American Resistance To Empire

Bernanke makes it official. We are Japan.

Bernanke makes it official. We are Japan.

Commentary: Race to zero didn’t work then, won’t work now

By David Callaway, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:01 p.m. EDT Oct. 29, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — It’s official. We are Japan.
At least when it comes to monetary policy. The Federal Reserve’s decision to slash interest rates by a half percentage point to 1% on Wednesday to help boost the economy was snubbed by the stock market, even though it had demanded the cut like a petulant child for more than two weeks. See full story
There was nothing the Fed could do, and it’s likely the European Central Bank will fall in line next week, as well as the Bank of Japan on Friday. Central bankers know they need to show coordination and the ability to do something — anything — in the teeth of this bear market.
But Bernanke is quickly running out of monetary bullets, with the risk of having to take the extraordinary step of someday lowering interest rates to zero just a bank run or two away right now. Japan, which spent five unproductive years at zero between 2001 and 2006 before boosting to a half percentage point, is now talking about a quarter point cut and possibly a return to zero, even though it didn’t work last time. See full story.
The economic theory behind zero rates, called quantitative monetary easing — a term so heinous it isn’t recognized by my computer’s spell check — allows a central bank to run monetary policy by focusing on money supply instead of the cost of the money, i.e. interest rates.
It also means that Joe the Plumber and his elderly parents would get nothing on their savings account or certificates of deposit, which so many people depend on for their fixed-income lifestyles. How’s that for an invitation to go out and spend?
Arguably, it was a dramatic easing of interest rates after the tech bubble collapsed that plunked us into the systemic soup in the first place, allowing people to take out mortgages at ridiculous rates and Wall Street to make a killing by packaging the mortgages and playing various rates off each other. But it won’t work this time around. Nobody’s lending, and nobody is borrowing.
Next week, we’ll find out how many Americans bought new cars in October. Estimates vary, but it’s likely to be about the same number of people who attend a Sen. Ted Stevens rally this weekend. Some analysts predict it will be the worst month ever for the automakers, with sales falling between 30% and 50% year over year.
Why combining General Motors Corp. (GM:

General Motors Corporation
Last: 6.66-0.10-1.49%
12:49pm 10/30/2008
Delayed quote data

Sponsored by:

GM 6.66, -0.10, -1.5%) and Chrysler, other than to get private equity firm Cerberus off the hook, is considered a good way to sell more cars is beyond me. Even if people wanted to buy, they can’t get the financing.

That brings us to the major problem the Federal Reserve and the Treasury face if they want to get this bailout out of the showroom. They have to get the banks to start lending the money they’ve been given by the taxpayers. Hoarding the cash, waiting for another wave of bad loans to come as the economy gets worse, just feeds the bear.
Congress is right to be concerned about this, and to force the Treasury to press Wall Street and the banks to get lending again. Instead of freaking out about banker bonuses, just tie the bonuses to how much money their institutions lend, not how much they make. Yes, over-lending got us into this mess, but the global economic engine remains stalled, and needs to be jump started.
Interest rates at 1.5%, or 1%, or zero aren’t going to do that for us. I suspect even Ben Bernanke realizes that by now. It’s time to start cracking heads.
Big pension funds and young investors might be able to wait the months or years it might take for the stock market to come back, but for many Americans, it’s not about whether to sell or hold stocks now. It’s about getting enough cash to make payments at the end of this month, tomorrow. Just ask the poor savers whose money is still tied up in The Reserve Fund, the money market fund that froze assets last month after a run. See New York Times story.
Americans are going into this election next week as angry as they’ve been in a long time. Bankers, politicians and economists would be wise not to mess with them. End of Story

David Callaway is editor-in-chief of MarketWatch.

CIA allowed concealing torture documents

CIA allowed concealing torture documents
Thu, 30 Oct 2008 03:12:52 GMT

The CIA can hide statements made by the terror suspects that the spy agency has tortured in its secret prisons, a federal judge has ruled.

Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the Washington D.C. Circuit Court declined to review torture allegations from men held in the CIA’s prisons-because it could put the nation at risk of grave danger if allowed to be made public.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it filed in March, a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, which decide if prisoners at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, qualify as “enemy combatants.”

The judge’s decision not to look at the allegations to see if secrets are involved allows the Bush Administration to continue to hide its use of torture techniques, according to Ben Wizner, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project.

“The government has suppressed these detainees’ allegations of brutal torture not to protect any legitimate national security interests, but to protect itself from criticism and liability,” Wizner said.

The US government has come under scathing criticism for allowing interrogation techniques that at best border on torture to be used on terrorist suspects detained indefinitely at US prisons in Guantanamo, Iraq and other places.

The Triumph of Ignorance

The Triumph of Ignorance

Posted October 28, 2008

Why morons succeed in US politics.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 28th October 2008

How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind’s closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist?(1)

Like most people on this side of the Atlantic I have spent my adult life mystified by American politics. The US has the world’s best universities and attracts the world’s finest minds. It dominates discoveries in science and medicine. Its wealth and power depend on the application of knowledge. Yet, uniquely among the developed nations (with the possible exception of Australia), learning is a grave political disadvantage.

There have been exceptions over the past century: Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton tempered their intellectualism with the common touch and survived; but Adlai Stevenson, Al Gore and John Kerry were successfully tarred by their opponents as members of a cerebral elite (as if this were not a qualification for the presidency). Perhaps the defining moment in the collapse of intelligent politics was Ronald Reagan’s response to Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential debate. Carter – stumbling a little, using long words – carefully enumerated the benefits of national health insurance. Reagan smiled and said “there you go again”(2). His own health programme would have appalled most Americans, had he explained it as carefully as Carter had done, but he had found a formula for avoiding tough political issues and making his opponents look like wonks.

It wasn’t always like this. The founding fathers of the republic – men like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton – were among the greatest thinkers of their age. They felt no need to make a secret of it. How did the project they launched degenerate into George W Bush and Sarah Palin?

On one level this is easy to answer. Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people. US education, like the US health system, is notorious for its failures. In the most powerful nation on earth, one adult in five believes the sun revolves around the earth; only 26% accept that evolution takes place by means of natural selection; two-thirds of young adults are unable to find Iraq on a map; two-thirds of US voters cannot name the three branches of government; the maths skills of 15 year-olds in the US are ranked 24th out of the 29 countries of the OECD(3).

But this merely extends the mystery: how did so many US citizens become so dumb, and so suspicious of intelligence? Susan Jacoby’s book The Age of American Unreason provides the fullest explanation I have read so far. She shows that the degradation of US politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies.

One theme is both familiar and clear: religion – in particular fundamentalist religion – makes you stupid. The US is the only rich country in which Christian fundamentalism is vast and growing.

Jacoby shows that there was once a certain logic to its anti-rationalism. During the first few decades after the publication of The Origin of Species, for example, Americans had good reason to reject the theory of natural selection and to treat public intellectuals with suspicion. From the beginning, Darwin’s theory was mixed up in the US with the brutal philosophy – now known as Social Darwinism – of the British writer Herbert Spencer. Spencer’s doctrine, promoted in the popular press with the help of funding from Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Thomas Edison, suggested that millionaires stood at the top of a scala natura established by evolution. By preventing unfit people from being weeded out, government intervention weakened the nation. Gross economic inequalities were both justifiable and necessary(4).

Darwinism, in other words, became indistinguishable to the public from the most bestial form of laissez-faire economics. Many Christians responded with revulsion. It is profoundly ironic that the doctrine rejected a century ago by such prominent fundamentalists as William Jennings Bryan is now central to the economic thinking of the Christian right. Modern fundamentalists reject the science of Darwinian evolution and accept the pseudoscience of Social Darwinism.

But there were other, more powerful, reasons for the intellectual isolation of the fundamentalists. The US is peculiar in devolving the control of education to local authorities. Teaching in the southern states was dominated by the views of an ignorant aristocracy of planters, and a great educational gulf opened up. “In the South”, Jacoby writes, “what can only be described as an intellectual blockade was imposed in order to keep out any ideas that might threaten the social order.”(5)

The Southern Baptist Convention, now the biggest Protestant denomination in the US, was to slavery and segregation what the Dutch Reformed Church was to apartheid in South Africa. It has done more than any other force to keep the South stupid. In the 1960s it tried to stave off desegregation by establishing a system of private Christian schools and universities. A student can now progress from kindergarten to a higher degree without any exposure to secular teaching. Southern Baptist beliefs pass intact through the public school system as well. A survey by researchers at the University of Texas in 1998 found that one in four of the state’s public school biology teachers believed that humans and dinosaurs lived on earth at the same time(6).

This tragedy has been assisted by the American fetishisation of self-education. Though he greatly regretted his lack of formal teaching, Abraham Lincoln’s career is repeatedly cited as evidence that good education, provided by the state, is unnecessary: all that is required to succeed is determination and rugged individualism. This might have served people well when genuine self-education movements, like the one built around the Little Blue Books in the first half of the 20th century, were in vogue. In the age of infotainment it is a recipe for confusion.

Besides fundamentalist religion, perhaps the most potent reason why intellectuals struggle in elections is that intellectualism has been equated with subversion. The brief flirtation of some thinkers with communism a long time ago has been used to create an impression in the public mind that all intellectuals are communists. Almost every day men like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly rage against the “liberal elites” destroying America.

The spectre of pointy-headed alien subversives was crucial to the election of Reagan and Bush. A genuine intellectual elite – like the neocons (some of them former communists) surrounding Bush – has managed to pitch the political conflict as a battle between ordinary Americans and an over-educated pinko establishment. Any attempt to challenge the ideas of the rightwing elite has been successfully branded as elitism.

Obama has a good deal to offer America, but none of this will come to an end if he wins. Until the great failures of the US education system are reversed or religious fundamentalism withers there will be political opportunities for people, like Bush and Palin, who flaunt their ignorance.


1. For a staggering display of ignorance and bigotry, see:

2. You can see this exchange at

3. All these facts are contained in Susan Jacoby, 2008. The Age of American Unreason: dumbing down and the future of democracy. Old Street Publishing, London.

4. Susan Jacoby, ibid. Chapter 3.

5. Susan Jacoby, ibid. Page 57.

6. Susan Jacoby, ibid. Page 25.

Hatred of America unites the world

Hatred of America unites the world

By Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph

Being hated is no fun. Few of us are like those pantomime villains who glory in the hisses and boos of an audience. And few people hate being hated more than Americans. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked the plaintive question: “Why do they hate us?” and another for each of the different answers I’ve heard. It’s because of our foreign policy. It’s because of their extremism. It’s because of our arrogance. It’s because of their inferiority complex. Americans really hate not knowing why they’re hated.

The best explanation is in fact the simplest. Being hated is what happens to dominant empires. It comes – sometimes literally – with the territory. George Orwell knew the feeling. As a young man he served as an assistant police superintendent in British-run Burma, an experience he memorably described in his essay “Shooting an Elephant”. Called upon to kill a rogue pachyderm that had run amok, Orwell was suddenly aware “of the watchful yellow faces behind” him:

“The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh.”

Eric Blair, as Orwell was known then, could scarcely have been better prepared for his role as a colonial official. Born in Bengal, the son of a colonial civil servant, he had been educated at Eton, where boys learn not to worry much about being hated. Yet even he found the resentment of the natives hard to bear: “In the end the sneering… faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves … [It] was perplexing and upsetting.”

That’s a feeling American soldiers in Baghdad must know pretty well. How does that old Randy Newman song go? “No one likes us – I don’t know why. / We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try.”

But who hates Americans the most? You might assume that it’s people in countries that the United States has recently attacked or threatened to attack. Americans themselves are clear about who their principal enemies are. Asked by Gallup to name the “greatest enemy” of the United States today, 26 per cent of those polled named Iran, 21 per cent named Iraq and 18 per cent named North Korea. Incidentally, that represents quite a success for George W. Bush’s concept of the “Axis of Evil”. Six years ago, only 8 per cent named Iran and only 2 per cent North Korea.

Are those feelings of antagonism reciprocated? Up to a point. According to a poll by Gallup’s Centre for Muslim Studies, 52 per cent of Iranians have an unfavourable view of the United States. But that figure is down from 63 per cent in 2001. And it’s significantly lower than the degree of antipathy towards the United States felt in Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Two thirds of Jordanians and Pakistanis have a negative view of the United States and a staggering 79 per cent of Saudis. Sentiment has also turned hostile in Lebanon, where 59 per cent of people now have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, compared with just 41 per cent a year ago. No fewer than 84 per cent of Lebanese Shiites say they have a very unfavourable view of Uncle Sam.

These figures suggest a paradox in the Muslim world. It’s not America’s enemies who hate the United States most, it’s people in countries that are supposed to be America’s friends, if not allies.

The paradox doesn’t end there. The Gallup poll (which surveyed 10,000 Muslims in 10 different countries) also revealed that the wealthier and better-educated Muslims are, the more likely they are to be politically radical. So if you ever believed that anti-Western sentiment was an expression of poverty and deprivation, think again. Even more perplexingly, Islamists are more supportive of democracy than Muslim moderates. Those who imagined that the Middle East could be stabilised with a mixture of economic and political reform could not have been more wrong. The richer these people get, the more they favour radical Islamism. And they see democracy as a way of putting the radicals into power.

The paradox of unfriendly allies is not confined to the Middle East. Last week was not a good week for Americanophiles in Europe. Tony Blair announced British troop withdrawals from southern Iraq, an unfortunate signal on the eve of the American “surge”. Meanwhile, in Rome, his counterpart Romano Prodi had to resign because his coalition partners would not agree either to keep Italian troops in Afghanistan or to enlarge a US military base at Vicenza. Anti-Americanism is nothing new in European politics, to be sure, particularly on the Left. But there is something novel going on here, which extends to traditionally pro-American constituencies.

Back in 1999, 83 per cent of British people surveyed by the State Department Office of Research said that they had a favourable opinion of the United States. But by 2006, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, that proportion had fallen to 56 per cent. British respondents to the Pew surveys now give higher favourability ratings to Germany (75 per cent) and Japan (69 per cent) than to the United States – a remarkable transformation in attitudes, given the notorious British tendency to look back both nostalgically and unforgivingly to the Second World War. It’s also very striking that Britons recently polled by Pew regard the US presence in Iraq as a bigger threat to world peace than Iran or North Korea (a view which is shared by respondents in France, Spain, Russia, India, China and throughout the Middle East).

Nor is Britain the only disillusioned ally. Perhaps not surprisingly, two thirds of Americans believe that their country’s foreign policy considers the interests of others. But this view is shared by only 38 per cent of Germans and 19 per cent of Canadians. More than two thirds of Germans surveyed in 2004 believed that American leaders wilfully lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction prior to the previous year’s invasion, while a remarkable 60 per cent expressed the view that America’s true motive was “to control Middle Eastern oil”. Nearly half (47 per cent) said it was “to dominate the world”.

The truly poignant fact is that when Americans themselves are asked to rate foreign countries, they express the most favourable views of none other than Britain, Germany and Canada.

Back in the 1990s, Madeleine Albright pompously called the United States “the indispensable nation”. Today it seems to have become the indefensible nation, even in the eyes of its supposed friends.

There are, admittedly, a few scraps of good news in the international polls. Very few Europeans, for example, would welcome China’s becoming a serious military rival to the United States. There is overwhelming European opposition to Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons. And there is a surprising amount of hostility towards the Palestinian radicals of Hamas in both France and Germany. But look again at some of America’s supposed allies. One in four Indians, two out of five Egyptians and one out of every two Pakistanis favour a nuclear-armed Iran. A third of Britons, half of all Indians and three quarters of Egyptians welcomed the success of Hamas in last year’s Palestinian elections.

Orwell would have understood. Just as it was the educated beneficiaries of British rule in Asia who were the most strident anti-imperialists in Orwell’s day, so the British Empire’s most natural allies – France and the United States – were anything but Anglophile. For it turns out that power not only corrupts, as Lord Acton famously observed, it also tends to isolate.

It’s not for nothing that they say it’s lonely at the top.



by Alan Stang

As I write, little more than a week remains before E-Day, on which most Americans will vote. Nerves are being fearfully wracked. Even people who are usually somnolent say they can’t take the stress. There is a real danger that, unaddressed, the frustration of choosing between a Communist illegal alien raised by a Communist sex pervert and a POW traitor who is a Soviet front man could lead to an epidemic of Acid Reflux Disease or even an outbreak of Restless Leg Syndrome.

The purpose of this modest piece is to reassure you. Stop tormenting yourself. Further self-flagellation is pointless. Your next President has already been selected. Didn’t you know? Sure, go ahead and vote if you like, if you have nothing else to do, if you don’t mind standing in long lines between Obamatron morons and McCrud zombies, but enjoy the reassurance of knowing that the powers above Ponzi Paulson and Helicopter Ben Bernanke and Co. have already made their choice.

He is Zbigniew Brzezinski. What? Who? Is this some kind of Polish joke? Sadly, it is not. The lustiest enjoyer of Polish jokes in my experience was a remarkably gorgeous Polish lady I knew many years ago in the Bay Area. Every couple of years, I would come through on a speaking tour and she would press me for the latest Polish jokes I had heard. Again Zbigniew Brzezinski is not one of them. He is not just a victim of partial vowel deprivation.

In 1970, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote a book entitled Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York, Viking Press). Let’s browse through it to find out what Zbigniew is. Zbig dedicates the book to Ian, Mark and Mika, his kids. A nice touch, don’t you think? He’s a family man. Starting on page 72 of my Penguin edition, he explains “why Marxism represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision.”

Marxism is “a victory of reason over belief. . . . To a greater extent than any previous mode of political thinking, Marxism puts a premium on the systematic and rigorous examination of material reality and on guides to action derived from that examination.” In other words, Marxism is a better system than our own. Marxism examines material reality and recommends action better than does the U.S. Constitution.

Page 83: Marxism “represented a major advance in man’s ability to conceptualize his relationship to his world.” It carried “an essentially ethical message.” It “was derived from a totally rational method of inquiry.” P. 123: Marxism “provided a unique intellectual tool for understanding and harnessing the fundamental forces of our time. . . . [I]t supplied the best available insight into contemporary reality; it infused political action with strong ethical elements . . . .”

By the way, as you see, I am making it easy for you. I am digging out the juicy nuggets. They are embedded in a prose the pompous turgidity of which recalls Isabel Paterson’s comment that the writing of John Foster Dulles compels the eyeball to rebound from the page. Subjecting the normal mind to such an aberration should be punished as a war crime or at least a species of torture.

I honestly believe that were we to strap your eyeballs to Zbigniew’s prose, you would run screaming from the premises, unless we had prudently tied you to a chair. The next time you feel like complaining about something you see in my columns, about my language or some joke, please remember that I am providing this onerous service at no extra charge.

Zbig Brother even excuses Stalin’s purges and mass murders. Page 134ff: “Yet though Stalinism may have been a needless tragedy for both the Russian people and communism as an ideal, there is the intellectually tantalizing possibility that for the world at large it was, as we shall see, a blessing in disguise. . . .” What? Yes. You see, “the internal violence employed by Stalin . . . had a restraining effect on unbridled nationalism.”

But isn’t Zbig today fanatically opposed to the continuing Soviet Union? Yes, he is, but not because he opposes Marxism. As we have seen, he is a lifelong Marxist. He opposes the Soviets precisely because he loves Marxism so much. He believes the Communists have misused it. He believes that he, Zbigniew Brzezinski, could impose it correctly, the way old Karl himself would have done it.

Enter David Rockefeller. David is a confessed traitor, a conspirator who is working in a secret cabal to destroy the United States. What? David Rockefeller? How do we know that? In 2002, Random House, in New York, published his Memoirs. Remember, this is not someone accusing him of something. This is David Rockefeller himself talking on page 405:

For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

Because this sleazy extrusion of an unmarried female canine is a traitor – because he loves totalitarianism – he was naturally attracted to lifelong Marxist Zbigniew Brzezinski. Zbig became David’s prime minister. In 1973, under David’s direction, Zbig formed the Trilateral Commission, which is the foreign ministry of the Council on Foreign Relations, a preeminent founder of which was Marxist Edward M. House.

Both these groups work tirelessly to promote world government, which would mean the abolition of our own. Remember, the United States government and world government are mutually exclusive. You can’t have them both at the same time. If you are working for the latter, you are trying to destroy the former.

In 1976, Zbig and David literally interviewed dour peanut farmer Jimmy Carter at David’s Tarrytown estate. They liked what they heard and installed Democrat Jimmy as President of the United States. From the beginning, Jimmy was a Rockefeller factotum. Zbig Brother was his National Security Adviser. Jimmy came close to wrecking our economy. Okay, but what does all this have to do with the 2008 campaign?

In the 2000 campaign, Zbigniew Brzezinski, lifelong Marxist, was foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain, who said this: “I am honored that Zbigniew Brzezinski will join my foreign policy team. As a former national security adviser and a highly respected foreign policy expert, his broad experience makes him an invaluable asset to my team.” So Zbig went from Democrat Jimmy to Republican John. Remember that at the top – above the candidates – you have one party with two branches.

What about this year? This year, Zbig is back, running foreign policy for Hussein. Indeed, remember Mark, son of Zbig? Mark was one of the sons to whom Zbig dedicated Between Two Ages in 1970. Mark is all grown up now and shaving. Can you imagine? Mark is foreign policy adviser to Senator Hussein. So who is foreign policy adviser to Senator McCain this year? The envelope please! El Senador Juan McCain’s foreign policy adviser this year is Ian Brzezinski, the other Zbigniew son.

That is correct. Lifelong Marxist Zbigniew Brzezinski – David Rockefeller’s Prime Minister – controls both sides of the forthcoming charade through his sons. Again, you can relax. It really makes no difference who wins. The only difference will be a difference in style, a difference in personality, natural differences peculiar to us all. Remember, David Rockefeller admits, boasts, that he and his family exercise inordinate influence over the United States. This is how he does it.

Do you need to know anything more to understand that a literal conspiracy controls both main political parties, and that at the top – above the candidates – both parties are the same? What was that you said about “change?” Remember, Zbig ran foreign policy for McCain in the 2000 campaign. This year, Hussein is just as much a factotum of Goldman Sachs and other instrumentalities of world government as McCain.

Notice that our Communist media say nothing about this. They understand perfectly well that if they sass David Rockefeller they could lose their jobs. So they specialize in arguing about lesser fry. So, sure, vote next week, but do so with the assurance that it makes no difference; that the conspiracy for world government has already chosen our next President. He is Rockefeller prime minister and Marxist Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Long live Zbig Brother!





 CIA led mystery Syria raid that killed terrorist leader

By Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — A CIA-led raid on a compound in eastern Syria killed an al Qaida in Iraq commander who oversaw the smuggling into Iraq of foreign fighters whose attacks claimed thousands of Iraqi and American lives, three U.S. officials said Monday.

The body of Badran Turki Hishan al Mazidih, an Iraqi national who used the nom de guerre Abu Ghadiya, was flown out of Syria on a U.S. helicopter at the end of the operation Sunday by CIA paramilitary officers and special forces, one U.S. official said.

“It was a successful operation,” a second U.S. official told McClatchy. “The bottom line: This was a significant blow to the foreign fighter pipeline between Syria and Iraq.”

A senior U.S. military officer said the raid was launched after human and technical intelligence confirmed that al Mazidih was present at the compound close to Syria’s border with Iraq. “The situation finally presented itself,” he said.

The three U.S. officials, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity because the operation was classified, declined to reveal other details of the raid. A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

The senior military officer said that U.S. intelligence had been tracking al Mazidih for some time, and that “the more we learned about him and how he works” the higher he rose on the U.S. most-wanted list.

“He is the guy who produced the most prolific of the foreign fighters networks,” said the first U.S. official, adding that the extremists he smuggled into Iraq were responsible for attacks that “killed thousands of Iraqis and our own U.S. forces.”

On Feb. 28, the Treasury Department announced a freeze on any U.S. assets belonging to al Mazidih and three of his associates, charging that they were smuggling “money, weapons, terrorists, and other resources through Syria to al Qaida in Iraq, including to (al Qaida) commanders.”

The Treasury Department announcement identified al Mazidih as a Sunni Muslim who was born in the late 1970s in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and was a lieutenant of al Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was killed in 2006. He was believed to be living in the Syrian town of Zabadani.

“Former al Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi appointed Badran (al Mazidih) as the group’s Syrian commander for logistics in 2004,” the Treasury said. “After Zarqawi’s death, Badran began working for the new AQI leader, Abu Ayyub al Masri. As of late-September 2006, Badran took orders directly from Masri, or through a deputy.

“Badran obtained false passports for foreign terrorists, provided passports, weapons, guides, safe houses, and allowances to foreign terrorists in Syria and those preparing to cross the border into Iraq,” it said. “As of the spring of 2007, Badran facilitated the movement of AQI operatives into Iraq via the Syrian border. Badran also directed another Syria-based AQI facilitator to provide safe haven and supplies to foreign fighters,” the Treasury said. “This AQI facilitator, working directly for Badran, facilitated the movement of foreign fighters primarily from Gulf countries, through Syria into Iraq.”

The Bush administration, which for years has expressed frustration over what it charges have been Syria’s lackluster efforts to stop foreign Islamic fighters from crossing into Iraq, refused to publicly acknowledge the operation.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether an order that President Bush signed in July allowing U.S. commandos from Afghanistan to attack a suspected terrorist base in Pakistan also authorized cross-border operations in other countries.

Pentagon officials were tight-lipped about the operation. But they were quick to defend the decision to cross the border, with one saying that if nations that sponsor terrorist networks won’t go after them, “we will.”

The raid into Syria on Sunday has ignited a major diplomatic storm, with Iran joining in Syria’s condemnation of the U.S.

The Syrian government charged that eight civilians, including four children, died in what it described as a daylight attack on al Sukkari farm in eastern Syria by U.S. forces that flew across the border from Iraq in four helicopters.

“The Americans do it in the daylight. This means it was not a mistake. It is by blunt determination,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem charged Monday at a news conference in London. “For that, we consider this criminal and terrorist aggression.”

The Syrian Foreign Ministry Monday summoned Maura Connelly, the ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus, to receive an official protest, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

The Iraqi government defended the raid. Government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh said that Syria had refused to hand over foreign fighters who’d taken refuge there after killing 13 Iraqi border guards.

However, al Dabbagh said, a proposed accord governing the status of U.S. forces in Iraq “will limit this type of operation. It will limit the United States from using Iraqi land to attack others.”

“universal soldiers” and “Manchurian candidates”

vinmandev left the following comment on the Educate Yourself- Mind Control The Ultimate Terror, “OPERATION MONARCH”, link.  It is like several others that have come in here through the comments.  There are a lot of survivors of government mind control abuse out there waiting to tell their stories.  Obviously there are a lot of scrambled brains in this group and their attempts to explain their experiences fail.  But this testimony of

speaks clearly about what our government does on a daily basis to get its troops  to slaughter civilians without completely losing their minds in the process.  When these “universal soldiers” and “Manchurian candidates” are set free upon the United states to enforce martial law, do not count on them to act on their humanity and show you and your family mercy, expect the worst.  Please read Vin mandev’s confession for your family’s sake.

There is such a program being administered by the DOD via the military. In 1986, while serving in the military, I participated in a psychological conditioning program that was administered at NAS Cecil Field, in Jacksonville, Florida. I was given electro-shock therapy and some unknown drug therapy, in conjunction with hypnosis. The purpose of all of this was to dampen, or rather dumb down your awareness of your emotional state. You still have reasoning ability, except your ability to understand your “feelings”, or rather understand your “emotional state” was inhibited. When I was “put” into a situation, where any rational person would have “intense fear”, I had none. In fact, in covert combat situations I felt no fear, no anger, and no remorse. I participated in covert combat operations where I was sent into the line of fire with limited understanding of what it meant to die. In fact, I was told that I would not survive my missions. When I was told this, I accepted it matter-of-factly. Having luckly survived my “missions” (because a chosen few in this program, are picked out to be sacrificed for the greater good, which I was told, and had no understanding of what that meant at that time), I actually had my Commander show me a copy of a condolence letter written to my parents, expressing regret at my death in a car accident (cover story if I died). This Commander was a high ranking officer, who basically handed me off to a civilian contractor. These mission were not carried out with the command I was assigned to. I would be escorted to the base airfield, and handed over to a civilian, and place on a plane with soldiers from different branches of the military. I was never given any details about my mission. I would “suit up” and be given “arms” on the plane. Before being “handed off”, I was given some sort of subliminal command that put me in a semi-hypnotic state to receive orders and suggestions. This state of mind had a profound effect on my memory. Before one covert combat mission I can remember being given a drug (via hypodermic) that made my judgement and reasoning ability extremely and acutely sharp. I’m speaking about this now because I recently recovered more memories (I was told my memories would come back, if I did commit suicide first or kill someone and end up in prison). The psychological effects are something else. Your emotional state ends up being like a 4 year old child. Handling your emotional state is the one factor I believe why veterans who were involved in this program don’t completely remember or don’t survive. After years of trying to get the Veterans Administration to treat my PTSD condition (diagnosed 15 years after my discharge, by a VA doctor), and the military to provide access to all of my military records (all I have is a document showing my interim top secret clearance when I was an E-2), I’m pretty pissed off, and ready to talk to anyone about my experiences. I signed a disclosure agreement, but hell, I know that there were 3 attempts on my life (2 while still enlisted, and 1, a month after my discharge), those bastards aren’t helping me medically at all!!

Uniting & fighting back is no longer a choice; it’s a matter of survival

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Uniting & fighting back is no longer a choice; it’s a matter of survival

What Will YOU Do About The Worst Capitalist

Crisis Since The 1930s?

By Larry Holmes

October 28, 2008 — “Workers World” — – Most people have heard that the economic nightmare—the “greed and profits before society” that the capitalist system is plunging us into—is the worst crisis since the so-called Great Depression of the 1930s.

What you won’t get from the capitalist mass media is how the crisis of the 1930s transformed tens of millions of frightened workers and desperately poor people of all races and nationalities into a fighting force organized on the basis of class solidarity in an epic struggle against the capitalists and their government. By the end of the 1930s, it was not the super-rich, but the organized working class that seemed all powerful and unbeatable.

Working and poor people, devastated by the depression, entered the 1930s destitute, broken and hopeless. Yet by the time the decade was over, the working class had won great battles, first by organizing itself into Unemployment Councils and tenants unions and later into giant labor unions.

Social Security, Medicaid, millions of jobs created by giant public works programs and the right to unionize were among the major achievements of the struggles of the 1930s.

With the help of communist activists dedicated to fighting on behalf of the working class, people organized to stop landlords and banks from evicting families from their apartments or homes.

Workers in the auto, steel and many other industries discovered new tactics in their fight to win the right to belong to a labor union. In addition to going on strike, sometimes the workers decided to stay in the plants and factories where they were striking. They took them over until they won their demands.

A leaflet urging people to attend what became one of the most famous mass protests against unemployment in New York City’s Union Square in March 1930 simply read, “Fight or Starve.”

That was one of the biggest lessons that the working class learned during the 1930s— either we push aside all that divides us, and anything that someone can use to divide us like class, and fight like hell or we will not survive.

This lesson is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago. Whether we unite and fight back will be a matter of survival for most of us this time as well. Let there be no doubt: Unless you’re rich, chances are either you will lose your job—some of you already have too little pay—and find it almost impossible to find a job or you will lose a place to live. Many will lose their student loans. Others will lose their pensions and find themselves burdened with debt and no health insurance. Many more of us will be homeless and hungry.

The cultural ideas and norms of recent times—ideas and norms invented and perpetuated by the capitalist system, the billionaires that it serves, their media, their schools, their hierarchy where most of us work and their political system—have not prepared us to act in our own interests in concert with others.

The ideas reinforced every day are that if you fail, it’s your fault alone. The rich are rich because they’re smart. Human nature is innately bad so don’t trust those like you; you’ve got to compete with them. Along with these lies, there is the big one that “things will get better sooner or later” because “this is the greatest country and capitalism is not only the best system, it’s the only one.”

The basic conspiracy afoot here is designed to keep us divided, confined to our own personal worlds, essentially left alone to deal with the crisis and the capitalist class that’s at war with us 24/7.

With the incredible stresses of today, people certainly deserve the right to put their headsets on and zone out to the great music they’ve downloaded on their Ipods. Or veg-out on the several thousand cable stations on their TV (if their cable hasn’t been turned off due to lack of payment). Or spend hours online, which is both social yet isolating at the same time. One can, of course, abuse substances of choice, but ultimately that does more harm than help.

Most people probably think, with good reason, that capitalism’s most effective social control mechanisms are its racist police, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, courts, jails and the Pentagon, all now under the umbrella of “homeland security.”

Obviously government repression is a problem. However, in and of itself, it’s not enough to control the masses or stop us from rebelling.

Equally, if not more effectively, are the ways in which the system works very hard to program us not to unite and fight.

What the system does is a lot like what’s depicted in the movie “The Matrix.” In the real capitalist matrix our comatose bodies are not warehoused somewhere, while our drugged minds stumble around in a computer-generated dream world. Still, the function of the real capitalist matrix is more frightening and diabolical because it’s not a movie.

The capitalist system works hard to keep our political consciousness paralyzed and in a coma in order to make us passive, regimented, disconnected from each other and thereby easier to exploit, which is what the parasitic capitalist system is really all about.

In order to unite and fight for our right to a job and a place to live, to healthcare and education, to all that we need and deserve, we’re going to have to break out of the capitalist matrix. Some will break out before others, but most of us will make it out.

In the movie, Neo is given the choice between the blue pill which equals blissful ignorance, and the red pill which is the path to the truth and to revolutionary action. With every passing day, more and more workers will take the red pill. Which one will you take?

Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


US wants bigger nuclear umbrella

Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes US should talk softly but carry a big nuke arsenal.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called for the modernization of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, despite concerns the move could spark a global arms race.

Gates told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the US needs the nuclear arms leverage to tackle what he called “threats of adversaries.”

Gates noted that the Pentagon has plans to help the US Air Force maintain and upgrade the country’s nuclear weapons, the US Department of Defense quoted him as saying.

“As long as others have nuclear weapons, we must maintain some level of these weapons ourselves,” Gates said, noting that “this will deter potential adversaries while reassuring over two dozen allies and partners who rely on the U.S. strategic umbrella for their own security.”

Referring to the earlier US pledge to reduce its nuclear arsenal by 75%, he stated, “We’ll lead the way in reducing our arsenal, but we must always hedge against the dangerous and unpredictable world.”

Concerns are growing over nuclear proliferation in the post Cold-War era as the global economic meltdown increases the possibility of instability.

The US defense secretary repeated Washington’s hostile rhetoric toward Iran and North Korea, accusing the countries of seeking atomic weapons. “There is no way to ignore efforts by states such as North Korea and Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, or Russian and Chinese strategic modernization programs,” he said, adding, “As long as other nations have or seek nuclear weapons – and can potentially threaten us, our allies and friends – then we must have a deterrent capacity that makes it clear that challenging the United States in the nuclear arena, or with weapons of mass destruction, could result in an overwhelming, catastrophic response.”

Gates reassured the US allies: “Our nuclear umbrella – our extended deterrent – underpins our alliances in Europe and the Pacific and enables our friends, especially those worried about Tehran and Pyongyang, to continue to rely on our nuclear deterrent rather than to develop their own.”

The US government is incessantly making accusations about Iran’s nuclear program, but Tehran maintains it is totally peaceful and is only meant to generate much-needed electricity within the framework of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The United States posesses about 10,000 of the world’s 27,000 nuclear warheads.

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

By Nikki Alexander

How would your mind perceive the following sequence of events if you were watching this unfold in another country?

Supreme Court judges betray their oath and prevent votes from being counted in a national election to install an unelected president. (Coordinated nationwide election fraud provides him a second term.)

Nine months later a spectacular mass murder takes place in a major city that involves three skyscrapers imploding into their own footprints within ten seconds each, pulverizing all of the non-metallic constituents into a fine powder that covers the city. Evidence from the crime scene is immediately removed and the unelected regime obstructs investigation into the crime for over one year.  Without evidence or trial, foreign patsies are blamed for the crime by a Commission appointed by the unelected president.

The unelected president and his regime relentlessly invoke the memory of this shocking event to justify:

The most radical reconstruction of the Government in fifty years;

Systematic destruction of civil liberties and constitutional protections;

Systematic transfer of government services and functions to private corporations;

Ongoing seizure and privatization of public assets by corporate and foreign entities;

Dictatorial seizure of unconstitutional Executive authority with presidential signing statements;

Government surveillance of citizens: phone, Internet, banking, medical records, library records;

Government infiltration, harassment and arrest of peace groups;

Arrest and murder of journalists; seizure of their equipment and film;

Government kidnapping, detention and torture of thousands of harmless citizens;

Wars of aggression perpetrated under false pretenses;

Nationwide detention camps constructed for future purposes;

Blackwater mercenary bases within the country’s borders;

Regional Fusion Centers used by police to collect information on every citizen;

Secret Government databases mark one million citizens as ‘terrorists;’

Military units deployed to control the civilian population;

Unconstitutional Presidential control of State National Guards and local police;

Dissolution of national sovereignty through secret agreements with transnational conspirators;

Relentless propaganda that misinforms the public through controlled media outlets;

The regime is filled with ideological extremists and political appointees who hold dual citizenship:

The dual citizen Attorney General refuses to denounce torture or enforce Congressional subpoenas;

The dual citizen Secretary of DHS is granted authority to waive all laws without judicial oversight;

The dual citizen who leased the demolished skyscrapers is awarded billions of dollars in insurance claims by the duel citizen Judge who concurrently forbade victims to file claims against the government;

The dual citizen White House Chief of Staff recruits Goldman Sachs colleague as Treasury Secretary; and

Trillions of dollars disappear from Pentagon accounts under the dual citizen Comptroller of the Currency.

Congress systematically destroys financial sector regulations that protect the public;

The unelected president declares authority to suspend the Constitution and take over financial institutions;

The Federal Reserve Chairman and Treasury Secretary encourage and protect Wall Street fraud;

Trillions of dollars in fictitious Wall Street derivatives fracture the country’s financial system;

Middle class savings, pensions and retirement accounts are eviscerated;

Middle class property is devalued and confiscated nationwide through mortgage and foreclosure fraud;

Perpetrators of the fraud are rewarded with billions of taxpayer dollars;

The Federal Reserve Chairman expands his authority in defiance of constitutional mandates;

The Treasury Secretary eliminates Goldman Sachs competition and consolidates its monopoly;

The Fed Chairman and Treasury Secretary use taxpayer loans to buy stock in private financial institutions; and

The national debt escalates to trillions of dollars as the currency collapses.

Taken as a whole does this look like random incompetence or a fascist coup d’etat?

Coup d’etat: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics, especially: the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.

Author’s Bio: Nikki has been a full time writer and political researcher since the 2000 coup. She hopes to return to oil painting, her former career, but can’t seem to play or do anything fun while the nation is under siege. You can help her get back to expressions of beauty by doing your part to speed up the revolution.

‘Taliban have been infiltrated,situation can destabilise region’

‘Taliban have been infiltrated,situation

can destabilise region’


Sunday, October 26, 2008
By By our correspondent

The ongoing war in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan have become a proxy war of two superpowers and other regional players, a seminar was told on Saturday.

“The Taliban have been infiltrated by Indians and Russians among others. Money is involved and the issue has become so complicated that it can destabilise the entire region” commented Syed Fakhar Kakakhel, a senior journalist belonging to a local TV. He was speaking at to Karachi University (KU) students on Saturday.

Addressing a seminar on “The War in the North-West”, organised by the KU Teachers Against War at the Audio-Visual Centre, KU, the senior journalist from Peshawar said that Russians were involved in the war to avenge their defeat in the 1980s in Afghanistan while Indians were there to destabilise Pakistan while the US had designs to rein in the growing economic power China. According to him, political stability in Afghanistan was the only solution to have peace in the tribal areas and that could only be reached through negotiations and talks otherwise the bloodshed in our neighborhood would continue to affect Pakistan.

Kakakhel said US could not stay long in Afghanistan owing to variety of reasons including its economic recession as well as involvement of other anti-US forces in the war in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan should safeguard its own interests instead of blindly following the imposed agenda.

He revealed that the US didn’t trust Pakistan any more owing to the establishment’s “dubious policies” and the US Assistant Secretary of Richard Boucher in his recent visit conveyed his government’s concerns on Pakistan’s role in the “War on Terror” to Pakistani officials. “Boucher told the NWFP Chief Minister that if they continued with the present policies of aiding militants, the next US administration would not hesitate in attacking Pakistan” he claimed. He also spoke about the trend of suicide bombings and the brain washing of youngsters for carrying out suicide attacks.

Kakakhel said the only solution to peace was initiating dialogue and engaging people in the political process. “Students are the most important people and they should be given the right to have their unions and their own leadership. Students politics should be allowed in Universities as well Madressahs so that they could have their own leaders” he suggested. He narrated details of various forces fighting in the tribal as well as settled areas including Swat and said all present militant leaders were former political activists and they could be controlled through initiating political process.

The journalist from NWFP also spoke on the role of media and said after learning the implications of their coverage of War on Terror, they had learnt a lot and now they were adopting a policy of self-censorship to create hope among Pakistanis. Another person, Wali Haider, of Roots, an NGO, who recently returned from Bajaur, termed the US attack on Afghanistan and war in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas as part of US hegemonic designs and to gain control over the region’s natural resources.

“Both US and Taliban have the same interests. They are destabilising the region and their goal is to facilitate US in controlling Central Asian oil and gas resources” he claimed. The address of both the experts was followed by a question-answer session and students from the various departments inquired about various factions of militants, their agenda and situation in the war zone in the North-West.


Gulf Bank Customers Withdraw Deposits After Losses (Updtate1)

By Fiona MacDonald and Arif Sharif

Kuwait’s second-biggest lender by assets, is trying to stem a surge in customer withdrawals after currency losses forced the central bank to guarantee deposits.

In the first signs of a bank run in the Persian Gulf, some Gulf Bank depositors panicked and demanded their money, Fawzy al- Thunayan, general manager for board affairs, said in an interview today from Kuwait. “We can’t blame them,” he said. Trading in the Kuwait City-based bank was suspended for a second day.

While the Persian Gulf had been mostly insulated from the global credit crunch until now, Kuwait is the third state there to prop up its banking system as the end of the oil boom weighs on the region’s currency, stock and real estate markets. The United Arab Emirates said Oct. 12 it would guarantee deposits of all local banks and large foreign banks, and Saudi Arabia put $2.67 billion into the government-run Saudi Credit Bank, based in Riyadh, to provide no-fee loans to low-income citizens.

“The fear factor is now seeing its way into the Middle,” said Haissam Arabi, who oversees $1.8 billion as managing director of asset management at Shuaa Capital PSC in Dubai. “The ripple effect of the credit crunch has spread to the Middle East because we’re no longer an island economy.”

Saudi Arabia’s government injected the equivalent of $5 billion into Saudi banks on Oct. 20 to lower interbank lending rates and meet a shortfall of dollars, the first such move in 10 years, Saudi British Bank said Oct. 21.

Falling Oil Prices

Crude oil prices are down 57 percent from their peak of about $147, eroding budget surpluses in Persian Gulf states. The six Arab Gulf economies, which pump almost 23 percent of the world’s oil, need prices to remain above $60 to $65 a barrel to sustain spending, investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE said in a report Sept. 23. Oil fell to a 17-month low of $63 today.

Kuwait’s Central Bank Governor Sheikh Salem al-Sabah said yesterday that 48-year old Gulf Bank lost money on currency derivatives after the euro declined against the dollar, state news agency KUNA reported. Gulf Bank will absorb the losses until it can work out an agreement with clients, Sheikh Salem said.

Gulf Bank remains solvent despite the defaults on currency derivatives contracts, the state-run Kuwait News Agency cited Kuwait Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shimali as saying yesterday. Kuwait’s central bank will propose a bill to parliament to guarantee all bank deposits in Kuwait, KUNA reported yesterday.

Gulf Bank had assets of 5.1 billion dinars and deposits of 3.2 billion dinars at the end of March, according to Bloomberg data. It has 44 branches across Kuwait, its Web site says.

Estimated Losses

While the company declined to disclose the size of its currency losses, they may have been as much as 200 million dinars ($746 million), according to Ibrahim Dabdoub, chief executive officer of National Bank of Kuwait SAK, the country’s biggest bank by assets, said yesterday.

Kuwait’s benchmark share index fell 2.2 percent to 9,889.3 today, extending losses for the year to 22 percent. The credit crisis has also resulted in a collapse of share prices in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia’s benchmark share index falling 52 percent this year and Dubai’s by 51 percent, as the global meltdown battered local sentiment as well.

Falling share prices in the Middle East have forced banks to write down the value of their investments. Emirates NBD PJSC, the U.A.E.’s biggest bank by assets, said Oct. 22 it will take 273 million dirhams of writedown in the third quarter, while third- ranked Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC took a 208 million dirham loss for the same period.


Khalid Al-Matrook, a 33-year-old civil engineer, was among customers standing outside Gulf Bank’s head office in Kuwait City today. He said he was frightened by yesterday’s news of the currency defaults.

“I am withdrawing my 12,000 dinars now and I am not going to spend one penny of it,” said Al Matrook, sipping coffee outside the bank building. “I am going to deposit it in NBK (the National Bank of Kuwait) or Commercial Bank.”

About 40 stock traders in Kuwait marched from the Kuwait Exchange to the Seif Palace, where the cabinet sits. They are demanding that Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al- Sabah act to halt the decline in share prices in the country, stock trader Mohammed al-Dosari said today in an interview.

“I used to have 400,000 dinars to trade with, and now I only have 20,000 dinars,” said al-Dosari. “This is a big national disaster. We don’t want the government to make the market go up, we just want to stop this panic.”

“Everything is operating as normal,” said al-Thunayan. “The central bank is giving us support on all fronts,” he said, adding that none of the board has resigned.


Governments around the world have moved to shore up banks weakened by the financial crisis. The U.S. government plans to spend $125 billion out of $700 billion approved by Congress to buy shares of nine of the largest U.S. banks. France said Oct. 20 it will provide BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA and four other French banks with 10.5 billion euros ($14 billion).

Gulf Bank’s losses from derivatives trading is being investigated by the central bank and will be announced when the probe is completed, said Abdul Majeed al-Shatti, head of the Kuwait Banks Federation told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV today.

Finance companies worldwide have taken $681 billion of losses and writedowns following the collapse of the U.S. subprime- mortgage market.

Zionist Propaganda, Setting Stage For Next Aggression “Hamas Preparing For Strategic Terror Attack”


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Hamas Preparing For Strategic Terror Attack

Jerusalem – Israeli intelligence sources say Gaza’s ruling Hamas faction is preparing to carry out a large-scale strategic terror attack inside Israel.

In the assessment of security sources, the terror attack would mainly aim to kidnap a soldier or soldiers in order to heighten the pressure on Israel to carry out a prisoner exchange deal, in light of the deadlock in the negotiations to free Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cpl. Gilad Shalit. He has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza since 2006.

Israel likewise is preparing to counteract a terrorist infiltration into a community and kidnapping civilians into the Gaza Strip, dead or alive.

Within the monitoring of Hamas’ actions, it has been determined that has smuggled motorcycles into Gaza from Egypt, using tunnels. The IDF has observed intensive training being conducted by a group of motorcycle riders in the southern Gaza Strip.

Using motorcycles in terror attacks is taken directly from Hezbollah’s military doctrine. In the past, it has carried out a series of terror attacks and assassinations using motorcycle riders and bombs.

At the same time, Israeli intelligence sources say Hamas has prepared several dozen car bombs that are supposed to serve for breaching fences or exploding against IDF outposts along the Gaza border.

In recent months, Israeli security sources report, 100s of tons of standard-issue explosives and fertilizer for manufacturing explosives have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip, all in order to arm the car bombs.

As part of the preparations in the central Gaza Strip, Hamas’ Nusseirat battalion carried out a simulation of kidnapping an Israeli soldier, in which about 400 soldiers of the battalion participated.

One scenario exercise included the kidnapping of a soldier, carrying out the activity inside the Gaza Strip, near the fence separating it from Israel. Another scenario included breaching the border fence and kidnapping soldiers from a vehicle moving on the road on the Israeli side of the border.

Apparently, in recent weeks Hamas has built huts near the border and placed lookouts in them. Some of the huts are believed to be intended to conceal the digging of tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory for the purpose of transferring terrorists or bringing in explosives to blow up the tunnels.

IDF lookouts report intensive intelligence gathering being carried out by Hamas about the IDF activity along the border with Gaza by day and night. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militiamen are believed to be studying the IDF’s observation equipment and examining its weaknesses.

It is believed they are examining, for example, how to circumvent the observation equipment by making quick dashes toward the fence in daylight hours, placing a bomb next to the fence without the lookouts having a chance to observe them.

They are also examining the IDF’s response time and its ability to identify these bombs.
The IDF has also identified visits by senior members of the Hamas’ military wing in the border area, including people who would not dare approach the border prior to the tahdia (quieting in Arabic).

Hamas’ preparations for carrying out a strategic terror attack correspond with the report that the Israel’s General Security Services arrested Jamal Abu Dawaba, a member of the organization’s military wing from Rafah.

He was arrested about a month ago with the bedouin who accompanied him. It appears that he was sent by senior figures in the Hamas military wing through the tunnels from Gaza to Sinai, and from there into Israeli territory, with the aim of kidnapping a soldier under the guise of carrying out a drug deal. He planned to drug the kidnapped soldier and bring him into the Gaza Strip through a tunnel in Rafah.

The IDF’s Southern Command plans to cope with the threat by raising the level of alert, changing the patterns of activity and changing the rules of engagement.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

‘Sub rosa SOFA brings darkness to Iraq’

‘Sub rosa SOFA brings darkness to Iraq’
Sun, 26 Oct 2008 16:13:07 GMT

The controversial US-Iraq security agreement includes ‘some secret provisions’, which would flagrantly violate Iraq’s sovereignty.

Secret provisions have been incorporated in the so-called Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which would violate Iraq’s sovereignty in a more direct manner than the provisions disclosed by the Iraqi media, the Saudi daily Okaz reported on Sunday, citing “informed political sources”.

According to the report, although “the secret provisions” would have more adverse consequences for Iraq in terms of the country’s sovereignty and independence, a majority of Iraqi lawmakers have been kept entirely unaware of them.

Based on those provisions, the US would be granted the permission to build military bases, camps and prisons inside Iraq. The scope of the immunity from legal prosecution for the US forces–the most controversial provision of SOFA– would also be extended to include all US security, military and civilian firms as well as the US army’s contractors.

Under the terms of SOFA, Iraqi officials would be prohibited from meddling in operations carried out by US forces or limiting their authority. The US would also be allowed to attack any country, which “represents a security threat to Iraq” from the country’s soil.

After signing the deal, Baghdad would be obliged to ask for Washington’s approval before concluding any regional or international agreements with third countries.

According to the Okaz report, SOFA would bring the Iraqi key ministries of defense and interior under US control for 10 years to facilitate “the training of the Iraqi forces.”

The Saudi newspaper also claimed that under the secret provisions, no timetable would be set for the withdrawal of US troops form Iraq and any pull-out would depend on several conditions.

The conditions for any US withdrawal include the readiness of Iraqi forces, the success in fighting terrorism, the removal of “the neighboring countries’ security threats”, national reconciliation and a consensus among all Iraqi political groups on the issue. Washington would be entitled to stay in Iraq, if even one of those conditions were not fulfilled.

Based on those SOFA provisions which have made public, the US forces must leave the war-torn country by early 2011 without any preconditions.

The report also ruled out the possibility that the US and Iraq would reach an agreement before the term of US President George W. Bush in office ends.

The failure to sign the deal, according to the daily, should be considered as a setback for the Bush administration which is seeking to play the card of SOFA to strengthen the position of the Republican Party before the upcoming US presidential elections.

Bretton Woods II. The Final Solution ?

Bretton Woods II. The Final Solution ?

  • Oct. 27th, 2008 at 3:41 PM

On November 15th the Group of the 20 largest economic nations will sit down at the National Building Museum in Washington.This marks a momentous event as world leaders come together and try and come up with a solution to the current Global Financial Meltdown.The really interesting aspect about this one will be exactly what each will be bringing to the table.

Each of the 20 nations have already enacted unilateral legislation and protectionist measures in a probably vain attempt to save their own respective asses. Currencies are down the river along with Banking and Industry so what exactly will be the cures that will come out of all this ? Pardon me if I seem a bit cynical, but my prognosis for this meeting is that there will be no cures for the people who are unemployed and / or homeless, starving, desperate, bankrupt. If anyone is to be saved it will be the same institutions that have been the beneficiaries so far in this, the greatest redistribution of wealth in World History. Banks will go away happy, secure in the knowledge that their bonuses have already been sent offshore, Presidents will go away happy as they dupe their public in to thinking that they have found the cancer and successfully operated on it . This will be a consolidation of power in to the hands of the Few. The cure will probably be presented in Newspeak that there are hard times ahead but our Governments are behind us all the way. We will be told that we can have it all back to the unsustainable way it was before but we will have to make sacrifices, except for the Financial Bosses of course. There might even be a new currency proposed. What would that do ? Change the lipstick on the Pig, who is still carrying a sack of IOU’s on his back.
This begs the question: How is all the Debt between the member countries going to be addressed. A currency manipulation can still restore some sort of seeming order in this chaos but only for balance sheets and not the Real Economy. The IMF and the U.S. can print money until they are blue in the face but that’s not wealth, it’s just paper. Once it’s in the real economy it can only lead to hyperinflation. Expect a so far unsurpassed sleight of hand to address this. I reckon we have only seen the beginning of the sheer nonsense we have been subjected to by the likes of Paulson, Bernanke and the various heads of countries who have never seen the problem for what it was. Guys, it’s not just the fact that you’re Banking buddies blew it and had to sell one of their yachts; it’s the fact that your friends, along with yourselves, have robbed the world of the wealth it had and put it in to your own pockets. It really is time to hold these crooks accountable. Bretton Woods 2 would be more useful as Nuremberg 2 but with the losers, not the Victors, behind the judges’ bench.

U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without troop accord


U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without

troop accord

BAGHDAD _ The U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn’t agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq.

Many Iraqi politicians view the move as akin to political blackmail, a top Iraqi official told McClatchy Sunday.

In addition to halting all military actions, U.S. forces would cease activities that support Iraq’s economy, educational sector and other areas _ “everything” _ said Tariq al Hashimi, the country’s Sunni Muslim vice president. “I didn’t know the Americans are rendering such wide-scale services.”

Hashimi said that Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, listed “tens” of areas of potential cutoffs in a three-page letter, and he said the implied threat caught Iraqi leaders by surprise.

“It was really shocking for us,” he said. “Many people are looking to this attitude as a matter of blackmailing.”

Odierno had no comment Sunday, but U.S. Embassy officials told McClatchy that a lengthy list of the sort Hashimi described has been passed to the Iraqi government. Among the services the U.S. provides are protection of Iraq’s principal borders, of its oil exports and other shipping through the Shatt al Arab into the Persian Gulf and all air traffic control over Iraq.

The status of forces agreement, which calls for a final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, was supposed to resolve a number of contentious issues between the two countries, but its completion 10 days ago has instead provoked a political crisis within Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government and between Iraq and the United States.

Fearing a major battle in the Iraqi parliament, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki solicited proposed amendments from his cabinet and called a meeting to review them Sunday afternoon.

However, the two main Shiite parties, Maliki’s Dawa party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, were unable to produce their full lists of demands, and he postponed the meeting until Tuesday, other cabinet members said.

Hashimi said that Iran, a longtime backer of both parties, is pressuring Iraq’s leaders not to accept the agreement.

The dispute “is real and factual. The government is not manipulating this dispute,” Hashimi said. He said he hadn’t yet seen the objections to the accord, even those from his own Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party.

Political party heads, including Hashimi, say that Maliki is responsible for the agreement, but Maliki has been unwilling to back the accord unless his Shiite coalition and other party members join him to take the political heat.

An additional complication is the decision of Hashimi’s Iraqi Islamic party to suspend all “official communication” with U.S. military and civilian officials until it receives an explanation and an apology following a joint U.S.-Iraqi military raid against party backers in Anbar province in which one man was killed.

It’s unclear what will happen when the Iraqi cabinet offers a list of proposed changes and Maliki winnows them down to proposed amendments.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said, “I don’t think you slam the door shut” on amendments, but Hashimi said the U.S. is “adamant in saying, ‘We close the door, we are not accepting any sort of amendment.’ ”

He said that if the United States met Iraq halfway and accepted amendments to the controversial articles of the accord, it would make it “rather easy” to submit the agreement to the parliament.

The alternative to a new agreement governing U.S. forces, an Iraqi request to the U.N. Security Council to extend the U.N. mandate, which now expires on Dec. 31, is also highly contentious.

One of the biggest concessions Iraq won from Washington in the negotiations over the forces accord was a stipulation that private contractors such as Blackwater that have been accused of killing Iraqi civilians would become subject to Iraqi law.

Immunity from prosecution for private contractors _ and for all official U.S. entities _ under Iraqi law was promulgated by the U.S. occupation government in June 2004, and ending that order is the subject of another confrontation between Iraq and the United States, Hashimi said. He said the United States insists that it would reject any Iraqi request to change the mandate.

Ironically, Iraqi politicians of practically every stripe agree that the proposed agreement would be a major advance toward restoring Iraq’s full sovereignty and a vast improvement over the initial U.S. proposal made last spring.

He credited President Bush with changing the U.S. position as a result of twice-weekly conference calls with Maliki.

RAW and Afghan Agency Funding Pakistan Terrorism

RAW and Afghan Agency Funding Pakistan Terrorism

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Sunday, 26 October 2008 15:59
Pakistani investigators have made a major breakthrough and uncovered several leads that link terrorists and criminals inside Pakistan to the Indian intelligence and the secret service of Hamid Karzai. An Indian explosives expert is leading groups of terrorists inside Pakistan. The recruited suicide bombers have been brainwashed to believe they are on a religious duty. Others are plain criminals. The new information confirms the suspicions that the so-called ‘Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’ is heavily infiltrated by foreign spy agencies in Afghanistan and has little to do with the Afghan Taliban.

Three arrested members of a militant gang especially deputed by the so-called ‘Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’ have disclosed that RAW has been funding suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and that the Indian agency has funneled PKR 680 million through its contacts in the NDS, the Afghan secret agency.

The gang of three persons has brazenly admitted that they belong to a group of persons who had been deputed to ‘destabilize democratic Pakistan’ in order to create a confrontation with the Pakistani military. They were told to carry out their activities under the pretext of ‘enforcement of Shariah’ in the country.

Operators of the Federal Investigations Agency [FIA], a Pakistani intelligence agency, working beyond the call of their duty, came into contact with a source ready for a tip-off against a reward. The tip-off led to the arrest of Khurram Ishtiaq, Ghulam Mustafa and Shamim. The persons had been working under Qari Hussain, second-in-command to Baitullah Mehsud.

All of the three had been arrested on Aug. 13, 2008, while they were on the prowl for a target. The militants had been arrested ‘red-handed’ as they possessed complete suicide kits, including two jackets and 70 kilogram of explosives and detonators.

The accused were hardened militants and took a lot of time to break and make confessions. They revealed that Qari Hussain had been working to help three adjutants—Farukh Usman alias Shahjee, Tayyab alias Baba; Ustad, the trainer to destabilize the elected government.

Qari Hussain, the leader, prepares suicide bombers and dispatches them throughout Pakistan. He also manages funds for the splinter groups from RAW which works in collusion with the Afghan intelligence agency NDS.

Farukh Usman works as Qari’s deputy and runs the sub-setup to carry out attacks in Lahore and Punjab in general. He was the mastermind of suicide attacks on the FIA building, Naval War College, Model Town, Lahore High Court and PAF bus in Sargodha, investigations have revealed.

Tayyab alias Baba mainly deals with Rawalpindi/Islamabad. He was the man behind blasts at Aabpara Market and Marriott Hotel.  The third person known only as Ustad is an expert at making bombs. He is said to be of Indian origin and he ‘works with a vengeance’. He is the man who leads suicide bombers to the marked site of the blast.

The investigation revealed that there are two sub-teams: three persons of one team work under Ustad. Two of the arrested persons—Shahmim Alam alias Sohail alias Kashif alias Uncle and Khurram Ishtiaq alias Ibrahim—have been active members of the TTP and worked under direct guidance of Ustad.

Shamim was the facilitator. His task was to distribute funds to suicide bombers at the behest of Qari Hussain and Tayyab alias Baba. Being educated and a well-dressed civilian-look-alike, he was assigned another important job of providing ‘reconnaissance of the target area’.

He possesses the canny ability of mixing up with urbanites. Khurram Ishtiaq alias Ibrahim is a well-trained militant. His job is to harbor suicide bombers at a secret venue until they are led to the area of operation to carry out the job. The third person of this setup, Sajid, is a resident of Ali Khel, Waziristan. It is not certain whether his services were ‘utilized’ and in what way this was done.

Another team which works under Farrukh Usman alias Shahjee includes Bablu, Rehan, Ghulam Mustafa alias Asif (the third arrested person) and Abdul Rahim. Bablu’s assignment is to provide explosives at the nick of time when the suicide bombers have been finally prepared to perform the ‘sacred feat’.

Ghulam Mustafa and Abdul Rahim, both diehard terrorists, serve as guards in the rear ensure that none of perpetrators develop cold feet at the last minute and try to escape.  In that case, there is only one choice left and that too leads the would-be perpetrator to heavens.

Former boss of the FIA, Tariq Lodhi, had recommended a reward and commendation for the team that arrested these terrorists. But sources say the FIA new chief, Shoaib Suddle, turned it down on the grounds that agency operators just did their job and no reward should be given for performing a duty.

The team members disclosed that they had arrested two prime targets during the government of former President Pervez Musharraf and both had a head money of $5 million each but the reward money was shared by two other premier spy agencies instead of passing some of the reward money to the individuals who had arrested them on their own initiative.

The team has long been working on the militants but they got the culprits apprehended through a middleman who was ready to divulge more but “only if he was rewarded for the catch.”

Afghan Money Helping Terrorists, Zardari Tells Boucher

On Oct. 19, President Asif Ali Zardari met U.S. assistant undersecretary of state Richard Boucher and told him that terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan are being funded from Afghanistan and other countries.   Zardari told Richard Boucher that the money provided by Afghan drug traffickers was being used in terror related incidents in Pakistan.

Drug smuggling through Pakistan had been eliminated, he said, adding these smugglers were now funding terrorists for activities in the country. “The responsibility now lies with the U.S. to take notice and initiate action against these smugglers so that terrorist networks in Pakistan can be dismantled,” he stressed.  Pakistan has suffered more than any other country in the war on terror in terms of loss of lives and property, he noted. All the resources are being utilised to crush terrorists, he said.

He urged the U.S. to take steps to end terrorists’ infiltration from the Afghan side to the Pakistan tribal areas.

It is not clear how Mr. Boucher responded to the charge that terrorism inside Pakistan is being supported from a U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

The Grand Merger!

The Grand Merger!

By Rev. Richard Skaff

October 25, 2008 “Information ClearinghouseNot every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.” Michael Mukasey, US Attorney General saying former justice Department staffers won’t be criminally prosecuted for politicizing hiring practices.

In the last forty years the boundaries between government and corporation have been slowly eroding. However, in the last eight years and during the reign George W. Bush, the process has accelerated tenfold and was taken into new levels that have never been seen in the history of this nation.

In addition, this administration has successfully and systematically dismantled the bill of rights, our civil liberties, as well as our financial, personal and national sovereignty.

While George W. Bush was talking about the US as a unilateral superpower, he was behind the scenes dismantling this superpower and rendering it into a broke, weak and ailing tiger that will be forced to join the new world order instead of being the world order.

Lawlessness in government has become the rule of the land. Loyalty to the party superseded the loyalty to the country, which is a déjà vu phenomenon in the archives of fascism. The stench of our political sewage system has contaminated our nation and the world. Mendacity became truth, and manipulation became intelligence and virtue.

Macchiavellian politics has reached new height of deception, corruption, and propaganda. Our supreme court became politicized with unscrupulous appointees who were co-opted to implement the new laws for the new world order. Our intelligence agencies have been methodically politicized and corrupted for many years to a point of no return. Cash became GOD!

Ralph McGeehee a 25 year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency enlightened us with this following paragraph from his 1983 book “Deadly Deceits,” which edifies a familiar pattern of deception that we have witnessed but we never understood. He stated the following about the CIA:

“The CIA is not an intelligence agency. In fact, it acts largely as an anti-intelligence agency, producing only that information wanted by policymakers to support their plans and suppressing information that does not support those plans. As the covert action arm of the president, the CIA uses disinformation, much of it aimed at the U.S. public, to mold opinion. It employs the gamut of disinformation techniques from forging documents to planting and discovering “communist” weapons caches. But the major weapon in its arsenal of disinformation is the “intelligence” it feeds to policymakers.

Instead of gathering genuine intelligence that could serve as the basis for reasonable policies, the CIA often ends up distorting reality, creating out of the whole cloth “intelligence” to justify policies that have already been decided upon. Policymakers leak this “intelligence” to the media to deceive us all and gain our support.” [1].

The resurrection of governmental intervention, and the rise of corporate socialism.

Lawlessness in government and in capitalism combined with bogus wars based on fake intelligence, and a colossal disinformation campaign have led our nation into this current financial abyss. Whether this crisis is contrived or not, the public will suffer the consequences.

Will people learn from their mistakes and rise up in revolt to throw out their elected officials. Probably not! The masses always prefer wily and brutal leaders who will lead them into the Promised Land, will act on their behalf, and will do the thinking for them. Critical thinking is a frightening phenomenon, because with it comes decision making, action and responsibility. However, the cost for this acquiescence is great and long lasting, resulting in a lifetime of serfdom.

The critical questions to ask next are the following:

Has the current financial crisis achieved its goal of consolidating further the wealth in the hands of the few, and succeeded in creating the neo-super financial corporations that extend their global tentacles worldwide, in order to exploit, indebt, impoverish and suffocate the life out of every nation?

Was this crisis also designed to cause the final merger of the new hybrid beasts of the half politician-intelligence operative and the half CEO who will operate the super-corporation?

Does this financial meltdown target the final consolidation of government and corporation creating a new era of corporate socialism that will dominate the world for the years to come?

Did the deliberate assassination of the dollar by our leaders will help create a novel currency that will connect the world closer than ever, and will befit the new order?

On November 15, 2008 George W. Bush will be hosting a major economic summit in Washington, which will mark the renewal of a Bretton Woods like system that will attempt to rectify the power of the United States as a leader for the new world global monetary affairs, or will reduce it to a regular player in a new global establishment.

The summit will allegedly set up a new system of rules, institutions, and procedures that regulate the international monetary system, and determining a new currency as the neo-reserve currency of the world. This new currency might replace the hyperinflated and ailing dollar that was deliberately murdered by the moles in the Bush administration through financing of illegitimate wars and profligate spending.

The economic summit will include many world leaders with a special invitation to China and India to help the Anglo-American establishment resolve the financial crisis they created with unscrupulous accounting practices, disinformation to the public, gambling with other people’s money, cheating, lying, lawlessness, unaccountability, resulting in a capitalist system that has gone awry.

By Rev. Richard Skaff, Journalist and author of “The Human Manifesto.”


1. R. W. McGeehee-1983. Deadly Deceits: My 25 years in the CIA.
Sheridan Square publications Inc. N.Y. New York, 10013

2. Associated Press, October 22, 2008. World leaders to meet on economy in Washington

How to Live in Your Car

How to Live in Your Car

Living in a car isn’t something that anyone would recommend. However, when you get laid off, your emergency fund runs out, your home is foreclosed (or you get an eviction notice) and there’s nobody to help, living in your car might be the only choice, especially if you don’t feel safe at a local shelter. Unfortunately, in many places, sleeping in your car is not only frowned upon, but also illegal. Here’s how to get by until something better comes along.

Remember, you are not alone and you have a vehicle.

[edit] Steps

  1. Find a safe and inconspicuous place to park. First, check to see if there are any organizations in your area (or a nearby area) that designates parking lots specifically for people in situations like yours; it’s not only legal, but the organization might screen the people who use the lot, or even designate a women-only lot.[1] If there are no such lots available, and you live in a city, look for streets with no sidewalks, no overlooking windows, and adjacent to woods; the area should be sparse enough to avoid nosy onlookers but populated enough that the car does not stand out.[2] Parking lots of big-box retailers (especially those that are open 24 hours and have restrooms, such as Wal-mart) are great to clean up in and have security. As long as you spend a couple of dollars there and don’t park in one place too often.
    • Camp sites are another option, although they usually have time limits and are almost as expensive as a hotel room. Some offer a shower for a nominal fee.
  2. National Forests have some free camping with a limit of 14 days.
  3. Five gallon bucket with a lid and lye in for odor.
    • Once you find a spot, try to arrive late at night, and leave before 7am. This will draw as little attention as possible to yourself.
    • If you can establish rapport with the manager of a retail store or restaurant, they may not give you problems about staying overnight, especially if they see your presence as a form of overnight security.[3]
    • A free hospital parking lot is another option. If approached by a guard, you can say that you’re waiting to visit a sick relative.[4]
  4. Find a place to shower. The most logical place is a gym. This will help you keep your sanity and give you a purpose to your morning. Don’t settle for the first gym you find. If you look around, you may find nearly deserted gyms in which you can shower and fully clean yourself without embarrassment.
    • The next best choice is to check into a cheap motel or hostel once or twice a week and clean up thoroughly there (if you can afford it).
    • Public pools tend to have showers, depending on whether they have private stalls or are set up gang style, they may provide a discrete place to shower.
    • At a truck stop, you can ask around for a shower coupon, if you feel safe allowing people to know that you’re without a place to stay. Truck stops are good to sleep at too.
    • Some toll roads, especially state turnpikes, have large rest areas with free showers for truckers. Since these are usually open 24 hours, these plazas are also good places to sleep.
  5. Rest areas on National highways are good for a few hours and most have security.
    • Keep an eye out for community college athletic field houses– they don’t always check IDs, and can be a good free shower option.
  6. Be discreet. Keeping your situation under wraps minimizes the embarrassment and helps avoid becoming a target for police officers and criminals alike.
    • Rotate among several parking locations to avoid getting noticed.
    • When you move around in the parked car, move slowly to avoid rocking the car.
    • Consider using a car cover. Not only will it maintain privacy (especially since condensation on the windows will otherwise make it obvious that you’re in there) but it will also keep the car warmer during winter. This is not a viable option, however, when it’s hot outside.

    • When it’s sunny in the daytime, use a sunshade for the windshield.
    • Keep the windows cracked open while you sleep, not wide enough for someone to reach in, but enough to allow fresh air and reduce condensation on the windows.
  7. Get the things you’ll need. The basic essentials for living in a car are a blanket, a pillow, and a mattress or some other padding. Due to the angles involved in the seating setup, you may develop dull back pain from the cramped quarters. Should this happen, be sure to have pain medication on hand. Once you have your sleeping gear, you’ll want a blanket to place over the back seat, and draped over the two front seats. This will block light and people’s views.
  8. Find alternate ways of generating electricity. A cigarette lighter converter is one option. These are useful for powering low consuming devices (100 watts), but if you plan on using your vehicle for cooking, then you’ll need to draw power more directly from your battery or you’ll blow the fuse. You will also need a much more expensive converter, and need to idle the vehicle while drawing this power. An alternative is to use gas, but do not use this inside the vehicle for safety reasons.
  9. Have a place to store items that is portable. Get bags you can fill with your soaps, clothes, cell phone, etc. Keeping things in order will save you a lot of hassle. A vehicle may seem like a small space, but losing things can be extremely easy. Also, keeping things neat inside the car will draw less attention from people passing by who happen to look in the windows. Hiding your bedding might be a good idea (consider the trunk). There’s not a lot of extra room in a vehicle for a week’s worth of clothes, so consider finding a hiding place to keep them. The laundromat is great, but don’t waste a load by throwing in too much, or not diluting the soap first. When you’re not in the car, leave windows cracked and dryer sheets scattered about to keep the interior smelling decent. Wash your sheets once a month, or else you risk smelling like a homeless person, which will blow your cover and get you treated like a homeless person.
  10. Keep dirty clothes separate in plastic bags so they do not smell up all your clothing.
  11. Evaluate your food options. Peanut butter, tuna and crackers are great staples. Have a box for food so it does not get smashed. Gallons of water are a necessity for a lot of things.They will be limited by the lack of refrigeration. Fast food is expensive when you’re living off of it. With old fashioned (large flake) rolled oats, powdered milk, bottled water, plastic cups, and chocolate protein powder, you can ensure that you always have a nutritious snack to fall back on.[5]
  12. Before you start living in your car, use your permanent address to:
    • Rent a P.O. Box or a Private Mail Box (PMB). Although PMBs tend to be more expensive, you can receive packages at them and some services will let you use a address format which makes it appear to be an apartment, which is useful for when someone requires a physical address.
    • Sign up for a gym membership. (This however, can be expensive, and if your resources are limited, you may find it to be a drain.)
    • Renew any paperwork that will require an address to process soon.
    • Put valuables in a safe deposit box at a bank.
    If you have friends or family who can’t (or refuse to) help you with your living situation (or you refuse to ask them for help) think about at least asking them if you can use their address.
  13. Stay positive. Keep reminding yourself that the situation is only temporary. Spend each day hitting the pavement and looking for jobs. Use the local library and bookstore not only to search for jobs, but also to become more knowledgeable in ways that will help you get through this and find a job. Most importantly, talk to people like social workers and religious organization workers who will sympathize and understand, and try to help.

[edit] Tips

  • If your car has the capacity, install a hanging bar. This will provide a bit more storage space as well as keep clothes wrinkle-free for job interviews, etc.
  • Tint your windows for privacy, tinting works better than barriers(blankets etc.) because it enables you to see out while others cannot see in, this could be helpful when trying to leave unnoticed. Barriers also attract attention and advertise what you are doing, tinted windows are very common on many cars.
  • If you wear contact lenses you will need a disinfectant for your hands. Better yet, wear glasses.
  • Get an automobile association membership. This will help you if you drain your battery, or break down.
  • Make sure you have vehicle documentation and insurance. Without it, your problems will increase.
  • Personal safety should always be your number one priority. A knife used for food can be used as a weapon so can a tire iron used to change your tire.You may want to learn your state’s gun laws and purchase a handgun or other firearm if you do not already own one. Criminals seek out people who appear vulnerable, or travel alone. Sometimes, the sound of a cocked gun will be sufficient enough to deter a potential mugger. Be aware that having a gun in the car carries its risks. If you are startled awake and point the gun at the wrong person (i.e. a cop tapping on the window), you can wind up being shot yourself.
  • If you are spending the night in your car and you have been drinking alcohol, do not have the keys in the ignition, If it is winter and you need to run the car for heat, move over to the passenger or back seat.
  • The garbage truck or other neighborhood noises can wake you up. Consider earplugs.
  • Pay attention to your instincts. If a parking spot feels weird for any reason, find yourself a new one.
  • If you are on food stamps, and can’t afford deodorant or car deorderizer, baking soda is really good substitute that Food Stamps can buy. Also cheap dollar store hydrogen peroxide along with baking soda, are a phenomenal toothpaste. If for some reason you cannot bath for a day or two, baking soda will make your hair clean and grease free.
  • Apply for HUD Housing in remote areas of the country where there is no waiting list.

[edit] Warnings

  • Never sleep in the driver seat if you can avoid it. Your body will quickly associate that seat with sleeping, creating risks when you are driving – especially when you’re tired. Recline the passenger seat or lie down in the back if there is room.
  • If you are sleeping in the car on a regular basis, do as few other things in the car as possible. Don’t eat, read, or anything else that will cause you to spend more time than necessary in the car. The more time you spend in it, the more smells will accumulate.
  • If you use a car cover, never run the car or smoke while it is on. You could easily suffocate or get carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not use it on a warm day without adequate ventilation.
  • Be careful who you tell about your living in a car. If they’re not likely to provide assistance, then don’t bother, because you might end up endangering yourself.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t even bring any alcohol into your car. If cops find you with alcohol in your blood or in your car, you could get in serious trouble, even if you’re not driving at the time.

[edit] Things You’ll Need

  • Car with insurance and license
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Gym membership (you will stay clean and work off stress)
  • Automobile association membership (if your car insurance doesn’t include Roadside Assistance)

Giving Ghostwriting a Whole New Meaning

Giving Ghostwriting a Whole New Meaning

Adam Pearlman

Bin Laden to come up with book on al-Qaeda

~the article linked to above comes  from GEO (click on their name to learn more about their game)

This new book should help clear up some of those silly rumours that OBL is very likely dead or in secret captivity and that al-Qaeda doesn’t really exist (except as a CIA asset, recruiting and using patsies), while confirming once and for all that religious Muslims really are responsible for 9/11. I wonder who the “young man with the [vague] Middle Eastern background” is who is ‘helping’ him write it and will translate it into English afterward. Surely not Adam Gadahn Pearlman!

Since the article, or its source, doesn’t actually name the “young man”, I hope you will forgive my suspicious frame of mind and fruitless speculations.

And, I wonder, who will distribute it and who will get the proceeds from sales of this upcoming al Qaeda novel, I mean biography? Intelcenter? Or will it be a free pdf online? Just wondering.

Whose “influence apparent in groups in Pakistan”?

Whose “influence apparent in

groups in Pakistan”?

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”
~Sir Walter Scott
Here we go again, trying to bring a news report from the realm of clouded war-mongering propaganda to on the ground reality, as much as possible. In bold print are snips from the article as originally written, followed by how we think it should be read (not in bold print):
Almost three years ago, Sajjad Khan used to buy supplies for the Pakistani Taliban with U.S. dollars that he says came from al-Qaida.

>…Sajjad Khan used to buy supplies for the Pakistani Taliban, he says, with U.S. drug money that came from the CIA.

Al-Qaida’s influence runs like a thread through the myriad of militant groups on the Pakistani border — it ties the groups together, yet is often hard to discern. The hidden nature of al-Qaida’s presence makes it harder for the U.S. and Pakistan to fight, especially when the two countries disagree on which groups pose the greatest threat.
>The CIA’s influence runs like a thread through the myriad of militant groups on the Pakistani border, yet is often hard to discern. The hidden nature of the CIA’s presence makes it harder for ordinary Pakistani’s to protect themselves, especially when they disagree on which groups pose the greatest threat–the CIA, RAW, Mossad or sell-outs in their own government and military–and who is or is not being influenced by them.
“Al-Qaida is strictly behind the scenes — as a force multiplier, providing training, expertise both in combat arms and propaganda,” says Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert at Georgetown University in Washington.
>”The CIA is strictly behind the scenes–as a force multiplier, providing training, expertise both in combat arms and propaganda,” should have said Bruce Hoffman, terrorism propaganda expert at Georgetown University in wildly disparate and their relationships increasingly complex.
>See beginning quote from Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave…”
>….Experts say some groups are virtually fronts for the CIA, but others have a tenuous relationship that might be limited to the ideology of self-defense.
Al-Qaida’s training is showing up in increasingly audacious suicide bombings and more sophisticated attacks within Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the Taliban-led insurgency is claiming more U.S. lives almost by the day.
>CIA’s Mossad-influenced training is showing up in increasingly audacious suicide bombings that were unheard of here before and more sophisticated attacks within Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the American-led invasion is claiming more innocent lives almost by the hour.
Now, please consider carefully these questions every time you hear about another suicide bombing in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine:
Why are suicide bombings publicized [as such] before any proof is brought by investigation? If the purpose of the suicide bomber is to end the occupation of his country and to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the target society why are the targets so disparate and scattered, without a clear relation to the occupation?”
Then consider the very real probability that the “Islamist” suicide bomber concept is, and was originally, a fabrication by those attacking Muslim populations and countries, used to demonize Islam and make Muslims appear unreasoning, fanatical and murderous to one audience, while simultaneously being promoted as heroic to another audience, thus drawing in misguided volunteers. Consider that this is used to shift blame and help justify ongoing war and occupation.
Always look to see who benefits most and who is in the best position to carry out attacks, especially in sensitive areas that are very well guarded and extremely difficult, if not impossible, for those to whom blame is immediately assigned (without immediate proof) to have accessed.
They range from the tribal homegrown Taliban to an Afghan father-and-son team where the father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, once visited the White House and met U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Experts say some groups are virtually fronts for al-Qaida, but others have a tenuous relationship that might be limited to ideology.

Eight die in US attack inside Syria

Eight die in US attack inside Syria

Posted: 27 October 2008 0321 hrs

Photos 1 of 1

A US army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter launches flares.

DAMASCUS: American helicopter-borne troops launched an assault on Sunday on a building in a Syrian border village with Iraq, killing eight civilians, official Syrian media reported.

The government has summoned the official US and Iraqi representatives to protest, state television and the official SANA news agency added.

“Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 16:45 local time (1345 GMT) on Sunday. They penetrated eight kilometres into Syria,” the official media said.

“American soldiers” who had emerged from helicopters “attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths,” the reports said.

“The helicopters then left Syrian territory towards Iraqi territory,” SANA said.

The news agency said one person was wounded in the attack on the village of Al-Sukkiraya, around 550 kilometres northeast of the capital in the Abu Kamal area.

Earlier, the private television channel al-Dunia said nine civilians died in the attack.

Syria summoned the US and Iraqi envoys to Damascus to protest against what it called a US military attack and to demand that Iraq prevent US forces from “launching aggression against Syria” from its territory, the official media said.

“We are in the process of investigating this” reported attack, Sergeant Brooke Murphy, a US military spokeswoman, told AFP in Baghdad.

The Iraqi defence ministry refused to comment, on the grounds the incident took place on Syrian territory.

US commanders say Syria is the main transit point for foreign jihadists crossing into Iraq. Washington has blamed Damascus for turning a blind eye to the problem.

On October 16 Iraqi forces arrested seven Syrian “terrorist” suspects at a checkpoint near the city of Baquba, a hub of Al-Qaeda fighters, the Baghdad defence ministry said.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told US President George W. Bush last month that Iran and Syria – long targets of US blame over the deadly unrest in Iraq – no longer pose a problem.

Iraqi officials have also said that Syria has been increasing border security.

Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq in 26 years took up his post in Baghdad this month, marking the official end of more than two decades of icy relations.

On September 28 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed she had met her Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, to discuss Middle East peace efforts despite renewed criticism from Washington over Syrian policies.

Syrian and US diplomats said the talks touched on Iraq, Lebanon and Middle East peace negotiations.

It was Rice’s second meeting with Muallem since November 2007 when they held talks on the sidelines of a conference on Iraq. The two first met in May last year during another gathering on Iraq.

Their talks came after US President George W. Bush slammed Syria in his farewell address to the UN General Assembly.

“A few nations – regimes like Syria and Iran – continue to sponsor terror,” Bush charged.

Washington has also accused Damascus of failing to give adequate cooperation to the International Atomic Energy Agency in its investigation into a mystery facility bombed by Israel in September last year that US officials have charged was a nuclear plant.

Chilly relations between Syria and the United States grew more tense after Washington accused Damascus of being behind the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. – AFP/de

Lessons from Argentina’s economic collapse (Welcome to the New American Reality)

Lessons from Argentina’s economic collapse

Esteban Morales

(Editor’s note: the article that follows is a very sobering account of the effect that the collapse of the Argentine economy (1999 – 2002) had on its citizens, as seen through the eyes of one of them. The economic collapse wiped out the middle class and raised the level of poverty to 57.5%. Central to the collapse was the implementation of neo-liberal policies which enabled the swindle of billions of dollars by foreign banks and corporations. Many of Argentina’s assets and resources were shamefully plundered. Its financial system was even used for money laundering by Citibank, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan (sound familar?). The net result was massive wealth transfers and the impoverishment of society which culminated in many deaths due to oppression and malnutrition. I am not sure the same thing is about to happen here, but I am sure that there is a distinct possibility that it might. Just food for thought – JSB)

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

For western countries such as the UK, the first major problems of Peak Oil, assuming there are no oil shocks, will not be the shortage of oil but the economic crises that will occur. Argentina is a recent example of a country that suffered a serious economic crisis, and although Argentina and the UK are not identical, anyone interested in how economic crises can affect individual lives will be very interested in the following vivid description of life for an Argentinian following the economic collapse.

My brother visited Argentina a few weeks ago. He’s been living in Spain for a few years now.

Within the first week, he go sick, some kind of strong flu, even though climate isn’t that cold and he took care of himself.

Without a doubt he got sick because there are lots of new viruses in my country that can’t be found in 1st world countries.

The misery and famine lead us to a situation where, even though you have food, shelter and health care, most others don’t, and therefore they get sick and spread the diseases all over the region.

What got me started on this post is the fact that I actually saw this coming, and posted on the subject here at Frugal’s, months before the new viruses spread over the country and the news started talking about this new, health emergency, which proves that talking, thinking and sharing ideas with like minded people (you guys), does help to see things coming and prepare for them with enough time.

So I started thinking about several issues, what I learned (either the hard way or thanks to this forum) after all these years of living in a collapsed country that is trying to get out an economical disaster and everything that comes along with it.

Though my English is limited, I hope I’m able to transmit the main ideas and concepts, giving you a better image of what you may have to deal with some day, if the economy collapses in your country.


Someone once asked me how did those that live in the country fare. If they were better off than city dwellers.

As always there are no simple answers. Wish I could say country good, city bad, but I can’t. Because if I have to be completely honest, and I intend to be so, there are some issues that have to be analyzed, specially security.

Of course that those that live in the country and have some land and animals were better prepared food-wise. No need to have several acres full of crops. A few fruit trees, some animals, such as chickens, cows and rabbits, and a small orchard was enough to be light years ahead of those in the cities.

Chickens, eggs and rabbits would provide the proteins, a cow or two for milk and cheese, some vegetables and fruit plants covered the vegetable diet, and some eggs or a rabbit could be traded for flower to make bread and pasta or sugar and salt.

Of course that there are exceptions.

For example, some provinces up north have desert climate, and it almost never rains. It is almost impossible to live of the land, and animals require food and water you have to buy. Those guys had it bad, no wonder the northern provinces suffer the most in my country.

Those that live in cities, well they have to manage as they can. Since food prices went up about 200%-300%. People would cut expenses wherever they could so they could buy food. Some ate whatever they could, they hunted birds or ate street dogs and cats; others starved.

When it comes to food, cities suck in a crisis. It is usually the lack of food or the impossibility to acquire it that starts the rioting and looting when TSHTF. When it comes to security things get even more complicated.

Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet.

Some facts:

1) Those that want to harm you/steal from you don’t come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.

2) Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.

3) They wont come riding loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict just escaped from prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the better. Nor do they all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets. If I had a dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me, “They looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we are”, honestly, I would have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don’t expect them to dress like in the movies.

4) A man with a wife and two or three kids can’t set up a watch. I don’t care if you are SEAL, SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to tell you that there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are trying to fix the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag of dried beans you bought that morning.

The best alarm system anyone can have in a farm are dogs. But dogs can get killed and poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his farm one night, they all died.

After all these years I learned that even though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches.

Big cities aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his clothes.

So, where to go? The concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away from it all, on your own.

The solution is to stay away from the cities but in groups, either by living in a small town-community or sub division, or if you have friends or family that think as you do, form your own small community.

Some may think that having neighbors within “shouting” distance means loosing your privacy and freedom, but it’s a price that you have to pay if you want to have someone to help you if you ever need it. To those that believe that they will never need help from anyone because they will always have their rifle at hand, checking the horizon with their scope every five minutes and a first aid kit on their back packs at all times…. Grow up


Whatever sort of scenario you are dealing with, services are more than likely to either suffer in quality or disappear all together. Think ahead of time, analyze possible SHTF scenarios and which service should be affected by it in your area.

Think about the most likely scenario but also think outside the box. What’s more likely? A tornado? But a terrorist attack isn’t as crazy as you though it would be a few years ago, isn’t it?

Also analyze the consequences of those services going down. If there is no power then you need to do something about all that meat you have in the fridge, you can dry it or can it. Think about the supplies you would need for these tasks before you actually need them.

You have a complete guide on how to prepare the meat on you computer… how will you get it out of there if there is no power? Print everything that you consider important.


No one can last too long without water. The urban survivalist may find that the water is of poor quality, in which case he can make good use of a water filter, or that there is no water available at all. When this happens, a large city were millions live will run out of bottled water within minutes.

In my case, tap water isn’t very good. I can see black little particles and some other stuff that looks like dead algae. Taste isn’t that bad. Not good but I know that there are parts of the country where it is much worse. To be honest, a high percentage of the country has no potable water at all.

If you can build a well, do so, set it as your top of the list priority as a survivalist. Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food.

Save as much water as you can. Use plastic bottles, refill soda bottles and place them in a cool place, preferably inside a black garbage bag to protect it from sun light. The water will pick some plastic taste after a few months, but water that tastes a little like plastic is far way better than no water at all.

What ever the kind of SHTF scenario you are dealing with, water will suffer. In my case the economical crash created problems with the water company, that reduces the maintenance and quality in order to reduce costs and keep their income in spite of the high prices they have to pay for supplies and equipment, most of which comes from abroad, and after the 2001 crash, costs 3 times more.

As always, the little guy gets to pay for it.

Same would go for floods or chemical or biological attacks. Water requires delicate care and it will suffer when TSHTF in one way or another. In this case, when you still have tap water, a quality filter is in order, as well as a pump if you can have one. A manual pump would be ideal as well if possible.

Estimate that you need a approximately a gallon per person per day. Try to have at least two-four weeks worth of water. More would be preferable.


I spent WAY to much time without power for my own taste. Power has always been a problem in my country, even before the 2001 crisis.

The real problem starts when you spend more than just a few hours without light. Just after the SHTF in 2001 half the country went without power for 3 days.

Buenos Aires was one big dark grave. People got caught on elevators, food rot, hospitals that only had a few hours worth of fuel for their generators ran out of power.

Without power, days get to be a lot shorter. Once the sun sets there is not much you can do.

I read under candle light and flashlight light and your head starts to hurt after a while. You can work around the house a little bit but only as long as you don’t need power tools.

Crime also increases once the lights go out, so whenever you have to go somewhere in a black out, carry the flashlight on one hand and a handgun on the other.

Summarizing, being in a city without light turn to be depressing after a while. I spent my share of nights, alone, listening to the radio, eating canned food and cleaning my guns under the light of my LED head lamp. Then I got married, had a son, and found out that when you have loved ones around you black outs are not as bad. The point is that family helps morale on these situations.

A note on flashlights. Have two or three head LED lights. They are not expensive and are worth their weight in gold. A powerful flashlight is necessary, something like a big Maglite or better yet a SureFire, specially when you have to check your property for intruders. But for more mundane stuff like preparing food, going to the toilet or doing stuff around the house, the LED headlamp is priceless. Try washing the dishes on the dark while holding a 60 lumen flashlight on one hand and you’ll know what I mean. LEDs also have the advantage of lasting for almost an entire week of continuous use and the light bulb lasts forever.

Rechargeable batteries are a must (ed. Get a solar powered battery charger) or else you’ll end up broke if lights go out often. Have a healthy amount of spare quality batteries and try to standardize as much as you can.

I have 12 Samsung NM 2500Mh AA and 8 AAA 800mh for the headlamps. I use D cell plastic adaptors in order to use AA batteries on my 3 D cell Maglite. This turned out to work quite well, better than I expected.

I also keep about 2 or 3 packs of regular, Duracell batteries just in case. These are supposed to expire around 2012, so I can forget about them until I need them.

Rechargeable NM batteries have the disadvantage of loosing power after a period of time, so keep regular batteries as well and check the rechargeable ones every once in a while.

After all these years of problems with power, what two items I would love to have?

1) The obvious. A generator. I carried my fridge food to my parents house way to many times on the past. Too bad I can’t afford one right now.

2) A battery charger that has both solar panel and a small crank. They are not available here. I saw that they are relatively inexpensive in USA. Do yourself a favor and get one or two of these. Even if they don’t charge as well as regular ones, I’m sure it will put out enough power to charge batteries for LED lamps at least.


Gas has decreased in quality as well, there is little gas. Try to have an electric oven in case you have to do without it.

If both electricity and gas go down, one of those camping stoves can work as well, if you keep a good supply of gas cans.

The ones that work with liquid fuel seem to be better on the long run, since they can use different types of fuel.

You can only store a limited amount of compressed gas and once you ran out of it, you are on your own if stores are closed of they sold them out.

Anyway, a city that goes without gas and light for more than two weeks is a death trap, get out of there before it’s too late.


I was watching the People & Art channel with my wife the other night. It was a show where they film a couple for a given period of time and some people vote on who is the one with the worst habits, the one they find more annoying.

We were in our bed, and this is when I usually fall asleep but since the guy was a firearms police instructor I was interested and managed to stay awake.

At one point the guy’s wife said that she found annoying that her husband spent 500 dollars a month on beauty products for himself. 500 USD on facial cream, special shampoo and conditioner, as well as having his nails polished! If you are that guy and happen to be reading this, or if you know him, I’m sorry, but what an idiot!!

“500 USD, that’s a small generator or a gun and a few boxes of ammo” I told my wife.

“That’s two months worth of food” she said.

We were each thinking of a practical use for that money, the money this guy was practically throwing away.

Once the SHTF, money is no longer measured in money, but you start seeing it as the necessary goods it can buy. Stuff like food, medicine, gas, or the private medical service bill.

To me, spending 500 dollars on beauty products, and to make it worse, on a guy? That’s simply not acceptable.

The way I see it, someone with that mentality can’t survive a week without a credit card, no use in even considering a SHTF scenario. And this guy is a firearms instructor?… probably the kind of guy that will say that a handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle… and his facial night cream…

Once you experience the lack of stuff you took for granted, like food , medicines, your set of priorities change all of a sudden. For example, I had two wisdom tooth removed last year. On both occasions I was prescribed with antibiotics and strong Ibuprofen for the pain. I took the antibiotics( though I did buy two boxes with the same recipe just to keep one box just in case) but I didn’t use the Ibuprofen, I added it to my pile of medicines.

Why? because medicines are not always available and I’m not sure if they will be available in the future. Sure, it hurt like hell, but pain alone isn’t going to kill you, so I sucked it up. Good for building up character if you ask me . Make sacrifices so as to ensure a better future, that’s the mentality you should have if you want to be prepared. There’s stuff that is “nice to have” that has to be sacrificed to get the indispensable stuff.

There’s stuff that is not “basic need stuff” but it’s also important in one way or another.

My wife goes to the hairdresser once every month or two. It’s not life or death, but it does make her feel better and it boosts her morale. I buy a game for the Xbox or a movie to watch with my wife every once in awhile, just to relax. 7 or 10 dollars a month are not going to burn a hole in my pocket.

Addictions such as alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes should be avoided by the survivalist. They are bad for your health, cost a lot of money that could be much better spent, and create an addiction to something that may not be available in the future.

Who will have to tolerate your grouchy mood when your brand of smokes is no longer imported after TSHTF?


Once the SHTF the black/gray market will take no time to appear all around you.

In my country, gray markets were even accepted in the end. At first it was all about trading skills or craft products for food. Districts and towns would form their own barter markets, and created their own tickets, similar to money, that was used to trade.

This didn’t last long. Those tickets were easy to make on your home computer, there was no control and eventually people went back to paper money.

These markets were usually placed on warehouses or empty land, and were managed by some wise guy and a few thugs or hired security.

Anyone can go rent a kiosk inside these markets for about 50-100 pesos (about 20-30 dollars) a day and sell his goods and services.

Piece within these markets is usually respected… lets just say that these managers don’t call the police if someone tries anything funny, like stealing, fighting or taking advantage of women. That’s not good for their business and anyone that tries to mess with their business finds out how much pain the human body can actually experiment or gets a free ticket to meet the Lord.

Sometimes even uniformed cops manage security on these markets, for a small fee of course. As always, you still have to be careful. They may still try to pick your pockets or even attack you once you leave the market. Once you leave the market, you are on your own, as always.

This market evolves, and now a lot of different products are available. Today I visited my local market, a warehouse that is fairly well set up and cleanly managed. They had problems for selling stolen merchandise and fake Brand name clothes a few days ago.

What can be found at a local markets? Mostly food and clothing. Some have more variety than others but cheese, canned food, spices, honey, eggs, fruits, vegetables, beer, wine and cured meat are generally available, same as bakery products and pasta. These are less expensive than those found at supermarkets. Fresh fish is sometimes available but not always, people don’t trust much products that need refrigeration, and they get those at supermarkets instead.

Clothes are also popular and you can find copies of brand name clothes, imitations, or even original stolen new clothes, the same goes for shoes and snickers. Children clothes, underwear, socks, sheets and towels are all very popular. Some sell toys, but they are always China made, mostly poor quality though there are some few exceptions.

Others sell tools, also made in China can be found as well, but they are of poor quality.

Some offer their services and repair stuff or offer work as handyman.

You would be amazed of the junk that these guys manage to fix: TVs, CD players, Power tools, etc. They even manage to solder the small integrated circuits boards sometimes. Give one of these guys a screw driver and a bar of chocolate and he will fix a nuclear submarine.

After food and clothes, the 3rd most popular item has to be CDs and DVDs, movies, music, play station 2 and Xbox games, programs, it all ends up there just one or two days after the official release in USA. Seems that they have a guy hidden under Bill Gate’s desk or something.

Anyway, almost everything can be found there, and if you want, you can ask around, talk to the right guy and buy illegal stuff like drugs or black market guns and ammo. The quality of the drugs is questionable, of course, and a lot of addicts die from the mixtures these guys sell. Guns are mostly FM High Powers, Surplus 1911s and Colt .45s, Sistemas, and old Colt Detective revolvers in 38 special that found their way from police and military armories into the black market. Condition isn’t very good but if you have money you’ll be amazed of what you can end up with. Everything that is used by the military and police, including SMGs a, Browning 50 BMG Machine guns, and even frag grenades, is available in the black market, if the customer has the amount of money and a little patience, of course. The big guns may take a while, but the handguns and grenades are readily available.

Russia criticizes U.S. sanctions against arms exporter – 2

22:04 | 24/ 10/ 2008

(Adds Foreign Ministry, Rosoboronexport statements in paras 8-10, 14-16)

MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s foreign minister said on Friday that the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia’s state-run arms exporter contravene international law, and will harm ties with Washington.

The economic sanctions against Rosoboronexport were imposed under the U.S. Non-Proliferation Act on Iran, North Korea and Syria.

“The United States introduced these sanctions without any basis in international law. We will take this into account in our relations with the United States,” Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

Sanctions were also imposed on the same grounds against Venezuela, China, North and South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, and Syria, as well as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

Washington says the sanctions target firms that sell items that could “make a material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems.”

Lavrov insisted that the sanctions would not force Russia to make concessions on Iran’s nuclear program.

“If some people in Washington think that this will make Russia more amenable to U.S. approaches with regard to the Iranian nuclear problem, they are mistaken,” he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement on Friday that the sanctions against Rosoboronexport were “an unfriendly act” that would harm discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue.

“We consider this recurrence of American unilateral sanctions against a Russian organization to be an unfriendly act, which will have a negative impact on our dialogue with Washington, including in the context of discussions of the Iran Six international mediators on the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem,” the statement said.

The ministry also said: “It is high time for the United States to make up its mind on whether it is ready to continue cooperation within the Iran Six, working on the basis of coordinated approaches.”

The Iran Six international mediators are Russia, the U.S., China, France, Great Britain, and Germany.

The sanctions against Rosoboronexport are valid for two years, and bar any U.S. aid, contracts or arms sales to the blacklisted entities. The order was signed on October 16, and came into effect on Thursday.

A Rosoboronexport representative on Friday called the sanctions a “manifestation of unethical competition.”

“We view the imposition of sanctions with regard to the sole Russian facilitator of arms sales as a manifestation of unethical competition,” Vyacheslav Davydenko told reporters.

The company said in an official statement that it links the U.S. sanctions to the rise in Russian arms exports.

“The United States is deliberately trying to use administrative resources to hold Russia back in the implementation of foreign trade and foreign policy activities, in particular in the sphere of military-technical cooperation with foreign states,” Rosoboronexport said.

The company noted that the U.S. State Department announced the sanctions almost immediately after the publication of results showing Russian arms exports grew 23% in the first nine months of 2008. The company said this “did not suit the United States, frustrating its plans.”

In July and December 2006, the United States also imposed sanctions on Rosoboronexport for allegedly passing on equipment to Iran that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Author of Neoconservative Theory

FROM A Geostrategy for Eurasia.

From Foreign Affairs, September/ October 1997


A country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy.

A sustainable strategy for Eurasia must distinguish among the more immediate short-run perspective of the next five years or so, the medium term of 20 or so years, and the long run beyond that. Moreover, these phases must be viewed not as watertight compartments but as part of a continuum. In the short run, the United States should consolidate and perpetuate the prevailing geopolitical pluralism on the map of Eurasia. This strategy will put a premium on political maneuvering and diplomatic manipulation, preventing the emergence of a hostile coalition that could challenge America’s primacy, not to mention the remote possibility of any one state seeking to do so.


By the medium term, the foregoing should lead to the emergence of strategically compatible partners which, prompted by American leadership, might shape a more cooperative trans-Eurasian security system. In the long run, the foregoing could become the global core of genuinely shared political responsibility.


Obama & The ‘Predicted’ World Crisis

Obama & The ‘Predicted’ World Crisis

Obama & The ‘Predicted’ World Crisis

By Brother Nathanael Kapner, Copyright 2008

Articles May Be Reproduced Only With Authorship of Br Nathanael Kapner
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Unique Source: Brzezinski Seizes Control Of US Policy @ Here

IT ALL BEGAN WHEN former State Department chief, Colin Powell, endorsed Barack Obama for president on Meet The Press, October 19 2008. Obama responded by saying, “Powell will have a role as one of my advisers.”

Attached to his endorsement of Obama, Powell leaked an Obama-camp agenda about a coming crisis:

“There’s going to be a crisis which will come along on the 21st, 22nd of January which we don’t even know about right now!” View Entire Story Here.

On the very same day, (what a coincidence!), while at a Seattle fund raiser, Obama’s VP pick, Joe Biden, expanded on Powell’s prediction, by saying that the ‘crisis’ will be one of “international” proportions:

“There are going to be a lot of tough decisions Barack’s gonna have to make, including foreign policy. Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.

I guarantee you it’s gonna happen. And he’s gonna need you to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially that we’re right. So there’s gonna be some tough decisions. They may emanate from the Middle East. They may emanate from Russia’s newly-emboldened position because they’re floating in a sea of oil. View Entire Story Here.

Then Obama chimed in two days later on October 21 2008:

“The point that Joe made is very similar to the one that Homeland Secretary Chertoff made yesterday. This is that whoever is the next president is going to have to deal with a whole host of challenges internationally.” View Entire Story Here.

Trilaterist & former State Department chief, Madeline Albright, who supports Obama, agreed with the Obama camp, saying, “Obama will be tested.”

SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA BEGIN AS FIRST REVEALED by historian, political analyst, and Washington insider, Webster Tarpley of a new ruling elite is now in place in Washington. This power bloc is headed by the founders of the Trilateral Commission, David Rockefeller & Zbigniew Brzezinski. Obama is no more than a “blank slate” for this new ruling elite.

As the name “Trilateral” reflects, the mission of the Trilateral Commission is to divide the world into three regional super-governments, as an interim step toward world government. As the appellation “Commission” reflects, the instrumentality of a “shadow government” is implied. (More on this soon).

Brzezinski is a known Russophobe, a maniacal adversary of Moscow. Brzezinski’s agenda is to take control of Eurasia, which Brzezinski looks upon as the “center for global power.” The contender for global power, Russia, (as Brzezinski views Russia), has made significant inroads in Eurasia since the Georgian conflict on 8-8-08.

Brzezinski is not unaware of the announcement by Russian President Dimitry Medvedev of his Five Points Of Russian Foreign Policy. Medvedev made the Five Points public following Russia’s trouncing of Georgia when Georgian troops invaded S.Ossetia:

“A single-pole world is unacceptable. Domination is something we cannot allow. We cannot accept a world order in which one country makes all the decisions, even as influential a country as the United States of America.” View Entire Story Here.

ON OCTOBER 24 2008, Washington, (translate Rockefeller-Brzezinski), initiated sanctions against Russia’s state-controlled arms exporter, Rosoboron Export.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, responded by saying that “the sanctions imposed by the US on Russia’s state-run arms exporter contravene international law and will harm ties with Washington.” Lavrov concluded his remarks by saying that the US sanctions was “an unfriendly act.”

And so my friends — the ‘predicted’ world crisis, leaked by the Obama camp on October 19 2008 — has already begun…

[The following video of a Lyndon LaRouche speech on May 7 conveyed the same warnings about the planned implementation of Brzezinski’s world war. NO ONE CAN SAY WE HAVEN’T BEEN WARNED! Lest you forget, Brzezinski was also the author of the “war on terror,” way back in 1979, with the implementation of his reckless crack-pot scheme for the CIA to train and arm thousands of Islamic militants with the skills of modern techno-terrorism and the latest tactics in guerilla warfare.]

George W Bush’s Blind Followers In Pakistan

George W Bush’s Blind Followers In Pakistan

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Written by
Saturday, 18 October 2008 02:20
In Pakistan, a weak government and a blind parliament are leading a nuclear-armed nation behind George W. Bush’s policy of self-destruction.

1. The U.S. wants Pakistan to lessen its focus on Kashmir, ignore how India is using Afghan soil to export terrorism to Pakistan, ignore the Indian water blockade of Pakistan, and focus instead on firmly toeing the U.S. policy in Afghanistan.  Basically Washington wants us to protect their back while they refuse to commit to protecting the back of their Pakistani ally. [SEE PRESIDENT ZARDARI’S RECENT INTERACTIONS WITH U.S. OFFICIALS AND PM GILANI’S MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON IN EARLY AUG. 2008, and the U.S. media reports and leaks surrounding these two visits].

2. In order to sell Pakistanis Bush administration’s new policy line that Pakistan should ‘own’ America’s war on terror, the government of President Asif Zardari called a joint session of Parliament in Islamabad that lasted for almost a week in the hope that the politicians from all parties will endorse Washington’s desire to expand the war into Pakistan. The briefing took place in the week ending Oct. 17, 2008.

3. To rope in the Pakistani military, Mr. Zardari’s government invited the army to open the briefing. The military did send a senior officer to give a presentation that was limited to operational issues.  But the briefing was not that of a military given to politicians. It was a briefing by a PPP-led government, reflecting PPP policies, which are very close to the U.S. position.  Evidence:

3.1 Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the religious JUI-F party, a coalition partner of the PPP government, issued a statement 0n Oct. 15 saying that his party sees the briefing as PPP’s own and that it does not reflect the view of all the coalition parties.

3.2 President Zardari’s statement to a Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens saying India is not a threat to Pakistan and that Kashmiri freedom fighters are terrorists. He also failed to raise the question of India blocking Chenab water. [Times of India published a commentary titled Why Zardari said what America wanted to hear, Oct. 12, where the author says, “Is there any rational explanation for what Zardari definitely told the Wall Street Journal–that those who had picked up the gun and bomb in Kashmir were terrorists, and that India has never been a threat to Pakistan?”]

3.3 The sudden emergence of expensive newspaper and TV advertisement on Pakistani channels and newspapers with the message that America’s war in Afghanistan is ‘Pakistan’s own’.  It is not clear who is paying for these ads and who they represent.

3.4 Another evidence that this was a partisan, one-sided briefing is how Indian-occupied Kashmir was shown as part of India in a map during Information Minister Sherry Rehman’s briefing on Oct. 14, 2008. The same day, the Pakistani military distanced itself from the briefing and DG ISPR told The News in a report that the military’s briefing was restricted to the first round and had nothing to do with the Minister’s briefing. The spokesman also said that the military followed the government policy.

4. There is no question that the military cannot take the lead in making public some harsh truths if the PPP government is not prepared to own the consequences, especially regarding the role of some of our allies in fostering secessionism and terrorism inside Pakistan.


5. In his briefing, DG ISI/ex-DGMO alluded to weapons and support to militants inside Pakistan coming from Afghanistan. This implicates a country whose President was invited as a guest of honor when President Zardari was sworn in. How is the PPP government dealing with this challenge? Has it taken up this matter with Kabul and Washington?

6. On 5 Aug., 2008, Geo journalist Kamran Khan reported the following both on his TV show and on the front page of The News: “Impeccable official sources have said that strong evidence and circumstantial evidence of American acquiescence to terrorism inside Pakistan was outlined by President Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj in their separate meetings with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and CIA Deputy Director Stephen R Kappes on July 12 in Rawalpindi.”   QUESTION: Did President Zardari or Prime Minister Gilani or the Defense Minister or the Foreign Minister raise this urgent question of our national security when all of them visited Washington in the period between August and September 2008?

7. How come the government’s briefing failed to address what Interior Advisor Rehman Malik told a private TV channel in an interview on July 24, 2008, reported by Pak Tribune news site and I quote: “The Prime Minister’s advisor to Interior Rehman Malik has said that India was supporting the terrorist elements like Bramdagh Bugti in Pakistan, and evidences in this connection will be soon presented.”?

8. How does Rehman Malik’s statement of July 24, 2008 match with President Zardari’s statement of Oct. 4 in the Wall Street Journal where he said “India is not and has never been a threat” to Pakistan?

9. U.S. military’s Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said in a TV interview on Oct. 11, 2008, that U.S. is considering changing its Afghanistan strategy to include India, possibly allowing Indian soldiers to jointly patrol the Pak-Afghan border. This is a serious issue. Why is it that the PPP government kept quiet on it and the Foreign Minister and Defense Minister have not responded to the U.S. official?  What is the government policy on Adm. Mullen’s statement?

10. The PPP government wants Pakistanis to make America’s war on terror our own. QUESTION: Is eliminating the Afghan resistance part of our responsibility?  Or is our responsibility limited to eliminating the militants who are fighting us on our own territory? What if the coalition fails in political reconciliation inside Afghanistan, leading Afghans to take up arms? Would fighting the entire Afghan population inside Afghanistan be our responsibility too?

11. Why did the PPP government not give the Parliament and the nation the bigger picture: How Washington is drastically changing the strategic outlook in the region in a way that is detrimental to Pakistani interest? There was no discussion about American plans to formalize an expanded Indian intelligence and military presence in Afghanistan, the effort to cut Pakistan’s ability to influence the future of Kashmir, the near-total Indian control over our waters, or the efforts to reduce Pakistan’s ability to protest Indian involvement in future joint patrols of Pak-Afghan border, which is also on the cards.

Eight years to 9/11, Pakistan’s parliament was expected to retake the initiative, declare that Pakistan will not help United States crush the Afghan resistance, which flourishes due to the blunders of U.S. military and the inept regime of Hamid Karzai, declare Baitullah Mehsud and others of his ilk ‘most wanted terrorists’, expose their links to foreign spy agencies so that all Pakistanis recognize their enemy.  Instead, we have a government whose leader, President Asif Zardari, declares in Washington that President Bush has made the world a safer place, and then returns to Pakistan to tell Pakistanis that America’s lost war in Afghanistan ‘is our own.’ Ahmed Quraishi

Netanyahu May Regain the Keys to the Zionist Family Car and the New American-made Palestinian Security Force

New Elections May Return Netanyahu to Power as Shas Rejects Israel Coalition Govt

Posted October 24, 2008

Source close to Tzipi Livni, the new head of Israel’s ruling Kadima Party, accused the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party of having “deceived the entire country” in the wake of today’s announcement that they would not be joining a new coalition government headed by the would-be Prime Minister Livni.

Livni said yesterday that she would call for new elections if a coalition deal was not completed by Sunday. A Livni associate said that through last night, Shas had given the impression that they were close to approving a deal that would have made that possible. Kadima is reportedly investigating a coalition without Shas, but with only two days left before her deadline the election seems increasingly more likely.

If the election does happen, polls suggest that Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party would gain significantly, and could be returned to power. Israeli media suggests that a renewed alliance between Netanyahu and Shas may have played a role in the decision.

Netanyahu is considerably more hawkish than Livni. He has called for attacking Iran, claiming the nation is unique in the world in being completely immune to deterrence. He has also vowed to resume settlement building if he retakes the prime ministry, and has publicly condemned the Gaza ceasefire and peace talks with Syria.

Christian Zionism: Terror in Jesus’ Name

Christian Zionism: Terror in Jesus’ Name

Yoginder Sikand

Represented by literally hundreds of small denominations and churches today, particularly in America, Christian Zionism is today a formidable force and a major actor in global politics.

Christian Zionism comes in various shades, but the core of its message is total, unflinching support to the state of Israel and the Zionist imperialist project.

Christian Zionists today exercise an enormous clout in the Bush administration. Bush, too, may himself be characterised in some sense as a Christian Zionist, for his policies in the Middle East and elsewhere clearly reflect or tally with the Christian Zionist agenda.

War, conquest and imperialist domination, based on a fanatic insistence on the absolute truth of Christianity and the racial superiority of the Jews lie at the very heart of Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionists believe that the Jews are God’s ‘Chosen People’ and that God has given the Jews the absolute right to complete control over not just Palestine but, indeed, a vast stretch of territory, extending from present-day Egypt to Iraq, the so-called ‘Greater Israel’.

God, they claim, has selected the Jews above all other people. Hence, they insist, those who oppose the imperialist project of the advocates of ‘Greater Israel’ or the Zionist occupation of Palestine are ‘God’s enemies’, deserving to be crushed by every available means, including outright war and decimation.

Advocating Israel does not mean, however, that Christian Zionists accept Judaism as a legitimate means of salvation after Jesus. Nor does it translate into genuine love for the Jews, a departure from the traditional teachings of the Church that, for centuries, viewed Jews as ‘Christ-killers’.

Since Christian Zionists believe that Christianity is the only religion acceptable to God, and that, as the Bible claims, salvation is possible only through Jesus, they insist that Jews cannot be ‘saved’ unless they convert to Christianity.

Yet, because Christian Zionists are dogged defenders of the state of Israel and are fiercely anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, they have been able to establish a close nexus with right-wing Jewish groups and with the Israeli state and are today an integral part of the American-Israeli axis.

Christian Zionism is a call for global war. The belief that Christianity is the sole truth, that all other faiths are ‘Satanic’ or ‘false’, that the Jews must all gather in Palestine to fulfil so-called Biblical prophecies, and that a grand global war will soon erupt leading to the massacre of hundreds of millions and heralding the ‘second coming’ of Jesus, who will establish his Christian kingdom extending till the four corners of the world, clearly indicate the hate-driven, global expansionist project of Christian Zionism.

John Hagee is a prime example of a Christian Zionist zealot. He is the founder and pastor of the Cornerstone Church, in Texas, USA, which claims some 16,000 members. As with numerous other similar American Christian fundamentalist preachers, his church is richly endowed and media savvy.

Hagee is the president of the ‘Global Evangelism’ media company that broadcasts his daily programmes on television and radio throughout the USA and around the world. He is the author of numerous books on Christian Zionism, some of which have been reprinted by Christian fundamentalist publishers abroad as well.

‘Final Dawn Over Jerusalem’ is one of Hagee’s major writings on Christian Zionism that well exemplifies the imperialist agenda that lies at its very core.

The aim of the book is to defend the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to denounce those who seek to protest Israeli atrocities, and to advocate the cause of ‘Greater Israel’, all this in the name of Christianity and premised on the notion of the Jews as being allegedly God’s ‘Chosen People’.

Racism is integral to the Christian Zionist message, as Hagee makes amply clear. The Bible, Hagee, says, describes the Jews as ‘the apple of God’s eye’ [Zech 2:8].

He quotes the Bible as addressing the Jews and declaring, ‘For you are a holy people to the LORD your God’ and ‘the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth’ [Deut.14:2].

This means, so Hagee argues, that those who harm the Jews or the state of Israel or stand in the way of the design of ‘Greater Israel’ will ‘experience the instant wrath of God’. To those who dare to challenge the oppressive Zionist state, Hagee announces, ‘The man or nation that lifts a voice or hand against Israel invites the wrath of God’.

Such people will, Hagee insists, be ‘cursed’ by God. Hagee’s notion of God thus appears to be that of a tribal Jewish deity, who functions as a willing tool in the pursuit of Jewish expansionism.

The Bible was written by Jewish hands, and given that, as many liberal Christians would themselves concede, much of it is a human product, numerous Biblical verses were written in order to legitimise the interests of the community from which its writers were drawn.

This would seem obvious to any discerning layman, but Biblical literalists like Hagee vehemently disagree.

For them every word of the Bible is sacrosanct and divine. Biblical literalism is pressed into the service of the Christian Zionist imperialist and racist agenda. Drawing upon numerous verses of the Bible, Hagee argues, ‘God watches over Israel as a protective parent hovers over an only child’.

The nation of Israel’, he makes so bold as to declare, ‘was created by a sovereign act of God. All other nations were created by an act of war or a declaration of men, but Israel was intentionally created by God so that He would have a physical place of inheritance on the earth’.

Accordingly, Hagee would have us believe that for this god, who is seen as in need of a ‘physical place’ for himself, non-Jews or Gentiles, are second-rate human beings or less, and so can easily be dispensed with if they are seen as coming in the way of Jewish imperialism.

The tribal Jewish version of God that Hagee presents appears entirely unjust and arbitrary, far from being impartial in the way he deals with His creation. Given the fact that the God of the Biblical literalist imagination is a Jewish deity, and not the universal God who looks upon His entire creation impartially, he is seen as blessing Jewish conquests of territories of their enemies.

Thus, quoting the Bible, Hagee writes that God gave the land of ‘Greater Israel’, a vast swathe of land stretching from Egypt all the way till Iraq, to the Jews, descendants of Isaac, forever.

That being the case, Hagee suggests that people living in those territories, millions of Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, have no right to live there or else must accept to live under Jewish rule. Although Hagee does not say this explicitly, what this means is that those who refuse to accept Jewish rule must, therefore, be either killed or expelled.

The god of Hagee’s imagination appears as an entirely whimsical real estate agent. ‘God established Israel’s national geographic boundaries’, Hagee writes. ‘The exact borders of Israel are detailed in Scripture just as our heavenly Father dictated them’, he goes on, adding, ‘The divine Surveyor drove the original stakes into Judean soil and decreed that no one should ever change these property lines.

The real estate contract and lands covenants were signed in blood and stand to this very hour’. Hence, he argues, ‘Jews have the absolute right as mandated by God to the land of Israel and, more specifically, to the city of Jerusalem’.

Hence, he suggests, Palestinians have no claim to their own historical land, and must make way for Jewish occupiers.

Hagee’s defence of Zionist imperialism goes to ridiculous lengths. Laughable as this may sound, he argues, ‘Israel has a Spy in the sky’—God Himself. God, he claims, provides Israel, the Jewish people and the state of Israel, with special protection.

‘No nation in the world can match the defensive force guarding the State of Israel. The archangel Michael has a special assignment to guard Israel’. And those who, for any reason oppose Israel, and this includes Palestinians fighting Israeli occupation and oppression, are said to incur God’s wrath.

‘The Lord stands watch in the darkest night with an eye trained on the nation of Israel and, more specifically, Jerusalem. Those who fight with Israel fight with Him’, Hagee asserts.

So central is Israel to Hagee’s tribalistic version of God that he goes to the extent of arguing that the fate of each and every person on the face of the planet depends essentially on his or her attitude to the Jews.

‘Prosperity or punishment depends on how we treat Israel’, he alleges, because, he claims, the Jews, as descendants of Abraham ‘enjoy heavenly favour’.

To back his claim he quotes the Bible as saying that when God entered into a covenant with Abraham, He gave him an ‘awesome promise’, saying, ‘I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’ [Gen. 12:3].

Hence, Hagee insists, the United States, and, indeed, anyone else who wishes to please God, must consistently engage in ‘compassionate support of the State of Israel’, adding that, ‘The quickest and most effective way to be on God’s side is to stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people in their hour of need’.

By doing this, he claims, one can win God’s favour, because, ‘God blesses the man or nation that blesses Israel or the Jewish people’.

At no time before, Hagee firmly believes, has support for Israel and Zionist imperialism, been more crucial than today. This is because, he claims, Jesus is returning to the world soon, and Israel must be protected in order to welcome the Messiah.

Hagee’s image of Jesus in his ‘second coming’ bears no resemblance to the familiar notion of the suffering, loving Jesus. Rather, in his description Jesus appears as a fierce warrior, rallying Christians to arms and heralding the final, global war, ironically in the name of the ‘Prince of Peace’.

In the doomsday scenario that Hagee outlines, what he calls ‘fanatical attacks’ by Arabs on Israel, particularly Jerusalem, would mount.

In response, Christians the world over, he says, must rally behind Israel. At this hour, he insists, ‘we must let the world know that if a line has to be drawn, it will be drawn around Christians as well as Jews. We are united and indivisible’.

The city of Jersualem, Hagee believes, is the crux of the final battle before Jesus’ ‘second coming’. This city, considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, has been ordained, so Hagee argues, by God to be ‘under the exclusive control of the Jewish people’ until Jesus arrives again.

The final battle of Armageddon will, he writes, be centred on this city, with Arabs or Muslims seeking to wrest control of it from the Jews. In this regard, Hagee says, Christians, for their part, must staunchly defend Israel and must refuse any peace offers, such as allowing for a shared Jerusalem or joint control of the town by Jews and Arabs.

In particular, he appeals to the United States to do everything in its power to back Israel and to crush its opponents, claiming this is the only way to win God’s favour. If America fails to do this, he warns, it would be crushed by God Himself!

Quoting various verses of the Bible, Hagee describes what he sees as the unfolding of events of cosmic proportions, ushering in a global war the like of which has never been witnessed hitherto and heralding the ‘second coming of Jesus’.

In this global war, he says, Muslims, whom he regards as followers of a ‘false’ religion, would ally with the Russians to fight against Israel. This would lead to a global nuclear war, with hundreds of millions being killed. At this point, the ‘Anti-Christ’ will appear, attack Jerusalem and will take over the reigns of the world, falsely claiming to usher in peace.

But, this grand deception will not last long, and, instead, will only lead to even more devastating wars. At this time, Hagee says, Christians must defend, by every means possible, the Jews and Israel, and wage war against the armies of those opposed to God’s ‘Chosen Race’, the Jews. Only then can they be saved, he insists.

After years of global war and terrible destruction, Hagee writes, Jesus will be sent by God to deliver the world. Mounted on a white horse, he will arrive at the battlefield at Armageddon. Defeating the ‘Anti-Christ’ and his army, he will establish his global kingdom with his capital in Jerusalem, there to ‘rule and reign forever’.

Hagee’s description of Jesus’ future global kingdom offers little cause to cheer for non-Christians, including, ironically, even the Jews whom he so ardently defends. It would, as he himself makes clear, be nothing short of a global Christian empire, and an antiquated one at that, with kings and queens and presidents still in place!

How they would continue to be around when Jesus rules the whole world is a mystery that Hagee leaves unsolved.

Ruled by Jesus, Hagee writes, ‘Jerusalem, the apple of God’s eye, will become the joy of the world. The city will become the international worship center, and people from all over the world will make pilgrimages to worship in the holy temple.

Kings, queens, princes and presidents shall come to the Holy City’ to adore Jesus. Presumably, these all will be Christians themselves, for Hagee quotes the Bible as predicting that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’.

As Hagee’s book clearly indicates, Christian Zionism, rooted in tradition of the Crusades and a long history of Church triumphalism, is a recipe for global war and Christian imperialism.

Moreover, it reflects a total lack of genuine spirituality, seeking to reduce the notion of God into a petty, whimsical and racist dictator who willingly urges the slaughter of innocents in order to protect the expansionist designs of his supposedly ‘Chosen People’.

Of course, Christian Zionism is hardly unique in its use of religion for such blatantly political ends, but given the immense clout enjoyed by its advocates today, especially in America, it is a much more menacing threat to world peace than is sometimes imagined and cannot be simply dismissed as the ravings of lunatics on the fringe.

Dr. Yoginder Sikand writes in Mukto-Mona from Bangalore. Yoginder Sikand did his MPhil in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and his PhD in history from the University of London; he is the author of several books including Sacred Spaces: Exploring Traditions of Shared Faith in India (Penguin, 2003) and Muslims in India Since 1947: Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations (Routledge Curzon, 2004). etc.

Hundreds of American-Made Palestinian forces deployed in Hebron


Hundreds of Palestinian forces deployed in Hebron

Posted: 25 October 2008 1812 hrs

Photos 1 of 1

Newly arrived Palestinian police check their beds in the police barracks in the West Bank town of Hebron.

HEBRON, West Bank: More than 500 Palestinian security reinforcements were deployed in the southern West Bank town of Hebron on Saturday as part of a widening crackdown in the occupied territory, officials said.

Around 500 Palestinian security forces took up positions before dawn in the flashpoint town without incident, Hebron police chief Samih al-Saifi told AFP.

An Israeli security official confirmed the deployment and said it had taken place with the coordination of the Israeli army.

“Five hundred and fifty extra armed police were deployed in Hebron in coordination with the Israeli army to strengthen the Palestinian Authority in its fight against Hamas,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Israel has long feared a repeat in the West Bank of the Islamist movement’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, when it routed forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a week of bloody battles.

The latest deployment is part of a widening crackdown that has seen hundreds of Palestinian security forces deployed in the northern West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus, both of which were once militant strongholds.

It is also aimed at underpinning the US-backed Middle East peace process which was formally relaunched nearly a year ago with the aim of creating a Palestinian state – talks which have thus far made little visible progress.

The Palestinians have not said publicly that the security plan is directed at Hamas, and Saifi would only say that the troops in Hebron were there to “provide order and security in the town”.

In recent months, however, Palestinian forces have arrested dozens of members of the Islamist group, shuttered several of its charities and organisations, and confiscated weapons and explosives.

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza condemned the Hebron deployment, saying it “served the Zionist enemy” by targeting the Islamist movement.

“Their role is to curtail Hamas and take aim at the weapons of the resistance, not to enforce the law or protect citizens,” he told AFP.

The conflict between Hamas and Abbas’s secular Fatah movement could worsen in the coming months with the two groups divided on when Abbas’s presidential term expires.

Hamas has said his constitutionally mandated four-year term ends in January, while Abbas’s supporters have said new presidential and parliamentary elections should be held together in January 2010.

With more than 160,000 Palestinian residents, Hebron is the largest town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has long been a flashpoint in the Middle East conflict because of a settlement of around 800 hardline Jews in the heart of the town.

Settlers and Palestinians have frequently clashed near a tomb in the Old City believed to hold the remains of the biblical patriarch Abraham, a site revered by Jews and Muslims.

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a US-born Jewish settler, opened fire on Muslims praying inside the Ibrahimi mosque built on the site of the tomb, killing 29 Palestinians, including several women and children.

The settlement and the religious site are guarded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers who will remain in Hebron, despite the deployment of the additional Palestinian forces.

Israel has said its force will continue to operate in all parts of the West Bank to prevent attacks on its citizens and West Bank settlers.

– AFP/so

Pakistan rejects ‘America’s war’ on extremists

Pakistan rejects ‘America’s war’ on extremists

• Parliament vows to end military action on border
• Relations with US will be strained by new strategy

Members of religious party Jamaat e-Islami yesterday at a protest against US airstrikes along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Photograph: Fayyaz Hussain/Reuters

Serious doubts multiplied yesterday about Pakistan‘s commitment to America‘s military campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban after parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for dialogue with extremist groups and an end to military action.

The new strategy, backed by all parties, emerged after a fierce debate in parliament where most parliamentarians said that Pakistan was paying an unacceptable price for fighting “America’s war”. If implemented by the government, support for Pakistan from international allies would come under severe strain, adding further instability to a country facing a spiral of violence and economic collapse.

“We need to prioritise our own national security interests,” said Raza Rabbani, a leading member of the ruling Pakistan People’s party. “As far as the US is concerned, the message that has gone with this resolution will definitely ring alarm bells, vis-a-vis their policy of bulldozing Pakistan.”

The resolution, passed unanimously in parliament on Wednesday night demanded the abandonment of the use of force against extremists, in favour of negotiation, in what it called “an urgent review of our national security strategy”.

“Dialogue must now be the highest priority, as a principal instrument of conflict management and resolution,” said the resolution. “The military will be replaced as early as possible by civilian law enforcement agencies.” It also said Pakistan would pursue “an independent foreign policy” and, in a pointed reference to US military incursions into Pakistani territory, proclaimed that “the nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively”.

The force of the resolution was unclear last night, with differences in interpretation between the ruling People’s party and opposition. The document is not binding on the government even though it was party to it. The army remains the ultimate arbiter of security policy. Some analysts believe that differences between the parties will see a tussle over implementation that could temper the resolution’s thrust. The US response was muted, with officials saying they considered it rhetoric for domestic consumption.

But the intense American pressure on Islamabad to take on the militants was underlined yesterday by another US missile strike inside Pakistani territory, an instance of the heavy-handed intervention that parliament railed against. The attack came in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan, at an Islamic school being used by suspected extremists, killing 11. The madrasa was linked to Afghan Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, who has an extensive network in Pakistan.

There have been about a dozen US missile strikes inside Pakistan since the beginning of September and a ground assault, fanning widespread anti-Americanism in the country. The US and Nato depend on Pakistan to prevent its tribal area being used as a safe haven for Afghan Taliban.

Past attempts by Pakistan at making peace with militant groups in the tribal area have allowed them to regroup and led to a sharp increase in cross-border attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Yesterday a US official made clear what it expected. “Pakistan needs to and is attacking insurgents in its northern areas,” Patrick Moon, a deputy US assistant secretary of state, said during a visit to Kabul. “Sanctuaries for Afghanistan Taliban in Pakistan complicate our security operations. Pakistani Taliban and other extremists such as al-Qaida are posing a threat to the stability of Pakistan.”

Pakistan is confronting multiple crises, political, security and financial, which threaten to overwhelm the nuclear-armed country and push it into chaos. It is heading towards bankruptcy, forcing Islamabad this week to approach to the International Monetary Fund for a rescue package. But the IMF bailout could be jeopardised if Washington is not on board.

Ordinary people complain that the country feels like it is falling apart, with a severe shortage of electricity causing blackouts of 12 hours or more in many areas, and crippling food price inflation, running at up to 100%, swelling the numbers living below the poverty line.

The country’s north-west, especially its tribal border area with Afghanistan, is under the control of Taliban and al-Qaida, who are connected to militant groups that have networks across the country. Yesterday, in what is now a typical day for Pakistan, aside from the US missile strike, eight anti-Taliban tribal leaders were killed by militants in the Orakzai part of the tribal area, and the army killed 20 fighters in Bajaur, another part of the tribal belt.

In Swat, a valley in the north-west, the headless body was found of a policeman, previously kidnapped by Taliban, and posters went up in Swat warning women against shopping in markets, saying it was “unIslamic”.

“Our country is burning,” said Senator Khurshid Ahmad, a member of Pakistan’s upper house of parliament for Jamaat-e-Islami, a mainstream religious party. “We don’t want Bush to put oil on the fire. We want to extinguish this fire.”

Sherry Rehman, minister for information, said the motion was a “firm resolve to combat terrorism”. But Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, said: “The army will be disappointed there was not a clear consensus. I think the army will continue with the existing policy.”


Protesting H Con Res 362 at Pelosi's officeChicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine are organizing a major protest of the AIPAC “National Summit” in Chicago. Second only to  AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference in DC each Spring, the Summit is one AIPAC’s largest events. Taking place October 26 and 27th, it is for “elite activists” in the pro-war lobby, and is likely to feature luminaries from Congress and the Bush administration (and no doubt, representatives from the religious extreme-right).  We could not be happier then to report that Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine are drawing up plans to protest this celebration of war and occupation. Go to their website for more info (or check out the StopAIPAC site). Stop AIPAC has helped in that protest by sending 4,000 promotional postcards that have already been distributed in the last couple weeks.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, we are again planning to protest at the annual AIPAC dinners that come our way. This time we are likely to focus our protest at the San Francisco dinner taking place on the early evening of December 9th (mark your calendar!) at the Hilton Hotel just above Union Square. During the holiday season, this area is packed with people, so this will be an unforgettable protest for a new foreign policy of peace and justice that people demand, and a repudiation of the politics of war that is AIPAC’s agenda.

We Stopped AIPAC. In this email, we celebrate the death of the dreadful  Iran War Resolution (H Con Res 362/Sen Res 580).  It was a rare and important defeat, but only part of a larger struggle.

We also issue a Call to Action on the Hate DVD Obsession.

Do keep in mind, more opportunities for action to defeat AIPAC’s agenda also mean the need for more funding, so don’t miss the appeal below.

Help spread the word. Forward this email. PLEASE use this Forward Option.

Hey, did you miss an issue of the newsletter? You can always go to our archives.

Israel Lobby sends out 28 million pieces of anti-Muslim hate

In the past few months, many of you in “swing states” have found hate in your Sunday paper. Not just the kook that had his letter to the editor printed, but a sophisticated and multi-million dollar campaign that had 28 million pieces of DVD’s that promotes fear and hate against our Muslim neighbors.  This is not random hate, but organized hate. A Campaign meant to not only sway an election, but ultimately to promote war.

You can read in detail about the Obsession DVD in this excellent paper by Omid Safi.   But more importantly, we want you to
Like this important campaign begun by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) we are requesting that if our supporters receive any such mailing or newspaper insert from the non-profit “Clarion Fund”, that folks send that material to us, and it will be returned to AIPAC when it has its “membership dinner” in San Francisco on December 9th.  Why to AIPAC? Because it has been promoting many of the speakers featured in the hate DVD, including Daniel Pipes and many others. It is also likely that the funders of the DVD distribution also are big supporters of AIPAC. Sheldon Adelson, one of the world’s richest men, funds the extremist group “Freedom Watch” is rumored to be behind the funding of the DVD, though it is uncertain. Adelson also funded AIPAC’s new headquarters in DC. The important point is, AIPAC works day after day to promote fear and hate, using the most vile propaganda, promoting its worst proponents, such as Rev. Hagee and Daniel Pipes. What better way to say “We reject this” than by marking this trash “Return to Sender” and publicly renouncing this campaign.

Please send any copies of the DVD (either “Obsession” or “The Third Jihad”) you may receive to Stop AIPAC, PO Box 11311, Berkeley, CA 94712, and we will make sure AIPAC (and the larger community) gets the message: America says no to hate!
See our action page to keep up on developments.
Check out our action page and spread the word!

In Rare Defeat for AIPAC, Iran War Resolution Shelved.

Because you acted, AIPAC’s central priority for this legislative session suffered a quiet death. A campaign that began on June 21st of this year, when Daily Kos (mostly a Democratic Party forum) had a post that won top attention, and inspired much action (with thousands looking to the StopAIPAC webpage for more information). Other websites also caught on, followed by calls by groups such as True Majority and Peace Action. Letters/Emails/Phone Calls immediately began flooding the House, and all of the President’s men, the Lobbyists and their associated PAC’s could not stop it. The outrage grew. And it was good. Politicians backtracked. Politicians demurred. AIPAC pushed harder, but still they lost. And it was very good.

Not only have we placed a very important obstacle in this march toward war, we have also tied this extremist piece of legislation to the AIPAC reputation. When people think of who is promoting military confrontation and these extremist policies in the Middle East, many more will now think of “AIPAC”.  It was a “teachable moment”.

There is a fine “Obit” of the 362 Resolution here. There is much more work to be done to prevent war with Iran, including a call for global nuclear disarmament that includes both the US and Israel. We are off to a good start.

Television May Be Doing Your Thinking

Television May Be Doing Your Thinking

by Lynn Berry

(NaturalNews) – The world’s biggest leisure activity is watching television. Not walking or reading, not playing games with our children, not engaging with others in outdoor activities. Most of us like to think that television has absolutely no effect on how we think or what we do. We believe that it is a way to relax. Many of us may be surprised to know that television is a controlling medium, relaxing us enough to switch off our analytical brain (the left side of the brain) so that we uncritically, or unlogically, process the information beaming from the television. This means we are less able to make decisions or judgments about what we hear on television.

Our brains undergo a similar process under hypnosis. The similarity between hypnosis and the effects of watching television is unveiled in Dr Aric Sigman’s book called Remotely Controlled. Sigman describes hypnosis as “an altered state of consciousness”; a form of sleepwalking where our mind is influenced by another (the hypnotist or practitioner).

Under hypnosis we become more open to the suggestions of the practitioner and this happens as we are asked to refrain from being critical and relaxed. As we do this, the frontal lobe in our brain alters becoming less connected with the brain so that we switch off. Hypnosis effectively causes a change in the brain so that we use the right side of our brain. What we switch off is the left side used for critical thinking.

While hypnosis may be considered an extreme or unusual solution to certain conditions, it only takes 30 seconds for us to be in a similar state when we switch on the television. Such were the findings from Professor Herbert Krugman in a study conducted in 1971. His conclusion was that we do not think about the information transmitted via television. In other words the way television communicates is a form of brainwashing.

Left in this state for some time can mean that we become less inventive in problem-solving and less able to concentrate. This suits some environments. In the UK, television is used to keep prisoners quiet. It is regarded as one of the best types of control mechanisms by the General Secretary of the Prison Governors’ Association. Prisoners are subjected to the tranquillising effects of television which subdues behaviour, and the other benefit is that it is a cheap and effective way to do that.

The frontal lobe also alters in the brain when watching television. The frontal lobe is an important part of the brain as it is a management type system ensuring that our self-control, moral judgment and attention is planned, organised and sequenced. The concern is that the frontal lobe may be damaged by watching television and this may happen in childhood because the frontal lobe is in a continual stage of development until around 20 years of age.

When children watch television, the frontal lobe is not doing anything with the result that over a period of time this part of the brain doesn’t develop which can then stunt development. A study in The World Federation of Neurology outlined concerns about the impact of visual electronic media (including television) on children because of stunted frontal lobe development which also impacts on their ability to control antisocial behaviour. Playing and interacting with others is recommended to encourage the fibres in the frontal lobe to develop and thicken and to make stronger connections to neurons.

It is not the information itself that causes the problem, but rather the medium. Somehow we are electrically wired to the television enabling information to be absorbed – any information. The medium induces within us a passive state for communication. If we are unconsciously absorbing information, then what is this information doing to the way we think and act? Of course, the medium is a perfect match for advertisers.

How much are we influenced by the opinions of others presented on TV? Ask how you came by that opinion – was it someone else’s opinion that you’ve unconsciously accepted. Is your view of the latest international news event – consider the Russia vs Georgia crisis – shaped by what you hear? For example, I started to believe what I was hearing regarding this ‘crisis’ (ie that one country was the problem), until I was reminded of the history and other related events. Do you find yourself arguing forcefully about an issue then wondered how, or even why, you had that point of view?

The other aspect of television to consider is the amount of negative information that is transmitted. There are a few stories that are uplifting and empowering. Some groups recommend staying away from television particularly the news because of what they see as it’s potential to negatively impact on enthusiasm, positive thinking, and self esteem. Do an experiment and stop watching television for a few days or a week, then assess how you feel in general. Once you start watching television again, reassess.

While we may look after our physical body, eating well and exercising, we also have a duty to look after our mental body, feeding it with positive stimulation. In a positive environment, we become positive, influencing others to be positive.

Source: ‘Weapons of Mass Induction’ an article in Kindred based on an excerpt of a book by Dr Aric Sigman called Remotely Controlled (Kindred 22: Aug 2007 see

Translating Propaganda and Thinking the Unthinkable

Translating Propaganda and Thinking the Unthinkable

By Max Kantar

When you go to a foreign country, it is common to bring a translation dictionary to help curb the confusion that comes with trying to understand a foreign language. Likewise, in American politics, we also need a translation guide to understand mainstream discussion given the universal double standards, egotistical national chauvinism, and internalized elite values.

Propaganda in the US rests mostly in what is not said, but rather assumed. Such a system of indoctrination is extremely powerful as it serves the purpose of making certain thoughts not so much undesirable, but unthinkable, strikingly reminiscent of Orwell’s depiction of totalitarian control and manipulation of the English language in his novel, 1984.

The language of US propaganda is indeed a foreign tongue to anyone who takes seriously the factual historical record, the nature of powerful institutions, and fundamental human decency with respect for human rights.

Included here is a list of commonly used terminology in American politics and the mainstream media. The definitions provided are the unspoken, assumed meanings of the terms, which are in fact quite different, sometimes diametrically opposed to their dictionary definitions.

For any serious social and political discussion to materialize, it is imperative that we understand the vocabulary put forth by our cultural managers in order to dismantle the prevailing system of thought control and indoctrination.

US Foreign Policy, Israel, and International relations

Peace Process

: Whatever the US is doing at the time [1]

Department of Defense:

Department of aggression and acceptable terrorism


: 1) Legitimate resistance to the terror/aggression of the US and its clients, or 2) Terrorism committed by those out of favor with Washington


: Terrorism and aggression carried out by the US and its client states

War on Terrorism

: Any violence the US or its client states use to advance the US agenda of global dominance by stifling independent nationalism, assuring control over natural resources, squashing ‘good examples’ of independent economic development, and creating conditions to benefit foreign (US) investors instead of the populations at hand. Basically the ideological twin and subsequent replacement of the rabid anti-communism of the Cold War.


1) Anybody that the US fights against, 2) People who defend themselves from US attack, and 3) Perpetrators of terrorism whose terror doesn’t serve US power

Privately Contracted Security Forces:

Mercenaries or paid killers unaccountable to the public

“Protecting our way of life”

: A justification for US-based violence and economic exploitation that is driven by a desire to ‘protect’ private concentrated wealth of the richest 1% (‘our’) of the country. ”

Failed policy”

: Usually refers to an unlawful war policy which has come to cost too much money. It reinforces yet again, the imperial rights of the US to use violence at will in violation of human rights, the public will, and international law.

Blunders, Mismanagement, Mistakes, etc:

Terms used to describe US foreign policy when large sectors of business power and the population turn against [the respective policy]…the implication being clear that US initiatives are by definition, rooted in morality and altruism, despite natural human errors of strategy, not of motives, meaning that US foreign policy “means well.”

To “Spread Democracy”:

To extend US control over a foreign country, usually in an attempt to undermine popular democratic efforts that threaten US political, business, and ideological interests.

“Support the Troops”:

Support our policy of unlawful aggression

“The Surge worked”

: The perceived success of the US escalation of the illegal occupation of Iraq renders our initial/continued illegal aggression legitimate according to this proclamation. Nevertheless, this catchphrase also ignores the actual reasons for the decrease in violence including the non-related cease fire maintained by the Shia resistance, increased segregation through extensive ethnic cleansing, and most importantly, significantly less people to kill as half the country is dead, exiled, displaced, mangled, or in prison. [2]


Refers to a foreign government that favors the interests of elite foreign (US)

investors instead of the respective population


a foreign leader who follows orders from Washington [1]


a foreign leader who pursues a course independent from Washington’s orders [1]

Human Rights:

Things that the US supports and that our enemies violate

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Weapons (sometimes nonexistent ones) that are held by states out of favor with Washington. Notice that the US and its clients by definition do not possess anything or pursue anything that would cause “mass destruction.” Therefore the definition of WMD’s is purely ideological, void of physical facts.

Free/Fair Trade:

Trade policies that favor the ultra wealthy and trample labor rights, ignore environmental regulations, and prevent independent development for the poor nations involved and prevent meaningful democracy for the populations of both the rich country and the poor country in any given case.

Communist, Marxist, Socialist

(concerning foreign political parties or governments): Governments that pursue independent economic development without concern for foreign investor interests or the neoliberal development model.


A term used to describe the final measure taken by the US resort to lawless violence. In other words, when the Clinton administration noted they would act “unilaterally” if they “must,” they meant that the US will act in violation of the UN and international law if international law and the UN don’t support and conform to US military actions and US will.


(concerning various international opinion): 1) Those who oppose US crimes and exploitative economic policies, and 2) Open supporters of applying the standards of international law universally.


An accusation usually used to deflect criticism of Israel’s ongoing war crimes as cited uncontroversially by the UN, Israeli/Jewish human rights groups, and Amnesty International, all in accordance with the Geneva Conventions on human rights.

Israel’s “Right to Exist”:

Israel’s right to continue outwardly racist policies against its Palestinian-Arab citizens within its borders and Israel’s right to maintain a racist apartheid civil/military system in the Palestinian West Bank, a genocidal siege on the heavily populated Gaza Strip, and an illegal military occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas ‘Militants’ or ‘Terrorists’:

Anybody Israel kills in the occupied territories

Nuclear weapons:

Benevolent instruments of peace for US and client states, tyrannical instruments of genocide when held by everyone else.


Terrorist, usually inherently irrational, violent, and deceitful. A hater of freedom, democracy, Christians, and Jews.

Well, who is NOT an Arab then?:

According to the honorable McCain, “decent, family men” who we may or may not have “disagreements” with. By implication, an Arab then cannot be “decent” or family orientated. For further elaboration, see the above definition.

Domestic Politics: Economic policy and Authority

Wall Street Bailout:

Well, this means exactly what it sounds like, which is why the public was opposed to the whole thing. Publicly funded (we pay) bailouts for wall street, and polite condolences for workers, children, the poor, and the sick.

Socialism, Communism, Marxism

(concerning public policy and advocacy): Policies where the public’s tax money is spent on the public welfare, as opposed to transferring public funds to the ultra wealthy.

Market Based Solutions:

“Solutions” to social problems that put profit as the driving force, rather than human need by eliminating the public role in decision making, transferring additional and un-calculated costs to the public and forcing working families and the poor to bare most of the burden of market forces.

Business Community:

The richest of the rich, the elite millionaire/billionaire corporations, investors, and banks—the ones who own the country and are unaccountable to the public. Not a “community” in the friendly sense that we understand it to be. (Does not include small business owners like your local friendly family-run restaurant.)

Labor Flexibility:

Due to a significant level of desperation and sizable unemployment in the labor force, conditions are ripe for business managers and owners to slash living wages, cut benefits, disregard reasonable working condition standards, and destroy workers’ unions in order to increase their power and profits.


The use of this word in referring to social programs for the public is chosen specifically to imply that those receiving the much needed social benefits are “freeloaders” and “sponging off of the government.” Refers exclusively to the poor, working class, and middle class. Entitlements for the wealthy, such as tax breaks and other gifts, are not included in this categorization.


Huge sums of money stolen from the pockets of taxpayers received mostly by rich blacks who cheat the government and are too lazy to work.

Corporate Welfare/Subsidies:

What? There’s no such thing! And if there was, it would never be exponentially larger than social welfare…

Personal Responsibility:

Social Darwinism or the ‘law of the jungle’ for the working class, poor, uninsured, and disenfranchised. Note that “personal responsibility” doesn’t apply to the elite, who enjoy government protection and public safety nets.

Economic Freedom:

Unrestricted free reign for multinational corporations, billionaire investors, and massive banking institutions to run the country in their interests at the expense of the general population whose role is to work, go into debt, and supply the funds (taxes) to erect barriers to market forces for big business. Also commonly known as “liberty“.

Small Government:

A massive government designed in the interests of military dominance and in the interests of the rich, while making sure public dollars cannot be spent on public interests and much needed social programs. Simply put, big government for sectors of power, small government for the needy.

Free Enterprise, Free Market:

An economic system of “public subsidy and private profit,” where the government intervenes in the market regularly to protect elite business interests from market forces. [1]


The removal of economic institutions from the public sphere into private, unaccountable hands. By definition, a radical reduction of democracy.

‘Hope or Change’:

Change of face and rhetoric, maintenance of the status quo

Democracy, Democratic Process:

Elections every few years between two factions of business representatives, public ratifications of concentrated power.

Balanced Media Coverage:

A lively debate between a “liberal” and a “conservative” within a narrow framework of assumptions that serve the interests of power.


Refers exclusively to small criminals from the lower classes like drug dealers, petty thieves, some violent behavior. Does not include the massive crime and corruption on Wall Street, or the much bigger and more serious war crimes (which have kill millions of people) committed by presidents and congress.

War on Drugs:

a one-trillion-dollar-and-climbing policy of insanity (by Albert Einstein’s definition) which shamefully and disproportionally targets Blacks and Latinos…a policy which is no more a “war” on drug use than the t.v. show “Cheaters” is a “war” on infidelity.

Full Investigation:

a term used by government officials to calm down an angry population in light of police brutality, political corruption, government misconduct, etc. The “investigation” either produces no results or simply sacrifices a scapegoat for PR reasons, while neglecting to address the deeply rooted institutional problems. [3]

Getting public unrest “under control”:

Subjugating, often using violence, those who attempt to participate in decision making outside the ballot box.


(in the case that the accused is an American): 1) Those who love their country and aspire to improve it by challenging their government, and/or, 2) Americans who do not identify themselves or their moral values with the Washington-Wall Street power structure.

National Security:

An all purpose catch phrase used to justify US military aggression and restriction of civil rights.

National Interest:

Corporate interests [1] and lastly,


Fronts for socializing the cost of Research and Development for corporations and the military. They also serve the invaluable function of making sure that the educated community understands the right version of history, world affairs, and of course, the proper meaning of relevant terminology and the rules of polite discussion.


1 Chomsky, Noam, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Odonian Press, Berkeley, CA, December 2002.

2 Blum, William, “When is a holocaust not a holocaust? Counterpunch, October 2008

3 Abu-Jamal, Mumia, All Things Censored, Seven Stories Press, New York, July 2003.

The GM – Ford Deathwatch

The GM – Ford Deathwatch

By Alex Taylor, II I- Senior Editor, Fortune


GM plunges 31% as outlook dims

GM and Ford face credit downgrades after new report projects U.S. auto sales will hit recession levels this year; Ford slides nearly 22%.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Investors cast a shocking vote of no confidence in the future of U.S. automakers Thursday.

After dropping sharply early in the day, GM (GM, Fortune 500) stock closed down 31% to $4.76 a share, while Ford (F, Fortune 500) fell nearly 22% to $2.08. A flurry of bad news was to blame, of which the latest was a declaration by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that it was putting GM and Ford on credit watch negative “because of the rapidly weakening state of most global auto markets” and weak capital market conditions.

The stock selloff effectively puts both companies on death watch, and it’s easy to see why. The ratings warnings followed a new report by Global Insight that shows U.S. auto sales hitting recession levels this year – and then sinking lower in 2009.

“We won’t get back to where we were in 2006 until 2013,” said George Magliano, director of forecasting for North America for Global Insight. The economic forecasting and consulting firm based outside Boston is forecasting sales of 13.8 million units this year and only 13.4 million in 2009, compared with 16.1 million last year.

The impact of oil prices at the beginning of the year was mild compared to the squeeze from the credit crunch. As Nigel Griffiths, Global Insight’s managing director of global forecasting, points out, expensive oil merely meant that wealth was being transferred to oil-producing countries like Russia from oil-consuming ones like the United States. Now, the credit crunch is destroying wealth and making it impossible for customers to buy.

“The impact is worse than if the price of oil had been sustained at $200 a barrel,” he said.

No help from foreign markets

It turns out that auto finance companies were as guilty as mortgage lenders in providing loans to subprime borrowers – and their generosity is coming back to haunt them. Lenders dramatically cut standards for credit worthiness at the beginning of 2008 and now delinquency rates have been shooting up to levels not seen in 30 years.

“Some 18% of sales volume came from people with bad credit scores,” said Magliano. “Now the subprime buyer has been squeezed out.”

There is little relief overseas. According to Global Insight, at least half a dozen countries in Western Europe experienced greater house-price appreciation over the last 10 years than did the United States. Ireland led the way with a nearly 250% rise and the United Kingdom was not far behind. With that kind of wealth accumulation unlikely to be repeated, sales experienced a “total collapse” in July and have gone into a “violent downshift.”

Nor is Asia likely to provide a safety net. Sales growth in China is slowing markedly and vehicle demand in India is also ebbing. Even the much publicized $3,000 Nano car developed by India’s Tata Motors is off to a slow start. Plans for an assembly plant in India have been scuttled by local opposition and Global Insight says Nano “will only see a big build-up in volumes from 2010.”

“When will the credit crunch free up enough to allow consumers to finance again?” asked Griffiths. “That is the several-trillion-dollar question. It is the core assumption on which all forecasts will be based and it is unforecastable.”

To combat this flood of negative news, GM has adopted the Sarah Palin approach: bypassing the media by communicating directly with customers and investors. GM executives can now be seen in videos posted on its Fast Lane Web site talking about the company.

In the first video, posted Sept. 22, chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner responds to the question “What’s GM’s future look like?” by saying “GM’s future is actually quite bright.” After ticking off progress on new models, technology and sales in developing markets,” he concluded by saying, “though times are challenging, we’re really making sure that we keep planting the seeds for what we think should be a very exciting future for General Motors.”

Three weeks later, you have to wonder what he’d be saying today?

Argentina’s Economic Collapse-A Model for the People’s Response

Documentary on the events that led to the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001 which wiped out the middle class and raised the level of poverty to 57.5%. Central to the collapse was the implementation of neo-liberal policies which enabled the swindle of billions of dollars by foreign banks and corporations. Many of Argentina’s assets and resources were shamefully plundered. Its financial system was even used for money laundering by Citibank, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan. The net result was massive wealth transfers and the impoverishment of society which culminated in many deaths due to oppression and malnutrition. If you want to stop the same thing from happening here, and it is happening here, right now, please join the revolution at the Kick Them All Out Projet and the Fire Congress Campaign.

Pentagon Wants Bugs That Can Tell If You Are Trying To Escape

robots.jpgThe latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human”.

One thing that really bugs defence chiefs is having their troops diverted from other duties to control robots. So having a pack of them controlled by one person makes logistical sense. But I’m concerned about where this technology will end up.

Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed? I asked two experts on automated weapons what they thought – click the continue reading link to read what they said.

Both were concerned that packs of robots would be entrusted with tasks – and weapons – they were not up to handling without making wrong decisions.

Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University is an expert on police and military technologies, and last year correctly predicted this pack-hunting mode of operation would happen. “The giveaway here is the phrase ‘a non-cooperative human subject’,” he told me:

“What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.

We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed.”

Another commentator often in the news for his views on military robot autonomy is Noel Sharkey, an AI and robotics engineer at the University of Sheffield. He says he can understand why the military want such technology, but also worries it will be used irresponsibly.

“This is a clear step towards one of the main goals of the US Army’s Future Combat Systems project, which aims to make a single soldier the nexus for a large scale robot attack. Independently, ground and aerial robots have been tested together and once the bits are joined, there will be a robot force under command of a single soldier with potentially dire consequences for innocents around the corner.”

What do you make of this? Are we letting our militaries run technologically amok with our tax dollars? Or can robot soldiers be programmed to be even more ethical than human ones, as some researchers claim?

Paul Marks, technology correspondent

ACLU Demands Information On Military Deployment Within U.S. Borders (10/21/2008)

ACLU Demands Information On Military Deployment Within

U.S. Borders (10/21/2008)

Deployment Erodes Longstanding Separation Between Civilian And Military Government

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today demanded information from the government about reports that an active military unit has been deployed inside the U.S. to help with “civil unrest” and “crowd control” – matters traditionally handled by civilian authorities. This deployment jeopardizes the longstanding separation between civilian and military government, and the public has a right to know where and why the unit has been deployed, according to an ACLU Freedom of Information request filed today.

“The military’s deployment within U.S. borders raises critical questions that must be answered,” said Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “What is the unit’s mission? What functions will it perform? And why was it necessary to deploy the unit rather than rely on civilian agencies and personnel and the National Guard? Given the magnitude of the issues at stake, it is imperative that the American people know the truth about this new and unprecedented intrusion of the military in domestic affairs.”

According to a report in the Army Times, the Army recently deployed an active military unit inside the United States under Northern Command, which was established in 2002 to assist federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. This deployment marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

Civilian authorities, not the military, have historically controlled and directed the internal affairs of the United States. This rule traces its origins to the nation’s founding and has been reaffirmed in landmark statutes including the Posse Comitatus Act, which helps preserve the foundational principles of our Constitution and democracy.

“This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law,” said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel and former FBI Agent. “Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American.”

In order to assess the implications of the recent deployment, the ACLU requested the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Defense today to immediately make public all legal opinions, executive orders, presidential directives, memos, policy guidance, and other documents that authorize the deployment of military troops for domestic purposes.

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Department of Defense has dramatically expanded its role in domestic law enforcement and intelligence operations, including the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping programs, the Department of Homeland Security’s use of military spy satellites, and the participation of military personnel in state and local intelligence fusion centers. The ACLU has repeatedly expressed concern about these incremental encroachments of the military into domestic affairs, and the assignment of active duty troops to Northern Command only heightens these concerns.

A copy of the ACLU’s information request is available online at:

Pray For Me, Father

A Banquet For Death

Pray For Me, Father

By Sherwood Ross

October 22, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

Pray for me, Father, mine is the sin of cowardice

For I do not set myself on fire at the White House gate

To protest murder. I am a glutton for God’s blue sky.

Pray for me, Father, for my tax dollars set a banquet for Death

With napalm and daisy cutters and snakelike missiles

That blow apart other men and their wives and children

While I walk secure along the shore of the tranquil sea.

Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you

I will pray for a church that does not decry an Inquisition

Where men are broken and driven mad in the dungeons

Of Bagram, Kabul, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib

A church of priests that recall Golgotha

As if Jesus and Jesus and Jesus by the thousands

Are not being crucified now by the Masters of War

Are not shuffling home on artificial legs

Are not staring sightless from wheelchairs

In VA hospitals into God’s blue sky.

Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.

© Sherwood Ross

The Rules Are Set in Stone For the Rabble

The Rules Are Set in Stone For the Rabble

By Peter Offermann

October 22, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse — I am struggling lately with finding meaningful and rational events to provide a basis for sanity.

The world events that are currently happening are surreal in themselves but what I really struggle with is people’s reaction to them. It appears like most everyone is hypnotized to not see the predator terror birds currently in our living rooms. It’s business as usual as the birds wreak havoc and pick off choice morsels [victims] with impunity.

I guess people can’t cope with the emotional fall from grace of going from feeling invincible to realizing that they are but puny prey to a much more powerful predator. I rarely see anyone these days and when I do I am mostly at a loss for words because my reality is so different from theirs.

My neighbors are mostly nice people but simply see a different world than I do. A few of them are starting to get it and now take me a bit more seriously as they see [then unthinkable] events I told them were going to happen 3 years ago going on around them now. Almost all of them still see this as a temporary blip on the event horizon and continue on about their business assuming the terror birds will transform back into budgies and things will return to normal soon.

What people are going through now is similar to what I went through in 1999 when overnight I went from being wealthy and on top of the world to penniless without influence as a result of a bank fraud.

Current world events are at a stage relative to the first few weeks of my realizing in 1999 that I and 64,000 other people were caught in a bank fraud. First there was optimism that events weren’t as bad as they appeared but this soon changed to the grim realization that “yes” it was indeed that bad. Then for a few months there was hope that the protections built into modern society by our governments would save us from the worst of the events.

This is where the world is now; people realize their lifestyles are imperiled but they still have faith that justice will prevail and that the government they support to protect them will mentor their cause and put right an illegal wrong. There is still hope of returning to the past.

I’ll continue to describe the stages I went through after 1999 as I think world events taking place now will follow the same progression because the same group of people who perpetrated the fraud in 1999 are behind the events taking place now.

Once I realized that the events I was caught in were more than a temporary blip I became proactive in seeking justice. I very quickly came to the shockingly surreal realization from utilizing the official channels of justice that they [channels of justice] were not what they appear to be to naive people like myself. Instead of being constructed to provide justice for all it became obvious that they are designed to protect the privileged few from the rabble like me.

The order our courts keep is mostly to train the rabble to follow the rules. The rules are set in stone for the rabble; however it quickly became apparent that for the chosen few the rules are infinitely flexible. For this elite class of people the courts are designed to manipulate the rabble to allow them, the rulers, whatever they desire. Laws can be/are created, changed or ignored to suit their tastes.

Then as now my life was surreal as those around me continue[d] to live their lives as if the edifices of justice are real. Trying to explain otherwise to people just made them think I was crazy. Sure they saw what happened to me but they assumed I did something wrong and it would/could never happen to them.

I started to research those behind the “isolated” incident I had been caught in and soon came to the even more surreal realization that the incident wasn’t isolated and that the whole world was/is at the mercy of a small group of predators who can do whatever they please, wherever they please, whenever they please. I now realize that any sense of power we have while living within the system they control is nothing more than a mirage. We are completely at their mercy.

While this was playing out emotionally my physical circumstances were dire. I was a foreigner in Mexico with no lifeline to big brother. It was sink or swim on my own even for the most basic necessities such as food and shelter. Even the lowest of the poor were now above me as they at least knew how to get along without money and mostly had minimal shelter.

Obviously I survived. I was mostly shunned by those that had been my contemporaries although a few did give a helping hand in the form of work or shelter in the form of house sitting arrangements. This help was appreciated but it was a huge fall from grace as I now was dependent on the goodwill of others.

I went from being able to have virtually any toy I desired to having nothing but an old truck, a laptop and about $250 in a matter of weeks. It was an emotional struggle but surprisingly as I continued to survive without all the trimmings I began to appreciate that almost everything I had previously owned was excess baggage that weighed me down instead of making me more fit/powerful/happy. I began to rejoice in the freedom of not needing to carry all that weight.

I also realized that our sense of dependence on our “baggage” is what keeps us controllable by our masters. If we fear life without our toys we will tow the line no matter how onerous the task.

A lot of our baggage dependence relates to keeping up with the Jones’ and provides the means to the masters to profit from the labours of those who “need” to keep up with their neighbors.

After spending time among the poor in Mexico I realized that for them their homes and bodies were not temples to be garnished with bangles to make them attractive to their peers, they were simply maintained in usable condition with the least amount of effort possible. Even in Mexico only the very poorest of the poor live this way. Most mexicans have fallen prey to television and revel in conspicuous consumption.

Conspicuous consumption is the norm in the modern world and is what I struggle with the most since returning to Canada after 12 years away. I see the majority of people around me working their butts off in order to conform with some societal ideal of successful living. Most of their activity is now meaningless to me.

I have again become encumbered with a fair amount of baggage but it is with the clear realization that life can and does go on without it if one is prepared to take responsibility for their own lives. This means independence from those intent on managing others for their own benefit. My home and self are now maintained solely to provide maximum benefit/enjoyment to me, not to impress others with my success/power/wealth.

Knowing I can (prefer to) survive without excessive baggage allows me to consider not following the rules/norm of the masters and instead build a life according to my own desires.

It is currently still a very lonely endeavor as the majority still struggles towards a very different goal leaving little in common to communicate about. However I have hopes that as more people realize they have been robbed blind by those who control their society they will come to appreciate the aspects of life which are important to me.

Peter Offermann –

Remember, remember the Fourth of November

Remember, remember the Fourth of November

By Gabriele Zamparini

“Everything has to change so that nothing changes.” – Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo

The color of money. Senator Barack Obama’s campaign has now raised more than $600 million, almost equaling what all the candidates from both major parties collected in private donations in 2004.

Where do you think that awful lot of money comes from?

“Many of these large donors come from industries with interests in Washington. A New York Times analysis of donors who wrote checks of $25,000 or more to the candidates’ main joint fund-raising committees found, for example, the biggest portion of money for both candidates came from the securities and investments industry, including executives at various firms embroiled in the recent financial crisis like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG. ( . . . ) More than 600 donors contributed $25,000 or more to [Obama] in September alone, roughly three times the number who did the same for Senator John McCain.”

Endorsements, or the big orgy.

Colin Powell, one of the major war criminals with the blood of millions of innocent people on his hands, has endorsed Barack Obama who, in exchange, has endorsed war criminal Powell: Obama told NBC television Monday that Powell was welcome to campaign for him and might have a place in his administration. He said Powell “will have a role as one of my advisers” and that a formal role in his government was “something we’d have to discuss.”

The (ex)change we can believe in.

All the President’s Men. Among Barrack Obama’s godfathers there are: Warren Buffett, the world’s richest man; George Soros, the multibillionaire Good Samaritan affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, etc.; the diabolical Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the notorious media mogul Rupert Murdock with his nefarious empire. The list goes on and on.

No doubt there will be advantages to having a liberal emperor. Alan Dershowitz explains:

“The reason is because I think it is better for Israel to have a liberal supporter in the White House than to have a conservative supporter in the Oval Office. Obama’s views on Israel will have greater impact on young people, on Europe, on the media and on others who tend to identify with the liberal perspective. Although I believe that centrists liberals in general tend to support Israel, I acknowledge that support from the left seems to be weakening as support from the right strengthens. The election of Barack Obama — a liberal supporter of Israel — will enhance Israel’s position among wavering liberals. As I travel around university campuses both in the United States and abroad, I see radical academics trying to present Israel as the darling of the right and anathema to the left. As a liberal supporter of Israel, I try to combat that false image. Nothing could help more in this important effort to shore up liberal support for Israel than the election of a liberal president who strongly supports Israel and who is admired by liberals throughout the world. That is among the important reasons why I support Barack Obama for president.”

Dershowitz is absolutely right of course. Not to mention Mr. Vice President Joseph “I am a Zionist” Biden, the man in charge of the implementation of an old Zionist dream, the partition of Iraq, and one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, Madeleine Bloody Albright, the modern Herod who proudly claimed the responsibility for the massacre of half a million Iraqi innocent babies.

Empires don’t elect presidents, they select emperors. The Empire’s Establishment picked up an unknown politician and made of him a star to save itself and control the masses with the American Democracy Show. Casting a handsome, charming black man (yes! the Establishment played the race card. Remember? Everything has to change so that nothing changes) to cover the ugly face of a bloody, ruthless Empire, the ruling class plans to rebuild the illusion of a respectable civilization, the stars and stripes mythology, the American way. The media — owned by those who control the political process, the same people who control the economy and our lives — played marvelously the game and another Hollywood movie is brainwashing the four corners of the planet.

Killing hopes. A self-complacent politburo with its well-funded progressive think tanks and publications has once again participated in this colossal work of whitewashing and propaganda. The King is dead. Long live the King! No surprise of course. Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan have shown the intellectual and moral collapse of the Western Left, a phantom that continues its long march toward irrelevance.



Pakistan needs to attack militants: US diplomat

KABUL, Oct 23: Pakistan must attack militants in its northern areas and tackle extremists threatening its stability and complicating international efforts in Afghanistan, a senior US diplomat said on Thursday.

The United States was committed to helping Pakistan fight militants, deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Patrick Moon told reporters in Kabul.

“Pakistan needs to and is attacking insurgents in its northern areas,” Moon told reporters during a visit to Afghanistan to assess efforts to fight a growing Taliban-led campaign.

“Sanctuaries for Afghanistan Taliban in Pakistan complicate our security operations in Afghanistan. Pakistani Taliban elements and other extremists such as Al Qaeda are posing a threat to the stability of Pakistan,” he said.

Moon said the United States was committed to helping Islamabad by improving its army and providing development aid to stimulate economic activity and create jobs as an alternative to insurgent activity.

He said relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan appeared to have improved with the September election of President Asif Ali Zardari, but “much more needs to be done”.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that fewer foreign fighters were slipping into Afghanistan since Pakistan launched its offensive in August against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in border tribal regions.

[Pakistani policy of negotiating and attacking intelligence surrogates is helping Afghanistan, but it is still unacceptable.]

But the Pakistani parliament passed a special resolution on Thursday calling for an urgent review of the country’s anti-terror policy, including more talks with militants and a vow to defend its territorial sovereignty.—AFP

10 killed in US drone attack on seminary

10 killed in US drone attack on seminary

By Our Correspondent
MIRAMSHAH, Oct 23: US drones struck a seminary of an Afghan national in North Waziristan early on Thursday, killing 10 people and wounding three others.

The attack came hours after parliament passed a unanimous resolution pledging to defend territorial integrity of the country.

Locals said that two spy drones buzzing overhead targeted seminary Sirajul Uloom in Dandi Derpakhel on the outskirts of Miramshah at about 2.30am. They said that three loud explosions were heard as planes were flying over the area.

Sources said that some outsiders were among the dead. Three wounded persons belonging to Punjab were taken to a government hospital in Miramshah in serious condition. They were identified as Sangeen, Bekhtullah and Rehmatullah.

The bodies were immediately shifted to South Waziristan by their comrades.

The seminary is owned by Afghan national Maulvi Pir Mohammad who is stated to be a close associate of Taliban Commander in Afghanistan Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani.

“Pir Mohammad was one of the trustworthy commanders of Mr Haqqani during the Afghan conflict,” said a source.

Mr Haqqani’s residence and his seminary were targeted by unmanned US planes in the same locality on Sept 8 this year, killing 23 people including his family members and some Arab nationals.

The increasing attacks by US drones have caused anger and frustration among tribesmen. The area elders have threatened to scrap a peace deal with the government if the US attacks were not stopped.

Elders from North Waziristan met NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani in Peshawar on Thursday asking him that the government should take pre-emptive measures to halt drone attacks in the area.

“The jirga members were disappointed over intermittent drone attacks, resulting in the killings of innocent tribesmen and demanded protection from such attacks,” said a handout, quoting an unnamed tribal elder.

Governor Owais assured jirga of the Utmankhel tribe that the government had already realised concern expressed by the elders and it was fully aware of miseries and difficulties of people, and it was taking all necessary steps to rid them off these attacks.

“No doubt, it is a problem of grave concern and the government will address it,” he assured the jirga and reiterated government’s firm stance to protect the country’s frontiers at all costs.

“We must get united and strengthen our rank and file so that we face the challenges with the strength of our unity,” Mr Owais remarked.

“Our enemies are trying to destabilise Pakistan by creating rift in our rank and file and weaken it economically,” he said, adding that these elements would never succeed in their nefarious designs.

The governor was confident that the tribesmen would also take cognizance of the situation and would not only identify such elements but also flush them out. He said that certain misguided elements in Fata were playing in the hands of enemies and we would have to persuade them to come to the right path.

Mr Ghani reminded that right from the beginning Pakistan was stressing for a negotiated settlement of the issues instead of using force.

“Now the entire world is talking of negotiations and is admitting that clue to the solution of Afghan imbroglio can be achieved through negotiations. This is a big success of Pakistan’s principled stance in this regard,” the governor said.

He was hopeful that light could be seen at the end of the tunnel and chances of stability in the region were bright. He also hinted at the meeting of Mini Pak-Afghan jirga to be held in Islamabad next week, saying: “We are hopeful of its success.”

However, he said that Afghan Taliban and other opponent forces in Afghanistan were a reality and they have to be taken on board in any efforts for future political dispensation in Afghanistan.

Wealth gap creating a social time bomb

Wealth gap creating a social time bomb

• Race behind division in US cities, says UN report
• Beijing is most egalitarian place in the world

John Vidal

Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment.

In a survey of 120 major cities, New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya Abidjan and Ivory Coast. Many were above an internationally recognised acceptable “alert” line used to warn governments.

“High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilising effect on societies,” said the report. “[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity.”

According to the annual State of the World’s cities report from UN-Habitat, race is one of the most important factors determining levels of inequality in the US and Canada.


“In western New York state nearly 40% of the black, Hispanic and mixed-race households earned less than $15,000 compared with 15% of white households. The life expectancy of African-Americans in the US is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the US is far richer than the other two countries,” it said.

Disparities of wealth were measured on the “Gini co-efficient”, an internationally recognised measure usually only applied to the wealth of countries. The higher the level, the more wealth is concentrated in the hands of fewer people.

“It is clear that social tension comes from inequality. The trickle down theory [that wealth starts with the rich] has not delivered. Inequality is not good for anybody,” said Anna Tibaijuka, head of UN-Habitat, in London yesterday.

The report found that India was becoming more unequal as a direct result of economic liberalisation and globalisation, and that the most unequal cities were in South Africa and Namibia and Latin America. “The cumulative effect of unequal distribution [of wealth] has been a deep and lasting division between rich and poor. Trade liberalisation did not bring about the expected benefits.”

The report suggested that Beijing was now the most egalitarian city in the world, just ahead of cities such as Jakarta in Indonesia and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia.

In Europe, which was generally more egalitarian than other continents, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Slovenia were classed as the most equal countries with Greece, the UK and Spain among the least. “Disparities are particularly significant in the cities of eastern Europe, larger Spanish cities and in the north of England,” it said.

It documents the seemingly unstoppable move of people away from rural to urban areas. This year it is believed that the number of people living in urban areas exceeded those in the countryside for the first time ever, but the report says there is no sign of the trend slowing.

“The dramatic transition between rural and urban communities is not over. Urbanisation levels will rise dramatically in the next 40 years to reach 70% by 2050,” it predicts.

The most dramatic urbanisation has been taking place in China, with many millions of people moving from the countryside to cities. The report says 49 new cities have been built in the past 18 years. The rapid transition to an urban society has brought great wealth but also many negative results.

“China has attained some of the deepest disparities in the world with urban incomes three times those in rural areas. Inequalities are growing, with disproportionate rewards for the most skilled workers … and serious problems for the unemployed and informal workers.”

Urban growth rates are highest in the developing world, which absorbs an average 5 million new urban residents a month and is responsible for 95% of world urban growth. The report predicts that Asian cities will grow the most in the next 40 years and could have 63% of the world urban population by 2050.

Tokyo is expected to remain the world’s largest mega city, with 36.4m people by 2025. But Mexico City, New York, and Sao Paulo could give way in the league table to Mumbai, Delhi and Dhaka. Kinshasa and Lagos are the two African cities expected to grow the most, with each adding more than 6 million people by 2025.

Rather than countryside to city movement, which has marked rapid population growth in the last 40 years, the UN expects more people to move from city to city.

Capital cities in particular are attracting much more of countries’ investments and are growing fast. Some are becoming home to nearly half a country’s population.

But the report also identified what it believes is the emergence of a new urban trend, with many cities now shrinking in size. The populations of 46 countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan and most former soviet states, are expected to be smaller in 2050 than they are now, and in the past 30 years, says the report, more cities in the developed world have shrunk than grown.

It found that 49 cities in the UK, including Liverpool and other old industrial centres in the north of England, and 100 in Russia reduced in size between 1990 and 2000, mainly because of unemployment. In the US 39 cities are smaller now than they were 10 years ago.

The reasons for the decline of cities was mostly economic, but the report says that the environment is now an important factor.

Air quality and pollution from mines, power plants and oil exploration have been responsible for population losses in India, Mexico and Africa, it says. “Cities tend to struggle most with health-threatening environmental issues, such as the lack of safe water, sanitation and waste.”

All US missile strike victims were tribesmen

All US missile strike victims were tribesmen

Monday, October 13, 2008
By by Our correspondent
MIRAMSHAH: The three people killed in the missile attack by the US drones on a house in Machas Colony area here Saturday night were all local tribesmen.

Tribal sources said the dead included Rustam, Munawar and Sakhi, all residents of the area. Five men including Shaider Khan, Faizullah, Muqaddas, Zabiullah and Gul Qadam were injured in the missile strike on a ‘hujra’ at Machas Colony, which used to serve as a camp for Afghan refugees in the past.

Eyewitnesses told The News that four pilot-less Predators were flying in the airspace of Miramshah at the time of the attack. The tribesmen also opened fire on the drones with heavy arms. One guided missile landed in a desert causing no loss.

Some of the tribal elders of the area condemned the government for not taking notice of the missile strike by the US military. Talking to The News, they said the government’s silence over such attacks in Pakistani territory against Pakistani citizens was strange and unbecoming of a sovereign state. They asked the armed forces to resist these attacks and defend the country’s borders against the US aggression.

Most of the injured were shifted to Peshawar due to suspension of power supply to the Agency Headquarters Hospital, Miramshah, where the operation theatre was closed. Medical facilities in North Waziristan have suffered greatly due to the insecure conditions and violence.

There have been 11 missile attacks by the CIA-operated Predator planes in North Waziristan and South Waziristan since mid-August and the number of people killed in these strikes is now more than 100. Most of those killed in these attacks were civilians, including women and children. In some attacks, a few foreign and local militants were also killed.

Colin Powell Warns Of Coming Crisis “We Don’t Even Know About Right Now”

Colin Powell Warns Of Coming Crisis “We Don’t

Even Know About Right Now”

Echoes Biden comments that Obama will be tested in early days of his term

Steve Watson

Colin Powell has made bizarre comments that echo the recent declaration by Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden that there will be an “international crisis” early into Barack Obama’s presidency that will test the new president by forcing him to make unpopular decisions.

Speaking on meet the press two days ago, Powell officially endorsed Obama and also made the following statement:

“The problems will always be there and there’s going to be a crisis which will come along on the 21st, 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now.

So I think what the President has to start to do is to start using the power of the oval office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and convince the world that America is solid, that America is going to move forward, we are going to fix our economic problems, we’re going to meet out overseas obligations.”

Watch Powell make the comment at 2.35 into the following video:

Is Colin Powell referring to a theoretical crisis that could occur at any time? If so why does he choose a specific date, within the first two days after the inauguration? Also why does he refer to general problems that the new president will have to deal with in a separate context? We are already in an economic crisis, everyone knows that, so what new crisis is Powell talking about?

Whatever you read into Powell’s comments, they sound somewhat bizarre, particularly as they come on the back of Joe Biden’s “guarantee” of a “generated crisis” to “test the mettle” of the new leader within six months of the new presidential term:

What does Biden mean by “generated crisis”? It is an undeniably strange term to use.

His reference to John F. Kennedy indicates that Biden may have been referring some kind of geopolitical crisis in the vain of the Cuban missile crisis of April 1961. The confrontation between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba at the height of the Cold War came within the first four months of JFK’s presidency.

Obama’s running mate made the comments at a fundraising event in Seattle two days ago, on the same day Powell also spoke of a coming crisis.

We shouldn’t be surprised at Powell’s comments however, given that the former Secretary of State seemingly has a knack for predicting events before they take place.

Previous to the beginning of the Iraq war in February 2003, an audio tape containing a voice described as that of Osama Bin Laden was touted as proof positive of Al Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein.

Hours before the tape was discovered and aired by TV channel Al Jazeera, Powell announced in the US Senate that a “Bin Laden tape is coming proving Iraq’s links with Al-Qaeda.”

This led some to raise the question how does Colin Powell know what Al Jazeera are going to broadcast before they do?

In an amazing and timely coincidence, the tape came barely a week after Powell’s attempts to link Al Qaeda and Saddam in his botched presentation of lies and exaggerations before the UN Security Council.

Obama Chides Biden Over Remark About a World Crisis Testing His Presidency

Obama Chides Biden Over Remark About

a World Crisis Testing His Presidency


Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr. seldom see each other as they campaign for the Democratic ticket. And they talk only occasionally. But on Wednesday, Mr. Obama delivered a long-distance message to his running mate.

“I think Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes,” Mr. Obama said, gently chiding the vice-presidential nominee as he sought to sweep aside a dustup Mr. Biden touched off when he predicted that a world crisis would test Mr. Obama during his first six months in office.

“A period of transition in a new administration is always one where we have to be vigilant, we have to be careful,” Mr. Obama said. “We have to be mindful that as we pass the baton in this democracy that others don’t take advantage of it — that’s true whether it’s myself or Senator McCain.”

In his remarks, Mr. Biden told supporters at a Seattle fund-raiser on Sunday that if Mr. Obama was elected, the world’s leaders would test his mettle as a young president, just as they did John F. Kennedy. The comment from Mr. Biden fanned a new line of criticism from Republicans that Mr. Obama is not ready for the presidency.

Mr. Obama convened a meeting of his foreign policy advisers here on Wednesday, which he said was not intended to address that remark, but rather to expand the campaign conversation beyond the economic crisis. Mr. Biden participated in a private portion of the meeting by telephone from Colorado, but did not appear on stage with Mr. Obama.

“I think that his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is,” Mr. Obama said, placing his interpretation on Mr. Biden’s comments. “The next administration is going to be inheriting a host of really big problems.”

He added, “The question is, Will the next president meet that test by moving America in a new direction by sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology?”

Mr. McCain kept up his criticism of the Democratic ticket for Mr. Biden’s remarks. At a rally on Wednesday in Green, Ohio, Mr. McCain told the crowd, “Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new president!”

“We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when the economy is in crisis,” Mr. McCain added. “Americans are already fighting in two wars, my friends. Senator Biden referred to how Jack Kennedy was tested in the Cuban missile crisis. I had a little personal experience on that. I was a pilot on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, I was ready to go into combat at any minute, I know how close we came to a nuclear war, and I will not be a president that needs to be tested!”

An Interview With Richard C. Cook

An Interview With Richard C. Cook: The Challenger Disaster, Financial Collapse And Viable Solutions By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Oct. 23, 2008

Challenger Revealed

order here
Originally uploaded by Lorri37

GC: Just a little background: I was reading your articles on the Web, with much interest, getting a lot of information; then, I was pleased to find your favorable comments on something I’d written. I wrote you that, should you find yourself in the D.C. area, give a holler—and, you’re the only guy I ever wrote that to who actually hollered!

RC: (Laughs.)

GC: So … here we are … I want to get into your ideas—your views on the economy … But first, can you tell us a little about yourself? I’ve read some of your first book, CHALLENGER REVEALED, and I think it’s fair to say that you established your reputation as a whistle-blower back in 1987 in front of the Presidential Commission on the space shuttle disaster. You worked for NASA, you were prescient back then, your warnings were ignored or dismissed. I hope that some of us are a little smarter, and that there are more of us who can better heed your warnings now about our free-falling economy. First, Who is Richard Cook?

RC: When people ask, I say I’m a Native American: I was born in Montana, grew up in Michigan and Virginia. My ancestors have been part of American history; one of them was in the Oklahoma land rush; a great, great, great grandfather was in a Civil War unit that served with Grant; my grandfather and father served in the navy in the World Wars.

When my parents moved to Virginia, my mother worked as a tour guide in colonial Williamsburge, and I learned about American history through her. … I graduated from William and Mary, where I majored in English and studied the history of the Western world, as well as Eastern religions. I became a student of cultures then.

Upon graduation, in 1970, I got a job working for the U.S. civil service commission. It was the height of the Vietnam War—a war I strongly opposed! I worked for the government for a couple of years, then taught history at a private school for two years. I returned to the same civil service agency—I felt a call back to government service. I worked for two more years in planning and evaluation. Then I was offered a job in the Food and Drug Administration.

GC: You’re basically trained as an analyst; you look at figures, examine budgets, you—

RC: I was trained as a writer in college. I wrote a novel for my honors project. When I came to work in D.C., I was a policy analyst. They’d give me a topic—What do we do about lower-grade employees, how to assist their advance up the ladder? I’d talk to the experts, gather information, present my findings. After working at FDA for two years, in 1979, I was given a job in the Carter White House, where I worked on the staff of the special assistant for consumer affairs. When the Reagan administration came in, I got a close-up view of the presidential campaign. Being in the White House office, we saw what was going on; for example, the Reagan campaign stole Jimmy Carter’s briefing book to prep Reagan for the debates. When Reagan won, I was moved out of the old executive office building. I didn’t have much to do for a couple of years; consumer affairs was not a high priority with Reagan.

My wife and I decided to leave Washington; we bought a farm in West Virginia; worked the farm for two years. After a while, I returned to Washington, worked for several months for a defense contractor. I wasn’t making much money and my wife was pregnant! I applied for civil service jobs and was surprised when I got the call from NASA. I had no hard science background. But they hired me as a resource analyst in the comptroller’s office. My first assignment was to go to the office of Space Flight, talk to the engineers about this problem they were having with the solid rocket booster O-rings. These engineers opened up to me and began telling me how dangerous the problem was with the O-rings. They spoke almost in whispers. One of them said “We hold our breath every time this thing goes up.”

GC: What would happen if these O-rings failed?

RC: The space shuttle would blow up. … These were not things I had to dig out of these guys. They wanted to tell me. … I think they were trying to get a message up to headquarters around their own management because there was a sense in the office of Space Flight that bad news should not get out; they wanted to “manage” these problems without publicity.

GC: Pre-emptive cover-up!

RC: Right! Although I did find, after the disaster, that the top people did know about these problems. Not from thick, analytical reports that were documented and went up the line; they knew because somebody told them at a meeting—or in a hallway.

GC: But, the problems weren’t documented … so, they could cover their own asses!

RC: Right. By that time I knew very well how analysis should be done. These problems with the O-rings, etc., should have been the subject of major studies. But the space shuttle program was highly politicized; it was heavily dependent on reimbursement from customers—including foreign governments flying their satellites on the shuttle; and, including the scientific community putting their space probes on the shuttle. … But the most important customer was the Department of Defense. At the DoD, it was the same: the top people might have been told in hallway conversations that certain things were going on—but nothing was documented. … Congress knew nothing about any of this. The press knew nothing. The White House, the OMB knew nothing—I mean, not just the O-ring problems, but other problems such as space shuttle main engines, spare parts shortages, accidents that were occurring at the Kennedy Space center because of the accelerating flight schedule. So, people who funded the program—Congress–, people who oversaw the program—the Executive office, the President—and the Press were very much in the dark. There were a series of problems that could have stopped the program … and I think, they assumed in the Office of Space Flight that something was going to stop it, something was going to fail—

GC: –To blow up?

RC: Right … that sooner or later we’re going to have a disaster and it’ll stop—because we can’t keep going at this pace; sooner or later we’ll have to stop and fix the problems, but we can’t tell our customers we’re not able to fly for them and meet our commitments!

GC: You write about the accelerating flight schedule in your book.

RC: 15 flights a year in 1986. The target was to get it up to two flights per month!

GC: And this was to make the program pay for itself?

RC: By then, no one believed it could pay for itself. But that didn’t mean that the reimbursements that NASA was getting wasn’t … nice. They were getting a billion dollars a year from the DoD. That’s a lot of payroll to meet. They needed the money, but they also needed to maintain their monopoly on the space launches. The purpose of the shuttle was to fly everything. This was to be the launch system for the Free World. All foreign satellites, all space probes, all defense missions were to fly on the shuttle—spy satellites, etc. Yhe pressure was on to fly everything the National Security world needed, everything our scientists needed, everything our foreign allies needed. Nobody was willing to say, We’ve got to stop!

GC: Isn’t this endemic to systems? Whether we’re talking Communist, socialist, capitalist, corporatist—there’s something within the system that builds this pressure to succeed, to justify itself—and that’s where, ideally, people like you come in. … You’re the watchman on the tower and you’re supposed to be saying, “Hey, wait a minute, something’s not right here!” But then, it’s also characteristic of systems that people like you are shunted aside.

RC: We’re the canaries in the mine! I was told when I got to NASA, when I spoke to the Space Flight people, that I was supposed to be an adversary. Adversarial on the budget side. … But, you’re right—the analyst is the one who’s supposed to prick the balloon. But, the system at NASA was a juggernaut. … I was there at the time that Peter Drucker’s ideas on management mission statements had come into vogue. Management set the objectives and everyone was supposed to fall into line. If there were problems, the engineers were supposed to fix them—but without a major re-design.

GC: Because that would slow things down, cost a lot of money?

RC: Right … one of the features of the space shuttle program was that they never tested the way the aeorospace engineering community was used to testing—on a component by component basis. Once you’ve tested your components, you put those together in a unit, then you test the unit, then you build up to a live test. They didn’t do that. They built everything together at once and tested it, then went back and said, If it’s too bad, we might do something, but if it’s little things, we won’t. The shuttle never had a test flight. They built it, put the crew in it and hoped everything work. But on the second flight, they began to see the O-rings fail.

GC: So this is where you come in … You write powerfully in your book about the day of the Challenger disaster; you go rifling through your files; you search your old files; something is ringing in your ears; you’ve seen this in your mind’s eye; and you find your files and it turns out you’ve written about the potential for this disaster and it was ignored or dismissed.

RC: That’s how it happened! My first report was about the potential for failure of the O-rings. And I gave that to my supervisor who asked me to “keep tracking the issue.” I would meet fairly regularly with the engineers, tracking their findings and concerns. What I didn’t know was that in August of 1985, they had called in the engineers from the Thiokol corporation, along with the program office from the Marshall Space Flight Center, and they had this big meeting in Washington where they decided how to try to fix the O-rings joints (They never told me about this before or after!) Ironically, they figured out how to fix the problem then, but they weren’t able to implement these changes before the Challenger launch!

GC: One thing I’d like to get into—because it startled me when I read it. … To understand what this O-ring is, it’s where the segments of the rocket come together, and it allows for the decoupling in space, and that would allow for the re-use of the whole system … and you described how this is put together with putty! That amazed me.

RC: The putty is in there as a heat shield … (Gestures with his hands as he explains the technical aspects of the segmented rocket.)

GC: So, this is the kind of putty I put around my bathtub?

RC: (Laughs.) You can buy O-rings in a hardware store. Yes, heat-resistant putty.

GC: You said the scientists didn’t completely understand the physics—why there had been no charring of the O-rings on the second test-flight. But yet there was this pressure to go on.

RC: That’s right … Around this time, I was given another assignment to look at the Centaur upper stage of the rocket. I was supposed to write a history of the Centaur program. And, as I delved into it, I began to think—Jeez, this is even worse than the O-rings! I became convinced that the Centaur was the immediate threat to the shuttle … (A brief explanation of where the Centaur is located on the shuttle; jet propulsion, etc.) The Centaur was the upper-stage rocket and it was the heaviest, most dangerous upper-stage ever built because it ran on liquid oxygen and hydrogen.

GC: Isn’t that what the Hindenberg was all about?

RC: Yeah, that’s a good analogy. The astronauts would launch while carrying a Hindenberg in the payload bay.

GC: Wow! … Obviously, there’s a lot more of this in your book. … But, for now, I’d like to return to the question of your credibility, which is essential to appreciate your views on the economy. … I see you as somebody who’s somewhat prophetic: you saw the danger, you tried to sound the warning, and, like my friend, Laocoon, you were ignored. And so, tell me just a little bit about that process … Your first report was about the potential failure of the O-rings. You file your report and you’re told to keep track of it. You do so, but nothing changes. Then, the disaster occurs, what next? Before too long you go before Congress and—

RC: –before the Presidential Commission and … What happens is that NASA started a cover-up. They were not going to tell anyone that there was a long history of problems. Eventually, they’d let the technical people come up with a technical explanation. They were never going to let the whole story come out. And I was there with the documents I had, sitting at my farm in West Virginia, and I said to my wife, I can’t go through with this. They expected me to go along. They expected me to be part of the cover-up of one of the greatest disasters in US history. I felt very challenged. I felt indignant. No one ever told me, Rick, we want you to cover this up … but it was obvious. … it was taken for granted that you would go along. There were orders that went out from the head of the agency—not to talk to the press and not to speculate about the causes of the accident. I felt some kind of inner drive to disrupt this. That wasn’t what I’d signed on for when I came to be a civil servant.

GC: You were putting your career at risk?

RC: Oh, yeah. And, even my life. I was told, “They kill people for less than this.”

GC: Who told you that?

RC: A newsman. …

GC: Okay, the bottom line is, you submitted your reports, your sounded the warning, and there’s no real change. The damn thing blows up, kills Christa MacAuliffe and six other astronauts … and then there’s a cover-up. So, what next? You went to the media?

RC: It was thought at first that NASA would investigate itself; but soon afterward, a Presidential Commission was appointed, headed by Donald Regan, Reagan’s chief of staff. I later determined that the Presidential Commission was set up to deflect the investigation from the White House … because the real reason they launched the Challenger that morning was for Reagan’s publicity purposes—particularly for his State of the Union speech where he was going to talk about Christa MacAuliffe. That was where the real pressure came. NASA had a flawed system—a cruddy spaceship that could blow up … but the pressure to launch came from the White House. So, the Presidential Commission was supposed to manage the news and protect the White House. When I saw the cover-up emerging, I took all of my O-ring papers down to the New York Times, met with their science reporter and explained how the whole thing had happened. I gave them my documents, including my memo from the previous July where I was named as the person who had investigated this and had given warnings … When the story came out, the Commission met behind closed doors and decided they were going to discredit me and the O-ring papers. When I got on the stand, the chairman started grilling me, stating that I was a new employee with no technical knowledge—and what was I doing questioning my betters? I stood my ground, went through the history of what I knew. That was the first the world heard that NASA knew what had happened. … I never returned to NASA after that. I had a job offer from Treasury and I reported to Treasury the following week. However, I did continue investigating the issue, on my own, over the next two years. Finally, I tracked how the Reagan White House had actually caused this disaster. I talked to someone who was Reagan’s astrologer [!]—learned how they had recommended to Reagan that he not launch, but he went ahead and did it anyway, in spite of his knowing there was trouble with cold temperature launches. It was Reagan who made the final decision—all that pressure he brought to bear for publicity’s sake … But, by that time, it was out of the news. The media didn’t want to hear about it any more, they gave Reagan a free ride. I put my notes away for 15 years. When I could see the approach of my retirement from government, I got my notes out again and wrote the book, which documents the inside story.

GC: This tells us a lot about this society. … Even when the information is out there, the cover-up continues; the media just ignores it or lets the story die. … We can segue to where we are now, 21 years after the disaster. We’re facing a different kind of disaster, a financial one … and you’ve written a lot about it. Now, you didn’t have a technical background, and yet you were a whistle-blower for technical problems. You don’t have an economics background, but you’re a whistle blower on the economy and the way our economic system works. How do you have credibility in economics?

RC: It just happened that I ended up in NASA … Well, after NASA, it just so happened that I ended up in the Treasury Department—the heart of the beast. I spent 21 years there studying the economic system of the US government—the financial system. I had a lot of time on my hands. I was a pretty good analyst and I could do what they wanted me to do pretty readily. So, I studied in depth. If you look at it going back to colonial days and the history coming out of England—the history of how the governments operated–corporate finance is a big part of Western history. These corporate financial systems really were developed through the Roman Catholic church. Western financial systems came out of the medieval papacy. They were the ones with the money—and they put together a very good system of public finance that has carried down through today.

GC: I’ve got to ask you—where do the Jews come into this? Because many people think it’s all controlled by the Jews.

RC: In medieval days, because the Church prohibited usury, the Jews became the ones who did the dirty work—handling finances for the Pope and the King. Having no religious prohibitions against finance and usury, the Jews became the financial class of Europe. They also became the gold merchants who were the first ones to practice fractional reserve banking. People would place their gold with the gold merchants who would then issue certificates against it, and then they would issue certificates against gold that they didn’t really have—the issuance would exceed the actual reserve.

GC: Fractional reserve is the idea that a bank can lend more than it actually has. Ten times or more. Isn’t it 30 times these days?

RC: It depends on what the reserve requirement is. Today it’s fairly low. … Anyway, that whole system came out of the Middle Ages … When William of Orange came over with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, he brought people with him who set up the Bank of England. The Bank of England has been the model for Central Banks to this day! It was created to loan money to the British government to fight its wars. That’s the model that we have today … it’s the system of our Federal Reserve when it was put in place in 1913. …

At Treasury, we worked very closely with the Fed. The Fed is the fiscal agent for the US Treasury. So, I learned about the Fed and how it worked in the trenches at Treasury. By the time I was getting ready to leave Treasury—around 2002/2003, I began to delve into the monetary reform movement that had existed in the US for a very long time, but which I had just begun to study in some detail. At the Carter White House, I had begun to learn about the British Social Credit Movement which came out of Britain in the 1920s and ‘30s as kind of the first monetary reform movement in the Western world. And all of this fit together in my mind around 2002-3, and I began to post some articles on the Internet under a pen name—though I still worked for Treasury. I also had gotten to know Stephen Zarlenga, the director of the American Monetary Institute, and I advised him on writing his monetary reform legislation—the American Monetary Act that he has in his brief to members of Congress. I also met Dennis Kucinich when he was running for President in 2004, and I gave some briefings to Dennis on US monetary history.

GC: Does Kucinich favor your monetary system?

RC: In fact, in the article I’m writing now, I note that Dennis just came out with a 16-point economic program—and one of the points focuses on the American Monetary Act on which I worked with Zerlanger.

GC: What’s the gist of it?

RC: It’s rather complex … but it starts with nationalizing the Federal Reserve system. Anyway, I never went to grad school in economics, but I learned monetary economics as a practitioner and a student of it in Treasury. I retired in January, 07, and that month I published the Challenger book. Then, I thought, What do I do now? Well, I’d written these Internet articles, I had my briefings for Kucinich, I had another article that I wrote that I posted at Global Research in January, and I thought, well, this is another book!—so I guess I’ll write a monetary book now. It turned out that Global Research, headed by Michel Chossudovsky up in Montreal, really liked my work. So, I had an outlet, and I became one of his chief economics writers. By April, I had digested the Social Credit ideas–based on the “dividend concept” that the way you release money into circulation is through a citizen’s dividend, not through bank-lending, which is the basic idea of the Alaska Permanent Fund. Well, by April, 2007, I had posted an article at Global Research titled, “An Emergency Program of Monetary Reform” because I felt very strongly that we were heading towards a collapse.

GC: And you foresaw this last year?

RC: Yes. … I continued to write these theoretical articles for the next two or three months. Then, in June, based on all of that plus signals I was getting from the Washington Post (which I call the newsletter of the financial elite), I posted an article entitled, “It’s Official: The Crash of the US Economy Has Begun.” That was 07. And, I can tell you, people who began to follow my writing at that time saved themselves a lot of money! I know people who started to get out of the stock market then.

GC: So … why didn’t you let me know?

RC: (Laughs …) Anyway, suddenly, I was now being called the whistle-blower on the US economy! I just had this compulsion to lift up the rocks and see what’s under them.

GC: And you’re looking at the slimy, crawling things. … You remind me again that autodidacts are among my favorite people … because they’re not “institutionalized,” they’re looking at things from the outside, and often are the best truth-tellers. That’s what you were doing at NASA—and now you’re doing it in the economic field. … So, you’ve done the research going back to the Middle Ages and how we’ve evolved this crazy system. You probably go back to colonial times—Hamilton setting his system up, and back to 1913 and the Federal Reserve. You’ve no doubt studied the Great Depression. … So, where are we now? We hear that we’re in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression; others say this could be worse because it’s now global. Where are we in your analysis? And then we’ll get to “The Cook Plan.”

RC: I think we’re at the beginning of a terrible global depression, a terrible collapse. The problem is not just that the economic indicators point to that. The leading indicator in economics is purchasing power; that is, how much money do members of the economy have to purchase the necessities of life, and where do they get that money? Obviously, one way you get purchasing power is through your job—you earn it; another way is through dividends; another is capital gains; another is to borrow it. An increasing amount of purchasing power, not just for our nation, but for people around the world, has been through borrowing. So, if there’s a collapse in lending—it isn’t just that you can’t get a loan and you need to postpone some purchases; for many people, that means that you can’t live. If you’ve been living off your home equity loans, for example, and that’s gone, what’s going to replace it? Right now, we’re seeing not just a failure of the monied powers—because they’re so over-leveraged—we’re seeing a collapse of purchasing power among the people of the world. If that purchasing power can’t be replaced—the purchasing power that has entered the economy through lending over the past 10, 20, 30 years—where’s it going to come from? There’s no other source of purchasing power; so people can’t pay their mortgages or their utility bills, or buy food. If that happens on a global basis … and the credit economy isn’t filling the gap anymore because they realize that the loans they’re putting out aren’t going to be repaid—that’s the big problem. It’s not that the credit isn’t available because banks and governments can create as much credit as they want. Just off of ledgers. They can conjure up as much money to lend as they want to. The problem is paying the loans back. If people don’t have the money to pay the loans back, where’s it going to come from?

GC: And the housing crisis precipitated all of this?

RC: It was the trigger. It was the spark that lit something that was ready to blow up.

GC: Because a lot of these people were dependent on home equity loans, they’re using their houses as their credit cards, and then the value of their houses declines, and the banks don’t want to extend more credit—is that the way these dominoes have fallen?

RC: Well, yeah, but there are other twists and turns. For example, when the bubble burst in 2001—that was the Clinton bubble—it was created deliberately; that’s why Clinton looked so good because he made it all the way to 2000 on that bubble. His Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin, engineered that bubble by pulling in huge amounts of foreign capital. When that bubble crashed and George W. Bush was sitting there looking at a long-term recession/depression at the beginning of his term and he was in the process of the first tax-cut for the rich in March of 01—he’s wondering what to do (the Bush Administration). They’ve given away money to the rich and they’re going to fight some really big wars. So, where’s the money coming from? In walks Alan Greenspan. Now, I’ve documented that once Bush became president, Greenspan’s visits to the White House rapidly accelerated. Greenspan began lowering interest rates and that began to free up capital for mortgage lending. People found they could much more easily get money to buy houses. But, also in 2001, I had a long interview that I conducted with a mortgage broker who told me that at that time the word came down through the mortgage industry to start falsifying applications for mortages; to start lying about the applicants’ income. One of my contacts who was borrowing money to buy a house at that time told me that on the mortgage applicant’s income—they would write in a number that was considerably above her real income.

GC: Where do you think word was coming down from? Ultimately from Greenspan?

RC: And Bush. The Bush administration and Greenspan. There was collusion between the Bush White House and the Federal Reserve.

GC: Did they know exactly what they were doing?

RC: Exactly.

GC: They had to finance their wars, make up for the tax cuts to the wealthy. …

RC: It was the economic engine of 2001 to 2006. You know, when Eliot Spitzer–just before he had to resign–he came out with a report that said when he was the attorney general in New York, he and the other attorneys general of the state decided that he had to crack down on mortgage fraud. They were prevented from doing so by a regulation that was put out at that time by the US Treasury Department. There’s also a report about Washington Mutual—it was on ABC of all places … all of their risk analysts who had prevented WM from getting caught up in these bad loans were suddenly told to stop—stop monitoring. The word was passed down: start lending at a much higher rate than before. Now, there’s no way these actions can be done without the regulators knowing it … without the Federal Reserve knowing. At some point, the whole system became a fraud to produce the economic engine for the Bush administration.

GC: And did they not know that there would be a reckoning at some point?

RC: What really triggered the collapse? Well, we say that at some point the sub-prime mortgages simply became untenable. But, what triggered that? It was triggered by two things: One is that part of the lending that was done was through these adjustable rate mortgage escalators where your rate was good for two or three years and then you suddenly find yourself paying $1,000 more each month. Borrowers were told, don’t worry, the value of the house will keep rising and you can sell your house and make some money. So, the fraud was built in not only by falsifying income, but through these adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS) that were time-bombs in the system. Allan Greenspan was behind that; he told people these ARMS were fine. Then, knowing that the ARMS were going to explode, the Fed under Greenspan began to raise interest rates in 2006. He started the bubble and then he blew it up.

GC: To protect the assets of the wealthy?

RC: We don’t quite know yet.

GC: And what about inflation and purchasing power? Doesn’t that kick into this also?

RC: Inflation came through the house values.

GC: And the wealthy hate inflation, right? Because it spoils the value of their assets.

RC: The inflation was in housing assets, and the wealthy were the lenders; so they didn’t care. Because once the plug is pulled and these houses are in foreclosure—and we’re over 4 million now since 2006—it’s the wealthy who come in and buy these houses at the crash prices.

GC: Those who have liquid assets.

RC: Yes … or the banks. The banks now own millions of houses.

GC: You talk about a “gap” … and you don’t mean the clothing store. … What is the gap between prices and purchasing power?

RC: This is the whole theory of Keynsian economics. (I learned a lot more about it on my own than I would have learned in college.) Basically, the problem in modern economics is poverty in the midst of plenty. You would think, with modern industrial methods, you could produce enough for everybody. For decades and longer, people would talk about the “leisure dividend”—everything could be mechanized to produce wealth, people won’t have to work so hard, they’ll have more time off … and it just never happened. Poverty in the midst of plenty has plagued our world ever since the Industrial Revolution really got rolling. Keynes set out to explain the problem. I’ll try to make it simple. … Everything that you produce has a price attached to it. You’re going to charge whatever you need to cover your costs and make a little profit. Profits are not high. In most industries, profits run somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. Part of that is paid in dividends and part is saved. The part that is saved is called “retained earnings.” Retained earnings are a necessity. Because of entropy—or the Law of Diminishing Returns. The idea is that, when you produce something, you’re producing at an efficiency rate that can’t be maintained indefinitely. Because, everything you buy, you’re buying at the best price you can get … but, over time, it gets more expensive because the easy stuff to sell comes first; but, over time, you’re going to incur more costs when you sell it. For example, when you hire people to work for you, you’re going to hire the most capable people and they’ll be the most productive. If you hire more people, they’ll probably need more training or are less capable—so you’ve got a Law of Diminishing Returns—your costs are going to rise. So, in order to cover those cost increases, you need to hold back payment (as retained earnings). That means that the money you pay out—that’s the purchasing power of the community; so the prices that the community is going to pay are always going to be higher than the purchasing power. That’s the gap, that’s the gap that I write about.

GC: And the savings–

C: That’s in the bank. And the bank generally lends for asset purchase, not investment. It’s a storage function, it’s not a capital investment function. In fact, in the last 30 years there’s probably been no growth at all in capital investment in the United States. All of the money that’s gone into the banks has gone into asset appreciation—because they make money on capital gains; that’s the chief source of wealth in our modern banking system—capital gains, which means inflation. At any rate, there’s this gap between prices and purchasing power. Keynes said that the whole system can collapse back to purchasing power, but then you’ll develop another gap and the whole system will keep ratcheting down—and that’s called a depression. During the Great Depression, there wasn’t purchasing power in the system to buy what was produced at the price that had to be charged in order to assure the continuation of the process.

GC: Again, there’s something systemic here … in the entropy. Is there any way around this?

RC: Keynes’ solution was to fill the gap by government debt—by pump-priming. Beginning in the 1930’s, we see Roosevelt running government deficits to fund things like job creation, the civil conservation corps, Works Progress Administration—that type of thing. He also used it to capitalize the Reconstruction Finance Corporation which began to lend at very low rates of interest into the private sector and into state and local governments and into the hands of farmers. Roosevelt essentially took over the credit creation function of government, he took it from the banks. The New Deal was created by government deficit financing. Additionally, he had very high marginal tax rates. The rich paid through the nose during the New Deal. … All of this really took off during World War II. The borrowing there shot up to the highest level we’ve ever had. Even today, we’re not that high, though we may get there in the next year or two! Now, another way you can fill the gap is through a positive trade balance. Because if you’ve got money coming into your system because we’re selling more stuff than we import—that becomes income. So, every nation wants to use trade—and that’s why you’ve got trade rivalries—

GC: Beggar your neighbor.

RC: Exactly. And, of course we saw that before World War I when Britain was fighting a trade war with Germany. After World War II, the US had a tremendous surplus in our balance of trade, which we lost in the 60’s and 70’s. So that was another thing that floated the economy. Still another way to close the gap is through economic growth. Because if you can outgrow your gap or outspend it through the velocity of money you can close it. And, you can close the gap through inflation! If you’ve got $100 in debt and you inflate the currency so it’s only worth $80, then it’s easier to pay off. So, inflation has been a bedrock of government fiscal policy since the 30’s. Why does the government have a cost of living every year for social security and for federal employees? Not to keep up with inflation, but to create inflation. Because its cumulative. Even if inflation is only 3 or 4 percent a year, you’re going to create an exponential curve; so, that’s one reason why—yeah, we may have just given away $750 billion to the banks, but we’re going to inflate the currency so much, we’ll get back $200 billion by the time we’re done … Another thing inflation does—and we saw this with the alternative minimum tax—it drives people into a higher tax bracket. … Now, one other thing about the gap—the gap was known when Keynes was writing, and the Social Credit Movement in Britain knew about it fifteen years earlier. Their solution was to fill the gap through dividends. Because the theory is that the gap is going to exist no matter what you do; but you modify it in some way. That’s what borrowing does in today’s system. You borrow money to modify retained earnings.

GC: Now we’re getting deeper into this. … So, monetizing the gap … I have to admit I’m getting a little fuzzy here … I had a conversation with Stephen Shafarman a month or so ago and he explained some of this, but I wondered: Here’s a government which will not finance universal health care, does not invest in education, and yet, Shafarman and you are proposing that this government will give us $1,000 a month for every adult and $500 a month for every child … where’s the money coming from? I thought money was about having some kind of tangible asset behind it—gold or a house, some kind of collateral. And therefore you could say that more money means more value in the asset. But your proposal is based on something else. You’re saying, print the money and give it to everyone. What am I missing?

RC: We’re not talking about money, we’re talking about credit. Credit is the producing potential of an economy. It’s a way of calling forth production. For example, if I give you—and this is why I’m doing it through vouchers, not cash payments because I don’t want people to take their cash and buy lottery tickets—it’s not productive. But if I give you a voucher, let’s say it’s for $10—let’s say it’s a food stamp. You can take that to the market place, and people will raise food because they’ll get $10 from you. That becomes an incentive for them to produce. What you’re doing when you introduce money into circulation this way, you’re monetizing future production—in response to that, people will do something they didn’t do before. This is the way a huge part of the US economy functioned during the 19th century. Gold and silver were monetized then at a ratio of 12 to 1, gold to silver. The government didn’t buy gold and silver and turn it into coins. The government ran a mint. In that mint, people who owned gold or silver—they brought it into the mint, and the mint would then take your gold and they’d stamp it into coins. And the mint would give it back to you—it was a free service. Now, you had a bag of gold bullion and now you have a hundred dollars in gold coins. You then go and spend that into the economy; and because you have gold now and you’re spending it, that incentivizes production; a whole system of production builds up because now there’s something of value that can be earned. This was why, for example, the California Gold Rush became such a spur to production in the US. … This was why the new cyanide process of extracting gold ore around 1900 was such a tremendous economic boon for the world—because it called forth production. It’s the same reason why the mining of gold and silver by the Spanish in the Americas in the 1500s brought into existence the modern productive economy. Because they were bringing gold and silver back. The government didn’t create that. It was brought back as a monetary commodity, and now suddenly people began to produce and produce and produce. The dividend is exactly the same principle. …

GC: Something you said turned a light on in my head. This phrase: “monetizing future production”. … These vouchers represent the future, they are a stake in the future! I’m going to give you this voucher and you’re going to spend it and this is going to call forth future production. So, how come we’re not already doing that?

RC: Because the banks control the system. The banks would rather loan you the money and extract interest from you than give you a voucher. For example, if you go down to U Street here in D.C., and you see the urban blight; if you began to hand out vouchers to the people who live there that place would be transformed—probably in a few months. It would be based on small business, you would have food products coming in, you would have a lot of new things being done. … This actually happened during the 70s when the community services administration was introducing grants into the inner cities to vitalize the local economy. But, as the 70s progressed, and all of those social programs were killed—that’s when the center cities fell back into the poverty that we see today. And when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in the early 70s to a tremendously high level and killed off our producing economy, they did the same to the inner cities by withdrawing a source of credit that had begun to fuel commerce in those areas and had begun to transform our urban landscape.

GC: So, the banks have been making money on the system as it exists. But, now, the banks are in trouble. They’ve come to the taxpayers for a bailout … to perpetuate the whole system.

RC: The banking system is a parasite that is killing the host.

GC: And, this goes back to the Middle Ages. … You’re talking revolution, aren’t you?

RC: Yeah.

GC: And you’re talking real socialism. And maybe you can get into this a little bit because I think Americans are extremely confused about what socialism is. So, we hear this banter on right wing talk radio about how we’re becoming a socialist country because our government is involved in helping the banks, and taking over A.I.G. and so forth. But I say that’s more about National Socialism—which is what Hitler was all about. Or about Corporatism which is what Mussolini called his system—and it’s really Fascism, but you never hear the right using that term. What you’re talking about, I call it socialism with a small “s.” It’s real socialism that helps people where they live; helps them with the essentials and leads to survival and a thriving community.

RC: These right wingers should read Article One of the Constitution. Article One says that Congress shall regulate interstate commerce. It also says that Congress shall coin money and establish the value thereof. That Congress has not just the right, but the duty to regulate the economy, to regulate the monetary system. To what end? Well, then you go back to the Preamble of the Constitution—

GC: “To insure domestic tranquility”—

RC: “and promote the general welfare.” The people who wrote the Constitution knew that to promote the general welfare, Congress—the elected representatives—had to have the right to regulate interstate commerce and to coin money and establish its value. That’s what we’ve thrown away! For the sake of this right-wing, market nonsense that has totally failed and that has produced a catastrophe.

GC: And it works by creating bubbles, bursting bubbles, creating another bubble. …

RC: The banks really began to take over the economy in a big way in the 70s. That was the transition decade.

GC: When we went off the gold standard?

RC: That opened the door to unlimited inflation of money through the petro-dollar, and allowed the dollar to become the world reserve currency. But, also, interest rates began to climb, began to burst, in the 70s. By the end of the Volker recession interest rates were over 20 percent, which destroyed the US producing economy—and that was deliberate. From then on, every period of economic growth in this country has been a bubble!

GC: What you’re calling the “producing economy,” I’ve heard called the “real economy,” as opposed to the financialized economy.

RC: The guy who’s really defined this best is Dr. Michael Hudson. The producing economy is where people like you and I go to work every day and make stuff. The financial economy is money that’s leant into circulation or that is manipulated for profit without any productive value being created. Hudson calls it the FIRE economy—finance, insurance and real estate. The FIRE economy has killed the producing economy.

GC: As we start our last tape, I want to thank you for this tutorial! There’s a lot more we can talk about, but I’m hearing “time’s wing’d chariot” at my ear, so as we move towards the fire exits, let me ask you, since you’re talking revolution, What are you going to do when they come after you?

RC: (Laughs …) I really don’t think about that. I just do what I feel I’m supposed to do.

GC: It’s your moral commitment. …

RC: Yeah.

GC: You did mention that you studied comparative religions at William and Mary, so this is an important part of who you are. And, along those lines, you’ve also thought about what kind of future communities we might be living in in the US in twenty years. … Tell me about your vision of the future.

RC: Well, you can look at it in one of two ways, I think. One is economics that’s based upon the trickle down philosophy that we got starting with the Reagan years, which was that the rich will invest and produce, and the wealth that comes through that will somehow pass down into the hands of working people through jobs. And that whole idea of a top-down economy is not new; this was essentially what medieval feudalism was all about when the rich lived in their manors and had moats around their castles. (Of course, we see that today with our gated communities!) And the poor just fended for themselves. I think we’re going in that direction now. I think our culture is increasingly aristocratic, increasingly about passing wealth to the rich. And no better means of doing that has ever been invented than bank finance, where, through the magic of compound interest, I don’t work anymore but my money works for me; all the wealth of the community is sucked upward through that vortex up to the hands of the people at the top. We’ve seen this before in history, and we’re seeing it now. … The other way is approaching it from the bottom up. It’s giving people who work for a living the ability not only to survive but to flourish. And to do that, there must be a way of providing access to people in the community for wealth creation—for savings, for investment. Why should we do that? Basically, I believe in the concept that all men are created equal, we’re all equal in the eyes of God, and that every human being has a right to live on this earth and to take part in the life that is possible to us through the opportunity to manifest our potential. I’m a democrat with a small “d,” and I think that those periods of history where that has been possible have been the times when America has truly been a great nation.

GC: When were those times?

RC: One was after 1800, when, through the Louisiana Purchase, the whole West was opened up and people were free to go out and establish a farm or a business. We opened ourselves up to immigration to people from all around the world and I think a tremendous force was unleashed for opportunity, for achievement and for genius that we haven’t had since then.

GC: That’s a long time back!

RC: I think the New Deal was that. My family were New Dealers. My parents got their education through New Deal programs. I got mine through the National Defense Education Act; programs were available so that students from the working or middle class could become part of our social life, part of our economy. And, those days are ending. Increasingly, the only students who can go to college are those who have money or can mortgage their futures with these tremendous student loans—and even those loans are disappearing with the credit crisis. I believe that the true genius of the human race can be unlocked from the bottom—from ordinary people being given the opportunity to fulfill their God-given destiny. I think that, essentially, for me, this is what the teaching of Jesus was about. The best economics is the one based on the principle of doing unto your neighbor as you would have them do unto you. You don’t rob from your neighbor, you give to your neighbor. And I believe our present economic system is robbing from our neighbor. Taking what belongs from them, and essentially enslaving your neighbor into working not for him and his posterity and his family, but for you—because you’re the one who is living off the fat of the land through your compound interest, your financial lending system and all that comes with it.

GC: I agree with you, but let me play devil’s advocate. What I hear, more and more, is that we can’t afford this; because we have to compete with China, India. How can we possibly compete? They have so many more people; they can work so much cheaper. So, how does your system make sense in this emerging world market?

RC: We don’t have to compete with anybody. The reason that China and India appear so competitive is that they’re so poor to begin with. They’re able to throw millions of laborers into making our Christmas tree ornaments! For them to grow from abject poverty to where a portion of them are approaching middle class status looks like great economic growth. And because they’re willing to work so cheaply they can under-price us—if we’re dependent upon a competitive market place in order to earn the money that we need to keep our economy afloat because we’re so in debt to ourselves or our banking system that we can’t produce at that same level of efficiency. Now, a dividend-based economy … well, take farming for example: right now our family farm is dead; a family farm can’t afford to compete in the market place. But, if we were able to monetize our farming economy through dividends where you had the vouchers I’ve been talking about and you could take them down to the farmers’ market, if you could feed money into the system from that source—that would allow people who can’t afford to farm today to begin farming again. … So, the only reason you have these competitive relations between nations is because you have a global economy based upon top-down bank-financing which ultimately is usury and ultimately sucks the cream off the top of the productive system for the benefit and profit of the bankers, the bond-holders, the interest holders—and it impoverishes everyone else. Essentially you’ve got a bunch of starving people in China competing against a bunch of starving people in India competing against a bunch of people who soon are going to be starving in America to get that slight edge in order to allow a top-down, debt-based monetary system to live off the fat of the land. Once you get rid of that system and introduce currency at the grass-roots level, you create a whole new economic paradigm that will change everything. And, you’re right. It’s a political revolution … because the only reason we don’t do that today is because of the increasing power in the hands of the financiers and the politicians they own.

GC: So how are we going to overturn this system? What’s it going to take? A Russian revolution? 20 million dead?

RC: Actually, the Russian revolution was a bankers’ revolution. Lenin and Trotsky were financed by Rothschild and Rockefeller and the big New York banks. Actually, the Romanovs did not have a central bank, the way there was a Federal Reserve or a Bank of England. The Russian economy was being financed by indigenous land banks out in the Russian countryside that would lend based on land mortgages at very little rates of interest. That was creating what was becoming one of the strongest economies in the world. And the Bolsheviks essentially made an agreement with the bankers in the West: if you finance us, we’ll put a central bank in Russia that you will own—and that’s exactly what happened. And Russia afterwards became dependent on Western banking and commerce. In fact, one of the biggest supporters of the growth of Russian industry under Stalin was the Rockefellers. The Rockefellers were granted leases in the Baku oilfields around the Caspian—

GC: Oh man!

RC: Yeah, it’s all very. … So, the kind of revolution I’m talking about is a monetary revolution that would place purchasing power directly in the hands of the people for them to spend as they wish at the local level. Then, once you begin to produce in that way, you do create a certain level of savings, and that savings can then capitalize true capital markets where people pool their resources and savings. We don’t have true capital markets anymore—that kind of pooling of resources by average people where they can make investments. What we have instead is speculators buying stocks on margin or buying whole companies through equity purchases on margin where 90-95%–or more–of capital used in the system is bank leveraging; it’s speculative money that has polluted and poisoned the capital markets.

GC: I understand what you’re saying about a peaceful monetary revolution. But … they’re not going to turn it over to you and to me.

RC: The people have to demand it!

GC: They’ll shoot us in the streets!

RC: I don’t have an answer for this. I can see in the last two years a big change in the number of people who have begun to see things in this way and to identify the banking and financial systems as the root of the problem. I think Ron Paul had a lot to do with it. He’s introduced legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve system. And, the Libertarians, as misguided as some of their solutions are—like, for example, the idea of returning to the gold standard, which is just a red herring—at least they have the idea that the people are capable of running their own affairs without government oversight or interference. That’s one reason I like the Alaska Permanent Fund so much. During the 70s when they were setting this up, the state government wanted to take these royalties from the oil companies and then distribute them to the people through social programs, etc. And there was an outcry among the people: Just give us the money and we’ll decide how to spend it! There was no reason to go through the government bureaucracies and then disburse the money to the people through means testing, etc. The Alaskans had a referendum, and now every year a cash payment is made to every resident there. This last year the payment was $3,269 per resident. Now, if you’re in a household with 4 people, you’re making $13,000 cash, a substantial amount of money that Alaskans have given to them to do whatever they want! There’s no reason why we can’t do that—or even more—for every resident of the United States. And that’s what we should be demanding. People shouldn’t be going up to Congress for more social programs. … When Bush gave out the $600 rebate during the second quarter of 2008, that’s one of the few right things he ever did. That’s what prevented the economy from going into recession during the second quarter. Even that piddling amount. We’ve got substantial movement in this country through the Basic Income Guarantee movement, through Shafarman’s movement, we’ve got the same thing in Europe; we have countries in Latin America which are moving in this direction. There is awareness that can be built on. But at some point the current has to tip in favor of the people over the banks. Who will run the economy of the world—the people who work and hope and sweat and have aspirations, or is it the banks that suck the life out of every economy they’ve ever been associated with? At a certain point people just have to say they’ve had enough. One way or another that’s happening. A lot of people are defaulting on their credit card debts, for example. My daughter was paying over 28% on her cards. She can’t pay it anymore. She doesn’t have the money. They’re gonna kill the economy; they’re gonna kill people who can’t continue to work to support the financial controllers. Something has to change. And if they drive the country into a collapse—and they will—then at some point, people who have the ability to say no are going to have to do it. Through whatever means is available.

GC: You think it’s imminent, or will they manage to pull themselves out again?

RC: I can’t see the system being rescued. Because it’s spread globally. The credit system has collapsed because people cannot pay their loans any more. I mean, if we have a winter where the grocery stores can’t put food on their shelves, people will be starving in this country. There’s already 35 million who are “nutritionally deprived”—the term they use nowadays. Food stamps applications are growing tremendously. Surplus food has declined. Something’s gotta give. This could become tragically serious in one to two years. Unless something is done to revitalize the local, producing economies.

GC: I think we’re especially vulnerable in the winter months.

RC: We could see real starvation coming in the next one to two years. The current level of population in the US exists because of our industrial economy. If that economy collapses, so will our population.

GC: Which has more than doubled in our lifetime.

RC: Yeah. The people who run our government understand the dangers, but they don’t know how to fix it because they’ve been taken over by this cancer which is the financial system.

GC: Maybe they understand, but they’re so vested in it, they’re like the people at NASA—they don’t want to stop it.

RC: I think that’s fair.

GC: Well, on that grim note, I guess we can wrap this up. Now, to go even deeper into this, the good folks ought to read your forthcoming book. The title was?


GC: And the press?

RC: Tendril Press.

GC: Thank you very much, Rick. You’ve given us a lot to ponder—and to act on!

Richard C. Cook is the author of Challenger Revealed, and the forthcoming, We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform.  His work is widely disseminated on the Internet.  Gary Corseri has published novels and poetry collections, had plays produced on Atlanta-PBS and elsewhere, and has performed at the Carter Presidential Library.  His work is widely disseminated on the Net.

Biden’s chilling remarks at fundraiser

Biden’s chilling remarks at fundraiser

What “incredibly tough” foreign policy actions is Obama preparing?

By Patrick Martin
22 October 2008

In remarks made over the weekend in Seattle, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden warned that Barack Obama, if elected president, would be compelled to take deeply unpopular actions in both domestic and foreign policy within months of taking office.

In closed-door gatherings with two audiences of Democratic Party insiders and fundraisers, Biden forecast a major international crisis in the first six months of an Obama administration.

He compared Obama to John F. Kennedy, the last senator to be elected president. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy,” Biden said. “The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Watch. We’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Biden mentioned the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea and Russia as potential points of conflict, but did not spell out the exact nature of such a crisis, observing, “I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate.” He made it clear that Obama would respond forcefully: “They’re going to want to test him. And they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.”

The most politically significant portion of Biden’s remarks came when he admitted that the decisions of an Obama-Biden administration were likely to be deeply unpopular, and he called on the Democratic Party regulars to stand behind the new president even when public opinion turned against him.

“He’s going to need help,” Biden said. “He’s going to need you—not financially to help him—we’re going to need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not going to be apparent initially, it’s not going to be apparent that we’re right.”

He continued, “There are going to be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.’ Because if you think the decision is sound when they’re made, which I believe you will when they’re made, they’re not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they’re popular, they’re probably not sound.”

Here is the voice of a longtime representative of the financial aristocracy, voicing his contempt for public opinion—”if decisions are popular, they’re probably not sound”—and warning his wealthy audience that the new Obama-Biden administration will have to defy public opinion to carry out its policies. Biden’s language suggests that the ferocity of the new administration’s response will shock not only public opinion, but even its own supporters.

In that context, one must point out Biden’s suggestions that nuclear weapons might play a role in one or more of the potential crises. A nuclear-armed Korean Peninsula could lead to “Japan as a nuclear power,” he said, which could push China into expanding its nuclear weaponry. The Pakistan-Afghanistan border is “crawling with Al Qaeda” and “Pakistan is already bristling with nuclear weapons, all of which can hit Israel.” Biden also noted Iran’s alleged drive to build a nuclear weapon.

Foreign policy journals and pundits linked to the Democratic Party have undoubtedly been discussing many such doomsday scenarios, and Biden’s language suggests that the use of the US nuclear arsenal, the world’s largest, is under consideration by those who are formulating the foreign and military policy of an Obama-Biden administration.

Biden himself has been one of the most hawkish on foreign policy among leading congressional Democrats, backing the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and advocating a US-led military intervention in Darfur. During the Democratic presidential primary campaign, he was the most vociferous of all the candidates in denouncing antiwar protest groups seeking a cutoff of funds for the war in Iraq.

Biden’s expectation of widespread popular hostility to an Obama administration applies not only to foreign and military policy, but to domestic policy. He told the Seattle audience, “I promise you, you all are going to be sitting here a year from now going, ‘Oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough?’ We’re going have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years.”

The Democratic candidate did not spell out the exact nature of these “incredibly tough decisions,” other than to refer to the financial and economic crisis and two wars being bequeathed by the Bush administration to its successor.

In the wake of these blunt and ominous comments, there have been disingenuous attempts to explain them away from both parties.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain seized on the suggestion that foreign enemies might seek to test an inexperienced President Obama, citing his own military and foreign policy expertise going back more than 50 years. Right-wing pundits went further, suggesting, as one put it, that “Biden is forecasting inaction by Obama in the face of testing by a dictator.”

This interpretation is preposterous, especially given Biden’s own record as a fervent supporter of US military intervention. Obama’s selection of the Delaware senator as his running mate was itself an effort to reassure the political establishment of his commitment to defend the interests of American imperialism by military force.

The Obama campaign sought to shrug off Biden’s remarks as a mere historical generalization, triggered by the Obama-Kennedy analogy, not a prediction of impending crisis. A campaign spokesman said Biden was referring to Kennedy’s confrontation with Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev in summit talks in Vienna, a few months after he took office—although these talks took place after a US military provocation—the invasion of Cuba by US-trained exiles who were defeated at the Bay of Pigs.

An Obama administration would not be an “innocent abroad,” picked on by dictators out to “test the mettle” of a US president. American imperialism continues from administration to administration, Democratic or Republican. If elected, Obama will take office heading the world’s largest military machine, engaged in violent provocations in dozens of countries, any of which could flare up unexpectedly, especially under the impact of the deepening world economic crisis.

Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination by presenting himself as the more consistent antiwar candidate, and the Democratic ticket in public pledges to end the war in Iraq and adopt a less militaristic stance. But behind closed doors, before select audiences of the financial and political elite, Biden has given a glimpse of the real perspective of the Democratic wing of American imperialism

Dying in the name of GWOT

Dying in the name of GWOT

Rob Lafferty


The effort in Afghanistan is going to be the longest campaign of the long war.” — Gen. David Petraeus

The Global War On Terror is an awkward name with the terribly appropriate acronym of GWOT. Those who believe in the romance of war prefer “The Long War” as a name for our current military misadventures against Islamic jihadists. It resonates better in speeches and looks better when printed on a page, and that’s important when selling a war to a nation. There’s no glory in a GWOT, but a Long War evokes the full range of Hollywood war imagery that most Americans have grown to love.     As George Carlin always liked to point out, Americans are pretty much a war-like people; we have a war with somebody every few years, so we must like wars. We paid billions of dollars to maintain 761 active military bases in 151 foreign countries this year. We support our troops when they are at war, even when we don’t understand why they’re being sent to fight and to die. And we talk about the invasion and occupation of Iraq as if it were a justifiable war, even though our government broke about a dozen national and international laws when it dropped the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign onto the city of Baghdad.

In May of 2007, 126 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq during a year when U.S. forces averaged nearly four deaths per day. Last month 25 American troops were killed; casualties have dropped to an average of one death per day this year. This represents progress to some people — a sign that we’re “winning” against the resistance to our occupation.

All it really means is that 25 more American citizens died somewhere they never should have been. A true sign of progress would be soldiers coming home to stay, but that isn’t happening yet. When the number of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq does begin to drop, however, it won’t necessarily mean that they’re coming home.

In Afghanistan, coalition forces lost 232 soldiers in 2007, the most in one year since fighting began in 2001. Today, in mid-October, that death toll is already 247 for this year and rising.

Both presidential candidates have said that they’ll continue to send more young men and women into Afghanistan, where some of them will die. Of course, the candidates don’t actually say that; they talk about increasing our troop levels in order to take the battle to the enemy, or some other more appropriate phrasing that doesn’t fully acknowledge the violence and death those troops will endure.

So we know that U.S. troops will be dying in the sands of Iraq for at least more two years after GWB walks away from the White House in January and boards a plane bound for Texas. We know that U.S. troops will still be fighting in the mountain valleys of Afghanistan when the 2012 presidential elections come around.

And that, after all, was part of the Cheney/Rumsfeld invasion plan all along. That’s why those six “enduring camps” in the desert sand, whose construction started immediately after the occupation began, are now acknowledged as full-service air bases that will “endure” for a very long time indeed.

And yet American soldiers will never be welcome on the streets of Iraq by the descendants of the ancient tribal divisions of Mesopotamia, who have long memories and intentions of their own. A significant number of Iraqi people prefer to work out their own destiny without any further outside interference.

It seems as if we’ve forgotten that the people of Iraq are very much like us. We forget that so many have suffered agonizing losses — though no fault of their own. And we don’t seem to understand how many innocents die when our weapons go astray in towns and villages.

Two dozen American soldiers killed each month is a tragedy, but those are small numbers when compared to the number of people — men, women and children, young and old, the innocent along with the guilty — who are killed every month by American weapons in Iraqi and Afghanistan. It’s impossible to know the true numbers, but it’s safe to say that for each U.S. soldier killed in action there have been at least five innocent children killed by mistake.

After five long years, every village, town and city in Iraq and Afghanistan has been deeply affected by sudden, violent death inflicted upon them by Sunni militias or Shia mobs or jihadist bombs — and also by American air strikes.

According to the Afghani government, two U.S. bomb and rocket attacks in July in the northern provinces killed 62 civilians, including a wedding party of mostly women and children. U.S. military investigators concede that more than 30 civilians died in American air strikes on Aug. 22 against a suspected Taliban compound in Azizabad, a village in western Afghanistan.

They raised their initial estimate of 5-7 civilian deaths after seeing numerous bodies pulled out of the rubble of exploded buildings. That’s still far below the number of 90 victims that Afghani and U.N. officials claim is supported by cellphone photos, fresh graves and witnesses who saw the bodies.     “Such acts provoke public hatred towards internal and foreign forces and force people to join the enemy who encourages them to carry out terrorist and suicide attacks,” read an editorial in the Afghani Hewad newspaper.

“The Americans will soon face new resistance with new motives if they continue such operations and do not care even a little about the lives of the people,” the daily Anis wrote. Both newspapers are controlled by the government, so their editorial positions reflect the official state position on all issues.

The kind of problems we’re creating in the Middle East go far beyond the accidental deaths that are inevitable in urban warfare. We’ve used cluster bombs and white phosphorus and depleted uranium as weapons, and we’ve used them against civilians — most often by mistake, but there were no mistakes to be made when U.S. forces sought to regain control of the city of Fallujah for the second time in November of 2004.

U.S. military statements at the time reflected a belief that perhaps 5,000 insurgents were hiding among the 300,000 residents of Fallujah. A direct military decision was made to punish the city for stubbornly resisting the occupation and for harboring those insurgents.

The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. U.S. troops cut off the city’s water, power and food supplies. Two-thirds of the city’s 300,000 residents fled, most of them landing in squatters’ camps without basic facilities.

Anyone left in town once the fighting began was considered to be hostile and a legitimate target. Unit commanders later revealed their troops had orders to shoot all males of fighting age seen on the streets, armed or unarmed. Most of the buildings were leveled, including residential neighborhoods, and an unknown number of children were killed simply because their families didn’t get out in time.     By the end of operations, much of the city lay in ruins. Seventy percent of the buildings were damaged, including 30,000 homes. Another 5,000 homes were totally destroyed. Dozens of mosques and schools were hit by rockets or mortar rounds or cannon shells.

Relief agencies and Iraqi medical workers estimate that at least 7,000 people died as a result of Operation Phantom Fury. Most of the dead were young or middle-aged men and presumed to be fighters, but there were a lot of funerals held for women and children after the battle quieted down.     Mortar teams fired thousands of rounds of high explosives and white phosphorus bombs into the city for 48 hours before the street fighting began. They never saw what they hit and they had no idea what damage was being done — they were given coordinates over the radio and they targeted their mortars accordingly.

In March of 2005, Field Artillery Magazine published “The Fight for Fallujah,” an article that openly discussed the use of white phosphorous. A former soldier was quoted as saying, “WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and high explosives to take them out.”

The Geneva Protocol bans the use of white phosphorous, “since its use causes indiscriminate and extreme injuries especially when deployed in an urban area.” White phosphorous bombs and rockets were used in Fallujah by our own government’s admission. “Willie Pete,” the soldiers call it. The DOD claims it was used only for illumination purposes, but Iraqi Health Ministry officials reported finding bodies with melted flesh. Willie Pete does that to people, as does napalm.

Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli was the head of the Iraqi Ministry of Health in Fallujah in 2004. He was reported as stating that “… research, prepared by his medical team, prove that U.S. forces used internationally prohibited substances, including mustard gas, nerve gas, napalm and other burning chemicals in their attacks on the war-torn city.”

Dr Shaykhli’s claims are echoed in eyewitness accounts of the street fighting, stating that “…all forms of nature were wiped out in Fallujah” and “…hundreds of dogs, cats, and birds had perished as a result of those gasses” and “…an unidentified chemical was used in the bombing raids that killed every living creature in certain areas of the city.”

That’s the real legacy of the neoconservative movement’s decision to use full military power and “take the gloves off” as we journey “over to the darker side” in our international struggle against violent extremists. In the process, we are making just as many enemies among the people of Iraq and Afghanistan as the Taliban and Al-Queda are.

And so we have The Long War to Keep America Safe. It will always be fought on foreign soil. And innocent foreign children will continue pay the ultimate price of our pursuit of the illusion of safety.

The princes of shadows: How to sponsor terrorism Saudi style

The princes of shadows: How to sponsor terrorism

Saudi style

By Arash Parsa, Press TV, Tehran

The Arabic-language TV channel al-Arabiya has recently broadcast an interview with Abdul Malik Rigi, the ringleader of the terrorist group Jundollah, which has been active in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

The satellite channel also aired footage showing the execution of the Iranian hostages that had been held by the terrorist group. The gruesome pictures were aired without the consideration of the fact that the hostages’ families might be watching the TV channel.

Broadcasting violent pictures is considered a blatant violation of journalistic standards even if there were not any concerns about the hostages’ families, and many TV channels have so far been boycotted for such unprofessional acts.

Al-Arabiya has also been using the term ‘Popular Resistance Movement of Iran’ to name a terrorist organization which according to its leader comprises of nearly 200 gunmen and resembles a criminal gang rather than a political movement. There is no need to be reminded that using the term ‘Popular Resistance Movement of Iran’ may mislead the public into believing that the group represents the Iranian people.

Hassan Fahs, the former head of al-Arabiya’s Tehran office, whose visa was not renewed by Iranian officials, had previously admitted that the satellite station had been providing a ‘special coverage’ of the Jundullah story. He has defended the performance of his news outlet and described it as ‘completely professional’. Of course, nobody asked ‘this professional journalist,’ why al-Arabiya’s reporter never posed the question about how a gang of nearly 200 unpopular bandits could topple one of the most powerful governments of the Middle East.

Let us honestly answer this question: if one of the Iranian-based TV channels aired an interview with Osama bin Laden, wouldn’t we see American tanks marching on the streets of Iranian cities?

In a world where a US Senator proposes that the Iranian Arab-language TV channel al-Alam be blacklisted as a terrorist organization simply because of broadcasting an interview in which a man had ‘threatened a US warship in his remarks,’ no one blames al-Arabiya for its interview with this ‘petty terrorist’, who ran a show of hostage execution. Instead, the satellite channel has been lauded for its professionalism.

Al-Arbaiya TV channel, which belongs to the MBC group and at least is partially funded by the Saudi Royal family, certainly has humane motivations. It is ‘concerned’ about Iran’s Sunni minority who freely practice their religion in the country. It is, of course, humane to ignore Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, whose members live in a country in which you are not authorized to be anything but a Sunni Muslim.

Shia means trouble, so who cares if no Shia Muslim in Saudi Arabia dares pray based on his or her religion in public.

It was humane motivations that prompted the MBC group to launch a Persian language movie channel which screens ‘Alexander the Great’, the success story of an arch foe of the Persian Empire, who has been known as ‘Gojastak’ (damned or evil) among Iranians over his atrocities in the country.

All Saudi-sponsored measures against Iran and Iranians have been based on philanthropic motivations and the moral principles of the great teachers of ethics like Machiavelli: when we see nobody buys our thoughts and we are losing our leverage in the region, forget humanity, deal a blow to your rival, no matter how unfair your tactic is.

One cannot also ignore the role of Pakistan’s intelligence service (I.S.I) in Rigi’s show. While a ‘simple al-Arabiya reporter’ can easily find Rigi in ‘Iran’s mountains’ (note: Iran’s Mountains is the name of a range of mountains in Pakistan!), how is it that Pakistani security apparatus with its sophisticated equipments and tactics does not know anything about the whereabouts of Rigi, bin Laden, Taliban leaders and tens of other criminals. Even an average person with an average IQ knows that fighting for years (as we have seen in the case of the Taliban) is impossible without logistical, military and intelligence support from a foreign country.

The interesting point is that I.S.I– a shadowy entity which has always been as a government within the government and nobody knows who is in charge of it– is financially supported by Saudi Arabia.

Yet nobody poses the question why we could see the traces of ‘the Kingdom’ in almost all major terrorist activities in the region.

Isn’t it Saudi Arabia that promotes a version of ‘Islam’ which sanctions the execution of prisoners of war, a heinous practice against all Islamic values?

It was just a few years ago that Prince Bandar bin Sultan a.k.a Bandar Bush, (one the best friends of Bush) was widely accused by the media of brokering a deal with al-Qaeda under which Saudi’s would funnel millions of dollars to the terror network ‘to prevent the group from carrying out operations inside the oil-rich kingdom’.

We can easily realize Saudi’s role in supporting the Taliban, a savage group which did not respect the world’s cultural heritage, massacred Hazara civilians over their religious beliefs and showed that it is not committed to any international norms and regulations.

Based on confirmed reports, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, is believed to have had dealings with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly to mediate the talks between the Taliban and the West. The negotiations would certainly be a black record for the West which has always been adopting the policy of appeasement in dealing with tyrannical regimes, dictators and terrorists throughout history.

The Saudis have had a hand in the recent violence in Lebanon involving Salafi groups. Of course, it is still wise to be aware of ‘the Shia threat’ and join forces with those who are complaining about conspiracies to form an imaginary ‘Shia Crescent’ in the Middle East.

Isn’t there anyone out there to ask who are the real sponsors of terrorism, those who make deals with terrorists across the world or those who are guilty of supporting the Palestinian and Lebanese nations?

Isn’t it true that each petrodollar that Saudi Arabia earns will eventually turns into a bullet to penetrate the body of an innocent or a bomb that would fill the graves with bodies of children and women?

Who does not know that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are a product of the opportunistic policies of Carter, Kissinger, Reagan and other Western politicians plus Saudi money? Of course, there should be an al-Qaeda, otherwise how could the neocons wage their quixotic crusade? How could the West find a pretext to justify its discriminative approach to a Muslim minority in ‘the democratic West’ and the violation of civilian rights and privacy?

Oh, and don’t forget! Everything has a reasonable explanation: we have good terrorists and bad terrorists. Sponsors of terrorism are also categorized into good and bad ones. The good terrorism-sponsors are princes with petrodollars in their pockets and the bad ones are those who call for a referendum in occupied Palestine.

You can run a kingdom in which no woman are allowed to drive or vote and of course nobody will be concerned about human rights situations in the country, because you are a good violator of human rights. You also can choose to live in a republic, a bad violator of human rights, in which women can vote, drive and lead a normal life.

It is easy to be a good human rights violator, just smile at the White House. Try this formula and you will never look back.

In this way you could keep your nukes while witnessing big powers fighting each other over selling advanced nuclear technology to you. Otherwise, even running a nuclear power plant might be dangerous.

Displaced by Pakistan’s ‘war on terror’

By Chris Morris
BBC News, North West Frontier Province

Nowshera camp

People complain they have lost everything

In a school compound on the outskirts of the town of Nowshera, more than 1,000 people are getting used to a new life.

Living in tents under a sweltering sun, these are the frontline victims of the war on terror.

“It’s so hot here,” said one young man. “We come from the mountains and we’re not used to it.”

They have fled from a huge Pakistani military operation against Islamist militants in the Bajaur tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

As many as 300,000 people have fled from their homes in a matter of weeks.

We’ve had hostility with India for 60 years and they’ve never bombed us. Now our own government is bombing us with F16s and helicopters. Where does this cruelty and injustice come from?
Niaz Mohammad

Some are staying with friends and family in safer areas, but many are relying on temporary camps and assistance from NGOs and the government.

It is a huge challenge.

Water and cooking utensils are being handed out, and tents are sprayed to give some protection against malaria.

An appeal has been made for millions of dollars in aid to help provide food and shelter for people who arrived here with almost nothing.


Understandably, they are bewildered and angry.

“We’ve lost our cattle, all our possessions, all our crops – we’ve lost everything,” complained Niaz Mohammad.

Stop the bombing, stop trying to please America
Abdur Rehman

“We’ve had hostility with India for 60 years and they’ve never bombed us. Now our own government is bombing us with F16s and helicopters. Where does this cruelty and injustice come from?”

“[President Pervez] Musharraf is finished, and this is supposed to be the people’s government,” said Dost Mohammad. “So why hasn’t the war come to an end?”

One of the reasons is that as the Pakistani Taleban’s sphere of influence has expanded, the border region has become a sanctuary for groups linked to al-Qaeda.

Foreign fighters

The authorities in the North West Frontier Province said that if a military operation had not been launched this month in Bajaur, the area would have been over-run by “Arab, Chechen and Uzbek militants”.

It is the influence of foreign fighters and al-Qaeda that really worries people.

Bajaur has always been one of the places suggested as a possible hiding place for Osama Bin Laden.

I’ve never seen any militants or any government officials dying. It’s people like us – the ordinary man – he’s the one who’s dying
Sami Khan

And as a result, many people who have fled from Bajaur feel trapped.

There is little support expressed in the camp for the local Taleban or for their foreign allies.

Sami Khan studied in England for four years before returning home.

Now he has been forced to flee in a hurry.

“It’s a fight between militants and the government,” he said.

“But the thing is I’ve never seen any militants or any government officials dying. It’s people like us – the ordinary man – he’s the one who’s dying.”

Niaz Mohammad

Niaz Mohammad wants to know why they have been forced out

And no-one knows quite when it will be safe for them to go back to their villages.

The school in Nowshera is due to reopen soon, so the displaced may have to move on again.

The instability in the tribal areas is spreading into the rest of the country in more dangerous ways as well.

The Taleban has said the double suicide bombing last week, killing more than 60 people outside Pakistan’s main arms factory, was in direct retaliation for the military offensive in Bajaur.

So among the newly displaced in the school field, there is a simple suggestion.

“Stop the bombing, stop trying to please America,” said Abdur Rehman. “The money that Pakistan gets for this will come and go, but the people won’t forgive them. If the people’s hearts are broken, they won’t forget.”

Among these tents, and in this heat, it will be an uphill battle for the government to persuade its citizens that the war against extremism is their war, too.