Oct 10, 2010

Why Ron Paul Leads The Real Anti-War, Anti-Government Tea Party And Sarah Palin Is A Neocon Buffoon

From TheDailyBail:

Ron Paul gives a stirring speech at the Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, calling for an end to big government and a return to a sensible foreign policy.  Listen as Paul annihilates the military-industrial complex and the neocon mandarins behind the curtain -- Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Krystal, Gates.

Ron Paul is America's leading voice for limited constitutional government, lower taxes, a non-interventionist military, and a return to sound monetary policies.
Have you seen this:

    Ellen Brown's Response to Gary North

    From WebofDebt:
    This is in response to your critical post on of October 8, 2010.  Here’s my favorite part:
    “As of early October, 2010, a Google search for ‘Ellen Brown’ and ‘Web of Debt’ generated close to 600,000 hits. This is huge.”
    You have to admit that’s not bad for a self-published author without staff or funding – no foundation backing me, and whether you believe it or not, no political agenda.  As Mike Whitney says, I’m just a writer in search of a good subject.  People do read my articles and I have a following, enough of one by now that I’ve become a sort of lightning rod for information.  I’m in a gateway position between the internet culture and the mainstream media, and I work very hard at being a good, clear writer, throwing light on obscure subjects.   
    Why do Tea Partiers read my articles?  Because I’m strongly for States’ Rights, People Power, Going Local.  I don’t just talk about them; I have a viable plan for getting there. 
    For the last two weeks I’ve been focusing on ForeclosureGate (see my latest two articles, posted on Truthout here and Huffington Post here).  That subject is more compelling to me at the moment than the validity of some quotes from the 19thcentury, but I’ll take some time out to address that issue briefly. 
    The fascism you say I endorse is actually what I’m fighting to break up.  We have fascism today: government control by massive corporations.  How are you going to wrest Congress from the grip of Wall Street?  Here’s my plan: (1) break up the “too big to fail” banks by freezing foreclosures – ForeclosureGate – something that is happening right now; and (2) eliminate the “too big to fail” mystique by setting up an alternative banking system, one run by the people for the people, involving a partnership of publicly-owned banks and local community banks.  (I have many articles on that on my website here, and my public-banking google group has a comprehensive website on it here.)
    I don’t have time to respond to all your points now, although I may update this post later.  Here are some things I wanted to address to start.
    First, since you’ve made so much of my Hitler example and I’ve taken so much grief over it, I’ve quit using it to illustrate my point, even though the transformation of Germany’s absolutely bankrupt economy into one powerful enough to take on the rest of the world in World War II was pretty dramatic.  I now turn to less controversial examples of countries that pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps simply by drawing on the credit power of the nation.  My favorite one right at the moment is theCommonwealth Bank of Australia, but another was featured on NPR just this week.  The clip, called “How Fake Money Saved Brazil,” describes how Brazil transformed a collapsed economy and money supply into the nation’s present state of vibrant health, just by issuing a new currency. 
    On Hitler’s remarkable popular following, I was simply reporting.  He DID have a remarkable following in the early thirties, and they were not marching in lockstep for no reason.  It was because he had turned an utterly destitute economy around; and he did it basically by putting people back to work, paid for with a new currency backed by nothing but the credit of the government and the people.  Your argument that this necessarily leads to fascism is belied by history.  It did not lead to fascism when employed in Australia in the first half of the 20th century, or in New Zealand or Canada during that period, or in Guernsey for the past 200 years, or in the American colonies, or in this recent case of Brazil.  
    On errata in Web of Debt, the book is in its fourth (2010) edition, and it has actually had a few updates in between those four.  I collect errata as people point them out to me, and I correct them in the updates if I think they have merit.  I’ve said in an author’s note at the beginning that some quotes have turned out to be apocryphal, and where I’ve left them in although questionable, I’ve qualified them with language such as  “attributed to.”  They are left in, not because some famous person made the statement, but because they make a point.  For example: you state in your list that I have “a bogus quote from John Adams on debt as a means of conquest.”  Here is what my current text says:
    “President John Adams is quoted as saying, ‘There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.’” 
    He IS quoted as saying that, by many people; and whether he said it or someone else said it really makes no difference.  It is a true and quite revealing insight, which worked at that point in my chapter to carry my story forward.  I’m trying to make economics interesting for the busy housewife, who isn’t going to spend the time unless I can make it a page turner. 
    My favorite early review was by someone at the American Free Press, who said Web of Debt was “a book as thrilling as any Tom Clancy novel, except that this book is true.”  I loved that!  That’s what I was trying to do, turn economics into a Tom Clancy novel.  Quotes help with that.  I didn’t make them up; I gleaned them from six years of exhaustive research and writing.  
    Much of that time was spent on improving my prose; I worked and reworked the text to make it into a page turner, which it evidently was, judging by the response.  Somebody once said, “Works of art are never finished, just relinquished to the world,” and I only relinquished this one when the two Bear Stearns hedge funds suddenly collapsed in June 2007.  (You were off by a year on my publication date.)  The book was in print two weeks after that, and it discussed that watershed event in the text.  I wasn’t really done fact-checking, but the shoe had dropped and it was time to march.  In one of the books that emboldened me to try self-publishing by print-on-demand, I read that you didn’t have to worry too much about errors, because your readers would point them out to you and they could be corrected just by submitting a new pdf (and paying a fee); which is what I have done, perhaps eight times now.  
    ForeclosureGate beckons to all of us in the freedom community, and I’m disappointed to read that you somehow see me as the opposition.  We agree on the source of the problem– banksters!– and it seems to me that the solutions will work themselves out over time.  But first we need to get into a position where we can try out our solutions, and for that we need to join forces.  As Benjamin Franklin said (I haven’t fact-checked this), “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”  I like many of your writings, and I quoted you favorably in Web of Debt.  Wouldn’t you rather be fighting the real enemy– a fatally flawed banking system?
    More  here: 

    Response to Gary North — itemized points

    Global Economic Collapse: Countdown to Meltdown - 30-60 days

    #1 Corporate insiders are getting out of the U.S. stock market at an absolutely blinding pace.  It is being reported that the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying last week was 1,411 to 1, and this week the ratio has soared even higher and is at 2,341 to 1.
    #2 Many of the world's wealthiest people are buying absolutely massive quantities of gold right now.
    #3 It is being reported that J.P. Morgan is gobbling up the rights to as much physical gold as it possibly can.
    #4 The United States Mint has announced that it has run out of 1-ounce, 24-karat American Buffalo gold bullion coins and that it will not be selling any more of them in 2010.
    #5 It is becoming increasingly difficult to explain the unusually high option volume that we are witnessing right now.
    #6 Some very large investors are making massive bets that the S&P 500 is going to take a serious tumble during the month of October.
    #7 On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan shocked world financial markets by cutting interest rates even closer to zeroand by setting up a 5 trillion yen quantitative easing fund.
    #8 The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are both publicly urging the Fed to do much more to stimulate the U.S. economy, including beginning a new round of quantitative easing, even if it means a significant rise in the U.S. inflation rate.
    #9 Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told reporters on Tuesday that the loose monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are throwing the world into "chaos".
    #10 At the end of September, federal regulators announced a $30 billion bailout of the U.S. wholesale credit union system.
    #11 Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage have all suspended foreclosures in many U.S. states due to serious concerns about foreclosure procedures.  Now, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is actually demanding that all mortgage servicing companies in the state of Texas immediately suspend all foreclosures, the selling of foreclosed properties and the eviction of people living in foreclosed properties until they have completed a review of their foreclosure procedures.
    #12 Not only that, but Nancy Pelosi and 30 other members of Congresare requesting a federal investigation of the foreclosure practices of U.S. mortgage lenders.  Needless to say, this controversy has the potential to turn the entire U.S. mortgage industry into an absolute quagmire.
    So are dark days ahead for world financial markets?
    Well, yeah, but it is incredibly hard to predict exactly when things are going to fall apart.
    The truth is that there are going to be a whole lot more "crashes" and "collapses" in the years ahead.
    The important thing, as discussed yesterday, is to keep your eye on the long-term trends.
    The U.S. economy is undeniably in decline.  The only thing keeping the economy going at this point is a rapidly growing sea of red ink.  Debt is literally everywhere.  It is what our entire financial system is based on in 2010. 
    In the months and years to come, the major players are going to try very hard to keep all the balls in the air and to continue the massive shell game that is going on, but in the end the whole thing is going to collapse like a house of cards.
    Unfortunately, we have been destroying the U.S. economy for decades and there is simply not going to be a happy ending to this story.
    Can anyone explain the very strange behavior that we are seeing in world financial markets right now?  Corporate insiders are bailing out of the U.S. stock market at a very alarming rate.  Investors are moving mountains of money into gold and other commodities.  In fact, there is such a rush towards gold that shortages are starting to be reported in some areas.  Meanwhile, some very, very unusual option activity has started to show up.  In particular, someone is making some incredibly large bets that the S&P 500 is going to absolutely tank during the month of October.  Central banks around the world have caught a case of "loose money fever" and are apparently hoping that a new flood of paper money will shock the global economy back to life.  Meanwhile, the furor over the foreclosure procedure abuses of the major U.S mortgage companies threatens to bring even more turmoil to the U.S. housing industry.
    There are some very ominous signs that something is just not right in world financial markets right now.  Some of the signs listed below may be related.  Others may not be.  That is for you to decide.
    Often, just before something really bad happens, you can actually see the rats leaving a sinking ship if you know where to look.  The truth is that if things are going to go south it is the insiders who know before anyone else.
    So are some of the signs below actually clues for what we should expect in the months ahead?
    Maybe not.
    You make your own call.
    But it is becoming hard to deny that there are some serious danger signs out there at this point....   

    The US Economy is Faltering. An Inflationary Depression is in Progress
    Doug Casey: There's no way out for the U.S. economy
    Top trend forecaster Celente: The crash of 2010 is starting now

    America’s Third World Economy

    The Ecuadorian Coup: Its Larger Meaning

    By James Petras | 10.09.2010
    The abortive military-police coup in Ecuador, which took place on September 30, has raised numerous questions about the role of the US and its allies among the traditional oligarchy and the leftist social movements, Indian organizations and their political parties.

    While President Correa and all governments in Latin America, and significant sectors of the Ecuadorian public described the violent actions as a coup, the principle organ of Wall Street – The Wall Street Journal – described it as a “police protest”. Spokespersons for Goldman Sachs and the Council of Foreign Relations referred to the police and military power grab against the democratically elected government as a self-induced “political crises” of the President. While the coup was underway the “Indian” movement CONAIE, launched a manifesto condemning the government, while the “Indian” party Pachakutik supported the ouster of the President and backed the police coup as a “just act of public servants”.

    In summary, the imperial backers of the coup, sectors of the Ecuadorian elite and Indian movement downplayed the violent police uprising as a coup in order to justify their support for it as just another “legitimate economic protest”. In other words, the victim of the elite coup was converted into the repressor of the people’s will. The factual question of whether there was a coup or not, is central to deciding whether the government was justified in repressing the police uprising and whether in fact the democratic system was endangered.

    The Facts about the Coup
    The police did not simply “protest” against economic polices, they seized the National Assembly and attempted to occupy public buildings and media outlets. The air force – or at least those sectors collaborating with the police – seized the airport in Quito, concerted actions seizing and blocking strategic transport networks.. President Correa was assaulted and seized and kept hostage under police guard by scores of heavily armed police, who violently resisted the Special Forces who eventually freed the president resulting in scores of wounded and ten deaths. Clearly the leaders of the police uprising had more in mind than a simple “protest” over cancelled bonuses – they sought to overthrow the president and were willing to use their firepower to carry it off. The initial economic demands of public sector employees were used by the coup leaders as a springboard to oust the regime.

    The fact that the coup failed is, in part, a result of the President’s vigorous and dramatic appeal to the people to take to the streets to defend democracy – an appeal, which resonated with thousands of supporters and denied the coup makers public support in the streets.

    The facts on the ground all point to a violent attempt by the police and sectors of the military to seize power and depose the president – by any definition a coup. And so it was immediately understood by all Latin American governments, from right to left, some of whom immediately closed their frontiers and threatened to break relations if the coup leaders succeeded. The only exception was Washington – whose first response was not to join in the condemnation but to wait and see what would be the outcome or as presidential spokesperson Philip Crowley announced “we are monitoring events”, referring to the uprising as a “protest” challenging the government. When Washington realized that the coup was actively opposed by the Ecuadorian public, all the Latin American governments, the bulk of the armed forces and doomed to failure, Secretary of State Clinton called Correa to announce US “backing” for his government, referring to the coup as merely an “interruption of the democratic order”.

    In the run-up to the restoration of democracy, the trade unions were by and large passive observers, certainly no general strikes were discussed or even active mobilizations. The response of top military officials in the army were by and large opposed to the coup, except perhaps in the air force which seized the principle airport in Quito, before handing it over to anti-drug units of the police force. The anti narcotic police were in the forefront of the coup and not surprisingly were under intense US training and indoctrination for the past five years.

    Explanation for the Varied Responses to the Coup
    The responses to and interpretations of the coup varied according to different sets of objective interests and subjective perceptions. Latin American regimes unanimously rejected the coup, fearing a coup multiplier effect in the region in which other successful coups (after last year’s in Honduras) would encourage the military and police to act in their countries. The memories of the recent past in which the military dismantled all representative institutions and jailed, tortured, killed and exiled political leaders was a key factor in shaping Latin America’s resounding rejection. Secondly, the existing political order benefits the capitalist class in almost all of Latin America and provides the bases for political stability and elite prosperity. No powerful mass movements threaten capitalist socio-economic hegemony, which might require the economic elite to back a coup.

    Correa supporters were in the streets, though not in the numbers of his previous calls to action ousting ex-President Lucio Gutierrez.They were mainly party loyalists. Others supported his “anti-imperialist” measures (expelling the US military base from Manta) or were defending democratic institutions even as they have become critical of his recent policies.

    The US vacillation, shifting from an initial refusal to condemn to later denouncing the failed coup, was based on longstanding ties to the military but especially the police. Between 2006-2011 US military and police aid will have totaled $94 million, of which $89 million was channeled to the “war on drugs”. 

    From 2006-2008, Ecuadorian military and police trainees numbered 931, 526 of whom were incorporated in the “counter-drugs programs”. It was precisely the anti-drug sector of the police which played a major role in seizing the airports in Quito during the abortive coup. The US certainly had plenty of motives for the coup. Correa came to power by ousting pro-US client Lucio Gutierrez and decimating the oligarchical parties who were responsible for dollarizing the economy and embracing Washington’s free market doctrine. Correa called into question the foreign debt, declining to pay debts incurred under fraudulent circumstances. Most of all Correa was an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a member of ALBA and a strong opponent of Colombia, Washington’s main ally in the region. Ecuador’s policy weakened Washington’s strategy of “encircling Venezuela” with hostile regimes. Having already backed the successful coup against Honduras President Zelaya, an ally of Chavez, Washington had everything to gain from a military coup which ousted another member of ALBA. Washington is pursuing a “triple strategy” of 1) diplomacy, offering to improve relations, 2) subversion, by building subversive capacity by financing the police and military and 3) financing via AID, NED, World Bank and NGO’s sectors of the Indian movement especially Pachacutik and dissident groups linked Lucio Gutierrez.

    The leadership of the Indian movement varied in its response to the coup. The most extreme position adopted by the near moribund electoral party Pachacutik (US aid recipient) actually endorsed the police coup and call on the masses to form a “united front”, a call which fell on deaf ears. The bulk of the Indian movement (CONAIE) adopted a complex position of denying that a coup was taking place, yet rejecting the police violence and setting forth a series of demands and criticisms of Correa’s policies and methods of governance. No effort was made to either oppose the coup or to support it. In other words, in contrast to its militant anti dictatorial past, CONAIE was virtually a marginal actor.
    The passivity of CONAIE and most of the trade unions has its roots in profound policy disagreements with the Correa regime.

    Correa’s Self-Induced Vulnerability: His Right Turn
    During the emerging citizens-movement five years ago, Rafael Correa played an important role in deposing the authoritarian, corrupt and pro-imperialist regime of Lucio Gutierrez. Once elected President, he put in practice some of his major electoral promises: evicting the US from its military base in Manta; rejecting foreign debt payments based on illicit accounts; raising salaries, the minimum wage, providing low interest loans and credit to small business. He also promised to consult with and take account of the urban social and Indian movements, in the lead up to the election of a constitutional assembly to write up a new constitution. In 2007 Correa’s list running with his new party Alianza Pais (the country alliance) won a two thirds majority in the legislature. However facing declining revenues due to the world recession, Correa made a sharp turn to right. He signed lucrative contracts with multi-national mining companies granting them exploitation rights on lands claimed by indigenous communities without consulting the latter, despite a past history of catastrophic contamination of Indian lands, water and habitat. When local communities acted to block the agreements, Correa sent in the army and harshly repressed the protestors. In subsequent efforts to negotiate, Correa only heard his own voice and dismissed the Indian leaders as a “bunch of bandits”, and “backward elements” who were blocking the “modernization of the country”.

    Subsequently, Correa went on the offensive against the public employees, pushing legislation reducing salaries, bonuses and promotions, repudiating settlements based on agreements between unions and legislators. In the same way Correa imposed new laws on university governance, which alienated the professoriate, administration and students. Equally damaging to Correa’s popularity among the organized sectors of the wage and middle classes, was his authoritarian style in pushing his agenda, the pejorative language he used to label his interlocutors and his insistence that negotiations were only a means to discredit his counterparts.

    Contrary to Correa’s claim to be a pathfinder for “21st century socialism”, he was, instead, the organizer of a highly personal strategy for 21st century capitalism, one based on a dollarized economy, large scale foreign investments in mining, petroleum and financial services and social austerity.
    Correa’s ‘right turn’, however; also depended on political and financial support from Venezuela and its Cuban and Bolivian allies. As a result Correa fell between two chairs: he lost support from the social left because of “pro-extractive” foreign economic policies and austere domestic programs and did not secure support from the US, because of his ties to Chavez and Cuba.

    As a result, Correa so alienated the unions and the Indian and social movements that he was only able to secure a very limited amount of “street power” in closing down the economy to thwart the coup. Equally important, the US and its collaborators saw in his declining organized support and the growth of social protest, an opportunity to test the waters for a possible coup, via their most dependable collaborators in the police and to a lesser degree in the air force. The police uprising was a test run, encouraged to proceed, without any overt, commitment, pending its success or failure. If the police coup secured sufficient military support, Washington and its civilian political oligarchs could intervene, call for a “negotiated outcome” which would either oust Correa or “turn him” into a “pragmatic” client. In other words, a “successful” coup would eliminate another Chavez ally, but even a failed coup would put Correa on notice for the future.

    Final Reflections in the Way of a Conclusion
    The unfolding of the police coup turned into a farce: the coup makers miscalculated their support within the military as well as among the protesting Indians and unions. They stood alone without glory or success. Lacking national leaders, or even a coherent strategy, they were put down in a matter of hours. They misjudged the willingness of the US to commit, once it became clear that the coup makers lacked any resonance among the military elite and were totally inept. What may have started as a coup ended as a comic opera with a brief shoot-out with the military at a police hospital.

    On the other side, the fact that Correa, in the end could only rely on his elite special forces, to free him from police hostage, reveals the tragedy of a popular leader. One who started with immense popular backing, promising to finally fulfill the demand of the campesinos for land reform, the Indians demand for sovereignty to negotiate over mineral riches and urban labor’s demand for just remuneration, and ended returning to the Presidential Palace protected by military armored carriers.

    The failed coup in Ecuador raises a larger political question: Does the near demise of Correa spell the end of the experiment of the ‘new center-left regimes’ which attempt to “balance” vigorous export-based growth with moderate social payoffs? The entire success of the center-left regimes has been based on their ability to subsidize and promote agro-mineral foreign and domestic capital while increasing employment, wages and subsistence payments (anti-poverty programs). This ‘political formula’ has been underwritten by the boom indemand from Asia and other world markets and by historically high commodity prices. When the crises of 2008 broke, Ecuador was the weakest link in Latin America, as it was tied to the dollar and was unable to ‘stimulate’ growth or cushion the economy. Under conditions of crises, Correa resorted to repression of the social movements and trade unions and greater efforts to secure support from petro-mining multi-nationals. Moreover, Ecuador’s police and military was much more vulnerable to infiltration by US agencies because of large scale funding and training programs unlike Bolivia and Venezuela which had expelled these agencies of subversion. Unlike Argentina and Brazil, Correa lacked a capacity to “conciliate” diverse sectors of social movements through negotiations and concessions. Of course, the penetration of the Indian communities by imperial funded NGO’s promoting “separatism” and identity’ politics did not make conciliation easy.

    Nevertheless, despite the particularities of Ecuador, the failed coup underlines the relative importance of resolving basic socio-economic grievances, if the center-left macro-economic projects are to succeed. Apart from Venezuela, none of the center-left regimes are carrying out structural reforms (land reform) nationalizations of strategic sectors, income redistribution. Even the Chavez regime in Venezuela has lost a great deal of popular support because of neglect of essential services (public safety, garbage collection, delivery of water, electrical power and food delivery) because of corruption and incompetence. Over time, the center-left can no longer depend on “charismatic” leaders to compensate for the lack of structural changes. The regimes must sustain the improvement of wages and salaries and delivery of basic services in an ambience of ‘social dialogue’. Theabsence of continuous social reforms, while agro-mining elites prosper, opens the door for the return of the right and provokes divisions in the social coalitions supporting the center-left regimes. Most important the implosion of the center-left provides an opportunity for Washington to subvert and overthrow the regimes, reverse their relatively independent foreign policy and reassert its hegemony.

    The institutional foundations of the center-left are fragile everywhere, especially the police and army, because officialdom is still engaged in government programs with US military, narco-police and intelligence agencies. The center-left regimes – except Venezuela – have continued to participate in all joint military programs. The center-left has not transformed the state. Equally important it has promoted the economic bases of the pro-US Right via its agro-mineral export strategy. It has ignored the fact that political stability is temporary and based on a balance of social power resulting from the popular rebellions of the 2000-2005 period. The center-left ignores the reality that as the capitalist class prospers, as a result of center-left agro-mineral export strategies, so does the political right. And as the wealth and political power of the export elites increases and as the center-left turns to the Right, as has been the case with Correa, there will be greater social conflict and a new cycle of political upheavals, if not by the ballot box then via the bullet – via coups or via popular uprisings.

    The successful coup in Honduras (2009) and the recent failed coup in Ecuador are symptomatic of the deepening crises of “post-neo-liberal” politics. The absence of a socialist alternative, the fragmentation of the social movements, the embrace of “identity politics”, have severely weakened an effective organized alternative when and if the center-left regimes go into crises. For the moment most “critical intellectuals” cling to the center-left in hopes of a “left turn”, of a political rectification, rather than taking the difficult but necessary road of rebuilding an independent class based socialist movement.

    Behind the Coup in Ecuador – The Attack on ALBA

    By Eva Golinger* | October 1, 2010
    The latest coup attempt against one of the countries in the Bolivarian Alliance For The People of Our America (ALBA) is an attempt to impede Latin American integration and the advance of revolutionary democratic processes. The right-wing is on the attack in Latin America. Its success in 2009 in Honduras against the government of Manuel Zelaya energized it and gave it the strength and confidence to strike again against the people and revolutionary governments in Latin America.

    The elections of Sunday, September 26th in Venezuela, while victorious for the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PSUV), also ceded space to the most reactionary and dangerous destabilizing forces at the service of imperial interests. The United States managed to situate key elements in the Venezuelan National Assembly, giving them a platform to move forward with their conspiratorial schemes to undermine Venezuelan democracy.

    The day after the elections in Venezuela, the main advocate for peace in Colombia, Piedad Córdoba, was dismissed as a Senator in the Republic of Colombia, by Colombia’s Inspector General, on the basis of falsified evidence and accusations. But the attack against Senator Córdoba is a symbol of the attack against progressive forces in Colombia who seek true and peaceful solutions to the war in which they have been living for more than 60 years.
    And now, Thursday, September 30th, was the dawn of a coup d’etat in Ecuador. Insubordinate police took over a number of facilities in the capital of Quito, creating chaos and panic in the country. Supposedly, they were protesting against a new law approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday, which according to them reduced labor benefits.

    In an attempt to resolve the situation, President Rafael Correa went to meet with the rebellious police but was attacked with heavy objects and teargas, causing a wound on his leg and teargas asphyxiation. He was taken to a military hospital in Quito, where he was later kidnapped and held against his will, prevented from leaving.
    Meanwhile, popular movements took to the streets of Quito, demanding the liberation of their President, democratically re-elected the previous year by a huge majority. Thousands of Ecuadorans raised their voices in support of President Correa, trying to rescue their democracy from the hands of coup-plotters who were looking to provoke the forced resignation of the national government.

    In a dramatic development, President Correa was rescued in an operation by Special Forces from the Ecuadoran military in the late evening hours. Correa denounced his kidnapping by the coup-plotting police and laid responsibility for the coup d’etat directly upon former President, Lucio Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was a presidential candidate in 2009 against President Correa, and lost in a landslide when more than 55% voted for Correa.
    During today’s events, Lucio Gutiérrez declared in an interview, “The end of Correa’s tyranny is at hand,” also asking for the “dissolution of Parliament and a call for early presidential elections.”
    But beyond the key role played by Gutiérrez, there are external factors involved in this attempted coup d’etat that are moving their pieces once again.

    Infiltration of the Police
    According to journalist Jean-Guy Allard, an official report from Ecuador’s Defense Minister, Javier Ponce, distributed in October of 2008, revealed “how US diplomats dedicated themselves to corrupting the police and the Armed Forces.”
    The report confirmed that police units “maintain an informal economic dependence on the United States, for the payment of informants, training, equipment and operations.”
    In response to the report, US Ambassador in Ecuador, Heather Hodges, justified the collaboration, saying “We work with the government of Ecuador, with the military and with the police, on objectives that are very important for security.” According to Hodges, the work with Ecuador’s security forces is related to the “fight against drug trafficking.”

    The Ambassador
    Ambassador Hodges was sent to Ecuador in 2008 by then President George W. Bush. Previously she successfully headed up the embassy in Moldova, a socialist country formerly part of the Soviet Union. She left Moldova sowing the seeds for a “colored revolution” that took place, unsuccessfully, in April of 2009 against the majority communist party elected to parliament.
    Hodges headed the Office of Cuban Affairs within the US State Department in 1991, as its Deputy Director. The department was dedicated to the promotion of destabilization in Cuba. Two years later she was sent to Nicaragua in order to consolidate the administration of Violeta Chamorro, the president selected by the United States following the dirty war against the Sandinista government, which led to its exit from power in 1989.
    When Bush sent her to Ecuador, it was with the intention of sowing destabilization against Correa, in case the Ecuadoran president refused to subordinate himself to Washington’s agenda. Hodges managed to increase the budget for USAID and the NED [National Endowment for Democracy] directed toward social organizations and political groups that promote US interests, including within the indigenous sector.
    In the face of President Correa’s re-election in 2009, based on a new constitution approved in 2008 by a resounding majority of men and women in Ecuador, the Ambassador began to foment destabilization.

    Certain progressive social groups have expressed their discontent with the policies of the Correa government. There is no doubt that legitimate complaints and grievances against his government exist. Not all groups and organizations in opposition to Correa’s policies are imperial agents. But a sector among them does exist which receives financing and guidelines in order to provoke destabilizing situations in the country that go beyond the natural expressions of criticism and opposition to a government.
    In 2010, the State Department increased USAID’s budget in Ecuador to more than $38 million dollars. In the most recent years, a total of $5,640,000 in funds were invested in the work of “decentralization” in the country. One of the main executors of USAID’s programs in Ecuador is the same enterprise that operates with the rightwing in Bolivia: Chemonics, Inc. At the same time, NED issued a grant of $125,806 to the Center for Private Enterprise (CIPE) to promote free trade treaties, globalization, and regional autonomy through Ecuadoran radio, television and newspapers, along with the Ecuadoran Institute of Economic Policy.
    Organizations in Ecuador such as Participación Ciudadana and Pro-justicia [Citizen Participation and Pro-Justice], as well as members and sectors of CODEMPE, Pachakutik, CONAIE, the Corporación Empresarial Indígena del Ecuador [Indigenous Enterprise Corporation of Ecuador] and Fundación Qellkaj [Qellkaj Foundation] have had USAID and NED funds at their disposal.
    During the events of September 30 in Ecuador, one of the groups receiving USAID and NED financing, Pachakutik, sent out a press release backing the coup-plotting police and demanding the resignation of President Correa, holding him responsible for what was taking place. The group even went so far as to accuse him of a “dictatorial attitude.” Pachakutik entered into a political alliance with Lucio Gutiérrez in 2002 and its links with the former president are well known:
    Press Release 141
    In the face of the serious political turmoil and internal crisis generated by the dictatorial attitude of President Rafael Correa, who has violated the rights of public servants as well as society, the head of the Pachakutik Movement, Cléver Jiménez, called on the indigenous movement, social movements and democratic political organizations to form a single national front to demand the exit of President Correa, under the guidelines established by Article 130, Number 2 of the Constitution, which says: “The National Assembly will dismiss the President of the Republic in the following cases: 2) For serious political crisis and domestic turmoil.”
    Jiménez backed the struggle of the country’s public servants, including the police troops who have mobilized against the regime’s authoritarian policies which are an attempt to eliminate acquired labor rights. The situation of the police and members of the Armed Forces should be understood as a just action by public servants, whose rights have been made vulnerable.
    This afternoon, Pachakutik is calling on all organizations within the indigenous movement, workers, democratic men and women to build unity and prepare new actions to reject Correa’s authoritarianism, in defense of the rights and guarantees of all Ecuadorans.
    Press Secretary
    The script used in Venezuela and Honduras repeats itself. They try to hold the President and the government responsible for the “coup,” later forcing their exit from power. The coup against Ecuador is the next phase in the permanent aggression against ALBA and revolutionary movements in the region.
    The Ecuadoran people remain mobilized in their rejection of the coup attempt, while progressive forces in the region have come together to express their solidarity and support of President Correa and his government.

    * Translation: Machetera

    ‘Dying Communities See Salvation in New Prisons’

    From Cryptogon October 10th, 2010
    Hope and Change: Replacing collapsed industries with prisons.
    Via: AP:
    Mike Secinore is pinning his hopes on prison.
    Fresh with a criminal justice degree from the local community college, the 20-year-old Berlin native plans to apply for a corrections officer job at the federal prison expected to open in the city next summer.
    There aren’t many options in this northern region of New Hampshire, where major employers have closed their doors in recent years and further unemployment woes beckon if the last surviving paper mill shuts down this week, letting 240 workers go.
    “I’m really wanting to have a career, not just a job,” said Secinore, who recently lost a counter position at an auto parts store. He worked there for five years, coping with a wage freeze and a cut in hours. “I really need something where I’m going to make money.”
    Although rural communities have successfully lobbied for — and built — prisons for years, not many studies have been done on their economic impact. Some studies indicate slight economic gains for some prison towns, according to a Congressional Research Service report in April. Others that have become prison anchors might have not grown as fast as those without prisons.
    Florence, Colo., where a federal prison complex went up in 1994, was once a major oil producer and gold-smelting center and now has some new businesses. New federal prisons have recently started hiring in West Virginia, which has seen a decline in coal jobs, and in an impoverished farming community in California. Others are being built in Mississippi and Alabama.
    The population of Berlin, once above 22,000 during the 1920s when the paper industry was at its peak, is down to under 10,000 as mills shut down and people leave in search of new opportunities, including many of Secinore’s peers. The population is aging; the median age in the county is 44.
    For some, like Secinore, there is hope the prison could take away some of the sting, providing jobs and business opportunities. It’s expected to employ about 330 workers, with 60 percent — about 200 — coming from New Hampshire; the rest would be brought in from other federal prisons.