WARNING: GRAPHIC! Controlled Demolition IN PROGRESS

WARNING: GRAPHIC! Controlled Demolition

IN PROGRESS –

WaMu implodes, JPMorgan devours carcass

As part of the most far-reaching and spectacular controlled demolition the world has ever seen, one of the biggest banks in America just collapsed as JPMorgan Chase meticulously picks the meat off its rotting carcass.

As the debate over a $700 billion bank bailout rages on in Washington, one of the nation’s largest has collapsed under the weight of its enormous bad bets on the mortgage market.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized WaMu on Thursday, and then sold the thrift’s banking assets to JPMorgan Chase Co. for $1.9 billion.

* * *

JPMorgan Chase said it was not acquiring any senior unsecured debt, subordinated debt, and preferred stock of WaMu’s banks, or any assets or liabilities of the holding company, Washington Mutual Inc. JPMorgan also said it will not take on the lawsuits facing the holding company.

Notice that they say NOTHING about WaMu’s senior SECURED debt, which Chase is no doubt devouring whole like the rapacious vultures that they are…

JPMorgan Chase said the acquisition will give it 5,400 branches in 23 states, and that it plans to close less than 10 percent of the two companies’ branches.

Let this sink into your brain for a moment.

They’re aquiring none of its liabilities and all of its assets for a mere $1.9 billion dollars.

$1,900,000,000 divided by 5400 branches is approximately $351, 851.85.

That’s an entire fucking branch of a commercial bank for less than the price of a one family semi-attached home in a middle class neighborhood in NYC! PLUS – they’re most definitely getting all their secured assets for pennies on the dollar as a bonus – no doubt worth billions!

But that’s not all – they get all of WaMu’s deposits!!!

They get EVERYTHING worth anything and to top it off – they’re “buying” all this using OPM (other people’s money)!

After all, Chase is a BANK too!

Their so-called money is OUR deposits! that they force US to guarantee!!! (see the FDIC!!!)

What does this all mean?

This comes as no surprise to those of us who understand what the game is all about.

If on the other hand, your head is spinning from watching these so-called ‘financial giants’ drop like flies one after another, the following sentence goes a long way to explain it all…

The seizure by the government means shareholders’ equity in WaMu was wiped out. The deal leaves private equity investors including the firm TPG Capital, which gave WaMu a cash infusion totaling $7 billion this spring, on the sidelines empty handed.

The moneylenders have won again.

Anyone and everyone who assumes risk in the market – i.e., the average working Joe – gets wiped out, while moneylenders get their money PLUS interest (ten times over) GUARANTEED.

Herein lies both the problem and its solution.

Nothing will change unless and until Americans and the world learn that the misallocation of risk created by the private creation of fiat dollars and the accompanying extortion of interest on this monopoly money is the root cause of our financial problems.

China banks told to halt lending to US banks

China banks told to halt lending to US banks

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.

“The decree appears to be Beijing’s first attempt to erect defences against the deepening U.S. financial meltdown after the mainland’s major lenders reported billions of U.S. dollars in exposure to the credit crisis,” the SCMP said.

A spokesman for the CBRC had no immediate comment.

Tribesmen chase Taliban out of Jamrud area

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Tribesmen chase Taliban out of Jamrud area

Updated at  
Friday, September 26, 2008

By Qaiser Khan Afridi

PESHAWAR: A tribal Lashkar comprising more than 3,000 armed volunteers on Thursday set all the three main Taliban hideouts on fire after chasing the militants associated with the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) out of their area in Jamrud Tehsil of the Khyber Agency.

The Mullagori tribesmen claimed to have taken control of the hideouts after an exchange of fire, in which they also arrested five Taliban, three of them who were wounded. They also captured three vehicles of the militants, torching one of them and handing over the other two vehicles to the political administration.

The decision to burn down militant positions was taken in the second round of Jirga headed by Haji Abdul Manan at Marble Chowk where armed tribesmen from all the sub-tribes of the Mullagori were present. The elders leading their sub-tribes were Malak Imdad, Malak Fazle Mullah, Haji Bacha Gul, Rozi Gul and Haji Aziz.

“Yes, we successfully purged the area of the militants. Had we not evicted them from the area, the military would have launched an operation which would have taken the lives of hundreds of innocent people, as is the case in other areas,” Haji Abdul Manan, the head of the Jirga, told The News.

He said they had torched all the three hideouts, Murad Danda, Zaga mountain and Tora Topai, after a gun-battle for almost one-and-a-half hour. “There were some 80 armed militants who could not face our 3,000 armed volunteers,” he said and vowed that in future, such elements would not be allowed to carry out activities in Mullagori area.

He went on to say that the Jirga had warned the local tribesmen against sheltering Taliban and those violating the Jirga decision would be expelled from the agency and their homes would be demolished. Further, he said the Jirga had also decided to impose Rs 1 million fine on those found violating the verdict.

During the gun-battle, the tribesmen had to suffer loss of millions of rupees, he said, adding that now they would provide support to the government against the militants. “It is our moral and religious obligation to defend our area and not to let anyone sabotage the peace of Mullagori,” Manan asserted.

Meanwhile, 15 police vehicles cordoned off the settled area from Shagai to Warsak to prevent the movement of Taliban. Reports said some of the Taliban moved to the Mohmand Agency, while others shifted to Mathra village in city suburbs.

On Wednesday, the Mullagori tribe gave an ultimatum to the militants to vacate the area in order to avoid military operation and shedding blood of innocent people, but that could not bore positive results.

Posted in Uncategorized

HAVE THE PEOPLE FINALLY BEEN HEARD? House Dems Shelve Iran ‘Naval Blockade’ Bill

HAVE THE PEOPLE FINALLY BEEN HEARD?

DID WE MAKE THIS DIFFERENCE?

House Dems Shelve Iran ‘Naval Blockade’ Bill for Now


Posted September 25, 2008

According to the Washington Times the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has shelved H.R. 362, fearing that the resolution would provoke a war with Iran.

The bill, authored by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D – NY), urged the President, among other things, to prevent Iran from importing any refined petroleum products and demanded that he initiate an international effort to inspect “all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.” Though non-binding, the resolution is essentially urging a naval blockade against Iran – an act of war according to international law.

The bill was introduced on May 22, one day after the story broke that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) to impose a naval blockade on Iran as a way of stopping its uranium enrichment program. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has endorsed the bill as a way to “stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

Rep. Ackerman claims the bill “is a way to avoid war by using diplomatic, political and economic tools.” He also intends to resubmit the bill for the next Congress, and vowed to have even more signatures then. The current incarnation of the bill had 270 co-sponsors, but the Washington Times reports that several of the original co-sponsors have since withdrawn their signatures.

Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the “Homeland”?

Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that “beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North” — “the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.” The article details:

They’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body”. . . .

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

For more than 100 years — since the end of the Civil War — deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the “War on Drugs”), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored — until now. And as the Army Times notes, once this particular brigade completes its one-year assignment, “expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.”After Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration began openly agitating for what would be, in essence, a complete elimination of the key prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act in order to allow the President to deploy U.S. military forces inside the U.S. basically at will — and, as usual, they were successful as a result of rapid bipartisan compliance with the Leader’s demand (the same kind of compliance that is about to foist a bailout package on the nation). This April, 2007 article by James Bovard in The American Conservative detailed the now-familiar mechanics that led to the destruction of this particular long-standing democratic safeguard:

The Defense Authorization Act of 2006, passed on Sept. 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist “incident,” if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of “public order,” or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations. . . .It only took a few paragraphs in a $500 billion, 591-page bill to raze one of the most important limits on federal power. Congress passed the Insurrection Act in 1807 to severely restrict the president’s ability to deploy the military within the United States. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 tightened these restrictions, imposing a two-year prison sentence on anyone who used the military within the U.S. without the express permission of Congress. But there is a loophole: Posse Comitatus is waived if the president invokes the Insurrection Act.

Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from “Insurrection Act” to “Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition” — and such “condition” is not defined or limited. . . .

The story of how Section 1076 became law vivifies how expanding government power is almost always the correct answer in Washington. Some people have claimed the provision was slipped into the bill in the middle of the night. In reality, the administration clearly signaled its intent and almost no one in the media or Congress tried to stop it . . . .

Section 1076 was supported by both conservatives and liberals. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, co-wrote the provision along with committee chairman Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Sen. Ted Kennedy openly endorsed it, and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was an avid proponent. . . .

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned on Sept. 19 that “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law,” but his alarm got no response. Ten days later, he commented in the Congressional Record: “Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy.” Leahy further condemned the process, declaring that it “was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.”

As is typical, very few members of the media even mentioned any of this, let alone discussed it (and I failed to give this the attention it deserved at the time), but Congressional Quarterly‘s Jeff Stein wrote an excellent article at the time detailing the process and noted that “despite such a radical turn, the new law garnered little dissent, or even attention, on the Hill.” Stein also noted that while “the blogosphere, of course, was all over it . . . a search of The Washington Post and New York Times archives, using the terms ‘Insurrection Act,’ ‘martial law’ and ‘Congress,’ came up empty.”Bovard and Stein both noted that every Governor — including Republicans — joined in Leahy’s objections, as they perceived it as a threat from the Federal Government to what has long been the role of the National Guard. But those concerns were easily brushed aside by the bipartisan majorities in Congress, eager — as always — to grant the President this radical new power.

The decision this month to permanently deploy a U.S. Army brigade inside the U.S. for purely domestic law enforcement purposes is the fruit of the Congressional elimination of the long-standing prohibitions in Posse Comitatus (although there are credible signs that even before Congress acted, the Bush administration secretly decided it possessed the inherent power to violate the Act). It shouldn’t take any efforts to explain why the permanent deployment of the U.S. military inside American cities, acting as the President’s police force, is so disturbing. Bovard:

“Martial law” is a euphemism for military dictatorship. When foreign democracies are overthrown and a junta establishes martial law, Americans usually recognize that a fundamental change has occurred. . . . Section 1076 is Enabling Act-type legislation—something that purports to preserve law-and-order while formally empowering the president to rule by decree.

The historic importance of the Posse Comitatus prohibition was also well-analyzed here.As the recent militarization of St. Paul during the GOP Convention made abundantly clear, our actual police forces are already quite militarized. Still, what possible rationale is there for permanently deploying the U.S. Army inside the United States — under the command of the President — for any purpose, let alone things such as “crowd control,” other traditional law enforcement functions, and a seemingly unlimited array of other uses at the President’s sole discretion? And where are all of the stalwart right-wing “small government conservatives” who spent the 1990s so vocally opposing every aspect of the growing federal police force? And would it be possible to get some explanation from the Government about what the rationale is for this unprecedented domestic military deployment (at least unprecedented since the Civil War), and why it is being undertaken now?

UPDATE: As this commenter notes, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act somewhat limited the scope of the powers granted by the 2007 Act detailed above (mostly to address constitutional concerns by limiting the President’s powers to deploy the military to suppress disorder that threatens constitutional rights), but President Bush, when signing that 2008 Act into law, issued a signing statement which, though vague, seems to declare that he does not recognize those new limitations.

UPDATE II: There’s no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort. None of that is going to happen with a single brigade and it’s unlikely in the extreme that they’d be announcing these deployments if they had activated any such plans. The point is that the deployment is a very dangerous precedent, quite possibly illegal, and a radical abandonment of an important democratic safeguard. As always with first steps of this sort, the danger lies in how the power can be abused in the future.

– Glenn Greenwald

‘Militants Are Not Taliban, We Are’

‘Militants Are Not Taliban, We Are’

by Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR – The world knows the Taliban as armed fighters who have unleashed a wave of violence in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan including devastating suicide bomb attacks, the most recent on the luxurious Marriot Hotel in high-security Islamabad last week.

But not all Taliban wield guns. In seminaries scattered over the restive, northern parts of Pakistan, students or Taliban – a word in Pashto, the language of Pakistan’s Pakhtoons and Afghanistan’s Pashtuns – study the Quran and swear by peace.

“Yes. I’m proud to be a Talib. Because being Taliban I am able to study Quran and teach it to others,” says 21-year-old Rahimdad from the Darul Uloom Islamia seminary in Khairabad village of Mardan district, 120 kms north of this border city, when asked if he was a Talib (student).

He says he came here from Herat province in Afghanistan a year ago and intends to return when he graduates. “I don’t believe that Taliban are terrorists,” he asserts. “We want to spread the message of love and fraternity among the people of the world.”

His religious teacher, maulvi Zakirullah, also from Afghanistan’s Kunar province, too denies these students are terrorists. “We are against killing of anyone. We don’t favor killing the Americans. Our aim is to spread the message of love among people of all religions,” he tells IPS.

According to Peshawar-based political analyst Khalid Khan, Pakistan’s secretive military intelligence, ISI or Inter Services Intelligence, cobbled together an army by the name of Taliban in 1994, which went on to replace the bitterly-divided and corrupt mujahideen government in Kabul.

Most leaders of the Taliban government were graduates of seminaries in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). They brought most of Afghanistan under their control. But they were toppled by US-led forces in end-2001 in the wake of the World Trade Center bombings on Sep. 11 that precipitated the so-called “war on terror” launched by US President George W. Bush against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Seven years after, Osama bin Laden is still at large, and a resurgent Taliban has defied both the Pakistan and Afghan government, the latter propped up by 70,000 mainly western troops including US soldiers.

The Taliban in Pakistan’s religious schools say the “terrorist” label is unfortunate. “We don’t understand why the government calls the militants Taliban. Militants are not Taliban, we are,” says Shumaila Bibi, 19, who is veiled from head to toe. A student of Ummi Hafsa Darul Uloom, in Nowshera district, NWFP, she says they are taught to love humanity regardless of religion, caste and social status.

Says 17-year-old Nawaz, an Afghan who studies at Kosar seminary near Peshawar: “We condemn the blast in Marriot Hotel. Islam is against killing people. Those who do it will be held accountable on judgement day.”

Senator Maulana Samiul Haq is chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, the biggest religious seminary in Pakistan. He says there are 3,500 students in the seminary and “they are peaceful and apolitical. It is incidental that some of the former graduates of my school have held top posts in the Taliban government in Kabul.”

Even the NWFP Information Minister, Iftikhar Hussain, backs the students. “The present crisis is not the handiwork of Taliban, but of secret agencies, that present the militants and criminals as Taliban,” he tells IPS. “Taliban don’t know guns, they are preoccupied with their studies, and examinations. They are so simple.”

Local communities support these students. Meals and clothes are given in charity. They are invited to people’s homes for religious festivities. Wali Shah, a college student in Dir, says: “Taliban play football, cricket and other local games in the evenings. Lots of people turn up to watch!”

According to a 2007 report compiled by the School and Literacy Department, there were 287 religious schools in Dir district with 8,421 students, both from Pakistan and Afghanistan. “We have 700 Taliban, who are studying jurisprudence, Quran and Hadith. They attend classes in the morning and then go back to different mosques where they reside,” says Maulana Mohammad Shakoor.

The number of religious schools countrywide has risen from 245 in 1947 to 6,741 in 2007. The province of Punjab accounts for 3,153 seminaries; NWFP 1,281, Sindh 905, Balochistan 692, Azad Kashmir 151, Islamabad 94, Northern Areas 185 and FATA 300.

The same report says only 22 percent of the schools were registered with the government. The NWFP has 3,795 male and 885 female teachers in 1,281 religious schools, 30 percent of whom are Afghans.

“Taliban are entirely apolitical. They neither listen to news nor read newspapers,” says Amjad Iqbal of Village Development Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Bannu district. He says the Taliban also give religious lessons to local children in the mosques for which they are paid a nominal amount.

Saira Bibi, a school teacher in Swabi district, which has 253 religious schools, tells IPS Taliban are highly respected by the local population. “We give free food, clothes, shoes and cash amounts to seek the blessings of Allah. Taliban are the messengers of Islam. They are the harbingers of peace,” she explains.