Nadler: If Rove won't testify, he's 'presumably' jail-bound
According to Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), should Karl Rove continue refusing to give testimony, the House of Representatives will "presumably" hold him in contempt, landing Rove in jail.
When House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued a Monday subpoena against former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove regarding his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor, and the firings of nine US Attorneys, he likely expected a fight.
And when Rove went on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News Factor Wednesday, the right-wing editorialist even jokingly expected a flight, and offered the embattled politico a "place to hide out."
"We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you ..." began O'Reilly.
"I don't need to hide," exclaimed Rove. "I don't need to hide."
But if Rep. Nadler is correct, and Rove doesn't appear before the Judiciary Committee, he'll likely need to pack.
Rove's Washington, D.C. lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a Tuesday statement, "It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term. We'll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president."
Joining MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Thursday night, Rep. Nadler, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, shot down Rove's legal wrangling on the issue of executive privilege, and stated rather bluntly the process to follow.
"If he refuses to show up, we're going to have to vote a contempt citation," which would require the ballots of the House at large, he said. The Democratic-led Hosue would "presumably" carry the measure.
The contempt citation is then given to a US Attorney with the Department of Justice, said Nadler quoting the law, "whose duty it shall be to deliver it to the grand jury.
"In other words, he must enforce and prosecute the subpoena. Now, President Bush, as in so many other things, simply ignored the law and instructed the US Attorney not to obey the law, and not to enforce the subpoena. I imagine President Obama will not do the same."
The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009."
Specifically, it enjoins Rove "to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration's politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman."
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Saturday, January 31, 2009
Nadler: If Rove won't testify, he's 'presumably' jail-bound
American mainstream media has given a lukewarm reception to Chandni Chowk to China, the largest-ever release of a Bollywood movie in North America, calling it "a genetic experiment" and a "genre-mashup overkill".
"A veggie-slicing galoot from Delhi goes to China to realise his destiny as a martial arts master -- and just from the synopsis, I'm on board with Chandni Chowk to China," says Time magazine reviewer Richard Corliss.
But "the results of this genetic experiment are mixed. Chandni Chowk to China is probably a decent sampler for Americans who've never seen a full-out Bollywood musical since it goes heavy on the action scenes and light on the big dance numbers", he says.
The film "has the feel of one of many Indian glosses on American films, not of something fresh and foreign. For a really thrilling amalgam of Bollywood and Hong Kong, I'm still waiting", says Corliss.
The New York Times says: "Genre mixing is mother's milk to Hindi films, so it's no surprise that 'Chandni Chowk to China' can so seamlessly add Kung Fu to the usual blend of comedy, dance and melodrama."
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The ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee wants Congress to reconsider new funding to the National Science Foundation amid allegations that top staffers spent long stretches of their day surfing the Internet for pornography.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to the foundation's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday seeking all documents it has related to the inappropriate use of the foundation's network.
The foundation is the major source of federal backing in fields such as mathematics, computer science and social sciences.
Grassley told The Associated Press on Thursday he wants Congress to reconsider $3 billion in NSF funding that is included in the current stimulus bill until his questions are answered.
"I think they ought to. I think they need to," he said.
The senator said he sought the information after a team of staffers led by his finance committee aide discovered numerous investigations into the misuse of the Internet by science foundation employees. The investigations were buried inside a semiannual report on NSF's activities, he said.
According to the report, one senior staff member spent as much as 20 percent of his time during a two-year period at lurid sites and in sexually explicit chat rooms. That time cost taxpayers more than $40,000, the report stated.
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And then on January 20th Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president. We took a collective breath and relaxed. Apparently Bush really didn't believe in granting pardons.
Michael Isikoff reported for Newsweek that while many of us were fomenting about Bush preemptively pardoning at-risk members of his administration, he and his lawyer Fred Fielding (White House Counsel) were concocting one last expansion of executive privilege. Four days before he left office, Mr. Bush authorized Fielding to write letters to Harriet Miers and Karl Rove giving them "absolute immunity" from Congressional inquiry and prosecution. Preemptively. In perpetuity. Absolute and irrevocable.
The letters set the stage for what is likely to be a highly contentious legal and political battle over an unresolved issue: whether a former president can assert "executive privilege" -- and therefore prevent his aides from testifying before Congress -- even after his term has expired.
These letters were delivered before Congress or any prosecutor had initiated action against Miers and Rove. Clearly Bush sought to inoculate Rove and Miers from all attempts to prosecute them for their actions during his administration. Only when John Conyers (Chairman, House Judiciary Committee) subpoenaed Mr. Rove did the letters come to light. Waving his letter in the air, Karl Rove refused to appear before the committee.
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ISTANBUL - A group of self-identified anarchists are bringing back an already forgotten tradition. They opened a bartering bazaar at a cafe in Avcılar district. 'We want to take money out of the equation,' says one of the hosts of the event. The barter bazaar may move out onto the streets soon.
Bartering is a long-gone tradition that is seeing a revival around the world as people begin questioning excessive consumption and begin experimenting with more sustainable ways of living.
This very notion is what has lead a group of self-identified anarchists to start a bartering bazaar in Avcılar, a district of Istanbul on the European side where Istanbul University has a campus, at a cafe-bookstore called 'Birarada.' Nestled on the first floor of an old business center called Ozan Bağcılar, this quaint and friendly cafe-bookstore is playing host for the anarchists' bartering bazaar.
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[ via Dan Clore ]
Robert F. Kennedy speech
8 Working towards a Solution
Gandhi said that the worst form of violence is poverty! He said this after observing what British colonialism did to his country of India. Colonialism is an example of what competitive economics means in terms of real consequences. When you look at what was done to India by the British, you get a batter understanding of what the term "economic violence" really means, and you can see how money is used as a weapon. You can see the same thing in what the United States has done in Latin America, time after time, and the Middle East.
Centuries ago the idea of people having the right to govern themselves took root. The concepts of Democracy and Political Equality were born. Looking back, briefly, at the history of democracy we note several events like the Magna Carta. Before that kings had absolute power, not just in England but around the world in various places. The people were told that this power could not be questioned, because it came from God. This was known as "The Divine Right of Kings." [Those wishing absolute power and unquestioning obedience often find it useful to invoke God as their sponsor.] Peasants generally didn't have enough of an education to develop their own ideas on the matter, but the time had to come when the nobility also felt the pinch and they had a good idea of what was going on. They were painfully aware that the King was getting all the spoils whenever he wanted.
So the nobles got together and reasoned that maybe God wasn't quite so in favour of one person having all the power, as the King would have them believe and regardless, things were getting "freaking' desperate." Something had to be done and the idea of limits on the King's power seemed like progress.
Since then, over the centuries, progress towards political equality was made. Various revolutions with varying degrees of success paved the way for at least the appearance of political equality and democracy. We still don't have true political equality, but we're a lot closer to it than we were.
Yet political power isn't the only power. Economic power is a strong and growing factor in today's world. There is also military power, technological power, and others. In the economic sphere there are the artificial concepts of property, ownership and money, promoted very much as a new religion; a new absolute and unquestionable divine right. In the economic sphere, there has not been the principle of economic equality to any great extent, and where it has cropped up, those with economic power have been quick to denounce the idea as "evil," with considerable vigour. They know their power is ended once the ideals of economic equality and democracy catch on.
Since we have some political equality and thus some political power to the people, the rich and powerful are now trying to promote the idea that "government," the seat of political power, is somehow bad for us and everything should be privatized. Thus the egalitarian political power that has been won over centuries of struggle can be lost and the major remaining power will be economic power, where there is no such thing as democracy, and no principle of equality. There would only be the power of the wealthy growing ever more wealthy and they insist on their "divine right" to use their economic power in any way they wish. Money is their weapon of choice. The economic tyranny that we face today is no better than the political tyranny that our ancestors faced in centuries past, and the result is much the same.
People have a right to equal access to the economic system governing the exchange of goods and services. This must be fundamental! It is the democratization of economic power! It is the same process that we have come to cherish politically and we now have to apply it to the economy. Regardless of the power base, be it political, economic, technological, or whatever, the principles of equality and democracy must still apply! If the principles don't transcend the power base, then they just won't work.
Lets look at the parallels in our history of the struggle for political equality. When political democracy was first suggested, (and for some time after), the objections included the idea that common people couldn't possibly manage to govern themselves. They were "commoners" and incapable of understanding the complexities of government. "You're expecting uncommon skills from common people." was one of the sayings. Indeed, at the time "common people" weren't given much of an education and of course they had little idea how to govern themselves, because they had never been called upon to do it, nor imagined that they would be, for the most part. Nevertheless, through education and trial and error, many common people understand the principle of "equality" and intelligently discuss political matters. Just like freed slaves who sometimes don't know what to do with their new-found freedom, common people had to learn to define their own roles, politically, and to manage their equality. Political equality and human rights are now considered cornerstones of an enlightened society. We should now see that economic equality and economic democracy are also essential.
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"From this space I declare the creation of the Republic of Césares, a micronation located to the south of the Argentine Republic and that is composed by diverse islands: the Island of Césares, the Island of the Brooks, the Creek Island, the Island of the South and the Olga Island. This Republic is based on libertarian principles, and as new citizens add themselves, we will be discussing the bases for an authentic libertarian nation."
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Friday, January 30, 2009
The United Nations' crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.
"In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital," Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. "In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."
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From French strikes: Violence erupts as thousands gather to protest on 'Black Thursday'
Unions said 2.5 million people took part in dozens of rallies across France, including 300,000 in Paris. Police put the figure at just over a million nationwide.
Full-blooded chants echoed out across the Place de la Bastille in Paris, with the symbol of the French Revolution at the centre of a day of anti-government demonstrations.
Although the interior ministry said that the protesters numbered just over one million, they were the biggest since Mr Sarkozy came to power in 2007 and on a par with the last huge demonstration, in March 2006, which hastened the exit of the prime minister of the time, Dominique de Villepin.
In the Place de la Bastille, booming megaphones mingled with French rock music and barbecue smoke as an ocean of protesters from the public and private sector marched to call on President Sarkozy to do more to protect jobs and wages, and change tack in fighting the economic crisis.
"Sarkozy gives money to the people who created this crisis, but what about the man in the street?" shouted Antoine Laurent, 20, a history student at the Sorbonne University.
Behind him a group chanted: "Stop the sackings, it's not up to workers to pay for bankers."
One banner read: "360 billion euros for banks, and we are keeling over."
Another read: "Hey Sarkozy, now can you see the strike!" This was an allusion to the French president's famous claim last year: "Now when people go on strike, nobody notices."
U.S. Senator Kit Bond shifted in his chair at a 2005 congressional hearing, poised with a question on national security. He turned to Treasury Secretary John Snow, who was seated at a witness table.
Was Snow sure, asked Bond, a Missouri Republican, that a Treasury Department computer on order for $8.9 million would help detect terrorist money laundering?
“Yes, absolutely,” Snow said.
A year later, in July 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department abandoned the project. The computer didn't work. The department had spent $14.7 million -- a 65 percent increase above the original budget -- for nothing.
There was a final ignominy: Under the terms of the contract, Electronic Data Systems Corp., the vendor, collected a bonus of $638,126.
As the federal government's $700 billion bailout of banks sputters, there's an object lesson for the new administration of President Barack Obama: Federal departments, including Treasury itself, routinely squander tens of billions of dollars a year in taxpayer money as they farm out public business to private corporations.
Obama, like presidents before him, said during his bid for the White House that he wanted to curtail waste in government. With contracting, he faces a mismanaged system that accounts for almost 40 cents of every federal dollar spent outside of mandatory obligations such as Social Security and Medicare.
When compared with all federal contracting, just a fraction of U.S. spending waste comes from so-called earmarks, which elected officials often criticize as the unnecessary pet projects of politicians.
The “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, for example, had a price tag of $398 million. By contrast, the government spent $368.4 billion on all contracts in 2008, and Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn estimates that about $100 billion of that was wasted.
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George W. Bush is seeking to extend his sweeping concept of executive privilege into his post-presidency, with the first battle likely to be fought over a renewed demand from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers that Karl Rove finally testify about the politicization of the Justice Department.
On Monday, Conyers reissued a subpoena for Rove, a former White House deputy chief of staff, to testify before Congress about his role in firing nine federal prosecutors deemed not “loyal Bushies” as well as the controversial prosecution of Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman.
Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, told the Washington Post that former President Bush recently sent a letter to Rove reasserting executive privilege that would prevent Rove and possibly other ex-White House officials from testifying. It's unknown when Bush sent the letter; Luskin did not return calls or respond to e-mails for further comment about Bush's letter.
However, it does appear that Bush is determined to extend his broad claims of executive privilege beyond his departure from the White House on Jan. 20.
In his last years in office, Bush succeeded in frustrating congressional inquiries by asserting a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege, a tradition that grants some confidentiality for advice between the President and his top aides. Bush expanded the scope of the privilege to include even discussions among his subordinates inside and outside the White House.
In September 2008, U.S. District Judge John Bates rejected Bush's position, saying the concept of blanket executive privilege lacked legal precedent.
“The Executive cannot identify a single judicial opinion that recognizes absolute immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context,” wrote Bates, a Bush appointee. "In fact, there is Supreme Court authority that is all but conclusive on this question and that powerfully suggests that such advisors do not enjoy absolute immunity.”
However, Bush's lawyers appealed Bates's ruling to a Republican-dominated Appeals Court panel in Washington that relied on a technicality – the looming adjournment of the 110th Congress – to declare the issue moot. [See Consortiumnews.com's “GOP Judges Aid White House Cover-up.”]
At the time, Conyers promised not to let the issue drop, and his announcement that he is reissuing the Rove subpoena under the 111th Congress indicates the case may soon return to the federal courts.
“I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court,” Conyers said in a prepared statement. “Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk.”
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From Ode to Bush, war criminal
When perceived invasion or violation of "his" private domain, wherever and/or whenever it might occur over some nefarious violation of a spoken or unspoken rule or "natural" law, in the Bush mind, all sensibility is meaningless and no other social rule applies, thus the only one remaining is absolute rule over reason, meanwhile he chews at North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan: the "axis of evil," now excluding his miracle in Iraq.
Using Bill Clinton's moral audacity "because I could," Bush II told ABC's Martha Raddatz, when asked about the lie of al-Qaida in Iraq, when informed that there "were none" there, answered, "Yeah, that's right. So what." Nominally, his answer to every war crime he has committed for the last eight years, remains "so what," indeed. Can he continue that line at the Hague and I.C.C.?
In 2006 after subordinating the U.S. Justice department, and the Supreme Court to his will, Bush II's "war" powers were kept in force to wire tap, and continue torture and ignore the Geneva Convention (rule 3) on that practice, plus the U.S. Congress extended immunity in war crimes to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and anyone else involved in the false "war on terror," including Congress, and all the above belong in a maximum security prison for life.
From Are We Civilized Enough to Hold Our Leaders Accountable for War Crimes? The World Is Watching
Remarkably, the confirmation of President Obama's Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder, is being held up by Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who apparently is unhappy that Holder might actually investigate and prosecute Bush Administration officials who engaged in torture. Aside from this repugnant new Republican embrace of torture (which might be a winning issue for the lunatic fringe of the party and a nice way to further marginalize the GOP), any effort to protect Bush officials from legal responsibility for war crimes, in the long run, will not work.
It is difficult to believe that Eric Holder would agree not to enforce the law, like his recent Republican predecessors. Indeed, if he were to do so, President Obama should withdraw his nomination. But as MSNBC "Countdown" anchor Keith Olbermann stated earlier this week, even if the Obama Administration for whatever reason does not investigate and prosecute these crimes, this still does not mean that the Bush Administration officials who were involved in torture are going to get a pass.
With few exceptions, the discussion about what the Obama Administration will do regarding the torture of detainees during the Bush years has been framed as a domestic matter, and the fate of those involved in torturing has been largely viewed as a question of whether the Department of Justice will take action. In fact, not only is the world watching what the Obama Administration does regarding Bush's torturers, but other countries are very likely to take action if the United States fails to do so.
What do we as Americans teach our children, our grandchildren? Well, the lesson of the day is crime pays. Yes, crime definitely pays, 100 percent. If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney walk free into society, then two law breakers are Scot-free. I believe they stand to reap some large and probably secret profits down the line. I hope someone monitors this. I'd expect it wouldn't be out of the question that they will receive quiet bonuses from war and oil related concerns.
It's clear to the sane and the moral that such self-serving hacks as Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals. European countries already have begun to consider the possible basis for prosecution of Bush, et al., for violations of the United Nations Convention against Torture.
Unfortunately, it seems the Obama administration, in its desperate attempt to transcend partisanship, is willing to brush a few war crimes under the carpet. To quote George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, "all this talk about civility makes it sound like it's simply uncivil to investigate people for war crimes." But, Turley added, "all they (the Obama administration) have to do is say, 'We're going to allow the law to be enforced.' "
The secret "shadow" government is the large organisational network which operates alongside the officially elected and appointed government of the United States of America. Just as with the official government, the secret government has functional branches.
Just as with the official government, the Shadow Government has functional branches. However, unlike the official government, the purpose of the non-executive branches of the Shadow Government is simply to distribute various functions, but not to achieve a system of checks and balances, as was supposed to happen constitutionally between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. Government. That is because the Shadow Government is a creature of a powerful elite, who need not fear being dominated by an instrument of their own creation.
In the Shadow Government five branches may be identified. These branches are: the Executive Branch, the Intelligence Branch, the War Department, the Weapons Industry Branch, and the Financial Department.
The reporting lines of the Intelligence Branch and the War Department to the Executive Branch are straightforward and obvious. Intelligence exists to provide the Executive Branch with sufficient necessary information to make adequately informed policy decisions. The War Department exists to provide coercive force to carry out Executive policy decisions which could meet with public resistance. The Special Operations units within the Intelligence Branch and War Department exist to carry out policy directives requiring covert action and official deniability.
The Weapons Industry Branch reports to the Executive Branch most often indirectly, through the War Department and/or the Intelligence Branch (for Black Budget weapons systems).
The Financial Department theoretically reports to the Executive Branch for fiscal policy implementation, but de facto also reports directly to the international power brokers who have created the Shadow Government. The Financial Department serves at times directly as their instrument of fiscal policy implementation.
An analysis of the overall purposes of these five branches suggests that the overall purpose of the Shadow Government is to exercise covert control by:
* Collecting comprehensive institutional and personal information
* By establishing national and international policy independently of the established Government
* By developing high-tech arms and equipment, and, with these, establishing small, specialized, highly mobile, elite military units to effect these covert policies, when need arises, without having to rely on the official (and "unreliable") Armed Services, (whose subservience to the Shadow Government is reasonably suspect)
* By developing an armed capability to repel any threat to the status quo, (including the uncertain ontological, social, and economic impacts of any revelation of the reality of UFO and extraterrestrial presence) through the development of a Star Wars/BMDO ground and space-based surveillance and SDI weapons network
* By denying information compromising to the Shadow Government from all those outside "need-to-know" policy-making levels
* By exercising control on the money supply, availability of credit, and the worth of money, through policy decisions made outside of the official Government
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Responding to Dov Zakheim (and Kori Schake), Nick Gvosdev over at The Washington Realist asks a great question:
"I am genuinely interested to know whether there is serious consideration about creating a pipeline that would take retiring active duty military officers who have many of the nation-building skills needed by State--as well as the relevant management experience, and oftentimes language and cultural expertise--and be able to transition them into the Department of State? After years of promises, the civilian response corps that was supposed to be able to step up to the plate has what, a few dozen people assigned to it?"
The answer is, yes, there was serious consideration of this idea, at least during the time I was there. Back in 2005-06, what Nick suggests was pushed and supported by the Policy Planning staff, among others, and seriously considered by Secretary Rice. The Foreign Service, however, hated it for obvious and unfortunate reasons. The thought that some military officer would move laterally into a mid-career diplomatic or civilian post in the State Department, jumping ahead of Foreign Service officers who had served their time stamping visas in Botswana or someplace, was a non-starter for the institutional Foreign Service. And needless to say, no military officer worth a damn would retire after a decade or so in uniform to stamp visas in Botswana with 24-year-olds fresh out of their A-100 class. Sadly, the idea never went anywhere.
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Prison buses are driving around empty in the Tucson area. Are Wackenhut and the DHS preparing for civil unrest?
On a recent visit to Tucson, where I was invited to give a presentation on monetary reform, I was disturbed by a story of strange goings on in the desert. A little over a year ago, it seems, a new industrial facility sprang up on the edge of town. It was in a remote industrial zone and appeared to be a bus depot. The new enterprise was surrounded by an imposing security fence and bore no outward signs identifying its services. However, it soon became apparent that the compound was in the business of outfitting a fleet of prison buses. Thirty or so secondhand city buses were being reconfigured with prison bars in the windows and a coat of fresh paint bearing the “Wackenhut G4S” logo on the side.
The new Wackenhut operation is shrouded in mystery. It has been running its fleet of empty prison buses night and day, apparently logging miles on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract. Multiple buses can be seen driving all over town and even on remote desert back roads. Oddly, except for the driver and one escort guard seated in front, these buses are always empty. Wackenhut Services was founded by George Wackenhut in 1954 to provide prison guard services to state and federal governments. Mr. Wackenhut was reported to be something of a brawler himself, having once earned distinction beating up his business partner in a fist fight. Now owned by the Danish corporation G4S, Wackenhut Services has a sinister reputation for hiring thugs. It has been said that it's hard to tell which is more dangerous, the prisoners or the guards.
Observers originally thought that the purpose of the new Wackenhut operation was to outfit prison buses to be distributed in other parts of the country. But it soon became apparent that none of the buses was leaving the Tucson depot. Recently, a passerby observed what appeared to be a training operation there. In what seemed to be strange activity for 10:30 PM on a Saturday night, the depot yard was fully illuminated, the entire fleet of buses was up and running, and drivers and guards were scrambling around the yard. The question is, what were they training for? Wackenhut has never officially announced itself to the community, and the local news media have never mentioned its presence. Hiring has been discreetly conducted via the Internet, and an apathetic general public has taken little notice.
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From: Axis Occupation of Greece during WWII
General Georgios Tsolakoglou, who had signed the armistice treaty with the Wehrmacht, was appointed as chief of a new Nazi puppet collaborationist regime in Athens. He was succeeded as Prime Minister of Greece by two other prominent Greek collaborators: Konstantinos Logothetopoulos first, and Ioannis Rallis second. The latter was responsible for the creation of the Greek collaborationist Security Battalions. As in other European countries, there were Greeks eager to collaborate with the occupying force. Some because they shared the National Socialist ideology (for instance members of ultra-nationalist political factions and parties), others because of extreme anti-Communism, and others because of opportunistic advancement. The Germans were also eager to find support from the ideologically-similar Greeks, and helped Greek fascist organizations such as the infamous EEE (Ethniki Enosis Ellas), the EKK (Ethnikon Kyriarchon Kratos), the Greek National Socialist Party (Elliniko Ethnikososialistiko Komma, EEK) led by George S. Mercouris and other minor pro-Nazi, fascist or anti-Semitic organizations such as the ESPO (Hellenic Socialist Patriotic Organization) or the Sidira Eirini ("Iron Peace").
In Nazi ideology, the Greeks were regarded as a German-friendly nation and were above Slavs in their racial scale. Hitler admired the ancient Greek civilization, the Spartan model and Hellenic classicism, which inspired many building and artistics endeavours in Nazi Germany. Hitler had no plans to occupy Greece either, and also resisted to Italy's plans to invade Greece, which in the end was for this reason enacted without Mussolini consulting Hitler. Also the fact that Greece in the 1930s had a fascist regime leaded by the germanophile Ioannis Metaxas placed Greece on Hitler's list of potentially friendly nations. Furthermore, the Italians' failure to conquer Greece after their October 28, 1940 ultimatum and attack gained the Greeks the respect of Germany. For this reason Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht not to take Greek prisoners and allowed them to carry weapons, something no other defeated army was allowed to.
German cavalry and motorized units entering Poland from East Prussia during the Polish Campaign of 1939 Wehrmacht (Defence force) was the name of the armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... Collaboration, literally, consists of working together with one or more other people. ... Note on Greek names: There is no firm convention for the rendering of Greek personal names into English. ... Ioannis Rallis (1878-1946) was the third Nazi collaborator prime minister of Greece, from 7 April 1943 to 12 October 1944, succeeding Konstantinos Logothetopoulos in the Nazi-held puppet government in Athens. ... The Security Battalions (Greek: Î¤Î¬Î³Î¼Î±Ï„Î± Î'ÏƒÏ†Î±Î»ÎµÎ¯Î±Ï‚, TÃ¡gmata AsfalÃas) were Greek collaborationist military groups, formed during World War II in order to support the German occupation troops. ... George S. Mercouris (1886-December, 1943) was a Greek politician who founded the Greek National Socialist Party Born in Athens, he studied politics and economics there, Paris, and London. ...
NATO and Greece, Clinton's visit
27 November 1999
EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT from INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER staff member reporting from ATHENS, GREECE
ATHENS, Greece--Bill Clinton arrived in Greece Nov. 19 like a thief in the night. His motorcade moved down darkened boulevards carefully cleared of people. Armies of police guarded him against any contact with ordinary Greeks. But the voice of the people could not be silenced.
While the U.S. president wined and dined with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, police loosed barrages of tear gas against thousands of workers, students and retirees trying to march to the U.S. Embassy. Among those gassed were elderly veterans of the Greek anti-Nazi resistance in World War II.
Despite the gas and repeated police attacks, protesters regrouped again and again and marched through downtown Athens to the city's central Omonia Square. Over 80 people were arrested, many of them at pharmacies where they had gone for medical aid. As of this writing, they are still being held.
In the aftermath of the protest, the Greek government has mounted a violence-baiting campaign against the Greek Committee for Peace and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which was a major force in the demonstration. But it was the state and its heavily armed police that unleashed the violence that night.
CLINTON LEAVES TRAIL OF REPRESSION
The media have played up Clinton's carefully scripted comment about the "right to protest as long as it's peaceful." But at every stop on his Balkan tour, protests have been met with fascist-like violence.
While he was in Turkey, police beat and arrested hundreds of protesters in Ankara, the capital. They had not been released as of Nov. 22.
In Sofia, Bulgaria, where Clinton went after leaving Athens, protests were also banned and over 100 people arrested. Blagoesta Doncheva, a former anti-communist "dissident" who has written eloquently about the Bulgarian people's suffering under the new capitalist regime, including a recent op-ed piece for the New York Times, was thrown into a mental ward.
Clinton will also visit the NATO-occupied Yugoslav province of Kosovo. There, Serbs, Roma people, Turks and other minorities are being systematically murdered and driven from their homes by NATO- sponsored gangs, even as the imperialist occupiers claim to be combating national oppression.
LONG HISTORY OF GREEK RESISTANCE
In Greece, too, the regime tried to stifle protest. In the week before Clinton's arrival, a masked gang attacked a Communist Party neighborhood office in Athens, beating three people. Another KKE office was firebombed. Officials and the media also created a climate of fear with constant warnings about violence. But their efforts at intimidation failed.
The Greek people hate NATO. Nearly 700,000 Greeks were murdered by Nazi occupiers during World War II. When the Communist-led Greek resistance, in alliance with Yugoslav and Albanian partisans, succeeded in driving Hitler's armies out of the Balkans, the imperialists feared a revolution and sent British troops to occupy the country.
Britain, a supposed ally, imposed on Greece a regime of Nazi collaborators headed by a hated royal family that had spent the war under British protection. In 1948 and 1949, tens of thousands of Greek anti-Nazi fighters were murdered, imprisoned or driven into exile by mercenary forces armed, trained and financed by the U.S. and British imperialist governments.
The Truman administration created NATO in conjunction with this war against Greece. The U.S. military's first use of napalm bombs was against Greek villages. U.S. planes also bombed Yugoslavia in this period. Over 100,000 anti-Nazi fighters were held in concentration camps for the next 20 years.
In 1967, when the Greek left had regained its strength, Greece's NATO military carried out a coup. Col. George Papadopoulos, leader of the fascist junta that would rule the country for the next seven years, was on the direct payroll of the CIA. This was finally revealed by the New York Times in 1976.
Fascist terror did not crush the people's resistance. On Nov. 17, 1973, tens of thousands of university students defied tanks and guns to challenge the junta, which fell the following year.
That same spirit was very much alive in the streets of Athens and other Greek cities before and during Clinton's visit.
10,000 ACCUSE U.S./NATO OF WAR CRIMES
On Nov. 8, 10,000 people had stood in the rain in Athens's Constitution Square for a mass trial of the U.S. president and other NATO leaders. The judges were 20 justices of the Council of State-- the Greek Supreme Court. Famous entertainers served as other officers of the court.
Clinton had ignored a subpoena delivered to the U.S. Embassy a week earlier by a march of several thousand people.
After hours of eyewitness testimony about the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia, the presiding judge asked if Clinton were guilty of war crimes. The entire crowd responded "Guilty!"
On Nov. 17, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, tens of thousands of marchers, mostly youth, filed past the U.S. Embassy. They loudly denounced Clinton as the butcher of the Balkans, called for an end to NATO and demanded that the U.S. military get its bases out of Greece and its troops out of Yugoslavia. The march was organized by the communists, but even youth from PASOK, the social-democratic governing party, felt compelled to join.
And then on Nov. 19, the night of Clinton's arrival, tens of thousands of protesters, many waving red flags, gathered in three squares in downtown Athens in defiance of a police ban.
The main rally, in Constitution Square, was opened by Bill Doares of the International Action Center. Doares saluted the Greek people's history of resistance to fascism and war and their solidarity with the people of Yugoslavia.
"The profits of Wall Street depend on wars of destruction," he said, "and only mass action can stop the Pentagon's drive toward new and bigger wars. In this great task, the Greek people are leading the way." Doares also condemned Clinton's hypocrisy in preaching about "human rights" when the "U.S. has more people in prison than any other country--70 percent are Black and Latin--and the biggest companies profit off their slave labor." He drew loud applause when he called for international action to stop the execution of U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu- Jamal. Pictures of Mumia dotted the crowd.
The main speaker was Athanasios Pafilis, General Secretary of the Greek Committee for International Peace. Pafilis condemned the "stability pact" signed at the conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Istanbul. The pact asserts the "right" of the U.S. and NATO to intervene in any country where they deem there are "human rights violations."
Pafilis spoke of the long and bloody history of U.S. intervention in Greece and honored some of the country's anti-fascist martyrs, including Grigoris Lambrakis, a vice president of the Peace Committee, who was assassinated in 1963.
Pafilis asserted that the police had no right to stop the people of Greece from marching in protest down their own streets.
At 6:30 p.m., the moment Clinton's plane touched down, the minister of public order still refused to allow a march. The lead contingent of the demonstration, made up of construction workers and shipbuilders, then forced its way through police lines. The authorities responded with volleys of gas bombs.
Despite the police attack and arrests, the Greek people's opposition to NATO and the Pentagon's war plans was heard around the world. [Note: The U.S. media have minimized this extremely important political development, but the demonstrations were top news in Europe.]
Clinton came to Greece from Turkey, where he had dominated the conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Why the United States, which is not part of Europe, should have been there at all the president did not explain. But the reason is clearly that the continent is under U.S. military occupation. NATO is the justification for this relationship.
At a press conference, Clinton appealed to Greece's elite with visions of a partnership with U.S. corporations in robbing the rest of the Balkans. But for the Greek people, U.S. military and economic domination has meant high prices and a 13-percent unemployment rate.
It also means a $2-billion military budget, much of which is spent on U.S. arms. The Nov. 21 International Herald Tribune admitted that military spending "exacts a heavy toll" on the Greek economy.
Clinton admitted that 94 percent of the Greek people opposed NATO and the war against Yugoslavia. He said that was "an example of democracy." He didn't explain why it was democratic for the U.S. to impose its war policies on Greece despite this overwhelming opposition.
Clinton also made the amazing statement that "southeast Europe is undivided and at peace for the first time in 50 years." Only a few months ago the U.S. launched the first war this region has seen since Washington's 1948 intervention in Greece.
Filip Karamalis, a young worker who took part in the Nov. 19 protests, told this writer, "U.S. imperialism will not pass. We shall stand fighting. All the Greek people are against NATO, against the European Union and U.S. policy. Clinton is trying to act like Hitler. But Hitler could not conquer the Balkans and neither will NATO."
International Action Center.
~ Peace Movement Aotearoa ~
A German amateur investigator finds information on the U.S. government's friendly dealings with war criminals. Meanwhile, the FBI and CIA guard their records.
By Ken Silverstein
May 3, 2000 | WASHINGTON -- Dieter Maier, an amateur investigator working from his home on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, has uncanny luck finding out about U.S. ties to the Nazis.
For the past 20 years, Maier has been filing a steady stream of requests for information to a variety of U.S. government agencies, largely for the existential pleasure of historical inquiry, and also out of a fear of a rebirth of Nazism, fascism and racism in Germany. The more he knows about the past, he says, the better prepared he is to deal with the future and present.
What is most startling about Maier's success, however, is that he appears to have had an easier time finding information on U.S. collaboration with Nazis after World War II than a committee appointed by Congress to extract the same controversial data.
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Capitalism, Fascism and World War 2
by Gary Sudborough
September 22, 2002
The relationship of fascism and capitalism as illustrated by the events of World War 2
Most Americans know enough about the Nazi holocaust to thoroughly despise the horrible events that occurred- the torture, executions, concentration camps, forced starvation, gas chambers and the attempted extermination of the Jews. I wonder what Americans would think if they knew that the part of this Nazi terror apparatus which operated on the Russian front was incorporated into the CIA after World War 2. The Nazi SS officer was Reinhard Gehlen, and he and his group were employed by the CIA for their knowledge of the Soviet Union. The SS death squads that followed the German advance into the Soviet Union were very brutal, killing any communists and Jews they found. The CIA used Nazi war criminals like Klaus Barbie, Walter Rauff, Otto Skorzeny and others in South America to impart their knowledge of torture techniques and concentration camps to the police and militaries there. Klaus Barbie was involved in the 1980 Bolivian coup known as the "cocaine coup" that is described in former DEA agent Michael Levine's book The Big White Lie.
There is a close and often ignored relationship between fascism and capitalism. German corporations financed Hitler's rise to power and were rewarded by slave labor. Krupp, I.G. Farben and other corporations used Jewish and Slavic slave labor. Alfred Krupp called girl babies born to his slaves "useless feeders" because they were not as strong a potential worker as were boy babies. These girl babies were gassed.
American corporations invested heavily in Nazi Germany, and many like General Motors and Ford had factories there, which also used slave labor and produced war materials for the Nazis. US corporate investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power. Investment increased 48.5% between 1929 and 1940, while declining in the rest of continental Europe. American bombers deliberately avoided hitting these US factories, and they received compensation from the American taxpayer for any damage after the war. US oil companies sold oil to the Nazis and oil on credit to the fascists in Spain.
Many American capitalists were openly sympathetic to the Nazis. Henry Ford wrote a book called The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, and he is mentioned in Mein Kampf. James Mooney, the General Motors executive in charge of European operations, was awarded the Order of Merit of the Golden Eagle by Adolph Hitler. There were op-ed pieces by Nazis like Hermann Goehring in Hearst newspapers in the United States.
The Nazis broke unions, lowered wages, abolished overtime pay, decreased business taxes and increased business subsidies. Their program bears a strong resemblance to the Republican agenda in this country.
The CIA was very concerned about the survival of capitalism in Europe after World War 2 because the anti-Nazi resistance movements in many countries like France, Italy and Greece were led by communists and socialists. Therefore, many bankers, industrialists, judges, lawyers, educators, etc. who were fascists were put back in power because they were the most virulently anti-Communist. Britain even invaded Greece to fight the Greek communists, who had driven the Nazis from their country, and the United States later took over with massive military aid to Greek fascists and former Nazi collaborators. The Italian Communist Party was poised to win postwar elections in Italy. Consequently, the CIA mounted a huge disinformation campaign there and gave millions of dollars to opposition parties.
I have a theory that World War 2 in Europe was at least in part the second attempt to destroy socialism in the Soviet Union. After the Bolshevik revolution, every capitalist nation on Earth invaded Russia in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy this alternative to capitalism. Then, there was a wave of repression against leftists in the capitalist countries. In the United States the IWW was destroyed, socialists like Eugene Debs were imprisoned, and anarchists like Emma Goldman were arrested and deported. Other anarchists like Sacco and Vanzetti were framed and executed.
Although the Nazis attacked other capitalist countries, the focus of their military onslaught was the Soviet Union. Over 80% of German casualties took place on the Russian front, and the vast majority of their military forces were located there. The Nazis lost 300,000 men at Stalingrad alone. The United States stayed out of the war for three long years as Russia bore the brunt of the fascist attack and only entered as Russian forces were driving the Germans rapidly back toward Berlin. American policymakers had to be worried that all of Europe would go communist.
Mussolini said that fascism is corporatism, but I think that is much too mild a description. Fascism is essentially corporate power coming down with a vengeance on the heads of working people, although fascists often mask their real agenda with some populist rhetoric and even call their parties things like National Socialist, etc. I maintain that what we have in most countries of the world today is really fascism, but fascism cloaked in a facade of democracy and supported by an extremely efficient propaganda system. Bertram Gross wrote a book called Friendly Fascism, but I think with George W. Bush in power, it is getting less friendly by the minute.
The ideas I have expressed in this article are so startling to most Americans that I need to give references: The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester, Understanding the F-Word by David McGowan, The Splendid Blond Beast by Christopher Simpson and Turning the Tide by Noam Chomsky.
~ Source: Third World Traveler ~
Statewatch "wins" complaint against European Commission over its failure to maintain proper public register of documents
Today (29 January 2009) the European Ombudsman: Press release:The European Ombudsman criticises Commission for inadequate register of documents (pdf):
"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has urged the European Commission to set up a comprehensive register of the documents it produces or receives. This follows a complaint from the British NGO, Statewatch, about the Commission's failure to register the vast majority of its documents. According to the Commission, the establishment of a comprehensive register is impossible at this point in time, mainly because of the use of incompatible registers in its different departments. The Ombudsman was unconvinced. He considered the Commission's failure to comply with the legal obligation to establish such a register to constitute maladministration."
On 14 January 2009 the European Parliament adopted a strong Resolution: Resolution on public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001): Rapporteur: Marco Cappato (pdf):
"Urges the Commission to follow the recommendation of the European Ombudsman (Complaint 3208/2006/GG) on the Commission register as regards its obligation to "include references to all documents within the meaning of Article 3(a) that are in its possession in the register foreseen by Article 11 of [Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001], to the extent that this has not yet been done"
More than two years ago Statewatch lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for its failure to maintain a proper register of documents, produced and received, under Article 11 of the Regulation on public access to EU documents (1049/2001).
Statewatch said that under the Regulation all "documents" as defined in Article 3.a. had to be listed on the Commission's public register of documents (Article 11) "without delay" and that they had failed to do since June 2002 (when the register became mandatory under Article 11). And further that its failure to comply meant that only a "fraction" of the documents covered were listed on the register.
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Britain was just three hours away from going bust last year after a secret run on the banks, one of Gordon Brown's Ministers has revealed.
City Minister Paul Myners disclosed that on Friday, October 10, the country was 'very close' to a complete banking collapse after 'major depositors' attempted to withdraw their money en masse.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that the Treasury was preparing for the banks to shut their doors to all customers, terminate electronic transfers and even block hole-in-the-wall cash withdrawals.
Only frantic behind-the-scenes efforts averted financial meltdown.
If the moves had failed, Mr Brown would have been forced to announce that the Government was nationalising the entire financial system and guaranteeing all deposits.
~ more... ~
Thursday, January 29, 2009
From Corporate Watch:
On the second big Gaza solidarity march in London on 10th January, angry protesters smashed the front of a Starbucks store on Kensington High St, near the Israeli embassy, while other activists occupied the Ahava beauty shop in central London. Other actions in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza this month have included occupying the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London, 'decommissioning' the ITT/EDO arms factory in Brighton and university occupations across the country calling for divestment. So, who are these companies and why are they being targeted by protesters and campaigners? Corporate Watch takes a detailed look.
1. ARMS COMPANIES Israel was the world's 6th largest arms importer between 2003 and 2007, accounting for 3.80% of world deliveries, according to the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database. During that period, the US accounted for 94% of the exports of arms to Israel. France, Germany and the UK accounted for a big proportion of the rest. In 2007 alone, EU member states authorised the export of €200m worth of items on the EU Military List to Israel. In 2007, the UK government blocked almost one-third of British military exports to Israel, citing "possible threats to regional stability" and fears that "the equipment might facilitate human rights violations." Despite Israel's continuous war crimes against the Palestinian people, however, the UK has no arms embargo on Israel and licences for the export of military 'goods' continue to be granted in accordance with the criteria set down in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (see, for example, this Parliamentary review). Details of the UK's military exports to Israel are outlined in the Strategic Export Controls Annual Reports, which are supposed to demonstrate, in the words of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), "the Government's commitment to transparent and responsible controls on British arms exports." (See here. Also see here for a list of Israeli military equipment.) Between 1 January and 31 March 2008, 62 Standard Individual Export Licences (SIEL) were approved at a combined value of £20.3m, including 16 SIEL for incorporation into other weapons worth £455,000. Items included air guns, components for airborne electronic equipment, combat aircraft, military communications and electronic warfare and general military aircraft components. During that same period, only seven licence applications were refused. UK arm sales to Israel in 2008 were up by £14 million on the previous year. Now these 'products' that are used to kill Palestinians are manufactured by companies that have names and addresses and, of course, managers whose sole interest is making money for their shareholders regardless of the goods they trade in. There are many websites that provide detailed information on these companies and their deals with the Israeli army, such as the Campaign Against Arms Trade. Below is some information on the biggest culprits.
BAE BAE Systems is the UK's biggest arms company and the world's third-largest defence company, with annual sales exceeding £15.7 billion. The company made headlines last year after it was accused by the Serious Fraud Office of "concealing the truth" about its £43bn arms deals with Saudi Arabia (see here). BAE's products include assault rifles, artillery guns, missiles, torpedoes, tanks, armoured vehicles, unmanned combat aircraft, warships, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons (via subsidiary MBDA), radar systems, and handcuffs and shackles used in Guantanamo Bay and Saudi Arabia. BAE is known to have supplied Israel with 'Head-Up Displays' (HUD) for F16 fighter aircraft, which have been used by the Israeli army to turn Lebanese and Palestinian villages and towns into rubble. The first of Israel's new order arrived in 2005 and the first 25 F16s were fitted with BAE's HUDs. The remaining 77 were to be fitted with Elbit HUDs. BAE also supply Israel with part of the 'navigation suite' and elements of the 'self-protection suite' (including a BAE Systems/Rokar flare) for all Israel's F16 jets. It has been reported that BAE's Suter airborne network attack system was used by Israel in its bombing of Syria in 2007. Suter is developed by BAE Systems and integrated into US unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications. The technology, which allows users to invade communications networks and even take over as systems administrator, has been used by the US army, or at least tested operationally, in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year. Recent protests against BAE in solidarity with Gaza have included a protest by a group of Warwick University students against a recruitment event run by BAE and Warwick Careers Service (see here). On 22nd January, a group of local activists blocked the entrance to BAE Systems in Newcastle in a 'die-in' protest (see here). The company's head office is located in central London (6 Carlton Gardens, SW1Y 5AD). For more information, see Corporate Watch's BAE Systems company profile. A list of BAE Systems locations in the UK can be found here.
Boeing Boeing is the world's largest aerospace and defence company, with annual sales of $61.5 billion and 150,000 employees in 70 countries. Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Company, with head offices recently moved from Heathrow airport (Cardinal Point, Newall Road) to Central London (16 St James's Street, London, SW1). Boeing has had a long business history with the Israeli military. Its recently deliveries to Israel include: IAI-developed arrow missiles, Boeing AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire missiles, 18 AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 Boeing F15 Eagle fighter planes, 102 Boeing F16 Eagle fighter planes, 42 BOEING AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters, F-16 Peace Marble II & III Aircraft, 4 Boeing 777s, and Arrow II interceptors. In September last year, the US government approved the sale of 1,000 GBU-9 small diameter bombs made by Boeing to Israel, in a deal valued at up to $77 million (see here). Boeing subsidiaries with a presence in the UK include Alteon, Jeppesen, Continental Data Graphics (CDG), and Preston Aviation (see here). Boeing also works with three universities in the UK on collaborative research and technology: Cambridge, Cranfield and Sheffield (see here). Recent protests against Boeing in connection with the Israeli massacres in Gaza include an anonymous protester smashing some windows of the Boeing office in Bristol on new year's eve. The windows have been boarded up and the office has not apparently reopened since.
EDO/ITT Brighton-based arms company EDO MBM/ITT (formerly EDO MBM), a wholly owned subsidiary of US arms multinational EDO Corp, has been the subject of a relentless direct action campaign due to the company's complicity in war crimes committed by the US, UK and Israeli armies in Iraq and Palestine. ITT/EDO produces the ERU-151 (Ejector Release Unit) and ZRFAU (Zero Retention Force Arming Unit), both of which are incorporated in bomb racks used by the F16 war planes that have been used by the Israeli Air Force to commit war crimes in Gaza. These components have been advertised for several years on EDO websites as 'actively manufactured' in Brighton, and as 'used' and 'utilized' on the F16, within its main bombrack, the VER-2. EDO MBM/ITT also has contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence and US arms giant Raytheon to build release mechanisms for the Paveway bomb system (for more details, see here). On 20 January 2009, the United States Airforce awarded ITT a contract for the manufacture of flexible cable assemblies to connect weapons to the F-15E jet fighter bomber. The equipment is to be manufactured in Brighton and may reach Israel through US exports (see here) The Smash EDO website has comprehensive information on what and how ITT/EDO supplies the Israeli army as well as on companies doing 'business' with ITT/EDO. These include The London & Brighton Plating Company Ltd, Guardian Guards, DHL, TNT, Initial City Link and Challenge Packaging Ltd. On 17 January 2009, anti-militarist activists forced entry into the EDO Brighton factory and destroyed equipment used to make weapons used in Israel's wholesale slaughter of civilians in Gaza. The company alleges that the 'decommissioning' action has cost £250,000 in lost business. Seven people now face 'burglary' and 'criminal damage' charges. Two of them also face 'breach of bail' charges (for more details, see here). Smash EDO demonstrate every Wednesday, 4-6pm, outside the EDO MBM/ITT factory on Home Farm Road, Brighton.
Raytheon Raytheon is one of the largest US arms manufacturers and the fifth-largest military contractor in the world, with annual revenues of around $20 billion. The company has big contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has regularly been found guilty of illegal activity (see here). Among other things, Raytheon makes Bunker Buster bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles. A number of their missiles can be loaded with cluster bombs, which are banned under international law but have, nonetheless, been used by the US and Israeli armies. Raytheon is one of Israel's main suppliers of weapons used in the recent attacks on Gaza. Through its US and Israeli military relations, the company is said to advocate the expansionist notion of 'Greater Israel', which, of course, means more war business and more profits (see here). In September last year, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees major arms sales, approved the sale of three kits made by Raytheon to upgrade Israel's Patriot missile system in a deal valued at up to $164 million (see here). Like EDO, Raytheon has been recently the subject of a relentless direct action campaign. In 2006, nine activists forced entry into the Raytheon office in Derry during the Israeli bombing of Lebanon, barricaded themselves inside the office and threw computer equipment out of the windows. In June 2008, a Jury in Belfast found the defendants not guilty of criminal damage on the basis that they acted with 'reasonable excuse' (see here). More recently, three protesters occupied the roof of the company offices in Bristol for over five weeks starting on 9 December 2008 (see this report). The rooftop occupation was the third such protest to have targeted Raytheon in the last few months (see the campaign's blog for more details). A list of Raytheon locations and contacts can be found on the company's website.
Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin is the world's largest defence contractor by revenue. Most of the company's revenues came from the United States Department of Defense, other US federal government agencies, and foreign military customers. Lockheed Martin's products include the F-22, F-16, F-117, C-5, C-27J, C-130, P-3 and U-2. It also produces the Hellfire precision-guided missile system, which has reportedly been used in the recent Gaza attacks. In 2008, it reported sales of $42.7 billion. On 4 September 2001, Israel signed a contract with Lockheed Martin for 52 more F-16I fighters. The total value of the purchase was approximately $2bn, with $1.3bn of that going to Lockheed Martin. The deal then increased the Lockheed Martin's F-16 backlog to 301, with production provisionally extended to the end of 2008. This was Israel's 6th acquisition of F-16s, the world's 'most sought-after' fighter. Israel possesses the largest fleet of F-16s outside the United States, with more than 350 jets. In October 2008, Sir David Manning, a former British Ambassador to Israel and the US, joined the board of Lockheed Martin UK Holdings Ltd. as a non-executive director. Manning's other past diplomatic positions include Deputy Under Secretary for State in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for Defence and Intelligence and the UK Permanent Representative to NATO in Brussels. In 2001, he was also appointed as Foreign Policy Advisor to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Lockheed Martin's UK head office is located in central London (22 Carlisle Place, SW1P 1JA), with other locations throughout England (see here).
UAV Engines UAV Engines Ltd (UEL) is one of the world's leading manufacturers of engines for drones (small, unmanned aircraft) that are becoming critical frontline systems for military and civilian use around the world. The company, known as UEL, is owned by the Israel drone specialists Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems. Amnesty has recently uncovered evidence that the specially-designed engines for drones used by Israeli forces in targeted air strikes are made in the UK by UAV Engines, which is based in Lichfield, Staffordshire (Lynn Lane, Shenstone, WS14 0DT). One of its rotary Wankel engines is used in Elbit's Hermes 450 drone. A version of the 450 drone makes up a squadron of the Israeli air force and has been seen over Gaza in the recent attacks, being used for surveillance and targeting for Israel's F-16 strike fighters (see here and here). On 19 January, around 30 people gathered outside the UVA Litchfield factory to protest against the company's link with the massacre in Gaza. The protest was heavily policed, with one over-zealous arrest (see this report).
Caterpillar Caterpillar Inc, commonly referred to as CAT, is the world's largest manufacturer of construction (and destruction) equipment, with more than $30 billion in assets. Famous for their products featuring caterpillar tracks and a distinctive yellow paint scheme, Caterpillar produces a wide range of engineering vehicles, including the range of Caterpillar bulldozers. The US government buys Caterpillar bulldozers and sends them to the Israel army as part of its annual foreign military assistance package. Such sales are governed by the US Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of US military aid to "internal security" and "legitimate self-defense" and prohibits its use against civilians. Caterpillar held the sole contract for the production of the D9 military bulldozer, specifically designed for use in invasions of built-up areas. Since 1967, Israel has used Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and uproot hundreds of thousands of trees, in Israel's persistent efforts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land and build illegal settlements. The D9 bulldozer was extensively used by Israel in Israel during 'Operation Defensive Shield' in 2001-2, particularly during invasion of Jenin, when countless homes were destroyed by bulldozers and a disabled man was crushed to death. Caterpillar has also profited from the construction of the apartheid separation wall, which has cut off many Palestinian villages from the rest of the West Bank. The wall was built after the destruction and confiscation of large parts of Palestinian land. On 16 March 2003, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was murdered by an Israeli soldier driving a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she tried to stop it from destroying a Palestinian home in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. It is, therefore, difficult to contest that CAT bulldozers are not weapons of mass destruction. Caterpillar still supply spare parts for the maintenance of Israel's D9s. Caterpillar also produces tank engines at their Caterpillar/Perkins plant in Shrewsbury. Other CAT merchandise includes shoes, clothes and accessories. A campaign against Caterpillar, known as Caterkiller, has repeatedly taken direct action against the company. A recent CAT sponsorship deal with Leicester Tigers Rugby club has met local opposition. For more details on Caterpillar and the campaign and actions against it, see the campaign's website. See also War on Want's report Caterpillar, the alternative report, which includes a list of Caterpillar premises in the UK. Other arms companies with links to Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people include Rolls Royce and Thales. A list of UK arms companies known to have supplied Israel can be found here.
2. ILLEGAL PRODUCE Back in 2005, over 100 Palestinian organisations and unions called for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel "until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights" (see the call here). The boycott campaign had been gathering momentum all over the world, with dedicated campaigns and groups researching, lobbying their governments and the public, and taking direct action. Following the recent massacres in Gaza, the calls for boycotting Israeli goods have become even more powerful and mainstream, as people started to realise that Israeli and international companies investing in Israel not only contribute to an immoral and often illegal economy, but also help perpetuate a brutal and bloody occupation. Since the 1967 military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, Israel has built more than 135 settlements in these occupied territories and encouraged Israeli settlers and industries to move into them, often by confiscating Palestinian land and destroying the Palestinian residents' lives. The case against companies involved in constructing and/or sustaining these illegal settlements, profiting from the use of stolen Palestinian land and exploiting the captive labour force for their production, could not be stronger. Raising questions about labelling and sourcing Israeli products at supermarkets has become a feature of boycott campaigns as there is strong evidence that goods produced on illegal settlements in the West Bank are being mislabelled to deceive concerned customers (see here and here). A barcode starting with the numbers 729 generally indicates that the product has been produced in Israel. However, products from illegal settlements may simply be labelled 'West Bank'. All major UK retailers sell Israeli goods and most of them sell Israeli produce from illegal settlements in the West Bank. Many of them in the last few weeks have been targeted with pickets and direct actions in solidarity with Gaza and protest at their complicity in the Israeli occupation and war crimes. Corporate Watch will be posting detailed information on that soon. So watch out! There are many websites that provide detailed information on Israeli products, companies and links, including Who Profits?, The Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign, Stop the Wall and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Below is some information on some of the most obvious targets.
Agrexco Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. markets most of Israel's exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, some of which are grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In a court case in November of 2004, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Agrexco is worth half a billion Shekels (nearly £78m) and employs about 500 people. 50% of the company's shares are owned by the Israeli government, although a ministerial committee last year decided to privatise it (see here). Agrexco's biggest fresh agricultural produce brand is Carmel. Other brand names include Jaffa and Jordan Plains. The company's subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS and Dalia (Germany). For more information on Agrexco, see here. British supermarkets account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco's total exports. The company supplies Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose as well as discounters Lidl and Aldi. Carmel-Agrexco has been the focus of anti-occupation protests and actions. The company's depot Swallowfield Way in Hayes, Middlesex, has repeatedly been shut down by protesters (see here, for example).
Ahava Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories is an Israeli cosmetic company that develops, produces and markets cosmetic products based on the Dead Sea mud and minerals and made in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank. It is owned by Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem (41%), Hamashbir Holdings (which is owned by Benny Gaon's Gaon Holdings and the Livnat family, 41%), and the Kibbutz Kalya and Kibbutz Ein Gedi (18%) (see this article). On 10th January 2009, Ahava's newly opened store in Covent Garden, central London, was occupied by activists in protest at the Israeli massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and to draw public attention to Ahava's involvement in the occupation and illegal settlement business (see a report here).
Eden Springs Eden Springs UK Ltd is entirely owned, managed and controlled by Eden Springs Ltd/Mayanot Eden, an Israeli company that uses water stolen from a spring in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Eden Springs extracts and distributes mineral water, markets coffee and espresso machines and home and office water devices. The company's main plant is located in Katzerin IZ, which is also in the Golan Heights. Eden Springs has dozens of subsidiaries throughout Europe, most of which use the Eden and Chateaud'eau brand names. It also own Pauza Coffee Services, which provides coffee for businesses and represents Lavazza Coffee, DA Technologies and Cafe Espresso Italia in Israel. Eden Springs have several local government contracts to supply water coolers to local councils and health authorities. Fore more information on Eden Springs and the campaign against it, see here.
Veolia Veolia Environnement is a French multinational that trades in water and waste management, energy and transport services. Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium, contracted to build a light rail tramway system linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements such as Pisgat Ze'ev, French Hill, Neve Ya'akov and Gilo in occupied East Jerusalem. Once built (due to be completed in 2020), the rail system will help to cement Israel's hold on occupied East Jerusalem and tie the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel. Through its subsidiary Veolia Environmental Services Israel (which has bought TMM Integrated Recycling Services), Veolia also owns and operates the Tovlan Landfill in the occupied Jordan Valley, using captured Palestinian natural and land resources for the needs of Israeli settlements. Other subsidiaries include Connex Transportation Israel, Veolia Environmental Services Israel, TMM Integrated Recycling Industries, Veolia Transportation Israel, Connex Jerusalem, Veolia Water Services Israel. Veolia also holds a number of contracts for recycling and waste management across Europe. Veolia UK's head office is London (154 Pentonville Road, N1 9PE). For more information, see here). Earlier this month, Veolia lost a €3.5m contract in Sweden over its involvement with the Jerusalem light rail project (see here). In 2006, Dutch bank ASN also broke off financial relations with Veolia for the same reason, as did the Irish tram drivers union broke. In November 2008, a group of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists demonstrated in front of Bilbao City Hall in protest against the council's plans to award Veolia a contract for the cities bus transportation.
Leviev Lev Leviev is one of the world's leading diamond retailers. In 1996, Leviev bought the controlling share in the company Africa-Israel, whose subsidiary companies are involved in settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. Leviev's companies are involved in settlement construction in Mattityahu East and Modi'in Illit, close to the Palestinian village of Bil'in, as well as also Zufim, Maale Adumim and Har Homa. New York-based Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, also known as Adalah-NY, has held several demonstrations at Leviev's Manhattan store, garnering international attention. Two demonstrations were held outside Leviev's diamonds store in bond street during 2008. For more information, see here.
3. BANKS Lloyds TSB In early December last year, British charity Interpal Back in 2004, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, staunch defenders of Israeli crimes, accused Interpal of involvement in 'terrorism', a smear for which they later had to pay damages. Allegations against Interpal of 'supporting terrorism' have been investigated by the UK Charity Commission, which found that the charity was a "well run and committed organisation which carries out important work in a part of the world where there is great hardship and suffering.", which is dedicated to alleviating the suffering of Palestinians in need, was notified by its bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), that Lloyds TSB, which acts as its clearing bank, has given it instructions to cease all dealings with Interpal. The decision took effect on 8th December and all transactions into or out of Interpal accounts were blocked. IBB has offered Interpal verbal support but was apparently powerless in this situation. No reason was given by Lloyds for this punitive measure. Lloyds TSB Chairman, Sir Victor Blank, is a governor of Tel Aviv University, Chair of Union of Jewish Students/Hillel, a member of the Advisory Board of the United Jewish Israel Appeal and is involved in Labour Friends of Israel. UJS/Hillel assists members of the pro-Israel Union of Jewish Students, a group that works to silence pro-Palestinian voices on British campuses. One Lloyds TSB director, Sir David Manning, is an ex-ambassador to both Israel and the USA and was Foreign Policy Adviser to Tony Blair during the planning for the invasion of Iraq. Both Blank and Manning are believed to have influenced the move against Interpal. Hitting charities that help Palestinians only serves to support Israel by shutting off the trickle of aid that organisations like Interpal manage to get into Gaza and the Occupied Territories over years of Israel's brutal siege. Since then, Lloyds TSB has been the subject of protests and pickets around the England and Scotland (see here, for example). For more information on Lloyds TSB and Interpal, see here.
4. MEDIA BICOM The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) describes itself as "an independent organisation devoted to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in the UK" through providing daily briefings and analysis for politicians, academics and journalists. In reality, however, it is a lobby group that played a key role in Israel's public relations operation during the assault on Gaza. BICOM arranged briefings, conference calls and interviews for months in preparation for the recent attack, laying the groundwork for Israel's public justifications for the onslaught (see here). On 14th January, BICOM's office on Great Portland Street in central London was occupied for a few hours to highlight the organisation's role in the Gaza massacres (see this report). A similar lobby group in the US is the Israel Project, which describes itself as "an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace."
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation has become a target for Gaza solidarity protests following its refusal to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 aid charities, "leaving aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations," as a Guardian article put it. By refusing to give free airtime to the appeal, the BBC made a unique decision to breach an agreement dating back to 1963, flimsily arguing that this "may compromise public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story" (see here). Sky TV has also refused to broadcast the appeal, while ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have all broadcast it. On 24th January, the 4th Gaza march in London started at the BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, with angry speeches calling for the BBC Director-General Mark Thompson to resign and the public to burn their TV licences in protest (see here). Two days later, a few protesters entered the building and briefly occupied the lobby (see here). Similarly, over 100 people occupied BBC Scotland's headquarters in Glasgow on 25th January, and the same happened in Manchester two days later (see here). Even some of BBC's own staff have expressed their "disgust" at the decision, but have reportedly been threatened with sacking if they speak out on the issue (see here). BBC offices throughout the country had already been sites of protest as a result of the BBC's largely one-sided coverage of the Gaza massacre, allowing Israeli spokespeople endless opportunities to propagate lies and deception without challenge (see, for example, this excellent Electronic Intifada article. See also this Media Lens alert on British mainstream media's biased and distorted coverage of the recent Gaza attacks).
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