30 December 2007

Forging the Market State

The Neoliberal Revolution
Forging the Market State
Edited by: Richard Robison

How did the economic and political ideas we know as 'neo liberalism' amalgamate and become the defining orthodoxy of our times?

In this book, Robison and his contributors explore the seemingly inexorable global spread of market economies and how neo-liberal agendas are accommodated or hijacked in collisions with authoritarian states and populist oligarchies across Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia and China.

At the same time, the book examines how the neo-liberal agenda is driven by shifting conflicts within, from a conflict between the 'rich and the markets' and by the neo-conservative challenge.

It asks about the neo-liberal future. With its inherent distrust of politics and fear of society does neo-liberalism ultimately require an illiberal state defined by techno-managerial rule or does it invariably invite descent into populist social contracts?

What sort of market state do neo-liberals want?
Neo-liberals like James Dorn of the Cato Institute now see democracies as potential threats to liberalism, incubators for the tyranny of a rent-seeking majority over the private interest. He noted that ‘Democratic government is no substitute for the free market...’ (1993: 601). Thus, for neo-liberal ‘true believers’, the ideal market state was one that essentially guaranteed individual property rights and contracts, and that might not be a democratic state.

Link

Related:
The Strange History of Economics
Faith-Based Economics
Economic Indoctrination

Big Brother is watching your Viagra

Pfizer, producer of Viagra, and Purdue Pharma, the privately-held producer of OxyContin, have launched pilot programs tagging these drugs with Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology. Other drug companies are expected to make the switch as well.

"All Viagra that we're producing right now is being tagged with RFID tags," said Pfizer spokeswoman Peggy Staver. "By the end of the first quarter [2006,] I expect all the untagged inventory will have worked its way through the system."

With RFID, drugs in the U.S. can be traced from the manufacturer to the supplier and even to the customer, with the intent of weeding out counterfeits and tracking stolen shipments.

Microchips are installed in drug-bearing pallets so shipments can be traced across the country. In some cases, even the individual bottles are tagged. Bottle-tagging is more expensive, but it means that individual patients, or the thieves who stole their bottles, can be tracked.

There's no shortage of companies involved in the RFID business. Some of the larger players include IBM and Intel Corp, which focus on the connection between transmitters and receivers, and Symbol Technologies and privately-held Alien Technology, which produce the hardware.

There's nothing new about RFID, reportedly used in espionage since the 1940s, and it's already made its way into the retail industry to scrutinize the spending habits of consumers or manage inventory, depending on who you ask. In 2005, retail giant Wal-Mart started mandating RFID-tagging for its top 100 vendors."

Full story

--------------------------------

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.

An RFID tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radiowaves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.

OxyContin
OxyContin is a time release formulation of the narcotic analgesic oxycodone.
An opium based drug or any drug with effects similar to those produced by opium or opium derivatives.

The world’s leading drug producer

In 2007, Afghanistan cultivated 193,000 hectares of opium poppies, an increase of 17% over last year.

The amount of Afghan land used for opium is now larger than the corresponding total for coca cultivation in Latin America (Colombia, Peru and Bolivia combined).

Favourable weather conditions produced opium yields (42.5 kg per hectare) higher than last year (37.0 kg/ha). As a result, in 2007 Afghanistan produced an extraordinary 8,200 tons of opium (34% more than in 2006), becoming practically the exclusive supplier of the world’s deadliest drug (93% of the global opiates market).

Leaving aside 19th century China, that had a population at that time 15 times larger than today’s Afghanistan, no other country in the world has ever produced narcotics on such a deadly scale.







From 8ooo hectares in 2001 as a result of the Taliban’s fatwa (religious ban) against heroin production to 193,000 hectares of opium poppies in 2007.



UN Afghanistan Opium Survey 2007 (PDF)

29 December 2007

Big Sister Is Watching You

This is the only good piece The National Review ever produced:

Big Sister Is Watching You
By Whittaker Chambers 1957

"Several years ago, Miss Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead. Despite a generally poor press, it is said to have sold some four hundred thousand copies. Thus, it became a wonder of the book trade of a kind that publishers dream about after taxes. So Atlas Shrugged had a first printing of one hundred thousand copies. It appears to be slowly climbing the best-seller lists.

The news about this book seems to me to be that any ordinarily sensible head could not possibly take it seriously, and that, apparently, a good many do. Somebody has called it: "Excruciatingly awful." I find it a remarkably silly book.

It is certainly a bumptious one. Its story is preposterous. It reports the final stages of a final conflict (locale: chiefly the United States, some indefinite years hence) between the harried ranks of free enterprise and the "looters." These are proponents of proscriptive taxes, government ownership, labor, etc., etc.

"Miss Rand, as the enemy of any socializing force, calls in a Big Brother of her own contriving to do battle with the other. In the name of free enterprise, therefore, she plumps for a technocratic elite (I find no more inclusive word than technocratic to bracket the industrial-financial-engineering caste she seems to have in mind). "

Continued

(Although it doesn´t seem as such a preposterous story as it might have done in 1957, not after a billion randian think-tanks, bankers, investors and fortune 500 CEO´s made "Atlas Shrugged" their bible and a global reality)

Behind the Spin

The Pakistan Peoples Party rejected government claims that a Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto, as the death toll from rioting rose to 32.

Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander is suspected of plotting the Dec. 27 suicide attack that killed Bhutto, the Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told reporters yesterday. Mehsud denied the claim, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a spokesman.

The government ``is trying to divert the investigations into Bhutto's killing,'' Farhatullah Babar, her spokesman, said in a phone interview today. ``Mehsud had already denied he planned to assassinate Bhutto.''

Benazir Bhutto's spokeswoman Sherry Rehman says she saw a bullet wound in the Pakistani opposition leader's head when she bathed her body after her assassination.

Ms Bhutto's spokeswoman Sherry Rehman, who said she was in the former prime minister's motorcade at the time of the gun and suicide attack on Thursday, rejected Government claims that the death was caused when Ms Bhutto's head hit her sunroof.

"I was actually part of the party which bathed her body before the funeral," said Ms Rehman, who added that her car was used to transport Ms Bhutto to hospital.

"There was a bullet wound I saw that went in from the back of her head and came out the other side.

"We could not even wash her properly because the wound was still seeping. She lost a huge amount of blood,'' she said.

Ms Rehman accused the Government of mounting a cover-up over Ms Bhutto's death.

Bloomberg
News.au
Pakistan: US, Musharraf and the Future of Democracy
Pakistan's flawed and feudal princess

(Today´s buzzword = "Al Qaeda")

28 December 2007

The World's Largest Private Equity Firms

Private Equity International magazine's ranking of the world's largest private equity firms.

The PEI 50 is the first ranking of private equity direct investment programmes by size to use a consistent methodology. Among other findings, Private Equity International has determined that PEI 50 firms have raised $551 billion in private equity direct-investment capital since 2002. Together, the firms have accounted for 75 percent of total private equity deal activity globally.

The top 10 constituent firms in PEI 50's 2007 rankings are as follows:

1. The Carlyle Group
2. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
3. Goldman Sachs Principal Investment Area
4. The Blackstone Group
5. TPG
6. Permira
7. Apax Partners
8. Bain Capital
9. Providence Equity Partners
10. CVC Capital Partners

You may download a five-page PDF brochure, which includes a complete list of the PEI 50, by clicking here.

Related:
Wall St. Way: Smart People Seeking Dumb Money

The Piratization of America

The "piratizers" (as the privatizing lobby has come to be called) are out not merely to grab roads, bridges, and other pieces of the public infrastructure, but also to put corporations in charge of practically all government services.

What we have here is essentially an effort to displace government— removing the public from control of basic aspects of our lives. Among the targets that already are experiencing corporate takeovers:

■ Public schools
■ Hospitals
■ Postal service
■ Pensions
■ Parks
■ Police
■ Military forces
■ Welfare services
■ Child support enforcement
■ Tax collection
■ Courts/juries
■ Environmental protection

Hightower Lowdown

America's Black Budget & Manipulation Of Markets

Scoop
OK. Let me start off with a story. When I became Assistant Secretary of Housing, I left Wall St. and went to Washington in 1989, and I walked into the FHA Jim, which at the time was a $300 billion portfolio of mortgage insurance, about 80% of that was single family. So it’s homes, homes that Americans buy, and it’s sort of broad middle class/lower middle class. And I walked in and I said to the guy who was supposed to be the Controller, and I said I’d like to see our financial statements.

So he delivered to my office about 20 pounds of books all on the budget, and I read it twice, and I called him and said “Look, I’ve read this thing twice – a couple of thousand pages – and I can’t find out how much we are making or losing in the single family fund.

“Well that’s because”, he said, “It’s not in the budget”. And I said, “Well where is it?” And he said, “Well the Accountants have it”. And I said, “Well where can I find them?” And he said, “They report to a different Assistant Secretary, you’re not allowed to speak to them”.

2001 we did an estimate, and it turned out that 85% of the first Bush administration budget [was] going to agencies that weren’t in compliance with the audited financial statements rules and reliable financial systems.

And throughout government in fiscal 1999 thru 2000/2001, there were reports of not only failure to produced audited financial statements, but about $3.4 trillion of undocumentable adjustments. Very, very significant. That works out to about $11,000 per American resident.

Now, when people say to me “What is $3.3 trillion of undocumentable adjustments?”, let me give you an example. In fiscal 2000, the Department of Defense had $2.3 trillion in undocumentable adjustments. OK now, there’s no way for us to know Jim, how much of that translates into cash. ‘Cause $2.3 trillion is more than total taxes paid in a year by … say tax payers in that year would have paid taxes of about $1.6 trillion. So, there’s no way to know if $2.3 trillion translates into how much cash, or how much cash is missing.

What we do know is that under the laws of the Constitution, which say money cannot be spent unless it is appropriated. It is essentially a violation of the Constitution to do that, with one exception. And this is where the black budget comes up. There are provisions under the National Security Act of 1947 and the CIA Act of 1949 for military and military intelligence to crawl money from outside of different agencies’ budgets, and spend it on non-transparent purposes. That’s sometimes why it’s called the “black budget”.

And what I found out both as Assistant Secretary of Housing, and then what I found with my company … and with the group of honest guys kicked out of HUD, was you had an agency whose legal purpose and political purpose was to help finance the mortgage markets, whose mortgage insurance programs were increasingly caught up in financing black budget operations. And this is very much tied to what’s going on in the mortgage markets.

Last year we appropriated $87 billion for Iraq, but the administration has repeatedly says it can’t explain where half of that money is going. It was interesting, one of the top reporters who followed the $3.3 trillion of missing money, I asked him the other day, I said, “Where do you think the $87 billion went to?” And they said, “Well, we think it went to finance the states’ deficits, because they were screaming about the states’ deficits, and then all of a sudden it stopped.”

We’ve had a complete implosion of internal financial controls in the governmental apparatus. $3.3 trillion missing from government is a financial coup-d’etat. You can keep a bubble going as long as you can finance it. And my guess is, again very much credited to Bill Murphy, what we’re watching is a securities operation both with the Federal agencies, the mortgage agencies, and the U.S. Treasury, which are financing a political economy. The money that comes in from those debt operations are being used for other than their lawful purposes.

Here’s the question: If we’re manipulating the gold market, who’s financing that? Who’s financing the money that it costs to manipulate the gold market? Well, if $2.3 trillion is missing in a year, that’s plenty enough to manipulate the gold market and a lot of other markets.

We’re running the economy to centralize wealth. We’re using what I call a negative return on investment Governmental apparatus, both the budget and the credit and regulation, to centralize bank deposits, centralize purchases, centralize investments. We’re centralizing political and economic power. And in the process of that, we’re doing not what I call privatization – privatization is when you transfer government assets to private investors at market price. "Piratization" is when you transfer government assets to private investors at significantly below market prices. So we’re going through the process of using the Governmental apparatus to centralize economic power and wealth in a way that shrinks the total pie. And Greenspan’s job is to put a pretty face on that. And the mortgage bubble’s job, and the U.S. Treasury securities fraud, is to finance that.

I think there are two scenarios. One is the bust, which is this thing keeps going as long as it can be financed by the U.S. governmental apparatus, and at some point, you know, as the Japanese and everyone else says we’re not buying any more of this, we’re not taking more dollars, the thing busts. And when it busts, what you’re going to have is, it’s going to be 1929 but worse. Because in 1929, there was a lot of social capital in America. It was a much kinder, gentler place I think than it is now. And you had many more people that knew how to grow their own food, or knew how to function. So one scenario is the bust.

The other scenario though Jim is the Orwellian scenario, which is we’ve reached a point, and I’ve written many articles about this, where rather than let financial assets adjust, the powers that be now have the control of the economy through the banking system and through the governmental apparatus, they can simply steal more money, keep financial assets, you know whether it’s the stock market pumped up, the derivatives going, or the gold price manipulated down. And they simply liquidate all living things rather than let the economy go bust. In other words, you can adjust to your economy not by letting the value of the stock market or financial assets fall, but you can use warfare and organized crime to liquidate and steal whatever it is you need to keep the game going. And that’s the kind of Orwellian scenario whereby you can basically keep this thing going, but in a way that leads to a highly totalitarian government and economy … corporate feudalism.

Catherine Austin Fitts
, former Assistant Secretary of Housing under President George H.W. Bush Prior to her appointment to the first Bush administration, Ms. Fitts served as Managing Director and Member of the Board of Wall Street investment bank, Dillon, Read & Co. She previously was President of The Hamilton Securities Group.


Full Story


U.S.'s Missing $Trillions Make Mainstream At Last
UQ Wire: What's Up With the Black Budget?
Blowback chronicles
"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld

GAO says government failed yet another financial audit
By Dan Friedman - CongressDaily
December 17, 2007

For the 11th straight year, the federal government failed its financial audit, GAO announced Monday, in a widely anticipated finding that Comptroller General David Walker used to underscore the government's troubled fiscal health.

Just before his address, GAO issued a statement saying it could not express an opinion on the government's fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements, mostly due to the Defense Department's "financial management problems."(Black budget)

Full Story

27 December 2007

Hedge Funds

NYMag:
Isn’t it time you stopped pretending to understand what a hedge fund is? We tell you all you need to know, in plain English.

The Running of the Hedgehogs
Hedge funds are a fad, but they show no evidence of passing—and we are now living in the wildest, most unrestrained financial moment in recent history.

The Smartest, the Meanest, the Best
Ranking the who's who of the hedge-fund elite.

The Significant Others
Who gets to marry a billionaire and where these wives come from.

Why Fees Won't Come Down
Competition, as any economics student will tell you, brings down prices. It works for computers, cell phones, and cars. So why not for hedge funds?
Long-Short Story Short
Alfred Winslow Jones invented what he called a “hedged fund.” The name’s been bastardized, and so has just about everything else about it.

City for Sale
For almost everything in New York, hedge-funders are the high bidders. And if you’ve got something to sell, what a wonderful thing that is.

The Kingdom of Hedgistan
Why hedge funds cluster in the world's most expensive habitats.

22 December 2007

Privatized Rainwater

CIA Torture Jet wrecks with 4 Tons of Cocaine



This Florida based Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA crash landed on September 24, 2007 after it ran out of fuel over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula it had a cargo of several tons of Cocaine on board now documents have turned up on both sides of the Atlantic that link this Cocaine Smuggling Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA that crashed in Mexico to the CIA who used it on at least 3 rendition flights from Europe and the USA to Guantanamo's infamous torture chambers between 2003 to 2005.

Daily Kos

The Chinese Wall Street

NYT "Morgan Stanley’s announcement Wednesday that it would sell a $5 billion stake in itself to the China Investment Corporation was a surprise not just for investors in the big investment bank. It also marks an abrupt shift in strategy for the $200 billion fund, and underlines the extent to which the government fund appears to be under the direct control of China’s leaders.

The investment fund declined to comment late Wednesday on its acquisition of nearly 10 percent of Morgan Stanley. But a person familiar with the fund’s activities said that the decision had been sudden and little expected by the fund’s staff.

“I am also surprised,” said the person, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the deal.

The China Investment Corporation is under the control of China’s finance ministry, with some influence as well from the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. There has been discussion in the Chinese government over whether even more foreign currency should be injected into the investment fund, as the People’s Bank of China continues to accumulate $1 billion a day as it buys up dollars to prevent the value of China’s currency from rising in international markets."

"In taking a major investment from the Chinese sovereign wealth fund, Morgan Stanley is following a model set by Citigroup and UBS, two other financial giants badly damaged by their exposure to securities backed by risky home loans. Citigroup sold a 4.9 percent stake to Abu Dhabi's investment arm, while UBS sold stakes to the Singapore government and an unidentified Middle Eastern investor."
IHT

China buys Wall Street

21 December 2007

Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement

Global Research
"The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes the US led war.

A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and to oppose the Pentagon's military agenda in Iraq.

The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of "certain persons" who oppose the US led war in Iraq:

"I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people."

In substance, under this executive order, opposing the war becomes an illegal act."

Continued

20 December 2007

Corporate Personhood

"Corporate lawyers (acting as both attorneys and judges) subverted our Bill of Rights in the late 1800's by establishing the doctrine of "corporate personhood" -- the claim that corporations were intended to fully enjoy the legal status and protections created for human beings.

We believe that corporations are not persons and possess only the privileges we willfully grant them. Granting corporations the status of legal "persons" effectively rewrites the Constitution to serve corporate interests as though they were human interests. Ultimately, the doctrine of granting constitutional rights to corporations gives a thing illegitimate privilege and power that undermines our freedom and authority as citizens. While corporations are setting the agenda on issues in our Congress and courts, We the People are not; for we can never speak as loudly with our own voices as corporations can with the unlimited amplification of money."

"When George W. Bush says that he wants to spread freedom to every corner of the earth, he means it.

But of course the president that turned Soviet-era gulags into secret CIA prisons in order to do God-knows-what to God-knows-whom isn't talking about individual freedom. He means corporate freedom -- freedom for the great multinationals to extract everything they can from the world's resources and labor without the hindrance of public interest laws, environmental regulations or worker protections.

Bush's vision of a free world actually looks just like the corporate globalization agenda pushed by a succession of American presidents in institutions like the World Trade Organization."

Alternet
Reclaimdemocracy
Wikipedia

Patent on Global Food

19 December 2007

Labor's Global Push

WaPo Harold Meyerson
"We haven't been reacting quickly enough," says Guy Ryder, who heads a newly merged global union federation, the International Trade Union Confederation. "That's a fair criticism."

What labor hasn't reacted to quickly enough is simply, and hugely, the globalization of the economy. Over the past three decades, virtually every major business has become transnational, and the world labor force has doubled in size, chiefly because of the entry of the Chinese and Indian workforces. The share of the world's workers represented by unions, accordingly, has dramatically declined. So has the bargaining power of national unions with global employers.

Which is why a series of meetings this week at the AFL-CIO's conference center in Silver Spring is, one way or another, historic. In a kind of counter-Davos (the annual WEF gathering of world business elites in Switzerland), union leaders from 64 nations gathered under the umbrella of yet another new group, the Council of Global Unions, to begin what they hope will be the upgrading of distinct national union movements into one, considerably more powerful, global movement. At stake, ultimately, is whether our brave new world affords employees the right to share in global prosperity or whether, as is already the case in the United States, globalization is a tool that businesses use to imperil workers' wages and security.

The goal of the unionists at Silver Spring, says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, is to move beyond their episodic international campaigns, to make labor as global as capital has become.

The vision of Karl Marx, shorn of its millennial socialism, is being actualized by the heirs of Samuel Gompers, who aspire to nothing more -- and nothing less -- than decent living standards under global capitalism. "

'Workers of the world, unite!' isn't ideological anymore," says SEIU President Andy Stern. "It's practical."

Continued

ITUC-CSI
A Trade Union Guide to Globalization

18 December 2007

Shock & Awe

"The military posture and capability of the United States of America are, today, dominant. Simply put, there is no external adversary in the world that can successfully challenge the extraordinary power of the American military in either regional conflict or in “conventional” war as we know it once the United States makes the commitment to take whatever action may be needed. To be sure, the first phase of a crisis may be the most difficult–if an aggressor has attacked and U.S. forces are not in place. However, it will still be years, if not decades, before potential adversaries will be able to deploy systems with a full panoply of capabilities that are equivalent to or better than the aggregate strength of the ships, aircraft, armored vehicles, and weapons systems in our inventory. Even if an adversary could deploy similar systems, then matching and overcoming the superb training and preparation of American service personnel would still be a daunting task. "

PDF (National Defense University, 1996), XXIV.

17 December 2007

Rules for Corporate Warriors

How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns

"Described as “one of [corporate] America’s leading crisis management experts,” Nick Nichols has spent 15 years waging trench warfare over environmental, food, drug and product safety issues on behalf of multinationals. Although most of what he discusses are public relations campaigns rather than actual corporate campaigns, this book helpfully explains the tactics corporations use to respond when targeted by a corporate campaign.

Nichols’ obvious intent is to pose as a kind of corporate Saul Alinsky (the title refers to Rules for Radicals, Alinksy’s own book), advising corporations under siege to avoid making the common mistake of becoming appeasers (“Nevilles”) who give in willingly to their attackers. The way to do that is to first convince his main audience — corporate executives — that if they have a problem, it’s not because the corporation has tread upon the public interest, but because they have become victimized by the “extremists” who have taken over the environmental and consumer movements. According to Nichols, activists are just as greedy as the next person, so appeasement only encourages them to demand further concessions.

He goes on to offer advice on how to put campaigners on the defensive by attacking their credibility, ridiculing them and making them believe they’ve been infiltrated. “Flash your brass knuckles,” he urges the desk-bound executive. Use the tactics of the movement against itself."

Multinational Monitor

Astroturfing

14 December 2007

ABB, Rumsfeld and North Korea

Guardian
"Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, sat on the board of a company which three years ago sold two light water nuclear reactors to North Korea - a country he now regards as part of the "axis of evil" and which has been targeted for regime change by Washington because of its efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Mr Rumsfeld was a non-executive director of ABB, a European engineering giant based in Zurich, when it won a $200m (£125m) contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors. The current defence secretary sat on the board from 1990 to 2001, earning $190,000 a year. He left to join the Bush administration.

The reactor deal was part of President Bill Clinton's policy of persuading the North Korean regime to positively engage with the west.

The sale of the nuclear technology was a high-profile contract. ABB's then chief executive, Göran Lindahl*, visited North Korea in November 1999 to announce ABB's "wide-ranging, long-term cooperation agreement" with the communist government."

*Wikipedia:
Fred Kindle assumed the role of President and CEO on January 1, 2005. Kindle's most recently served as CEO of Sulzer Ltd. in 2004. Kindle received an engineering degree from ETH Zürich, and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois, U.S.

Former CEOs:

* September 2002 - December 2004: Jürgen Dormann
* January 2001 - September 2002: Jörgen Centermann
* January 1997 - December 2000: Göran Lindahl
* 1987-1996: Percy Barnevik

Billionaires Up, America Down

by Holly Sklar
"When it comes to producing billionaires, America is doing great.

Until 2005, multimillionaires could still make the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. In 2006, the Forbes 400 went billionaires only.

This year, you’d need a Forbes 482 to fit all the billionaires.

A billion dollars is a lot of dough. Queen Elizabeth II, British monarch for five decades, would have to add $400 million to her $600 million fortune to reach $1 billion. And she’d need another $300 million to reach the Forbes 400 minimum of $1.3 billion. The average Forbes 400 member has $3.8 billion.

When the Forbes 400 began in 1982, it was dominated by oil and manufacturing fortunes. Today, says Forbes, “Wall Street is king.”

Nearly half the 45 new members, says Forbes, “made their fortunes in hedge funds and private equity. Money manager John Paulson joins the list after pocketing more than $1 billion short-selling subprime credit this summer.”

The China Model

By Rowan Callick
"From Vietnam to Syria, from Burma to Venezuela, and all across Africa, leaders of developing countries are admiring and emulating what might be called the China Model. It has two components.
The first is to copy successful elements of liberal economic policy by opening up much of the economy to foreign and domestic investment, allowing labor flexibility, keeping the tax and regulatory burden low, and creating a first-class infrastructure through a combination of private sector and state spending.
The second part is to permit the ruling party to retain a firm grip on government, the courts, the army, the internal security apparatus, and the free flow of information.

A shorthand way to describe the model is: economic freedom plus political repression."
Continued

More on The China Model:

WaPo: A Shining Model of Wealth Without Liberty
James Mann argues that China is increasingly a political model for the world, combining an authoritarian system with successful wealth creation.

He notes that the Chinese middle class is content with or at least acquiescent to the current system, indicating “that a nation’s elite can be bought off with comfortable apartments, the chance to make money, and significant advances in personal, non-political freedoms (clothes, entertainment, sex, travel abroad).”

Open Democracy: The China model

11 December 2007

Fahrenheit 451

"A scheme to train firefighters in major cities to look out for terrorists has raised fears that their iconic standing in American society could be damaged.

Unlike police, firemen and paramedics do not need warrants to get into homes and other buildings during technical inspections of emergency facilities, making them particularly useful for spotting signs of terrorist planning.

The Homeland Security Department has been secretly testing a pilot scheme in New York in which firefighters are trained to identify suspicious material or behaviour. If successful, the programme will be extended to other large cities."

Telegraph UK

09 December 2007

The Origins of the Overclass

By Steve Kangas

"The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.

The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.

How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"

Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society’s elite.

* Leaving one's profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity.
* Staying in one's profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call.
* Staying in one's profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
* Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.

Historically, the CIA and society’s elite have been one and the same people. This means that their interests and goals are one and the same as well. Perhaps the most frequent description of the intelligence community is the "old boy network," where members socialize, talk shop, conduct business and tap each other for favors well outside the formal halls of government.

Many common traits made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies. Both share an intense dislike of democracy, and feel they should be liberated from democratic regulations and oversight. Both share a culture of secrecy, either hiding their actions from the American public or lying about them to present the best public image. And both are in a perfect position to help each other."

Continued

Michael Michalko

07 December 2007

The New King of Spin

CNN Rupert Murdoch is stepping down from his role as chairman of the British broadcaster BSkyB to make way for his son James, long seen as the tycoon's favored successor to take over his media empire.

James Murdoch's tenure at British Sky Broadcasting was viewed as a success.

James Murdoch, who has been appointed non-executive chairman of BSkyB, will also head up the Asian and European operations of News Corporation -- the parent company, News Corp. said in a statement Friday.

Murdoch will remain as CEO of News Corp., the world's third largest media conglomerate after Disney and Time Warner.

Based in New York, News Corp. also owns the Fox network, which includes Fox News, as well as broadcasters and newspapers around the world, including the Times and Sun newspapers in Britain.

It recently acquired the Wall Street Journal and is in the process of the completing a takeover of the paper's parent company, Dow Jones.

YouTube: Murdoch Admits He Tried to Shape Public Opinion on Iraq

06 December 2007

Puppet Masters

“This is not just another lobby organization”
Pehr G. Gyllenhammar

The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is probably the most powerful lobby group in Europe, that can be described as a club of 45 European CEOs, whose companies account for more than 450 million workers world wide and combined annual turnover of 1350 billion Euros.

The European Round Table of Industrialists was born out of a growing preoccupation with the state of the European economy in the early 1980s. Frequently diagnosed as “eurosclerosis”, the symptoms were an evident lack of dynamism, innovation and competitiveness in comparison with Japan and the United States. European markets, with the exception of agriculture, were still national, despite the Single Market objective set by the Treaty of Rome in 1957.

ERT today brings together around 45 chief executives and chairmen of major multinational companies of European parentage, covering a wide range of industrial sectors. Individuals join at the personal invitation of existing Members, which confers on ERT membership a personal rather than corporate character.

From left to right (top) :Karl Beurle (Thyssen), Carlo De Benedetti (Olivetti), Curt Nicolin (ASEA), Harry Gray (United Technologies), John Harvey - Jones (ICI), Wolfgang Seelig (Siemens), Umberto Agnelli (Fiat), Peter Baxendell (Shell), Olivier Lecerf (Lafarge Coppée), José Bidegain (Cie de St Gobain), Wisse Dekker (Philips).

From left to right (bottom) :
Antoine Riboud (BSN), Bernard Hanon (Renault), François-Xavier Ortoli (EC), Pehr G. Gyllenhammar (Volvo), Etienne Davignon (EC), Louis von Planta (Ciba-Geigy), Helmut Maucher (Nestlé).

Members since 1983


Transatlantic Leadership for a New Global Economy

"The Atlantic Council promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the
21st century.

For many years, the United States and its European partners were the unchallenged global economic leaders. They not only created the major international economic institutions but also represented the bulk of the wealth behind them. But traditional transatlantic economic leadership faces challenges on several fronts. Emerging economies last year for the first time ever surpassed the developed world in the total size of their national products – and they make up the lion’s share of total global growth.

At the same time, globalization has eroded western governments’ control over their own economies, making them increasingly vulnerable to economic forces outside their borders.

The power of “non- state actors” has grown – capital markets, multinationals, hedge funds, and private equity."

The Atlantic Council PDF

Project for a New American Century Statment of Principles

05 December 2007

04 December 2007

The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression?

"[T]wo of the most essential pillars that prop up totalitarian regimes are the secret police and propaganda," Smith said. "Yet for the sake of market share and profits, leading U.S. companies like Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Microsoft have compromised both the integrity of their product and their duties as responsible corporate citizens. They have aided and abetted the Chinese regime to prop up both of these pillars, propagating the message of the dictatorship unabated and supporting the secret police in a myriad of ways, including surveillance and invasion of privacy, in order to effectuate the massive crackdown on its citizens."

"Tragically, history shows us that American companies and their subsidiaries have provided the technology to crush human rights in the past. Edwin Black's book IBM and the Holocaust reveals the dark story of IBM's strategic alliance with Nazi Germany.

Thanks to IBM's enabling technologies, from programs for identification and cataloging to the use of IBM's punch card technology, Hitler and the Third Reich were able to automate the genocide of the Jews."

US State Department

The Globally Integrated Enterprise

The globally integrated enterprise is a term coined in 2006 in the name of Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM Corp, used to denote a company that fashions its strategy, its management, and its operations in pursuit of a new goal: the integration of production and value delivery worldwide. State borders define less and less the boundaries of corporate thinking or practice.

"The multinational corporation (mnc),often seen as a primary agent of globalization,is taking on a new form,one that is promising for both business and society. From a business perspective,
this new kind of enterprise is best understood as “global”rather than “multinational.” PDF

The Coup against Hugo Chavez

Venezuela coup linked to Bush team
Specialists in the 'dirty wars' of the Eighties encouraged the plotters who tried to topple President Chavez

Bush Administration Behind
Failed Military Coup in Venezuela

The April 11, 2002 military coup in Venezuela was supported by the United States government. As early as last June, American military attaches had been in touch with members of the Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup. During the coup, U.S military were stationed at the Colombia-Venezuela border to provide support, and to evacuate U.S. citizens if there were problems. According to intelligence analyst, Wayne Madsen, the CIA actively organized the coup. "The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organize the coup against Chavez,” he said.

The Documents
The Heritage Foundation and Venezuela
Rift deepens between U.S., Venezuela years after coup

03 December 2007

Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Subject: Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the attached Memorandum for the Chief of Operations, Cuba Project, which responds to a request of that office for brief but precise description of pretexts which could provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.

It is assumed that a single agency will be given the primary responsibility for developing military and para-military aspects of the basic plan. It is recommended that this responsibility for both overt and covert military operations be assigned the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.

A. Incidents to establish a credible attack:

(1) Start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio.
(2) Land friendly Cubans in uniform “over-the-fence” to stage attack on base.
(3) Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.
(4) Start riots near the base main gate (friendly Cubans).
(5) Blow up ammunition inside the base: start fires.
(6) Burn aircraft on air base (sabotage).
(7) Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base.
(8) Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or vicinity of Guantanamo City.
(9) Capture militia group which storms base.
(10) Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires – naphthalene.
(11) Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims.

A “Remember the Maine” incident could be arranged: We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.

We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.

Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft should appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the government of Cuba.

It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday.

An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At the designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual aircraft would be converted to a drone.

The drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will be transmitting on the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal.

Direct PDF links: here and here.
Wikipedia

01 December 2007

UK 2017: Under Surveillance

"IT is a chilling, dystopian account of what Britain will look like 10 years from now: a world in which Fortress Britain uses fleets of tiny spy-planes to watch its citizens, of Minority Report-style pre-emptive justice, of an underclass trapped in sink-estate ghettos under constant state surveillance, of worker drones forced to take on the lifestyle and values of the mega-corporation they work for, and of the super-rich hiding out in gated communities constantly monitored by cameras and private security guards.

This Orwellian vision of the future was compiled on the orders of the UK's information commissioner - the independent watchdog meant to guard against government and private companies invading the privacy of British citizens and exploiting the masses of information currently held on each and every one of us - by the Surveillance Studies Network, a group of academics.

On Friday, this study, entitled A Report on the Surveillance Society, was picked over by a select group of government mandarins, politicians, police officers and academics in Edinburgh. It is unequivocal in its findings, with its first sentence reading simply: "We live in a surveillance society." The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, endorses the report. He says: "Today, I fear that we are, in fact, waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us."

The academics who compiled the study based their vision of the future not on wild hypotheses but on existing technology, statements made about the intentions of government and private companies and studies by other think tanks, regulators, professional bodies and academics.

The report authors say that they believe the key theme of the future will be "pervasive surveillance" aimed at tracking and controlling people and pre-empting behaviour. The authors also say that their glimpse of the future is "fairly conservative. The future spelled out in the report is nowhere near as dystopian and authoritarian as it could be."

Here's how 2017 might look...

Facebook's Beacon More Intrusive Than Previously Thought

"A Computer Associates security researcher is sounding the alarm that Facebook's controversial Beacon online ad system goes much further than anyone has imagined in tracking people's Web activities outside the popular social networking site.

Beacon will report back to Facebook on members' activities on third-party sites that participate in Beacon even if the users are logged off from Facebook and have declined having their activities broadcast to their Facebook friends.

That's the finding published on Friday by Stefan Berteau, senior research engineer at CA's Threat Research Group in a note summarizing tests he conducted.

Of particular concern is that users aren't informed that data on their activities at these sites is flowing back to Facebook, nor given the option to block that information from being transmitted, Berteau said in an interview."

PCWorld

25 November 2007

A Green Guerrilla Scenario

(Or the rational for a Global Patriot Act*)

by John Robb
"Eco-terrorism isn't new. It is, however, typically ineffective. This report points to another potential scenario. If eco-activists adopt
global guerrilla tactics, they could coerce a rapid move to clean energy alternatives. Small but extremely effective (high ROI) attacks on the energy corridors leading to target regions, would quickly increase the costs of conventional energy such that clean power alternatives would become extremely attractive.

This would be dictated by a direct economic comparison (costs) as well as indirect factors such as reliability of delivery. This systems sabotage tax would induce a tipping point in energy market equilibria towards green alternatives if it is extended over a long period (longer than one season) and is of a sufficient level.
See the brief
Urban Takedowns for more on how a terrorism tax can impact market equilibria. Other factors:

* Green guerrilla activity would likely be lost in the noise of fears of Islamic terrorism, particularly if the attacks aren't claimed and the groups are extremely small.

* There would be few casualties (if any). This would make these tactics more palatable to a larger audience of potential participants. This points to the potential of widespread activity from multiple ad hoc groups.

* Systems sabotage during peak usage periods would have an extremely large impact footprint. It would also radically increase the general awareness of energy usage. Cascades of failure induced by simple actions could sweep from Washington State to southern California and last for days. Everyone, from consumers to businesses, would feel the impact."
John Robb - Global Guerrillas

More by John Robb:
The CEO as an Objective of War
Market Disruption via Corporate Targeting
Target Investment

24 November 2007

New Power Brokers

How Oil, Asia, Hedge Funds, and Private Equity Are Shaping Global Capital Markets

Four actors—petrodollar investors, Asian central banks, hedge funds, and private equity—are playing an increasingly important role in world financial markets. MGI offers new evidence on the size of these new power brokers, their impact, and their growth prospects.

Together these four new players are reshaping global capital markets.

Chapter 1: The New Power Brokers
MGI details how the rising influence of the four players is jointly shaping global financial markets. Their combined assets grew from just $3.2 trillion in 2000 to an estimated $8.7 trillion–$9.1 trillion in 2006. The factors fueling their growth will persist for at least another five years and, even under conservative assumptions, all four power brokers will grow in size and influence in the years ahead.

Chapter 2: Petrodollars: Fueling Global Capital Markets
Petrodollars are the largest of the four power brokers with between $3.4 trillion and $3.8 trillion in foreign financial assets at end-2006. Assuming oil at $50 per barrel, their assets would grow to $5.9 trillion by 2012.

Chapter 3: Asian Central Banks: The Cautious Giants
Asian central banks had $3.1 trillion in foreign-reserve assets at the end of 2006 from just $1 trillion in 2000. Assuming flat or declining current-account surpluses in Japan and China, Asian reserve assets will grow to $5.1 trillion by 2012, with average annual investments of $321 billion per year in global capital markets.

Chapter 4: Hedge Funds: From Mavericks to Mainstream
Hedge fund assets under management have tripled since 2000, reaching an estimated $1.7 trillion by mid-2007 on the back of record inflows and high returns. Including leverage used to boost returns, the industry's assets rise to as much as $6 trillion—which would make hedge funds the biggest of the four new power brokers. In MGI’s base case, hedge fund assets could reach $3.5 trillion by 2012—and between $9 trillion and $12 trillion including leverage.

Chapter 5: Private Equity: Eclipsing Public Capital Markets?
Despite the intense public focus it attracts, private equity is the smallest of the four new power brokers, with $710 billion in investors' capital at the end of 2006. Even with growth rates slower than in the past few years, MGI projects that global private-equity assets under management could reach as much as $1.4 trillion by 2012.
Source

------
Petrodollar:
Monetary hegemony is an economic and political phenomenon in which a single state has decisive influence over the functions of the international monetary system.

Asian Central Banks:
China Buys Wall Street

Hedge Funds:
You can think of hedge funds as mutual funds for the super rich.

Private Equity:
A private equity fund is a collective investment scheme (fund) that invests in companies and/or entire business units with the intention of obtaining a controlling interest (usually by becoming a majority shareholder, sometimes by becoming the largest plurality shareholder) so as to be in the position to restructure the target company's reserve capital, management, and organizational infrastructure.

22 November 2007

The Postmodern State, Security and World Order

The Postmodern State and the World Order originally written in 1996 and revised in 2000, and “The Postmodern State” recently published in a collection entitled Re-ordering the World: The Long-term Implications of September 11 (Leonard, 2002), Cooper has exerted tremendous influence on Tony Blair’s foreign policy outlook. The New Republic describes Cooper as the foremost commentator on strategic issues of our age, and Cooper’s diagnosis of the era we live in has taken on the power of prophecy after the events of September 11.

Cooper argues that the year 1989 marked a turning point in European history. 1989 not only marked the end of the Cold War but, perhaps, more fundamentally a change in the European state system: it marked the end of the balance-of-power system in Europe. What emerged after 1989 is not a re-arrangement of the old system but an entirely new system based on a new form of statehood, which Cooper calls the postmodern state. (Bobbit calls it The Market-State*)

With the emergence of the postmodern state, we now live in an international system comprised of three parts: the pre-modern world (of, for example, Somalia, Afghanistan or Liberia) where the state has lost its legitimate monopoly on the use of force and chaos reigns; the modern world where the classical state system remains intact, and; the postmodern world where the state system is collapsing and a new system is being born.

The new postmodern system of states is best characterized by the EC. It exhibits the following characteristics:

* The breakdown of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs
* Mutual interference in (traditional) domestic affairs and mutual surveillance
* The rejection of force for resolving disputes and the consequent codification of rules of behaviour, rules that are self-enforced because all EC states have an interest in maintaining the rule of law.
* The growing irrelevance of borders
* Security is based on transparency, mutual openness, interdependence and mutual vulnerability (Cooper, 2000, pp. 19-20)

Globalization ICAAP

Think Tank 101

Or "How to start a propaganda unit for unabashed promotion of transnational corporations";
Atlas Economic Research Foundation

The mission of Atlas, according to John Blundell (president from 1987 to 1990), "is to litter the world with free-market think-tanks."
More on Atlas from Sourcewatch

Blindness

"If you are market-state blind, you do not see that market-state power is about right and wrong. Market-state blindness is a special case of moral blindness. A moral blind person cannot see that any choice has a moral dimension. It is difficult to discuss paintings with a color blind person - and to discuss politics with a market-state blind person."

In response to "Stateblind.eu"
Carl-Johan Westholm’s personal blog

21 November 2007

Guantanamo Bay Standard Operating Procedure

PDF (4.4MB)
CIA/Wikileak


Prisoner 345
Sami Al-Hajj, prisoner 345 at the United States Detainment Centre in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, has been on hunger strike since 7th January, 2007.

Sami was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001 whilst travelling with a legitimate visa to work in Afghanistan as a cameraman for Al Jazeera. But he is being held as an ‘enemy combatant’.

prisoner345.net is dedicated to empowering Sami’s family, friends and colleagues, together with all supporters of human rights around the world, in the campaign to set him free.

18 November 2007

The Technotronic Society

"The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."

Zbigniew Brzezinski.

BRZEZINSKI'S VISION FOR AMERICA
"The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."

Dr. Johannes B. Koeppl, Ph.D. a former German defense ministry official and advisor to former NATO Secretary General Manfred Werner said, "The interests behind the Bush Administration, such as the CFR, The Trilateral Commission - founded by Brzezinski for David Rockefeller - and the Bilderberger Group, have prepared for and are now moving to implement open world dictatorship within the next five years. They are not fighting against terrorists. They are fighting against citizens."

"THE GRAND CHESSBOARD - American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives," Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997.

"These are the very first words in the book: "Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power."- p. xiii. Eurasia is all of the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia and China to the Pacific Ocean. It includes the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent. The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics. And the key to controlling the Central Asian republics is Uzbekistan. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Uzbekistan was forcefully mentioned by President George W. Bush in his address to a joint session of Congress, just days after the attacks of September 11, as the very first place that the U.S. military would be deployed."

M Ruppert

Secrets of money, interest and inflation

By Rudo de Ruijter Europe 2020
08/10/2007

"Money plays a big role in our life. In society too, nearly everything is determined by money. It is strange, that only few people know the juggling tricks, by which money originates and disappears again. Most people see, that money becomes worth less all the time, but they don’t know, that this is caused, in the first place, by the money system itself. Also the eternal chase for economic growth and the always increasing working pressure in industrialized countries, are caused by the money system. Money can also serve for oppression, for instance of the Third World countries, or be the motive for wars, like the one against Iraq. Would you like to take a small tour behind the scene? Welcome to the circus of the money-jugglers!"

1. Making money
2. Permanent inflation
3. Central banks need inflation
4. Caprices of the money stock
5. The war against Iraq
6. Oppression of the Third World
7. China’s weapon
8. Inflation and economic growth
9. Further growth or a sustainable society?

Continued

11 November 2007

Daniel Estulin



Part I Part II Part III

Daniel Estulin

Hitman

What Is An Economic Hit Man?

"Perkins defines economic hit men as “highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign ‘aid’ organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.”
I want to know

"Mr. Perkins's core message is that American corporations and government agencies employ two types of operatives: "economic hit men," who bribe emerging economies, and "jackals," who may be used to overthrow or even murder heads of state in Latin America and the Middle East to serve the greater cause of American empire. During an earlier time, that message might have been mere fodder for conspiracy theorists and fringe publishers. But now, for all of Mr. Perkins's talk of fiery plane crashes and corporate intrigue, his book seems to have tapped into a larger vein of discontent and mistrust that Americans feel toward the ties that bind together corporations, large lending institutions and the government — a nexus that Mr. Perkins and others call the "corporatocracy."
THE idea that corporate interests have undue influence over White House administrations has long been a staple of anti-establishment politics. But during the Bush administration, some recent events have dragged this notion further into the mainstream. United States soldiers and businesses are firmly entrenched in Iraq and now the federal government plans to give $7 billion in royalty concessions to an oil industry already enjoying record profits. According to a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of those questioned said they believed that big business had too much influence over Bush administration decisions."
NYTimes

The Secret History of the American Empire

10 November 2007

Data-Mining Facebook

"I am continually shocked and appalled at the details people voluntarily post online about themselves."

So says Jon Callas, chief security officer at PGP, a Silicon Valley-based maker of encryption software. He is far from alone in noticing that fast-growing social networking websites such as MySpace and Friendster are a snoop's dream.


New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.
Americans are still reeling from last month's revelations that the NSA has been logging phone calls since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. The Congressional Research Service, which advises the US legislature, says phone companies that surrendered call records may have acted illegally."
The New Scientist
--
YouTube : Federal Human Data Mining Program

The CIA and Facebook How to Keep Your Privacy

08 November 2007

Bilderberg 2007

BILDERBERG MEETINGS
Istanbul Turkey
31 May-3 June 2007
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS(PDF)

Blackwater's Owner Has Spies for Hire

Washington Post
Saturday, November 3, 2007

First it became a brand name in security for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it's taking on intelligence.

The Prince Group, the holding company that owns Blackwater Worldwide, has been building an operation that will sniff out intelligence about natural disasters, business-friendly governments, overseas regulations and global political developments for clients in industry and government.

The operation, Total Intelligence Solutions, has assembled a roster of former spooks -- high-ranking figures from agencies such as the CIA and defense intelligence -- that mirrors the slate of former military officials who run Blackwater. Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counterterrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency's more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.

Corporations Versus Democracy

Corporations Versus Democracy

The Nation - Ned Resnikoff

"The most important issue to young people in the 2008 campaign is one that no presidential candidate will discuss. In fact, even touching on this subject is taboo for anyone with aspirations to Congress or the White House. Anyone who has the temerity to mention this political third rail will almost certainly lose the campaign.


The issue is the curtailing of corporate power, and as long as corporations continue to finance major candidates, it will remain unspoken. No one running for office wants to be blacklisted by corporate lobbyists in Washington.

That's a shame, because this issue is connected to almost every other problem facing America today. As long as corporations have no incentive to avoid polluting, we will continue to poison this planet at an alarming rate, and as long as corporate lobbyists hold an inordinate amount of influence in Washington, there will be no substantive solutions to problems like income inequality or our woefully inadequate healthcare system.

The unchecked power of American corporations does not just affect America, either. It is our corporations that are exploiting developing nations by employing their people at low wages in inhuman working conditions. The environment, obviously, is a global issue. And while some may scoff at the idea of the United States waging war for economic reasons, it is difficult to ignore the mounting evidence that we invaded Iraq, at least in part, to bring profit to American oil companies and defense contractors. What country is next? Iran?"

Interception Capabilities 2000

1. Communications intelligence (Comint) involving the covert interception of foreign communications has been practised by almost every advanced nation since international telecommunications became available. Comint is a large-scale industrial activity providing consumers with intelligence on diplomatic, economic and scientific developments. The capabilities of and constraints on Comint activity may usefully be considered in the framework of the "intelligence cycle" (section 1).

2. Globally, about 15-20 billion Euro is expended annually on Comint and related activities. The largest component of this expenditure is incurred by the major English-speaking nations of the UKUSA alliance.(1) This report describes how Comint organisations have for more than 80 years made arrangements to obtain access to much of the world's international communications. These include the unauthorised interception of commercial satellites, of long distance communications from space, of undersea cables using submarines, and of the Internet. In excess of 120 satellite systems are currently in simultaneous operation collecting intelligence (section 2).

Continued