I’m still puzzling over Qatar. Could it be that Saudi Arabia’s hostility toward Qatar is a proxy war for its more entrenched adversary, Iran? If the tensions involving Qatar escalate into a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, oil prices will rise and expensive energy sources elsewhere will suddenly become competitive. I imagine the gas frackers and denizens of the tar sands are keeping a weather eye on the Middle East just now. Will Saudi Arabia make a play to annex Qatar, possibly as a blackmail payout to avert a larger conflict with Iran? Not likely, according to Thierry Meyssan. He claims that “one rule has been imposed on the world since British decolonisation – no-one has the right to touch boundaries laid by London.” This seems to have remained true, even in spite of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Israel, Pakistan, India, and now, it seems, Saudi Arabia.
Since the PATRIOT act was passed, it has never occurred to me that the NSA isn’t collecting and analyzing every electron of data that I produce or consume. But it does amuse me to learn, from time to time, how they do this. Remember, they’re not actually supposed to spy on Americans. (And, of course, they do.) The latest revealed trick up the NSA’s sleeve is to divert internet traffic out of the United States, collect it overseas, and then divert it back. That way, it isn’t collected on US soil. Cool, eh? (Here’s a technical article for the geeks and a leaked presentation for the hackers.) And this is just because they feel a bit sheepish about spying on their countrymen. You can kind of imagine how they feel about spying on everybody else.