Blackwater accused of murder in ‘crusade to eliminate Muslims’

Blackwater accused of murder in ‘crusade to eliminate Muslims’

From The Times

Blackwater Chief Executive Erik Prince holds a photograph of the remains of a blown up vehicle in Iraq

A series of allegations including murder, weapons smuggling and the deliberate slaughter of civilians have been levelled against the founder of Blackwater, the security company being investigated for shooting deaths in Iraq.

Blackwater staff guard US diplomats at a meeting with Iraqi Shias

Blackwater staff guard US diplomats at a meeting with Iraqi Shias. Two former employees have made accusations against Erik Prince, the company founder

The accusations, including a claim that the company founder Erik Prince either murdered or had killed former employees co-operating with federal investigators, are contained in sworn affidavits lodged at a Virginia court on Monday night.

The company was the most prominent of an army of private security companies employed by the Pentagon and State Department to protect military convoys and guard US diplomats in Iraq. The accusations against Mr Prince are being made by two former employees, including a former Marine, who have sworn them anonymously as John Doe No 1 and John Doe No 2, because they said they feared for their lives if their identities were revealed.

In one of the statements, John Doe 2, who worked for Blackwater for four years, alleged that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe” and that his companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life”.

They claimed that Mr Prince and other executives destroyed incriminating videos, e-mails and documents and hid their criminal behaviour from the US State Department. John Doe 2 claimed in his affidavit that — based on information he said was provided to him by former colleagues — “it appears that Mr Prince and his employees murdered or had murdered one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct”.

The affidavits are part of a motion lodged by lawyers representing 60 Iraqi civilians who are suing Blackwater for alleged crimes. The five civilian suits were consolidated before a judge in northern Virginia. The motion was in response to a request by Blackwater to dismiss the case. Blackwater, which lost its multimillion-dollar State Department contract in May, denies the claims and is contesting the lawsuits. No criminal charges have been filed against Mr Prince.

In a statement released to CNN, the company said that it would respond “to the anonymous unsubstantiated and offensive assertions put forward by the plaintiffs” in a brief to be filed on August 17. It added: “It is obvious that plaintiffs have chosen to slander Mr Prince rather than raise legal arguments or actual facts that will be considered by a court of law. We are happy to engage them there.

“We question the judgment of anyone who relies upon and [reiterates] anonymous declarations.” Five Blackwater guards who pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges are awaiting trial over a shooting incident in Nisour Square, Baghdad, on September 16, 2007, which left 17 Iraqis dead. A sixth guard pleaded guilty.

The John Doe 2 affidavit alleged that Mr Prince intentionally deployed like-minded men to Iraq “who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades”. It stated that Blackwater employees consistently used racist and derogatory terms. The separate 72-page motion, which cites the affidavits, also accused Blackwater guards of boasting of kills, taking mind-altering drugs, steroids and using child prostitutes.

Mr Prince is accused of smuggling illegal weapons into Iraq on his private aircraft. He is accused of allowing his guards to use illegal exploding bullets “to inflict maximum damage on Iraqis”. He is also accused of racketeering and tax evasion. The former Marine alleged that numerous incidents of excessive force were videotaped, watched at the end of the day, and then erased. The affidavits and motion have been posted on the website of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the Iraqi plaintiffs.

Blackwater was unavailable to comment to The Times yesterday.

Karachi Kids

Binori madrasa of Karachi, where this video was made, has been implicated in heroin Hajj bust in Saudi Arabia recently. It has a long history of involvement with ISI and CIA, played an active role in the recruitment of Muslims from Pakistan and other Islamic countries and training them with the help of Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment for waging a jihad against the Soviet troops. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers11%5Cpaper1018.html

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more about "Karachi Kids", posted with vodpod

CIA Mouthpiece Hides Agency’s Nazi Roots Behind Recent Facist Policies

coronado2

[Mr. McGovern is another “former” CIA spook (Like bin Laden’s press agent Michael Scheuer) writing for Antiwar.com, whose only purpose appears to be defending truth and the Constitution against an out-of-control government.  This is pure disinformation, intended to mislead us, the enraged masses, into going after the agency’s crimes individually (Blackwater, torture, drone murders, etc.), when what is needed is a complete house cleaning of the  entire repellent mess that resides at Langley, Virginia.  The CIA is a criminal institution that hires other criminals throughout the world to start wars, commit mass-murder, kidnap, torture, run drugs, et. al., in a worldwide and national psyop.  The CIA is at war with all humanity and humankind’s only option is the complete and utter eradication of that cancer on the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.]

Blackwater’s Unwritten Death Contract

Ray McGovern

ray mcgovernHats off to Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times for reporting that it was after CIA Director Leon Panetta’s holdover lieutenants finally told him that, under President Bush, they had farmed out assassinations to their Blackwater subsidiary, that he abruptly stopped the project and told Congress.

I use “they” advisedly, since the CIA officials who had kept Panetta in the dark continue to function as Panetta’s top managers at the agency.

Until now, it was not clear what prompted Panetta to set up hurried consultations in late June with the intelligence oversight committees of the House and Senate. And an odd odor still hangs over the affair.

After being briefed by Panetta, one committee member described him as “stunned” that his lingering lieutenants had kept information on the program from him until nearly five months into his tenure.

And yet there is not the faintest hint that anyone on either committee dared to ask why Panetta continues to leave such tainted officials in very senior positions.

Mazzetti quotes officials as admitting that “the CIA did not have a formal contract with Blackwater” for a program with “lethal” authority.

What Mazzetti does not mention —  and what he, like the vast majority of Americans, may not know — is that there is a one-sentence umbrella “contract” available for use as authorization for such activities. It is a legal loophole of sorts, through which Bush and Cheney drove a Mack truck.

Bush administration lawyers were not the first to read considerable leeway into that loophole — one sentence in the language of the National Security Act of 1947. The sentence can be (ab)used as authorization for all manner of crimes — irrespective of existing law or executive order.

A Cheney-esque “unitary executive” perspective and a dismissive attitude toward lawmakers reinforced George W. Bush’s predilection to exploit this ambiguous language, taking it further than it had ever been taken in the past.

The Act (as slightly amended) stipulates that the CIA Director shall:

“Perform such functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the National Security Council may from time to time direct.”

There’s the “umbrella contract.” While more than one past President (I served under seven during my tenure at CIA) has taken advantage of that open language, the Bush administration translated the dodging into a new art form.
This, in turn, was sustained by Frankenstein cottage industries like Blackwater to launch and operate the administration’s own Gestapo. I use the word advisedly; do not blanch before it.

As for outsourcing, the Nazi Gestapo enjoyed umbrella authorization from the Fuhrer; they and the SS knew what was wanted, and famously “followed orders.”

There was absolutely no need to go back to supreme authority for approval to contract out some of their work. German legislators turned out to be even more intimidated than ours — if you can imagine it.

Charlatans Can Apply…and Stay

As for an American President’s freedom of action, all a President need do is surround himself with eager co-conspirators like the sycophant former Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, (not to mention his, and Panetta’s, lingering lieutenants) who give allegiance to their secret world of unchecked power, rather than to the Constitution of the United States.

True, a Vice President thoroughly versed in using the levers of power can be a valuable asset. But the sine quo non for successful subversion of our Constitutional process is this: cowardly members of Congress so afraid of being painted pastel on terrorism that they abdicate their oversight responsibility.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made “terrorification” of Congress a high priority, and congressional leaders caved, winking even at torture, kidnapping, warrantless eavesdropping, etc., etc., etc.

Speaking of contracting, Congress’ oversight role was, in a very real sense, “contracted out” — to eight invertebrate leaders from the House and Senate whose unconscionable, see-no-evil acquiescence was driven solely by their felt need to appear tough on terrorism.

“After 9/11 everything changed,” is certainly an overused aphorism. But it does apply to the spirit and soul of our country, after President Bush was given the pulpit at National Cathedral.

Vengeance is ours, said the President. And the vast majority of Christian leaders were cowed into razoring out of their Bibles “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

The clergy clapped, and so did the Congress and the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM). Don’t you remember?

The situation bears a striking resemblance to that described by writer Sebastian Haffner in Berlin in 1933 after the Reichstag fire (Germany’s 9/11):

“What was missing is what in animals is called ‘breeding.’ This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle, and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial. It is missing in Germans.

“As a nation they are without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed, yielded to a nervous breakdown, and became a nightmare to the rest of the world.” [Defying Hitler, p. 135]

Stormy Applause

And our Congress? During the President’s infamous State-of-the-Union address on Jan. 28, 2003 (yes, the one with the uranium-from-Africa-to-Iraq and other make-believe), Bush got the most unbridled applause when, after bragging about the 3,000 “suspected terrorists” whom he said had been arrested, he added:

“And many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.”

The lawmakers’ reaction and the cheering that followed in the FCM reminded me of the short italicized note that Pravda regularly tacked onto the bottom of paragraphs recording the text of similarly fulsome leadership speeches: Burniye aplaudismenti; vce stoyat! — Stormy applause; all rise!

Even so, Soviet leaders generally avoided (as not quite presidential) the seeking of applause for thinly veiled allusions to extrajudicial killing.

It is Congress that is collectively responsible for abdicating its oversight responsibility, while cheering on creeps like Cofer Black, CIA’s top counter-terrorism official from 1999 to May 2002 and now one of Blackwater’s senior leaders.

In his prepared testimony to a joint congressional 9/11 inquiry on Sept. 26, 2002, the swashbuckling Black said this about “operational flexibility”:

“All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off. … I know that we are on the right track today and as a result we are safer as a nation. ‘No Limits’ aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us is the only way to go and is the bottom line.”

What were those “gloves” to which you referred, Mr. Black? Do you mean that legal restrictions were gone? And “No Limits?” Is it the case that there now are no limitations on your pursuit of terrorists?

From what do you derive that kind of authorization, Mr. Black? These are just sample questions that, apparently, occurred to none of the senators to ask.

And authorization? In the Bush/Cheney White House, all it took was a presidential signature, like that appearing in strokes of large felt-tipped pen under the two-page executive memorandum of Feb. 7, 2002.

Last December the Senate Armed Forces Committee, without dissent, concluded that this memo, “opened the door” to abusive interrogation by exempting al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees from Geneva protections. Alberto Gonzales, in an inadvertent blunder, released that memo five years ago.

Special presidential memos (often referred to as “Findings”) authorizing covert action like the lethal activities of the CIA and Blackwater have not yet surfaced. They will, in due course, if the patriotic truth tellers who have now spoken to the Times and the Washington Post about CIA and Blackwater continue to put the Constitution and courage above secrecy oaths.

The Savage Mood

CIA operative Gary Schroen told National Public Radio that, just days after 9/11, Cofer Black sent him to Afghanistan with orders to “Capture bin Laden, kill him, and bring his head back in a box on dry ice.” As for other al-Qaeda leaders, Black reportedly said, “I want their heads up on pikes.”

Schroen told NPR he had been stunned that, for the first time in 30 years of service, he had received orders to kill targets rather than to capture them. Contacted by the radio network, Black would not confirm the exact words of the order to Schroen, but did not dispute Schroen’s account.

This quaint tone reverberated among macho pundits in the FCM. Washington Post veteran Jim Hoagland, who was extremely well plugged in to the Bush administration, on Oct. 31, 2001, wrote an open letter to President Bush.

Apparently no Halloween prank, Hoagland strongly endorsed the wish for “Osama bin Laden’s head on a pike,” a wish he attributed to Bush’s “generals and diplomats.” The consummate insider, Hoagland then almost gave the real game away, giving Bush a list of priorities:

“The need to deal with Iraq’s continuing accumulation of biological and chemical weapons and the technology to build a nuclear bomb can in no way be lessened by the demands of the Afghan campaign. You must conduct that campaign so that you can pivot quickly from it to end the threat Saddam Hussein’s regime poses.”

I have the feeling we are in for many more chapters recording how the savage mood in Washington played out during the last seven years of the Bush/Cheney administration.

Source: Antiwar.com

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New US “Peace” Plan Asks Palestinians to Simply Give-Up

New US plan to “resolve conflict in Middle East” asks Palestinians to sanction occupation

A new “plan for peace” is coming out of Washington that many consider to be disturbing at best. It includes keeping major Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank.

The plan keeps the Israelis as occupiers, but with a few twists like in Oslo, such as political prisoners should be released. It seems to be asking Palestinians to sanction occupation instead of dismantling the system of the occupiers. Critics note that no one should be asked to trade freedom for political prisoners in exchange for accepting control of their air space, or any other type of control. Legislative Council member Hassan Khreisheh told PNN Wednesday that he is among those who have obtained a copy of the draft plan which US President Barack Obama intends to announce during the next month.

The draft is in heavy circulation in Palestinian and Arab circles, and addresses a new American plan.

Media sources report that during his recent meetings in the US, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also saw the American plan to be launched by Obama.

A spokesperson for the Egyptian president said the US administration is planning to announce a political plan with regard to Palestine and the Israelis at the beginning of the opening of the new session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The Israelis have yet to heed the dozens of United Nations resolutions, both from the General Assembly and the Security Council, on the issue. If Obama is looking for a new resolution it is expected that the Israelis will honor it only if it is clearly in their favor.

According to Khreisheh of the PLC, the draft plan includes ten basic points, including:

– An international presence in the Jordan Valley and other areas in the West Bank.

– Reducing the areas of East Jerusalem to be under Israeli control, with respect to the Islamic religious sanctities. It will be under the sovereignty of Arab and Islamic countries.

– Resolving the Palestinian organizations and turning them into political parties.

– Keeping the major settlement blocs in the West Bank, and negotiating on small settlements in three months.

– To keep other areas in the West Bank, demilitarized zones, with Israeli control of the skies.

– To intensify the Israeli-Palestinian security coordination in the West Bank.

– The Palestinian Authority to prevent the establishment of any military alliance with any regional state.

– An assurance by the United States for a Palestinian state in the summer of 2011.

– Agreed to accommodate the number of refugees in the Jordan Valley and other areas in the West Bank, and specifically between the towns of Nablus and Ramallah, and the establishment of an international fund to support the refugees.

– Israel begins release of Palestinian prisoners, with the start of the signing of this Convention, continue to release for a period of three years.

Blackwater Constitutes “Rogue” CIA, Implicated in Drone Mass-Murders

Blackwater inherits CIA job of using drones to kill al-Qaeda leaders

August 22, 2009

FROM a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most vital counter-terrorism program: the use of drones to kill al-Qaeda’s leaders, Government officials and current and former employees say.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors load Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

Revelations of the company’s role in the drone program and a CIA decision in 2004 to hire contractors from Blackwater USA for a now-defunct covert assassination program are part of a broader constellation of connections between the agency and the criticised security firm.

The 2004 contract cemented what was then a burgeoning relationship with Blackwater, with departing senior CIA officials later taking high-level positions within the company.

The revolving door helped fuel a backlash against what many came to regard as an overuse of outside companies, many of which made millions of dollars after filling their staffs with former CIA employees.

”I have believed for a long time that the intelligence community is over-reliant on contractors to carry out its work,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said. ”This is especially a problem when contractors are used to carry out activities that are inherently governmental.”

Jeffrey Smith, a former general counsel at the CIA, said: ”The use of force has been traditionally thought of as inherently governmental. The use of a contractor actually employing lethal force is clearly troublesome, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily illegal.”

The role of the company in the Predator program highlights the degree to which the CIA depends on outside contractors to perform some of the agency’s most important assignments. And it illustrates the resilience of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. It has grown through Government work, even as it attracted allegations of brutality in Iraq.

A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment.

Any operation to capture or kill militants in connection with the secret program to locate and assassinate al-Qaeda operatives would have had to have been approved by the CIA director and presented to the White House before it was carried out, the officials said. The agency’s current director, Leon Panetta, cancelled the program and notified Congress of its existence in an emergency meeting in June.

The extent of Blackwater’s business dealings with the CIA has largely been hidden, but its public contract with the State Department to provide private security to US diplomats in Iraq has generated controversy. The company lost the job in Iraq this year, after Blackwater guards were involved in shootings in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead.

Was the 2008 Financial Collapse An Inside Job?

Was the 2008 Financial Collapse An Inside Job?

By: Robert_Singer

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMaybe it’s the smoke from Mt. Vesuvius that keeps Arianna Huffington and the financial community from seeing that the economic collapse has nothing to do with the Fed “missing” the warning signs leading up to the October meltdown.

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”   John F. Kennedy

The Fed didn’t miss anything; the October meltdown was an inside job.

Capitalism never made sense

Professor Ebeling, the Ludwig von Mises professor of Economics at Hillsdale College, understood something was wrong when he wrote: “the perverse development and evolution of historical capitalism, the institutions necessary for a truly free-market economy have been either undermined or prevented from emerging.”

But when he claimed, “it is the principles and the meaning of a free-market economy that must be rediscovered” in order to overcome the burden of historical capitalism and save liberty, he should have written that principles must be rediscovered in order to prevent the planet from attempted murder (ecocide).

American “capitalism” and our consumer economy never made economic, environmental or common sense—unless the goal was ecocide.

Capitalism and a not-so-free market economy based on consumer products, that is, products we are manipulated to want, not need, was never sustainable. Consumers consume…the resources of the planet.

Who is responsible?

Arianna said it’s time to “recognize the natural order of things: that is, the very people responsible for the economic collapse not only are still in power, but are still lining their pockets with outrageous windfalls — courtesy of the American taxpayer.”

The people responsible for the October collapse, our Federal Reserve, also get credit for the windfalls of “Monopoly Money”, created out of thin air, which financed our consumer society.

They are the private credit monopoly of rich and predatory moneylenders that “prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves.” [1]

For the Benefit of the “middle class” is a more accurate statement.

Those predatory moneylenders gave the middle class the highest standard of living in the world.

Recall when the American economy appeared headed into a recession at the end of the dot-com bubble, the Federal Reserve began slashing short- term interest rates until they reached a historically low one percent. The move re-inflated the economy by allowing homeowners to extract $750 billion in equity from their homes—up from $106 billion in 1996—and apply the dollars toward a multitude of consumer items and other credit card debt.

As interest rates plummeted and alleged home equity artificially soared, buyers were able to afford first and second homes, and they did it by taking out risky mortgages with “teaser rates” similar to those offered by the credit card industry. Even as interest rates adjusted upward, the sponsoring banks used complicated financial derivatives to resell the risky mortgages as “asset-backed paper.”

As housing prices edged downward and mortgage rates inched upward, the recession was put on hold with the help of an astonishing 10 to 12 credit card offers per month being delivered to some consumer mailboxes. The credit card companies issued 1.5 billion cards to 158 million cardholders and promised an improbable zero percent interest—some deals for up to 18 months. (Similar to mortgage debt, the credit card debt is put into pools also known as derivatives that are then resold to investment houses, other banks and institutional investors.)

Thank those rich and predatory moneylenders for the short-term interest rates and the liquidity that allowed the debt to be pooled, sold and resold.

But blame them because our hyper-shopping has wreaked havoc on the planet.

Who is Behind the Federal Reserve?

Rockefeller, Kuhn, Loeb and Morgan—all connected to the House of Rothschild’s global financial empire, direct the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air.

The process that the Federal Reserve, or any bank, uses to create money “consists of making an entry in a book, that is all,” said Graham Towers, governor of the Bank of Canada. “Each and every time a bank makes a loan (a debt) . . . new bank credit is created—brand new money.”

Money used to pay for the Industrial Revolution, orchestrate the Great Depression, the stagflation of the 1970’s and the dot-com and the housing market bubbles, all of which resulted in 60 years of unprecedented prosperity for the middle class.

These scoundrels, all connected to the House of Rothschild, at the beginning of the 20th century, owned or controlled one-sixth of the world’s real wealth: raw materials, commodities, copper, iron ore, petroleum, lead, silver and gold.

So how do they get rich exchanging real wealth for about $500 trillion of the Monopoly money they printed?

They don’t, they are the losers, not the middle class!

Remember those trees we chopped down so just about anyone in America could afford their dream house, or those mountains we blew up so we could have that fat station wagon in our driveway? All of those resources “now used up”, were once owned or controlled by the scoundrels of our history books.

Their real wealth, not yours or mine has been “cut, mined and hauled away so Americans could trash the planet with houses, second houses, cars, RVs, TVs and DVDs— the cheap stuff we associate with the good life that put the planet on the downward spiral to ecocide.

The middle class should be thanking those scoundrels for all that “stuff”—but blame them for conning us into trashing the planet.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff, an animated video about the underside of our consumer society, believes the scoundrels are a bloated corporation sporting a top hat with a dollar sign etched on its front.

Film narrator, Annie Leonard argues our environmental damage is the result of the greedy corporations externalizing costs (shift them onto the public and the environment) so they can make more money.

But that premise is contradicted on film when Annie stands in line to buy a radio for $4.99 and correctly realizes the price couldn’t possibly capture the cost of the radio but incorrectly concludes that the greedy corporations pollute the environment so they can make more profit. [2]

If profits were the motive, then why wasn’t the radio $5.99?  A price anyone would consider a “throw away” or loss leader.

We have come to believe that everything wrong in America is about someone getting rich while we are getting swindled.

That our economy runs on profits is a true statement, but imagine how much those moneygrubbers would have made if the radio was $5.99.

That $1.00 would be 100% pure profit.

The swindlers and scoundrels downward-manipulate the costs, that is, they manipulate the prices lower, not higher as you would expect, so the corporations can still make a profit selling you a radio for $4.99. [3]

Annie should be asking herself why those scoundrels intentionally sold their raw materials cheaply so just about everyone could afford the

American Dream, a nightmare for the Planet.

Ecocide Results in Cognitive Dissonance

The premise that anyone would intentionally damage the planet, which future generations will inherit, results in Cognitive Dissonance (CD). CD is the discomfort felt at the discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation that contradicts a strongly held belief system.

But what if the murder of the environment was the goal from the beginning and not the unintended consequence, then we were “conned” into shopping for stuff to intentionally weaken the planet? [4]

Now the world around you will finally make sense.

Hot, flat, and crowded Thomas L. Friedman will finally know what planet George W. Bush is on.

Bush lost the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq, but is winning the war waged on the environment.

Dubya was deadly serious about Ecocide when, after rejecting the global climate change targets of the July 2008 G8 summit, he said, “Goodbye, from the (then) world’s biggest polluter.” [5]

Ecocide Eliminates the Stupid Explanations

We see the collapse of GM and Chrysler as the result of failed public policy, government action, inaction and conclude the leadership is inept, arrogant or just “stupid” because only Ecocide could explain an industry that failed to keep up with the competition and adjust to new market demands.

Did Detroit forget the Volkswagen Beetle was the most successful car in history?

An incredible 21,529,464 Beetles were produced with the same body style and the same taillight. [6]

The policies and decisions for the last 31 years aren’t inept or stupid if the goal was pollution.

The Beetle as a mobile pollution device was a failure. Its effects on the environment were minimal compared to the Detroit lineup of egocentric gas-guzzlers, all designed with a different taillight and eco-unfriendly accessories.

The “Evil” Federal Reserve made sure that shiny new automobile with the V8 engine, chrome wheels and bumpers was so cheap just about everyone in America could afford the mobile pollution device of their dreams.

Ecocide Explains Why Alaska is in the Picture

Most analysts point to the oil shock of the mid-1970s, set off by the Arab oil embargo of 1973 as the turning point for the US economy and automobile industry.

Why didn’t our then-President Richard Nixon and the rest of the U.S. government promote mass transit, renewable energy, and high-mileage vehicles?

Because the objective that makes the most sense was to disturb 800 miles of the most pristine country in Alaska with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

In 2008 we had a similar shock when $4.50 a gallon gasoline convinced Americans they should give up their last Arctic wilderness. [7]
Ecocide Explains why Electricity is so Cheap

Electricity radically transformed and expanded our energy use. To a large extent, electricity defines modern technological civilization and made the Industrial Revolution and therefore our consumer society possible.

Electric power arrived barely a hundred years ago, but high costs and the Great Depression dried up most investment capital and delayed electric service to rural Americans until President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935.

The REA loaned money created by the Federal Reserve at low interest rates and helped to set up electricity cooperatives.

Historically, energy is priced below its actual environmental and social cost in order to create excessive demand and discourage conservation. In other words such pricing diminishes the value of energy to users and causes them to use it irresponsibly and increase the amount of pollution coal-fired plants generate.

Why is electricity priced so cheap that “only the rich can afford to burn candles”?

Because cleaner alternatives like wind, solar or even natural gas don’t require mining companies to use dynamite to blast away 800 to 1,000 feet of 500 mountaintops and bury over 1200 miles of rivers and streams. [8]

Ecocide explains why 54% of electricity comes from the most abundant raw energy, coal and is the dirtiest source of power for much of the world. Coal-fired plants harm wildlife, generate smog, soot, acid rain, global warming, toxic air emissions and require billions of gallons of our most precious resource—water.

He ruined the Country

The private credit monopoly of rich and predatory moneylenders do not “prey upon the middle class” to get rich.

You don’t become wealthier by exchanging gold, silver and raw materials for about $500 trillion of the Monopoly money you print.
Moneylenders created the middle class and then conned us into trashing the planet because Ecocide was the goal not the unintended consequence.

American “capitalism” and our consumer economy make perfect sense if the goal was the attempted murder of the planet.
Maybe ecocide is what Wilson meant when he confessed that he “ruined the country.”

Footnotes:
[1] Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking & Currency Committee, speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, June 10, 1932.
[2] Corporations Rule the World, David Korten (1995): “If some portion of the cost
of producing a product are borne by third parties who in no way participate in or benefit from the transaction, then economists say the costs have been externalized and the price of the product is distorted accordingly.
[3] Downward manipulation is an uneconomic aberration discovered in the precious metals market by the noted silver analyst Ted Butler. We are conditioned to believe that prices are always inflated so the greedy corporations can make more money but Ted Butler’s research confirmed the price of silver has been manipulated to stay at the $4-5 price range for years. The beneficiaries of this type of manipulation are the consumers since industrial users can sell their products cheaply and still make a profit the customers get to buy a lot more “radio” for their dollar. Silver, but No Silver Lining, Robert Singer.
[4] Ecuador Approves New Constitution: Voters Approve Rights of Nature, Mari Margil, Associate Director The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
[5] China is now the world’s biggest polluter, Meat, Milk and Motors: The New China Syndrome, Robert Singer.
[6] World’s 5 Most Successful Cars, http://www.cartype.com/pages/272/worlds_5_most_successful_cars
[7] An Economy in free fall, Why is the ANWR in this picture?, Robert Singer
[8] On March 25, Democrats introduced legislation that would prohibit the dumping of mining waste into streams. More than one million acres of Appalachia have already been affected by this practice, Senator Alexander says, “An estimated 1,200 miles of headwater streams have been buried under tons of mining wastes. More than 500 mountains have been impacted, and homes have been ruined and drinking water supplies contaminated.” By Red Green and Blue – Red Green and Blue

Deal, or No Deal?

Kadhafi meets Lockerbie bomber as release deal alleged

TRIPOLI – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi met Friday with Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi amid mounting Western outrage over the hero’s welcome he received upon his return.

Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam said Megrahi’s release from a Scottish prison on Thursday was linked to trade deals with Britain, allegations which were swiftly denied by London.

The Libyan leader praised Scottish authorities for their “courage” in releasing Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds.

“At this moment I would like to send a message to our friends in Scotland … and I congratulate them on their courage and for having proved their independence despite the unacceptable and unreasonable pressures they faced,” Kadhafi was quoted as saying by Libya’s official Jana news agency.

Libyan television showed images of Kadhafi receiving and embracing Megrahi.

Megrahi, the only person convicted for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in the air and on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie, was sentenced to life in prison in 2001.

Hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers cheered Megrahi upon his arrival in Tripoli, despite warnings by the United States that a public celebration might damage relations that have been improving since Libya renounced terrorism and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

US President Barack Obama on Friday called the red-carpet reception Megrahi received “highly objectionable”, while his spokesman Robert Gibbs denounced an “outrageous and disgusting” display.

Seif al Islam, who travelled to Scotland to accompany Megrahi back to Libya, said his release was linked to trade deals.

“In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table,” Islam said in interview to Libyan TV channel Al Mutawassit taped on the flight back to Tripoli.

“All British interests were linked to the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi,” he added.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street office firmly denied that Megrahi’s release was linked to Britain’s interest in Libya’s oil and gas reserves.

“There is no deal,” a spokesman told AFP.

“The position remains the same as we have been making clear: this has always been a matter for the Scottish executive and ministers,” he added.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office also rejected the allegations.

“No deal has been made between the UK government and Libya in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests in the country,” a spokesman said.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Friday angrily refuted suggestions that the British government wanted Megrahi freed so that commercial relations with oil-rich Libya could be improved.

“I really reject that entirely,” he said. “That is a slur both on myself and the government.”

Speculation that there had been some form of agreement was fuelled by the disclosure that Britain’s Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson met Islam during his recent holiday on the Greek island of Corfu.

Kadhafi said Friday that Megrahi’s release “… will surely have positive repercussions on all aspects of cooperation between our two countries.”

Islam said Megrahi’s case was raised each time former prime minister Tony Blair visited Libya.

Tony Blair last visited Libya as prime minister in May 2007, when British energy giant BP signed a US$900 million exploration deal.

“I never imagined that I would one day be able to return to Libya,” Megrahi said in a brief interview with Al Mutawassit recorded during his flight to Tripoli.

“I have waited a long time for this moment. One can only thank God,” he said.

Megrahi, who has always maintained his innocence, told The Times newspaper in an interview conducted at his family home in Tripoli that he will present new evidence through his Scottish lawyers that will exonerate him.

“My message to the British and Scottish communities is that I will put out the evidence and ask them to be the jury,” he said, refusing to elaborate.

“If there is justice in the UK I would be acquitted or the verdict would be quashed because it was unsafe. There was a miscarriage of justice,” Megrahi was quoted as saying.

He said he dropped his latest appeal as he thought it would speed his release, and was not pressured to abandon it.

– AFP/ir

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale

Sim Strife

By Mark Baard

Perhaps your real life is so rich you don’t have time for another.

Even so, the US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality to see how long you can go without food or water, or how you will respond to televised propaganda.

The DOD is developing a parallel to Planet Earth, with billions of individual “nodes” to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR.

Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a “synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information”, according to a concept paper for the project.

“SWS provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP),” the paper reads, so that military leaders can “develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners”.

SWS also replicates financial institutions, utilities, media outlets, and street corner shops. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors.

SEAS can display regional results for public opinion polls, distribution of retail outlets in urban areas, and the level of unorganization of local economies, which may point to potential areas of civil unrest

Yank a country’s water supply. Stage a military coup. SWS will tell you what happens next.

“The idea is to generate alternative futures with outcomes based on interactions between multiple sides,” said Purdue University professor Alok Chaturvedi, co-author of the SWS concept paper.

Chaturvedi directs Purdue’s laboratories for Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations, or SEAS – the platform underlying SWS. Chaturvedi also makes a commercial version of SEAS available through his company, Simulex, Inc.

SEAS users can visualise the nodes and scenarios in text boxes and graphs, or as icons set against geographical maps.

Corporations can use SEAS to test the market for new products, said Chaturvedi. Simulex lists the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and defense contractor Lockheed Martin among its private sector clients.

The US government appears to be Simulex’s number one customer, however. And Chaturvedi has received millions of dollars in grants from the military and the National Science Foundation to develop SEAS.

Chaturvedi is now pitching SWS to DARPA and discussing it with officials at the US Department of Homeland Security, where he said the idea has been well received, despite the thorny privacy issues for US citizens.

In fact, Homeland Security and the Defense Department are already using SEAS to simulate crises on the US mainland.

The Joint Innovation and Experimentation Directorate of the US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM-J9) in April began working with Homeland Security and multinational forces over “Noble Resolve 07”, a homeland defense experiment.

 SEAS (as will SWS) provides figures for specific economic sectors, and helps military, intel and marketing people visualize their global connections. Users can vary export and import figures for manufactured goods, for example, to gauge the potential impacts on other sectors

In August, the agencies will shift their crises scenarios from the East Coast to the Pacific theatre.

JFCOM-J9 completed another test of SEAS last year. Called Urban Resolve, the experiment projected warfare scenarios for Baghdad in 2015, eight years from now.

JFCOM-9 is now capable of running real-time simulations for up to 62 nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and China. The simulations gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary information such as military intelligence.

Military and intel officials can introduce fictitious agents into the simulations (such as a spike in unemployment, for example) to gauge their destabilising effects on a population.

Officials can also “inject an earthquake or a tsunami and observe their impacts (on a society)”, Chaturvedi added.

Jim Blank, modelling and simulation division chief at JFCOM-J9, declined to discuss the specific routines military commanders are running in the Iraq and Afghanistan computer models. He did say SEAS might help officers determine where to position snipers in a city square, or to envision scenarios that might emerge from widespread civil unrest.

SEAS helps commanders consider the multitude of variables and outcomes possible in urban warfare, said Blank.

“Future wars will be asymetric in nature. They will be more non-kinetic, with the center of gravity being a population.”

The Iraq and Afghanistan computer models are the most highly developed and complex of the 62 available to JFCOM-J9. Each has about five million individual nodes representing things such as hospitals, mosques, pipelines, and people.

The other SEAS models are far less detailed, encompassing only a few thousand nodes altogether, Blank said.

Feeding a whole-Earth simulation will be a colossal challenge.

“(SWS) is a hungry beast,” Blank said. “A lot of data will be required to make this thing even credible.”

Alok Chaturvedi wants SWS to match every person on the planet, one-to-one.

Right now, the 62 simulated nations in SEAS depict humans as composites, at a 100-to-1 ratio.

One organisation has achieved a one-to-one level of granularity for its simulations, according to Chaturvedi: the US Army, which is using SEAS to identify potential recruits.

Chaturvedi insists his goal for SWS is to have a depersonalised likeness for each individual, rather than an immediately identifiable duplicate. If your town census records your birthdate, job title, and whether you own a dog, SWS will generate what Chaturvedi calls a “like someone” with the same stats, but not the same name.

Of course, government agencies and corporations can add to SWS whatever personally-identifiable information they choose from their own databases, and for their own purposes.

And with consumers already giving up their personal information regularly to websites such as MySpace and Twitter, it is not a stretch to imagine SWS doing the same thing.

“There may be hooks through which individuals may voluntarily contribute information to SWS,” Chaturvedi said.

SEAS bases its AI “thinking” on the theories of cognitive psychologists and the work of Princeton University professor Daniel Kahneman, one of the fathers of behavioural economics.

Chaturvedi, as do many AR developers, also cites the work of positive psychology guru Martin Seligman (known, too, for his concept of “learned hopelessness”) as an influence on SEAS human behaviour models. The Simulex website says, if a bit vaguely, SEAS similarly incorporates predictive models based upon production, marketing, finance and other fields.

But SWS may never be smart enough to anticipate every possibility, or predict how people will react under stress, said Philip Lieberman, professor of cognitive and linguistic studies at Brown University.

“Experts make ‘correct’ decisions under time pressure and extreme stress that are not necessarily optimum but work,” said Lieberman, who nevertheless said the simulations might be useful for anticipating some scenarios.

JFCOM’s Blank agreed that SWS, which is using computers and code to do cultural anthropology, does not include any “hard science at this point”.

“Ultimately,” said Blank, “the guy to make decision is the commander.” ®

Teaching Soldiers Auto-Hypnosis for Traumatic Shock

Soldiers learn to impart mental toughness on others

Photo credit D. Myles Cullen

A Soldier explains how his group intends on bringing what they’ve learned at the “Master Resilience Trainers” class back to their fellow Soldiers as part of the class at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 15. The class is in support of a new Army program called “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” that is being developed to provide Army families, civilians and Soldiers better mental fitness resources.

<div id=”others”> <ul> <li> <a href=”../../../../../-images/2009/08/19/48420/index.html”><img src=”../../../../../-images/2009/08/19/48420/size3-army.mil-48420-2009-08-20-090828.jpg” width=”150″ alt=”Comprehensive Soldier Fitness”></a> <span class=”caption”><a href=”http://search.ahp.us.army.mil/search/articles/index.php?search=D+Myles+Cullen”>D. Myles Cullen</a><br/> A Soldier explains how his group intends on bringing what they’ve learned at the “Master Resilience Trainers” class back to their fellow Soldiers as part of the class at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 15. The class is in support of a new Army program called “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” that is being developed to provide Army families, civilians and Soldiers better mental fitness resources. </span> </li> </ul> </div>

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 19, 2009) — Some 50 Soldiers will finish up “master resilience training” today in Philadelphia — part of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.

Master resilience training, taught by experts from the University of Pennsylvania, is a “teaching the teachers” kind of thing. Close to 100 Soldiers have gone through some iteration of the training so far, and another course is planned for November.

Eventually, the noncommissioned officers that attended the course will go back to their home units and teach “resiliency” to their unit’s Soldiers or basic trainees.

“They’re learning all the different thinking skills, and how to impart them to other people,” said Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

Cornum said resiliency is a way of thinking that allows Soldiers not to fall into self-defeating traps. It takes a developed and resilient mind, she said, to put money problems, relationship issues, health issues, or tragedy on the battlefield into perspective, so a Soldier can continue with the mission and with life.

“Resilience is a way of thinking — you apply optimistic thinking to a problem,” she said. “It is really a difference between, for instance, when you invite somebody for a date and they say no, resilient people think ‘their loss — I’ll do better next time.’ What they don’t think is ‘nobody will ever like me. I’m worthless.’ That’s really what it is. It teaches you to remember that problems are temporary, that they are local.”

Cornum said some people naturally make the right decisions or develop the right potential outcomes for situations in their lives. But for others, resilient thinking will have to be learned.

“There’s a pile of people out there that just pick the first thing that comes to mind,” she said.

Soldiers taking the master resiliency course in Philadelphia are unit leaders or even drill sergeants, and will take what they learn back to their units to impart that knowledge on others, Cornum said.

“Our intention is to have every platoon sergeant and every drill sergeant to have gone through this,” Cornum said. “It’s really like part of what you do when you take somebody to the range, or when you are teaching somebody how to have confidence about going into the gas chamber. It is also about teaching by example in an operational environment, how to deal with fear, and disappointment. It’s tools, thinking tools, how not to fall into thinking traps or catastrophic thinking.”

Resiliency, or mental toughness, is part of the Army’s larger “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” program, that aims to ensure Soldiers are as mentally tough as they are physically tough. Cornum said Soldiers will be taught resiliency in basic training by master resilience trainers, who themselves have gone through courses like the one taught in Philadelphia.

Additionally, she said, Soldiers will develop mental toughness through self-guided learning, based on assessments they will take online during basic training and every two years afterward. Mental fitness, she said, is like physical fitness; life-long and ongoing.

“It is something you are going to start when you come into the Army; if you are already in, you start in the middle of your career,” she said. “And it is a long-term process. It is not something that you can do once, any more than you can get physically fit by one trip to the gym. This is not an individual single event. It is a way of looking at your psychological health as important as your physical health.”

US Army Stressed-Out Veterans, Butch Up!

[In spite of all the nice talk, the US Army still considers ptsd in its troops as a form of “gold-bricking,” by a bunch of weak cry babies.]

US Army to teach stressed soldiers to ‘bounce back’

By Dan De Luce

Faced with rising rates of suicide and depression, the US Army plans mandatory training for the entire force designed to make soldiers emotionally “resilient.”

With soldiers suffering under the strain of repeated combat tours, Army commanders have launched the unprecedented initiative to help troop’s better handle stress before it turns into a debilitating mental health crisis, officers said. Starting October 1, all active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers will be required to take a “resiliency” test that will assess their emotional, spiritual and physical state.

“How often do you feel that you lack friendship?” and “How often do you feel left out?” are among the 170 questions. The effort “seeks to educate soldiers to overcome hardships and adverse events, bounce back, and grow stronger in the process,” the Army said in a summary of the “comprehensive soldier fitness programme.”

The soldiers’ answers in the test will remain confidential and will have no influence on their careers, said Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, who is overseeing the programme.

“It is not intended to be a screening tool for anything,” she said. The test results will be passed on to the soldier, who then must select a resiliency training course based on those results. “It was developed because we recognised that we really did not have a good preventive and strengthening model for psychological health,” said Cornum.

“It’s just a recognition that we spend an enormous amount of energy and resources on people after they’ve had some negative outcome, but we’re not doing anything deliberately as a preventive measure,” she said.

The programme comes as the Army has struggled to come to grips with suicides and other signs of duress among troops fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our younger people are having more trouble than anybody else,” said Cornum. Military leaders have been alarmed over a steady rise in suicides for two years running. Last year 128 soldiers took their lives, up from 115 in 2007.

The number of suspected suicides in the first half of 2009 reached 88, compared to 67 for the same period last year, according to recently released figures. The new emphasis on resiliency draws on nearly 20 years of research by Martin Seligman, head of the positive psychology center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Seligman’s research with depressed patients and schools has used resiliency training to reduce levels of depression and anxiety among children between 10 and 12 years old and adults between 18-20 years old.

The training focuses on adopting positive attitudes and checking negative thoughts, but Seligman maintains the methods are based on scientific research and are more sophisticated than “grandmotherly common sense.”

An initial group of 50 soldiers, mainly non-commissioned officers, have gone through the training and another group of 150 will start soon, said Cornum, an Army surgeon who was severely wounded when her helicopter was shot down in the first Gulf War and was taken prisoner. Cornum said about 4,000 soldiers have already taken the resiliency test and the average result was a 3.7 on a five-point scale, with a higher score indicating more emotional resilience. The origins of the programme started with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who sent out a colonel last year to ask advice from Seligman about how to help troubled soldiers returning from combat. Mullen was concerned with post-traumatic stress, alcoholism and other ailments among returning soldiers and “didn’t want his legacy to be people begging on the streets of Washington,” Seligman told AFP.

The professor told the colonel that there was a range of responses to trauma that it was possible to teach people how to handle it, and that some could even emerge emotionally stronger.

“The response to combat and high adversity generally is there is an extreme end which we call post-traumatic stress disorder, and the great middle is resilience and the high end is post-traumatic growth,” he said.

Seligman, who has volunteered his time for the project free of charge, helped the Army modify material used in schools to fit the military’s needs.

There was concern that the course might not work in an often macho culture in which soldiers are not accustomed to talking about their emotions among their peers, he said.

But he said the soldiers who took the course so far, many of them combat veterans and drill sergeants, were uniformly enthusiastic.