The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Air Date: 
March 13, 2013

Photo, above: Mathura, India, birthplace of Lord Krishna. See:  Hour 2, Block C:  . Hari Kumar, NYT,  Massive March for Yamuna River Nears Delhi  


Co-hosts: Gordon Chang,, and David Livingston, The Space Show

Hour One

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Scott Harold, Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, based in Hong Kong, in re: The North Korean army has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, the official newspaper of the country's ruling Workers' Party said Monday. Since last week, North Korea had been threatening to scrap the armistice after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against it in response to its February 12 nuclear test. On Monday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that the Supreme Command of North Korea's army had done so. [more]

As new leaders take office in Japan, China, and South Korea in an unprecedented coincidence of power shifts, a fresh opportunity has arisen to hit the reset button on fractious relationships beset by territorial disputes, nationalism, and history. It will not be easy, though, to move beyond issues that have roiled Northeast Asia in recent years. It will require the region's new governments to look beyond the territorial disputes that have poisoned Japan's relations with China and complicated its ties with South Korea. And it will need a closer meeting of minds over how to halt renegade North Korea's drive for a nuclear weapon.  [more]

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Charles Burton, professor at Brock University, in re: The legislature of the world’s last major communist country is almost certainly the wealthiest in the world, according to a popular rich list that names 83 dollar-billionaires among the delegates to China’s parliament this year. Meanwhile, in the United States, there is not a single billionaire in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Among the delegates gathered in Beijing this week to attend the National People’s Congress, the China-based Hurun Global Rich List identified 31 people with more than $1 billion in personal assets. The richest is Zong Qinghou, founder of Chinese drinks maker Wahaha, with an estimated fortune of $13 billion, according to Hurun. The NPC is tasked with approving legislation proposed by the ruling Communist Party, but in practice it plays a mostly ceremonial role. Another 52 billionaires are delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a toothless advisory body that meets at the same time as the NPC for about two weeks each year in early March. Given the difficulties involved in calculating the hidden wealth of many of China’s top leaders and their families, analysts say the Hurun report probably seriously understates the true number of super-wealthy participants in the political sessions.

March 10, 2013  Authorities crack down on Shangpu from the Financial Times (with thanks)

Local government authorities used teargas and cut off electricity on Sunday morning in a crackdown on a southern China village that had been involved in a tense stand-off after a land dispute last month. Villagers in Shangpu said as many as 3,000 security personnel surrounded the village on Saturday night and came into the village at 2am on Sunday morning to arrest five people.  Dozens of villagers were injured, some seriously. People from the six or seven neighbouring villages were prevented from entering Shangpu to help the villagers, according to a villager who declined to be named.

Villagers said phone lines to Shangpu had been cut off before the arrests and that the security personnel were acting on the instructions of the county government of Jiexi, which oversees the village. People in the village in Guangdong, the southernmost Chinese province that is also the country’s export powerhouse, said land had been leased to a businessman close to the village chief, Li Baoyu, for 50 years for as little as Rmb5,000-Rmb6,000 ($804-$965) per mu a year. Some villagers said 500 mu (33.33 hectares) had been leased until 2064 to the businessman since January, but others said even more land had been leased in the deal.  Villagers said they were attacked in the third week of February by gang members associated with the businessman. They retaliated by driving the attackers out and seizing the cars left behind as evidence of the involvement of the gang leader. The dispute over land and the united front of the villagers was remarkably similar to a dispute in Wukan, 100km away from Shangpu, and also in Guangdong, which first erupted in September 2011 with a similar attack on villagers there by people associated with a prominent local businessman allied to the village chief of the previous four decades, who was subsequently deposed. Taking their cue from Wukan, villagers in Shangpu last week called for free elections to appoint a new village chief and demanded that the land, estimated to be about 500 mu, be returned to the village. They had prevented police from removing the vehicles used by the gangs, hoping to use them as evidence of the businessman’s involvement in the attack of February 22. On Sunday, the authorities seized the vehicles and removed them from the village.

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Taber MacCallum,
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer, 
Co-founder of Paragon Space Development, in re: Paragon attends the announcement of the first commercial human expedition to the moon. Paragon is working with Golden Spike to design and provide the space suit systems for lunar surface operations as well as the environmental control and life support systems for the transit spacecraft and lunar lander. Video.  Announce they're looking for a long-married couple to spend 500+ days in space on Mars mission and return.

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Melik Kaylan, WSJ, in re:  large-scale brigandage in humanity's most ancient archaeological treasure sites. Sustainable Preservation Institute.   What the US can do help conserve the world's ancient heritage in war zones by allowing US museums temporarily to own looted artifacts with a view to returning them later. As it stands, US law forbids American museums, academic institutions and collectors to own illicit artifacts even for custodial purposes. The proposed solution to the impasse was suggested in the March 12 WSJ article, "Weapons Against Vandals."

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The Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI) seeks to preserve the world's cultural heritage by providing sustainable economic opportunities to poor communities where endangered archaeological sites are located. SPI believes the best way to preserve cultural heritage is creating or supporting locally-owned businesses whose success is tied to that preservation.

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Hour Two

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder and Research Director of J Capital Research,  in re: her research on the Chongqing, China, property market. "What percentage of your development do you need to give to government officials in order to get permission to build?" Five to 20%.  Twenty to 30% of housing inventory is bought by groups, organized funds, and held as a store of wealth. Developer sometimes agrees to buy the units back in twelve months.  Buying and flipping. Huge asset bubble.   I was in Xi'an; to taxi driver: "How many units have you bought?" "Three; I bought years in advance and drive by every day to be sure that they're still constructing."  Time to get out of the market; vast numbers of Chinese people working seven days a week and investing their enemies who'll be wiped out. Why didn’t the state invest in health care? Tragedy.

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . Nury Turkel, former president of Uighur American Association, in re: Western China hold energy that the unelected tyrants of Beijing intend to claim. Urumchi, Khotan and Korla are declared special areas by the frightened despots; heavy security forces, cameras, installed in Uyghur villages.  Uyghur resentment is simmering. PRC policies of harasssment, threats, violence, are failed in East Turkestan and Tibet; tyrants now have instituted a "shoot you on the spot" policy.  Have forced Uyghurs to be returned from all over to Xinjang.  John Batchelor Show has 107 podcasts downloaded of this show; they know that the US is the only country that could stand up to the PRC and demand rationality and humanity.

     At least four people were killed and eight injured in what appeared to be a knife fight in the city of Korla, a center of oil production in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, regional officials said on Friday.  The outburst of violence on Thursday put local residents on edge over a potential flare-up in ethnic tensions, a common occurrence in parts of Xinjiang where ethnic Uighur, a Turkic-speaking people, bridle at what they call discrimination by the Han Chinese, who rule China. The police ordered people to stay off the streets in parts of Korla after the fight, but the authorities had lifted that ban by Friday.

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Hari Kumar, NYT, in re: Massive March for Yamuna River Nears Delhi   Yamuna River is being killed by waste from the town; 50% diverted for agriculture, then another 50% for drinking.  There is now effectively zero clean water in [____]. The local religious and some farmers have formed a group claiming that they have the right to have an undiverted flow to holy places, incl where Lord Krishna was born, Mathura. Gummint has agreed to try to create a canal to separate the sewage. Note: It's not the farmers polluting the river, as occurs upstream of Shanghai; here, it’s the government doing the polluting.

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ Asia business editor of editorial page, just returned to Hong Kong from India, in re: Capital scarcity in India; results in moves to professionalize family businesses.   System is opposite to China, where money is lent out wildly in the black market, or gray market ("curb lending"); in India, conservative to a fault. Examples of entrepreneurship in India, eke wiser utilization of capital. Perhaps to be more interesting to foreign investors. India: sclerotic policies, large population, competitive marketplace. Everyone in Bombay has some sort of small business; undimmed enthusiasm; people eager to see govt get out of the way. This is exactly what China needs, instead of a shakedown mob at every step.

Hour Three

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Greg Tobin, in re: “The duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome,” said Bergoglio, 76, who took the name Francis, the first pope in history to do so. “And it seems to me that my brother cardinals went to fetch him at the end of the world. But here I am.” Bergoglio is widely believed to have been the runner-up in the 2005 conclave, which yielded Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.  Because Francis I is senior, he can wield a broom quickly. The stodgy Cardinals have seen that the Catholic world has changed irrevocably.

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  .Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: Unit 61398, OPRC group stealing software, hardware, everything from the US.  Shane Todd, said to have hanged himself in Singapore; family goes to look, finds nothing to suggest suicide, then finds a hard drive that suggests murder.  He may have got involved in something innocently, then found that his employer, Huawei, the notorious cyberwarfare group for the People's Liberation Army, was stealing major US security data - and got killed.  California: San Berdoo is broke; can legally sue the state.

California economy has slowed but is poised for growthCalifornia Democrats Regain Supermajority in State SenateLegal Battles Over California Water Supplies Set to Escalate...  Bankrupt San Bernardino threatens to sue California over taxes

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  .Aaron Klein, WABC, in re: negotiations on Pax Palestinian-Israeli are not awaiting Pres Obama's arrival; have begun.  White House specifically disinvited a university in Ariel.  Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has long not brandished weapons in public (2007 amnesty deal) have now been doing armed marches  in the West Bank. Expects stones and Molotov cocktails as pressure vs Israelis.  Israel dos far has expressed neutrality anent the Syrian civil war.  Seven "rebels: treated in Israeli hospital the other day; all seven were members of an al Q org in Syria, one being a jihadist who'd fought the US in Afghanistan. US has been training jihadists in Libya to fight in Syria, now they're bleeding into northern Israel.   Right now, an operation in Golan . . . Jerusalem is ready to change its posture toward the "rebel" opposition, its being a lot like al Q in Iraq. Lebanese, Algerian, Tunisian fighters streaming into Turkey , currently "the worldwide center of al Q," to be routed into Syria.

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Turkey , currently "the worldwide center of al Qaeda"

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Aaron Klein, WABC, in re: Scandal! How Pres Obama is aiding jihadists in Syria: According to information that Israel received from Saudi Arabia, there is evidence al-Qaida groups in Syria are forming new networks in preparation for future rounds of fighting if Assad falls, the officials said. Those al-Qaida groups are studying how to establish cells to attack the Israeli borders. The information follows reports of heavy fighting yesterday in an area between Damascus and the Israeli Golan Heights in what could become a new battlefront between Syrian troops and rebels uncomfortably close to the Jewish state’s borders. Concern over Syrian rebels attacking Israel also comes amid reports of stepped up U.S. support for those very rebels. Earlier this week the German weekly Der Spiegel reported how the U.S. is training Syrian rebels in Jordan – a story first exclusively exposed by WND thirteen months ago. more >>

Wednesday  13 March  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:  John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re: The budget wars that are just beginning represent a transition back to governing from the permanent campaign, despite the inevitable attempts to rally the base in public debates that will occur on both sides. We’re never going to take the politics out of politics. But the process itself has a purpose, reinforcing the reasoning together that has been missing from our recent debates. “Let’s get back to serious budgeting,” said Schultz, one of the wise men of American politics. “Hold hearings—start listening to department heads about what are their priorities and why. When people start getting into that discussion, they get into a problem-solving mind-set.” That’s when gridlock gets broken and constructive action across the aisle starts to occur. Better late than never.

Hour Four

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:   From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 1 of 4

These experts in the field challenge commonly held views about the success of the global war on terrorism and its campaign in Afghanistan. Their book questions some fundamentals of the population-centric COIN doctrine currently in vogue and harshly criticizes key decisions about the prosecution of the Afghan war. It is the only book to compare the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan from a national strategic perspective. It questions several key operational factors in Afghanistan, including the decision to give NATO the lead, the performance of both civilian and military leaders, and the prosecution of an Iraq War-style surge. It also contrasts the counterinsurgency campaign styles and the leadership of senior American officials in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A final chapter outlines key lessons of the two campaigns.

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 2 of 4

"This book should be required reading for all civilian and military national security professionals. The authors provide a highly readable and concise examination of the development and execution of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. The insights on two-front conflicts are compelling and should be internalized by all future strategists."

-- Patrick C. Sweeney, professor of joint operations, U.S. Naval War College

"From Kabul to Baghdad and Back is an invaluable addition to the literature on fighting two simultaneous major wars. John Ballard, Dave Lamm, and John Wood--three superb scholar-practitioners--are the first to weave the complex operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into a single conceptual tapestry. There is much new research on both wars. The authors' comprehensive assessment on lessons learned is on the mark. This book will be a standard in war and peace studies for the next decade."

--Joseph J. Collins, professor, National War College, and author of Understanding War in Afghanistan

"A valuable and insightful analysis of America's two wars that pulls no punches, From Kabul to Baghdad and Back offers candid judgments on the U.S.' inability to fight two wars at once, the weaknesses of NATO partners and a bifurcated command structure in Afghanistan, and ultimately the failure to achieve momentum from that surge--unlike the successful surge and counterinsurgency applied in Iraq. Ballard, Lamm, and Wood make an important contribution to understanding the longest period of warfare in U.S. history."

--Linda Robinson, author of Tell Me How This Ends and Masters of Chaos

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  . From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 3 of 4

"From Kabul to Baghdad and Back weaves a comprehensive yet accessible narrative of the U.S.-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The account is enriched by the authors' backgrounds in U.S. defense strategy, providing requisite historical background of the U.S. experience in fighting multi-front wars, waging counterinsurgency campaigns, and formulating policy in the two theaters. The book's greatest contribution is its analysis of increased difficulties in Afghanistan after 2005."

--Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Wednesday  13 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by John R. Ballard, David W. Lamm and John K. Wood; 4 of 4

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