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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

nuclear-armed states are criminal states

Derailing a deal


7 October 2007

NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation,
confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith
negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear
states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush
administration, which even has stated that it isn't subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the
central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in
both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not
an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty.
With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and
facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and
bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established
strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association,
observes that the agreement doesn't bar further Indian nuclear testing
and, "incredibly, ... commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel
supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing." It also
permits India to "free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb
production." All these steps are in direct violation of international
nonproliferation agreements.

The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as
well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor
for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons
design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying
Congress for privileges similar to India's, and has approached the Nuclear
Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France,
Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as
China has with Pakistan ? hardly a surprise, once the global superpower
has opened the door.

The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons
specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's
testimony to Congress that the agreement was "crafted with the private
sector firmly in mind," particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin
stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear
war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also
"may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city."
Washington's message is that "export controls are less important to the
United States than money" ? that is, profits for US corporations ?
whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States
is granting India "terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for
states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities" of the
NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington
rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while
threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT,
despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran's
neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it
broke free of US control in 1979.

Over the past few years, India and Pakistan have made strides towards
easing the tensions between the two countries. People-to-people contacts
have increased and the governments are in discussion over the many
outstanding issues that divide the two states. Those promising
developments may well be reversed by the Indo-US nuclear deal. One of the
means to build confidence throughout the region was the creation of a
natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan into India. The "peace
pipeline" would have tied the region together and opened the possibilities
for further peaceful integration.

The pipeline, and the hope it offers, might become a casualty of the
Indo-US agreement, which Washington sees as a measure to isolate its
Iranian enemy by offering India nuclear power in exchange for Iranian gas
? though in fact India would gain only a fraction of what Iran could

The Indo-US deal continues the pattern of Washington's taking every
measure to isolate Iran. In 2006, the US Congress passed the Hyde Act,
which specifically demanded that the US government "secure India's full
and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate,
and if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire
weapons of mass destruction."

It is noteworthy that the great majority of Americans ? and Iranians ?
favour converting the entire region to a nuclear-weapons free zone,
including Iran and Israel. One may also recall that UN Security Council
Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, to which Washington regularly appealed
when seeking justification for its invasion of Iraq, calls for
"establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass
destruction and all missiles for their delivery."

Clearly, ways to mitigate current crises aren't lacking.

This Indo-US agreement richly deserves to be derailed. The threat of
nuclear war is extremely serious, and growing, and part of the reason is
that the nuclear states ? led by the United States ? simply refuse to live
up to their obligations or are significantly violating them, this latest
effort being another step toward disaster.


Oil Laws: Colonizing Iraq's Economic Prize

by Media Lens / October 13th, 2007

An Equitable Sharing of Resources?

We are led to believe that Western societies are free and open. In
many respects this is true: freedom of speech and the right to protest
still exist, albeit within ever-tighter constraints. At root, however,
much of what we see and hear in the corporate media has been shaped by
money, power and greed. What passes for vibrant public debate is often
a sham.

Some media professionals are aware of this, but they keep their heads
down and stick to the narrow job requirements demanded of them. But
many journalists cannot, or will not, grasp the notion that there are
serious limits to news reporting and debate; limits that are set by
powerful interests in society. The very possibility is viewed as an
affront to journalistic pride and hard-bitten common sense.

A few journalists, however, are very well aware of the boundaries.
They consciously seek to exploit occasional gaps in the corporate news
blanket smothering reality, and to point the public to facts and
perspectives that discomfit the powerful.

The issue of Iraq's oil illustrates the standard problem: incessant
repetition of a state-approved script, with tiny instances of solidly
critical reporting. Discussion of any possible relationship between
the invasion of Iraq and the US-UK thirst for oil - both as a
hydrocarbon resource and as a strategic tool for dominance - is close
to taboo. If raised, the topic is swiftly dismissed as 'conspiracy'

It was only last month that news media reported the bombshell dropped
by Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve:

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what
everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." (Bob Woodward,
"Greenspan Is Critical Of Bush in Memoir," Washington Post, September
15, 2007)

After that remarkable line from his new book was made public,
Greenspan rapidly backtracked. He "clarified" that he was talking
about "security" and that oil was "not [...] the administration's
motive." (Bob Woodward, "Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil
Security," Washington Post, September 17, 2007). The media's attention
has since moved away from such dangerous ground. Instead, safe
territory on Iraqi oil is defined by terms such as 'investment',
'stability', 'reconciliation' and 'equitable sharing of resources.'

The basis for such discourse was established before the invasion in
2003, when we were relentlessly told that Saddam's weapons of mass
destruction had to be rooted out and 'stability' brought to the
region. The doctrine of reconciliation and democracy was reaffirmed
when George Bush gave a speech in January 2007 in which he set out
'benchmarks' to measure Iraq's 'progress'. Bush proclaimed a noble aim
for the Iraqi government, with US support:

"To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq
will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis."

Bush also pledged that: "military and civilian experts [will] help
local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen the
moderates and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance. And
Secretary [Condoleezza] Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction
coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic
assistance being spent in Iraq." ("'The Most Urgent Priority for
Success in Iraq Is Security,' Bush Says," New York Times, January 11,

Thus, the approved framework of oil revenue 'sharing', underpinning
Washington's 'reconciliation' among Iraqis, was decreed by the US
president. And indeed this is the line followed in the bulk of
corporate news reporting. Consider the following typical examples.

A Financial Times editorial hails a "national reconciliation package"
to include "a law governing the country's oil and gas industry" and
"directed at [...] discord between Iraq 's ethnic and confessional
groups." (Leader, "The irreconcilable. As deadlines pass, time is
running out for a political solution in Iraq," Financial Times, June
7, 2007)

The Times notes the guiding "principle that all oil revenues should be
divided between the Iraqi regions". (Carl Mortished, "Western oil
major's bid marks breakthrough for troubled Iraqi industry," The
Times, August 23, 2007)

Ian Black, Middle East editor of the Guardian, writes of a raft of
measures designed to tackle Iraqi debt relief. These include "a
revenue-sharing oil law", drafted with the help of that well-known
benefactor, the World Bank. (Black, "Rice breaks the ice with Syria ,
but not Iran," The Guardian, May 4, 2007)

The 'anti-war' Independent writes of "redistributing the cash [oil
revenues] to the regions - which the new oil law states must be done
in proportion to regions' populations." (Saeed Shah, "Foreign
companies in scramble for 10 new Kurdish oil contracts," The
Independent, March 23, 2007)

Steve Negus, Iraq correspondent of the Financial Times, even makes the
classic journalistic mistake of taking government "hopes" at face

"The US hopes the oil law will reassure Sunnis that they will still
receive a solid share of national oil export revenues under a new
political order dominated by the Shia majority." (Negus, "Iraqis try
to curb pressure on US to quit," Financial Times, September 10, 2007)

To date, no oil law has been approved by the Iraqi parliament despite
extraordinary pressure from the US and UK governments. Sticking to the
approved line, the FT's Andrew Ward writes of "oil revenues . . .
being distributed equitably to the provinces, in spite of the failure
to pass a national oil law". (Ward, "Little political progress, White
House admits," Financial Times, September 15, 2007)

The Reality On - And Under - The Ground

Contradicting the thrust of the above mainstream version of events,
PLATFORM, a London-based human rights group monitoring the oil
industry, argues that the oil law "has been wrongly described as
providing a mechanism for sharing revenue among Iraq's sectarian
groups; in fact, this law does not deal with that issue, which will be
the subject of a separate law, not yet drafted." (PLATFORM, "The Iraqi
oil sector, privatization and the UK's role," Submission to the Iraq
Commission, 14 June 2007 - our emphasis)

PLATFORM activist Eva Jasiewicz told us:

"The mainstream media, with few exceptions, has uncritically
reproduced White House and Foreign Office propaganda over Iraqi oil
policy. The reporting has not been lazy; it has actively colluded in
the repeated circulation of US-UK lies over revenue sharing, oil for
peace and reconciliation as the goals of the law." (E-mail to Media
Lens, October 9, 2007)

Jasiewicz continued:

"The story of the corporate colonization of Iraq's oil, and potential
dismemberment of the country under a brutal military occupation, has
been disappeared from the news agenda. Reporters ignoring the
political and economic realities at stake in Iraq are guilty of
deception and of promoting the neoliberal agenda of economic takeover
of Iraq."

The Federation of Oil Unions, the largest trade union in the Iraqi oil
sector with over 26,000 members, also starkly challenges the media
message of "reconciliation":

"Depending on how it is applied, the current draft of the law could
increase poverty, undermine state institutions and worsen the conflict
in Iraq." (PLATFORM, op. cit.)

In reality, Orwellian-named 'production sharing agreements' are being
prepared which would hand over the lead role in the development of oil
resources to corporations under highly-profitable contracts of up to
30 years. Unsurprisingly, this has been met with considerable
opposition in Iraq. In response, the 'production sharing' terminology
has been dropped from later drafts of the law. But as Kamil Mahdi, an
economist at the University of Essex warns, "the content remains the
same." (Mahdi, "No law for oil," Red Pepper, August 2007)

Such lucrative contracts are being sought by US-allied sectarian and
political blocks within Iraq, all maneuvering to gain control of Iraqi
politics and state institutions. Mahdi warns that the likely outcome
is that "the majority of Iraq's oil resources are to be
surreptitiously privatized and handed over to multinationals under the
guise of decentralization and benefit-sharing." The draft law
stipulates a "bizarre resource management arrangement" that will have
Iraq's regions scrambling over each other in a desperate race to award
oil contracts to corporations. Any actual benefits will be reserved
for "corrupt local elites and the multinationals themselves."

Mahdi adds:

"The weak, sectarian and fractious Maliki government has proved to be
just what the US needs at this time: one that is willing to acquiesce
in US military offensives and to pursue the handover of oil to the
multinationals, while at the same time applying the harsh economic
policies dictated by the IMF, particularly over the domestic price of
fuel." (Ibid.)

The UK government has played a key role by boosting the lobbying
efforts of oil multinationals. Six of these oil companies collectively
appointed lobbyists, the International Tax & Investment Centre (ITIC),
to push for Iraqi resources to be opened up to long-term oil
production contracts. ITIC was even advised by UK Foreign Office and
Treasury officials on how best to influence Iraqi decision-makers.

Moreover, the main ITIC lobbying document, "Petroleum and Iraq's
Future," was sent to the Iraqi finance minister in late 2004 by the
British ambassador to Iraq. ITIC says that the ambassador 'formally'
submitted it to the Iraqi minister, implying UK endorsement of its
contents. A diplomat from the British embassy played a key role in
organizing a meeting of ITIC and its six corporate sponsors with Iraqi
ministers and officials in January 2005.

Since the first draft of the oil law was completed in July 2006,
British officials in both Whitehall and Baghdad have actively worked
on the law. It was first seen by British officials at that time, fully
eight months before it was seen by members of the Iraqi parliament in
March 2007. (See PLATFORM, op. cit.)

This scandal has barely caused a ripple across the corporate media.

Progress Is Needed Soon!

A rare exception hinting at the truth about Iraqi oil was an
Associated Press report in March 2007, which described "close
associates" of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressing "fears the
Americans will torpedo his government if parliament does not pass a
law to fairly [sic] divvy up the country's oil wealth among Iraqis."
American officials also made it clear to the "hardline" Iraqi prime
minister "that they want an Iraqi government in place by year's end
acceptable to the country's Sunni Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi
Arabia, Jordan and Egypt." The message from the Americans was stark
and left al-Maliki "convinced he would not survive in power without
U.S. support." (Steven R. Hurst, "Iraqi Leader Fears Ouster Over Oil
Money," Associated Press, March 14, 2007)

Then, in June 2007, a news story appeared at the top of the front page
of the New York Times:

"U.S. Warns Iraq That Progress Is Needed Soon".

Admiral William J. Fallon, the leading American military commander for
the Middle East, warned al-Maliki "in a closed-door conversation" of
the pressing need for the Iraqi government "to make tangible political
progress . . . to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in
Congress." A major milestone of this "progress" is "to complete a law
on the division of oil proceeds." Clearly frustrated by Iraqi
intransigence, Fallon warned al-Maliki: "You have the power. You
should take the initiative." (Michael R. Gordon, "U.S. Warns Iraq That
Progress Is Needed Soon," New York Times, June 12, 2007)

Michael Gordon, Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, had
been invited to sit in on this "closed-door conversation". Gordon
stated candidly that, "it was only at the end of the meeting that
American officials agreed that it could be on the record." In other
words, as columnist David Broder noted, the NYT's Pentagon
correspondent was invited by the US commander to sit in on "what would
normally be a private meeting." The signal to the Iraqi Prime Minister
was obvious: not only will you be pressured by the Americans to "make
progress", but the pressure will be boosted by publicizing it globally
via the front page of the NYT.

Broder added:

"From an administration known for its secrecy, this deviation means
only one thing: So desperate is the need to push Maliki into action
that even the [New York] Times becomes a lever." (Broder, "Failure on
Two Fronts," Washington Post, June 17, 2007)

This bullying behaviour is, of course, standard for Washington and
well documented (see, for example, Noam Chomsky, Failed States, Hamish
Hamilton, London, 2006).

"I Trust This Meets With Your Approval": An Exchange With The BBC

On September 6, a piece by BBC business reporter Robert Plummer,
'Little progress on halting Iraq's decay', appeared on the BBC news
online website.

Plummer amplified the standard US doctrine:

"Now the US wants Iraq to pass an oil law as a means of promoting
reconciliation among different religious and ethnic groups."

We e-mailed him:

"What evidence do you have that the US administration desires the oil
law 'as a means of promoting reconciliation'? Surely you would agree
that is rather different from reporting that the US claims that is
their aim?"

We pointed out to Plummer that PLATFORM argues that the "law has been
wrongly described as providing a mechanism for sharing revenue among
Iraq's sectarian groups; in fact, this law does not deal with that
issue, which will be the subject of a separate law, not yet
drafted." (PLATFORM, op. cit.)

We also reminded him that there is considerable concern that the
proposed oil law would benefit western (and other) corporations at the
expense of the Iraqis themselves. We asked him why he had
marginalized, indeed ignored, such valid perspectives. Within minutes,
we received the following reply:

"When someone has written a piece about one subject, it seems a bit
perverse to write asking why it wasn't about an entirely different
subject. I didn't set out to write about the rights and wrongs of the
Iraqi oil law - I wrote about reconstruction and why it's costing so
much money.

"I didn't 'marginalise' or 'ignore' anyone's arguments. I simply
mentioned the oil law in passing, in a necessarily brief fashion,
because it was peripheral to my theme.

"The 'oil law' in my piece was shorthand for the whole mass of oil-
related legislation that is in prospect in Iraq . I'm well aware that
there are in fact four proposed interlocking bills, only one of which
has been drafted. I just thought that only a lawyer would be
interested in that level of detail.

"I'm sorry I didn't write the piece you clearly wanted to read -
perhaps we can do that at a later date." (E-mail from Robert Plummer,
September 7, 2007)

It is apparently a matter of "detail", that "only a lawyer would be
interested in," that legal measures for oil revenue 'sharing' have yet
to be drafted. Regular readers will be familiar with this standard
plea by professional journalists that there is 'insufficient space.'

In our reply, we pressed the point that Plummer had still not

"What evidence do you have that the US administration desires the oil
law 'as a means of promoting reconciliation'? You haven't answered
that point in your reply. I provided you with the reference to
PLATFORM because there is substantial evidence that the oil
legislation is about conquest, not reconciliation." (E-mail to Robert
Plummer, September 7, 2007)

We received a final response:

"Never let it be said that we ignore the views of our readers. I have
now amended the sentence in question to read: 'Now the US wants Iraq
to pass an oil law, as what it says is a means of promoting
reconciliation among different religious and ethnic groups.' I trust
that meets with your approval." (E-mail from Robert Plummer, September
7, 2007)

We replied:

"Many thanks for doing that. It's a small but important difference.

"After the disaster that has befallen Iraq - and with Iran now in the
crosshairs - it's surely vital for all of us to regard any professed
government aims and pronouncements with skepticism, and to shine a
light on the underlying motivations that drive state policy." (E-mail
to Robert Plummer, September 7, 2007)

A similar challenge from Media Lens to Andrew Ward, the Financial
Times's White House correspondent, on his reporting of the Iraqi oil
law, elicited this curious response:

"Newspaper deadlines do not, unfortunately, allow for the cross-
checking of every statement given by the White House. But I will keep
your email as reference for the next time I write about the issue." (E-
mail, September 21, 2007)

This reads like a straightforward admission that the FT generally
takes at face value any statement issued by the White House, despite
all the deceptions of the war against Iraq.

Concluding Remarks - Not About Oil, Of Course!

The real agenda behind Iraq's oil - the striving by powerful states,
particularly the US, for strategic control of the resource-rich Middle
East - has been all but ignored by the corporate media. When the truth
is glimpsed, it is waved away as very much a secondary aim trailing
behind the noble commitment to 'democracy'. As one Cambridge academic
noted in the Financial Times:

"The war in Iraq is not, of course, about oil. Coalition troops are
there to advance democracy and to protect the innocent. But the
consequences for the world's energy markets of an unresolved conflict
in a country that holds the world's third largest accumulation of oil
reserves cannot be ignored." (Nick Butler, director of the Cambridge
Centre for Energy Studies at the Judge Business School, "Iraq needs an
'oil for peace' deal," Financial Times, September 12, 2007)

What is routinely missing from the corporate news media is historical
context shedding light on Washington's real, rather than stated,
motivations. Of central and long-standing relevance is the 1945 US
State Department description of Saudi Arabian energy resources as "a
stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material
prizes in world history." Undiscovered oil fields in Iraq could well
boost that country's reserves to 300 billion barrels, even more than
in Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, the whole of the Gulf region has long been considered
"probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of
foreign investment." (Cited in Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival,
Hamish Hamilton, London, 2003, p.150)

Based on copiously documented historical evidence, Noam Chomsky writes
of US power:

"The basic missions of global management have endured from the early
postwar period, among them: containing other centers of global power
within the 'overall framework of order' managed by the United States;
maintaining control of the world's energy supplies; barring
unacceptable forms of independent nationalism; and overcoming 'crises
of democracy' within domestic enemy territory." (Ibid, p.16)

But these truths, necessary for any public understanding of world
affairs, are deemed too 'radioactive' to be carried by the corporate

The US Congress gets a chance to weigh in on this deal after the
International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group vet it.
Perhaps Congress, reflecting a citizenry fed up with nuclear gamesmanship,
can reject the agreement. A better way to go forward is to pursue the need
for global nuclear disarmament, recognising that the very survival of the
species is at stake.

Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client:

Monday, October 29, 2007

USA torture criminals - catholic spin

torture sadism usa iraq war crimes

THE REAL STORY - Following his presentation Oct. 4 at the University of
San Francisco, retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba visits with Francisco
Father Louis Vitale. Taguba led the investigation of Abu Ghraib prison
abuse in 2004. Father Vitale and Jesuit Father Steve Kelly are on trial
for trespassing at a military base while attempting to deliver a letter
protesting U.S. interrogation policies. (Catholic San Francisco/Michael

Abu Ghraib's prime investigator slams handling of prison scandal

By Michael Vick


Catholic San Francisco (

The Abu Ghraib prison abuse was actually more severe than reported in
mainstream media outlets, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
was less than honest in his knowledge of the notorious scandal, charges
the retired Army major general who headed the investigation of the abuse.

In an Oct. 4 appearance at the University of San Francisco's Center for
the Pacific Rim, retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba accused Rumsfeld of
being untruthful with him and also misleading Congress when the former
secretary of defense claimed he had not read the Army official's report.

"I would find it rather disturbing if no one had forwarded the report to
the secretary of defense," said Taguba. "I do not believe he had not seen
the report."

In 2004, amidst allegations of abuse in its military prisons in Iraq, the
Army ordered Taguba to conduct an investigation at Abu Ghraib prison west
of Baghdad. Although by order of his commanding officers his investigation
was limited in scope to the military police at Abu Ghraib, Taguba was
nevertheless critical of military intelligence, the CIA and private
contractors for their roles in abuse at the prison.

Accompanying the report were more than 100 photographs recovered during
the investigation, some of which were later leaked to CBS and aired on "60
Minutes." Taguba called the photos of abuse shown in the media mild in
comparison to others that have not been made public.

"Not everyone saw what I saw," Taguba said.

Shocking, unreleased photos

The unreleased images, he said, include an American soldier sodomizing a
female Iraqi detainee. The soldier could be seen videotaping while engaged
in the act, while another soldier also videotaped it in the background, he

Taguba cautioned that releasing the photos in their totality would, in his
opinion, "irrevocably harm" the reputation of the United States and lead
to further bloodshed. He said that to his knowledge only his commanding
officers, members of the Bush administration and select members of
Congress have seen all the photos. Taguba said he even initially kept the
photos from his own investigators, not wanting to prejudice their work.

"The report was classified, but not because we were trying to keep it from
the American public," Taguba said. "It's not my place to release it."

Taguba went through official channels with the report, giving it only to
his superiors. However, he said whoever leaked the report and photos was
acting within the First Amendment.

"If it weren't for CBS, nobody would know about this," said Taguba.

After his report was finalized and delivered to his superiors, Taguba
himself became a target, he said. Gen. John Abizaid, then commander of
U.S. forces in Iraq, told him that "you and your report will be

Taguba recalled his surprise at being the subject of scrutiny. "All of a
sudden, I became the problem," he said. "I was the man everybody
ostracized. I am now part of the Mafia. I'm now a suspect."

Taguba said his immediate superiors saw the photos and the report, but
that Abizaid refused to look at the photos. Taguba said he offered to give
them to the general's aide and to his lawyer, and also offered to leave a
copy with him in the event he might wish to review them later, all
requests Abizaid reportedly denied.

Rumsfeld uninformed

Ordered back to the Pentagon in May 2004, Taguba briefed senior White
House and military officials, including Rumsfeld; Gen. Richard Meyers,
then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Paul Wolfowitz,
then-deputy secretary of defense. Taguba told the USF audience that the
meetings were unproductive and brief.

It was during this meeting, Taguba said, that Rumsfeld first told him that
he had not read the report nor seen the photos. In June, Taguba told The
New Yorker's Seymour Hersh that when Rumsfeld repeated this claim in
congressional testimony, the general found it hard to believe the

Taguba told Hersh that one possible explanation for Rumsfeld not seeing
the report and photos could have been that his aides and military
officials did not want to deliver bad news to the secretary, who many
privately acknowledge had a bad temper. In the end, Taguba dismissed this

"Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap," Taguba
told Hersh. "He's trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying
to protect themselves."

Calls to the Department of Defense and to the Hoover Institution at
Stanford University, where Rumsfeld recently received a year-long
fellowship, had not been returned by press deadline.

Taguba was later ordered to appear on the Sunday broadcast talk shows, an
order he refused.

"It was the first time I had refused to obey an order, but I told them
unless I was given due cause, I could not do it," Taguba said.

Taguba said his abrupt retirement came in the wake of his report, and his
dismissal was likely the result of his outspoken criticism of the policies
that led to the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Forced retirement

In January 2006, Taguba was instructed by Gen. Richard A. Cody, the
Army's vice chief of staff, to retire by January 2007. Reportedly, no
explanation was given. The retirement ended a 34-year military career.

"I offered to stay on as a one-star general, but that was refused," Taguba

Taguba spoke before a large crowd at USF, with some sitting on the floor.
He took a handful of questions after his presentation and stayed an
additional 15 minutes to visit with audience members.

Among those who stayed to speak with the general was Franciscan Father
Louis Vitale, who along with Jesuit Father Steve Kelly faces trial Oct. 17
for federal trespass at Fort Huachuca in Arizona in connection with a
protest against torture. The priests were attempting to deliver a letter
last November to then head of Fort Huachuca, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, who
had been implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal. The Army formally cleared
her of all charges.

Taguba told Father Vitale that he and Father Kelly should be remembered as
heroes for their actions.

"It was so worth it to be in the presence of someone trying to find the
truth," said Father Kelly.

Father Vitale echoed his fellow priest.

"Gen. Taguba really is a very honest man," he said. "He has given us a
very credible eye into what was going on and continues to go on in the

USF student Sebastian Crawford said Taguba's speech gave him both hope for
the future and a window into the present.

"There are still men and women who do the right things for the right
reasons," said Crawford, 22. "The fact that he was forced to retire shows
the very dark times our nation is going through."

A difficult lesson

Taguba said Abu Ghraib was a lesson in what democratic governments must
never do — namely, sink to the level of those they are fighting against.
He said the ultimate cost for doing so will be paid by troops on the

"Abu Ghraib was an incendiary that protracted the war in Iraq," Taguba

Taguba lamented that in spite of his report and others critical of those
in command of the troops, no one higher than the rank of sergeant has been
prosecuted for the abuse.

"I have yet to see a see senior policy maker, someone in government, a
contractor, or a CIA operative go to jail," said Taguba. "We prosecuted
only those directly involved to 'save the bigger picture.' What about our
policy of advancing democracy? That's the bigger picture."

This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of Catholic
San Francisco (,official newspaper of the Archdiocese
of San Francisco, Calif.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Naomi Klein - 911 truth - the Fed

Bill Maher Interviews Naomi Klein

======= 911 research news =========

The 10/15/07 issue of U.S. News and World Report features a Q&A interview
by Alex Kingsbury with Richard Rhodes, author of [The Making of the Atomic
Bomb], [Dark Sun] and [Arsenals of Folly; The Making of the Nuclear Arms
Race]. The piece appears on page 26 and in it, Rhodes states, "We now know
the United States and the Soviets planned to use "exercises" to conceal a
nuclear first strike." This unusual admission in a main stream media forum
is consistent with what is known about the presentation of 7/7 and 9/11
which were both embedded in drills, and it may foretell the future in how
the next national emergency will play out. This deception and cover
technique was so well known by 1963 that it was featured as the plot of
the John Frankenheimer film [Seven Days in May] in which a military
exercise is used to provide cover for a military coup against the
President of the United States.

NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27,
2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist
telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the
terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have
been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless
surveillance efforts.
The allegations could affect the debate on Capitol Hill over whether
telecoms sued for disclosing customers' phone records and other data to
the government after the Sept. 11 attacks should be given legal immunity,
even if they did not have court authorization to do so.

October 13th, 2007 7:06 pm
Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm
Qwest Feared NSA Plan Was Illegal, Filing Says
By Ellen Nakashima and Dan Eggen / Washington Post

Hold onto your boxers.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB.GOV), Flight
175 originated not at Logan airport. No. But at the BOSTON HELIPORT, CODE

The code for Logan is "BOS," not "1MA3." Check list:

I did not personally discover this info. It was posted several places
including Pilots for 911 Truth. Another poster suggested that the heliport
was actually closed at that time.

However, I did the obvious thing, and looked into what they said about
Flight 11, also supposedly out of Boston.


Do you want to know?

This is my "Holy F**king Shit" moment of the week.

There is no "Airport Identifier" code entered, at all, for Flight 11. They
have an airport code for the destination, that being
"LAX." For the origination, there's another anomaly. It originated nowhere.


Inflation and the Federal Reserve

by Richard C. Cook

Global Research, October 2, 2007

No term in the "dismal science" of economics is more misunderstood than
"inflation." The word means "rising prices," but is used at different
times by different people to describe totally different phenomena.

The most predominant type of inflation is natural and occurs as raw
materials are used up and must be replenished. It's akin to the law of
diminishing returns, or entropy, and is overcome by technological
innovation. Another type of inflation is expressed through constantly
changing conditions of supply and demand, including the fluctuating cost
of labor. Yet another type results from the predatory pricing practices of
monopolies such as the worldwide oil cartel which has jacked up the cost
of petroleum to over $80 a barrel.

Of an entirely different order are the inflation induced by central banks
such as the Federal Reserve in creating financial bubbles or by the
federal government in taking inflationary actions such as annually
compounded increases in government employee salaries to reduce the real
cost of servicing its astronomical debt. These instances might actually be
viewed as "high crimes and misdemeanors" which violate the due process
clause of the Constitution by unlawfully destroying the value of citizens'

In any case, inflation is a fact of life that is almost impossible to
control, let alone understand in all its complexities and details. This
article focuses on inflation as it is treated by the official monetary

So let's talk about money. Money is obviously an indispensable component
of our economic system. If it is properly constituted and managed, it has
the ability not only to command goods and services produced and traded
within the system, but also to encourage and call forth new types and
quantities of production. The presence or absence of sufficient quantities
of money, how it is created and introduced into circulation, how its value
is established and maintained, and how it is used or not used to further
the ideals of society are critical issues that properly should fall within
the purview of political debate.

Unfortunately, these issues are not debated at all within the American
political system, which is thereby failing in some of its most fundamental

These issues are not debated because people make the mistake of believing
that money is, or should be, a thing of value in-and-of itself, or that
this value is created by "market forces," so is somehow a "given."

Many also believe that monetary policy is a technical subject
understandable only to experts, so should be immune from political

But history shows that money serves its socially-beneficial purposes only
when it is regarded as an instrument of law and an economic
medium-of-exchange and when it is regulated by a government which can
responsibly direct its benefits to the common welfare of all citizens.
Such is not the case with the U.S. and other Western nations today.

That the Founding Fathers held a progressive view of money is proven by
the fact that the Constitution gave Congress the power "To coin Money,
regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of
Weights and Measures." During the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court
confirmed in cases involving the famous Greenbacks that this authority
includes the issuance of paper money.

Through much of our history, the monetary power has been implemented
through a variety of methods, though since the creation of the
privately-owned Federal Reserve System in 1913, it has been exercised
primarily by the private banking system which lends credit into
circulation and charges interest for its use.

Today it is the political power of the banks and financiers that prevents
monetary matters from being examined and debated the way they should be.
This power is also the basis of our retention of a medieval relic in the
destructive and corrosive system of fractional reserve banking.

Fractional reserve banking under a privately-owned central bank is not
ordained by our Constitution. It is an extralegal construction resulting
from abdication by Congress of its own lawful prerogatives. This system
has resulted in a condition of growing debt slavery fixed upon our
population which is afflicted with a chronic shortage of purchasing power
sufficient to absorb our national production.

If examined closely, this system could likely be declared
unconstitutional, as indicated above. A system which forces citizens into
ruinous debt is clearly in violation of the Constitutional guarantees of
due process and equal protection under the laws and might even be found to
violate the Thirteenth Amendment, which states that, "Neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States."

Philosophically, the way money is viewed in the eyes of the banking system
is to confuse it with "wealth." "Wealth" to them means cash or bank
deposits. "Wealth" is regarded as belonging to private individuals, not
the government. Granted, the government has the power to commandeer
private wealth through taxation, or borrow it through the sale of bonds
and other securities. Also, the government holds the title to certain
assets, including land, buildings, equipment, etc.

But the government does not, in this view, originate wealth. Therefore,
money, viewed primitively as a commodity with intrinsic value, not as an
instrument of exchange created by law, cannot be created or originated by
the government. This is the presumption on which today's bank-oriented
monetary system is based, which is why it is so inadequate to meet the
needs of society.

Present dogmas overlook the fact that at critical periods of our history,
such as during colonial times, the Revolutionary War, and during and after
the Civil War with the issuance of the Greenbacks, the government did in
fact directly issue its own money without resort either to debt
instruments marketed to banks and/or the public or to collection of taxes
as backing for the currency. That is to say, the government exercised the
power at these times to utilize its sovereign prerogative to create
"wealth" on behalf of the public from which it derived its authority. It
then used this wealth to meet legitimate public objectives, such as to
wage the war that won our independence or the one that preserved the
Union. The fact that this wealth was "real" was reflected in the ability
of the government to receive such monetary tokens as payment-in-full of

Also, the government has circulated wealth in the form of metallic
coinage, though its monetary value has been virtually eliminated by
inflation of the Federal Reserve Notes which, since their introduction,
have destroyed ninety-five percent of the value of the dollar.

An even broader view of wealth sees it as the total productivity of the
nation's economy, both present and potential. This includes the skills and
ability of the people who produce that wealth, as well as the laws,
institutions, and traditions which serve to unlock their creative
potential. Money is then a mere token used to facilitate exchange within
this complex of factors. Under this definition, the "wealth" of the United
States includes our Declaration of Independence and Constitution,
including the Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, the present course of affairs as defined by the current
Federal Reserve System which oversees our monetary system falls short of
these rightful uses of money. With the participation of the financial
industry, the Federal Reserve mainly assures as its first priority that
the wealth held by the banks will never be relinquished by them and, if
possible, will not be diminished.

Rather this wealth will perpetually increase through the interest charged
for its use. Of course money borrowed from the banks may be used by
debtors to create new assets or may simply be spent on consumer goods. But
the wealth of the banks themselves must never be compromised.

Thus the banks have become the primary focus of power within our nation.
This is implied whenever the word "stability" is used with reference to
the financial system. Businesses, households, and individuals may be
subjected to the "creative destruction" of market forces, but not the
banks. Also, given compound interest, a monetary system based on lending
must result in the migration of all a nation's wealth into the hands of
the lenders within a few generations. This is what is happening in the
U.S. today.

The current crisis dates to 1979 when the Federal Reserve initiated a
severe recession in order to fight the inflation which had built up in the
aftermath of the Vietnam War and by the 1971 removal of the gold peg for
international currency transactions. The situation was similar to what
happened during the run-up to the Great Depression, starting well before
the 1929 stock market crash.

Since the recession of 1979-83, the concentration of wealth in the hands
of the nation's upper income groups, i.e., those with money to lend or
invest, has been increasing, all the way through the economic resurgence
of the mid- to late-1990s up to today. Claims during this period by the
Federal Reserve that inflation has been brought under control are called
into question by everyday experience, during which individuals and
families have seen large increases in prices for such necessities as
housing, utilities, fuel, health care, education, insurance, etc.

In fact, an examination of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a record of relentless and unabated
price inflation since 1965. The rate of increase slowed somewhat during
1979-81, when the Fed-induced recession began, but it resumed its climb
and has continued upwards since then. In fact, prices have been virtually
out-of-control for the last thirty-eight years despite official
disclaimers to the contrary. For this the Federal Reserve has offered no

The question of why this inflation has occurred is one that requires
intensive study. There is a disconnect in the policy of the Federal
Reserve through its assumption that the inflation it did not necessarily
seem to have caused could be corrected by its periodic actions in raising
interest rates and so contracting the currency. In fact, the Fed has never
had any reason to believe it could regulate the economy through interest
rates—the essence of monetarism—except through the most simplistic
interpretation of its role. In fact, it seems to have been a kind of
hubris for it to think it could solve a problem which it obviously has
never fully understood.

As stated in its own 1994 publication, "The Federal Reserve System:
Purpose and Functions," the first duty of the Fed is "conducting the
nation's monetary policy by influencing the money and credit conditions in
the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices."

What does it mean that since the Fed came into existence, neither of these
two objectives has ever been achieved? Can it be that given the way our
monetary system under the Fed is constituted, the two goals of full
employment and stable prices are contradictory? Might some even say that
the chief method the Federal Reserve uses to reach for price stability has
been to create, or at least tolerate, un- and underemployment? In fact the
Fed in its actual operations, at least since 1979, has treated full
employment and price stability as being mutually exclusive. Otherwise it
would not have created a major recession at that time, where unemployment
increased by sixty-five percent and many businesses and even some major
industries were decimated or destroyed.

In fact, the ability of the Fed to act so destructively is one of the
bedrock principles of monetarism. The Fed attacks inflation by
constricting consumer demand through reducing pressure on prices from
potential wage and salary escalation. Therefore it is the workers of the
nation who are unwittingly and without their consent the foot-soldiers in
the Fed's price stability battle strategy.

The Fed exercises its powers by expanding and contracting the currency
through the three tools of buying and selling U.S. Treasury securities
through open market operations, operating the discount window at the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and establishing reserve requirements
for financial institutions which are engaged in fractional reserve lending.

The Federal Reserve says that by altering the quantity of currency in
circulation it is not creating or eliminating wealth. Rather it says it is
merely affecting the amount of "liquidity" available to meet current
economic needs. It does this, it says, by moving money from stored wealth;
i.e., interest-bearing forms such as savings accounts, to cash and
checking accounts used to meet immediate financial requirements.

Admittedly, the ability of the Fed to control the amount of money in
circulation and to influence economic outcomes is limited. Even though
investors believe that the key to a sound investment strategy is to gauge
accurately the effect of the Fed's actions on the economy, expectations
should never be raised too high. The Fed cannot directly dictate such
measures as how much unemployment should be tolerated. And while the tools
at its disposal are powerful and effective and have been honed through
decades of practice, they are still awkward and difficult to manipulate in
order to prevent undesirable or even catastrophic effects. But these
effects have nevertheless taken place.

Returning to 1979 when the Fed sought to squeeze out the inflation from
the economy that had built up during the years following the Vietnam War—
partly through the loose money policies of Arthur Burns, Chairman of the
Fed under President Nixon—it did so by raising the federal funds rate for
borrowing by member banks. Under Chairman Paul Volcker, who was appointed
in 1976 by President Jimmy Carter, interest rates soared at times to above
twenty percent over the next several years, rates unprecedented in the
nation's history.

These actions had only a slight impact on reducing inflation, but at a
terrible cost to the American economy and to American workers, farmers,
and small businesspeople. Also devastated were the poorer areas of
America's cities which had been steadily climbing out of poverty. Examples
were the destruction wrought in places such as Baltimore or Detroit, where
huge sections turned into "death zones."

Since that time, the U.S. economy has not recovered. These were the
actions that wrecked our manufacturing industries and produced the
so-called "service economy." The nation languished in this condition as
sub-par economic conditions lingered through the Reagan years and into the
term of President George H.W. Bush. Continuing poor economic conditions
contributed to Bush's defeat by Bill Clinton in 1992, with relief coming
later through the boom of the mid- to late-1990s, during the so-called bubble.

At this time, huge amounts of investment capital, particularly from
abroad, went into building the technology firms that were leading the
microcomputer and internet revolutions. But with the recession triggered
by the crash of the stock market in 2000, this presumed prosperity was
exposed as an illusion. Today we find ourselves again in a serious stage
of economic stagnation, marked by rising un- and under-employment and
massive increases in consumer, business, and government debt. And
inflation marches on.

Faced with such circumstances, the Federal Reserve does not seem to know
what to do. By its own admission, it lacks measures and targets by which
to regulate the currency. During the early 1980s, the Fed went through a
period where it tried to set interest rates based on quantitative monetary
targets. Under the influence of the monetarists, the Fed tried to gauge
the amount or money needed in the economy from such measures as M1, M2,
and M3. This policy failed, so that today, no one, including leading
economists, pays any serious attention to the "Ms" as a guide to monetary

A major reason for this failure was the proliferation of different types
of financial accounts resulting from financial institution deregulation.
This proliferation was made possible by the growth in electronic funds
transfer, where money became a mere electronic blip, rather than a check,
cash, or some other paper instrument. Using computer processing, the money
supply changes abruptly every night through the use of cash management
tools such as "repos," or repurchase agreements.

The growth in complexity through electronics has also made possible many
new types of crime, including electronic theft, diversion of funds, and
money-laundering. Also complicating the situation was the widespread use
of corporate stock as money through such actions as mergers, leveraged
buyouts, and payment of compensation with stock options.

While the Federal Reserve has a general sense that the money supply must
be kept sufficient to meet the needs of the economy, it finds it difficult
to compare the growth of the two or define how they relate to each other.
So rather than watching monetary targets, the Fed says it is steering by
what it calls an interest rate "smoothing" policy. It says it chooses a
currency level consistent with economic growth with the intent of
supplying enough money to fuel the economy. Thus the Fed claims that it
wants to get the price of money right for the economy at any given time,
though the target is elusive.

In other words, the Fed doesn't know what it is doing. What it mainly
seems to do is to watch the same economic indicators everyone else does,
and if it thinks the economy is "overheating" it raises interest rates.
When liquidity contractions appear to be too destructive and the screams
from individuals and businesses get too loud, it will then lower them.
Unless of course foreign investors start screaming, when the Fed will
raise rates again or leave them steady.

Unable to quantify either the money supply or actual economic activity,
the Fed supposedly uses inflation as a surrogate. Unable even to gauge
inflation accurately, it uses worker wages as a surrogate for that. So if
individual earnings go up, the lid on the economy comes crashing down, as
though people who work for a living have been caught with their hands in
the cookie jar.

After starting to raise interest rates around 1994 to slow down the
economy during the boom which had been engendered by a "strong
dollar" policy by the U.S. Treasury to attract foreign investment, the Fed
later began to lower them in an attempt to revive the economy when
recession began in 2001. But this never really produced the hoped-for

In particular, housing mortgage rates were lowered to the lowest rates in
four decades, thereby increasing available cash to consumers through
refinancing of existing mortgages and through new home equity loans. These
actions maintained activity in an economy which now relies for
three-quarters of the value of its transactions on consumer spending. Of
course such an economy is highly susceptible to variations in consumer
confidence, which was why, after the stock market plunge following the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush told the
public to go shopping.

As the deflating housing bubble has made clear, even this rare bright spot
in the declining U.S. economy scarcely improved the employment picture
except through low-paying service jobs. Meanwhile, the ability of
consumers to support the economy has been weakened by the further decline
of manufacturing due to NAFTA, free trade policies, and the globalization
of industry. The strong dollar of the 1990s led to massive increases in
the trade deficit and even more reliance on foreign purchase in the U.S.
bond, stock, and Treasury markets. Now with the value of the dollar
falling, purchase by foreigners of securities is also slipping.

But again, inflation when gauged by the long-term CPI is not low—its
cumulative effect since 1965 has been devastating. Yet by trying to target
inflation as its chief measure of success, the Fed is clinging to what can
only be described as a fetish of "price stability." Nor is Congress taking
any action to challenge this interpretation of the proper goals of
monetary policy. Indeed, Congress seems totally passive in the face of the
Fed's own confusion.

Congress's commitment to so-called price stability was shown by a series
of analyses produced in the late 1990s by the staff of its Joint Economic
Committee (JEC) and by the absence of any attempt by anyone in Congress to
challenge the Fed's policies. What Congress should be addressing is that
in order to achieve price stability, un- and under-employment has become
the tool of choice both of the money managers at the Fed and of their
supporters in Congress. Price stability is in fact a tool of "class
warfare" directed by the moneyed interests from the nation's banks, as
well as by the Fed itself, against the workers, farmers, and responsible
businesspeople of the nation. The dichotomy between price stability and
unemployment is another relic of the Dark Ages out of which our system of
central banking has emerged.

These points show that the goal of monetary policy should be neither price
stability nor full employment. Not only are the two goals contradictory,
but they both postulate a static state of the economy where change simply
does not occur. Such a state, however, can never be truly realized, except
perhaps in death. As said by Heraclitus, "There is nothing constant but
change." Nothing alive is without change, as everyone knows. And a
nation's economy is undoubtedly alive.

This leads in turn to an assessment of what really should be the goal of
monetary policy. Given the irrefutable presence in life of ceaseless
change, price stability as an anchor which by itself can remove
uncertainty is an illusion. Of course, price stability is only a surrogate
for what the Fed is really trying to achieve, which is stable profits for
those who lend money at interest, whether institutions or individuals. As
stated earlier, money itself is thus viewed as a commodity and a
mathematical constant. This philosophy of rigidity raises money to the
status of a heathen idol to which all other economic values, and all human
beings as well, should be sacrificed.

In actuality, money is, or should be, also as stated at the outset, an
instrument created by law to act as a medium of exchange in facilitating
the legitimate trading of goods and services within the economy. The
Federal Reserve and the financiers do not view money this way. The term of
art for a commodity definition of money is "store of value." It implies
that money is essentially the same whether it is being used or not. But
this can never be.

Returning to price stability, it is clear that such a state is also
unattainable due to the laws of physics. Rather prices must continuously
tend to rise, unless restrained by unnatural force, due to a) the physical
principle of entropy, or the law of diminishing returns; and b) the
consumption of resources devoted to production. This will happen until
technological breakthroughs are achieved which improve productivity
through the application of human intellect and creativity. Such
breakthroughs create efficiency and productivity gains, and, in many
cases, quantum changes through entirely new product lines and industries.
So prices must always fluctuate.

This happened, for instance, through Edison's harnessing of electricity,
Henry Ford's mass production of automobiles, the development of airplanes
and air travel, and the creation of a microcomputer industry through the
manned space program. Indeed, the example of quantum physics is
instructive, as it postulates a universe of endless creativity in contrast
to the medieval dogma of scarcity and struggle between social classes for
the right to exist. The more optimistic view of human possibilities
exemplified by modern science has produced the explosion of world economic
development starting with the discoveries of the European Renaissance
beginning about 1450 A.D.

This discussion also raises some philosophical questions about the nature
of man. From this standpoint, all ideologies associated with the concepts
of Social Darwinism, for instance, must be viewed as an assumption of an
essentially animalistic level of consciousness, as expressed historically
through the barbarism of the European Dark Ages. According to this
ideology, which may have given rise to both the current banking system and
the laissez-faire school of economics, people are animals who fight over
finite resources like half-starved dogs.

But if it's the biggest, baddest, meanest dogs that survive; i.e., "the
fittest," mankind must of necessity be on a downward evolutionary spiral.
This, however, is contrary to human experience, where a progressive trend
can clearly be discerned through a long-range survey of human history.
Mankind does seem to be learning something, though it often seems like we
learn the hard way and that for every step forward we take a half-step
back. In contrast to ideologies based on human savagery—and any ideology
which sees man's potential as less than infinite falls into that category—
a quantum approach to economics defines a world that is truly human by
looking to the endless possibilities expressed in the material environment
for creativity, imagination, and evolution. A monetary system worthy of
support must therefore facilitate these characteristics.

A humanistic approach to economic development does not mean that full
employment should then become a graven image for worship, replacing price
stability. Full employment can never be attained, as all economists know,
because jobs will constantly become obsolete, also due to the same forces
of change. Thus a certain level of "structural unemployment" has proven
acceptable as a practical matter. This is only common sense. But it also
leads to a social obligation to support displaced workers until they can
be retrained or relocated to work at new locations using improved tools
and processes.

It also means that the aim of monetary and economic policy must be shifted
from the present paradigm based first and foremost on the profits of
lenders to one that can facilitate adaptation to change and overcoming of
entropy by supporting the human needs of the workforce. It may also mean
reforms so that people can finally begin to enjoy the leisure dividend
that should result from technological development and will not be
obligated to work all the time.

How can this be done? Precisely through the methods implied or set forth
in the founding documents of American culture, such as the Declaration of
Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, which says, "All men are
created equal." Therefore all must be given an equal opportunity to live,
grow, and adapt to change and to do so without trespassing on the rights
of others to do the same.

Further, the Preamble to the Constitution sets forth the principle of the
general welfare, not only for existing society, but for posterity.
Therefore the government is required by law and conscience to provide the
means for such attainment. Through experience we can clearly see that this
includes a decent education, access to water and sanitation facilities, a
clean and wholesome place to live, access to energy resources, adequate
health care, transportation, etc. It is the responsibility of adult
individuals to contribute to making all this available, not only to
themselves and their families, but to the entire society.

These elements of social infrastructure thereby become a requirement of
common life and are the duty of representative government at all levels to
provide. People can then build the economic life they are entitled to
enjoy through the competitive system of private enterprise which helps to
define the American economy. Any successful modern nation has a
combination of robust public infrastructure and a dynamic private sector,
not one based on increasing "privatization" of public services.

It is the duty of those in charge of monetary and economic policies to
facilitate the development of such a society. But today, neither the
Federal Reserve, nor other authorities such as Congress, the Treasury
Department, or the Executive Office of the President are doing the job
they should be doing. Instead, they are operating the monetary system to
the advantage and benefit of private banks and the private financial
markets. This is wrong, and it must be changed.

We might look at the inflation issue from another angle, in that
economists have pointed out that periods of inflation seem to coincide
with those of war. The causes of this confluence appear complex and may
include price gouging by those who sell to the government, fear and panic
which cause people to inflate prices to secure their economic position, a
premium built into prices to compensate for a general atmosphere of
economic uncertainty, or the sudden influx of new money due to precipitate
government borrowing. Probably all these factors play a role. If we look
again at the history of price inflation since 1915, we discern a
pronounced increase in prices during the periods of World War I and World
War II. This would tend to confirm the hypothesis of a link with inflation.

But what about the wave of higher inflation since 1965? What is unique
about this period is that the nation has been in a state of permanent war
mobilization since the Vietnam conflict. A considerable amount of economic
research would be needed to test the hypothesis that the high level of
defense spending has in fact caused the high inflation, but such a study
would be worthwhile.

Another hypothesis might be added which would be difficult to measure but
which should also be considered. This is that money spent on permanent war
mobilization is essentially non-productive in terms of producing goods and
services of value to the larger civilian economy; i.e., it has a
relatively low multiplier effect. Wartime spending may also be less able
to call forth the type of scientific research and development needed to
improve the economy in most aspects of everyday life. We never got the
"peace dividend" we were told would result from the end of the Cold War.
Instead, the military-industrial complex pressed forward without missing a
heartbeat until now the War on Terror and possible future wars against
Iran and other nations offer new justification for perpetual war

The economic question is whether a society permanently at war or always
preparing for war has the ability to overcome the natural entropy that
will make its production processes less efficient over time. If it cannot,
then no amount of reform can solve its problems. We know that no culture
in history which has had warfare as its main preoccupation has long
survived, unless and until it has seen the error of its ways and changed,
or unless it simply was destroyed.

Ancient Greece never really recovered after the Peloponnesian Wars. The
debt-riddled, socially-stratified Roman Empire exhausted itself in a blaze
of military conflict, then saw defeat and dissolution. The British Empire
went bankrupt in a single generation from 1914 to 1945. The U.S. is
teetering on the edge of a major financial collapse right now. In fact,
those with money are quietly trying to secure their wealth while the
unfortunate ones who are heavily mortgaged or locked into inflexible
retirement accounts may be left holding the bag. Can the American Empire
survive the economic forces that doomed the empires of the past? Or will
what some call the "New American Century" turn into the "No American

Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included
service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug
Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one
years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on monetary reform,
economics, and space policy have appeared on Global Research, Economy in
Crisis, Dissident Voice, Atlantic Free Press, and elsewhere. He is the
author of "Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan
Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age." His website
is at

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy? -- Documentary Film Festival

"Abel Raises Cain may be the funniest movie of 2005"

NICE! 9mB printed program download:

Torrent Download of these films?

Here is the list of 92 films (from Google's cache):

The 11th Hour
16mm Maxwell
An Abbreviated Life
Abel Raises Cain
Aki Ra's Boys
Bidding for Camilla
Billy's Christmas
The Birthday
Buddha's Lost Children
Calici: A Rural Conspiracy
Chicago 10
Civil Status
Conversing With Aotearoa
Counting Headz: South Afrika's Sistaz in Hip-Hop
Crude Impact NO PROBLEM is on
Cry Sea
Darling! - The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story
Description of a Memory
Do Not Resuscitate
Every Good Marriage Begins With Tears
The Exchange
Feet Unbound
Fight or Flight
Fish & Ships
Freedom Fuels
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
The Godmachine
A Grandmother's Tribe
The Hands of Che Guevara
Hear and Now
The Importance of Being MLABRI
In Memoriam: Alexander Litvinenko
In the Company of Actors
In the Night Kitchen
Jerusalem is Proud to Present
JR - Street Expo
Just Punishment
Knee Deep
Losers and Winners
Lost in Liberia
Lovely RITA
Main Trunk Country Road Song
My Country, My Country
My Daughter the Terrorist
My Family Portrait
My Grandma - Frau Masha
My Husband Andrei Sakharov
Mystic Ball
No Nukes is Good Nukes!
Nomadak Tx
The Nuclear Comeback
The Old Stores
On a Tightrope
Operation Homecoming
Orange Revolution
Please Vote For Me
Prints of Darkness
Private Cable Cars of Wellington
The Rape of Europa
Renita, Renita
Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere
Revolving Door
Row Hard No Excuses
Shanghai Quest
The Smoking Room
Suffer the Children
Sugartown: The Bridegrooms
A Summer Not to Forget
Super Amigos
Te Eitei: The Banaban Story
Terra Incognita
Thin Ice
Time of Closure
Traders' Dreams
The Unforeseen
USA vs Al-Arian
We'll Take Care of You
What Would Jesus Buy?
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Who Killed Dr. Bogle and Mrs. Chandler?
Wonders Are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic

HINT howto Convert PDF to HTML

==== The GMAIL Free Online Conversion trick ===

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Written by Adobe PDF to HTML conversion Online service at 16/12/05 7:06 PM

Adobe PDF Conversion by Email Attachment

How can I convert Adobe PDF files that are on my hard drive to text or
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Monday, October 08, 2007

GREAT! Britain in 1839 BAN on protest -- 2007, yes!

Police ban London antiwar march

New attack on democratic rights

6 October 2007

The Metropolitan Police have banned a demonstration by the Stop the War
Coalition in central London. Police spokesmen have indicated that this is
in response to pressure from the Labour government of Prime Minister
Gordon Brown.

The march is planned to coincide with the reopening of Parliament on
Monday October 8. This is a major attack on the freedom of speech. It must
be condemned and opposed by all workers, young people and socialist-minded

The ban marks an escalation of the Labour government's 10-year assault on
democratic rights. Not content with the mass of recent legislation to curb
the right to free speech, it has turned to anti-democratic legislation
dating back to the 19th century.

The march has been banned under a little-known law dating from 1839, at
the time of the Chartist movement—a period that was to encompass class
conflict at home and colonial insurrections abroad. It was a time when the
British ruling class believed they were on the brink of social revolution—
a fear which was to be confirmed by the 1848 revolutions that toppled
thrones in Europe and gave birth to the Marxist movement.

The bourgeoisie weathered a storm that lasted from 183,7 when the Charter
was published and launched the first working-class movement, to 1858, when
the "Indian Mutiny" or first War of Indian Independence was bloodily
crushed. By a combination of violence and economic concessions, the
capitalist class was able to maintain its hold on power.

The use of such legislation indicates that the representatives of capital
once again fear a threat to their rule. In today's economic climate, the
ability of British capitalism to make the kind of economic concessions it
made when it exercised undisputed world hegemony is severely limited. All
that is left is its monopoly of violence, which it will not hesitate to
use if it faces opposition to its fundamental interests.

Still on the statute book, the Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 allows
Parliament to renew a Sessional Order annually that instructs the police
to prevent any obstruction to Members of Parliament or the House of Lords
going about their business. The order can be applied to the public streets
in the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament, "Her Majesty's palaces", "the
public offices", the courts, theatres, and "other places of public resort".

The order allows the police to break up demonstrations and disperse crowds
on any day that the Houses of Parliament are sitting. It could be applied
to a demonstration anywhere within London that might be interpreted as
hindering MPs and Lords from travelling to Parliament.

Since August 1, 2005, spontaneous demonstrations have been banned in a
wide area of central London under the Serious Organised Crime and Police
Act (SOCP Act 2005). This act created an exclusion zone within a one
kilometre radius of the Houses of Parliament. A large part of central
London is covered by the exclusion zone. It takes in St James's Park, an
extensive area of the South Bank, and a swathe of London from Charing
Cross to Lambeth Bridge.

In December 2005 Maya Evans became the first person to be convicted under
the SOCP Act 2005, when she read out the names British soldiers who had
been killed in Iraq. Her companion, Milan Rai, who read out the names of
Iraqi civilians who had died, was found guilty of breaching the act in
April 2006. The site of their protest, the Cenotaph war memorial, falls
within the exclusion zone.

Even that act was not enough for Brown. The government's use of the
Sessional Order effectively extends this already widespread ban to the
whole of London. Potentially even a rally in Trafalgar Square could be
covered by the Sessional Order if it is deemed to impede MPs and Lords
from travelling through London. Trafalgar Square is the traditional
location for political meetings and is not part of the exclusion zone.

Under the SOCP Act 2005 any one wishing to demonstrate within the
exclusion zone must apply in writing for permission. Even if approval is
granted the demonstration may be subject to restrictions such as a ban on
the use of megaphones, a change in route, or time limits.

The organisers of the march on Monday , October 8 had applied for and been
granted permission. Their route from Trafalgar Square to the Houses of
Parliament had been approved. On arrival at the House of Commons, they
intended to lobby MPs calling for the withdrawal of British troops from

The fact that the government has responded to a peaceful lobby of
Parliament by what was expected to be a relatively small number of people
in such a draconian manner must be taken as a warning of the direction in
which the government is heading. Brown's administration is set to be even
more repressive than that of Tony Blair. It is reaching into every corner
of its legal armoury in order to suppress free speech.

Its actions tend to confirm press reports in Britain and the UK that the
British government has given its backing to a bombing campaign against
Iran. Under these circumstances, and with the possibility of a snap
general election being called, even a modest demonstration calling
attention to the government's militarist and colonialist policies is
considered anathema.

Brown fears any action that might become a focus for continued mass
opposition to war in Iraq, Afghanistan and a possible war against Iran.

Since the mass global anti-war mobilisations of 2003, the Stop the War
Coalition has run the anti-war movement into the ground by refusing to tie
opposition to war to a political struggle by the working class against the
government. Instead everything has been made dependent on what is
politically acceptable to a handful of Labour and trade union "lefts" that
have made a show of opposing the occupation of Iraq.

Since it became clear that Blair would step down to be replaced by Brown,
it has centred its propaganda exclusively on a humble appeal for a change
in government policy. In April, even before Brown became prime minister,
the Stop the War Coalition was urging him to "Withdraw British troops from
Iraq no later than October 2007," "Declare that this country will not
participate in any attack against Iran" and "Pursue a foreign policy
independent of the administration of the United States of America."

Chair of Stop the War Coalition Andrew Murray, of the Stalinist Communist
Party of Britain, and convenor Lindsey German, of the Socialist Workers
Party, admitted in an open letter to their affiliated groups that "Brown
has been at the Prime Minister's right hand throughout the decisions on
Iraq and Afghanistan." "Nevertheless," the letter continued "it is our
conviction that mass pressure, combined with electoral self-interest, can
force the British government to break from George Bush's wars."

Since then Brown has succeeded Blair as Prime Minister and behind the
scenes is preparing for the next phase of a Middle Eastern war that, while
it may be led by Washington, is just as much in the interests of the
financial oligarchy that dominates Britain.

Despite this record of political cowardice and opportunism, the government
clearly has no confidence that its supine leadership will be able to
contain the mass upsurge of revulsion that bombing Iran would produce.
Brown realises that an extension of the war could see millions on the
streets again. The decision to ban Monday's demonstration indicates that
his government will meet protests with naked repression.

He will be given a free-hand by Britain's media, which has greeted the ban
on the demonstration with near total silence. The coalition's own response
to the ban has been similarly low key. Although they have decided to march
in defiance of the ban, their response is ludicrously out of touch with
the political realities of the situation.

This is epitomised by its president, the former Labour MP and government
minister Tony Benn, who will be at the head of the march. He has written
to the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announcing his intention to carry a
postcard printed with his signature as a Privy Councillor. The postcard
will ask the police to assist him. He proposes to hand out copies of this
postcard to any other demonstrator who wishes to carry one.

"The authority for this march," Benn writes, "derives from our ancient
right to free speech and assembly enshrined in our history, of which we
often boast and which we vigorously defended in two world wars."

Benn makes no mention of the fact that the right to free speech was won by
a long history of bitter struggle on the part of working people. Instead
he relies on the very institutions that opposed the right of free speech
and the extension of the franchise to the mass of the population. His
letter appeals to Smith, "I hope that you will be able to re-assure me
that those who demonstrate and march down Whitehall will enjoy your full
support and the support of the police." [Emphasis added]

To imagine that Benn's status as a privy councillor can be used to defend
the marchers on Monday is at best a dangerous illusion. Historically, the
Privy Council was the body that advised the sovereign. Even in more recent
times it is under the name of the Privy Council that the Prime Minister
issues Orders in Council without reference to parliament or public
discussion. But Benn's own record as a minister who employed repressive
measures against strikers and who established an unaccountable armed force
to protect nuclear installations suggests that his reliance on his
position in the Privy Council is not the result of political naivety, but
rather a desperate attempt to maintain illusions in British parliamentary
democracy and to oppose a genuine challenge to the government.

It is indicative of Benn's politics and those who support his leadership
of the Stop the War Coalition that on Thursday October 4, just days after
the ban was imposed, he announced his desire to be nominated as Labour's
candidate for Kensington in west London. Whatever anti-war noises he might
make, this is subordinate to his continued loyalty towards a party and a
government that has moved in lock step with the Bush administration over

For the Stop the War Coalition to pretend that a handful of supposedly
left Labourites, such as the octogenarian Benn, can pressurise Brown into
ending Britain's war in Iraq, Afghanistan or ending its support for the US
over Iran is politically criminal. The only way in which militarism and
colonialism and the accompanying attack on democratic rights that is
expressed in the ban on Monday's march can be defeated is by a politically
independent movement of working class against the Labour government.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bush Terrible Pilot

President Bush has stated on two occasions that he saw a plane hit World
Trade Center 1:

Occasion 1:

President Bush Holds Town Hall Meeting

[CNN, Aired December 4, 2001]

QUESTION: One thing, Mr. President, is that you have no idea how much
you've done for this country, and another thing is that how did you feel
when you heard about the terrorist attack?


Thank you, Jordan (ph).

Well, Jordan (ph), you're not going to believe what state I was in when I
heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff,
Andy Card -- actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program
that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and
I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to
fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot." And I said, "It must
have been a horrible accident."

But I was whisked off there -- I didn't have much time to think about it,
and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was
sitting over here walked in and said, "A second plane has hit the tower.
America's under attack."

Occasion 2:

President Holds Town Hall Forum on Economy in California
[, January 5, 2002]

"I was sitting there, and my Chief of Staff -- well, first of all, when we
walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first
building. There was a TV set on..." []


There is a problem with the above statements. There was no live video
coverage of the first plane hitting the tower. There couldn't be. Video of
the first plane hitting the tower did not surface until AFTER the second
plane had hit World Trade Center 2.

This Washington Times article states he didn't see the impact at the

The president entered a holding room at the school and picked up a secure
telephone to speak with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice at the
White House. She was sitting in her office, watching live coverage of the
stricken north tower as it belched black smoke into a cloudless sky.
"There's one terrible pilot," Mr. Bush muttered. Turning to Mr. Card, he
speculated that the pilot must have suffered a heart attack. Mr. Bush, who
HAD YET TO SEE THE TV IMAGES, drafted a statement pledging federal

...and this is confirmed by Booker Elementary School Principal Gwen Rigell
in this Propaganda Matrix posting:

I had the opportunity to talk with Principal Gwen Rigell of Booker
Elementary school for about twenty minutes. ... I asked her if in fact the
President had been watching the events of 9-11 unfold on TV before he went
into that classroom and she told me "Absolutely not". There was no TV in
the corridor or anywhere near that classroom.

Excerpt: "I actually heard the first plane had hit from the president, and
he said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and that it was a
commercial plane," says [Emma E. Booker Elementary School Principal Gwen
Tose] Rigell. "He said but we're going to go on, and in my mind I had
created this picture of a plane knocking off some bricks on the corner of
the World Trade Center."


Bush really did see an airplane on TV hitting the World Trade Center then
he saw that the aircraft was under control at the time, and he saw it
before arriving at Booker Elementary because he was en route to the school
when the first plane struck WTC 1 - a closed-circuit live feed to his limo
is the only way he could have seen this impact on TV.


President Bush lied at the "Town Hall" meeting.

This was no casual lie. If you read the relevant part of the transcript of
that meeting, you will see that the lie was staged so that Bush could most
effectively present his false explanation of why he shirked his positive
obligations of office during a national emergency.

That raises a question which anyone who defends the official story must

Why did Bush fail to do what he was obliged to do?

And why did he lie?

Because he knew that the USA military was to execute
a covert operation that will be blamed on arabs
and the PREPARED aggressive WAR to occupy the OIL FILEDS in Iraq
was the intended result.