When the governor of Utah signed a bill that made gold bullion and silver bullion legal tender in the state last March, he had no idea of the groundswell he was going to start.
The Utah Sound Money Act outright flies in the face of the fiat money system, which is the printed money used today; backed by nothing but the promises of politicians. While U.S. states cannot create their own currency under the Constitution, they are allowed to use gold bullion and silver bullion as legal tender. More and more states are now exercising that right.
Lawmakers in Utah, when they studied history, found that every single instance of money printing and massive increases in a country’s debt always led to the destruction of the currency and a depression among the citizens that lived through it.
They were concerned about the Fed’s money printing and massive government debt accumulation and thus signed into law the Utah Sound Money Act, which recognized gold bullion and silver bullion as currency. They felt that the U.S. dollar would continue to lose its value, while gold bullion and silver bullion would continue to maintain their value, because they are sound currencies with no debts attached to them.
The Utah law states that the gold bullion and silver bullion coins issued by the U.S. Mint can be used as payment with any merchant in the State of Utah for the purchase of all goods and services.
It is not practical for people to carry around heavy gold bullion or silver bullion coins, so the Utah Gold & Silver Depository was created. People can deposit their gold bullion and silver bullion coins there and receive a debit card to make transactions with—just like depositing money at a bank. The prices of gold bullion and silver bullion are based on the closing prices of both precious metals in U.S. dollars in London on each business day, creating the exchange rate used on the debit card.
Missouri and South Carolina in 2012 are the closest to enacting very similar legislation and creating a gold bullion and silver bullion depository, just like Utah. (Source: CNN Money, February 3, 2012.) Both states echo the same sentiments as Utah and this is evident by the names chosen for the bills. For example, in Missouri, the legislation put forth is called the Missouri Sound Money Act of 2012.
Other states considering legislation to make gold bullion and silver bullion legal tender are Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Hampshire, Georgia, Washington, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Virginia.
This may seem strange, dear reader, but cultures in Asia would not be surprised, considering that gold bullion and silver bullion have been considered money for 5,000 years there. Also, people forget that, until 1971, the U.S. dollar was backed by gold bullion.
The distrust of the money printing being enacted by the Federal Reserve and the unprecedented debts being accumulated by the U.S. government, which are increasing by at least $1.0 trillion per year, are being questioned.
States are fighting back with what they believe are sound money policies: gold bullion and silver bullion. We should heed their example as a warning of what’s to come. (Also see: Switzerland Debating Gold-backed Currency.)
Source: Profit Confindential
During the 1980s NPR was continually on the case of the Reagan administration. NPR certainly had a Democratic slant, and a lot of its reporting about the Reagan administration was one-sided. Yet, NPR was an independent voice, and it sometimes got things correct.
In the 21st century that voice has disappeared, which was the intention of the George W. Bush regime. Bush put a Republican woman in charge who made it clear to NPR producers and show hosts that the federal part of their funding was at risk.
Money often over-rules principle, and when corporations added their really big money NPR collapsed. Today the local stations still pretend to be funded by listeners, but if you have noticed, as I have, there are now a large number of corporate advertisements, disguised in the traditional terms “with support from . . .” If you are not listening to classical music, you are listening to corporate advertisements.
Today the entire “mainstream media” is closed to truth-tellers. The US media is Washington’s propaganda ministry. The US media has only one function–to lie for Washington.
What reminded me of NPR’s surrender was NPR’s August 31 report with its two regular talking voice political pundits discussing the Republican Convention and Romney’s speech. After witnessing the Republicans at their nominating convention at Tampa violate all their own rules and ride roughshod over the Ron Paul delegates, one expected some discussion of the Republican Party’s refusal to allow Ron Paul to be placed in nomination or his delegate account to be announced.
The operative question was obvious: How can the American people trust the Republicans with the awesome power of the executive branch when the Republican Party just finished demonstrating for all to see its Stalinist qualities by crushing the anti-war, anti-police state wing of its party?
The authoritarianism was gratuitous. Romney had a sufficient number of delegates to be nominated. It would have cost Romney nothing to follow the rules and allow Ron Paul to be placed in nomination and his delegate numbers to be reported. Instead, Romney wrote off the liberty contingent of the Republican Party. The Brownshirts demonstrated their power.
The last Republican who wrote off a chunk of his own party was Barry Goldwater, and he went down to crushing defeat. Makes one wonder if the Republicans are relying on those electronic voting machines programed with proprietary Republican software that leave no paper trail. The Democrats have acquiesced to Republican election theft. There have been numerous cases where exit polls indicate that voters chose a different candidate than the one chosen by the Republican programmed voting machines.
One would have thought that NPR and its pundits would have found the parallel with Goldwater worth comment, but the suppression of the Ron Paul delegates was already down the memory hole.
One would also have thought that NPR and its pundits would have found Clint Eastwood’s speech a fascinating topic of discussion. Eastwood had a Republican National Committee approved speech, but discarded it. Instead, Eastwood stood beside an empty chair and pretended to be talking to Obama, but it could just as well have been Romney in the chair. By pretending to be talking to Obama, Eastwood made his points without eliciting boos from the Republican audience.
Not many in the Republican audience caught on, but there were some stony faces when Eastwood said “I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there are 23 million unemployed people in this country.” More stony Republican faces when Eastwood showed his opposition to the Iraq and Afghan wars and asks the chair, “why don’t you just bring them [the troops] home tomorrow morning?” Those who thought he was digging at Obama cheered; those who realized he was criticizing hardline Republican positions were displeased.
But NPR and the US media in general are uncomfortable with such real news as a political party being told off by one of its heroes and a political party sufficiently stupid to repeat Barry Goldwater’s mistake. The establishment might complain. The money might dry up or employees be fired for permitting such a story to be aired. The Democrats lost their independent financing when jobs offshoring destroyed the unions. There are no longer countervailing powers to Wall Street and the corporations, which have been endowed by the Republican US Supreme Court with First Amendment rights to purchase US elections, and placed in charge of the US Treasury, the regulatory agencies and the Federal Reserve.
In Tampa the Republicans wrote off the Ron Paul vote, because they are enamored of power and its gratuitous demonstration. Can people so desirous of power and the thrill of its use be trusted to let go of power when they lose the next election? There are enough presidential executive orders and national security orders, even some signed by the Democrat Obama, that any president can assert them and refuse to face election.
Once Rome accepted Julius Caesar’s coup, the Roman Republic was gone. Those who tried to save the Roman Republic by assassinating Caesar failed, because the majority of the legions had gone over to the dictatorship, which promised them more money than the Republic had. Caesar’s name became the title for Rome’s dictators.
In the US, even your friendly local police have gone over to dictatorship. And they are armed with its tools. A friend, a competitive shooter for accuracy, told me that as he left his gun club on August 27, a local sheriff department entered in a military armored vehicle, something one would expect to see on a battlefield, followed by a large sheriff’s department truck full of military equipment. He says that the gun club allows local police to use the club’s facilities so that club members are not stopped and harassed about their firearms as they go to and from the club. He reports that the police will line up 30 abreast, with automatic weapons, not allowed to club members, and fire at one target, with 30 police emptying 30-round magazines at the same target.
He once asked our protectors if they were practicing for some competition. The answer was, “No, we are preparing to control the outcome when there is trouble.”
Control is the operative word. We have seen for a number of years now that the Republican Party is power-addicted. Remember when the Bush administration fired the US Attorneys who refused the order to indict only Democrats? Remember the Republican Party’s transparent frame-up of popular Alabama Democratic governor Don Siegelman? Evidence indicates that the Republican operative Karl Rove took advantage of a Republican federal judge, vulnerable according to news reports to corruption charges, and a compliant Republican US attorney in Alabama to railroad Governor Siegelman. The message to Democrats was: if you get elected in our Southern Territory, we will get you.
But never fear, we have “freedom and democracy.” George W. Bush told us so himself.
The weak, chicken-hearted Obama administration has not commuted Siegelman’s outrageous sentence. The inability of the Democrats to stand up for their own members and their own principles is the best indication we have that Republican tyranny will prevail.
It didn’t take Caesar George W. Bush 10 minutes to wipe out the prison sentence of vice president Dick Cheney’s chief aid for revealing the identity of a CIA operative, a felony under US law. But the Obama Justice (sic) Department supports Karl Rove’s destruction of one of its most popular governors.
It was the German left-wing’s weak opposition to the National Socialists that gave the world Hitler.
The Republican Party has become the Party of Hate. Decades of frustration have made Republicans mean. They object to everything that has happened since the Great Depression in the 1930s to make the US a more just and humane society.
The Republican Party wants power so that it can smash all vestiges of regulation and welfare and all those of whom Republicans disapprove: the poor, the minorities, liberals, the imagined “foreign enemies,” war protestors and others who challenge authority, those American weaklings who have compassion for the unfortunate, the US Constitution, that pinko-liberal-commie document that coddles criminals, illegal aliens, and terrorists, and all dissenters from the policy of enriching the one percent at the expense of the 99 percent.
Above all else, the Republicans want to turn Social Security and Medicare into profit centers for private corporations.
Would the world be surprised if Republicans donned brown shirts? America has declared itself to be “the indispensable nation,” justifying its hegemony over the world. Any country that does not submit to Washington is “a foe.” The neoconservative propaganda that America is the indispensable nation with a right to world hegemony sounds a lot like “Deutschland uber alles.”
A decade ago the Bush regime demonstrated that it could over-ride US statutory law, the US Constitution, and the constitutional separation of powers in order to concentrate unaccountable power in the office of the president.
The Democrats, when they gained control of Congress in the mid-term elections, did nothing about the unprecedented legal and constitutional crimes of George W. Bush. The Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, who could easily have impeached George W. Bush for his obvious crimes against US law and the US Constitution, announced that “impeachment is off the table.” Money was more important to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi than the rule of law.
When a people have no political party that represents them, they are doomed to tyranny.
And to war.
Russia and China are in the way of Washington’s hegemony. Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, has declared Russia to be “our number one geopolitical foe” for opposing Washington’s plans to overthrow by violence the Syrian government. Why is overthrowing the Syrian government so advantageous to Washington that Romney in a fit of pique recklessly brought the United States into direct confrontation with Russia?
Arrogance and hubris lead to wars. Do Americans really want a person as president who is so reckless as to gratuitously declare a large nuclear-armed country to be our number one enemy? The American and Israeli trained Georgian army did not last an hour when the former Soviet republic foolishly, on Washington’s encouragement, provoked the Russian bear.
Meanwhile the Obama regime, concerned with China’s rapid economic rise, has indicated that it thinks China is the number one enemy. The Obama regime has forgot that China, when a primitive, backward country, fought the US to a stalemate in Korea more than a half century ago.
The Obama regime has announced that the US Navy is being repositioned to the Eastern Pacific, that the US regards the South China Sea as America’s national interest, and that new naval, air, and troop bases are being established in the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the region. The purpose of these bases is to block China’s access to energy and raw materials, which is what Washington did to Japan in the 1930s.
Are Americans aware that the hubris and idiocy of their political leaders have now saddled Americans with the burden of two number one enemies, both well equipped with armies and nuclear weapons? Only Iran can be happy about this as it moves Iran off the front burner.
Washington is putting its forward military bases in place, and the propaganda war is being cranked up. The subservient British press was quick to fall in line with Washington. A British reader of my column reports that the Guardian/Observer and New Statesman are at Putin’s throat: “Every day this week we’ve had Russia/Putin hate stories. Headlines such as ‘medieval dictatorship’ as we saw in last Sunday’s Observer [August 26] are common. In this week’s New Statesman we have a front page picture of Putin with the headline ‘Putin’s reign of terror.’ They’ve got Putin with a crown on his head and dressed as a Tsar-like figure. It’s a relentless information battlefield assault on Russia.”
Another line of Washington’s attack on Russia is Washington’s covert backing of Chechnya terrorist groups in the Caucasus and funding of front groups in Russia for protest and terrorist organizations. Allegations of corruption and stolen elections come primarily from Washington-funded groups operating in Russia. See http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-blitzkrieg-wests-terror-battalions-eye-russia-next/ and http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/08/bombshell-us-neo-cons-state-department.html Through these methods, Washington hopes to destabilize the Russian government and to isolate it internationally in order to remove a barrier to Washington’s hegemony.
Two of Romney’s right-wing neoconservative advisors said that Romney as president would “confront Moscow on its poor record on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.” The western media will not comment on the irony of these propagandistic allegations against Russia issuing from the US, the country that has destroyed habeas corpus and due process protections of the accused, tortured detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions and its own statutory law, kidnaps, tortures, and assassinates foreign nationals as well as its own citizens, supports terrorism against Libya, Syria, Iran, and Russia, runs roughshod over international law, never submitting to law itself but using law as a weapon against governments that it has demonized, while it carries on military operations against seven Muslim countries without a declaration of war.
The Nuremberg Trials of Germans after World War II established that naked aggression is a war crime. Naked aggression, renamed by Washington, “preemptive war,” has become the operative principle of US foreign policy.
As Putin remarked, Washington is guilty of the crimes of which it accuses others, but Washington permits all things to “the indispensable nation.”
Amerika uber alles!
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
If you follow mainstream election coverage, you might think Mitt Romney has coasted to an honest, easy, well-deserved Republican nomination. Unfortunately for Republican voters, nothing could be further from the truth. The primary process has been an all-out slugfest and many of the delegates Romney has won may be the result of dirty tricks and even election fraud. The following narrative includes links to reports, first-hand testimonials, and video evidence highlighting actions taken by the GOP to ensure a Romney victory, at the expense of fracturing the party just prior to the general election. Party leaders at the county and state level have changed or violated party rules, cancelled caucuses, changed vote counts, thrown out entire counties of votes, counted public votes privately, called-in the SWAT team, and inexplicably replaced Paul delegates with Romney delegates to block Ron Paul from winning the nomination.
Iowa: Days before the caucuses, Paul held a commanding lead in the polls and all the momentum, with every other candidate having peaked from favorable media coverage and then collapsed under the ensuing scrutiny. Establishment Republicans, like Iowa’s Representative Steve King (R), attempted to sabotage Paul’s campaign by spreading rumors he would lose to Obama if nominated. Even though the Iowa GOP platform reads like a Ron Paul speech, shortly before the caucuses, Iowa Governor Terry Barnstad told Politico , “[If Paul wins] people are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third. If Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire”. The message from the Governor to voters of his state was: a vote for Ron Paul was a wasted vote.
Huffington Post reported that Paul was ahead by one point over Romney and Rick Santorum inentrance polls conducted by Edison Media Research for the AP before the caucuses. For the first time ever, the Iowa GOP changed the final vote count to a secret location . After the caucus, resultsfrom 8 precincts (including those with colleges, in a state where Paul won 48% of the youth vote) went missing. Interestingly, these were all precincts Romney lost in 2008. In addition, GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts. Though polling in a comfortable first place, Paul finished third in this non-binding straw poll, behind Romney and Santorum.
Iowa originally reported Romney in first, Santorum in a close second, and Paul third. After the recount, Santorum was named the winner with Romney in second. No mention was given to how the recount affected Paul’s vote count. Iowa GOP chairman, Matt Strawn, later resigned and wasreplaced by Paul supporter, A.J. Spiker and Paul went on to win the majority of delegates.
Florida: The Florida GOP broke party rules by switching to a winner-take-all state before the date allowed, which favors the candidate with the most money for advertising and attack ads. Senior Advisor to the Ron Paul campaign, Doug Wead, claims this was done specifically to favor Romney.
Nevada: There is bad blood between Paul’s supporters and establishment Republicans in Nevada. This dates back to 2008, when Convention Chair, Sue Lowden and her enlisted delegates got up andwalked out of the convention when it became apparent Paul’s supporters would claim a majority of the delegates. She claimed she would reconvene at a later time, but instead approved the McCain slate of delegates. This year, Paul supporters expected shenanigans; so his State Chairman, Carl Bunce, planned to win by outworking Romney. Just before the caucuses, he claimed to have “more IDs than Romney had votes in ’08″. This means through canvassing door-to-door and phoning voters, he had identified about 25,000 voters committed to show up and vote for Paul.
On caucus day, the media was denied access to most caucus sites and the few that were permitted were not allowed to take photos. Others were even ejected from sites. This CNN clip shows GOP staff preventing a Paul supporter from entering the premises to vote at a special caucus that was set up at the last minute for Newt Gingrich backer, Sheldon Adelson. Here, participants were asked to sign an affidavit (under penalty of perjury) stating they were Jewish and couldn’t vote earlier in the day due to “religious reasons”. CNN showed live coverage of votes being counted at this event, with Paul amassing nearly 60% of the votes. In some precincts in Clark County, the largest in Nevada, the number of ballots did not match the number of voters signed in at the caucus. Though votes were to be counted publicly, they were largely counted in private. The vote count was also inexplicably dragged out for several days, leading to a victory for Romney. Nevada State GOP Chairwoman, Amy Tarkanian resigned the day after the caucuses.
Another interesting note is that Paul’s 2012 votes had doubled, tripled, and more than quadrupled his2008 votes in every state leading up to the Nevada caucuses, yet Paul received only 88 more votes there. Of all the places for this to occur, Nevada, the country’s most libertarian state; is the last in which anyone would expect this.
In spite of these irregularities , Paul won 22 of 25 state delegates and replaced state party officials with Paul supporters. Romney supporters then formed their own state party, called “Team Nevada”. The RNC then bypassed the official state party in order to organize for Romney and send all funds to Team Nevada.
Colorado: Romney supporters were caught passing out fake Ron Paul slates at the state convention. The RNC has not investigated or even commented on the matter.
Minnesota: Doug Wead, claims the state party instructed members not to vote for any delegates under age fifty because most young delegates support Paul.
Missouri: WXIX Cincinnati’s Ben Swann covered the fiasco in St. Charles County. Temporary Chairman, Eugene Dokes, started the meeting by banning video recording devices, a first for this event. Robert’s Rules of Order require the temporary chairman to accept nominations and elect a convention chairman to run the event. Instead, he appointed a chair of his choice. The crowd immediately erupted with booing. Shortly after, Dokes adjourned the meeting without the required two-thirds majority, called the police on attendees, and left. In adherence to state rules, Paul supporter, Brent Stafford, along with one of the top parliamentarians in the state, reconvened in the parking lot and attempted to resume the event. Shortly after, the SWAT team arrived and arrested Stafford, who was following state party rules. Dokes later admitted on talk radio that he and otherstate party officials deliberately broke the rules to prevent Paul from winning.
Maine: Ben Swann reported on shenanigans in Maine . Even though only 84% of votes had been counted; State GOP Chairman, Charlie Webster, declared Romney the winner over Paul by less than 200 votes. Hancock and Washington Counties hadn’t voted yet because Webster cancelled the caucuses due to an impending snowstorm, promising they could vote later and their votes would be counted. The snowstorm never occurred and he later reneged on his promise, telling voters in those counties their votes would not be counted after all. Washington County was Paul’s strongest in the state in 2008. Though other states with close outcomes held recounts, this was never a consideration for Maine.
At least one of the counties that did vote claims the state party recorded its tallies incorrectly. Matt McDonald, pastor of a small community church in Belfast, was nominated as the chairman of his caucus. He says the state instructed the caucus chairmen not to read any of the vote totals aloud, but rather to send the results straight to Augusta without a public reading. McDonald made a motion to change this rule, and it was approved unanimously. McDonald says 22 voters showed up, resulting in 8 votes for Paul, 7 for Santorum, 5 for Romney, and 2 undecided. When he called the votes into Augusta, he was told they already had the results and the totals read 9 for Romney, 5 or Santorum, and 2 for Paul. When McDonald told her the tally had been counted publicly, he says “her voice changed and she said…we’ll record this”. Doug Wead claims, “On every occasion, the votes that were lost were Ron Paul votes and the person responsible for reporting them were Mitt Romney supporters…in one case the votes were actually transferred from paper to…a computer and the lady doing the transfer was a Mitt Romney person”. To date, these tallies have not been corrected and Romney is still credited with the straw vote win while the media continues to report that Paul never won a state contest.
Arizona: The Examiner’s Kevin Kervick reports “ballot stuffing, rule violations, and improper vote counting that occurred behind closed doors” at the convention. In addition, Paul supporters allege threats of physical violence from Romney supporters.
Michigan: Doug Wead reports, ” Michigan, unlike any other state…had a special party rule forbidding any precinct delegate vacancies from being filled at county conventions until after the state delegates and alternates were chosen. In other words, countless Ron Paul supporters attending county convention were forcibly blocked…because they weren’t elected precinct delegates in 2010-long before the Ron Paul 2012 campaign began”. Wead also claims “documented instances in multiple counties where county party officials “edited” the state delegation lists after the county conventions adjourned”.
Washington: At the state convention , a Ron Paul delegate claimed bubble ballot sheets were withheld in King County’s district 36. He also claims the 37 th district caucus was forced to conduct the meeting outside because Chairwoman, Lori Sotelo, was irritated when a Ron Paul supporter was elected to run the caucus, instead of her choice.
Ben Swann interviewed a voter in Pierce County, Washington; who claims the local Republican leadership passed out what they called a “unity slate” to voters and said it represented an equal distribution of delegates committed to Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. The plan was to organize to block Ron Paul supporters, who outnumbered the other candidates’ supporters, from receiving the lion’s share of the delegates. The Republican leadership prevailed.
Alaska: In spite of last-minute rule changes and violations of party rules, Paul supporters oustedlongtime state chairman, Randy Ruedrich, and voted-in Paul supporter, Russ Millette. Ruedrich then tried to sabotage the state convention and transferred all of the state party’s $100,000 to the local Capital City Republicans in Juneau, effectively bankrupting the party now controlled by Paul supporters.
Georgia: This video shows GOP Chairwoman, Sue Everhart, at the Athens Clarke County GOP meeting admitting “shoddy treatment of the Ron Paul people at that  convention” and publicly apologizing. She presents the rule book that she helped to write and claims it won’t happen again. The video then shows the actual convention and party leaders breaking those rules to force their pre-selected slate of delegates and prevent Paul’s supporters from electing their own. Party leaders then adjourned the meeting illegally and ran out of the meeting.
Massachusetts: Paul won 16 of the 27 delegates selected so far in Romney’s home state. In addition, he swept all 6 from Romney’s home county. As a result (for the first time ever in the state), delegates were asked to sign an affidavit stating ” I certify under the pain and penalty of perjury, that on the first ballot at the 2012 Republican National Convention, I will affirmatively Vote for Mitt Romney, the winner of the 2012 Massachusetts Presidential Primary.” The state GOP then covered up Romney’s embarrassing loss by invalidating ballots and ousting the Paul delegates.
North Dakota: Ben Swann reports the selection of delegates was unfair: the GOP handed out pre-printed ballots with a slate of delegates with 60% of them being Mitt Romney supporters in a state where he won only 26% of the vote.
Oklahoma: Kevin Kervick of The Examiner reports that the Oklahoma convention had to be moved to the parking lot because Robert’s Rules were ignored, delegate credentials were not verified, a convention chair was never appointed, motions made from the floor were ignored, the Chairman illegally elected a slate of Romney delegates, and the convention was closed without a two-thirds majority vote. Consistent with Robert’s Rules, Paul supporters reconvened in the parking lot to elect delegates. Paul supporters have now filed a law suit to ensure their delegates will be seated.
Virginia: Doug Wead claims “at a district convention, they coaxed the Ron Paul delegation outside and then locked the door. The pastor of the church that was hosting the event was, himself, locked out”.
U.S. Virgin Islands: Ron Paul won his first caucus, only to have the GOP take down the straw vote results from their website showing Paul the victor with 29% over Romney’s 26% and replaced with a note from the party claiming Romney won because he won more delegates. Paul’s Official Campaign Blogger, Jack Hunter, explains how every other contest determined the victor by the straw vote, except the one straw vote Paul won.
Alabama: An inexplicable gap exists between Paul’s popular vote count and his delegate vote count. This is odd because voters choose both on the same day and on the same ballot. Alabama Republican Party rules state that voters can only vote for one candidate and then must choose between his delegates. Statewide, Paul received only about one-third as many votes as his delegates. This means voters chose another candidate, but selected Paul’s delegates. No other candidate’s totals showed a similar pattern.
Louisiana: Ben Swann reports a clash between the old Louisiana State GOP leadership and newly-elected leaders who support Paul. Old Chairman, Roger Villere, angered attendees with last-minute rule changes the night before the convention. At the start of the convention, Villere attempted to recognize the former Chair of the Rules Committee, who had been voted out the night before. When new Chair, Alex Helwig, rose to address the delegation; Villere instructed security (comprised of off-duty Shreveport Police) to remove him . They arrested him for trespassing and broke several of his fingers. Next, an overwhelming majority elected a new Convention Chair, Paul supporter Alex Helwig. Members then turned their chairs to face Helwig, with their backs to Villere. In desperation, Villere instructed the police officers to remove the duly-elected Herford. They did so and dislocated his hipin the process, sending him to the emergency room. The reconvened group followed state party rules and went on to elect a majority of Paul delegates, which the state party later replaced with its own slate of Romney delegates. The Paul campaign has appealed to the RNC, but it is unlikely that the RNC will reinstate the Paul delegates.
Oregon: This YouTube video shows establishment Republicans in Congressional District 4 attempting to steal the ballot box and leave the premises when it became apparent the Ron Paul supporters were in the majority. A Paul supporter is chased away from the ballots and claims he was accosted by an establishment party member.
Wisconsin: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reports Romney violated state campaign laws by bribing voters with free subs.
In other states, Paul supporters claim vote-flipping occurred with electronic voting machines. Once about 40% of votes are reported, there is typically little variation in the final numbers. However on several occasions, at about 40% Romney’s trajectory “flipped” with the leader, which was often Paul. Austin Election Judge, Anne Beckett, has come forth publicly to claim she witnessed this firsthand.
Baseless allegations or a few isolated incidents may not be cause for concern, but there is enough video evidence in this report to disturb anyone who cares about fair elections. Rule changes, disregard for existing rules, cancelling elections, running off with ballots, secret vote counts, throwing out votes, threats, physical violence, and arbitrary replacement of delegates are activities unbecoming of a democratic society. Whether you’re a Ron Paul supporter, or even a Republican, is irrelevant. That the Republican Party will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure their selected candidate is the nominee should be deeply troubling for all Americans.
Source: Free Words
Over the past two decades the decisionmakers in Washington have acquired and internalized a bias in Balkan affairs that falls outside the parameters of rational debate. As Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute has noted, such policy is not as inconsistent as it seems: “Time after time the U.S. policy makers would ask what is it that the Serbs want, they would think about it for about five seconds, and reply that it is totally unacceptable.”
Such consistency has had grim results. Their mendacity, as displayed at Rambouillet in February 1999, was on par with the farce of Munich in 1938. In Kosovo their bombs led to a violent secession by an ethnic minority which, in the fullness of time, may render many European borders tentative. In Bosnia-Herzegovina they helped ignite the war in the spring of 1992, notably with U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmermann’s now notorious mission to Sarajevo. They kept it going in 1993 by torpedoing the European-led peace initiatives. They engineered an outcome in 1995 that could have been obtained in 1992 without a single shot. In Croatia, in August 1995, they aided and abetted the biggest act of ethnic cleansing in post-1945 Europe.
The puzzling question remains: why did America get involved in Balkan affairs, which bear no relationship to U.S. security, involving herself in long-standing and perhaps incurable national conflicts, and consistently acting in bad faith at that?
THE BURDEN OF HISTORY—The U.S. policy in the Balkans made its debut near the end of the First World War. President Wilson, while advocating the creation of Yugoslavia in 1918, did not realize that the unification of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was at least half-century overdue: the process of separate cultural development and the emergence of mutually incompatible national identities among the South Slavs had been completed. But being a liberal, Wilson did not allow Balkan realities to get in the way of his vision. He blended the Puritan self-righteous zeal with the Progressive Era’s belief in the power of politics to change the world for the better. His concepts of “self-determination,” “enlarging democracy” and “collective security” signaled the birth of a view of America’s role in world affairs which has created—and is still creating—endless problems for America and for the world.
After 1948 Tito came to be perceived as an asset by the U.S. Money, weapons, and warm welcome were soon to follow and continued until the end of the dictator’s life in 1980. Fixated on “Tito’s Yugoslavia” as a factor of Cold War stability, key American leaders disregarded—a decade later—the fact that Tito’s internal boundaries between the federal republics were the root cause of the looming conflict. Arbitrarily designed by the communist winners in the civil war in 1945, they left a third of all Serbs outside Serbia-proper, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. For good measure two “autonomous provinces” were carved out of Serbia, one of which—Kosovo—is an almost Serbenfrei quasi-state today.
For as long as Yugoslavia existed the Serbs could nevertheless derive some comfort from the existence of a common Federal framework: it appeared to promise them a measure of security from the repetition of the nightmare of 1941-45. When Yugoslavia started unraveling, however, in 1991-92, they were determined to resist any attempt by the breakaway republics to force millions of Serbs to become insecure and disliked minorities in their own land.
POLITICAL ESSENCE OF THE WARS—In Croatia in 1991 and in Bosnia in 1992 the Serbs reacted in the same manner as the Americans of Texas, Arizona or New Mexico may react—10 or 20 years from now—if they are outvoted by a Latino majority demanding that those states be reabsorbed into Mexico, or into a contrived “Republic of the North.” For those who discount such outcomes, let us remember history. For example, the Protestant Ulstermen fought, demanded, and were given the right to stay in the United Kingdom when the Irish nationalists opted for secession in 1921. A second poignant illustration is the creation of the State of West Virginia in 1863 when—during the Civil War—the Union annexed the counties of the Commonwealth of Virginia that rejected secession. When comparing the paradigms, the Loyalists of Ulster and the Unionists of West Virginia were just as guilty of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise” to break up Ireland, or the Old Dominion, as were the Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina who did not want to be dragged into secession by the Muslim plurality.
Yugoslavia was a flawed polity, and in principle there should have been no objection to the striving of Croats or Bosnian Muslims to create their own nation-states. But equally there could have been no justification for forcing over two million Serbs west of the Drina River to be incorporated into those states against their will. Yugoslavia came together in 1918 as a union of South Slav peoples, and not as a federation of states or territorial units. Its divorce, once it became inevitable, should have proceeded on the same basis. This has been the key foundation of the Yugoslav conflict ever since the first shots were fired in May 1991.
The political essence of the wars of Yugoslav disintegration has been systematically hidden or distorted in the Western mainstream media, academia, and political forums, behind the portrayal of the Serbs as primitive ultranationalists who seek to conquer other peoples’ lands by violent means. The demonization of the Serbs was an exercise in social constructivism, depressingly effective in its crude simplicity. As early as 1992 the media pack equated the brutalities of the Balkans with the Holocaust. Once the paradigm matured with the myth of the “Srebrenica Genocide,” and once any doubters were equated with holocaust deniers, the possibilities for mendacity were limitless. Its fruits will be with us for decades to come.
UNDERSTANDING THE ABSURD—At the level of institutionalized corruption which passes for the political process in Washington D.C. the Yugoslav policy was the end-result of the interaction of pressure groups within the power structure: finding a new role for NATO, earning points in the Muslim world, caving in to ethnic lobbying, pandering to the military-industrial complex, isolating Russia, controlling strategic routes between Europe and the Middle East, and above all cementing American global hegemony. The influence of organized political lobbies in Washington was not decisive, but it should not be underestimated. Anti-Serb lobbies, notably Albanian-Americans, have been well-funded and well-placed for decades, while today (as in the past) the “Serbian lobby” does not exist. As James Jatras has noted, well before the outbreak of hostilities in 1991, the Serbs had already been branded the bad guys. Combined with media reinforcement, much false information was and still is accepted as unquestionable fact.
The Bosnian war transformed NATO into a tool of U.S. hegemony and it opened the door to the renewal of American dominance in European affairs to an extent not seen since Kennedy. As the late Richard Holbrooke put it, Dayton demonstrated that Europeans were not capable of resolving their own problems and that America was still the “indispensable nation.” He boasted, a year later, “We are re-engaged in the world, and Bosnia was the test.”
It is undeniable that geopolitical-strategic factors have played a role in defining the Balkan policy in Washington. Such “rational” reasons are not sufficient, however, to explain the zeal of successive administrations in pursuing a premeditatedly duplicitous anti-Serb policy. The clue is not in the realm of tangible strategic benefits and geopolitical assets, of transit corridors, oil and gas pipelines, lignite and zinc reserves, or military bases such as Camp Bondsteel. The key is in the desire of the Western elite class to use the Balkans as a testing ground for their emerging postmodernist, postnational project. They know that Kosovo is more than a piece of real estate, that it is to the Serbs what Alamo is to Texans or Jerusalem to Jews, that taking it away and letting its churches and monasteries be demolished is an unprecedented exercise in ethnocide. They condoned the Albanian barbarity because they saw the demolition of a small nation steeped in tradition of heroism and martyrdom—the Kosovo saga embodies it perfectly—as a step in the direction of a U.S.-dominated post-national world based on propositional abstractions.
This is the cue to the treatment of the Serbs by the U.S. political and media decision-makers over the past two decades. On the ruins of real nations, the rhetoric of “universal human rights” is imposed as the new basis for law and morality. The Serbs were merely a litmus test. The slogan of choice is multicultural democracy, irrespective of the wishes of the citizens of the particular territory involved—unless it is Serbs who wish to maintain a multi-ethnic state, in which case secession is the West’s preferred policy.
PANDERING TO ISLAMIC MILITANTS—In 1980 the U.S. supported hard-core Islamists in the insurgency against the Soviets in Afghanistan. That decision was a strategic mistake of the highest order: it prompted the release of the Jihadist genie from a bottle that had remained sealed for almost three centuries after the siege of Vienna. Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “brilliant idea”—as he called the Afghan covert action almost two decades after the event—meant that hundreds of millions, and eventually billions of dollars were poured into the coffers and arsenals of people who openly stated their intention to rebuild an early-medieval theocracy in Afghanistan.
The fruits went beyond the jihadists’ wildest dreams. Brzezinski will go down in history as the man who did for Bin Laden what the Kaiser did for Lenin by providing him with that sealed train in 1917. Two “liberal” interventions on the side of the Balkan Muslims, in Bosnia and Kosovo, ensued in the 1990s. The most tangible result of promoting “common ideals and interests in this globalized world” by NATO bombs is the existence of a vibrant, hard-core jihadist base in the heart of Europe that has had a connection with every major terrorist attack in the past decade. Even 9/11 itself had a Bosnian Connection: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, who planned the 9/11 attacks, was a seasoned veteran of the Bosnian jihad, as were two of the hijackers.
In spite of all other unresolved domestic and foreign issues, at a time when the U.S. power and authority are challenged around the world, key players in President Obama’s team still look upon the Balkans as the last geopolitically significant area where they can assert their “credibility” by postulating a maximalist set of objectives as the only outcome acceptable to the United States, and duly insisting on their fulfillment. We have already seen this pattern with Kosovo, and we’ve seen an attempt to stage its replay in Bosnia under the ongoing demand for unitarization.
The U.S. policy in the Balkans—just like its policy in Libya last year and in Syria today –facilitates the jihadist agenda. American goals paradoxically coincide with the regional objectives of those same Islamists who confront America in other parts of the world. Far from enhancing peace and regional stability, such policies continue to encourage pan-Islamic agitation for the completion of an uninterrupted Green Corridor in the Balkans by linking its as yet unconnected segments. It destabilizes Bosnia by encouraging constant Muslim demands for the abolition of the Republika Srpska, and it destabilizes Serbia in the Raska region (“Sanjak”). It encourages greater-Albanian aspirations against Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, and Serbia. It encourages escalation of Turkey’s neo-Ottoman ambitions in the region. It is destructive and harmful.
In all cases the immediate bill will be paid by the people of the Balkans, as it is already being paid by Kosovo’s disappearing Serbs; but long-term costs of the U.S. policy in the Balkans will haunt the West. By encouraging its Albanian clients to proclaim independence, the U.S. administration has made a massive leap into the unknown, potentially on par with Austria’s July 1914 ultimatum to Serbia. The fruits will be equally bitter. In the fullness of time both America and Europe will come to regret the criminal folly of their current leaders. Remarkably, the continuing automatic-pilot policy directed against the Serbs is taking place without any serious debate in Washington on the ends and uses of American power, in the Balkans or anywhere else. Obama’s and Bush’s rhetoric differ, but they are one regime, identical in substance and consequence. Its leading lights will go on disputing the validity of the emerging balance-of-power system because they reject the legitimacy of any power in the world other than that of the United States, controlled and exercised by themselves. Theirs is, indeed, the global equivalent of the Brezhnev Doctrine.
The quest for hegemony leads to a counter-coalition which defeats it. The proponents of American exceptionalism nevertheless scoff at history’s warnings provided by Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the Kaiser’s in 1918, or Hitler’s in 1945, as inapplicable in the post-history that they seek to construct. They confront the argument that no vital American interest worthy of risking a major war is involved in Georgia, or Syria, or the Balkans, with the claim that the whole world is America’s near-abroad. It is therefore essential for the emerging powers to refuse in principle to accept the validity of Washington’s ideological assumptions and the legitimacy of its associated geopolitical claims. At the same time, the key “liberal hawks” in the Obama Administration remain anchored in Madeleine Albright’s hubris: “If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall.”
The premises of an imperial presidency—which in world affairs translates into the quest for dominance and justification for interventionism—remain unchallenged, as we are witnessing in Syria today and as we shall witness in Iran tomorrow. (We are witnessing it in America, too, with Obama’s unrestrained use of the Presidential executive order—an extreme emergency measure—as a tool for overriding the will of the Legislative branch.) American meddling in the Balkans has been paradigmatic of the problem. It remains unaffected by the ongoing financial crisis manifest in a 16-trillion public debt, just as Moscow’s late-Cold War adventurism—so tragically manifested in Afghanistan—was enhanced, rather than curtailed, by the evident shortcomings of the Soviet political and economic system.
[Excerpts from Dr. Trifkovic’s paper presented in Belgrade at The Gorchakov Foundation conference European Security: The Balkan Angle on June 27, 2012.]
When President Reagan nominated me as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he told me that we had to restore the US economy, to rescue it from stagflation, in order to bring the full weight of a powerful economy to bear on the Soviet leadership, in order to convince them to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan said that there was no reason to live any longer under the threat of nuclear war.
The Reagan administration achieved both goals, only to see these accomplishments discarded by successor administrations. It was Reagan’s own vice president and successor, George Herbert Walker Bush, who first violated the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings by incorporating former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire into NATO and taking Western military bases to the Russian frontier.
The process of surrounding Russia with military bases continued unabated through successor US administrations with various “color revolutions” financed by the US National Endowment for Democracy, regarded by many as a front for the CIA. Washington even attempted to install a Washington-controlled government in Ukraine and did succeed in this effort in former Soviet Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
The President of Georgia, a country located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is a Washington puppet. Recently, he announced that former Soviet Georgia is on schedule to become a NATO member in 2014.
Those old enough to remember know that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was an alliance between Western Europe and the US against the threat of the Red Army overrunning Western Europe. The North Atlantic is a long, long ways from the Black and Caspian Seas. What is the purpose of Georgia being a NATO member except to give Washington a military base on the Russian underbelly?
The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington–both parties–have Russia and China targeted. Whether the purpose is to destroy both countries or merely to render them unable to oppose Washington’s world hegemony is unclear at this time. Regardless of the purpose, nuclear war is the likely outcome.
The presstitute American press pretends that an evil Syrian government is murdering innocent citizens who only want democracy and that if the UN won’t intervene militarily, the US must in order to save human rights. Russia and China are vilified by US functionaries for opposing any pretext for a NATO invasion of Syria.
The facts, of course, are different from those presented by the presstitute American media and members of the US government. The Syrian “rebels” are well armed with military weapons. The “rebels” are battling the Syrian army. The rebels massacre civilians and report to their media whores in the West that the deed was done by the Syrian government, and the Western presstitutes spread the propaganda.
Someone is arming the “rebels” as obviously the weapons can’t be purchased in local Syrian markets. Most intelligent people believe the weapons are coming from the US or from US surrogates.
So, Washington has started a civil war in Syria, as it did in Libya, but this time the gullible Russians and Chinese have caught on and have refused to permit a UN resolution like the one the West exploited against Gaddafi.
To get around this roadblock, fish out an ancient Phantom fighter jet from the 1960s Vietnam war era and have Turkey fly it into Syria. The Syrians will shoot it down, and then Turkey can appeal to its NATO allies to come to its aid against Syria. Denied the UN option, Washington can invoke its obligation under the NATO treaty, and go to war in defense of a NATO member against a demonized Syria.
The neoconservative lie behind Washington’s wars of hegemony is that the US is bringing democracy to the invaded and bombed countries. To paraphrase Mao, “democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun.” However, the Arab Spring has come up short on democracy, as have Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries “liberated” by US democratic invasions.
What the US is bringing is civil wars and the breakup of countries, as President Bill Clinton’s regime achieved in former Yugoslavia. The more countries can be torn into pieces and dissolved into rival factions, the more powerful is Washington.
Russia’s Putin understands that Russia itself is threatened not only by Washington’s funding of the “Russian opposition,” but also by the strife among Muslims unleashed by Washington’s wars against secular Muslim states, such as Iraq and Syria. This discord spreads into Russia itself and presents Russia with problems such as Chechen terrorism.
When a secular state is overthrown, the Islamist factions become free to be at one another’s throats. The internal strife renders the countries impotent. As I wrote previously, the West always prevails in the Middle East because the Islamist factions hate one another more than they hate their Western conquerers. Thus, when Washington destroys secular, non-Islamist governments as in Iraq and now targeted in Syria, the Islamists emerge and battle one another for supremacy. This suits Washington and Israel as these states cease to be coherent opponents.
Russia is vulnerable, because Putin is demonized by Washington and the US media and because Putin’s Russian opposition is financed by Washington and serves US, not Russian, interests. The turmoil that Washington is unleashing in Muslim states leaks back to Russia’s Muslim populations.
It has proved to be more difficult for Washington to interfere in China’s internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world’s most powerful economy.
Washington is deeply disturbed by this prospect. In the thrall and under the control of Wall Street and other special interest business groups, Washington is unable to rescue the US economy from its decline. The short-run gambling profits of Wall Street, the war profits of the military/security complex, and the profits from offshoring the production of goods and services for US markets have far more representation in Washington than the wellbeing of US citizens. As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises.
Washington’s response is to militarize the Pacific. The US Secretary of State has declared the South China Sea to be an area of American national interest. The US is wooing the Philippine government, playing the China threat card, and working on getting the US Navy invited back to its former base at Subic Bay. Recently there were joint US/Philippines military/naval exercises against the “China threat.”
The US Navy is reallocating fleets to the Pacific Ocean and constructing a new naval base on a South Korean island. US Marines are now based in Australia and are being reallocated from Japan to other Asian countries. The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China.
For a country incapable of occupying Iraq after 8 years and incapable of occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, to simultaneously take on two nuclear powers is an act of insanity. The hubris in Washington, fed daily by the crazed neocons, despite extraordinary failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, has now targeted formidable powers–Russia and China. The world has never in its entire history witnessed such idiocy.
The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.
The criminally insane government in Washington, regardless whether Democrat or Republican, regardless of the outcome of the next election, is the greatest threat to life on earth that has ever existed.
Moreover, the only financing the Washington criminals have is the printing press. In a subsequent column I will examine whether the US economy will complete its collapse before the war criminals in Washington can destroy the world.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.
As America begins to awaken and take to the streets, let us remember the happily profitable WAR contractors/Profiteers who are scattered across the country. Over decades past, and still, they have received billions for designing, building, and transporting the weapons of war which have destroyed other nations and are now being deployed here at home against us.
They are directly responsible for sound cannons, droids, and other weapons now aimed at ordinary Americans as well as people around the world. War is being made on us and those providing the weapons are right next door, in many cases. We need to acknowledge this and act.
From the wikipedia:
“ Against protesters:
The LRAD device was on hand at protests of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City but not used; it was extensively used against opposition protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, in November 2007.
The magazine Foreign Policy has revealed that LRADs have been sold to the government of the People’s Republic of China. American companies have been banned from selling arms to China since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Local residents of Dusit in Bangkok witnessed it in use during protests of Triumphfactory employees against dismissals on August 28, 2009. The LRAD was used for the first time in the United States in Pittsburgh during the time of the G20 summit on September 24–25th, 2009. Pittsburgh police again utilized LRAD as a precautionary measure to prevent unruly crowds from getting out of control following the 2011 Super Bowl. LRAD systems were also purchased by Toronto Police for the 2010 G20 summit.
In 2009, the government of Honduras used it on at least two occasions, on September 22 and 25, to communicate to those seeking refuge in the Brazilianembassy. In addition to embassy staff, these included the deposed president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, his family, and some supporters and journalists.
LRAD use was also reported as the New York City Police department cleared protestors during the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park on the morning of 15 November 2011.”
LRAD Corporation is located at 15378 Avenue of Science, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92128 USA
The company which produces tasers, Taser International, their subtext is “Protect Life,” has its international headquarters at 17800 N. 85th St. Scottsdale, AZ. Another office is located in Arlington, Virgina, and yet another, TASER Virtual Systems at 5464 Carpinteria Ave, Suite I, Santa Barbara, CA 93013.
On August 28th Anonymous released the following information on the producer of drones, which many expect will soon be deployed against Americans within the United States, are all paid for by tax payers.
“August 28, 2011, Alastair Stevenson reports in the International Business Times: The hacker collective Anonymous has released a fresh batch of data taken from Vanguard Defense Industries, a Pentagon and FBI contractor.
The data release was revealed via a post on tor2web.org and later publicised (sic) on the group’s AnonymousIRC Twitter account. In it the group claimed to have released “1GB of private emails and documents belonging to Vanguard Defense Industries (VDI).”
But these are the obvious problems, the end products also imply subcontracters who provide software and other essentials without which the products could not be produced.
There are also the old line, military-industrial complex corporations which are very conscious they are a corporate military presence on alien territory, for instanceNorthrop Grumman. A friend of mine, a mind-mannered software engineer, and his partner, inadvertently drove into the company parking lot during broad daylight in Maryland to be met by ‘security’ wearing flack jackets and carrying AK47s.
Some defense contractors are open to their relationship with us. Others are covert.
Santa Barbara, that lovely resort where so many 1%ers live on the Pacific coast above Los Angeles, is also the headquarters for Green Hills Software, yet another defense contractor located at 28 Sola St., Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Notice the significant partners on their “defense customers” page for this company who are more easily recognizable.
Complex weapons systems, high level encryption, and other expensive toys used in war, are produced behind the seemingly safe and friendly doors of businesses which donate to local charities as they cash their government checks and pump out their products of death. We need to rethink our attitude here.
War is the health of the corporate state. General Smedley Butler said this of corporate war profits in his book, “War is a Racket,” written in 1937. “The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits — ah! that is another matter — twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent — the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it.
Of course, it isn’t put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and “we must all put our shoulders to the wheel,” but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket — and are safely pocketed. Let’s just take a few examples:
Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people — didn’t one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn’t much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let’s look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.
Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump — or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!”
The Occupy Movement is about confrontation. Since its inception more protests have begun and are broadening out in scope.
Protests are traditional tools for awakening the public and growing a movement but awakening is only the first step.
It is time to move directly to accountability. No person of conscience should have participated in making these weapons, no matter how profitable or what justifications were offered by those ‘in authority.’
We are facing a reality which includes a corrupt system of justice and elected officials who demand they not be held accountable for their actions. This cannot be tolerated.
We can no longer accept a moral justification based on lies sold to us by government and corporations. Instead, we should non-violently demand accountability and simultaneously work taking each of these areas into account with parallel efforts.
- How much was paid to each specific corporation, owner, and specific employee for these weapons or components which were used to produce weapons or controls on Americans and others around the world?
- What damage has been done to each of us, to others around the world, to our environment?
- What is owed to us, as individuals, for these damages? Certainly enough to reboot the system as we continue the fight to return governance to the most local level.
Asking the questions begins the process which ends in collecting and ending the use of a bogus ‘sovereign immunity’ to hold onto ill-gotten gains. If we stay in the Corporate-Government (Greedville) paradigm we cannot win.
Keeping us divided, Right and Left, was a strategy built into their game plan.
War contractors build a cultural shield around themselves. This shield is extended to their employees.
Keeping us apart has involved the use of oppositional cultural icons and ideas. As humans, we build our own worlds of these, ignoring the contractions as long as possible.
War is made only for the profit of corporations and to enlarge the power of Greedville. The people pay and bleed, Greedville profits.
This accounts for the shrill calls for a free market from people who should know a free market cannot exist if government is involved. This reinforces the R – L division.
What is a Free Market?
For more on this look at the use of Milton Friedman as a ‘free market economist.’ Those who knew him personally knew he was Chicago School and therefore entirely amenable to the use of government at the federal level.
This largely minimized the voice of Murray Rothbard, whose ideas define the free market far more exactly.
Markets are part of how we cooperate with each other. They cannot work unless our individual rights are affirmed and our system for justice is available to all, no matter what their income or condition.
War Contractors / Profiteers have built themselves into a privileged class, apart from the rest of us. This makes it very much in their interest to ignore the reality now about to hit all of us. Their lives have not changed. Ours have.
If these involved as war contractors are ignorant of the connection between their livelihoods and encroaching death and fascism we need to inform them directly.
To accomplish this we must have the facts in advance.
This requires research on each ‘contractor.’
Each ‘contractor, also needs to become visible to us and to the general population.
A site using google earth or other similar program can accomplish this. We can, in effect, ‘tour’ the contractors, heightening awareness nationally and within our communities.
This should impact those employed at each facility, as well as their owners, stock holders, boards of directors, and business partners.
The personal lives of those involved can be penetrated. We can confront them and this, we must do.
Research each contractor, each part and component of what they spend.
Confront, owners, employees, their subcontractors and suppliers, and so awaken a broad range of Americans to what is happening to all of us.
Always destroy the will of the enemy to resist before engagement begins.
[Originally written early last year, this grows truer every day. We need to start to anticipate what is coming far more effectively.]
Two Years After The BP Oil Spill, Is The Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?
The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.
Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
- Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see theGuardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
If you still don’t have a sense of the devastation to the Gulf, American reporter Dahr Jamail lays it out pretty clearly:
“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”
Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.
Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.
“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”
On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.
Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.
“I’ve seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out,” Ladner told Al Jazeera. “The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday.”
While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and “their shells missing around their gills and head”.
“We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” he added.
Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.
Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week”.
Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.
“We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.”
Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is”.
“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.
Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.
“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from “a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor”.
Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.
Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.
While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants.
“Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned”.
“The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”
The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings corresponded with Cowan’s: a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 per cent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them.
“I asked a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] sampler what percentage of fish they find with sores prior to 2010, and it’s one tenth of one percent,” Cowan said. “Which is what we found prior to 2010 as well. But nothing like we’ve seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill.”
“What we think is that it’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor,” Cowan said. “There’s no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Crustacean biologist Darryl Felder, in the Department of Biology with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is in a unique position.
Felder has been monitoring the vicinity of BP’s blowout Macondo well both before and after the oil disaster began, because, as he told Al Jazeera, “the National Science Foundation was interested in these areas that are vulnerable due to all the drilling”.
“So we have before and after samples to compare to,” he added. “We have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities.”
Felder also has samples of inshore crabs with lesions. “Right here in Grand Isle we see lesions that are eroding down through their shell. We just got these samples last Thursday and are studying them now, because we have no idea what else to link this to as far as a natural event.”
According to Felder, there is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters.
“My fear is that these prior incidents of lesions might be traceable to microbes, and my questions are, did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil?”
One hypothesis he has is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals.
“You create a site where a lesion can occur, and microbes attack. We see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring.”
Felder added that his team is continuing to document the incidents: “And from what we can tell, there is a far higher incidence we’re finding after the spill.”
“We are also seeing much lower diversity of crustaceans,” he said. “We don’t have the same number of species as we did before [the spill].”
Felder is also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, and said: “It is consistently mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in [overly] high concentrations.”
Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.
Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.
“What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.
According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.
“That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.”
But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.
Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”
Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster.
“Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.”
Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, fat, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.”
Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.”
Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster.
“I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”
“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets,” Rooks said. “Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”
Khuns and her husband told Al Jazeera that fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis.
Meanwhile Cowan continues his work, and remains concerned about what he is finding.
“We’ve also seen a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We believe we are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”
Did the BP Spill Ever Really Stop?
We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.
Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil –noted recently:
New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.
Here are photos of brown oily foam washing ashore in Bayou La Batre (just west of Mobile Bay) on February 27, 2012:
Water samples were taken by Dennis and Lori Bosarge, LEAN members from Coden, Alabama. The lab-certified test results are in (see full lab report at bottom), and they are startling in that they suggest that oil is still leaking from the Macondo reservoir – most likely from cracks and fissures in the seafloor around the plugged wellhead. Scientists believe the cracks were caused by BP’s heavy-handed “kill” efforts.
Despite numerous opportunities to do so, the U.S. Coast Guard has never publicly denied that the Macondo field is still leaking. And these latest sampling results out of Bayou La Batre provide damning new evidence that the BP oil spill never really ended.
Government Sits On Its Hands …
The New York Times notes today:
Congress’s response to the spill has been truly pathetic. It has not passed a single bill to prevent another catastrophe, according to a report issued Tuesday by former members of a presidential commission that investigated the spill. Congress has failed even to codify the Interior Department’s sound regulatory reforms, which could be undone by a future administration.
The administration has developed new standards for each stage of the drilling process — from rig design to spill response — insisting that operators fully prepare for worst-case scenarios. But the commissioners’ report notes that the new equipment systems have not yet been tested in deep-water conditions.
Indeed, Mother Jones points out that the White House pressured scientists to underestimate BP spill size. And see this Forbes write up, and our previous reporting on the topic.
This is exactly like Fukushima and the financial mess, because government’s approach to crises is consistent, no matter what area we are talking about: let the giant companies which fund political campaigns do whatever they want … and then help them cover up the extent of the crisis once it inevitably hits.
Source: Washington’s Blog
Someone sent me this story sans an author: “If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.
“As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray him and all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result … all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it. Now, put the cold water away.
“Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.
“The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted. Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.
“The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.
“Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.
“Why, you ask? Because in their minds…that is the way it has always been! This, my friends, is how Congress operates… and this is why nothing changes for the better, and from time to time: all of the monkeys need to be replaced at the same time if you expect change for the better.”
Which brings me to the point of this column: our country, because of our “monkey” leaders and most of our citizens, is not prepared and will not prepare our civilization’s survival in the 21st century. We stumble into each decade without a plan or clue as to the impact of adding the projected 100 million immigrants within 38 years. We import 100,000 immigrants every 30 days as we have since 1965.
Present U.S. population: 315 million. Projected in 38 years by 2050: 438 million. Immigration will have caused 90 percent of those 138 million additions. Environmental, social, quality of life and standard of living expected in 2050: degraded, dismal, depleted and unfortunate for countless millions of Americans.
A reader responded to one of my environmental-immigration pieces by saying that if we conserved more water and energy, and utilized our land more equitably, immigration wouldn’t be a problem. In other words, he advocates for more and more people living on less and less. Never mind the strangled cities, species extinction rates, water shortages, air pollution, energy depletion, carbon and ecological footprint facing our exploding numbers. It’s amazing how people overlook the details.
Every single environmental, resource, water, quality of life and energy crisis facing America in the 21st century stems from more immigrants than the carrying capacity of North American can handle.
Sources for 438 million figure: (Sources: US Population Projections by Fogel/Martin, PEW Hispanic Center, US Census Bureau)
In the Denver Post yesterday, “Dropped cell phone calls, delayed text messages and choppy video streams could become more frequent occurrences because the airwaves on which that data travel are nearing capacity.” Can you imagine in 2050 with 138 million more folks using cell phones?
What endless immigrants means for all of us around the planet
Author Juliet Eilperin said, “In Peru, fishing vessels haul 7.5 million tons of small fish out of the water every year. The Peruvian seabird population that used to number in the tens of millions has dropped to two million.”
Robert Engelman of www.worldwatchinstitute.org noted, “When you have China out roaming the seas looking for anything they can get to feed their population of 1.3 billion (and growing by 8 million annually, net gain on their way to 1.5 billion in 38 years), that’s increasingly affecting any local resources anywhere in the world.”
“If you look around the world, water quality is deteriorating, and water quantity is declining,” said Ned Breslin of Water for People. Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Florida all face water shortages.
What I find it fascinating that reporters like NBC’s Ann Thompson will report on March 2012 being overwhelmed with the hottest days on record in America, but she never made one mention of humans burning 84 million barrels of oil daily. She said nothing about the US burning 2.2 billion tons of coal annually. Thompson doesn’t think that burn rate makes an impact on our biosphere?
Richard Heinberg wrote Peak Everything: Facing a Century of Declines. He said, “We have reached peak everything as to resources and because economic growth depends on natural resources and the Earth’s ability to process our wastes, this growth simply cannot continue.”
Africa, India, China and America create the most disastrous population growth in the 21st century. Africa will grow from nearly 1 billion today to 2.4 billion within 88 years. Do any of the animal species in Africa stand a chance against such ravenous human onslaught? Does America stand a chance as that extra billion starving Africans immigrate to America?
Back in the USA, can California support its projected 20 million additional immigrants within 30 years? How about Florida, Arizona and Colorado doubling their populations? Anyone excited about that? Californian writer Joe Guzzardi said, “In 1940, California was the nation’s fifth-largest state. As California approaches 40 million people, it’s the most populated and the most adversely impacted by sprawl and pollution. According to Forbes Magazine, California has four of the top five dirtiest cities in America.”
The United States represents a 5’10” 300 pound obese guy endlessly eating more ice cream to reach 400 pounds. He suffers clogged arteries ( much like our cities’ gridlocked traffic), he can hardly walk and he’s suffering from diabetes. He keeps eating because he doesn’t have a plan for living. The United States continues its obesity-growth path without a plan, either. Ultimately, this civilization will collapse whether we like it or not, plan for it or not, understand it or not.
Will we change our future or will we continue doing the same thing just like the monkeys? I write these clear and logical columns in order for you to become part of the change for a viable future. We need to stop mass immigration into this country and we needed to do it 40 years ago.
Waiting For A Western Attack…
The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.
Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.
Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran.
“Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.
Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.
The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.
Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.
The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”
This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.
Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.
Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say.
“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”
With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say.
The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.
Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.
“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.
In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran.
These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information.
“The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters,” according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.
In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.
Russian sources say that the Russian military believes that if the U.S. goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces into Georgia and warships in the Caspian Sea with the possible help of Azerbaijan, which since has stated that it will not allow its territory to be used by Israel to launch an attack on neighboring Iran.
There had been speculation that given the improved relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, the Jewish state may use bases from which to launch air attacks on neighboring Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel recently agreed to sell Azerbaijan $1.6 billion in military equipment.
A further irritant to Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili is the prospect that Russian assault airborne troops, or VDV units, with helicopters could be moved into Georgia’s two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two provinces were taken by the Russian military during the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Initially they were declared by Moscow to be independent countries, but now the Kremlin is indicating they may be annexed to Russia.
Similarly, Lt. General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the VDV, has announced that Russian troops in Armenia will be reinforced by paratroopers, along with attack and transport helicopters.
“The Russian spearhead (from the Transcaucasia region) may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of U.S. bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets,” Felgenhauer said.
“By one swift military strike, Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse,” he said.
“At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement ‘for fair elections,’ and as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.”
Putin has made no secret that he despises Saakashvili and with his return to the presidency, he may consider taking out the Georgian president as unfinished business. Just as in 2008, Putin will not have much to worry about if he sends Russian troops into Georgia, since there was muted reaction from the U.S. and the European countries to the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation.
F. Michael Maloof, staff writer for WND’s G2Bulletin, is a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Source: G2 Bulletin.
Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.
In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.
Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.
Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping dishes, is also undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, with $68 million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cybercommand complex and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.
The climax, however, will be the opening next year of the NSA’s mammoth 1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center. The centerpiece in the agency’s decade-long building boom, it will be the “cloud” where the trillions of millions of intercepted phone calls, e-mails, and data trails will reside, to be scrutinized by distant analysts over highly encrypted fiber-optic links.
Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.
But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.
And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial spying on Americans. His predecessor, General Michael V. Hayden, made similar claims while secretly conducting the warrantless wiretapping program.
Until now, the actual mechanics of how the agency constructed its highly secret U.S. eavesdropping net, code-named Stellar Wind, has never been revealed. But in the weeks following 9/11, as the agency and the White House agreed to secretly ignore U.S. privacy laws and bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, J. Kirk Wiebe noticed something odd. A senior analyst, he was serving as chief of staff for the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC), a sort of skunkworks within the agency where bureaucratic rules were broken, red tape was cut, and innovation was expected.
“One day I notice out in the hallway, stacks and stacks of new servers in boxes just lined up,” he said.
Passing by the piles of new Dell 1750 servers, Wiebe, as he often did, headed for the Situation Room, which dealt with threat warnings. It was located within the SARC’s Lab, on the third floor of Operations Building 2B, a few floors directly below the director’s office. “I walk in and I almost get thrown out by a guy that we knew named Ben Gunn,” he said. It was the launch of Stellar Wind and only a handful of agency officials were let in on the secret.
“He was the one who organized it,” said Bill Binney of Gunn. A former founder and co-director of SARC, Binney was the agency official responsible for automating much of the NSA’s worldwide monitoring networks. Troubled by the unconstitutional nature of tapping into the vast domestic communications system without a warrant, he decided to quit the agency in late 2001 after nearly forty years.
Gunn, said Binney, was a Scotsman and naturalized U.S. citizen who had formerly worked for GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, and later become a senior analyst at the NSA. The NSA declined Wired’s request to interview Gunn, saying that, as policy, it doesn’t confirm or deny if a person is employed by the agency.
Shortly after the secret meeting, the racks of Dell servers were moved to a room down the hall, behind a door with a red seal indicating only those specially cleared for the highly compartmented project could enter. But rather than having NSA employees putting the hardware and software together and setting up walls of monitors showing suspected terrorism threats and their U.S. communications, the spying room was filled with a half-dozen employees of a tiny mom-and-pop company with a bizarre and troubling history.
“It was Technology Development Corporation,” said Binney.
The agency went to TDC, he says, because the company had helped him set up a similar network in SARC — albeit one that was focused on foreign and international communications — the kind of spying the NSA is chartered to undertake.
“They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,” he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes [U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says.
Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house, with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA, and thecompany’s phone number in various business directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.
The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he “acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name, first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.
With “von Ronsdorf’s” clearance gone and no longer able to work at the NSA, Randy Jacobson ran the company alone, though he kept his brother and fellow shareholder employed in the company, which led to additional problems.
“What happened was Randy still let him have access to the funds of the company and he squandered them,” according to Binney. “It was so bad, Randy couldn’t pay the people who were working for him.” According to court records, Ronsdorf allegedly withdrew about $100,000 in unauthorized payments. But Jacobson had troubles of his own, having failed to file any income tax statements for three years in the 1990s, according to tax court records. Then in March 2002, around the time the company was completing Stellar Wind, Jacobson fired his brother for improper billing and conversion of company funds. That led to years of suits and countersuits over mismanagement and company ownership.
Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature, according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.
Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to respond. He never called back.
In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.
According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.
At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.
What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.
In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”
Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.
“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”
But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”
Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’sFortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.
A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”
Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”
In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”
According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”
Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.
When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the allegations made.”
But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity” and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”
The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring of American communications are a disservice to the American public and to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving their country.”
However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Wired on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the government and were entitled to compensation.
So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.
But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?
Stalin killed something on the magnitude of 24 million people by various means during his reign of terror. Hitler killed six million along with untold wreckage of humanity. Estimates show Mussolini killed around 11 million people. Some African brute in Sudan named Kony killed tens of thousands as announced by Facebook followers trying to stop him.
In the Muslim world, men execute 5,000 women annually for dishonoring the family. Honor killings can be committed if a woman in anyway displeases her husband or wears jeans or steps out of the house on her own or in any way angers her father or husband. Thousands of other Muslim women suffer from acid being thrown in their faces. In other words, methodically killing people ensures dominance.
Ten years ago, our own “brutal” President George W. Bush “snapped” and sent, thus far, over two million U.S. soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan to give goat herders and tribesmen a piece of “shock and awe.” Results: over 100,000 civilians killed, hundreds of thousands of children left without families, 2.5 million Iraqi refugees and a completely devastated civilization left in tatters.
Last week, after four deployments in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales “mentally and emotionally snapped.” He executed 16 women and children. When the inquiry finishes, it will be found that Bates lost his mind, went insane, or suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and transitory brain injury. He’ll be executed or sent to prison for life.
Yet who really stands on the guilty platform for these wars and all their atrocities? Answer: George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, the Military Industrial Complex, bankers and the apathetic American people. That’s who!
Do Bush, Obama or the U.S. military junta care about the individual carnage they perpetrate on millions of Iraqi people or third world countries like Afghanistan, filled with tribesmen and sheep herders?
No! Why? Answer: money! Loads and lots of it lining a bunch of corporate and banker pockets! If the big money people had their way, they would carry on the wars for another 10 to 20 years ad infinitum.
How can they do that? Answer: they feed off the apathy and non-involvement of the American people. The “Great Silent Majority” of the 60s continues today. With a volunteer Army, the MIC enjoys a never ending supply of naïve and gung-ho kids for their cannon fodder. Without conscription, no one complains. That’s why Bales as well as millions of combat veterans, in varying degrees, suffer mental and emotional illness brought about by war. (200,000 Vietnam vets committed suicide upon returning home. And counting!)
Why did Bales kill all those people? I remember my own U.S. Army Infantry training at E82 at Fort Benning, Georgia in June, July of 1968. My drill instructor, Sgt. Pierce screamed into our ears, “What is your call as an infantry soldier?”
“To kill drill sergeant,” we screamed back.
“I can’t hear you,” he screamed at us.
“To kill drill sergeant,” we screamed back louder.
The U.S. Army teaches young men to kill. It does not teach or support mental, emotional or moral health techniques.
After the Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq wars, is there any question that the United States of America and her people suffer addiction to wars? Give any excuse such as the “Dominos effect” or “Gulf of Tonkin” or “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and our citizens cheer our military onward to killing and destroying some supposed enemy 10,000 miles away.
American presidents, through their soldiers, have killed millions of Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis and Afghans.
It’s really immoral and unprincipled on SO many levels.
It’s like the spurious “War on Drugs” for the past 41 years. The U.S. government has thrown 37 million kids into jail for smoking a joint. That’s 37 million ruined lives. In the meantime alcohol and cigarettes kill over 500,000 Americans a year for the past 41 years. Example: 460,000 annually from lung cancer and 40,000 from traffic and liver deaths give or take a few, not to mention the wife beatings and child abuse from alcohol. It’s absolutely insane how utterly thick we are as a people to carry on such madness.
Sgt. Bales’ wife, Karilyn Bales, bringing up two kids on her own, wrote a poignant diary of her tribulations as an Army wife. Her gripping story should be told, but it will be forgotten while the Main Stream Media feeds off Sgt. Bales’ tragedy . (Look for “GI wife’s blog captured worry and sacrifices” by Karilyn Bales in the New York Times by Matt Flegenheimer, March 18, 2012.)
In the meantime, George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama enjoy their wealth, families and their status. They will remain “untainted and untouched” from the wars they started and continue. The lives of millions will suffer death and destruction not to mention ongoing misery and mental illness by Iraqis and Afghans.
As to our U.S. Army veterans, who will undo the slogan “To kill drill sergeant!” from their minds and hearts? Those veterans were once some mother and father’s precious children just like yours—each important by their very essence.
Finally, we, the American people stand guilty with our disinterest and apathy to these 10 year wars. I haven’t seen any mothers and fathers marching on Washington DC to stop these wars. In the 60s, the college kids marched to stop Vietnam because they didn’t want to die for nothing. Today with volunteers, nobody gives a ******. That’s why these wars continue for 10 bloody years.
How many of us have called up our senators demanding that we exit Iraq and Afghanistan? Phone your senators:202-224-3121
Otherwise, Obama continues to conjure a war with Iran and the Military Industrial Complex licks its chops while the bankers smack their lips. Once again, we will send millions of our kids into yet another combat zone via jingoistic fervor to create yet another Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who will kill because that is what the Army trained him to accomplish. Ironically, we (you) the American people helped him.
How about a new way? How about talking and listening to one another? How about a “Department of Peace” to balance our “Department of Defense”? How about the American people take a deep assessment at what the past four wars have accomplished? Did those wars stop terror? Did those wars create peace that we proclaim we desire? Did those wars bring humanity to a higher moral and spiritual level? If not, let’s intend peace. Once we move toward peace, watch the “war paradigm” evaporate as we shift humanity to its highest and best.
“High principle is not bound adhering to low precedent,” said Dr. Ernest Holmes.
The Solyndra debacle is not the exception. The practice of government funds underwriting the costs of questionable ventures is a failure of basic common sense and meaningful oversight. The lack of wisdom in adopting a public policy that picks and chooses actual companies for government subsidies, should be self-evident. However, the crony relationships that finance elections, writes the legislation and is rewarded with fat government checks is so entrenched that hardly an eyebrow is raised with the exposure of each new scandal.
In an academic paper Governments as Venture Capitalists, the historic context is stated.
“Governments have traditionally taken indirect measures to encourage venture investment. These include the fashioning of fiscal and legal frameworks which can help markets channel resources to new and innovative enterprises. For example, governments can take steps to eliminate double taxation — of gains and dividends — in venture investment. They can tax capital gains at rates, which encourage more risk-taking, and they can reform rules and regulations in the capital and securities markets to increase the attractiveness of investments and improve the availability of exit mechanisms. Governments can also devise and enforce provisions to protect intellectual property and thus the patents and innovations of start-up firms.”
In spite of these practices, a wall of separation existed that maintained a barrier between direct government financing and the capital markets, as the primary source of funds. How times have changed. The notion that government should act as investment bankers is one of the most dangerous erosions of capitalist foundations. An example cited by the National Center for Public Policy Research announced in a Press Release, is disturbing.
“Responding to public outrage following an ABC News report that a $529 million loan from the Energy Department was used to back electric car company Fisker Automotive — which is creating jobs in Finland — policy experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to the crony capitalism surrounding clean energy loans and grants.
“The Energy Department’s loan to Fisker Automotive underscores the problem of the government acting as a venture capital company. In reality, the real green is not in the manufacturing of an electric car but in the green dollars that the politically-connected are seeking by leveraging taxpayer money. It’s a financial lose-lose for taxpayers: if the project fails, taxpayers take a hit; if new autos are a success, billionaires such as John Doerr cash in and taxpayers don’t financially benefit,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.
The Fisker Automotive loan provides a perfect example of the cronyism surrounding President Obama’s clean energy push. The Department of Energy loan to Fisker announced in 2009 financially benefits Al Gore and his venture capital business partner John Doerr, who are partners in the venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has invested in at least two companies that have benefited from taxpayer support, and the firm and Doerr are also big donors to Democrats.”
The United States has championed an economic system that rewards risk capital. The entire purpose of creating a business is to profit and grow the venture. By the nature of defining success for any organization, the long-term viability of continuous operations is a given. Yet in the age of sovereign wealth investment in international commerce, the latest import abnormality into America is the disease that governments must act as active investors in place of the capital markets.
The prospects for rabid corruption are undeniable, but the authorities usually dismiss such arguments and evidence based upon their own narrow self-interests. It would also be a mistake to believe that these abuses are isolated solely to the federal government. Russell Nichols in a Governing magazine article, State Governments: The Latest Venture Capitalists provides some examples.
“In New York state, for instance, Empire State Development joined forces with the University of Rochester Medical Center to help high-tech startups commercialize their ideas through a $2 million pilot seed fund project. In February, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced plans to spur job creation in cutting-edge industries by unlocking $100 million in venture capital through InvestMaryland. Various other states, from Oregon to Georgia to Connecticut, have been setting up similar programs to advance innovation in emerging fields. “We know these kinds of programs do work and make a difference,” Berglund says. “In a down economy, now is the time when you really have to invest in the future. It’s even more critical at this point.”
The instinctive conflict that lauded the bureaucratic culture and falsely claims state venture capital infusion actually “Works” ignores and denies the outrageous practice of the Fisker Automotive project. Anyone who thinks the formula on the state level is any less crooked certainly has little direct experience with the process.
Venture investment is the proper realm of entrepreneurs. Imagine a public sector angel investor distributing their graces of bountiful blessings from the public treasury. Such a vision of supernatural bliss only occurs in the deep illusions of a fairy tale economy.
Business must rise or fall on the merits of their products or ideas. Access to capital is crucial for any development. What does it say about the country, when government replaces the private sector as the source of lending or investing? Without the synergic risk of the investment, the discipline of prudent restraint is lost. Governments act if they are in business, but with the crucial advantage of not bearing the responsibility of bankruptcy.
Until the political class is prohibited from gambling on suspect concepts, the failure rate will be the only result produced. If wasting money were a business plan for government venture deals, the country would be wealthy.
Lost in the whirlwind of betting public funds on favored and risky ventures are the taxpayer. The real guarantee of loss is always bore by the very people who suffer the most by crony corrupt capitalism. Let us get real and dissolve government venture transfers and corporate welfare.
The Tug-of-War In Moscow…
Moscow – For a month, Moscow was bracing itself for the February 4 Rally. It was pre-planned and prepared by the anti-Putin pro-Western liberal opposition, donning white colours. Despite sub-zero Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Centigrade) arctic frost, the organisers hoped to break their pre-Christmas record and gather a huge crowd and a procession to shatter the will of the government supporters. They had bought all thermal underwear in the city stores, joined forces with anti-Muslim nationalists of Pym Fortuyn kind, and marched in strength probably exceeding the previous rallies. Police counted them at 38 thousand-strong; by their own calculation they were up to 60 thousand.
But the surprise of the day loomed elsewhere. While the pro-Western opposition gathered on the Bolotnaya Heath (Le Marais) just across the river from the Kremlin red crenelated walls, a small demo was also planned as a token of government support on the Poklonnaya Hill (La Montagne), overlooking Moscow from the west. The White Fronde of the Heath applied for 60 thousand-strong rally permit and almost made it; pro-government forces planned for 15 thousand, and even this assessment was considered too optimistic: previous pro-government rally made between three to five thousand. Indeed, demos are good “against”, not “for” the government. However, the Poklonnaya Hill demo turned something completely different – the rally of the opposition to the White Fronde. And this rally had 138,000 participants, by the police count, almost ten times more than predicted.
The numbers are discussed and debated. Vechernyya Moskva, a city paper, published huge headline “138 000 : 36 000 Putin Leads”. Echo Moskvy, the voice of the Orange opposition gives 62 000 Heath vs. 80 000 Hill. The disparity in assessments is partly due to methods of counting. Some count how many people are located in the square at any given time (this will be a low estimate) but it is just a guess how many people came and went away; this is the flow factor. I would guess that the Heath had a considerable flow: it is a downtown place, easy to come, easy to go. Probably the Hill have had less flow, as it is an out-of-town place, hard to get there, hard to leave. So my guess would be 50 thousand for the Heath, and 110 thousand for the Hill. Though precise numbers are being argued about, but the numerical victory of the Hill was accepted by the Heath people, who said that they are fewer but of better quality Some Heath organisers claimed that the Hill mobilised hire-a-mob technique and paid cash to participants. This is an empty claim: nobody in Russia can hire so many participants. It is a common knowledge that three to five thousand people is the absolute maximum that can be mobilised by such measures, especially at such frost.
The Hill won because this largest rally was not “for Putin” – there were many speakers known for their dislike of Putin and his regime, but they hated the “white” (or “orange”) opposition of the Heath even more. If the West hates Putin, it should try the forces woken up by the rally. It became a rally against neo-liberals, against pro-Western policies, a rally of Red-Brown (or “patriotic”) alliance of statist nationalist opposition of Russia-First. They out-Putined Putin in no time.
This was a great surprise for the people of Moscow. It was thought that Putin will rely upon his own pet youth movements like Nashi and Steel, organised and paid for by the Kremlin some years ago as a fighting reserve in the case of an Orange revolution, but they folded and faded away at the first sign of trouble. The government officials, both high and low, did not support Putin, either. Nobody predicted Putin will wake up the sleeping beast of popular feelings.
The western mass media missed the point altogether claiming that the participants were hired or forced to demonstrate, or alternatively that there were few of them. Fox News did their best by broadcasting pictures of the Hill demo and saying it was the Heath. Other western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken yesterday on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: people knew when they were licked.
There is a huge untapped potential of Russia-First feeling, connected with resentment against Western imperialist policies. It is not homogeneous: some of these people have strong attachment to the memory of the USSR, others prefer memory of Tsarist Russia, and some are looking for an alternative future. These people and these tendencies were repressed and delegitimised in the Nineties, during the unhindered rule of the pro-Western liberals.
Putin is a compromise figure between the westernised liberals and Russia-Firsters; he used some of the Russian nativist rhetoric while carrying out liberal economic policy. Russia-Firsters survived his years, but they were never allowed into the corridors of power, where such figures as Alexei Kudrin and Anatoli Chubais, the favourites of IMF, prowled. This opposition burst forth on the Hill rally.
Among the speakers, there was flamboyant Prokhanov, a prolific writer and the chief editor of the Zavtra newspaper, the main organ of the Brown-Red coalition. He placed Russia as the next on the line of the imperialist attack, after Libya, Syria and Iran. He fully supported the Russian veto in the Security Council, but he would like to see more of direct Russian support for Syria and Iran, more friendship with China. He is a frequent traveller to Syria and Iran, is a great friend of Palestine, published a book glorifying Hamas and supporting Hezbollah. An Orthodox Christian, a mystic and a unrepentant Soviet-style Communist, Stalin admirer, he was very critical of Putin and his compromises. Fear and loathing of the Orange revolution mobilised him and his numerous followers to the demo.
Actually, it was the first time since Yeltsin shelled the Parliament in 1993 with the US blessing, that this hard core of Russian political life emerged and was allowed by the Putin’s government to show its strength. There were other speakers, notably Maxim Shevchenko, a popular presenter of the state TV, known for his sympathy to the Muslims and his staunch anti-Zionist stand; Alexander Dugin, “the Russian Heidegger”, a controversial philosopher from the Moscow State University, the founder of the Eurasian movement and a friend of the European anti-American non-racist New Right. They were fiery and outspoken, not-so-much for Putin but surely against his liberal “orange” opponents.
The pools say this feeling is widely spread in Russia, as the Heath protesters allowed themselves to be presented as spoiled brats, rich kids, people in expensive fur coats who like each other and despise the rabble. In vain they protested that they do not strive for an Orange revolution; this was the general feeling, and their connection with the leaders of the Nineties did not add to their prestige. The Heath organisers were aware of that, and none of these old politicians, no controversial figure was allowed to speak during the demo. As the result, they had very little to say beyond chanting Down with Putin.
In the end, the Heath protesters emerged with despondent mood, contrasting their feelings after December demos. They discovered that they hold no patent on rallies, and that their opponents can field many more people to the street. Probably their enthusiasm for rallies will now vane somewhat. The Russians are afraid of “orange” revolutions, as arranged by your friendly NED and other tools of the State Department. Many, perhaps majority of the Hill demonstrators were afraid of a replay of Nineties, or of Tahrir, and they were happy to support Putin as a symbol of stability. The government stocked up the fears, by flooding with limelight a visit of the opposition leaders to the US Embassy. Michael McFaul, the new US Ambassador found himself in the centre of controversy, with many parliamentarians demanding him being sent home for this meeting took place almost immediately upon his arrival and even before he presented his accreditation papers.
The Western governments did not understand this change of mood in Moscow when they demanded to vote on their draft of Syrian resolution. They expected that the Heath rally will frighten the Russian government and make it more pliable. They had a good reason: this was the general feeling among embassies’ interlocutors. When President Medvedev visited Moscow State U a few days earlier, a student (a Heath protester, apparently) asked him whether he is ready to meet the fate of Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein, or will he escape to his friendly North Korea. After the Hill demo this Saturday, he would not ask this question: it seems now too far-fetched. Nor the Russian government felt it should give in to the Western pressure on Syria: if the Hill speakers are to be judged by, now Russia is more likely to send its anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
So it was a momentous day; a day of cruel frost, probably the coldest day of the year – next day, as if by order, it rose to perfectly palatable minus 12 degrees Centigrade (10 degrees Fahrenheit). Putin can be pleased with this development: the demos brought the Russians out of their hibernation, they are likely to participate in the Presidential elections on March 4, and the danger of massive stay-away disappeared. Putin supporters were woken up and discovered they are majority, while liberal protesters were reminded that Putin is a compromise figure, and their lot could be much, much worse if the Hill crowd were allowed to set its rules.
The Communists stayed away from both demos, they are busy building up the party chairman Gennady Zuganov as a credible alternative to Putin in the forthcoming elections, so they did not want to be seen as supporting Putin. It is possible that the elections will run in two tours, and then it will be Zuganov vs. Putin. For pro-Western forces in Moscow, that will be a difficult choice: they will have to decide whom do they hate more: Putin or Communists?
However, the liberals are not defeated. Their numbers are small, but they are well positioned. Though ex-Finance Minister Kudrin is now out of power and with the protesters, all his former minions are still installed in the upper echelons. The opposition has a lot of media at its disposal barring the powerful federal TV channels, and the latter are mainly putting out entertainment. The opposition has its supporters among the ultra-rich, and within the inner sanctum of the Secret Service as well. Liberal anti-Putin papers receive quite a lot of advertising from friendly oligarchs. The struggle will go on well beyond March 4, the elections day.
Alexei Navalny is a rising star of the opposition movement. He made his name on disclosures of the barely legal tricks of Russian officialdom integrated with the moneyed crowd. These disclosures would hardly amaze Americans who remember Enron and the Brits who follow Tony Blair’s tax saga. Apparently, that is in part where the Russians learned the features of real capitalism, mainly warts. Such ugly arrangements – profiteering, usury and asset-stripping – are the mainstay of the current world political economical system. They should be disclosed, outlawed and punished, no doubt, but they are not uniquely or predominantly Russian, rather “modern-capitalist.” The U.S. ambassador in Moscow reported on Navalny some years ago to his bosses, calling him “a Russian Don Quixote” (08MOSCOW2632), for he fought a widely spread and common injustice.
Navalny’s other line was the uncovering of shady oil deals. The U.S. Embassy was not impressed by his results: they checked his findings, according to the wikileaked cable 08MOSCOW3380, with Western managers who told them in confidence that Russian seaborne oil trade had became “open and transparent,” in the words of Dave Chapman, general director of oil trading for Shell Russia.
The idea of Navalny as a new savior ran into obstacles, as his liberal supporters were visibly upset by his ties with Russian nationalists. An old Moscow liberal lady, a respected widow, reported that he called an Azeri party member by a racist term and was expelled from the liberal Yabloko party. Navalny reportedly made snide remarks about Georgian poets qua Georgians. However, the Russians are quite tolerant of racist abuse and probably this story did not hurt him much.
In a long interview with another liberal luminary, the best-seller writer B. Akunin (a Russian Harold Robbins), Navalny tried to dispel such fears, but he did not denounce nationalism. Perhaps Navalny’s nationalism is a clever card well played: at the top of the new Fronde there are not many ethnic Russians, and a “real Russian” with nationalist background would be a good thing to have in the front of a revolutionary movement which is blessed by many Jews.
“Ethnic origin” is not a major consideration in Russia – the country has been led by Tatars (Ivan the Terrible was a son of a Tatar princess), Germans (Catherine the Great was a German princess by birth), Jews (Trotsky and Sverdlov), by Georgians (Stalin) and Ukrainians (Brezhnev, also Khrushchev). Ethnic Russian nationalism was actively discouraged in Soviet times. Still, it is an advantage to have an ethnic-Russian personality at the helm of a movement.
Many liberals and non-ethnic Russians are deeply suspicious of Navalny. But their presentation of Navalny as a “new Hitler” is far-fetched. Blue-eyed, good-looking, a dash of the racist, yes, but not an especially silver-tongued one. Navalny tried to talk to the demonstrators in December but was catcalled more than once. His manner was too rude, as if he were talking to a street gang. He did not speak on the Saturday demo at all. His views are far from clear. When asked for a model state Russia should follow, Navalny said, “Singapore.” This is an odd choice for a person fighting Putin’s strong-arm style, as Lee Kuan Yew was probably more authoritarian than Putin. As fond as I am of Singapore street cooking, I can’t imagine a less suitable model for a vast multinational ex-empire than the tiny Chinese polis.
The simmering tensions over the Malvinas Islands or Falkland Islands (off the coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic) as called by the British occupiers have become a matter of great concern as the UK decided to deploy destroyer HMS Dauntless to the islands.
The British Royal Navy is planning to send the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless, a state-of-the-art warship, to the region on her maiden mission in a few months, a move interpreted by some experts as a provocation of war. Also known as the Daring class, HMS Dauntless is often regarded the most powerful air-defense warship in the world. This warship is equipped with the SAMPSON Multi Function Radar with the capability to detect hundreds of targets out to a distance of 400 km as well as outer atmosphere objects such as ballistic missiles.
Argentine Vice-president Amado Boudou sees the escalating conflict as an excuse to “distract public opinion from serious domestic problems such as unemployment.”
“London is after issues of big media impact to hide the daily sufferings of Britain with its problems of unemployment, shrinking economy, social unrest by appealing to a very distant situation such is the South Atlantic Islands dispute.”
However, the British Royal Navy says the Portsmouth-based destroyer’s deployment is “not a reaction to heightened tensions over the Falklands.” Paradoxically, Britain has already deployed anti-aircraft installations, a tracker station and modern jet fighters on the archipelago.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says the UK harbors secret plans to plunder the natural resources such as oil and fish in the area of the territorial dispute and that Argentina insists on her legitimate claim to the islands.
“Don’t expect an outcry of xenophobia from us, we stand on the concept of sovereignty which is in agreement with the interests of the state, our people and protection of our natural resources.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently slammed Argentina for trying to ‘colonize’ the Malvinas Islands while the UK has basically cast its specter of imperialistic domination and colonization of Argentina’s South Atlantic islands since 1833.
“What the Argentineans have been saying recently I would argue is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentineans want them to do something else,” Prime Minister Cameron said on Wednesday.
Mr. Cameron’s statement was, however, welcomed by a spate of criticism on the part of some Latin American leaders. For instance, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Latin America and the Caribbean “back Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and back the UN resolutions calling on the Argentine and British governments to hold talks on the issue.”
Although some pundits rule out the possibility of a full-scale invasion of the islands on the 1982 lines, Michael Clarke, head of the Royal United Services Institute, believes that a similar invasion particularly supported by the construction of an airfield at Mount Pleasant is possible. “In the event of tension, the UK could quickly reinforce the island because of its control of the airfield. We simply don’t need the kind of naval taskforce we had in 1982.”
On Friday 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted an attack on the Malvinas Islands and South Georgia in order to redeem their long occupied territory. Britain sent a naval task force and retook the islands through amphibious assault. The war, which lasted 74 days, ended to the triumph of the British imperialist army, claiming the lives of over 600 Argentine troops, and 255 British soldiers.
Britain has a long-standing interest in the Malvinas’ oil which originally dates back to a couple of decades. In 1975, Britain conducted preliminary studies in this regard and in 1998-2009, two British exploratory missions succeeded in proving the oil potential of the area. It remains unclear how much oil there is in the Malvinas islands but initial estimations place the offshore petroleum potential at a minimum of 6.525 billion barrels of oil.
On March 22, 2011, British transnational Rockhopper announced it had discovered a commercially viable deposit of crude oil in the Malvinas. Rockhopper Exploration PLC reported a “significant reservoir package” at its Sea Lion prospect.
When the company gave an initial report on its oil find at Sea Lion, Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner’s administration issued a statement and said the oil-drilling operation runs counter to international laws and treaties as well as UN resolutions which urge both sides to not take steps which might exacerbate the situation.
With an established history of imperialism and colonization, Britain has long coveted the windswept Malvinas as a strategic shipping stopover and treasure-trove of natural resources such as oil and fish.
With economy declining terminally at home, Britain is exploring ways to save itself either by virtue of climbing on the shoulders of others i.e. digging its imperialistically colonialist claws into others i.e. the Malvinas Islands or by foisting its weapons off on nations with a turbulent status quo such as Bahrain.
That the British government is contemplating another imperialist adventure in the Malvinas Islands is an irrefutable assumption but it is painfully difficult to conjecture how Britain is going to achieve this nefarious objective.
After I got my long hair caught in a vacuum cleaner the other day, my first thought was pure terror — like I had just been attacked by werewolves or vampires with claws! But then my second thought was, “Gee, at least I HAVE a vacuum cleaner”.
Despite the recent huge economic downturn, most Americans are still relatively well-off right now, even me. Sure, our infrastructure sucks eggs and we mostly have run-down schools and hospitals, but at least we still have them. Old and run down. But still functioning at least.
But wait! Perhaps help for our hospitals is finally on the way! Is it really true that American corporatists have recently decided to spend over nine billion dollars to build at least 20 brand new state-of-the-art hospitals in Georgia? According to RT News, yes indeed this is true.
The only problem here, however, is that the corporatists who currently own our country are now in the process of building these 20 wonderful new hospitals in the former Soviet-bloc state of Georgia — not in the American state with the same name that’s famous for peaches and Braves. http://rt.com/politics/us-
How bizarre is that news?
And now I’ve just read where American corporatists have recently sent in the U.S. Coast Guard to break up a strike by American longshoremen. That’s even more bizarre than getting one’s hair sucked into a vacuum cleaner — and even more painful. One can always just cut one’s hair off, but forcing America’s military to act like low-life strike-breaking scabs? That’s a cut to our democracy that may never heal.
ILWU members had been promised jobs in Longview as a priority condition for allowing corporatists to receive massive federal subsidies to build a new terminal at the Washington state port. But after the terminal was safely built, greedy corporatist slugs then fired the longshoremen’s union members point-blank — and not only got away with it but used the U.S. military as their own personal enforcers and thugs.http://www.
Am I the only one that finds this news a bit bizarre?
American coproratists seem to be getting away with EVERYTHING these days. Cheating on elections, throwing people out of their homes, never paying taxes, robbing our treasury blind, fighting undeclared wars for fun and profit on our dime, beating protesting citizens with clubs, buying off Congress, etc. But almost nobody in America seems to want to stop them.
Here’s more bizarre news — Stephen Cobert’s video explaining how corporatist superPACs steal our elections: http://www.colbertsuperpac.
Had enough yet? Or do you want to read some even more bizarre news about what corporatists are getting away with now? Yes? Then take a long look at this: The unassailable New York Times, the esteemed Gray Lady herself, recently reported that the IAEA had accused Iran of using its nuclear program to develop military weapons. But guess what? The IAEA had said no such thing. Now the esteemed Gray Lady has lied to us (again) in order to get us into a useless and unnecessary war (again) that would only benefit corporatists. http://publiceditor.blogs.
Very deja vu. Very bizarre.
But — to me (but apparently to nobody else) — this is the absolute most bizarre news of all: Perry, Santorum, Obama, Romney and even Newt Gingrich and JEB Bush are all running on a platform of being good Christians. Huh? What?
NO ONE who either calls for the bombing women and children in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and America — or is actually out doing it — can EVER call himself or herself a good Christian. Ever. These people are no more good Christians than was Attila the Hun.
Send drones to kill babies? Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus did that?
Leaving the meek of the earth to starve to death and the peacemakers of the world to be jailed? Jesus is down with that too? Not!
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” said Jesus. Beating down non-violent OWS protesters with pepper spray, tear gas and truncheons? NOT CHRISTIAN. Not Christian at all.
Yet no one seems to be calling these monsters out on their uber-hypocracy. No one calls them out at all. That’s bizarre.
And it’s also rather bizarre that all these corporatist presidential candidates are happily telling us that they are in favor of “Democracy”. There is NOTHING less democratic than a corporation. Face it, CEOs are tyrants. Corporatists worship the dictatorship model. To tell us that they want America to remain a democracy is absurd.
Corporatists by definition are top-down kinds of guys, “Do what I say or else you will lose all.” Corporatists by definition are bullying-type authoritarians who spit on America’s treasured democratic principles — and don’t you ever forget it!
Now let’s turn to the comic-page section of the news.
The average American today seems to more and more resemble that Peanuts cartoon character Charlie Brown — always trusting that somehow Lucy will let him finally kick the football. But guess what? No matter how many times you vote for the party of Bush-Obama-Romney-Santorum-
How’s that for bizarre news?
I wrote that last year in two exposés: “The Selling of the WWC” and “The WWC Desecrates its Namesake’s Legacy”. They revealed that the Washington, DC-based Wilson Center is violating its Congressional mandate and is up to its neck in tainted corporate cash.
A leading Congressman, a Wilson family descendant, citizens’ groups, and many others agreed. One prominent journalist called the WWC “a global joke.”
Several months ago, this Congressionally-created, multi-million dollar think tank, funded partly by taxpayers, made another colossal blunder. It hired former eight-term Congresswoman Jane Harman (D–CA) to be its president, replacing Lee Hamilton, also a former Congressman.
Harman, like Hamilton, is not only part of the good-old-boy (and girl) network of which the WWC is so fond. Among her other baggage, charges of illegal conduct in a spy scandal involving AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) have shadowed Harman for years.
Let’s take a closer look at Harman and the Wilson Center to see why they’re the marriage from hell.
Harman’s spy scandal
Two top AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, were indicted on spy charges in 2005 for passing classified documents to Israel.
Citing confidential sources, Time magazine, in 2006, and Congressional Quarterly, two years ago, reported that the Feds had wiretapped Cong. Jane Harman and a “suspected Israeli agent” agreeing to this deal: Harman would persuade the Justice Department to reduce the charges against Rosen and Weissman; in exchange, AIPAC and its influential supporters would persuade then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to reappoint the unpopular Harman as top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The Justice Department and CIA wanted to prosecute Harman. But Alberto Gonzales, President Bush’s Attorney General, reportedly refused because – ironically – he “needed Jane” to support the government’s ongoing warrantless wiretapping program.
Shockingly, charges against Rosen and Weissman were dropped in 2009 because a judge put constraints on Federal prosecutors. Larry Franklin, the Defense Department official who passed the classified documents to the two AIPAC officials, wasn’t so lucky. He pled guilty three years earlier and went to prison.
Harman has long denied any wrongdoing. She has never, however, given a full account of her conversations regarding Rosen and Weissman. Full accounts, as we shall see, are not one of Harman’s virtues.
Harman’s genocide flip-flop
While co-sponsoring Congressional resolution HR 106 on the Armenian genocide committed by Turkey, Cong. Harman went behind the backs of her constituents in October of 2007 by asking then-Foreign Relations Chair Tom Lantos (D-CA) to bury the resolution. Only after her constituents discovered this through other sources did she admit to it.
But the explanations for her flip-flop made little sense. “This is the wrong time” for the resolution, wrote Harman. But she couldn’t cite anything relevant in 2007 that had changed regarding Turkey, Armenia, or the Middle East since she signed onto the resolution a few years earlier.
Harman claimed that a genocide resolution would “embarrass or isolate the Turkish leadership.” This claim came suspiciously soon after she met with Turkey’s threatening Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan. Apparently, recognizing a genocide requires an OK from the perpetrating country’s leader.
But Harman reached truly ridiculous heights by claiming– again, this was in 2007 – that it was “obvious” that Turkey’s “leadership” was needed for “resolving the Israel-Palestine issue.” Turkey had never, of course, played a significant role in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians. What really caused Harman’s genocide flip-flop?
Jewish groups and Turkey
AIPAC was (and is) one of several major Jewish American organizations that have colluded with Turkey to, among other things, defeat Armenian genocide resolutions. Israel, Turkey, and Jewish groups formed their ménage-à-trois in the 1990’s.
Yola Johnston, Community Outreach Director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has admitted that AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, her own organization, and “the Jewish lobby” have “quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”
AIPAC, reported the Washington Times last year, had “lit up the phones” against the genocide resolution when “the Turks” asked a “senior researcher” at AIPAC to do so. That “senior researcher” and “architect of the Jewish community’s support for Turkey” was none other than AIPAC’s notorious Keith Weissman. So the Harman-AIPAC-Weissman threesome was at the center of not only a spy scandal but also a genocide cover-up.
And there’s more. Yet another scandal may have induced Harman’s genocide duplicity.
Anti-Defamation League scandal
Harman wrote her genocide flip-flop letter to Chairman Lantos just as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was taking a beating in the U.S. and internationally for denying the Armenian genocide and helping Turkey lobby against Armenian genocide recognition. Human rights activists, principled Jews, and Armenian Americans had just months earlier launched a campaign (see NoPlaceForDenial.com) that was to result in more than a dozen Massachusetts cities’ evicting the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program.
The Turkish government was furious that the embarrassing arrangement among it, Jewish groups, and Israel was being splashed across the headlines.
Did Harman, who was certainly aware of this uproar, panic at the prospect of a further deterioration in the already strained relations between Israel and Turkey? Did she ask Lantos to kill the genocide resolution because Turkey would blame Israel, AIPAC, the ADL, and even Harman herself if the resolution succeeded?
Considering the timing, Harman’s relationship to Israel and the genocide-denying AIPAC, and the illogical explanations for her flip-flop, it seems probable. Though the House Committee narrowing passed the resolution, Harman had to be pleased that it did not make it any further. Her appeasement of Turkey, however, proved to be in vain:
- Erdogan was soon calling Shimon Peres a mass murderer (January 2009) for Israel’s offensive against Gaza.
- Israel scolded and humiliated Turkey’s ambassador (January 2010) in response to Turkish criticism and an anti-Israeli TV show.
- Israeli commandos shot nine Turks to death on a ship that had tried to break the Gaza blockade (May 2010).
- Erdogan has expelled the Israeli ambassador, cut defense ties with Tel Aviv, and threatened military retaliation unless Israeli apologizes and pays compensation for the flotilla killings.
But when, like Harman, one has few firm principles and has fooled herself into believing that a country such as Turkey is a friend, she inevitably winds up with yogurt on her face.
No self-respecting institution would have considered hiring anyone with Harman’s background. That may explain why the Wilson Center hired her. It has little respect for its mission or the American people.
The Wilson Center flouts Congress
The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Act of 1968 was crystal clear: The WWC must commemorate Wilson’s “ideals and concerns” and memorialize “his accomplishments.” Yet it has ignored large swaths of the Wilson administration’s record on the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), Turkey, and the Middle East.
The WWC isn’t just thumbing its nose at Congress and taxpayers. It has closed its eyes to a wealth of political knowledge about a region in which the U.S. has enormous interests. The Caucasus, for example, is a major locus for producing and transporting oil and gas. It’s also ground-zero in the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, particularly since the Russian-Georgian war of 2008.
Donald Wilson Bush, President of the Woodrow Wilson Legacy Foundation and a Wilson family descendant, has rightly accused the WWC of “violating [its] very own mission and purpose.”
Wilson and the State Department’s record on the region from the WW 1 era is extensive. Though the U.S. did not formally declare war against Turkey in WW1, Turkey was the main ally of Germany, America’s enemy. Wilson condemned, in the strongest terms, Turkey’s genocide of Armenians and was a fervent advocate of Armenian independence. By the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres – a product of the Paris Peace Conference in 1920 – the U.S. formally delineated the borders of that part of Armenia and Kurdistan that now lies within Turkey’s eastern regions. Turkey later reneged on the Treaty.
Yet, despite the clear stipulation of Congress, Wilson’s record has been almost totally ignored by the WWC. Indeed, three years ago, historian and legal scholar Ara Papian, a Canadian resident and former Armenian Ambassador to Canada, applied for a WWC Fellowship to do ground-breaking research on the U.S. archival record regarding Turkey and the Caucasus – a proposal the WWC should have jumped at. Papian was rejected without explanation. Ironically, several months ago Lee Hamilton told the American Historical Association that U.S. foreign policy officials need the views of “historians.” Yet as WWC president, he all but ignored the history of Wilson’s Caucasus policies.
Tainted corporate cash
The WWC has been corrupted by its gluttony for corporate cash. Case in point: it acknowledged that money was the main reason it journeyed to Turkey in 2010 to honor a Turkish billionaire whose Dogus Holding conglomerate is a WWC donor, and to give a much-criticized award to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Cong. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, blasted Lee Hamilton for honoring Davutoglu. Ackerman cited Turkey’s military occupation of Cyprus, closure of the border with Armenia, and denial of the Armenian genocide. Honoring Davutoglu was “absolutely inconsistent with the mission of the WWC and the ideals that animated President Wilson’s administration and foreign policy.”
The Wilson Center, added Donald Wilson Bush, had engaged in “Turkish diplomatic appeasement.” It had “sacrificed its legitimacy as a ‘neutral forum for open, serious, and informed dialogue.’”
“Why,” asked Claudia Rosett, “should Congress keep fueling this morally blank, misleading and venal exercise [the WWC] with millions of American tax dollars?” Good question.
Part of why the WWC has all but ignored Wilson’s record on Turkey and the Caucasus is undoubtedly that many major donors (present and past members of its elite “Wilson Alliance”) have lobbied for, or been members of trade organizations that have lobbied for, Turkey and against the Armenian resolution. These include Alcoa, BAE Systems, Bechtel, Boeing, Bombardier, Chevron, Coca Cola, Exxon-Mobil and Honeywell.
In fact, Harman’s predecessor, Lee Hamilton, engaged in a clear conflict of interest during his tenure by sitting on the board of BAE Systems, a defense giant which does lots of business with Turkey. Last year a Federal judge slapped BAE’s parent corporation with a $400 million criminal fine for “deception, duplicity and knowing violations of law … on an enormous scale.” Too bad the judge didn’t also look into the Wilson Center.
Hamilton also sat on the board of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “global strategy firm” headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Hamilton’s WWC bio, incredibly, was dead silent about his corporate affiliations. This same Lee Hamilton co-chaired the official National Commission on the 9/11 attacks, whose report has been widely criticized as incomplete and biased. Hamilton and Harman, you see, can be counted on not to rock the corporate establishment’s boat.
The WWC is rife with other questionable characters, including those with deep ties to Turkey, such as former board member and present Wilson Council member Ignacio Sanchez, a lobbyist employed by DLA Piper, which is a registered foreign agent for Turkey. And former “Wilson Public Policy Scholar” Marc Grossman, ex-US ambassador to Turkey and DLA Piper bigwig. “Coincidentally,” Sanchez and Grossman were both on the WWC Search Committee that hired Harman.
Made for each other
If ever there was a marriage made in hell, therefore, Jane Harman and the Wilson Center are it:
- The WWC receives millions in “donations” from the military-industrial complex, which influences the Center’s agenda and policies. Similarly, Harman – a former Defense Department lawyer – has received large campaign contributions from defense and aerospace firms’ Political Action Committees and employees, including those in El Segundo, a key military–industrial center located in her former Congressional district.
“Coincidentally,” major Wilson Center donors BAE Systems (Lee Hamilton’s comrade-in-arms), Boeing, and Chevron have offices in El Segundo. Indeed, BAE, Boeing, and Chevron were her “constituents” (and American Turkish Council members) not only when she was in Congress. Those corporations – another “coincidence” – are her “constituents” again, at the WWC. Might the WWC have hired Harman for her expertise in raking in military-industrial “donations”?
- The WWC has ingratiated itself with Turkey. It has given awards to its Foreign Minister and a major Turkish corporate donor, and virtually ignored Wilson’s policies regarding Turkey and the Caucasus. Harman, too, has ingratiated herself with Turkey. She reversed her stance on the Congress’s Armenian genocide resolution (and gave absurd reasons for doing so).
- And just as the Wilson Center has gotten away (so far, anyway) with violating its Congressional mandate, Jane Harman has escaped prosecution (so far, anyway) for her dealings with a “foreign agent” in the AIPAC espionage scandal.
No, there’s no prospect that Harman will lead the WWC to adhere to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Act of 1968, fulfill its pledge to be a “neutral forum for open, serious, and informed dialogue,” and release the grip that mega-corporations have on it.
If Congress of its own volition will not bring the Wilson Center to its senses, then Congress must be pushed by the American people to do so. Other possibilities are investigations and legal action by third parties.
Just don’t count on Jane Harman’s cooperation.