American Resistance To Empire

Ten Characteristics of A True US Patriot

Ten Characteristics of A True US Patriot

A True US Patriot

We, the People of the United States of America, finding ourselves repeatedly misled by those charged with the care and governance of our nation, know that partisan politics have resulted in a serious breach of the public trust.

We have suffered attacks against our Constitutional rights and the founding tenets of this Democratic Republic.
We have suffered the infringement of our freedoms.
We have suffered insult to our honor and integrity as proud citizens.

We will no longer suffer in silence this continued assault that has now passed beyond intolerable.

We do hereby now and forever reject the bastardization of this nation’s core principles through this proclamation, and define this reminder to our wayward leaders just what it takes to be a True US Patriot:

1 A True US Patriot realizes if the rights of one are violated, the rights of all are at risk, and objects to any attempt to alter the Constitution in order to specifically undermine the rights and freedoms of others, ensuring that the Constitution will never be amended to endorse discrimination of any kind.
2 A True US Patriot holds the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence to be self-evident, and defends the Constitutional rights of others even when those rights conflict with personal and religious beliefs; believing that all men are created equal, even in times of war, the basic principles of humanity apply not only to one group of people or nation, but to all.
3 A True US Patriot supports the checks and balances within the three branches of government and rejects any attempts to circumvent or undermine them.
4 A True US Patriot exercises the right to openly challenge and hold accountable at all times, even and most particularly in times of war, those who do not honor their oaths of office, who purposely mislead the nation, who abdicate responsibility when those in their employ are caught engaging in criminal and unethical activities, and who fail to serve the nation with integrity.
5 A True US Patriot recognizes the contributions of the older generation and values the potential of the next, and that in order to promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves, our elders, and our Posterity, we must ensure that the basic rights of those we hold dear to access quality healthcare and education is steadfastly supported, uncompromisingly and without discrimination based on race, color, creed, gender, or orientation.
6 A True US Patriot believes that human rights are inherent to the human condition and should not be given to non-living entities; the rights of corporations should not equal or exceed the rights of any individual, and the right to fair and equal trade as well as fair and equal pay are a vital part of those expectations.
7 A True US Patriot recalls that our citizens consist of the tired and the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the ‘wretched refuse’, and homeless, tempest-tossed people, and welcomes fair and balanced immigration with managed borders to ensure an open policy while maintaining and increasing security for both those who would call this land their home as well as those who already dwell within.
8 A True US Patriot respects the personal religious choices of others, refrains from imposing their own beliefs upon others, refuses to support war in the name of religion, and offers foreign humanitarian aid unconditionally without tying it to religious dogma.
9 A True US Patriot knows that due process of law and the protections against illegal search and seizure are core principles upon which our nation is founded, and the respect of an individual’s right to privacy and security within their own home is critical to the preservation of our freedom.
10 A True US Patriot respects the diversity and culture of all nations, recognizing that our continued success lay not in spite of other nations but in alliance with them in a uniform approach toward promoting the global general welfare.
These ten basic tenets characterizing a True US Patriot can perhaps best be summed up in the words of Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, paraphrased below:
A True US Patriot loves what his country stands for, not necessarily what his country does, and will not shrink from holding America to her ideals¹.


¹ Eric Zorn, The Chicago Tribune, “Durbin should have stood up for his opinion”, June 23, 2005.

Our ‘leaders’ have taken to calling each other ‘un-American’ and ‘un-Patriotic’ a lot lately. This list of ten characteristics of ‘A True US Patriot‘ was compiled by a group of US Citizens both here and abroad. Let this list serve to help remind those who serve us that these terms were not meant to be bandied about like a club, bludgeoning opponents into submission.

Write or call the toll-free numbers of all your elected officials— from your local town/city council members to the President of the United States— and tell them about A True US Patriot. Let them know about this blog. Tell them that True US Patriots created this list, together. Ask your newspaper why it hasn’t published an article on this subject. Let your friends and neighbors know about it.

Pass it around!

It’s time for our elected representatives to be reminded – this is our country, our nation, and they serve both it, and us.

It’s time to tell the media that it must live up to the role of champion of the truth, and ask the tough questions.

Is Pakistan’s “Public Enemy Number One” A CIA Asset? Of Course He Is!




Is Pakistan’s “Public Enemy Number One” A CIA Asset? Of Course He Is! Otherwise He’d Have Been Dead A Long Time Ago

Winter Patriot

August 6, 2008

Pakistan’s most feared terrorist communicates with encryption so strong the Pakistani intelligence services cannot crack it. He gets information on Pakistani troop movements from an unidentified foreign government. He’s said to be responsible for the vast majority of terrorist attacks in Pakistan (including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto), but the Americans — who don’t mind bombing “Islamic militants” in Pakistan every now and then — have refused to attack him despite having solid information as to his whereabouts. And on, and on, and on…

All this and more is highlighted in a excellent piece from “State of Pakistan“, which I have reproduced in full below, with just a bit of editing and a few comments.

Baithullah Mehsud could be a CIA ‘intelligence asset’ in this double game

A report published by the News on August 5, 2008 includes the following (apparently based on information given by the ISI officials):

“The top US military commander and the CIA official were also asked why the CIA-run predator[s] and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of Baitullah Mehsud [photo], Pakistan’s enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006. One such precise piece of information was made available to the CIA on May 24 when Baitullah Mehsud drove to a remote South Waziristan mountain post in his Toyota Land Cruiser to address the press and returned back to his safe abode. The United States military has the capacity to direct a missile to a precise location at very short notice as it has done close to 20 times in the last few years to hit al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan. Pakistani official[s] have long been intrigued by the presence of highly encrypted communications gear with Baitullah Mehsud. This communication gear enables him to collect real-time information on Pakistani troop movement from an unidentified foreign source without being intercepted by Pakistani intelligence.”

Both the CIA and the ISI have been playing a double game. Fighting and nurturing terrorists and warlords at the same time! Why?

If this is a serious question then perhaps I can answer it.

Now please carefully read the following published and circulated by the State of Pakistan on January 31, 2008.

Nicholas Schmidle, who was expelled from Pakistan in January 2008 for writing a detailed report in the NY Times on the tribal areas and the NWFP, later wrote in the Washington Post,

“foreign journalists are barred from almost half the country; in most cases, their visas are restricted to three cities — Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. In Baluchistan province, which covers 44 percent of Pakistan and where ethnic nationalists are fighting a low-level insurgency, the government requires prior notification and approval if you want to travel anywhere outside the capital of Quetta. Such permission is rarely given. And the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the pro-Taliban militants are strong, are completely off-limits. Musharraf’s government says that journalists are kept out for their own security. But meanwhile, two conflicts go unreported in one of the world’s most vital — and misunderstood — countries.”

What does the government want to hide?

I could probably answer that, too.

Most governments make every effort to expose terrorists. Authorities pursue them relentlessly including placing advertisements about purported crimes, requesting people to come forward and give information. When arrested they prosecute the alleged terrorists vigorously and publicize convictions. But no such pattern in Pakistan. The website of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency lists only two, yes only TWO terrorists from the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) as wanted. The star of ‘Jaish-e-Muhammed’ Masood Azhar was allowed to escape. The other star, Omar Saeed Sheikh, is still alive (ostensibly because his case is under appeal) although he was sentenced to death in July 2002. The alleged ‘master mind’ of the plan to blow up trans-atlantic flights, Rashid Rauf, has mysteriously escaped and the government does not even want to hear about it. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the master mind of 9/11, has been kept in Guantanamo since 2004 and has not been tried. Abdullah Mehsud (Baitullah’s relative) was released by the U.S. from Guantanamo and allowed to return? Why? So that they can issue threats to blow up the White House (interview to Al-Jazeera on Jan. 29, 2008) and provide justification for the so-called ‘War on Terror’ which has not seen a single terrorist attack on the U.S. soil since 9/11?

YES! Exactly!

Let’s now talk about Baitullah Mehsud who became a big militant leader soon after Abdullah’s release by the U.S. government from Guantanamo Bay in March 2004. Until the end of 2004, Baitullah Mehsud (former FATA secretary Brig. Mahmood Shah says he is in 40s) lived in the shadow of his daring and charismatic fellow tribesman, Abdullah Mehsud, who, with his long black hair, was considered a terrorist rock star. Abdullah fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance and in 1996 lost a leg when he stepped on a land mine. He was taken captive by warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum who turned him over to American forces. Abdullah Mehsud was sent to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and held for two years, insisting the whole time that he was just an innocent tribesman. He was released in March 2004 for reasons which remain unclear and returned to Waziristan. Soon after his return, he orchestrated the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers working on a dam in his region, proclaiming that Beijing was guilty of killing Muslims. He also ordered an attack on Pakistan’s Interior Minister in which 31 people perished. The government came under tremendous pressure from the Chinese to hunt Abdullah after the killings of their engineers.

The Afghan Taliban, who were in the process of organizing themselves to fight in Afghanistan and were desperately trying to avoid a head-on confrontation with Pakistani forces in the tribal regions, were not pleased with the killing of the Chinese engineers. Abdullah was made a deputy of Baitullah Mehsud and a shura or tribal council was set up which further undermined his authority. It was said at the time that the Taliban preferred a cool-headed Baitullah over the temperamental Abdullah. Dejected, Abdullah left for Afghanistan to fight in Musa Qilla in the southern Afghan province of Helmand and was killed by security agencies in the Zhob area of the south-western province of Baluchistan while returning home to Pakistan.

Mehsud’s first battlefield experience was in Afghanistan in the late 1980s against Soviet invaders. His mentor at the time was Jalaluddin Haqqani, a powerful commander in eastern Afghanistan backed by the United States against the Soviets. Now Haqqani is wanted as a terrorist by the U.S. and NATO but the CIA has also been trying to get his support according to the Wall Street Journal. The ISI once considered him a ‘moderate’ Taliban.

For almost three years now, Baitullah Mehsud has been the leading face of militant resistance whose influence, security officials acknowledge, transcends the borders of South Waziristan, according to the sources in the governments of Pakistan and the United States. But there is little independent reporting on the tribal areas. Most of the so-called experts writing for the think tanks have never visited these areas. Mostly they cite each other in their papers or quote US or Pakistani officials.

[The] government [...] acknowledged Baitullah Mehsud as the new chief of militants in the Mehsud part of South Waziristan [...] in February, 2005, when it entered into an agreement with him in Sara Rogha following violent clashes and ambushes. He was reportedly paid [20 million rupees] as part of this deal though it remains unclear who picked [up] the tab, Pakistani or the U.S. government? But read the following report of Jan. 30, 2005 published by the Daily Times, Karachi:

“Baitullah Mehsud gets ready to surrender, Sets aside demand for amnesty to Abdullah Mehsud

By Iqbal Khattak

PESHAWAR: A key local Taliban militant expressed his willingness to surrender to the government after holding talks with tribal elders and clerics at an undisclosed location in South Waziristan Agency, said one of the negotiators on Saturday.

Baitullah Mehsud, a key tribal Taliban commander in the troubled South Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan, expressed readiness to surrender, Brig (r) Qayyum Sher, a member of the peace committee that met the militant, told Daily Times from Tank.

“He (Baitullah) is ready to settle the matter with the government,” said the tribal negotiator. “We met him today and he said he is ready to resolve the matter.” The tribal negotiator said Baitullah did not press his old demand that his comrade Abdullah Mehsud should also be pardoned if he surrenders. “He (Baitullah) will surrender alone,” said Brig Qayyum.

However, the peace committee will discuss modalities for Baitullah’s surrender with the government. “The modalities will now be sorted out with the government. How, when and where he will surrender will be discussed with the military and the political administration,” said Brig Qayyum.

A military source told Daily Times that Baitullah’s surrender would prove a serious setback to Abdullah Mehsud. “That is what we want. But we have to wait for the moment when he (Baitullah) surrenders,” the source said on condition of anonymity. Lt Gen Safdar Hussain exempted Abdullah Mehsud from amnesty after his alleged involvement in two Chinese engineers’ kidnapping in October last year.

Brig Qayyum said Baitullah, who unlike Abdullah Mehsud and Nek Muhammad was not in the media limelight, set no conditions for his surrender and the Peshawar corps commander had already declared amnesty for him if he laid down arms.

Gen Safdar set a January 26 deadline for the two militants to surrender or “face military onslaught” and hoped sanity would prevail upon Baituallah to live peacefully. However, Gen Safdar had refused to pardon Abdullah Mehsud.

He pledged to cease attacks on security forces and government installations in return for a commitment by the government to withdraw forces from the Mehsud territory and not to take any punitive action against him and his associates. This followed a brief lull in fighting, prompting the then Pakistani army corps commander, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Safdar, to declare Baitullah Mehsud a “soldier of peace” after a meeting with him at Jandola in August, 2005.

The meeting followed accusations by Baitullah Mehsud that the government was not honouring its commitments, was refusing to withdraw its forces and was continuing to attack his mujahideen. Violence erupted again in the restive tribal region and a time came when the government’s writ was restricted to the compounds of the political administration.”

Why was not Baitullah captured when he was ready to surrender? Instead, he was given money and allowed to grow his militia from a few hundred to nearly 20,000? Why? Who made the decision?

Who else?

Baitullah Mehsud addressed his tribe after the Sararogha pact and clearly swore allegiance to Mullah Umar of the Taliban. His power over the two agencies is owed to his wealth and his ability to wage war. He goes around in a bullet-proof car and is followed around by 30 armed guards. Like Nek Muhammad, he too has two wives and has three castle-like houses in North and South Waziristan. Although he is not a tribal leader by lineage or by election, he is more respected as a warlord by the people of the two agencies than any other person. Although he denies that he received [20 million rupees] from the secret funds of the government without signing a receipt, corps commander Peshawar General Safdar Hussain is on record as saying that the money was indeed set aside for him.

Government officials now claim that Baitullah has been running a number of training camps for militants and suicide bombers. And in January 2007, helicopter gunships targeted what the government claimed was a militant compound, killing 20 people. Baitullah responded angrily and threatened revenge which he said “would be such that it would pain their heart”. It was followed by a string of suicide attacks in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Islamabad. By this time, government officials had begun pointing the accusing finger at Baitullah Mehsud. A UN report released in September 2007 blamed Baitullah for almost eighty percent of suicide bombings in Afghanistan. Now since when has the UN become so well informed as to be able to account for the exact percentage of the perpetrators of suicide bombings as to their source? Who is feeding this information (or disinformation).

In an address to the nation on January 2, 2008, Mr. Pervez Musharraf said that he believed Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud were prime suspects in the assassination of Bhutto.In its January 18, 2008 edition, The Washington Post reported that the CIA has concluded that Mehsud was behind the Bhutto assassination. “Offering the most definitive public assessment by a U.S. intelligence official, [Michael V.] Hayden said Bhutto was killed by fighters allied with Mehsud, a tribal leader in northwestern Pakistan, with support from al-Qaeda’s terrorist network.”

The CIA is really well informed! It could not trace Mullah Omar (who reportedly lived in Quetta) or Osama (who escaped helped by the cease fire ordered by Dick Cheney at Musharraf’s request in 2001) in more than six years but it can “conclude’ within three weeks of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto that Mehsud was behind it. Meanwhile Talibans in Afghanistan want to distance themselves from him?

According to a DAWN report (Jan. 28, 2008), the Taliban in Afghanistan have distanced themselves from Pakistani militants led by Baitullah Mehsud, saying they don’t support any militant activity in Pakistan. “We do not support any militant activity and operation in Pakistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Dawn on telephone from an undisclosed location on Monday. The spokesman denied media reports that the Taliban had expelled Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. “Baitullah is a Pakistani and we as the Afghan Taliban have nothing to do with his appointment or his expulsion. We did not appoint him and we have not expelled him,” he said.

Now a $10 billion question: What is the end-game of the U.S. if Baitullah Mehsud is indeed an ‘intelligence asset’ of the CIA?

That’s simple: Either they continue to protect him and hide the truth (about him, about themselves, about 9/11, and about the entire bogus “War On Terror”), or they all go straight to the guillotines.

Is the aim is to create a theatre of the ‘War on Terror’ in Pakistan to create the justification for the landing of the U.S. troops so that the republican administration can continue to tell American people that it is fighting terrorism while spending billions to enrich the military-industrial complex, win the next elections in Nov. 2008 and tighten its control over Pakistan to pursue its anti-China and anti-Iran foreign policy goals?

For those Pakistanis who may think this is far-fetched, here is a quote from “Devil’s Game” by Robert Dreyfuss (pp. 336-337, published 2005). Citing the infamous policy memo written by leading neocons in 1995, entitled, “A Clean Break” to then Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel to ‘contain, destablize, and roll back’ various states in the region, Dreyfuss concludes:

“Neoconservatives want to control the Middle East, not reform it, even it means tearing countries apart and replacing them with rump mini-states along ethnic and sectrian lines. The Islamic right, in this context, is just one more tool for dismantling existing regimes, if that is what it takes.”

It’s not far-fetched at all; it’s happening in many countries simultaneously.

And “dismantling existing regimes” is indeed “what it takes”.

Furthermore, it will continue until and unless a few “existing regimes” — in Washington, Islamabad and a few other places — are “dismantled”. That is to say: indefinitely.

Restore constitutional government to America

Restore constitutional government to America

By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Every day we move closer to disaster; every time we open the paper, surf the Internet, it is worse. Left, right, libertarian, green, we know in our bones and hearts that we need to take action.

We have been divided along lines of political opinion where we should have been joined to find solutions. We have been cut off from each other, manipulated for the profit of corporations and their cronies. It is bad and when we look into the future there is little to spark hope; The meltdown of the economy and the narrowing of what is permitted us grows daily more frightening.

Like someone trying to restart their car as it rolls towards the cliff, we all face the same crying need whether we recognized that years ago or last week. We need to reactivate the Constitution as the law of the land. That awareness might have grow slowly but it has now reached a tipping point.

It was the Constitution, intended to limit government, never us, and the Common Law that were to stand between us and tyranny. They are the foundation of our freedoms, the tools we need desperately today to check the unbridled greed of those who are caging us in to a perpetual serfdom.

When we get in our cars, when we see a law enforcement officer we feel fear, not relief. It is wrong; it violates the intentions of our Founders and the spiritual direction intended for us as the people who would govern themselves.

We are being pitted against those sworn to protect and defend. This threatens us and also those who follow orders intended to use them as weapons against us. This is the pause point, when action is still possible without violence. Those in law enforcement must be recalled to their duty and to an essential understanding of their oath and the Constitution. It can be done.

We can thwart the attempt to use local law enforcement as a tool to oppress us. To do that we need to let them know directly that the Constitution was not canceled, as so many have been told. Yesterday morning, I had a conversation with a friend in DC who was shocked speechless to discover that a year ago local police were beginning to lump ‘Constitutionalists,’ and those who talk about their rights, along with gangs. I heard this in a local luncheon meeting of the National Federation of Republican Women from a deputy sheriff who waxed eloquent on the subject. Being a Constitutionalist myself, I began to worry.

A few days ago another friend of mine was told by a local policeman that he did not have to pay attention to the Constitution. It was just a piece of paper

Most judges do not sign the oath of office mandated by the Constitution. Like Thomas Anderle of Santa Barbara, they act as they are the law.

When someone, or thousands of someones, like those employed in law enforcement, are so seriously mistaken then it is time to take rapid action. In this country today those in law enforcement are being aimed at us, manipulated to do ugly things to us and our neighbors. Those training them are telling them this is what it means to be in law enforcement. It is wrong.

When the system is this far out of line you need to make sure they get the message. But that message must be non-violent; most of those in law enforcement are not rocket scientists and they, too, are at risk. Law enforcement officers who violate their oath can and will end up in jail, lose their pensions, and be bankrupted by civil actions. And if they do not draw back, that is what we need to make sure happens.

But it is far better for all of us to send them a word of caution and advice now.

So this is what we propose.

In every county in the US, we need to serve everyone working in law enforcement with a demand letter requiring that they read the Constitution and be bound by it. We need to spell out the consequences for ignoring that demand, for their sake as well as our own.

If you have read Richard Mack’s book, “The Proper Role of Law Enforcement,” or heard him speak you know about his story and how he was awakened to his obligation to follow the Constitution while he was still a cop writing traffic tickets. One day while writing a ticket he was struck by the fact that the woman had done nothing that endangered anyone or anything. He could not continue writing. Turning away, his mind in a tumult, he went into the station house, found the oath he had signed, and read it carefully. Mack said of that moment, “In the oath I gave my word and promise to protect and defend and obey the U. S. Constitution and the Utah Constitution as well. I had never read either and knew virtually nothing about them.” It changed his life. He began to study the Constitution. When Richard Mack became a sheriff himself he insisted each officer carry the small book with them. Those officers began calling it, “Mack’s Bible.”

That moment of insight became the moment that turned back the threat of the Brady Bill, leading to the Supreme Court Decision that affirmed the right of the sheriff in the local county to uphold the Constitution. The issue of that moment was the 2nd Amendment but the larger issue was the obligation of the county sheriff to uphold the Constitution despite orders from Washington, D.C.

We need every officer to confront the choices they will be asked to make before harm is done. We can do that now.

We have put together a simple set of instructions and some resources so you can gently remind law enforcement in your community that upholding theConstitution is their duty and the danger they may face if they fail to choose to do otherwise. You can find that site at Constitution Your County.

Although the future looks bleak, we actually stand at a point that makes change more possible than you might imagine.

Americans are the people who fought to establish for all time the right to govern themselves. They fought and died to pass on to us that wisdom. The wise understand that hope is a place on the horizon towards which they look; that draws them to become greater than they imagined possible. The future looks bleak, but it can be wonderful if we make it so. This can become the launching point for an America that takes us back to hope and on to a vibrant reality we live and leave our children. Together, we can make it so.

US and NATO protecting Afghan drug trade

US and NATO protecting Afghan drug trade

Source: Pakistan Post – Naveed Miraj

ISLAMABAD: After the fall of Taliban government, Afghanistan has again become a hub of narcotics cultivation and smuggling. Thanks to protection, being provided by the US troops, western forces and the Afghan government which are fully involved in the business in the name of war on terror.

The poppy cultivation that came to an end during Taliban period has risen to its highest level as the farmers have cultivated opium in a vast area of 477,000 acres of land in 2007, a 14 per cent increase over the previous year and total production, spurred by unusually high rainfall. Last year it was cultivated on 165,000 hectres, which is 60 per cent more than that of the previous year while Drug Enforcement Agency has the capacity to eliminate only one per cent of the production in the country. Afghanistan supplies 93 per cent of the world’s opium, the main ingredient of heroin and cultivation of poppy has reached at unprecedented level as the opium harvest jumped 34 per cent last year to an estimated 8,200 tonnes. Most of the fields of opium in Afghanistan are owned by the pro-government people specially the warlords who also control various areas and promote poppy cultivation there under the protection of US and allied forces. The US and western forces for certain reasons have given a free hand to the Afghan farmers to cultivate opium therefore turning the country into the biggest opium producer in the world.

There are also reports that the US forces are exporting drugs in collaboration with these warlords who also provide handsome money to the US forces. According to a recent report published by The New York Times, John Schewit a senior US official who had been posted in Afghanistan during the past five years as the Chief of US Anti-Narcotics Agency in an article of 12000 words has confirmed that the US forces and Afghan government have done nothing to control and stop poppy cultivation. Even the US Congress has also criticised the US AID for not providing alternative sources of income to the Afghan people. The Golden Crescent drug trade, launched by the CIA in the early 1980s, continues to be protected by US intelligence, in liaison with NATO occupation forces and the British military. In recent developments, British occupation forces have also been found involved in promoting opium cultivation through paid radio advertisements.

According to reports, the Karzai government officials have also close links with drug smugglers and the government is totally helpless before these warlords. A chain has been made for narcotics smuggling from Afghanistan and opium first product of poppy is first sent to the north of the country for its procession and then smuggled to Central Asian states from where it travels to Europe via Iran.

Afghanistan’s economy has become a criminal economy and narcotics or drug smugglers have so permeated into the Afghan society that no force can control them. The independent observers are of the view that drug business is the major component of the Afghan economy and it is being run under the umbrella of US agencies working in the country in the name of socio-economic revival but to cover their illicit activities the US agencies specially CIA is blaming ISI for helping warlords to promote terrorism there. ISI that played tremendous role in Afghan war against Soviet aggression in 90s is now under fire from the US agencies as it has become main obstacle in their way to promote drug smuggling from Afghanistan via Pakistan and now they have to adopt alternative routes for this purpose. The Afghan government and allied forces have miserably failed to control internal security situation as they are more interested in the business other than bringing normalcy in the war-torn country and blaming ISI to protect their hidden agenda and Afghanistan is a golden arrow for them due to expanding drug business that is even stronger than the oil economy.

It is matter of fact that it was the ISI that helped Taliban government to control drug business who had imposed a complete ban on poppy cultivation seven years ago and ISI shut all doors for drug smuggling from Afghanistan via Pakistan but it is not acceptable for the USA and its allied forces to control the business that provides them huge money to fulfill their hidden agenda that could not be implemented through legal resources.

America Out of Economic Ammunition

America Out of Economic Ammunition


by: Jean-Marc Vittori, Les Échos

“And I say they’re out of ammunition.” (Cartoon: Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival)

Faced with an increasingly uncertain economy, America has ever-fewer means to take action. At the exact moment when the two White House candidates are honing their programs and their teams, this weakness is becoming obvious. The great economic policy levers have already been totally activated, or nearly so, and without really succeeding in stimulating the machine.

That is the case for monetary policy first of all. The Federal Reserve should announce today that it will not move its interest rates. The United States’ central bank is stuck between two symmetrical risks. On the one hand, economic activity is not strong; consumers are depressed; unemployment is rising. So, the Fed should decrease its interest rates. However – on the other hand – interest rates are already low, barely two percent for the Fed’s reference rate. And prices are increasing ever-more rapidly. One of the measures of this inflation published yesterday, the Personal Consumption Index, increased 0.8 percent in June, the strongest rise since 1981. Another measure, the classic Consumer Price Index, grew five percent in a year. Such a gap between prices and interest rates has not been observed on the other side of the Atlantic since the first oil shock. It would be perilous to increase it.

Budget policy is in the same situation. The reductions in taxes the Bush administration granted this spring will have barely offset the erosion in income skyrocketing oil prices have exerted. The deficit will exceed $400 billion in 2008 and could approach $500 billion next year, if one believes the forecasts published last week by the White House. Of course, that’s barely more than three percent of the enormous American GNP. But it is difficult under these conditions to set a vast plan in motion to support the economy while preserving the trust of investors likely to buy the bonds necessary for its financing.

The United States is also not succeeding any better in using the trade weapon that would have allowed it to open new markets for its exporters. The recent injunctions directed at Beijing that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has just formulated look like a confession of impotence. America is left with barely any means to pressure China, Russia or the Emirates. All the more so as those countries’ capital is indispensable to America’s financial equilibrium.

The last time an American president took the reins of an economy as stalled as this one was in 1981. But Ronald Reagan changed the rules of the game and created what we in France would call a “break” with the past. For example, he increased military spending by 40 percent in five years. It’s difficult to imagine John McCain – and even less so Barack Obama – following that route. All the more so as problems of colossal budgetary impact loom on the horizon, such as financing health care and retirement costs. In reality, the next president of the United States will have no major economic weapon available. If growth resumes, that’s not very serious. In the opposite event, the whole world will suffer as a result of this American impotence.

Economic Free Fall?

Economic Free Fall?

By William GreiderThe gravest danger is that the national economy will weaken further and spiral downward into a negative cycle that feeds on itself: as conditions darken, people hunker down and wait for the storm to pass–consumers stop buying, banks stop lending, producing companies cut their workforces. That feeds more defaulted loan losses back into the banking system’s balance sheets. This vicious cycle is essentially what led to the Great Depression after the stock market crash of 1929. I offer not a prediction but a warning. The comparison may sound farfetched now, but US policy-makers and politicians are putting us at risk of historic deflationary forces that, once they take hold, are very difficult to reverse. – William Greider

02/08/08 “The Nation” — – Washington can act with breathtaking urgency when the right people want something done. In this case, the people are Wall Street’s titans, who are scared witless at the prospect of their historic implosion. Congress quickly agreed to enact a gargantuan bailout, with more to come, to calm the anxieties and halt the deflation of Wall Street giants. Put aside partisan bickering, no time for hearings, no need to think through the deeper implications. We haven’t seen “bipartisan cooperation” like this since Washington decided to invade Iraq.

In their haste to do anything the financial guys seem to want, Congress and the lame-duck President are, I fear, sowing far more profound troubles for the country. First, while throwing our money at Wall Street, government is neglecting the grave risk of a deeper catastrophe for the real economy of producers and consumers. Second, Washington’s selective generosity for influential financial losers is deforming democracy and opening the path to an awesomely powerful corporate state. Third, the rescue has not succeeded, not yet. Banking faces huge losses ahead, and informed insiders assume a far larger federal bailout will be needed–after the election. No one wants to upset voters by talking about it now. The next President, once in office, can break the bad news. It’s not only about the money–with debate silenced, a dangerous line has been crossed. Hundreds of billions in open-ended relief has been delivered to the largest and most powerful mega-banks and investment firms, while government offers only weak gestures of sympathy for struggling producers, workers and consumers.

The bailouts are rewarding the very people and institutions whose reckless behavior caused this financial mess. Yet government demands nothing from them in return–like new rules for prudent behavior and explicit obligations to serve the national interest. Washington ought to compel the financial players to rein in their appetite for profit in order to help save the country from a far worse fate: a depressed economy that cannot regain its normal energies. Instead, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the Democratic Congress and of course the Republicans meekly defer to the wise men of high finance, who no longer seem so all-knowing.

Let’s review the bidding to date. After panic swept through the global financial community this spring, the Federal Reserve and Treasury rushed in to arrange a sweetheart rescue for Bear Stearns, expending $29 billion to take over the brokerage’s ruined assets so JPMorgan Chase, the prestigious banking conglomerate, would agree to buy what was left. At the same time, the Fed and Treasury provided a series of emergency loans and liquidity for endangered investment firms and major banks. Investors were not persuaded. Their panic was not “mental,” as former McCain adviser Phil Gramm recently complained. The collapse of the housing bubble had revealed the deep rot and duplicity within the financial system. When investors tried to sell off huge portfolios of spoiled financial assets like mortgage bonds, nobody would buy them. In fact, no one can yet say how much these once esteemed “safe” investments are really worth.

The big banks and investment houses are also stuck with lots of bad paper, and some have dumped it on their unwitting customers. The largest banks and brokerages have already lost enormously, but lending portfolios must shrink a lot more–at least $1 trillion, some estimate. So wary shareholders are naturally dumping financial-sector stocks.

Most recently, the investors’ fears were turned on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the huge quasi-private corporations that package and circulate trillions in debt securities with implicit federal backing. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (formerly of Goldman Sachs) boldly proposed a $300 billion commitment to buy up Fannie Mae stock and save the plunging share price–that is, save the shareholders from their mistakes. So much for market discipline. For everyone else, Washington recommends a cold shower.

Talk about warped priorities! The government puts up $29 billion as a “sweetener” for JP Morgan but can only come up with $4 billion for Cleveland, Detroit and other urban ruins. Even the mortgage-relief bill is a tepid gesture. It basically asks, but does not compel, the bankers to act kindlier toward millions of defaulting families.

A generation of conservative propaganda, arguing that markets make wiser decisions than government, has been destroyed by these events. The interventions amount to socialism, American style, in which the government decides which private enterprises are “too big to fail.” Trouble is, it was the government itself that created most of these mastodons–including the all-purpose banking conglomerates. The mega-banks arose in the 1990s, when a Democratic President and Republican Congress repealed the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented commercial banks from blending their business with investment banking. That combination was the source of incestuous self-dealing and fraudulent stock valuations that led directly to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

Even before Congress and Bill Clinton repealed the law, the Federal Reserve had aggressively cleared the way by unilaterally authorizing Citigroup to cross the line. Wall Street proceeded, with accounting tricks described as “modernization,” to re-create the same scandals from the 1920s in more sophisticated fashion. The financial crisis began when these gimmicky innovations blew up.

Democrats who imagine they can reap partisan advantage from this crisis don’t know the history. The blame is bipartisan; so also is the disgrace. In 1980, before Ronald Reagan even came to town, Democrats deregulated the financial system by repealing federal interest-rate ceilings and other regulatory restraints–a step that doomed the savings and loan industry and eliminated a major competitor for the bankers. Democrats have collaborated with Republicans on behalf of their financial patrons every step of the way.

The same legislation also repealed the federal law prohibiting usury–the predatory practices that ruin debtors of modest means by lending on terms that ensure borrowers will fail. Usurious lending is now commonplace in America, from credit cards and “payday loans” to the notorious subprime mortgages. The prohibition on usury really involves an ancient moral principle, one common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: people of great wealth must not be allowed to use it to ruin others who lack the same advantages. A decent society cannot endure it.

The fast-acting politicians may hope to cover over their past mistakes before the public figures out what’s happening (that is, who is screwing whom). But the Federal Reserve has a similar reason to move aggressively: the Fed was a central architect and agitator in creating the circumstances that led to the collapse in Wall Street’s financial worth. The central bank tipped its monetary policy hard in one direction–favoring capital over labor, creditors over debtors, finance over the real economy–and held it there for roughly twenty-five years. On one side, it targeted wages and restrained economic growth to make sure workers could not bargain for higher compensation in slack labor markets. On the other side, it stripped away or refused to enforce prudential regulations that restrained the excesses of banking and finance. In The Nation a few years back, I referred to Alan Greenspan as the “one-eyed chairman” [September 19, 2005] who could see inflation in the real economy–even when it didn’t exist–but was blind to the roaring inflation in the financial system.

The Fed’s lopsided focus on behalf of the monied interests, combined with its refusal to apply regulatory laws with due diligence, eventually destabilized the overall economy. Trying to correct for previous errors, the Fed, with its overzealous free-market ideology, swung monetary policy back and forth to extremes, first tightening credit without good reason, then rapidly cutting interest rates to nearly zero. This erratic behavior encouraged a series of financial bubbles in interest-sensitive assets–first the stock market, during the late 1990s tech-stock boom, then housing–but the Fed declined to do anything or even admit the bubbles existed. The nation is now stuck with the consequences of its blindness.

The Federal Reserve’s dereliction of duty is central to the financial failures. It betrayed the purpose for which the central bank was first created, in 1913, abandoning the sense of balance the Fed had long pursued and that Congress requires. Most politicians, not to mention the press, are too intimidated to question the Fed’s daunting power, but their ignorance is about to compound the problem. Instead of demanding answers, the political system is about to expand the Fed’s governing powers–despite its failure to protect us. Treasury Secretary Paulson proposed and Democratic leaders have agreed to make the insulated Fed the “supercop” that oversees not only commercial banks and banking conglomerates but also the largest investment houses or anyone else big enough to destabilize the system. This “reform” would definitely reassure club members who are already too cozy with the central bankers. Everyone else would be left deeper in the dark.

The political system, once again, is rewarding failure. The Fed is an unreliable watchdog, ideologically biased and compromised by its conflicting obligations. Is it supposed to discipline the big money players or keep them afloat? Putting the secretive central bank in charge, with its unlimited powers to prop up troubled firms, would further eviscerate democracy, not to mention economic justice.

If Congress enacts this concept early next year, the privileged group of protected financial interests is sure to grow larger, because other nonfinancial firms could devise ways to reconfigure themselves so they too would qualify for club membership. A very large manufacturing conglomerate–General Electric, for instance–might absorb elements of banking in order to be covered by the Fed’s umbrella (GE Capital is already among the largest pools of investment capital). Private-equity firms, with their buccaneer style of corporate management, are already trying to buy into banking, with encouragement from the Fed (the Service Employees International Union has mounted a campaign to stop them). A new President could stop the whole deal, of course, but John McCain has surrounded himself with influential advisers who were co-architects of this financial disaster. For that matter, so has Barack Obama.

The nation, meanwhile, is flirting with historic catastrophe. Nobody yet knows how bad it is, but the peril is vastly larger than previous episodes, like the savings and loan bailout of the late 1980s. The dangers are compounded by the fact that the United States is now utterly dependent on foreign creditors–Japan and China lead the list–who have been propping us up with their lending. Thanks to growing trade deficits and debt, foreign portfolio holdings of US long-term debt securities have more than doubled since 1994, from 7.9 percent to 18.8 percent as of June 2007. If these countries get fed up with their losses and pull the plug, the US economy will be a long, long time coming back.

The gravest danger is that the national economy will weaken further and spiral downward into a negative cycle that feeds on itself: as conditions darken, people hunker down and wait for the storm to pass–consumers stop buying, banks stop lending, producing companies cut their workforces. That feeds more defaulted loan losses back into the banking system’s balance sheets. This vicious cycle is essentially what led to the Great Depression after the stock market crash of 1929. I offer not a prediction but a warning. The comparison may sound farfetched now, but US policy-makers and politicians are putting us at risk of historic deflationary forces that, once they take hold, are very difficult to reverse.

A more aggressive response from Washington would address the real economy’s troubles as seriously as it does Wall Street’s. Financial firms have lost capital on a huge scale–more of them will fail or be bought by foreign investors. But Wall Street cannot get well this time if the economy remains stuck in the ditch. Washington needs to revive the “animal spirits” of the nation at large. The $152 billion stimulus package enacted so far is piddling and ought to be three or four times larger. Instead of sending the money to Iraq, we should be spending it here on getting people back to work, building and repairing our tattered infrastructure, investing in worthwhile projects that can help stimulate the economy in rough weather.

An agenda of deeper reforms can boost public confidence even as it undoes a lot of the damage caused by the financiers and bankers. Some suggestions:

§ Nationalize Fannie Mae and other government-supported enterprises instead of coddling them. Restore them to their original status as nonprofit federal agencies that provide a valuable service to housing and other markets. Make the investors eat their losses. Buy the shares at 2 cents on the dollar. Without a federal guarantee, these firms are doomed anyway.

§ Resolve the democratic contradiction of “too big to fail” bailouts by dismantling the firms that are too big to fail–especially the newly created banking conglomerates that have done so much harm. Restore the boundaries between commercial banking and investment banking. In any case, market pressures are likely to shrink those behemoths as banks sell off their parts to survive. For the remaining big boys, revive antitrust enforcement. Set stern new conditions for emergency lending from government–supervised receivership, stricter lending rules to prevent recidivism and severe penalties for greed-crazed shareholders and executives.

§ Assign the Federal Reserve’s regulatory role to a new public agency that is visible and politically accountable. Make the Fed a subsidiary agency of the Treasury Department and reform its decision-making on money and credit to restore an equitable balance between competing goals and interests–seeking full employment but also stable money and moderate inflation.

§ Begin the hard task of re-creating a regulated financial system Americans can trust, one that recognizes its obligations to the broad national interest. This requires regulatory reforms to cover moneypots like private-equity funds and to clear away the blatant conflicts of interest and double-dealing on Wall Street, and also to give responsible shareholders, workers and other interests a greater voice in corporate management and greater protection against rip-offs of personal savings.

§ Re-enact the federal law against usury. The details are difficult and can follow later, but this would be a meaningful first step toward restoring moral obligations in the financial sector. People would understand it, and so would a lot of the money guys. Maybe in the deepening crisis, Washington will begin to grasp that money is also a moral issue.

Working Poor Unready to Revolt

Working Poor Unready to Revolt

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

06/08/08 “ICH ” — – Once upon a time when governments no longer served most of their citizens it was the most economically disadvantaged that could be counted on to rebel against tyranny and injustice.  Times have changed, for the worse, despite the spread of democracy.

Here we are with a two-party plutocracy that preferentially serves corporate and wealthy interests and lets the middle class suffer and sink.  Plausibly, the middle class is unready to revolt because it still maintains a relatively good standard of living despite rising economic insecurity.  But what about the lowest 40 percent of Americans that are the working poor?

A recent survey of this group by the Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University conducted this past June looked at the beliefs of adults ages 18 to 64 working 30 or more hours a week, not self-employed and who earned no more than $27,000 in 2007.  The results show a fascinating dichotomy.  Though there is widespread pain and discontent there is also a stubborn faith in the American dream despite little help from government.

Ninety percent of this group sees the current economy negatively, either not so good or poor, with 52 percent feeling financially insecure and 50 percent feeling less secure than a few years ago.  The fractions saying they have difficulty affording basic things are severe, including: 88 percent that cannot save money for college or other education for their children, 82 percent paying for gasoline or other transportation costs, 81 percent saving money for retirement, 65 percent paying for health care and health insurance, 65 percent handling child care, close to 60 percent paying credit card bills, monthly utility bills and rent or mortgage costs, and 47 percent buying food.  Three quarters say it has gotten harder to find good jobs and nearly that fraction for finding affordable health care, and 68 percent finding decent, affordable housing.

In the past year this group has had to take many actions to make ends meet, including 70 percent that cut electricity use and home heating; 62 percent that took an extra job or worked extra hours, 51 percent that postponed medical or dental care and 50 percent that took money out of savings or retirement funds.

All this sounds pretty bleak.  But are these people mad and pessimistic?  Not exactly.

An amazing 69 percent are hopeful about their personal financial situation, 59 percent believe they are more likely over the next few years to move up in terms of their social class, 59 percent believe that their children will have a standard of living much or somewhat better than theirs, and 56 percent think they will achieve the American dream in their lifetime.

Do these lower economic class, hardest hit Americans that account for 25 percent of the adult population believe that government helps them?  No.  Only 22 percent believe that government programs are making things better for them.  But apparently they have bought hook, line and sinker into Barack Obama’s change rhetoric, with a 2 to 1 margin favoring him over John McCain.  And when it comes to beliefs about which candidate will do better for them the margins favoring Obama go up to 3 or more to 1 for improving their own financial situation, the national economy and the national health care system.  Similarly, Obama is seen as much more concerned with their needs and better represent their values.  All very good news for Obama, except that only 70 are registered to vote and about a third saw no difference in whether Obama or McCain was in office.

Faith in Obama, however, pales in comparison to the other source of comfort for dealing with hard economic times.  A striking 78 percent find religion or faith in God helps them get through tough economic times.

The unmistakable conclusion from all these data is that no rebellion against the power elites running the two-party plutocracy seems likely.  If the bottom 40 percent of Americans in terms of income still believe in the American dream and change-spouting politicians like Obama, it is hard to believe that the more affluent middle 40 percent of the population are ready to support more radical change through political rebellion.

Interesting how gasoline prices are dropping as we approach the Republican and Democratic conventions and Election Day.  Apparently, America’s ruling class knows what it is doing.  It can keep channeling more and more of the nation’s wealth to the rich, Upper Class producing more economic inequality without fearing the kind of political revolution that Thomas Jefferson thought the nation needs periodically.  Consider this: In the three decades after World War II household inflation-adjusted income of the bottom 90 percent increased 83 percent compared to 20 percent increase for the top 10 percent.  In contrast, in the past three decades, the bottom 90 percent saw only a 10 percent increase while the top 10 percent received an increase of 232 percent!  The two-party stranglehold on our political system has produced rising economic inequality.

Forget all that nonsense about the proletariat.  Most Americans use their faith in God or religion or conventional politicians to cope, even in some of the most insecure economic times in American history.  They remain overly confident in voting as the path to change.  The ruling class has successfully used propaganda to dumb down and manipulate most of the public because delusion has become the opiate of the masses.

In God and Barack Obama We Trust could be placed on all our currency if the views of millions of Americans are taken seriously.  Don’t you feel better?

Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through

Racism and Genocide: Lies of Our Times

Racism and Genocide: Lies of Our Times

James Petras

One of the hallmarks of totalitarian ideologues is the use of the big lie: a virulent attack on a defenseless group and then a categorical denial turning victims into executioners and executioners into victims.

. 08.06.2008

Zionist genocide promoter, Benny Morris practices the Big Lie1. He claims, “I have never supported the brutal expulsion of all Palestinians…I have said, repeatedly, that the expulsion of the Palestinians is immoral and impracticable.

In a recent interview in Israel, Morris states, “Under some circumstances, expulsion is not a war crime. I don’t think that the expulsions of 1948 (of nearly a million Palestinians) were war crimes. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands. Moreover, if he (Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion) was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleaned the whole country – the whole land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.” In its extremism, Morris’ promotion of Judeo-fascist ethnocide of Palestine/Jordan exceeds that of any expressed by a secular public Jewish figure in Israel.

Uprooting, massacring and driving 3 million Palestinians from their homes, land and communities, according to Morris, lessens suffering – for Jews – and promises a quieter life for Israeli Jews! This is the same rationale that Hitler pronounced in his project to ‘purify’ Nazi Germany.

Morris fabricates a tale about Israel’s peaceful role in the Middle East when in fact it has been the most aggressive, militarist, expansionist state in the entire Middle East. He writes, “I am completely unaware that Zionism ever aimed to ‘rule the Middle East’…Zionism simply wanted to establish and maintain a (miniscule) Jewish state in the Land of Israel/Palestine, the patrimony of the Jews…conquered by savage Muslim Arab invaders.”

The history of the Israeli state tells us otherwise. Israel has expanded and colonized over three quarters of Palestine since the original partition in 1948. Israel has invaded Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and seized and occupies territory from three of the four countries. Israel is the only country in the Middle East, which has repeatedly invaded Lebanon, destroyed its infrastructure, slaughtered Palestinian refugees in camps and attempted to establish a puppet regime in South Lebanon. Israel is the only Middle Eastern country, which shot down a Libyan commercial airliner carrying pilgrims to Mecca killing all aboard.

Israel’s ‘lobby’ – the Zionist power configuration in the US – has secured over $120 billion dollars of US military aid and the most advanced military technology for Israel, to insure Israel’s ‘overwhelming military superiority’ in the region. The military superiority of Israel has served the Jewish state to threaten, pressure, destabilize and influence Arab states.

The biggest nuclear threat in the Middle East and the sole nuclear power (over 200 nuclear bombs) and the only country, which publicly threatens to attack with nuclear weapons – is Israel. Israel has engaged in cross border terrorist assassinations throughout the Middle East, training death squads in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) to Colombia and recognizes no sovereign borders in pursuit of its hegemonic goals.

Morris’ style is as revelatory as the substance of his totalitarian beliefs. He claims, “Israel has been threatened by Iran with destruction and the Iranian nuclear project appears to have Israel as its target.” Apart from a vague remark, which was grossly mistranslated, of Iranian President Ahmadinejad about Israel “Disappearing from the page of history” (a remark pointing to a political change of the ethnic nature of the state), the Iranian government has never threatened to nuke Israel. Morris, the prophet of Armageddon, with special powers to delve into the “self-sacrificing mindset of the mullahs who run Iran,” knows that deterrence will not work. No evidence founded on action is presented. No history of Iranian foreign policy over the past 50 years is presented.

The key to understanding Benny Morris’ proposal for nuclear genocide is his totalitarian-racist view of Arabs, Muslims and Iranians. In an interview in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (2004) regarding Israeli-Palestinian relations he asserted, “Something like a cage has to be built for them…There is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.” According to Morris, Palestinians are “barbarians who want to take our lives…At the moment that society is in the state of being a serial killer. It is a very sick society. It should be treated the way we treat individuals who are serial killers.” To Morris, the dispossessed Palestinians are the killers while the Israeli colonial state, which dispossessed millions, tortured tens of thousands, jailed hundreds of thousands and killed thousands and is building a huge ghetto wall destroying the livelihood of 3 million, is a sane, healthy society. Dehumanizing the victims and the use of sub-human analogies is common practice of totalitarian ideologues. Considering Muslims as sub-human eases the way to incinerating them with nuclear weapons.

Benny Morris bases his argument for launching a nuclear attack against Iran on two boldface lies: (1) “Every intelligence agency in the world believes the Iranian program is geared to making weapons, not to the peaceful application of nuclear power”; and (2) “Everyone knows that such measures (economic sanctions) have so far led nowhere and are unlikely to be applied.” The sixteen leading US intelligence agencies released a National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 based on all available high tech sources and inside informants, stating that Iran was not preparing enriched uranium for weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has permanent on site inspectors and makes continuous visits to Iranian nuclear facilities over the past decade, has not found any evidence of a weapons program. Every country, except Israel and the Zionist-dominated US Congress and White House believe that negotiations should continue. China, Russia, the states of the Middle East have supported sanctions among other countries. Iran’s uranium enrichment program is legal and is practiced by dozens of countries around the world. Only Israel, the US and the EU have arbitrarily decided to exclude Iran from developing nuclear enrichment programs for peaceful uses. Morris and the Israelis equate Iran’s legitimate activity with nuclear weapon production and extrapolate the latter to an immediate threat against Israel’s very existence.

Morris’ most laughable assertion is his claim that he “never advocated a genocidal attack on Iran with the aim of killing 70 million Iranians.” In his own words, just a few weeks earlier in a July 18 editorial in the New York Times he wrote, “Iran’s leaders would do well to re-think their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.

By posing the question to Iran as one of ‘no choice’ but surrendering national sovereignty to an “Israeli nuclear threat’ Morris has pre-determined the result: Israel will have to engage in a genocidal nuclear assault on Iran. Morris’ double talk and utter confusion in claiming to oppose Iranian genocide while supporting ‘limited’ nuclear strikes against Iran revels his total ignorance of the most elementary consequences of the long-term, large-scale effects of radiation, contamination, economic devastation and widespread social trauma, not to mention the immediate effects of a thermonuclear attack on a populous nation. A nuclear strike against a country is genocidal in its effects on that nation – involving millions of human beings in Iran and throughout the entire region with widespread global contamination.

Benny Morris’ rant, in itself, is of no great concern were it limited to some Israeli version of a Munich beer hall. But the fact that ‘respectable’ capitalist print media, like the New York Times among others…publish and circulate blatant advocacy of nuclear genocide as ‘just another opinion’ is of prime political concern: It tells us how far imperial-militarism has infected Western political discourse; we have moved from a scratch to gangrene.

Postnote: A declaration signed by over 200 Israeli academics and peace activists was released August 5, 2008 stating:

There is no military, political or moral justification to initiate war with Iran. A constant flow of information bears witness to the fact that the Israeli government is seriously considering attacking Iran, in order to disrupt its nuclear plans. We do no disregard irresponsible actions by the Iranian government – we also oppose atomic weapons of mass destruction in the region. However, it is clear that the main source of the immediate danger of a new, widespread war stems from the policies of the Israeli government and the flow of threats from it, backed by provocative military maneuvers.

After serious consideration, we reiterate our position that all the arguments for such an attack are without any security, political or moral justification. Israel might get caught up in an act of adventurism that could endanger our very existence, and this without any serious effort to exhaust the political and diplomatic alternatives to armed conflict.

We are not certain that such an attack will occur. But the very fact that it is being weighed as a reasonable option makes it imperative that we warn and caution against the destructive results of an offensive strike against Iran.

‘When You Have To Leave America To Be Free’

‘When You Have To Leave America To Be Free’

Charles Davis

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (IPS) – Nearly three years after the U.S. government failed to convict Palestinian activist and former college professor Sami Al-Arian of any charges in one of the most high-profile terrorism trials following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he continues to be held in federal prison — where, if convicted in an upcoming trial on criminal contempt charges, he faces the prospect of remaining for decades.

Al-Arian has been imprisoned since Feb. 20, 2003, after then-attorney general John Ashcroft declared in a press conference that he and four others were in league with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, “one of the most violent terrorist organisations in the world.”

According to the U.S. government, Al-Arian operated several front groups for the Damascus-based terrorist group during the 1990s, raising money to finance suicide bombings that killed more than 100 Israelis. At his trial, prosecutors played graphic videos of suicide bombings and invited Israeli citizens to testify about their experiences surviving terrorist attacks — attacks the government suggested were the end result of Al-Arian’s actions.

Prosecutors also showed jurors a 1991 video of a rally where Al-Arian can be seen shouting, “death to Israel and victory to Islam” in Arabic. Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida, maintains that he has never condoned violence against civilians, but that he does support the right to resist a “brutal military occupation” of Palestinian lands.

Indeed, even the prosecution conceded that — after more than 10 years of tapping the phone conversations of Al-Arian and his family — there was no evidence directly tying him to a single terrorist attack. As a result, in 2005 a Florida jury acquitted Al-Arian of eight charges and remained deadlocked on another nine, with two-thirds of the jury voting for acquittal on all charges.

Yet despite the lack of a single conviction, Al-Arian remains in prison — where supporters say he has often been held in solitary confinement and denied access to his family and legal counsel — for refusing to testify in a trial against a northern Virginia Islamic think tank.

“We don’t even know one day where he’ll be the next, and we don’t know how we’ll be able to visit him,” said Al-Arian’s son, Abdullah, at a recent event here in Washington aimed at raising awareness of the case. “We just want this ordeal to be over.”

But if federal prosecutors have their way, Al-Arian’s ordeal will not be over anytime soon. After accepting a plea bargain in 2006, where he pled guilty to providing some assistance to friends and family “associated” with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — such as trying to help his brother-in-law, Mazzen Al-Najjar, obtain a visa — Al-Arian was supposed to be deported to Egypt last year.

However, federal prosecutors — namely, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, who critics say has a long record of bigotry toward Arabs and Muslims — have sought to force Al-Arian to testify in a case against the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which is accused of financing terrorist organisations. Al-Arian has refused to testify out of fear that prosecutors are simply seeking to trap him into committing perjury.

“If he does testify, no matter what he says, the prosecutor will charge him with perjury — he’s made that pretty clear to us,” said Abdullah. “If he does not testify, he can be charged with contempt, and that was the road that my father chose, one that was more principled I think in terms of his taking a stand against the government’s abuse of power.”

Because of his refusal to testify, Al-Arian is now set for an Aug. 13 trial for criminal contempt. However his lawyer, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, says he has been barred from meeting with his client and is seeking to have the trial delayed and Al-Arian released.

In a motion filed Aug. 1, Turley — who is also seeking to take the case to the Supreme Court — argues that Al-Arian is being illegally detained by authorities in contravention of a Jul. 10 court decision, finding that he posed no flight risk or threat to his community and should be granted bail. “Put simply, Dr. Al-Arian is being held unconstitutionally,” Turley states in the motion.

Al-Arian’s supporters also maintain that he is a victim of a federal prosecutor — Kromberg. During a 2005 trial, Kromberg told jurors that the defendant in the case — Ali Al-Timimi, a devout Muslim — could not be trusted, as his religion required him to lie to non-believers.

And according to Al-Arian’s attorneys, Kromberg told them in a 2006 meeting that he would not grant Al-Arian’s request that he not be forced to testify before a grand jury during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.

“If they can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury; all they can’t do is eat before sunset,” Kromberg is quoted as telling Al- Arian’s legal counsel. “I am not going to put off Dr. Al-Arian’s grand jury appearance to assist in what is becoming the Islamisation of America.”

Critics say Kromberg’s comments — and his unabashed support for the state of Israel — show that his targeting of Al-Arian is based on politics, not terrorism.

“He’s been singled out because he’s been an effective, courageous man,” said Mike Gravel, a former U.S. Senator from Alaska, at the event with Al-Arian’s family. Like other supporters, Gravel believes Al-Arian is the victim of a politicised Justice Department eager to silence a controversial and outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In an interview with IPS, Gravel said he was “absolutely outraged over the injustice” of the government’s treatment of Al-Arian. He also singled out as “gutless” members of Congress — such as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont — who have refused to take any action on Al-Arian’s behalf.

Since Democrats took over control of Congress, Leahy’s committee has held hearings on everything from polygamy to the rights of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, but none regarding Al-Arian.

An aide to Leahy told IPS that his office continues to receive calls from Al- Arian’s supporters, but offered no comment on what — if any — action Leahy would take regarding the case.

“This all stems from AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee],” Gravel told IPS. Lawmakers are afraid of offending the powerful lobbying group — which supports a hard-line position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party — and thus are unwilling to take up Al-Arian’s case, he said. “This guy is just speaking out very effectively for the Palestinian cause, that’s what is the root of this, and [the government is] trying to stifle that.”

Gravel’s comments on the case are echoed by Scott Horton, a former chair of the of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on International Law and a writer for Harper’s Magazine.

“I believe that the defence is on firm ground saying that this is a case of political persecution,” Horton stated in an interview with IPS. “In fact, I am hard pressed to find another case just like it.”

Horton believes Al-Arian has been targeted not because he poses any sort of violent threat, but because he has been a high-profile and articulate critic of Israeli policies. And he believes the case shows that — especially since 9/11 and the advent of the “war on terror” — not even an acquittal is enough to exonerate someone accused of terrorism in the U.S.

“The prosecution’s conduct is typical of the Bush Administration… in that it will not accept defeat, whether from a jury or a judge,” stated Horton. “When they fail to get the relief they seek, they simply connive another way to secure it.”

At the Washington event, Al-Arian’s son Abdullah said that, at this point, the best his family could hope for is that the government ultimately decides to deport his father, as they promised to do in the 2006 plea agreement. “It’s a sad day when you have to leave America to be free, but that’s the America we live in — for some people at least.”

Zionism vs. Democracy

by Frank Scott

“The relation of policy and its reportage is clear in the preparing of Americans for a war with Iran, and then priming them into a maybe we will maybe we won’t indecision. Each time heated talk about Iran cools slightly, the price of gasoline declines. Until the next surge of fanatic babble that claims Iran will nuke Israel and exterminate all Jews, at which point the price goes up again.”

“…the zionist power configuration’s primary loyalty is to the state of Israel and its policy is designed to colonize the US congress on behalf and to the benefit of the ‘mother country’, Israel…”

– James Petras

Petras speaks to a reality rarely discussed in circles accustomed to whispered criticism, at best, of the U.S. performance in support of Israel . He mentions congress, but the executive branch has been equally “colonized”. The scripted performances by major party presidential candidates , whether bowing before the Israel – American lobby in Washington or praying before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, are evidence enough. The dominance exercised by what he calls the Zionist Power Configuration is a very critical problem for a public that remains generally oblivious to its existence, let alone the control it has over our political system.

With a crippled economy and over extended armed forces, America’s global position has old establishment groups trying to retake control before mindless dedication to the Jewish state brings about total ruin . A revival of the old WASP (white anglo saxon protestant) power cabal finds it in a struggle with the newer jewish power bloc. This clash of establishment gangs will hardly bring social justice and peace to America, but it could give the public a chance to come to its senses. Support for a racist state that brutalizes its native population in a way that shocks veterans of apartheid South Africa can only continue with a public kept in the dark.

Under the dominance of propaganda that tells us innocent Israeli Jews are being persecuted by evil Palestinian -Arabs, the U.S. continues to prop up the Jewish state with money, and wage nation destroying wars on its behalf. Constantly retelling the story of past dreadful persecution makes it seem that because German nazis brutalized european jews, Israeli Ashkenazis are morally justified to brutalize Palestinian arabs. Settlers in a land which they believe, with no evidence save religious faith, is where they originated, are seen as natives, while the people who’ve lived there for centuries are expelled, treated as terrorists, and despite their Semitic origins, called anti-semites by those whose only connection to Semitism is their belief system.

This situation would be the ultimate black comedy, if it were not so dangerous to all humanity. Israel is run by some seriously disturbed people who are not waving an ax, but are armed with nuclear weapons. These, of course are respectfully never mentioned by what is called the international community, which means America, Israel and a handful of their lackey states.

How can the U.S.A. continue its multi-trillion dollar funding of support for Israel , the waging of endless war , and the maintenance of military bases in hundreds of foreign countries, while its people suffer a seriously declining economic status? Only with the help of a media that tells us our problems originate in far away places rather than at home, and that our most important ally in the world is Israel. Both are in complete denial of material reality. An individual acting on such presumptions would be judged clinically insane and institutionalized. Our society behaves as though delusions were reality, lies were the truth, and a psychotic condition was a sign of excellent mental health .

The U.S.A. is in hock for trillions of dollars and hated not only in the middle east , but increasingly in other parts of the world. This has led to calls for change which have seen the WASPs reasserting, to regain control from the power bloc that has played a major role in creating the present crisis, though not the unacknowledged longer standing one which is capitalism itself. That major threat to the future of humanity hardly depends on whether the ruling group is gentile or Jewish, but on whether we allow that system to destroy the entire planet, and not just the middle east.

The relation of policy and its reportage is clear in the preparing of Americans for a war with Iran, and then priming them into a maybe we will maybe we won’t indecision. Each time heated talk about Iran cools slightly, the price of gasoline declines. Until the next surge of fanatic babble that claims Iran will nuke Israel and exterminate all Jews, at which point the price goes up again.

These fluctuations in maniacal rhetoric and petroleum prices are part of the struggle to exercise control over U.S. policy in the middle east. The fact that Americans are not using as much gasoline has not escaped the awareness of petro-capital and it surely plays a role in the recent price decrease , which is still much higher than it was a year ago. The notion that oil powers provoked us into the war in Iraq is still widely believed, despite the fact that this would mean Big Oil decided to endanger its foreign relations and watch Americans consume less of its product. That ridiculous story is a measure of the extent of Jewish-Israeli power over not only the government, but the media which controls the consciousness of the American public.

Continued fables of an alleged Iranian threat , based on the same fictional evidence, supernatural fears and psychotic tendencies that transform Israel from a national nightmare for Palestinian Arabs into a Paradise Disneyland for Israeli Jews , make it more vital then ever to put a stop to this madness. Electing a new member of the colonized population to the presidency, whether in the USA or Palestine, will not make a substantial difference. Rather than a simple change at the top , which is part of the problem, we need a profound awakening to action by the mass population at the bottom, which could bring about the real solution:

A fifty state democracy in the U.S.A. , and a one state democracy in Palestine.

“Democracy, Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Totalitarianism”

The Audacity of the Unwashed Masses: Part 2.

Common vs National Interests

Are there common dreams, common hopes, or common causes? Like the common cold are common interests to be avoided? Our Founders struggled mightily with these questions and decided to err on the side of keeping democracy at bay; not eliminate it, but keep it sedated and safely tethered to the porch rail.Sheldon J. Wolin explores what our Founders hoped for and what they feared in his new book, “Democracy, Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Totalitarianism”. This is a rich book that is impossible to skip even one sentence. So I’ve been writing about it a little at a time.

In Chapter 11 “Antecedents and Precedents”, he wonders how we Americans got to the point where we allowed a coup to take place in the election of 2000.

FeralCat :: The Audacity of the Unwashed Masses: Part 2. Common vs National Interests
In Kiev in 2004, the Ukrainians took to the streets in protest of their stolen election. The lawyers of Pakistan recently marched through the capital in protest of their high court’s decision on their election. But except for the brave Florida Black Caucus Representatives in January of 2001, the crickets were chirping in our nation’s capital. How did Americans arrive in what Wolin calls “inverted (upside down) totalitarianism”?Note: Unlike classic totalitarianism like Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia, the inverted kind isn’t necessarily conscious. It doesn’t announce that it’s going to take over. It is not “the creation of a leader who was a self-made man” like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Franco. In inverted totalitarianism “the leader is not the architect of the system but its product. George W. Bush no more created inverted totalitarianism than he piloted the plane onto the USS Abraham Lincoln”.

Inverted totalitarianism thrives on “change”. Well, just enough change to make the “deviations” from democracy seem “normal” like spying on Americans or using torture for good. It’s what Wolin calls “managed democracy”. And it is joined at the hip with an all-consuming economic system that promises health and wealth while pursuing greater and greater power. “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.” (P.47)

How did this happen? Wolin says that the Founders did not have totalitarianism in mind, but rather it has materialized from how they encouraged some powers and discouraged or checked others. It arose from what they hoped for and what they feared.

“The new system, with its emphasis upon a strong executive, an indirectly elected Senate composed (it was hoped) of the educated and wealthy, and an appointed Supreme Court also represented the fears of the Founders. Theirs was a counterrevolution against not only the system of politics that had led the revolution against Britain but against the democratic tendencies and populist outbreaks that had persisted from the end of the seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth. (See Nash “The Unknown American Revolution)p.255.

Wolin challenges the Framers fears in order to strengthen their hopes. And remarkably, he finds the answer in the word “interests”. The Founders couldn’t help themselves. Most of them were elitists. They saw the passions of The Many as “uncontrolled self-interest”, “irregular”, “immediate” and “private”. It was the Founders duty through a constitution to control “interests”. “Interests were depicted as selfish, irrational, and potentially destructive.”

Wolin then makes the case for the simple beauty of common interests. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker had the common interests of a “system of exchange” that would work for them and a way to express their grievances if treated unfairly. In 1760, groups of New York artisans made the case that “the great essential Interests of a Nation, which are so plain that every one may understand them, –as every individual is interested, all have an equal Right to declare their interests, and to have them regarded.”

That’s right, people. History tells us that throughout time, farmers, welders, tool makers, artists, writers, shop keepers have made the point that all these “affairs of state” are not that hard to understand and that the people can help figure out how to make it work. The Republic was, quite simply, there for the betterment of the citizens. But from the get go, The Few, the self-appointed elite, insisted that there be “guardians” who could comprehend the intricate and lofty hard-to-figure-out financial national interests.

“The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy.” The Framers were “skeptical about democracy or hostile to it.”…Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered.”

Hence, the lack of real voting rights for African Americans and women until this century.So what happened and continues to be is:

“a lasting fault line: on the one side a national establishment and preserve [gee like a nature preserve] for an elite politics concerned with the grand issues of war, defense, diplomacy, regulation of commerce, national credit, and public finance, and whose operations were to be ‘regular’, efficient and well administered; on the other a collection of decentralized societies whose politics and culture displayed-as virtually every foreign observer attested-democratic and egalitarian tendencies, rowdiness (‘irregular’), local loyalties, a parochial suspicion toward a remote power claiming sovereignty over local life, and a destabilizing politics often “turbulent’ and ‘tumultuous’. Thus two counter tendencies housed within the same framework…

Note: Wolin points out that The Many appear rowdy because at times they erupted into passionate protests. They couldn’t do it all the time, BECAUSE THEY HAD TO WORK!! Only when they were UNEMPLOYED did they have the luxury to TURBULENTLY protest.The Founders needed the people but feared them so they concocted a system to check democracy or a system that “managed” it. And as long as they could convince the people that the business of the state was too complicated and needed supreme secrecy to go about our “national interests”, they could remain the guardians.

The Founders did not set about to create the state we are in now; a state of “civic demobilization” where the citizens “remained on call” for the occasional election; where the people were to remain “passive, but Patriotic” (You know, wearing flag pins and buying $3 Support the Troops stickers). In our never ending quest for space and taming frontiers, we just got to this somnambulant state like frogs in a simmering pot. Some scholars and writers thought that when we ran out of physical frontier that we would finally settle down and become democratic communities with strong civic involvement instead of self-involved, self-righteous, self-centered “rugged individualists.” But Wolin says that the Internet came along and now we have more endless space but no longer any time for “deliberation, discussion, and reconciliation of opposing viewpoints, all of which suddenly seem ‘time-consuming’.” So much for face time. Power outage anyone?

Ever consuming time, we go, go, go. Ruthlessly we spread our “democracy” across the world because we are uncomfortable in our own skins. We itch to move, remodel, renovate. (Even Jefferson used the term “renovate our nation” by expanding into the West). And the task of elitism, Wolin says, is to make sure that The Many stay uncomfortable and unsatisfied. It is the task of The Few to acknowledge and accept democracy “nominally” while persuading the Many “to act politically against their own material interests and potential power.” Keep them in a constant state of worry so that they “yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.”
We may be living in “inverted totalitarianism”, but the idea of democracy; “the ideal of shared power, civic involvement, and egalitarianism” still lies beneath the surface in the hearts and minds of many citizens. They are resisting the idea of being a cog whether it is a Demacog or a Republicog, a McCog or an Obamacog.

It is our mission on our weekly radio show “Democracy’s Edge” in Bozeman, Montana, to become a once a week civics class where we can learn to be citizens again. And that’s why each week we have on a guest (last week it was an expert on Pakistan, Fouad Pervez of “Foreign Policy in Focus”. The week before it was Glenn Ford of and Charles Derber author of “The Morality Wars).

These guests tell us a bit more about the other countries and other cultures out there on our shared planet whose citizens too have hopes and dreams and needs. It is our mission to take the mystery out of foreign and domestic affairs and to employ the “wisdom of crowds”.

This is an exchange among equals. Equality is the number one ingredient in democracy, but it takes a big dose of cooperation. The French called it “fraternitie”. Here we saw the greatest surge of U.S. democracy in the 1930′s when “solidarity” was the cry from the union halls. Equality allows the third ingredient of our democracy stew, real freedom, to intensify the flavor. Real freedom means that we don’t need “guardians” to tell us what to think and what to do. We don’t need guardians to save us unwashed from our tiny little parochial self-interests.

Democratization is not about being “left alone,”but about becoming a self that sees the values of common involvements and endeavors and finds in them a source of self-fulfillment. …To become a democrat is to change one’s self, to learn how to act collectively, as a demos.

Instead of “The Few, The Proud”, we are the many and the humble. The every day reality of our lives is to be celebrated. We should be unapologetic that we are part of a commonality. There is nothing abstract or obtuse about this.

We, The Great Unwashed, don’t need no stinkin’ badges. We don’t need no degree from the U of Badly Behaved Economists University. We don’t need to wait to be invited to the best parties.

We the Great Unwashed have taken a bath and we are here to make the enemies of democracy come clean.

Next essay on Wolin: Chapter Nine: Elites Against Democracy. Could adherents of Leo Strauss be those creepy party goers in “Eyes Wide Shut”?

Crisis Looms as Corporations Seize Control of Commodities

Crisis Looms as Corporations Seize

Control of Commodities

by: Barbara L. Minton

(NaturalNews) The global food crisis won’t go away any time soon. Capitalism has the average consumer by the belly. Amid growing signs of famine and outrage, the entire chain of commodities and resources of the world are now being cornered by giant corporations. Farmland, water, fertilizer, seed, energy, and most of the basic necessities of life are falling under corporate control, providing increased wealth and power to the ruling elite while the rest of humanity struggles.

Commodity scarcity in India was recently reflected in the need to distribute fertilizer from the police station in Hingoli. Now police have to control the lines that form outside of dealer outlets, because the dealers won’t open for business otherwise. Without this intervention there would be no fertilizer for the planting that must take place before the rain comes. In Akola and Nanded, police involvement is also needed. Agriculture officers have fled their work places to escape angry farmers. In Karnataka, a farmer was shot dead during protests, while farmers stormed meetings and set up road blocks in other districts.

Despite the success of the genetically engineered Bt cotton crops, the trend in India is now back to soybeans because they cost less to grow and need less fertilizer than cotton.

And it’s not just fertilizer that is scarce. Seeds are also in short supply which is being blamed on agitation that has interfered with freight train traffic. However, the shortfall in seeds is 60 percent, a level more indicative of corporate intervention to drive up prices than the actions of powerless farmers.

As farmers fume, the Wall Street Journal heralds the whopping 42 percent jump in the fiscal third quarter profits of huge agriculture giant Archer-Daniels Midland. This increase includes a sevenfold rise in new income in units that store, transport and grade grains such as wheat, corn and soybeans.

The soaring profits of fertilizer maker Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan are reflected in the parabolic movement of its stock price from a yearly low of $70.35 to its current price of $238.22 per share. Shares of fertilizer and animal feed producer Mosaic Corp. have risen from a yearly low of $32.50 to a current price of $159.38.

Similar windfall profits are reported by GMO seed and herbicide king Monsanto whose last quarterly earnings surged by 45%.

Some onlookers blame the financial speculators for driving up the prices of commodities related to agriculture as wealthy investors have piled on looking to cash in on the rising stock prices. And in many ways, today’s commodity market resembles the boom seen at the turn of the century, as well as the housing boom now in the throws of its bust.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently held a hearing to investigate the role that index funds and hedge funds are playing in driving up the prices of agricultural commodities. Total public fund investment in corn, soybean, wheat, cattle and hogs has risen by 37 billion dollars since 2006. This figure does not include the huge investments of hedge funds which don’t have to make such disclosure. It also doesn’t include the massive world wide investments in farmland made by the wealthy.

The corporate spin is that these investments are helpful to humanity because they will ultimately result in increased food production at a time of rising world demand. They cite the need for increased corporate profits to invest in and develop new technologies that will help farmers improve productivity. This is how GMO seeds are being driven down the throats of farmers, who are told that the modified seeds can squeeze even more yield from each acre of planting.

India has joined other developing countries in the decision to invest less in agriculture as advised by the World Bank-IMF, whose agenda has been to discourage crops for domestic consumption while encouraging production to spur export driven growth. This advice coupled with corporate sponsored deregulation has paved the way for corporate control of the farming process from seed to market. Research and development that was once the domain of universities has also fallen into corporate control.

Farmers in India are caught in a credit crunch. Even if they are able to get the needed fertilizer, they will not have the credit to pay for it. With no increase in farmer income, larger loans are not advanced. The outlook for the small farmer there is much the same as it was in the U.S. thirty years ago, during the height of the small farms falling to big agribusiness.

Corporations blame food shortages and rising prices on the people of China and India whose burgeoning income from manufacturing has allowed the average worker to increase both the amount and quality of his food consumption. But for the corporations, the increased demand for food is a guarantee of super profits to come.

Of course the other commodity you can’t get along without is water, which is now the focus of huge multinational companies seeking to privatize water world wide, perhaps even patent it as Monsanto did with seeds. The fight over water may bring chaos, conflict and misery on a scale never seen before as corporations and governments go so far as to grab the wells from under people’s houses.

And then there’s oil. To produce chemical fertilizer you must make use of fossil fuel. So rising oil prices and rising food prices are joined at the hip. The behavior of corporations in the oil business has been so egregious that there is talk of a windfall profits tax here and abroad.

No, the food crisis will not go away anytime soon. North Korea, Burma and Western Sudan are currently feeling a real threat of starvation while western governments manipulated by corporations continue to promote the diversion of food into biofuels to further exacerbate the upward movement in food prices. Almost all U.S. corn production between 2004 and 2007 has gone into the production of ethanol. European production of ethanol has more than tripled during the same period. This has led to a fall off in grains relative to overall demand which is not a market phenomenon but is the direct result of the government sponsored, corporate backed programs. This comes at the expense of people looking for something to eat, particularly the world’s poor who are now effectively priced out of the food market.

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