Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bankers want world economic government to solve financial crisis they created

"It is time for a Bretton Woods for this century," reports the Telegraph, noting that "Opinion is now hardening around the case for a new global architecture to enforce rules that ensure lessons are learnt."

This followed the proposal to create a new EU body to regulate banks across the entire European financial market.

Top EU officials, including economy commissioner Joaquin Almunia, have stated that the EU should have greater powers to regulate and intervene in the operations of financial institutions across Europe.

Influential media giants like the Wall Street Journal are pushing a "new world order" to solve the crisis, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a "a new global financial order" to supersede the institutions created after World War II.

The elite are up to their old tricks again, after all, a leopard never changes its spots.

They created the problem of wildly irresponsible fractional reserve banking, the debt bubble and the credit crunch by ceaselessly inflating the money supply and now they are going to offer their solution to the crisis - the further centralization of global economic power into fewer hands.

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Elite officer recalls Bin Laden hunt

The radio intercepts gave Delta a fix on bin Laden's location. And one of the Delta soldiers narrated his own video.

"This top hill. The very top up there. That's supposedly where Bin Laden is hiding out….We've seen movement along this saddle right here. We don't know if it's friendly or not so we haven't been able to call fire on it," the soldier said on the video.

And then something extraordinary happened: Fury's Afghan allies announced they had negotiated a cease fire with al Qaeda, something the Americans had no interest in. When Fury's team advanced anyway, his Afghan partners drew their weapons on Delta. It took 12 hours to end the bogus cease fire, precious time for al Qaeda to move.

Fury says their assumption was that bin Laden was heading for a valley at that time.

Bin Laden had changed direction, and the tone of his radio calls. "Clearly under duress. Clearly hurting. Clearly caring for his men," Fury says.

In a notebook, Fury wrote down the translation of bin Laden's words as his team listened on the radio. "Quote, 'Our prayers were not answered. Times are dire and bad. We did not get support from the apostates, who are our brothers. I'm sorry for bringing you here. It is okay to surrender,' end quote," Fury reads.

Fury says that when he heard that, he thought it was almost over.

Soon after that intercept, a Delta team called "Jackal" radioed that they had bin Laden's entourage in sight.

"The operation Jackal team observed 50 men moving into a cave that they hadn't seen before. The Mujahideen said they saw an individual, a taller fellow, wearing a camouflage jacket. Everybody put two and two together, 'Okay, that's got to be Osama Bin Laden egressing from the battlefield.' They called up every available bomb in the air, took control of the airspace. And they dropped several hours of bombs on the cave he went into. We believe, it was our opinion at the time, that he died inside that cave," Fury says.

Bin Laden's radio went silent. And Dalton Fury believed the bombs had killed him. Six months later, American and Canadian forces came back for proof. They checked al Qaeda fighting holes and used explosives to try open up collapsed caves. This is where they hoped to find bin Laden's body. It's an al Qaeda graveyard rising from the opium poppies.

The troops dug up bodies, removed fingers for forensic analysis, then carefully reburied the bodies. But, there was no luck. In October 2004, bin Laden released a video and Fury knew his team had failed.
 
 

Secrets of Iraq's death chamber

Like all wars, the dark, untold stories of the Iraqi conflict drain from its shattered landscape like the filthy waters of the Tigris. And still the revelations come.

The Independent has learnt that secret executions are being carried out in the prisons run by Nouri al-Maliki's "democratic" government.

The hangings are carried out regularly – from a wooden gallows in a small, cramped cell – in Saddam Hussein's old intelligence headquarters at Kazimiyah. There is no public record of these killings in what is now called Baghdad's "high-security detention facility" but most of the victims – there have been hundreds since America introduced "democracy" to Iraq – are said to be insurgents, given the same summary justice they mete out to their own captives.

The secrets of Iraq's death chambers lie mostly hidden from foreign eyes but a few brave Western souls have come forward to tell of this prison horror. The accounts provide only a glimpse into the Iraqi story, at times tantalisingly cut short, at others gloomily predictable. Those who tell it are as depressed as they are filled with hopelessness.

"Most of the executions are of supposed insurgents of one kind or another," a Westerner who has seen the execution chamber at Kazimiyah told me. "But hanging isn't easy." As always, the devil is in the detail.

"There's a cell with a bar below the ceiling with a rope over it and a bench on which the victim stands with his hands tied," a former British official, told me last week. "I've been in the cell, though it was always empty. But not long before I visited, they'd taken this guy there to hang him. They made him stand on the bench, put the rope round his neck and pushed him off. But he jumped on to the floor. He could stand up. So they shortened the length of the rope and got him back on the bench and pushed him off again. It didn't work."

There's nothing new in savage executions in the Middle East – in the Lebanese city of Sidon 10 years ago, a policeman had to hang on to the legs of a condemned man to throttle him after he failed to die on the noose – but in Baghdad, cruel death seems a speciality.

"They started digging into the floor beneath the bench so that the guy would drop far enough to snap his neck," the official said. "They dug up the tiles and the cement underneath. But that didn't work. He could still stand up when they pushed him off the bench. So they just took him to a corner of the cell and shot him in the head."

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Four European nations call for new EU body to supervise banks

Four major European nations agreed Saturday to set up within the European Union a body to supervise banks as part of their efforts to stem the spread of the financial turmoil.
The leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy agreed Saturday to set up within the European Union a body to supervise banks as part of their efforts to stem the spread of the financial turmoil, triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis, in Europe.

The four released a statement after an emergency summit in Paris to deal with the financial crisis. The statement said mechanisms should be established within the European Union to oversee cross-border European financial institutions and enhance international cooperation.

The leaders welcome the decision of the European Investment Bank to mobilize EUR30 billion of support for small and medium size European enterprises and urge the bank to frontload this effort.
 
 

Retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion -- so far

Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months -- about 20 percent of their value -- Congress' top budget analyst estimated Tuesday as lawmakers began investigating how turmoil in the financial industry is whittling away workers' nest eggs.

The upheaval that has engulfed financial firms and sent the stock market plummeting is also devastating people's savings, forcing families to hold off on major purchases and even delay retirement, Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, told the House Education and Labor Committee.

As Congress investigates the causes and effects of the meltdown, the panel pressed economists and other analysts on how the housing, credit and other financial troubles have battered pensions and other retirement funds, which are among the most common forms of savings in the United States.

"Unlike Wall Street executives, America's families don't have a golden parachute to fall back on," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the panel chairman. "It's clear that their retirement security may be one of the greatest casualties of this financial crisis."

More than half the people surveyed in an Associated Press-GfK poll taken Sept. 27-30 said they worry they will have to work longer because the value of their retirement savings has declined.

Orszag indicated the fear is well-founded. Public and private pension funds and employees' private retirement savings accounts -- like 401(k)'s -- lost about 10 percent between the middle of 2007 and the middle of this year, and lost another 10 percent just in the past three months, he estimated.

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Pakistan facing bankruptcy

Officially, the central bank holds $8.14 billion (£4.65 billion) of foreign currency, but if forward liabilities are included, the real reserves may be only $3 billion - enough to buy about 30 days of imports like oil and food.

Nine months ago, Pakistan had $16 bn in the coffers.

The government is engulfed by crises left behind by Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler who resigned the presidency in August. High oil prices have combined with endemic corruption and mismanagement to inflict huge damage on the economy.

Given the country's standing as a frontline state in the US-led "war on terrorism", the economic crisis has profound consequences. Pakistan already faces worsening security as the army clashes with militants in the lawless Tribal Areas on the north-west frontier with Afghanistan.

The economic crisis has already placed the future of the new government in doubt after the transition to a civilian rule. President Asif Ali Zardari has faced numerous but unproven allegations of corruption dating from the two governments led by his wife, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated last December.

The Wall Street Journal said that Pakistan's economic travails were "at least in part, a crisis of confidence in him".

While Mr Musharraf's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, frequently likened Pakistan to a "Tiger economy", the former government left an economy on the brink of ruin without any durable base.

The Pakistan rupee has lost more than 21 per cent of its value so far this year and inflation now runs at 25 per cent. The rise in world prices has driven up Pakistan's food and oil bill by a third since 2007.

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95% of Italians, finally permitted to vote, oppose proposed new U.S. military base

On the evening of October 1, as they learned of the court´s decision, the people responded with outrage and over 12,000 poured into the main square in Vicenza for a demonstration that had been organized just hours before.

Vicenza's mayor took to the stage and said "If they won´t let us vote inside the polling places, then we´ll vote outside the gates." And so it was, with new meaning given to the term "popular referendum."

Despite this being an "unofficial" vote, it was organized with strict adherence to the rules. City residents were required to go to their normal polling place and identification was required. Some city council members also served as polling place supervisors and a committee to guarantee the results, including a notary, was nominated. In all, over 500 volunteers were on hand to make sure everything went smoothly.

The center of operations was organized on one of the main squares in the historic center of the city, allowing for complete transparency and public observation of the vote. A press center was also organized, with everything from wireless internet access to separate areas for the press to arrange interviews.

Voting started at 8am. By noon, nearly 10,000 people had already voted, including a man who had just celebrated his 100th birthday. Voter turnout at times overwhelmed some of the 32 polling places throughout the city, with long lines forming.

Voters often offered a contribution towards the expenses of the referendum before even voting. Many brought warm drinks and food to the volunteers at the polling places.

At 9pm the polls closed and the vote count began at the center of
operations, with hundreds of citizens present to follow the results. Just after midnight the results were announced: 95.66% had voted in favor of the referendum, and against the new U.S. military base. The people had spoken.

In addition to the local referendum, other cities throughout Italy also organized symbolic votes in solidarity with the people of Vicenza, from Val di Susa in the north to Cagliari in Sardinia, an island that has seen the devastating effects of military bases.

Aware that the impact of this base is hardly limited to the city of Vicenza, an online vote was also organized allowing people all over the world to participate symbolically in the referendum. Over 30,000 people voted, with 80.7% against the base.

~ more... ~

 

Transatlantic Common Market by 2015

Last February, the Transatlantic Policy Network formed a Transatlantic Market Implementation Group to put in place "a roadmap and framework" to direct the activity of the Transatlantic Economic Council to achieve the creation of the Transatlantic Common Market by 2015.

The Transatlantic Economic Council is an official international governmental body established by executive fiat in the U.S. and the EU without congressional approval or oversight. No new law or treaty was sought by the Bush administration to approve or implement the plan to create a Transatlantic Common Market.

The U.S. congressmen and senators are involved only indirectly, as advisers to the influential non-governmental organization.

In a February 2007 document entitled "Completing the Transatlantic Market," the TPN's Transatlantic Market Implementation Group writes, "The aim of this roadmap and framework would be to remove barriers to trade and investment across the Atlantic and to reduce regulatory compliance costs."

The document further acknowledged the impact the Transatlantic Common Market agenda would have on U.S. and European legislators: "The roadmap and framework will necessarily oblige legislative and regulatory authorities in both Europe and the United States to take into consideration from the outset the impact their acts may have on transatlantic economic relations and to ensure that their respective governmental bodies involved have the necessary budgetary and organizational resources to work closely with each other."

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Financial bailout: Thanks but no thanks

What Lincoln would have said to Paulson's $700 billion ransom
 
by Dr. Ellen Brown
 

"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel."  Abraham Lincoln, speech to Illinois legislature, January 1837


In July, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said of his massive underwriting scheme for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, "If you have a bazooka in your pocket and people know it, you probably won't have to use it."  On September 7, Paulson pulled out his bazooka and fired, effectively nationalizing the mortgage giants.  Last week, Paulson pulled out the bazooka again and held it to Congress's head.  "Seven hundred billion dollars or your credit system will collapse!"  Seven hundred billion dollars is more than the country currently pays annually for Social Security; and for what do we owe this ransom?  To bail out bankers from their own folly in speculating in a giant derivative Ponzi scheme that is now imploding.  But policymakers justify rewarding the guilty parties at the expense of the taxpayers by arguing that "we have to do it to save the banking system."

 

Abraham Lincoln was faced with a similar situation when he stepped into the Presidency in 1861.  The country was suddenly in a civil war, and there was insufficient money to fund it.  The British bankers, knowing they had him over a barrel, agreed to lend him money only at 24 to 36% interest, highly usurious rates that would have bankrupted the North.  Our fearless forefather said, "Thanks but no thanks, I'll print my own."  Issuing the national currency is the sovereign right of governments.  A government does not need to borrow its national currency from bankers "merely pretending to have money."  That was the phrase used by Thomas Jefferson when he realized the bankers' "fractional reserve" lending scheme meant that they were lending the same "reserves" many times over. 

 

The federal dollars issued by Lincoln were called U.S. Notes or Greenbacks.  They allowed the North not only to win the Civil War but to create the greatest industrial giant the world had ever seen.  Lincoln's government launched the steel industry, created a continental railroad system, promoted a new era of farm machinery and cheap tools, established free higher education, provided government support to all branches of science, organized the Bureau of Mines, increased labor productivity by 50 to 75 percent.  The Greenback was not the only currency used to fund these achievements; but they could not have been accomplished without it, and they could not have been accomplished on money borrowed at 30% interest.

 

There are other historical examples.  In the 1930s, Australia and New Zealand avoided the Depression conditions suffered elsewhere by drawing on a national credit card issued by publicly-owned central banks.  The governments of the island states of Guernsey and Jersey have been issuing their own money for two centuries, creating thriving economies without carrying federal debt. 

 

In none of these models has government-issued money created dangerous price inflation.  Price inflation results either when the supply of money goes up but the supply of goods doesn't, or when speculators crash currencies by massive short selling, as in those cases of Latin American hyperinflation when printing-press money was used to pay off foreign debt.  When new money is used to produce new goods and services, price inflation does not result because supply and demand rise together.  Prices increased during the American Civil War, but this was attributed to the scarcity of goods common in wartime.  War produces weapons rather than consumer goods.

 

Today in most countries, money is created privately by banks when they make loans; but the banks create only the principal, not the interest necessary to pay the loans back.  The interest must be borrowed into existence, continually increasing the money supply, in a Ponzi scheme that has reached its mathematical limits.  The latest desperate proposal for propping up this collapsing system is to deliver $700 billion of taxpayer money to ex-Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to buy unmarketable derivative paper from the banks, shifting the loss on this dodgy paper from the banks to the taxpayers.  Seven hundred billion is just the opening figure; losses on the imploding derivatives pyramid could wind up being in the trillions.  And where will this money come from?  It will no doubt be borrowed into existence from the banking system.  We the people will be in the anomalous position of paying interest on a debt to the banks to bail out the banks!  At the very least, doesn't it seem that the banks should be paying interest on the $700 billion to us?

 

Rather than propping up an unsustainable system with taxpayer money, it may be time to let the private money-making scheme collapse and replace it with something better.  Banks that have thrived in an unregulated free market should be left to work out their fates in that market.  If they go bankrupt, they can be put into receivership and reorganized in return for an equity interest in the banks, as was done recently with AIG.  The government would then own a string of banks, which could issue "the full faith and credit of the United States" directly, returning the country to productivity and prosperity just as Lincoln did.

 

As for the derivatives mess, there may be some derivatives that serve useful market functions, but most of them should be declared an illegal form of gambling and void.  Neither party would owe on the deal; the bets would cancel each other out.  True, dodgy assets transformed into "triple-A" investments by fake derivative insurance would lose that rating; but they aren't triple-A investments, and the pension funds now holding them should dump them.  The downgrades could wreak havoc on the balance sheets of some banks, but that's the free market.  If they go bankrupt and we the people have to bail them out, we should do it only in return for adequate  quid pro quo in the form of their stock.  Like Lincoln, we should say "Thanks but no thanks" to Paulson's $700 billion ransom.

 

Ellen Brown, J.D., developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and "the money trust." She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include the bestselling Nature's Pharmacy, co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker, and Forbidden Medicine.  Her websites are www.webofdebt.com and www.ellenbrown.com. 

 

~ The Centre for Research on Globalization ~

 

The Pirate Bay unblocked in Italy

A ruling by an Italian judge to have Internet service providers in Italy block access to The Pirate Bay has been successfully overturned.  The Swedish-based web site has been involved in numerous scuffles with governments and copyright organizations due to the web site's popularity of linking to copyrighted material.

In August, a public prosecutor helped "censor" The Pirate Bay due to its ties with copyright infringement.  Not surprisingly, the ban was not effective, and The Pirate Bay saw an increase in traffic to the popular BitTorrent web site. 

The Court of Bergamo made it possible for ISPs to lift the block and allow Italian Internet users to again have access to the site.

"Even the judge who issued the decree states that no infringing material is hosted on The Pirate Bay, which provides just a tracker search engine," The Pirate Bay lawyers told TorrentFreak.

Although The Pirate Bay has had one victory in Italy, the popular site faces legal challenges in Sweden and across the rest of Europe, that has put the site in limbo.  In August during the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested that all Olympic footage be removed.

~ cdfreaks.com ~

 

Zeitgeist : Addendum

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