Sunday, January 22, 2006

War in Iran

A good article at OpEdNews.com that I read recently, began with an excellent quote by William O. Douglas.
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
I feel that we are in such a twilight right now. The beat of war drums in the Middle East, a daily thunder for those living in Iraq, yet an almost subliminal pulse for the citizens of rich first-world nations on the other side of the globe, has begun to build to a new crescendo.

US and Israeli irritation with Iran is nothing new. Since the US went into Iraq in 2003, there has been a regular stream of propaganda coming from the global mainstream media hinting at . Syria has been copping it in no uncertain terms either. I had to wonder at some point whether it was simply a case of the US and Israel not being able to decide which nation they disliked more, and simply waiting for whichever one gave them the most plausible excuse for invasion in the eyes of the international community.

But since December last year, there has been a noticeable increase in coverage of the "Iranian nuclear threat" - a ramping up of propaganda designed to shape public opinion and manufacture the necessary level of consent for war. Of course, this process has been lubricated to an amazing degree by none other than Iran's own President! Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been aiming his own barrage of rhetoric at the media - for both national and international consumption.

This has lead many "conservative" commentators to pronounce that an attack on Iran is inevitable - in the name of "freedom and democracy" of course:
A military confrontation with Iran is inevitable. Israel will need to destroy as much of Iran’s nuclear weapons capability as possible. If it does not, Iran’s ayatollahs will launch nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at Israel.

If the Israelis attack, it will be with the assistance and blessing of the U.S. because a nuclear attack on America using innocent-looking merchant ships as launch platforms is a significant fear among counterterrorism experts. Or the U.S. will undertake its own preemptive military operation.

This isn’t conjecture or speculation. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made it clear to the world that Israel is to be “wiped off the map” of the world and, in the first days of its Islamic Revolution, it was American diplomats who were held hostage for 444 days by the Iranians.

For the ayatollahs, America is the “Big Satan” and Israel is the “Little Satan.” No ambiguity here. No slippery rhetoric to disguise their intentions.

Ahmedinijad recently told an Islamic summit in Mecca that an alternative to killing all the Israelis would be to have them all move to Europe! He is not merely certifiably insane, but he is virtually begging for a war with Israel. [...]

In the end, the experts conclude that military power may be the only option. I believe this will prove to be the only way to avoid a nuclear Armageddon.

We are dealing with religious fanatics who want to bring about the return of the twelfth Imam al-Mahdi. Born 800 years ago, the lunatics running Iran believe that, before he returns, “one third of the world population will die by being killed and one-third will die as a result of epidemics.” The ayatollahs of Iran have decided to kill one-third of the “unbelievers” with nuclear weapons. This is Islam’s gift to the world, murder on a scale no one can conceive.

If they succeed, the world will plunge backward to a time comparable to the Dark Ages. The destruction of Iran’s nuclear and other military facilities is a small price to pay to avoid this. Let’s do it sooner than later.
On a very superficial, juvenile level, such commentary makes a lot of sense - after all, any world leader declaring that other nations should be wiped out is a definite cause for concern. But let's now look at an excellent analysis by Michel Chossudovsky entitled, "Nuclear War against Iran":
The new definition of a nuclear warhead has blurred the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons:

'It's a package (of nuclear and conventional weapons). The implication of this obviously is that nuclear weapons are being brought down from a special category of being a last resort, or sort of the ultimate weapon, to being just another tool in the toolbox,' said Kristensen. (Japan Economic News Wire, op cit)

We are a dangerous crossroads: military planners believe their own propaganda.

The military manuals state that this new generation of nuclear weapons are "safe" for use in the battlefield. They are no longer a weapon of last resort. There are no impediments or political obstacles to their use. In this context, Senator Edward Kennedy has accused the Bush Administration for having developed "a generation of more useable nuclear weapons."

The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace.

"Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

But nuclear holocausts are not front page news! In the words of Mordechai Vanunu,

The Israeli government is preparing to use nuclear weapons in its next war with the Islamic world. Here where I live, people often talk of the Holocaust. But each and every nuclear bomb is a Holocaust in itself. It can kill, devastate cities, destroy entire peoples. (See interview with Mordechai Vanunu, December 2005).
Putting the earlier article in the context of the above, it would appear that Chossudovsky may be ominously close to the truth. For those with the mental faculties necessary to add two and two, it's pretty obvious that the Bush Administration does not intend to avoid a nuclear armageddon by pre-emptive nuclear armageddon. Armageddon can only be the intended outcome.

Reports from the web indicate that subtle and not-so-subtle troop movements are taking place:
Coinciding with increased tensions with Iran over the resumption of illicit uranium enrichment, the U.S. Air Force has dispatched additional warplanes to the region in a not-so-subtle sign, military sources say.

An entire wing of F-16s, the Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing based in Fort Wayne, Ind., left for a base in southwest Asia on Tuesday. A wing is usually about 72 aircraft and several hundred support personnel.

F-16s and support personnel from the 4th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, also deployed recently to Iraq. The squadron has 12 F-16s.

Both units' F-16s could be used in any military operation to take out Iranian nuclear facilities.

A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command Air Forces, which runs air operations in the region, said the F-16 deployment of about 80 jets is part of a rotation and is not related to Iran's uranium reprocessing.
With stuff like this making it to the web, you can be sure that the various intelligence apparati of the international community are aware of it too. So let's ask the same question Chossudovsky does - why aren't they doing anything about it, especially if most of the "evidence" for a pre-emptive strike is questionable at best?

Iran is a nation surrounded by nuclear-capable states. It is repeatedly adamant that it is developing nuclear technology for energy reasons. India and Pakistan (and let's not forget Israel) all have nuclear weapons, so citing regional proliferation concerns is tending towards sophistry.

Yet even France and Germany, who adopted a solid "no war" policy over Iraq, called an IAEA meeting over Iran's restarting of uranium enrichment and are recommending referral to the Security Council - although they claim talk of sanctions is premature. Premature or not, Iran is taking the threats very seriously, moving its assets out of Europe:
TEHRAN - Embroiled in a nuclear standoff with the West, Iran said on Friday it was moving its foreign assets to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output.

"Yes, Iran has started withdrawing money from European banks and transferring it to other banks abroad," said a senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named.

Central Bank Governor Ebrahim Sheibani was quoted earlier as saying Tehran had started shifting funds, but he sidestepped a question on whether the assets would go to accounts in Asia.

It is far from clear how placing assets in Asia or anywhere abroad would protect them from being frozen as few governments or major banks would be willing to flout U.N. sanctions openly.

The United States and the European Union want the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the Security Council at an emergency meeting on February 2.

The council has the power to impose trade or diplomatic sanctions, though no swift action to punish Iran is likely.

Russia and China, which both have major commercial interests at stake in the Islamic Republic, have urged caution.
George Ure at Urban Survival claims economic factors as the real reason behind the tensions over Iran:
The Melt Down Ahead

To see what's coming, you only need to read a few stories, in the right order, and think through the picture being painted. Because it's a weekend, bear with me for a few minutes, and let me walk you through the highlights, ok?
---
More than a few of us who have been buying gold since the Manufacturers Resource War broke out (with 9/11/2001) have been expecting gold to begin making its "big move". With prices surging past 24-year highs on Friday, this very well could be it. If it is, our inclination is to wait until the Dow and the Price of Gold (POG) are even, then we'll figure out where to deploy both of our dollars next.

I have to agree with one poster over at LeMetropole Cafe who noted that the surge in prices was not directly attributable to Iran tensions. He noted if that was the case, we would have seen oil spike up in a similar meaningful way. It hasn't, so he figures, something else is at work.

What's really going on, as best I can judge, is that the Fed has partially lost control of the money supply (which is why they will stop their weekly confessionals of M-3 in March of this year - it will be too scary for "regular people" to stomach by then. This week's report shows that M-3 has increased by 7.84% compared with year ago levels. It's really worse: The November to December change in M-3 pencils out to an 11.5% annual rate. In simplest terms, the money supply is going nonlinear now. That's why gold is up.

You might be asking what is so frightening about that - we've had bouts of inflation before, so no big deal. Well, not quite. You see in the same period, the amount of M-1 (basically cash in the system) has actually decreased by about 2-10th's of one percent in the same period!.

In other words we have deflation and inflation simultaneously in the money figures. The divergences are staggering. You've got less paper money in hand, yet easy credit - so the purchasing power of cash goes up and the consumers are forced more and more into debt to make ends meet.

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that this condition in the economy can't go on forever. Thus, later this weekend, when the new web bot run (future forecasting techniques of www.halfpasthuman.com based on linguistic shifts on the internet which seem to precede major social/psychological turnings points, such as 9/11, the anthrax attack, and others) we expect that a very large unexpected event will seen happening between now and April 1st.

Why? Because its clear to the international banksters that their game is falling apart and they need an "event" of some kind in order to maintain their cover and remain in functional control of the country through their shadow government proxies. Care to take a guess what that will be?
The question is, if the USA and Israel have the most to lose in an economic sense (let's not forget that the US pours billions of dollars into Israel on an annual basis), will Russia and China (who have substantial economic ties to Iran themselves) agree to sanctions as a means of avoiding a potential nuclear strike scenario? An article on Reuters suggests that 'expert predictions' say no:
The United States and three European Union nations are pressing the 15-member U.N. Security Council to take up the Iranian nuclear issue, which could open the door to potential oil sanctions.

But two key U.N. Security Council members that carry veto powers -- China and Russia -- have multibillion-dollar oil and natural gas projects hanging in the balance, and China depends on Iran's imports to quench its oil thirst.

"I have a hard time seeing how oil investments could be targeted given the interests of Russia and China," said Julia Nanay, a senior director at PFC Energy in Washington.

Iran wants to sign a major oilfield deal to give China's Sinopec a stake in the giant Yadavaran oilfield in southern Iran, which could require investment of at least $2 billion.

And Russia's LUKOIL holds a minority stake in the Anaran field in western Iran near the Iraqi border.

Iran raised the stakes in its row with the West this month by removing U.N. seals on equipment that purifies uranium, which can be used for power, or if highly enriched, in bombs.

The United States and the European Union's three biggest powers said talks with Iran on the issue were at a dead end, and moved to refer the matter to the Security Council. [...]

If Iran halted exports of around 2.4 million bpd, the rest of the world's spare capacity would not be able to make up the shortfall, making $100 per barrel crude oil prices highly likely in the short term, experts said.

Iran has warned that oil prices would rise "beyond levels the West expects" if its opponents pursued punitive sanctions, and says it could repatriate an unknown amount of oil earnings it holds in foreign accounts. [...]

Some warn that Iran could retaliate against international pressure and unilaterally rein back its crude oil exports.

"Oil is now going to be their weapon of choice," said Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

"If the Security Council ultimately passes a sanctions resolution that has some teeth in it, the Iranians will respond in some way," Placke said. "You can count on it."
Perhaps anticipating the reluctance of the Russians to back sanctions in the UN Security Council, Israel dispatched a team of diplomats which will no doubt attempt to influence Russia's vote should the referral occur (probably a sure thing at this point IMO). Analysis by The Guardian newspaper points to China as the key obstacle to any Security Council resolutions against Iran.

But I am getting ahead of myself here. The emergency meeting of the IAEA takes place on February 2. There is a slim chance that the IAEA will not recommend referral to the Security Council. The chairman of the IAEA has rejected a request by the EU to condemn Iran in advance of the emergency meeting. And given the questionable threat level of Iran, there may not be enough hard evidence to support referral. But, as anyone who hasn't spent the last few years drooling in front of "reality TV" will know, lack of evidence didn't stop a US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Although the future is open, I am not optimistic about this. There seems to be a "vector of war" converging with a "vector of economic troubles". This intersection is unlikely to yield good news for humanity, especially with the likes of Bush and Ahmadinejad at the helm.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

As the Global Economy Crumbles (Part II)

Since I wrote Part I, the price of gold has continued to reach new highs - surpassing US$545 to break 25 year records. Such rapid appreciation of this commodity is quite unusual to say the least, but it seems that we are in unusual times (or "interesting" as the Chinese might call them!).

There has been much financial chatter in the last quarter over the cooling of the housing market. , along with while Wall Street bonuses soar ever higher:
Wall Street bonuses will set a new record of $21.5 billion in 2005, surpassing the previous record of $19.5 billion set in 2000 during the peak of the last bull market, according to a forecast released today by State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi. This translates into average bonuses of $125,500 — also a new record. …

After a disappointing first half, profits for member firms of the New York Stock Exchange improved during the third quarter and industry reports suggest an even stronger fourth quarter. Although 2005 profits could be less than last year's level, many bonuses are tied to industry revenues, which have been exceptionally strong this year. Profits have been held down by rising interest rates, which increased the cost of doing business.

Revenues at Wall Street firms grew by 44.5 percent through the first three quarters of 2005 — reaching the highest level since the stock market peaked in 2000. Merger and acquisition activity account for most of the surge in revenues, which is expected to be up 28 percent over last year's level and to exceed $1 trillion for the first time since 2000. Given the surge in merger and acquisition activity, investment bankers received the largest increases and bonuses just like last year.

One out of every 53 households in the United States filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005. That's the headline on this CNN story, released the same day as Hevesi's statement on the bonuses.

Bankruptcy filings soared 31.6 percent in 2005. Luckily for the ruling class, new laws will severely curb that number, because it now is harder for ordinary Americans to file Chapter 7 proceedings to get a "fresh start."


Corporate America, of course, continues to take advantage of generous bankruptcy laws. Halliburton, for example, took various thriving and profitable units through bankruptcy court to rid itself of asbestos-litigation burdens. And as I just pointed out last week, vultures like Sago coal mine owner Wilbur Ross love to take companies into bankruptcy to escape having to pay for workers' pensions and health-care benefits.
Despite these ever-vastening profits for the megacorporations, it could be quite significant that UK business leadership predicts 2006 will be a year of economic pain:
In the survey of more than 100 FTSE top executives, MORI found that two thirds, 66 per cent, expect the economy to worsen in 2006, while only one in 25, 4 per cent, believe it will improve.

With analysts expecting rampant US growth to stutter in 2006, little sign of a recovery in the eurozone, and consumer spending at home still under pressure from rising taxes, businesses have plenty of reasons to be nervous about the year ahead.

Despite their pessimism about the general outlook, most senior executives expect their own company to be able to ride the storm in 2006. More than half - 57 per cent - thought business would improve over the next year, while only 11 per cent expected things to get worse.

Larger firms were particularly negative about the future, as were those based outside the capital. Perhaps surprisingly, bankers and financial services executives were generally as depressed about their fortunes as others, despite a bumper 2005, with a rash of deals that have put City staff in line for the most lavish bonus season since the boom years of the late Nineties. [...]

In his pre-Budget statement last month, when he admitted that his forecasts for 2005 were badly awry, the Chancellor blamed record oil prices for the consumer spending squeeze, which dragged growth to its weakest rate since the early Nineties recession.

But when business leaders were asked about the biggest problem for their businesses, it was red tape that came top of most of the lists. Three in 10 executives cited legislation, regulation or bureaucracy as a problem - almost twice as many as mentioned the next most bothersome issue, the general economic climate.

The Treasury has promised a bonfire of regulation, but business leaders do not seem to be feeling the benefits. The chairman of one major international bank complained of 'regulation, political interference and lack of qualified people'.

The chairman of a major property developer singled out the much-criticised planning regime, saying 'securing planning permissions is becoming more tortuous', and adding 'there is more interference and it is taking longer and even when we are assessing a site it is very difficult to be able to establish what the conditions, and therefore the costs, of the planning would be.' Smaller firms were the most likely to complain about regulation.

The economic climate worried 17 per cent of executives, with the chairman of a leading mining and natural resources company citing 'uncertainty in the pattern of economic development in China', as a concern.

Another troubling issue, reported by 16 per cent, was the skills shortage: 'Lack of workforce, labour costs,' was mentioned by the CEO of one retail property company, while the head of a chemical firm blamed 'energy prices, economics, pensions and the continuing malaise in the manufacturing industry'.

Manufacturing suffered in 2005 as demand from the eurozone economies remained weak, and high-energy prices took their toll. By the end of October, manufacturing output was no higher than it was in 2002.
Note the comment about manufacturing suffering due to demand from Eurozone economies remaining weak. I am skeptical of this being the real reason, as the key factor in the decline of the manufacturing sector in the US economy - the "model" that other first-world countries have been trying to emulate - has been the outsourcing of manufacturing to countries like China, which have an abundant supply of cheap labor. I find this a more realistic reason, given the tight business cultural relationships between the US and UK.

The comment also brings another key economic factor into focus - consumer spending. An article entitled "Time to Pay the Bill" in the Guardian discusses the ongoing splurge in debt-driven lifestyle in the UK:
The dynamics of Britain's consumer-driven economy are similar to Johnny Sixpack's. As we manufacture less at home but still want the glitter and glamour of consumerism, we have taken to debt as the natural way to finance our spending addiction. Total borrowing in Britain topped £1 trillion last year, just a bit under £5,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Now, five grand may not seem a big sum, and most of us would be able to handle that amount of indebtedness, but look at it a different way. Personal debt per household has soared over the past 20 years, from around 80 per cent of household income to the present level of 150 per cent. It has been rising throughout the 21st century as banks have been aggressively pushing their financial products, mainly credit cards and loans. We have been only too ready to take up their generous offers.

Increasingly, some people have been unable to handle it. In the coming year, there will be something like 20,000 personal insolvencies, the highest number since records began in the 1960s. It used to be that insolvency followed on from the failure of a family business venture, but these days, it is increasingly high levels of personal indebtedness that triggers the plug-pulling.


This government has rightly, I would say, taken much of the shame out of bankruptcy, on the grounds that risk-taking entrepreneurs would be deterred from starting up wealth-creating businesses if they were faced with the life-long shame of Carey Street.

But the intention of that was certainly not to allow people to build up huge levels of personal debts, on which they could then renege in a relatively painless bankruptcy.

There is much muttering among the big banks which provide all this credit that guidelines will have to be tightened to prevent this spiral getting out of control, but in many cases it is too late. Consumer organisations regularly see individuals with £100,000 of personal debt through loans and credit cards, with one case involving a couple who had built up £350,000 in plastic debt.

The future is certainly not all doom and gloom, though. There is a great comfort factor at work in the form of bricks and mortar. The reason so many people feel sanguine about running up huge bills on their flexible friends is because so many of have substantial capital, acting as security, in the form of their homes.

Property prices have enjoyed years of steady growth, and if they are now on some kind of plateau for the foreseeable future, as most experts agree, it is nowhere near the negative-equity days of the last serious recession in the early Nineties.

So should we be worried? The problem is the sheer interdependency of the modern consumer economy. Growth is dependent as never before on our willingness to go to the shops and spend, which, in turn, is reliant on the feelgood factor of historically high property prices. High levels of disposable income - or credit - keep the economic wheels turning, but what happens when one of them falls off?

This is the background against which to see the full import of November's solemn pre-budget review. Chancellor Gordon Brown was forced to admit that he had got the sums wrong on growth, and that the economy would have to make do with less than 2 per cent annual growth, rather than the 3 per cent plus that he had hitherto been expecting. It was a chilling admission, but we will only see how chilling in 2006. [...]
Yes indeedy, property prices have enjoyed steady growth - the UK has a housing "bubble" similar to the one in the US. It's not all bad news for the British though, with BP making record profits despite hurricanes. Gee, those oil companies never seem to have a bad year, do they?

Moving back to the USA, it seems that despite the record levels of corporate profit, government spending continues unabated, with the US Treasury Secretary warning Congress to raise the debt ceiling 'or else':
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary John Snow said yesterday the United States could face the prospect of not being able to pay its bills early next year unless Congress raises the government’s borrowing authority, now capped at $8.18 trillion.

Snow, in a letter to lawmakers, estimated that the government is expected to bump into the statutory debt limit around the middle of February.

“At that time, unless the debt limit is raised or the Treasury Department takes authorized extraordinary actions, we will be unable to continue to finance government operations,” Snow wrote.
Anyone who has been observing US government spending over the years of the Bush administration will not be too surprised at the above article, nor will they be surprised when Congress vote to either raise it once more, or to do away with it altogether and sail the USA into an economic "perfect storm" at full steam ahead.

Australia looks set for hard economic times as well; Bill Buckler at The Privateer reveals some of the hard facts regarding this. The following is a small quote from his newsletter - well worth the subscription fee for those interested in real economic news:
AMONGST THE POPPING CORKS - THE COMMODITY CYCLE POPS TOO
First came the sudden break in the bulk carrier freight rates late last year. Orders from China for world raw resources, though still very high, suddenly decelerated. Ocean freight rates were first to get hit.

Next, and this is happening now, came the hard falls in world coal prices, as China lowered its orders for the raw material that makes electricity and steel. The result has surfaced in the recently completed coal price talks in China, where Australian coal producers have accepted prices for semi-soft coking coal of $US 50-55 per tonne. That is a drastic fall from last year's $US 75-80 a tonne. Rest assured the Aussie coal producers tried to get all that they could, but they did not get anywhere near last year's prices. Thermal coal itself now commands prices of about $US 44 per tonne delivered free on board (FOB) from Aussie ports. Back in June 2004, the price was $US 63 per tonne.

After The Commodity Cycle Comes The Business Cycle:

In any business cycle upswing caused by a credit expansion, first comes the start of the business cycle as businesses respond to the increases in demand for their products, even if only with borrowed money. Businesses start calling for more resources of all kinds. Next, as all the supply chains of such commodities get pulled tighter, comes the upswing in commodity prices. Last comes a sudden spike and surge in bulk carrier ocean freight rates. That's the top of the cycle, already behind us. All global ocean freight rates have now done steep dives. And now, here come the breaks in the basic commodity prices.

The global businesses cycle, with some nations in front of the curve and others lagging behind, starts to go down next. In Australia, we will see that happening around mid 2006. That's when the lower global prices will start hitting local coal and other resource producers. That, in turn, will have effects in the Aussie national economy beginning about mid-2006 and affect general business in late 2006.
Some of the bigger investment names are also warning of problems to the global economy - for instance, George Soros predicts recession in 2007. It never hurts to keep an eye on what the big boys of finance are saying and (especially) doing.

One final thing that I want to make special mention of is that the US is going to discontinue reporting the M3 money statistic on March 23, 2006. Curiously enough, this coincides very closely with Iran's start-up of an oil trading market denominated in Euros (on March 30). This means that the nations of the world will then no longer have to purchase US dollars in order to buy oil. An excellent short article (with plenty of charts) by Robert McHugh outlines the possible impact on the US dollar, and where the M3 statistic figures into this.

Of course, Iran is upsetting the US in more ways than the purely economic at the moment, and some are hinting at ominous preparations being made for war. Let's just hope the "Ides of March" remain purely a figure of speech this year...

Monday, January 09, 2006

AboveTopSecret.com Equals Government Disinfo

Or so it may appear, according to a new blog entry by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. I must admit that I've paid ATS a few visits, but I always stopped short of registering to post. I'm not sure why... it seems like a popular forum active in many subjects I find interesting, yet I always found the attitude of the moderators a little "off". I can't really put my finger on what it was, but it was enough to dissuade me from joining the forum.

Well, LJK's post really puts that feeling into perspective! Check this:
The very next thing that happened - within hours of writing the above - was that we received an email from Above Top Secret as follows:

Mark - mark@abovetopsecret.com From : USA wrote : I am disgusted by your accusation that AboveTopSecret.com, LLP is a "Government funded damage control outlet" I ask that you retract that lie.

My partners and I have spent the last several years building that site and have NEVER received a nickel from ANY government, never been asked to do ANYTHING for or by ANY government and NEVER WILL.

The fact we attract logical members who present THIER analysis and ask that other members treat them with COURTEOUSNESS and keep the discussion at an ADULT level sans flames and rediculous off topic commentary does NOT make us anything more or less than what we are. The number ONE destination on the internet to FREELY Deny Ignorance.

It is truly SAD that when a site allows ALL sides of an issue to be heard people like YOU who believe hook line and sinker there is a conspiracy where there may or may not be one, feel the need to falsely accuse us of being crooked. It makes me SICK and SAD for you.

You obviously haven't read the THOUSANDS of posts that actually SUPPORT your perspective on our site, no that would be too much work wouldn't it?

Much easier to cast a negative light upon our site in the hopes of getting yourself some attention isn't it?

Thoroughly disappointed in and DISGUSTED with YOU.

Springer...

Partner,

AboveTopSecret.com, LLP
Well well well..... touched a nerve, perhaps? Seriously, if ATS gets so much traffic that it makes them a "number one site on the internet", why care about what some other website says? Especially if your site claims to have such a pro-free-speech attitude? Are ATS concerned they will lose credibility with their "conspiracy community" if such statements are made? Why would a site that purports to discuss conspiracies even care about "credibility" anyway, considering that the phrase "conspiracy theory" has become such a perjorative term (no thanks to the mainstream media)? Seems like an over-reaction to me. But to continue:
Now, what would have happened if he had written to me and said: "Hey, I read your piece and even though we disagree on the subject, I would like to object to being labeled a disinfo source. I set up the site for the same reasons you have your site: to find the truth. I just don't see any evidence of what you are saying... " etc etc...

But, since he is not there to argue the evidence, but rather to promote the lies, he can't do that. And people like that only know one way to function: to seek to destroy the other views by ridicule, shaming, playing guilt cards, aggressive insults, etc. Even if they try to mask their behavior by platitudes about being adult and courteous, they belie it by their own words. In other words, they know the words, but not the music. They are blind to their own lack of courtesy to the truth.

Or, they are disinfo...

My money is on the latter.
This is the beginning of a very interesting article. After discussion of the recent situation, she then turns to the subject of ATS's mysterious founder - a certain "Simon Gray".
I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusion about whether or not AboveTopSecret was setting itself up as a money making venture, or to be a "vacuum cleaner" operation. Of course, the two objectives are not mutually exclusive! One thing is certain, this "Simon Gray" was way too busy and energetic to be the playwright. Whoever it was, it looks like he's out to make a million bux one way or the other. This frenzied promotional activity for the past 7 years or so will become quite interesting when we consider "Christian Bailey," (coming up) so keep it in mind.

I would also suggest that the reader go to the webarchive and go back over the history of AboveTopSecret.com and notice that it was quite obviously set up to draw in alternative researchers from the very beginning. Why? Obvious answer is to vector ideas.
This makes sense to me. If you are a government wanting to keep track of "dissent" and "thinking outside the box", what better way than to create a free forum for people inclined to such things to communicate? You could set up all kinds of nifty analysis packages on the server to generate reports on who knows what, plus the agents themselves could (ever so subtley) "discourage" discussion which might threaten to reveal information contrary to the government's interests. The article then continues on to discuss some speculatory links between ATS and US propaganda agents involved in Iraq psy-ops.

So is this the real truth behind ATS? I'll leave that to the reader to decide, but it seems that LJK isn't the only one with suspicions.

How deep does the rabbit-hole go?