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What is NATO?

 NATO  Comments Off on What is NATO?
Apr 142016
 

NATO is a political and military alliance of 28 North American and European countries, bound by shared democratic values, that have joined together to best pursue security and defense. In addition to the United States, the other NATO Allies are Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The principle of collective defense is at the heart of NATO and is enshrined in Article 5 of the Alliances founding Washington Treaty, which asserts that an attack on one Ally is to be considered an attack on all. NATO invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty for the first time in its history following the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

Founded in 1949, NATO played a unique role in maintaining stability and security in the trans-Atlantic area during the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War the Alliance has transformed itself to meet the security challenges of the new century, continuing with adoption of a new NATO Strategic Concept at the Lisbon NATO Summit in 2010. Today, NATOs operations include leading the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, ensuring a safe and secure environment in Kosovo through the KFOR mission, and contributing to international counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa through Operation Ocean Shield. In 2011, NATO successfully carried out the UN-mandated mission in Libya to protect civilians, enforce a no-fly zone, and enforce a maritime arms embargo. NATO has also provided airlift and sealift support to the African Union (AU) missions in Somalia and Sudan, has engaged in a number of humanitarian relief operations in recent years, including delivery of over 100 tons of supplies from Europe to the United States following Hurricane Katrina, and leads the counterterrorism Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea.

Recognizing that the security challenges Allies face often emerge beyond Europe, NATO has become the hub of a global security network, establishing partnerships with over thirty countries. These ties provide opportunities for practical military cooperation and political dialogue. Partners have contributed significantly to NATO operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, and Libya.

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What is NATO?

Kids.Net.Au – Encyclopedia > NATO

 NATO  Comments Off on Kids.Net.Au – Encyclopedia > NATO
Mar 022016
 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international organization for defence collaboration established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 1949.

The core provision of the treaty is Article V, which states:

This provision was intended so that if the Soviet Union launched an attack against the European allies of the United States, it would be treated as if it was an attack on the United States itself. However the feared Soviet invasion of Europe never came. Instead, the provision was used for the first time in the treaty’s history on September 12, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack.

Member States From the foundation in 1949 or with the year of accession.

Greece and Turkey joined the organization in February 1952. Germany joined as West Germany in 1955 and German unification in 1990 extended the membership to the areas of former East Germany. Spain was admitted on May 30, 1982 and the former Warsaw Pact Countries of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic made history by becoming members on March 12, 1999.

France is still a member of NATO but retired from the military command in 1966. Iceland, the sole member of NATO which does not have its own military force, joined on the condition that they would not be forced to participate in warfare.

History

On March 17, 1948 Benelux, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels[?] which is a precursor to the NATO Agreement.

The Soviet Union and its satellite states formed the Warsaw Pact in the 1950s in order to counterbalance NATO. Both organisations were opposing sides in the cold war. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the Warsaw Pact disintegrated.

NATO saw its first military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign against Serbian forces starting on March 24, 1999.

Three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, joined NATO in 1999. At the Prague (Czech Republic) summit of November 21-22, 2002 seven countries have been invited to start talks in order to join the Alliance: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. The invited countries are expected to join NATO in 2004. Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will probably be told they have not met the economic, political and military reform criteria and will have to wait. Croatia applied only in 2002 and has just started the process.

Charles de Gaulle’s decision to remove France from NATO’s military command in 1966 to pursue its own nuclear defence program precipitated the relocation of the NATO Headquarters from Paris, France to Brussels, Belgium by October 16, 1967. While the political headquarters is located in Brussels the military headquarters, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), are located just south of Brussles, in the town of Mons.

September 13, 2001, NATO invoked, for the first time in its history, an article in its charter that states that any attack on a member state is considered an attack against the entire alliance. This came in response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/

On February 10, 2003 NATO faced a serious crisis because of France and Belgium breaking the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.

On April 16, 2003, NATO agreed to take command in August of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement. It was approved unanimously by all 19 NATO ambassadors. This marked first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. Canada had originally been slated to take over ISAF in August.

See also: Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, OSCE, WEU, UN

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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Island – definition of island by The Free Dictionary

 Islands  Comments Off on Island – definition of island by The Free Dictionary
Feb 292016
 

noun isle, inch (Scot. & Irish), atoll, holm (dialect), islet, ait or eyot (dialect), cay or key a day trip to the island of Gozo Islands and island groups Achill, Admiralty, Aegean, Aegina, Alcatraz, Aldabra, Alderney, Aleutian, Alexander, Amboina, Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar, Andreanof, Andros, Anglesey, Anguilla, Anticosti, Antigua, Antilles, Antipodes, Aran, Arran, Aru or Arru, Aruba, Ascension, Auckland, Azores, Baffin, Bahamas, Balearic, Bali, Banaba, Bangka, Banks, Baranof, Barbados, Barbuda, Bardsey, Barra, Basilan, Basse-Terre, Batan, Belau, Belle, Benbecula, Bermuda, Biak, Billiton, Bioko, Bohol, Bonaire, Bonin, Bora Bora, Borneo, Bornholm, Bougainville, British, Bute, Butung, Caicos, Caldy, Calf of Man, Campobello, Canary, Canna, Canvey, Cape Breton, Capri, Caroline, Cayman, Ceb, Ceylon, Channel, Chatham, Cheju, Chichagof, Chilo, Chios, Choiseul, Christmas, Cocos, Coll, Colonsay, Coney, Cook, Corfu, Corregidor, Corsica, Crete, Cuba, Curaao, Cyclades, Cyprus, Cythera, Delos, D’Entrecasteaux, Diomede, Disko, Diu, Djerba or Jerba, Dodecanese, Dominica, Dry Tortugas, Easter, Eigg, Elba, Ellesmere, Espritu Santo, Euboea, Faeroes, Faial or Fayal, Fair, Falkland, Falster, Farquhar, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Flannan, Flinders, Flores, Florida Keys, Foula, Foulness, Franz Josef Land, French West Indies, Frisian, Fyn, Galpagos, Gambier, Gigha, Gilbert, Gotland, Gothland, or Gottland, Grand Bahama, Grand Canary, Grande-Terre, Grand Manan, Greater Antilles, Greater Sunda, Greenland, Grenada, Grenadines, Guadalcanal, Guam, Guernsey, Hainan or Hainan Tao, Handa, Hawaii, Hayling, Heard and McDonald, Hebrides, Heimaey, Heligoland, Herm, Hispaniola, Hokkaido, Holy, Hong Kong, Honshu, Hormuz or Ormuz, Howland, Ibiza, Icaria, Iceland, Imbros, Iona, Ionian, Ireland, Ischia, Islay, Isle Royale, Ithaca, Iwo Jima, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Java, Jersey, Jolo, Juan Fernndez, Jura, Kangaroo, Kauai, Keos, Kerrera, Kiritimati, Kodiak, Kos or Cos, Kosrae, Krakatoa or Krakatau, Kuril or Kurile, Kyushu or Kiushu, La Palma, Labuan, Lakshadweep, Lampedusa, Lanai, Lavongai, Leeward, Lemnos, Lesbos, Lesser Antilles, Levks, Leukas, or Leucas, Lewis with Harris or Lewis and Harris, Leyte, Liberty, Lindisfarne, Line, Lipari, Lismore, Lolland or Laaland, Lombok, Long, Longa, Lord Howe, Luing, Lundy, Luzon, Mackinac, Macquarie, Madagascar, Madeira, Madura, Maewo, Mah, Mainland, Majorca, Maldives, Mal, Malta, Man, Manhattan, Manitoulin, Maraj, Margarita, Marie Galante, Marinduque, Marquesas, Marshall, Martinique, Masbate, Mascarene, Matsu or Mazu, Maui, Mauritius, May, Mayotte, Melanesia, Melos, Melville, Mersea, Micronesia, Mindanao, Mindoro, Minorca, Miquelon, Molokai, Moluccas, Montserrat, Mount Desert, Muck, Mull, Mykonos, Nantucket, Nauru, Naxos, Negros, Netherlands Antilles, Nevis, New Britain, New Caledonia, Newfoundland, New Georgia, New Guinea, New Ireland, New Providence, New Siberian, Nicobar, Niue, Norfolk, North, North Uist, Nusa Tenggara, Oahu, Oceania, Okinawa, Orkneys or Orkney, Palawan, Palmyra, Panay, Pantelleria, Pros, Patmos, Pelagian, Pemba, Penang, Pescadores, Philae, Philippines, Phoenix, Pitcairn, Polynesia, Ponape, Pribilof, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Principe, Qeshm or Qishm, Queen Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth, Quemoy, Raasay, Ramsey, Rarotonga, Rathlin, Runion, Rhodes, Rhum, Rialto, Roanoke, Robben, Rockall, Rona, Ross, Ryukyu, Saba, Safety, Saipan, Sakhalin, Salamis, Saltee, Samar, Samoa, Samos, Samothrace, San Cristbal, San Juan, San Salvador, Santa Catalina, Sao Miguel, Sao Tom, Sardinia, Sark, Savaii, Scalpay, Schouten, Scilly, Sea, Seil, Seram or Ceram, Seychelles, Sheppey, Shetland, Sicily, Singapore, Sjlland, Skikoku, Skokholm, Skomer, Skye, Skyros or Scyros, Society, Socotra, South, Southampton, South Georgia, South Orkney, South Shetland, South Uist, Spitsbergen, Sporades, Sri Lanka, St. Croix, St. Helena, St. John, St. Kilda, St. Kitts or St. Christopher, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Tudwal’s, St. Vincent, Staffa, Staten, Stewart, Stroma, Stromboli, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Sumba or Soemba, Sumbawa or Soembawa, Summer, Sunda or Soenda, Tahiti, Taiwan, Tasmania, Tenedos, Tenerife, Terceira, Thanet, Thsos, Thera, Thousand, Thursday, Timor, Tiree, Tobago, Tokelau, Tombo, Tonga, Tortola, Tortuga, Trinidad, Tristan da Cunha, Trobriand, Truk, Tsushima, Tuamotu, Tubuai, Turks, Tutuila, Tuvalu, Ulva, Unimak, Upolu, Ushant, Vancouver, Vanua Levu, Vanuatu, Vestmannaeyjar, Victoria, Virgin, Visayan, Viti Levu, Volcano, Walcheren, Walney, West Indies, Western, Wight, Windward, Wrangel, Yap, Youth, Zante, Zanzibar

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Island – definition of island by The Free Dictionary

Rationalism | Article about rationalism by The Free Dictionary

 Rationalism  Comments Off on Rationalism | Article about rationalism by The Free Dictionary
Feb 022016
 

[Lat.,=belonging to reason], in philosophy, a theory that holds that reason alone, unaided by experience, can arrive at basic truth regarding the world. Associated with rationalism is the doctrine of innate ideas and the method of logically deducing truths about the world from “self-evident” premises. Rationalism is opposed to empiricism on the question of the source of knowledge and the techniques for verification of knowledge. Ren Descartes, G. W. von Leibniz, and Baruch Spinoza all represent the rationalist position, and John Locke the empirical. Immanuel Kant in his critical philosophy attempted a synthesis of these two positions. More loosely, rationalism may signify confidence in the intelligible, orderly character of the world and in the mind’s ability to discern such order. It is opposed by irrationalism, a view that either denies meaning and coherence in reality or discredits the ability of reason to discern such coherence. Irrational philosophies accordingly stress the will at the expense of reason, as exemplified in the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre or Karl Jaspers. In religion, rationalism is the view that recognizes as true only that content of faith that can be made to appeal to reason. In the Middle Ages the relationship of faith to reason was a fundamental concern of

).

See E. Heimann, Reason and Faith in Modern Society (1961); T. F. Torrance, God and Rationality (1971); R. L. Arrington, Rationalism, Realism, and Relativism (1989).

e.g. in

, endangered by world events as well as by sceptical movements in philosophy. However, rationalism in the sense of a belief in progress survives in a modified form in many areas of sociology and philosophy (e.g. see

). A further view is that it is a mistake to polarize rationalism and empiricism, since both of these play a role in human knowledge, which always involves both conception (rationalism) and perception (empiricism), e.g. See

. See also

.

a collective designation for the architectural schools of the first half of the 20th century that made use of the achievements of modern science and technology. In the broad sense, rationalism in architecture is sometimes equated with the concept of modern architecture, as represented by the work of L. H. Sullivan in the United States, H. P. Berlage in the Netherlands, A. Loos in Austria, the masters of the Deutscher Werkbund in Germany, and A. Perret in France.

The establishment of rationalism in the early 1920s was largely promoted by the theories propagated by the circle of architects associated with the journal LEsprit nouveau. The movements leaders were Le Corbusier in France and W. Gro-pius of the Bauhaus school of architecture in Germany.

Rationalism flourished essentially from the 1920s through the 1950s. In 1928 its supporters organized the International Congress for Modern Architecture, which met until 1959. Rationalist ideas concerning urban planning were set forth in 1933 in the Athens Charter. In the 1950s the general architectural principles of rationalism led to the creation of the international style, represented by the work of L. Mies van der Rohe and many others. The dogmatic architectural ideas and the social-reformist utopianism of the proponents of rationalism led to a crisis in the movement by the late 1950s.

The Russian architects of Asnova (Association of New Architects), including N. A. Ladovskii and K. S. Melnikov, proclaimed themselves to be rationalists. They emphasized psychological and physiological factors in the appreciation of architectural form and sought rational principles in the visual aspect of architecture.

a philosophical school that considers reason to be the foundation of human understanding and behavior. Rationalism is the opposite of fideism, irrationalism, and sensationalism (empiricism). The term rationalism has been used to designate and characterize philosophical concepts since the 19th century, but historically the rationalist tradition originated in ancient Greek philosophy. For example, Parmenides, who distinguished between the knowledge of truth (obtained through reason) and the knowledge of opinion (obtained through sensory perception), considered reason to be the criterion of truth.

Rationalism took shape in modern times as an integral system of epistemological views, as a result of the development of mathematics and the natural sciences. In contrast to medieval Scholasticism and religious dogmatism, the classical rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries (Descartes, Spinoza, Male-branche, and Leibniz) was based on the idea of natural orderan infinite chain of causality pervading the world. Thus, the principles of rationalism were accepted by both materialists (Spinoza) and idealists (Leibniz), although the character of rationalism differed in the two philosophical trends, depending on how the question of the origin of knowledge was resolved.

The rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries, which asserted the decisive role of reason in both human cognition and human activity, was one of the philosophical sources of the ideology of the Enlightenment. The cult of reason was also characteristic of the 18th-century French materialists, who adopted a philosophical position of materialistic sensationalism and criticized the speculative constructs of rationalism.

Seeking to substantiate the absolute reliability of the principles of science and the tenets of mathematics and the natural sciences, rationalism attempted to explain how knowledge obtained through human cognitive activity could be objective, universal, and necessary. Unlike sensationalism, rationalism maintained that scientific knowledge, which possesses these logical properties, could be attained through reason, which served as the source of knowledge and as the criterion of truth. For example, the rationalist Leibniz modified the basic thesis of sensationalism, as stated by Locke (there is nothing in reason that was not previously present in sensations) by appending to it the phrase other than reason itself. In other words, reason is capable of grasping not only the particular and the accidental, to which sensory perception is limited, but also the universal and the essential.

The concept of reason as the single source of scientific knowledge led rationalists to an idealist conclusion regarding the existence of innate ideas (Descartes) or of predispositions and inclinations in thought that are independent of sensory impressions (Leibniz). The underestimation by rationalists of the role of sensory perception, mans link with the external world, led to the separation of thought from the object of cognition.

Kant, who attempted to reconcile the ideas of rationalism and sensationalism, proposed that all our knowledge begins with the senses, passes to the faculty of understanding, and ends with reason (I. Kant, Sock, vol. 3, Moscow, 1964, p. 340). According to Kant, reason cannot serve as the universal criterion of truth. In order to explain the properties of knowledge, Kant introduced the concept of the apriority (a priori knowledge) of both conceptual forms (as in classical rationalism) and forms of contemplationspace and time. However, Kantian rationalism retains its force only at the price of adopting an agnostic positionthat is, it deals only with the world of phenomena and excludes consideration of things-in-themselves, or objective reality.

In Hegels philosophy the absolute idea, or absolute reason, is the original principle and essence of the world, and the process of cognition is viewed as the self-cognition of reason, which comprehends its own content in the world. In Hegel, therefore, the development of the objective world is represented as a purely logical, rational process, and rationalism assumes the character of panlogism.

Bourgeois philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries (positivism and neopositivism, for example) lost faith in the unlimited power of reason. The prevailing trend in 19th- and 20th- century bourgeois philosophy is a critique of classical rationalism, with its ideals of the power of reason and mans unlimited rational activity. This critique is based either on irrationalism or on a moderate, limited rationalism. For example, Freudianism, which asserts the dominant role of irrational, subconscious elements, criticizes rationalism from the standpoint of irrationalism, as do intuitionism and existentialism. The concepts of M. Weber and K. Mannheim are representative of the critique of rationalism from the standpoint of moderate, limited rationalism, which is associated less with the logical problems of cognition and more with a search for the sociocultural bases and limits of rationalism.

The narrrow, one-sided character of rationalism was overcome in Marxism. It was possible to resolve the contradiction between empiricism and rationalism on the basis of fundamentally new principles developed in the theory of cognition of dialectical materialism. The basic condition for resolving the contradiction between empiricism and rationalism was an analysis of the process of cognition, in integral association with practical activity for transforming reality. V. I. Lenin wrote: From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth and the cognition of objective reality (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 29, pp. 15253).

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Rationalism | Article about rationalism by The Free Dictionary

The Tor Browser: Tor Browser – au.pcmag.com

 Tor Browser  Comments Off on The Tor Browser: Tor Browser – au.pcmag.com
Jan 282016
 

The Tor Browser makes the tricky work of surfing the Web anonymously as easy as using any other browser, but with a significant performance hit.

Jan. 26, 2016

Need to hire an assassin, buy some contraband, view illegal porn, or just bypass government, corporate, or identity thief snooping? Tor is your answer. Tor, which stands for “The Onion Router” is not a product, but a protocol that lets you hide your Web browsing as though it were obscured by the many layers of an onion. The most common way to view the so-called Dark Web that comprises Tor sites is by using the Tor Browser, a modded version of Mozilla Firefox. Using this Web browser also hides your location, IP address, and other identifying data from regular websites. Accessing Tor has long been beyond the ability of the average user. Tor Browser manages to simplify the process of protecting your identity onlinebut at the price of performance.

What Is Tor? Ifyou’re thinking that Tor comes from a sketchy group of hackers, know that its core technology was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab and D.A.R.P.A.. The Tor Project non-profit receives sizeable donations from various federal entities such as The National Science Foundation. The Tor Project has a page listing many examples of legitimate types of Tor users, such as political dissidents in countries with tight control over the Internet and individuals concerned about personal privacy.

Tor won’t encrypt your datafor that, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Instead, Tor routes your Internet traffic through a series of intermediary nodes. This makes it very difficult for government snoops or aggressive advertisers to track you online. Using Tor affords far more privacy than other browsers’ private (or Incognito) modes, since it obscures your IP address so that you can’t be trackedwith it. Standard browsers’ private browsing modes discard your cached pages and browsing history afteryour browsing session.Even Firefox’s new, enhanced private browsing mode doesn’t hide your identifiable IP address from the sites you visit, though it does prevent them tracking you based on cookies.

We tested a standard Windows installer, with choices to create desktop icons and run the browser immediately. The browser itself is a heavily modified version of Firefox 38.5 (as of this writing), and includes several security plug-ins as well as security tweaks such as not caching any website data. For a full rundown of the PCMag Editors’ Choice browser’s many features, read our full review of Firefox.

Before merrily browsing along anonymously, you need to inform Tor about your Webconnection. If your Internet connection is censored, you configure one way, if not, you can connect directly to the network. Since we live in a free societyand work for benevolent corporate overlords, we connected directly for testing. After connecting to the Tor relay system (a dialog with a progress bar appears at this stage), the browser launches, and you see theTor project’s page.

The browser interface is identical with Firefox, except with some necessary add-ons installed. NoScript, a commonly used Firefox add-on, is preinstalled and can be used to block most non-HTML content on the Web. The green onion button to the left of the address bar is the Torbutton add-on. It lets you see your Tor network settings, but also the circuit you’re using: Ourcircuit started in Germany and passed through two different addresses in the Netherlands before reaching the good old Internet. If that doesn’t suit you, you can request a new circuit, either for the current session or for the current site. This was one of our favorite features.

One thing we really like about the Tor Browser is how it makes existing security and privacy tools easier to use. NoScript, for example, can be a harsh mistress, who can bedifficult to configure, and can break websites. But a security panel in the Torbutton presents you with a simple security slide. At the lowest, default setting, all browser features are enabled. At the highest setting, all JavaScript and even some image types are blocked, among other settings. This makes it easy to raise or lower the level of protection you need, without having to muck around in multiple settings windows.

Everything you do in the browser is tested for anonymity: When we tried full-screening the browser window, a message told us that that could provide sites a way to track us, and recommended leaving the window at the default size. And the project’s site specifically states that using Tor alone doesn’t guarantee anonymity, but rather that you have to abide by safe browsing guidelines: don’t use BitTorrent, don’t install additionalbrowser add-ons, don’t open documents or media while online. The recommendation to only visit secure HTTPS sites is optionally enforced by a plug-in called HTTPS Everywhere.

Even if you follow these recommendations, though, someone could detect the simple fact that you’re using Tor, unless you set it up to use a Tor bridge relay. Those are not listed in the Tor directory, so hackers (and governments) would have more trouble finding them.

One thing we noticed while browsing the standard Web through Tor was the need to enter a CAPTCHA to access many sites. This is because your cloaked URL looks suspicious to website security services such as CloudFlare, used by millions of sites to protect themselves. It’s just one more price you pay for anonymity.

We also had trouble finding the correct version of websites we wished to visit. Directing the Tor Browser to PCMag.com, for example, took us to the Netherlands localization of our website. We could not find any way to direct us back to the main URL, which lets you access the U.S. site.

Tor hidden sites have URLs that end in .onion, preceded by 16 alphanumeric characters. You can find directories of these hidden sites with categories resembling the good old days of Yahoo. There’s even a Tor Links Directory page (on the regular Web) that’s a directory of these directories. There are many chat and message boards, but you even find directories of things like lossless audio files, video game hacks, and financial services such as anonymous bitcoin, and even a Tor version of Facebook. Many onion sites are very slow or completely downkeep in mind that they’re not run by deep-pocketed Web companies. Very often we clicked an onion link only to be greeted with an “Unable to Connect” error. Sinbad helpfully displays a red “Offline on last crawl” bullet to let you know that a site is probably nonfunctional.

As for browser benchmarks, the results hew to Firefox’s own performance, with near-leading performance on all the major JavaScript tests, JetStream and Octane, for example. Onourtest laptop, the Tor Browser scored 20,195 on Octane, compared with 22,297 for standard Firefoxnot a huge difference. The Tor network routing is a far more significant factor in browsing performance than browser JavaScript speed. That is, unless you’ve blocked all JavaScript.

Keep in mind, though, that the Tor Browser is based on the Firefox Extended Support Release versions, which updates less frequently so that large organizations have time to maintain their custom code. That means you don’t get quite the latest in Firefox performance and features, but security updates are delivered at the same time as new main versions.

There’s a similar story when it comes to standards compatibility: On the HTML5Test.com site, which quantifies the number of new Web standards supported by a browser, the Tor Browser gets a score of 412, compared with 468 for the latest Firefox version. You may run into incompatible sites, though. For example, none of the Internet speed connection test sites performed correctly in the Tor Browser.

Of course, you pay a price of extra setup and slower performance with the Tor Browser, but it’s less onerous than you may think. And the included support for fine-grain privacy and security protection is excellent. If you take your online privacy seriously, you owe it to yourself to check out the Tor Browser. For standard, full-speed Web browsing, however, check out PCMag Editors’ Choice Web browser, Firefox.

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NATO – U-S-History.com

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO – U-S-History.com
Oct 282015
 

NATO is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides the organization a framework. The treaty provides that an armed attack against one or more of NATO`s member nations shall be considered an attack against them all.* NATO is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The organization was formed in 1949. Many nations joined NATO even Iceland, the only member without a military force.

The organization was originally formed out of the fear that the Soviet Union would ally militarily with Eastern European nations, i.e. the Warsaw Pact, and thus become a threat to Western Europe and the United States. In short, the alliance is an association of free states united in their determination to preserve their security through mutual guarantees and stable relations with other countries.

From 1945 to 1949, Europe faced the crucial need for economic reconstruction. Western European countries and their North American allies viewed with apprehension the expansionist policies and methods of the U.S.S.R. Having fulfilled their own wartime commitments, and desiring to reduce their defense establishments and demobilize forces, Western governments became increasingly alarmed as it became clear that the Soviet leadership intended to maintain its own military forces at full strength.

Furthermore, in view of the Soviet Communist Party`s avowed ideology, it was evident that appeals to the United Nations Charter, and international settlements reached at the end of the war, would not assure democratic states their autonomy. The rise of nondemocratic governments in many central and eastern European countries, and the resultant repression of opposition parties and basic human rights, raised more alarm in the West.

Between 1947 and 1949, a series of extraordinary political events brought matters to a head. They included direct threats to the sovereignty of Norway, Greece, Turkey and other countries, the June 1948 coup in Czechoslovakia, and the illegal blockade of Berlin that began in April of the same year. The signing of the Brussels Treaty in March 1948 marked the commitment of five Western European countries Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to develop a common defense system and strengthen the ties among them in a manner that would enable them to resist ideological, political and military threats to their security. Later, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway and Portugal were invited by the Brussels Treaty powers to become participants in that process.

Then followed negotiations with the United States and Canada on the creation of a single North Atlantic alliance based on security guarantees and mutual commitments between Europe and North America. The alliance would become the transatlantic link by which the security of North America was permanently tied to the security of Europe.

Negotiations culminated in the signing of the treaty in April 1949, entered into freely by each country following public debate and due parliamentary process. The treaty a legal and contractual basis for the alliance was established within the framework of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which reaffirms the inherent right of independent states to individual or collective defense. The treaty requires of each of them not to enter into any other international commitment that might conflict with its provisions. The preamble to the treaty states that the aim of the allies is to promote peaceful and friendly relations in the North Atlantic area.

However, at the time of the treatys signing, the immediate purpose of NATO was to defend its members against a potential threat resulting from the policies and growing military capacity of the Soviet Union. The treaty created a common security system based on a partnership among the 12 countries. Others joined later:

The means by which the alliance carries out its security policies includes the maintenance of a sufficient military capability to prevent war and to provide for effective defense; an overall capability to manage crises affecting the security of its members; and active promotion of dialogue with other nations. The alliance performs the following fundamental security tasks:

A continent evolves

NATO has worked since its inception for the establishment of a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe based on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. That central alliance objective has taken on renewed significance since the end of the Cold War because, for the first time in the post- World War II history of Europe, the prospect of its achievement has become a reality as embodied by the European Union.

From time to time, the alliance met at the summit level with heads of state and governments participating. Their direct participation in the process of taking decisions by consensus, raised the public profile of such meetings and bestowed on them increased historical significance.

By 1991, the major transformation of international security at the end of the 1980s was dictating the shape of the new NATO that would emerge over the next few years. The first of a series of four summit meetings that would plot the course of the alliances adaptation to the coming decade took place in Rome in November 1991. It would be followed by another summit meeting in Brussels in January 1994, two further meetings in Madrid in July 1997, and in Washington in April 1999.

Epilogue

The world has seen many changes since the inception of NATO. NATO peacekeeping forces maintain vigilance at hot spots around the world. Kosovo, Afghanistan and Somalia all enjoy a NATO presence. NATO announced on June 9, 2005, that it would help the African Union (AU) expand its peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, by airlifting additional AU peacekeepers into the region and assisting with training.

The following is from a speech by former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson on November 12, 2003. The occasion was hosted by the George C. Marshall Foundation, the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Internationa Studies and the Royal Norwegian Embassy:

Another excerpt from the same speech:

The following is an illustration of how the world has changed. General Ray Henault of the Canadian Air Force accepted the chairmanship of NATO`s Military Committee on June 16, 2005, from his predecessor, General Harald Kujat of the German Air Force. The Military Committee is the highest military decision-making authority in NATO, assisting and advising the North Atlantic Council. The Chairman of the Military Committee is selected by the Chiefs of Defense and appointed for a three-year term of office.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949 – 19451952 …

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Oct 232015
 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.

Signing of the NATO Treaty

NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security. The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.

In 19471948, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs. The ongoing civil war in Greece, along with tensions in Turkey, led President Harry S. Truman to assert that the United States would provide economic and military aid to both countries, as well as to any other nation struggling against an attempt at subjugation. A Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany. Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the communist party had made significant gains among Italian voters. Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern. The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid-1948, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin chose to test Western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint U.S., British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany. This Berlin Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation. These events caused U.S. officials to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets. To counter this possible turn of events, the Truman Administration considered the possibility of forming a European-American alliance that would commit the United States to bolstering the security of Western Europe.

Signing of the Brussels Treaty

The Western European countries were willing to consider a collective security solution. In response to increasing tensions and security concerns, representatives of several countries of Western Europe gathered together to create a military alliance. Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty in March, 1948. Their treaty provided collective defense; if any one of these nations was attacked, the others were bound to help defend it. At the same time, the Truman Administration instituted a peacetime draft, increased military spending, and called upon the historically isolationist Republican Congress to consider a military alliance with Europe. In May of 1948, Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg proposed a resolution suggesting that the President seek a security treaty with Western Europe that would adhere to the United Nations charter but exist outside of the Security Council where the Soviet Union held veto power. The Vandenburg Resolution passed, and negotiations began for the North Atlantic Treaty.

In spite of general agreement on the concept behind the treaty, it took several months to work out the exact terms. The U.S. Congress had embraced the pursuit of the international alliance, but it remained concerned about the wording of the treaty. The nations of Western Europe wanted assurances that the United States would intervene automatically in the event of an attack, but under the U.S. Constitution the power to declare war rested with Congress. Negotiations worked toward finding language that would reassure the European states but not obligate the United States to act in a way that violated its own laws. Additionally, European contributions to collective security would require large-scale military assistance from the United States to help rebuild Western Europes defense capabilities. While the European nations argued for individual grants and aid, the United States wanted to make aid conditional on regional coordination. A third issue was the question of scope. The Brussels Treaty signatories preferred that membership in the alliance be restricted to the members of that treaty plus the United States. The U.S. negotiators felt there was more to be gained from enlarging the new treaty to include the countries of the North Atlantic, including Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal. Together, these countries held territory that formed a bridge between the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which would facilitate military action if it became necessary.

President Truman inspecting a tank produced under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program

The result of these extensive negotiations was the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. In this agreement, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters. This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories. After the treaty was signed, a number of the signatories made requests to the United States for military aid. Later in 1949, President Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the Mutual Defense Assistance Program passed the U.S. Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion dollars for the purpose of building Western European defenses.

Soon after the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the outbreak of the Korean War led the members to move quickly to integrate and coordinate their defense forces through a centralized headquarters. The North Korean attack on South Korea was widely viewed at the time to be an example of communist aggression directed by Moscow, so the United States bolstered its troop commitments to Europe to provide assurances against Soviet aggression on the European continent. In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.

The collective defense arrangements in NATO served to place the whole of Western Europe under the American nuclear umbrella. In the 1950s, one of the first military doctrines of NATO emerged in the form of massive retaliation, or the idea that if any member was attacked, the United States would respond with a large-scale nuclear attack. The threat of this form of response was meant to serve as a deterrent against Soviet aggression on the continent. Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.

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Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business
Oct 232015
 

US corporations are making record profits in tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Some of the profits exceed the GDP of the host country, with Bermudas offshore profits 1643% of total economic output.

As a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), profits from subsidiary US companies operating in the Netherlands are more than 100 percent of the countrys annual economic output, according to a new study by Citizens for Tax Justice, published Tuesday.

In Bermuda, US companies reported $94 billion in profit, but the islands GDP is only $6 billion. The report draws on data collected by the US International Revenue Service from subsidiaries reporting profits outside of the US in 2010.

Clearly, American corporations are using various tax gimmicks to shift profits actually earned in the US and other countries where they actually do business into their subsidiaries in these tiny countries, the report says.

US companies filed the largest profits in the Netherlands, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Singapore, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, the Netherlands Antilles, and Barbados. But none of these finances are factored into the GDP of the host countries.

When filing US income taxes, a foreign corporation is defined if its US shareholders control more than 50 percent of the outstanding voting stock.

Offshore wealth money that is kept abroad for tax purposes- is a popular tactic for American companies to avoid paying high taxes in the US. Google, Apple, and other hi-tech companies have all been accused of sheltering money abroad and not contributing enough to the American tax system, which is their main market.

Many US companies use a loophole called repatriation in order to delay paying the US government taxes. Under US tax law, companies with offshore subsidiaries can wait until their company is repatriated, or returned to the US, until they pay taxes. This tool encourages US companies to report profits outside of the US, where they are safe from high taxes.

Other countries can offer very attractive corporate tax rates compared to the required 40 percent in America. Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas for example, have a rate of 0 percent.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, Switzerland 17.92 percent, and Luxembourg a local rate of 29.22 percent, according to data from KMPG Global.

The only country where companies pay more taxes than in America is in the United Arab Emirates, which has a 55 percent corporate tax rate.

Countries, or tax havens, can provide opportunities for investors by lowering their corporate tax rates as well as income tax rates.

Low income tax rates can make investment more competitive and business climate more attractive for some investors looking for loopholes. An estimate by Boston Consulting Group pegs offshore wealth at $8.5 trillion. Other independent estimates peg it as high as $20 trillion.

With the G20 and OECD countries focused on curbing tax evasion and avoidance, several Caribbean countries Bermuda, Barbados and Cayman Islands would be subject to a tightening tax noose. These countries could face a deceleration in economic activity if international tax structures are to be dismantled.

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What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances

 NATO  Comments Off on What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances
Sep 032015
 

U.S. Infantry Troops Arrive In Poland For NATO Exercises. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It’s an alliance of 28 member countries roughly bordering the North Atlantic Ocean: Canada, U.S., Turkey and most members of the European Union. NATO’s purpose is to protect the freedom of its members. As famously defined in Article 5, “…an armed attack upon one…shall be considered an attack upon them all.”

In recent years, NATO’s purpose has expanded to include defense against weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber attacks.

Since its inception following World War II, NATO has had to continually redefine its focus as a military and political alliance to keep up with the changing face of war.

What Is the Purpose of NATO Today?:

NATO protects the security of its members. However, it must also take into consideration aggression against non-members that threaten the stability of the region. That’s why its September 2014 summit focused onPresident Putin’s goal to create a “Little Russia” out of Ukraine’s eastern region. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, other former USSR countries are, and they’re worried. President Obama vowed to defend countries such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The U.S. contributes three-quarters of NATO’s budget. (Source: WSJ, U.S. Vows NATO Defense of Baltics, Sep. 4, 2014)

On August 28,2014, NATO announcedit had photos proving that Russia was invading Ukraine. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, it has been working closely with NATO over the years. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens NATO members who are afraid they will be next because they were also former U.S.S.R.

satellite countries.

NATO expanded its role after the 9/11 attacks to include the war on terrorism. NATO is winding down its mission in Afghanistan, which deployed 84,000 troops at its peak from both NATO-member countries and at least a dozen non-members. By 2014, NATO expects to transition all security to the Afghan military.

NATO itself admits that “Peacekeeping has become at least as difficult as peacemaking.” As a result, NATO is strengthening alliances throughout the world. In the age of globalization, transatlantic peace has become a worldwide effort that extends beyond military might alone. (Source: NATO History)

What Is the History of NATO?:

NATO was established after World War II as part of the United Nations. Its primary purpose was to defend member nations against the large number of troops in pro-communist countries. The U.S. also wanted to maintain a presence in Europe, to prevent a resurgence of military nationalism and foster political union. In this way, NATO made the European Union possible.

NATO and the Cold War:

During the Cold War, NATO’s mission expanded to prevent nuclear war. After West Germany joined NATO, the communist countries formed the Warsaw Pact alliance, including the USSR, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. In response, NATO adopted the “Massive Retaliation” policy, which promised to use nuclear weapons if the Pact attacked. This deterrence policy allowed Europe to focus on economic development instead of building large conventional armies.

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, continued to build its military presence. By the end of the Cold War, it was spending three times what the U.S. was with only one-third the economic power. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was due to economic as well as ideological reasons.After the USSR dissolved in the late 1980s, NATO’s relationship with Russia thawed. In 1997, the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed to build bilateral cooperation. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was formed to allow NATO members and Russia to partner on common security issues.

The collapse of the USSR led to unrest in its former satellite states. NATO expanded its focus to address this instability when a civil war in the former Yugoslavia turned into ethnic cleansing and genocide. NATO’s initial support of a United Nations naval embargo led to the enforcement of a no-fly zone. Violations then led to a few airstrikes until September 1999, when NATO conducted a heavy nine-day air campaign that ended the war. By December of that year, NATO deployed a peace-keeping force of 60,000 soldiers that ended in 2004, when NATO transferred this function to the European Union.

NATO Member Countries:

NATO’s 28 members include: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Each member is represented by an ambassador, who is supported by officials that serve on the different NATO committees. From time to time, the President/Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister or head of Defense will meet to discuss NATO business.

NATO Alliances:

NATO is involved with three alliances that expand its influence beyond its 28 member countries.

In addition, NATO cooperates with eight other countries in joint security issues. These countries include five in Asia (Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and New Zealand) and two in the Middle East (Afghanistan and Pakistan). (Source: NATO, Partnerships)Article updated August 28, 2014

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NATO conducts 1st drill to test new rapid response force created to face Russian challenges

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Apr 112015
 

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion take part in the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Chrudim, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion take part in the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Pardubice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

Czech Republic’s soldiers from the 43rd airborne battalion line up to board an aircraft during the NATO drill “The Noble Jump” at the airport in Pardubice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 9, 2015. NATO is completing an initial exercise and first testing of its new rapid response force that has been created to face new challenges from Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)(The Associated Press)

CHRUDIM, Czech Republic NATO is completing a first testing of its new force created to face new challenges from Russia.

Some 150 soldiers from the Czech army’s 43rd airborne battalion have been training to be ready for deployment within 48 hours “as NATO reevaluates the risks,” Maj. Gen. Jiri Baloun said Thursday. The previous NATO standard times for that were between 10 and 80 days, Baloun said.

In the Netherlands, 900 German and 200 Dutch soldiers have been doing the same. The units will be moved for further trials to Poland in June while some 25,000 NATO troops will complete the exercise of the new force in Italy, Portugal and Spain in October and November.

The units belong to NATO’s new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.

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$32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on $32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts
Apr 032015
 

VALENCIA, Calif., April 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Offshore banking is growing in leaps and bounds as both the rich and the not so rich look for safe places to stash their cash. They are doing it in record numbers and record amounts according to a recent Bloomberg News report, which said that as much as $32 trillion has been stuffed in offshore bank accounts. Of the world’s 50 safest banks, according to Global Finance, not even one of the top 25 safest are in the United States. In fact, there were 45 banks outside of the US that were on the top 50 safest bank list and only five (5) headquartered inside the US, California based Asset Protection Planners reports.

“For most people, it is not only the objective of not paying taxes,” says Philip Marcovici, a tax lawyer and board member a Lichtenstein wealth adviser. “It’s the objective of obtaining the right to privacy and seeking financial confidentiality.”

Asset protection from lawsuits is another major objective. E. Valdes, a firefighter located in Miami, Florida says, “I just don’t trust the courts here. I want to set up an offshore account to protect myself from the unknown. Plus, if I can put my money in a safer bank than any of the local banks, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.”

Mr. Valdes is not alone. The debt of nations can wreak havoc on its banking system and US isby far the most in-debt country in the world. The United States has over $18 trillion in debt. That is a little over $58,000 per citizen and an unsustainable 106% of its gross domestic product. China, on the other hand, the world’s fifth (5th) most in-debt country, has $3 trillion in debt, which is just a little over $2,000 per citizen, or 37.5% of its GDP.

Where are the Safest Banks Located?

Regarding the safest banks, Canada has six (6) banks on the world’s 50 safest banks list. The United States, which has nine (9) times as many people as Canada, has onlyfive (5) banks on the list. Germany, which is about one-fourth (1/4) the size of the United states has six (6) banks on the world’s safest banks list. The United States is almost fourteen (14) times bigger than Australia in population, yet the Aussies have four (4) banks showing, all of which are on the top half of the 50 safest banks list.

The top 10 safest banks are located in Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Germany, Netherlands, Netherlands, Germany, France, Luxembourg and France, in that order. Of the top 50 safest banks,zero (0) were in Africa, 15 were located in Asia, four (4) in Australia, 19 in Europe, 11 in North America and one (1) in South America.

Banks in jurisdictions such as Switzerland can also act as money management firms. They have expert financial advisors who work with their clients to invest funds in a combination of interest bearing and stock market investments that suit their clients’ desires.

Who Has Offshore Accounts?

There are an estimated 26.2 million US citizens who have offshore bank accounts. Many of these individuals do not hold their bank accounts in their own names but in companies and/or trusts for enhanced protection from US litigation. Plus many foreign banks will not open personal accounts for US people, so a foreign corporation or LLC must be filed to hold title to the account.

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$32 Trillion Stashed in Offshore Bank Accounts – Asset Protection Planners Examine the Facts

NATO Fast Facts

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO Fast Facts
Apr 012015
 

Facts: The organization’s charter states that the signing parties will “seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area,” and will “unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security.”

April 4, 1949 – Established when 12 nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

2009-present – The current secretary general is Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark.

28 Member Countries: Albania (2009) Belgium (1949) Bulgaria (2004) Canada (1949) Croatia (2009) Czech Republic (1999) Denmark (1949) Estonia (2004) France (1949) Germany (1955, as West Germany) Greece (1952) Hungary (1999) Iceland (1949) Italy (1949) Latvia (2004) Lithuania (2004) Luxembourg (1949) Netherlands (1949) Norway (1949) Poland (1999) Portugal (1949) Romania (2004) Slovakia (2004) Slovenia (2004) Spain (1982) Turkey (1952) United Kingdom (1949) United States (1949)

Timeline (selected): April 4, 1949 – The 12 nations of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States sign the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

July 25, 1950 – First meeting of NATO Council Deputies in London. U.S. Ambassador Charles M. Spofford is elected permanent chairman.

December 19, 1950 – General Dwight Eisenhower is appointed the first supreme allied commander.

April 2, 1951 – Allied Command in Europe becomes operational with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Roquencourt, near Paris.

March 12, 1952 – Lord Ismay is named the first secretary general of NATO and appointed vice chairman of the North Atlantic Council.

April 10, 1952 – Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT) becomes operational, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Top NATO military commander in Europe says alliance needs to improve intelligence-sharing

 NATO  Comments Off on Top NATO military commander in Europe says alliance needs to improve intelligence-sharing
Mar 262015
 

NATO’s top commander in Europe U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove gestures when addressing a conference in Soest, central Netherlands, Wednesday March 25, 2015. NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists, Breedlove said that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid reaction force is to be effective in countering threats. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)(The Associated Press)

NATO’s top commander in Europe U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove gestures when addressing a conference in Soest, central Netherlands, Wednesday March 25, 2015. NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists, Breedlove said that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid reaction force is to be effective in countering threats. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)(The Associated Press)

SOEST, Netherlands NATO’s top commander in Europe says that alliance nations must be willing to share their intelligence faster if its new rapid-reaction force is to be effective in countering threats.

U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove says that “we need to change our culture of intelligence-sharing.” He adds that NATO nations have a tendency to only share intelligence well “when we are scared.”

NATO defense ministers agreed last month to create a quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists.

But Breedlove told a conference in the Netherlands on Wednesday that the troops can only be quickly and effectively deployed “if we have an indications and warning apparatus that tells us when we need its high readiness.”

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Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …

 Mars Colonization  Comments Off on Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …
Mar 192015
 

Mars One, the project being conducted by a Dutch nonprofit that purports to have as a goal the establishment of a Mars colony, is coming under increasing criticism. A Monday article in Space Review suggests that the people running Mars One have not thought through the challenges of Mars colonization and lack the resources, technology, and knowledge to accomplish such a fear. Medium, having interviewed a Mars One finalist who happens to be a former NASA researcher, goes a step further and accuses the project of being an elaborate scam designed to separate people from their money.

Much of the technical criticism of the Mars One project has already been covered by the now famous MIT study. The technology that the project claims is available would be inadequate to get people to Mars, not to mention sustaining them over the long run. If Mars One proposes to develop new technology, questions arise about reliability and costs. Those running the project seem overly optimistic about the latter factor.

The Space Review also suggests that the psychological stress of being the subject of a reality show the main vehicle that Mars One proposes to make money on the project would be unbearable when added to the dangers of settling a hostile planet. The project also does not seem to have developed adequate provisions for the health and well being of the colonists. What happens if, as likely, the Mars One settlers start dying?

Some political and diplomatic impediments may stand in the way of a Mars Colony, at least as Mars One proposes. The Netherlands, where Mars One is incorporated, is a party to the infamous Moon Treaty, which most countries on the planet have rejected as an impediment to space settlement and development. However, the country is still a party to it and is bound by it. However, fears that the idea of a colony may be anathema to the world community because the sad history of western imperialism is likely overblown. No native Martians exist for human colonist to oppress and exploit.

A Mars One finalist named Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity Colleges School of Education in Dublin, with a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics, has started to raise questions about the project as well. He applied on a lark and was surprised when he was picked as a finalist. The reason is that Mars One in no way approaches NASAs rigorous criteria for selecting astronauts, who for now only venture into low Earth orbit and not the 100 million mile journey to Mars.

Furthermore, Roche has noted that the Mars One finalists are being exploited by the project to generate revenue, even going so far as to be encouraged to donate a large percentage of the profits for paid media interviews. Indeed, he suspects that some of the finalists are on the list not for the skills they may bring to establishing a Mars colony, but rather because they bought their way onto it.

The obvious conclusion one might draw is that it is fortunate that Mars One is not likely to get off the ground. Every analysis suggests that it would fail spectacularly, in full view of the world. This might, in turn, poison the well for more legitimate Mars efforts, even the one that NASA is contemplating, which have funding problems of their own. Indeed, Mars One, if Roche is correct, can be condemned for exploiting the greatest of all dreams of forging a brighter future among the stars for profit without any hope of delivering on said dream.

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Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of …

NSA reportedly collaborated with Britain to steal cell phone codes

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Mar 092015
 

Published February 20, 2015

June 6, 2013: A sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.(AP)

Britains electronic spying agency, along with the NSA, reportedly hacked into the computer networks of a Dutch company to steal codes, which allowed both governments to spy on mobile phones worldwide.

The documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden did not offer details on how the agencies used the eavesdropping capabilities. However, it certainly shows how the NSA and Britains spy organization will push the limit of their surveillance prowess.

The company in question was the Netherlands-based SIM card giant Gemalto. Its SIM cards are used in mobile phones and credit cards. Its clients included AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, The Intercept reported.

The Intercept did not reveal any evidence of eavesdropping against American customers. Company officials told the website they had no idea their networks were compromised.

Gemalto is also the leading maker of encryption systems for other business and industrial uses. The company makes smart key cards for businesses and government agencies to restrict access to sensitive material.

The British spies targeted Gemalto engineers around the world and stole encryption keys to allow them to decode the data that passes between cellphones and cell towers, The Intercept reported. The process allows them to acquired texts or emails out of the air.

At one point in June 2010, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, as its signals intelligence agency is known, intercepted nearly 300,000 keys for mobile phone users in Somalia, The Intercept reported. “Somali providers are not on GCHQ’s list of interest,” the document noted, according to the Intercept. “(H)owever, this was usefully shared with NSA.”

Earlier in 2010, GCHQ successfully intercepted keys used by wireless network providers in Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iceland and Tajikistan, according to the documents provided to The Intercept. But the agency noted trouble breaking into Pakistan networks.

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Czech companies seek benefits of tax havens and foreign locations

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Czech companies seek benefits of tax havens and foreign locations
Feb 122015
 

Tax havens and tax avoidance are a big issue at European level with rarely a week going by without some scandal about a big business earner paying a pittance in taxes with, or without, the help of certain states. Surprising as it might seem, many Czech companies have also fled from their roots to register elsewhere for fairly pragmatic tax and investment reasons and because of reasons they are not so keen to talk about.

Foto: T24 In the Czech Republic it might be argued that some companies are both more Czech, and more equal, than others. For while two decades ago the idea of Czech companies being registered abroad or based in some sun-kissed tax havens might have appeared absurd, the reality is that more and more local firms have and are now going down that road.

In fact, such is the exodus of some major firms that those that have stayed behind to pay Czech tax, such as state-controlled energy giant EZ, or the Agrofert agricultural conglomerate of Minister of Finance Andrej Babi, expressly underline their upstanding tax contributions in their corporate information.

Zdenk Bakala, photo: YouTube Some of the others, the likes of the PPF company of the Czech Republics richest man Petr Kellner; the KKCG empire of oil and gas magnate Karel Komrek, and BXR Group of Zdenk Bakala, have taken another route. In fact, all three have significant parts of the business empires based in the Netherlands. And in the case of Komrek, while some of his companies have gone Dutch the main mother company is based in Cyprus, a location which often boasts of its bank and corporate secrecy.

Photo: Radio Prague According to a survey carried out by the Bisnode consultancy at the end of September last year, the Netherlands tops the league of destinations for Czech companies to relocate outside their homeland with 4,222 firms now registered there. Cyprus comes second with almost 2,100 firms and then Luxembourg third with just over 1,100. Then come a series of more exotic paradise locations such as the Seychelles, British Virgin Islands, and Panama. Altogether, its estimated that around 13,000 Czech companies are registered in what might be described as tax havens.

The business weekly Ekonom estimated this year that the Czech state has lost out on around 200 billion crowns in tax income from dividends and perhaps around another 100 billion crowns on top of that from other taxes because of companies being based outside the country.

The Netherlands, photo: Alphathon, Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0 Lets perhaps have a look at the Dutch example first. On basic tax rates, companies pay 20 percent, or a higher 25 percent rate, in the Netherlands and 19 percent in the Czech Republic. So on normal grounds the Netherlands cannot be regarded as a tax haven.

However, the Netherlands is a much more sophisticated tax location which does not, for example, tax dividend earnings abroad and capital gains on the sales of assets. And, in some cases, the losses made in one tax location can be used to write off the gains in another. That can mean a lot to multinational companies such as some of the Czech groups which have set up there. There is also the impression that a Dutch name plaque can help when you are looking to raise money internationally or is a better place to structure some international deals.

There are obviously both push and pull factors working here. Vladimra Chsk is chairwoman of the Czech Dutch Chamber of Commerce and sees things from both sides of the fence so to speak as a Czech promoting business links with the Netherlands.

She says the Czech Republic is partly to blame if some of its biggest and best companies decide to take their pick from the corporate locations on show internationally. On the other side, its also the problem of the Czech Republic where the system is not so developed and so controlled. And also, if you are a big company and doing business internationally you want to protect your assets and the base in the Czech Republic, its still doubtful whether it will be stable later on or if you have some problems. So, I think it would be important to develop the Czech and political system so that it would be more stable.

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Czech companies seek benefits of tax havens and foreign locations

Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security – Video

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security – Video
Jan 112015
 



Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security
An interview with the Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Eberhard van der Laan, conducted by NL Times Managing Editor, Zachary Newmark. The interview took place at a rally for free speech days…

By: NL Times

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Interview with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on freedom and security – Video

Joseph Stalin honoured in NATO Country (Holland) ! – Video

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Dec 232014
 



Joseph Stalin honoured in NATO Country (Holland) !
CCCP Dictator Stalin honoured in Holland/ Netherlands Warsaw Pact vs NATO The Hague/ City of Justice International Court of Justice The Hague NATO member Holland/ The netherlands.

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Joseph Stalin honoured in NATO Country (Holland) ! – Video

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History foreshadows against the use of torture

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on History foreshadows against the use of torture
Dec 132014
 

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA detention and interrogation program has quickly stirred up a white-hot debate on the use of torture to extract information from our enemies.

And though there is great passion on both sides, this is not a new topic to be argued.

In the late 16th century, some 200 years before the formation of our republic, the French nobleman Michel de Montaigne shifted the centuries-old debate about the use of torture from the question of its effectiveness to the question of its inhumanity. That is, while earlier writers had worried above all about the reliability of testimony extracted from tortured suspects, Montaigne was horrified that a civilized society would make use of such a barbaric practice.

Montaigne’s new perspective would come to exercise considerable influence over the ways in which intellectuals and political elites viewed torture down to our own time.

But it was above all a thin volume titled Of Crimes and Punishments, first published anonymously in 1764, that served as the clarion call for the abolition of torture. The secret of the author’s identity was not held for long. The Milanese philosopher Cesare Beccaria had completed this revolutionary work at the age of 26.

Beccaria’s text would have a cascading influence. Its translation into many languages paralleled an era that saw regime after regime dismantle the use of torture: Prussia in 1754, Denmark in 1770, Poland in 1776, France in 1789, the Netherlands in 1798 and Portugal in 1826.

Beccaria was influential in the United States as well. Thomas Jefferson read him with appreciation, as did James Madison and John Adams. When the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, Beccaria’s ideas made themselves palpable. We see this in the Eight Amendment, which prohibited the use of “cruel and unusual punishments” one of the enduring bases to the principle that neither the courts nor the federal government may use torture.

But the Fifth Amendment, with its stipulation that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” was perhaps an even clearer constitutional obstacle to the use of torture. If a person suspected of a crime could not testify against himself, then torture could really play no role, since one of the key aims of torturers is to extricate self-incriminating evidence from a suspect, whether of a common criminal or a terrorist.

Historians are right therefore to stress that the period running from the Renaissance (the age of Montaigne) to the Enlightenment (the age of Beccaria) witnessed the emergence of new ideas about the person. These ideas would shape many contemporary values, as reformers drew on them not only to end torture but also slavery and religious repression.

These same ideas were, not incidentally, fundamental to shaping democratic and open institutions. This doesn’t mean the ideas were always successful or without contradictions, but they unquestionably enabled a new notion of the human person and the political community to emerge. It is within this cluster of new ideas that men and women came to see torture not merely as ineffective but as fundamentally wrong. Torture degrades both the victim and its perpetuator. It strips both of their dignity and their humanity. The ends cannot justify the means.

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History foreshadows against the use of torture




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism