Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 06/12/13

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

***UPDATE: Encrypt the Web Report: Who’s Doing What **

*** The journalist who hacked the old system **

*** NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show***

Minnesota Business Expansion 2013

Guten Morgen.

Massenbach*

*Ukraine: Schluss mit der Integrationskonkurrenz! *

Weshalb ein Show-Down mit Russland niemandem dient.

EU-Assoziierung der Ukraine – In normalen Zeiten macht Litauens Hauptstadt Vilnius selten Schlagzeilen. Dieser Herbst ist alles andere als normal. Um den von der litauischen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft ausgerichteten Gipfel der "Östlichen Partnerschaft" (ÖP) ist in den vergangenen Wochen ein wahrer Hype entstanden. In Erwartung einer historischen Zeitenwende begab man sich allerorten "on the road to Vilnius" und spekulierte über die wahlweise strahlende oder düstere Zukunft "nach Vilnius". Kernfrage aller Spekulationen: Unterschreiben die Ukraine und die Europäische Union das fünf Jahre lang verhandelte, seit 2012 unterschriftsreife Assoziierungs- und Freihandelsabkommen?

Bekanntlich taten sie es nicht. Es blieb der ukrainischen Regierung vorbehalten, den Spannungsbogen schon vor Erreichung des Klimax zu brechen. Am 21. November erschien eine kurze Notiz auf der Webseite des Ministerkabinetts: "Im Interesse der nationalen Sicherheit" werde der Assoziierungsprozess mit der EU gestoppt. Es gelte nun, Maßnahmen zu entwickeln, um den Verfall der Industrieproduktion aufzuhalten und die beschädigten Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zur Russischen Föderation zu reparieren. In den nächsten Tagen schoben Ministerpräsident und Präsident Erklärungen nach: Es handle sich um eine taktische Entscheidung, keine strategische, der Prozess der EU-Annäherung sei lediglich aufgeschoben, nicht aufgehoben.

Statt nun das "Scheitern von Vilnius" zu beklagen, sollten die Gründe für diese Entscheidung analysiert werden.

Statt nun das "Scheitern von Vilnius" zu beklagen, sollten die Gründe für diese Entscheidung analysiert werden – auch um daraus Konsequenzen für die künftige EU-Politik gegenüber den östlichen Nachbarn zu ziehen. Eins vorweg: Die ukrainische Entscheidung gegen das Assoziierungsabkommen bedeutet nicht den Beitritt zu der von Russland angeführten Zollunion mit Kasachstan und Belarus. Verpasst wurde die Chance, die ukrainische Führung durch die Unterschrift unter das Abkommen auf einen langen, aber auch mühsamen Reformprozess zu verpflichten.

Die EU hat ihr Blatt überreizt, als sie die Unterschrift erst verschob und dann an zu viele Bedingungen knüpfte. Die Chancen, auf Entwicklungen in der Ukraine einen positiven Einfluss zu nehmen, wären nach der Unterzeichnung mit Sicherheit größer geworden, nicht kleiner. Dabei gilt aber auch: Eine Unterzeichnung hätte das Land an europäische Standards heranführen können – aber nicht zwingend müssen. Denn die Umsetzung des Vertragswerks wäre sicher kein Selbstläufer gewesen.

Es ging nicht um Tymoschenko

Hinzu kommt: Die enge Verknüpfung des Assoziierungsabkommens mit dem Fall der inhaftierten ehemaligen Ministerpräsidentin Julija Tymoschenko hat dem Ansehen der EU in der Region nicht nur gutgetan: In Frage steht, ob die Union noch glaubwürdig für universell geltende Prinzipien streiten kann, wenn sie sich als ein parteiischer Akteur in die manchmal sehr tiefen Niederungen der ukrainischen Innenpolitik begibt.

Die Politisierung auch der europäischen Handelspolitik in der "Causa Tymoschenko" war jedoch letztendlich nicht entscheidend für den ukrainischen Rückzieher. Entscheidender ist die sehr fragile Wirtschaftslage der Ukraine: Ökonomen gehen davon aus, dass aufgrund des hohen Leistungsbilanzdefizits der externe Finanzierungsbedarf 2014 zwischen zehn und 15 Milliarden US-Dollar betragen wird.

Die Politisierung auch der europäischen Handelspolitik in der "Causa Tymoschenko" war jedoch letztendlich nicht entscheidend für den ukrainischen Rückzieher.

Die Regierung wird versuchen, eine erneute Währungs- und Wirtschaftskrise mit aller Macht zu vermeiden, schließlich stehen im Frühjahr 2015 Präsidentschaftswahlen an. Die EU war offenkundig hier zur schnellen Hilfe nicht bereit. Wie sollte so kurz vor den Europawahlen auch den EU-Bürger_innen beigebracht werden, dass nach Griechen, Iren und den Banken nun auch noch die Ukrainer zu retten sind? Die EU hatte also ein langfristig nach allgemeiner Überzeugung attraktives Angebotaber keine Antwort auf die kurzfristigen Nöte der ukrainischen Führung. Russland hingegen scheint hilfsbereit. Moskau kann eben nicht nur mit der Peitsche von Handelsembargos drohen, sondern auch mit dem Zuckerbrot von verbilligten Gaslieferungen und günstigen Krediten winken.

Gefährlich: Geopolitische Konkurrenz mit Russland

Vor diesem Hintergrund sollte die EU sich nicht in eine scharfe geopolitische Konkurrenz mit Russland begeben, auch wenn derzeit von einigen versucht wird, diese herbeizuschreiben. Offensichtlich fehlt ihr das dazu nötige Kleingeld oder der Wille, es einzusetzen. Zudem führt die Kombination aus wertegebundener Nachbarschaftspolitik und dem Ringen um privilegierte Einflusszonen zu zahlreichen Widersprüchen: Soll man wirklich Konditionalitäten und eigene Prinzipien aufweichen, nur um den "Rückfall in den russischen Orbit" zu verhindern?

Und: Für die europäische Sicherheitsarchitektur ist das Verhältnis zu Russland zentral. Wer also der EU ernsthaft empfiehlt, einen Handelskrieg mit Russland um die Ukraine zu führen, spielt mit dem Feuer und demonstriert überdies mangelndes Geschichtsbewusstsein. Die Erfahrung der letzten 20 Jahre zeigt, dass sich die ungelösten Konflikte im Südkaukasus und in Transnistrien wenn überhaupt nicht gegen, sondern nur mit Russland werden lösen lassen. Nicht zuletzt: Konfrontation mit Russland ist sicherlich das ungeeignetste Mittel, um bei diesem strategischen Partner für das EU-Modell von Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit zu werben.

Was folgt? Die EU muss in Zukunft drei Aspekte stärker berücksichtigen. Erstens braucht die Nachbarschaftspolitik einen Schuss mehr Realismus. Wer angesichts der Euro-Krise und der allgemeinen Erweiterungsfatigue außer Rhetorik derzeit wenig zu bieten hat, sollte seine Erwartungen nicht zu hoch hängen. Die politischen Eliten in der gesamten Region orientieren sich meist an eher kurzfristigen Machtkalkülen. Eine realistische Einschätzung der eigenen Möglichkeiten und ihrer Grenzen ist nötig. Auf dieser Basis muss überlegt werden, wie dem strategischen Interesse an einer stabilen Entwicklung der Nachbarschaft gedient werden kann.

Zweitens muss die EU nach Wegen aus der bereits bestehenden Integrationskonkurrenz mit Russland suchen. Es reicht nicht aus, lediglich zu deklarieren, dass die Assoziierungspolitik mit der östlichen Nachbarschaft nicht gegen russische Interessen gerichtet sei. De facto gibt es einen Interessengegensatz und eine Logik der Ausschließlichkeit, die sowohl Brüssel als auch Moskau in der Vergangenheit eher befördert als behindert haben.

Die muss EU nach Wegen aus der bereits bestehenden Integrationskonkurrenz mit Russland suchen. Es reicht nicht aus, lediglich zu deklarieren, dass die Assoziierungspolitik mit der östlichen Nachbarschaft nicht gegen russische Interessen gerichtet sei…

Der russisch-ukrainische Vorschlag, gemeinsam mit der EU in einen Trialog über Handelsfragen zu treten, könnte einen Weg aus dieser Sackgasse weisen. Statt ihn als "diabolisch" zu verteufeln, nur weil er auch von Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin aufgegriffen wurde, sollte man sich ernsthaft damit auseinandersetzen. Auch liegt mit der mittlerweile drei Jahre alten Idee Putins einer Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft von Lissabon bis Wladiwostok ein Vorschlag auf dem Tisch, dessen Diskussion sowohl mit Russland als auch den ÖP-Ländern einen Weg aus der Sackgasse weisen könnte.

Drittens hilft es wenig, vor dem Faktum der russisch-kasachisch-belarussischen Zollunion die Augen zu schließen. In den kommenden Jahren wird die EU nicht umhin kommen, ihr Verhältnis zur Zollunion, die zu einer "Eurasische Union" entwickelt werden soll, zu definieren. Unabhängig davon, wie die Ukraine sich weiter verhält, sollte in der EU auch darüber nachgedacht werden, welche Angebote den heutigen Mitgliedern der Zollunion gemacht werden können. Der aktuelle Instrumentenmix aus Assoziierungs- und Freihandelsabkommen kommt für den unmittelbaren Nachbarn Belarus bereits jetzt nicht mehr in Frage.

Trotz allen Hypes um Vilnius ist bislang alles beim Alten geblieben: Die Ukraine wird aller Voraussicht nach versuchen, ihre seit 1992 praktizierte Schaukelpolitik zwischen Moskau und Brüssel fortzusetzen, zumindest bis zu den Wahlen 2015. Der Vilnius-Gipfel mag gescheitert sein – eine Verschlechterung des Status quo ante lässt sich dennoch nicht feststellen.

http://www.ipg-journal.de/rubriken/aussen-und-sicherheitspolitik/artikel/ukraine-schluss-mit-der-integrationskonkurrenz/

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EU allows Gazprom to take over Dutch, German gas companies

The European Commission cleared Russian gas giant Gazprom on Wednesday to take joint or sole control of four Dutch and German gas companies.

Gazprom is take joint control of WINZ and Wintershall Services of the Netherlands, which are involved in oil and gas exploration and production in the North Sea.

It will take over completely Wingas and WIEH which supply gas mainly in Germany.

The Commission said it took the decisions after concluding the transactions "would not raise competition concerns", but said this had no impact on its ongoing anti-trust investigation against Gazprom.

Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in October that the EU was preparing against Gazprom a statement of objections, the equivalent to be charged as part of an anti-trust probe.

Brussels launched in September 2012 its probe into Gazprom’s use of long-term contracts tied to the price of oil, a policy that often leaves its supplies far more expensive than those available on the open market.

The Commission suspects that conditions on such contracts with EU members including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia may infringe EU competition rules.

December/04/2013

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Young Americans Least Familiar With Healthcare Law

Democrats, those with lower incomes also less familiar

PRINCETON, NJ – Americans younger than 30, a key group targeted by the Affordable Care Act, continue to be the least familiar with it. Another important group, those with lower incomes, are less familiar with the healthcare law than are those with higher incomes.

The new healthcare law’s success will rest at least partially on young Americans‘ enrollment rates, given the need to have uninsured but healthy younger people sign up for insurance to help subsidize the cost of healthcare for those who are older and more likely to require benefits. These young people need to be familiar with the law if they can be expected to respond to its mandate requiring them to have insurance. There is clearly still work to be done on that front — with younger Americans significantly less acquainted with the law than those who are older.

The law, also known as Obamacare, is intended to benefit those with lower incomes, who are more likely to be uninsured than those with higher incomes. But at this time, lower-income Americans are less familiar with the law.

Although the healthcare act originated with a Democratic president and was passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2010, Republicans across the country are significantly more familiar with it than are Democrats. This could reflect the desire among those who are most emotionally opposed to the law to know more about it, or underlying differences in attention to news across party groups.

Familiarity Little Changed

Overall, familiarity with the healthcare law is up only slightly from late summer and October, with 72% now saying they are at least somewhat familiar with the law, while 28% say they are not.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/166094/young-americans-least-familiar-healthcare-law.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20-%20Americas%20-%20Government%20-%20Healthcare%20-%20Politics%20-%20USA

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* Tired of Fighting, Americans Give Obama Space On Iran

The top domestic and foreign policy priorities likely to dominate the remainder of President Obama’s term underscore how much the choices of even the world’s most powerful person are shaped by the conditions he inherits.

The political environment Obama inherited on foreign policy is expanding his running room as he pursues a nuclear-disarmament deal with Iran, now his top international priority. Conversely, the domestic political environment that greeted Obama—and his failure to reshape it through his first term or reelection—has narrowed his padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; box-sizing: border-box; "Obama has room to maneuver on the nuclear initiative not because Americans trust the new Iranian government, or the president’s diplomatic skills, or are particularly confident that diplomacy will succeed. Obama’s advantage, rather, is that the alternative has been discredited. Amid widespread disillusionment over the American military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama is benefiting from the shattered public belief that American force can pacify the Middle East.

That’s the key new element in a debate that otherwise settled quickly into familiar grooves after the agreement last weekend with Iran to curb its nuclear program in return for a temporary relaxation in economic sanctions. Since the U.S. and five other powers concluded the deal with Iran, conservative critics have besieged Obama with accusations that he is naive and weak, complete with the inevitable references to Munich and appeasement of Nazi Germany before World War II. Plenty of congressional Democrats, plus key Mideast allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, are leery (if not openly hostile), too.

Obama can’t ignore this crossfire. But the odds remain high that he can contain it and advance negotiations long enough to test whether Iran is genuinely willing to shelve its nuclear program (a question that remains very much unanswered as longer-term talks begin). The failure of George W. Bush’s attempt to transform the Middle East through American-led force has provided Obama more leeway to pursue an approach more modest in both means and ends: diplomacy that aims, in a fashion George Kennan would recognize, more to avoid the worst outcomes with Iran than to achieve the ideal.

While polls show that Americans would ultimately use force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the bipartisan congressional and public recoil against military action in Syria this fall probably offers a more revealing picture of the nation’s mood after Afghanistan and Iraq. "I think from the public’s standpoint, we are back to where we were in the mid-1970s [after Vietnam]," said Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. "That skepticism about overseas involvement in general and military involvement in particular is going to last for some years now." And that means most Americans are likely to give Obama a long rope on diplomacy before they conclude force is the only option left for deterring Iran.

If the public mood Obama inherited has broadened his opportunities in Iran, it has constrained him on health care. From the start, the debate over the health care law has unfolded in an atmosphere of pervasive skepticism about government. When Lyndon Johnson passed Medicare in 1965, more than three-fifths of Americans said they trusted Washington to usually do the right thing; in the decades since, scandal, war, and economic struggle steadily corroded that number, to around one in four by the time Obama passed the health reform law in 2010. (After three more years of economic stagnation and political gridlock, those numbers have fallen still further.) That’s the sheer wall of skepticism, especially among whites, that Obama must scale to build support for expanding government’s role in health care.

Since taking office, Obama has made the case for activist government more aggressively than Bill Clinton did. But Obama never formulated a clear strategy for rebuilding trust in Washington. On the one hand, he didn’t focus as much as Clinton did on reforms (like work for welfare recipients or shrinking the federal workforce) that might reassure skeptical voters about government’s capacity and efficiency. On the other, he (correctly) discarded as politically unrealistic bright-line transformative ideas such as single-payer health care or breaking up big banks. That vastly increased his chances of passing legislation but meant that even his successes (like health care and financial reform) produced programs of dizzying intricacy that require government to "thread the needle" between contending interests, as Yale University political scientist Stephen Skowronek says. "You can’t mobilize around these things. They are just problem-solving."

The health law’s difficulties show the vulnerabilities inherent in such precariously constructed enterprises. Obamacare’s early struggles don’t guarantee its collapse; it is already gaining momentum in some key blue states. But the program’s troubles and complexity make it more likely to deepen than dispel public doubts about Washington. With success in Iran, Obama could solidify a shift in public opinion (from force to diplomacy) already moving toward him. But unless he stabilizes his health care plan, Obama will bequeath the next president even greater suspicion of Washington than he inherited.

http://cdn.defenseone.com/defenseone/interstitial.html?v=2.1.1&rf=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.defenseone.com%2Fpolitics%2F2013%2F11%2Ftired-fighting-americans-give-obama-space-iran%2F74663%2F%3Foref%3Ddefenseone_today_nl

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Suter* What predicts a successful life?

by IZA Press

How much of adult well-being is determined by childhood influences? The answer to this question is very important to policy-makers since it influences educational and family policies. In a new discussion paper, Richard Layard, Andrew E. Clark, Francesca Cornaglia and Nattavudh Powdthavee estimate how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences. The authors differentiate between direct effects of childhood influences and indirect effects affecting adult life-satisfaction through adult circumstances.

According to the study, the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child’s emotional health. Next comes the child’s conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child’s intellectual development. Although intellectual performance is a good predictor of the person’s educational achievement and income, it has hardly an effect on adult life-satisfaction since income itself has been found to have a very limited impact well-being. Likewise, family background (economic, social and psychological) is a quite limited predictor of most adult outcomes except educational qualifications.

Read abstract or download discussion paper [pdf].

IZA Press | November 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p3cqoR-ss

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Middle East

Turkey pushes crossroads politics
By Pepe Escobar

While everyone is concentrated on the possibility of a tectonic shift in US-Iran relations, and while a solution may be found for the Syrian tragedy in another upcoming set of negotiations in Geneva, Turkey is silently toiling in the background. Let’s see what these sultans of swing are up to.

We start on the internal front. Abdul Mejid I, the 31st Ottoman sultan (in power from 1839 to 1861) always dreamed of a submerged tunnel under the Bosphorus linking Europe to Asia.

It took "Sultan" Erdogan, as in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to make it happen, when last month he inaugurated – on the 90th anniversary of the founding of Ataturk’s Republic – the US$3 billion, 76-kilometer Marmaray rail system which, in the hardly hyperbolic words of Mustafa Kara, mayor of Istanbul’s Uskudar district (where the tunnel comes out), will "eventually link London to Beijing, creating unimagined global connections". [1]

It certainly helps that this technological marvel fits right into China’s extremely ambitious New Silk Road(s) strategy which, just like the original Silk Road, starts in Xian, and aims to cross to Europe via, where else, Istanbul. [2]

So the fact remains that "Sultan" Erdogan simply has not been downed by the Gezi Park protests last June. All the ruling party AKP’s mega-projects – supported by millions in rural Anatolia, ignored for decades by the secular elites in Istanbul – are alive and kicking.

By 2025, more than a million commuters will be using the Marmaray. The third Bosphorus bridge, close to the Black Sea, is being built – despite Alevi fury that it will be named after Selim The Grim, a sultan who ordered the slaughter of thousands of Alevis. Same for the new six-runway airport northwest of Istanbul. And then there’s the 50 km "crazy canal" (Erdogan’s own definition), linking the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, so monstrous tanker traffic may be diverted away from the Bosphorus. The Turkish green movement insists this could destroy whole aquatic ecosystems, but Erdogan is unfazed.

That oily Kurdish factor

In the wider world, Turkish foreign policy is now on overdrive. And inevitably, it’s all related to energy.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier this month hosted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Ankara. Then he went to Baghdad and met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Davutoglu also visited Washington; he wrote an editorial published by Foreign Policy praising the US-Turkish "strategic partnership", now facing "an increasingly chaotic geopolitical environment"; and he made sure to support US-Iran negotiations.

Earlier this week, Davutoglu teamed up with Erdogan for a high-level meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in St Petersburg. Next week he’ll be in Tehran.

The question is what does Ankara want from Washington for so eagerly supporting a US-Iran normalization?

The key is Iraqi Kurdistan. Ankara wants Washington’s blessing for the now famously fractious 250,000 barrel-a-day oil pipeline from northern Iraq, bypassing Baghdad. This pipeline would add to the perennially troubled Kirkuk-Ceyhan, controlled (sort of) by Baghdad; currently operating at best at one-fifth of its official capacity of 1.6 million barrels a day, bombed virtually every week, and with zero maintenance.

It’s not as much about the oil (which Turkey badly needs) as a political/economic alliance that ideally translates into more Kurdish votes for the ruling AKP party in the 2014 Turkish elections.

The (insurmountable) problem is the Obama administration has no intention – at the present negotiation junction – to provoke Tehran by allowing a Turkish project that most of all provokes Iran’s ally Baghdad. That’s just another instance that everything of consequence happening in Southwest Asia nowadays involves Iran. [3]

So it all depends on how far the US-Iran rapprochement will go – leaving Ankara unable to alienate Baghdad and Tehran at the same time. Ankara, though, is also aware of huge potential benefits down the line. That would mean much more oil and gas flowing from Iran than the current long-term annual contract for natural gas via the Tabriz-Ankara pipeline if – and when – Western investment start pumping again into Iran’s energy industry.

That Wahhabi-Likudnik axis

President Obama gets along very well with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. But while Obama has nothing but praise for Erdogan, for the House of Saud the name "Obama" is now worse than any plague. And Erdogan is not exactly that much popular.

Erdogan enthusiastically supported Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, while the House of Saud’s hero is coup plotter General Sisi. In Syria, Erdogan once again supports the Muslim Brotherhood-linked "rebels", while the Saudis, with Bandar Bush ahead of the pack, de facto finance and weaponize all sorts of nasties including the al-Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Erdogan has evolved an extremely fractious relationship with Israel, while the Wahhabi-Likudnik anti-Iran/Syria axis has never been stronger. [4]

It’s easy to forget an Ankara-Damascus-Tehran alliance was in place before the foreign-imposed Syrian civil war. That was part of Davutoglu’s "zero problems with our neighbors" doctrine, then morphed into "all kinds of problems". The House of Saud obviously did what it could to undermine the former alliance with the carrot of more trade and investment in Turkey. It worked for a while, when the myth of an "Arab Spring" still held sway, and Turkey and the Saudis were even coordinating their support for assorted Syrian "rebels".

Now it’s a totally different configuration. Only in Turkey we find assorted Islamists, secularists, the left and assorted liberals all in agreement that the House of Saud is a pretty nasty bunch. And not by accident "Sultan Erdogan" – who allegedly wants the return of the Caliphate – has been derided non-stop all over pan-Arab media, which for all practical purposes is 90%-controlled by Saudis.

Ankara seems to have finally realized it must be very careful regarding its Syria position. Not very far from its borders, Syrian Kurds are fighting Saudi-supported jihadis.

Worse; scores of al-Qaeda-linked jihadis-to-be – a Mujahideen International – are congregating in a network of safe houses in southern Turkey, including Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, before being smuggled over the border to mostly join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Predictably, NATO is not amused. [5]

It’s all about Pipelineistan

Turkey’s number one foreign policy aim is to position itself as a critical energy crossroads for any oil and natural gas coming from Russia, the Caspian, Central Asia and even the Middle East to Europe.

Yet Turkey has been squeezed by two conflicting Pipelineistan narratives. One is the never-ending soap opera Nabucco, which basically means delivering natural gas to Europe from just about anywhere (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, even Egypt) except Russia. And the other is the South Stream pipeline, proposed by Russia and crossing the Black Sea.

Insisting in its role as a neutral bridge between East and West, Ankara hedged its bets. But after the European financial crisis took over, Nabucco was, for all practical purposes, doomed. What’s left now is the so-called Nabucco West – a shorter, 1,300 km pipeline from Turkey to Central Europe – and the much cheaper Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), just 500 km from Turkey across the Balkans to Italy.

The consortium (including BP, Total and Azerbaijan’s SOCAR) developing the huge Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan ended up choosing TAP. So Nabucco is now virtually six feet under.

To say that’s been a nifty deal for Moscow is a huge understatement. TAP does not threaten Gazprom’s hold on the European market. And besides, Moscow got closer to Baku. Dick Cheney must adjust his pacemaker for another heart attack; after all his elaborate energy plans, Moscow and Baku are nothing less than discussing transporting Russian oil through the notorious Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which Dr Zbig Brzezinski dreamed up to exactly bypass Russia. On top of it, they are also bound to reverse the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline to pump Russian oil into Azerbaijan.

Additionally, that’s the end of Turkish (and European) pipe dreams of having wacky "gas republic" Turkmenistan supplying energy across the Caspian through the Caucasus and Turkey to Europe. For Moscow, this is non-negotiable; we control the transit of Central Asian energy to Europe. Moreover, Turkmenistan already has better sturgeon to fry – via its ultra-profitable gas pipeline to China.

The bottom line: Russia getting even more ascendant in the Caucasus equals Turkey – which imports nearly all of its oil, coal and natural gas – becoming even more energy dependent on Russia. Russia supplies nearly 60% of Turkey’s natural gas – and rising. Iran supplies 20%. Moscow is sure Turkey will soon overtake Germany as its biggest energy client.

That’s certainly what Erdogan was discussing in detail this past Wednesday in Moscow. And then there is Turkey’s ambitious plan to build 23 nuclear power plants by 2023. Guess who’s ahead? Moscow, of course. Not only as builder but also as primary supplier of nuclear fuel. No package of Western sanctions seems to be on the horizon.

So Ankara seems to be (silently) hectic on all fronts. Erdogan is carefully cultivating his friend Obama – positioning himself as a privileged sort of messenger. Erdogan supports Iran’s civilian nuclear program – which instantaneously placed him as highly suspicious in the eyes of the Wahhabi-Likudnik axis of fear and loathing. That’s the key reason for the widening estrangement between Ankara and Riyadh.

Ankara’s desire to be a key actor in an eventual US-Iran rapprochement springs out of a simple calculation. Faced with tremendous political, economic and security barriers, Turkey may only fulfill its wish of becoming the privileged East-West energy transit corridor with Iran by its side.

Notes:
1. Asia and Europe to get Bosphorus rail link as Marmaray opens, Hurriyet Daily News, October 28, 2013.
2. New Silk Road starts with Xian, South China Morning Post, October 29, 2013.
3. Deal or No Deal, Iran’s Stock Keeps Rising, Al-Akhbar English, November 20, 2013.
4. The Wahhabi-Likudnik war of terror, Asia Times Online, November 20, 2013.
5. The secret jihadi smuggling route through Turkey, CNN, November 5, 2013.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-221113.html

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*Massenbach’s**Recommendation*

Minnesota Business Expansion Reports

Our annual Business Expansion Report highlights business startups and expansions at various stages of development from Minnesota firms statewide.

We make these data available to various economic development publications, including Site Selection magazine. Each year, based on voluntary reporting, Site Selection ranks states on a number of factors relating to economic development. Minnesota consistently ranks highly in many categories of this prominent annual survey.

View the Most Recent Business Expansion Report

Highlights from the third quarter of 2013 include:

· A total of 31 expansions were reported in the third quarter. The manufacturing sector reported the largest number, with 13 projects; the software and technology industry made up the second largest portion, with five projects reported.

· Five of the firms reporting expansions are headquartered outside Minnesota, including two foreign-based firms. Of the five, two are technology firms new to Minnesota – Shutterfly from San Francisco and Slalom Consulting from Seattle.

· Four of the reported projects involve new warehouse or distribution facilities for Minnesota-based retailers or wholesalers. Most of these firms distribute their products beyond Minnesota.

· 16 projects were located in the Twin Cities metro, with the remaining 15 spread across the rest of the state.

Download the report in an Excel spreadsheet or peruse this interactive map of expansions from this year:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=zIXOpHZI-EA8.kHGeUXeLO4_o&cid=mp&cv=qoa0xONCmzA.de.

Information Gathering Sources
Business activity is researched using a variety of sources including metro and regional newspapers, business and real estate journals, construction company newsletters, Internet research and staff referrals. DEED and/or JOBZ Initiative involvement is not a project measure to qualify for admission into the report.

Tell Us About Projects in Your Area
Please let us know about business startups, expansions or other significant business activity in your area. Download this form and email it to us as an attachment.

For More Information
If you have any questions, contact Andrew Dahl at 651-259-7186 or andrew.dahl.

· View Reports from Prior Years

· Online Minnesota Business Expansion Report Form

View Reports from Prior Years

Here you’ll find our annual Business Expansion Report for previous years. Select the links below to view, download and print the reports.

· 2012 Business Expansion Report

· 2011 Business Expansion Report

· 2010 Business Expansion Report

· 2009 Business Expansion Report

· 2008 Business Expansion Report

· 2007 Business Expansion Report

· 2006 Business Expansion Report

· 2005 Business Expansion Report

· 2004 Business Expansion Report

· 2003 Business Expansion Report

· 2002 Business Expansion Report

· 2001 Business Expansion Report

· 2000 Business Expansion Report

· 1999 Business Expansion Report

· 1998 Business Expansion Report

http://mn.gov/deed/data/research/biz-expansions.jsp

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Global Islamic Economy and Islamic Finance Reports 2013-2014

Thomson Reuters is the leading source of intelligent information for the world’s businesses and professionals. Developed using the world’s most extensive data capabilities, Thomson Reuters leverages its global network to provide primary source intelligence on markets, industries and institutions relevant to both the Global Islamic Economy as well as in Islamic Finance. We believe that intelligent information is a unique synthesis of human intelligence, industry expertise and innovative technology that provides decision makers with the knowledge to act and make better decisions faster.

Download Thomson Reuters State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2013

This groundbreaking report defines and provides a comprehensive view of the Islamic economy as well as its future potential to facilitate investments and industry growth.

Content: Young Population * Fast Growing * Islamic Values Driven * Emerging Market * Ethical Focus * Islamic Finance * Halal Food *

INTRA-OIC Trade * New Growth Market *

http://www.zawya.com/files/islamic-reports/tr-state-of-islamic-economy-2013.pdf

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UPDATE: Encrypt the Web Report: Who’s Doing What

We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four companies—Dropbox, Google, SpiderOak and Sonic.net—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption. In addition, we appreciate that Yahoo! just announced several measures it plans to take to increase encryption, including the very critical encryption of data center links, and that Twitter has confirmed that it has encryption of data center links in progress. See the infographic.

By adopting these practices, described below, these service providers have taken a critical step towards protecting their users from warrantless seizure of their information off of fiber-optic cables. By enabling encryption across their networks, service providers can make backdoor surveillance more challenging, requiring the government to go to courts and use legal process. While Lavabit’s travails have shown how difficult that can be for service providers, at least there was the opportunity to fight back in court.

While not every company in our survey has implemented every recommendation, each step taken helps, and we appreciate those who have worked to strengthen their security. We hope that every online service provider adopts these best practices and continues to work to protect their networks and their users.

Crypto Survey Results

UPDATE, November 20, 2013: Facebook and Tumblr have provided further information to supplement the Encrypt the Web Report. We’re pleased to report that Tumblr is planning to upgrade its web connections to HTTPS this year and implement HSTS by 2014, and Facebook is working on encrypting data center links and implementing STARTTLS.

UPDATE, November 22, 2013: Google has provided further information to supplement the report on its use of HSTS. See the updated chart below and the notes for more information.

Encrypts data center links Supports HTTPS HTTPS Strict (HSTS) Forward Secrecy STARTTLS
undetermined limited undetermined
undetermined
(iCloud)
undetermined
(me.com, mac.com)
undetermined undetermined undetermined
(att.net)
undetermined undetermined undetermined
(comcast.net)

in progress

planned

(in progress, facebook.com)
undetermined undetermined
in progress for select domains, see notes

contemplating

planned 2014

planned 2014

planned 2014

contemplating
undetermined
(outlook.com)
undetermined undetermined

in progress

in progress

planned 2013

planned 2014
undetermined undetermined undetermined
(verizon.net)
undetermined available undetermined
planned 2014: default for mail, available for all services undetermined
(yahoo.com)
Notes: The information in this chart comes from several sources; the companies who responded to our survey questions; information we have determined by independently examining the listed websites and services and publishedreports. Some of the surveyed companies did not respond to the survey.

Recognizing that some of these steps will take time to implement, we gave credit to companies that either (1) have implemented or (2) have concrete plans to implement the listed encrytion process, as noted.

For STARTTLS, the red and grey shading indicates whether or not the company is a major email service provider. While encourage all companies to implement STARTTLS, even if they only provide email for their own employees, the issue is most critical for companies that provide email communications to the public.

Google implements HSTS on a set of services1, including mail, drive and accounts, via pre-loading in the Chrome browser. This list was also preloaded in the Firefox browser, however, due to a bug, this preload list is currently non functional (Nov. 22, 2013). We understand that a resolution is in progress.

This graphic is also available as an image file.

Why Crypto Is So Important

The National Security Agency’s MUSCULAR program, which tapped into the fiber-optic lines connecting the data centers of Internet giants like Google and Yahoo, exposed the tremendous vulnerabilities companies can face when up against as powerful an agency as the NSA. Bypassing the companies’ legal departments, the program grabbed extralegal access to your communications, without even the courtesy of an order from the secret rubber-stamp FISA court. The program is not right, and it’s not just.

With that in mind, EFF has asked service providers to implement strong encryption. We would like to see encryption on every step of the way for a communication on its way to, or within, a service provider’s systems.

For starters, we have asked companies to encrypt their websites with Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) by default. This means that when a user connects to their website, it will automatically use a channel that encrypts the communications from their computer to the website.

We have also asked them to flag all authentication cookies as secure. This means cookie communications are limited to encrypted transmission, which directs web browsers to use these cookies only through an encrypted connection. That stops network operators from stealing (or even logging) users‘ identities by sniffing authentication cookies going over insecure connections.

To ensure that the communication remains secure, we have asked companies to enable HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). HSTS essentially insists on using secure communications, preventing certain attacks where a network pretends that the site has asked to communicate insecurely.

All of these technologies are now industry-standard best practices. While they encrypt the communications from the end user to the server and back, the MUSCULAR revelations have shown this is not enough. Accordingly, we have asked service providers to encrypt communications between company cloud servers and data centers. Anytime a users’ data transits a network, it should be strongly encrypted, in case an attacker has access to the physical data links or has compromised the network equipment.

In addition, we have asked for email service providers to implement STARTTLS for email transfer. STARTTLS is an opportunistic encryption system, which encrypts communications between email servers that use the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) standard. When a user emails someone on a different provider (say, a Hotmail user writing to a Gmail user), the mail message will have to be delivered over the Internet. If both email servers understand STARTTLS, then the communications will be encrypted in transit. If only Gmail does but Hotmail does not (the current situation), they will be in the clear and exposed to eavesdropping, so it’s critical to get as many email service providers as possible to implement the system.

Finally, we have asked companies to use forward secrecy for their encryption keys. Forward secrecy, sometimes called ‘perfect forward secrecy,’ is designed to protect previously encrypted communications, even if one of the service providers’ keys is later compromised. Without forward secrecy, an attacker who learns a service provider’s secret key can use it to go back and read previously incomprehensible encrypted communications—perhaps ones that were recorded months or years in the past.

· 1. The HSTS domains are wallet.google.com; checkout.google.com; chrome.google.com; docs.google.com; sites.google.com; spreadsheets.google.com; appengine.google.com; encrypted.google.com; accounts.google.com; profiles.google.com; mail.google.com; talkgadget.google.com; talk.google.com; hostedtalkgadget.google.com; plus.google.com; plus.sandbox.google.com; script.google.com; history.google.com; security.google.com; goto.google.com; market.android.com; ssl.google-analytics.com; drive.google.com; googleplex.com; groups.google.com; apis.google.com; chromiumcodereview.appspot.com; chrome-devtools-frontend.appspot.com; codereview.appspot.com; codereview.chromium.org; code.google.com; dl.google.com; translate.googleapis.com; oraprodsso.corp.google.com; oraprodmv.corp.google.com; gmail.com; googlemail.com; http://www.gmail.com; http://www.googlemail.com; google-analytics.com; and googlegroups.com.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/encrypt-web-report-whos-doing-what

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see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

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Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat – Edith Suter

UdovonMassenbachMail

Edith.SuterJoergBarandat

2013_Minnesota_Business_Expansions_Q3.pdf

The journalist who hacked the old system _ PandoDaily.pdf

NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show – The Was.pdf