Hundreds of Turkish police officers backed by armored cars moved in on Istanbul’s Taksim Square early Tuesday morning and reclaimed the site after pulling out on June 1. By midday bulldozers had removed barricades of paving stones and corrugated iron. The crackdown surprised protesters, hundreds of whom had been sleeping in a makeshift camp in the adjoining Gezi Park. Some threw stones and incendiary devices in response, but the authorities are now in control of the focal point of Turkey’s most widespread anti-government protests in decades. Prior to the police action the protests appeared to be diminishing, with fewer demonstrators gathering in Taksim on Monday night than at any time since the unrest started on May 31.
That the unrest is abating has been evident from the muted reaction of the markets. In recent days the lira registered a modest decline, reaching the October 2011 level against its dollar/euro basket, but this may be seen as good news for Turkey’s export-oriented economy. The cost of insuring Turkish debt against default rose slightly but not alarmingly: it the same now as in August of last year, well below crisis levels.
A further sign of government confidence is the continuing clampdown on the Turkish army top brass. On June 6 a criminal court in Ankara approved an indictment filed by the prosecutor’s office under which 102 retired officers (76 of whom are in prison) will be tried for allegedly staging the military coup in 1997. Right now there are 450 active and retired officers accused of either toppling former governments, or making plans to unseat the current government. As The Daily Zaman’s columnist Lale Kemal noted the other day, this raises the issue of the state of the morale of the Turkish Armed Forces at a sensitive time.
In the early days of unrest, street protests in Turkey were compared in the Western media to the misnamed “Arab Spring.” The comparison was inaccurate: no regime change was on the cards, no foreign money and logistics were in evidence, and outside a few hotspots in Istanbul, Ankara, and a few other cities Turkey’s life went on as usual. The government remained firmly in control of the state apparatus, the police proved obedient, and the army—already purged of hundreds of senior officers and no longer a significant political factor—stayed silent.
Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-old, increasingly personal rule is being challenged, but that challenge comes from unexpected quarters: from his fellow religious conservatives who resent his authoritarian style and arrogance.
There are many influential Turks of Islamist persuasion—both within and outside the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party)—who are increasingly disenchanted with Erdogan. They have not been adverse to the drift away from secularism at home and to the assertive pursuit of neo-Ottomanism abroad, but they believe that the power of “the Sultan” (as Erdogan is known among his friends and foes alike) needs to be curtailed. While they do not identify with the values and aspirations of the secular and liberal urban middle class which has provided the backbone of protests, some religious conservatives see recent unrest as an opportunity to persuade the “Sultan” that he needs to listen to the neglected pashas and viziers.
For the first time since he became prime minister 11 years ago, some AKP-friendly media outlets have started to criticize Erdogan, following his near-paranoid reaction to the demonstrations. His calling protesters looters, drunks, marauders, extremists, and foreign agents, his ominous hints that his “patience is running out,” and his calls for counter-rallies by his supporters have not played well with Turkey’s more cautious conservatives, especially in the business community, who see his combative style as counterproductive. They are uncomfortable with Erdogan’s portrayal of the protest as a struggle between the “white Turks” (non-religious, upper-class, urban elites) versus the ‘black Turks’ (socially conservative, lower-middle and working class Sunnis from Anatolia). Even in his hitherto reliable power base in the Anatolian heartland, President Abdullah Gul—Erdogan’s long-time ally—is now mentioned as someone who could pursue the long-term AKP project of de-Kemalizing Turkey with greater caution and tact.
The real test will come later this year, when Erdogan will try to change the constitution and inaugurate an authoritarian presidential system. On June 6 Foreign Affairs published an interesting article by Halil Karaveli which aptly summarized the “Sultan’s” problem: “Erdogan’s own party members sense the changing tide. Indeed, even before the protests, there was widespread uneasiness within the AKP ranks. Most AKP parliamentarians had little enthusiasm for Erdogan’s plan to change the constitution and introduce an executive presidency. His scheme would have concentrated all power into the hands of a supreme leader, a position that Erdogan covets, basically neutering all other government officials.”
There is unease with Erdogan in Washington, too. Nobody in the U.S. Administration wants a regime change in Ankara, but some old Turkish hands advocate more strongly worded criticism of Erdogan’s methods as a means of reining him in. His switch from neutrality to support for the rebellion in Syria a year ago was welcomed in Washington, but his continuing public advocacy of intervention is becoming wearisome in view of Bashar’s recent battlefield successes. His open support for Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, and his close links with the putative Kurdish statelet in northern Iraq, are also deemed problematic in Washington—not to mention his strident criticism of Israel, which has decisively turned Israel’s friends on the Hill against him.
The protesters cannot threaten the overall architecture of Turkish politics because the majority of Turks are in agreement with the dual policy of de-secularization of the state and capitalist-based growth. That growth has been impressive, almost on par with China after Deng, but it has not dampened political and cultural tensions. There is an inherent discrepancy at work between the Islamic stamp on the country’s cultural and political scene which Erdogan has imposed, and the deepening gap between Turkey’s haves and the have-nots which the decade of prosperity has produced. The AKP-connected new oligarchs, in many ways similar to their uncouth Russian and East European counterparts, are Erdogan’s creation. Thanks to their party political affiliations they have profited from massive government-financed construction projects—like the proposed redevelopment at Taksim that triggered off the protests two weeks ago. To a devout yet poor, unemployed or underemployed Turk, increasing social stratification is incompatible with Erdogan’s advocacy of Islamic moral and social values which are deeply egalitarian. The losers in the process of Turkey’s transition in the villages generally do not oppose further de-secularization, but their loyalty to Erdogan personally should no longer be taken for granted.
Erdogan is in trouble because the harmless Istanbul protests showed him to be an intransigent autocrat and his rivals within the establishment sense his weakness. Having scored his third consecutive election victory in 2011, Erdogan focused on empowering his core constituency through a crony capitalism. He also pushed through a series of measures for state enforcement of conservative religious mores, like banning Turkish Airways flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and restricting the sale and consumption of alcohol, which even his supporters see as unnecessarily divisive and potentially destabilizing. Abroad, they feel that he has overplayed his hand on Syria. Most Turks, AKP supporters and Kemalists alike, are opposed to Erdogan’s support for the Syrian rebels and advocacy of foreign intervention, which is perceived as an “American,” rather than “Turkish” policy. By overplaying his hand on Syria, Erdogan has forfeited his hoped-for role as the leader of the Islamic Greater Middle East. His foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s policy of “zero problems with all neighbors” has failed, not only in Syria, but also vis-à-vis Iraq and Iran, both of which support Bashar.
A powerful Sunni imam, Fethullah Gülen, may decide Erdogan’s political future. Little-known in the West—although he has lived in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania for years—Gulen controls a global empire of media outlets (including Turkey’s top circulation daily), charities, businesses and schools now known simply as Hizmet (“The Service”). Shortly after the military coup in 1997, the army leaders started a purge of the movement. Gülen went abroad, was tried in absentia for seeking to overthrow Turkey’s secular order, but he was cleared in 2006, after Erdogan came to power. His is by far the most powerful religiously-based movement in Turkey, described as the country’s third power, alongside Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian AKP and Turkey’s decreasingly influential military. “While the group is often described as ‘shadowy’ or ‘mysterious,’ this is inaccurate,” according to journalist Claire Belinski, based in Istanbul. “Quite a bit is known about it. Its behavior is both observable and predictable.”
Having supported Erdogan’s rise to power in 2002, Gülen was able to expand his network within the political establishment. The two men had a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the “cemaat,” as the former’s network is known. Already by 2004 one-fifth of the AKP’s members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement, including the justice and culture ministers. In 2006, former police chief Adil Serdar Sacan estimated that the “Fethullahcis” held more than 80 percent of senior positions in the Turkish police force. As we noted in these pages last August, for all his philanthropic pretenses Gülen controls a fundamentalist sect calling for a New Islamic Age based on the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis.” By now it is all-pervasive, with many rich businessmen, judges and senior civil servants donating an average of 10 percent of their income to thecemaat.
Gülen now feels strong enough to engineer Erdogan’s comeuppance that will not disrupt the regime while increasing the power of his followers. The rift between Erdogan (a fellow imam) and Gülen is now in the open. Speaking in the U.S. last week, the latter effectively blamed Erdogan for the protests: “Are the ones at fault those who were unconcerned, who underestimated [the protest] by labeling it as ‘this and that’? … If innocent people are killed, if some are choked with gas bombs and if some are blind enough not to see this, the fire could rage.” Shortly before the protests erupted Gülen warned against the arrogance of power, saying “even if a person is a believer, they can morally be a pharaoh… He may always look at people from on high, telling them ‘stay in your place’.”
Gülen seems to think that the power structure will not be unduly strained if Erdogan is weakened or even replaced. The army has been neutered and there is no strong leader in the ranks of secularists and liberals. The protesters have unwittingly aided Fethullahcis, ominously Stalinist in their steady march through Turkey’s institutions, against Erdogan’s Trotsky-like zeal for rapid re-Islamization.
Signals collection has a long secretive and enigmatic history. The very definition of espionage implies spying, most closely associated with foreign sources. Since the Echelon network, the unified function of data retrieval became a given during the cold war. With the revelation of Prism, advances in sophisticated electronic devices and software algorithms provide a major leap. The article, Is PRISM the US version of Echelon?, sums up the evolution. “With this kind of setup and ambition to capture and evaluate private conversations (well, not so private now), makes Echelon that much more believable, and that PRISM is a reflection of the infamous project, but focused solely on the US.”
Bankwatch takes a sanguine attitude towards Why PRISM? ECHELON has been around since 1948 supported by US, UK, Canada, Australia. At the same time, the publication references the capacities of the original analogue technology.
“The ECHELON system is fairly simple in design: position intercept stations all over the world to capture all satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic communications traffic, and then process this information through the massive computer capabilities of the NSA, including advanced voice recognition and optical character recognition (OCR) programs, and look for code words or phrases (known as the ECHELON Dictionary) that will prompt the computers to flag the message for recording and transcribing for future analysis. Intelligence analysts at each of the respective listening stations maintain separate keyword lists for them to analyze any conversation or document flagged by the system, which is then forwarded to the respective intelligence agency headquarters that requested the intercept.”
This machinery of electronic snooping has no instinctive restraint on the subject or content, when the technocratic engineers are left to design the next level of the “All Seeing Eye”. The notion that the Prism program is shocking certainly does not conform to the even increasing capacity of surveillance society that has already discarded the presumption of privacy.
The Wall Street Journal forecasts the total integration of data because Technology Emboldened the NSA, to capture all that is digital.
“At a 2009 conference on so-called cloud computing, an NSA official said the agency was developing a new system by linking its various databases and using Hadoop software to analyze them, according to comments reported by the trade publication InformationWeek.
The system would hold “essentially every kind of data there is,” said Randy Garrett, who was then director of technology for the NSA’s integrated intelligence program. “The object is to do things that were essentially impossible before.”
Nonetheless, the Director of National Intelligence issues fact sheet on PRISM in response to leaks, wants you to accept that the government is adhering to stature authority and protecting vital national security interests. “While focusing on the letter of the law and the government’s good intentions, Clapper dodges any mention of how much information (or what kind) is actually collected with the PRISM program.”
OK, only a blood brother operative of the intelligence community will challenge the proposition that the collection of electronic information is the main function of their Skynet self-aware artificial intelligence system. The true debate is whether the data collected is destined for use against targeted American citizens, for nefarious purposes.
Mashable attempts to explain the methodology of PRISM: Does the NSA Really Get Direct Access to Your Data?, and how the “so called” judicial review function of FISA Court approval is processed.
“For Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy researcher and technologist, this is “a process for submitting [Section] 702 requests and getting responses in a machine-readable form.”
The 41-page PRISM Powerpoint presentation “could be seen as a business development deck indicating all the various providers that they currently have ‘relationships with,’” he told Mashable.
The system is “basically a data-ingestion API,” he said.
Soltani speculated that based on what we know now, PRISM is a “streamlined way” to submit Section 702 orders to the companies for them to review the requests, and it gives the NSA the ability to handle and process the response “in an automated fashion,” just like an app like TripIt, which automatically parses information from your flight reservations.”
According to the American Dream, the terminator assignment is being assembled. The disturbing use of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government, Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law, is the ultimate application of the individual dossiers that are generated from signals collection.
“Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”
Looking through the historic prism and behavioral pattern of the shadow government agencies, the lack of dramatic public outrage seems to be the only consistent factor out of the denial denizens that love to salute the flag, while willingly forfeiting their bill of right protections. This regretful conduct is seen in the example from, “Christopher Ketchum of Radar Magazine that first reported on the existence of Main Core. At the time, the shocking information that he revealed did not get that much attention. That is quite a shame, because it should have sent shockwaves across the nation…”
Now we are all supposed to empathize with the hysteria of the political careerist class over the disclosures of Edward Snowden. The bipartisan spots of the carnivore leopards never change. When John Boehner Calls Snowden a Traitor, he speaks for much of the establishment and equates loyalty to the state as the very definition of nationalism.
Again, the chronicle of the military-industrial-intelligence-complex is replete with treasonous deeds against the constitutional republic. Remember the Carnivore system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications? Maybe your memory goes back to the archetype whistleblower. None other than the iconic Daniel Ellsberg speaks out on the current scandal in the Guardian letter, Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America.
“In 1975, Senator Frank Church spoke of the National Security Agency in these terms:
“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
The dangerous prospect of which he warned was that America’s intelligence gathering capability – which is today beyond any comparison with what existed in his pre-digital era – “at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left.”
That has now happened. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi – the secret police in the former “democratic republic” of East Germany – could scarcely have dreamed of. Snowden reveals that the so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.”
Yes, Virginia our great founding fathers came from not only this old dominion, but had a state of mind that fought the revolutionary war against tyranny. The United Stasi of America is the definitive meaning of the evil empire that protects the globalist criminals that control the political apparatus, known as the federal government.
The echelon network of subversion and espying is but a rung on a ladder of a coercive control. The prism of deception is the false reality your controllers use to relinquish your will to oppose the repression. The secret intelligence agencies only serve their own bureaucratic interests as they obey their master operative superiors.
The disinformation culture is the permanent realism and the snitch society is an essential requirement necessary to keep the imperium in power. With the Americanization of domestic terrorists, Tea Party activists and the Patriotic Truth movement are in the sights of totalitarian gangsters.
Is there any doubt that the NSA, FBI and CIA act as if they are above the law and unaccountable? The great divide between legitimate authority and clandestine oppression is narrow and fragile. The essential question is who is the true enemy? As the surveillance technology perfects their reach and assimilates the application of their data assets, the military option under martial law intensifies. No one is safe. Big Brother has become the impending Terminator.
The Stasi Skynet engulfs everyone. There is no way out of the matrix as long as the globalists operate their spy network. The system is designed to eliminate any and all dissent. Overload the data collectors by intensifying the practice of liberty at every opportunity.
The recent NSA leaks from whistleblower Ed Snowden have publicly confirmed that digital privacy does not exist. The federal government and intelligence agencies have direct server access to the world’s most popular sites and services including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and more. This means that all of your data when using these services including Skype, YouTube, etc has been compromised and can be used against you whenever strategically necessary.
Always remember, you are being recorded and monitored regardless of whether you have done anything wrong or not. This includes your emails, internet activity, searches, banking activity, passwords, etc. Basically everything to build a complete profile about who you are, how you think, how you live, etc. This is very powerful data gathering and the goal of the intelligence agencies is nothing less thanTotal Information Awareness to be used to control and manage populations.
For these reasons, I have compiled some helpful tips to help you maintain your privacy and integrity when using the Internet. These are by no means comprehensive, but they can be quite useful and give you some semblance of peace when browsing.
1. Use StartPage.com for all your searches. Known as “the world’s most private search engine”, StartPage will allow you to search anonymously and securely through Google. It is probably the only search engine that does not collect or share any personal information about you. You can even access pages through a proxy quickly and easily. StartPage functionality can be easily added to your browser for all searches made through the address bar. If you value your privacy, this is really a no-brainer.
If you use Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc then everything you search is logged to your IP address and is used to build a comprehensive profile about all your online activity. This means that the government literally has the ability to know everything you’ve been interested in, how you type (thus, how you think), and much more. Protect your searches!
2. Consider using an Anonymizer such as Tor to protect your identity. Tor prevents anyone from learning your location, browsing habits, and is an extremely effective tool against network surveillance and traffic analysis. Tor is essentially a network of virtual tunnels run by volunteers that allows your real IP address to remain hidden and undetectable when browsing the Internet. It is used by whistleblowers, hackers, and all those who value anonymity. You can also use it to access sites that your ISP has blocked or banned. Keep in mind, if you use Tor to access personally-identifying sites like Facebook then you pretty much lose your ability to remain anonymous. Learn more about this powerful software and please use it responsibly! To get started quickly, please download the Tor Browser Bundle. Using this software wisely and effectively will likely require changing your browsing habits, so be aware of this.
3. Consider using a private and secure social network like Pidder. This is a private social network that uses encrypted communication and offers the ability to remain anonymous. If you are truly looking for ways to stay in touch with close ones in a uncompromised manner, this could be the site for you. While it will not have the userbase of Facebook, this is still an excellent alternative for secure social networking.
4. Use a firewall and a secure wireless connection. Protecting your inbound and outbound network traffic is essential. There are many free software options available for this. I cannot guarantee the integrity of these programs, but I personally recommend Little Snitch for Mac users. It appears that Outpost may be a good alternative for Windows. The key is to be able to see what services/sites are trying to send/receive data over your connection. The more stringent your firewall rules are, the better. Keep your computer clean by using some kind of anti-spam/spyware software and minimize your use of highly sketchy sites.
5. Delete your cookies regularly and log out of Facebook when you are not actively using it. Almost everytime you visit a site, you download a cookie from that site, which is often used to track and collect data about you, the sites you visit, etc. Therefore, deleting cookies and temporary internet files from your browser frequently is necessary. I recommendCCleaner as an effective way to do this. Most people leave a Facebook tab open and continue browsing, not realizing that every page that has a “Like” button actively logs and tracks their online activity. Facebook collects all your browsing data and then sells it to third parties, including passing it onto intelligence agencies. Therefore, when you are not actively using Facebook, be sure to log out! Why should they know everything you’re up to online?
CORRECTION: It has now been confirmed that Facebook tracks your online activity even while you are logged out. Thus, I highly recommend you install the browser plug-in called DoNotTrackMe. The installation takes seconds and you don’t have to do anything once you’ve added it to your browser. This extremely handy program will show you how many tracking attempts it has blocked in a small counter near your address bar. Because all the trackers are rejected (even those other than Facebook), sites load up to 4x faster than usual! A must-have for all privacy advocates if you don’t want your activity tracked!
6. Cover up or disconnect your webcam when you are not using it. Did you know that your webcam can be secretly activated without you being aware of it? Hackers and intelligence agencies have the ability to do this, so effective countermeasures must be taken here. This can be done WITHOUT the indicator light coming on, so you won’t even know that you are being watched or recorded. This is why I recommend taping over or covering up your webcam when you’re not using it. Why take the risk? Do you really want the government to have the ability to spy on you while you are in your bedroom? The same thing can be done on cellphone cameras/microphones, so be aware of that too. The only way your phone cannot be used to track/record you is if the battery is taken out, which is another reason why many new smartphones come with non-removable batteries these days.
7. Learn to use secure email services like HushMail or encrypted email. Communicating using email is vital and part of our everyday lives. If we use services like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, those services are not secure and are compromised. Therefore, switching over to a secure service such as Hushmail can be valuable. Or learn how to use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), which is a way to send encrypted email and files that only a trusted third party can open and view. Essentially, PGP uses public-private key cryptography, where you will give out your public key to trusted recipients. Messages can only be decrypted by using your special private key file (that you keep safe) and the sender’s public key. You can even encrypt files so that only a specific person can open them. Learning to use PGP requires some technical knowledge but can be very useful for those who want to communicate securely and is well worth learning, in my opinion. Please see this tutorial or this video to get started. There are some excellent YouTube videos that can really help out with this.
Be smart about how you communicate online. If you take no precautionary measures, then you should assume that your communications are being recorded and monitored at all times. Do not discuss illegal or secret activities on Facebook or through Skype or Gmail. Ultimately, we should be greatly decreasing our use of these compromised services altogether! Be aware of what you type and consider their ramifications if ever made public. We must exercise great discretion and discernment when it comes to our online activities now. The methods listed above are by no means comprehensive and are just a small way to boost your privacy. If you have other privacy tips, please mention them here in the comments for all to see and benefit from. In the end, it is all up to the user to do their part in maintaining their online integrity. Safe browsing my friends!
Until a few weeks ago, political leaders in the United States and Western Europe had claimed with monotonous regularity that the government of Syria was on the verge of collapse. “Assad’s rule is coming to an end. It is inevitable,” Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told a Senate committee in November 2011. “Assad’s going to be gone; it’s just a question of time,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in November 2012. “I think the regime in Damascus is approaching collapse … it is only a question of time,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last December. Only three months ago President Barack Obama averred that he was confident the Assad regime in Syria would fall. “It’s not a question of if, it’s when,” he said in Amman, Jordan, on March 22. Similar predictions from mainstream punditry are too numerous to quote.
All this was in stark contrast with our assessments from two years ago (“On current form it is an even bet that [Bashar] will survive, which is preferable to any likely alternative,” I wrote in the May 2011 issue of Chronicles), and from February 2012 (“The regime of Bashar al-Assad is… not in any immediate danger of collapsing; if there is no foreign intervention it may survive”). It was reiterated most recently in March of this year, two weeks before Obama’s statement in Amman (“The rebels are unable to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, foreign political support and military supplies notwithstanding”).
I was right and Obama, Clinton et al were wrong. The proponents and opponents of Western intervention now agree that the tide has turned. Sen. John McCain, a hawk par excellence, declared that “Bashar al-Assad is winning” while visiting rebel-held territory last month to urge U.S.-led intervention. The fact that Bashar iswinning has prompted other, more levelheaded commentators to insist that we should stay out of Syria. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warns that our record of arming “rebels” has resulted in a disaster in Libya and elsewhere. Writing in the National Review, Andrew McCarthy (former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman) ridiculed McCain’s call for yet another war. While rubbing elbows with Syria’s motley jihadists last month, McCarthy wrote, the increasingly senile Arizona Senator said that they “are just trying to achieve the same thing that we have shed American blood and treasure for well over 200 years”:
Yeah, just like in Benghazi. And in Egypt, where a pogrom against Christians is underway, and the Muslim Brotherhood government McCain joins Obama in supporting has just installed a sharia constitution. And in Iraq, where Sunnis and Shiites are back to slaughtering each other under the sharia constitution our State Department helped them write. And in Afghanistan, where, under a similar American-sponsored sharia constitution, the Taliban bides its time while the U.S.-backed Islamist forces turn their guns on their American trainers. And in Turkey, where an Islamic-supremacist regime jails its political opponents, supports terrorist organizations, undermines sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, and gradually suffocates what was once a pro-Western democracy.
“Liberty is not spread by fueling sharia supremacists,” McCarthy concluded – and he used to be a proponent of military intervention, once. The Financial Times also used to favor intervention, but now its columnists admitthat “the fact that Mr. Obama is refusing to respond to calls for ‘tough action’ in Syria is not a sign that he is a weak leader,” it is a sign of his prudence. Writing in the Boston Globe, America’s leading foreign policy realist Andrew Bacevich warned that, on Syria, the U.S. Government “is manifestly clueless and powerless.”
The Syrian rebels are far from powerless, but they are utterly out of their depth. Their most recent announcement that they will not attend the proposed Geneva conference on the crisis unless their fighters receive new supplies of arms and ammunition is a sign of despair. They will not get anti-aircraft weapons they crave because no Western power will deliver such weapons to the bearded human flesh-eaters, the rhetoric in Washington, London and Paris notwithstanding. Their real message is that the fall of Qusayr has changed the equation so radically that the rebels do not want to attend any conference at a time of evident and increasing battlefield weakness. That weakness will be even more evident when Aleppo is cleared of rebel forces, which I predict will happen in the next two to three weeks.
Foreign intervention is bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are at stake. In Syria this is manifestly not the case. Foreign intervention is bad in particular if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Syria it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. That is infinitely worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than what we have now in Damascus. Bashar is certainly no John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, but he is the least bad option.
By now most people know that though it is perfectly fine to shout fire in a packed theater if there really is a fire, even constitutionally protected freedom of speech does not allow such behavior if there is no fire. It is now clear that Rush Limbaugh is doing exactly the same as shouting fire when none is present during most of his radio rants. He feels no obligation whatsoever to have a factual basis for spewing forth the most inflammatory statements imaginable. Single-handedly, he is one of the most powerful forces destroying the American political system and, indeed, our democracy. It is nonsense to shrug him off as merely an entertainer.
During my daily car ride to run errands I listened to the Rush Limbaugh radio show the other day and was truly stunned by the declaration that right now there is a coup d’etat by the Obama administration. Limbaugh is the master of public idiocy. But this assertion is beyond all previous nutty, totally wrong and intentionally provocative Limbaugh statements. Why make it? The only obvious answer is that he wants to infuriate his large audience of right wing nuts, to feed their fear, paranoia and hatred.
By any definition of coup d’etat on any dictionary website or Wikipedia there is absolutely no objective, correct information that the Obama administration is right now pursuing a rebellion, revolution, uprising or overthrow of the legally and constitutionally defined structure of the US government. Nor, as is usually the interpretation, is there any sign whatsoever of violence being used to take over the US government. Does Limbaugh totally ignore the ongoing power of the Congress and Supreme Court and the entire federal judicial system? Or even the massive military establishment?
Is there any way to give credibility to the Limbaugh assertion that right now there is a coup d’etat going on? I challenge others to come to the aid of Limbaugh.
Yes, there are a series of scandals going on. But not one of them rises to the level of a violent coup d’etat by some small but powerful group of political insiders wrenching control of the entire federal government. If you think that Limbaugh is correct, then you are either insane or an idiot, or perhaps just one of the information-poor citizens that Limbaugh constantly talks about. If anything, Limbaugh has single-handedly helped create a mass of information-poor Americans.
As if this coup d’etat nonsense was not enough, within minutes Limbaugh was also blithely asserting that the Obama presidential campaign could have used the many databases that are currently in the news because of activities of the National Security Agency. That’s right, Limbaugh publicly accuses the Obama campaign for data mining that made use of these highly debated secret databases with information on phone calls, Internet use and credit card use. Supposedly explaining why Obama won the presidency. What a wonderful idea to inject like a powerful narcotic directly into the dilapidated minds of the millions of Limbaugh fans.
Limbaugh does not just extrapolate from some facts to an extreme, far right fantasy. He uses the public airways to shout obscenities, sheer crazy assertions that are totally disconnected from reality. I would be so pleased to learn that Limbaugh has a major brain tumor. Otherwise, the logical interpretation is that he is just evil.
Beirut — A number of analysts and security experts who specialize in intelligence and security subjects in Lebanon and France have expressed this week shock at the way many Western authorities, including several in Europe and the United States, are avoiding engagement with the Syrian authorities and thus missing important avenues to help end the crisis in Syria.
This dismay follows increasing evidence of the grave dangers now threatening to turn Syria into a main operations base for anti-Western and anti-sectarian international jihadist groups and organizations. Some specialists spoke to “Afrique Asie” recently and expressed surprise and concern that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately ignoring the daily warnings sent out by intelligence and security organizationsin those countries including the Intelligence Community in the US with is comprised of the 16 American intelligence organizations , also referred to as “elements”. These are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),United States Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Security Agency (NSA),National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA),Army Intelligence and Security Command(INSCOM),Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), United States Department of Energy , Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI), United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A),Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI),United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI),United States Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), United States Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
One of France’s leading experts on terrorism, who visited Libya and Syria after the start of the turbulences, concluded:
“It is understandable that the that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately exploiting the Syrian revolution to punish President Bashar Al-Assad for his policies of siding with Iran and supporting organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that pose threats on Israeli security. However, the real strangeness lies in the fact that those nations are continuing to provide support, weaponry, military training and funding to the Syrian opposition and the media, with their knowledge that the class dominating the armed Syrian opposition is that of Al-Nusra terrorists who are closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda.”
Discussing the reasons preventing those authorities from changing their stance, the acknowledge expert concluded that Western political authorities, including the White House, believe that the Salafist movement’s attacks can be controlled through countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Hitherto, the relationship with Bashar Al-Assad has proven his independence as well as his adherence to the policies that bound him to Iran and other anti-Israeli organizations. However, French, European and American security officials perceive this differently.
Most Western intelligence apparatuses sounded out their danger sirens pointing to the necessity of cooperating with Syrian security authorities. This is because the Syrian intelligence is still considered the most effective party facing Salafist movements in the Middle East, and the Syrian army is fighting “terrorist/jihadists” on a daily basis. In this context, the Syrian intelligence never lost the penetrations it had into Al-Qaeda and other Syria-based Salafist movements as part of it work of planning to neutralize future terrorist attacks. To this end, Syrian intelligence committed substantial resources and senior officers in pursuit of international terrorists who are currently based in Syria, but who are laying the groundwork for terrorist attacks soon to be executed in European capitals.
While the United States and its Western allies are offering military, media, financial and political aid to thearmed opposition in Syria, allied with Al-Qaeda and like movements, the Syrian intelligence continues to fight against terrorism on behalf of the world, but with no assistance from countries whose interests and people they are work to protect.
One expert posed a rhetorical question, “Imagine that an assassination as big as that of the “Crisis Cell” officers in Syria was executed during the time when we discovered that among the victims was one of the most cooperative Syrian people with the French intelligence services in the fight against terrorism. And what have we done to protect it? Nothing.” However, as the Syrian story puts it, the Americans might well have been involved with his assassination.
In addition to the death of the “Crisis Cell” officers, in July of 2012, in a complex security operation widely believed to have been executed by the Syrian opposition, Western authorities are in pursuit of Syrians officers who helped save the lives of thousands of French and other Europeans over the past years. It is worthy to note here that one of those officers was wounded and almost killed while he was defending Western embassies under attack by” terrorists.”
When the scholar was asked whom he meant by this and replied: “It is obvious Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, the competent expert in combating Salafist terrorism who currently resides in Syria. It was through the efforts of officer Makhlouf that the Syrian authorities captured a number of terrorist cells, and thus, thwarted major operations that were being prepared for execution in Europe in general, and specifically in France.”
For his part, the security expert and former Lebanese Army General Elias Farhat, argued recently that security operations targeting senior Syrian officers do not only affect Syrian security, but are undermine operations for weakening international security and strengthening terrorists around the world. This is because the Syrian role is viewed even by the US Intelligence Community as being effective in fighting “international terrorism”, and had it not been for the cooperation the Syrians provided to Western security services, “terrorist organizations” would have succeeded in many attacks on European capitals.
Regarding the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on the Syrian officers for global security, General Farhat argued that what is incomprehensible is the self-targeting process today being carried out by Western powers because what they are doing with the Syrian security authorities is similar to refusing any help offered to save them from the monster of “terrorism.”
According to the Lebanese General, “Western authorities are providing enormous support for the armedopposition in Syria and they continue targeting senior Syrian officers, with sanctions, as well as planning and executing assassinations against the very peoples who helped save the lives of many Europeans. By doing so inlight of the internal security crisis in Syria, these authorities are curbing all future prospects for Syriancooperation.”
Indeed, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, who was largely responsible for security cooperation to combat international terrorism between the Syrians and the West in the past decade, was subject to the sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. In addition, the “Crisis Cell” operation, which participated in the assassination ofagents who were undoubtedly related to the West, resulted in the death of a number of Syrian officers who were responsible for some key security cooperation between Syria and the West. The West is killing and sanctioning many of those who provide it with help.
Walid Zeitouni, a former Lebanese Army General and an intelligence and extremist movements specialist, claims that imposing sanctions on Syrian Generals and senior security officers by the United States and Europe “is suicide carried out by Western governments. These sanctions can only be categorized under stupidity, forthe assassination of the members of the most prominent cell in Syrian security was indisputably executed by Western intelligence agents. Moreover, imposing sanctions on Colonel Hafez Makhlouf came simultaneous to him achieving a lot of security accomplishments not only in favor of Syria, but also for the benefit of international security and that of the West in particular.
The West killing senior Syrian intelligence officers who are some of the key individuals fighting terrorists who are enemies of the West while claiming to fight terrorism while they are taking measures to intensify political, economic, security and media pressure on Syria and its officers and leaders, is self-destructive for these countries.
It is these Syrians are considered among the most effective forces combating global terrorism. While Al-Qaeda and the West are working hand-in-hand in their fight the Syrian army, the West is also busy conspiring against Syria, while engaging in, and aspiring for, the formulation of yet more sanctions against the population of Syria in order to achieve a purely politically motivated regime change. These sanctions are in fact resulting in the rise to power of fundamentalist groups promoting terrorism.
Moreover, there is no benefit for Europe in such a policy, as it targets those who offer help by killing some of their officers, imposing sanctions on others, and aspiring to transfer others to the International Criminal Court. Those being punished are the same people helping fight terrorism on behalf of the world – as with the cases of Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, and the officers of the “Crisis Cell”.
In both the Makhlouf and Mamlouk’s cases, both were blacklisted and sanctions were imposed on them by the United States and Europe, preparatory to transferring them to the International Criminal Court. However, this did not detour either gentleman from continuing to combat terrorist organizations funded by the West to fight President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
These organizations are working in parallel and currently are planning terrorist and security attacks in Western capitals, despite the fact that a number of Western and Jordanian officers have repeatedly certified that Colonel Makhlouf achieved numerous successes in the field of security, especially in the fight against international terrorism. Makhlouf’s efforts resulted in saving the lives of many Westerners who were targeted in their home towns by Al-Qaeda’s assets in Syria who operate a planning center. Makhlouf also arrested a number of senior terrorists in Damascus who confessed to planning for operations that were halted through the information offered by the Syrians to the West via intermediary security organizations in the Middle East. When the French requested that the cooperation with the Syrians be restored, their request was turned down, pending the French governments ending its fighting alongside the terrorists in Syria.
Brigadier-General Mahmoud Matar, who was involved in person during the Cold War in a Lebanese-Western security operation that led to foiling a Russian KGB operation to steal a Mirage Airplane from Lebanon to Russia, told “Afrique Asie”:
“It is unfortunate that the extensive presence of Western security agents in Syria is serving the aim to fight the opponents of terrorism, which is wrong. However, I expect that the West would conduct a comprehensive review of its policy in Syria, and that security cooperation between the West and President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime be restored, since the situation is now even worse for the West than it is for Syria.”
This is one subjects that is reportedly being analyzed by the by US Intelligence Community. It is to be hoped that Washington and Brussels listen and act appropriately. If so they will avoid a steep price for their currently flawed policy.
It is a scene out of a futuristic political thriller—the Secretary of State issues secret orders for embassy officials to collect the DNA of foreign heads of state while the President, speaking at a $1000 a plate dinner, is surrounded by a contingent of Secret Service agents wiping clean his drinking glasses and picking up stray hair follicles. They are not just protecting the President—they are protecting the President’s DNA.
If this sounds like a script treatment for a Hollywood version of a Philip K. Dick novel, consider this: The Secretary of State’s name is Hillary Clinton and her directives to embassies were uncovered in a 2010 Wikileaks cable release. The President in this scenario is Barack Obama and the Secret Service unit pledged to protect his DNA is a group of Navy stewards, as revealed in the 2009 book by Ronald Kessler, entitled “In the President’s Secret Service.”
Our government’s DNA obsession was again in the news this week as the Supreme Court handed down a decision, worthy of penning by George Orwell, that law enforcement collection of arrestees’ DNA is not an invasion of privacy. The decision likened DNA to fingerprints, neatly sidestepping the fact that a person’s complete genetic makeup is contained in those drops of blood that the police can now collect with impunity and without fear of a civil rights lawsuit.
Beyond the obvious surface concerns that this decision violates both the Fourth Amendment and the subsequent exclusionary rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Since we are not yet threatened with the spectre of toddlers robbing banks or committing rape, one must look further to discern what is the big deal about our DNA.
Back in 1997, Dr. Wayne Nathanson warned a meeting of the Science and Ethics Department of the Medical Society of the United Kingdom that “gene therapy” might be turned to insidious uses and result in “gene weapons,” which could be used to target specific people containing a specific genetic structure. These weapons, Nathanson warned, “could be delivered not only in the forms already seen in warfare such as gas and aerosol, but could also be added to water supplies, causing not only death but sterility and birth defects in targeted groups.” /www.projectcensored.org/top-
Decades before Dr. Nathanson’s highly publicized warning, the U.S. Government was already hard at work in scientific endeavors to find gene and ethnic specific weapons. In an article entitled “Ethnic Weapons,” published in the Military Review in 1970, the author, Dr. Carl A. Larson, was found rhapsodizing about the state of technology facilitating the targeting of ethnic groups with covert weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.”
However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly, that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
Larson concludes with the following stark declaration: “The enzymatic process for RNA production has been known for some years but now the factors have been revealed which regulate the initiation and specificity of enzyme production. Not only have the factors been found, but their inhibitors. Thus, the functions of life lie bare to attack.” (emphasis added)
Dr. Wouter Basson’s research for Project Coast, the biological and chemical warfare unit under the apartheid government in South Africa, was known to be focused on developing a “blacks only” bioweapon. Basson, who was tied to intelligence facilities and labs in both Great Britain and the U.S., has been reported to have been successful in his endeavors, which were taking place back in the seventies. According to sources close to Basson, his research entailed locating substances which would attach onto melanin. Melanin is present in high degrees in darker colored skin.
Since Basson’s work on the melanin project, the rates of hypertension and diabetes have skyrocketed in people of color—specifically those of African descent and also indigenous, brown skinned populations. In some communities, the incidence of these diseases is now reported as up to 50%. Consonant with the reports that this disease- producing melanin- related substance has been leaked into processed food, one finds the spiking rates of the “silent killers,” hypertension and diabetes, to be present in the developed world, where people eat more processed food. In rural Africa, for example, where the population eats food from natural sources, the rates of diabetes and hypertension have remained constant over the years.
The mapping of the human genome satisfied all the requisites for creating gene specific weapons. Geneticists have maintained that developing an ethnic weapon is actually far more difficult than creating a gene weapon to target a specific person. The differences between groups are apparently much smaller than the differences between individuals and therefore the creation of a genetic weapon to target, for example, a head of state or a President is far less challenging than creating such a weapon to target an entire race.
The FBI admits to a database of around 13 million offenders, many only arrested and never charged with a crime. According to Twila Brase, President of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, around 4 million samples (filed with the babies’ names) are collected each year by State Health Departments. Some states, such as Minnesota, have been collecting newborn DNA samples since the mid-eighties. Minnesota alone is reported to have a newborn database of over 1.5 million samples.
The delivery systems for a DNA weapon would be easy: Everything.
Because the weaponized genetic material would only affect the target, the weapon could be leaked into the food supply, the water supply or sprayed in an airborne delivery system, such as the inexplicable chemtrails that are now blanketing our skies. And should a low profile target suddenly die, who would ever know that he died of a gene based weapon? Should the target be high profile, like perhaps a Hugo Chavez or Canada’s Jack Layton, who would be able to trace a deadly disease back to a weapon targeting his DNA?
The insistence of the U.S. Government that it is only trying to protect its citizens from a terrorist threat is the perfect cover of plausible deniability. Under the mantle of “protection,” our rights have been systematically stripped away while wars abroad have been launched against the Semitic peoples of the Middle East. Genetic based weapons are another tool in the plausible deniability eugenics tool box. They may, in fact, be one of the most salient tools.
Years before Nathanson’s warning was issued, our government had already attained a significant level of ability to weaponize against ethnic groups. An article entitled Ethnic Weapons, published in the Military Review in 1970, found the author, Dr. Carl A Larson rhapsodizing about the scientific accomplishments enabling the creation and deployment of ethnic weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.” However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
I was converted in the early 1960s through the ministry of. Bruce Larson who headed Faith at Work founded by Rev. Sam Shoemaker Shoemaker was heavily influenced by Frank Buchman’s Oxford Groups which were Humanistic, Evangelical, and Arminian.
For twenty-five years my family and I attended Charismatic churches and followed “Spirit filled” ministers. We were members of a Charismatic Presbyterian Church that was spawned by a larger church of the same denomination. Cultic sisters from Orleans on Cape Cod brought their ministry to this new church and we visited their home and sisterhood several times. New Christians seldom understand the danger of cults.
For almost a decade we attended a Charismatic Methodist Church pastured by a Princeton Graduate who, pained by a lack of church growth, attended a Charismatic home group, received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, forsook the Calvinist roots of his alma mater and was rewarded by full pews. He claimed “the Baptism” freed him to preach a more attractive gospel.
His was a small country church when we began to attend. We watched it grow from less than three score to over a hundred in each of two services. It was a simple white colonial style structure with a small, narrow lobby and doors at the entrance to each pew. There was no choir but both the minister and his wife were talented musicians. She could coax angelic cords from the piano and during the collections played popular praise songs softly sung by the audience; an ineffable, heart breaking ambience often filled the sanctuary.
The minister surrounded himself with talented and loyal lay people and along with the attractive Sundayservice conducted an extensive counseling ministry.
His sermons were edifying and the service was emotionally fulfilling; though there was vague talk of obedience, God’s Commandments were omitted and the ministry was humanistic.
We attended for almost ten years and finally concluded that the fruit of behavioral change was missing and with great disappointment we stopped attending.
There were other newly formed Charismatic churches in the area and this church became one of a group that hosted an ever changing procession of Charismatic thrill seekers. There was fierce competition both within and without.
From the beginning Bob Mumford was a leader in the worldwide Charismatic revival. In the late 1960s we attended his services at Rev. John Poole’s church in Philadelphia. There was much talk about the anointing of the Holy Spirit and these services had the same aura as the Connecticut Church; a healing peaceful calm pervaded the service, the church and the surrounding area.
It seemed to us that the entire monolithic Charismatic Movement, though authentic in many ways, created lots of excitement but failed to produce an effective cohesive Christian laity. In the late 1980s I wrote a letter the Bob Mumford at Life Changers contending that in response to a massive Christian revival the Charismatic Movement had failed to produce the behavioral fruit that God demands and could therefore be under God’s judgment. Though I had supported his ministry Rev. Mumford did not answer my letter.
I was aware of the Shepherding Movement and knew people who were involved. However, I had not joined and was unaware that severe criticism had forced Rev. Mumford and four other Christian ministers to recant on some of their previously held positions. The Shepherding Movement was an attempt to create human accountability in the church. It was an incipient cult and though accountability is still a serious problem its demise was a blessing.
The theology of cults is often superior to mainline Christian churches. However, cults invariably seek to cloister and control. The cult supersedes the family and destroys God’s basic unit of government by dividing and destroying its structure.
The Reformation dealt with several evil doctrines and practices in the Catholic Church but it failed in maintaining a cohesive Christian voice. The heretical theology of Jacob Arminiius found fertile ground and set the stage for the profanity of Dispensationalism which has denuded the Protestant Church. Arminianism got a foot in the door and Dispensationalism cut the heart out of Christianity.
Heretical theologies have produced great revivals with impressive numbers of Christian converts but they rarely produce social transformation. Christians should adore, praise, and seek God and the blessing of His Holy Spirit but pietistic serendipities are ancillary to obeying God’s Commandments.
When the essential theological maxim of obedience is missing there is a strong tendency to exert human control. Cay and Judy from the Community of Jesus http://www.communityofjesus.
The Methodist Minister in Connecticut was successful in controlling a small cadre and a number of persons that received his counsel but his ministry failed to produce social change agents.
The problem is theological. Christians are commanded not to lord it over one another. (Matthew 20, Mark 10) Our leaders are supposed to be servants. The Biblical system of government begins with the family and members of the family are to obey the Father. All Christians are enjoined to obey God’s Commandments. Peace and order come from obedience to God’s Law not from the opinions and whims of sinful men.
The father is expected to be a servant leader who while leading his family is also a servant to it.
Our Savior’s ministry attracted many followers. He healed the sick and set the captives free. But when He went to the Cross the crowds disappeared. Few preachers will confront the moneychangers in the temple or personally confront the humanist leaders of our time. Jesus sought to do the Will of His Father. If contemporary Christians would do the same our nation would be growing in peace and prosperity.
The gaping hole in the theology of Dispensational Evangelical and Charismatic churches causes them to seek control over their congregations. The minister of the Charismatic Methodist set himself up as arbiter through counseling. The Shepherding movement sought accountability through obedience to other human beings. Cultic leaders set themselves up as gods to be followed and obeyed. Pietistic churches fail to teach the primary theme of God’s entire Word. The Bible demands obedience to God’s Commandments when God’s people obey His Law the blessings God promises are there for all to see and His powerful earth changing army can easily defeat the forces of Satan.
God seeks to be praised and adored but his primary desire is to be obeyed.
Ever wonder how come there are men (and women) in costumes “policing” the rest of us?
Most people accept this relationship as both given – and eternal. That there have always been men (if not always women) in costumes “policing” the rest of us. But, in fact, it’s a relatively novel thing. Think back to your schooldays. Do you recall any mention of police when you were learning about the colonial era and the American Revolution? There were sheriffs, yes – and the local militia. But these were concerned mostly with keeping the peace – that is, stepping in when someone harmed someone else. Up to and even during the Civil War – a titanic struggle between the fading remnants of the old republican idea and the centralized, omnipotent state that took its place – the idea of police as we know it was essentially unknown. It is a modern concept – one developed out of the company town idea.
You may or may not recall the company town. It is a place – once upon a time, a very real place – in which the company not only employs nearly everyone but also controls nearly everyone. During work hours and – most relevant in terms of the discussion at hand – the rest of the time, too. This is achieved by paying the workers not in specie, but in “script” or tin coinage or some other form of fiat currency issued by the company – and good at the company stores in the company town where all the company workers live. Even the worker’s homes are company homes. In the company town, everything you did was the company’s business. And to keep it all nicely organized, there were company police. – Sound familiar?
Examples of these paternalistic – and authoritarian – “communities” include Bournville (see here) founded by Cadbury Chocolate King George Cadbury – which was gently paternalistic. And also the less gently paternalistic Pullman, Chicago. You may recall the Pullman Railroad strike of 1894 – which got ugly, quickly. The cattle – oops, Pullman workers – had become recalcitrant. – They were more firmly dealt with.
Often, they were dealt with by badged and costumed goons hired by the men who owned the company town. For example, the infamous Pinkertons – “pinks,” as they were once called.
Shortly after the not-so-Civil War, founder Allan Pinkerton expanded his band of head-crackers into the largest private law enforcement organization in the world – with more “agents” than there were soldiers in the U.S. Army at the time. Andrew Carnegie and other corporatists used the “pinks” to keep the cattle in line.
But, there was a problem. The cattle were still free range. They could leave the company town – or the crowded city – and go somewhere beyond the reach of costumed enforcers. America – even post Civil War – was not yet a consolidated corporate entity. One could still live relatively free. But it was only a temporary reprieve – one based almost entirely on remoteness from the clutches of the octopus and its costumed enforcers, i.e., the police.
It would not be long before America – the entire continental United-at-gunpoint-States – became one singular, insufferable, inescapable company town. One in which rights no longer existed. Only privileges – which could be rescinded at any time, for any reason. Because now, everyone was “on the clock,” 24-7.
Post not-so-Civil War, the federal leviathan that squatted in DC looked upon the Pinkerton model and smiled. An army – literally, with military grades as well as military-style uniforms and the military attitude to go with it – was just what was needed to maintain “order” in the biggest company town the world had yet seen.
But, some light cosmetic retouching was in order. It would not do, from the standpoint of public relations, to have private (that is, corporate) law enforcers. These would have to be transformed into public servants and – just like that – Americans fell under the total authority of the police. A standing army of enforcers from whom there is no escape – and little recourse. Today, most Americans accept, without question, the company town ideal and the enforcers that go along with it. The former distinctions between a private army of goons – and an army of goons styled “public servants” have been effaced. People not only no longer chafe at being ordered around by buzz-cut barking goons – they have been conditioned to revere their tormenters as selfless heroes working ever-so-hard to “protect” them!
The transformation – and consolidation of absolute power – is both astonishing and fearful. In a company town, one could at least leave – and one could still lawfully defend oneself against an assault by a company goon. Even that is now denied us. To resist in any way – even if the costumed enforcer is acting illegally – is itself illegal. For example, the courts have ruled that a homeowner may not – legally – use force to defend his home or himself against a costumed enforcer who forces his way into the home, even if the break-in is utterly illegal. We are expected – required – to go limp, roll over, present our bellies and trust to the good offices of the “officer” that we won’t get kicked. – Or worse.
“Police” have become a class of persons immune from the normal rules of civilized human interaction. Almost a sacred priesthood. And we are expected to play the role of humble supplicant – thanking them for their “service.”
Somewhere, far below, Alan Pinkerton is looking upward – and smiling.
Eric Peters, an automotive columnist and former editorial writer for The Washington Times, is the author ofAutomotive Atrocities. His website is here. His latest book is Road Hogs.
Article published here: EricPetersAutos.com. Screenshot: King County Sheriff’s Office. Video: LiveLeak
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview withThe New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.
Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”
According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’” that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.
Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”
At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”
The Fed in particular is at the very center of the network and the coverup, Hudes continued, citing a policy and oversight body that includes top government and Fed officials. Central bankers have also been manipulating gold prices, she added, echoing widespread concerns that The New American has documented extensively. Indeed, even the inaccurate World Bank financial statements that Hudes has been trying to expose are linked to the U.S. central bank, she said.
“The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”
The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”
As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.
“This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer.”
Of course, the major corruption at the highest levels of government and business is not a new phenomenon. Georgetown University historian and Professor Carroll Quigley, who served as President Bill Clinton’s mentor, for example, wrote about the scheme in his 1966 book Tragedy And Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time. The heavyweight academic, who was allowed to review documents belonging to the top echelons of the global establishment, even explained how the corrupt system would work — remarkably similar to what Hudes describes.
“The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” wrote Prof. Quigley, who agreed with the goals but not the secrecy. “This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”
But it is not going to happen, Hudes said — at least not if she has something do to with it. While the media are dominated by the “power grabber” network, Hudes has been working with foreign governments, reporters, U.S. officials, state governments, and a broad coalition of fellow whistleblowers to blow the entire scam wide open. There has been quite a bit of interest, too, particularly among foreign governments and state officials in the United States.
Citing the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers in creating a federal system of government with multiple layers of checks and balances, Hudes said she was confident that the network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, stopping the secret corruption. If and when that happens — even if it may be disorderly — Hudes says precious metals will once again play a role in imposing discipline on the monetary system. The rule of law would also be restored, she said, and the public will demand a proper press to stay informed.
“We’re going to have a cleaned-up financial system, that’s where it is going, but in the meantime, people who didn’t know how the system was gamed are going to find out,” she said. “We’re going to have a different kind of international financial system…. It’ll be a new kind of world where people know what’s going on — no more backroom deals; that’s not going to keep happening. We’re going to have a different kind of media if people don’t want to be dominated and controlled, which I don’t think they do.”
While Hudes sounded upbeat, she recognizes that the world is facing serious danger right now — there are even plans in place to impose martial law in the United States, she said. The next steps will be critical for humanity. As such, Hudes argues, it is crucial that the people of the world find out about the lawlessness, corruption, and thievery that are going on at the highest levels — and put a stop to it once and for all. The consequences of inaction would be disastrous.
Photo of World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached email@example.com.
Source: The New American
The data mining technology that is integral to the Google AdWords experience is a power tool in creating an individual profile for anyone who surfs the web. The amazing capacity to target specific ads to personal search topics, geographic locations and web history is the harbinger of a total recall on your personality. If the benefits of getting relevant advertisement that maximize sales opportunities were the only purpose of the process, the relatively benign intrusion of a materialistic message might be tolerable to most internet users. However, the bull in the china shop is not merely in the business of making a commercial profit. Google is a wonder creation of the calculate surveillance society.
Research at Google acknowledges:
“When data mining systems are placed at the core of interactive services in a rapidly changing and sometimes adversarial environment, statistical models need to be combined with ideas from control and game theory; for example, when using learning in auction algorithms.
Research at Google is at the forefront of innovation in machine learning and data mining – we have one of the most active groups working on virtually all aspects of data mining.”
OK, so the dominant internet technology company is in business to harvest information on the inner recesses of each unique login. Should a cyber sleuth be concerned? Well, according to the scholarly paper, The Google-NSA Alliance: Developing Cybersecurity Policy at Internet Speed by Stephanie A. DeVos:
“On February 4, 2010, the Washington Post reported that Google and the National Security Agency had partnered to analyze the cyberattacks, with the objective of better defending Google and its users from future attack. Though neither organization commented on the partnership, sources told the Washington Post that the alliance allows for the sharing of critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect Americans’ privacy of online communications. Under the terms of the alliance, Google will not be sharing proprietary data and the NSA will not be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts. The article stated that Google approached the NSA shortly after the attacks, but due to the sensitivity of the alliance, the deal took time to be formulated. Any agreement would be the first instance where Google had entered a “formal information-sharing relationship” with the NSA.”
PC World in the article, The Google-NSA Alliance: Questions and Answers lists the following concerns and would have you believe there is nothing ominous behind any alleged relationship.
1) Is the Google-NSA alliance really happening?
2) What would be the point of a Google-NSA partnership?
3) Would the government gain access to my personal information?
4) Why would Google work with the NSA instead of the Department of Homeland Security?
5) Has the NSA worked with Google before?
If the nature of the relationship between Google and the National Security Agency is innocent, where is the transparency? This item from Legal Times, DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA, has a disturbing appearance.
“The Justice Department is defending the government’s refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.
The Washington based advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center sued in federal district court here to obtain documents about any such agreement between the Internet search giant and the security agency.
The NSA responded to the suit with a so-called “Glomar” response in which the agency said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any responsive records exist. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington sided with the government last July.”
Another concern comes from a report in Higher Thinking Primate. “The ruling comes as controversy has been growing around CISPA, a bill that passed the House last month that would allow private firms like Google to share a wide range of information with government agencies like the NSA for cybersecurity reasons.”Even if one accepts that, the NSA agreement preserves Google’s stated policies on Americans’ privacy, what will be the effect of the new CISPA legislation on the supposed firewall protecting your personal data history?
The technology behind the most successful search engine evolves as different objectives develop. Anyone conducting Google searches knows that changes to their algorithms have the net effect of filtering out results that once were routine. TheElectronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has concerns about “the vagueness of what Google considers to be a high number of removal notices, how Google plans to make its determinations, and how “there will be no process of recourse for sites who have been demoted.”Many civil libertarians fear that the sordid political agenda of the NSA is influencing the business practices of Google to ban “undesirable” content from search queries.
Wire publishes a disturbing article, NSA Mimics Google, Pisses Off Senate.
“In 2008, a team of software coders inside the National Security Agency started reverse-engineering the database that ran Google.
They closely followed the Google research paper describing BigTable — the sweeping database that underpinned many of Google’s online services, running across tens of thousands of computer servers — but they also went a little further. In rebuilding this massive database, they beefed up the security. After all, this was the NSA.”
Even more sinister is the description of NSA projects on How The NSA Used Google To Spy On Americans — Until The Internet Figured It Out. The 634-page book, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research”, which is available for downloadand was published by the NSA’s Center for Digital Content, has an interesting chapter entitled “Google Hacking.”
If you are still a skeptic, watch the video, Google is an NSA tool DE-CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT.
The lingering questions about the nature of the Google – NSA relationship, jeopardize business confidence in the use of their services and ad programs. The persistent claims that Google data integration is coordinated with the NSA and that the Utah Data Center has linkage with the Google server network, gains traction when the government refuses public disclosure of the full historical relationship.Once online, the data lives eternally. Act accordingly.
The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.
1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009
2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later
Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.
3. Based on wage figures, over half of Americans are now IN poverty.
Census income figures are about 25% higher, because they include unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans’ payments, and various other monetary sources. Based on this supplemental income, the average household in the bottom 50% brings in about $25,000, which is just above the $23,000 poverty line for a family of four.
4. Based on wage figures, 75% of Americans are NEAR poverty.
According to IRS data, the average household in the bottom 75% earns about $31,000 per year. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to 130% of the federal poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four.
Incredibly, Congress is trying to cut food assistance. Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee referred to food stamps as “stealing.” He added a Biblical quote: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” A recent jobs hearing in Washington was attended by one Congressman.
5. Putting it in Perspective
Inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire 2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.
And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the food, housing, andeducation budgets combined.
Mr. Fincher should think about the tax breaks that allow this to happen, and then tell us who’s stealing from whom.
Paul Buchheit teaches economic inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of the Web sites UsAgainstGreed.org,PayUpNow.org and RappingHistory.org, and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached atpaul@UsAgainstGreed.org.
The authoritarian arrogance of the executive branch is defined by their tyrannical decrees. As any reader of BREAKING ALL THE RULES commentary, knows all too well, the dictatorship of central planning and unlawful administration has hijacked our federalist form of a constitutional republic. The primacy of the legislature over the executive branch was always the intent of our founding fathers. Unfortunately, the exact reverse has taken hold in the den of inequity that holds court in Washington, DC.
Thomas Jefferson was a staunch advocate of freedom of the press, asserting in a January 28, 1786, letter to James Currie (1745-1807), a Virginia physician and frequent correspondent during Jefferson’s residence in France: “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Without a vigorous and principled exposure of government abuses and crimes, Congress is unable to muster critical public support to hold accountable unelected bureaucratic agencies. These departments not only codify the regulations but also administer penalties and pick favored factions.In order to understand the nature of legislative oversight, the bipartisan betrayal of recent presidencies needs acknowledgement by every ideological viewpoint. Two current examples of such misuse of the public trust should outrage any honest citizen.
The subversion of the Obama regime sends a chilling message, intent to intimate and inhibit journalism. The Justice Department and Fox News’s Phone Records, also sets a fear factor in place against elected representatives that regularly interact with the press.
“William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, told The New Yorker this afternoon, “Because that information is sealed, I can’t confirm the owner or subscriber for any of those records.” Asked if the phone numbers of any reporters had been targeted in the Kim investigation, Miller said he could not comment.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that, as part of the investigation of the Kim leak, Obama’s Department of Justice seized e-mails from Rosen’s personal Gmail account. In the search warrant for that request, the government described Rosen as “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator” in violating the Espionage Act, noting that the crime can be punished by ten years in prison. Rosen was not indicted in the case, but the suggestion in a government document that a reporter could be guilty of espionage for engaging in routine reporting is unprecedented and has alarmed many journalists and civil libertarians.”
Another and far more frightening perversion of George W. Bush’s “Gestapo Police” goes to the heart of the phony war on terror. The significance of filing the Antiwar.com Sues FBI After Secret Surveillance, spans every administration, because the surveillance society is the key component of the technocratic tyranny that operates well above the office of the presidency.
“The website’s founder and managing editor Eric Garris, along with longtime editorial director Justin Raimondo, filed a lawsuit in federal court today, demanding the release of records they believe the FBI is keeping on them and the 17-year-old online magazine.
The unidentified agent writing the memo concludes, “it is recommended that ECAU (Electronic Communications Analysis Unit) further monitor the postings on the website … it is recommended that a PI (preliminary investigation) is opened to determine if [line redacted] have engaged in, or are engaging in, activities which constitute a threat to national security on behalf of a foreign power.”
This is the decisive point of the memo as it pertains to Antiwar.com: that Garris and Raimondo and Antiwar.com, for writing about a particularly sensitive subject and for linking to information that is already circulating around the Internet, may be a “threat to national security on behalf of a foreign power,” and therefore subject to secret surveillance. That would make any journalist, who say, linked a story to documents published by Wikileaks, which is currently under federal investigation, suspect too, surmised the plaintiffs.”
Emphatically, these cases illustrate the systemic treason practiced by presidential hacks, crooks and appointees. The lesson for frustrated voters, per the latest Gallop Poll, Congress Approval Remains in a Slump, “Fifteen percent of Americans now approve of the way Congress is handling its job” clearly requires dramatic proactive involvement that demands House and Senate, constitutional oversight of executive agency exploitation.
Unfortunately, Congress has its own brand of shortcomings and scoundrels; often compounded by a lack of term limits and strictly enforced ethical accountability. However, the labyrinths of executive agencies are populated by wicked witches like IRS Lois Lerner, who hide for cover under Bill of Right protections, while violating the natural rights of taxpayers as a normal course of government extortion.Folks, the only built-in constitutional recourse are for the House to take back their legitimate authority of withholding budget funding for oppressive agencies. The phony charade of selecting a supreme junta dictator every four years has been exposed for the farce it has become. Meaningful reform is impossible, when the global corporatists control the process.
The merits of the 19th Century Whig Party supports for the supremacy of Congress over the Presidency have a resonance for our times. A viewing of the Whig Partyvideo provides a brief historical summary. While some of their positions are less worthy, the fundamental perspective of opposition against centralized executive power is valid. The Whigs made use of a key advantage that rested in a strong network of newspapers and merchant class political support.Their opposition to the imperium style of governance by Andrew Jackson was a direct affront to the growth in the aggrandizement of presidential tenets. No matter what weight you place on their various positions or social policies, it is difficult to deny that the expansion of presidential dominance has been the norm since the demise of this loyal opposition party.
The constitutional safeguard against high crimes and misdemeanors is to remove officials from office. Impeachment in the United States is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office. Note Article II, Section 4:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Now the practicality or the lack of political will to exercise this constitutional mechanism for relief is a fair concern, especially when the crony Senate club of careerist criminals failed to execute their duty by removing William Jefferson Clinton. The fact that the entire two party election process is a false choice fraud is undeniable. Yet, the procedure exists to remove goons from their organized crime syndicates, more commonly known as official federal agencies.
Congressional representatives dispatched from office for their own acts of corruption often occur. Usually those targeted for removal are threats to the establishment order. The skilled outlaws get to become committee chairs. However, when did you last hear of a bureaucratic appointee getting a jail sentence for their high crimes and misdemeanors?
Both George W. Bush deserved and Barack H. Obama needs to be removed from office for a litany of offenses so numerous that the list goes on to infinity. A compliant mainstream media routinely covers up for the political structure of reprehensible executive administrations.
Here lies the linkage in defense of a free and independent press with the remote possibility of pushing elected Congressional representatives to conduct impeachment procedures against the likes of Eric Holder and Lois Lerner. Only a condition of citizen critical mass of justifiable outrage can affect the national pulse to hit the ceiling.
The dissemination of pervasive anger against governmental corruption needs the widest voice available. The public, seldom noted for their courage or involvement, must enter the dirty slime of the political cesspool.
Federal judges and the Supreme Courts are integral co-conspirator protectors of the subverted system. The law is too important to allow lawyers to practice their profession of esquire privilege over the sovereign citizenry. Congress is all that is left to strip the illegitimate despotism from the presidential potentates, who practice a version of divine right kingship.
The legislature is the last refuge of representative sentiment. Yet, the suicidal amnesty immigration betrayal by the Senate confirms, once again, the inbred elitism of globalist stooges. Obviously, the intent of extending indiscriminate citizenship is to eliminate the lingering remains of the Whig Party disdain for the imperial presidency.
Impeachment should become the full time agenda of Congress. The ultimate goal of eliminating entire agencies starts with passing legislation that defunds budgets and remove from positions of authority, the minions of international collectivism. Autocratic presidents and senate traitors that pass treasonous treaties, foster the advancement of the New World Order.
The House is the people’s body and is the final hope of constitutional legitimacy. Purging the bureaucratic offenders and shyster counsel from public office is imperative if Thomas Jefferson’s vision for America is to be resurrected, “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” Congress needs to make the presidency accountable to the nation.
What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? Themainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things. Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt. But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino on the planet, and much of the new money that the Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing up has gone into stocks. But the Dow does not keep setting new records because the underlying economic fundamentals are good. Rather, the reckless euphoria that we are seeing in the financial markets right now reminds me very much of 1929. Margin debt is absolutely soaring, and every time that happens a crash rapidly follows. But this time when a crash happens it could very well be unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The top 25 U.S. banks havemore than 212 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives combined, and when that house of cards comes crashing down there is no way that anyone will be able to prop it back up. After all, U.S. GDP for an entire year is only a bit more than 15 trillion dollars.
But most Americans are only focused on the short-term because the mainstream media is only focused on the short-term. Things are good this week and things were good last week, so there is nothing to worry about, right?
Unfortunately, economic reality is not going to change even if all of us try to ignore it. Those that are willing to take an honest look at what is coming down the road are very troubled. For example, Bill Gross of PIMCO says that his firm sees “bubbles everywhere”…
We see bubbles everywhere, and that is not to be dramatic and not to suggest they will pop immediately. I just suggested in the bond market with a bubble in treasuries and bubble in narrow credit spreads and high-yield prices, that perhaps there is a significant distortion there. Having said that, it suggests that as long as the FED and Bank of Japan and other Central Banks keep writing checks and do not withdraw, then the bubble can be supported as in blowing bubbles. They are blowing bubbles. When that stops there will be repercussions.
And unfortunately, it is not just the United States that has a bubble economy. In fact, the gigantic financial bubble over in Japan may burst before our own financial bubble does. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
First and foremost, Japan is the second largest bond market in the world. If Japan’s sovereign bonds continue to fall, pushing rates higher, then there has been a tectonic shift in the global financial system. Remember the impact that Greece had on asset prices? Greece’s bond market is less than 3% of Japan’s in size.
For multiple decades, Japanese bonds have been considered “risk free.” As a result of this, investors have been willing to lend money to Japan at extremely low rates. This has allowed Japan’s economy, the second largest in the world, to putter along marginally.
So if Japanese bonds begin to implode, this means that:
1) The second largest bond market in the world is entering a bear market (along with commensurate liquidations and redemptions by institutional investors around the globe).
2) The second largest economy in the world will collapse (along with the impact on global exports).
Both of these are truly epic problems for the financial system.
And of course the entire global financial system is a giant bundle of debt, risk and leverage at this point. We have never seen anything like this in world history. When you step back and take a good, hard look at the numbers, they truly are staggering. The following statistics are from one of my previous articles entitled “Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers“…
-$70,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of total world GDP.
-$190,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world. It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.
-$212,525,587,000,000 - According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States. But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined. In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.
-$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 - The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range. At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1.
The financial meltdown that happened back in 2008 should have been a wake up call for the nations of the world. They should have corrected the mistakes that happened so that nothing like that would ever happen again. Unfortunately, nothing was fixed. Instead, our politicians and the central bankers became obsessed with reinflating the system. They piled up even more debt, recklessly printed tons of money and kicked the can down the road for a few years. In the process, they made our long-term problems even worse. The following is a recent quote from John Williams of shadowstats.com…
The economic and systemic solvency crises of the last eight years continue. There never was an actual recovery following the economic downturn that began in 2006 and collapsed into 2008 and 2009. What followed was a protracted period of business stagnation that began to turn down anew in second- and third-quarter 2012. The official recovery seen in GDP has been a statistical illusion generated by the use of understated inflation in calculating key economic series (see Public Comment on Inflation). Nonetheless, given the nature of official reporting, the renewed downturn likely will gain recognition as the second-dip in a double- or multiple-dip recession.
What continues to unfold in the systemic and economic crises is just an ongoing part of the 2008 turmoil. All the extraordinary actions and interventions bought a little time, but they did not resolve the various crises. That the crises continue can be seen in deteriorating economic activity and in the panicked actions by the Federal Reserve, where it proactively is monetizing U.S. Treasury debt at a pace suggestive of a Treasury that is unable to borrow otherwise.
And there are already lots of signs that the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.
For example, corporate revenues are falling at Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Starbucks, AT&T, Safeway, American Express and IBM.
Would revenues at Wal-Mart be falling if the economy was getting better?
U.S. jobless claims hit a six week high last week. We aren’t in the danger zone yet, but once they hit 400,000 that will be a major red flag.
And even though we are still in the “good times” relatively speaking, the federal government is already talking about tightening welfare programs. In fact, there are proposals in Congress right now to make significant cuts to the food stamp program.
If food stamps and other welfare programs get cut, that is going to make a lot of people very, very angry. And that anger and frustration will get even worse when the next economic downturn strikes and millions of people start losing their jobs and their homes.
What we are witnessing right now is the calm before the storm. Let us hope that it lasts for as long as possible so that we can have more time to prepare.
Unfortunately, this bubble of false hope will not last forever. At some point it will end, and then the pain will begin.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Jihadophilia (/dʒɪˈhɑːdoˈfɪljə/) is a mental disorder affecting members of the Western (West European, North American and Anglo-Antipodean) elite class, mostly politicians, journalists, academics and civil servants. J. is characterized by a breakdown of the ability to name Muslims as perpetrators of the acts of Islamic terrorism, by the tendency to systematically ignore Islam as a factor in terrorist attacks or to deny its relevance in such attacks, and by an acute deficit of the capacity or will to provide appropriate institutional or emotional responses to such attacks.
Common symptoms of J. include hallucinations, usually in the form of an imaginary “peaceful and tolerant Islam,” paranoid or bizarre delusions, usually in the form of “right-wing terrorists, white supremacists and Christian extremists,” and disorganized speech and thinking, usually in the form of inappropriate and bizarre attempts to characterize acts of Islamic terrorism as generic terrorist acts unmotivated by Jihad, or else not “terrorist” at all.
A recent example includes reactions in Britain to the gruesome murder in London of a soldier by machete-wielding Muslims shouting Allahu Akbar on May 22. “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” one of the attackers declared immediately after the attack in a video clip shown on the ITV website. “The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Prime Minister David Cameron subsequently admitted there were “indications” it was an act of terrorism, without indicating by whom. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, described the murder as “shocking and horrific,” without qualifying it. Counter-terrorism expert and former MI5 and MI6 official Richard Barrett allowed the possibility of some unnamed terrorist connection: “The idea that this may be terrorism-inspired by some sort of religious extremist belief [emphasis added] is quite plausible.” London Mayor Boris Johnson said that “the fault lies wholly and exclusively in the warped and deluded mindset of the people who did it.” He then urged London’s citizens to “go about their lives in the normal way.”
Only two days earlier, British Home Secretary Theresa May was criticized for refusing to reveal how many “terror suspects” (of unstated religious affiliation) are living in London under special rules to prevent them from carrying out attacks. David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, had repeatedly called for the Government to publish the location, by region, of people subjected to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, but ministers are refusing to agree to the proposal, arguing that it might risk “compromising” their anonymity. The Home Office argued that the package of restrictions struck the “right balance” between protecting the public and the rights of the terror suspects. In view of the fact, reported by the BBC, that one of the machete attackers was arrested last year on his way to join al-Shabaab Islamic terrorist group in Somalia, striking the “right balance” comes at a cost, mostly of non-Muslim lives.
In the United States J. was manifested in President Obama’s initial reaction to the Boston bombings. Loath to imply a Muslim connection, he initially refused to use the word “terrorism.” Over the past four years he has banned the use of the words “Muslim” or “Islam” in the official American discourse on terrorism. By mandating the disconnect, he and his officials are displaying a mature form of the syndrome, as manifested in the Department of Defense’s classification of Maj. Hasan’ s Ft. Hood murders as “workplace violence.”
Institutional manifestations of Jihadophilia are evident in the Department of Homeland Security’s current anti-terrorism training guidelines, which pressure law enforcement officers to ignore Islamic faith of potential suspects when investigating terror crimes. Under the federal guidelines, agents are admonished to discount the possibility that a Muslim’s constitutionally protected disdain for the United States might possibly lead to violence. As a result, the Boston attack was carried out by a jihadist who had been investigated by the FBI, who was confirmed in 2011 to be a self-avowed Islamist—yet before the bombing, the FBI closed its file because it found this did not constitute “derogatory information” on Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Even if FBI operatives knew of Tsarnaev’s subsequent indoctrination journey to the Caucasus—and they were alerted by their Russian colleagues—they would not have restarted their 2011 investigation because of J.
Jihadophilia is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction, manifested in the inability or unwillingness of politicians to devise coherent anti-terrorist strategies or immigration policies, in the readiness of civil servants (including the military, national security and intelligence organizations) to comply with the delusional orders or guidelines for action, and the acceptance of the delusional paradigm by the media and the academe as reality. The onset of J. symptoms typically occurs upon the patient’s initiation into the ranks of the Western elite class, usually in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 99 percent for the members of the said class, regardless of the patient’s party-political affiliation or self-reported ideological preferences. Such high percentage is due to the fact that any manifestation of the absence of J. in a member of the Western elite class invariably leads to the accusations of “Islamophobia” and “racism” and the exclusion of the healthy person from the ranks of that class.
Numerous examples of J.-initiated exclusion include Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a highly respected and decorated officer, who was fired in the wake of Muslim groups complaining about the approved course he taught on radical Islam at National Defense University. After 57 Islamic organizations complained to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he displayed aggravated symptoms of J. when, in addition to ordering Dooley to be fired, he also ordered a negative Officer Evaluation Report against Dooley—the first such after 20 glowing annual reviews following his graduation from West Point. Earlier this year Dooley was punished again: Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who is now head of U.S. Central Command, vetoed Dolley’s move to a battalion command position. His actions, for which no reason was given but J. is strongly indicated, effectively spell the end of Dooley’s career. According to Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center who is representing Dooley, “The way they’re treating him now is not only a total miscarriage of justice on a personal level, but it also is really removing an effective combat leader from the Army, and it ultimately affects the national security of the United States.” Thomson adds that Army leaders willingly threw Dooley “under the bus for their own advancement or to appease the Muslims, which ultimately could lead to the destruction of the United States internally. If we cannot accurately describe who the enemy is, how can we win a war?” (Thompson’s question clearly indicated the absence of J. which may make his own long-term position at the TMLC uncertain.)
More recently, Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Mission Chief in Tripoli, was penalized by J. sufferers for refusing to go along with the Administration’s delusional claim that the jihadist attack in Benghazi last September 11 was the result of a spontaneous demonstration triggered off by an “anti-Islamic” amateur video. Within weeks, he received a “blistering critique” of his management from his J.-affected superiors at the Department of State.
Jihadophilia diagnosis is based on observed behavior and on the reported experiences of the victims of J.-affected patients’ acts. The clinical anamnesis of J. usually includes terminal de-Christianization, frontopolar and anterior temporal cortex degeneracy, and dependence on the mainstream media and mass culture in forming the Weltanschauung, but early-age political and social indoctrination appear to be important contributory factors. In particular, exposure to university education—especially at one of the leading institutions—appears to worsen J. symptoms. Some current research on J. is focused on the contributory role of Saudi money, although no single isolated “quantitative” cause has been found. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes, such as the Weiningerian self-hate syndrome articulated by Dr. S. Trifkowitz in the 1990’s.
People with Jihadophilia are likely to have additional (comorbid) conditions, including advocacy of “immigration reform” (i.e. amnesty) and “gay marriage,” as well as the lifetime occurrence of substance use disorder, primarily of power (as described by John Dalberg, 1st Baron Acton), but the secondary propensity to graft should not be neglected. The disorder initially affects cognition, but J’s behavioral consequences invariably lead to chronic morbidities, such as the native European and European-descended population replacement by the unassimilable—in Europe’s case overwhelmingly Muslim—immigrant communities.
The mainstay of Jihadophilia treatment is still in the development stage. Psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are believed to be ineffective. Involuntary hospitalization will be necessary when the social and political conditions make J’s long-overdue effective treatment methods possible, probably a decade or two from now.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam. France and its allies prevailed, at the cost of some 150,000 dead. Can Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pull off the same sort of victory?
Even as Damascus pushes back against the rebels militarily, Putin has swung into action on the international and regional stages. The Russian government persuaded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to support an international conference aimed at a negotiated settlement. Putin upbraided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his country’s air attacks on Damascus. Moscow is sending sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries, anti-submarine missiles and other munitions to beleaguered Assad, and has just announced that 12 Russian warships will patrol the Mediterranean. The Russian actions have raised alarums in Tel Aviv and Washington, even as they have been praised in Damascus and Tehran.
The Syrian regime has been on a military roll in the past few weeks. It has made a bloody push into the hinterlands of Damascus, fortifying the capital. With Hezbollah support, it has assaulted the rebel-held Qusair region near northern Lebanon, an important smuggling route for the rebels and the key to the central city of Homs. The Baath government needs to keep Homs in order for Russia to resupply the capital via the Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean. The Syrian government’s victories would not have been possible without Russian and Iranian help.
Regionally, a Moscow-Tehran axis has formed around Syria that is resisting Qatari and Saudi backing for the rebels. The increasing dominance of rebel fighting forces in the north by radical groups such as the al-Nusra Front, which has openly affiliated itself with al-Qaida, has resulted in a falloff of support for the revolution even in Saudi Arabia. Most Syrians who oppose the government are not radicals or even fundamentalists, but the latter have had the best record of military victories. Russian characterizations of the rebels as radical terrorists are a form of war propaganda; however, they have been effective. The Saudi and Jordanian plan to create a less radical southern opposition front at Deraa has met with a setback, since the regime recaptured that city last week. Doha and Riyadh are reeling from the Russia-backed counteroffensive.
At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pulled off a coup two weeks ago by persuading Kerry to support the international conference on Syria, to which both the Baath government and the rebels would be invited, as a way station toward a negotiated settlement of the conflict (Russia’s holy grail). The agreement represented a climb-down for the Obama administration, which had earlier insisted that Assad leave office as a prerequisite to a resolution, language that the joint Russian-American communique issuing from the Kerry-Lavrov meeting in Moscow conspicuously avoided. Lavrov, a South Asia expert and guitar-playing poet, speaks as though what happened in Yemen, with a negotiated solution and a government of national unity, is a plausible scenario for Syria. But so much blood has been spilled in the latter that a military victory by one side or the other now seems far more likely.
When sources in the Pentagon leaked the information that explosions in Damascus on May 5 were an Israeli airstrike, Putin appears to have been livid. He tracked down Netanyahu on the prime minister’s visit to Shanghai and harangued him on the phone. The two met last week in Moscow, where Putin is alleged to have read Netanyahu the riot act. Subsequently, the Likud government leaked to The New York Times that its aim in the airstrike had been only to prevent Syrian munitions from being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon, not to help in overthrowing the Baath government. The Israelis were clearly attempting to avoid further provoking Moscow’s ire, and wanted to send a signal to Damascus that they would remain neutral on Syria but not on further arming of Hezbollah.
Putin, not visibly mollified by Netanyahu’s clarification, responded by announcing forcefully that he had sent to Syria Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles and was planning to dispatch sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft batteries. Both U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Israeli military analysts protested the Russian shipments. Although Netanyahu went on insisting that Israel would bomb Syria at will when it suspected supplies were being sent to Hezbollah, Putin had clearly just raised the risks of such intervention.
Russia’s motives have sometimes been attributed to the profits it realizes from its arms trade with Syria, going back to the Soviet era, but that business is actually quite small. Others have suggested that Syria’s leasing to Russia of a naval base at Tartous, Russia’s only toehold on the Mediterranean, is a consideration. Rather, Russia’s support of Assad is part of its reassertion on the world stage as a great power with areas under its control. Putin wants to raise Russia from the world’s ninth- to fifth-largest capitalist economy. Smarting from the aggressive American expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the planting of U.S. bases in Central Asia, Moscow is determined to recover its former spheres of influence. In addition, some senior Russian military analysts see “color revolutions” as a ploy by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow unfriendly governments and then to plunder the resulting weak states of their resources, a tactic they fear menaces Russia itself. Drawing a line at Syria, in this view, is a way of underscoring that Putin’s own neo-authoritarian regime will not go quietly.
Russia is only a 24-hour drive from Aleppo, Syria’s northernmost metropolis. Having crushed a Muslim fundamentalist uprising in Chechnya and Dagestan at the turn of the century, and having stood up a friendly Chechen state government in the aftermath, Moscow is wary of the spread of radical Muslim movements in the nearby Levant. Moreover, some 10 to 14 percent of Syrians are Christians, many of them belonging to the Eastern Orthodox branch that predominates in Russia itself. The Russian Orthodox Church, a key constituency for Putin, has opposed the overthrow of the secular Baath government, seeing it as a protector of those coreligionists.
The thinking of the Russian foreign ministry is clear from its Saturday press release on the revival of the radical Sunni insurgency in Iraq in recent weeks. Complaining about what it termed terrorist attacks in Mosul and Baghdad, the ministry’s website said, according to a translation done for the U.S. government’s Open Source Center, that “We are particularly concerned about growing sectarian tensions in Iraq, which are turning into a direct armed confrontation between radical elements in the Shi’a and Sunni communities. This is largely due to the crisis situation in neighboring Syria and the spread of terrorist activities of militants operating there.” In other words, Russia sees the Syrian revolution as dominated by al-Qaida-linked groups such as the al-Nusra Front. Moscow views the civil war as a destabilizing event with the potential for radicalizing the Middle East, which it views as its soft underbelly.
The momentum of the Syrian rebels has palpably slowed in the last month, as Putin’s riposte has stiffened the resolve in Damascus and given its military the wherewithal to regain territory. The Russian president is weaving a protective web around his client, fending off the Wahhabi winds of Muslim fundamentalism blowing from the Arabian Peninsula. He has also pushed back against opportunistic Israeli intervention, worried that it might further destabilize Damascus. At the same time, he has impressed on Washington the need for a negotiated settlement, an idea that President Obama, long skittish about sending troops into further possible Middle East quagmires, has begun to tolerate. Putin’s supply of powerful new weapons systems to Assad’s military, and his dispatch of warships from the Russian Pacific fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, make clear that the full force of Russian military might is, if need be, at the service of its Baath client. Putin’s gambit may or may not prove successful, but he is indisputably demonstrating that the age of the sole superpower and of American unilateralism is passing in favor of a multipolar world.
Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.
Source: Juan Cole | TruthDig