Monday, February 11, 2008

Corporate TIPS programs

" ... Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

[ ... ]

In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”

The ACLU is not so sanguine.

“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed

[ ... ]

In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”

Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.” ... "

~ From Exclusive! The FBI Deputizes Business ~

 

A China base in Iran?

" ... Presently, China's strategy is confined to the port city of Gwadar along the southwestern coast of Pakistan in Balochistan province, strategically located near the Hormuz Strait. Yet, due to the close US-Pakistan relations, it is highly improbable the US would permit Islamabad to enter into strategic relations with Beijing so that China, still lacking a formidable navy, could utilize it for power projection in the region.

Not so with Iran, which is constantly threatened by the US, and now France, and which already enjoys observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), headed by China and Russia. Iran's bid to join the SCO has been stalled partly as a result of the standoff over its nuclear program, but will likely succeed in the not too distant future should the present patterns of Iran-Russia and Iran-China cooperation continue.

Regarding the latter, China has already surpassed Germany as Iran's number one trade partner. Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, has just finalized a multi-billion dollar deal to develop the giant Yadavaran oil field, and this is in addition to the "deal of the century" contract for natural gas from Iran's immense North Pars field. Chinese contractors are also busy constructing oil terminals for Iran in the Caspian Sea, extending the Tehran metro, building airports, among other projects. And this while China arms sales to Iran have included such hot items as ballistic-missile technology and air-defense radars.

The growing Iran-China cooperation on the energy and trade fronts is bound sooner or later to spill over into more meaningful military cooperation and, in turn, this depends to some extent on the ebbs and flows of Iran-US and China-US "games of strategy", particularly if China feels additional pressure from the US on the geopolitical front.

For sure, Iran's willingness to show a greater willingness than hitherto to embrace China's naval vessels making port calls to Iran is now in the cards, this as a prelude to more extensive agreements up to and including provisions for a small Chinese naval outpost on one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands. ... "

Spies, lies, and "conspiracy theories" - what's behind the Middle East internet outage

" ... First it was supposed to be a ship's anchor that caused the damage, and yet the Egyptians have said there were no ships in the vicinity, which they regularly monitor: besides which, that entire area near Alexandria is off-limits to all shipping. Another reason to suspect a deliberate act: this politically-sensitive region is an Internet choke-point, as ABC News points out. "The route connecting Europe to Egypt, and from there to the Middle East" is tenuous:

"Today, just three major data cables stretch from Italy to Egypt and run down the Suez Canal, and from there to much of the Middle East. (A separate line connects Italy with Israel.) A serious cut here is immediately obvious across the region, and a double cut can be crippling."

Yet theories that this incident prefigures a US attack on Iran don't comport with the facts: Iran, far from being isolated by the cuts, may have enjoyed better connectivity as a result of the events. The areas hardest hit were Kuwait, Egypt, and especially Pakistan – this last being a likelier target for isolation than Iran, and certainly more current.

Another, and far more plausible, theory is that the seemingly coordinated cuts resulted from efforts to tap into the cables – a spying operation. Go here for an exhaustive and very convincing case for viewing this as "special warfare."

The Register cites Prof. Bellovin, but fails to note the real gist of his remarks. While he's skeptical of the above-cited link, which posits a scenario whereby the USS Jimmy Carter, present whereabouts unknown, uses its specially designed facilities to tap directly into the cables, Bellovin poses an alternative scenario:

"If if wasn't a direct attempt at eavesdropping, perhaps it was indirect. Several years ago, a colleague and I wrote about link-cutting attacks. In these, you cut some cables, to force traffic past a link you're monitoring. Link-cutting for such purposes isn't new; at the start of World War I, the British cut Germany's overseas telegraph cable to force them to use easilymonitored links. One of the messages they intercepted — and cryptanalyzed — was the Zimmerman telegram, which asked Mexico to join Germany in attacking the US, in exchange for financial support and recovery of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Instead, public outrage in the US contributed to the decision to enter the war against Germany." ... "

~ From The Cable-Cutter Mystery ~

Corporations granted 'Human Rights' humans are denied

" ... In evaluating allegations that U.S. military forces deprived four British men of human rights during two years they were held captive in Guantanamo Bay prison, a U.S. appeals court found an innovative way to let the Bush administration off the hook. Two of three judges ruled the men — because they are not U.S. citizens and, technically, were not imprisoned in the U.S. — were not legally “persons” and, therefore, had no rights to violate.

While those judges were defying common sense and decency by denying legal personhood to living human beings, an appeals court in Boston has been reviewing an April 2007 decision by Federal Judge Paul Barbadoro that engaged in a different form of judicial activism — granting human rights to corporations.

Barbadoro struck down a New Hampshire law that prevented pharmaceutical corporations from learning exactly what drugs doctors prescribe and how much they prescribe. The law aims to protect doctors and, indirectly, their patients, from drug companies pressuring doctors to choose their products.

The judge’s grounds? He claims corporations, as legal persons, have “free speech rights” that would be infringed by such a measure.

The real issue in these cases (Maine recently passed a similar law) isn’t free speech at all; it’s manipulation and control. The drug salespeople only will decide what to say after poking into the doctors’ prescription records. Under the guise of protecting speech, Judge Barbadoro denied both legitimate privacy rights of doctors and key protections to ensure patients are prescribed drugs based on their medical situation, not pressure applied to their physician.

Taken together, these two rulings are a perplexing and dangerous development. The founding principle of our country is right in the Declaration of Independence: all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” It is not for judges to decide who is and who is not a human being.

Nor should the courts play Creator by endowing legal constructs like corporations with human rights. Our constitutional rights exist to prevent large, powerful institutions — whether governments, corporations, or other entities — from oppressing us humans.

For too long a strange dichotomy has persisted between principled people on the political left and right wings. The left wing often warns against the growing power of business corporations. The right wing complains the left ignores the overweening power of the government and is “anti-business.”

Both sides have been seeing only part of the same elephant. What’s happening is a merger of corporations and state. ... "

~ Read on... ~

The next president should open up the Bush Administration's record

By now no one expects the Bush Administration to make itself accountable for its controversial and possibly illegal practices. But the next President will have a unique opportunity to reveal what has been kept hidden for the last seven years. Secrecy watchdog Steven Aftergood suggests a few questions for the presidential candidates about their willingness to disclose just what the current Administration has done.

By Steven Aftergood
saftergood@fas.org

In 2005, then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey told colleagues at the Justice Department that they would be “ashamed” when a legal memorandum on forceful interrogation of prisoners eventually became public.  In fact, however, disclosure of such secret Bush Administration documents may be the only way to begin to overcome the palpable shame that is already felt by many Americans at the thought that their government has engaged in abusive interrogations, secret renditions or unchecked surveillance.

The next President will have the authority to declassify and disclose any and all records that reflect the activities of executive branch agencies.  Although internal White House records that document the activities of the outgoing President and his personal advisers will be exempt from disclosure for a dozen years or so, every Bush Administration decision that was actually translated into policy will have left a documentary trail in one or more of the agencies, and all such records could be disclosed at the discretion of the next President...

~ Read on... ~

 

Simone de Beauvoir's centennial

beautifully observed at Swans Commentary

The Mother Of Us All
by Gilles d'Aymery

Simone de Beauvoir One Hundred Years After Her Birth
by Karen Moller

The Unfinished Business Of Simone de Beauvoir
by Marie Rennard

Not Shutting Up For A Second: Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
by Peter Byrne

Simone de Beauvoir's The Coming of Age
Book Review by Louis Proyect



Also well worth checking out: Swans 2008 Infamous Predictions

" ... irreverent as ever, with no stone left unturned nor politician untouched; from the Pope to the US presidential candidates; political dalliances and conversions; war and peace; and everything silly in between. ... "

How Paris Hilton helped reveal NASA UFO secrets

" ... Buzz Aldrin was supposed to be talking about the latest Space Shuttle Mission. Imagine his surprise when the famous astronaut's guest spot was jammed into the middle of the never-ending discussion about Paris. An experienced media guest, Buzz is never at a loss for prefabricated words. Years ago I appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show with him and a few other UFO Researchers. As long as you didn't ask him anything out of the ordinary, he had some terrific prepared responses. If you did, he stammered and stumbled. That's what happened on Your World with Neil Cavuto today around 1:30pm Arizona Time.

Asked to comment on how he felt about living in a world where Paris dominates the news for hours on end, he began by stammering on about some science fiction book he once wrote. The story was about a civilization that was going to be destroyed in exactly 140 years by a terrible calamity. He point was that everyone knew about it and did nothing until the very last minute. Huh? Like I said, not good without the prefab responses.

Buzz continued and finally made a lucid point. He apparently feels that we have lost our focus. Instead of worrying about how the Russians, Chinese and Japanese are slowly overtaking us in space research and exploration, we sensationalize and promote non-events like today's Paris debacle. Just as Your World was headed to a break, Aldrin reminisced about the days of the Apollo 11 Moon Mission and said, "Suppose Neal and I said, 'Look at what's outside of our window! It's a UFO!' Instead, we said, 'It's unusual to see a booster rocket outside of our window.' Think about what people would have said and what they would have done if we told them it was a UFO following us? That's what it was."

This was not Aldrin's first statement about UFO encounters during the Apollo 11 Mission. He appeared on a Science Channel program entitled, "First on the Moon: The Untold Story" in 2005 and made this unusual observation: "There was something out there that, uh, was close enough to be observed and what could it be? Mike (Collins) decided he thought he could see it in the telescope and he was able to do that and when it was in one position, that had a series of ellipses, but when you made it real sharp it was sort of L shaped. That didn't tell us very much." ... "

"Geldof and Bono`s Charity is Crippling Africa" claims African AID Action

Despite billions of pounds given for debt relief and aid in Africa, since the original Band Aid campaign, the number of Africans living on handouts has increased by 500%. African governments who used to rely on only 20% of their annual budget from overseas aid are now dependent on a 70% contribution.

Celebrity campaigners and western charities "increase corruption and dependency" 

-   Politically correct Western media avoid real issues

-   Only 25% of 5.8m AIDS victims have access to life saving drugs

-   Call new type of investment, in not-for-profit, transparent manufacturing facility

-   A major rethink required ahead of International World AIDS Day on 1st December 

Despite billions of pounds given for debt relief and aid in Africa, since the original Band Aid campaign, the number of Africans living on handouts has increased by 500%. African governments who used to rely on only 20% of their annual budget from overseas aid are now dependent on a 70% contribution.

The culture of corruption and dependency on aid is thriving. Brutal dictators remain in power, and only 25% of the 5.4 million people with full-blown AIDS in Africa have access to the life –saving anti retro viral drugs. 

Despite noble global intentions, the campaign led by Bob Geldof and Bono to save Africa by increasing aid and debt relief, is have a reverse effect and crippling those aims to help, according to the founder of African Aid Action AAA [a3], Jobs Selasie.

Selasi believes that the western media is hamstrung by its own pre occupation with political correctness, which is preventing it from pointing an accusing finger at the true causes of poverty in the continent, the harm done by many charities (who resort to “blackmail”) and impoverished Africans who would rather beg than work.

 “Aid has failed because campaigners, charities and governments do not have the right plan and excluded African entrepreneurs and grassroots organisations from being part of the solution,” said Selasi. “You can’t impose change from without, it has to come from within and we won’t end poverty with handouts - Africans need to fight corruption and work hard. ...

 

~ Read more... ~

 

Healing by sound and frequency?

" ... Sharry Edwards, the pioneer of the emerging field of BioAcoustic Biology, has been identified by Sylvia Francke as one of the few living Keepers of the Holy Grail mysteries in her 2007 publication, The Tree of Life and the Holy Grail. BioAcoustic Biology attempts to define human health through frequency-based biomarkers.

Three other original thinkers, Royal Rife, Wilhelm Reich and Alfred Tomatis were also named as individuals who helped rediscover the Tree of Life energies. All three are deceased but during their lifetimes each was enormously influential in originating a diverse form of frequency based medicine. Much of the work of Rife and Reich has been lost due to the FDA's destruction of their written works. Edwards presently continues her work with vocal codes, as a representation of human health, in a small experimental research center, Sound Health, located in rural Southern Ohio in the US.

[ ... ]

It was not evident to Edwards that she had any special place in the world of hidden knowledge until her very unique talent of being able to hear and sing the frequencies that emanate from the human ear was made public. Although this sounds far fetched, Johns Hopkins researcher, Wendell Browne has substantiated that the ear does emit sound which can be used to diagnose disease. Information about these oto-acoustic emissions is being published by PubMed and is believed to be the same frequencies heard by Edwards.

Although Edwards' talent was initially thought to be an esoteric one, she has now computerized the process so that others can use her ideas to reveal the vocal codes within the human voice.

Many prominent scientists are working in similar areas as Edwards. James Gimzewski, a physicist from UCLA, has been able to establish that all cells within the human body create frequency and sound patterns. Gimzewski believes that these cell sounds can be used to diagnose disease.

[ ... ]

Edwards' work also moves into the realm of modern String Theory which proposes that our DNA, the blueprint of our being, emanates from infinitesimally small bits of matter called Strings. The issue with String Theory is that no one knows how these undisciplined strings become structure. Edwards' work goes a step beyond to show how the frequency matrix of matter, becomes RNA, the regulatory proteins of synthesis and transmission of genetic information. Edwards' work is clearly a beginning to understand how the structure of DNA is able to develop into specific structures of life.

Although Edwards and her staff have decoded thousands of genes into frequency patterns, she says that her research can show that a gene's controlling proteins are just as important as the genes themselves especially in her work with anti-aging, the release of pain, weight management, amplified immune response; and degenerative diseases like arthritis, macular degeneration and heart disease.

The Secret is one of the most popular movies of all times. It attempts to teach us that we can have whatever we want just by thinking out it. Edwards feels that this perspective needs a bit more inquiry because many people do not know what they want.

[ ... ]

Edwards was named Scientist of the Year by the New Frontiers of Science and has received awards together with first lady Betty Ford, John Nash of a Beautiful Mind (movie) and William Tiller, the father of psychoenergetics. Her company, Sound Health has been recognized by the State of Ohio as a unique and innovative biotech endeavor. In combination, the diversity of Edwards' work shows an astounding blend of the old and the new; the esoteric with the scientific... "

~ From Holy Grail Mystery Math has Potential to Promote and Extend Life ~

(Also see Singing cells, art, science and the noise in between)

Also running out: Helium

Up, Up and It’s Gone!
Forget oil, the world is running out of another important element: helium. An Amarillo, Texas reserve, one of the largest in the world, is expected to be extinct within eight years. Losing the gas would mean far more than a lack of flying balloons. Helium is used in everything from microchip production to the cooling tanks in NASA’s space shuttles. Unfortunately, the gas is not renewable and has to be built up over millions of years. And, unlike gas or oil, there are no alternatives to the properties helium offers.
 
 

Exxon and Chevron earnings soar on record oil prices

Exxon Mobil Corp said on Friday record oil prices propelled its quarterly and yearly profits to the highest-ever levels by a U.S. company.

Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, also posted an enormous profit in the quarter as crude prices, which reached more than $99 a barrel during the period, outweighed its relatively weak refining profits.

Exxon, the world's largest oil company not run by a state, fourth-quarter net income rose nearly 14 percent to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 a share, from $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, in 2006. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.98 per share. ...
 

 

Historical precursors of fascism ascendant in America today

Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America

A Dig led by Stan Goff
Author Stan Goff, a retired 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces, sounds a warning call that many of the historical precursors of fascism—white supremacy, militarization of culture, vigilantism, masculine fear of female power, xenophobia and economic destabilization—are ascendant in America today.
 
 

" ... Gore Vidal said that McVeigh “needed a self-consuming cause to define him[self].” Vidal’s account, “The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh,” ominously printed in Vanity Fair just days before the 9/11 attacks expressed another “self-consuming cause,” noted that McVeigh took his cues from the very government he had worked for as a soldier.  Before McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma City, the most recent attack by Americans against Americans outside of warfare was the FBI-BATF massacre of an obscure religious commune that was demonized for destruction at Waco, Texas—which McVeigh memorialized by blowing up the Murrah Building on the Waco massacre’s second anniversary.

When McVeigh was interviewed about the “collateral damage” in Oklahoma, he was asked if he felt remorse.  He replied that Truman had never apologized for Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  And the formative moment in Iraq for Tim McVeigh was the order by Major General Barry McCaffrey—the sociopath appointed by Bill Clinton to be the nation’s “drug czar”—to slaughter a seven-mile line of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians after the cease-fire in Iraq ... now called the Turkey Shoot.

As the old military motto says, “Trained by the best, kill like the rest.”

[ ... ]

Fascism traditionally employs either a master-race or master-culture narrative.  This narrative is reinforced for troops on the ground in Iraq by the circumstances.  The role of occupier is the role of dominator, and as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved dramatically, this dominator role very quickly translates into the dehumanization and objectification of the dominated.  On the ground, at the infantry level, wars of domination in every instance become race wars.

The dustup recently about a Marine singing a song (which was published on the Internet as a video), called ”Hadji Girl,” in which he humorously describes killing Iraqi children to the raucous applause of his fellow Marines, was hardly a blip in the corporate media.

In American society right now, with the immigration hysteria fueled by faux populists like CNN’s execrable Lou Dobbs, there is a growing wave of xenophobia that has begun to legitimate vigilantism, like that of the Arizona Minutemen (supported even by the governor of California); and vigilantism is always a feature of fascism in periods before it decisively achieves state power.  The lines between the comic-opera militias parked along the Arizona border, the “libertarian” militias in the Midwest and the Aryan militias in the Idaho foothills are not terribly clear.  Timothy McVeigh could have easily related to all of them.

The social currents of racial/cultural supremacy are there.  The vigilantism is forming.  So two aspects of fascism are already falling into place.

Another aspect, and one that was formative of Timothy McVeigh, is economic destabilization.  Fascism can be described as a “middle class” phenomenon.  One can look at the emergence of the three most studied fascist governments, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Germany, and in every case there was a privileged stratum of the working class that had been the beneficiaries of metropolitan capitalist development (courtesy of peripheral colonies) that rubbed shoulders socially with the professional and managerial sectors.  In times of instability, friction develops between fractions of this stratum.  Insecurity among the lower middle-classes creates anxiety and anger that can easily be directed by populist-sounding demagogues (Mussolini and Hitler actually claimed to be socialist, even as they strengthened the ruling classes in their own societies during militarization).  Those just above these fractious masses are caught between their anxiety at the turbulent resentments of the lower stratum and their fear that they themselves are only a paycheck away from joining them.  Leftist scholars have documented and explained this class dimension of fascism at some length. ... "

~ Read more... ~

 

4th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week

Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 was officially launched on Sunday, February 3rd in Soweto, South Africa. Exiled Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara, addressed his lecture on the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their land to become what remains one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Bishara spoke under the banner 'Silenced in Apartheid Israel - Welcomed in Soweto’ alongside prominent South Africans such as Eddie Maque, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.

Speaking in South Africa, Bishara states, “Reconciliation happened in South Africa after apartheid was dismantled, not instead. The message sent to the Palestinians is that you have to make peace and reconcile. We can reconcile after racism and occupation is dismantled.” Dr. Bishara’s lecture will be screened during the week in participating cities around the world.

The 4th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is taking place in 25 cities from February 3-19 2008. Concurrent events are being held in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, and Palestine. IAW will feature lectures, film screenings, cultural activities, and demonstrations aimed at raising awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies toward Palestinians and to gather support for the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. The demands of this campaign are: full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, and the protection of Palestinian refugees’ right to return pursuant to UN resolution 194.

“It has become imperative for people around the world to isolate the Israeli apartheid regime, especially in the face of governments’ failure to ensure respect for human rights and to hold Israel accountable before international law and countless U.N. resolutions” said Ahmad Shokr, an organizer of IAW in New York City. Shokr adds that “by supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign the international community can bring an end to Israeli apartheid and work toward a future of justice, equality and peace.”

http://www.apartheidweek.org/media.html

Military draft would further anti-war cries

" ... How would you feel if you received a call from the local Army recruiting office and were told you were going to be spending the next year overseas, away from everything you know? If you knew you were going to be in harm’s way, would you show up to ship out?

A poll conducted by Case Western Reserve University in 2004 shows that 46 percent of people ages 18 to 24 fear the return of the draft. Even President Bush, after advocating the surge of troop numbers in Iraq, opposes the draft.

If there were a draft, would more people, especially students, oppose the war in Iraq?

Second, if the war can only be won with an escalation of troops, as many contend, where are we going to find the numbers of volunteers when the Army predicts it will only be able to increase its numbers by 4,000 this year?

A popular musician once noted that if there were currently a draft there would be more opposition, as in the case of Vietnam when people of all socioeconomic status were sent to fight.

[ ... ]

Yes, the surge is working, but how long will we be able to maintain troop levels when enlistment is down, along with morale?

In 2006, 72 percent of U.S. troops in Iraq said the war should end that same year, according to a LeMoyne College/Zogby poll.

An overwhelming number of reserves verses Marines favor a rapid withdrawal.

When talking to soldiers who have served overseas, it seems many agree with our involvement, but polls and further investigation suggest otherwise. Regardless, our brothers and sisters in the service are overworked and underpaid. Few of the American public know that when soldiers are injured and cannot return to the battlefield, they have to pay Uncle Sam. In one instance, a man was sent a bill for $3,000 from the Pentagon after he was injured and could not return to Iraq. ... "

~ Full article ~

 

North Korea accuses US of hampering peace prospects

North Korea on Wednesday accused the United States of trying to "permanently occupy South Korea," saying it would hamper attempts at peace and reunification on the peninsula.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, which exclusively handles South Korean affairs, claimed US commanders were speaking in favour of a permanent US military presence in the South.

The committee said in a statement such "reckless" remarks came from Admiral Timothy Keating, chief of the US Pacific Command, and General Burwell Bell, head of US troops in the South.

Pyongyang quoted the latter saying on January 10: "The US military actively supports its permanent presence in South Korea," in a speech that was not made public.

A spokesman for the North's committee said in the statement, carried by the Korean Central News Agency, that inter-Korean peace and reunification would not be achieved as long as the US military maintains its presence on the peninsula.

"We will never tolerate the US imperialist military forces' attempt to permanently occupy South Korea and sternly deal with it," it said.

US military presence on the peninsula was firmly cemented by the 1950-1953 Korean War sparked by the invasion by the North of the South.

Some 28,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea to help 650,000 South Korean forces face up to North Korea's 1.2-million-strong army.

Under a mutual defence treaty, the South Korean military comes under US command in times of war. But Seoul is due to take back war-time operational control over its troops by 2012.

The renewed anti-US propaganda came as international efforts aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons remained in a stalemate. ...

~ AFP

The Financial Tsunami

Endgame: Unregulated Private Money Creation

What had emerged going into the new millennium after the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall was an awesome transformation of American credit markets into what was soon to become the world’s greatest unregulated private money creation machine.

The New Finance was built on an incestuous, interlocking, if informal, cartel of players, all reading from the script written by Alan Greenspan and his friends at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and the other major financial houses of New York. Securitization was going to secure a "new" American Century and its financial domination, as its creators clearly believed on the eve of the millennium.

Key to the revolution in finance in addition to the unabashed backing of the Greenspan Fed, was the complicity of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the US Government right to the Supreme Court. In addition, to make the game work seamlessly, it required the active complicity of the two leading credit agencies in the world—Moody’s and Standard & Poors.

It required a Congress and Executive branch that would repeatedly reject rational appeals to regulate over-the-counter financial derivatives, bank-owned or financed hedge funds or any of the myriad steps to remove supervision, control, transparency that had been painstakingly built up over the previous century or more. It required that the major government-certified rating agencies give their credit AAA imprimatur to a tiny handful of poorly regulated insurance companies called Monolines, all based in New York. The monolines were another essential part of the New Finance.

The interlinks and consensus behind the massive expansion of securitization among all these institutional players was so clear and pervasive it might have been incorporated as America New Finance Inc. and its shares sold over NASDAQ. ...

~ Read on... ~

 

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