Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bil'in: A victory for the anarchists

By Meron Rapoport

"I remember the moment I marched among a crowd of Palestinians," said one of the Israeli activists who participated in the ongoing demonstrations near the village of Bil'in, this week. Those demonstrations led to a High Court decision a few days ago ordering the rerouting of the separation fence near the village. "I served in the army, and my first instinct was to look for the signal operator and to check if we were marching properly spaced. The Palestinians shouted 'Allahu Akbar,' which is supposed to be the nightmare of every Israeli soldier, but I suddenly realized that I was with them, that they weren't my enemies."

One must understand. Anyone who went to demonstrate in Bil'in knew that he stood more than a small chance of getting hurt somehow by "his" army: by clubs, tear gas, rubber bullets. Undoubtedly, there were a few who sought out this violence, but it also befell those who did not seek it out. It was part of the deal. The violence that the soldiers and Border Police officers employed against the Israeli demonstrators on an average Friday in Bil'in surpassed that used against the settlers during the entire evacuation of Gush Katif. Nevertheless, a few hundred Israelis made this trip every Friday, without fail, for the last two and a half years. Not all of them at once. Sometimes five, sometimes 50, sometimes 100. But they came.

Most of these people were young, sometimes very young, and they gathered under the rubric of "Anarchists Against the Fence." The Zionist left had no presence there. Not Peace Now and not Meretz (some Meretz MKs sometimes assisted the arrestees, but no more than that) - and certainly not Labor. Older organizations from the non-Zionist left were supportive, and provided logistical assistance, but the initiative still came from the anarchists. They led the struggle.

Without question, it was a rather small group. Not everyone, even the most devout leftist and vigorous opponent of the occupation, is prepared to come and take a beating, to run up and down hills, to breathe tear gas, to be arrested. But it wasn't an insignificant number either, this group of people prepared to come to blows with the establishment. In Bil'in their goal was simple and tangible: to restore the lands to the Palestinians.

It will be interesting to see what their next goal is.


withstanding "the elephant of justified Christian homicidal violence and enmity"

"...The story of how a simple man, a "nobody" by the standards of the "somebodies" of this world, went from being a criminal who was executed by his government for declining to partake in a nation’s war, to being a person who was officially discussed at the Second Vatican Council, to being a figure known at every point of the compass, to being a person Beatified by the Catholic Church deserves the attention of everyone who struggles to understand how humanity can be extricated from this valley of tragedy and tears in which human life is ensnared. Franz Jägerstätter’s witness should be especially pondered by those who believe that fidelity to the Word (Logos) of God as revealed in Jesus is "not enough" to make an essential difference in the human situation, and by those who believe that Christianity must proclaim a "realistic gospel" of evil renamed, rationalized and accepted as good, if it is to be effective in this world. So, here on the threshold of Franz Jägerstätter’s Beatification, I hope to make visible the prophetic purpose and meaning of his life and death. I hope to illuminate the salvific communication from God for which he was the chosen instrument – the chosen instrument who nevertheless had to choose to see and to act..."

"...Franz Jägerstätter’s schooling ended when he was fourteen. He could not articulate a formal theology of Gospel nonviolence nor could he articulate a formal just war theology. How could he possibly be expected to, when even today most Christians are taught little or nothing – or outright falsehoods about both? Yet after two periods of military training, he permanently turned away from the only war and military operation he ever encountered; one which had the enthusiastic endorsement of his fellow Austrian and German Christians. He made this decision on the basis that participation would be a betrayal of his Lord and could seriously jeopardize his eternal destiny.

While prelates of distinction and theologians of renown were ceaselessly and publicly intoning, "Heil Hitler," Jägerstätter was literally saying, "Pfui Hitler." While self-designated Christian "realists" were expounding their theories on why it was necessary to cooperate with evil in order to save the Church and the world, Jägerstätter was observing:

Are we Christians today perhaps wiser than Christ Himself? Does anyone really think that this massive bloodletting can possibly save European Christianity from defeat – or bring it to a new flowering? Did our good Saviour, whom we should always try to imitate, go forth with His apostles against the heathens as German Christians are doing today?

While sophisticated religious propagandists for the government and military were telling people that St. Paul teaches in Romans 13, that Christians are "to obey authorities," Jägerstätter was responding "but only to the extent that they do not order anything evil, for we must obey God rather than men." In short almost alone among the Christians of Austria and Germany, he pointed out that there was an elephant in the Church!

The actual movements of mind and heart that empowered Franz Jägerstätter to see the obvious can never be known with certainty this side of eternity. As would be expected, his consciousness and conscience evolved as the crisis intensified and as the imperative to choose became more pressing. While there is hearsay and circumstantial evidence of various degrees of credibility concerning his internal religious development, as well as much sheer speculation, he in fact left only a few letters and reflections. However, from these we can garner glimpses of what was going on inside of him during his via dolorosa and of where he had arrived by its end. For example, in his prison statement, composed shortly before he was to be legally murdered, he wrote:

Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal Kingdom. But with this difference: we need no rifles or pistols for our battle, but instead, spiritual weapons – and the foremost among these is prayer.

He concludes this prison statement with these most soul-revealing words:

Let us love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. For love will conquer and will endure for all eternity. And happy are they who live and die in God’s love.

All Austrians and Germans, of course, would have heard the same Gospel that Jägerstätter heard, but it seems from what his neighbors report that he read it and re-read it, pondered it and prayed over it as few of them did. Via this grace-saturated search for the truth of God and God’s Will through Jesus, culturally manufactured Gospel-blinders dropped from his eyes. The elephant of evil became so visible that he was compelled to speak the truth he saw and, if necessary, follow Jesus to a criminal’s death for acting on it. He simply could not continue to make-believe that he didn’t know what he did know.

Franz Jägerstätter, then, is not only a Christian martyr, he is also a chosen prophet of the The Holy One, Blessed be He. The Hebrew prophets are not fortune tellers nor are they persons who simply speak their own minds and conjectures. They explicitly speak the universally applicable Word (Logos) of God to concrete situations. By God’s grace they vividly see what others profess not to see, namely, rebellion against God in the here and now. The authentic prophet warns of the inevitable and disastrous outcome that will result, if present choice patterns remain unaltered. He puts on-notice those who have been given eyes to see and minds to understand, that it is now absolutely necessary to use those eyes and minds to see, name and turn from an evil, which is being marketed in pseudo-Divine packaging. In short, prophets in the Biblical sense are the ones sent by God to try to open the eyes of the minds and the hearts of a people who adamantly refuse to look and see that "There is an elephant in the room and it is ruining everything." ..."   Full article>>

Mirror: Fingerprint doubt over Kelly 'suicide'

Secret knife evidence points to murder, says MP


dominionism and the despoiling of America

"...It happened quietly, with barely a mention in the media. Only the Washington Post dutifully reported it. And only Kevin Phillips saw its significance in his new book, American Dynasty. On December 24, 2001, Pat Robertson resigned his position as President of the Christian Coalition.

Behind the scenes religious conservatives were abuzz with excitement. They believed Robertson had stepped down to allow the ascendance of the President of the United States of America to take his rightful place as the head of the true American Holy Christian Church.

Robertson’s act was symbolic, but it carried a secret and solemn revelation to the faithful. It was the signal that the Bush administration was a government under God that was led by an anointed President who would be the first regent in a dynasty of regents awaiting the return of Jesus to earth. The President would now be the minister through whom God would execute His will in the nation. George W. Bush accepted his scepter and his sword with humility, grace and a sense of exultation.

As Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court explained a few months later, the Bible teaches and Christians believe “… that government …derives its moral authority from God. Government is the ‘minister of God’ with powers to ‘revenge,’ to ‘execute wrath,’ including even wrath by the sword…”  ..."   Full article >>

The Pentagon Plans for a New Hundred Years' War

"...In his tour de force book Planet of Slums, Davis observes, "The Pentagon's best minds have dared to venture where most United Nations, World Bank or Department of State types fear to go… [T]hey now assert that the ‘feral, failed cities' of the Third World -- especially their slum outskirts -- will be the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century." Pentagon war-fighting doctrine, he notes, "is being reshaped accordingly to support a low-intensity world war of unlimited duration against criminalized segments of the urban poor."

But the mostly male conference-goers planning for a multi-generational struggle against the global South's slums aren't a gang of urban warfare cowboys talking non-stop death and destruction; and they don't look particularly bellicose either, as they munch on chocolate-chip cookies during our afternoon snack breaks in a room where cold cuts and brochures for the Rapid Wall Breaching Kit -- which allows users to blast a man-sized hole in the side of any building -- are carefully laid out on the tables. Instead, these mild-mannered men speak about combat restraint, "less than lethal weaponry," precision targeting, and (harking back to the Vietnam War) "winning hearts and minds." ..."  Full article >>

Ward Churchill on genocide denial among N. American intelligentsia

An interview with Ward Churchill

"...He gained widespread notoriety in 2005, when the media seized on an essay he had written on September 11, 2001 entitled "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens." In it, he suggested that American foreign policy was to blame for the attacks. He went on to say that some of those killed in the attacks were not "innocent" victims, but in fact the very people orchestrating and profiting from the imperialist system. He called them "little Eichmanns," a reference to the infamous Nazi bureaucrat..."

"...In a lively interview with Newsweek shortly after his dismissal, he refused to apologize for the "little Eichmanns" statement, in characteristically ardent terms:

"I never have any particular regrets about calling things by their right name. And it's about time we stop pretending that Americans are in a completely different analytical category from everyone else in the world, and are somehow exempt from the consequences of their actions."

Churchill is no stranger to unpopular ideas. Many of his writings have focused on the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the US. Inspired in part by resistance to his own work, Churchill's current speaking tour focuses on what he calls "the denial of genocide in American academia."

"If you were making the exact same arguments and using same techniques to deny the holocaust in Germany, you would be guilty of a crime in Canada," he says.

Most deniers of the German holocaust are nuts, fringe types, he explains. "When you're talking about native people exactly the same thing is done, only it's the mainstream of academic discourse."

Churchill makes a convincing argument that the historic and systemic oppression of this continent's Indigenous populations does indeed fit within the official definition of genocide as found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which specifies "...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:"

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

"It's no more acceptable when something is done to victims of one genocide than when it's done to another set of victims," he says. "If the... Zundel types are repugnant--and they are--then the people who would deny the native genocide are just as repugnant."

One of the main differences in this context, he points out, is that European whites were largely successful in their conquest. And the victors, of course, write history.

"If you'd had a Nazi victory in Eastern Europe, the situation of any Jews who survived... would have been quite discernibly different."

At its best, academia can be a space for people of colour and Indigenous peoples to develop their own histories. Churchill presents a different analysis of history, and he doesn't much care if the mass media or his political opponents like it.

Overall, he says, Canadians have been more receptive than Americans to his message. He does as many talks in Canada as he does in the US, despite the much smaller population.

"One suspects it is in part because Canadians - and even progressive Canadians - tend to view their history as rather less genocidal than that of the United States," he muses.

"Canada didn't resort to the same direct killing techniques... but that's hardly an indication that the genocidal policy wasn't effective, just that the techniques employed were different."

He cites articles A and B of the genocide convention--imposing serious physical or mental harm, and inflicting destructive conditions of life.

"Surely in Canada it's clear that native peoples are subjected to various forms of psychological battering, and physical battering in the sense of endemic poverty," he says.

Falling back on the argument that Canada's treatment of the Indigenous population hasn't been as brutal as that of the US doesn't cut it either. "If you're talking about a worse genocide than another genocide, then you're arguing for a 'good' genocide..."  Full article >>

the origins of AIPAC

"...AIPAC's original internal codename in the American Zionist Committee was "the Kenen Committee." Its results have been unparalleled in the history of foreign lobbying. An AIPAC obituary declared that the State Department strenuously opposed Kenen's earliest lobbying efforts. The indefatigable Kenen worked members of Congress and obtained initial approval of $15 million in aid to Israel, despite robust State Department opposition. This early success set AIPAC's strategy of seeking aid to Israel not on the basis of merit, presidential administration prerogative as the maker of foreign policy, or broad State Department initiatives, but through fake grassroots efforts financed by foreign funds from Israel to "prime the American pump." The Israel lobbying campaign for favorable public relations and media coverage included strategically directed gifts and grants to U.S. colleges and universities for new Israel-centric "Middle East Studies" departments and unfettered lobbying with tax-exempt funds recycled from overseas into the U.S. political system. Activity reports from this intensive campaign are documented in the first chapter.

By 1973, Kenen was able to claim that he had boosted U.S. aid to Israel to $1 billion per year. When Kenen retired in 1974, he still retained his "editor emeritus" title at the Near East Report. The spirit of AIPAC's hardball and often illegal tactics would continue long after Kenen left the scene, and the results are staggering. At the time of Kenen's death in 1988, U.S. aid to Israel exceeded $3 billion a year, the highest amount of U.S. aid given to any country.[ix]

It is popularly believed that the immense power of the Israel lobby sprang from broad grassroots commitment by concerned individuals across America. However, evidence from internal American Zionist Council and AIPAC documents reveals a different history. Many groups, including Christian religious organizations now highly active in AIPAC-directed affairs, were initially indifferent to or even suspicious of Israeli initiatives. It took millions of dollars of Israeli government and overseas funds and decades of effort to create the public relations, lobbying, and political juggernaut that now dominates in America. However, not all Americans welcomed the formation of Israel's lobby.

Founder Si Kenen's startup activities proved to be so brazen that they were put under the microscope of a U.S. Senate committee investigating the activities of non-diplomatic foreign agents in the United States. The investigation was originally focused on Latin America, but was compelled to investigate the Israel lobby being assembled on U.S. soil. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations dove headlong into questions about whether the American Zionist Council, AIPAC, the Jewish Agency and Si Kenen were avoiding Foreign Agents Registration Act declarations or filing false ones, acting as unlawful conduits to launder tax-exempt funds, and illegally disseminating Israeli government propaganda in the United States. This investigation, conducted by Senator James William Fulbright, provides the first outside glimpse into the American Zionist Committee, Si Kenen and AIPAC..."   Read on >>

beating the drums of Armageddon

America's Armageddonites

"...Utopian fantasies have long transfixed the human race. Yet today a much rarer fantasy has become popular in the United States. Millions of Americans, the richest people in history, have a death wish. They are the new "Armageddonites," fundamentalist evangelicals who have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.

Most journalists find it difficult to take seriously that tens of millions of Americans, filled with fantasies of revenge and empowerment, long to leave a world they despise. These Armageddonites believe that they alone will get a quick, free pass when they are "raptured" to paradise, no good deeds necessary, not even a day of judgment. Ironically, they share this utopian fantasy with a group that they often castigate, namely fundamentalist Muslims who believe that dying in battle also means direct access to Heaven. For the Armageddonites, however, there are no waiting virgins, but they do agree with Muslims that there will be "no booze, no bars," in the words of a popular Gaither Singers song.

These end-timers have great influence over the U.S. government's foreign policy. They are thick with the Republican leadership. At a recent conference in Washington, congressional leader Roy Blunt, for example, has said that their work is "part of God's plan." At the same meeting, where speakers promoted attacking Iran, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay glorified "end times". Indeed the Bush administration often consults with them on Mideast policies. The organizer of the conference, Rev. John Hagee, is often welcomed at the White House, although his ratings are among the lowest on integrity and transparency by Ministry Watch, which rates religious broadcasters. He raises millions of dollars from his campaign supporting Israeli settlements on the West Bank, including much for himself. Erstwhile presidential candidate Gary Bauer is on his Board of Directors. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also both expressed strong end-times beliefs.

American fundamentalists strongly supported the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. They consistently support Israel's hard-line policies. And they are beating the drums for war against Iran. Thanks to these end-timers, American foreign policy has turned much of the world against us, including most Muslims, nearly a quarter of the human race..."   Read on >> 

activist alleges World Bank is funding paramilitary enforcers in China

"...Harry Wu, a Chinese American human rights activist, released a report Thursday charging that the World Bank is funding a quasi-military organization in China and covering up that relationship.

Wu said the World Bank has awarded more than $100 million in projects since the mid-1980s to the group, which he said runs forced-labor camps and has violently suppressed protests by Muslim peasants called Uygurs in the remote province of Xinjiang in upper northwest China.

"That the World Bank works with this organization is an outrage," Wu said at the National Press Club. He said his study is based largely on internal Chinese documents, which show the military functions of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, or XPCC.

Wu, who spent 19 years in China's forced-labor camps known as laogai before emigrating to the United States, said the Pentagon as well as China's State Council and its Central Military Organization consider the XPCC a military organization.

"So does nearly everyone - except the World Bank," said Wu, who has often
returned to China to document human rights abuses. Last August, Chinese
authorities expelled him from the country after a trial in which they charged him with spying.

Wu, a resident of Milpitas and a scholar at Stanford University's Hoover
Institution, urged World Bank President James Wolfensohn to name an
independent international commission to investigate the bank's projects in
Xinjiang...."  Read on >>

AT&T internet surveillance contract signed with NSA before 9/11

"...That’s all Internet traffic, foreign and domestic, data and voice. And the decision to do this was taken, not because of 9/11, but as soon as Bush took office. As was the decision to ignore the rule of law. So much for the idea that the extremely benevolent and trustworthy Bush administration was reacting to 9/11, and just wants “surgical” surveillance* to keep us safe from terrorists, eh? Could this program be Spencer Ackerman’s “Project X”?

Anyhow, it’s late, so I can’t do this story justice, but according to Wired:

And in May 2006, a lawsuit filed against Verizon for allegedly turning over call records to the NSA alleged that AT&T began building a spying facility for the NSA just days after President Bush was inaugurated. That lawsuit is one of 50 that were consolidated and moved to a San Francisco federal district court, where the suits sit in limbo waiting for the 9th Circuit Appeals court to decide whether the suits can proceed without endangering national security.

According the allegations in the suit (.pdf):

The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATTÌs long distance network. […]

The NSA program was initially conceived at least one year prior to 2001 but had been called off; it was reinstated within 11 days of the entry into office of defendant George W. Bush.

An ATT Solutions logbook reviewed by counsel confirms the Pioneer-Groundbreaker project start date of February 1, 2001.

The allegations in that case come from unnamed AT&T insiders, who have never stepped forward or provided any documentation to the courts. But Carl Mayer, one of the attorneys in the case, stands by the allegations in the lawsuit. ..."

the CIA legal official who quit in protest

"...Here’s something else that I’ve just learned from several sources: it turns out that a former senior CIA legal official quit in protest over the administration’s use of “enhanced interrogations.” This official, whose name I have promised not to publish, previously worked as a deputy IG for investigations under Frederick Hitz, who served as CIA IG between 1990 and 1998. From there, the official moved on the CIA’s Office of General Counsel.

What’s interesting is that this official was generally known as something of a hardliner. I haven’t been able to pin down the date of his departure, which may have occurred a year ago or more. However, the sources tell me he couldn’t stomach what he deemed to be abuses by the Bush Administration and stepped down from his post.

Asked for comment about Helgerson, CIA spokesman George Little said, “Director Hayden firmly believes that the work of the Office of Inspector General is critical to the entire agency, and he has, since taking the helm at CIA, accepted the vast majority of its findings. His only goal is to help this office, like any other office here, do its vital work even better… This is basically a management review, the kind of thing you’d expect a healthy organization to do. CIA’s Inspector General is aware that it’s being done, and congressional staffers have been briefed on the matter.” ..."


this only used to happen in the soviet bloc

"...Retired Vice Admiral Scott Redd, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News this weekend that the U.S. is not “tactically” safer as a result of the Iraq war. That message defied the official line from White House counterterrorism adviser Fran Townsend, who said the “threat level would have been worse” had we not attacked Iraq.

Redd also acknowledged that, over the short term, the Iraq war has created a “giant recruiting tool” for terrorists.

Today, Redd announced his sudden resignation from the NTC. The AP reports:

Retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd said he is stepping down next month to have a long-delayed surgery and spend more time with his five grandchildren and the rest of his family. His spokesman, Carl Kropf, said Redd needs to have both knees replaced. The surgery will require follow-up rehabilitation and would have meant a prolonged absence from the center.

In a note to employees, Redd “provided an upbeat assessment of the administration’s fight against terrorism,” which appeared to contradict his statements made to NBC just a few days earlier. “I believe that as a country we are better prepared today than at any time in our history to wage this war,” he said in his note, neglecting to mention his view that America is actually less safe today because of the Iraq war..."


the ways of the lord are unfathomable

Dead Reverend's Rubber Fetish

Autopsy: Pastor found in wet suits after autoerotic mishap

 OCTOBER 8--An Alabama minister who died in June of "accidental mechanical asphyxia" was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report. Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge's death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking). While the Montgomery Advertiser, which first obtained the autopsy records, reported on Aldridge's two wet suits, the family newspaper chose not to mention what police discovered inside the minister's rubber briefs. Aldridge served as the church's pastor for 16 years. Immediately following his death, church officials issued a press release asking community members to "please refrain from speculation" about what led to Aldridge's demise, adding that, "we will begin the healing process under the strong arm of our Savior, Jesus Christ." (5 pages)

TSG TV: Nearly 50 new clips, from mind-bending drugs to body-bending swimsuits

read on >> Bankers' Band-Aid For Complex System

(Conspiracy Nation, 10/15/07) - A "super-conduit" is in the works,
meant to rescue the market from shaky bonds. Citigroup, Bank of
America and JPMorgan Chase are the big players in the plan for a fund
designed to prevent a sharp sell-off in securities owned by bank-
affiliated investment vehicles. Meetings, which began three weeks ago,
were initiated by the Treasury Department. ("Banks meet on fund to
avert crisis," Sydney Morning Herald, October 15, 2007)

The Treasury Department here is playing the same role J.P. Morgan
played exactly 100 years ago, during the Panic of 1907. In Robert F.
Bruner and Sean D. Carr's fascinating book, "The Panic Of 1907" (Wiley
& Sons, 2007), attention is paid to "complex systems." Markets for
stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities are interrelated. Trouble
in one area can lead to contagion in other areas. J.P. Morgan had
assembled key bankers in the library of his mansion, and locked the
door. There was a financial storm. Bruner & Carr even call it a
"perfect storm." The bankers wanted to hoard cash in the crisis. J.P.
Morgan was looking "very grave." An agreement for a Bankers' Pool had
been drawn up, but no one was eager to sign on. Morgan walked up to
Edward King, a key banker. He put his hand on King's shoulder and
said, "There's the place, King, and here's the pen." King took a gold
pen and signed. The other bankers fell into line.

J.P. Morgan's valiant effort ameliorated the crisis, but did not
completely solve it. Previous over-speculation meant the market
inevitably would impose its own discipline. Into mid-1908,
unemployment rose from 2.8 percent to 8 percent. Wholesale prices fell
5 percent. By 1909, immigration, on its own, had dropped by about
half. (Bruner & Carr, op. cit.)

But this was market discipline, the great free market, so-called.
After the shake-out, things soon enough returned to normal. By 1929,
consequent to the Panic of 1907, another Bankers' Pool, the so-called
"Federal" Reserve, had been formed. By then, J.P. Morgan was long-
dead. The "Fed" was a Morgan Frankenstein. Between 1929 and 1932 the
monster actually prolonged the financial crisis by drying up

Leading member of the latest, imminent Bankers' Pool is Citigroup.
SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles) containing $320 billion in
assets must not collapse into fire-sale prices. Of that $320 billion,
Citigroup reportedly owns almost $100 billion in SIVs. (http://

After serving as Treasury Secretary during the Bill Clinton
presidency, Robert Rubin joined Citigroup, where he now works as
Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee. Rubin "sparked
controversy in 2001 when he contacted an acquaintance at the Treasury
Department and asked if the department could convince bond-rating
agencies not to downgrade the corporate debt of Enron, a debtor of
Citigroup." In June of this year, Robert Rubin was named Co-Chairman
of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). ("Robert Rubin," Wikipedia,
October 14, 2007). Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) documents
unearthed earlier this month reveal Rubin made a secret phone call to
Ben Bernanke, chief of the "Fed," on August 8th. What they talked
about two days before "crunch day," August 10, 2007, is still top-
secret. ("Real Economic News,"

So Robert Rubin and Citigroup are a part of the "complex system."

The "complex system," in a wider view, is not limited to financial
matters. On August 1st, in Minnesota, a highway bridge spanning the
Mississippi River collapsed. At the time, there was talk of a
"Hindenburg Omen," which occurs when individual stocks are registering
both new highs and new lows, respectively. The omen recalls the 1937
disaster of LZ 129 Hindenburg catching fire and crashing at Lakehurst
Naval Air Station, New Jersey. A few days ago, one of the most
essential interstates on the West Coast, Interstate 5, witnessed what
is reported to be a 31-vehicle crash. "It looked like a bomb went
off," said fireman Scott Clark. (AP, October 14, 2007). Rayelan, host
of Rumor Mill News, speculates some sort of "sleeper agent" scenario
involving Mexican truck drivers. (
forum.cgi?read=111295). In Tacoma, Washington, a series of explosions
at a Tacoma foundry is being investigated. In Ohio, an explosive 112-
car train derailment was pushed aside in the news by a school
shooting. (

Terrorist events, subsumed into a Bankers' Pool so as not to crash
markets? Omens for a larger panic than that of August 10th? Or are
they all pieces of a huger "complex system"?

A huger "complex system" would bring in the Knights Templar. The
Templars went into decline after Muslims re-conquered the Holy Land at
the end of the 13th century and were accused of heresy by King Philip
IV of France, their foremost persecutor. The Vatican, as some sort of
signal, has released documents from their secret archives, 700 years
after the arrest of the Templars. It was October 13, 1307, a Friday,
that Grandmaster Jacques de Molay was seized by the Inquisition. On
October 13, 2007, Lt. General (ret.) Ricardo Sanchez blamed the Bush
administration, the State Department and Congress for the Iraq War,
which he called "a nightmare with no end in sight." ("Sanchez: Iraq
war 'a nightmare with no end in sight'", CNN, October 13, 2007). The
Templars went into decline after the Muslims defeated their efforts.
General (ret.) Sanchez represents another October 13th denouncement.

John W. Schoen, senior producer at MSNBC, notices it has been exactly
20 years since the Crash of 1987. It has been 100 years since the
Panic of 1907. It has been 700 years since the arrest of the Knights
Templar. Can "complex systems" be understood by numeric coincidences?
And why will the "Federal" Reserve next meet on Halloween? All of this
occurs in October, for some reason.

Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy

"...AMY GOODMAN: Charlie Savage is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from
the Boston Globe, has written extensively about President Bush's
signing statements and other White House efforts to expand executive
branch secrecy and unchecked power. Warrantless wiretapping is one
part of this story. Charlie Savage has just published a book charting
the means the Bush administration devised to circumvent laws and
expand presidential authority. It's called Takeover: The Return of the
Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy. Joining
us now in our firehouse studio, Charlie Savage. Welcome.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: Thanks for having me on.

AMY GOODMAN: Charlie, you begin in a very dramatic way on September
11, 2001. Tell us about what Dick Cheney was doing.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: That's right. Well, I began with this sort of unusual
moment in the midst of the 9/11 attacks, in which the military
believed that at least one more plane is still in the air and
hijacked, and they asked Dick Cheney in the bunker beneath the White
House whether they should shoot this plane down. And Cheney gives them
authority to shoot down United 93, as it were. Now, it turns out that
that was a moot point, because United 93 had already crashed amid the
passenger uprising. They were looking at an image of where it would be
if it were still in the air.

But this shoot-down order became the subject of an intense dispute
with the 9/11 Commission, because Cheney later told the commission,
and Bush agreed with him, that Bush had given Cheney prior authority
as the commander-in-chief, who actually commands the military to take
such an extraordinary step. But the 9/11 Commission looked at all the
notes of the people aboard Air Force One and in the bunker, and they
looked at all the switchboard logs from the bunker and the military of
communications going in and out, and they found no evidence, no
documentary evidence that that call existed.

And so, I use that moment to open this book, Takeover, because it's a
very vivid illustration of, first of all, the climate, you know, the
atmosphere of 9/11, which really helped this push to concentrate more
power in the White House, but also Cheney taking command inside the
administration, especially in the national security context, Bush
acquiescing to Cheney's point of view, and then their effort -- their
administration's effort to control the flow of information about kind
of what's happening behind the closed doors at the executive branch.

AMY GOODMAN: And when they had the 9/11 Commission hearing meeting,
the insistence by Cheney and Bush that it not be sworn testimony, that
Cheney be sitting physically directly next to President Bush, and that
there be no recording of their statements made about this
conversation, about whether Bush had given the actual command or
whether it was Cheney.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: That's right. You know, and, of course, it is a moot
point. The planes were down. It doesn't really matter that much, but
it's a vivid way of illustrating Cheney's role in the administration,
and therefore getting into the topic of what Cheney used that
influence to do. And one of the most important things and one of the
most successfully implemented policies of this administration, one
that they never talk about and that I think has received scant
attention, just depending on how sweeping it is and how successfully
they pulled it off, was that he had wanted, when they arrived in
office long before 9/11, to use that time in office to reshape
American democracy by concentrating more power in the White House, by
expanding presidential power, by throwing off checks and balances.

This was an agenda that he had with him, dating back thirty years to
his time in the White House as chief of staff to Gerald Ford in that
period after Watergate and Vietnam, when Congress was re-imposing some
checks and balances on the imperial presidency that had grown up
during the early Cold War. And Cheney would spend the next thirty
years trying to throw that off. Finally, as vice president, the most
experienced vice president in history dealing with one of the least
experienced presidents in history, he was in a position to shape this
administration's practices and tactics as it went forward, now pushing
into eight years, in order to take actions and set precedents across a
huge range of issues and ways that were going to leave the presidency
much stronger than it was when they arrived.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And specifically the use of the signing statements,
which, of course, was the subject of much of your reporting -- how did
the signing statements fit into this overall policy?

CHARLIE SAVAGE: The signing statements are one tactic among many, but
it's an illustration of how much more aggressive this administration
has been than any that came before and how it's kind of thrown off
sort of unofficial constraints, practices of restraint. A signing
statement is an official legal document the President issues on the
day he signs a bill into law. It consists of instructions to his
subordinates in the executive branch about how they are to implement
the new laws created by a bill. And it becomes controversial when the
President says, "You will interpret Section 103 as being
unconstitutional, because I alone have said it's unconstitutional, and
you do what I tell you. And if it's unconstitutional, that means you
don't need to enforce it." And where that becomes very controversial
is when Section 103 is a check or a balance on the President's own
power, because then not enforcing that law means not having to obey
that law.

Now, previous presidents have occasionally used signing statements
like this, but President Bush has challenged more laws than all
previous presidents in American history combined, using signing
statements, a dramatic escalation of this tactic, in what the American
Bar Association has said is evolving into kind of a backdoor override-
proof line-item veto power, which can really prevent Congress from
ever again imposing any new checks on presidential power. It's just
but -- it's an extraordinary thing, an extraordinary development in
our constitutional law, and yet it's just one of many, many different
tactics the administration has used to concentrate more unchecked
power in the White House.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about wiretapping, the controversy now, the
frustration that people have with the Democrats, supposedly the
opposition party, going along with the Republicans.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, the background is that after 9/11, as we all
know now, Bush gave the military the authority to wiretap phone calls
without warrants, in defiance of a 1978 law that required warrants for
that situation. And he used a very aggressive legal theory about the
President's powers as commander-in-chief to bypass laws at his own
discretion. Because that program was only legal if that theory were
true, that meant that the fact that they did this set a precedent that
says that theory is true, and future presidents will be able to cite
that precedent when they want to evade any other law that restricts
their own authority.

So now, going forward, one of the ways this agenda has been able to be
so successfully implemented was that there was no resistance from
Congress. At the very moment there was this stronger push coming out
of the Vice President's office to expand the presidential power as an
end to itself in any way possible, because of one-party rule for six
years and because of the atmosphere of crisis after 9/11, there was no
push back. And that's how the ball was moved so far down the field.

And one of the things that's been very interesting about the last year
is now we have split control of government again, and so the question
was, how is that going to change things? And what we've seen from the
Protect America Act in August and the dynamic going forward is that
even with split control of government, the dynamic is still there.
Congress is just as it was for the first twenty or thirty years of the
Cold War, when the original imperial presidency was growing under
presidents of both parties, by the way. Congress is again unwilling to
push back against the White House's assertion that it needs ever more
authority, and checks and balances will result in bloodshed. And so, I
think, going forward, that you can see that this dynamic is going to
be with us. And, of course, two years from now, we may have one-party
control of government again, the other party, but that will just sort
of hurl us further down this path, I think.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And this issue of the President seeking to protect
those in the corporate world who go along with his policies -- well,
first of all, obviously, there was the retroactive immunity to the
airline companies after 9/11 for their failure to act to provide a
kind of security on their planes, giving them immunity from any
possible lawsuits, and now this effort by the administration to try to
provide retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that went along
with his surveillance program.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, and what this is, is because Congress has
demonstrated that it's really not going to do anything about the basic
fact that the President asserted he could bypass a law and then he
acted on that assertion, and, you know, that established he can do
that, or whoever else is president at any given moment from now on can
do that, that the one sort of last place where critics of this sort of
extraordinary development could still have some traction was the
lawsuit against the companies, which had also evidently broken privacy
laws by going along with this. So, by seeking retroactive immunity,
it's sort of the last place closing off the possibility of

And accountability for how people use their power is one of the great
ways in which the administration has successfully expanded their own
powers, as well. For example, by dramatically expanding secrecy
surrounding the executive branch in all kinds of ways, going after
open government laws, expanding executive privilege, expanding the use
of the state secret privilege to get rid of lawsuits in courts, and on
and on and on, what they've done is they've made the executive branch
much more of a black box so that outsiders, whether Congress, the
courts or just voters, don't know what officials are doing with these
powers at the very moment that the powers are being dramatically
increased, and that means that the officials who have that power,
whoever they are at any given moment, are much freer to do whatever
they want with them..."   Full article->


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