there was also no mistaking his polite firmness on Iran’s long-held position on the crucial point of nuclear negotiations: that "equal footing and mutual respect should govern the talks."
Writing on the Rouhani performance, Pepe Escobar noted how the Iranian President cleverly set the stage for his very own freshly-minted punch line, laying the groundwork thus:"Of course, we expect to hear a consistent voice from Washington," he had said, adding, "the dominant voice in recent years has been for a military option."
But now, said Rouhani, he had another idea: "It’s WAVE time," he announced. "WAVE as in World Against Violence and Extremism. Not in Farsi, lost in translation; in English."
"I propose as a starting step . . . I invite all states . . . to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction . . . we should start thinking about a coalition for peace all across the globe instead of the ineffective coalitions for war."
Commented Escobar: "So the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has just invited the whole planet to join the WAVE. How come no ‘coalition of the willing’ leader ever thought about that?"
Addressing the General Assembly the next day, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to completely ignore Rouhani’s boldly novel invitation, but could do no better than merely reach out once more for the ‘military option’, which Rouhani had already dubbed as "Washington’s dominant voice in recent years".
Netanyahu indulged in one continuous harangue against Iran, ending with the threat "to go it alone if necessary" in attacking Iran’s nuclear facility. [A ‘threat’ as transparently devoid of seriousness as was his entire address to the General Assembly.]
More http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=91820
H/t Fenia Yfandi

Edited at 2013-11-10 09:42 pm (UTC)
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
Syria Activists: Truce Reached in Blockaded Town
DIAA HADID
AP. Government officials and rebels reached a deal to ease a weeks-long blockade on a rebel-held town near the Syrian capital on Sunday, allowing food to reach civilians there for the first time in weeks, activists said.
The truce is the latest to be struck in recent months between President Bashar Assad's government and disparate rebel groups in the country's more than 2 ½-year-old conflict.
It comes as the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group was holding the second of two days of meetings in Istanbul to decide whether to attend a proposed peace conference the U.S. and Russia are trying to convene in Geneva by the end of this year.
The Syrian National Coalition has demanded Assad step down in any transitional government as a condition for participation in the talks. Syrian officials say Assad will stay in his post at least until his term ends in 2014 and that he may run for re-election.
[...] The Brigade 80 base has been reported to have changed hands multiple times in the past day. It first fell to rebels in February, but the government retook it last week. Activists said that it was recaptured by rebels overnight Friday but by Sunday afternoon, troops loyal to Assad were again in control, said the Observatory and a Lebanese television channel that closely follows Syria.
Another pro-rebel activist in the Aleppo province said the clashes were still ongoing and it wasn't clear what the outcome of the fighting yet was.
The rebels fighting at Brigade 80 have been led by fighters from the Islamic Tawhid Brigade and two al-Qaida-linked groups, the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
The activist and the Observatory said gunmen from the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group were fighting alongside Syrian troops at the site. The government-held Aleppo International Airport, which has been closed due to fighting for almost a year, is one of the Syrian rebels' major objectives.
Full http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/syria-activists-truce-made-blockaded-town-20842062
clothcapclothcap on November 10th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
Keiser Reports
Keiser Report E521
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss net worth enemas and monetizing bulimia in an economy in which the central bank QE beatings will continue until morale improves. In the second half, Max interviews Zac Goldsmith, a Member of Parliament for Richmond Park, about the danger of boycotting democracy, which is that it is guaranteed to take youawayfrom democracy. In response to such anti-democracy sentiments, Zac has launched an e-petition to introduce a proper Recall mechanism for MPs. They also discuss being pro-market not pro-corporatism and how it is that investment companies are hoarding rhino horns to benefit from the economics of extinction.



http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/episode-521-max-keiser-378/

Fear, Hatred, Distrust – The Toolbox of Imperialism
I remember, as a child in the 70s, hearing the news of the Dublin bombings and realizing that my father was in Talbot street at that time and asking my mother would he be alright as she burst into tears. The pure joy as hours later he walked in through the door. Only a pure fluke of traffic congestion saved his life. He described the paper boy becoming a streak of blood up a building on the corner of Gardner Street and edging his way, on his belly, through the bodies, trying to bring comfort where he could to the dying. He met the girl from Guiney’s, who had sold him an outfit for my brother a few weeks before, cut almost in two by a shard of glass. She died in his arms. The UVF were blamed. Now recently released documents show collusion with the British security Forces is highly implicated in many acts of terrorism on this island. “They want to draw us into the war” he always said. “I refuse to hate them!The only winners in war are the bankers“. People thought he was a nut when he’d say that.
More http://www.maxkeiser.com/2013/11/fear-hatred-distrust-the-toolbox-of-imperialism/

RT asks
Given the stream of NSA spy revelations since June, what impact will further leaks have?
14% - Nothing at all – people are getting used to all the exposés and there are no surprises left
22% - A rise in social resistance to NSA practices, such as the recent ‘Stop Watching Us’ march in Washington
4% - Sincere discussion of surveillance practices will take place, and steps will be taken to ensure privacy is prioritized
60% - Politicians will make more noises about respecting privacy, but do nothing to reign in government spies