Archive for October, 2013

I’m posting this in the hope that it will cause people to strengthen their preparations for failures in the supply chain, or in the infrastructure. Apparently it is entirely possible that our electrical grid could be hacked into complete or intermittent large scale failures. There is a huge exercise coming up for just this scenario, and a great number of people are concerned that the practice drill may go live, actually causing the grid to collapse. All I can say with any truthful certainty is that with the way things are economically and in society overall, it is imperative that people stock up enough food and water to see them through at least 2 weeks of disruption.

Here is an article on the drill (click on title for the source):

As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York City during a blackout in 2003. More than 150 companies and groups will take part in a drill that will simulate attacks on the power grid.

WASHINGTON — The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.

This is why thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will simulate physical attacks and cyberattacks that could take down large sections of the power grid.

They will practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.

“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.”

One goal of the drill, called GridEx II, is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.

“If we fail at electricity, we’re going to fail miserably,” Curt Hébert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a recent conference held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Mr. Harrell said that previous exercises were based on the expectation that electricity “would be up and running relatively quick” after an attack.

Now, he said, the goal is to “educate the federal government on what their expectations should or shouldn’t be.” The industry held a smaller exercise two years ago in which 75 utilities, companies and agencies participated, but this one will be vastly expanded and will be carried out in a more anxious mood.

Most of the participants will join the exercise from their workplaces, with NERC, in Washington, announcing successive failures. One example, organizers say, is a substation break-in that officials initially think is an attempt to steal copper. But instead, the intruder uses a USB drive to upload a virus into a computer network.

The drill is part of a give-and-take in the past few years between the government and utilities that has exposed the difficulties of securing the electric system.

The grid is essential for almost everything, but it is mostly controlled by investor-owned companies or municipal or regional agencies. Ninety-nine percent of military facilities rely on commercial power, according to the White House.

The utilities play down their abilities, in comparison with the government’s. “They have the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies,” said Scott Aaronson, senior director of national security policy at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. “We have the grid operations expertise.”

That expertise involves running 5,800 major power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, monitored and controlled by a staggering mix of devices installed over decades. Some utilities use their own antique computer protocols and are probably safe from hacking — what the industry calls “security through obscurity.”

But others rely on Windows-based control systems that are common to many industries. Some of them run on in-house networks, but computer security experts say they are not confident that all the connections to the public Internet have been discovered and secured. Many may be vulnerable to software — known as malware — that can disable the systems or destroy their ability to communicate, leaving their human operators blind about the positions of switches, the flows of current and other critical parameters. Experts say a sophisticated hacker could also damage hard-to-replace equipment.

In an effort to draw utilities and the government closer, the industry recently established the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, made up of high-level executives, to meet with federal officials. The first session is next month.

Preparation for the November drill comes as Congress is debating laws that could impose new standards to protect the grid from cyberattacks, but many in the industry, some of whom would like such rules, doubt that they can pass.

The drill is also being planned as conferences, studies and even works of fiction are raising near-apocalyptic visions of catastrophes involving the grid.

A National Academy of Sciences report last year said that terrorists could cause broad hardship for months with physical attacks on hard-to-replace components. An emerging effort led in part by R. James Woolsey, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is gearing up to pressure state legislatures to force utilities to protect equipment against an electromagnetic pulse, which could come from solar activity or be caused by small nuclear weapons exploded at low altitude, frying crucial components.

An attack using an electromagnetic pulse is laid out in extensive detail in the novel “One Second After,” published in 2009 and endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In another novel, “Gridlock,” published this summer and co-written by Byron L. Dorgan, the former senator from North Dakota, a rogue Russian agent working for Venezuela and Iran helps hackers threaten the grid. In the preface, Mr. Dorgan says such an attack could cause 10,000 times as much devastation as the terrorists’ strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.

Despite the growing anxiety, the government and the private sector have had trouble coordinating their grid protection efforts. The utility industry argues that the government has extensive information on threats but keeps it classified. Government officials concede the problem, and they have suggested that some utility executives get security clearances. But with hundreds of utilities and thousands of executives, it cannot issue such clearances fast enough. And the industry would like to be instantly warned when the government identifies Internet servers that are known to be sources of malware.

Another problem is that the electric system is so tightly integrated that a collapse in one spot, whether by error or intent, can set off a cascade, as happened in August 2003, when a power failure took a few moments to spread from Detroit to New York.

Sometimes utility engineers and law enforcement officials also seem to speak different languages. In his book “Protecting Industrial Control Systems From Electronic Threats,” Joseph Weiss, an engineer and cybersecurity expert, recounted a meeting between electrical engineers and the F.B.I. in 2008. When an F.B.I. official spoke at length about I.E.D.’s, he was referring to improvised explosive devices, but to the engineers the abbreviation meant intelligent electronic devices.

And experts fear government-sponsored hacking. Michael V. Hayden, another former C.I.A. director, speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center conference, said that the Stuxnet virus, which disabled some of Iran’s centrifuges for enriching uranium, might invite retaliation.

“In a time of peace, someone just used a cyberweapon to destroy another nation’s critical infrastructure,” he said. “Ouch.”

 

 

Lawrence County PRC Meeting

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Meetings

From Eric Vimont, Lawrence County PRC

HI all, Next Tuesday the 5th, at 7:00pm, is our November Meeting at the Red Barn
restaurant in Mt Vernon.
To find it drive North/West on Hy. 39 aka. the loop, to the second
light, Market st. the Red Barn is on the N.W. corner(on the right).
We will meet at 7:00 pm in the bakery room.

HEADLINE…. The Empire is crashing!!!   Is there any doubt any longer?

If we are not careful we will be too busy, until it is too late!

Some of the discussion will be about how we should promote independence and local stability in times like these,
and in the more difficult times to come.

Paul Bingham will be there to tell of some Ideas he has for strengthening  S.W. Missouri.

Assignment…  be thinking of ways to help make this region better able to cope with what will obviously be rough on all, especially on those with no pre-planning.

Please do your best to encourage your circle of people to see the LOOMING need to plan/dare I say prepare
For their future.

Question….If the task is too big, and the time is too short, is the answer to do nothing?   Ask your friends.

Yours, Eric Vimont

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Imu8QjUns0U

WASHINGTON (AP) — Social Security benefits for nearly 58 million people will increase by 1.5 percent next year, the government announced Wednesday.

The increase is among the smallest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. It is small because consumer prices haven’t gone up much in the past year.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation that was released Wednesday morning.

The COLA affects benefits for more than one-fifth of the country. In addition to Social Security payments, it affects benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.

The amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes is also going up. Social Security is funded by a 12.4 percent tax on the first $113,700 in wages earned by a worker, with half paid by employers and the other half withheld from workers’ pay.

The wage threshold will increase to $117,000 next year, the Social Security Administration said. Wages above the threshold are not subject to Social Security taxes.

About 165 million workers pay Social Security taxes. About 10 million earn wages above the threshold, the agency said.

Social Security pays retired workers an average of $1,272 a month. A 1.5 percent raise comes to about $19.

“By providing protection against inflation, the COLA helps beneficiaries of all ages maintain their standard of living, keeping many from falling into poverty,” said AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond. “The COLA announced today is vital to millions, but at an average of just $19 per month, it will quickly be consumed by the rising costs of basic needs like food, utilities and health care.”

The COLA announcement had been scheduled for two weeks ago. It was delayed because the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not issue the inflation report for September during the partial government shutdown.

Since 1975, annual Social Security raises have averaged just over 4 percent. Next year will mark only the seventh time the COLA has been less than 2 percent, including several recent ones. This year’s increase was 1.7 percent. There was no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low.

In some years, part of COLA has been erased by an increase in Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted automatically from Social Security payments. But Medicare announced Monday that Part B premiums, which cover doctor visits, will stay the same in 2014, at $104.90 a month for most seniors.

By law, the cost-of-living adjustment is based on the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, a broad measure of consumer prices generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education.

The COLA is calculated by comparing consumer prices in July, August and September each year to prices in the same three months from the previous year. If prices go up over the course of the year, benefits go up, starting with payments delivered in January.

Lower prices for gasoline are helping keep inflation low, said Polina Vlasenko, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped over the past year from $3.53 to about $3.28, according to the automotive club AAA. Overall transportation costs have dropped by 2 percent in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Prices for food and beverages have gone up by 1.4 percent, while clothing costs have gone up by 0.7 percent.

Automatic COLAs were adopted so that benefits for people on fixed incomes would keep pace with rising prices. Some advocates for older Americans, however, complain that the COLA sometimes falls short, especially for people with high medical costs.

Over the past year, medical costs went up less than in previous years but still outpaced other consumer prices, rising 2.4 percent, according to the government report. Housing costs went up 2.3 percent.

Associated Press reporter Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.

Exposing the Global Banksters

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

====I thought this was posted on October 9th. However, evidently the computer decided to override my wishes……so, still relevant, here is an important article:

As some of you may know, several years ago, I met with Joan Veon and she and I were going to work together on a project tying the strings of the banking complex into the food and ag complex. Unfortunately, Joan became sick again, and died before we were able to really work on it together. You should watch this series on youtube of her dvd “When Central Banks Rule the World“. But first, as a nice introduction, you should read this article and follow the links provided. I’m thrilled that someone is actively exposing these people!

World Bank Whistleblower Reveals How The Global Elite Rule The World

Global Research, October 06, 2013

Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel.

She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet.

Karen HudesThe goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.

Remember, this is not some “conspiracy theorist” that is saying these things. This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades. The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website

Karen Hudes studied law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007. She established the Non Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Today, Hudes is trying very hard to expose the corrupt financial system that the global elite are using to control the wealth of the world. During an interview with the New American, she discussed how we are willingly allowing this group of elitists to totally dominate the resources of the planet…

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.

Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

Previously, I have written about the Swiss study that Hudes mentioned. It was conducted by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. They studied the relationships between 37 million companies and investors worldwide, and what they discovered is that there is a “super-entity” of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that controls 40 percent of the entire global economy

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

But the global elite don’t just control these mega-corporations. According to Hudes, they also dominate the unelected, unaccountable organizations that control the finances of virtually every nation on the face of the planet. The World Bank, the IMF and central banks such as the Federal Reserve literally control the creation and the flow of money worldwide.

At the apex of this system is the Bank for International Settlements. It is the central bank of central banks, and posted below is a video where you can watch Hudes tell Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com the following…

“We don’t have to wait for anybody to fire the Fed or Bank for International Settlements . . . some states have already started to recognize silver and gold, the precious metals, as currency”

Most people have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is an extremely important organization. In a previous article, I described how this “central bank of the world” is literally immune to the laws of all national governments…

An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.“ The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”. During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.

This system did not come into being by accident. In fact, the global elite have been developing this system for a very long time. In a previous article entitled “Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings“, I included a quote from Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley from a book that he authored all the way back in 1966 in which he discussed the big plans that the elite had for the Bank for International Settlements…

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

And that is exactly what we have today.

We have a system of “neo-feudalism” in which all of us and our national governments are enslaved to debt. This system is governed by the central banks and by the Bank for International Settlements, and it systematically transfers the wealth of the world out of our hands and into the hands of the global elite.

But most people have no idea that any of this is happening because the global elite also control what we see, hear and think about. Today, there are just six giant media corporations that control more than 90 percent of the news and entertainment that you watch on your television in the United States.

This is the insidious system that Karen Hudes is seeking to expose. For much more, you can listen to Joyce Riley of the Power Hour interview her for an entire hour right here.

Copyright © 2013 Global Research

D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for unregistered ammunition, brass casing

Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4.

The police banged on the front door of Mr. Witaschek’s Georgetown home at 8:20 p.m. on July 7, 2012, to execute a search warrant for “firearms and ammunition … gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts.”


Mr. Witaschek’s 14-year-old daughter let inside some 30 armed officers in full tactical gear.

D.C. law requires residents to register every firearm with the police, and only registered gun owners can possess ammunition, which includes spent shells and casings. The maximum penalty for violating these laws is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Police based their search on a charge made by Mr. Witaschek’s estranged wife, who had earlier convinced a court clerk to issue a temporary restraining order against her husband for threatening her with a gun, although a judge later found the charge to be without merit.

After entering the house, the police immediately went upstairs, pointed guns at the heads of Mr. Witaschek and his girlfriend, Bonnie Harris, and demanded they surrender, facedown and be handcuffed.

In recalling what followed, Mr. Witaschek became visibly emotional in describing how the police treated him, Ms. Harris and the four children in the house.

His 16-year-old son was in the shower when the police arrived. “They used a battering ram to bash down the bathroom door and pull him out of the shower, naked,” said his father. “The police put all the children together in a room, while we were handcuffed upstairs. I could hear them crying, not knowing what was happening.”


Police spokesman Gwendolyn Crump would not provide further information on the events in this case.

The police shut down the streets for blocks and spent more than two hours going over every inch of his house. “They tossed the place,” said Mr. Witaschek. He provided photos that he took of his home after the raid to document the damage, which he estimated at $10,000.

The police found no guns in the house, but did write on the warrant that four items were discovered: “One live round of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition,” which was an inoperable shell that misfired during a hunt years earlier. Mr. Witaschek had kept it as a souvenir. “One handgun holster” was found, which is perfectly legal.

“One expended round of .270 caliber ammunition,” which was a spent brass casing. The police uncovered “one box of Knight bullets for reloading.” These are actually not for reloading, but are used in antique-replica, single-shot, muzzle-loading rifles.

This was the second police search of his home. Exactly one month earlier, Mr. Witaschek allowed members of the “Gun Recovery Unit” access to search without a warrant because he thought he had nothing to hide.

After about an hour and a half, the police found one box of Winchester .40 caliber ammunition, one gun-cleaning kit (fully legal) and a Civil War-era Colt antique revolver that Mr. Witaschek kept on his office desk. The police seized the Colt even though antique firearms are legal and do not have to be registered.

Mr. Witaschek is a gun owner and an avid hunter. However, he stores his firearms at the home of his sister, Sylvia Witaschek, in suburban Arlington, Va.

Two weeks after the June raid, D.C. police investigators went to his sister’s house — unaccompanied by Virginia police and without a warrant — and asked to “view” the firearms, according to a police report. She refused. The next day, the D.C. police returned to her house with the Arlington County police and served her with a criminal subpoena.

The Office of Attorney General of the District of Columbia Irvin Nathan signed an affidavit on Aug. 21, 2012, in support of a warrant to arrest Mr. Witaschek. A spokesman for Mr. Nathan would not comment on a pending case.

Mr. Witaschek went to the police station on Aug. 24 at 5:30 a.m. to turn himself in, but was not transferred to central booking until 11:30 a.m., at which time he was told it was too late to be arraigned that day. He spent the night in jail and was released the next day at 10 a.m.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier reserves such harsh tactics for ordinary citizens. When NBC News anchor David Gregory violated the gun-registration law last year by wielding an illegal 30-round magazine on live television, he was not arrested.

Mr. Nathan also gave Mr. Gregory a pass, writing that prosecuting him “would not promote public safety.”

Mr. Nathan, who is unelected, showed no such leniency to Mr. Witaschek. In September 2012, the attorney general offered Mr. Witaschek a deal to plead guilty to one charge of unlawful possession of ammunition with a penalty of a year of probation, a $500 fine and a contribution to a victims’ fund.

Mr. Witaschek turned down the offer. “It’s the principle,” he told me.

To increase the pressure a year later, Mr. Nathan tacked on an additional charge in August of illegal ammunition from the first, warrantless search. Mr. Witaschek chose to accept the risk of prison time by going to trial instead of pleading guilty.

The firearms laws in places such as the District of Columbia, Chicago, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey do nothing to reduce violence, but merely infringe on the Second Amendment rights of the law-abiding.

However, if these laws are going to be enforced, the police and government must treat everyone equally.

The charges against Mr. Witaschek should be dropped.

Emily Miller is a senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).

Last night at our meeting, it was stated that Saudi Arabia had completely severed all diplomatic ties with the US. I have looked for two hours and cannot find anything to support that ties have been severed. They are strained, and Saudi Arabia appears to be setting up to remove the petro dollar power of the US and move toward favoring China, now the largest consumer of oil in the world. China is also buying tons -literally- of gold and actively pursuing a change in the dollar as the world reserve currency. So things are definitely not good at all. Here is an in depth article covering the Saudi issue:

UPDATE 5-Saudi Arabia warns of shift away from U.S. over Syria, Iran

Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:26pm EDT

* Riyadh signals anger over U.S. policy in Middle East

* Source says shift could affect arms, oil trade

* Prince Bandar set to end cooperation over Syria war

* In Washington, Saudi prince assails Obama’s Mideast moves

By Amena Bakr and Warren Strobel

DOHA/WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Upset at President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria’s civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

“The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,” the source said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.”

It was not immediately clear whether the reported statements by Prince Bandar, who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington for 22 years, had the full backing of King Abdullah.

The growing breach between the United States and Saudi Arabia was also on display in Washington, where another senior Saudi prince criticized Obama’s Middle East policies, accusing him of “dithering” on Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In unusually blunt public remarks, Prince Turki al-Faisal called Obama’s policies in Syria “lamentable” and ridiculed a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons. He suggested it was a ruse to let Obama avoid military action in Syria.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious. And designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down (from military strikes), but also to help Assad to butcher his people,” said Prince Turki, a member of the Saudi royal family and former director of Saudi intelligence.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have been allies since the kingdom was declared in 1932, giving Riyadh a powerful military protector and Washington secure oil supplies.

The Saudi criticism came days after the 40th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab oil embargo imposed to punish the West for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur war.

That was one of the low points in U.S.-Saudi ties, which were also badly shaken by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Saudi Arabia gave a clear sign of its displeasure over Obama’s foreign policy last week when it rejected a coveted two-year term on the U.N. Security Council in a display of anger over the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues.

Prince Turki indicated that Saudi Arabia will not reverse that decision, which he said was a result of the Security Council’s failure to stop Assad and implement its own decision on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There is nothing whimsical about the decision to forgo membership of the Security Council. It is based on the ineffectual experience of that body,” he said in a speech to the Washington-based National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

‘FRIENDS AND ALLIES’

In London, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he discussed Riyadh’s concerns when he met Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Paris on Monday.

Kerry said he told the Saudi minister no deal with Iran was better than a bad deal. “I have great confidence that the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the close and important friends and allies that we have been,” Kerry told reporters.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Riyadh had not conveyed to the State Department its intention to reduce its cooperation with the United States. She said the issue was also not raised in the meeting between Kerry and the Saudi minister.

“Not to my knowledge has that message been sent to the State Department by the Saudis,” Harf told a daily briefing. “We talked about some of the challenging issues that we want to confront together.” she said.

Prince Bandar is seen as a foreign policy hawk, especially on Iran. The Sunni Muslim kingdom’s rivalry with Shi’ite Iran, an ally of Syria, has amplified sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

A son of the late defence minister and crown prince, Prince Sultan, and a protege of the late King Fahd, he fell from favour with King Abdullah after clashing on foreign policy in 2005.

But he was called in from the cold last year with a mandate to bring down Assad, diplomats in the Gulf say. Over the past year, he has led Saudi efforts to bring arms and other aid to Syrian rebels.

“Prince Bandar told diplomats that he plans to limit interaction with the U.S.,” said the source close to Saudi policy.

“This happens after the U.S. failed to take any effective action on Syria and Palestine. Relations with the U.S. have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the U.S. is growing closer with Iran and the U.S. also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising,” the source said.

The source declined to provide more details of Bandar’s talks with the diplomats, which took place in the past few days.

But he suggested that the planned change in ties between the energy superpower and the United States would have wide-ranging consequences, including on arms purchases and oil sales.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

“All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact,” the Saudi source said.

He said there would be no further coordination with the United States over the war in Syria, where the Saudis have armed and financed rebel groups fighting Assad.

The kingdom has informed the United States of its actions in Syria, and diplomats say it has respected U.S. requests not to supply the groups with advanced weaponry that the West fears could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned groups.

Saudi anger boiled over after Washington refrained from military strikes in response to a poison gas attack in Damascus in August when Assad agreed to give up his chemical weapons arsenal.

‘A BIG MISTAKE’

Representative Chris Van Hollen, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Democratic leadership, told Reuters’ Washington Summit on Tuesday that the Saudi moves were intended to pressure Obama to take action in Syria.

“We know their game. They’re trying to send a signal that we should all get involved militarily in Syria, and I think that would be a big mistake to get in the middle of the Syrian civil war,” Van Hollen said.

“And the Saudis should start by stopping their funding of the al Qaeda-related groups in Syria. In addition to the fact that it’s a country that doesn’t allow women to drive,” said Van Hollen, who is close to Obama on domestic issues in Congress but is less influential on foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia is concerned about signs of a tentative reconciliation between Washington and Tehran, something Riyadh fears may lead to a “grand bargain” on the Iranian nuclear program that would leave Riyadh at a disadvantage.

Prince Turki expressed doubt that Obama would succeed in what he called an “open arms approach” to Iran, which he accused of meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain.

“We Saudis observe President Obama’s efforts in this regard. The road ahead is arduous,” he said. “Whether (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani will succeed in steering Iran toward sensible policies is already contested in Iran. The forces of darkness in Qom and Tehran are well entrenched.”

The U.N. Security Council has been paralysed over the 31-month-old Syria conflict, with permanent members Russia and China repeatedly blocking measures to condemn Assad.

Saudi Arabia backs Assad’s mostly Sunni rebel foes. The Syrian leader, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi’ite Islam, has support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces the insurgents as al Qaeda-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.

In Bahrain, home of the U.S Fifth Fleet, a simmering pro-democracy revolt by its Shi’ite majority has prompted calls by some in Washington for U.S. ships to be based elsewhere.

Many U.S. economic interests in Saudi Arabia involve government contracts in defence, other security sectors, health care, education, information technology and construction.