• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 24 oktober 2008

Het Neoliberale Geloof 265

Het NOS-Journaal bericht: 'De Europese effectenbeurzen staan vandaag weer diep in de min. Dit in navolging van Azië. In Amsterdam staat de AEX-index op een verlies van zo'n 8 procent, en anderen beurzen laten soortegelijke verliezen zien. Aegon en ING hoorden bij de opening van de beurs weer bij de grootste verliezers, maar ook Koninklijke Olie leverde als gevolg van de dalende olieprijs fors in.'
De NOS-nieuwslezer op Radio 6 meldde net dat het verlies van ING onverklaarbaar is. Onverklaarbaar? Beste collega's, koersen dalen omdat speculanten daaraan verdienen. Zoek nu uit wie daaraan op dit moment verdient en dan weten jullie waarom de koersen ING dalen. Follow the Money. Oftewel, doe je werk in plaats van zonder context allerlei nonsens te verspreiden. Niets is onverklaarbaar, behalve dan het leven zelf, de rest is het product van oorzaak en gevolg en beste collega's, jullie zijn er nu juist voor om dat mechanisme te belichten.

Hogere Belangen dan de Waarheid 10

Minister Bos en premier Balkenende laten de volksvertegenwoordiging weten dat 'Het Kabinet verheugd [is] dat de heer Ruding bereid is in... een high level group... zitting te nemen,' die 'wordt geacht aanbevelingen te doen voor een verbetering van het toezicht op Europees niveau, in het bijzonder met betrekking tot financiële instellingen die in meerdere lidstaten actief zijn.' Letterlijk citaat. Met andere woorden: de Nederlandse politieke elite is blij dat 'de heer Ruding' die als minister in de jaren tachtig de controle van de overheid op de zogeheten 'vrije markt' afschafte in het kader van de deregulering en privatisering, nu tegen een vorstelijke vergoeding 'aanbevelingen' gaat 'doen voor een verbetering van het toezicht op Europees niveau, in het bijzonder met betrekking tot financiële instellingen die in meerdere lidstaten actief zijn.' Het Nederlandse parlement accepteert dit, en de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia die de macht zouden moeten controleren, onderzoekt dit niet verder.


Naar aanleiding van dit bericht kreeg ik deze reactie:


'Vrije-wereldburger heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "De Bankier Onno Ruding 11" achtergelaten: Sterker nog ,de opperpraatjesmaker van Bos vermaant ons toch vooral niet kritisch te kijken naar de machthebbers - het moet maar eens afgelopen zijn met al dat wantrouwen waar een welingelicht krantelezer toch al niets van merkt. '


En ja hoor, ene Jeroen Sprenger, directeur voorlichting bij het Ministerie van Financiën, schrijft in Trouw: 'Voorbij dogma’s van Blokker en Hofland. Overal is het georganiseerde wantrouwen uit de jaren zestig verdwenen. Behalve tussen media en politiek. In discussies over politiek en media is het bon ton steeds de ander onverantwoord gedrag te verwijten.
Laat ieder in eigen kring bezien wat er kan worden gedaan om de trend om te buigen en vertrouwen in dit land terug te brengen. Te beginnen met het afleggen van het fundamentele wantrouwen in elkaar.'
Zie: http://www.trouw.nl/opinie/podium/article1883639.ece/
_Voorbij_dogma_rsquo_s_van_Blokker_en_Hofland.html


Jawel, en dit alles kennelijk in het kader van wat de VPRO-journalist Chris Kijne noemt 'een hoger belang dan "de waarheid, niets dan de waarheid."'


Ik begrijp alleen niet waar directeur voorlichting (what is in a name) Sprenger het over heeft. De zelfcensuur en het vertrouwen in gezagsdragers is in de Nederlandse journalistiek hoger dan waar dan ook in de samenleving. Maar kennelijk moet het allemaal nog erger.

Herman en Chomsky concluderen in hun uitgebreide studie Manufacturing Consent het volgende: 'Given the imperatives of corporate organisation and the workings of the various filters, conformity to the needs and interests of privileged sectors is essential to succes. In the media, as in other major institutions, those who do not display the requistite values and perspectives will be regarded as "irresponsible," "ideological," or otherwise aberrant, and will fall by the wayside.'

De Bankier Onno Ruding 11

Het verschil tussen de Amerikaanse en Nederlandse parlementaire democratie wordt opnieuw helder geillustreerd door het volgende, de New York Times bericht:

'Greenspan Admits Error in Trusting Free Markets
by: Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times
Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible maestro of the financial system, admitted on Thursday that he "made a mistake" in trusting that free markets could regulate themselves without government oversight.'
Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/102308R

Nu Nederland,

'Minister-president Balkenende en minister Bos van Financiën antwoorden op vragen van Kamerlid Vendrik (GL) over de benoeming van Ruding tot lid van een Europese werkgroep over financieel toezicht.' het volgende: 'de heer Ruding [is] door de Voorzitter van de Europese Commissie gevraagd zitting te nemen in een 'high level group' onder voorzitterschap van voormalig IMF-directeur Jacques de Larosière. De groep heeft echter een meer toegespitst mandaat dan in de vraag van de heer Vendrik wordt gesuggereerd: de groep wordt geacht aanbevelingen te doen voor een verbetering van het toezicht op Europees niveau, in het bijzonder met betrekking tot financiële instellingen die in meerdere lidstaten actief zijn. De groep wordt verwacht aan de Europese Raad van maart 2009 over de eerste bevindingen te rapporteren. Overigens zullen de precieze modaliteiten van groep nog nader door de Europese Commissie worden uitgewerkt… Het Kabinet is verheugd dat de heer Ruding bereid is in deze belangrijke groep zitting te nemen. Hij combineert ervaring als Minister van Financiën met een diepgaande praktijkkennis van het nationale en internationale bankwezen. Bovendien heeft hij een sterke betrokkenheid bij de Europese samenwerking, getuige ook zijn huidige voorzitterschap van het Centre of European Policy Studies.' Zie:http://www.nieuwsbank.nl/inp/2008/10/22/R196.htm

En daarmee was de kous af. De Nederlansdse volksvertegenwoordiging accepteert dit en de journalistiek zwijgt. Onno Ruding was in de jaren tachtig de minister die de basis legde voor de deregulering in Nederland waarbij de gemeenschap steeds minder greep kreeg op het reilen en zeilen van onder andere de handel in lucht die nu ontploft is. Als beloning daarvoor werd hij vice-voorzitter van de raad van bestuur van de Amerikaanse CitiBank. Voor wat hoort wat.

De Nederlandse regering is nu 'verheugd dat de heer Ruding bereid is in deze belangrijke groep zitting te nemen.' Greenspan mag dan bekennen dat hij fout zat, Ruding doet dat niet en wordt daarvoor ook nog eens tot blijdschap van minister Bos en premier Balkenende de man die namens Nederland gaat onderzoeken hoe het allemaal zo fout heeft kunnen gaan en welke oplossingen er moeten komen. De zwendelaar gaat de zwendel onderzoeken en wordt daarvoor door de Nederlandse belastingbetaler vorstelijk beloond. Ik zou zeggen dat dit nu een saillant voorbeeld is van het poldermodel, met andere woorden van corruptie. Ruding wordt door de politiek niet gedwongen om ter bekennen dat hij fout zat. Integendeel, hij krijgt een bezoldigde prachtbaan als dank voor zijn falen. En mijn immer wakkere collega's in Den Haag accepteren dat en onderzoeken niets. Dat nu is het grote verschil tussen een groot en een klein land. In grote landen gaat de corruptie lange tijd door, tot het niet meer kan. In Nederland gaat de corruptie altijd door. En de journalisten staan erbij en kijken er naar. Wakker worden jongelui!

For the Love of God



'Schedel van 75 miljoen in Rijksmuseum
Door Damian Hirst ingelegde schedel in november te zien
Van onze redacteur Henk Meijer
For the Love of God, gemaakt door de Brit Damien Hirst.26-08-2008 Het Rijksmuseum stelt komende winter een schedel tentoon, die is ingelegd met 8601 diamanten. Het kunstwerk heet 'For the Love of God' en is gemaakt door de Britse kunstenaar Damien Hirst. De schedel komt uit de achttiende eeuw en is bedekt met platina. Op het voorhoofd draagt de schedel een roze peervormige diamant.'

Niet het object an sich, maar het feit dat het 75 miljoen kost maakt het bijzonder. Dat het 75 miljoen kan opbrengen is het relevante element, zoals de kop verraadt. Was het van nep diamanten geweest dan zou het op het Waterlooplein in de regen liggen. Kitsch, dat is wat de massacultuur betovert.

Of zoals Milan Kundera het stelde: 'Op grond van de dwingende noodzaak te behagen en zo de aandacht van het grootst mogelijke publiek te trekken, is de esthetiek van de massamedia onvermijdelijk die van de kitsch en naarmate de massamedia ons gehele leven meer omsluiten en infiltreren, wordt de kitsch onze dagelijkse esthetiek en moraal.'

In een wereld met meer dan 900 miljoen mensen die honger lijden, bewondert de westerse massa een object getiteld: For the Love of God van 75 miljoen. Amen, en God zij met ons.

donderdag 23 oktober 2008

Het Neoliberale Geloof 264

Danny Schechter bericht:

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER MARKET PLUNGE

Wednesday started with the descent of Asian markets and the bad news traveled West. The dow dropped and kept dropping. These were the headlines on Marketwatch. Com
Another day of fear.
Major stock indexes down 5%-6%Profit worries slam Wall St.Stocks pick up where they left off Tuesday — in decline. After quarterly results, McDonald’s and Apple seek to buck the Street’s bearish trend.Economy fears fuel hasty retreat
FT: Global stock markets plunged on Wednesday as the White House said it would invite world leaders to a global financial summit next month, 11 days after the US presidential election.
WORSE TO COME, REPORTS ROUBINI
The financial crisis, following hard on the heels of the soaring food price crisis, which threw 75 million people into hunger and poverty last year alone, may well deepen the plight of the poor in developing countries sending food prices soaring and pushing an extra 119 million people into hunger
Slowing commodity prices because of a slowing world economy could mean a cutback in planting followed by reduced harvests in major exporting countries. Given continuing low grains stocks, this scenario could lead to another turn of record food prices next year - a catastrophe for millions who by then would be left with little money and no credit.
Moe Sacerby: Rating Agencies at Center of Reformulated Global Financial Order?
President Sarkozy’s initiative would make rating agencies more as gatekeepers, bureaucratic or otherwise…The proposal would at least begin the decoupling of the rating agencies from US regulators and American style capitalism.
ALTERNET: THE ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE OF PAINCHARGE: WE HAVE A FINANCIAL KEPTOCRACYBy Michael Hudson
Wall Street is in control, but its policies are so shortsighted that they are eroding the underlying economy - which is passing from democracy to oligarchy, and indeed it seems to a bipartisan financial kleptocracy.
CHRIS FLOYD: WHAT THE WORLD KNOWS AND THE US DOESN’T ABOUT THE BAILOUTNY BANKS MINE DATA, TARGET TROUBLED BORROWERSWhat Went Wrong in the Capitalist Casino?
By Tony Benn
What we are watching is nothing less than the steady transfer of real political power from the polling station to the market and from the ballot to the wallet - reversing the democratic gains we have made over the last century when we were able, increasingly, to use our votes to shape our economic future.
Wall Street’s ‘Disaster Capitalism for Dummies’14 reasons Main Street loses big while Wall Street sabotages democracy
By Paul B. Farrell
Yes, we’re dummies. You. Me. All 300 million of us. Clueless. We should be ashamed. We’re obsessed about the slogans and rituals of “democracy,” distracted by the campaign, polls, debates, rhetoric, half-truths and outright lies. McCain? Obama? Sorry to pop your bubble folks, but it no longer matters who’s president.'

De Israelische Terreur 456


Benji de Levi e-mailde me dit:
'PERSBERICHT
ISRAELISCHE AUTORITEITEN WEIGEREN BUITENLANDSE DEELNEMERS TOEGANG INTERNATIONALE GEZONDHEIDSZORG CONFERENTIE IN GAZA

Meer informatie:
Nederlands Palestina Komitee en Stichting Palestina Rotterdam

Op 27 en 28 oktober zou in Gaza de internationale conferentie Siege and Mental Health, Walls versus Bridges plaatsvinden; georganiseerd door the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme en de World Health Organisation (WHO,Verenigde Naties).Zou, want dezer dagen kregen de deelnemers te horen dat de Israëlische autoriteiten weigeren de deelnemers toe te laten tot Gaza (zie ook www.gcmhp.net). Onder die deelnemers bevindt zich ook een viertal uit Nederland: prof WHG Wolters, beoogd keynote speaker en al jarenlang actief in door de Nederlandse overheid gefinancierde mental health projecten voor kinderen in Gaza, de dames Ingrid Rollema en Lilian Peters, beiden ook actief betrokken bij (mental health en opbouw) activiteiten in Gaza en dhr Benji de Levie, verantwoordelijk voor de campagne Gaan voor Gaza, Maak Gaza Gezond van de Stichting Palestina. De Israëlische weigering maakt het nu onmogelijk om met de counterparts in Gaza -artsen, onderzoekers, veldwerkers en andere betrokkenen- ervaringen uit te wisselen, resultaten te aanschouwen en nieuwe ontwikkelingen te bevorderen. En betekent dus een extra obstakel om de (geestelijke) gezondheidszorg in het noodlijdende gebied te verbeteren.
De Israëlische weigering de conferentie toe te laten maakt deel uit van de strikte blokkade om “veiligheidsredenen” van de bevolking van de Gazastrook. Het recht op academische vrijheid, dialoog en vrije meningsuiting wordt door de bezetter met voeten getreden. De ruim 120 deelnemers van universiteiten en hulpverleningsorganisaties uit de hele wereld, onder wie een groot aantal onderzoekers, gezondheidswerkers en hoogleraren, wordt op deze wijze tevens de gelegenheid onthouden om ook met de bevolking van de Gazastrook in contact te komen en van hun lijden kennis te nemen, terwijl tegelijkertijd diezelfde bevolking de mentale steun die van de conferentie zou uitgaan moet ontberen. In feite betekent een en ander ook voortzetting van het heilloze beleid van isolering van Hamas en weigering van de noodzakelijke politieke dialoog die noodzakelijk is om ooit uitzicht op vrede krijgen.
Betrokken en gedupeerde buitenlandse organisaties en personen hebben inmiddels bij hun regeringen en parlementen protest aangetekend tegen de Israëlische beslissing die voorbijgaat aan mensenrechten en internationale afspraken; en roepen op tot het alsnog laten doorgaan van de conferentie in Gaza. Ook de Nederlandse vaste Kamercommissie Buitenland is geïnformeerd en gevraagd de minister te bewegen tot stappen. Tot dusver zonder resultaat.'

Het Neoliberale Geloof 263




Oke, kan iemand mij iets aanleggen wat betreft de pensioenfondsen. Allereerst dit bericht:

'ABP overweegt stappen tegen Fortis


Uitgegeven 23 oktober 2008 17:30 Laatst gewijzigd: 23 oktober 2008 17:32

AMSTERDAM - Pensioenfonds ABP beraadt zich op stappen tegen het financiële concern Fortis. "We zijn in juni niet goed geïnformeerd door het bestuur van Fortis", aldus directeur vermogensbeheer Roderick Munsters donderdag. Hij sluit juridische stappen niet uit. ABP kocht in juni voor bijna 500 miljoen euro aandelen van de Belgisch-Nederlandse bankverzekeraar. ABP stelde toen dat de koop "een mogelijkheid was om het aandeel Fortis te kopen op een aantrekkelijk prijsniveau". ABP betaalde 10 euro per aandeel. De aandelen zijn per stuk momenteel nog ongeveer 1 euro waard.'


Ik ga ervan uit dat de belastingbetaler straks aansprakelijk kan worden gesteld voor het verlies dat de pensioenfondsen hebben gemaakt, aangezien Fortis door minister Bos is gekocht, gekocht overigens tegen een aandelenkoers die inmiddels gehalveerd is. Dat is verlies 1. Van verlies 2. zal straks sprake zijn als Fortis inderdaad schade moet betalen.

Maar nu, pensioenfondsen denken erover om hun premie te verhogen vanwege, let op, de financiele crisis. Dat begrijp ik niet. Al jarenlang stijgen de koersen van aandelen fenomenaal, en nog steeds zijn de meeste aandelen meer waard dan toen de pensioenfondsen die kochten. Ik ga ervan uit dat de inkomsten uit premies al jarenlang tenminste gelijk staan aan de uitgaven aan pensioenen. Met andere woorden: hoe komt het dan dat die pensioenfondsen nu minder reserves hebben en sommige eraan denken de premie te verhogen? Waar is al dat geld dan gebleven? Hebben alle pensioenfondsen gigantische aandelenpaketten in Fortis? Nee, dus waar zijn ze zoveel geld aan kwijt geraakt? Kan iemand dat uitleggen?

Hogere Belangen dan de Waarheid 9

Niet de armoede van de Israeli's of het roven van Palestijns land, maar dit is het onderwerp waarover de Israelische pers zich druk maakt.
'Orthodox, but not Jewish enough for aliya

By SETH FARBER

During the past year, conversion to Judaism has been the subject of much press and analysis. The crises surrounding the recognition of conversion and the annulment of conversion have rocked the Jewish world to its core. Ironically, in the past six months, it is Orthodox converts from overseas in particular that are being deliberately persecuted by the State of Israel. In the present environment, both the Interior Ministry and the rabbinate have engaged in a misinformation campaign, which has befuddled even the most acute analysts of Jewish life in Israel. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The Jerusalem Rabbinate.
Two criteria related to conversion delegitimize even the most serious of Orthodox converts. The first - which is reasonable in its conception but not in its realization - prevents Orthodox converts from making aliya subsequent to their conversion. Since the State of Israel (as differentiated from the rabbinate) accepts conversions from all the denominations, and since conversion overseas entitles a convert to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, the Interior Ministry lives in constant fear that foreign workers (now numbering more than 100,000) will take advantage of "quickie conversions" or "pop-over conversions" overseas and then become citizens.'

Het Israelisch Expansionisme 79

Expansionisme en oorlog zijn duur.

'Israel Poverty Worst in Western World

The extent of poverty in Israel is the highest in the western world, with one out of every four citizens is defined as poor, according to a report published this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (O.E.C.D.). That statistic is 2-1/2 times the average number of poor people per capita in the developed world.
Israel ranks third in terms of the social gaps between the rich and poor, following Turkey and Mexico, according to IDF Army Radio.
The O.E.C.D. report criticizes government taxation policy for not significantly reducing the proportion of poor.'

Obama 13

'Chomsky: The Bewildered Herd
8 Minute Video

Noam Chomsky: People should vote against McCain and for Obama - but without illusions'

Irak 260

'Iraq says will not be bullied into signing US security pact
Posted: 23 October 2008 0203 hrs

BAGHDAD: Iraq warned on Wednesday it would not be bullied into signing a security pact with the United States, despite US leaders warning of potentially dire consequences if it failed to approve the deal. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh lashed out at US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen for saying that Baghdad risked significant losses if an agreement is not concluded to keep American forces in the country beyond 2008. "It is not correct to force Iraqis into making a choice and it is not appropriate to talk with the Iraqis in this way," Dabbagh said. To the apparent frustration of the Americans, the Iraqi cabinet decided on Tuesday to seek changes in the pact after months of tough negotiations between Baghdad and Washington. The draft deal calls for a withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 and includes US concessions on jurisdiction over its troops accused of "serious crimes" while off duty or off base. But the agreement has ignited fierce debate in Iraq, with radical anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leading a wave of protests. On Tuesday, Mullen said if Baghdad delayed signing the deal beyond the December 31 expiry of the current UN mandate governing the presence of foreign troops, its forces "will not be ready to provide for their security." "And in that regard there is great potential for losses of significant consequence." US Defence Secretary Robert Gates echoed Mullen, saying: "The consequences of not having a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) and of not having a renewed UN authorisation are pretty dramatic in terms of consequences for our actions." And on Wednesday, the White House again insisted there was limited scope for any changes in the deal. Spokeswoman Dana Perino said "the door wasn't slammed shut but it's pretty much closed in our opinion." Negotiators would have "a very high bar for them to clear" if there were to be any changes at this stage, she added. In a strongly worded statement, Dabbagh said the government was "deeply concerned" by Mullen's remarks. "Such a statement is not welcomed by Iraq. All Iraqis and their political entities are aware of their responsibilities and are assessing whether to sign the deal or not in a way that it is suitable to them." Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Qassim Atta also insisted that domestic forces were ready to handle security nationwide. "The security forces are ready since their numbers have increased and following the improvement in their abilities," he told a news conference. "They are already controlling 11 provinces and soon we will take over the rest of the provinces." Senior Shiite lawmaker Abbas al-Bayati said such comments by Washington's leaders were provocative. "Mullen's remark is an attempt to pressure the Iraqi side, but we will not be subjected to such tactics because our reservations are linked to the sovereignty and national interest of Iraq," he told AFP. "The American side should be more flexible because if they really want to pass this agreement, they should first stop launching such warnings which provoke Iraqis."'

Het Neoliberale Geloof 262

'Why Wont The Bail Out Work?This is a MUST SEE 7 Minute Video

Voters are rightly furious at the proposal to spend $700,000,000,000 that the government doesn't have to bail out Wall Street bankers who created the current economic crisis in the first place. But why then aren't we concerned about the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve is pumping into the system? Or the trillions missing from the Pentagon? Or the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble.'

The Empire 359



'The Idiots Who Rule America

By Chris Hedges
October 21, 2008 "Truthdig"


Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality. We still believe in “the experts.” They still believe in themselves. They are clustered like flies swarming around John McCain and Barack Obama. It is only when these elites are exposed as incompetent parasites and dethroned that we will have any hope of restoring social, economic and political order.
“Their inability to see the human as anything more than interest driven made it impossible for them to imagine an actively organized pool of disinterest called the public good,” said the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, whose books “The Unconscious Civilization” and “Voltaire’s Bastards” excoriates our oligarchic elites. “It is as if the Industrial Revolution had caused a severe mental trauma, one that still reaches out and extinguishes the memory of certain people. For them, modern history begins from a big explosion—the Industrial Revolution. This is a standard ideological approach: a star crosses the sky, a meteor explodes, and history begins anew.”
Our elites—the ones in Congress, the ones on Wall Street and the ones being produced at prestigious universities and business schools—do not have the capacity to fix our financial mess. Indeed, they will make it worse. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of the common good. They are stunted, timid and uncreative bureaucrats who are trained to carry out systems management. They see only piecemeal solutions which will satisfy the corporate structure. They are about numbers, profits and personal advancement. They are as able to deny gravely ill people medical coverage to increase company profits as they are able to use taxpayer dollars to peddle costly weapons systems to blood-soaked dictatorships. The human consequences never figure into their balance sheets. The democratic system, they think, is a secondary product of the free market. And they slavishly serve the market.
Andrew Lahde, the Santa Monica, Calif., hedge fund manager who made an 870 percent gain last year by betting on the subprime mortgage collapse, has abruptly shut down his fund, citing the risk of trading with faltering banks. In his farewell letter to his investors he excoriated the elites who run our investment houses, banks and government.
“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” he said of our oligarchic class. “These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”
“On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal,” he went on. “First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have [reined] in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government.”
Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets. Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. Democracy, like individualism, is not based on personal gain but on self-sacrifice. A functioning democracy must defy the economic interests of elites on behalf of citizens. This is not happening. The corporate managers and government officials trying to fix the economic meltdown are pouring money and resources into the financial sector because they only know how to manage and sustain established systems, not change them. Financial systems, however, are not pure scientific and numerical abstractions that exist independently from human beings.
“When the elite begin to think that money is real, the crash is coming,” Saul said in a telephone interview. “That is just a given in history. Because what they’ve done is pull themselves out of the possibility of looking in the mirror and thinking, this is inflation, speculation, this is fluff. They can’t do it. And when you say to them, gosh, this is not real. And they say, oh, you don’t understand, you’re so old-fashioned, you still think this is about manufacturing. And of course, it’s basic economics. And that’s what happens every single time.'

Steven Dale Green


Zomaar een moordenaar.
'Steven Dale Green
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This article documents a current court case. Information may change rapidly as the case progresses.

For other people named Steven Green, see Stephen Green.
PFC Steven Dale Green
United States Army
Born May 2, 1985 (1985-05-02) (age 23)

Place of birth
Midland, Texas
Allegiance
United States of America
Service/branch
United States Army
Years of service
2005-2006
Rank
Private First Class
Unit
101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars
Iraq War
Steven Dale Green (born May 2, 1985) is a former Private First Class in the United States Army who is charged with raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl named Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi and murdering her and three of her family members in the village of Mahmudiyah.
[edit] Biographical details
Green graduated from Infantry Training Brigade and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. According to a military spokesperson and a criminal complaint filed in connection with the charges, Green was honorably discharged from the military "due to antisocial personality disorder but before the military was aware of the incident."[1]
Green grew up in Midland, Texas. According to school officials, he dropped out of high school in 2002 after completing the 10th grade and moved to Denver City, Texas, where he earned his high school equivalency in 2003. Days after a January 2005 arrest for alcohol possession, Green enlisted in the US Army. In doing so, he was granted a moral character waiver for prior drug and alcohol related offenses that might have otherwise disqualified him. Green was stationed in Iraq from September 2005 to April 2006 and discharged in May 2006.[2]

[edit] Mahmudiyah incident
Main article: Mahmudiyah incident
On June 30, 2006, the FBI arrested Green, who was held without bond and transferred to Louisville, Kentucky. On July 3, 2006, United States Federal Court prosecutors formally charged him with raping and killing Abeer Qassim Hamza, a 14-year-old girl, and with killing her five-year-old sister Hadeel, her father, Qassim Hamza Rasheed, and her mother, Fakhriya Taha Muhasen in Mahmoudiyah, on March 12, 2006. On July 10, the U.S. Army charged four other active duty soldiers with the same crime. A sixth soldier, Sgt. Anthony Yribe, was charged with failing to report the attack, but not with having participated in the rape and the murders.
Green and four other soldiers, Sgt. Paul E. Cortéz, Spc. James P. Barker, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, had planned raping Abeer Qassim Hamza. Pfc. Howard was ordered to monitor radio traffic while the others entered the Hamza family's house. Green ordered the father, mother, and younger daughter to a bedroom and shot them, saying: "I just killed them; all are dead." Green, and at least one other soldier, raped Abeer Qassim Hamza, after which Green shot her in the head two or three times. Five soldiers, including Green, have been formally charged with raping the girl and murdering her parents and little sister. The soldiers Paul E. Cortéz, James P. Barker, Jesse V. Spielman, and Bryan L. Howard might face the death penalty, said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell in a news conference. [3]
Reportedly, Fakhariya Taja Muhassain worried that her daughter, Abeer, had attracted the unwanted attention of U.S. soldiers at the checkpoint near their home. She asked her neighbor, Omar Janabi, if she could sleep in his daughter's room at his house. Janabi agreed, but the Hamza family were murdered the next day.[4] Janabi, who said he discovered the Hamza family bodies, found the husband, the wife, and the younger, five-year-old daughter in one room, all shot dead. In another room of the Hamza house, Janabi found Abeer Qassim Hamza's burned body.

[edit] Trial
On July 6, 2006, Green entered a plea of not guilty through his public defenders. U.S. Magistrate Judge James Moyer set an arraignment date of August 8 in Paducah, Kentucky.[5]
On July 11, 2006, his lawyers requested a gag order. "This case has received prominent and often sensational coverage in virtually all print, electronic and Internet news media in the world." "Clearly, the publicity and public passions surrounding this case present the clear and imminent danger to the fair administration of justice," said the motion. [6] Prosecutors had until July 25, 2006 to file their response to the request.[7]
On August 31, 2006, a federal judge rejected a gag order. U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said there is "no reason to believe" that Green's right to a fair trial would be in jeopardy. Furthermore he added, "It is beyond question that the charges against Mr. Green are serious ones, and that some of the acts alleged in the complaint are considered unacceptable in our society."[8]
In July 2007, federal prosecutors, led by Brian Skaret of the United States Department of Justice's Domestic Security Section, announced they will be seeking the death penalty for Green. This is based on the fact that prosecutors believe the rape and killings were premeditated, and were committed using a firearm.
The prosecution of this case is unique in that although the alleged crimes were committed by an active member of the United States military, which normally would fall under the jurisdiction of the military court system, Green was indicted and arrested after he had been discharged from the Army. Thus, the case is being tried instead by the United States Department of Justice's Domestic Security Section.

[edit] Retaliation
Green was assigned to the same platoon as Spc. David J. Babineau, who was shot to death at a roadside checkpoint on June 16, 2006, in Yusufiyah, and Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Lowell Tucker, who were captured, tortured and killed, allegedly by Iraqi insurgents. Military investigators are now looking into whether the insurgents abducted Menchaca and Tucker in retaliation for the killing of the Iraqi civilians.[9] However, in the first video depicting the desecration of what is believed to be the bodies of both Menchaca and Tucker, there is no mention of the incident at Mahmudiya at all. It is only in a second release of the video, two months later, that any mention of the Mahmudiya incident is made.

[edit] See also

United States Army portal

[edit] References
^ "Officials: Soldier was discharged for 'antisocial personality'", CNN (2006-07-05). Retrieved on 2006-07-05.
^ Allen G. Breed (2006-07-05). "Ex-GI Accused in Iraq Rape Had Rocky Past", The Houston Chronicle (AP). Retrieved on 2006-07-06.
^ "U.S. military names soldiers charged in rape, murder probe". Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
^ Kim Gamel (2006-07-03). "At Least 12 Killed in Attacks Across Iraq", SFGate.com. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
^ CNN. "Ex-soldier pleads not guilty to rape, murder: Former Army private accused of raping woman, killing family". Retrieved on 2006-07-06.
^ http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:NdALBHC7p0oJ:www.expose-the-war-profiteers.org/archive/legal/2006/20060711.pdf+steven+green+trial&hl=hr&gl=hr&ct=clnk&cd=13&client=firefox-a
^ CNN (2006-07-11). "Gag requested in Iraq rape-murder case". Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
^ AP (2006-09-01). "Judge in Rape-Murder Case Denies Gag Order". Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
^ Michael Hedges (2006-07-04). "Killings of two soldiers perhaps retaliation for slain Iraqi family", The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on 2006-07-05.

[edit] See also
Human rights in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq
Mahmudiyah incident
Abeer Qassim Hamza
Fakhriya Taha Muhasen
Affidavit by F.B.I. related to Steven D. Green's arrest

[edit] External links
BBC News: Troops 'took turns' to rape Iraqi

Wikinews has related news:
Steven D. Green
Guardian: Soldiers 'hit golf balls before going out to kill family'
Iraq girl in troops rape case just 14
Text of criminal complaint: U.S. vs. Green
101st vet charged with murder, rape of Iraqi
Ex-Soldier Charged by U.S. in Killing of Four Iraqi Civilians
Encountering Steven Green: "I came over here because I wanted to kill people."
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Dale_Green"
Categories: 1985 births American military personnel of the Iraq War Living people People from Midland, Texas People indicted for war crimes Recipients of the Combat Infantryman Badge United States Army soldiers American rapists American murderers American murderers of children
Hidden category: Current events as of March 2008
'The Nation’s First Golfer President George W. Bush announced in his speech to the nation tonight that on top of sending another 20,000 troops to Iraq, he was also requesting another $10 million to send golf psychologists into the battlefield. Here is what President Bush said: “My fellow Americans. Further to the extra $100 Billion for the extra troops I am also requesting from Congress another $10 million to send 10 golf psychologists to Iraq to prevent further rapes and massacres by American soldiers in the field.” “Golf is like life only on a larger scale. Every golfer knows that we seem to tie our self esteem, our sense of self worth to our latest score. Every golfer knows that golf can often trigger intense feelings of rage and frustration. They don’t put the water and sand hazards out there so that you can enjoy yourself. Once I was playing with Harvey Penick and my dad at the Greenbrier Golf Club in Moody, Texas, near my home in Crawford, Texas. Dad flubbed his tee shot on the first tee and Mr. Penick refused to give him a mulligan. Dad got so upset that he threw his club. The club whizzed by my head and flew up into the trees but it didn’t come down. Dad ordered Charlie, one of the secret service agents to climb up into the tree and get it. When Charlie had it he called down to my dad, ‘George what club were you playing?’” “Two years ago we sent a soldier Pfc. Steven D. Green to Iraq. Steven is in the gallery with his family. Steven would you stand please? (lengthy applause). Steven wasn’t feeling well. To his credit Steven sought help from an American army combat stress team in Iraq on December 21, 2005. Steven told the psychiatrists that he was angry about the war, desperate to avenge the deaths and maiming of his comrades, and he felt driven to kill Iraqi citizens. The team found that Steven was suffering from “homicidal ideations”. They gave him several small doses of Seroquel to regulate his mood, and told him to get some sleep, and sent him back into battle.” “Three months later Pfc. Steven D. Green and a few of his pals, including Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, 23, of Huffman, Texas, were hitting golf balls at a checkpoint. Steven was having an extremely hard time drawing his two iron due to the sandy conditions. We aren’t talking 12 on the Stimpmeter Bermuda grass fairways here. Plus the wind was howling and the sand was blowing into his face. All of this pushed Pfc. Steven D. Green right over the edge. He convinced his pals then and there to have a few swigs of whiskey, put on ski masks, go to a nearby Iraqi home, shoot the father, mother and five year old daughter to death, rape the 14 year old daughter, kill her, set her body on fire with kerosene and burn the house down.” “Pfc. Steven D. Green and his golfing buddies are scheduled to go on trial soon in Kentucky and the prosecutor may be seeking the death penalty. In the book of Exodus Moses was in the desert tending his sheep when he saw a burning bush. The burning bush told Moses that it was God and that Moses should go and tell the Pharaoh that he was taking all of the Jewish people and leaving slavery in Egypt. The Lord was pardoning the Jewish people from their imprisonment in Egypt. The Lord had an exit strategy which he told to Moses. Moses said to the Lord, ‘When I tell this to my people they are going to say that I am insane. What should I say that your name is?’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell them that my name is “I Am Who I Am.” Moses said, “What kind of a name is that? I Am Who I Am. Who are you, a bush? I’m supposed to tell my people that a bush named “I Am” is going to lead us out of Egypt? Are you insane? They’re going to give me electro shock therapy like the Viet Cong gave John McCain. Forget it. Go find someone else.” “I am now announcing that I Am giving full pardons to Pfc. Steven D. Green, Pfc. Bryan L. Howard and all of those involved. This morning I spoke with the leading sports psychologist in the world, Dr. Robert Rotella. He told me and I agree that had the army combat stress team given Pfc. Steven D. Green a few simple golf visualization and meditative techniques this unfortunate incident would never have happened. Dr. Rotella has assembled a team of 10 golf sports psychologists to send to Iraq so that outbursts like this do not happen in the future. Thank you and may God Bless you all and especially the men and women of the armed sevices of the United States of America.”'

De Nuance van de NRC 65


Gisteren publiceerde de NRC een artikel van de reactionaire Israelische journalist Shmuel Rosner, waarin hij zonder feiten te geven Iran 'expansionisme' verwijt. Deze hetze is geheel in lijn met de ideologische kijk op het Midden Oosten van de NRC-redactrice Carolien Roelants. Daarbij is Iran het rijk van het kwaad en Israel het rijk van het goede.
Een veel genuanceerder beeld geven Amerikaanse (en zelfs Israelische) deskundigen als Phyllis Bennis, fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, die algemeen beschouwd wordt als een van de best ingevoerde geleerden op het gebied van het Midden Oosten. Haar onlangs verschenen boek Understanding the US-Iran crisis. A Primer wordt door Seymour Hersh van The New Yorker als volgt gekwalificeerd: 'This important analysis deals with the facts - and not the deception and fear-mongering - of the Bush administration's verbal, thus far, war against Iran. Can anyone read this book and stil support an attack on Iran?' Een goede vraag, die u eens aan Carolien Roelants van de slijpsteen voor de geest zou moeten voorleggen. Op mij reageert ze niet, misschien wel op u.

Overigens kreeg ik net dit bericht:

'The US elections and the Middle East crisis: a prospect for change?
Public lecture
DATE: Thursday 6 November 2008
VENUE: ABC Treehouse, Voetboogstraat 11, Amsterdam
door open 20h00, start 20h30
Free admission
English spoken

The world is anxiously waiting to see who will be the next US president
and what will be the new administration's foreign policy. Will the
occupation of Iraq continue? Will there be a turn away from the current
policy towards Iran or will the aggressive threats escalate?
Just a day after the election results emerge, Phyllis Bennis, a veteran
analyst of US foreign policy, will examine the history of the current
U.S. wars and crises, and assess the prospects for change that may - or
may not - open with the arrival of the new administration.
Bennis has just published new primers on the Iraq war and the US-Iran
crisis. Written in an easy-to-read "frequently asked questions" format,
ENDING THE IRAQ WAR discusses the issues that have determined the course
of the war, and provides a set of strategies for ending the US-led
occupation and allowing Iraqis to reclaim their own country to build
their own peace in Iraq and the region. UNDERSTANDING THE US-IRAN
CRISIS: A PRIMER examines the history of U.S.-Iran relations, and calls
for replacing the current U.S. policy of aggression toward Iran with
alternative strategies for defusing the crisis.

Both just-published books are for sale at the venue!
Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in
Washington, D.C. and the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She is a
long-time analyst of U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly
regarding the Iraq war and Israel-Palestine conflict. She is the author
of another book in this series, UNDERSTANDING THE PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI
CONFLICT: A PRIMER.
For more information, contact Andrea Sturkenboom
andrea[at]tni.org or Call +31 (0)20 662 66 08'
En nu kijken of de krant die de nuance zoekt een tegenstem laat horen. De pro-Israel lobby hebben we gehoord, nu nog de andere kant. Zo hoort dat in een democratie. Na de fictie de feiten.

Nederland en Afghanistan 180


'World will tremble if Pakistan falls
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI)
Oct 21, 2008

The global financial crisis is close to knocking out its most important and potentially most dangerous victim yet: Pakistan needs a financial support package of $10 billion to $15 billion to avoid collapse.
The stakes could not be higher: With a rapidly increasing population of more than 150 million -- larger than that of Russia -- Pakistan is also the world's only Muslim nuclear power. But since the fall of President Pervez Musharraf earlier this year, the bitter regional, social and religious disputes that have been building for decades have exploded in public. The current government of pro-American President Asif Ali Zardari is struggling to maintain any effective presence at all in the vast North-West Frontier Province, which covers one-quarter of the country.
If the government in Islamabad goes bankrupt, then the extreme Islamist forces spearheaded by the Taliban of Afghanistan, who already enjoy broad support among the Pashtun tribes of the NWFP, will have a far greater chance to turn the great cities of Pakistan, especially giant Karachi, into chaos.
As American military analyst and UPI columnist William S. Lind has warned, Fourth Generation war -- 4GW -- non-state forces like al-Qaida benefit from undermining the structures of established states and can metastasize rapidly if a state structure collapses, especially in a vast nation like Pakistan.
The Taliban and their fellow Islamists, aided by al-Qaida, already have stepped up their guerrilla operations against the Pakistani army and police.
On top of all this, Pakistan is now on the verge of default. It needs $3 billion within a month to maintain its debt service schedule and $10 billion over two years. This seems peanuts compared with figures thrown around in the United States recently. The U.S. Congress approved a $700 billion bailout, and critics charged that even this huge sum would prove to be insufficient to restore investor confidence.
Precisely because major governments around the world feel under pressure, however, Pakistan is currently struggling to get a financial support package put together. Pakistani officials are meeting International Monetary Fund representatives in Dubai Tuesday to craft a rescue -- they hope.
But there have been some ominous signs: Apparently traditional supporters of Pakistan -- China and Saudi Arabia -- have shown no willingness to step up to the plate. Ironically, they are two of the handful of nations that do, in fact, have enormous financial reserves. But the plunging global oil price has spooked the Saudis, and the Chinese know their economic stability is dependent on the U.S. economy staying afloat and continuing to provide them with their most important export market.
Overall the Pakistani economy is in a desperate state, and the causes are long term, structural and not at all conducive to any "quick fix": The new Zardari government in Islamabad has inherited high inflation, large income inequality and a chronic lack of spending for infrastructure and education.
The caution and preoccupations of other countries around the world, however, do not diminish the threat to global and regional peace if Pakistan should default. The Zardari government -- already unpopular with the Islamists, the urban poor and its own military establishment, especially the officers of the Inter-Service Intelligence agency -- could hardly survive such a catastrophe. And if the Zardari government fell, the impact on regional stability would be dire.'

De Israelische Terreur 455


Omar Barghouti stuurde me dit:


'Jewish fundamentalism of the most fanatic type is systematically dominating in the Israeli army ... the only concern that motivated this Haaretz article and the relative outcry in the state was that such fundamentalism in ths expanded role may offend the sensibilities of the "secular" Jewish soldiers, driving a wedge between the two camps within the Israeli-Jewish establishment!

Forget about non-Jews in the army; they are lesser humans anyway.

Omar

Haaretz 23/10/2008
Israel military rabbi under fire for 'brainwashing' soldiers
By Amos Harel

The Chief Military Rabbinate has recently expanded its educational activities in IDF combat units, and in doing so has entered areas previously served only by the Education Corps. Many commanders accept offers of such programs since the rabbinate pays for these activities, while the units must foot the bill for events run by the Education Corps. The Chief Military Rabbinate's behavior "harms the delicate fabric of relations between the nonreligious and religious in the IDF," a senior officer told Haaretz. "In a number of cases it is religious brainwashing and, indirectly, also political [brainwashing]," said the officer. IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, ordered an investigation of the matter this week and requested to redraw the "borders" between the rabbinate and Education Corps. The Military Rabbinate has been conducting such programs for years but has greatly stepped up its activities during the past year. One of the main reasons is economic: Non-profit organizations and religious citizens have been contributing money via Libi - The Fund for Strengthening Israel's Defense. The contributions are earmarked for specific purposes, in this case the rabbinate's educational activities. The sums are significant, and give the rabbinate an advantage over the Education Corps. Most of the controversial activities are organized by the "Jewish Awareness Department" in the Military Rabbinate, headed by Lt. Col. Zadok (Duki) Ben-Artzi, a former Air Force navigator who became religiously observant. The unit was established in the days of former IDF Chief Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Yisrael Weiss, and was called the "Combat Values branch." However, after Haaretz reported on the activities of the unit in 2001, its name was changed to Jewish Awareness and the IDF announced it would supervise the unit's activities more closely. Now, it turns out, that its programs have expanded greatly under the command of the present IDF Chief Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rabbi Avichai Ronski, who assumed his position in 2006. The slogan for the programs is "Jewish awareness for a victorious IDF." Ben-Artzi describes his goal as "strengthening the combat spirit and [sense of] mission in military service." Ben-Artzi operates a telephone call center for units and offers services that are clearly under the purview of the Education Corps, such as programs and information on historic battles of the IDF and learning about the land of Israel. The unit offers to organize activities and programs "based on biblical sources, appropriate for all soldiers and commanders, also for those who do not come from a religious background," states one of its brochures. "The Jewish Awareness unit specializes in organizing the activities from start to finish," it states. The unit circulates a number of publications, including a booklet for "commanders from a Jewish viewpoint," and one for combat soldiers "to strengthen their spirit before battle." The unit also offers advice and help in writing and updating materials for courses, including integrating programs and materials on Jewish awareness in the courses. It also offers seminars and conferences all over the country. In particular, it hosts IDF units weekends and, the jewel in the crown, a Shabbat in Jerusalem. The free weekend is something which the Education Corps cannot compete with. It operates these weekends in close coordination with the right wing Elad non-profit organization, which works to expand Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and, in particular, in the village of Silwan.'

De Nuance van de NRC 64


Gisteren publiceerde de NRC een artikel van de zionistische journalist Shmuel Rosner die een oproep deed om Israel en de propaganda van de pro-Israel lobby 'minder zichtbaar in het nieuws' te maken, omdat 'De hoge zichtbaarheidsgraad tijdens iedere verkiezingscyclus, de overweldigende aandacht - het is allemaal niet echt in Israels belang.' Het is een opmerkelijke oproep in een krant die zich de slijpsteen voor de geest noemt. Openheid en transparantie zouden moeten worden toegejuichd in een parlementaire democratie, en niet moet worden bestreden door journalisten die zich democratisch noemen. Maar nee dus. Dat geldt niet voor de NRC. Speciaal voor de lezers die wel voor democratische controle zijn, het volgende artikel:

'Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US PowerReview of James Petras' book

By Stephen Lendman
October 22, 2008 - "Global Research"
James Petras is Binghamton University Professor Emeritus of Sociology. His credentials and achievements are long and impressive as a noted academic figure on the left. A well-respected Latin American expert, and a longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles.He's also a prolific author of hundreds of articles and dozens of books, including his latest titled "Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power" and subject of this review. It follows from his earlier 2006 book: "The Power of Israel in the United States" that documented the Israeli Lobby's enormous influence over US Middle East policy and its destructive effects.Petras continues the story in his latest book. Asks is Israel good for America, and responds by exposing and critiquing American Zionism. Its powerfully destructive influence. Its stranglehold on US politics, academia, the media, clergy, and over all segments of society voicing dissent. He debunks the notion that the Israeli Lobby is like all others and provides convincing evidence of its influence and veto power over war and peace, trade and investment, multi-billion dollar arms sales, and all Middle East policy issues under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.Every Petras book is important. So is this one at a time the most powerful Washington Lobby is assured that a new administration will continue and expand the current "Global Wars on Terrorism." Petras explains the dangers. The current disastrous foreign adventurism. America's economic decline as a result, and the calamitous global fallout overall. High-level officials won't read this book, but they should. To realize the dangers of their destructive policies. How they threaten the republic's survival and are heading the nation for insolvency and ruin.Part I - Zionism and US MilitarismHow Zionist Power Promotes US Middle East WarsPretexts for invading and occupying Iraq went from:-- WMDs; -- to removing a dangerous dictator;-- to establishing democracy in the Arab world;-- to preventing a civil war;-- to needing a colonial military victory to retain our global superpower status;-- to reassuring regional regimes they can rely on us for protection; and-- to proving America can fight and defeat "terrorism."However, the longer the conflict continues (as well as the Afghan one), the less credibility any argument holds. The more likely an occupied people will grow more restive and reassertive. A similar likelihood that popular resistance will grow throughout the Middle East, Eurasia and elsewhere. The greater the economic and political cost. The less able a depleted military will be able to sustain foreign wars, and less willing the US public will put up with them. Yet they continue, and explanations why crop up as follows:(A) A War for Oil with arguments ranging from:(1) Big Oil wanted it;(2) the White House acted reflexively on its behalf; to(3) the urgency to secure the region's oil that Saddam Hussein threatened.Petras responds that these explanations "fail several empirical tests:"(1) Big Oil opposed the war and wants peace and stability instead;(2) the oil giants tried to establish economic ties with Iraq before the invasion; they want and are denied the same arrangement with Iran and all other oil producing countries;(3) they prefer gaining new markets and business economically and by building good relationships with host countries; not a single Big Oil CEO favored war and occupation; and(4) "windfall profits" haven't materialized as benefits accruing from occupation; lucrative contracts to develop Iraqi oil aren't arranged; and the country is too violent to warrant serious investments to do it, except in the Kurdish north.Still, war was declared. The occupation continues. The political and economic costs are enormous. Big Oil has been a loser, not a winner, and the evidence shows that the powerful Israeli Lobby trumped any opposition the oil giants could pose to match it.Petras refers to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPT). Its influence over the administration and Congress. Its tentacles spanning the country at the grassroots. Its control of the media, academia, the clergy, and important professional elements in the population. Its "slavish obedience to official Israeli policy" even when US interests are harmed. Its threat to US democratic freedoms, and the fact that anyone daring to confront Israeli policy becomes a target to be intimidated, blackmailed, smeared, pressured, and removed from positions of authority.'

General Smedley Butler



'War Cover-up
Top U.S. General on Cover-up of Forces Behind War http://www.wanttoknow.info/warcoverup

That war is a racket has been told us by many, but rarely by one of this stature. Though he wrote the landmark book War is a Racket in 1935, the highly decorated U.S. General Smedley Butler (two Congressional Medals of
Honor) deserves to be heralded for this timeless message, which rings true today more than ever. Below is an engaging two-page summary.

WAR IS A RACKET – by General Smedley Butler

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. In the World War [World War I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted huge gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows. [Please note these are 1935 U.S. dollars. To adjust for inflation, multiply all figures X 10 or more]
WHO MAKES THE PROFITS?
The World War cost the United States some $52 billion. That means $400 [over $4,000 in today's dollars] to every American man, woman, and child.
The normal yearly profits of a business concern in the U.S. are 6 to 12%.
But war-time profits, that is another matter – 60, 100, 300, and even 1,800% – the sky is the limit. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it. Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump, leap, and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.
Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people. The average pre-war earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6 million a year. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years,
1914 to 1918. $58 million a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950%.
Take one of our steel companies. Their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged
$6 million. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump? Well, their
1914-1918 average was $49 million a year! Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105 million a year. Then along came the war and up went the profits.
The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240 million. Not bad.
They sold your Uncle Sam 20 million mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!
There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting, even if there were no mosquitoes in France. When the war was over some 4 million sets of equipment – knapsacks and the things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them.
If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. Their profits were as secret as they were immense.
How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public – even before a Senate investigatory body. It has been estimated that the war cost your Uncle Sam
$52 billion [X 10 or more for inflation]. Of this sum, $39 billion was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16 billion in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way.
This $16 billion profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum.
And it went to a very few.
WHO PAYS THE BILLS?
Who provides these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill. If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, I visited 18 government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation 18 years ago. Mortality among veterans is three times as great as those who stayed at home.
Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the offices, factories, and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded. They were made to "about face," to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put through mass psychology and entirely changed. We trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed. Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face!" This time they had to do their own readjustment. We didn't need them any more. Many of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.
Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that their ships might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."
HOW TO SMASH THIS RACKET!
Well, it's a racket, all right. A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket: 1) We must take the profit out of war; 2) We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war; and 3) We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.
I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war. Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany. In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly? Money.
An allied commission came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group: "There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars. If we lose (and without the help of the US we must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money. So..."
Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, America never would have entered the war. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off, they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars." Very little has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars. Disarmament conferences don't mean a thing. At all these conferences, lurking in the background are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not seriously limit armaments. So...I say, TO HELL WITH WAR!'