Saturday, November 28, 2009
By Cindy Sheehan
November 27, 2009
The so-called anti-war movement currently finds itself in somewhat of a quagmire: What to do when the man you raised money for, volunteered for, and yes, even voted for, actually fulfills one of his most repulsive campaign promises?
First of all, I never understood why, or how, peace people could support someone who voted to pay for the wars while he was a Senator and was quite clear on the fact that he would increase violence in Afghanistan and perform a slow, painful and very incomplete withdrawal from Iraq. Principles that were proclaimed so loudly while Bush was president get shoved aside and buried now that a Democrat is president and how do you get your principles back from the dung-pile of selling out?
Secondly, On January 23rd of a rapidly dissipating 2009, Barack Obama perpetrated his first war crime (as president) by authorizing a drone attack in Pakistan. In February of this same year, he ordered an increase of roughly 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan: more war crimes, no corresponding outcry. However, when I cried out, I was roundly attacked by the "left" for not giving Obama a "chance." 2009 is going to be the most deadly year for our troops and Afghan and Pakistani civilians on record. I think George Bush is calling: he wants his Nobel Peace Prize back.
It is being widely reported (and it seems hotly anticipated by some)—that even though the "anti-war" movement wrote a letter to Obama and asked him to "pretty please" not send any more troops to Afghanistan and had us calling the White House all day on Monday the 23rd when Obama was scheduled to hold his final "war summit"—that the U.S. will commit 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which is a 50 percent increase in troop strength in the Land of Certain Empire Death.
What is the "anti-war" movement's response going to be? Candlelight vigils; "honk if you love peace" rallies; a hundred rounds of "We Shall Over Come" (someday, not today or tomorrow); or, is the "anti-war" movement going to say: "Phew, McChrystal asked for 80,000, but our letter worked—he's only sending 34,000?"
True story: in October of 2005, U.S. troop deaths were going to reach 2000, within days and the "movement" was planning its response. I called for a die-in, with risk of arrest, in front of the White House and MoveOn.org called for a candlelight vigil in Lafayette Park. MoveOn.org moved their vigil to another location because they told me that their members weren't ready to do civil disobedience and some of them may be accidentally swept up in some kind of a "peace sweep." I said, "Fine, MoveOn.org, have a candlelight vigil for 2000 like you did for 1000 and next year you'll have one for 3000, then 4000, and then 5000." I think many of MoveOn.org's members were ready, I just don't think that MoveOn.org was then, or is now. They didn't do it when Bush was president, I can't imagine MoveOn.org standing up for peace when their man is the one doing the killing.
So, here we are four years, thousands of U.S. troops deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths later, and the Pope of Hope, the Dalai O'bama, the Nobel Laureate will soon be condemning thousands of more to the same fate and his supporters have given him permission to do so, no matter how many letters they write, petitions they sign or phone calls they make.
In the end, you always get what you vote for.
I knew that this surge was a done deal no matter how much political posturing and pandering occurred. I chained myself to the White House fence on October 5th and was arrested with 60 other people protesting the wars and demanding that peace be put on the proverbial table. But those were symbolic actions and the problems we are facing are deadly and in full Techno-Color, real. The time for symbolism and street-theater ended years ago, but moribund actions won't seem to just go away gracefully, so we will have to cut them off, cold turkey!
On Monday, November 30, the Peace of the Action Coalition will be sending out a press release condemning the escalation and announcing our Mother of all Protests (MOAP) that will begin in the spring.
If you're looking for some action, look no further than Peace of the Action and stayed fine-tuned for further details!
The Politics of Genocide
By Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
November 28, 2009
Thanksgiving and the Muslim Eid Al-Adha have coincided around the same dates.
In Eid Al Adha we give thanks to Allah, through a ritual of animal sacrifice, the Americans give thanks to their maker, through a ritual of human sacrifice from the first day the white man landed on native American land, until the present when that same white man, (who unfortunately now includes blacks and native Americans too) landed in Iraq, continuing that exact same 200 years old methodology of arrogance, theft, rape, torture, killing crowned with lies and deception - in short genocide.
It has not changed since...not one bit.
The first people to suffer the greed, arrogance, racism and criminality of the new world order, 200 years or so ago, were the native Americans. Today they are reduced to poverty, gang crime, alcoholism -- symptoms of total uprootedness and dispossession. So much for your culture of thanksgiving.
And to mark the occasion, I'll let you hear what America is all about, from the mouth of one of its original owners.
Friday, November 27, 2009
The Perils of Plan Mexico
I have been a political analyst and writer in Mexico for the past two decades. I'm also a mother faced with the challenge of raising children there. As a human rights advocate and a mother, today I speak to you, frankly, with a great sense of urgency.
Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years.
From a neighbor and a trade partner, Mexico has been portrayed as a threat to U.S. national security. Immigrants are no longer immigrants, but criminals, "removable aliens," and even potential terrorists. Latinos, mostly Mexicans, are now the largest group of victims of hate crimes in the United States.
Although Mexico-bashing has been a favorite sport of the right for years, this terrible conversion of Mexico, from an ally to a "failed state" and narco-haven in the media and policy circles, began in earnest under the Bush administration and has only intensified since then. The Merida Initiative and the militarization of Mexico are the direct outgrowth of the national security framework imposed on bilateral relations.
There is a misconception that the Merida Initiative, named after a meeting between Presidents Calderon and Bush in the city of Merida, originated when Calderon requested assistance in the drug war from the U.S. government. The U.S. government, this story goes, agreed to comply. When the U.S. government cited its share of responsibility in the transnational drug trade as the world's largest market, pundits heralded the admission as unprecedented and a new step in binational cooperation.
This is largely myth. In fact, Plan Mexico—as it was first called—has its roots in the Security and Prosperity Partnership that grew out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. When the regional trade agreement was expanded into a security agreement, the Bush administration sought a means to extend its national security doctrine to its regional trade partners. This meant that both Canada and Mexico were to assume counter-terrorism activities (despite the absence of international terrorism threats in those nations), border security (in Mexico's case, to control Central American migrants), and protection of strategic resources and investments. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon called it "arming NAFTA."
The Bush announcement of the three-year Merida Initiative in October of 2007 extended U.S. military intervention in Mexico from this base. The plan is dubbed a "counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and border security initiative" although it's the war on drugs that has received the most attention. Although U.S. troops cannot operate by law in Mexican territory, the plan significantly increases the presence of U.S. agents and intelligence services, now estimated at 1,400, and of U.S. private security companies throughout Mexico.
The terms of the Merida Initiative sends the full $1.3 billion appropriated so far to U.S. defense, security, information technology and other private-sector firms, and the U.S. government. One hundred percent of the money stays in the United States since the plan prohibits cash payments to Mexico.
In other words, what it does is ensure an expanding market for defense and security contracts, in an undeclared war that has no exit strategy in sight.
Does this sound familiar?
It's important to note that despite obvious threats to Mexican sovereignty, the Calderon government lobbied actively for the Merida Initiative, balking only at certain human rights conditions. There is a reason for Calderon's enthusiasm, which has to do with this particular moment in Mexico's fragile democracy.
Recall that Felipe Calderon took office after courts proclaimed he had won the elections by half a percentage point. The courts blocked a demand for a full recount, despite evidence of irregularities and the narrow margin. The elections decision enraged an already divided populace and failed to resolve accusations of fraud.
The military had enabled Calderon to take office by physically escorting him into a Congress occupied by protestors and placing the presidential banner over his shoulder. The country was in the throes of massive protests involving at least half the populace.
Once in office, Calderon launched the war on drugs. This strategy allowed a weak president with little popular legitimacy to cement his power, based on building an alliance with the armed forces under a militarized counternarcotics model.
The war on drugs model created an external enemy to distract from the internal protests and division. With its focus on interdiction and supply-side enforcement, the model was originally developed by President Richard Nixon in the 70s to increase presidential power, by taking counternarcotics efforts out of the hands of communities, where it was treated largely as a community health issue, and placing it in the hands of the executive, where it was treated as a security issue.
Applied in Mexico, the immediate effect was to send more than 45,000 army troops into Mexican communities. The presence of the army in all aspects of public security is now the major cause of the grave increase in human rights violations and drug-related violence in Mexico.
The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.
Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.
The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders—not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.
All this—the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition—would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehensible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives.
We know this not only from the relatively recent Mexican experience, but from other places— especially Colombia and the Andean region. As Plan Colombia goes into its tenth year, the cost of drugs on U.S. streets has gone down and regional production has risen. In Mexico, interdictions dropped between 2007 and 2008. The number of arrests went up but seems to have little effect on the hydra-headed cartels. Actual indictment and prosecution rates following arrests are suspiciously not reported. Illegal drug flows to the U.S. market appear to be unaffected overall.
The U.S. Role
To understand the U.S. role in this mess, it's necessary to step back a moment. There is no question that the power of organized crime in Mexico is real. There is also no question that the current approach to combating it is a disaster in its effects on human rights and democracy, and a quagmire in strategic terms.
In this context, the question is why, particularly now that George Bush is out of office, would the U.S. government continue to concentrate its aid to Mexico in a way that demonstrably empowers corrupt security forces, violates Mexican human rights, and leads to an increase in violence? This is a huge mistake with extremely high costs.
At a time when Mexico faces one of its worst economic crises in history, U.S. foreign policy toward our neighbor to the south reduces one of our most important and complex bilateral relations to miscast and failed security cooperation under a discredited war on drugs model. We know that there are powerful economic and political interests behind creating a war front in Mexico. But we also know that we too can have a powerful voice. The question is how?
Many U.S. citizen groups have been grappling with that issue. The effort to place human rights conditions on the military-police aid package to Mexico turned out to be counterproductive. The original conditions withheld 15% of some Merida Initiative aid pending progress on the prohibition against torture—a common practice by Mexican security forces to punish community leaders and extract confessions, consultation with human rights groups, transparency, and committing the army to civilian courts where permitted under law. None of that happened in a real way.
Nevertheless, the State Department recently sent a human rights report to Congress showing that the Mexican government had not made significant progress on conditions, while asking Congress to release the funds on the basis of good intentions. Congress promptly complied.
For this reason, our organization and many other U.S. and Mexican groups are calling for a halt to Plan Mexico as the three-year cycle closes. The Obama administration has pledged to continue military funding to Mexico and Central America under the plan, but we believe that a thorough analysis of the results and consequences will demonstrate the need for a more integral and effective aid strategy and help us chart a binational relationship focused on peaceful cooperation and community-building.
We are not alone in demanding that the war on drugs model be replaced.
In Mexico, recent polls show that the majority of the population has lost faith in the drug war model. Last May, 52 Mexican human rights organizations called for an end to military aid to their government under the Merida Initiative. Their letter reads:
"We respectfully request that the U.S. Congress and Department of State, in both the Merida Initiative as in other programs to support public security in Mexico, does not allocate funds or direct programs to the armed forces …
"We urge the United States to consider ways to support a holistic response to security problems; based on tackling the root causes of violence and ensuring the full respect of human rights; not on the logic of combat."
In the United States, the AFL-CIO has come out against the Merida Initiative, in part as a protest against the violation of labor rights particularly in the case of the mining union but also as a rejection of the drug war model. U.S. labor took this position even before Calderon used the army last week to wipe out Mexico's oldest union and throw 45,000 unionized workers out of jobs overnight. The drug war facilitated the use of the army to take over the state-owned company's installations.
The 1.7 million-person Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, non-governmental organizations including CIP Americas Program and Global Exchange, religious organizations including Witness for Peace, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, and Tikkun, and grassroots activist organizations like the Latin America Solidarity Coalition, Alliance for Democracy, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, and Friends of Brad Will have all called for U.S. citizens to oppose the plan and redirect aid to Mexico to health and development programs.
The immediate change needed is relatively simple, although the situation is not. The U.S. government should:
1) Understand shared responsibility in the transnational drug war not as intervention into Mexican security issues but as assuming its own responsibilities in reducing demand, increasing health services, and attacking corruption within its borders. Much public funding and political commitment is needed here, as well as a serious search for models to replace the failed drug war.
2) The U.S. government must rechannel harmful security aid to Mexico into development and anti-crisis aid that will address the root factors that have led to the expansion of drug consumption and trafficking in Mexico. Proposals for this type of aid have already been presented before Congress.
Militarization is not the way to deal with Mexico's political crisis and infusing government money into industries based on blood is not the way to deal with the U.S. economic crisis.
Mexico should be a U.S. priority. But providing exclusively security-focused equipment and training to Mexico is like pouring gas on a fire.
Citizens in both countries stand to lose by viewing the complex binational relationship through the reductionist lens of national security. Critical issues have fallen from the agenda or receive merely lip service. Among them: trans-border livelihoods in the world's most integrated borderlands, immigration, regional environmental threats, trade, and a sustainable energy future.
We must return the U.S.-Mexico relationship to the simple equation that a healthy neighbor equals better trade, security, and cultural relations.
A strong and mutually beneficial relationship must cover the full range of issues between the two nations. The Obama administration and Congress must reorient the militarized relationship with Mexico. A new approach must go to the roots of the illegal drug trade by addressing inequality, poverty, employment, and the high costs of prohibitionist policies. Instead of seeking to bolster the Calderon administration, and police and military forces characterized by corruption, we must stand by human rights, democratic institutions, and a strong role for civil society.
Laura Carlsen is director of the Americas Policy Program in Mexico City. She can be reached at: (lcarlsen(a)ciponline.org).
Thursday, November 26, 2009
War on Terror a Lie
General Leonid Ivashov was the Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. This military man, who lived the events from the inside, offers an analysis which is very different to that of his American colleagues. As he did during the Axis for Peace 2005 conference, he now explains that international terrorism does not exist and that the September 11 attacks were the result of a set-up. What we are seeing is a manipulation by the big powers; this terrorism would not exist without them. He affirms that, instead of faking a “world war on terror”, the best way to reduce that kind of attacks is through respect for international law and peaceful cooperation among countries and their citizens.
As the current international situation shows, terrorism emerges where contradiction aggravate, where there is a change of social relations or a change of regime, where there is political, economic or social instability, where there is moral decadence, where cynicism and nihilism triumph, where vice is legalized and where crime spreads.
It is globalization what creates the conditions for the emergence of these extremely dangerous phenomena. It is in this context that the new world geo-strategic map is being designed, that the resources of the planet are being re-distributed, that borders are disappearing, that international law is being torn into pieces, that cultural identities are being erased, that spiritual life becomes impoverished...
The analysis of the essence of the globalization process, the military and political doctrines of the United States and other countries, shows that terrorism contributes to a world dominance and the submissiveness of states to a global oligarchy. This means that terrorism is not something independent of world politics but simply an instrument, a means to install a unipolar world with a sole world headquarters, a pretext to erase national borders and to establish the rule of a new world elite. It is precisely this elite that constitutes the key element of world terrorism, its ideologist and its “godfather”. The main target of the world elite is the historical, cultural, traditional and natural reality; the existing system of relations among states; the world national and state order of human civilization and national identity.
Today’s international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people’s intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance inside power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries’ policies and the behavior of people.
Terrorism is the weapon used in a new type of war. At the same time, international terrorism, in complicity with the media, becomes the manager of global processes. It is precisely the symbiosis between media and terror, which allows modifying international politics and the exiting reality.
In this context, if we analyze what happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States, we can arrive at the following conclusions: 1. The organizers of those attacks were the political and business circles interested in destabilizing the world order and who had the means necessary to finance the operation. The political conception of this action matured there where tensions emerged in the administration of financial and other types of resources. We have to look for the reasons of the attacks in the coincidence of interests of the big capital at global and transnational levels, in the circles that were not satisfied with the rhythm of the globalization process or its direction.
Unlike traditional wars, whose conception is determined by generals and politicians, the oligarchs and politicians submitted to the former were the ones who did it this time.
Osama bin Laden and “Al Qaeda” cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders. Thus, a team of professionals had to be created and the Arab kamikazes are just extras to mask the operation.
The September 11 operation modified the course of events in the world in the direction chosen by transnational mafias and international oligarchs; that is, those who hope to control the planet’s natural resources, the world information network and the financial flows. This operation also favored the US economic and political elite that also seeks world dominance.
The use of the term “international terrorism” has the following goals:
Hiding the real objectives of the forces deployed all over the world in the struggle for dominance and control;
Turning the people’s demands to a struggle of undefined goals against an invisible enemy;
Destroying basic international norms and changing concepts such as: aggression, state terror, dictatorship or movement of national liberation;
Depriving peoples of their legitimate right to fight against aggressions and to reject the work of foreign intelligence services;
Establishing the principle of renunciation to national interests, transforming objectives in the military field by giving priority to the war on terror, violating the logic of military alliances to the detriment of a joint defense and to favor the anti-terrorist coalition;
Solving economic problems through a tough military rule using the war on terror as a pretext. In order to fight in an efficient way against international terrorism it is necessary to take the following steps:
To confirm before the UN General Assembly the principles of the UN Charter and international law as principles that all states are obliged to respect;
To create a geo-strategic organization (perhaps inspired in the Cooperation Organization of Shanghai comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) with a set of values different to that of the Atlantists;
To associate (under the United Nations) the scientific elites in the design and promotion of the philosophical concepts of the Human Being of the 21st Century.
To organize the interaction of all religious denominations in the world, on behalf of the stability of humanity’s development, security and mutual support.
General Leonid Ivashov is the vice-president of the Academy on geopolitical affairs. He was the chief of the department for General affairs in the Soviet Union’s ministry of Defense, secretary of the Council of defense ministers of the Community of independant states (CIS), chief of the Military cooperation department at the Russian federation’s Ministry of defense and Joint chief of staff of the Russian armies.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
US Starves Children
In Somali WarBy Glen Ford
November 24, 2009
Three years after creating the "worst humanitarian crisis" in Africa by encouraging Ethiopia to invade Somalia, the U.S. now unleashes the food weapon on starving people.
"The Americans are blatantly using food as a political weapon."
The United States is waging a war of starvation against the people of Somalia. According to United Nations officials, Washington has interrupted the flow of desperately needed food to Somalia, on the grounds that some of it might find its way into the hands of the Shabab, the Islamists the U.S. calls "terrorists," but who are winning the war for control of southern and central Somalia.
The Americans are blatantly using food as a political weapon, holding starving people hostage to U.S. political objectives – much like ancient armies did when they laid siege to cities to starve the inhabitants into surrender.
It’s now going on three years since the Americans imposed a living hell on Somalia. In December 2006, the U.S. encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia to crush an Islamist government that had brought a modicum of peace to the country. The invasion created what the United Nations called the "worst humanitarian crisis in Africa" – worse than Darfur. This U.S.-made crisis was worsened by a devastating drought, leaving half the population totally dependent on outside food aid. By locking the food up in Kenyan warehouses, "the U.S. government is holding the Somalia relief enterprise…hostage to its counterterrorism policy," according to a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine.
"The Americans cannot win in any conventional military sense, so they resort to a war of starvation."
The American puppet government in Somalia controls no more than a few neighborhoods of the capital city, Mogadishu, and its airport. Were it not for massive U.S. arms aid and the protection of Rwandan and Burundian soldiers, the U.S.-backed government would disintegrate. The Americans cannot win in any conventional military sense, so they resort to a war of starvation.
According to a New York Times article, Somali elders report that many children who had been kept alive by food relief are now dying because of the American aid cutoff. The situation is so dire, that only the U.S. food stores in Kenya can reach Somalia in time to stave off a disastrous famine. There are simply no other resources available.
The drought in East Africa has affected U.S. allies and enemies, alike. Ethiopia has made a plea on behalf of 23 million people threatened by drought in the region. And "the worst drought in ten years" has been exacerbated by a huge, artificial rise in food prices caused by speculators, most of them based in the United States and other rich countries.
Thus, Somalia's hungry are battered from three sides: by artificially high food prices, by drought, and by a deliberate U.S. war of starvation. The Obama Administration is determined to make the Somali people scream as punishment for resisting American domination. But starving babies cannot scream. They can't even cry.
Monday, November 23, 2009
US & EU
Finance Israel Apartheid WallBy Kawther Salam
November 23, 2009
On Nov 10 2009, two days after the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the war criminal in Iraq, the envoy of the "Middle East Quartet", the filthy Tony Blair, opened the occupational apartheid checkpoint "Jalama", similar to and far greater than the Berlin Wall, which is built inside the Palestinian occupied territories on the stolen lands of the city of Jenin in the West Bank, and not on the borders of June 1967.
Thus, Europe with it’s delegation, and the presence of Tony Blair proved in a serious and practical ways the full support to the Israeli genocide, apartheid and the violent the theft of more Palestinian lands, and the de-facto demarcation of new borders of the state of occupation, contrary to the provisions of the International resolutions.
Before the existence of the Palestinian authority in Palestine, there was no check point at the entrance of Jenin. In 2000 the Israeli occupation set up stones, dirt, and earth and swept the main street at the entrance to Jenin to block the passage of vehicles and the movement of the Palestinian citizens. The situation continued for about two years. In 2002, The Israeli occupation set up a checkpoint at the entrance of Jenin in replacement to the stones. This was the first step of preparation for the massacre of 3–11 April, 2002. That Israeli military checkpoint became a permanent one until the USAID aided the building an apartheid separation border on the Palestinian lands.
The separation border "Jalama" swallowed thousands dunums of Palestinian agricultural lands, cut apart Palestinian families and isolated them from reaching the farms which feed them, their property.
The miserable Blair, with the yellow smile which appeared on his wretched visage during the opening of the apartheid separation wall, did not forget to demand the Israeli occupation to open the crossing border completely over time. This dangerous European hypocrisy shows the collusion of Europeans and Americans to provide cover for Israeli violations of the Palestinian rights land, and their support for the occupational theft in a way which is made to appear to the public as humane and righteous, but in fact is dangerous and a clear crime of genocide.
The opening of this apartheid separation border "Jalama" on the Palestinian lands near Jenin, which was presented by the jewish-copntrolled media as a great event financed by USAID and opened by Europe to "help free Israeli-Palestinian social, commercial, and economical movement" is big lie and clearly an act in furtherance of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. It is a disgrace in the history of humanitarian and human rights, as it also shows the increasing lawlessness of a EU under the influence of zionism.
Some important facts which the zionist-controlled media and Blair did not mention are the Israeli restrictions imposed on every Palestinian who wants to cross the border. They are forced to ask for a special Israeli permission, what is always used by the Israeli spy agencies to blackmail the permit applicants in order to make them to spy on other Palestinians.
Few hours after opening the gate in the apartheid separation wall and after the jewish-controlled media left the place, the usual tragedies at the checkpoint resumed their normal course. Hundreds of Palestinians were standing in long rows, sitting in small rooms. Hundreds of cars were stopped and waiting for some zionist drug dealers of the Israeli IDF soldiers to check them and allow them passage to return to their homes, all the while the IDF soldiers were enjoying their sadistic humiliation of the people, even of those who carried the Israeli ID. The make up which the criminal Blair put on the dirty face of zionism was removed as the guns of the IDF soldiers were again pointed at the chests of Palestinians civilians. That is the reality of Jalama crossing.
A few days before EU-USA-Israel opened their apartheid crossing "Jalama", on 25 October 2009, one woman with israeli ID and two children fell unconscious at the crossing. These Palestinians waited for six hours at the Jalama crossing.
According to Jaber Abd al-Hamid (44), an Israeli-Arab resident of a West Bank town who was among those present, told Arab newspapers "I went with four relatives to visit a family in the Jenin area who lost their son. We returned to the crossing at around 4:30 PM and we saw that there was a long line of people waiting. I asked why people weren’t being allowed in and I was told there was an even longer line inside."
Others who were at the border that day told Al-Hamid, who arrived the border at six PM, that they had been waiting since 2:30 PM. "After some time we were let in through the first gate and we entered the crowded waiting room. Inside the room, which I estimate to be no bigger than 80 square meters squared (about 10m x 8m), there were about 200 people waiting, including many women and children". "There was nowhere to sit and nothing to eat. The entire time only a thin trickle of people passed through the security checks into Israel, while waiting in the room a woman fainted and fell on the floor. The people yelled at a soldier that children were unconscious. Instead of responding, the jew cocked his gun towards them. It is a disgrace that we are treated like that."
This is the reality of Blair and the EU-US-Israel "Jalama" apartheid wall crossing. It’s the same story at Bethlehem, Tarqumia, Qalandia, Howarah and hundreds of other checkpoints which were turned into apartheid crossing gates between the Palestinian towns and cities. They are all clearly intended to further genocide and implement apartheid, what is probably why Blair was celebrating.
The Participation of Moussa Kadura, the PA governor, and other Palestinian officials in the opening ceremony of the apartheid crossing "Jalama" is disgrace, a shame and a scandal. The "Jalama" crossing is a gate in the "apartheid wall" which is inside Palestinian territory. The PA representatives in this shameful celebration were not representing the Palestinian national and political demands. These "Judenräte" all represented themselves, their pockets and their continued collusion with the American-Israeli project to destroy Palestine and Palestinians
Lowering The Bar
Kindergarten RecruitmentBy Jon Letman
How old is old enough for students to be approached by military recruiters?
High school? Junior high? Fourth grade? How about ten weeks into kindergarten?
Last week at the dinner table, my five-year-old son announced blithely, "Soldiers came to school today." He then added, "They only kill bad people. They don't kill good people."
He made the announcement with the same levity he uses in recalling the plot line of Frog and Toad or a Nemo video.
My wife and I looked at each other incredulously.
"Soldiers came to school? What do you mean?" I asked.
He repeated himself and then I remembered - it was "Career Day" at school. My son mentioned a bus driver too, but it was the soldier who stuck out in his mind. When my wife asked if the soldier was cool, he nodded yes.
The soldier had given my five-year-old a gift. From his yellow backpack, he produced a six-inch, white, plastic ruler with big, bold, red letters reading "ARMY NATIONAL GUARD" next to a waving American flag and below that www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.
So, now we know the answer to the above question.
Kindergarteners - children with Dora the Explorer and Spiderman backpacks and bedrooms full of stuffed animals who are still working to master their A-B-C's - are now targets for early conditioning by the US military. Never mind that Hawaii's schools have just cut almost 10 percent of classroom time, dropping the state's public schools' instructional days down to the fewest in the nation. Teacher furloughs or not, time was found for the Army National Guard to give a pitch (and a gift) to wide-eyed five-year-olds.
Fortunately (from the military's perspective), the economic collapse has been a boon for military recruiters as education and job-hungry young people flock to a place they know will offer what many other employers cannot - a job with benefits.
And with Department of Defense projections indicating that the baseline Pentagon budget will grow over the next decade by $133.1 billion, or 25 percent (even before war funding), it appears likely there will be plenty need for more soldiers in 2022 when my son and his classmates turn 18.
In his book "The Limits of Power," Boston University history Professor and retired Army Col. Andrew J. Bacevich describes a near future in which the US is in an almost constant state of war. He writes, "Rather than brief interventions ending in decisive victory, sustained presence will be the norm ... The future will be one of small wars, expected to be frequent, protracted, perhaps perpetual." If Bacevich's bleak assessment proves true, it's no wonder the National Guard sees value in chatting up kindergarteners.
After raising my concerns about military personnel pitching to my five-year-old on career day to the school's principal, I was told the soldiers (who were dressed in uniform) were there to focus on "the good things they do." To be sure, in times of natural disaster, the National Guard can do a tremendous amount of good.
But in what must certainly have been a first encounter for my son and his classmates, the take-away message was "they kill people. But only the bad ones."
As a parent, how does one explain what killing "only bad ones" means when the child asks why a NATO airstrike obliterated dozens of civilians, an unmanned drone flattened a mountain village killing children just like them or a deeply disturbed soldier goes on a rampage on a US base in Iraq or in Texas , and projects the violence he has learned against his fellow soldiers?
Whether you find the Army National Guard visiting kindergarteners utterly disturbing or perfectly normal, each of us needs to ask ourselves, in an era when our government spends trillions of dollars supporting wars with no end in sight, at a time when we can't even fund our schools or public services at a minimum standard and only begrudgingly support health care reform, what kind of society and future are we building for our children?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Obama in Asia
War criminal Obama’s Asia visit has failed to muster support for US policy objectives on foreign policy, economy and nuclear non-proliferation. The world is now looking at China how it places itself at the center stage to help world freely exercise its democratic, economic and political rights in accordance to international rules and charters, which stand stifled by American economic, military and political imperialism. Global media sells Americans presidents "handshake" as "gold standard" of respect for "moral values, democracy and international law". Based on the values Obama avoided Myanmar’s PM in ASEAN moot and Turkey refused to host Sudanese president. Reportedly, Obama while talking to President Hu of China said, "We do not believe these principles are unique to America, but rather they are universal rights and that they should be available to all peoples, to all ethnic and religious minorities."
The American media critical of Obama’s bow to Japanese Monarch would have been left speechless if Obama’s hosts had refused to shake war criminal Obama’s bloodstained hands for authorizing 46 illegal drone attacks in 2009 alone against sovereign Pakistan which has allegedly resulted in death of 750-1000 innocent Pakistanis. UN has called these deaths as "extrajudicial killings". Obama’s rejection of UN statement and reports of US government buying 700 drones worth $1bn show that US will continue to defy UN laws, fundamental right to justice and state sovereignties. I hope that Nobel Prize awarding Committee will strip Obama off the noble peace prize and the international human rights groups, ordinary citizens will use powers under UN Citizen’s Court Law to bring Obama to justice. The global media should also call for his accountability and those colluding with him. An Italian Court by ordering imprisonment of 26 American CIA agents for involvement in rendition case has successfully exercised its legal rights. It is hoped that Pakistan’s Courts would exert their authority to bring Obama and his Pakistani colluders to justice. World leaders and media should boycott Obama, politicians and nations supporting his policies on lines of UN Resolution 1761(to end apartheid in South Africa). Instead world under UN should impose economic, political and social sanctions against America to end violation of international law which America and its allies "cherry pick" to serve their vested stakes. The action on part of national and international courts can help bring Bush, Blair, Musharraf, Brown, Olmert and other UN member heads of states involved in crimes against humanity, responsible for more than a million Iraqi deaths and illegal wars threatening world peace to book. It will help end US bases in Japan, South Korea and Philippines, which Washington despite repeated protests in last two decades is unwilling to vacate.
In foreign policy terms, Asia like American public has called for withdrawal of American forces from Afghan war. Japan has refused to extend Indian Ocean Afghan war refueling mission that is due to expire in January 2010. Tokyo like ME is already mulling "look Asia" approach to sustain its economy and secure its energy interests. Beijing has shown Obama the door on its Afghan policy. Despite America’s mouthpiece Brown’s much trumpeted declaration of China joining Afghan mission in 2004 there is no change in China’s one-policeman Afghan mission to help boost fight against drug trafficking.
The attendance list of oath taking ceremony of infamous US backed Karzai and Britain’s new Afghan policy recommending inclusion of Taliban in government show failed US Afghan policy and Obama administration’s isolation in crimes-against-humanity Afghan war. In terms of economy, China has refused to restructure (weaken) Yuan to help stabilize weakening dollar. Reportedly, Beijing has refused to change the 2010 currency review. Next, Beijing has opted to adopt "domestic consumption based growth" instead of export based growth. It explains its rejection of considering the idea of G-2 with America its partner. It is opined that by opting for domestic consumption model Beijing has rejected American model of capitalism, avoided need for stimulus packages and allied bubble and bubble bursts, control inflationary effects of weakening dollar. Beijing by exposing its $800 bn investment in US T-bills to considerable depreciation has insulated local economy and jobs from adverse effect in country’s exports to America and its share in Chinese’s economy. Chinese share of exports to America in 2008 was $80 bn.
China has also rejected IMF advice on Yuan revaluation. Washington has been left behind the market curve, whereas Beijing by opening up with Russia, Africa and adopting "domestic consumption based model" has crossed 8.5 percent growth rates, which shows that it has successfully weathered recession. It leaves Obama with "too big to fail banks", "buy America" protectionism, continuation of failed banking polices, absent regulators, windfall of banker bonuses and double-digit ever-increasing unemployment. It would be interesting to see if Obama keeps Geitner, Benanki to protect Wall Street at the cost of Main Street or sacrifice Democrat presidency in next presidential election. The future will stare Obama in the eye in 2010 elections when public will vote for 36 state governors, 35 senate seats and entire Congress. With Beijing, Tokyo ready to chart their own courses, failure of Free Trade Agreement in Seoul and recession back in US, Obama should be looking at huge losses in America’s ASEAN exports that constitute 50 percent of country’s total exports. There is no headway on Obama’s nuclear non-proliferation agenda because Beijing like rest of the world is unwilling to leave national security issues to American president’s word alone. Obama’s nuclear agenda is silent on nuclear free ME with complete US support for Israel’s illegal nuclear program and unlawful US-India Controversial deal. Next, Obama wants to denuclearize Pakistan, France, and UK before America, China and Russia. No legitimate government, leader or public in those countries would allow Obama to execute his agenda that is but a copy of Israel’s Gaza demilitarization plan, which will leave denuclearized countries at the mercy of America and Israel. America, Israel (India, EU and others) have barred Palestinians from approaching UN for upholding of UN Resolution for Independent State under two-state solution, which allowed establishment of Israel. Imagine the world ruled by nuclear America, Israel and India. It is opined that US stokes North Korean nuclear issue to "arm twist" Tokyo from adopting independent foreign and economic policies.
Obama has failed to change Bush’s economic, foreign and nuclear policies in Asia. The world should deal with Obama as a war criminal for authorizing extra judicial killings, undermining independence of sovereign states and disregarding UN laws and conventions, failing to bring to book the American operatives responsible for missing persons, running rendition flights, involvement in torture and wars based on lies. His nuclear disarmament agenda is nothing but renewed bid to resuscitate dying American imperialism through (its) nuclear might.
Thus, Obama’s Asia visit was a failed attempt (of an isolated war criminal) to coax his counterparts to be onboard Washington’s sinister plan. The good news is for now these nations have opted to stand with international law, respect state sovereignties and democratic will of the people. It is hope world leaders refuse handshake with war criminal Obama and call for America’s divestment to restore writ of international law, state sovereignty and respect of human life.
A War on Coca Nobody Believes In
Since their systemic targeting of producer nations through militarized methods of eradication, government officials in Washington have regularly brandished bogus data when concerning the effectiveness and validity of the US’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. Dating back to the 1980s, Colombia became a figurative and literal battleground in this war, as the world’s principal cultivator of coca. As liberalized economic policies debilitated Colombia’s rural political economy hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized producers, campesinos, and landless farmers gravitated toward the narcotic industry, via cultivation, as a way of life and survival. The United States, denounced such activities a threat, as drugs were proclaimed a risk to ‘national security’ (White House, 1986). In turn, Washington devoted a great deal of time, money, and military resources to curb coca ‘at the source’. Yet this militarized approach toward eradication has consistently produced incredibly poor results. Rather than facilitating a decline the narcotic industry witnessed an enormous expansion over the past two decades.
A fascinating shift related to this historic debacle was reported in early November. The United States Embassy in Bogotá announced a miraculous 29 per cent decrease in Colombian coca cultivation and an estimated 39 per cent drop in cocaine production in 2008 alone. Such figures are incredible, for rates of coca cultivation have, in actuality, significantly risen since Washington embarked on its war on drugs in Colombia. Throughout the 1980s, when Colombia was identified as a threat to US national security, cultivation averaged 46,000 hectares. [1 hectare = 2.47 acres.] By the 1990s levels had reached 61,000 hectares, while the past decade saw median rates hovering at 140,000 hectares. Taking the subject a step further, when one situates rates of coca cultivation in conjunction with rates of coca eradicated via manual and aerial techniques it becomes glaringly apparent that growth rates have done anything but declined. To the contrary, coca accelerated – especially under the administration of Álvaro Uribe Vélez [2002-2010]. Such information devastates the ‘success’ Washington (and Bogotá) today claim.
Who drafted and released the information to the public? While formally released through the US Embassy in Bogotá, the report and findings came from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – specifically the US Director of Central Intelligence, Crime and Narcotics Center (CNC). What is unique about this is the unspoken absence of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). For the greater part of the last decade, the ONDCP has been the principal medium for formally releasing information related to coca cultivation levels within Colombia. The fact that the CIA/CNC released this report and not the ONDCP should spark some question and debate.
Many, particularly US officials in Washington and Bogotá, have shown disdain and upset toward the ONDCP’s data over the past several years. Embarrassingly, the ONDCP has shown that coca levels have not decreased but rather climbed to heights never witnessed in Colombia’s history. When one compares levels of coca from the 1980s to those of today the data disclose inclines averaging 350 per cent. During the late 1990s and early-mid 2000s, as the US spent just under $8 billion in counter-narcotic missions in Colombia, the ONDCP illustrated that levels did the opposite of deteriorating. This unquestionably caused a great deal of stress for government officials within both the US and Colombia, as was shown in 2006 when that latter’s former Interior Minister Sabas Pretelt chastised the ONDCP – going so far as to argue the office manipulated and systematically inflated levels of coca in Colombia (United Press International, 2006).
Tfhe United States has long attempted to manipulate figures related to Colombia’s coca levels. During the 1990s, Washington was vocal in its promotion of a clear decrease in Colombia’s narcotic industry due to US involvement and approach toward drug eradication. However,– to the embarrassment and discredit of Washington – research, external to government sources, found that cocaine productivity had greatly increased. Figures showed cocaine levels to be two times higher than the US had claimed.
Such inaccuracies are not isolated blunders . Both Washington and Bogotá have consistently contradicted, miscalculated, or been openly incorrect when concerning ‘mutual assured findings’ of coca. When referring to levels of ‘successful’ eradication two separate state agencies in the United States reported vastly different figures over a span of several years. In 2008, two reports were produced relative to levels of coca cultivation: one from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (2008) and the other from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (2008b). The quantitative data between the two fluctuated in the thousands of hectares. Variations were so significant that between 2003 and 2007 rates of aerial fumigation differed by almost 27,000 hectares. Annual rates of inaccuracy towards aerial eradication averaged 5,400 hectares, while manual eradication was slightly ‘better’ at 3,330 hectares. All this is significant based on the fact that the findings came from the same state intelligence.
Oversights persist today. While applauding their self-proclaimed success—even though current levels far exceed anything witnessed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—the US Embassy in Bogotá, on two separate occasions, presented errors with their current figures. According to the Embassy’s “(2009a) Fact Sheet: 2008 Cocaine Production and Cultivation: Colombia,” 129,876 hectares of coca had been exposed to aerial fumigation while 95,731 hectares underwent some form of manual eradication. This equates to a total of 225,607 hectares. Yet, in the same document officials stipulate, “combined aerial spraying and manual eradication for 2008 was 227,605 hectares”. Such information is further problematic when concerning the embassy’s (2009b) Official U.S. Colombia Survey Shows Sharp Drop in Coca Cultivation and Cocaine Production press release that argued, “high levels of aerial eradication were sustained covering more than 133,000 hectares” – a difference well over 3,000 hectares or the size of roughly 1,400 football fields.
While such miscalculations, yet again, demonstrate the quantitative inadequacies of US intelligence they also fail to calculate the social costs of a militarized approach toward eradication.
Claiming they are trying to encourage agricultural workers to engage in crop substitution, Washington and Bogotá are, in fact, destabilizing the rural political economy. Let us look at a scenario where numerous peasants do give up growing coca after vast portions of their territory have been ecologically attacked. What, in reality, would transpire? First, numerous peasants would adopt (legal) production of non-coca crops leading to an immediate influx of a small handful of the most profitable crops in a particular geographic region, thus driving down the potential returns for said goods. This would subsequently cause a cyclical effect of poverty – one of the original causes that led to the original shift to coca in the beginning. More rural producers would then fall back to the coca-industry as a means of survival.
A second dilemma that might—and has—been faced by small producers is a lack of guarantees by the state to ensure they are taken care of in a post-coca socioeconomic climate. It has been seen repeatedly that those who agreed to state-imposed crop substitution do not receive promised financial support or assistance from the state, development agencies, or NGOs. Suffering from a lack of capital, producers are then forced (again) to return to coca, as no other means of subsistence is available. The third consequence deals with the ecology of the area, which affects not only coca cultivators but also those peasants who long refrained from growing coca altogether. As a result of spraying poisonous defoliants via aerial fumigation many have had their lands destroyed – inhospitable to agriculture. A plethora of cases even revealed how such practices affected legal crops (i.e., plantain, lemons, yucca, maize, etc.) during US/Colombian counter-narcotic campaigns. This caused a rash of peasants having little option but leave for the city or ironically take up coca as a means to cover their losses.
There have even been confirmed accounts of officials admitting the goal of fumigation was to structurally displace peasants in order to increase cheap labour in urban centres while privately centralizing rural resources in the hands of large-scale agro-business. Lastly, it must be emphasized how eradication practices have indisputably damaged the lives of millions in Colombia and the environment in which they live. Aerial fumigation has forced many to abandon their homes and villages due to contamination of land and water. This has subsequently devastated present and future food production, economic stability, and precarious health defects and conditions in young and old. The destruction of crops, soil, and water tables has hampered the capacity for entire communities not only to sustain themselves but has led to further ecological destruction as more are forced to colonize forested regions. Not wanting to leave the sociocultural life they know, many are forced to cut down and inhabit long-time unpopulated territories.
While temporary declines may arise – albeit seldom – the underlining political-economic causes of coca cultivation have not been diminished. Ironically, militarization eradication through aerial spraying or manual displacement of crops is surly to augment conditions of deprivation. It is under these circumstances that the narcotic industry will not wane but rather be sustained (if not increased). Such positions are not simply the critique of a few but even those within the state apparatus itself. In October officials within Colombia expressed the failure of such policies. Here’s a report this year by Neda Vanovac:
“Colombia’s National Planning Council claimed … the fight against drugs is lost and the current government’s ‘Democratic Security’ policy in large part is responsible for the systematic increase in human rights violations in the country. The president of the council, Adolfo Atehortua, condemned the nation’s anti-drug policy, saying that it had been a total failure. As proof, he said that neither the number of hectares planted with illicit crops nor the net production of drugs had been significantly reduced. He also suggested that the spraying stop as it was increasing poverty in rural areas, reported newspaper El Espectador. “The general and indiscriminate aerial spraying of crops damages farmers who have no other options, the helpless producers, testers without life projects or jobs, but does not eliminate the persistency of the drug plantations,” the Council President argued.”
César Gaviria Trujillo, president of Colombia between 1990-1994, added his protest to the current approach to eliminating drugs in Colombia. In November, he (alongside Fernando Henrique Cardoso – former president of Brazil and Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León – former president of Mexico stated:
“The war on drugs has failed. And it’s high time to replace an ineffective strategy with more humane and efficient drug policies … Prohibitionist policies based on eradication, interdiction and criminalization of consumption simply haven’t worked. Violence and the organized crime associated with the narcotics trade remain critical problems in our countries … Over the last 30 years, Colombia implemented all conceivable measures to fight the drug trade in a massive effort where the benefits were not proportional to the resources invested.”
Even Colombia’s current Foreign Minister, Rodrigo Pardo, has entered into the debate contradicting Washington’s claim of success. Pardo expressed the people of Colombia are “tired of the drug strategy … what we have done has not worked ... We have put so much money and effort into it yet the statistics remain the same”.
While applauding the successes those at the helm of power have clearly turned a blind eye to the cause and consequences of their actions. It is increasingly apparent when reflecting upon such conditions that Washington and Bogotá are not carrying out an attack against drugs but are rather waging war on the poor.
James J. Brittain, teaches sociology at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Thursday, November 19, 2009
USA & Russia
The Romanian base is expected to be put in operation in 2010, whereas the second one will most likely be launched in 2011 or 2012. Over 4,000 US military men are expected to serve at the two bases: 1,600 in Romania and 2,500 in Bulgaria. The authorities of the two nations expect that the US military men will settle there for a long time.
Col. Gary Russ, commander of Joint Task Force-East, sad that no one in Bulgaria and Romania had anything against the US military presence in the two countries. Vice President Joseph Biden, who recently visited several countries of Eastern Europe, including Romania, stated that the European nation supported a new configuration of the US missile defense system.
It is not ruled out that elements of the US missile defense system may eventually appear in Eastern Europe. US officials say that the appearance of army bases in Bulgaria and Romania strictly corresponds to the plans of the US administration to relocate troops in foreign countries (George W. Bush announced the plans in 2004).
It goes about the Pentagon’s intention to cut its 55,000-strong group in Germany and redeploy a part of the troops in several countries of Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Romania.
Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the plans of the United States to build army bases in Romania and Bulgaria were exposed nearly a decade ago.
“Indeed, the Americans need more bases for their actions in the Middle East. They have bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but they are not enough to satisfy all of Washington’s needs. The Pentagon needs new bases in Eastern Europe to maintain its troops in the Middle East,” the expert said.
Another expert, Konstantin Sivkov, told Pravda.Ru that the appearance of new army bases in Bulgaria and Romania would pose a threat to Russian interests.
“The number of US military men at the two bases is not going to be large, but who can say that it will not be doubled, tripped or quadrupled in the future? Furthermore, the appearance of NATO bases on the Black Sea coast will come as an addition to the US military objects in the Baltic region. As a result, Russia will find itself trapped.
“Why does the USA need these two bases on the Black Sea? To struggle against terrorism? This explanation does not withstand any criticism. There are nearly 4,000 kilometers between Romania and the Middle East. This distance is too large for the nation to maintain its groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“One should bear in mind the fact that the Americans started withdrawing their troops from Iraq. Therefore, there is no need to strengthen the infrastructure. To crown it all, American army bases in the Middle East are plentiful.
“I would also like to pay your attention to the fact that the US Military Academy at West Point has recently launched extensive courses to study the Russian culture and language. They started teaching the Iraqi culture and the Arab language three years before invading Iraq.
“Washington is also interested in the energy sources of the Caspian Sea. The bases will probably be established in Romania and Bulgaria to secure the transportation of the Caspian oil and gas,” the expert concluded.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I: U.S. Societal Breakdown
II: Environmental Crisis
III: The Obama Myth
IV: Economic Coup - Theft of Trillions
You may have missed it in the mainstream news media, but statistical societal indicators are reading red across the board. Before exposing the root causes of this breakdown, let’s look at some vital statistics and facts:
* The inequality of wealth in the United States is soaring to an unprecedented level. The US already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the middle class and poor much harder than the top one percent, the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99% of the US population has grown to a record high.
* As the stock market went over the 10,000 mark and just surged to a 13-month high, the three big banks that took taxpayer money and benefit the most from the government bailout have just set a new global economic record by issuing $30 billion in annual bonuses this year, “up 60 percent from last year.” Bloomberg reported: “Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, had a record profit in the first nine months of this year and set aside $16.7 billion for compensation expenses.” Goldman Sachs is on pace for the best year in the firm’s history, they are also benefiting by only paying 1% in taxes.
* The profits of the economic elite are “now underwritten by taxpayers with $23.7 trillion worth of national wealth.”
As the looting is occurring at the top, the US middle class is just beginning to collapse.
* Workers between the age of 55 - 60, who have worked for 20 - 29 years, have lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans went up by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion.
* Home foreclosure filings “hit a record high in the third quarter [of 2009]… They were the worst three months of all time… 937,840 homes received a foreclosure letter” in this three month period. “3.4 million homes are expected to enter foreclosure by year’s end, with some experts estimating that next year will be even worse.”
President Obama has enacted a $75 billion taxpayer funded program that has been a spectacular failure in stemming the foreclosure crisis and has proven to be another massive waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
* 25 Million people are unemployed or underemployed.
This means we have 25 million people who urgently need to increase their income, and they’re quickly running out of options. The unemployment rate is expected to rise further and remain high for several years. “The president’s chief economic adviser warned that the nation’s unemployment rate could stay ‘unacceptably high’ for years to come.”
The NY Times reports: “Americans now confront a job market that is bleaker than ever in the current recession, and employment prospects are still getting worse. Job seekers now outnumber openings six to one, the worst ratio since the government began tracking…” As this ratio continues to grow, it will lead to a further reduction in wages - average worker wages have seen a sharp decline over the past year.
Economist Nouriel Roubini, a man who accurately predicted our current crisis, just reported on unemployment stating: “Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening…. So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. In other words, if you are unemployed and looking for work and just waiting for the economy to turn the corner, you had better hunker down. All the economic numbers suggest this will take a while. The jobs just are not coming back.”
* As the few elite banks thrive, there have been 123 US bank failures thus far this year. Recently, three banks that the government declared “healthy” and gave taxpayer money to have folded. The Wall Street Journal reports: “U.S. regulators have seized or threatened at least 27 banks that got capital infusions from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, including some lenders government officials knew were troubled when they awarded the money. The troubles put taxpayers at risk of losing as much as $5.1 billion invested in the banks since TARP was launched in October 2008.”
* As bankruptcies surge across the board, 10 US states are on the verge of bankruptcy, with several ready to declare a financial state of emergency. California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are all “barreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services.”
This is occurring at a time when the “federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that just ended was $1.4 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars greater than the year before.” In total, “US public debt topped 12 trillion dollars for the first time in history… The public debt topped 10 trillion dollars in September 2008. The debt is quickly approaching the statutory limit of 12.104 trillion dollars, meaning Congress would have to raise the ceiling to prevent a shutdown of government operations.”
Economist Dean Baker explains the risk of running such a large deficit: “The debt limit must be increased at regular intervals in order to allow the government to function normally because the government is currently operating at a deficit. If the debt limit is not passed, then at some point the government will not be able to pay workers and contractors. It won’t be able to send out Social Security checks or make payments for Medicaid and unemployment insurance to state governments. And, it will not be able to make interest payments on government bonds, effectively defaulting on the national debt.”
Needless to say, all of this will make life drastically more difficult for citizens of the US. As the middle class continues on the path of economic decline, the number of citizens living in poverty has already hit an all time high.
* Although the government’s official figure tries to low-ball the number, 47.4 Million US citizens live in poverty, and the US poverty rate is the highest in the industrialized world.
Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. “The US government does not tally the numbers but interested organisations say that more than 3 million people were homeless at some point over the past year…. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.”
Children have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis:
* 50% of US children, one out of every two children, will need to use food stamps to eat.
One out of every two children in the United States of America will need to use a food stamp… to EAT!
If you didn’t think starvation was a serious threat in the US, just read this new Washington Post report: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat… Several independent advocates and policy experts on hunger said that they had been bracing for the latest report to show deepening shortages, but that they were nevertheless astonished by how much the problem has worsened. ‘This is unthinkable. It’s like we are living in a Third World country,’ said Vicki Escarra, president of Feeding America.”
The United States Department of Agriculture released these findings in a study that was completed in December 2008, which means these numbers don’t take into account the millions more unemployed throughout 2009. The numbers of people living in poverty and struggling to eat has seen a significant increase since then.
This a national tragedy. But it gets much worse.
* In 2008, according to the Census Bureau, the number of US citizens without healthcare grew to a record 46.3 million. “The new figures, however, understate the severity of the economic downturn because a large portion of nation’s job losses and unemployment rate increases occurred after the Census survey data was collected in March as part of the annual Current Population Survey.”
* Lack of health Insurance has caused 45,000 preventable U.S. citizen deaths in the past year. The American Journal of Medicine recently released a study that stated “Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness.”
A Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study reported that 17,000 children have died due to lack of healthcare. You can also add in a recent report that revealed that 2,266 US Veterans have died in 2008 due to lack of insurance.
The 50 million now uninsured and the 45,000 preventable deaths per year statistics are expected to drastically rise over the next few years. As the Senate continues to strip meaningful amendments from a healthcare bill that wouldn’t even take effect until 2013, it has become clear that, despite the media hype, the healthcare bill is going to fall far short of meaningful reform and continue to rig the game in favor of large insurance company profits at the expense of the US population. With the highest cost healthcare in the world, current trends will continue and much needed change is not on the horizon.
Never before has the United States had so many citizens with so little means, little to no income and heavy debt. Debt and costs of living have now shackled US citizens just as it has shackled people throughout the world. The economic hit men have now hit the US as well and millions of US citizens are now effectively sentenced to a slow death.
Economic Imperial blowback has hit the mainland.
And the clock is ticking louder by the day…
Here’s another fact for you:
* The gun and ammunition manufacturing industry in the United States has over 200 companies producing billions of dollars in annual revenues. This huge manufacturing base cannot fulfill demand quickly enough. The demand for guns and ammunition has hit a record high and the gun industry cannot produce enough bullets to keep up with orders.
American’s are arming themselves to the teeth!
* In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed, as militia members have doubled in numbers. Federal authorities are gravely concerned about the “uptick in militia activities.” One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”
So let’s breakdown these numbers.
You have a population of 50 million people who are in desperate need of money, they most likely have no health insurance and can’t afford to get healthcare or help of any kind. Part of this population probably also has loved ones who can’t get life sustaining medical treatments, or loved ones that have already died due to lack of costly medical treatment. The clock is ticking loud for these people and they are running out of options fast, and time delayed is time closer to death.
While the richest one percent have never had it so good, a significant percentage of the US population now has firsthand experience in this. Millions upon millions of Americans are poor, broke, struggling, starving, desperate… and armed.
We are sitting on a powder keg!
We are now witnessing the critical unraveling of US society.
II: Environmental Crisis
Add to this picture an environmental crisis the likes of which humanity has never faced.
Considering our current economy, what will happen when another extreme weather event like Hurricane Katrina hits a major US city? What will happen when storms, droughts and fires continue to spread with increasing intensity? How many have to die before even modest actions are taken to prevent environmental catastrophe?
Extreme weather events are pounding the globe, it is as if the environment has declared war on us as a species. Humanity has become a polluting cancer in the environmental system, and if we don’t urgently act to stop the bleeding, things are going to get drastically worse in a pace faster than anticipated. And this is not an opinion; it is happening now, there is plenty of empirical evidence that anyone can see before their own eyes, if they care to look.
US public opinion on the climate crisis has been distorted by the mainstream US media in stunning fashion. A recent Pew Research study revealed that only 36 percent of the US population thinks the climate crisis is a result of human activity.
Regardless of your beliefs, due to climate change, we are on the verge of experiencing major water shortages spreading “across the country. Sooner rather than later…” California has already been hit by extreme drought and water is in very short supply. As the Arctic continues to melt, California will continue to experience extreme drought. A new study revealed: “when Arctic sea ice disappears, the jet stream—high-altitude winds with a profound influence on climate—shifts north, moving precipitation away from California.” A recent “sweeping water-reform bill” in California temporarily eased public outcry, but the problem remains. The U.S. is confronted by a serious water crisis.
For a global example, there is currently an extreme drought in East Africa as well, which has 23 million people on the verge of dying from starvation. Due to the drought, crops have been killed in unprecedented fashion. Events of this nature are happening all over the globe.
Of the worldwide record one billion people going hungry, the leading cause is destroyed agriculture due to extreme weather.
As a significant percentage of humanity faces death due to climate change, we are in the midst of our planet’s sixth great extinction. Over 17,000 species are threatened with extinction, “more than one in five of all known mammals, over a quarter of reptiles and 70 percent of plants are under threat.”
For those of you unaware, the earth’s ecosystem is a very delicate balance. Being in the midst of the earth’s sixth great extinction is not a matter to be ignored.
The upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen was considered by leaders throughout the world to be the most critical environmental summit in the history of civilization. International headlines read: “We only have months, not years, to save civilization from climate change.”
However, the United States and the head of the United Nations just announced that no legally binding treaties are expected to come out of the summit. This is devastating news!
The reason why no deal will be reached at the summit: the United States is refusing to take necessary action.
In a PR move to calm criticism in advance of the summit, the US and Japan announced a vague agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions… in 2012. However, the “agreement on this ambitious reduction target could not be reached during the APEC summit, and so was dropped from the draft statement.”
It would be smart of the public relations department to at least get one photo op with Obama actually at the climate summit. Instead of being at the most important summit, perhaps in the history of civilization, it appears Obama will be blowing it off to give his speech on how it feels to win the Nobel Peace Prize… H E L L O.
We are living in an insane asylum.
The Goldman Sachs PR guy is out giving speeches on how cool it is to cast the illusion of peace and hope, while the earth burns.
III: The Obama Myth
I don’t mean to dismiss the Obama myth, his words, the change we need is real, its just his actions don’t even come close to measuring up. Just read the legal documents he has signed his name to. Read them. His actions are most often the opposite of what he says. I venture to say a 10 year old can recognize that after doing a school day’s worth of research.
Obama is a national tragedy. He is a symbol of the times. He is not a leader, just a symbol. He projects the change we need. He was our shortcut to correcting our diseased political system, a way to rid it of corruption. He symbolized the change millions so desperately need. People came out in the millions for the first time “hoping” if they could work and organize to put him in office, we would have some representation to defend against the economic elite that have put the overwhelming majority of US politicians on the payroll and brought humanity to a breaking point.
People just need to research how the Obama myth was hatched. Goldman Sachs saw Obama early on and said, “He’s our guy!” When Obama became THE MAN in Iowa, he was on the Goldman Sachs pay roll. Goldman financed the psychological operation that is the Obama myth, the Illusion of HOPE - something to keep a suffering nation pacified just a little bit longer. Obama is truly a national tragedy. His failure and inaction has disillusioned millions upon millions of desperate citizens who turned to him as their best chance for justice.
As further evidence of Obama’s duplicity — beyond repeatedly signing his name to documents covering up the Bush Adminstration’s highest crimes and increasing an already bloated military budget — in one of his very first moves as President he put Goldman Sachs’ criminal mastermind Tim Geitner in charge of the treasury.
A new report from the TARP Inspector General further exposes Tim Geithner’s role “in overpayments that put billions of extra tax dollars in the coffers of major Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman Sachs.”
Which brings us to the ultimate theft of wealth in history, and to the root cause of our current crisis.
IV: Economic Coup - Theft of Trillions
URGENT NATIONAL EMERGENCY: TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PUBLIC WEALTH HAS BEEN STOLEN
This crime makes Bernie Madoff’s look like an elementary school lunch money stickup. No, I’m not talking about the hundreds of billions in the housing crisis scam cooked up by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs that left millions homeless and investors suckered the world over, or even the $2.75 trillion oil futures market scam that has siphoned 50% of all our spending on gas and fuel.
These huge scams are just diversions from the ultimate crime.
Trillions of dollars, trillions of our money, of our tax money — the money that comes out of your paycheck every week of your working life, all the thousands upon thousands that have been taken away from you and your family and are supposed to fund our government and keep our society functioning — have been handed over to the economic elite, to the Llyod Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the world.
Hank Paulson and his confidant Tim Geitner, the Goldman Sachs wonder twins, have looted the US treasury. There has been an economic coup in the United States!
Trillions of our dollars have vanished! You need to understand this!
We have just witnessed the greatest theft of wealth in history, the greatest transfer of wealth from the working class to the economic elite ever. An organized banking cartel has seized the US treasury and they are making up the “laws” and the rules to this rigged game. The covert economy has grown at a staggering rate due to taxpayer-funded injections. As a result of this, economic shackles are just beginning to fall upon the American public like never before. 99% of our nation is now sentenced to a slow death.
Just as economic hit men have done to governments throughout the globe, they have gained complete control of the US government and have now shackled US citizens as well. The economic elite do not want to deal with “spoiled Americans” anymore, that’s how they see it. To them the middle class was always an annoying nuisance to be tolerated so the economy could keep functioning well enough to allow their scams to perpetuate. But once their scam known as the US stock market came crashing down, and they were threatened with losing their ultimate power, they turned to the US middle class and opened fire. “Enough with you, we are taking over your government and stealing your tax money!”
This is exactly what happened!
The economic elite are operating under the belief that the world is theirs, they own it, and to hell with everyone else. They also take the view that as the environment grows more destructive, they don’t want us around to compete for resources.
This is self-evident after some research into policy actions that have been carried out. Research it for yourself!
Recent investigations into the illegal practices of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have revealed the US economy and stock market to be a fraud. As more of the world becomes aware of this, the dollar will continue to plummet and the U.S. public will pay a devastating price - things are just beginning to unravel.
The US economy has been hit by a deathblow, it lay in ruins naked and exposed to “Too Big Too Fail” thieves who have raped and pillaged, who are looting public wealth in unprecedented fashion.
The economic elite are vultures feeding off the carcass that is the US economy. The whole political structure has been gutted by corruption. Democracy was the façade that this house of cards was built on - a pyramid scheme that was built on the illusion of law and freedom.
Historians will look back at this time as a period in which corrupt despots ruled the masses with utter short-sighted greed and casted an illusion over the base population to keep the scam rolling along, until the end of the American empire, until the public driven economy came crashing down in a thunderous economic cloud of greed and corruption.
The smoke is still in our eyes, but the masses are beginning to see, to realize.
Many middle class US citizens don’t realize all of this yet, I understand their lack of action and confusion because I have also been bred as a middle class American in the propaganda system known as the US mainstream media, but I’m writing this to let you know…
Our survival instinct has to quickly override our conditioned naiveté and passivity that has been bred into us. We are threatened as a country and a species at the same time.
We, as a nation, must overcome heavy doses of propaganda administered by the mainstream media for hours a day, every day of our existence. Shake off your conditioned naiveté and passivity. This is a brutal world we live in, and we are now at war…
The American dream state is over. It’s time to get real, time to sound the alarm.
I am of the sincere hope that we will be able to rise up as a counterweight to the economic elite. In the overall scheme of things, history has placed us in a pivotal position. We are a vital countervailing force to the economic elite and must immediately start exercising our rights of redress.
People throughout the world understand that the US middle class has to serve as a counterweight to an economic cartel that has brought humanity to a breaking point.
The economic elite also understand this, this is why they have launched a war on us.
Now that our existence is directly threatened as well, people are awaking from a propagandized existence and realizing the gravity of our crisis.
We must sound the alarm and discard our illusions.
It is time to evolve from a state of “Hope” to a state of “Action.”
We desperately need intelligent leadership, free from the shackles of the banking cartel.
We, as a nation, cannot continue to settle for the politics of corruption. We must begin by addressing the root cause of our troubles and hold accountable those directly responsible for the greatest theft of wealth in history.
We must flood the halls of Congress; we must engage our House of Representatives and begin to rein in the economic elite.
This Is A… NATIONAL EMERGENCY…
Economic justice is possible, it may be hard to believe here in the US, but a nation of law is still possible. It is possible only if YOU begin to act.
We are 99% of the population, they are only 1%.
The outcome is not assured; we must start organizing on a mass scale.
Take your plight to your representative. SOUND THE ALARM!
We must understand “the fierce urgency of now!”
THE ALARM HAS BEEN SOUNDED . . .