Apr 3, 2009
"...Gordon Brown pronounced it a "New World Order," which sounds a lot like what George Bush I was aiming for 15 years ago. One world government. One multi-national police force. Harmonized tax collection. (No more tax havens...nowhere to run...nowhere to hide...) Keep the masses happy with bread and circuses...and "wars" against imaginary and unnecessary enemies. (The War on Terror and now - the War on Depression.)
Hey, maybe we'll all have to speak Esperanto, too...
But at least now the IMF will be about to bailout more bankrupt governments before it goes broke itself.
Most of the money is coming from a country that doesn't have any: the U.S.A.
Look up. What do you see? Why, it's our Dollar Crash Flag. The dollar's days are numbered. What's the number? We don't know. But whatever it was a week ago, it is a smaller number now.
Yesterday, the dollar gave up a little ground. The euro rose to $1.24. Oil went up to $52. Gold, however, fell hard - down to $904. Gold stocks, on the other hand, did rather well.
Hugo Chavez was in the Mideast this week at a meeting of oil producers. He called for a new petro-currency...which, we suppose, is a currency backed by oil. The Associated Press:
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought Arab support Tuesday for a proposed oil-backed currency to challenge the U.S. dollar in his latest swipe at Washington's dominance in global financial affairs."
He probably won't get very far with that. But he's not the only one looking for a solution to a crisis that hasn't happened yet.
The dollar's been king of the monetary mountain for a long time. But it had better be careful...watch it's back ...give a little of the food to a dog before eating it itself. Rivals are plotting against it. Much of the world wants to dethrone "King Dollar," says the French financial journal, La Tribune. China has already called for a new reserve currency based on IMF Special Drawing Rights. What's more, it's worked out bilateral agreements with many of its neighbors to swap goods, rather than use the dollar as a common unit of exchange. This week, it went further afield, making a deal with Argentina. This is the first deal of its kind in the Latin American world. But it's probably not the last. People see trouble coming with the greenback. They don't want it to hurt their sales of raw materials to China.
The Russians, too, have called for a new reserve currency. They, like the Arabs and Chavez, are sellers of raw materials. They don't want to get stuck with dollars that are losing their value.
That's the real New World Order...the United States will find it harder to stay in the driver's seat of this bus...and the U.S. currency will no longer give Americans an automatic ticket to the first class section...
"...Market forces, if left unchecked, will lead to asset bubbles and ultimately a disastrous market clearing in the form of a financial crisis like the current one," says a report from the Chinese central bank. Everyone wants to be Chinese. Because the Chinese have money. And because they don't have free markets. It is widely believed that the Middle Kingdom can more effectively fight a downturn without democratic, consensus-driven institutions staying its hand. But here is where we gasp for air. What theory holds that central planning - whether by Chinese communists or American Democrats - can do a better job of allocating capital than the people who own it? There is none. That is why the world's leaders - and most of its economists too - permit themselves a luscious fib; they say they don't need theory at all. "Pragmatism" was the word on every pair of lips in London this week. Free from chains to dead economists, they say they will try "whatever works." Oh, the loveable lunkheads! NaÃ¯ve enough to believe anything; receptive as a trashcan. "Pragmatism" in economics is as phony as the men who preach it. Every one of them has a dog-eared copy of Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in his briefcase and an ace up his sleeve. And every supposedly new, pragmatic idea they come up with is merely a version of the same quack cures that kept the economy in the hospital last time. Perhaps you can paint a bridge pragmatically. If you don't like the color, you can change it quickly. But if you're building a bridge, an airplane or an economic system, you can't make it up as you go along. You have to have an idea of how it works before you start. Besides, results from fiscal, monetary and regulatory policies don't happen overnight. The feedback loop takes years. It took the Bolsheviks seven decades before they realized they'd been had. Friedman's critique of America's Great Depression policies didn't appear until 30 years after the event. In Japan, they still don't know what they did wrong. And by the time the feds catch on this time, they will have turned an ordinary depression into a great one. Enjoy your weekend," Bill Bonner - The Daily Reckoning
"... Why is the G20 Meeting a turning point? First of all because the US$-based global financial structure is broken. In plain words, the USDollar is totally broken as the global reserve currency, fully discredited, and the anchor dragging down the national banking systems in scores of countries. Also, because the Elite G7 or G8 Meetings, where the banking power has been greedily and maliciously and jealously guarded, is replete with bank leaders whose countries are crippled by insolvent banks and outsized national debts. Who owns the largest portion of the G8 national debts? The G20 countries, the developing nations, the upstarts who up to now have owned zero voice in global banking, PERIOD! Imagine a bankruptcy hearing where the creditor (guy who owns the debt) does not have a seat at the bankruptcy court, has no attorney to argue on its behalf, and must listen to rigged outcomes from a rigged game. The global forces toward deep change have never been greater. Thus a turning point. Creditors have the option of simply refusing to purchase any more USTreasury Bond debt. To a great extent, that is what is occurring right now. The US responded last week, as its Federal Reserve announced $1050 billion in monetized USTreasury Bond and USAgency Mortgage Bond purchases. At least $1 trillion will be printed for monetized bond purpose each and every quarter from here onward, as is my forecast. The USGovt will destroy the credibility of the USDollar, but at least offer lifeblood to the crippled USEconomy, at the cost of upcoming price inflation. The United Kingdom has no such privilege. They suffered an important Gilt Bond failed auction last week, one which brought great embarrassment upon them.
Last week, China was highlighted at turning the global USDollar tables. They have begun to displace the US$ within their domestic banking system, in favor of the Chinese yuan. Actually, they will soon be issuing Chinese Govt debt securities denominated in yuan currency. Doing so involves wave after wave of conversion of USTBond securities into cash, then conversion further in to Yuan Debt securities, which still need a new name. How about Dragon Bonds for a name??? The Chinese will then wear and presumably use the great currency boot, since all economies that wish to purchase Chinese products must purchase Chinese Govt bonds!!!
The Chinese are also leading a movement to create an Emergency Fund for the Assn of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), one which will assist in defense of any hotmoney attacks against a smaller Asian nation. In 1997, the Asian Meltdown was triggered by hotmoney attacks waged against Thailand and South Korea. My personal belief is that the Emergency Fund will blossom into a pan-Asian Regional Bond Fund for economic development. The Asian-only fund will essentially serve as a gigantic regional savings account, free from Western control and pressures, independent from Western currency risk, and operate as a regional economic development fund.
The latest big currency news is between the central banks of China and Argentina. They reached an agreement for a three-year, $10 billion currency swap, disclosed by the Chinese Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan. One can rest assured that their USTreasury Bonds will supply the funds. The move follows swap accords between China and Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Belarus. The agreement broadens Argentina's access to foreign currency reserves in order to achieve stability. Argentina was excluded last autumn 2008 from the USDollar Swap Facility program created by the USFed for emerging markets, which were designed to aid Brazil and Mexico. Watch Venezuela and Iran be next for Chinese swap stations. One can conclude that China is expanding its stations globally for creating the Chinese yuan as a global reserve currency in competition with the USDollar. See the Bloomberg story (CLICK HERE).
Strange but meaningful additional challenges have come, these centered upon the Intl Monetary Fund. For years, the IMF has granted loans denominated not in USDollars but in Special Drawing Rights, which often function within various currency denominations, if not a basket of such currencies. The SDR formally is an international reserve asset already in usage. The SDR has been put in focus, if not under the microscope lately. Russia has formally suggested that the IMF be used to establish a new global currency system, to replace the defunct and broken USDollar system, and to use the SDRights as a new formal basket for global banking and commercial settlements. My belief is that Russia has used the concept as a straw man, just to place emphasis away from the USDollar. Once accepted, the concept can morph to another new currency suddenly. China has endorsed the SDR concept raised by Russia as well, to gain credibility.
My view has been consistent for months. Unless and until the foreign creditor nations distance themselves from a US$-based banking and commercial system, they run enormous risks. Their banking system, their financial markets, their economies, their standard of living, even their political stability, will all remain at chronic heightened risk. Alternatives are extraordinarily difficult, challenging, and daunting to design, construct, and implement. A system built after World War II was perverted in profound manner when in 1971 Nixon abrogated the Bretton Woods Accord in a single betrayal stroke. That maneuver was one of the most important violations of a treaty in modern history. It declared the United States as global financial dictator, enforced by a powerful USMilitary, aided by a large strong economy. It perversely invited all major economic nations of the world to join in managing free money off a printing press, of course with inherent risk.
CREDITORS DEMAND BANK POWER
For many years recently, the G20 Meeting has served as a forum for paying mere lipservice to the raft of foreign creditor nations. They have been enlisted by the G7 and G8 countries to continue to purchase USTreasury Bonds, UK Gilts, even German Bunds. They have been invited to invest in US, British, and European companies, and to become partners in major international commodity supply corporations, including energy firms. HOWEVER, THESE EMERGING NATIONS, THESE CREDITOR NATIONS, THESE SMALLER LESS POWERFUL NATIONS, WHICH COINCIDENTALLY DO NOT HAVE MILITARY FORCES OF THEIR OWN, HAVE NO GLOBAL BANKING POWER, HAVE NEVER HAD ANY GLOBAL BANKING POWER, BUT NOW ARE DEMANDING GLOBAL BANKING POWER. Such is the revolution triggered in London this week.
For the last decade, China has been given an insult at G7 and G8 Meetings of finance ministers. They have been guests, who essentially sit in the hallway quietly until invited to enter for briefing sessions. The largest creditor nation in the world must sit in the hall while debtor bankers make decisions, issue orders, change structural procedures, and pretend to be in charge. Never in financial history have debtors remained in power, and this is no exception.
Creditor nations demand a more solid reliable global reserve currency, or currencies. They demand some hard asset component to the new reserve currency to be installed, like one backed by a basket that includes at least gold and crude oil. This would be sufficient to lift the gold price substantially, far above its current range, and far higher than a mere $1000 per ounce. The Chinese are the clear spearhead, uninhibited by US threats. The crowning blow against the USDollar supremacy will come when Persian Gulf nations install a new hard asset currency. At that time, one quarter of the world will pay for crude oil in a hard asset currency with a gold component. That is a spike in the heart for the USDollar founded in a unipolar world. The G20 Meeting intends to make the statement that the unipolar world is dead on the financial stage. That is their agenda. The US agenda is to preserve the system through reform.
US MUST ACCEPT ROLE AS DEBTOR
The clear challenge facing the G20 Meeting is to bring awareness to the United States that the system is broken, that the US is no longer dictating policy, and that the US must integrate many more countries into important global banking bodies. However, much bigger tasks come. The United States must accept that the USDollar can no longer function as before, cannot serve as the primary and only global reserve currency, and must share reserve currency status with other regionally crucial currencies. The new multi-polar currency world must be hatched and launched. Defiance and stubbornness by the USGovt can no longer be tolerated. The United States admits to operating a Shadow Banking System that is abhorrent to any credible or justifiable system. THE JIG IS UP!!! If the USGovt does not cooperate with alternative global reserve currency usage, then it will be bypassed, with associated cost. That cost will be lost respect, lost creditor cooperation, and certain economic consequences within the USEconomy. If not careful and cooperative, the US will find itself increasingly isolated, which is precisely my forecast. This direction is consistent with a shove down the staircase into the Third World, where credit shortages and supply shortages and poverty persist.
The quintessential problem, plainly stated, is the United States Govt leaders and officials insist on sitting apart from the debtor nations. They must join the debtors, and be treated in similar fashion. They must accept terms dictated to them. They must accept and endure a much lower standard of living. They must institute policies to rebuild the industrial base of the USEconomy. They must write off trillion$ in bad debt, including some USTreasury debt. They must liquidate failed banks and corporations that are not in the least functional or competitive. They must redirect priorities away from military and defense, and toward capital formation, industrial production, and job creation, even if initially at prison facilities. The entire economic structure and financial structure has suffered a death experience, one not properly acknowledged. In my view, the US banking system died in September 2008, never to be revived from its terminal insolvent state. In my view, the USEconomy suffered a death experience, but with a lagged time period. We are witnessing the death now. Its downward spiral is unmistakable. Each month shows worse data than the previous. The degree of doctoring data has escalated to unseen levels, like with seasonality adjustment that amplify raw data many-fold, not just many percent.
My analysis has frequently described over the last two to three years the deep risk of internal dynamics called vicious cycles with nasty feedback loops. We are witnessing them now in full force. The bank losses have not ended, not even close. Prime mortgages are defaulting. Commercial mortgages have finally begun to default. Job cuts, home foreclosures, and retail shutdowns result in feedback loops. The underlying millstone remains US housing prices, down a record 19% in January. The jobless rate is 17% if one counts those without jobs. An expected 125k retail shops are expected to shut down in 2009. Aid to mortgage holders on Main Street stands at a trickle. The bankers must prevent revelations of trillion$ in mortgage bond fraud and counterfeit, so the mortgage assistance is mostly talk. And Geithner wants the power to kill whichever financial firms he sees fit. Things are careening downhill. The USDollar deserves no respect. Gold deserves it instead. Foreign creditors harbor growing gold accounts and greatly dislike what the US does to suppress its price as it continues to hold it in contempt...." Source
"A single clause in Point 19 of the communiqué issued by the G20 leaders amounts to revolution in the global financial order.
"We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity," it said. SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.
In effect, the G20 leaders have activated the IMF's power to create money and begin global "quantitative easing". In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body. Conspiracy theorists will love it...." Read all here
"...So what if the AfPak quagmire had nothing to do with “terrorists” but with these facts:
1. A Cold War mentality in action still prevailing at the Pentagon. That explains a Vietnam-style surge - expanding the war to Cambodia then, expanding it to Pakistan now. As University of Michigan’s Juan Cole has pointed out, the rationale is the same old fallacious domino theory (communism will take over Southeast Asia, terrorism will take over Central/South Asia). The Taliban are simply not able to take over and control the whole of Afghanistan (they didn’t from 1996 to 2001). Al-Qaeda simply can’t have bases in Afghanistan: they would be bombed to smithereens by the 80,000-strong Afghan Army plus Bagram-based US air strikes.
2. The US Empire of Bases still in overdrive, and in New Great Game mode - which implies very close surveillance over Russia and China via bases such as Bagram, and the drive to block Russia from establishing a commercial route to the Middle East via Pakistan.
3. The fear of a spectacular NATO failure. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, absolutely despised by progressives in Brussels and assorted European capitals, is pressuring everyone for more troops to avoid what he calls the “Americanization” of the war. No one is impressed - especially because Scheffer himself was forced to admit troops will have to stay on the ground “for the foreseeable future”.
4. Last but not least, the energy wars. And that involves that occult, almost supernatural entity, the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which would carry gas from eastern Turkmenistan through Afghanistan east of Herat and down Taliban-controlled Nimruz and Helmand provinces, down Balochistan in Pakistan and then to the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea. No investor in his right mind will invest in a pipeline in a war zone, thus Afghanistan must be “stabilized” at all costs.
So is AfPak the Pentagon’s AIG - we gotta bail them out, can’t let them fail? Is it a Predator drone war disguised as nation building? Will it become Obama’s Vietnam? Whatever it is, it’s not about “terrorists”. Not really. Follow the money. Follow the energy. Follow the map.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009)." Read all here
"On the campaign trail, Barack Obama's advisers said he "can't rule out [and] won't rule out" using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater's thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What's more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.
Beginning May 7th, Triple Canopy will officially take over Xe/Blackwater's mega-contract with the U.S. State Department for guarding occupation officials in Iraq. It's sure to be a lucrative deal: Obama's Iraq plan will inevitably rely on an increased use of private contractors, including an army of mercenaries to protect his surge of diplomats operating out of the monstrous U.S. embassy in Baghdad...." Read all here
Reports from across the country confirm that gun owners seeking to stock up on ammunition are facing the same list of problems: shortages, back orders, elevated prices and a long line of people staring at empty shelves where boxes of bullets used to be.
"Just about everywhere I've been, it's sold out," Darren Lauzon told KMGH-TV in Denver after he failed to find ammunition for his new .45 pistol. "Wal-Mart, Sportsman's, wherever."
"Folks have been experiencing shortages all over the country," a spokesman for the National Rifle Association told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat in California. "Since the election there has been a great increase in firearms sales as well. Background checks are up, enrollment in training and safety classes is up, concealed weapons permits are up, gun sales are up – and ammo manufacturers can't keep up with demand."
Gun shops and retailers agree: the press for ammunition is emptying their shelves quicker than the manufacturers can restock them.
"We're probably selling ammunition right now at a 200 percent increase over normal sales," said Richard Taylor, manager at the Firing Line in Aurora, Colo.
"We've probably got over 4,000 cases of ammunition on back order currently. But we just don't know when we're going to receive that," Taylor told KMGH. "Y2K was just like a little blip on the radar screen compared to this. I mean, it's just phenomenal."
A Wal-Mart salesman told Ross Kaminsky of Human Events, "We used to get shipments almost every day. Now we only know we'll have it when we see it. I get at least a half-dozen calls a day asking for ammunition, especially for handguns, and when it arrives, the customers buy everything."
The shortages are creating multiple complications for both gun owners and sellers.
KSNW-TV in Wichita reports the cost of ammunition in many Kansas stores has risen between $5 to $15 more per box over the last six months, and even still, many retailers are limiting the amount of ammunition customers can buy.
"It is a bad problem," Bill Vinduska with Bullseye Firearms told the station, "because we really would rather be able to supply our customers their needs; and not being able to do that is really a problem."
"When you're turning down two or three thousand, four thousand dollars a day in sales because you just can't get the product, that's significant, " said Burnie Stokes from Panhandle Gunslingers to KFDA-TV in Amarillo, Texas.
Jere Jordan, general manager Midsouth Shooters Supply in Clarksville, Tenn., a company that specializes in mail-order sales of ammunition and reloading supplies, told the Associated Press that his company has sold out of ammunition commonly used in semiautomatic pistols and popular military rifles.
And even though Midsouth is taking orders for supplies used by hobbyists to handload cartridges, Jordan has no idea when they'll be filled.
"The wait? We're not even guessing on the wait anymore," Jordan said. "It's exceeding 60 days."
Who's to blame for shortages?
According to Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade organization representing both manufacturers and retailers, the shortages pinching store owners aren't the fault of their suppliers.
"We have heard from all across the country that there is a tremendous shortage of ammunition," Keane told the AP. "We've heard this from the manufacturers, that their customers are calling them trying to get supplies for inventory, and that the manufacturers are going full-bore, pardon the pun."
The shortages, for the most part, stem from a widespread surge in customer demand for ammunition, a surge many link to the election of Barack Obama and the belief, perpetuated in part by the National Rifle Association, that the new president favors limiting the right to bear arms codified in the Second Amendment.
"Sen. Obama's statements and support for restricting access to firearms, raising taxes on guns and ammunition and voting against the use of firearms for self-defense in the home are a matter of public record," declares Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund. "Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in our nation's history."
..."Everybody's just worried about the new government coming in and trying to ban guns and make everything more difficult to obtain," NRA member Kevin Bishop told KMGH. "Well, the way [Obama] has been acting, there may be a little truth to the rumor."
Rich Wyatt, owner of a firearms shop and training facility outside of Denver, told Human Events' Kaminsky that even "old ladies and young people and liberals" have been buying ammunition from him.
Wyatt's position seems to be that the new president sparked the ammunition buying frenzy with careless words from the campaign trail, such as when he said small town folks in Pennsylvania "cling to guns or religion" during hard economic times.
"Barack Obama is right about one thing," Wyatt said. "We are clinging to God and our guns, and I defy him to try to take either one from us."Source
"Revelations that a political assassination unit which reported solely to Dick Cheney was in operation during the Bush administration are absent the fact that the unit in question, the Joint Special Operations Command, has been active for decades, has been deployed domestically in the U.S., has killed U.S. citizens, and is an integral part of Barack Obama’s expanded wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell when he told a University of Minnesota audience on Tuesday that the Joint Special Operations Command is, “An executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”
Subsequent media coverage of Hersh’s comments, such as a special feature on last night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, has framed the story in the inaccurate context that the JSOC was a personal hit team acting on behalf of Cheney alone, when in reality the unit was created in 1980 and continues to play a central role in Barack Obama’s continuation of the so-called war on terror.
As we learn from the Global Security website, the Joint Special Operations Command in fact comprises mostly of Delta Force soldiers and SEALs. The unit was established in 1980 and is located at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina and at nearby Fort Bragg.
The assassination unit was not a creation of the Bush administration or Dick Cheney, it has in fact been “involved in a number of covert military operations over the last two decades,” including the covert U.S. invasions of Panama and Granada, as well as search and rescue missions in Somalia, and searching for alleged war criminals in Yugoslavia...
...Once again, the corporate media has completely fudged the most prescient issue arising out of Hersh’s revelation, which is the fact that the Joint Special Operations Command (mainly comprising of Delta Force) was not merely the brainchild or personal political assassination wing for Dick Cheney, but it has been in operation for decades, including inside the United States, has been involved in the murder of U.S. citizens, and is an integral part of Barack Obama’s expansion of the so-called war on terror.
By failing to reverse Bill Clinton’s PDD25 and not abolishing the Joint Special Operations Command, Barack Obama is in violation of Gerald R. Ford’s Executive Order 11905, which states, “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”
Dick Cheney is also in violation of this executive order, but with the Obama administration signaling that they will not pursue any members of the Bush administration for war crimes, the Republicans and the Democrats are once again running defense for each other as more illegal acts are committed." Read all here
"...The biggest, but not the only, Pentagon-funded empire building research program in the social sciences is dubbed the Minerva Research Initiative (MRI). The MRI has contracted scores of academics from the usual prestigious academic brothels, including the veteran academic hookers and ambitious neophytes among post-doctorates and graduate assistants. These ‘scholars for empire’ are currently engaged in at least fourteen projects. MRI money has attracted a wide assortment of university affiliated psychologists, political scientists, anthropologists, economists, professors of religious studies, public affairs specialists, labor economists and even nuclear physicists from MIT, Princeton, University of California at San Diego, and Arizona State University among others. This Pentagon largess provides what Science (Jan 30, 2009 p 576) (official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) calls a “banquet for a field accustomed to living on scraps.”
All of the regions and groups specifically targeted for the ‘Pentagon-academic’ investigation are currently in conflict with the US empire or its Israeli ally and include Southwest Asia, West Africa, Gaza, Indonesia, the Middle East. The Pentagon’s ideological parameter, which defines the MRI, is the “war on terror” or its ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’, new facsimile under President Obama.
The MRI has a special interest in academics who can target the field of Muslim-Arab organizations and activities, in order to study and develop methods to “diffuse and influence counter-radical Muslim discourse.” In other words, the MRI is contracting academic research, which will allow the Pentagon to penetrate Muslim communities, co-opt the leaders and turn them into imperial collaborators.
MRI is not merely a mechanism of “soft power” – a battle of ideas – it engages US academics in some of the more brutal aspects of colonial warfare. For example, the Pentagon-funded Human Terrain Teams (HTT), which operate in Afghanistan, are deeply immersed in the identification and torture/interrogation of suspected resistance fighters, civilian sympathizers and members of extended families and clans. One psychology professor on the MRI payroll, with longstanding ties to Pentagon counter-insurgency operations, is deeply involved in the “study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements.” Covert occupation intelligence operations have been deeply involved in “stoking” hostility between Shia and Sunni communities in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, and Afghanistan. Torture and harsh interrogation techniques, used in the Middle East and Afghanistan, are based on academic studies of cultural and emotional vulnerabilities of Muslims and are used by US and Israeli military interrogators to “break” or cause profound mental breakdown of anti-occupation activists (“quelling ideological movements”).
This contemporary version of Dr. Strangelove with his version of instant counter-insurgency formulas cooked up by a world network of academics in uniform can poison the academic ambience – in much the same way that the Professor ‘Bermans’ at Michigan State, MIT, Harvard and elsewhere developed techniques for search and destroy missions against grassroots movements during the Viet Nam War. The danger and appeal to academics of Pentagon funding is especially acute nowadays, given the economic depression and the pseudo-progressive image of the Obama regime. Wall Street bailouts and the crash of the US stock market have reduced university endowments resulting in sharp reductions in academic budgets, salaries and research funding especially on non-military, non-business related research. The Obama regime’s double discourse of talking peace and escalating military budgets, increasing troops in Southwest Asia and extending sanctions on Iran may entice academics to justify the latter by citing the former. To procure academic recruits to the MRI stable, the Pentagon organized a workshop in August 2008, under the ideological façade of “complete openness and strict adherence to academic freedom and integrity.” Subsequently the Pentagon claimed to have received 211 inquires from academics seeking a place at the imperial trough....
...We can expect the Obama regime, with its ‘missiles for peace’ rhetoric and populist images, will provide a cover for Pentagon recruitment of liberal academics to “work for change from within.” ... " Read all here
G-20’s Bizarre Contradiction: We All Pledge to Re-Regulate Financial Services … and Further De-Regulate Financial Services
WASHINGTON - April 2 - Public Citizen - Today's G-20 commitments to enhance financial service regulation clash with deregulation requirements in the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 1999 Financial Services Agreement. Instead of G-20 leaders calling for completion of WTO "Doha Round" negotiations that include further finance deregulation, they needed to agree to fix the existing WTO rules that facilitated the current crisis, Public Citizen said today.
"It is crazy that the G-20 leaders vowed to re-regulate the financial system while simultaneously undermining their ability to actually do so," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. "Instead of agreeing to change WTO rules that now obligate 105 nations to continue the extreme finance deregulation policies that got us into this economic mess, the G-20 leaders called for completion of a WTO expansion that includes additional financial deregulation."
The London summit communiqué also includes a commitment "to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services" and to "rectify promptly any such measures."
"Instead of targeting only actual protectionism, this overreaching pledge commits countries to eliminate non-trade measures that many have employed to stop certain risky financial activities and stimulate economic activity," said Wallach. "What is supposed to be an anti-protectionism pledge is so broadly cast that it snares policies totally unrelated to trade, such as tough new financial service regulations that will incidentally limit trade and investment in risky financial services."
..."The manufactured hysteria about creeping protectionism has caused a bit of G-20 communiqué schizophrenia," said Wallach. "One page of the communiqué identifies ‘major failures ... in financial regulation and supervision' as ‘fundamental causes of the crisis' and commits to ‘action to build a stronger, more globally consistent supervisory and regulatory framework for the future' while the next page reaffirms the leaders' commitment to concluding the WTO Doha Round negotiations that require further deregulation of finance." Read all here
"...the anarchists, the environmentalists, the Tibetan liberationists, the vegetarians…just about everyone with a gripe is out on the street. ‘Make Love, Not Leverage,’ says one poster. Word from our headquarters in London – in the building with the gold balls, across the river from the City – is that protestors are getting out of hand. They’ve attacked police…and smashed up a Royal Bank of Scotland branch office.
“Built on Blood,” they’ve scrawled on the Bank of England. They’ve burned a banker in effigy…and had fistfights with others. One demonstrator hops around dressed as the Easter Bunny. Others wear masks…intent upon doing mischief.
But what’s the point? These dumbbells are just as confused and hopeless as the G20 big shots they are trying to impress. Both believe the world would be a better place – if people would just listen to them!
Meanwhile, the cost of their mischief is adding up. The protestors don’t really cost very much. What’s a few broken windows? But the G20 costs the world trillions..." Read all
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