Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Libertarians


“Nuclear war is not the end of the world.” - ex- MP

Foot in Mouth award – another former ACT MP plumbs new depths of dumbness


25 May, 2016

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Foot In Mouth Award
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This Award is for a comment has has to be heard to be believed. It must rank as truly one of the dumbest things a politician (or former politician, in this case) has ever uttered in the entire million-year long history of Homo Sapiens.
The Award goes to former ACT MP, Heather Roy, for stating – with a straight face and without a hint of irony;

"Nuclear war is not the end of the world."

Nuclear war is not the end of the world.” 

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I kid you not.
Check it out for yourself on TVNZ’s website, HERE. The relevant comment is at 6.04;
Nuclear war is not the end of the world.”

And Righties call us the “looney left”?!
I guess in a way, Ms Roy is correct; “Nuclear war is not the end of the world” – if you’re a cockroach. It’s more like an opportunity.

An opportunity to snack on 7.5 billion charred human corpses amidst the ruins of what was once a civilisation on planet Earth.

Absolutely. Barking. Mad.

References


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To hear the nonsense spoken by ignorant people GO HERE



Canada's Crime against the Planet

Canada’s shocking oilsands operation (Aerial footage)
Alex MacLean is one of America’s most famed and iconic aerial photographers. His perspective on human structures, from bodies sunbathing at the beach to complex, overlapping highway systems, always seems to hint at a larger symbolic meaning hidden in the mundane. By photographing from above, MacLean shows the sequences and patterns of human activity, including the scope of our impact on natural systems. His work reminds us of the law of proximity: the things closest to us are often the hardest to see.

Recently MacLean traveled to the Alberta oilsands in western Canada. There, working with journalist Dan Grossman, MacLean used his unique eye to capture some new and astounding images of one of the world’s largest industrial projects. Their work, funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, will form part of a larger, forthcoming report for GlobalPost.

DeSmog Canada caught up with MacLean to ask him about his experience photographing one of Canada’s most politicized resources and the source of the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines.


Forest removal for exploratory well pad. Shell Jackpine mining site, North of Fort McMurray, Canada.
Forest removal for exploratory well pad. Shell Jackpine mining site, North of Fort McMurray, Canada.
Beds leading up to tailing pond.
Beds leading up to tailing pond.
Mining operations at the North Steepbank Extension. Suncor mine, Alberta, Canada.
Mining operations at the North Steepbank Extension. Suncor mine, Alberta, Canada.
Suncor Oil Sands Project. Piles of uncovered petrolum coke, a byproduct of upgrading tar sands oil to synthetic crude. “Petcoke” is between 30-80 per cent more carbon intense than coal per unit of weight.
Suncor Oil Sands Project. Piles of uncovered petrolum coke, a byproduct of upgrading tar sands oil to synthetic crude. “Petcoke” is between 30-80 per cent more carbon intense than coal per unit of weight.
Syncrude Mildred Lake mining site. View south to upgrading facility with rising plumes of steam and smoke. Alberta, Canada.
Syncrude Mildred Lake mining site. View south to upgrading facility with rising plumes of steam and smoke. Alberta, Canada.
Patches of boreal forest intertwined with snow-covered muskeg, near McLelland Lake, Alberta, Canada.
Patches of boreal forest intertwined with snow-covered muskeg, near McLelland Lake, Alberta, Canada.
Steam and smoke rise from the Syncrude Mildred Lake mining facility.
Steam and smoke rise from the Syncrude Mildred Lake mining facility.
Earthen wall to tailing pond. Suncor mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Earthen wall to tailing pond. Suncor mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Hot waste filling tailing pond. Suncor mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Hot waste filling tailing pond. Suncor mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Smoke, steam, and gas flares rise from the Suncor upgrading facility. Reclamation efforts seen to the right, on what was once a tailing pond. Suncor has reclaimed only 7 per cent of their total land disturbance.
Smoke, steam, and gas flares rise from the Suncor upgrading facility. Reclamation efforts seen to the right, on what was once a tailing pond. Suncor has reclaimed only 7 per cent of their total land disturbance.
Seismic lines and well pad for exploratory drilling through the boreal forest at the Suncor Firebag Oil Sands Project. Alberta, Canada.
Seismic lines and well pad for exploratory drilling through the boreal forest at the Suncor Firebag Oil Sands Project. Alberta, Canada.
Checkerboard clearing of the overburden at Syncrude Aurora North mine site. Alberta, Canada.
Checkerboard clearing of the overburden at Syncrude Aurora North mine site. Alberta, Canada.
Clearing, dewatering, and seismic grid over the once boreal forest. Syncrude mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Clearing, dewatering, and seismic grid over the once boreal forest. Syncrude mining site, Alberta, Canada.
Open box cars carrying sulfur byproduct. Edmonton, Canada.
Open box cars carrying sulfur byproduct. Edmonton, Canada.
Surface oil on tailing pond. Suncor mine near Fort McMurray.
Surface oil on tailing pond. Suncor mine near Fort McMurray.
Overview of tailing pond at Suncor mining site.
Overview of tailing pond at Suncor mining site.
Growing pyramids of sulfur, a byproduct of upgrading bitumen. Mildred Lake, Alberta, Canada.
Growing pyramids of sulfur, a byproduct of upgrading bitumen. Mildred Lake, Alberta, Canada.

DeSmog Canada: What was it like photographing the oilsands? Was it different 
from photographing other large-scale human spaces like highways or beaches?

Alex MacLean: The oilsands covered a vast area of which I was only able to 
photograph part of. It was not only different from highways, beaches, etc., in that 
those are linear formations, but the scale of the oilsands area and the devastation
 to the landscape was overwhelming. I felt a relation between highways and the 
mines in that open pit mines and seismic exploration lines fragment the boreal 
forest just as highways do through urban areas.

DeSmog Canada: What led to your interest in the Alberta oilsands?

Alex MacLean: I have been photographing around the issues of climate change 
since early on, and actually put out a book looking at land use patterns as they 
relate to energy and consumption in 2008 called “OVER: The American Landscape 
at the Tipping Point.” I was drawn to photographing the pipeline because I feel as 
though there is little public awareness that, if built, the Keystone XL will make 
avoiding catastrophic climate change much harder. The pipeline is an important 
link in a fossil-fuel production machine, stocked with bitumen deposits at one end 
and refineries at the other. The public is unaware that this oil production machine
is poorly regulated, though it will cause serious environmental and health effects on 
local, regional and planetary sales.

DeSmog Canada: What is it like taking a bird’s eye view of humanity? Do you 
sometimes have great insights looking at civilization from such a removed, 
abstracted position?

Alex MacLean: One of the interesting things about aerial photography is how so 
much of what you see about humanity is devoid of people. What I see is tracks 
and markings that are telling about our culture and values. When you see the 
destruction of landscapes, in this case of the boreal forest, with the obvious 
contamination of the environment via water and air pollution, you can’t help but 
feel that there is very short-sighted exploitation of natural resources that will have 
long-lasting environmental impacts.

DeSmog Canada: You’ve been photographing ‘human’ spaces for a long time. 
Have you noticed a change over the last few decades in your perspective as 
society has grown more aware of the ecological crisis and the scale 
of our impact?

Alex MacLean: You can’t help but notice the growth that has taken place in the 
last thirty years, and the build-out of what was once natural spaces. I would say in
 the last 15 years, at an escalating rate, you begin to see more sustainable 
sources of energy through wind and solar farms, and reconfiguring of urban 
spaces to make them more walkable.

Turkey's moves towards dictatorship

Erdogan Puts Final Touches on Dictatorship

Turkey presumably still hoping to accede to the European Union?


24 May, 2016

Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

When the news hit on May 5 that Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would unexpectedly stand down from his post as a result of sharply escalating fighting behind the scenes over president Tayyip Erdogan's relentless attempt to rule Turkey with virtually no checks and balances, the market was not happy, and the volatility of the Turkish Lira soared the most in the past decade.






Since then the Turkish market has modestly tamed, even if the Erdogan's push for supreme control has done anything but, and during today's congress of Turkey's AKP, Erdogan confirmed an impotent lapdog, Binali Yildirim - a close ally for two decades and a co-founder of the ruling AK Party - as his new prime minister on Sunday, which as Reuters explained was "a big step towards the stronger presidential powers [Erdogan] has long sought." In plain English, Turkey is unofficially a dictatorship, in which Erdogan is president only in title and in reality a supreme despot as there is no longer anyone who can politically challenge the president.


Concurrently, Erdogan also accepted the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, hours after AKP elected Yildirim as his replacement.

In a speech to AKP delegates who earlier elected him party leader at a special congress, Yildirim, transport minister for most of the past decade and a half, left no doubt that he would prioritise the policies closest to Erdogan's heart. His main aim, he said, was to deliver a new constitution and create an executive presidency, a change Erdogan says will bring stability to the NATO member state of 78 million, but which opponents fear will herald greater authoritarianism.

Yildirim, 60, said constitutional change was a necessity to legitimize the existing situation, tacit acknowledgment that Erdogan has extended the traditionally ceremonial role of the Turkish presidency."The most important mission we have today is to legalize the de facto situation, to bring to an end this confusion by changing the constitution," he said. "The new constitution will be on an executive presidential system."
Erdogan meets with incoming Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

The constitutional change would give Erdogan unlimited power over virtually every aspect of governance.


As if proof were needed of where power in the party lies, delegates remained standing through a message from Erdogan read out at the start of the congress. Yildirim vowed that, under his leadership, the AKP's way would be "Erdogan's way". Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Erdogan was the party's one leader.

He has made clear he will pursue two of Erdogan's biggest priorities - the executive presidency and the fight against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the largely Kurdish southeast. "They are asking us when the anti-terror operations will end. I am announcing hereby that operations will end when all our citizens are safe," Yildirim said in an emotional speech.

"Operations will continue without pause until the bloody-handed terrorist organization PKK ends its armed actions."

Despite Erdogan's attempts to silence any journalistic criticism by sending his biggest public detractors to prison, some dares to voice their displeasure with what is happening inside the NATO member and Europe's close Asian ally:

"If they can succeed, this will be a transition period for the executive presidency," journalist Abdulkadir Selvi, who is seen as close to AKP, told Reuters.

And now that the Turkish premier figurehead is known, investors' eyes shift to the future of Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, who according to Reuters is seen as one of the remaining anchors of market confidence. Erdogan, who favors consumption-led growth, has repeatedly railed against high interest rates in Turkey, saying they cause inflation, a stance at odds with mainstream economics. Without Simsek, investors fear, it will be less likely that the government will deliver on promises to liberalize the labor market, encourage savings and bring in more private investment.

Installing a puppet PM was not all Erdogan did in this busy week: just to make sure Erdogan can use the law to crack down on any of his political opponents, last Friday Erdogan's puppet parliament agreed to strip its members of immunity, a move which will be used by Erdogan to prosecute members of the pro-Kurdish HDP, parliament's third-biggest party, as well as anyone else he choose to take down.

He accuses the HDP of being the political wing of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the state. The HDP denies such links and says its parliamentary presence could be all but wiped out if prosecutions go head.

In other words, if any MP says or does something that the president disagrees with, said member of parliament will promptly find themselves under arrest and behind bars: a strong deterrent never to say or do anything that would displease the ascendant tyrant.

It is this stripping of immunity that Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would discuss with Erdogan on Monday when the two meet tomorrow in Istanbul, voicing disquiet at a measure meant to sideline the pro-Kurdish opposition.
Erdogan meets with Merkel in Ankara, Turkey February 8, 2016

"Naturally some developments in Turkey are causing us grave concerns," Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Sunday, one day before she meets Erdogan on the sidelines of a U.N.-sponsored humanitarian summit in Istanbul.


However, it's not as if Merkel has any leverage or strings to pull. Quite the opposite: Merkel is facing accusations at home that she has become too accommodating of Erdogan as she tries to secure a European Union deal with Ankara to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey into Europe, the bulk of whom have gone to Germany.

Worse, the accusations are 100% accurate, because as of this moment the person who dictates the future of Europe is neither in Greece, nor in Great Britain, but is not even located in Europe in the first place (although that may change soon). This guy.



Crosstalks: Bullhorns Unstoppable

NATO and Russia on Collision Course, or Hyperbolic Warmongering?


21st Century Wire says…


A certain set of warmongering interests appear to be hyping a conflict with Russia.

In the following episode of CrossTalk , guests discuss the apparent prediction of an ex-NATO General that Russia and NATO are going to be at war within the space of a year.

Is this a genuine threat, or more Russophobic, hyperbolic warmongering?




Will The November US Presidential Election Bring The End Of The World?

Paul Craig Roberts




24 May, 2016

"We have been watching for nearly a month a steady buildup of American and NATO forces along Russia's borders -- on land, on sea and in the air. There has been nothing like this on Russia's borders, such an amassing of hostile military force, since the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941."

So concludes America's leading Russian expert, Professor Stephen Cohen (Princeton and New York University).

Professor Cohen asks if Washington is sleepwalking and needs to wake up or whether Washington has gone crazy and intends war.

Pepe Escobar advises Washington to "beware what you wish for: Russia is ready for war."

Escobar reports that recently the Rand Corporation, "essentially a CIA outpost," concluded that "Russia could over-run NATO in a mere 60 hours, if not less." On the level of nukes and missile systems, Russia is four generations ahead of the US military/security complex, which is mainly interested in inflating profits with cost overruns. US weapons systems are simply outclassed.

Nevertheless, the Russian high command is concerned with the Russian government's low-key response to Washington's aggression. The generals blame the "Atlanticists Integrationists" who infect Putin's government. This faction is believed to be organized around Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and believes Russia should make concessions to Washington in order to be accepted as part of the West. The incompetent Russian central bank and neoliberal economists are part of the faction whose goal is to be part of the West regardless of its impact on Russian independence from Washington's Empire.

Stephen Cohen and Alastair Crooke, a former British secret agent, almost alone in the West have noticed that the Russian military and the predominant part of the government that emphasizes national sovereignty are putting pressure on President Putin to eliminate those in the government who are willing to compromise Russia's independence in order to gain acceptance by Washington.

This has been my own opinion for some time. It is impossible to adequately stand up to an external threat when unreliable elements are part of the threatened government.

If Putin is forced to remove Washington's agents from his government, as he must do if Russia is to survive Washington's plots, he must not let them leave Russia. If they escape, they will end up in Washington to be used as Washington's Russian government in exile. If Putin doesn't want to put them on trial for treason, then a form of national house arrest would be a solution.

Alastair Crooke writes that Washington is miscalulating by seeking unipolar hegemony and, thus, is forcing Putin into the camp of the nationalists who value Russia's sovereignty more than Western acceptance. Washington's use of NATO in an effort to corner Russia with military buildups on Russia's land and sea borders is forcing compromise out of Russia's response to Washington's aggression.

Regardless of Escobar's description of Russian military superiority over the West, Russian independence is between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the American neoconservatives' determination to achieve hegemony over Russia. The hard place is those within the Russian government who are more Western than Russian in their orientation.

If Trump becomes US president, there is some possibility, perhaps, that the neoconservatives will cease to dominate US foreign and military policies. Should this turn out to be the case, the Russian nationalists might ease their pressure on Putin to remove the Atlanticist Integrationists from the government.

If Hillary becomes US president, the neoconservative threat to Russia will escalate. The Atlanticist Integrationists will be eliminated from the Russian government, and Russia will move to full war standing.

Remember what an unprepared Russia did to the German Wehrmacht, at that time the most powerful army ever assembled. Imagine what a prepared Russia would do to the crazed Hillary and the incompetent neoconservatives.

As I have previously written, pushing Russia to war means the demise of the US and Europe and, considering the destructive power of nuclear weapons, most likely of all life on earth.

The main cause of this danger is the arrogance, hubris, and utter stupidity of the American neoconservatives who are ensconced in positions of power and influence and in Hillary's presidential campaign. A secondary cause is Europe's vassal status, which deprives Europe of a sensible foreign policy and forces Europe to enable Washington's aggression.

What this means is that no matter what you think of Trump, if you vote for Hillary you are definitely voting for the end of the world.

Beware What You Wish For: Russia Is Ready For War

By Pepe Escobar

MiG 29 fighter jets. © Kirill Kallinikov

RT 
22 May, 2016

So foreign ministers from the 28 NATO member-nations met in Brussels for a two-day summit, while mighty military power Montenegro was inducted as a new member.

Global Robocop NATO predictably discussed Afghanistan (a war NATO ignominiously lost); Iraq (a war the Pentagon ignominiously lost); Libya (a nation NATO turned into a failed state devastated by militia hell); Syria (a nation NATO, via Turkey, would love to invade, and is already a militia hell).

Afghans must now rest assured that NATO’s Resolute Support mission – plus “financial support for Afghan forces” – will finally assure the success of Operation Enduring Freedom forever.

Libyans must be reassured, in the words of NATO figurehead secretary Jens Stoltenberg, that we“should stand ready to support the new Government of National Accord in Libya.”

Stoltenberg duly confirmed, “We have already decided to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. Our military planners have put forward proposals of several battalions in different countries in the region. No decision has been taken on the numbers and locations.”

These puny “several battalions” won’t cause any Russian planner to lose sleep. The real“measure” is the deployment of the Aegis Ashore system in Romania last week – plus a further one in Poland in 2018. This has been vehemently opposed by Moscow since the early 2000s. NATO’s argument that the Aegis represents protection against the “threat” of ballistic missiles from Iran does not even qualify as kindergarten play.

Every Russian military planner knows the Aegis is not defensive. This is a serious game-changer – as in de-localizing US nuclear capability to Eastern Europe. No wonder Russian President Vladimir Putin had to make it clear Russia would respond “adequately” to any threat to its security.

Predictably all Cold War 2.0 hell broke loose, all over again.

A former NATO deputy commander went ballistic, while saner heads wondered whether Moscow, sooner rather than later, would have had enough of these shenanigans and prepare for war.

That worthless Patriot

A case can be made that the Beltway – neocons and neoliberalcons alike - do not want a hot war with Russia. What they want, apart from racking in more cash for the Pentagon, is to raise the ante to such a high level that Moscow will back down - based on a rational cost analysis. Yet oil prices will inevitably rise later in 2016 – and under this scenario Washington is a loser. So we may see a raise of interest rates by the Fed (with all the money continuing to go to Wall Street) trying to reverse the scenario.

Comparisons of the current NATO buildup to pre-WWII buildups, or to NATO when opposed to the Warsaw Pact, are amateurish. The THAAD and Patriot missiles are worthless - according to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) themselves; that’s why they tried to improve them with Iron Dome.

Meanwhile, those new NATO army “battalions” are inconsequential. The basic thrust behind the Pentagon’s moves under neocon Ash Carter continues to be to draw Russia ever further into Syria and Ukraine (as if Moscow actually was involved in, or wanted, a Ukrainian quagmire); trap Russia in proxy wars; and economically bleed Russia to death while crippling the bulk of oil and natural gas income to the Russian state.

Russia does not want – and does not need – war. Yet the “Russian aggression” narrative never stops. Thus it’s always enlightening to come back to this
RAND corporation study, which examined what would happen if a war actually took place. RAND reached an 
“unambiguous” conclusion after a series of war games in 2015-2015; Russia could overrun NATO in a mere 60 hours – if not less – if it ever amounted to a hot war on European soil.

The Rand Corporation is essentially a CIA outpost – thus a propaganda machine. Yet it’s not propaganda to state the Baltic States and Ukraine would completely fall in less than three days before the Russian Army. However, the suggestion that additional NATO air power and heavily armored combat divisions would make a material difference is bogus.

The Aegis changes the game in the sense that it qualifies as a launch area for US missile defense. Think US missiles with minimum flying time – around 30 minutes – from Moscow; that’s a certified threat to the Russian nation. The Russian military has also been “unambiguous”; if it is ascertained that NATO – via the Pentagon – is about to try something funny, there are grounds for a preventive strike by Iskander-M systems out of Transnistria – as in the destruction of the US missiles by conveniently armed precision weapons.

Meanwhile, Moscow has pulled a stunning success – of course, it’s far from over – in Syria. So what’s left for the Pentagon – via NATO – is essentially to play the scare tactics card. They know Russia is prepared for war – certainly much better prepared than NATO. They know neither Putin nor the Russian military will back down because of kindergarten scaremongering. As for a too conciliatory tone by the Kremlin towards Washington, things may be about to change soon.

Say hello to my S-500

The Russian military are about to test the first prototypes of the S-500 Prometey air and missile defense system, also known as 55R6M Triumfator M – capable of destroying ICBMs, hypersonic cruise missiles and planes at over Mach 5 speeds; and capable of detecting and simultaneously attacking up to ten ballistic missile warheads at a range of 1300 km. This means the S-500 can smash ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter the atmosphere.

So in the case of RAND-style NATO pussyfooting, the S-500 would totally eliminate all NATO air power over the Baltic States – while the advanced Kornet missile would destroy all NATO armored vehicles. And that’s not even considering conventional weapon hell.

If push comes to nuclear shove, the S-400 and especially the S-500 anti-missile missiles would block all incoming US ICBMs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft. Offensive drones would be blocked by drone defenses. The S-500 practically consigns to the dustbin stealth warplanes such as the F-22, F-35 and the B-2.

The bottom line is that Russia – in terms of hypersonic missile development – is about four generations ahead of the US, if we measure it by the development of the S-300, S-400 and S-500 systems. As a working hypothesis, we could describe the next system – already in the drawing boards – as the S-600. It would take the US military at least ten years to develop and roll out a new weapons system, which in military terms represents a generation. Every Pentagon planner worth his pension plan should know that.

Russian – and Chinese – missiles are already able to knock out the satellite guidance systems for US nuclear tipped ICBMs and cruise missiles. They could also knock out the early alert warnings that the satellite constellations would give. 

A Russian hypersonic ICBM flight time, launched for instance from a Russian nuclear sub all the way to the US East Coast, counts for less than 20 minutes. So an early warning system is absolutely critical. Don’t count on the worthless THAAD and Patriot to do their job. Once again, Russian hypersonic technology has already rendered the entire missile defense system in both the US and Europe totally obsolete.

So why is Moscow so worried by the Pentagon placing the Aegis system so close to Russia’s borders? A credible answer is that Moscow is always concerned that the US industrial military-complex might develop some really effective anti-missile missiles even though they are now about four generations behind.

At the same time, Pentagon planners have reasons to be very worried by what they know, or hint. At the same time the Russian military – in a very Asian way – never reveal their full hand. The key fact of the matter needs to be stressed over and over again; the S-500 is impenetrable - and allows Russia for the first time in history to launch a first strike nuclear attack, if it ever chooses to do so, and be immune to retaliation.

The rest is idle babbling. Still, expect the official Pentagon/NATO narrative to remain the same. After all, the industrial-military complex is a cash-devouring hydra, and a powerful enemy is a must (the phony Daesh “caliphate” does not count).

The Threat Narrative rules that Russia has to meekly accept being surrounded by NATO. Russia is not allowed any response; in any case, any response will be branded as “Russian aggression”. If Russia defends itself, this will be “exposed” as an unacceptable provocation. And may even furnish the pretext for a pre-emptive attack by NATO against Russia.

Now let those Pentagon/NATO planners duly go back to play in their lavish kindergarten.

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.