Friday, November 4, 2011

The Annointed One; The Chosen One; The Kenyan Kandidate

Y'all should venture into the world of Black intellectuals - specifically The Black Commentator

One of that brilliant weekly e-zines weekly contributors wrote a piece entitled "Barack Obama is no black man"

Another of its weekly contributors posed this question to me: "What 27-year old man shows up in the City of Chicago, gets a million plus dollar job in a law firm, gets to teach at the U of C, marries into one of Chicago's more prominent black families (the most prominent one with a marriage-aged daughter readily available), gets picked to run for the Illinois State Senate, gets to deliver the key note address at the 2004 Democratic National convention?"

Who ever heard of this guy before? Where did he come from? HE WAS THE ANNOITED ONE, THE CHOSEN ONE, AND THE CHOOSING WAS DONE LONG, LONG, TIME AGO.

Hiding in plain sight, really, until you think about it.

Interesting parentage: Harvard-educated Kenyan father,
Lily-white mother
Is it even barely possible
that at some time in the not so distant past
one of the Harvard-educated (an oxymoron, to be sure)
CIA operatives hit upon a plan
A plan for a "post-racial" America
Led by the face of a person of colour
And while that face would be a thing of beauty
And his brain could be trained to mouth all the right platitudes
With the conviction of a black Baptist Minister
Awash with the Holy Spirit

Who could have hatched such a plan?
All random, the events as they transpired, so you say
So you think
But I say
"Henry Kissinger"
He, the "good Kraut" (the war criminal who dares not set foot
on the soil of many nations of this earth, for he would risk
immediate arrest and deportation to the Hague, where he would
be tried as a war criminal, and could look forward to a guilty
convinction, and the spending of the measure of his days
in solitary confinement

Yes, Henry Kissinger could have conceived just such a plan

James Baker III, who effectively operated at POTUS from the
moment Ronald Reagan was shot ... Baker would have seen
immediately just how much America loves an actor - although
for the Gipper, it might merely have been that they loved
his avuncular ways (having forgotten, or perhaps never known
that he was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party --
Only in America

Who showed unto "the powers that be"
The corporate and wealth elites of this nations
and their lap dogs, permitted to sit and eat from the same table -
the media elites (who tend not to make anywhere near the money
(and the academic elites - who assuredly do not make anywhere near the money
But, in fact are absolutely essential cogs in the machine
The machine the grinds up and spits out human beings
But keeps the $$$GRAVY TRAIN$$$ rollin' in green
Although limits the stops that train makes
To destinations only of certain zip codes
and even within those certain zip codes
only to MUCH smaller neighborhoods

To have a pleasing face
On a President of the United States
Who could read his lines
And hit his marks
THAT - is corporate America's wet dream
And THAT is precisely what they's got
AND precisely what they'll get again and again and again and again

UNLESS - as I do surely believe
The system is so god-damned broke that it is beyond all repair
While the world waits
To watch and see
If America (the American Material Way of Life)
Ends not with a bang (it is to be feared that we WILL go down, gunz a blazin'
but with a whimper (we will go down, gunz a blazin' all the while askin'


Ask the wrong question
And you will get the wrong answer
Time after time after time after time after time after time after time after time ...

Ramsey Clar, writing in the 1990's:

There have never been people at any time in history who so clearly and abundantly possessed the potential to meet all of their problems and provide for all of their needs as do Americans today. We do not release half the energies of our people. Through technology we can build new cities – clean, ample and beautiful. We can educate, employ and fulfill all of our people. Tragically neglected processes of criminal justice can enlarge both security for society and liberty for the individual. We can find justice. The question is one of will.

It is the crimes of poor and powerless people that most enrage and frighten the affluent, comfortable and advantaged majority. Riots, muggings, robbery and rape are loathsome not only because they are inherently irrational and inhuman, but because they and their causes are so foreign to the experience of people with power that they are incomprehensible. It is the inhumane and irrational condition of the poor that finally causes some among them to commit crimes.

Society cannot hope to control violent and irrational antisocial conduct while cunning predatory crime by people in power continues unabated. Any nation that wishes to prevent crime must be conscious of the whole range of criminal activity.

White collar crime is the most corrosive of all crimes. The trusted prove untrustworthy; the advantaged, dishonest. It shows the capability of people with better opportunities for creating a decent life for themselves to take property belonging to others. As no other crime, it questions our moral fiber.

When police crime occurs, it too brutalizes. Where police protection is purchased, it corrupts. Anyone who experiences such things or believes that they happen will have little confidence in the law or its enforcement. Where can he turn? If he lives in a world of brutality he will be brutal. If he lives in a world of corruption, he will be corrupt. Police, however professional, can never hold the respect of the people when they must endeavor to enforce laws the public will not obey.

Of the many faces of crime, the most tragic is never recognized by many. Millions fall victim to the cruelest of all crimes which takes its toll in miserable, empty and wasted lives. It is the crime of power over impotence – the crime of a society that does not insure equal protection under the laws. It is a crime against people who have no rights – the crime of a society which seeks to maintain order without law. From it grows most crime of violence and much property crime.

If the law is to be enforced – and rights fulfilled for the poor – we must end poverty. Until we do, there will be no protection under the law. To permit conditions that breed antisocial conduct to continue is our greatest crime. We pay dearly for it.

Question for y'all:

Is there any relevance today in what Clark wrote then?

Is America still a land with an abundance of physical / mineral resources?

Are we nation of forgivers?

Of people who lift up those who need uplifting - the hungry? the poor? the homeless? the widow? the orphan? the pregnant teen-aged mother? the single working mother of three or more children? do we visit the prisoner? do we provide our prisoners with something to do upon release that might give them the hope of fitting into and becoming a productive member of society? do we educate ALL of our children, and not just the sons and the daughters of the incurably well off and wealthy and the comfortably well off living for the most part in those lily white (with a scattering of Asian, East Indian, and Middle-Eastern families who have risked everything coming to America to make money - because for some - and ESPECIALLY THE WELL-EDUCATED, this is a land where money can be made; where if your business fails, you can reinvent yourself, file for bankruptcy and start another one, where the law enforcement agents are paid sufficiently well that they need not resort to petty bribery to feed their families (trust me, my Muslim brothers ALL love being in this country and not having to deal with such petty corruptions - they call it the greatest country on earty - I am not so optimistic.

Commie pinkos - forever screaming "Imperialist Empire Builders - destroyers of cultures and societies!

Published on Thursday, November 3, 2011 by
The News of Empire
by Robert C. Koehler

“Mr. Obama and his senior national security advisers have sought to reassure allies and answer critics, including many Republicans, that the United States will not abandon its commitments in the Persian Gulf even as it winds down the war in Iraq and looks ahead to doing the same in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”

I pluck a paragraph from the New York Times and for an instant I’m possessed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, aquiver with puzzlement down to my deepest sensibilities. I hold you here, root and all, little paragraph. But if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what empire is, and hubris . . . and maybe even, by its striking absence, democracy.

The paragraph contains the careful verbiage of exclusion, which is the only language in which the geopolitical powers that be are able to communicate.

The paragraph, one of many that could have been plucked for study and put under the microscope of outrage, is from a story just before Halloween, by Thom Shanker and Steven Lee Myers, informing us that, while the United States will be pulling troops out of Iraq at the end of the year, the regional war is anything but over: The U.S. military will be massing troops in Kuwait, sending more warships to the region and tightening its military alliance with the six nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain), in order to develop “a new security architecture” in the Gulf and establish its “post-Iraq footprint.”

Or in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region.” And this, she explains, “is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region,” which we care about because it “holds such promise” — oh God, the compassion is killing me — “and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy.”

What’s striking, first of all, is that the “news” is presented to us, under the guise of objective reporting, as a fait accompli: Our supreme leaders have the following plans, the cursory details of which they are nice enough to let us in on.

There is no countertide present in reporting that emanates from the national defense beat — no acknowledgement of a rising national disgust at war or our enormous military failures of the past decade, which the plans the Times story outlines merely continue. There’s no acknowledgment even of obvious contradictions or hypocrisies, such as the fact that our presence in the Gulf arguably constitutes the very “outside interference” from which, according to Clinton, the region should be freed.

And certainly there isn’t the least irreverence: no suggestion, for instance, that we have an interest in this oil-rich region beyond a deep love for the people and their democratic aspirations; or that our partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council are autocrats who brutally repress dissent and, ahem, democracy.

The story reads, instead, like interlocking blocks of propaganda dropped into place, not so much disseminating information as protecting the security state planners from questions and challenges. This is the news of empire.

Note that when the story does acknowledge critics, those critics are Republicans, that is to say, empire fanatics as opposed to empire moderates, thus implying that the only reasonable question our post-Iraq footprint raises is whether we should be “post-Iraq” at all. “. . . American military officers and diplomats, as well as officials of several countries in the region, worry that the withdrawal could leave instability or worse in its wake.”

This much should be clear: War is a given. Got it?

And war could follow more than one trajectory. If there’s a “security collapse” in Iraq, our troops in Kuwait could quickly redeploy to the country we’ve already destroyed. But those same troops could also respond to “a military confrontation with Iran.”

Perhaps the most telling quote in the Times story was from Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. With the United States out of Iraq, a regional alliance is necessary because, he said, “Now the game is different.”

Yeah, well . . .

The only thing wrong with this comment is that this isn’t a game: not our eight and a half years in Iraq, our decade in Afghanistan or our possible invasion of Iran. Innocent people have died and will continue to die in horrific numbers, toxins will spread, lives will be destroyed. The consequences cannot be contained. They are bleeding now and will continue to bleed into the future. But the Times story affects no awareness of this; it has the depth of a gamer review.

Is there a democracy at either end of the missiles, warships or troop deployments? Suddenly I’m back on the sidewalk with the Occupy movement, which has arisen at last in this era of passive citizenship to confront the embedded helplessness and hopelessness that come with the corporatocracy and its subservient media.

Citizens are standing up to the assumptions of empire. Their numbers are small — for the moment — but their spirit could prove to be irresistible.

© 2011 Tribune News Services
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at or visit his website at

Well, YEAH! DUH!

Published on Thursday, November 3, 2011 by New Scientist
Revealed – The Capitalist Network That Runs the World
by Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie
As protests against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).

"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."

Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world's economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy - whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.

The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.

The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.

Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core's tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. "If one [company] suffers distress," says Glattfelder, "this propagates."

"It's disconcerting to see how connected things really are," agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.

Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), warns that the analysis assumes ownership equates to control, which is not always true. Most company shares are held by fund managers who may or may not control what the companies they part-own actually do. The impact of this on the system's behaviour, he says, requires more analysis.

Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power, the analysis could help make it more stable. By finding the vulnerable aspects of the system, economists can suggest measures to prevent future collapses spreading through the entire economy. Glattfelder says we may need global anti-trust rules, which now exist only at national level, to limit over-connection among TNCs. Sugihara says the analysis suggests one possible solution: firms should be taxed for excess interconnectivity to discourage this risk.

One thing won't chime with some of the protesters' claims: the super-entity is unlikely to be the intentional result of a conspiracy to rule the world. "Such structures are common in nature," says Sugihara.

Newcomers to any network connect preferentially to highly connected members. TNCs buy shares in each other for business reasons, not for world domination. If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, says Dan Braha of NECSI: in similar models, money flows towards the most highly connected members. The Zurich study, says Sugihara, "is strong evidence that simple rules governing TNCs give rise spontaneously to highly connected groups". Or as Braha puts it: "The Occupy Wall Street claim that 1 per cent of people have most of the wealth reflects a logical phase of the self-organising economy."

So, the super-entity may not result from conspiracy. The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.

The top 50 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

* Lehman still existed in the 2007 dataset used

Graphic: The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy

(Data: PLoS One)

© 2011 The New Scientist
Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie write for the New Scientist

Just more boats for the I.D.F. to board and take prisoners from - only that and nothing more

Published on Thursday, November 3, 2011 by
Dawn on the Tahrir, Dawn of the Freedom Waves to Gaza
by David Heap

It is our first dawn on board the Tahrir in the Mediterranean Sea. Some delegates and journalists are still sleeping, others gradually waking up. The sea got choppy overnight, with equipment crashing off tables and food off counters. This made it hard to sleep at times. The sea looks much rougher than it did as we left the Turkish port of Fethiye, but our captain George says this is pretty normal.

Now that the three TV journalists have uploaded their big files, we have more of our tiny bandwidth for the rest of us to catch up on news. We seem to be having an impact, in media from Egypt and Lebanon, Europe and North America.

The Israeli Occupation Force's spokeswoman Avital Liebovich says they are "prepared" for us, whatever that means. Then again, she is quoted as saying, "Currently they are far from Israel, but they are headed here and they are headed for Gaza." It seems to me like the mighty IOF's navigation tracking is less accurate than they would have us believe: we are of course not heading "there" to Israel -- we have no intention or interest in visiting Israel on this trip, in fact. Our explicit goal is to enter Palestinian territoral waters off Gaza directly from international waters. I have looked at our charted course personally, and it quite deliberately gives Israeli waters a wide berth.

If we do wind up in Israel, it will of course be against our will, as a result of acts of international state piracy. Previous Flotilla participants have been deported from Israel for "illegally entering the country" -- an unintentional irony, given that the only illegal actions in question are state piracy. International solidarity is not illegal. In fact, according to the Red Cross, it should be an obligation.

Whatever they say publicly, Israel is afraid of boats like ours precisely because of the weapons we are not carrying. Unarmed, peaceful international solidarity focuses attention on their crimes, and shows how bogus their claims of "security" really are. What possible "threat" could a boat with 12 people and no arms on board represent to one of the most heavily armed military machines in the world?

This is also the dawn of what we hope will become a new strategy in the international movement to break the blockade of Gaza. Freedom Waves to Gaza seeks to move away from large flotillas which are inherently cumbersome and difficult to keep quiet, towards more agile actions by smaller numbers of boats, leaving from different places at different, less predictable times, thus keeping the blockaders guessing and making the pressure on them more continuous.

For those from a trade union background, the change can be compared to the difference between a single mass picket and a number of smaller flying pickets. Both tactics are appropriate, in different circumstances. The point is not to become fixed on "one right strategy" but rather to be ready to change tactics in response to each situation, and to try to stay unpredictable.

There are, however, some things that don't change: our destination remains freedom for the Palestinians of Gaza, and our course remains the conscience of humanity.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
David Heap is a member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza steering committee and writes today from on board the Tahrir in the eastern Mediterranean.

More from the author of Bathtub Admirals - mandatory reading to understand the US Navy's functioning during the 1980's - 2000's - Jeff Huber

Get Over It Getting Over Over There

1 Nov 2011

by Jeff Huber

The about face happened even faster than I thought it would. Only two Fridays ago young Mr. Obama announced that the last American soldier would leave Iraq by the end of this year.

The last soldier, that is, except for the Marine contingent we’ll leave behind at the embassy/fortress we built in Baghdad. But Marines aren’t in the Army, so they’re not technically soldiers are they? That's why they call them "Marines," isn't it? And the mutant CIA ninjas we’re leaving behind aren’t soldiers either, so they don’t count. And the heavy brigade of Blackwater mobsters we’re leaving behind under the control of State Department clerks, they don’t count as soldiers, either.

Some undetermined number of “advisers” we’ll leave behind even though the Status of Forces Agreement says we can't will be special force types, but lots of them will be Navy SEALs, who aren’t soldiers because they're sailors. Some of the advisers we leave behind will be Army Green Berets, who are soldiers if you want to be a stickler about it. But their operational chain of command goes through the Unified Combatant Command called U.S. Special Operations Command aka USSOCOM (pronounced “U.S. so calm”). But SOCOM (for short) has its own budget just like one of the uniformed services (i.e., Army, Navy, Air Tunes) so it’s kind of a separate uniformed service itself.

SOCOM, even operates under different laws and legislative oversight procedures than the rest of the armed services do, so it can do things that mere mortal soldiers and sailors and Marines can't do. SOCOM is like the CIA in that regard, but the CIA, which isn't part of the Department of Defense at all, operates under a different set of laws and oversights than SOCOM, so that if some dirty deed needs doing that SOCOM doesn't have the legal dope deal to deal with, then the CIA can deal with it instead (and vice versa). In case some totally rat's-fundament-filthy dirty deed needs doing that neither the CIA nor SOCOM can do then it gets done by mercenaries like the Blackwater gunsels we’re leaving behind at the embassy in Baghdad, whose activities overseas aren’t governed by any laws of God or man.

"Fabios of Fortune" can wear
their hair much longer than their
military counterparts are allowed to.
There’s bound to be talk sooner or later, if there isn’t already, about how this system of having three separate dirty deed doing directorates is inefficient and costly, and that we should just pour the SOCOM and CIA appropriations directly into our Blackwater thug budget. That way, not only can our dirty deed doers commit atrocities with impunity; they can pitch national treasure into the wind to their black little hearts' delight.

The counterargument to completely outsourcing our dirty deeds, and it’s a good one, says that if we ax the CIA and SOCOM in favor of commercial thuggery, we’ll eliminate the commercial thugs industry's training program. Pretty soon we won’t have anybody qualified to do dirty deeds for hire, sort of like how we’d soon run out of airline pilots if we shot down military aviation.

But the counter-counter argument says that we can just pay Blackwater to recruit and train goons for us. This counter-counter approach offers several strategic advantages over the present system.

For starters, we ditch the cumbersome requirement to track the money used for training because once we turn it over to Blackwater it falls into a black hole, the same way that we’re now saying the $6.6 billion we thought maybe we left on the seat of a Baghdad bus is “found” because we discovered it was “transferred” to the Central Bank of Iraq. Where that $6.6 billion was transferred from there is irrelevant, by Jupiter; we’ve got a phony-baloney receipt for it and that’s all that counts.

Next, we don’t have to apply the same entrance qualification standards to our Blackwater trainees that we require of our military enlistees. That lets us recruit hoodlums straight from the hood, where they’ll come to us with prior experience of firearms and lethal violence and an innate disdain for law and order.

Best of all, if we recruit criminal ruffians and train them to operate outside the limits of decent restraint from the get-go then we don’t have the problem of reprogramming military and CIA snake snackers, who have been conditioned to pay at least a modicum of attention to legal limits, as they transition to the private sector.

The Senate Armed Services Select Committee
But for the time being we’re stuck with fuddy-duddy CIA and SOCOM, some of whose activities do, in fact, have to endure legislative scrutiny. That’s okay, though. The congressional scrutinizers who scrutinize them get on select scrutiny committees the same way one gets adopted into the Soprano family. You’re the new kid on the block and somebody does you a big favor and gets you on a select committee. They feed you a few dirty secrets and let you approve of things that it isn’t legal for you to approve of, and the next thing you know you’re a bona fide law breaking lawmaker, a made member of the Pentarchy, and you’re knocking back ice-cold shots of Stoli with Revoltin' John Bolton ringside at the Bada-Bing.

So anything the Pentarchy wants from you you’re pretty much going to approve, just like you won’t ever again put up a fuss about it when a president bypasses Congress completely and starts a war on the authority of his Ambassador to the UN, the way Bombardier Barry started the lollapalooza in Libya.

And don’t worry that something might crop up in the Middle East that SOCO or CIA can’t carry out once the “soldiers” leave Iraq, because the soldiers aren’t going very far. As prominent Pentagon propagandist Tom Shanker of the New York Times announced this past Saturday, the Obama administration plans to replace the soldiers in Iraq with soldiers in Kuwait. This, Shanker tells us, is in case they need to “respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.”

This Shanker cat has got to be
jiving me, man.

Man-oh-Manischewitz. What an irredeemable line of unlimited weight class bull roar. Security in Iraq collapsed in 2003 when we invaded the place and it hasn't recovered to this day. As for a military confrontation with Iran, Iran can’t project land or air power any further than any other country in that region, which is about three miles from its border. The only potential military confrontation we might have with Iran is the one we instigate on the next set of fabricated and unsupported accusations that no one in the three pillars or fourth estate of our failed experiment in government will question because everyone in them is part of the war mob, a mob for which there is no witness protection program because the people who would protect you are the very people you’d be witnessing against.

Our country, fellow citizens, is captive in the clutch of warmongers and the fearful fools who follow them.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.

Jeez LewEASE - call a thing by its real name, and people will thinking us murderers!

NOVEMBER 03, 2011
Murder as an Instrument of Foreign Policy
The CIA as Executioner
President Obama has openly deployed murder as an instrument of foreign policy. Soon after assuming office, Obama authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to plan and execute the murder of terrorists and other enemies, regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens. Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Muammar Gaddafi are the prominent murder victims while numerous others in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, and Pakistan have been purposely targeted and killed. The legitimization of extra-judicial killing is a disturbing development in international law as other nations are certain to follow suit. In pursuit of pre-meditated murders, the collateral damage (the killing of the obviously innocent) has been extensive. The claim that such murders can be executed with electronic precision, though false, serves as an incentive for other nations to develop drones to perpetrate their own surgical assassinations. For now, however, the CIA enjoys the monopoly over drone kills.

Covert Murders

The 1947 National Security Act created the CIA for the purpose of gathering and evaluating information necessary to protect the nation from foreign threats. Right from the beginning, however, the CIA assumed a proactive role in promoting U.S. economic and military interests. In 1948, the CIA was transformed into a paramilitary organization, empowered under law to engage in “propaganda, economic warfare, sabotage, subversion against hostile states through assistance to underground resistance movements and guerillas.” Ever since, the CIA has engineered world events for U.S. hegemony.

The murder policy under the CIA aegis is by no means an Obama invention. Over the decades, the CIA has spearheaded what Vice President Dick Cheney once described as the “dark side” of the United States. Previously, however, the murders were covert, not to be openly admitted. In the 1960s, the CIA planned the murders of “communists who threatened the free world,” including those of Patrice Lumumba of Congo and Fidel Castro of Cuba. Researchers dispute over whether the CIA participated in Che Guevara’s murder. The evidence is mounting, however, that the CIA head in Bolivia had a “prior agreement or understanding with the Bolivians that Che would be killed if captured.” (See Ratner & Smith, Who Killed Che?: How the CIA Got Away with Murder).

Covert murders were planned to shield the President from the attendant foreign policy fallout and the moral discomfort emanating from cold-blooded strategies. Notably, the President chairs the National Security Council (NSC), the supreme body that empowers the CIA to conduct covert operations. In the early decades, intelligence experts instituted the doctrine of plausible deniability under which the facts of a covert operation were reported to the President in a way that he could deny the knowledge of a murder. The words “killing” or “murder” or “assassination” were rarely used in oral and written memos to the President. For example, Che’s murder was reported to President Johnson as a “stupid murder.” Such wink, wink linguistic deceptions allow the President to occupy the high moral ground and deny that the U.S. “murders” foreign enemies or “tortures” detainees. The President’s veil of deniability was considered necessary to safeguard America’s image as “the city on the hill,” “the beacon of liberty,” “the greatest nation in the world,” etc.

Audacity of Murder

Since the 9/11 attacks, the policy logistics of murder have been dramatically transformed. The doctrine of plausible deniability has been discarded. Moral constraints on killing enemies, including heads of states and governments, have been cast away. The notion of the U.S. as a “moral nation” is now viewed as an impediment in the conduct of international relations. The “dark side” freely informs the foreign policy. The audacity of murder has gained depth and momentum. The President does not think twice about the moral implications of boasting a drone kill.

In a major policy shift, the murder has been institutionalized. Now, the NSC may itself approve a pending murder. Remember the President and statutory members of the NSC (including Secretaries of State and Defense and the CIA Director) watching bin Laden’s murder as it was happening. The NSC released the picture for public consumption, implying that watching the murder of a noted enemy is morally acceptable. Imagine barbarism if this practice is writ large in the world. No one would be surprised if the NSC itself has authorized the murder of Anwar Awlaki, a U.S. citizen or if the NSC itself has authorized the drone attack on the Gaddafi motorcade to flush him out for murder in public view.

These and similar international murders are no longer the CIA secrets that the Senate needs to investigate as it did in the 1970s. This time, the fascination with murder has metastasized. It is bipartisan. Except Ron Paul, Republican Presidential candidates endorse the murder of “terrorists” who threaten “our way of life.” (Juxtapose the historical massacres of Indian “savages” who too threatened “our way of life.”). Upon the execution of a successful murder, President Obama walks to the podium to express joy in a causal tone of voice. Many politicians join the happy hours. Congratulations are exchanged. The corporate media invites the public to celebrate the great news. This is the most vivid moral collapse of a nation that brazenly talks about human rights and universal values. The American people cannot choose to be silent. They must restore the nation’s moral dignity.

Ali Khan is professor of law at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas and the author of A Theory of International Terrorism (2006).

So sad, so true

NOVEMBER 03, 2011
A Tale of Three Countries
The US, UNESCO and Palestine
As the international community slowly marches to the inevitable and long-overdue recognition of Palestine, the United States attempts to put on the brakes, slowing the vehicle, perhaps, but certainly not stopping it. The decision by Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to accept the Palestinian request for full membership by an overwhelming vote, is a great step toward UN acceptance. In response, the U.S., once again flouting international opinion and surrendering to the powerful Israeli lobby, cut off funding to Unesco.

It is telling that, despite the warning in advance of the vote that the U.S., which provides 22% of Unesco funding, would withdraw all funding, 107 member nations voted to accept Palestine (14 opposed and 52 abstained). Despite clear international consensus, the U.S. and 13 other nations, including, of course, Israel, attempt to buck the trend. The U.S., nearly bankrupt itself, attempts now to use its financial clout (whatever there may be left of it), to punish the U.N. for this step.

This is not the first time that Unesco has drawn the self- righteous wrath of an angry U.S. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan withdrew the U.S. from Unesco, citing what he called its anti-Americanism, and highly politicized activities. Mr. Reagan said at the time that Unesco had departed from its original mandate. It wasn’t until 2002 that the U.S. condescended to rejoin Unesco, under the watchful eye of President George Bush.

Let us look for a moment at the mandate of Unesco, the organization that now is deprived of 22% of its funding. The following is taken from the Unesco website:

* UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.


* UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

Unfortunately, these do not sound like things the U.S. is particularly interested in.

Reviewing this small portion of the Unesco mandate in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the one that is the basis for the U.S. to withdraw funding, is instructive. What, one might ask, has the U.S. done to ‘create the conditions for dialogue’ between Israel and Palestine? It slaps Israeli on the wrist when that nation announces more construction on disputed land, but quickly backs off and offers nothing but wholehearted support whenever Israel decides to drop bombs on the Gaza Strip.

The U.S., so insistent on assuring that Iraq adheres to any and all U.N. resolutions concerning that nation, is not quite so ardent in seeing that Israel does so. The numerous violations of U.N. resolutions about Israel’s horrific treatment of the Palestinians are overlooked.

As Israel controls all the borders of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, preventing much needed supplies from entering (medical, construction, etc.); destroys reservoirs; bulldozes homes; delays Palestinians at countless checkpoints for endless hours; forces Palestinians to take long, circuitous routes to their own property and places of employment, and generally treats them as they were treated as the Nazi regime grew in strength, the U.S. continues its worthless refrain about ‘negotiations.’

These steps do not seem to be consistent with Unesco’s mandate of contributing “to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue….” Since Israel is the nation violating these goals, the U.S. is happy to withdraw its support of Unesco’s efforts.

The Unesco vote brought this pearl of wisdom from U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice: “Today’s vote to grant Palestinian membership in UNESCO is no substitute for direct negotiations, but it is deeply damaging to UNESCO.” She is right in that the vote is certainly not a substitute for direct negotiations; such negotiations have been, and always will be, a complete waste of time, time that the Palestinians don’t have, as they are born, grow up, grow old and die under a cruel occupation. The vote is a constructive move, one that brought the Palestinians more dignity and prestige than generations of nonsensical negotiations have ever accomplished.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also weighed in, saying that the vote “is premature and undermines the international community’s shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Today’s vote distracts us from our shared goal of direct negotiations that results in a secure Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security.”

Increasingly, the international community is growing impatient with useless attempts by the U.S. to bring about a ‘just and lasting peace in the Middle East.’ The vote today in the U.N. underscores that fact dramatically, even if Mr. Carney seems blind to it. The fantasy of the ‘shared goal of direct negotiations’ is one that appears to be long dismissed by much of the international community; if that were not the case, 107 member nations would not have voted in favor of the Palestinian bid for membership.

Perhaps we can take a moment to look into our crystal ball, and see what comes next for Palestine at the U.N. Their request for member state status in the Security Council will be voted affirmatively by a majority of members, with the U.S. vetoing it, being unable to browbeat sufficient members to vote against it. Israel will breath an ill-timed sigh of relief, as it becomes further isolated, risking, rather than improving, its security. The U.S. Congress can rely on huge donations from the various Israeli lobbies that own them, thus helping to ensure their ability to keep their do-nothing jobs. The U.S. will continue to move toward the pariah status it had in the world during the murderous, deadly regime of President Bush. And the Palestinians will continue, by slow, patient effort, to win recognition, moving from a defeat in the Security Council to a victory in the General Assembly.

The path to independent statehood will not be easy, but the journey has begun, and will not end until a two-state solution is achieved. It will not be the work of the United States that accomplishes this. Israel’s efforts to sabotage this solution will be deadly, but ultimately unsuccessful. Both nations will be marginalized, as more fair-minded nations take the lead, mainly by efforts orchestrated through the United Nations.

The tragedy is not just in the decades during which the Palestinians have suffered; it is not just in the difficult transition that has now begun, that will see more heart-breaking suffering before ultimate victory. It is also in the lost opportunities of both the United States and Israel to seize the moment, act fairly, and work to implement a quick and peaceful outcome to this long, deadly and unfair ordeal. That so much suffering could have been prevented, if only two powerful nations had chosen to do what is right, rather than what is political expedient, is the compounded tragedy of this sad situation.

Robert Fantina is author of ‘Desertion and the American Soldier: 1776–2006

Until Dennis Kucinich calls for impeaching Obummah for war crimes, he's just another feckless DEM

NOVEMBER 03, 2011
Lessons From the Failed Iraq War
War Crime
The Iraq War has been deeply unpopular with most Americans for most of its nearly nine years, so it was heartening to hear that President Obama intends to pull out all our combat troops by year’s end. Nevertheless, after the bloodshed, destruction and unbelievable cost—well over a trillion dollars—we have almost nothing to show for our efforts beyond 4,500 dead U.S troops, many more Iraqi dead, the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and veterans suffering the alphabetical effects of Improvised Explosive Devices and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It turns out that those who opposed the war from its beginning were right: It’s come to an ignoble end. Obama has done his best to spin this, to make it look as though it was his call, but really, he had no choice. This was his Vietnam. We’ve been kicked out. All that’s missing are Iraq embassy workers on the rooftop clinging to a helicopter.

Those who have paid attention to the high-level discussions between Iraq and the U.S. in the last year will recall that as recently as last month, the official U.S. position was that we would be leaving tens of thousands of troops in Iraq to train Iraqi troops and police forces and provide security for diplomatic missions.

But that has not been the position of the Iraqis, who long ago tired of the killing and destruction visited on their cities, businesses, homes and families by U.S. forces, and the atrocities committed by the mercenaries we hired through discredited firms such as Blackwater (now Xe).

The names of the villains that got us into this debacle should go down in history—George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of the coterie of war hawks who nested in the White House during the Bush administration.

Now they should be tried as war criminals.

They cooked the intelligence, and did real and lasting harm to the reputation of the U.S. by having people tortured. And they had people tortured. We ought to be ashamed.

And yet, what have we learned from this so far, or from the ongoing war in Afghanistan?

According to Obama’s new Pentagon chief, former CIA Director Leon Panetta, we’ve learned that killing people with drones and black ops by Special Forces teams is the future of American warfare.

This has to make you wonder about Panetta’s threats that military budget cuts will doom our armed forces. Overall military spending in the U.S. has doubled in the last decade to $700 billion annually. That figure doesn’t include the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Panetta says that cutting that military spending by as little as 7 percent a year over the next ten years—by $50 billion—will cripple our ability to protect the nation.

And whom does Panetta think we should worry about now?


That nation is spending $95 billion a year on its military now–less than a tenth of what we spend when you add in our wars. Panetta says we have to keep spending hundreds of billions of dollars on our military to prepare for the coming Asian threat and “strengthen our presence in the Pacific.”

This is bizarre. We borrow 40 cents of every federal dollar we spend, including on the military, and China is our biggest creditor. So we will presumably borrow even more money from China to further build up our military so it can protect us from…China? Do you remember the scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, when the inmates impersonate the doctors?

Meanwhile, we sell coal, wood and other North American raw materials to China and their huge cargo ships return bearing cheap consumer goods. Our factories are dying while China goes full tilt. We seem to think we’re competing with them by eagerly helping them compete with us.

Meanwhile, our military and diplomatic leaders contend we should keep doing just what we’ve been doing, strutting and blustering.

But there is a good alternative, in which we actually learn something from the Iraq War: that we can no longer invade and occupy other nations. That option would be off the table. We’d cap our armed forces at a million members, stop commissioning new aircraft carriers and reduce staffing at our 800-plus foreign bases. We’d get out of Afghanistan tomorrow. We’d learn peace. And none of that can happen until the Obama administration has the courage to admit that the Iraq War failed.

George Ochenski rattles the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Missoula Independent, where this column originally ran. He lives in Helena, Montana. He can be reached at:

Because Iran WILL fight back and inflict serious damages upon the ethnocracy of the land-grabbing Israeli's - and they fear a fair fight (we too)

NOVEMBER 03, 2011
"Hold Me Back!"
Why Israel Will Not Attack Iran
EVERYBODY KNOWS the scene from school: a small boy quarrels with a bigger boy. “Hold me back!” he shouts to his comrades, “Before I break his bones!”

Our government seems to be behaving in this way. Every day, via all channels, it shouts that it is going, any minute now, to break the bones of Iran.

Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb. We cannot allow this. So we shall bomb them to smithereens.

Binyamin Netanyahu says so in every one of his countless speeches, including his opening speech at the winter session of the Knesset. Ditto Ehud Barak. Every self-respecting commentator (has anyone ever seen a non-self-respecting one?) writes about it. The media amplify the sound and the fury.

“Haaretz” splashed its front page with pictures of the seven most important ministers (the “security septet”) showing three in favor of the attack, four against.

* * *

A GERMAN proverb says: “Revolutions that are announced in advance do not take place.” Same goes for wars.

Nuclear affairs are subject to very strict military censorship. Very very strict indeed.

Yet the censor seems to be smiling benignly. Let the boys, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense (the censor’s ultimate boss) play their games.

The respected former long-serving chief of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, has publicly warned against the attack, describing it as “the most stupid idea” he has ever heard”. He explained that he considers it his duty to warn against it, in view of the plans of Netanyahu and Barak.

On Wednesday, there was a veritable deluge of leaks. Israel tested a missile that can deliver a nuclear bomb more then 5000 km away, beyond you-know-where. And our Air Force has just completed exercises in Sardinia, at a distance larger than you-know-where. And on Thursday, the Home Front Command held training exercises all over Greater Tel Aviv, with sirens screaming away.

All this seems to indicate that the whole hullabaloo is a ploy. Perhaps to frighten and deter the Iranians. Perhaps to push the Americans into more extreme actions. Perhaps coordinated with the Americans in advance. (British sources, too, leaked that the Royal Navy is training to support an American attack on Iran.)

It is an old Israeli tactic to act as if we are going crazy (“The boss has gone mad” is a routine cry in our markets, to suggest that the fruit vendor is selling at a loss.) We shall not listen to the US any more. We shall just bomb and bomb and bomb.

Well, let’s be serious for a moment.

* * *

ISRAEL WILL not attack Iran. Period.

Some may think that I am going out on a limb. Shouldn’t I add at least “probably” or “almost certainly”?

No, I won’t. I shall repeat categorically: Israel Will NOT Attack Iran.

Since the 1956 Suez adventure, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered an ultimatum that stopped the action, Israel has never undertaken any significant military operation without obtaining American consent in advance.

The US is Israel’s only dependable supporter in the world (besides, perhaps, Fiji, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.) To destroy this relationship means cutting our lifeline. To do that, you have to be more than just a little crazy. You have to be raving mad.

Furthermore, Israel cannot fight a war without unlimited American support, because our planes and our bombs come from the US. During a war, we need supplies, spare parts, many sorts of equipment. During the Yom Kippur war, Henry Kissinger had an “air train” supplying us around the clock. And that war would probably look like a picnic compared to a war with Iran.

* * *

LET’S LOOK at the map. That, by the way, is always recommended before starting any war.

The first feature that strikes the eye is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which every third barrel of the worlds seaborne oil supplies flow. Almost the entire output of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iraq and Iran has to run the gauntlet through this narrow sea lane.

“Narrow” is an understatement. The entire width of this waterway is some 35 km (or 20 miles). That’s about the distance from Gaza to Beer Sheva, which was crossed last week by the primitive rockets of the Islamic Jihad.

When the first Israeli plane enters Iranian airspace, the strait will be closed. The Iranian navy has plenty of missile boats, but they will not be needed. Land-based missiles are enough.

The world is already teetering on the verge of an abyss. Little Greece is threatening to fall and take major chunks of the world economy with her. The elimination of almost a fifth of the industrial nations’ supply of oil would lead to a catastrophe hard even to imagine.

To open the strait by force would require a major military operation (including “putting boots on the ground”) that would overshadow all the US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can the US afford that? Can NATO? Israel itself is not in the same league.

* * *

BUT ISRAEL would be very much involved in the action, if only on the receiving end.

In a rare show of unity, all of Israel’s service chiefs, including the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, are publicly opposing the whole idea. We can only guess why.

I don’t know whether the operation is possible at all. Iran is a very large country, about the size of Alaska, the nuclear installations are widely dispersed and largely underground. Even with the special deep penetration bombs provided by the US, the operation may stall the Iranian efforts – such as they are – only for a few months. The price may be too high for such meager results.

Moreover, it is quite certain that with the beginning of a war, missiles will rain down on Israel – not only from Iran, but also from Hizbollah, and perhaps also from Hamas. We have no adequate defense for our towns. The amount of death and destruction would be prohibitive.

Suddenly, the media are full of stories about our three submarines, soon to grow to five, or even six, if the Germans are understanding and generous. It is openly said that these give us the capabilities of a nuclear “second strike”, if Iran uses its (still non-existent) nuclear warheads against us. But the Iranians may also use chemical and other weapons of mass destruction.

Then there is the political price. There are a lot of tensions in the Islamic world. Iran is far from popular in many parts of it. But an Israeli assault on a major Muslim country would instantly unite Sunnis and Shiites, from Egypt and Turkey to Pakistan and beyond. Israel could become a villa in a burning jungle.

* * *

BUT THE talk about the war serves many purposes, including domestic, political ones.

Last Saturday, the social protest movement sprang to life again. After a pause of two months, a mass of people assembled in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. This was quite remarkable, because on that very day rockets were falling on the towns near the Gaza Strip. Until now, in such a situation demonstrations have always been canceled. Security problems trump everything else. Not this time.

Also, many people believed that the euphoria of the Gilad Shalit festival had wiped the protest from the public mind. It didn’t.

By the way, something remarkable has happened: the media, after siding with the protest movement for months, have had a change of heart. Suddenly all of them, including Haaretz, are sticking knives in its back. As if by order, all newspapers wrote the next day that “more than 20,000” took part. Well I was there, and I do have some idea of these things. There were at least 100,000 people there, most of them young. I could hardly move.

The protest has not spent itself, as the media assert. Far from it. But what better means for taking people’s minds off social justice than talk of the “existential danger”?

Moreover, the reforms demanded by the protesters would need money. In view of the worldwide financial crisis, the government strenuously objects to increasing the state budget, for fear of damaging our credit rating.

So where could the money come from? There are only three plausible sources: the settlements (who would dare?), the Orthodox (ditto!) and the huge military budget.

But on the eve of the most crucial war in our history, who would touch the armed forces? We need every shekel to buy more planes, more bombs, more submarines. Schools and hospitals must, alas, wait.

So God bless Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Where would we be without him?

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Tweedle Dumb - Tweedle Dumber - and Tweedle Dumbest - OBUMMAH - biggest war criminal of them all!

NOVEMBER 03, 2011
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Iran
Secrets of the Troika
The recent publication of Dick Cheney’s memoir, In My Time, completes the trilogy of the Bush presidency. The other two members of the war troika have already weighed in with their own contributions to the record. George Bush’s Decision Points and Donald Rumsfeld’s The Known and the Unknown appeared last year. Neither made much of a splash, but Cheney stirred up some dust because, unsurprisingly, he was nastier than the others, particularly to Condoleeza Rice and Barack Obama.

I am surely one of the few readers of CounterPunch to plow through all 1725 pages of the trilogy. This was neither enlightening nor edifying, but neither was it an exercise in intellectual masochism. I read all three volumes with a singular purpose: to see what clarification the troika would provide of a quiet, little known event that occurred a few months after a triumphant Bush declared victory in Iraq in 2003. It received cursory attention from the political class and the media. Then it dropped from view.

In 2003, the Iranian government made a formal diplomatic proposal for direct, comprehensive negotiations about all major issues, grievances, and conflicts that fueled the hostility in their dealings with each other. This was a critical juncture in Iranian-American relations. It offered the possibility of exiting the impasse that began with the overthrow of the Shah and the occupation of the American embassy in 1979.

Bush did not respond to the Iranian offer. Not for the first time in his dealings with the Middle East, he eschewed diplomacy. His decision went unannounced and unexplained. Eight years later, it is still a non-event. Instead, he chose to intensify the long standing policy U.S. policy of vilification, distrust, isolation, sanction, and threat of military attack.

Some may ask, why care, to the point of suffering through three undistinguished memoirs, about a little known decision that changed nothing. It is my contention that the absence of this duet– the Iranian proposal and Bush’s rejection –from political discourse about our relation with Iran distorts public understanding of the ongoing conflict and that this works to the advantage of hardliners in the U.S. government and in the neoconservative policy elite.

Hostility between the United States and Iran is always simmering. The potential for escalation is constant, either because of friction between the U.S., Israel and Iran or because of internal political developments in each nation. In the present climate, war may or may not be imminent but it is definitely not reassuringly improbable. In the last month, the situation has become grimmer and more dangerous because the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador has aroused the war party in the United States and Israel to clamor for armed reprisal.

Because Bush’s decision has had a negative impact on the evolution of our dealings with Iran, it is not a merely academic exercise to review this recent history and to glean enlightenment from the troika’s memoirs about their decision to reject the Iranian negotiation proposal.

In the spring of 2003, the United States was, for a brief moment, riding high in the Middle East. The Baathist regime and the Iraqi army had been dismantled. The Taliban had been driven from Kabul, and al Queda dispersed into Pakistan. The United States was not yet embroiled in the quagmire of the insurgencies to come. The Iraqi Sunni insurrection had not begun, and the Taliban had not yet reorganized to challenge NATO forces. Hamas was not yet voted into power in Gaza. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the linchpins to U.S. hegemony in the region, were stable dictatorships. Israel’s military dominance was unchallenged. Oil was flowing, and the price was to our liking. Mahmud Ahmadinejad was not yet a player.

The position of the Iranians was precarious but not bleak. On the upside, Iran’s hostile neighbors were vanquished. In the west, Saddam Hussein was in hiding. In the east, the Sunni Taliban who had been massacring Shiite Afghanis were swept away. Relations with the United States had been improving; the reformist government of Mohammed Khatami and the Clinton administration had taken symbolic steps toward rapprochement. After the September 11 attacks, Iran supplied the U.S. with intelligence on the Taliban and imprisoned al Queda fighters who retreated into Iran. The U.S. recognized Iran’s cooperation and its strategic importance by including it in the multilateral Bonn conference in December, 2001 which set up the provisional Afghan government and installed Hamid Karzai in its top position.

On the darker side, Iran was now surrounded by combat ready American land forces and by air power projected from bases in central Asia in the north and the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Indian Ocean. Despite Iranian cooperation, Bush displayed the administration’s undiminished hostility by enrolling Iran into the axis of evil in his 2002 State of the Union Address. A pre-emptive strike on Iran was on the policy wish list of neoconservative operatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Eliot Abrams in the Defense and State Departments. Israel was issuing sporadic threats of military attack.

The Iranian leadership could not ignore the possibility that the American troika, then reveling in its power and (temporary) success, might be dreaming of regime change in Tehran. Sizing up its vulnerability, the Khatami government made a bold move. They sent a formal proposal to negotiate through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. The memorandum laid out Iran’s aims: cessation of American hostility; removal of sanctions; a stable, democratic government in Iraq; Iraqi reparations for the 1980-88 war; access to advanced technology; recognition of Iran’s security interests in the region; suppression of violent anti-Iranian Kurdish organizations which the U.S. itself designated as terrorist.

The memorandum explicitly recognized aims of the United States: transparent guarantees that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons; full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency; Iranian action against al Queda and other terrorist groups; support for political stability and non-sectarian democratic institutions in Iraq; termination of material support to Hamas; pressure on Hamas to stop attacks on Israeli territory; acceptance of the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Peace Initiative which included recognition of Israel’s right to exist, endorsement of a two state solution and ending hostilities with a peace treaty. (The actual memorandum is available in Treacherous Alliance by Triti Parsi.)

The Swiss ambassador delivered the memorandum to Colin Powell in the State Department. Because Powell had been marginalized by the war party in the White House, it was also delivered to Karl Rove by a Republican congressman experienced in Iran-U.S. affairs in order to insure that it would reach Bush’s desk. The Swiss foreign ministry vouched for its authenticity. The Bush administration thought likewise. The proposal reflected the Khatami government’s long standing interest in improved relations. It had been endorsed at the highest levels of the Iranian government. Most importantly, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini had signed off on the diplomatic initiative.

This was an extraordinary Iranian gambit. It was a bid for a “grand bargain” that opened up the possibility of important benefits for both parties and also for Israel. But the proposal died a quiet death; U.S.-Iranian relations continued down the road of hostility and impasse. Every issue Iran proposed to address has been festering, or worse, ever since. Ahamadinejad was elected President two years later; Iran set out to develop its nuclear technology on an industrial scale; Hamas stepped up its military activity and provoked Israel into a massive self-injurious counterattack on Gaza.

Amazingly, there was apparently no serious deliberation in the U.S. government about how to respond to Iran. Colin Powell was reportedly dumbfounded by Bush‘s decision to ignore the proposal. His deputy, Lawrence Wilkerson, thought that a positive response was a “no brainer”. In the 2005 Senate confirmation hearing on her appointment as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice testified that she had never seen the memorandum—an astounding admission by the National Security Advisor that she had been shut out by the war troika.

Wanting to understand the rationale of this stealth decision that was unknown even to the Secretary State, I turned to the memoirs of the troika to see what they had to say. The Iranian offer to negotiate isn’t mentioned much less analyzed in the trilogy. The troika doesn’t say a word about why the offer was spurned or why the decision was made without the knowledge and advice of anyone else in the government. Iran appears in their memoirs as a menace, as a rogue state supporting terrorism, as an opportunistic destabilizer in Iraq and Afghanistan, as hell bent on building a nuclear weapon. Not for an instant is it described as an enemy who sought to make peace.

Whether negotiations in 2003 could have had positive and enduring results is an unanswerable question. With hindsight, it is reasonable to imagine that achieving some degree of agreement on the issues Iran put on the table, or even just starting a communicative diplomatic relationship, would have left the U.S. in a better position than it found itself as the years of Bush’s misadventures rolled on.

The troika’s silence buries their reasons for rejecting what they knew to be an authentic proposal. Flush with “victory” and feeling their oats as “Masters of the Middle East”, they may not have given more than a moment’s thought to the decision. Bush, after all, was “the decider” who was wont to make judgments from his gut. Such a mind is easily moved by the self-deception of presidential and nationalistic grandiosity.

There is one rationale that the troika could not express publicly, then or now. It is easy conjecture that they punted because they knew that talking directly with Iran, irrespective of the outcome of negotiations, would undermine pursuit of their superpower fantasies of pre-emptive attack and regime change. An American attack while negotiating with Iran would have been as perfidious as Japan’s sending negotiators to Washington in December, 1941.

So now the U.S. is beleaguered throughout the Middle East and stuck in a tense, fruitless standoff with Iran. In both America and Iran, internal political conflicts, as well Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, are impediments to opening up broad negotiations. Obama and Hilary Clinton are trapped by their tunnel vision to fretting about Iran’s building a nuclear weapon and meddling in Iraqi politics. And they press on with their program of strong arming other countries into economic warfare against Iran, industrial sabotage and assassination.

Bush’s decision has enduring significance not because it is a missed opportunity but because the erasure of this episode from the historical narrative about Iran shapes political discourse and policy debates in which Iran is cast as the Evil Other: unremittingly hostile, nefarious, dangerous, dark, irrational, and fanatical. The parallel with the Soviet Union in cold war ideology is obvious. The fact that Iran raised the possibility of negotiating issues like the recognition of Israel, withdrawing support from Hamas, and agreeing to international supervision of its nuclear industry doesn’t fit into the official narrative. Neither does the fact Bush that turned them down to preserve the possibility of overthrowing the government of Iran. In the official narrative, we are good, they are bad.

Bush’s decision also has an enduring impact on the Iranian narrative regarding its relationship with the United States. It is not lost on those in the Iranian political class who know of Khatami’s gamble for a grand bargain that Bush’s rebuff was the latest entry in the narrative of depredations the United States has visited on Iran.

Courtesy of the United States, the landmarks of modern Iranian history are coup (aka regime change), dictatorship, and war. The narrative opens in 1953 with an American coup crushing its parliamentary democracy, imprisoning an esteemed democratically elected premier (Mohammad Mosaddeq) , and installing a corrupt dictator (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) propped up by a savage police organization and prison system (SAVAK); in 1980, punishing Iran for throwing the Shah out by unleashing Saddam Hussein’s invasion which led to an eight year war and almost a million casualties. And then, in 2003, smacking down a reformist president who tries to start negotiations.

Ahmadinejad will soon be gone. There is no telling what direction Iranian politics will take in the next parliamentary and presidential elections. However, whether greens, or reformists or hardliners prevail, the next regime will govern knowing that the U.S. spurned a serious offer to make peace and pressed on with its hostile campaign against Iran. Even those Iranian political leaders who are inclined to better relations with the United States will need to be wary of American power and will need, as responsible nationalists, to keep Iran strong and well defended.

So long as this episode is expunged from the American rendition of its Iran narrative, rapprochement is probably not in the cards anytime soon. Those who press for American dominance in the Middle East are free to foster fear and loathing of Iran. Unimpeded by historical reality, they are free to construe Iran’s distrust and recalcitrance in its dealings with the U.S. as paranoid, hostile, and duplicitous rather than as a cautious, prudent response to a powerful, dangerous opponent that not so long ago thwarted its effort to find accommodation with western powers.

(Textual sources for this essay are: Triti Parsi, Treacherous Alliance (2006) and journalistic dispatches by Gareth Porter.)

Michael Teitelman lives in New York City. He can be reached at

Our armed forces are better at killing innocent children, women, and old people than any other, save for the Israeli Defense Forces - USA we're #1!

NOVEMBER 03, 2011

Special Ops in Obama-time
U.S. Night Raids Killed Over 1,500 Afghan Civilians in Ten Months

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) killed well over 1,500 civilians in night raids in less than 10 months in 2010 and early 2011, analysis of official statistics on the raids released by the U.S.-NATO command reveals.

That number would make U.S. night raids by far the largest cause of civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan. The report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on civilian casualties in 2010 had said the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by insurgents was the leading cause of civilian deaths, with 904.

Except for a relatively few women and children killed by accident, the civilians who died in the raids were all adult males who were counted as insurgents in press releases and official data released by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The data on night raids, which were given to selected news media, cover three distinct 90-day night raid campaigns from May through July 2010, early August to early November, and mid-November to mid- February. The combined totals for the three periods indicate that a minimum of 2,599 rank and file insurgents were killed and an additional 723 “leaders” killed or captured in raids. Assuming conservatively that one-third of the alleged leaders were killed, the total number of alleged insurgents killed in the raids was 2,844.

SOF night raids during the 10-month period totaled 6,282, according to the same ISAF data.

A third crucial statistic, repeated frequently by U.S and NATO officials in 2010 and 2011, is that shots were fired by SOF units in only 20 percent of night raids.

A U.S. military source who has been briefed on SOF operation confirmed to this writer what has been generally known among outside observers – that anytime shots are fired by SOF troops in a night raid, someone is killed.

If shots were fired in 20 percent of the 6,282 raids, it means that 2,844 were killed in 1,256 raids.

With very rare exceptions, night raids target only individuals rather than groups. They are carried out at night because they are aimed at catching the individual at home asleep and therefore taken completely by surprise.

Therefore, a minimum of 1,588 people (2,844 total killed minus the 1,256 targets in the lethal raids) were killed in the raids even though they weren’t targeted. Not every one of the untargeted individuals killed in night raids was a noncombatant civilian. But the socio-cultural and physical setting of the raids guarantees that the percentage of civilians in that total is extremely high.

Within the Afghan compounds that are the physical targets of U.S. night raids live extended family households that normally include not only the male head of family and his wife, but his brothers, sons and cousins and their families.

In Afghanistan, every adult Pashtun male has a weapon in his home, and is obliged by the ancient code of conduct called “Pashtunwali” to defend his home, his family and his friends against armed intruders. In a typical extended family compound, several males have weapons.

As a result, the non-targeted civilians killed in night raids have invariably been either close relatives or neighbors who have come out to assist against an armed assault.

SOF commanders and the command and staff of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have essentially denied all civilian deaths in night raids, except for women and children, by counting all adult males killed in raids as insurgents.

That ISAF policy has been confirmed to this writer by a U.S. military source briefed on the operational aspects of the raids.

ISAF has counted adult dead in raids as insurgents even when the victims held prominent positions in the Afghan government, as was the case in the Gardez night raid of Feb. 12, 2010.

In that raid, two men who were shot dead in the targeted compound by an SOF unit when they came out of their dwellings with Kalashnikov rifles turned out to have been a district prosecutor and a local police chief. Nevertheless, ISAF reported in its press release on the raid that two insurgents had been killed.

The killing of family members and neighbors who responded to night raids with weapons was already a major issue within the U.S. mission to Afghanistan as early as 2008, according to Matthew Hoh, who was the senior U.S. civilian official in Zabul province in 2009.

“Pashtunwali was causing serious problems for us in the context of night raids,” Hoh told IPS. “It was raised as a key issue in our training even before I went to Afghanistan.”

The problem had become so prevalent by early 2010 that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal referred to it explicitly in his early 2010 directive on night raids, parts of which were released to the public by ISAF Mar. 5, 2010.

McChrystal noted that the Afghan adult male had been “conditioned to respond aggressively in defense of his home and his guests whenever he perceives his home or honor threatened. In a similar situation most of us would do the same.”

McChrystal expressed regret that these “[i]nstinctive responses by an Afghan man to defend his home and family are sometimes interpreted as insurgent acts, with tragic results.” Although a large proportion of those targeted in the estimated 1,256 lethal raids were undoubtedly Taliban insurgents, a very substantial proportion were civilians.

Some were targeted after malicious tips by tribal and personal enemies. Others fell victim to a targeting system that is overwhelmingly dependent on electronic intelligence. Phone calls to a known insurgent are regarded as a basis for adding a cell phone number to the “kill/capture list”.

One detainee picked up in a night raid earlier this year was told by his interrogator that it was because he had made phone calls to an insurgent, this writer learned from a friend of the detainee’s family. Hoh, who was briefed on the list, called the Joint Priority Effects List (JPEL) in 2009, told this writer that a large proportion of the targets on the list were not identifiable individuals at all, but mobile phone numbers.

But in the Pashtun zones of Afghanistan, contacts with Taliban commanders and other Taliban figures are nearly universal, according to Michael Semple, former deputy EU representative in Afghanistan and a leading specialist on the Afghan insurgency.

In addition, SOF commanders have begun consciously targeting individuals who were not believed to be insurgents but who were believed to have provided moral or material support, or to have intelligence information about them.

That targeting shift, acknowledged by military officials to the authors of a recent study by the Open Society Foundations and The Liaison Office, was reflected in an 82-percent increase in the number of people seized in raids and detained briefly during the August- November campaign, compared with the May-July campaign.

Those detainees were also counted as insurgents in the data released to the news media, despite the fact that up to 90 per cent of them were released as civilians within days or months, as IPS reported last June.

Some of those targeted civilians were killed in raids when they appeared to challenge the SOF intruders, adding to the 1,588 non- targeted individuals killed in the raids. However, estimating the additional toll of civilians is impossible.

The ISAF Public Affairs Officer for SOF issues and officials responsible for civilian casualties monitoring at the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan did not respond to requests for comment on this article.

Afghan human rights officials and foreign observers have suggested that fewer civilian deaths have occurred in night raids with the increasing use of the so-called “soft knock”, in which Afghan personnel are used to announce the presence of the raiding party with a loudspeaker before entry into the house.

The toll of civilians in more recent 90-day periods may well have been reduced in 2011 compared with a year earlier, as suggested by smaller numbers of alleged insurgents said to have been killed over the course of the three campaigns.

But night raids clearly remain the overwhelmingly primary – though still unacknowledged – cause of civilian deaths in the war.

Footnote: Official Data on Night Raids ISAF has leaked a set of statistics on insurgents killed in night raids published in major news outlets covering three 90- day campaigns of night raids. In August 2010, ISAF released figures to the Washington Post showing that 1,031 rank and file insurgents had been killed from May through July. In November 2010 the New York Times reported a total of 968 rank and file insurgents killed in the three months from Aug. 11 through Nov. 11.

Reuters reported on Feb. 24, 2011 that 600 people were killed during the 90 days from Nov. 18 to Feb. 18. The figure did not distinguish between rank and file and “leaders”.

Those three subtotals add up to 2,599 killed from May 2010 to mid-February 2011. The Washington Post and New York Times articles also reported 355 and 368 “leaders” killed or captured during the May-July and August-November periods, totaling 723.

An unknown proportion of that total was deliberately assassinated. Nevertheless, it is assumed in estimating the number killed in the raids that the proportion of alleged “leaders” killed to the total killed and captured in the first two campaigns was the same as the proportion of rank and file killed of the total killed and captured: 34 percent of 723, or 245.

The sum of the totals of 2,599 alleged insurgents and 245 alleged “leaders” assumed to have been killed in the raids comes to 2,844.

The total number or SOF night raids can be estimated from officially leaked subtotals of 3,000 from May through July; 1,572 from Aug. 11 to Nov. 11, and 1,710 from Nov. 18 to Feb. 18. Those subtotals add up to 6,282 night raids for the entire 10 months.

I am so grateful to all of you who continue to read this blog despite my sometimes extended periods of absence

This time, my lame excuse is that I couldn't get my computer connected to the internet.

WELL, of COURSE not, fool, you hadn't plugged the cable connecting the modem to the computer back in after you jiggled all the little wire guys and turned off the computer for 10 seconds at a time - wow, modern technology - ain't it the greatest?

Strolling down memory lane, here's a letter I sent to one of my Streator, Illinois classmates from grade school and junior high school days - Peggy (Moore) Horton, on whom, OF COURSE, I had a crush at the time.

Fortunately, she was able to do far better in the life time partner department than with me, and thus is living happily, I am most pleased to report.

Here is my message to her (receiving a message, or an e-mail, or a snail mail from a long time friend, or even acquaintance is a WONEERFUL thrilling gift, the likes of which can hardly be descrbied.

Go ahead, ALL OF YOU, take that chance, and reach out and touch some one you once knew and cared for. PLEASE ... don't do it for me ... do it for THEM .... do it for YOU!

You probably won't remember me, but I sure remember you, always so sweet, and so lovely. It was probably because I was such a Streator Basketball Junkie, and I think it was your brother who played the last year we lived in Streator, school year 1963-64, when my dad, who was the varsity wrestling coach and varsity golf coach took a job teaching mathematics at Barrington consolidated HS in, of course, Barrington, Illinois.

Moving here was mildly traumatic, because dad, in addition to being for a while, the only winning varsity coach at Streator, was also the Golf Professional at Streator Country Club, a full time job in the summer, and full ltime on the weekends in the spring and Fall, so, as a result, he was accorded a decent measure of respect, both amongst his fellow teachers, and from his students (we used to play some basketball with some of the "older" kids - Terry Whalen, for one, and Tony(?) Lazzarius - we being Greg Williams, Bill Cox, and me - the three mouseketters! (And I most surely DO remembe watching the MIckey Mouse Club!

It was heart warming to read your story, meeintg the love of your life at college, getting married, settling into a town smaller than Streator, and the three wonderful children you were blessed with. I was so saddened to learn about your youngest daughter. My mom died this year, July 31, just two days shy of her 80th birthday. I was with her in the car when she had her stroke, but it was the congenitive heart failure that killed her -- she should have been far more diligent in following up on that - she had double pneumonia, and no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get any breath into her lungs. But i was very lucky, because I got to spend the last hour and a half of her life with her - and did we ever have a great time - SHOPPING AT ALDI's, of all things! Racking up $178.00 and change, and getting through the checkout line, bagged, and groceries loaded in less than 7 minutes - laughing like lunatics all the way ...

“Now, mother dearest, explain to me once again why it is we shop at Jewel in Barrington?”

“Oh, yes, of course, because the food is so much more expensive, it is obviously of high quality and nutritional value.”

“And, oh, yes, too, because it takes so long to be processed throught the check out line, get the groceries bagged, and loaded into the car ... that is MOST excellent for helping to teach us PATIENCE!!”

“But, praise the Lord, at least we do not go there simply because of the convenience ... no, no, no no no! That would never do, what with you being a child of the depression and all, and me being the child orf oa child of the depression ... it would be almost as if . ... we never learnt the value of a $$$$$$!!!”

May the Lord's Peace and Blessing always be found in your house, and in your family, and in the lives of all your friends.

Mark Raymond Ganzer

ps - I'm a recording musician now - you can actually hear a couple of my songs on YouTube: (St James Infirmary - sad, melancholy, old tune)

Motherless Child / Freedom - the song Richies improvised to open the concert at Woodstock, in upstate NY in 1969 -- except, whereas my beloved Richie sang it as a hymn of priase and thanksgiving, I take a most 60's perspective, and even more aught's and teens, and make it sound almost a desperate plea -- I have become an extremely political creature and I do not approave of the road my country has been led down, nor do I approve of the leaders who have led us there ...

Oh, I have but one son - and I am so blessed - although my marriage was a disaster (pregnant girl friend and all, at the ripe young age of 33) Adam James Ganzer was and remains the best thing that ever happened for both his mother and for me, and in fact, for our respective families who have come a long, long, long, long way together, and can legitimately say, we have come to love one another -- my son, the youth leader, chatechism teacher, 1st degree black belt in tae kwon do, mixed martial artist, paid drummer for Holy Family Roman Catholic church in Inverness, and he also drums at my parents' church - the Lutheran church of the Atonement, in Barrington. After a terribly rocky academic start - he found his niche around the age o 24, and only spent 3 months in HS, eventually getting his GEDs in all four subjects, including .. .gasp, a 99 in Science (“Adam, how in the world did you do THAT? Science was my 2nd worst subject, behind philosophy?”

“Oh, Markus, it's easy, you just have to watch the Discovery Channel”)

So he trained for and get registered and certified as a phlebotomist, but could only get about 18 hours / week, and so started working part time as a food server at one of the exclusive country clubs in the area (there are many - their numbers are legion), and began making SO mnuch money there that he "retired" from phlebotomy, and works full time as a server ... but he is young ... he'll be 27 on 11-11-11 and the whole world awaits for him to reach out, grasp it and give back to it (all of which he has done and continues to do). sorry about braggin' on my kid - although ... he does NOT return phone calls, and I only see him twice a year, although he lives now with my sister and bother (intentional misspelling) -in-law but a mere 8 miles away ... ah, youth, so much to do and so little time to do it in ... and my, oh my, how quickly it recedes!

Be well.


Monday, October 31, 2011

वे वांट थे वर्ल्ड एंड वे वांट आईटी .... नो!

October 31, 2011
0Draghi at the Central Bank
Is Goldman Sachs Poised to Takeover Europe?

Goldman Sachs is about to take over Europe, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the papers.
On Tuesday, G-Sax alum, Mario Draghi, will take the helm at the European Central Bank replacing retiring ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet. The appointment has slipped by the media virtually unnoticed even though the ECB is the most powerful institution in the EU and is likely to play a critical role in solving the debt crisis.

Draghi was formally a Managing Director at Goldman. He also served as an advisor to the Bank of Italy in 1990, chairman of the Italian Committee for Privatisations, and was an Executive Director of The World Bank from 1984 to 1990. His bio. affirms his globalist pedigree which makes him the perfect candidate to replace the curmudgeonly Trichet who failed to comply with all of Big Finance’s demands. That’s not likely to be the case with Draghi.

The new ECB chief faces the difficult task of trying to pacify Germany while implementing policies that are opposed by the German political class as well as the German people. It won’t be easy, even for a skilled diplomat like Draghi. But Draghi will move forward with his bank-centric agenda, because it may be the last chance to keep the 17-member monetary union from disintegrating.

First, he will lower interest rates by .50 basis pts (from 1.5% to 1.%) at the ECB meeting on November 3 even though headline inflation in the eurozone is presently 3 percent and even though the move is bound to raise eyebrows in Berlin. Then he will announce that the ECB will step up its controversial bond buying program (already 170 billion euros) in order to push yields on soaring Italian debt below 6 percent. The Italian 10-year bond has zoomed to over 6.15 percent since the EU leaders announced their “breakthrough” agreement last Thursday. That means that bondholders do not believe the deal will solve the crisis. Draghi will act quickly to address the situation despite German opposition. Italy has 1.9 trillion euros in debt, 200 billion of which will come-due next year. Rising yields pose an existential threat for the faltering country.

In exchange for ECB support, Draghi will demand that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (Bunga-bunga) push through unpopular reforms that target the unions and pensions. Italy will also be required to privatize more of its public assets and services. At the same time, the bank bailouts will continue mainly through easing new capital requirements and by underwriting bank debt so banks can issue bonds that are guaranteed by the ECB. Here’s the scoop from Bloomberg:

“European banks, which need to refinance more than $1 trillion of debt next year, may struggle to fund themselves until policy makers follow through on a pledge to guarantee their bond sales.

European Union leaders promised this week to “urgently” look at ways to guarantee bank debt in a bid to thaw funding markets frozen by the sovereign debt crisis. Lenders have found it hard to sell bonds for the past two years and have increasingly turned to the European Central Bank for unlimited short-term emergency financing…

In the U.S., the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program allowed banks to issue bonds with backing from the FDIC for as long as three years…

European governments including France, Spain, the U.K. and Germany guaranteed some bonds issued by their banks to reassure investors after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008. In May 2010, the EU ended the program when it said banks that relied on the pledges would face a review of their long-term viability.” (“European Bank Debt-Guarantee Proposals May Struggle to Thaw Funding Market”, Bloomberg)

Guarantees on bank debt is a direct subsidy to big finance, which is why we think that a former G-Sax exec. will support the policy.

Draghi is no fool, he knows that the German plan that was announced last week is more of the same “extend and pretend”. It has no chance of ending the crisis. Regardless of the stock market’s (positive) reaction, borrowing costs are still rising, the credit markets are in turmoil, and the clock is ticking. It’s now or never. Either the ECB takes the initiative and acts as lender of last resort or the eurozone is toast.

50 percent haircuts on Greek debt won’t put Greece on a sustainable growth-path anymore than a $1.4 trillion pile of money will ward off the bond vigilantes. It’s all just more “arranging the dect chairs”. Draghi’s job is to return to first principles, that is, When you are in a hole, stop digging.

The new ECB president is not so obtuse that he will solicit China to support the eurozone either. (Talk about muddled thinking?!?) The eurozone doesn’t need China; it can support itself, and it can do so without its two powerhouse nations being needlessly downgraded because policymakers can’t figure out how the monetary system works. Draghi knows how it works. Paper goes in one end and comes out money on the other. That money makes all the difference in the world. It can boost economic activity, recapitalize underwater financial institutions, and lower borrowing costs.

The central bank’s new approach will put the ECB on a collision course with Germany. This is a clash that can no longer be avoided. Draghi’s job is to save the union for the financial elites who benefit from it. Ultimately, their interests will prevail over Germany’s. You can bet on it.

Naturally, no one cares about the public’s interest. The EU’s working people don’t count.

लैटर तो थे ओनली श्रिंक व्हो एवर हेल्पेद में - डॉ कांस्तान्तिने ब्रून्स PhD

Dear Con:

In the "to be filed re" "You know it's gonna be a bad day when" category, I've been victimized by the "there's no such thing as a free lunch" syndrome. I flat out told Dr. goldman that everytime anyone ever tried to do something nice to me that I never asked for I ended up a resentful victim. So, eight weeks ago he said we'd go to twice mon thly sessions from once every four weeks, but he' only charge me for every other visit. We were going to experiment with the anti-depressant levels to help me find the missing "joie do vivre."

So we doubled the imipramine from 100 mg daily to 200 mg. Coontrary to the instructions, I took my 100 mg in the morning - they kept me awake - or at least I didn't sleep when I took them in the evening. So, two weeks later, I still wasn't at an appropriate (for whom?) energy level, we we increased to 300 mg daily. Then because of circumstances beyond my control, I went about 36 hours wihtout sleep, had to get up early to work my crummy food service job, didn't fall asleep rightaway and then had to wake up to see my shrink and I was slightly wired. The doctor was frightened I was going to have a manic episode so he said to cut back to 200 mg. -- But wait a minute! - I didn't want to go to 300 mg at all. I don't like taking pills, and I had told the doctor this two weeks earlier, although he just pooh poohed it.

Well, my prescription had run out, so I didn't fill it right away. There have been some improvements in the anti-depressants available over the last decade. Ihad no adverse side effects. So, I quit taking them. That's been about a month now. Chances are I'll get preetty squirrely around December / January, but that's not unusual.

So, two weeks ago, I saw the doctor again. He said he just couldn't understand where I was coming from. No, that's not right - he couldn't understand the way Ithink. Well Jesus H Christ! That's not impossible to understand, is it? His reference was shy (now that the pills have straightened me out) I'm not using my talents, etc, etc, doing something more financially meaningful etc, etc. Well, I've already told him:

1) My only sense ofo "power" as pathetic as it might be, and as impotent, derives from being a lowly cleak. This is my only reventge on everyone who would have had me hospitalized or force fed medication. Their assumption was that once I got my mind right (medicated) UI would go back to my "old self." WRONG! Medicating me just makes me medicated, and"

at this point, the gospel ended ... but I have located
somewhere the follow up pages ... which I will publish as soon asI re-located them

Blessings upon you all,

With Love,