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US MILITARY: A Mindset of Barbarism

Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

The US Military: A Mindset of Barbarism, Part 2

by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Interview

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Uncontrolled

Yesterday, Truthout ran the first part of an interview with Dr. Stjepan Mestrovic, a Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University who has written three books on US misconduct in Iraq: “The Trials of Abu Ghraib: An Expert Witness Account of Shame and Honor,” “Rules of Engagement?: Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq” and “The ‘Good Soldier’ on Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq.” He has three degrees from Harvard University, including a Master’s degree in clinical psychology, and has been an expert witness in psychology and sociology at several Article 32 hearings, courts-martial and clemency hearings involving US soldiers accused of committing crimes of war in Iraq, including the trials of prison guards involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Dr. Mestrovic’s books meticulously document how the US Army, as an institution, has become dysfunctional, and how illegal rules of engagement (ROE) are issued by officers and politicians at the top of the Army’s hierarchy, but only low-ranking soldiers are punished for carrying out those same rules and orders. As an example, in one of the several hearings Dr. Mestrovic has attended as an expert witness, US soldiers openly admitted they had shot a 75-year-old man who had emerged unarmed from his house, but because the soldiers were following the rule to shoot all “military aged males,” neither they nor their officers were charged for that death.

In the second part of his interview with Truthout, Dr. Mestrovic examines the fallacious nature of the rules of engagement, Operation Iron Triangle in Iraq, the rampant nature of atrocities in the US military today, and the possibility of a solution. In Operation Iron Triangle, Iraqi detainees were murdered by US soldiers under the command of a legendary American colonel, Michael Steele. On May 9, 2006, American soldiers executed three unarmed men they had captured in an operation in the so-called Sunni Triangle in Iraq. Several of these soldiers were court-martialed and imprisoned, but some within the military say that responsibility ultimately lies with Colonel Steele.)

Truthout: What are your thoughts about the “Rules of Engagement?” How are these brought into being? Are they truly expected to work in the field? Given that they are clearly not working, why is that?

Dr. Mestrovic:There is insufficient information to answer the first question at the present time. The creation and actual wording of the written ROE are shrouded in secrecy. At the courts-martial of the accused soldiers in the Operation Iron Triangle killings, the government forbade the introduction of the actual, written ROE into testimony. It only allowed verbal testimony as to what the soldiers heard as to the ROE. The soldiers testified that the order was “to kill every military-aged male.” The brigade commander who apparently issued the order, Col. Michael D. Steele, refused and still refuses to testify and to be cross-examined, so that the question you are asking may never be answered. Presumably, he would know how the ROE are and were brought into being.

Are these ROE expected to work in the field? Again, there does not exist sufficient public information as to what commanders and Pentagon officials believe with regard to this and similar ROE in theory. But I can give you an answer that is concrete and specific to this case. On November 5, 2009, Col. Nathaniel Johnson testified at William Hunsaker’s clemency hearing in Alexandria, Virginia. Hunsaker is one of the convicted soldiers from the Operation Iron Triangle case. Colonel Johnson was one of Colonel Steele’s battalion commanders, and was the “convening authority” who sets the courts-martial into motion. I was an eyewitness to Colonel Johnson’s mesmerizing testimony. He testified that Colonel Steele had created a “toxic command climate” by constantly threatening to remove any of his subordinates, from battalion commanders to first sergeants, who disagreed or questioned his orders. Johnson gave the example that when Steele told the soldiers, “We do not give warning shots,” he would tell his men, “We do give warning shots.” These simmering discrepancies and discontent among the commanders clearly confused the soldiers.

Obviously, in the field, the soldiers encounter many problems in carrying out this ROE. What if the alleged target is holding a child or hiding behind women? In fact, such tactics are so common among the targets that the Army refers to them as a “tactical training point,” namely, that insurgents use human shields to avoid being killed. What should a soldier do in that situation? Do they give warning shots? Do they shoot to wound? Do they take prisoners? Do they carry out the order regardless of consequences? Common sense suggests that the soldier cannot be expected to act as a legal scholar in the heat of battle and debate or discuss what he should do. It is an open question how often situations like this arise in combat. But what I do know is that Colonel Johnson testified that the soldiers were confused, and he recommended that Hunsaker’s sentence be reduced to time served and upgraded to a general discharge so that he could use VA benefits to get treated for PTSD. The clemency board ignored his recommendation and offered no clemency or explanation.

These ROE do not work for the straightforward reason that the “targets” are not abstractions but are human beings who associate with women, children and civilians who are not targets. Therefore, one can rarely “take out the target” without also “taking out” innocent civilians. Moreover, the targets are pre-designated based upon “intelligence.” But in all the cases on which I have worked, I have found that the so-called intelligence was grossly inaccurate. In the Abu Ghraib cases, the government now admits that 90 percent of the detainees were not terrorists or insurgents and were not a threat to Americans. In the Operation Iron Triangle case, the government never determined whether the “targets” were real “bad guys” or just innocent farmers. Who are these secret “sources” that have the power to pre-designate targets for execution? Next to nothing is known about them or the process of using such “intelligence.” What is clear is that the local populations in Iraq and Afghanistan come to hate Americans when innocents are killed by mistake on missions of this sort.

But again, the Army is not a democratic society, so I do not foresee seminars, discussions or public airing of these important issues. These issues are covered up for the most part, and emerge – only partially – through the window into Army society that is offered through the court-martial process. On the other hand, the US is a democratic society and the public has a right to know the ROE that are being carried out in its name.

Truthout: What did you find in your research about Operation Iron Triangle that led to that atrocity?

Dr. Mestrovic: Well, that’s the problem: the killings were apparently routine and were not regarded as an atrocity. Soldiers told me that they were routinely sent out on missions to kill designated “targets.” Their graphic descriptions included finding a shopkeeper and killing him in front of his wife and children. The court transcripts also refer to testimony of “kill-kill” orders, which apparently mean that the target does not have the option to surrender (which would be a “kill-capture” order). In effect, a lot of the missions seem to amount to the “execution squads” that Vice President Cheney mentioned while he was in office. So, in the eyes of the Army, government and soldiers, missions of this sort were not considered “atrocities.”

What made this one episode of Operation Iron Triangle different does not seem to lie in the acts that were committed. As court documents show, at the same time that these particular soldiers who went to prison were carrying out their mission, a different platoon was carrying out a similar mission on another part of the island. The platoon leader, Lieutenant Horne, is quoted as ordering his soldiers, “Kill them all.” Nobody was prosecuted for any of these other killings on the mission.

So the question becomes, why were Hunsaker, Clagett and Girouard prosecuted and sent to prison? Part of the answer lies in the prosecutor’s opening and closing statements. Apparently, the Army wants to send a “message” to the world that it is better than the enemy. And it seems that one way it does this is to periodically send some of its soldiers to prison as a way of making the statement that it does not tolerate war crimes, even though the routine kill-kill orders may be construed as being war crimes. In other words, this particular case, and some related murder cases, appear to be politically motivated, and the soldiers who are picked for prosecution appear to be random, and are definitely treated as expendable by the Army.

In a similar case of killings that CNN dubbed the “Baghdad Canal Killings,” (hyperlink “Baghdad Canal Killings” with HYPERLINK “http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/11/17/army.tapes.canal.killings/index.html” http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/11/17/army.tapes.canal.killings/index.html) it is well-known that the entire platoon participated in the killings, although only three were prosecuted. One of the soldiers, Joshua Hartson, admitted to CNN that he thinks he should have been sent to prison as well, but instead, the government granted immunity from prosecution to him and some of his comrades to testify against the soldiers who were chosen for prosecution.

It is important to note that in all these cases, scores of “atrocities” are included in the court records but were never prosecuted. The real atrocities at Abu Ghraib occurred in the interrogation rooms at the hands of intelligence personnel, and some detainees were murdered, but the government went out of its way to exclude these events from the courts-martial. In every case I have studied, sworn statements report scores of atrocities similar to the ones prosecuted, but again, all references to these other events are excluded from evidence. There appears to be a definite, politically motivated, “social construction” of reality to issues pertaining to how acts are defined, prosecuted or ignored as “atrocities” and war crimes.

Truthout: How rampant do you believe instances like this are, in both Iraq and Afghanistan?

Dr. Mestrovic: Even though no one has access to the secret ROE or the secret ways in which they are devised, it is clear that ROE similar to the ones used at Operation Iron Triangle are still being used, including in Afghanistan. Numerous news stories report that the government is currently using drones to kill pre-designated human targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan based upon “intelligence.” These news stories also routinely report that women, children, and civilians are often killed in the process. The mechanical drones are used exactly the same way as human soldiers are used: to carry out the same ROE that applied to Operation Iron Triangle. Incidentally, news stories suggest that the drone operators who execute these missions while sitting in remote control areas in the US are developing PTSD rates faster than the soldiers who actually engage in battle.

It seems to be the case that we are supposed to be mesmerized by the “postmodern” technology that leads to the use of “simulacra” soldiers and missions. The “target” becomes an image on a screen. But real human beings are carrying out the same ROE, whether in face-to-face confrontations or “simulacra” remote control engagements. And the human toll on both the soldiers and the civilian populations is not “simulacra,” but is very real.

Truthout: What would need to happen in the Army in order for soldiers to behave more along the lines of international law whilst abroad?

Dr. Mestrovic: The most important thing would be for the government to decide to adhere to international law, and the soldiers would follow orders. In any case, the low-ranking soldiers always follow orders. It really comes down to following the letter as well as the spirit of the Nuremberg Principles. In his opening remarks at the Nuremberg Trials, chief US prosecutor Robert Jackson said: “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.” I put emphasis on Jackson’s phrase, “common sense.” Even though he was a lawyer, he did not refer to the law, which often uses law-speak to justify such crimes. He referred to “common sense,” which resonates with usages of this term by pragmatist philosophers (William James, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead). In other words, everyone knows that it is wrong to kill people who do not show an active hostile intent, no matter how one justifies such acts legally. The “little people” to whom Jackson refers are, in this case, the low-ranking soldiers who were sent to Fort Leavenworth for carrying out the orders of many civilian and military commanders above them in the chain of command. It is a fact that not a single commissioned officer has ever been prosecuted for all the war crimes in the current war, from Abu Ghraib to Operation Iron Triangle. In a complete reversal of Nuremberg Principles, the government prosecutes and imprisons only the “little people” or low-ranking soldiers.

Jackson also specifically referred to the “men of station and rank who do not soil their own hands with blood” as the ones who should be prosecuted for war crimes. I do not foresee a day when the US will prosecute its colonels, generals or high-ranking civilian officials for establishing the policies and ROE that result in atrocities. There is simply no precedent for such a move in the US in the past century. The last time the US prosecuted a high-ranking officer for atrocities committed by his soldiers was in 1860, when it hung the commander of the infamous Andersonville Prison, in which Union soldiers were systematically exterminated by Confederate soldiers. But in other similar historical incidents, the government went out of its way to protect its “men of station and rank.” For example, the Biscari Massacre of 1943 was most likely the result of Gen. George Patton’s speech in which he told his soldiers to take no prisoners and to show no mercy. (In fact, General Patton’s and Colonel Steele’s speeches to their troops are very similar.) But Patton was not indicted, while a Sergeant West was given a life sentence and a Captain Compton was acquitted on the grounds that he was following Patton’s orders. Similarly, many historians believe that Lieutenant Calley was made to be a scapegoat for the “search and destroy” policies that led to My Lai.

In general, and despite its democratic base, the US does not resort to the established doctrine of command responsibility to prosecute “men of station and rank” whose orders result in atrocities. Again, this is not merely a military or legal issue, but a wider, cultural issue. In the recent Wall Street meltdown, the “robber barons” (as Thorstein Veblen called them) who caused the current economic crisis have escaped responsibility, and are rewarding themselves with bonuses. Meanwhile, many average Americans are losing homes, businesses and futures due to the errors in judgment made by the robber barons. The government bailed out the Wall Street firms, but not the average American in economic trouble. A similar principle seems to operate in today’s Army. Colonel Steele, whose ROE resulted in the Operation Iron Triangle tragedy, will no doubt retire with all his benefits intact. Meanwhile, the low-ranking soldiers who carried out his orders are languishing in prison. This American, cultural discrepancy between elitism and democracy has already been explored by sociologists such as C. Wright Mills in “The Power Elite and White Collar.” But without some great cultural awakening, it does not seem that this strange feature of American culture will change anytime soon.

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False Profits…

Posted by Admin on February 8, 2010

False Profits

Sunday 07 February 2010

by: Leslie Thatcher, t r u t h o u t | Book Review

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The Neo-Cons

False Profits: Recovering From the Bubble Economy

By Dean Baker

PoliPoint Press, 2010

He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble.

- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, 6th century BCE

As the nation struggled to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the people who got us here are desperately working to rewrite history. The basic story of this economic collapse is very simple. The Federal Reserve Board, guided by its revered chairman, Alan Greenspan, allowed an $8 trillion housing bubble to grow unchecked.

- Dean Baker’s “False Profits”

The delicious double-entendre of Dean Baker’s most recent title is enhanced by the book’s cover photo of a trio of false prophets, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Henry (Hank) Paulson, all of whom are thoroughly excoriated within the book’s pages for their responsibility in feeding, prolonging, misdiagnosing and incorrectly responding to the 2007-2009 financial meltdown and the associated economic collapse. However, the book also chronicles the loss of $8 trillion of housing “wealth,” $1.4 trillion in annual demand, whatever financial security the vast majority of baby-boomers ever had, “increases” in homeownership rates and any other widespread economic gains associated to the post-2000 period. Truthout has published Dean Baker’s columns about net job losses for 2000-2010, a decade that also saw a 26 percent drop in the stock market, the elimination of the $236 billion federal budget surplus President Bush inherited and its transformation into a record deficit and the overall deliquescence of any societal and most people’s personal economic “profits.”

While most of us find ourselves economically worse off after the last ten years, some have done extremely well and most of those who bear the burden of responsibility for the American economic catastrophe have suffered no consequences whatsoever: financial, social or professional. Writing about Bernanke specifically, Baker’s remarks are equally apposite to other titans of finance, central banking and the financial regulatory regimes:

It would difficult to imagine someone with a comparable record of disastrous failures being allowed to remain in most jobs. Would a nurse who routinely administers the wrong medicine and causes his patients to die be allowed to keep his job? Would a bank teller who leaves the cash drawer open remain in her position? How about the school bus driver who comes drunk to work?

In most lines of work, a certain level of competence is expected. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who set US economic policy.

Baker places the burden of blame on regulators and the political establishment because they utterly perverted their mission:

Progressives do conservatives’ bidding when we denounce them as “market fundamentalists.” We should, instead, be exposing their use of government to set up structures that ensure the market works to benefit the wealthy. We could then bring our policies into focus as those designed to ensure that market outcomes will benefit the bulk of the population.

The market is just a tool, like a wheel or a hammer. It would be bad politics and bad policy for progressives to make a big scene attacking the wheel. It is similarly bad politics and bad policy to put these attacks on the market at the center of a political agenda.

Baker never attacks the wheel; instead he demonstrates how it was deliberately allowed to run wild. As Baker himself warned as early as summer 2002, all indicators pointed to the rise in housing prices as a classic bubble, divorced from any tether in reality, yet the regulators, media and most mainstream economists kept pumping hot air into that bubble. Further, Dean Baker exposes the pathetic excuses that the regulators did not have the necessary tools to put on the brakes for the self-serving and specious rationalizations they are. Ever debunking the myth that somehow it was the “free” market at work, he relentlessly exposes how regulation, regulatory bodies and the public officials charged with supervising the financial industry have used their power to favor a narrow swathe of private interests over the public good. And, as always, Baker highlights what alternatives were and are available to turn that equation around. Baker’s relentless exposé of what is actually subsidized and who profits from specific policies, how wealth is transferred and how all this activity is disguised fuels his narrative with “true prophet” power.

“False Profits” combines impeccable scholarship – assembling an array of relevant facts and data totally accessible to non-economists – with Baker’s acerbic, but unforced, wit and verve. His iconoclasm constantly renews its sources and consistently targets those “false prophets” in all sectors who contribute to misleading the American people. Baker is the journalists’ economist, the reality-based economist: whatever other case he may be making, he invariably demonstrates why correct and timely information and clear understanding are essential to economic problem-solving, as well as how “fudges” harm everyone.

The book’s structure begins by a backward look, an analysis of precisely how we reached the present situation and what our present situation actually is (in chapters, “Economic Collapse: It Is Their Fault,” “Surveying the Damage” and “The Terrible Tale of the TARP”), then pivots on an exposition of why correct diagnosis and analysis are so crucial (“Will They Ever Discover the Housing Bubble?”), develops the case he has presented with three chapters of prescription (“Stimulus: It Is Just Spending,” “Real Stimulus: Programs to Boost the Economy” and “Reforming the Financial System”) and concludes with a resounding final call for accountability (“Remember the Housing Bubble”).

Unfortunately, recent events – the absence of any effective policy to slow down foreclosures; the most probably ineffective and unquestionably inadequate stimulus measures in the just-presented budget; financial services regulatory proposals that do not address the causes for regulatory failure – suggest that the present administration is only slightly more willing to learn from Dean Baker’s acute analyses than was its predecessor. And Ben Bernanke’s reconfirmation as Fed chairman is just the most recent and flagrant sign that the administration has no intention of investigating, let alone punishing, the regulatory – and individual regulators’ – blunders that led to the present pass.

Economics is a science of human behavior. It rests on the observation that people respond to incentives. Consequently, Baker’s apparently political argument that there must be consequences for the failures of judgment and action that resulted in the economic meltdown is a quintessentially economic one. With no disincentives for failure and the ever-present incentives for complicity offered by the industry that has captured them, regulators will continue to fail the whipping boy who pays for their transgressions – us.

1. Dean Baker, “False Profits,” p.5.

2. OpCit. p.9.

3. Read the book for the argument, but the unequivocal conclusion is, “The regulators – first and foremost the Fed – had all the tools necessary to combat the bubble. They chose not to.” (p.153)

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This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Leslie Thatcher is Truthout’s French Language Editor and sometime book reviewer.

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Chapter Nine: HAARP – Chemtrails – Alternative 4

Posted by Admin on February 5, 2010

Chapter Nine

HAARP – Chemtrails – Alternative 4

With the failure of Alternative 3, it became necessary to implement a new system to protect mankind from the upcoming disaster from global warming. The Mars Projects had eaten away at the combined American and Soviet budgets for Alternative 3, and now world politics would interfere at the expense of its citizens.

President Ronald Reagan who felt that destroying the “Evil Empire” was more important than fighting global warming, earmarked the remaining money from the Mars Projects for building new weapons to destroy the Soviet Union. The Soviets protested by withdrawing their cooperation for Alternative 3 and shortly thereafter collapsed as a world power. This marked the official demise of Alternative 3.

Earlier studies had estimated that the planet’s temperature would rise high enough to cause the melting of the ice caps by the year 2000. Efforts to cut back air pollution in the 1970’s apparently slowed down the heating to a small degree. Enough to gain about twenty extra years before disaster struck.

Unfortunately, no one had foreseen the damage to the ozone layer caused by unlimited use of fluorocarbons. A massive “hole” in the ozone layer opened up over both poles causing huge amounts of cosmic radiation to flood the planet, further aggravating the existing problem. Something had to be done and done fast, or the planet would bake from solar radiations.

It was clear that an outside intelligence had declared Mars “off limits” for human colonization. The reasons why could only be speculated, but Tesla had said years earlier that he thought Mars was inhabited both by people originally from ancient Earth and extraterrestrials from outside our solar system. He may have been right.

With the budget slashed, and Russia no longer a partner, it was now mainly up to the United States and their allies to come up with some kind of solution to the impending threat. That solution came from secret papers and letters by Tesla.

Perhaps in response to the anomalous radio signals he was receiving, Nikola Tesla said, in June, 1900,

“The time is very near when we shall have the precipitation of the moisture of the atmosphere under complete control…”

Tesla must have known at this point what was in store for planet Earth in the near future.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Chapter Five: Tesla and Electronic Voice Phenomena

Posted by Admin on February 5, 2010

Chapter Five

Tesla and Electronic Voice Phenomena

No one can deny that computers and electronics have forever changed our way of life. There are electronic controls and computer chips in everything from the small appliances that toast our bread to the cars we drive, and make possible myriad forms of new entertainment, from VCRs and DVDs to video games and talking stuffed toys.

For a number of years some people have claimed that electronics can be useful in a quite unexpected way: to contact the dead, or at least allow the dead to contact us. Obviously, these claims are highly controversial. They make many assumptions: that there is life after death, that the dead are interested in contacting us, and that they have the means by which to do so.

The mysterious signals that Tesla received could be linked to what is now known as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). Tesla was one of the first men to experiment with the necessary electronic receiving equipment. The very same equipment, albeit more sophisticated than Tesla had access to, is being used today to receive EVP.

Many people experimenting with Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) say they have received messages from “the other side” through radios, tape recorders, VCRs, televisions, telephones, and even computers.

These phenomena have manifest themselves since the appearance of the instruments themselves. EVP, for example, has been reported for well over 50 years or more: Strange voices being picked up with primitive radios during WWI and heard faintly on magnetic recording tape.

Tesla may have been the first to receive these electronic voices from another plane of reality. As with other modes of communications with alleged discarnate entities, care must be taken not to be swayed by the stories often told by beings from the other side. Tesla may have been duped, so-to-speak, by voices that only pretended to be creatures from other planets.

This is nothing new to those who are familiar with the tall tales told to them by spirits who claim to be ascended masters, Abraham Lincoln or Ashtar of the Interplanetary Space Command. Spirits love to tell lies to anyone who will listen.

Those such as Tesla and Marconi who experimented with radio early on were the first to report anomalous sounds and voices emanating from their radio receivers. These early reports were looked upon as mildly interesting curiosities and quickly forgotten.

Theosophist Alice Bailey in 1936, transcribed these words of her great teacher, the Tibetan Master DK:

“Within the next few years the fact of the eternity of existence will have advanced from the realm of questioning into the realm of certainty. Through the use of the radio by those who have passed over, will communication be set up and reduced to a true science.”

It has been widely written that Edison and his assistant, Dr. Miller Hutchinson, were seriously at work building a machine to achieve spirit communication. Tesla wrote in his journals that Thomas Edison had heard from other engineers that Tesla had been receiving mysterious voices and sounds over radio frequencies that were not conducive for the broadcasting of the human voice.

Edison, who publicly mocked Tesla and his experiments, privately believed that Tesla had managed to find the correct frequency to enable communication with spirits of the dead. Edison was determined to discover Tesla’s secret, and be the first to get the “Spirit Phone” on the market.

In his diary, Dr. Miller Hutchinson wrote:

“Edison and I are convinced that in the fields of psychic research will yet be discovered facts that will prove of greater significance to the thinking of the human race than all the inventions we have ever made in the field of electricity.”

Edison failed to live long enough to succeed with his ill-gotten idea to best Tesla. Tesla simply noted in his journal that Edison was trying to use his patents to talk with specters. Edison thought that Tesla could listen to spirits, Tesla considered that he was hearing people from other planets – the voices could have been the same, they may have just changed their stories to fit the belief system of the listener.

In 1967, Edison allegedly spoke through West German clairvoyant Sigrun Seuterman, in trance, about his earlier efforts to develop equipment for recording voices from the beyond. Edison also made suggestions as to how to modify TV sets and tune them to 740 megahertz to get paranormal effects. (Session recorded on tape by Paul Affolter, Liestal, Switzerland).

On September 15, 1952, two Catholic priests, Father Ernetti and Father Gemilli were collaborating on a musical research project; Ernetti as an internationally respected scientist, physicist, philosopher and music lover, and Gemilli as President of the Papal Academy.

The two men were trying to record a Gregorian chant, but a wire in their equipment kept breaking. Exasperated, Gemilli looked up and asked his dead father for help. To his amazement his fathers voice was heard saying: “Of course I shall help you. I’m always with you.” They repeated the experiment, and the voice, even clearer than before, said: “But Zucchini, it is clear, don’t you know it is I?.”

Gemilli was astonished. No one knew his childhood nickname but his father. The priest was suddenly afraid, for as a Catholic priest he had no right to speak with the dead. Troubled, the two men eventually sought an audience with Pope Pius XII in Rome.

Gemilli told the Pontiff of his experience, and to his surprise, was reassured. According to the 1990 translated text of his meeting, Pope Pius told Gemilli:

“You really need not worry about this. The existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing whatsoever to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives and records sound waves from wherever they come. This experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for scientific studies which will strengthen people’s faith in a hereafter.”

Electronic Voice Phenomena was next researched by two men from California, the medium Attila von Szalay and paranormal researcher Raymond Bayless. In 1956, they recorded, quite by chance, a series of paranormal voices on magnetic tape, voices that should not logically have been there.

Though Bayless reported their experiments in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, like Tesla years before, not a single person contacted the society or the researchers to enquire about their work.

It was not until 1959 when Friedrich Juergenson, a film producer in Sweden, first made public his amazing voice recordings, did the world sit up and take notice of the Tesla voice phenomena.

Juergenson, while making a documentary, had decided to try and tape bird songs. When he played the tape back he was startled to hear, in among the tweeting and chirping, what sounded like his mother’s voice say in German:

“Friedrich, you are being watched. Friedel, my little Friedel, can you hear me?”

Years later, Juergenson said that when he heard his mother’s voice he was convinced he had made “an important discovery.”

Radio Contact With the Dead?

In 1967, Juergenson’s Radio Contact with the Dead was translated into German, and Latvian psychologist Dr. Konstantin Raudive read it skeptically. He visited Juergenson to learn his methodology, decided to experiment on his own, and soon began developing his own experimental techniques.

Like Juergenson, Raudive too heard the voice of his own deceased mother, who called him by his boyhood name:

“Kostulit, this is your mother.”

Eventually he catalogued tens of thousands of voices, many under strict laboratory conditions.

He published his book, Unhoerbares Wird Hoerbar (The Inaudible Becomes Audible), based on 72,000 voices he recorded.

In 1971, the chief engineers of Pye Records Ltd. decided to do a controlled experiment with Raudive. They invited him to their sound lab and installed special equipment to block out any radio and television signals. They would not allow Raudive to touch any of the equipment.

Raudive used one tape recorder which was monitored by a control tape recorder. All he could do was speak into a microphone. They taped Raudive’s voice for eighteen minutes and none of the experimenters heard any other sounds. But when the scientists played back the tape, to their amazement, they heard over two hundred voices recorded on tape.

In the same year, Colin Smythe, Ltd. England, published expanded English translations of Raudive’s book: Breakthrough, an Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead. Dr. Konstantin Raudive was a Latvian psychologist who had read Juergenson’s book, Radio Contact with the Dead, with a great deal of skepticism when it was translated into German in 1967. Nevertheless he was intrigued and over several years carried out hundreds of experiments under laboratory conditions.

In the years that followed, Juergenson and Raudive continued their research that inspired countless others to emulate their experiments. But constant criticism that the EVP was nothing more than ambient sounds processed by the mind into a semblance of speech, or snatches of shortwave radio, dampened enthusiasm for research in Europe.

However, during the 1970s and early 80s in the United States, EVP continued to evolve with much of the work spearheaded by a retired engineer, George Meek. In 1971, Meek opened a small laboratory Philadelphia after a lifetime’s interest in the paranormal. Meek soon became immersed in EVP -and realized its limitations. Meek was convinced that for electronic communication with the dead to really make its mark, apparatus more sophisticated than cassette recorders and AM radios would be necessary.

Meek decided that the best way to succeed was to attempt contact with someone who had passed on and work with him and his team in achieving two-way communication with the Other Side. The problem of course was gaining the initial contact.

Meek wrote to the now defunct American magazine The Psychic Observer, which put him in touch with Bill O’Neil, an electronics engineer who was also a gifted clairvoyant. Through O’Neil, Meek’s team, later to form themselves into the Metascience Foundation, made contact with a man who claimed to have been dead for five years and who was a medical doctor while on earth.

“Doc Nick,” as the discarnate became known, suggested to O’Neil that the team use certain audio frequencies instead of the white noise traditionally used by EVP researchers. This, he said, would serve as an energy source against which the sounds produced by his vocal cords could be played. The resulting experiments worked better than anyone had ever expected.

Soon after, a spirit being calling himself Dr. George Jeffries Mueller, was recruited to the team, or rather he announced he had come to join them after materializing one afternoon in O’Neil’s living room. Mueller claimed to be a deceased university professor and NASA scientist.

Mueller told Meek and O’Neil that he had died in 1967 and gave them numerous facts with which to verify his identity including his security number; the place where his death certificate could be found; and intimate details of his life and scholastic achievements. All of them checked out.

He began communicating regularly; helping to design a new piece of electromagnetic equipment that would convert spirit voices to audible voices. On October 27, 1977, his first words were recorded on the new system Meek called Spiricom.

Tapes of the Mueller conversations were subsequently released to the public. The voice of Mueller can be plainly heard joking with Meek and O’Neil and discussing topics from his favorite foods to the view of time from the spirit world.

He gave unlisted telephone numbers asking them to make calls to confirm the identity (which they did successfully) of the people at the other end (usually top-level government personnel); and he gives O’Neil precise directions with which to help build experimental video equipment to take spirit communication to the next level.

The clarity of the communications is astounding – and sometimes amusing: in one conversation, Mueller identifies a problem with a particular device and impatiently barks at O’Neil:

“The fault lies in an impedance mis-match which can be corrected by using a 150 ohm half-watt resistor in parallel with a 0.0047 microfad ceramic capacitor.”

Eventually, Mueller ceased contact after telling Meek and O’Neil that natural law meant he could “not be here forever.”

(He did in fact return once more to a group of ITC researchers working in Rivenick, Germany, led by Adolph Homes. In 1991 they received on a TV screen an image which was said to be that of Dr Mueller).

Meek concluded that Mueller had progressed to a higher state of being to such a point that Spiricom could no longer be used for communication. Apparently, only beings closest to the Earth plane of existence, could communicate through the relatively primitive electronics.

It had become clear that the most limiting aspect of the device was the fact that it depended almost entirely on the operator possessing mediumistic or psychic abilities. Obviously, gifted individuals like Bill O’Neil, Dr. Konstantin Raudive and Nikola Tesla were a necessary component in the reception of signals and voices from the Aether.

Much like batteries energize a portable CD player, the vibrant field of energy that surrounds special people activates electronic equipment tuned to receive other realities. Without these people, it is doubtful that enough energy can be provided by the discarnate entity to achieve communication.

George Meek fully accepted this and never patented Spiricom. His hope was that science would carry on his work and take it to the next level, going beyond what he and O’Neil were able and unable to accomplish.

In 1982 Meek held a press conference in Washington, DC and revealed Spiricom’s secrets. The conference made little impact on a largely skeptical world; in fact a large section of the media even refused to attend, so the device went largely unreported -except by the tabloids who naturally poked fun at the sensational story. Since that time, the focus of attention in terms of results has switched to Europe.

Nine months after Meek went public, on January 15, 1982, an electronics engineer named Hans-Otto Koenig, helped the now defunct Radio Luxembourg do a live broadcast on what was claimed to be a two-way conversation with a dead person.

Koenig had invented an ultrasound device after closely following Meek’s work which, he claimed, could replicate the Spiricom and Mueller/O’Neil dialogues. The equipment was set up under the watchful eye of the Radio Luxembourg engineers.

The device, nicknamed Koenig’s Generator by Rainer Holbe, the programs host, was connected to a set of speakers and switched on. An engineer asked over the air if any spirits cared to speak. Within seconds, a clear voice was heard. It said quite simply:

“Otto Koenig makes wireless with the dead.”

Understandably pandemonium broke out in the studio.

Another question was asked and seconds later a voice replied:

“We hear your voice.”

Rainer Holbe affirmed live on air there had been no trickery and later the station issued a statement stating that its engineers had found no natural explanation for what had happened.

Soon after, the device was demonstrated to members of the German EVP Association in Frankfurt where Konstantin Raudive, who had died in 1974, confirmed his presence. On the strength of this, one of Koenig’s associates Dr Ernst Senkowski, a physics lecturer, electronics expert and veteran EVP researcher, persuaded George Meek to fly to Germany.

After a demonstration of the Koenig’s Generator, Meek flew back convinced it was genuine and set about raising money to fund future work. Further research has been carried on by others in the field of electronics and radio who also have an interest in contacts with spirits.

Experiments held at a mansion in Newport Rhode Island have yielded some interesting results involving paranormal activity and the use of Shortwave Radio as a possible means of communication with other realities.

A research team led by Steve Cerilli has determined that tube based short-wave radios can provide a communication link with other planes of existence and their inhabitants. Recordings made on October 3, 1999 demonstrate that spirit entities can manipulate shortwave radios.

Curiously, the spirits present on that night learned how to better interact with the shortwave as the session progressed. By the end of the experiment, the entire room was awash with a form of static/electromagnetic energy. The tapes of this experiment are still undeveloped at this time.

Development of a paranormal recording involves re-dubbing the tape i.e. making multiple generations for reasons unknown. Research will be hopefully completed by the end of the decade.

A series of questions scripted by the research team were read by the owner of the location, which is known for its paranormal activity. The spirits were addressed and asked to participate in the experiment. The method of recording and equipment being used was then described. The questions asked were Socratic in nature, which means that they lead the listener to a revelation, each question building upon the former.

As a result of these experiments, all paranormal activity in the castle has stopped. It was the intention of the researchers to help these entities by achieving contact. The researchers felt that the spirits were somehow trapped or lost in between dimensions.

One possible scenario for disturbed spirit presences and haunting’s is that due to a tragic event in an individuals lifetime, the desire to remain on this plane of time creates a state of suspension. Spirits in this suspended state become prisoners of their own inability to let go.

It is believe that by establishing a communication link with the shortwave and asking relevant questions (Socratic method), lost spirits can be freed from their suspended state and made aware that there is nothing outside their own consciousness holding them back.

One of the participants, Jennipher Roos, described her experience that night.

“After spending the time it took to set up the equipment in the ballroom – about an hour, I walked outside to clear my thoughts and energy centers.

“Upon returning to the room, I could immediately feel changing vibrations with myself. I walked around the perimeter of the room in attempt to familiarize myself with my surroundings. I noticed a particularly strong feeling -highly sensational -in the corner of the room leading into the master bedroom.

“The only color of light I noticed before the experiments began, was a slight brightness in that corner of no particular color. The light surrounding the people participating in the study was nothing worth noting nothing out of the ordinary.

“During the first session, recording only, I was not aware of any overwhelming presence or energy disturbances. I was sitting on the floor -to the left of the Mayan sculpture. I felt centered and secure at all times; and although the room was highly charged, I cannot report any great shifts in the overall energy of the space and no specific concentrations of electromagnetism. The only notable change I observed was that the light in the corner of the room by the master bedroom had increased in intensity and now had a slightly bluish tinge.

“The next session, which involved the short wave radio was quite an experience for me personally. I had moved to the corner of the room which I previously described as highly active.

“Once I was centered on the floor and the questions began I could immediately sense a presence of some kind. A slight vibration moved from the floor, through my bottom and thighs, up my spine and into my head. This sensation was exceptionally strong and caused all of my hairs to stand on end.

“I placed my hands palm down on the floor in front of me and received the same sensation through my hands and arms, which heightened incredibly the overall effect. I could see luminous light all around me and when I moved my hand in front of me, the light attached itself to me and left a streak of light, like a tracer, in its path of movement.

“The short-wave radio was definitely receiving some sort of transmission amongst the white noise, but it was very faint deviations to me. However, about half-way through this session I began to hear other noises in the room.

“The best way I can describe them is like a low tone of church bells played very slowly…almost like a drone, but in a pattern that was repeatedly louder at the beginning of each “chime.” This sound was moving throughout the room in a circular fashion, like in stereo surround.

“As I focused all of my concentration and energy on the light and this sound, the short wave seemed to become more effected and I could definitely feel an increase of electromagnetic energy as the session progressed. At one point I was fairly overwhelmed with the feeling of it all…my body hair was on end for the entire session.

“I never observed any other colors at this time, nor did I feel that any of the participants, including myself were in any sort of danger. This part of the experiment was definitely the most powerful for me.

“I moved to the floor between the two aforementioned chairs and it was at this time that I started to notice huge changes in the short wave’s regularity as the speaker asked direct questions to specific pieces.

“The shortwave’s inflections were very quick after each question was asked, which indicates that perhaps the life forms are a bit more responsive when singled out individually.

“When the speaker addressed the Mayan statue, I observed it radiating a light that is best described as a dull-reddish magenta color. The light fully surrounded the Mayan and streamed off a bit in the direction of the microphone, but did not get close to it. this light remained until the session was over.”

Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC)

In 1985 Swiss electronics expert, Klaus Schreiber who, as a result of studying George Meek’s Spiricom designs, invented an apparatus he called “Vidicom.” The Vidicom consisted of a specially adapted TV, switched on but not attached to an aerial, with a video camera in front of it to capture images that appeared on the screen. One of the first pictures he received was a blurred, fleeting image of a human figure.

Occasionally just voices would come across, telling him how to tune his TV for better reception. A typical session would begin with a TV screen full of dots. Then small ovals would appear one after another, each growing quickly until they disappeared off the screen. Within minutes faces would start to appear along with voices, to the astonishment of Schreiber himself and his visitors.

It wasn’t long after Shreiber death in 1988 that his image started appearing on the TV screens of Europe’s ITC researchers. Schreiber’s friend Martin Wenzel continued his work with some success, but as with Spiricom the Schreiber method, to work effectively, needed to be used by someone with the sensitivity of a psychic and strong mediumistic links with other planes of existence.

In April 1990 George Meek’s wife Jeanette died after a long illness. Before she crossed over, however, Meek had asked her to get firmly in mind the names TimeStream (a spirit-side sending station linked to a young, leading-edge research laboratory in Luxembourg) and Swejen Salter (the system’s operator and research director on the spirit side). Hopefully these memories would act as a homing device once she crossed over, pulling Jeannette to the research station.

It apparently worked; three months after Jeannette’s funeral she reportedly had located the TimeStream station and sent the following letter to George via the Luxembourg computer:

“DEAR G.W. – WELL, IT SEEMS THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CONTACTS YOUR FRIENDS HERE IN LUXEMBOURG ARE HAVING. HENCE I WILL GIVE YOU SOME PERSONAL DETAILS KNOWN ONLY TO YOU AND MOLLY.

“FIRST STORY. IN 1987, END OF APRIL, OUR TENANT DEBBIE CALLED TO SAY HER REFRIGERATOR WAS OFF. IT MUST HAVE BEEN ON A THURSDAY MORNING…

“SECOND STORY. ON APRIL 29, 1987, ANN VALENTIN WROTE A LETTER FORM CALIFORNIA SAYING SHE HAD NOT RECEIVED THE MAGIC OF LIVING FOREVER BOOKLETS SHE HAD ORDERED, BUT INSTEAD HAD RECEIVED A BOX OF HARLEQUIN NOVELS.

“THIRD STORY. JOHN LATHROP SHUTOFF THE ELECTRICITY AT OUR RENTAL HOUSE TO PUT IN THE NEW YARD LIGHT, HE WASN’T DOWN THERE VERY LONG BUT CHARGED $20 SERVICE IN ADDITION TO $40 FOR THE BULBS, PLUS TAX. THE CHARGE SEEMED HIGH.

“DON’T TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS, HONEY, MY NEVER-ENDING LOVE TO YOU. I MISS YOU SO MUCH, BUT I KNOW WE WILL BE TOGETHER. LOVE FOREVER, JEANNETTE DUNCAN MEEK.”

To support the validity of the ITC contact, Jeannette had selected three very private items known only to the Meeks and their secretary Molly Philo. The second item about romance novels, in fact, was a complete puzzle even to George.

Upon receiving Jeannette’s letter from the Luxembourg team and getting his excitement under control, Meek called Ann Valentinin California to verify item two. Sure enough, a carton of novels had arrived mysteriously in 1987, and to this day no one knows who sent them.

The most exciting and potentially fruitful development is that of communication via computer. Ken Webster of England published a book in which he reported on more than 200 computer contacts with local persons who had died more than three centuries ago.

One of Webster’s main contacts was 16th century Englishman Thomas Harden, who had lived in the same house that Webster now resided in, when the town was still named Bristol. From the astral planes, Harden could see Webster’s electronic equipment in the living room.

He referred to the computer as a box with a multitude of lights sitting near my chimney. Harden would communicate in old English grammar in a variety of ways -telepathic messages, scribbles on note paper, chalk-written messages on the floor and, most important, computer files written on the display screen and generated on hard disk.

Harden later was reported to have explained to his earth-side colleague Webster that the writing was formed according to his will or his visualization in the “Lightbox.” Another interesting feature was that Harden said that he wasn’t a discarnate entity, communicating from the beyond. Instead he claimed to be speaking from his own time in the 17th century. So rather then talking with the dead, this seems to be a case of time travel.

During the 1980’s psychic researchers became aware of claims that various people had received telephone calls from loved ones after they had died. The calls were usually only of short duration and when investigated did not register on normal telephone monitoring equipment. This subject was extensively covered by D. Scott Rogo in his book Telephone Calls From The Dead. (1979).

A husband and wife couple working in Luxembourg between 1985 and 1988 along with helpers from the afterlife, developed two electronic systems which became significantly more reliable and repeatable than the systems developed earlier.

Jules and Maggie Harsch-Fishbach in 1987 established computer contact which allows submission of technical questions with high speed print-out of the carefully considered replies. Also in 1987 they got TV picture sequences of good quality (Psychic News February 25th 1995).

By 1993 the research team in the afterlife was able to access the hard drives of computers and leave detailed, computer-scanned images as well as several pages of text. The computer-scanned images were far more detailed and less subject to distortion than the video images. Researchers on earth were able to direct questions to their counterparts on the other side and receive answers by telephone, radio, TV, computer, or fax (Kubris and Macy 1995: 14).

Dominic RMacquarie stated in the November 15, 1997 issue of Psychic News that communication between the earth plane and the afterlife is more successful when there is a mediumistic person, who has more than average ectoplasm present. This had earlier been confirmed by Konstantine, Raudive, German Professor E Senkowski and George Meek.

The need to have some form of electromagnetic energy present has always been recognized as an essential component of EVP. Macquarie claims that experimenters since 1963 have obtained better results if they turn on three twelve volt transformers (the kind which change household voltage to lower voltage for portable radios, CD players etc.) within 3 to 4 inches (8-12cms) of each other.

They produce a very quiet hum which provides a weak gentle field of electromagnetic energy which can be used by discarnate entities.

“One has always to keep in mind that whilst ectoplasm and electromagnetic energy must be present when communicating with the afterlife, an experimenter who is negative and uses the presumption of futility will be exuding negative energy and will dramatically reduce successful communication,” says Macquarie. “This ‘experimenter effect’ has been found in mediumship, laboratory testing and when using electronic equipment.

“So even though communication can occur through television, radio equipment and the telephone, the clarity of transmission depends on the contact field, the thoughts of those receiving the transmission. It has been discovered at large open meetings, that if a group of people had negative thoughts about ITC, their negative vibrations seriously affected the vibrations coming from the astral plane.”

Even though Nikola Tesla in his early years had little patience with those who believed in spirits and unknown psychic abilities, he may have had a change of heart later in his life and after leaving the physical plane. In 1998, a medium by the name of Alice Cromley alleged that she had made contact with the spirit of Tesla through electronic methods similar to what Tesla used.

In a series of communications, all conducted at a secure home in Montreal, Canada, Mrs. Cromley received information concerning Tesla’s continued existence after his death and the new discoveries that awaited him on the other side.

Tesla was apparently eager to tell those interested in his life and science, not to dismiss ideas that appear supernatural or not of science.

“Physics, extends beyond what is scientifically known today,” Tesla communicated. “The future will show that what we now call occult or the supernatural is based on a science not yet developed, but whose first infant steps are being taken as we speak!”

ABOVE

Tesla was probably the first to experience EVP.

BELOW

Bill O’Neil at the Spiricom device.

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The Fix Is In For The Owners Of The Fed

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2010

The Fix Is In For The
Owners Of The Fed

From Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief
3-13-9

http://www.rense.com/general85/own.htm

As the US Treasury Department continues to brag that the US has not yet been forced to make good on its guarantees of toxic debt held by the major insider banks (Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, etc) we find they have been using a back door to funnel money to their friends–AIG the world insurance giant holding the largest share of derivative contracts that guarantee those toxic debts against default.

In point of fact, those debts are defaulting in ever increasing number, and AIG is having to pay out billions. But, those billions are being replenished by additional bailout funds from the Treasury–while the rest of the nation suffers from lack of credit.

Why should the American taxpayer be bailing out gambling bets based on promises to pay that were utterly fraudulent? Now we find out that AIG is also the preferred avenue of funneling money into European banks.

Lastly, what do all these insider banks have in common? They constitute the private owners of the Federal Reserve. It all begins to make sense why only the largest banks are receiving these funds and why the regulators continue to squeeze the smaller banks with millions in new surcharges–forcing them into liquidation. The fix is in.

International law professor Richard Cummings, writing for Lew Rockwell.com, says, “Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has resisted calls from Congress that he release the names of the banks that were recipients of the bailout money the Fed gave to AIG to prevent it from collapsing.

AIG insured its counterparties against losses from mortgage-backed derivatives. The Fed poured $85 billion into AIG, which paid out $37.3 billion of that money to counterparties that had purchased a certain type of derivative-based protection from AIG, called multi-sector credit default swaps.

“The counterparties have never been disclosed but the Wall Street Journal reported that they included Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Deutsche Bank. AIG and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have unwound many of these contracts. To do this, they offered to buy the CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) that were originally insured by those agreements. The counterparties sold these assets at a discount, but were compensated in full in return for allowing AIG to extricate itself from the obligations. The counterparties also got to keep the $37.3 billion in collateral, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“While Bear Stearns was collapsing, Goldman Sachs boasted that it had insulated itself by buying insurance against the mortgage-backed derivatives. As it turns out, it was, in fact, rescued by the Fed when it bailed out AIG. In 2007, Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’ CEO, received $70 million in compensation, including bonuses, $27 million in cash… At the time the New York Fed came to AIG’s assistance, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was its head.

“Blankfein is still drawing down millions in compensation. The rationale for his compensation is the alleged profitability of Goldman Sachs, which raked in over $9 billion in 2006. It should also be noted that the bailout stopped Goldman stock from plummeting, thereby protecting not only Blankfein’s fortune, but that of Hank Paulson, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs, who was Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush.

“This is perhaps the greatest financial scandal in American history but most Americans are totally ignorant of it. On top of this, the AIG bailout enabled John Thain to pay out billions in bonuses while he headed Merrill Lynch, just prior to its sale to Bank of America, a recipient of billions of bailout money, this while the unemployment rate is headed towards ten percent and the market collapse has caused losses in the trillions. Were the names of the banks made officially public, there would be cries of outrage so loud as to be deafening, making any further bailouts dubious for political reasons.

“And while Bernanke has said that he would not permit the big banks to fail, the looting of America by some of the richest and most powerful people, such as Blankfein and Thain, goes on, with no end in sight. Pandit the bandit now says Citigroup is profitable, enabling its stock to rise above a dollar, generating a temporary euphoria in the market. The cheers going up on CNBC can be heard all the way to Warren Buffett’s coffers. And American tax payers are not only bailing out the American banks, they are also bailing out Europe.”

Toni Reinhold of Reuters answers “Who got AIG’s bailout billions?” “The Wall Street Journal reported… that some of the banks paid by AIG since the insurer started getting taxpayer funds were: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, Calyon, Barclays Plc, Rabobank, Danske, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, Bank of America, and Lloyds Banking Group.” I think it’s the large number of foreign banks that would be particularly irritating to the public if it knew the extent of this largess.

WHO OWNS THE FED?

Jim Quinn unravels for us the real link between all this insider dealing. Who really owns the Federal Reserve. It’s not the US government and its not you the taxpayer. “The average American does not know much about the Federal Reserve. The government and the Federal Reserve prefer to operate in the shadows. If the American public understood what their policies have done to their lives, they would be rioting in the streets. Henry Ford had a similar opinion: ‘It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.’

“Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is part of the government. They are wrong. It is a privately held corporation owned by stockholders. The Federal Reserve System is owned by the largest banks in the United States. There are Class A, B, and C shareholders. The owner banks and their shares in the Federal Reserve are a secret. Why is this a secret? It is likely that the biggest banks in the country are the major shareholders. Does this explain why Citicorp, Bank of America and JP Morgan, despite being insolvent, are being propped up by Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner?” It does, indeed.

Tony Rheinholt continues: “The U.S. Federal Reserve has refused to publicize a list of AIG’s derivative counterparties and what they have been paid since the bailout, riling the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn testified before that committee on Thursday that revealing names risked jeopardizing AIG’s continuing business. Kohn said there were millions of counterparties around the globe, including pension funds and U.S. households.” What this means is that AIG is only paying out on SOME of its obligations, and US Pension funds are NOT on that list. In other words, the bailout monies are only going to a select few. AIG has absorbed $180B so far, with no end in sight, no transparency, and no sign of changing this pattern.

Proof that we haven’t even turned the corner yet comes from Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Newspapers (itself a losing enterprise like dozens of other print media): “America’s five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show. Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their ‘current’ net loss risks from derivatives —- insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset —- surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31. Buried in end-of-the-year regulatory reports that McClatchy has reviewed, the figures reflect a jump of 49 percent in just 90 days.”

Not counted in those write downs, of course, are the funds they are getting through the back door, which are not accounted for publicly. “While the potential loss totals include risks reported by Wachovia Bank, which Wells Fargo agreed to acquire in October, they don’t reflect another Pandora’s Box: the impact of Bank of America’s Jan. 1 acquisition of tottering investment bank Merrill Lynch, a major derivatives dealer.”

SQUEEZING THE SMALL SOLVENT BANKS

The next part of the fix is the most evil, in my opinion. The Fed and the US Treasury have given trillions of paper dollars to insider banks, and yet they are letting the FDIC run short of money so that this “insurer” of the public’s deposits ($250,000 and below) can have an excuse to jack up the insurance premiums (surcharges) to member banks. These new “temporary” fees are more than most small bank profits, and will ensure that these banks fail.

As Paul Kiel writes in ProPublica, “It’s looking increasingly like the FDIC will have to turn to Treasury to help it weather the storm… FDIC’s deposit insurance fund has plummeted in the past year as a growing number of banks have failed. The fund relies on fees from member banks, and Bair held out hope that a recent bump in those feeswould provide enough cushion. But if it doesn’t, Bair said, people shouldn’t be nervous about their FDIC-insured accounts: ‘It is important for people to understand, we’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. The money will always be there. We can’t run out of money.'” Then why has the fee increased? Why penalize the banks that have been conservative, and limited their growth for safety?

Bill Butler describes the “squeeze play” going on: “FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair announced last week that the quasi-public insurance monopoly would become insolvent in the next few months if it is not allowed to implement a one-time, draconian surcharge on all U.S. banks. This charge will, in some cases, wipe out last year’s profits. At the same time, the FDIC has requested an additional $500 billion ‘loan’ from Congress [notice that a loan requires the member banks to pay it off. A bailout would not. They choose to ask only for the loan as a justification for the surcharge].

“Small, solvent, well-run local and regional banks have objected. They rightly claim that they are not the problem. These banks have a solid and growing deposit base and many of them service their own loans and so did not get caught in the trap of originating bad loans and dumping them on the secondary mortgage market in federally-guaranteed bundles. Whether they know it or not, these banks intuit that, like Social Security, there is no FDIC “fund.” FDIC insurance, like social security, is just another government-coerced Ponzi scheme — a tax that, according to former FDIC commissioner Bill Isaac, goes immediately to the Treasury to buy “spending . . . on missiles, school lunches, water projects, and the like.”

“Rather than increasing their taxes and punishing their relatively good behavior, these small banks suggest that the FDIC look first to Bailout Banks, the Wall Street mega-banks that have received nearly a trillion dollars in unearned, government-supplied capital via the printing press, for any increased insurance premium/tax. Ms. Bair rejected these pleas by claiming that FDIC law does not allow her to ‘discriminate’ against banks based on their size. Clever [Actually, there is a basis for discrimination since the larger one’s 1) caused the problem and 2) are the recipients of taxpayer backed funds]. What is really going is that the Bailout Banks are using the government and its insurance monopoly to help them gain market share by drastically increasing the operating costs of their smaller, better-run and scrappy competitors.” We are about to see the worst banks absorb the smaller sound banks–a great injustice, and totally engineered.

(End Excerpt)

World Affairs Brief – Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.

Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com

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The Real AIG Scandal

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2010

The Real AIG Scandal

Tuesday 17 March 2009

by: Eliot Spitzer  |  Visit article original @ Slate Magazine

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread446765/pg1

It’s not the bonuses. It’s that AIG’s counterparties are getting paid back in full.

Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG’s bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG’s counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?

For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman’s collapse, they feared a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG’s inability to pay the counterparties to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold. And who were AIG’s trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already.

Also see below:

Hedge Funds May Be Getting a Bailout via AIG’s Payments•

It all appears, once again, to be the same insiders protecting themselves against sharing the pain and risk of their own bad adventure. The payments to AIG’s counterparties are justified with an appeal to the sanctity of contract. If AIG’s contracts turned out to be shaky, the theory goes, then the whole edifice of the financial system would collapse.

But wait a moment, aren’t we in the midst of reopening contracts all over the place to share the burden of this crisis? From raising taxes – income taxes to sales taxes – to properly reopening labor contracts, we are all being asked to pitch in and carry our share of the burden. Workers around the country are being asked to take pay cuts and accept shorter work weeks so that colleagues won’t be laid off. Why can’t Wall Street royalty shoulder some of the burden? Why did Goldman have to get back 100 cents on the dollar? Didn’t we already give Goldman a $25 billion capital infusion, and aren’t they sitting on more than $100 billion in cash? Haven’t we been told recently that they are beginning to come back to fiscal stability? If that is so, couldn’t they have accepted a discount, and couldn’t they have agreed to certain conditions before the AIG dollars – that is, our dollars – flowed?

The appearance that this was all an inside job is overwhelming. AIG was nothing more than a conduit for huge capital flows to the same old suspects, with no reason or explanation.

So here are several questions that should be answered, in public, under oath, to clear the air:

# What was the precise conversation among Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, and Blankfein that preceded the initial $80 billion grant?

# Was it already known who the counterparties were and what the exposure was for each of the counterparties?

# What did Goldman, and all the other counterparties, know about AIG’s financial condition at the time they executed the swaps or other contracts? Had they done adequate due diligence to see whether they were buying real protection? And why shouldn’t they bear a percentage of the risk of failure of their own counterparty?

# What is the deeper relationship between Goldman and AIG? Didn’t they almost merge a few years ago but did not because Goldman couldn’t get its arms around the black box that is AIG? If that is true, why should Goldman get bailed out? After all, they should have known as well as anybody that a big part of AIG’s business model was not to pay on insurance it had issued.

# Why weren’t the counterparties immediately and fully disclosed?

Failure to answer these questions will feed the populist rage that is metastasizing very quickly. And it will raise basic questions about the competence of those who are supposedly guiding this economic policy.

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Eliot Spitzer is the former governor of the state of New York.

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Hedge Funds May Be Getting a Bailout via AIG’s Payments

Wednesday 18 March 2009

by: Dow Jones  |  Visit article original @ Dow Jones

New York – The fact that some payments made by American International Group Inc. (AIG) to hedge funds are coming from government bailout money raises a question: Are hedge funds receiving a de facto bailout?

If the answer is yes, it would signify the first taxpayer money yet to reach hedge funds since the financial crisis began back in late 2007. Hedge funds – investment pools made up primarily of high net worth individuals, pension funds and university endowments – have suffered like most during the crisis, but have pointed out with pride that as of yet their industry hasn’t requested any government handouts.

Officially, of course, any payments made by AIG to hedge funds wouldn’t change that fact. It was AIG that requested the bailout, not the hedge funds. The insurance giant is now simply meeting its contractual obligations.

In some cases, AIG has already paid out fairly hefty amounts to hedge funds with U.S. taxpayer funds. AIG said in a press release Sunday that it paid $200 million each in “public aid” to Citadel Investment Group and Paloma Securities. These payments were made to settle short-term trades last year in which the hedge funds loaned AIG cash in exchange for bonds.

Also, as reported Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, AIG reportedly may be paying out many different hedge funds for bets in which the hedge funds waged that the housing market would crater against AIG’s bets that it would remain robust.

It isn’t clear how much in total that hedge funds stand to gain through the AIG payments, but the payments call into question the government’s decision, whether out of haste or for any other reason, to allow the AIG bailout money to be dispersed to any counterparties, including hedge funds.

“Taxpayer money is being paid to hedge funds by a Treasury that could have limited the payments to domestic banks but decided not to risk letting anyone big fail,” said John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University. “In short, everyone of importance is being protected.”

Not all observers see a problem.

While Edward Altman, a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business, questions the use of taxpayer funds to pay huge bonuses to AIG executives (another controversy surrounding the AIG bailout), he doesn’t see a problem with the hedge-fund payments.

“The ‘bailout’ funds are doing exactly what they were intended to…pay off [ AIG’s] bills on a timely basis so as not to cause any further harm to the system,” he said. “Otherwise, what’s the purpose of the bailout? It should have been clear that this involves [payments to] hedge funds.”

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By Dan Molinski, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2245.

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How the Asian crisis was manufactured!

Posted by Admin on January 26, 2010

How the Asian crisis was manufactured by the Illuminati and the BIS

Many people, including some who should know better like Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, believe the Asian crisis was an accident. It was no such thing. It was a deliberately planned attack aimed at stealing much of Asia’s wealth and weakening the Asian tigers.

The attack on Asia was two-pronged with one prong hitting South East Asia and the other aimed at Japan.

To attack Japan, the privately owned BIS (not accountable to any government on earth) changed its international banking rules in a way that deliberately weakened Japanese banks. They then forced (through threats of violence against Japan) the Japanese authorities to bankrupt one of their big so-called city banks. The Japanese chose the smallest of them: Hokkaido Takushoku Bank. When HTK went bankrupt over 1000 viable companies in Northern Japan were forced into insolvency. This meant that loans other Japanese banks had made to them had to be declared “bad.” The result was that all Japanese banks suddenly saw their BIS capital to asset ratio fall below the 8% needed to be allowed to engage in international banking. That meant they were all forced to “immediately” withdraw all their international loans, mostly made to Asia.

The Asian countries, meanwhile, were made extra vulnerable by a deliberate influx of “hot” money that created bubbles. As soon as the Japanese withdrew their loans, the “hot” money was also taken away, destroying the Asian economies. President Mahatir of Malaysia saved his country by seeing through the ruse and preventing the sudden withdrawal of “hot” money.

After the Asian economies collapsed, the carpet-baggers came in. “Hedge funds” and investment funds linked to the oligarchs came marching in and, using Japanese money, they bought up much of Asia’s economic infrastructure at a deep discount.

If the BIS and the IMF etc. were really concerned about economic development they would first of all never have forced HKT bank to go under in a disorderly manner. They would have also figured out a way for the Japanese banks to do something like issue subordinated bonds so they could bolster their BIS capital and not be forced to suddenly vacate Asia.

The criminals who carried this out think they got away with it but the Asians have long memories and they have identified the perpetrators of this attack.

The American economy has been subjected to a similar financial attack by the same group of criminals. They would do well to identify these gangsters and put them out of business for ever.

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The Reality of Mass Poverty and Social Exclusion: “How is India?”

Posted by Admin on January 17, 2010

Global Research, April 25, 2009

socialistproject.ca

Changing borders

“How is India?” asked an erudite friend of mine from North America soon after I reached India last December.

How indeed? I write this piece this week as India goes to the polls: a mammoth process involving 714 million voters is about to unfold over the next one month. The polity looks fractured as never before. Each state – and India has 35 of them – has its own political dynamic shaped by a complex gamut of regional political parties. Relentless opportunism and political ambition, bolstered often by massive private wealth appears to have given rise to a multiplicity of candidates and parties who are able to cull a platform sometimes out of thin air, or even worse, by fuelling caste or ethnic conflict or abusing divisive ‘local’ issues. So deep is the fracture this time, that it looks like 543 discrete elections are being held for the 543 parliamentary seats. No party is able to shape or capture the national imagination, as it were.

Underneath this fractured polity, lies of course, a deeply exclusionary and unequal material reality. Some 200 million are chronically hungry, more than 90 percent of the workforce have no option but informal work with abysmal wages and no security; 80 percent live under $2 a day; 70 percent depend on agriculture for their livelihood; 182,936 farmers have committed suicide; and so on.

The global meltdown has brought yet another level of decimation for the ordinary people. It is estimated that at least half a million jobs have been lost in the export sectors, where barring the IT sector, those affected are informal wage workers, primarily migrants who are forced to return home as they are retrenched. There is little by way of employment opportunity there and entire families are in acute distress due to the sudden end to their remittance incomes. A secondary and more insidious effect is perhaps the fear such retrenchment generates amongst workers who are somehow able to retain their jobs. If migrant workers come from homes where opportunities are decimated and other family members are returning home as they are retrenched, they are very likely to work under conditions they otherwise would not. The fear of retrenchment is a disciplinary mechanism par excellence. Industry leaders thus routinely call for greater labour market flexibility, citing the fact that competition from countries such as Bangladesh – based on low labour costs – are hurting profitability of Indian exports.

Under these circumstances, a fractured polity plays a highly contradictory role. On the one hand, it helps resist the tyranny of a ‘center.’ It can provide the autonomy that a state or local government might require if it wishes to experiment with alternatives (this has been the case of Kerala, the state with the best development record). On the other hand, it vastly reduces the possibility of constructing resistance to problematic policy frameworks on a scale that can actually shift the direction of things. This happens via two causal mechanisms: first, that the fracture hides the constellations of power; and second, it vastly diminishes the possibilities of solidarity.

First about power. There are many dimensions of power – and many constellations that we can speak of. But given the election season, let me take one here: the dimension of private wealth and the manner in which it is facilitating access to political office.

National Election Watch, a civil society watchdog doing exemplary work on the elections, has released a report which analyses the criminal records, financial assets and educational background of all candidates. Most still refuse to declare their wealth, but even declared wealth has grown by 400 per cent since 2002. According to National Election Watch report, in Karnataka, the state which is home to India’s Silicon Valley, one out of every four contestants is a multi-millionaire. In Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, about 12 percent are multi-millionaires. Seven multi-millionaires are contesting from one the poorest regions in the country in the state of Orissa (a region known historically for the incidence of famine and starvation deaths).

Quite apart from these multi-millionaires, a number of wealthy business professionals have joined the fray as independent candidates. Their mission, as they proclaim, is to “clean politics.” While the political fate is not expected to shine too much in the current elections, they are playing an important role in numbing any possible critique of corporate power. Indeed, the idea that ‘politics’ is unrelated to ‘business’ and vice-versa and that business has the tools and the ethos to solve major social problems has been a critical element of the normative order of neoliberalism, in India and worldwide.

The material reality accompanying this normative order is quite extraordinary. The wealth of 40 richest Indians have come to equal about 30 percent of its trillion-dollar GDP. Of the 47 Indian companies that have made it to the Forbes List of the Global 2000 this year, the sales of each of the top two equal the GDP of India’s poorest 12 states taken together. In a list of the top 50 economic entities in India – comprising of Indian states and Indian corporations – 28 are corporations. Reliance Industries, the corporation that tops the list, has an annual revenue that exceeds the gross domestic product of Kerala by about $2-billion.

The fracturing of the polity not only obscures these constellations of power, but also diminishes the possibility of solidarity and the construction of alternatives.

Consider for example, the resistance to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) or more generally, the resistance to industrialization which displaces small peasants without compensating them adequately or without their consent. In the state of West Bengal, which has been ruled by a Left government since 1977, this conflict came to a head over two projects. The Left Front government actively solicited these projects. Thereafter, it was found deficient in the way it planned these projects, – and worse, took recourse to violence when faced with resistance. It is likely that the Left is going to be punished for this failure of governance in the current elections, as it should be, if electoral politics is to have any substance.

But this is only half the story. What is likely to replace the Left, or dent its prowess, is not a progressive pro-people political configuration – but a constellation of opportunists of various shades. The latter has no agenda for growth or development, industrial or otherwise. The irony in these events is worth noting. While particular factors in West Bengal brought the SEZ/industrialization issue to such a head, the resistance to SEZ did not occur in West Bengal alone. The demand for appropriate designed and democratically governed models of industrialization was voiced by many different communities across India. This was not an opposition to one or two isolated projects, but a more fundamental opposition to the false choice between displacement on the one hand and absence of livelihood opportunities on the other. The deep fracturing of politics is systematically marginalizing precisely such issues, and in doing so is very effectively pre-empting solidarity. Indeed, solidarity has been critical in the recent successes in engendering change, such as the Right to Food movement, the Right to Information movement, the movement for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc.

So how is India? Fractured, harassed, trapped within a series of power games orchestrated by its elite? Though poignant and cinematic and Oscar-savvy, this Slumdog narrative is not entirely representative of India. By and large, people continue to struggle, negotiate and survive as best as they can, often winning victories that defy textbook understandings of agency or politics.

As voters, the average Indian remains incredibly astute. As the last elections showed us, all political calculations of an overconfident anti-poor government were revealed to be entirely incorrect, causing them electoral losses they had not imagined. Last week in Hyderabad, India’s hi-tech city, a young man who drives taxis for a living gave me a brilliant analysis. I asked him what according to him “India” is. Without a moment’s hesitation he said, “India is that place where the common man is perpetually looking for justice. There is no justice here, no justice at all.” •

by Prof. Ananya Mukherjee Reed

Ananya Mukherjee Reed teaches development studies at York University, Toronto.

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

 
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