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Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards's Public Library

  • The weak spots of Microsoft's Q3 report were related to its Office and Windows software, both affected by a lagging PC market among other factors. Revenue for Windows licensing dropped 19% for businesses, after sales spiked last year following the announcement of the end of Windows XP support. Windows licensing revenue for consumers fell by 26% in Q3. The Windows volume licensing saw a 2% decline.


  • Office consumer was the most disappointing however with a 41% decline (31% in constant currency) although management stated that 27 points of the decline were attributable to the transition to Office 365 (so just a temporary impact). The disappointing factor was the continued weakness in Japan’s PC market, which typically has high Office attach rates.

  • There are a couple ways Google enforces this notion. First is through the actual connectivity, which is a patchwork of T-Mobile, Sprint, and Wi-Fi networks. Between the two carriers, Project Fi simply picks the fastest one, which is something no other wireless service can do. 

     But in many cases, users won’t need the carrier networks at all, because Project Fi can route calls and text messages over Wi-Fi. This routing not only includes home Wi-Fi networks, but public hotspots that Google deems fast and reliable. Project Fi forms an automatic, encrypted connection that doesn’t count against the user’s data plan. Whether it’s Wi-Fi or mobile broadband, Google is essentially saying that the best connection should win. 

     The other way Google de-emphasizes traditional carriers is by storing users’ phone numbers in the cloud. Instead of being tied to one smartphone, the number will let people reach users on tablets and laptops across all the major computing platforms. (It seems likely that smartwatch connectivity will follow.) 

     Traditional carriers can’t do this because they don’t have the app support. Whereas Google’s Hangouts app is ubiquitous, there’s no comparable AT&T app that routes your calls and text messages to all your connected devices.

  • Granted, Google has tried the cloud-based phone number concept before. In 2009, the company introduced Google Voice, which gave users a number that could receive text messages on any device, route calls to any phone, and handle VoIP calling through desktop web browsers. Eventually, users were able to port their existing numbers to the service. 

     But even this system wasn’t perfect. To use all of Google Voice’s features with your main number, you still had to own an entirely separate number through your wireless carrier. With Project Fi, all these capabilities are built into the wireless service. In a way, it’s what Google Voice should have been all along. 

  • Imagine, for instance, if Google could convince other carriers to support the cloud phone number, letting users access their calls and text messages through Google Hangouts on any device. To sweeten the deal, perhaps Google could even let carriers tap into the same network of Wi-Fi hotspots that Project Fi will use. 

     This isn’t as crazy as you might think. After all, Google’s Nexus phones work in similar fashion, demonstrating the benefits of pure Android to users and the industry. It’s taken a while, but phone makers are starting to get it. In time, maybe wireless carriers will as well. 


  • How Quantum Insert works

     In order to use the Quantum Insert method, the attacker has to be close enough to the target to listen in to their network traffic. 

     For example, they could be at the target's Internet service provider. Or they could be inside the network already, looking to move in a lateral direction. 

     Quantum Insert is a tool used by advanced persistent threat groups, like government-sponsored organizations or extremely focused criminals targeting one specific enterprise. 

     Governments, of course, have an edge in that they have an easier time getting access to the network traffic that passes through their country. 

     So this isn't a method that run-of-the-mill cybercriminals would use, say, to target a large number of people. 

     "It's not very scalable," Bijl said. "You need to have fast access to the network traffic of the victim. The attacker really has to go to great lengths."

    • Then the attacker waits for someone to visit a page known to be popular with target employees. According to Snowden's leaks, LinkedIn and Slashdot have been used in the past. 

       After the target sends out the request for the page, the attacker responds faster than the real site, with a page designed to fool the victim's browser into accepting it as a valid response to its request. 

        White Paper
        White Paper
        See All 
          <form action="/resources/search" method="get">    <!-- add additional dto options here -->        </form>  

       "You insert a packet with the same identification," said Bijl. "There's no way to distinguish it from the real answer as far as the browser is concerned." 

       Bijl added that communications also have to be in the clear. Encrypted traffic is safe. 

       And content delivery networks can improve the delivery speeds of legitimate content to the point where it's difficult for the Quantum Insert packet to get to the victim first. 

  • How to detect a Quantum Insert attack

     According to Fox-IT, spotting a Quantum Insert attack involves looking for duplicate HTTP response packets that are carrying different contents. 

     Depending on whether the attacker or the real website won the race to the victim, either the first or the second of the duplicate packets will be the fake one. 

     Fox-IT has published the code for detecting Quantum Insert and released it on github. 


  • sources all over the tech industry are noticing that Office 365 is everywhere.


    And it's all because of one thing: Microsoft is telling customers to move their email to Microsoft's cloud instead of buying another Exchange server and hosting email in their own data centers, says Todd McKinnon, co-founder and CEO of Okta.

  • "Over the last six to nine months, Office 365 usage has skyrocketed," he told us. "We see it on our network. We see usage of applications."


    Up until last October, Google Apps was more popular, he said, and Salesforce and Box were the most popular apps used at work.


    That's all changed. "Office 365 hasn’t quite taken over yet, but it probably will in the next few months," he says.

  • This is happening because Microsoft "is going around to every organization in the world and saying, 'hey, you know your email, you're on-premise Exchange server? You need to move that to the cloud. And here's financial incentives to do that."

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  • As one former Microsoft employee told Business Insider, "What Microsoft is doing is claiming a certain percentage of their Enterprise Agreements — these are renewals of their big licensing agreements — as cloud revenue. They bundle the 'rights' to use Azure or Office 365 as part of their overall agreement. The dirty secret is that very few customers are actually taking Microsoft up on using Azure in any meaningful way."


  • n other words, when an enterprise signs a new contract to buy software like Windows, Microsoft's database and Microsoft Office, the salesperson may toss in free (or almost free) access to Microsoft's cloud Azure (which includes a cloud version of the database) and Microsoft's online version of Office, Office 365.


    Microsoft then assigns a percentage of that contract as cloud revenue.

  • It's a little like giving you a free toaster when you sign up for a checking account, then claiming toaster sales are going crazy.

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  • In the cloud world, companies only pay for the actual resources they use, like minutes of computing time, bytes of storage, usage of add-on apps and services, and so on.


    Customers love this and are ditching traditional software and computers at a rapid rate so they can rent their tech via cloud computing.


    There's a rush at every major tech vendor to sign up customers for their own cloud offerings before their competitors nab them. They are trying to nab their share of a market that will grow — conservatively — from $56.6 billion in 2014 to more than $127 billion in 2018, according to market research firm IDC.


  • In a nod to government, Schmidt did note the PATRIOT Act is a law of the land and must be followed. In his view, however, the act requires the use of a warrant, rendering mass surveillance without such individually sourced legal allowance contrary to what they call in the enterprise, “best practices.”

  • As the world moves from web to mobile, we’ve been thinking deeply about how people will discover mobile products and services and how we will find and access all the things we need in our digital lives.


    Search (largely Google) has long been the access and discovery point for web services. This model was pull-driven (i.e. we proactively find information on websites as we need), and worked pretty well as large category killers (Facebook, Amazon) owned the lion’s share of traffic (and revenue). Google was happily profitable owning the distribution channel. The mobile world started out as a pull-driven model — discovery and access was/is largely driven by a combination of the app store and the “grid of apps.”

  • This model, however, is starting to break, as some significant trends are driving it to failure. Primary among these is the volume of information that’s now available and regularly accessed; we have hundreds of apps on our phone (though we only actively engage with a handful), and without any real category killers, consumers are swapping new apps in and out at a regular pace.
  • Most importantly, our engagement is now defined by push-driven notifications rather than the traditional pull-driven experience. We’re “hunting and pecking” through our app grid a lot less; the apps that notify us (without over-notifying to the point of uninstall) are rewarded with our engagement (and our dollars).

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  • You can also convert the images you scan of paper files and whiteboards into Microsoft Office formats and more, including Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and even PDFs and JPGs. These can be inserted into OneNote as images, the company says.
  • In addition, Microsoft says that Office Lens offers a business-card scanning function that lets you turn cards into contacts you can add to your smartphone’s address book. That initially sounds similar to the functionality that Evernote Scannable offers, you’ll think. However Evernote also pulls in LinkedIn details, which is handy as it allows you to grow your network. (LinkedIn used to offer its own card-scanning app, but later shut it down and pointed people to Evernote instead.)
Apr 21, 15

"A new study conducted at Harvard University shows that in America, Liberals have a significantly lower IQ than Conservatives. The study was conducted on 100,000 registered voters in 40 different states over the last twelve years, and has concluded its results.
The first part of the study lists the correlation between political beliefs and intelligence. Subjects of the study were chosen at random and requested to come to an unmarked van to take a test and answer some questions for a reasonable amount of money.
Of the 100,000 people, there were people from many doctrines, from conservative to liberal to marxist to fascist. Socialists came out on bottom, with an average IQ of 87. The second worst were Liberals and then Marxists, with 88 and 89 respectively. Conservatives received an average score of 110, which is significantly above average. However, the conservatives did not score the highest. The holder of second place were Communists with an average I.Q of 115, and the first place was apolitical people who did not follow any specific doctrine, who received a whopping score on average of 135."

  • A new study conducted at Harvard University shows that in America, Liberals have a significantly lower IQ than Conservatives. The study was conducted on 100,000 registered voters in 40 different states over the last twelve years, and has concluded its results.
  • The first part of the study lists the correlation between political beliefs and intelligence. Subjects of the study were chosen at random and requested to come to an unmarked van to take a test and answer some questions for a reasonable amount of money.
     Of the 100,000 people, there were people from many doctrines, from conservative to liberal to marxist to fascist. Socialists came out on bottom, with an average IQ of 87. The second worst were Liberals and then Marxists, with 88 and 89 respectively. Conservatives received an average score of 110, which is significantly above average. However, the conservatives did not score the highest. The holder of second place were Communists with an average I.Q of 115, and the first place was apolitical people who did not follow any specific doctrine, who received a whopping score on average of 135.
  •   IAHYM News attempted to interview President Barack Obama on the new find, but he refused to speak directly. Instead, while walking down the strange hallway, he told correspondent Joseph Ducreux that the study
     was ridiculous and false, but failed to provide any reason as to why or
     how the science of the study is at fault.


    Hilary Rodham Clinton was also contacted, but she immediately hung up
     the phone when she figured out that the study was being mentioned at all.

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  • This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.
  • Largely hidden from the public eye, this traumatic process, however, is now heading toward a legal climax, with two key rulings expected in the late spring or early summer. The first ruling, from the Wisconsin supreme court, could halt the investigations for good, in part by declaring that the “misconduct” being investigated isn’t misconduct at all but the simple exercise of First Amendment rights.
  • The second ruling, from the United States Supreme Court, could grant review on a federal lawsuit brought by Wisconsin political activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, the first conservatives to challenge the investigations head-on. If the Court grants review, it could not only halt the investigations but also begin the process of holding accountable those public officials who have so abused their powers.

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  • For approximately 80% of Americans Social Security and Medicare taxes exceed income taxes.
  • Can anything be done? Here’s an idea.


    [Source: A Modest Proposal: Let’s Sunset The Tax Code, by Matt Vespa]

  • So, where do we go from here? What’s the first step? Let Freedom Ring, a non-profit, nonpartisan public policy organization has a modest proposal; let’s sunset the entire tax code. Colin Hanna–the organization’s president–wrote in February that it’s an immensely popular policy initiative:

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  • Milbank quotes a study from two Stanford social scientists that speaks volumes regarding the current political atmosphere in the United States. My friends from the left complain that there is no “compromise” any longer in the halls of congress (of course, they blame Republicans for this). I have said that it is because the federal government is financially bankrupt so “compromises” can no longer be “purchased” on a quid pro quo basis. The Stanford social scientists have found a different reason.
  • Milbank interviewed Alan Grayson. When one speaks of extreme partisanship, Grayson is the poster child for the left. He was the Congressman who famously said that the Republican health-care plan is to “die quickly.” In the interview Grayson said that “Essentially there are no undecided voters. Everybody has picked a team. The only question is, do your guys vote or not?” In today’s politics the “get out the vote team” is more important than the “platform team.” I oppose this style of politics. Unfortunately, I can’t effectively argue that he is wrong.
  • The Stanford study more than backs this notion. American politics not only “appears” to have become remarkably partisan, it really is remarkably partisan. The study’s data documents that partisanship has infiltrated the American political scene, and indeed, the entirety of American life, to a degree that few would have guessed.


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Apr 17, 15

Wow, if this article isn't a MUST READ, then nothing is. Spot on call-to-arms.

"Nelson Hultberg is a freelance scholar/writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic. Nelson's articles have appeared in such publications as American Conservative, Insight, Liberty, The Freeman and The Dallas Morning News, as well as on numerous Internet sites. He is the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values. Email: NelsHultberg (at)"

  • Our government bankers print money today like loons in an asylum spew absurdity. Glib media shills lure us every night into a disgraceful indolence. And our corporations lust like spoiled children after mega-billions of illicit lucre. Cataclysm is coming.


    No one with a minimal awareness of history, politics and proper economics today has faith that our society can continue much longer at its present level of government privilege and debt accumulation. There is a Grand Piper that must be paid, and he will manifest in any number of scenarios, none of which will be pleasant.


    One thing is for sure: The next two decades are going to be tumultuous and tragic. The events that unfold will be far more radical than we dare envision today. Paradigms in banking, politics and philosophy will be overturned. Wrenching lifestyle shifts will be forced upon millions. Something akin to what happened in the Soviet Union after the fall of communism in 1991 will take place in America. Our ruling regime will collapse and bring Russian-style economic hardship to us all.


    How exactly things unfold will depend upon whether the nation's intelligentsia bring themselves to seriously question the shams of statism, or whether the government-media-academy triad is able to continue bamboozling them. What is extremely unnerving is that whoever wins this battle to control the destiny of our country will determine the fate of freedom on the planet for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. A monumental clash of ideology and propriety looms up ahead.

  • Why We Are Disintegrating as a Society
  • America's dilemma is this: We are being propelled toward an Orwellian style despotism that's purpose is to centralize government power in Washington, phase out American sovereignty and move our country as much as possible into subordination to the United Nations and eventually alignment with Canada, Mexico and Central America into a regional government. The world is moving toward the nightmare of Oceana, Eurasia and East Asia in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which will extinguish freedom and merge mankind into a tyrannical egalitarianism.


    Why is this happening? Such is the influential force of ideology. We are being destroyed because of what historian Clarence Carson called a "collectivist curvature of the mind" that took over our intellectuals back in the early twentieth century. This curvature of the mind functions as the grand fueling mechanism for the goals of government centralization and ending our national sovereignty.


    It's horrifying, but every year our schools form the "best and the brightest minds" into collectivist apparatchiks to go out in the world and work their way into the power centers of society. The schools do this via false teachings in philosophy, economics, political science and history. This "ideological indoctrination" teaches every new generation that capitalism is an evil, exploitative, racist, warmongering system and must be phased out of modern societies. It teaches that national sovereignty is anachronistic and must be given up. Such indoctrination is being done very subtly and sophisticatedly, but it is a powerful, pervasive theme instilled into all our children from the first grade on.

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  • Why not just create these in IFTTT? The twist here is that business apps tend to be far more complex than the average consumer app in terms of functionality and data, and so what is essentially created is a very user-friendly way of visualising actions for people to set up scripts, using drag-and-drop icons.


    Connections between services can be created by people with no technical expertise. However, those who do have programmers on staff and want to add more functionality on top of that can also go into the code at this point to further customise things.


    “Being able to push data between services in the past has required hiring an engineer and building something from the ground up,” Rich Waldron, co-founder and CEO of, says. “It’s an incredibly expensive and time consuming process. What we’re providing is a path to construct services that are entirely bespoke to a business without needing an engineer to put them in place.”

  • is tapping into a very hot area. “APIs are exploding today,” says Waldron. “There is an expectation for one everywhere, but also an expectation from businesses that they should be able to build into them.” And as such, it is not without competition, with much larger companies like Mulesoft also making some big strides in providing platforms to connect APIs and others like Tibco, Snaplogic and smaller startups like YC alum Zapier. claims to be easier to use and less expensive than the rest.
  • “There are other services out there, but I have been looking to find a company doing what does for the last seven or eight years,” says Puneet Agarwal, a partner at True who led his firm’s investment in

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  • As it turns out, that seems to be exactly what happened. Last night, Engel posted a new statement on the NBC News website stating that, roughly one month ago, he had been contacted by The New York Times, which “uncovered information that suggested the kidnappers were not who they said they were and that the Syrian rebels who rescued us had a relationship with the kidnappers.” That inquiry from The NYT caused him to re-investigate the kidnapping, and he concluded that “the group that kidnapped us was Sunni, not Shia” and that “the group that freed us” — which he had previously depicted as heroic anti-Assad rebels — actually “had ties to the kidnappers.”


    That’s all fair enough. Nobody can blame Engel — a courageous reporter, fluent in Arabic — for falling for what appears to be a well-coordinated ruse. Particularly under those harrowing circumstances, when he and his fellow captives believed with good reason that their lives were in immediate danger, it’s completely understandable that he believed he had been captured by pro-Assad forces. There is no real evidence that Engel did anything wrong in recounting his ordeal.


    But the same is most certainly not true of NBC News executives. In writing his new account, Engel does not mention the most important and most incriminating aspect of The New York Times reporting: that NBC officials knew at the time that there was reason to be highly skeptical of the identity of the captors, but nonetheless allowed Engel and numerous other NBC and MSNBC reporters to tell this story with virtually no questioning.

  • In a very well-reported article this morning, The NYT states that “Mr. Engel’s team was almost certainly taken by a Sunni criminal element affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the loose alliance of rebels opposed to Mr. Assad.” That rebel group is “known as the North Idlib Falcons Brigade” and is “led by two men, Azzo Qassab and Shukri Ajouj.” Amazingly, NBC executives knew that this was at least very possible even during Engel’s kidnapping, and yet:


    NBC executives were informed of Mr. Ajouj and Mr. Qassab’s possible involvement during and after Mr. Engels’s captivity, according to current and former NBC employees and others who helped search for Mr. Engel, including political activists and security professionals. Still, the network moved quickly to put Mr. Engel on the air with an account blaming Shiite captors and did not present the other possible version of events.

  • In other words, NBC executives at least had ample reason to suspect that it was anti-Assad rebels who staged the kidnapping, not pro-Assad forces. Yet they allowed Engel and numerous other NBC and MSNBC personalities repeatedly and unequivocally to blame the Assad regime and glorify the anti-Assad rebels, and worse, to link the hideous kidnapping to Iran and Hezbollah, all with no indication that there were other quite likely alternatives. NBC refused to respond to The NYT‘s questions about that (The Intercept’s inquiries to NBC News were also not responded to at the time of publication, though any responses will be added (update: an NBC executive has refused to comment)).

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Apr 16, 15

Amazing. Slack has cornered the market on money and publicity, but slack is seriously lacking in productivity features. Especially when compared to GLIP.

"Slack, that San Francisco startup with an increasingly popular team communication app, today announced that it has officially raised $160 million in a new funding round, at a $2.8 billion valuation.

The company issued the news in a press release after previous reports to this effect. Today’s round follows a $120 million round that Slack announced in October. At the time, the valuation was at $1.12 billion.

Slack, which competes with Atlassian’s Hipchat, Microsoft’s Yammer, Convo, and other products, has been rolling out features at an impressive rate in the past few months. The company brought its app to Windows last month. And while disclosing a weeks-old security breach, Slack announced that it was making two-factor authentication available to users.

New investors in this round include Digital Sky Technologies, Horizons Ventures, Index Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, and Spark Capital Growth. All previous investors — including Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Social + Capital Partnership — also participated.
To date Slack has raised $340 million.

More than 750,000 people use Slack daily, the company said today. And Slack has more than 200,000 paid seats. (Yes, it’s possible to use Slack for free.) The daily active user count and the paid seat count have both more than doubled since the start of 2015, Slack said. The app first launched in February 2014. The company itself started in 2009.

Slack’s customers include Adobe, BuzzFeed, Live Nation, the New York Times, and PayPal."

Apr 15, 15

"One of the best arguments against using Google Docs for many people and businesses has been the inability to work with Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” function. “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word shows edits made to a document so that the person you are submitting the document to can understand what has changed, and can accept or reject your edits either all at once or piece by piece. “Track Changes” did not integrate with Google Docs when a Microsoft Word document was uploaded to Google Drive, so all edits would be lost and it made more sense to work outside of the Google ecosystem.
In addition, the ability to track changes on Google Docs themselves was restricted to comments, which didn’t allow document editors the option to merely accept changes – they would have had to go in and type them themselves, or ask the original author to make the changes based on their comments.
All of that changed in July 2014 when Google introduced full “Track Changes” integration with Google Docs and the ability to add “Suggested Edits” to Google Docs for easy collaboration in real time. Suggested Edits now also show up as “Track Changes” markup if a Google Doc is downloaded as a Word document.
How Google Docs and Track Changes Integrate
When you upload a Word document with Track Changes items, the Track Changes become Suggested Edits in Google Docs. Anyone with commenting access to your document, which is easily granted, can accept or reject your edits to the document.

Apr 15, 15

Thanks to Marbux we have this stunning summary explaining how Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to stop Iran and the Shiite Crescent from taking over the Middle East and establishing an oil rich Shiite Caliphate. ...........

"New Terrorist Gains

Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies, along with Turkey, are also ramping up support in Syria for Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State. Flush with jihadist reinforcements, the two terrorist organizations have seized new territory in recent weeks, including the Islamic State creating a humanitarian crisis by attacking a Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus.

All of these Saudi actions have drawn minimal criticism from mainstream U.S. media and political circles, in part, because the Saudis now have the protection of the Israel Lobby, which has kept American attention on the supposed threat from Iran, including allegedly controversial statements from Iranian leaders about their insistence that economic sanctions be lifted once the nuclear agreement is signed and/or implemented.

Neocon warmongers have even been granted space in major U.S. newspapers, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, to openly advocate for the bombing of Iran despite the risk that destroying Iran’s nuclear reactors could inflict both human and environmental devastation. That might serve the Saudi-Israeli interests by forcing Iran to focus exclusively on a domestic crisis but it would amount to a major war crime. [See’s “NYT Publishes Call to Bomb Iran.”]

The strategic benefit for Israel and Saudi Arabia would be that with Iran unable to assist the Iraqis and the Syrians in their desperate struggles against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the Sunni jihadists might well be hoisting the black flag of their dystopian philosophy over Damascus, if not Baghdad. [See’s “The Secret Saudi Ties to Terrorism.”]

Beyond the slaughter of innocents that would follow – and the likelihood of new terrorist attacks on the West – such a victory would almost surely force whoever is the U.S. president to recommit hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to remove Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State from power. It would be a war of vast expense in money and blood with little prospect of American success.

If Saudi Arabia’s petrodollars helped secure Israel’s assistance in creating such a potential hell on earth, the Saudi royals might consider it the best money they ever spent – and the resulting orgy of military spending by the U.S. government might benefit some well-connected neocons, too – but the many victims of this madness would certainly feel otherwise as might the vast majority of the American people."

  • Exclusive: The odd-couple relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel may have been sealed with more than a mutual desire to kiss-off Iran. According to an intelligence source, there was a dowry involved, too, with the Saudis reportedly giving Israel some $16 billion, writes Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry

  • For more than half a century, Saudi Arabia has tried to use its vast oil wealth to build a lobby in the United States that could rival the imposing Israel Lobby. At top dollar, the Saudis hired law firms and PR specialists – and exploited personal connections to powerful families like the Bushes – but the Saudis never could build the kind of grassroots political organization that has given Israel and its American backers such extraordinary clout.

    Indeed, Americans who did take Saudi money – including academic institutions and non-governmental organizations – were often pilloried as tools of the Arabs, with the Israel Lobby and its propagandists raising the political cost of accepting Saudi largesse so high that many people and institutions shied away.

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