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IPL: The Dirty Picture

Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012

http://cricket.yahoo.com/news/ipl–the-dirty-picture-.html

By Bhavna Vij-Aurora, Dhiraj Nayyar and Shantanu Guha Ray | India Today – Mon 28 May, 2012 1:01 PM IST

By Bhavna Vij-Aurora, Dhiraj Nayyar and Shantanu Guha Ray

A late-night bust-up involving charges of molestation and assault at a hotel suite in Delhi booked in the name of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Deccan Chargers on May 18. An early morning Income Tax raid at the offices of Pune Warriors and Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 23 following a TV sting operation in which five fringe players were caught striking deals on spot-fixing and switching teams for more money. A brawl at Wankhede Stadium leading to a five-year ban by the Mumbai Cricket Association on Shah Rukh Khan on May 16. It was a week from hell for IPL. And the week promised to stretch into a long year.

Around 6.30 p.m. on May 22, Zohal Hamid, 27, was giving yet another live interview on her now famous charge of molestation by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player Luke Pomersbach. The incident acquired bizarre momentum, especially after her ‘fiance’ Sahil Peerzada, 33, was hit by Pomersbach and she turned out to be close to a defence agent. India Today was present at the plush farmhouse of her “rakhi” brother Abhishek Verma, an accused in the naval war room leak and under investigation for his suspected role in defence deals. Sahil made a dramatic entry while she was on camera. “How dare you speak to the media without my permission?” he asked. Zohal placated him and they then drove off in Verma’s Hyundai Sonata. Both she and Sahil then went incommunicado. Clearly, they had received instructions to go quiet. Some deal had been struck to cover up an intoxication-fuelled, unscripted drama that threatened to blow apart the nocturnal mix of sex and money that plays behind the televised scenes of IPL. Sahil and Zohal met their lawyer Rajneesh Chopra who had worked out a compromise with RCB owner Sidhartha Mallya, who had so charmingly described Zohal’s allegations against Pomerbasch as a “load of f…..g s..t” in a tweet. On May 22, Zohal agreed to withdraw her case against Pomersbach and drop the defamation threat against Mallya, who has not even deigned to remove the offending tweets from his account-another said “what this girl is doing is idiotic”. On May 23, though, he tweeted, “So glad all charges have been dropped and Luke can return Down Under a free man!”, followed by “Oh and btw, I know ppl can be cynical, so just so u know, the settlement wasn’t financial in any way!”

These shenanigans took TV cameras into the bedroom, the last thing IPL wanted as its oversold carnival becomes a sordid circus. The manufactured silence was designed to avoid some basic questions:

  • Why did Deccan Chargers book a Rs 20,000-a-day suite for Sahil at ITC Maurya?
  • What is Sahil’s connection, if any, with cricket and IPL?
  • What is Zohal’s real link with Sahil? She claims he is her “fiance”. Sahil is a trifle hesitant about the honour.
  • Why was Zohal sleeping in Sahil’s suite if she was not booked there?
  • Why were two men, Miraj and Moin, sleeping in Sahil’s room?
  • Why was RCB hosting an after-party despite an IPL ban on them in 2010?

The mystery became more mysterious with Verma’s involvement. His former New York-based business partner and lawyer C. Edmonds Allen claims that Zohal was an employee of Ganton Indian Private Limited, and that he recommended her for a visa to visit India on Verma’s request last year. Allen is the president of Ganton, which he claimed he set up to handle $205 million (Rs 1,127 crore) made by Verma through arms deals and lobbying for defence firms. Verma denies any link with Ganton and claims that Zohal too has nothing to do with Ganton. He says “my wife Anca Neacsu is best friends with Zohal” and recommended her for an Indian visa through Allen.

THE BOOKIE UNDERBELLY

Born in Afghanistan to an Afghan father and an Iranian mother, Zohal’s family migrated to US in the late 1980s. Now an American citizen, she works for a cosmetics company in New York as a sales manager. She did part of her schooling in India, where she picked up conversational though accented Hindi. She went to Rutgers University in New York. After watching her first IPL match on May 17, goes her story, she landed at the RCB party and in the room booked by Deccan Chargers at ITC Maurya. Every answer begs a further question.

But Rajiv Shukla, who took over as the IPL commissioner in September 2011 and is also a Union minister, has no answers, except an evasive one. “I am the IPL commissioner, not police commissioner. I have nothing to do with what is happening in the hotel room.” The fact that he mentioned “police commissioner” involuntarily speaks for itself. He believes media is exaggerating the problems of the league by highlighting stray off-field incidents. He does not deny knowing Sahil Peerzada. “He is the son of a Congressman,” he says. Sahil’s father, Peerzada Ghulam Mohammed, who died in 1994 at the age of 52, was a ticketing agent at the Sopore (J&K) bus stand in the 1970s, and went on to become a junior-level Congress leader. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1992.

Sahil’s brother, Feroze, says he has a real estate business in Mumbai, as well as two Kashmir handicrafts showrooms at the Leela in Bangalore and near Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur. But Sahil’s reputation has been made in bedrooms rather than boardrooms. He is a serial dater of semi-famous women such as TV actors Shama Sikander and Gauhar Khan. Deccan Chargers is silent about why they rented such an expensive suite for him. Manjula Harpanahalli, media coordinator for Deccan Chargers, told India Today that they had no comments to offer. Repeated calls and text messages to E. Venkatram Reddy, director (operations), Deccan Chargers, went unanswered.

Investigating agencies are silent but taking a keen interest in the events. They have been busy. There has long been a suspicion that IPL is a breeding ground for bookies. Days before the start of the tournament, CID officers of Mumbai Police traced a conference of bookies from all over India huddled inside a five-star hotel room in Mumbai to plan their strategy: Essentially, to cooperate in the milking of those who like a flutter.

On May 17, when Chennai Super Kings was taking on Kings XI Punjab, Arun Chavan, head of Mumbai Police’s Property Cell, arrested two well-known bookies from a Lokhandwala flat. Devendra Kothari, 42, and Sonu Jalan, 30, were taking bets on the crucial match. Both were arrested immediately and 20 mobile handsets, a dozen SIM cards, two laptops, two voice recorders and an LCD T recovered. They led the police to another bookie, Mohammad Feroze Ansari, 38, from Nagpada in Mumbai. On May 19, the police arrested him too. The probe has now moved to Delhi. A team from Mumbai Police left for Delhi on May 21. Their goal: Check the truth in Kothari’s claim that he paid Rs 10 crore to a Sri Lankan cricketer to fix a one-day international match in 2006. “We cannot reveal the name of the Sri Lankan player. Investigations are still on,” said Mumbai Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil.

In Delhi, the police confirmed that Kothari and Jalan were part of a global betting racket and among 170 suspects scheduled to visit Sri Lanka to fix matches. “There was to be a meeting in Colombo in anticipation of the fourth T20 World Cup which will take place in Sri Lanka. But it was cancelled,” says Brijesh Kumar Gupta, Delhi’s police commissioner. The police’s suspicions about a Colombo meeting were confirmed when a woman they picked up on May 19 from Delhi for possessing cocaine confessed to her involvement in the betting racket and said she was to travel to Colombo. On May 24, Delhi Police busted a betting racket in west Delhi, unearthing a mini-telephone exchange comprising 113 lines used for transmitting information about rates to over 300 betting syndicates across India.

India’s betting laws date back to the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Bail, therefore, is guaranteed for a paltry Rs 100 and allows bookies to get free within days of their arrest. No one has bothered to change this. “There’s very little time for questioning. And rarely are the big fish netted because the bookie chain is inordinately long,” says Gupta. This year alone, Delhi Police conducted more than 75 raids on bookies in Delhi and arrested over 100 people placing bets on IPL, the highest since the tournament started four years ago. The core problem hampering investigations is that there is no complaint, says Gupta.

ULTIMATE SECRET SOCIETY

Cricket is hardly the primary activity in IPL. The large, growing and dark circle around the field includes a secret society of franchise owners, pretty party girls and men of unknown means. Presiding over this is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has ensured lack of transparency. BCCI is a registered society completely autonomous from the Government. It only started paying income tax in 2007 after authorities decided that it wasn’t simply a charitable organisation “promoting the sport of cricket”. In the effort to become successful, IPL has cut corners. Interpol wanted to investigate the bookie phenomenon and and asked for Rs 90 crore as expenses, just as it had asked FIFA when it set out to investigate football sleaze. FIFA paid. International Cricket Council (ICC) President Sharad Pawar refused. Very conveniently, ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit was hired. “If ICC had hired Interpol, cricket’s cleansing process would have begun. But that did not happen,” says Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken.

In 2011, IPL had hit a ratings low. A new model was sought to be created, as highlighted in broadcaster Set Max’s ads which encouraged viewers to watch the game on the ground. Rajiv Shukla says that the average gate receipts for the 2012 season will be Rs 30 crore for each franchise. He also argues that the decline in TAM TRP ratings, from an average of 4.81 in IPL-1 to 3.33 in IPL-5 so far, is misleading because the goalposts have changed. “The ratings of even the most popular entertainment programmes have fallen as a result. IPL is still doing very well on television,” he says. Shukla is also buoyant about overseas revenues.

EVADING THE TAX NET

All nine IPL franchises have been under the scanner of the Income Tax Department after a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance in July 2011 instructed tax officials to scrutinise the accounts of all IPL teams. What aroused the suspicion of the Standing Committee was a wide discrepancy between the annual financial returns statements for the assessment year 2008-09 and the assessment year 2009-10. For the year 2008-09, also the first year of IPL, three of the eight franchises, Mumbai, Chennai and Deccan Chargers, showed nil loss. The remaining five showed minor losses-Rajasthan Rs 6 lakh, Punjab Rs 14 lakh, Kolkata Rs 50 lakh, Bangalore Rs 79 lakh and Delhi Rs 2.92 crore. In 2009-10, each franchise reported huge losses-Rajasthan Rs 35.5 crore, Punjab Rs 65.68 crore, Kolkata Rs 11.85 crore, Mumbai Rs 42.89 crore, Chennai Rs 19.3 crore, Bangalore Rs 5.58 crore, Deccan Rs 87.09 crore and Delhi Rs 47.11 crore.

There was no particular reason why losses should have mounted so steeply. The player auctions had been conducted before IPL-1. The cost of players would be the same for IPL-2. The revenue streams would have been greater-the success of IPL drew more advertisers and spectators to the second edition. The only reason for higher costs was the move to South Africa, but that alone could not explain the wide discrepancies. According to sources at the Income Tax Department, while the assessment is complete, investigation is ongoing and franchises have been asked to furnish details.

There are several other issues of apparent financial irregularities red-flagged in the report of the Standing Committee. At least four teams-Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians- received investments from abroad from tax havens such as Mauritius, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. BCCI, in its reply to the committee, put all the blame on former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. Even if true, and that is not proven, how does this exonerate the franchise owners who got the money from questionable unnamed sources? The Enforcement Directorate (ED), charged with investigating these violations, said its investigations have not been completed.

Even BCCI and IPL are under investigation by ED and Reserve Bank of India for operating bank accounts along with Cricket South Africa during IPL-2 without permission. IPL Commissioner Shukla shrugs aside the allegations of financial irregularities, just as he dismisses anything in convention with his usual bluster.

PLAYERS DON’T HAVE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

There are other problems, inbuilt into IPL, which have created irregular incentives for players. In 2010, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was banned from season 3 of IPL for trying to negotiate a contract in violation of league rules. Jadeja, who at the time had not played for the IndianTP Sudhindra national team, was entitled to a salary of Rs 25 lakh, not more, set by the IPL Governing Council. Already a rising star in his franchise, Rajasthan Royals, Jadeja believed he deserved more money. This perverse rule on pay caps for Indian players who have never represented the country has made them vulnerable to the lure of illegal negotiations with franchises and offers from bookies. Curiously, no such cap is applicable to foreign players who have not represented their countries.

A recent TV sting operation on five Indian players who have never represented India revealed the dangerous consequences. The players- TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali-were caught on camera either offering to indulge in spot-fixing or ready to negotiate with other franchises or admitting that their franchises paid them significantly more than the official figure, in cash. An underground economy is clearly thriving in IPL. Modi, the creator of IPL and commissioner in its first three editions, admits that not auctioning uncapped players was a mistake.

There are several possible reforms that can salvage the situation:

  • No player should be retained by a franchise without an auction. In 2008, for example, M.S. Dhoni was bought by Chennai Super Kings at the highest bid price of $1.5 million (Rs 7.5 crore). He was not put up for auction for the 2011 and 2012 seasons in which Gautam Gambhir came out on top with a bid price of $2.5 million (Rs 12.5 crore) from Kolkata Knight Riders. It would be unreasonable to expect Dhoni to have commanded anything less in an open auction.
  • The only players not subject to an auction in IPL-1 were the icon players-Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai), Rahul Dravid (Bangalore), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata), Yuvraj Singh (Punjab) and Virender Sehwag (Delhi). Each was, however, to be paid a 10 per cent premium on the highest bid paid out by their team in the open auction. There was some transparency then. Now, with the icon system being replaced by the system of retaining players (icons or not), no one knows how much players are being paid, whether by cheque or in cash. Says Modi, “No one should be allowed to be retained. If a player is important for the franchise, let them bid for him.” Rajiv Shukla also recognises the opacity of retaining players. “We will consider revising this in our next Governing Council meeting,” he says.
  • There should be an independent regulator for sports. “No one is being able to self-regulate. If not for anything else, let the regulator look into the alleged financial bungling of the state cricket associations,” says Ajay Maken. “Put rules in place, things will start moving,” says Bishen Singh Bedi. The former Indian captain says it’s time BCCI auctions each player every year. “Let there be transparency, let us see who is paying what for whom. Let the juniors get a price for themselves so that they do not take money under the table,” adds Bedi.

POLITICS OF CRICKET

IPL would not have survived its serious flaws were it not for a strong cross-party political alliance lending its weight. Shukla is a prominent minister. Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is on IPL’s Governing Council and heads its legal and disciplinary committee. The cricket establishment of BCCI and its regional components are packed with powerful politicians. Four are members of the Union Cabinet-Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar (ICC president), Congressmen C.P. Joshi (president, Rajasthan Cricket Association) and Vilasrao Deshmukh (president, Mumbai Cricket Association), and Farooq Abdullah (president of the J&K Cricket Association) of the National Conference. The quartet has successfully stalled Maken’s attempts to legislate a sports bill that will force BCCI to be more accountable. “What can I do if no one wants to clean the dirt from cricket?” says Maken.

Shukla says there is no need for BCCI to be under the Government. “We don’t take a penny from the Government. And we have made a global name for ourselves,” he says. The cricket establishment can count on some support from outside the Government. Apart from Jaitley, Anurag Thakur, a BJP MP and son of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is president of his state’s cricket association which hosts IPL games at its stadium in Dharamshala. His party colleague, Kirti Azad, is however a staunch opponent of IPL and went on dharna demanding the abolishing of the league after its string of recent scandals. Azad said that India’s image was being spoilt at an international level because of IPL debauchery and that he has written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to take action against IPL.

Politics is a power game, and for now Maken and Azad are weak before a muscular establishment. But a poisonous worm is corroding the IPL apple from within, and all the might of Pawar, Shukla and friends will not stop this disease from spreading, if they do not use a sharp scalpel.

- With Kiran Tare and Nishat Bari

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Switzerland to share tax information with India:Swiss official

Posted by Admin on January 29, 2011

Assorted international currency notes.

Ka Ching Bling

http://in.news.yahoo.com/switzerland-share-tax-information-india-swiss-official-20110128-220000-062.html

PTI – Sat, Jan 29 11:30 AM IST

Davos, Jan 29 (PTI) Dismissing the perception that Switzerland is a tax haven, a senior Swiss government official today expressed hope that the revised tax avoidance treaty with India will be ratified during the year, following which Swiss authorities would provide administrative assistance to India to deal with cases of tax evasion.

“We have recently signed an agreement with India, which is now in the Parliament in order to get rectified.

And then, we will concretely take steps against tax evasion and as soon as this agreement is enforced… both sides can also grant administrative assistance (to deal with ) tax evasion,” Switzerland Federal Department of Finance State Secretary Miachael Ambuhl said in an interview to private news channel NDTV.

India and Switzerland in August last year signed a revised Double Tax avoidance Agreement (DTAA) that will enable exchange of information on tax evaders, considered a must for getting details on unaccounted funds stashed away by Indians in Swiss banks. The agreement, however, is yet to be ratified by the Switzerland Parliament.

“This perception is wrong. Switzerland is not a tax haven…Switzerland has not given tax refuge to people who want to hide their money,” Ambuhl said, adding the agreement hopefully will be ratified this year.

“We want to have confidentiality for the bank clients but we don”t want to protect them from paying taxes. There is no such thing that in Switzerland you can avoid paying your taxes,” he added.

He further said that if India authorities would get the information, provided they are able to produce evidence of tax evasion.

“If Indian authorities can show that there is evidence that people have evaded there money, then the answer is ”yes”. If Indian authorities can give evidence that for the person X or Y, there is evidence that they have evaded their taxes in Switzerland, we will grant administrative assistance”, he added.

On whether the treaty would bring about substantial change, Ambuhl said, “It will not change everything. We have already got a good legal basis to grant judicial and administrative assistance, but as soon as this commences in force, then it will become even better.” PTI PC CS RAH

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Of luxury cars and lowly tractors

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2010

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article995828.ece

P. SAINATH

Even as the media celebrate the Mercedes Benz deal in the Marathwada region as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the latest data show that 17,368 farmers killed themselves in the year of the “resurgence.”

Even as the media celebrate the Mercedes Benz deal in the Marathwada region as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the latest data show that 17,368 farmers killed themselves in the year of the “resurgence.”

 

When businessmen from Aurangabad in the backward Marathwada region bought 150 Mercedes Benz luxury cars worth Rs. 65 crore at one go in October, it grabbed media attention. The top public sector bank, State Bank of India, offered the buyers loans of over Rs. 40 crore. “This,” says Devidas Tulzapurkar, president of the Aurangabad district bank employees association, “at an interest rate of 7 per cent.” A top SBI official said the bank was “proud to be part of this deal,” and would “continue to scout for similar deals in the future.”

The value of the Mercedes deal equals the annual income of tens of thousands of rural Marathwada households. And countless farmers in Maharashtra struggle to get any loans from formal sources of credit. It took roughly a decade and tens of thousands of suicides before Indian farmers got loans at 7 per cent interest — many, in theory only. Prior to 2005, those who got any bank loans at all shelled out between 9 and 12 per cent. Several were forced to take non-agricultural loans at even higher rates of interest. Buy a Mercedes, pay 7 per cent interest. Buy a tractor, pay 12 per cent. The hallowed micro-finance institutions (MFIs) do worse. There, it’s smaller sums at interest rates of between 24 and 36 per cent or higher.

Starved of credit, peasants turned to moneylenders and other informal sources. Within 10 years from 1991, the number of Indian farm households in debt almost doubled from 26 per cent to 48.6 per cent. A crazy underestimate but an official number. Many policy-driven disasters hit farmers at the same time. Exploding input costs in the name of ‘market-based prices.’ Crashing prices for their commercial crops, often rigged by powerful traders and corporations. Slashing of investment in agriculture. A credit squeeze as banks moved away from farm loans to fuelling upper middle class lifestyles. Within the many factors driving over two lakh farmers to suicide in 13 years, indebtedness and the credit squeeze rank high. (And MFIs are now among the squeezers).

What remained of farm credit was hijacked. A devastating piece in The Hindu(Aug. 13) showed us how. Almost half the total “agricultural credit” in the State of Maharashtra in 2008 was disbursed not by rural banks but by urban and metro branches. Over 42 per cent of it in just Mumbai — stomping ground of large corporations rather than of small farmers.

Even as the media celebrate our greatest car deal ever as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the subject of many media stories, comes the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau. These show a sharp increase in farm suicides in 2009 with at least 17,368 farmers killing themselves in the year of “rural resurgence.” That’s over 7 per cent higher than in 2008 and the worst numbers since 2004. This brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 216,500. While all suicides have multiple causes, their strong concentration within regions and among cash crop farmers is an alarming and dismal trend.

The NCRB, a wing of the Union Home Ministry, has been tracking farm suicide data since 1995. However, researchers mostly use their data from 1997 onwards. This is because the 1995 and 1996 data are incomplete. The system was new in 1995 and some big States such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan sent in no numbers at all that year. (In 2009, the two together saw over 1,900 farm suicides). By 1997, all States were reporting and the data are more complete.

The NCRB data end at 2009 for now. But we can assume that 2010 has seen at least 16,000 farmers’ suicides. (After all, the yearly average for the last six years is 17,104). Add this 16,000 to the total 2,16,500. Also add the incomplete 1995 and 1996 numbers — that is 24,449 suicides. This brings the 1995-2010 total to 2,56,949. Reflect on this figure a moment.

It means over a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995. It means the largest wave of recorded suicides in human history has occurred in this country in the past 16 years. It means one-and-a-half million human beings, family members of those killing themselves, have been tormented by the tragedy. While millions more face the very problems that drove so many to suicide. It means farmers in thousands of villages have seen their neighbours take this incredibly sad way out. A way out that more and more will consider as despair grows and policies don’t change. It means the heartlessness of the Indian elite is impossible to imagine, leave alone measure.

Note that these numbers are gross underestimates to begin with. Several large groups of farmers are mostly excluded from local counts. Women, for instance. Social and other prejudice means that, most times, a woman farmer killing herself is counted as suicide — not as a farmer’s suicide. Because the land is rarely in a woman’s name.

Then there is the plain fraud that some governments resort to. Maharashtra being the classic example. The government here has lied so many times that it contradicts itself thrice within a week. In May this year, for instance, three ‘official’ estimates of farm suicides in the worst-hit Vidarbha region varied by 5,500 per cent. The lowest count being just six in four months (See “How to be an eligible suicide,” The Hindu, May 13, 2010).

The NCRB figure for Maharashtra as a whole in 2009 is 2,872 farmers’ suicides. So it remains the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth year running. The ‘decline’ of 930 that this figure represents would be joyous if true. But no State has worked harder to falsify reality. For 13 years, the State has seen a nearly unrelenting rise. Suddenly, there’s a drop of 436 and 930 in 2008 and 2009. How? For almost four years now, committees have functioned in Vidarbha’s crisis districts to dismiss most suicides as ‘non-genuine.’ What is truly frightening is the Maharashtra government’s notion that fixing the numbers fixes the problem.

Yet that problem is mounting. Perhaps the State most comparable to Maharashtra in terms of population is West Bengal. Though its population is less by a few million, it has more farmers. Both States have data for 15 years since 1995. Their farm suicide annual averages in three-five year periods starting then are revealing. Maharashtra’s annual average goes up in each period. From 1,963 in the five years ending with 1999 to 3,647 by 2004. And scaling 3,858 by 2009. West Bengal’s yearly average registers a gradual drop in each five-year period. From 1,454 in 1999 to 1,200 in 2004 to 1,014 by 2009. While it has more farmers, its farm suicide average for the past five years is less than a third of Maharashtra’s. The latter’s yearly average has almost doubled since 1999.

The share of the Big 5 ‘suicide belt’ States — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — remains close to two-thirds of all farm suicides. Sadly 18 of 28 States reported higher farm suicide numbers in 2009. In some the rise was negligible. In others, not. Tamil Nadu showed the biggest increase of all States, going from 512 in 2008 to 1060 in 2009. Karnataka clocked in second with a rise of 545. And Andhra Pradesh saw the third biggest rise — 309 more than in 2008. A few though did see a decline of some consequence in their farm suicide annual average figures for the last six years. Three — Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal — saw their yearly average fall by over 350 in 2004-09 compared to the earlier seven years.

Things will get worse if existing policies on agriculture don’t change. Even States that have managed some decline across 13 years will be battered. Kerala, for instance, saw an annual average of 1,371 farm suicides between 1997 and 2003. From 2004-09, its annual average was 1016 — a drop of 355. Yet Kerala will suffer greatly in the near future. Its economy is the most globalised of any State. Most crops are cash crops. Any volatility in the global prices of coffee, pepper, tea, vanilla, cardamom or rubber will affect the State. Those prices are also hugely controlled at the global level by a few corporations.

Already bludgeoned by the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Kerala now has to contend with the one we’ve gotten into with ASEAN. And an FTA with the European Union is also in the offing. Kerala will pay the price. Even prior to 2004, the dumping of the so-called “Sri Lankan pepper” (mostly pepper from other countries brought in through Sri Lanka) ravaged the State. Now, we’ve created institutional frameworks for such dumping. Economist Professor K. Nagaraj, author of the biggest study of farm suicides in India, says: “The latest data show us that the agrarian crisis has not relented, not gone away.” The policies driving it have also not gone away.

 

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The Road to World War III – The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2010

Global Research, September 28, 2010
ampedstatus.com – 2010-09-27
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here.

When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers, while essentially accurate, also misses the most vital point.

This crisis is the direct result of a strategic economic attack on the existence of a middle class and democracy worldwide. The stock market and economy have become weapons of mass oppression manipulated by an imperial banking cartel to impose order and exploit the masses. This crisis boldly represents the manifest evolution of the fascist spirit reasserting itself as the dominant ideology.

Any fairytale notions of the United States being a democratic republic built on the rule of law have been utterly dispelled. As a nation we have been bred and conditioned to be dangerously naïve to the darker forces which operate beyond the spotlight of the mainstream media. We have been blinded to what has been developing throughout the world.

The economic imperialism that has now blown-back to the United States and Europe has been evolving for decades and can be directly traced back to the end of World War II, to the birth of the CIA, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

For those of us who have been paying attention to economic imperial operations that have been carried out against countries throughout the world, this looks all too familiar. The IMF and global bankers have conquered the second and third world, and they have now moved on to countries within the first world. Western European and American working classes are in the cross-hairs now.

Economic and societal indicators, along with recent G-20 policy decisions, clearly demonstrate that they are carrying out and escalating systemic economic attacks throughout Europe and the US.

To put it in technical terms, the United States government has been taken over by a financial terrorism network. They have bought off leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and have established a dominant role in all three branches of government and throughout the mainstream media. They have complete control of the economy, stock market, US Treasury, Federal Reserve, World Bank, IMF and global banking system. Free market capitalism has collapsed; it’s now a rigged global market. This is an organized criminal operation, an imperial fascist movement that is determined to destroy our very way of life.

A war has already been launched against us.

In just the past three years we have lost an unprecedented amount of national wealth, trillions upon trillions of our tax dollars have been looted by Wall Street, endless wars, enormous subsidies for the most profitable global corporations and tax cuts for the richest one percent of the population. Never before, in the history of civilization, has a nation been so thoroughly and systematically fleeced.

This is all the result of a coordinated economic attack by a global banking cartel against 99 percent of the US population.

Until we can become politically intelligent enough to see this as the reality and root cause of our current crisis, we will not be able to overcome it, our living standards will continue to decline and we will all be sentenced to a slow death in a neo-feudal system built on debt slavery.

The average American is horribly naïve to just how depraved, corrupt and addicted to power this banking cartel is. Through their control and domination of the mass media, they have kept their crimes against humanity out of public consciousness. We have been shielded from the global devastation and death toll that they have already wrought. The result is an unsuspecting population of confused and passive people having their future ripped out from under them, right before their eyes, without any organized defense or resistance.

As the entrenched global banking cartel continues to control domestic political policy, the next phase of this crisis will inevitably feature an escalation into mass violence. As the Army War College stated, the Pentagon is preparing for “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” and “widespread civil violence” due to “purposeful domestic resistance.”

In clear signs of what is to come, rioting and violence as a result of economic turmoil has already been experienced in many countries throughout the world. However, civil unrest has not yet occurred within the United States. There are many theories as to why there has been so little resistance from the US population thus far, and several factors play into it. The most significant factor is that social safety net programs have been vital in preventing people from resorting to extreme measures. Currently, a stunning number of Americans, 52 million, are receiving life-sustaining assistance from government “anti-poverty” programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and Medicare. This has already stretched a social safety net system that is designed to handle significantly less people to its limit. This safety net system has now been drained of all reserve resources over the past two years, and is obviously not sustainable under current economic and political conditions.

As social safety net programs have been drained of reserves, many US citizens have also been burning through their personal savings. Over the past few years the percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck has dramatically increased. In 2007, 43 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. In 2008, the percentage increased to 49 percent. In 2009, the number skyrocketed up to 61 percent. The most recent number for 2010 has exploded to ashocking 77 percent. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin and millions more are in danger of having to rely on government assistance for survival.

So as this prolonged economic crisis continues, these safety nets, that are already overwhelmed, will have to support more and more people and will inevitably break down. As we have just begun to see, budget cuts to vital social programs on the state and federal levels will become increasingly severe right at the point when many more Americans will need them. As the 52 million Americans currently surviving in “anti-poverty” programs are gradually cutoff from life-sustaining government assistance – and as the 239 million people now living paycheck to paycheck, buried in debt, stressing out and working their asses off just to make ends meet realize that things are not going to be getting any better — and are only going to get worse — social unrest and outbursts of violence will eventually start to bubble up to the surface and the ruling elite will no longer be able to maintain power by simply deceiving the masses via mainstream media propaganda.

When an overwhelming majority of the population directly feels negative effects upon their own living standards, the propaganda system collapses. The illusion comes crashing down and people will finally start to get wise to the horrific scam that is being played on them. When they wake from their media-induced American dream state and realize that they are now living in a nightmare, as crazy as it may sound, people will actually stop voting against their own interests. The apathetic majority, that doesn’t vote, will become active in the interests of self-preservation as their survival instincts kick in.

The handwriting is on the wall and the ruling class has to realize that by the time 2012 rolls around, their puppet politicians will be voted out of office, or their heads will roll, quite literally.

Looking at this from a purely technocratic sociological viewpoint, avoiding mass riots and violence while this many desperate people lose life-sustaining programs appears to be an impossible task, and given our current economic and political environment this seems inevitable.

In an article titled “A Planet at the Brink: Will Economic Brushfires Prove Too Virulent to Contain?” Michael T. Klare explained:

“As people lose confidence in the ability of markets and governments to solve the global crisis, they are likely to erupt into violent protests or to assault others they deem responsible for their plight, including government officials, plant managers, landlords, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. (The list could, in the future, prove long and unnerving.) If the present economic disaster turns into what President Obama has referred to as a ‘lost decade,’ the result could be a global landscape filled with economically-fueled upheavals.”

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed  his fears:

“I was worrying about it because we’re going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we’re going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America….

And you sort of say to yourself: what’s going to happen in this society when these people are without jobs, when their families hurt, when they lose their homes, and so forth?”

Outbreaks of civil unrest are something that the US government and Pentagon have been expecting, and preparing for. Former US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee stating that the greatest threat facing the US is not terrorism, it’s the current economic crisis:

“The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications. The crisis has been ongoing…. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

Intelligence Committee Vice-Chair Christopher Bond said the economic crisis is now “the primary focus of the intelligence community.” As the Army War College has warned, the response to this coming phase of the economic crisis “might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.”

Journalist Chris Hedges summed up this report:

“The specter of social unrest was raised at the US Army War College in November in a monograph titled ‘Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development.’ …

The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’

‘An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,’ it went on….

In plain English, something bureaucrats and the military seem incapable of employing, this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.”

The International Monetary Fund is predicting a “social explosion” due to this crisis. The IMF and World Bank have a long history of creating social upheaval. Leaked documents from within the World Bank refer to the next phase of the crisis as the “IMF riot.”

Journalist Greg Palast obtained classified planning documents, which shed light on the covert economic imperial operations, Structural Adjustment Programs, that the IMF, World Bank and US Treasury have used in the past as a playbook for destabilizing and conquering foreign nations. In the UK newspaper The Observer, Palast interviewed Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was a former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, turned whistleblower. They revealed the four-step IMF plan. Though the strategy is slightly modified based on the nation being attacked, here in the United States we are currently about to enter a variation of step-three, which is currently being phased in throughout Europe. This step inevitably leads to a significant portion of the population losing the ability to obtain basic necessities essential for survival. Once this happens, riots inevitably occur, or as they put it: step 3.5 is executed.

Here is how Palast and Stiglitz summed it up:

“At this point, according to Stiglitz, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: market-based pricing – a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and… gas.

This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls ‘the IMF riot’.

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, ‘down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,’…

What Stiglitz did not know is that Newsnight obtained several documents from inside the World Bank. In one, last year’s Interim Country Assistance Strategy for Ecuador, the Bank several times suggests – with cold accuracy – that the plans could be expected to spark ’social unrest’.”

To sum up, the interlocked IMF and World Bank set the conditions for ’social unrest’ and then once it occurs they move to step-four, which is the ultimate in disaster capitalism – they profit off the misery and the civilian population is then buried in a neo-feudal system of severe debt and poverty.

So what is the IMF saying right now about our situation in Europe and the US? A recent Telegraph report reads:

“IMF fears ’social explosion’ from world jobs crisis

America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk ‘an explosion of social unrest’ unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned….

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said the percentage of workers laid off for long stints has been rising with each downturn for decades but the figures have surged this time. ‘Long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression,” he said….

The IMF said there may be a link between rising inequality within Western economies and deflating demand. Historians say the last time that the wealth gap reached such skewed extremes was in 1928-1929…”

To show you how insidious the IMF is, they have recently launched a propaganda campaign to publicly decry deficit budget cuts and austerity measures. However, behind the scenes they have been forcing implementation of them and making their usual demands for cuts in vital social services and public spending, once those cuts are in place, the riots obviously follow.

A recent Washington Post report states:

“IMF issues broad call for US financial prudence:
Cut Social Security. Ditch the deduction for interest on home mortgages. Tax gasoline.
The United States recently opened itself to the most intense scrutiny yet by the International Monetary Fund, and on Thursday was offered a bitter pill when the agency criticized some well-defended aspects of American culture — cheap fuel, subsidized housing, and a government retirement check…. “

Economist Dean Baker writes:

“The central bankers and their accomplices at the IMF are dictating policies to democratically elected governments. Their agenda seems to be the same everywhere, cut back retirement benefits, reduce public support for health care, weaken unions and make ordinary workers take pay cuts.”

In another report Baker adds:

“The IMF program calls for cutbacks in government support for healthcare, pensions, and a wide range of other public services. It also calls for weakening labor market regulations that provide workers with job security.

These recommendations are being given in a context where the world economy is suffering from a massive shortfall of demand. In other words, tens of millions of people are unemployed right now because there is not enough spending to keep them employed. The IMF’s program is almost certain to reduce spending further leading to even larger shortfalls in demand and more unemployment….

The IMF’s track record gives us reason not only to question the institution’s competence but also its motivations…. It is possible to see a similar pattern in the IMF’s latest set of policy recommendations to deal with the economic crisis.”

In an article entitled, “The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security,” Baker continues:

“Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons…

While the IMF has no problem warning about retired workers getting too much in Social Security benefits, it apparently could not find its voice when the issue was the junk securities from Goldman Sachs or Citigroup that helped to fuel the housing bubble.

The collapse of this bubble has not only sank the world economy, it also destroyed most of the savings of the near retirees for whom the IMF wants to cut Social Security. The vast majority of middle-income retirees have most of their wealth in their home equity. This home equity largely disappeared when the bubble burst.”

So the IMF and global banking cartel are setting the conditions for social unrest and pushing for policies that will provoke it, and the Pentagon is preparing for a military response. As scary and unbelievable as all this may sound, we are on afast track to this scenario.

To Sum Up

The American and global economy have already been looted and destroyed beyond repair. Most serious economists will admit that governments have already exhausted their capital by bailing out the banks and taking on unprecedented amounts of debt. The bailouts and recent return to high profits were just the final phase of the looting and a further consolidation of wealth on an unprecedented scale. There are still tens of trillions of dollars in debt hidden off-the-books andhundreds of trillions of dollars in dark pools of derivative liability. As the downturn continues, there is nothing left to revive the economy, the reserves and safety nets have already been stretched to their limits.

We have a political and economic system that has been overrun by organized corruption and theft. Along with a mass media system that does not inform the populace and has effectively marginalized and isolated the majority of the population. Meanwhile, bubbling just under the surface is a very heavily armed population with a militia movement that has doubled in size over the past year, and their memberships continue to rapidly grow. Without the necessary general political intelligence or infrastructure to organize an effective mass non-violent movement, we are steamrolling toward spontaneous riots and outbursts of armed insurrection.

In other words, as this economic downturn continues, what is now a passive and confused population will eventually devolve into an explosion of violence. Without a coherent non-violent movement to provide a viable alternative, without an outlet for severe and legitimate grievances that provides any chance for urgently affecting necessary political change, people will resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance and frustration. As time passes, these forgotten and isolated people, tens of millions of them, are quickly running out of options, and they will act out just as exploited people throughout the world always have.

A man who sparked a revolution against the same banking cartel that has caused our crisis described the general attitude among a population that successfully rebelled through armed insurrection:

“The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day — faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed — so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital….

The feeling of revolt will grow stronger every day among the peoples subjected to various degrees of exploitation, and they will take up arms to gain by force the rights which reason alone has not won them.”

Whatever your preconceptions of the man who said this may be, the voice of Che Guevara can now be clearly understood and related to by the overwhelming majority of people throughout the United States.

Already, despite intensive propaganda, a stunning 80 percent of the US population believes that the government has failed them. The health care and financial reform bills have proven that our politicians are much more concerned about the short-sighted necessity to please the Economic Elite and raise campaign funds, than they are to understand the consequences of millions of Americans being forced into situations where their very survival is threatened. In a system where most elected officials are millionaires, this lack of perspective and understanding is ultimately what will lead to violence. Whether it is by arrogance or ignorance, perhaps both, it appears that our ruling class has suicidal tendencies. Unless they quickly recognize the growing threat posed by the dispossessed masses, our puppet politicians will themselves be in harm’s way.

To show you how incredibly out of touch our current elected officials are, and to give you a clear indication of the prevailing attitude on Capitol Hill, a recent report from the Washington Post summed up their response to the recent news that a record number of Americans are now living in poverty:

“The reluctance of political leaders on both sides of the aisle to directly confront the fact that growing numbers of Americans are slipping into poverty reflects a stubborn reality about the poor: They are not much of a political constituency.

‘We talk to many people on Capitol Hill who do believe poverty is important and is a blight on our nation, but we are also up against a general recognition that poor people don’t vote in great numbers. And they certainly aren’t going to be making campaign contributions. That definitely puts them behind many other people and interests when decisions are being made around here.’”

And that sums up our current crisis, doesn’t it? The “poor people don’t vote” and they don’t make “campaign contributions.”

As the Rage Against the Machine song goes, “The riot be the rhyme of the unheard.”

How will this imperial fascist banking cartel respond to revolt? How will they maintain their power over an increasingly radicalized and hostile US population?

In an attempt to stave off organized rebellion, they are already escalating their propaganda efforts in attempts to divide and distract the population. The tactics of their divide and conquer strategy are already on full display. Their mainstream media outlets have drastically increased coverage and focused attention on the rhetoric of division – using divisive issues like immigration, racism, religious bigotry, the “lazy unemployed,” “entitlement welfare” and gay marriage to divide and distract the population and prevent the masses from organizing against their true oppressors.

This propaganda effort is only a temporary measure and will not suffice over the long-term. As the economy continues to collapse, the banking elite risk being overthrown as a result of their own greed. So they will then turn to physical, military-based violence to suppress populations that can no longer be controlled through propaganda and economic coercion.

To paraphrase policy analyst Anatol Lieven, the classic strategy of an endangered oligarchy is to divert discontent among the population into nationalistic militarism. It is time, once again, to bang the drums of war and “whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor.” The source of the following quote is unknown, but the evident wisdom of it is something that we have already experienced firsthand in the recent past:

“Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.”

An increased external threat will lead to an increased internal crackdown, which creates the pretext and conditions for a police state. As we have already seen in the first phase of the crackdown on civil liberties since the “War on Terror” began, when rioting and outbursts of armed insurrection begin within the US, external threats, real or imagined, will again be presented to justify extreme measures to suppress American citizens, and to further repress and divert internal dissent. Without an external enemy to rally the population against, the population will rally against the pre-existing internal powers.

To put a slight twist on what Guy DeBord insightfully said back in 1988: the banking cartel “constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results. The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive. But they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.”

As millions of Americans and the majority of the global population look for vengeance on those responsible for severely declining living standards, the global banking cartel are not going to blame themselves, so they will deflect blame to China, a most convenient target.

As a result of the crisis, national currencies are reeling, and the dollar, although currently one of the strongest paper currencies, is losing power as the crisis escalates. The IMF is working to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency and have begun discussing the possibility of making their Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) the new world reserve currency. A plummeting dollar will obviously put the American population in a severely desperate situation and the US-based banking cartel needs an excuse to divert political backlash. In China, the nation poised to replace the US as the preeminent global superpower, they have the perfect scapegoat.

US-based global corporations have been shifting their business to China and off-shoring millions of jobs to the region due to their extremely low worker wages. So the American population is already pre-disposed to blaming China, as opposed to the companies who are exploiting the cheap labor. US politicians have been conveniently shifting blame for unemployment from themselves to China. Meanwhile, China also owns a significant portion of US national debt. US Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recently declared that the national debt is the number one security threat. As Mullen stated, “Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012.” A significant portion of this interest will be going to China.

As national governments attempt to survive in an increasingly hostile global economy, trade and currency wars will flare up and escalate. China is in perhaps the strongest position to win these conflicts. China and Japan have just engaged in a fierce currency battle. This currency battle is not to be underestimated. We are talking about the world’s second and third largest economies, after the United States. China has just overtaken Japan for the number two position. The militant rhetoric between these two nations is escalating. US politicians were quick to jump on the situation with calls to classify China as a “currency manipulator” and impose trade tariffs and penalties against them.

International economic reporter Barry Grey recently summed up the situation in an article entitled, “Economic crisis threatens to unleash global currency wars:”

“The eruption of currency exchange conflicts is bound up with mounting signs that the global economic crisis is systemic, rather than merely conjunctural, and growing fears that a genuine recovery is not in the offing. The European sovereign debt crisis and the weakening of US economic growth have led governments around the world to seek to secure a greater share of export markets. Under conditions of slowing growth and stagnant markets, this inevitably heightens trade conflicts between competing capitalist nations.

In particular, the US and the European Union, spearheaded by the export power Germany, have aggressively pursued a cheap currency policy in order to gain a trade advantage against their rivals. Of the major economic powers, Japan has suffered the greatest damage from these policies, as investors and speculators have shifted from dollar- and euro-denominated investments to the yen, driving up the currency’s exchange rate.

This has embittered relations between Japan and both the US and the EU. Japan has also denounced China for artificially keeping its currency low while bidding up the yen by increasing its purchases of Japanese government securities.”

The global banking cartel’s leading puppets on Capitol Hill, Senators Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer and Richard Shelby were all quick to attack China. Barry Grey continued:

“In opening the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Chairman Christopher Dodd declared China a currency manipulator and said its ‘economic and trade policies’ present ‘roadblocks to our recovery.’ He went on to accuse China of stealing intellectual property, violating international trade agreements and dumping goods. He also denounced China for acquiring national resources in developing countries and building up its military.

In his opening statement, the ranking Republican on the committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, declared, ‘There is no question that China manipulates its currency in order to subsidize Chinese exports. The only question is: Why is the administration protecting China by refusing to designate it as a currency manipulator?’

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, ‘China’s currency manipulation is like a boot on the throat of our recovery and this administration refuses to try to get China to remove that boot.’”

On top of all this, China has now overtaken the US as the world’s top energy consumer. Michael T. Klare reports on China’s new position of power:

“The main point: by becoming the world’s leading energy consumer, China will also become an ever more dominant international actor and so set the pace in shaping our global future.

Because energy is tied to so many aspects of the global economy, and because doubts are growing about the future availability of oil and other vital fuels, the decisions China makes regarding its energy portfolio will have far-reaching consequences. As the leading player in the global energy market, China will significantly determine not only the prices we will be paying for critical fuels but also the type of energy systems we will come to rely on. More importantly, China’s decisions on energy preferences will largely determine whether China and the United States can avoid becoming embroiled in a global struggle over imported oil and whether the world will escape catastrophic climate change.”

China’s rise in power, mixed with the decline of western economies and the need for an external scapegoat sets up a global collision and inevitable confrontation between vying superpowers. Currency and trade wars will likely be a prelude to military confrontation.

Based on early maneuvering it is evident that the masters of war have already drawn up sides. You may have missed it, but the US, Israel and the NATO Alliance have already put Iran, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and China on notice. And the “withdrawals” from Iraq and the Af-Pak region are over-hyped. The occupation of these countries continues with no end in sight. In fact, they aren’t withdrawing as much as they are repositioning and shifting their forces, preparing for an escalation. In many ways the wars in Iraq and Af-Pak have only been the initial phase of a global attack, positioning forces and building massive military bases in pivotal geo-strategic locations. The operations in this region have essentially been a warm-up for much wider-ranging attacks against much stronger countries. While most of the US population is playing checkers, seeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as one-off battles, the global banking cartel is playing chess, using these wars as only initial geo-strategic moves in a grand strategy toward total world domination.

The intensity of military maneuvering presently occurring is alarming. Read through these recent news reports pulled from the AmpedStatus database, all from just the past few weeks, and let me know if you think I’m being extreme in foreseeing World War III:

  • So there we have it. The global Economic Elite have effectively looted and destroyed national economies worldwide, the propaganda system is quickly collapsing, and the masses are beginning to get restless. It’s time to move to the next phase of the attack. Preparations are already underway. We are on the road to World War III.

    Add to this picture rapidly declining natural resources and an increasingly hostile and polluted environment with extreme weather events frequently pounding the globe. In the past decade the global corporate elite have already engaged in three major resource wars in Iraq, Af-Pak and Northern Africa.

    With a growing global population and an increasing demand for declining resources, we have already crossed a tipping point and are now in the ecological red. For the first time in human history, we are now consuming resources faster than nature can produce them. As developing countries like China and India attempt to live like western countries, there are simply not enough resources. The global economy is built on an unsustainable foundation. Instead of evolving and changing course, the entrenched banking power base is digging in further, and they run NATO, the private military complex and the US government. Based on the current policies that are in place, they have clearly already decided that they want to keep living business as usual and refuse to evolve and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. With this decision, they have effectively already decided to further escalate their oppression of the overwhelming majority of humanity, and this will lead to the death of literally hundreds of millions of people.

    The global banking cartel view the world’s limited resources as their property, and they have consistently proven that they have absolutely no hesitation in killing millions upon millions of people for these resources – just look at what they have already done in the recent past throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

    In the years since Northern Africa was discovered to be “the richest patch of earth” due to large deposits of natural minerals that are needed to power computer technologies, over five million Africans, in just that region, have died as a result of war.

    The global elite have consistently used a strategy of arming and funding both sides of armed conflicts. While opposing populations kill each other off, they make off with their natural resources. When they confront a government that cannot be bribed or provoked into civil or regional war, they fund brutal death squads, attempt military coups and intimidate them by giving weapons to undemocratic neighboring regimes. If all that doesn’t work, they are declared a threat to national security and the US military, private contractors and NATO forces invade and occupy the country.

    These terrorist strategies are not limited to the Middle East and Africa, just ask our neighbors throughout Latin America about the School of the Americas. Contrary to popular belief, the horrendous torture techniques inflicted upon people in Abu Ghraib, Iraq were not an isolated incident. Many of those brutal torture techniques were developed over years by torturing innocent civilians throughout Latin America.

    The picture in Latin America today is one of inspiration. People throughout the region are rising up against the global corporate elite and claiming their rights and natural resources as their own, from Bolivia to Ecuador to Venezuela. This is another factor driving the “endangered oligarchy” into resorting to military desperation. The military coup in Honduras, the attempted coup in Venezuela, and the failed attempt to provoke Columbia and Venezuela into an armed conflict all clearly indicate where this situation is headed if the imperialist bankers get their way.

    The average American is dreadfully unaware of just how depraved these people are. The little regard they have for human life is beyond common comprehension.

    The global elite have already used the “War on Terror” as a pretext to drastically increase military spending and build a massive private military and intelligence complex on the backs of the American taxpayer. According to an extensive report from the Washington Post, a stunning 1.2 million private contractors work in this complex. Most Americans are not aware that 69 percent of the soldiers deployed in our name are private contractors, and 80 percent of them are foreign nationals, meaning they are not even from the United States. Half of the people we have deployed in our name, who are funded by our tax dollars, are not even fighting for our country, they are fighting for a paycheck.

    Wars are a highly profitable racket, which gives an enormous incentive to keep them going. This is one of the reasons why the war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. This system has led to a perpetual state of war. Military spending, although widely reported as being around $680 billion per year, is more accurately totaling over $1 Trillion per year. Of this staggering amount of annual spending, 25 percent of it goes unaccounted for, not counting the billions of our tax dollars lost to over-charging and all-out fraud.

    This private military complex has become so out of control that politicians are now forced to admit that they have no idea what is happening within it. As the Washington Post report revealed:

    “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

    These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

    The investigation’s other findings include:

    * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

    * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”

    There are so many unaccountable cells and competing factions within this complex, any one of them could go rogue and launch an attack on the US soil and make it look like another “terrorist” organization or nation executed it. This may sound too conspiratorial to the casual observer, but it would be stunningly naïve to think that in a massive complex like this, with so little oversight and accountability, given the huge sums of money at stake, that something tragic wouldn’t eventually occur. The implications are ominous, to say the least.

    We already had a proven act of internal domestic terror occur with the Anthrax attacks in 2001. It is not a stretch to think that any moves away from a state of permanent war, and any cut to military spending that would threaten the existence of many of the world’s largest and most powerful and profitable corporations, would result in an attack in hopes of inciting a military conflict. Former President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning against the “unwarranted influence” of the military industrial complex, and “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” pales in comparison to the modern private military complex. While many of these companies currently rely on US tax dollars, they are not part of the government, they are global private entities with their own interests at heart, similar to the Federal Reserve banking system. In fact, when you peel back the layers, many of these private military companies are funded by the global banking cartel.

    When you understand the forces behind war, you must acknowledge the words of famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient US Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. He accurately summed up the situation when he said:

    “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism…. The general public shoulders the bill. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones, Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.”

    To give just two brief examples of how the banking cartel operates behind the scenes during wars, consider the following. The genocidal carnage in Northern Africa that killed over 5.4 million people was enthusiastically supported by the IMF and World Bank. In a news report entitled, “The Business of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Dena Montague and Frida Berrigan explained:

    “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have knowingly contributed to the war effort. The international lending institutions praised both Rwanda and Uganda for increasing their gross domestic product (GDP), which resulted from the illegal mining of DRC resources. Although the IMF and World Bank were aware that the rise in GDP coincided with the DRC war… they nonetheless touted both nations as economic success stories….”

    In another example of grotesque profiting off massive levels of death, banking cartel members made a fortune on the production of cluster bombs. The Guardian revealed the details:

    “The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them.

    HSBC… has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank… has earned a total of £657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions…. Campaigners maintain the deadly weapons can explode years after combat, killing or maiming innocent people….

    Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks [funding the production of cluster bombs]….

    Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to [cluster bomb manufactures] Alliant Techsystems and Textron.”

    To sum all of this up, the global banking cartel and private military complex are a runaway virus that demands a permanent state of warfare. They are intrinsically parasitic in nature, they have devolved into a fascist enterprise that survives and profits off of destruction. If they don’t get a war, they will create one in the interest of their own self preservation. As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell once explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.” This insight can now be extended to the global banking cartel. Enemies are now necessary for the wheels of the global banking cartel to turn.

    Under the cover of the “War on Terror” they have launched a massive campaign of violence abroad and have been systematically looting our economy and stripping of us civil liberties at home.

    So as the US and global population becomes more radical, and as the environment becomes more hostile, with increasingly limited natural resources, in a desperate attempt to maintain power the global banking cartel will escalate from economic attacks to worldwide military-based assaults. This is the clear path we are on – the road to World War III.

    This may very well be a case of history repeating itself. Not to oversimplify an extremely complex situation, but this is all too similar to the origins of World War II. The looting of the masses by an unaccountable Wall Street elite led to the Great Depression and set the conditions for WWII. Desperate and impoverished populations increasingly supported more and more extreme leaders. The conditions are now so ripe for world war that Noam Chomsky has convincingly compared modern-day America to Weimar Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII. Research the history of pre-war societies and you will see for yourself how our current political environment fits historical precedent like a glove.

    As mentioned before, the roots of our current crisis can be directly traced back to the aftermath of World War II. In the ruins of WWII grew global institutions like the IMF and World Bank. It also gave us the National Security Act and the CIA. All were central and pivotal in creating the crisis which we are now confronted with.

    After analyzing our current crisis and studying well-established historical precedents, one must conclude that creating a world war is the last card the global bankers have left to play, other than conceding power, and history has taught us that the ruling class never concedes power. Of course the one-tenth of one percent of the global population hoarding our wealth could give back a significant amount of the $39 Trillion they looted from us (not counting what they have hidden in offshore accounts). That would certainly go a long way to fixing the crisis they have caused, but again, the ruling class has never conceded power, no matter how excessive and ill-gotten their gains.

    So brace yourself… unless we significantly change our present course, we are on the road to World War III.

    David DeGraw is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by David DeGraw

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    Ron Paul: Inside Sources Told Me Fed Is Panicking At Mass Awakening

    Posted by Admin on May 28, 2010

    Congressman: “We are still fighting,” to add stronger provisions to watered down legislation

    Ron Paul: Inside Sources Told Me Fed Is Panicking At Mass Awakening 270510top

    Paul Joseph Watson
    Prison Planet.com
    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Appearing on The Alex Jones Show yesterday, Congressman Ron Paul revealed that through his inside sources he had learned that the people who control the Federal Reserve are panicking about the fact that Americans are waking up to the fact that the U.S. is controlled by the central bank.

    “I had some information passed on to me, sort of inside information, somebody who knew somebody who was well tuned to the people at the Federal Reserve – and they said they are really really concerned about our movement to expose the Fed for what they’re doing,” said Paul, adding, “What they’re upset or worried about is the fact that more and more people are aware of the Federal Reserve now like never before,” explaining that exposure will lead to change and a reform of the Federal Reserve.

    Paul attributed the success of the freedom movement in the last decade to the growing awareness of the power that the Federal Reserve wields over America.

    “Even those who defend the Fed are very frightened about it,” added Paul, noting that a growing number of Americans were knowledgeable about the central bank despite the fact that the subject is rarely covered by the education system.

    Host Jones made reference to a recent Council on Foreign Relations speech by Trilateral Commission and regular Bilderberg attendee Zbigniew Brzezinski in which he warned that a “global political awakening,” in combination with infighting amongst the elite, was threatening to derail the move towards a one world government.

    “I hope he has some real reasons to be worried about that,” responded the Congressman.

    Despite the Senate voting down Ron Paul’s version of the audit the fed bill earlier this month, a weaker version was passed which will mandate the central bank to reveal which financial institutions received bailout money at the peak of the economic crisis, something the Fed has desperately tried to avoid divulging.

    Paul expressed his own disappointment at the watered down bill, but his colleagueCongressman Alan Grayson expressed confidence that the stronger provisions of the original House amendment could be added in Committee, ensuring the Federal Reserve doesn’t get off the hook, as Congressman Paul has warned.

    Paul told host Jones that people should look into which Senators did not vote for the original audit the Fed bill, characterizing the weakened version as “A bailout for the system and for the Federal Reserve.”

    Paul said he was going to try and influence the bill in conference by adding stronger provisions.

    “I think right now the cards are stacked against us but we’re going to keep fighting because the more attention we get and the more people know, I ink we can be proud of how far we’ve gotten already,” said Paul.

    From http://www.prisonplanet.com/ron-paul-inside-sources-told-me-fed-is-panicking-at-mass-awakening.html

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    Goldman Suchs, truly…

    Posted by Admin on April 23, 2010

    Goldman Sucks

    Goldman Sucks

    Something truly extraordinary has happened. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Goldman Sachs, the greedy, grasping, Midas heart of the Old World Order, with fraud, prompting an immediate slump of over 12% in their share price.

    For once, the victims of the evil empire of Goldman Sachs were not the ordinary people, but their own big clients, including the German bank IKB.

    This is a momentous hour. Like rats in a sack, the Old World Order have viciously turned on each other. Their united front is disintegrating.

    How did it come about? What did Goldman Sachs do that was so outrageous that the SEC could no longer turn a blind eye to the myriad of transactions performed by Goldman Sachs that should have attracted the most serious scrutiny long ago?

    What happened was that the hedge fund Paulson & Co, one of the most spectacular beneficiaries of the Credit Crunch, earning billions of dollars while so many other were losing billions, put together a complex portfolio of subprime-mortgage-backed investments that it fully expected to slump in value i.e. it was actually assembling a collection of what it thought were the highest risk, most dubious investments available, and anticipating maximum downside on this portfolio. Its explicit strategy was to bet heavily against this portfolio i.e. to “short” it to the fullest extent. In other words, Paulson & Co regarded this portfolio as utterly toxic, a disaster in the making. This portfolio was “dead man walking” if ever there was one.

    Paulson & Co arranged for Goldman Sachs to structure, market and sell this portfolio to its prestigious clients. Goldman Sachs gave it the full, glossy treatment, indicating to many clients that they would be sitting on a potential goldmine if they invested in this portfolio. They completely omitted to mention to all would-be clients that Paulson & Co regarded this portfolio as a collection of the walking dead – a zombie fund heading for the graveyard. Isn’t this a critical piece of information about which every potential client ought to have been made aware? It’s a bit like selling a house for full market value when you know it’s sitting on the edge of a crumbling cliff, a fact that you deliberately fail to tell the purchaser.

    In fact, they didn’t mention Paulson & Co at all. They claimed instead that ACA Management, an objective, independent third party with expertise in analyzing risk, had assembled the portfolio. They must have known that if they had admitted the involvement of Paulson & Co, investors might have viewed it entirely differently, given the reputation of hedge funds.

    The Goldman Sachs “vice president” at the heart of the scandal is a Frenchman called Fabrice Tourre. In an email sent to a friend a month before he helped to structure the toxic portfolio, Tourre said, “More and more leverage in the system. The whole building is about to collapse anytime now … Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fabrice Tourre … standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implication of those monstrosities!!!”

    Tourre was described as a “well-mannered, handsome guy from a very refined family.” He had a reputation for throwing noisy parties in his fashionable block of flats. He was a ‘straight-A’ student at the Lycee Henri IV, one of France’s most elite schools, housed in an exquisite 6th Century abbey in Paris. He then studied mathematics at the Ecole Centrale Paris, a top French university, before completing his elite education with the obligatory trip to the USA where he obtained a master’s degree from Stanford. He worked in a luxurious office in a prime location in London.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Why the Central Bankers Are Meeting In Secret

    Posted by Admin on February 14, 2010

    Why the Central Bankers Are Meeting In Secret

    Many of the world’s central bankers are meeting in Sydney today, at a secret location, to coordinate their drive to force draconian austerity measures on nations, in order to prop up their failed monetary system.

    That’s why they are meeting in secret—if the people understood that the central bankers are working out how many people they’ll need to kill to save the banking system, the people might object to them being here.

    Consider the chronology of how the world got to this point:

    • In July 2007, after a decade of warnings by American physical economist Lyndon LaRouche that the world financial system would disintegrate, the U.S. sub-prime crisis triggered the global financial collapse (Bear Sterns), which by September 2008 turned into a full-blown meltdown of the $1.4 quadrillion global derivatives bubble (Lehman Brothers, AIG).
    • In August 2007, LaRouche proposed the Homeowners and Bank Protection Act: to keep people in their homes; to preserve the functionality of the banking system by putting it into bankruptcy protection, to write off their unpayable derivatives and bad debts; and to return the system to Glass-Steagall regulations.
    • LaRouche’s solution was rejected, and instead in October 2008, the very central banks which created the crisis, led by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank, dictated a $24 trillion global bail-out of the system by national governments. In Australia, Kevin Rudd implemented the bank guarantee, stimulus spending and the first homebuyers grant, and the Future Fund was put at the disposal of the banks to prop them up.
    • By July 2009, it was obvious the bail-out had transferred the bankruptcy of the banking system onto the governments which were propping it up. LaRouche forecast that by October the bankruptcy of national governments would trigger the final meltdown.
    • In October 2009, Dubai defaulted on debts of US$59 billion; it was bailed out by Abu Dhabi, but 13 other default risks quickly emerged, including the PIGS in Europe—Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain—Great Britain, and the biggest danger of all, the U.S.
    • 2010: on 17th January, Sunday Telegraph economics writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard revealed advanced plans by the European Central Bank (ECB) to enforce draconian austerity measures on the PIGS, dictating massive cuts to wages, pensions and social services so those nations avoided debt default to save the euro. The ECB intoned sovereignty is a “largely obsolete concept” as it declared it would impose a “permanent limitation” on the PIGS. The chief economist of the IMF, Olivier Blanchard, has since called for the PIGS to impose wage cuts to save the euro. Vicious austerity is on the agenda in other places too: In Australia, Kevin Rudd is blaming the deficit on old people living too long, and in the U.S., Barack Obama is slashing Medicare for the elderly to rein in the U.S. deficit.

    The world’s central bankers meeting in Sydney are unaccountable powerbrokers, disguised as “independent”, who have replaced accountable governments as managers of the economy, and globalised the financial system under private control. Through them, the financier oligarchs in the City of London, and its satellites in Wall Street, Amsterdam and Zürich etc., are in charge of the financial system—not elected governments.

    Just like in the 1930s, the austerity measures planned by the central bankers cannot be implemented through democratic means, because people tend to object to being killed. To save their system in the Great Depression, the leading central bankers in the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements, backed the rise of Hitler and Europe’s other fascist régimes to impose their austerity program.

    What is Sydney’s secret central bank gathering planning to do this time?

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    AIG-Gate: The World’s Greatest Insurance Heist

    Posted by Admin on February 13, 2010

    AIG-Gate: The World’s Greatest Insurance Heist
    //
    //
    Global Research, February 6, 2010
    Web of Debt – 2010-02-05

    Rumor has it that Timothy Geithner is on his way out as Treasury Secretary, due to his involvement in the AIG scandal that is now unraveling in hearings before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Bob Chapman writes in The International Forecaster:

    Each day brings more revelations of efforts of the NY Fed and Goldman Sachs to hide the details of the criminal conspiracy of the AIG bailout. . . . This is a real crisis on the scale of Watergate. Corruption at its finest.

    But unlike the perpetrators of the Watergate scandal, who wound up looking at jail time, Geithner evidently has a golden parachute waiting at Goldman Sachs, not coincidentally the largest recipient of the AIG bailout. At least that is the rumor sparked by an article by Caroline Baum on Bloomberg News, titled “Goldman Parachute Awaits Geithner to Ease Fall.” Hank Paulson, Geithner’s predecessor, was CEO of Goldman Sachs before coming to the Treasury. Geithner, who has come up through the ranks of government, could be walking through the revolving door in the other direction.

    Geithner has been under the House microscope for the decision of the New York Fed, made while he headed it, to buy out about $30 billion in credit default swaps (over-the-counter derivative insurance contracts) that AIG sold on toxic debt securities. The chief recipients of this payout were Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank. Goldman got $13 billion, roughly equivalent to its bonus pool for the first 9 months of 2009. Critics are calling the New York Fed’s decision a back-door bailout for the banks, which received 100 cents on the dollar for contracts that would have been worth far less had AIG been put through bankruptcy proceedings in the ordinary way. In a Bloomberg article provocatively titled “Secret Banking Cabal Emerges from AIG Shadows,” David Reilly writes:

    [T]he New York Fed is a quasi-governmental institution that isn’t subject to citizen intrusions such as freedom of information requests, unlike the Federal Reserve. This impenetrability comes in handy since the bank is the preferred vehicle for many of the Fed’s bailout programs. It’s as though the New York Fed was a black-ops outfit for the nation’s central bank.

    The beneficiaries of the New York Fed’s largesse got paid in full although they had agreed to take much less. In a November 2009 article titled “It’s Time to Fire Tim Geithner,” Dylan Ratigan wrote:

    [L]ast November . . . New York Federal Reserve Governor Tim Geithner decided to deliver 100 cents on the dollar, in secret no less, to pay off the counter parties to the world’s largest (and still un-investigated) insurance fraud — AIG. This full payoff with taxpayer dollars was carried out by Geithner after AIG’s bank customers, such as Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, had already previously agreed to taking as little as 40 cents on the dollar. Even after the GM autoworkers, bondholders and vendors all received a government-enforced haircut on their contracts, he still had the audacity to claim the “sanctity of contracts” in the dealings with these companies like AIG.

    Geithner testified that the Fed’s hands were tied and that the bank could not “selectively default on contractual obligations without courting collapse.” But if it was all on the up and up, why all the secrecy? The contention that the Fed had no choice is also belied by a recent holding in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, in which New York Bankruptcy Judge James Peck set aside the same type of investment contracts that Secretaries Paulson and Geithner repeatedly swore under oath had to be paid in full in the case of AIG. The judge declared that clauses in those contracts subordinating other claims to the holders’ claims were null and void in bankruptcy.

    “And notice,” comments bank analyst Chris Whalen, “that the world has not ended when the holders of [derivative] contracts are treated like everyone else.” He calls the AIG bailout “a hideous political contrivance that ranks with the great acts of political corruption and thievery in the history of the United States.”

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, said Joseph Goebbels, people will eventually come to believe it. The bailout of Wall Street initiated in September 2008 was premised on the dire prediction that if major counterparties in the massive edifice of derivative contracts were allowed to fall, the whole interlocking house of cards would collapse and take the economy with it. A hijacked Congress dutifully protected the derivatives game with taxpayer money while the real economy proceeded to collapse, the financial sector choosing to put their money into this protected form of speculative betting rather than into the more mundane and risky business of making loans to struggling businesses and homeowners. In the end, $170 billion of federal funds went to AIG and the banks feeding at its trough. Meanwhile, a survey of state finances by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank found that state governments face a collective $168 billion budget shortfall for fiscal 2010. If the money used to bail out AIG and the banks had been used to bail out the states instead, the states would not be facing insolvency today.

    There is no law against gambling, but there is a law against fraud. In Watergate, a special prosecutor was appointed to bring criminal charges; but times seem to have changed.

    Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com, www.ellenbrown.com, and www.public-banking.com.

    Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown

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    Vatican Bank Charged with Money Laundering

    Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

    Vatican Bank Charged with Money-Laundering

    PressTV, January 24. 2010
    Published here:  Monday, January 25, 2010 at 7:15 AM

    http://battleofearth.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/vaticanbank012510.jpg?w=320&h=216

    Saints in Sinners

    The Bank of the Vatican has been accused of laundering USD 200 million by proxy through an Italian creditor, a report indicates.

    The allegation of the Vatican bank’s financial corruption has been made by an Italian magazine that pointed to the financial institute’s purported involvement in stealth fiscal transactions —via several accounts —with Italy’s UniCredit Bank, Russia Today television network quoted the Panorama magazine as reporting.

    “This corruption is continuing on a regular basis in the Vatican,” claimed Janathan Levy, a lawyer familiar with the bank.

    “Again, there’s no reason for a religion to have a bank that does worldwide commercial activities, dealing in gold, dealing in insurance, dealing in property and then hiding behind the Roman Catholic Church,” Levy pointed out.

    “I had the privilege to walk inside this bank. It’s nothing like a bank,” the Russian news channel quoted another lawyer, Massimiliano Gabrieli, as saying.

    “If you go there you deposit or withdraw money without limit, without any kind of receipt for the bank and for the client. All you have is a single card with a number,” he stated.

    The British London Telegraph, has recently ranked the Bank of the Vatican ahead of the Bahamas, Switzerland and Liechtenstein in banking secrecy.

    The Vatican has denied all charges.

    Read Original Article >>>

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    The Money Assassins

    Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

    http://battleofearth.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/wallstreet020710.jpg?w=290&h=281

    Stocks and Shares

    The Money Assassins

    Excerpt from “The Armageddon Conspiracy Website
    Published here:  Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    In Zeitgeist Addendum, “Economic Hitman” John Perkins said:

    “We economic hit men really have been the ones responsible for creating this first truly global empire and we work in many different ways. But perhaps the most common is that we will identify a country that has resources our corporations covet, like oil, and then arrange a huge loan to that country from the World Bank or one of it’s sister organizations. But the money never actually goes to the country. Instead it goes to our big corporations to build infrastructure projects in that country. Power plants, industrial parks, ports…things that benefit a few rich people in that country in addition to our corporations, but really don’t help a majority of the people at all. However, the whole country is left holding a huge debt.”

    It’s such a big debt they can’t repay it, and that’s part of the plan, that they can’t repay it. And so at some point we economic hit men go back to them and say ‘Listen, you owe us a lot of money. You can’t pay your debts, so sell your oil real cheap to our oil companies, allow us to build a military base in your country, or send troops in support of ours to someplace in the world like Iraq, or vote with us on the next U.N. vote.’ They have to have their electric utility company privatized and their water and sewage system privatized and sold to US corporations or other multinational corporations.

    “So there was a whole mushrooming thing, and it’s so typical of the way the IMF and the World Bank work. They put a country in debt, and it’s such a big debt it can’t pay it, and then you offer to refinance the debt and get it to pay even more interest. And you demand this quid pro quo which you call ‘conditionality’ or ‘good governance’ which means basically that they’ve got to sell off their resources, including many of their social services, their utility companies, their school systems sometimes, their penal systems, their insurance systems, to foreign corporations. So it’s a double, triple, quadruple whammie!”

    But the economic hitmen aren’t just taking contracts out on nations, they have us in their sights too. Just as they give big loans to countries to saddle them with debts, they give big loans to ordinary men and women too. They give them massive mortgages to pay off, and cards loaded with credit (aka debt). Soon enough, you’re a slave of the system, with no prospect of escape. You have to keep on the treadmill, you have to scamper forwards with the other rats in the rat race, you have to keep your nose clean, or rather extremely dirty with all that brown-nosing you’re having to do. You can’t afford to aggravate your employer. You’re locked into the system. You’re terrified of losing your job because then you won’t be able to pay your debts. The economic hitman’s silencer is pointing at you right between the eyes.

    The Old World Order use the use the same tactics on the big and the small scale: whether it’s a nation or an individual, get them into debt and then you own them.

    You’re not free, You’re not human. You’re a performing monkey, a rat with no option but to stay in the race. You’re a slave, completely under their control, which was their goal right from the start.

    But if you buy property at the right time, you can be a partial winner. House prices might shoot up, and you will have a valuable asset. But what of others who didn’t get on the property ladder at the right time? They might now be priced out of the market. Ownership of houses generates winners and losers. There’s no skill involved, just luck. Did you get your timing right or not? By chance, some do, and others don’t. That chance could shape your future. You might rise up the pecking order, or fall down. You might have an asset that your children will inherit and then they will have an advantage over less fortunate children who have nothing to inherit from their parents.
    Why should home ownership dictate your wealth and status, your prospects in life, and even that of your children? It shouldn’t, but it does. It has nothing at all to do with merit.

    One of the classic mantras of the Power Elite to maintain their rule is contained in the principle: divide and rule.

    Look at how society is constructed. The basic unit is the family. Each family lives in its own small, square box (house), cut off from others. Each has one or more cars in which they can again cut themselves off from others. Each is determined to do the best for its own members, and to hell with everyone else.

    A society based on the family is full of division, of narrow self-interest, of fear and distrust of others. Everywhere, there are barriers between people. No one is cooperating. We are in the most horrific zero-sum game where if one family wins another loses. Families rising up are invariably pushing other families down. Rich families send their children to private schools to ensure that they get a better education than those who can’t afford private school. Once you have gone to a private school, and then an elite college or university, you are eligible for the fine things in life: the best jobs, the best houses, the most attractive partners. You are part of a rigged system, a cartel which is designed to favour you and penalize those who don’t share your privileged background. In Britain, this is known as “the old school tie”. If you walk into a job interview and you have the right tie and the right accent, you will get the job. An equally or more meritorious candidate from a poorer background has no chance. This is how society works. This is the gospel of the family.

    Anyone who does not come from a good, stable, prosperous family is in real trouble. They are likely to slip into the dreaded underclass where they will lead a life of grinding misery with little or no chance of improving themselves. They will resort to drugs and crime to get them through.

    We have been divided into countless selfish, competing little units and we are being ruled by the elite, dynastic families at the top of the pyramid. We live in a disguised feudal system; the lords at the top and the serfs (us) effectively owned by them.

    We are all cutting each other’s throats, desperately trying to climb the pyramid and drag down those above us and stand on those below us. No one is ever condemned for saying, “I’d do anything for my family” (this is the principle by which most parents operate), yet Christianity says “Love thy neighbour as thyself”; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No well-off family loves the underclass, no well-off family wants to be done to as they do unto the underclass. None of these families are Christians, even though they say they believe in Christ.

    Capitalism is a cut-throat ideology, a robber’s creed. It’s all about how you can get one over your neighbours, how you can get more money, status and power than others. The “American Dream” is about a person or family rising from nowhere to the very top, above everyone else. It’s not about a whole nation rising.

    Life is very simple in many respects. Would you rather have leaders who think that society is improved by raising up everyone, or by those who seek their own personal advantage at any cost, regardless of the impact on others. Do you think Wall Street operates in your interests or its own? And if it is not operating in the interests of all the people, why is it tolerated at all? “Greed is good,” said Gordon Gekko. Perhaps for the likes of him, but not for anyone else.

    Why do we sign up for our own servitude? It doesn’t need to be like this.

    A very simple moral test can be applied to every decision. Is it done to benefit you alone or to help you and everyone else? Wall Street’s morality is the former; Washington DC’s morality is the former; capitalism promotes the former; the family abides by the former.

    The antidote to family is community. The antidote to capitalism is community. The antidote to narrow self-interest is community. The antidote to Wall Street and big business is community. “Christianity” is theoretically (but not in practice) about community. Illumination is about community.

    And community is all about trying to create the environment for each and every person to achieve their maximum potential. An underclass would be unacceptable in a society based on community. Racism, sexism, discrimination, privilege would be unacceptable.

    At the moment, a tiny elite live as gods while the vast majority of humanity live in grim conditions with only a few dollars a day to survive. Imagine a world where everyone is flourishing, achieving, contributing. What could humanity not achieve? This is the path of light, the way to the True God. What we have at the moment is rule by the Demiurge, based on division, conflict, self-interest, hatred, selfishness and greed. The institutions of the world serve his and their interests, not those of the people. His ideology has triumphed. The Power Elite, the Old World Order, are his Chosen Ones who have implemented his destructive, hateful will to the letter.
    Do you think there is a single godly person in Wall Street? They are the high priests of the Demiurge, and their skyscraper offices are his synagogues. Their chosen task in life is to enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense.

    To this day there are people working for the defunct organisation Lehman Brothers. Their task is to unravel all of the deals that Lehman was involved with before it collapsed. These people, who took huge bonuses while their bank was crashing, caused by their disastrous decisions, are still being given huge bonuses because otherwise they would leave and it would be impossible to clean up their mess. In other words, they were paid a fortune while they were destroying their bank with their recklessness and stupidity, and now they are being paid a fortune to clean up their own disaster. They win no matter the circumstances. That’s the way the OWO operates.

    A bank robber goes into a bank and steals a million dollars – that’s a crime. A chief executive officer goes into a bank, nearly bankrupts it through his incompetence, then takes out a hundred million dollars in salary, share options, benefits in kind and finally an enormous payoff when he finally gets fired. That’s business. It’s entirely legitimate. But think about it – who’s the bigger criminal? Who has done the most damage to the bank? If you are “authorized”, you can do anything you like. You have a licence to help yourself to as much money as you like. No one will stop you.

    Who are the authorities? Who appoints them? Who monitors and regulates them? Who is allowed to remove them from office? Do the people ever have any say?

    At Davos, a luxury ski resort in Switzerland, world leaders gather annually to discuss the economic future of the world. Politicians, bankers, industrialists, media moguls…the entire ruling class, the Old World Order, come together to decide how to carve up the world pie. You have no say in any of it. No one consults you. Your opinions are ignored. This is the way the world works. Why do you tolerate it? Why does anyone put up with this?

    It was these people, those fat cats who go to Davos, who wrecked the world’s economy, who caused millions to lose their jobs and homes. What makes them think they are experts, that they are “good” for the world, that the world would fall apart without them? The reverse is true. If they vanished, it would be the best thing for the world. As the old joke says, what do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start. The same is true for all bankers, accountants, politicians, stock market traders, advertisers, celebrities.

    We won’t be free until it’s no longer possible to point at someone and say, “There goes one of the Power Elite.” There should be no Power Elite, no one with vastly more money than others, no one with vastly more influence, no one who is treated as a king.

    Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

    The Battle of the Titans: JP Morgan Versus Goldman Sachs

    Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

    The Battle of the Titans: JP Morgan Versus Goldman Sachs
    Or Why the Market Was Down for 7 Days in a Row
    Global Research, January 29, 2010
    Web of Debt – 2010-01-28

    We are witnessing an epic battle between two banking giants, JPMorgan Chase (Paul Volcker) and Goldman Sachs (Geithner/Summers/Rubin). Left strewn on the battleground could be your pension fund and 401K.

    The late Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote that U.S. politics since 1900, when William Jennings Bryan narrowly lost the presidency, has been a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties would sometimes change hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players. No popular third party candidate had a real chance at winning, because the bankers had the exclusive power to create the national money supply and therefore held the winning cards.

    In 2000, the Rockefellers and the Morgans joined forces, when JPMorgan and Chase Manhattan merged to become JPMorgan Chase Co. Today the battling banking titans are JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that gained notoriety for its speculative practices in the 1920s. In 1928, it launched the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp., a closed-end fund similar to a Ponzi scheme. The fund failed in the stock market crash of 1929, marring the firm’s reputation for years afterwards. Former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers all came from Goldman, and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rose through the ranks of government as a Summers/Rubin protégé. One commentator called the U.S. Treasury “Goldman Sachs South.”

    Goldman’s superpower status comes from something more than just access to the money spigots of the banking system. It actually has the ability to manipulate markets. Formerly just an investment bank, in 2008 Goldman magically transformed into a bank holding company. That gave it access to the Federal Reserve’s lending window; but at the same time it remained an investment bank, aggressively speculating in the markets.  The upshot was that it can now borrow massive amounts of money at virtually 0% interest, and it can use this money not only to speculate for its own account but to bend markets to its will.

    But Goldman Sachs has been caught in this blatant market manipulation so often that the JPMorgan faction of the banking empire has finally had enough. The voters too have evidently had enough, as demonstrated in the recent upset in Massachusetts that threw the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat to a Republican. That pivotal loss gave Paul Volcker, chairman of President Obama’s newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board, an opportunity to step up to the plate with some proposals for serious banking reform. Unlike the string of Treasury Secretaries who came to the government through the revolving door of Goldman Sachs, former Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker came up through Chase Manhattan Bank, where he was vice president before joining the Treasury. On January 27, market commentator Bob Chapmanwrote in his weekly investment newsletter The International Forecaster:

    “A split has occurred between the paper forces of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. Mr. Volcker represents Morgan interests. Both sides are Illuminists, but the Morgan side is tired of Goldman’s greed and arrogance. . . . Not that JP Morgan Chase was blameless, they did their looting and damage to the system as well, but not in the high handed arrogant way the others did. The recall of Volcker is an attempt to reverse the damage as much as possible. That means the influence of Geithner, Summers, Rubin, et al will be put on the back shelf at least for now, as will be the Goldman influence. It will be slowly and subtly phased out. . . . Washington needs a new face on Wall Street, not that of a criminal syndicate.”

    Goldman’s crimes, says Chapman, were that it “got caught stealing. First in naked shorts, then front-running the market, both of which they are still doing, as the SEC looks the other way, and then selling MBS-CDOs to their best clients and simultaneously shorting them.”

    Volcker’s proposal would rein in these abuses, either by ending the risky “proprietary trading” (trading for their own accounts) engaged in by the too-big-to-fail banks, or by forcing them to downsize by selling off those portions of their businesses engaging in it. Until recently, President Obama has declined to support Volcker’s plan, but on January 21 he finally endorsed it.

    The immediate reaction of the market was to drop – and drop, day after day. At least, that appeared to be the reaction of “the market.” Financial analyst Max Keiser suggests a more sinister possibility. Goldman, which has the power to manipulate markets with its high-speed program trades, may be engaging in a Mexican standoff. The veiled threat is, “Back off on the banking reforms, or stand by and watch us continue to crash your markets.” The same manipulations were evident in the bank bailout forced on Congress by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in September 2008.

    In Keiser’s January 23 broadcast with co-host Stacy Herbert, he explains how Goldman’s manipulations are done. Keiser is a fast talker, so this transcription is not verbatim, but it is close. He says:

    “High frequency trading accounts for 70% of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Ordinarily, a buyer and a seller show up on the floor, and a specialist determines the price of a trade that would satisfy buyer and seller, and that’s the market price. If there are too many sellers and not enough buyers, the specialist lowers the price. High frequency trading as conducted by Goldman means that before the specialist buys and sells and makes that market, Goldman will electronically flood the specialist with thousands and thousands of trades to totally disrupt that process and essentially commandeer that process, for the benefit of siphoning off nickels and dimes for themselves. Not only are they siphoning cash from the New York Stock Exchange but they are also manipulating prices. What I see as a possibility is that next week, if the bankers on Wall Street decide they don’t want to be reformed in any way, they simply set the high frequency trading algorithm to sell, creating a huge negative bias for the direction of stocks. And they’ll basically crash the market, and it will be a standoff.  The market was down three days in a row, which it hasn’t been since last summer. It’s a game of chicken, till Obama says, ‘Okay, maybe we need to rethink this.’”

    But the President hasn’t knuckled under yet. In his State of the Union address on January 27, he did not dwell long on the issue of bank reform, but he held to his position. He said:

    “We can’t allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy. The House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. And the lobbyists are already trying to kill it. Well, we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back.”

    What this “real reform” would look like was left to conjecture, but Bob Chapman fills in some blanks and suggests what might be needed for an effective overhaul:

    “The attempt will be to bring the financial system back to brass tacks. . . . That would include little or no MBS and CDOs, the regulation of derivatives and hedge funds and the end of massive market manipulation, both by Treasury, Fed and Wall Street players. Congress has to end the ‘President’s Working Group on Financial Markets,’ or at least limit its use to real emergencies. . . . The Glass-Steagall Act should be reintroduced into the system and lobbying and campaign contributions should end. . . . No more politics in lending and banks should be limited to a lending ratio of 10 to 1. . . . It is bad enough they have the leverage that they have. State banks such as North Dakota’s are a better idea.”

    On January 28, the predictable reaction of “the market” was to fall for the seventh straight day. The battle of the Titans was on.

    Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden MedicineNature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.comwww.ellenbrown.com, and www.public-banking.com.

    Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown

    Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

     
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