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Topic: New World OrderThe new items published under this topic are as follows.
Friday, June 7, 2013
New World Order
Metadata warrentless sweeping-up, surveillance or security or what? If only Eric Blair were still alive to write an Orwellian analysis
“Th[e National Security Agency's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“ - US Senator Frank Church—who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—in a public statement, 1975. Church also said "We are, like, 'that far' from a turnkey totalitarian state."Posted at: Friday, June 07, 2013 - 08:58 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
The fact that the TSP was in violation of FISA was not the only reason Comey and the other dissidents objected to it [in 2004]. Sources familiar with their thinking say many of them were deeply uncomfortable with the vast and indiscriminate scope of the program. And it appears that its sweeping nature has not changed since the Obama administration took over. A source who has been briefed on the current effort describes a system in which the National Security Agency, with the cooperation of most of the country’s largest telecommunications companies, is able to vacuum up the records of calls and emails of most Americans. - Daniel Klaidman reporting
Wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, but data mining is an automated process, which means that the entire country can be watched.
How Obama embraced NSA spying
Daniel Klaidman The Daily Beast USA June 7, 2013
The revelation that the Obama administration authorized the collection of vast amounts of telephone records has the media and experts scrambling to understand the true nature of the program’s intrusion into the privacy of Americans. Earlier today, in an attempt to calm the “hype,” President Obama made his first comments on the surveillance controversy. “Nobody is listening to your calls,” he sought to assure the American people, pointing out that the program sweeps up so-called “metadata,” the time, numbers, and duration of calls rather than the content of communications. But following news of the Justice Department’s spying on reporters to catch leakers, Americans can be forgiven if they are reluctant to simply take the president at his word.
So how to assess what if any real threat the metadata program poses to our civil liberties? One way is to look at precisely why dissidents within the Bush administration opposed the Terrorist Surveillance Program. The Obama initiative appears to be an outgrowth of the TSP—an effort to warehouse massive amounts of communications data to detect patterns and links that might indicate terrorist activity—with at least one significant difference: under the TSP, which began shortly after September 11, the data was collected without any court authorization.
That is until 2004, when then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey—coincidentally, Obama’s expected nominee for FBI director—refused to reauthorize the wiretapping program. Comey and a number of other top officials concluded that the intelligence effort violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires judicial approval for domestic spying. The standoff led to the famous hospital room scene in which Comey thwarted two top Bush aides from pressuring an ill Attorney General John Ashcroft to reauthorize the program. Comey ultimately told Bush that he and much of the department’s top leadership would resign if the program was reauthorized over their objections. The collection initiative was suspended, while the government looked for ways to place it on a firmer legal foundation.
By the time Obama was elected, the program had been brought within the law. It was placed under the supervision of a national security court, and both FISA and the Patriot Act were amended. Moreover, by then Congress had been more fulsomely briefed on the program, and significant numbers of officials within the executive branch had been “read in,” all of which increased checks against potential abuses. (The TSP had at one time been held so closely that even Fran Townsend, Bush’s chief counterterrorism adviser, was not aware of its existence.)
During the transition, Obama received a detailed briefing on the program—why it was valuable in the fight against terrorism and how it had been reformed to comply with the law. While Obama asked a lot of lawyerly questions, two sources familiar with the session say that when the briefing was over the president seemed ready to embrace it. Sure enough, it became a major weapon in his counterterrorism arsenal. ...
What’s the matter with metadata?
Jame Mayer The New Yorker, News Desk USA June 6, 2013
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Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from liberal Northern California and the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, assured the public earlier today that the government’s secret snooping into the phone records of Americans was perfectly fine, because the information it obtained was only “meta,” meaning it excluded the actual content of the phone conversations, providing merely records, from a Verizon subsidiary, of who called whom when and from where. In addition, she said in a prepared statement, the “names of subscribers” were not included automatically in the metadata (though the numbers, surely, could be used to identify them). “Our courts have consistently recognized that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in this type of metadata information and thus no search warrant is required to obtain it,” she said, adding that “any subsequent effort to obtain the content of an American’s communications would require a specific order from the FISA court.”
She said she understands privacy—“that’s why this is carefully done”—and noted that eleven special federal judges, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret, had authorized the vast intelligence collection. A White House official made the same points to reporters, saying, “The order reprinted overnight does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls” and was subject to “a robust legal regime.” The gist of the defense was that, in contrast to what took place under the Bush Administration, this form of secret domestic surveillance was legitimate because Congress had authorized it, and the judicial branch had ratified it, and the actual words spoken by one American to another were still private. So how bad could it be?
The answer, according to the mathematician and former Sun Microsystems engineer Susan Landau, whom I interviewed while reporting on the plight of the former N.S.A. whistleblower Thomas Drake and who is also the author of Surveillance or Security?, is that it’s worse than many might think.
“The public doesn’t understand,” she told me, speaking about so-called metadata. “It’s much more intrusive than content.” She explained that the government can learn immense amounts of proprietary information by studying “who you call, and who they call. If you can track that, you know exactly what is happening—you don’t need the content.”
For example, she said, in the world of business, a pattern of phone calls from key executives can reveal impending corporate takeovers. Personal phone calls can also reveal sensitive medical information: “You can see a call to a gynecologist, and then a call to an oncologist, and then a call to close family members.” And information from cell-phone towers can reveal the caller’s location. Metadata, she pointed out, can be so revelatory about whom reporters talk to in order to get sensitive stories that it can make more traditional tools in leak investigations, like search warrants and subpoenas, look quaint. “You can see the sources,” she said. When the F.B.I. obtains such records from news agencies, the Attorney General is required to sign off on each invasion of privacy. When the N.S.A. sweeps up millions of records a minute, it’s unclear if any such brakes are applied.
Metadata, Landau noted, can also reveal sensitive political information, showing, for instance, if opposition leaders are meeting, who is involved, where they gather, and for how long. Such data can reveal, too, who is romantically involved with whom, by tracking the locations of cell phones at night. ...
Related: Obama and executive power run amok: Senator Frank Church's prophetic warning (1975) being realized
Salt Spring News British Columbia Canada June 6, 2013
Three links. Here from one of them:
... It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.
The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration's surveillance activities.
For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on "secret legal interpretations" to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be "stunned" to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.
Because those activities are classified, the senators, both members of the Senate intelligence committee, have been prevented from specifying which domestic surveillance programs they find so alarming. ...
Obama's counterterrorism speech last Thursday reveals him (yet again) to be merely a more glib, more slick Bush/Cheney
Salt Spring News British Columbia Canada May 28, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
New World Order
Emboldened by unaccountable power: Mass surveillance, keeping secrets—Obama administration is civil-liberties-unfriendly. The AP seizures and the frightening web they've uncovered
Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture. But whatever one's views on that, the more that is known about what the US government and its surveillance agencies are doing, the better. -Glenn Greenwald, "Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?", Guardian UK, May 4, 2013Posted at: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 04:11 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
... all of it—from indefinite detention to the destruction of whistleblowers—is sanctified under the banner of keeping you safe. Your security is paramount, thus your liberty is required. We have dispensed with finite campaigns such as actual and cold wars, where the enemy is a state, and opted for a campaign far more catholic in its embrace, a campaign against a tactic—war without end. It is this narrative, so tirelessly rehearsed yet so tiresome and trite, that still needs to be relentlessly discredited. Until it is, normal circumstances will remain a legal fiction, as removed from reality as so many of the conjured threats themselves. - Jason Hirthler
Who's got a secret?
David Westin Huffington Post, The Blog USA/Canada May 14, 2013
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The Associated Press is outraged that the Justice Department has been secretly rummaging through its telephone records, and who can blame it? But what really matters is what it means for all the rest of us. And if we don't watch out, it will mean that the government keeps more secrets from us than ever before.
From what we've been told so far, the Department sometime last year subpoenaed two months' worth of records covering incoming and outgoing calls on dozens of telephones at Associated Press offices, as well as on private telephones of AP employees. The telephones included some main, switchboard numbers, so the calls may have involved hundreds of reporters. The AP had no idea what was going on until well after it was over because the subpoena went to the telephone company -- not the AP.
The speculation is that the Justice Department wanted all those phone records for an investigation into who leaked information to the AP over a year ago about U.S. government efforts to foil a terrorist plot in Yemen. But we don't really know for sure.
This isn't the media whining. It doesn't take much imagination to see that people won't be keen on talking with reporters if they think that the government may be indiscriminately monitoring thousands of phone calls by hundreds of reporters. And if the reporters can't talk with sources that want to remain anonymous, then the rest of us won't ever know the secrets that they would have told. At the heart of the First Amendment lies this basic paradox: In order to have all the information we need for our democracy to work, people have to be able to keep some secrets.
Of course, the government needs some secrecy as well. It had wanted to keep what happened in Yemen secret just as badly as the AP wanted to keep secret how it had found out. But there's a big difference: The government has the power to issue subpoenas to news organizations and their telephone companies; the press can't subpoena the government for its stories.
Since the time of Watergate, there's been an uneasy truce between the government and the press over how to resolve this tussle over one another's secrets. The Justice Department has a policy saying it will seize news organizations' records only after it has pursued all other avenues first and then only when absolutely necessary. Most important, its own regulations require it to work things out with the news organization in advance whenever possible.
But it looks like the government broke the truce here. ...
Holder says leak required "very aggressive action"... bank crimes, not so much
Richard (RJ) Eskow Huffington Post USA/Canada May 14, 2013
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Apparently it never occurred to Attorney General Eric Holder that the Associated Press might be "too big to fail." If it had,then his Justice Department probably never would have investigated it.
The AP isn't just any news agency. It's the largest one in the United States and one of the three largest in the world, along with Great Britain's Reuters and Agence France-Presse. And it is, understandably enough, angry.
So are journalists who work for other outlets, along defenders of a free press and supporters of an informed citizenry. Journalists must be free of direct or implied intimidation if democracy is to work properly. And yet, correspondents who cover this Administration will often admit privately that they do feel intimidated.
A free press sometimes makes powerful people uncomfortable. It can even cause them considerable inconvenience. Actions against journalists must be very carefully weighed against democratic principle and fundamental freedoms. Instead, this White House has been as zealous as its Republican predecessors - in many ways, more so - both in its pursuit of low-level officials who leak information to reporters, and in its pursuit of reporters themselves.
The AP investigation, which seems quite broad, is only one example of that. As The New York Times reports: "Under President Obama, six current and former government officials have been indicted in leak-related cases so far, twice the number brought under all previous administrations combined."
Even the Bush Administration didn't find it necessary to pursue journalists and truth-revealing Americans as fiercely as the Obama White House.
Holder said today that investigators were pursuing a "very serious" leak which "put the American people at risk" and therefore required "very aggressive action." That approach stands in stark contrast to his comments about bank prosecutions this past March, when he said: "the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them (because) if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy." Holder's comment appears to be disingenuous on its face, since he fails to explain how prosecuting individual wrongdoers at those institutions would threaten the national or world economy. That's the primary demand of those who criticize his failure to investigate or prosecute Wall Street criminals.
It's also why the Home Defenders League has announced a week of action starting May 20 to demand an end to the Obama/Holder "too big to jail" policy. That policy has led to extraordinary prosecutorial passivity in the face of overwhelming evidence. There's certainly no sign that the Justice Department has ever sought the phone records or emails of America's top bankers. ...
But instead of pursuing these crimes, the Obama/Holder Justice Department chose to aggressively pursue the phone records of journalists -- including those who weren't involved in the story they were investigating.
Holder said that story "put the American people at risk." But experience with other civil-liberties-unfriendly administrations should teach us to treat such warnings with some skepticism. ...
The AP seizures and the frightening web they've uncovered
Alfredo Lopez This Can't Be Happening! USA May 16, 2013
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"Paranoia," said Woody Allen, "is knowing all the facts." By that measure, we're becoming more and more "paranoid" every day.
This week, we learned that the Obama Justice Department seized two months of records of at least 20 phone lines used by Associated Press reporters. These include phone lines in the AP's New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn offices as well as the main AP number in the House of Representatives press gallery, the private phones and cell phones belonging to AP reporters and a fax line in one AP office.
The government effected this massive seizure "sometime this year" according to a letter from the Justice Department to AP's chief counsel this past Friday (May 10). The letter cites relevant "permission" clauses in its "investigative guidelines" and makes clear that it considers the action legal and necessary.
In many ways, this is the most blatant act of media information seizure in memory. It affects over 100 AP journalists and the countless people those journalists communicated with by phone during those two months. It violates accepted constitutional guarantees, the concept of freedom of the press and the privacy rights of literally thousands of people. Predictably and justifiably, press, politicians and activists have expressed outrage.
But as outrageous as the admitted facts are, the story's larger implications are even more disturbing. It's bad enough that the Obama Administration has grossly violated fundamental constitutional rights, acknowledged the violation and defended their legality. Even worse is that likelihood that the intrusion will probably be ruled legal, that it has been ongoing against other targets for some time and that this is only the tip of the intelligence-abuse iceberg.
The facts are still tumbling out daily but here's what we know. ...
The Justice Department v. the Fourth Estate
Jason Hirthler CounterPunch USA May 16, 2013
On Tuesday The New York Times revealed that the Justice Department had seized without notice caches of Associated Press phone records. Not simply work phone logs, but home and mobile phone records of A.P. journalists as well, from the agency’s bureaus in New York, Washington, and Hartford, Connecticut, and the House of Representatives itself. How kind of them to finally break the news to the A.P. We don’t exactly when the DOJ seized the records. Initially, their response to that query was a limp, “sometime this year,” according to the Times. Later in the day, Attorney General Eric Holder got marginally more specific, conceding the records were taken in April and May. We may not know just when the AP’s private audio correspondence was taken, but we know why.
Last June, AG Holder launched two investigations to discover the sources of two leaked stories: one, information on the Central Intelligence Agency’s foiling of a Yemeni bomb plot, broken by an A.P. journalist; and second, the Stuxnet cyber-attacks on Iran, broken by The Times. It’s hard to imagine Holder’s actions as anything other than an extension of President Obama’s nationwide dragnet on whistleblowers, or as the Commander in Chief might think of them, snitches. Six federal officials have been indicted for leaks thus far under Obama. ...
The Times then notes, “Under normal circumstances, regulations call for notice and negotiations, giving the news organization a chance to challenge the subpoena in court.” That’s right. The Justice Department is supposedly beholden to the law, which stipulates it must subpoena records—like ordinary mortals—and then only as a last resort. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney of the District of Columbia (notice how far down the tree we’ve tumbled from the Oval Office; Holder was forced into the spotlight later on Tuesday) said that the DOJ must notify the affronted party in advance unless—and here comes the clichéd caveat that renders meaningless everything that goes before—unless that notification jeopardizes the investigation, or as the spokesman put it, “poses a substantial threat” to the inquiry. Note here that the threat is not to national security, but to the investigation into the leaking of information related to an investigation of a potential threat to national security. Rather quickly, the vocabulary of fear is extended into the abstract, where complicity soon becomes the subject of supposition.
What The Times fails to notice, although it might when it discovers half its journalists have been wiretapped, is that “normal circumstances” have been banished to the netherworld (where lurk our naïve, pre-McCarthy ancestors). The war on terror has transformed the entire globe into a potential flashpoint or field of fire. Most notably the online world. The offline world is already swarming with Homeland Security agents, baiting Arabs into basements to plot crimes against the state. The DHS is stockpiling weapons at a frantic pace, clearly anticipating a domestic Armageddon. But it’s the online world from which we have the most to fear. Far easier to craft the appearance of complicity from a few transaction records and cell transcripts than by suckering unwitting immigrants into bomb-making workshops. ...
Our civil liberties, RIP
Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com USA May 16, 2013
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Amidst all the justified outrage over the apparent targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups by the IRS, not to mention the Associated Press phone tapping brouhaha, an important point is being lost: this is nothing new. The Tea Partiers may be shocked – shocked! – that the Big Government they have spent the last few years complaining about really is a threat to our liberties, but the government targeting certain political groups wholly on account of their views is hardly breaking news. Just ask the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), which had set up an “Antiwar Committee” whose members have been spied on, indicted, and arrested for engaging in legal, constitutionally protected activities.
The FBI had sent a pair of infiltrators into the Antiwar Committee, and, on September 24, 2010, a veritable army of FBI agents launched simultaneous raids on antiwar activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Grand Rapids (Michigan). They seized computers, cell phones, passports, documents, family photos and even children’s artwork. Agents issued 14 subpoenas ordering the recipients to testify before a Chicago federal grand jury, and showed warrants indicating that the feds were searching for evidence related to “material support for terrorism.” A total of 23 people have since been handed subpoenas commanding them to appear before the grand jury in Chicago: all have refused. The FBI “investigation” – i.e. fishing expedition – is continuing.
At the time of these raids, we heard not a single protest from the “Tea Party” groups that are now loudly protesting their own victimization at the hands of the government: the leftists targeted by the FBI were just another group of “terrorists,” left to fight against their targeting and prosecution largely alone. Now that conservatives have been put in the crosshairs in a similar manner, however – singled out by a government agency for “special treatment” on account of their politics – their sympathizers in Congress are making a big stink about it and the headlines are alight with their outrage.
The Tea Partiers’ problem is that their protests come far too late – because the legal and political precedents targeting dissident groups were established long ago, with the full complicity and even enthusiastic support of most of those who call themselves “conservatives” these days. The “Patriot” Act – passed with conservative support – gives the government the “right” to not only spy on such groups, it also gives them the means to spy on anyone, for any reason, as well as the prosecutorial “tools” to put them away forever. Law enforcement agencies have set up “fusion centers” in order to collect information on American citizens who might be considered a “threat.” A recent report on “right-wing extremism” issued by the Department of Homeland Security” listed groups local law enforcement should keep tabs on, including members of the Libertarian and Constitution parties, as well as Ron Paul supporters. Efforts by the FBI and local police to infiltrate and set up members of the “Occupy” movement have been widespread.
Perhaps the Tea Partiers are unfamiliar with the long history of government repression of marginalized ideological groupings: during the 1960s, the FBI’s “Cointelpro” program targeted left-wing and black nationalist groups, sending in infiltrators, organizing disruption, and setting up prominent activists for “legal” repression. ...
While right and left go at each other, the machinery of repression is being readied. The most recent – and chilling – example: a recent Pentagon-initiated change to the US Code would give military commanders powers equal to the President in wartime. As the revised language of the Code puts it:
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
When is it “impossible” for the President to duly authorize military action? This is never defined. What is “temporary”? This, too, goes undefined. And what about the Insurrection and Posse Comitatus Acts which limit and regulate the manner in which the military may intervene in domestic affairs? The revised regulations eviscerate both acts, and throw the door wide open to rule by the military in an ill-defined “emergency.” And hardly anybody notices!
That’s the state of civil liberties in the US these days: the government is spying on reporters, IRS agents are harassing political activists, FBI agents are raiding antiwar organizations, and the Pentagon is busy getting the legal machinery up and running in the event they feel the need to impose martial law. The reason they can get away with this, politically, is because the right doesn’t care if the government comes down hard on the left, while the left openly agitates for the instruments of repression to be used against the right. There is no sense that we’re all in this together: that if the government can move against the Tea Partiers, then the antiwar activists are next. It’s all about whose ox is being gored – not whether our liberties are endangered by a regime emboldened by unaccountable power.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
New World Order
USA: Spy-fi; spy facts. Spy chief already knows how Boston intel probe will end; Mexico antsy about US surveillance system; CIA’s new tech guru hails from AOL
Spy chief apparently knows how Boston intel probe will endPosted at: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 - 03:04 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Spencer Ackerman Wired, Danger Room blog USA April 30, 2013
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An inquiry into whether U.S. intelligence agencies could have done more to help prevent the Boston Marathon bombing is just getting started. But America’s top spy is already convinced that the deadly April 15 attacks do not represent an intelligence failure.
As Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe first reported, the inspector general overseeing the 16 U.S. spy agencies will conduct a “broad review” of how the intelligence community handled whatever information it had about the bombings.
That review did not come at the behest of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, the nominal boss of those spy agencies. Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Clapper, says it’s an independent initiative of the Intelligence Community Inspector General along with the internal watchdogs for the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Yet before the inquiry has concluded, Clapper is satisfied — as he first said last week, before any review even got started — that the intelligence agencies didn’t drop the ball on Boston.
“Director Clapper believes that every agency involved in collecting and sharing information prior to the attack took all the appropriate steps,” Turner emailed Danger Room. “He also believes that it is prudent an appropriate for there to be an independent review of those steps to ensure that nothing was missed.”
Clapper’s remarks carry the impression that there’s little the factual inquiry can tell him that will change his mind. Inspectors general are supposed to be independent; rarely do the heads of their agency publicly announce conclusions about the subjects of ongoing inquiries. ...
U.S. looks to re-up its Mexican surveillance system
Robert Beckhusen Wired, Danger Room blog USA May 1, 2013
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When President Obama visits Mexico on Thursday, he’ll be talking to a new Mexican leader about what to do with the drug war. They might also want to discuss what to do about that giant telephone eavesdropping system that the U.S. is funding.
For seven years, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs has funded a sweeping monitoring system for listening and recording private telephone calls in Mexico. Details about the technology are hard to come by, and the State Department and the system’s manufacturer Verint — a company with close ties to Israel — don’t have much to say about it when asked. But a number of contracts handed out over the years have revealed details about how it’s a key part of the means which Mexico and the U.S. fight the cartels.
Called the Mexico Technical Surveillance System, the system allows the Mexican government to “intercept, analyze and use intercepted information from all types of communications systems operating in Mexico,” stated a recently-updated State Department request for proposals. (It was first installed in 2006, according to the document.) It’s capable of pinpointing an intercepted call to a location displayed on a map, link together “intercepted communication” with “graphical display links between events,” along with monitoring in real time and storing up to 25,000 hours of conversations.
The system is also compatible with phone networks including GSM, PSTN, CDMA, TDMA and iDEN — practically all of Mexico’s telephones. An additional capability to monitor packet data over the Prodigy ISP, according to a 2007 contract (.pdf) for $3 million of equipment, gave the Mexican government access to most internet users in the country. The purpose: “Help deter, prevent, and mitigate acts of major federal crimes in Mexico that include narcotics trafficking and terrorism.” ...
But there are clear signs Mexico is becoming more averse to sharing intelligence. On Tuesday, Mexico’s foreign secretary for North America, Sergio Alcocer, told the Associated Press that all U.S. law enforcement communication with Mexico will shift to a “single window” in the federal Interior Ministry — a big change from the close access U.S. agents had with Mexico’s military services and law enforcement agencies. “The issue before is that there was a lack of coordination because there was not a single entity in the Mexican government that was coordinating all the efforts,” Alcocer told the AP.
Since last year’s election of President Enrique Pena Nieto and the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to power — which ruled for 71 years until it was booted from Mexico’s highest office in 2000 — the new (but very old) government has also moved to assert more direct control over the country’s Byzantine array of security ministries. Many were centralized under the Interior Ministry, and the powerful Secretariat of Public Security was abolished and its powers transferred over. ...
CIA’s new tech guru hails from AOL (but don’t hold that against her)
Noah Shachtman Wired, Danger Room blog USA April 30, 2013
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A former AOL vice president is poised to become one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s top science and technology officers. But before you make those jokes about CD-ROMs and octogenarians on dial-up, keep in mind: she’s also been a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab engineer, a top spy, and a champion of open source software, too.
Dawn Meyerriecks was in charge of AOL’s product technologies group, where in the mid-2000s she oversaw the relaunching of aol.com and the company’s iconic Instant Messenger. That makes her the first Internet executive to become one of the CIA’s top techies.
Meyerriecks’ move to become Langley’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology isn’t entirely unexpected, however. Not only has she spent most of her career in the worlds of national security, intelligence, and aerospace — first at JPL, and most recently as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Acquisitions and Technology. (The AOL job came in between.) But the intelligence community has also become increasingly aggressive in reaching out to Silicon Valley and the broader technology community. This appointment might make those ties even tighter — that is, if beleaguered AOL is still considered a legitimate tech credential.
In a 2011 interview, Meyerriecks claimed that the AOL experience made her a better government tech exec. “One of the lessons I learned from AOL is that you can actually deliver innovation without asking for additional dollars,” she told Geospatial Intelligence Forum.
And in her most recent position, Meyerriecks has tried to push the spy community to spend its dollars a little more um, intelligently. She helped established an in-house app market for spies and analysts. And she’s publicly championed the use of open source software in the government — at one point begging open source developers to take on the more established software firms servicing the intelligence community. ”I sample lots of collaboration software — I think it universally sucks,” she told a conference last year. “Sorry, ‘suck’ is a technical term.”
“When these big defense contractors talk about how amazing their software is, she’s been really good at throwing the bullshit flag, because she’s so qualified and competent,” says John Scott, a senior systems engineer at the national security consultancy RadiantBlue Technologies and a leading advocate for open source software in the military. ...
Friday, April 26, 2013
New World Order
Two more notes to add to the democracy deficit file: U.S. gives big, secret push to Internet surveillance & Senior Royal Canadian Mounted Police told not to meet elected federal MPs and Senators without prior approval
A democratic deficit (or democracy deficit) occurs when ostensibly democratic organizations or institutions (particularly governments) fall short of fulfilling the principles of democracy in their practices or operation.Posted at: Friday, April 26, 2013 - 07:29 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
U.S. gives big, secret push to Internet surveillance
Declan McCullagh CNET News USA April 24, 2013
NSA director Keith Alexander, shown here in a file photo, who's also the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. Photo: Getty Images. Visit this page for its embedded links.
Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws.
The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense contractors' Internet links. Since then, however, the program has been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.
"The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which obtained over 1,000 pages of internal government documents and provided them to CNET this week. "Alarm bells should be going off."
Those documents show the National Security Agency and the Defense Department were deeply involved in pressing for the secret legal authorization, with NSA director Keith Alexander participating in some of the discussions personally. Despite initial reservations, including from industry participants, Justice Department attorneys eventually signed off on the project.
The Justice Department agreed to grant legal immunity to the participating network providers in the form of what participants in the confidential discussions refer to as "2511 letters," a reference to the Wiretap Act codified at 18 USC 2511 in the federal statute books. ...
The NSA and DOJ declined to comment. Homeland Security spokesman Sy Lee sent CNET a statement saying:
DHS is committed to supporting the public's privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Accordingly, the department has implemented strong privacy and civil rights and civil liberties standards into all its cybersecurity programs and initiatives from the outset, including the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program. In order to protect privacy while safeguarding and securing cyberspace, DHS institutes layered privacy responsibilities throughout the department, embeds fair practice principles into cybersecurity programs and privacy compliance efforts, and fosters collaboration with cybersecurity partners.
Paul Rosenzweig, a former Homeland Security official and founder of Red Branch Consulting, compared the NSA and DOD asking the Justice Department for 2511 letters to the CIA asking the Justice Department for the so-called torture memos a decade ago. (They were written by Justice Department official John Yoo, who reached the controversial conclusion that waterboarding was not torture.)
"If you think of it poorly, it's a CYA function," Rosenzweig says. "If you think well of it, it's an effort to secure advance authorization for an action that may not be clearly legal." ...
Related: Senior Mounties told not to meet MPs without prior approval
Terry Milewski CBC News Canada April 25, 2013
Photo right: RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, right, has instructed senior Mounties to notify his office before accepting meetings with MPs and senators, similar to the approval required for his own meetings by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, left, last year. Photo: Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press. This page contains a brief video report (2:10) and a number of related links.
Internal emails obtained by CBC News show that RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has ordered all senior Mounties to get clearance from his office before committing to any meetings with MPs or senators.
Specifically, they are to notify a liaison office that co-ordinates RCMP strategy with the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
In an email dated March 22 from Paulson to more than 50 chief superintendents, assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners, the commissioner said that meetings or lunches with parliamentarians "can have unintended and/or negative consequences for the organization and the government. Therefore, should you or your staff receive such requests, I am directing that you advise my office and the chief strategic policy and planning officer."
A second email shows the effect of the new policy. It cancels a planned lunch between a senior Mountie and a parliamentarian because of "direction from Commissioner Paulson's office" that such meetings "have to first be approved by the minister's office. This email is to cancel the luncheon."
The development has opposition critics accusing the government of undermining the independence of the police. "There's a very large pattern in this government of trying to control information," said NDP MP Randall Garrison.
"It's not appropriate for the government to reach into the police operation. It's a very, very fundamental part of what we must be assured exists so that the police aren't doing the work of the government, they're doing the work of the public."
Garrison, who is the NDP critic for public safety, said "these memos raise some very serious concerns about whether the government is interfering in the operations of the RCMP to try and assist in controlling their political message. So I think it's very serious."
Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell, critic for an RCMP reform bill, C-42, said he feared the "politicization of the police force." ...
Toews's office did not respond to a request to explain the new policy. Paulson's office, however, confirmed that it was co-managed with the minister's office. ...
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
New World Order
In the USA, federal "influence firms" mine web for usable data against what could be anyone of us; a resistance movement has resulted
Data intelligence firms proposed a systematic attack against WikiLeaksPosted at: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - 02:24 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Steve Ragan The Tech Herald Scotland February 9 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
After a tip from Crowdleaks.org, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. ... What was pointed out by Crowdleaks is a proposal titled “The WikiLeaks Threat” and an email chain between three data intelligence firms. The proposal was quickly developed by Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal, and Berico Technologies, after a request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm that currently counts Bank of America as a client.
The law firm had a meeting with Bank of America on December 3. To prepare, the firm emailed Palantir and the others asking for “…five to six slides on Wikileaks - who they are, how they operate and how this group may help this bank.” Hunton and Williams were recommended to Bank of America’s general council by the Department of Justice, according to the email chain viewed by The Tech Herald. The law firm was using the meeting to pitch Bank of America on retaining them for an internal investigation surrounding WikiLeaks. “They basically want to sue them to put an injunction on releasing any data,” an email between the three data intelligence firms said. “They want to present to the bank a team capable of doing a comprehensive investigation into the data leak.” ...
A month after the proposal for the initial December meeting on WikiLeaks was created, email messages from HBGary Federal show plans for a meeting with Booz Allen Hamilton. The meeting was set after Barr emailed Hunton and Williams about information he was gathering on WikiLeaks and Anonymous. Later, this information would be the direct cause of Anonymous’ attack on HBGary.
On page two you will find an overview of the proposal developed by the three data intelligence firms. ... While some of the information in the public domain may be false, the emails and documents seen by The Tech Herald certainly look legitimate. It is unlikely that Anonymous would bother to forge 50,000 emails, in addition to the screen shots of internal software, PDF files, Word Documents, or PowerPoint slides released to the public. However, on Tuesday evening, HBGary’s accusal that Anonymous was falsifying information started another round of rage on IRC, where some who associate under the banner of Anonymous gather. As a result, there are rumors that more emails will be released in the coming days, including those belonging to Greg Hoglund, the co-founder of HBGary.
EXCLUSIVE: US Chamber’s lobbyists solicited hackers to sabotage unions, smear Chamber’s political opponents
Lee Fang ThinkProgress USA February 10, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.
According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Hunton And Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt, who once represented Food Lion in its infamous lawsuit against ABC News, was hired by the Chamber in October of last year. To assist the Chamber, Wyatt and his associates, John Woods and Bob Quackenboss, solicited a set of private security firms — HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.
According to one document prepared by Team Themis, the campaign included an entrapment project. The proposal called for first creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” to give to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then to subsequently expose the document as a fake to undermine the credibility of the Chamber’s opponents. In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to “generate communications” with Change to Win. ...
Get Glenn Greenwald!
Jesse Walker Reason Magazine, Hit & Run blog USA February 10. 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
According to a report in the Tech Herald, three security firms recently pitched the Bank of America with a plan to take down WikiLeaks. If the documents at the core of the story are legit -- and as Andy Greenberg of Forbes notes, "their level of detail would require immense effort on the part of counterfeiters" -- the companies come off as Keystone Kops.
The most interesting detail is that the firms involved -- HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies -- placed a lot of emphasis on the pro-WikiLeaks blogger Glenn Greenwald, arguing that "Without the support of people like Glenn wikileaks would fold," so "It is this level of support that needs to be disrupted." The firms are confident that this can be done, since "most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals."
The source of the documents is a massive trove of HBGary emails that was seized and released by Anonymous. The backstory behind that is pretty fascinating in itself. ...
Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine pointed us to the Nate Anderson piece below with the followng February 15th post.
The Team Themis Files
Nate Anderson of Ars Technica has the most complete account I've seen of HBGary Federal's plot to take down WikiLeaks through various underhanded means, including targeting Glenn Greenwald. The story also covers a parallel proposal to do covert work for the Chamber of Commerce, the question of how deeply involved HBGary's partner firms of Palantir and Berico were in the schemes, and the creepy ways Aaron Barr of HBGary tried to drum up business for his company. Highly recommended.
Ars Technica (from the Latin "art of technology") is a Condé Nast Digital site.
Spy games: Inside the convoluted plot to bring down WikiLeaks
Nate Anderson Ars Technica USA February 15, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
When Aaron Barr was finalizing a recent computer security presentation for the US Transportation Security Administration, a colleague had a bit of good-natured advice for him: "Scare the sh*t out of them!"
In retrospect, this may not have been the advice Barr needed. As CEO of the government-focused infosec company HBGary Federal, Barr had to bring in big clients—and quickly—as the startup business hemorrhaged cash. To do so, he had no problem with trying to "scare the sh*t out of them." When working with a major DC law firm in late 2010 on a potential deal involving social media, for instance, Barr decided that scraping Facebook to stalk a key partner and his family might be a good idea. When he sent his law firm contact a note filled with personal information about the partner, his wife, her family, and her photography business, the result was immediate. "Thanks. I am not sure I will share what you sent last night—he might freak out."
This rather creepy behavior became common; Barr used it as a sign of his social media prowess. ...
Hacked e-mails show Web's usefulness in dirty-tricks campaigns
Dan Eggen Washington Post USA March 6, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington's lobbying and public-relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents. This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The plans were pitched by three federal contractors to lawyers at Hunton & Williams, a top-flight D.C. law and lobbying firm that works for the chamber. Proposed tactics included creating fake personas online to fool chamber critics; planting false electronic documents to undermine the credibility of activists; and using powerful computer tools to "scrape" Facebook and other social media sites for personal information about chamber foes, according to the e-mails.
Opposition research and assorted dirty tricks have long been a staple of politics in this country, from a smear campaign - backed by Thomas Jefferson - against John Adams in the 1800 presidential race to Richard Nixon's notorious efforts to steal Democratic Party secrets in the 1970s. But many experts say the shadowy political intelligence business has become larger and more sophisticated as corporations, trade groups and political parties increasingly turn to computer sleuths to monitor and, in some cases, harass their detractors. The work almost always goes undetected and has been made easier with the rise of computer networks and social media sites with relatively lax safeguards. ...
Sunday, February 20, 2011
New World Order
Eye on the push for deep integration and harmonization (a secure and prosperous North American Union) and its dramatic threats to the British Columbia environment and the public interest
Intro: Conservatives of the world unite!Posted at: Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 04:30 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
The Mark Canada February 18, 2011
In an excerpt of his new book on Canadian conservatism reprinted in the National Post, Senator Hugh Segal makes the case for creating what he calls a North American Community, an EU-style merger of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico complete with its own parliament. He believes that sovereignty is not an end unto itself but a means to promote our freedoms, and at this point those freedoms are best pursued within a North American framework. ...
Items: BCRail in depth report: North to Alaska
Patrick Brown Island Tides Pender Island British Columbia Canada November 18 - December 1, 2004
This article appears on page 2 of the PDF version of the paper and continues on page 6.
When CN bought BC Rail from the provincial government, they not only achieved a monopoly on rail freight traffic for most of the interior of British Columbia, but also sewed up the two major route possibilities for a future railroad to Alaska. Given CN’s ambitions for a railroad empire spanning all the North American Free Trade area, did they pay enough? The CN purchase was announced on November 25, 2003 and completed on June 14, 2004. On December 17, 2003, the BC Government released the final version of the ‘Fairness Report,’ written by the consulting firm Charles River Associates (CRA) of Boston, Massachusetts. ...
Photographer Paul Colangelo stands atop Todagin mountain looking north-west towards Tatogga Lake. Photo: C. Pollon. As a preface to the following first three articles, the project that is most likely to integrate B.C. and Alaska, says Nathan Cullen, the federal MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley in 2004, is a proposed rail link from northern B.C. to Alaska via the Yukon. A feasibility study of the rail link funded by the Yukon and Alaska governments -- entitled "Rails to Resources to Ports" -- bears this out. The opening paragraph reads: "[This report] provides a quantitative outlook on the potential for a rail connection through Alaska, Yukon and northern British Columbia, linking North Pacific Rim markets in the shortest trade corridor between North Asia and North America -- through a U.S. port."
Report from the edge of BC's copper rush
Christopher Pollon TheTyee.ca British Columbia Canada February 13, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
The province's northwest is slated for a mining boom. A visitor to those remote parts finds ambition and dread, natural wonders and billions at stake. Part one of two.
BC's Tahltan people and the road to power
Christopher Pollon TheTyee.ca British Columbia Canada February 14, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
Natives are demanding a say in plans to electrify BC's northwest, bound to transform the region. Second of two.
Alaska power and the bleeding of the Northwest
Christopher Pollon TheTyee.ca British Columbia Canada February 18, 2011
Stikine River wetlands, near Alaska border-looking up Stikine River towards the Iskut River confluence -- this area is threatened by one proposed Alaska/BC intertie route under study. Photo: J. Bourquin. Visit this page for its embedded links.
Critics say plan to tie state to BC's power grid will enable shipping Canadian resources from US port.
Related: Watch SPOIL: New feature doc on Enbridge and threats to the GBR
Damien Gillis Common Sense Canadian British Columbia Canada February 18, 2011
Video: 44:10 running time.
Check out this great new feature documentary - produced by EP Films and the International League of Conservation Photographers - on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and associated supertankers that threaten BC and its coast. The film follows the recent expedition of the world's top nature photographers to the Great Bear Rainforest - in the heart of the proposed tanker route - to document the incredible wilderness and cultural values at stake from tankers that would carry Tar Sands crude through these waters en route to Asia and the United States. SPOIL recently claimed the environmental film prize at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
Vancouver filmmaker Damien Gillis takes aim at Enbridge pipeline in Oil in Eden
Matthew Burrows Georgia Straight British Columbia Canada February 11, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links and short video.
When local filmmaker Damien Gillis took his equipment up to B.C.’s north and central coast and got to witness firsthand the humpback whales swimming freely, he almost got a lump in his throat. And that’s hard to do to the burly 31-year-old who looks like a rugby forward and has a baritone voice made for broadcasting. “I love this province, and my primary function is to serve, through my media work, to highlight issues that I see as being the biggest threats to the environment and public interest in B.C.,” Gillis told the Georgia Straight by phone on February 10. “Along with [long-time radio broadcaster] Rafe Mair, through our new organization [Common Sense Canadian], we are touring the province and really talking about rivers, salmon, and oil tankers and oil pipelines.”
It is the last two on that list that make up the subject matter for Gillis’s thought-provoking 17-minute documentary short entitled Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada’s Pacific Coast, which will screen this Sunday (February 13) at the World Community Film Festival at Langara College. The film details the issues involved in building the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, B.C., where oil supertankers would load and ply coastal waters off the province’s Great bear Rainforest for the first time. ...
Through his strong narration, Gillis explains in the movie that the area he visited is home to orca, humpback whales, wild salmon, wolves, grizzlies, and “the legendary spirit bear”, which is found only in that region. Gillis and others believe that this place is now threatened by a Enbridge’s proposed project. Oil in Eden reveals the majestic places and vibrant cultures at risk from the proposal and the opposition to it. He said that calling it a battle that is “Bigger than Clayoquot”—as shown from a Globe and Mail headline featured in the movie—is accurate. ...
Thursday, January 20, 2011
New World Order
Hey! Its the system! Corruption endemic worldwide: Two examples, US DoJ and British Columbia
Exclusive: DoJ veteran sees ‘dangerous precedent’ in letting Bush officials walkPosted at: Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 07:10 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Brad Jacobson Raw Story USA January 17, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links.
In a rare blistering attack on the Department of Justice, a career veteran of the agency recently told Raw Story that the Obama administration handing Bush-era officials "a get out of jail free card” sets “a dangerous precedent" that could encourage other offenses by future leaders.
J. Gerald Hebert, a former acting Justice Department chief who served the government's enforcement wing in various capacities between 1973 and 1994, said in an exclusive interview that the failure of federal prosecutors to charge former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) with even a single crime was indicative of a greater problem. On the heels of the successful prosecution of DeLay for money laundering and conspiracy in Texas, Hebert said he hoped it was clear that the Department of Justice had nothing to do with that conviction. Rather, the Obama administration's Justice Department in August closed down a six-year investigation into DeLay -- without filing a single charge.
He said that the success of the Travis County District Attorney’s office, which had DeLay sentenced to three years in jail, not only highlighted the Justice Department’s “unfathomable” failure in one prosecution, but also a “disturbing pattern” of less vigorous pursuit in congressional corruption cases since Obama took office. ...
Related: Are the following posts a stretch to relate to the above. We don't think so. We just wish we could limn the truth more clearly. But this must serve our purpose. It really doesn't take much to connect the dots. British Columbians have seen it all these last ten years.
BC Liberals' four big lies & why the media ignore them
Rafe Mair The Common Sense Canadian Canada January 19, 2011
... Let’s start with BC Rail. ... Now lets look at the Campbell lies during the 2009 election about the financial affairs of the province. ... The lies ... on the HST scarcely need repeating. ... [They] have also lied through their teeth on the broad issues of energy and the environment. ... Many ... closer to issues than I have spoken out on the assault on the Agricultural Land Reserve, the desecration of wilderness, and consequent massive assaults on the atmosphere. ...
Why has all this happened? ... Only one answer makes sense – political philosophy can account for this. This is Milton Friedman stuff. It’s Fraser Institute holy writ! (Fazil Milhar, former senior fellow of The Fraser Institute is the Editor of the editorial page of the Vancouver Sun, which may help us understand the media's role in this). It’s Bilderberger, Davos stuff. It’s the New Order, Corporate World. It has nothing whatever to do with the good of the people. The same people bundling sub-prime mortgages, going broke, taking government handouts then paying themselves million dollar bonuses are running things all over the world. ... The next British Columbia electorate will decide, and for a very long time, whether the province is to be run by corrupt corporate boards with a bought-and-paid-for government or by us. ...
BASILEAKS. BC Rail. The struggle for power in British Columbia
Robin Mathews The Legislature Raids British Columbia Canada January 14, 2011
First, readers must know that memos alleged to have been written by Dave Basi in the Fall of 2003 have been and continue to be leaked by a blogger. ... The memos deal with the policies and behaviour of some top actors, as well as Dave Basi and Bob Virk, in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. The appearance of the leaks open, perhaps, more questions than answers. The memos answer, partially, questions about high-level manipulation to misrepresent the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. And they will suggest – to some – that earlier allegations of breach of trust among high-flying players may rest upon solid ground. Leaked to a blogger, they open serious questions about their source and the reasons they have been leaked. Those questions are very important.
If they were leaked by Dave Basi himself, the reasons would probably be to keep the BC Rail Scandal pot boiling, to force attention to involved senior operatives giving Dave Basi and Bob Virk orders and directing their actions in a process that seems – more and more – to have been improper. It might be Dave Basi saying: “I told you so” about Defence allegations that the three accused were pawns, were targetted, and took the fall for more powerful, top politicos and their friends. But if – as has been suggested – the leaks were initiated by someone close to the RCMP and/or the Prosecution, the questions become very different … and more serious.
Investigation by the RCMP in the matters of the BC Rail Scandal has been widely … and deeply … questioned. Why did the RCMP terminate without record their investigation of finance minister Gary Collins in mid-December 2003? Why did they announce in late December 2003 that no elected officials were being investigated – though deputy premier Christy Clark was served with a search warrant (as was her brother) on December 28, 2003? Why did the RCMP take a full year to “complete” investigation during which – apparently – all elected officials were put aside or ruled out? How could RCMP spend another full year of investigation without involving elected people deeply involved in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR? Was RCMP investigation chief Kevin Debruyckere discussing matters with his brother-in-law Kelly Reichert, top BC Liberal Party officer and familiar of Gordon Campbell, premier … as Defence counsel alleged? Why have we no answer about that? Why, later, in the pre-trial hearings did the RCMP – as Defence alleged – stall, delay, and scramble production of disclosure materials needed for the Defence of the accused? ...
A further question presents itself. If the leaked memos exist as part of materials held by the Crown, the RCMP, and/or the Defence, why is there no alarm expressed? Why isn’t the court – so quick in the past to protect secrecy, disclosure materials, and the farthest outreaches of the publication ban – why isn’t the court ordering all the material that is being leaked sealed immediately under threat of Contempt of Court? Does the Court want the Dave Basi memos made public?
To date, application has been made to have the Court order all materials that have been disclosed to Defence returned to the Crown. But that application hasn’t yet been heard fully. A decision has not been made. Disclosure materials, then, are in limbo – and are not presently at the disposition of anyone who wants to cast them into the public arena. Does that mean the Basi memos are not part of evidentiary materials held in the case? If that is true, where did they come from to be leaked to a blogger? Why is Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie silent about the on-going leak of the Dave Basi materials obviously relevant to the BC Rail Scandal and the trial of Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi? Who provided the Dave Basi memos to a blogger who is making them public? That is the key – and so far unanswered – question. ...
Palmer gives us a laugh and party lines
Norman Farrell Northern Insights British Columbia Canada January 20, 2011
Visit this page for its embedded links>
Vaughn Palmer remains respected by many of his colleagues in the mainstream media. At times though, I wonder if he stood too long near the mosh pit at an early eighties Motörhead concert in Kerrisdale. Perhaps, repeated exposure to the world's loudest band resulted in the former rock critic's fuzzy headed thinking today. Either that or he has gone unashamedly partisan.
This week, one of his columns was a hit piece on Adrian Dix, not for the NDP leadership candidate's performance as an MLA and front bench critic of vital ministries. Instead, Palmer reached back to the nineties to describe Dix's work on behalf of the NDP, which valued him as a leader of their political staff. Palmer relates Dix's involvement in various duties but these were jobs in which anyone would expect the party's chief strategist to play a lead role. ... Today, Palmer makes light of the Kash Heed predicament and news the Liberal MLA and former cabinet minister is suspected by the RCMP of both financial and election fraud. This set of charges, by the way, is not a sly implication by a columnist intending mischief; it is derived from court documents filed by police. So, I guess we are supposed to be a little outraged and fearful regarding ancient acts of Adrian Dix but merely amused by Gordon Campbell's star protégé gone wrong in the present. Warren White, a thoughtful Northern Insights contributor, nailed Palmer for his journalistic failings with a comment posted on the Vancouver Sun website:
"When in doubt, make a joke about it?
Further to the underming of agriculture in British Columbia.
Recalibrating the food supply chain
Sylvain Charlebois The Mark Canada January 19, 2011
Escalating commodity prices could trigger a global food crisis, but it’s not too late to introduce a more sustainable model of growth and agricultural fairness. A systemic problem is brewing, one that, if ignored, can be disastrous. Those who believe that the world does not have enough natural resources to feed global populations aim at the wrong target. We have enough food. The challenge is to rework the architecture of food supply chains in order to allow emerging countries to manage market subtleties.
Escalating commodity prices signal the threat of another global food crisis. Food prices at retail in China, India, Brazil, and other emerging markets are surging, while industrialized countries are forced to pay more for food imports. Sooner or later, every consumer, even those in Canada, will be paying more for food, which may in turn slow the economic recovery. The current situation is not a cause for panic, but we are indeed progressing towards a worrying state of affairs. ... What the world needs is a sustainable model of wealth creation, founded in large part on agriculture. ...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
New World Order
Toward the enslavement of the American people: The creeping US security state
The overall message is everything is objectively better than it was a year ago, particularly in the aviation environment. But we’re also looking at addressing other areas. - Janet Napolitano, US Department of Homeland Security boss, speaking to CNN's Candy Crowley. Napolitano was referring to expanding the citizen humiliation grid from airports to hotels and shopping malls and to the growing 'snitch on your neighbor' programs. One example: the DHS is teaming up with 588 Wal-Mart stores in 27 states to place monitors at checkout locations that will play a video message by Janet Napolitano encouraging Americans to spy on each other and report "suspicious activity" to law enforcement and Wal-Mart employees. For DHS boss Janet Napolitano, the “common sense” of the American people means they will remain timid and apathetic to the security state's increasing intrusion into their everyday lives.Posted at: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 11:58 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Intro: Napolitano: Historic strides since Christmas '09
Janet Napolitano USATODAY USA December 23, 2010
As we enter this holiday weekend, Americans who are traveling, spending time with family and friends and enjoying holiday festivities should know that the homeland security, law enforcement and intelligence communities are doing everything we can to prevent terrorists from disrupting their safety and security. ... Because technology also plays an important role in securing passengers, cargo and the entire international aviation system, we've also accelerated the most significant deployment of new screening technology to U.S. airports since metal detectors were installed in the 1970s. This Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT, allows us to quickly, safely and discreetly screen passengers for non-metallic explosives that could be hidden under clothing. ... Finally, the public plays a vital role in safeguarding the security of our aviation system. From maintaining a sense of vigilance, to being strong partners in our aviation screening and security efforts, the flying public serve as active participants in the effort to keep all of us safe. Our collective goal remains to stay ahead of our terrorist adversaries and stop them before they can strike. While much progress has been made, together we must keep pursuing this every day.
Items: See Something, Say Something - unless it’s about the government
Mac Slavo SHTFplan USA December 25, 2010
Includes a TV news item (video-three minutes, fifty-four seconds) concerning a recent backlash from the government for a Sacramento commercial airline pilot’s personal exposé on airport security. The pilot in question is a military reservist, and was a deputized official licensed to carry a firearm.
While Department of Homeland Security is ramping up the nation’s See Something, Say Something program, expanding into Walmarts and other venues, we warn our readers to be cautious of what you see, what you say, and to whom you say it.... In the new America, spying on your neighbors is an accepted practice, while pointing out the deficiencies of our benevolent government is met with heavy handedness, force, the threat of arrest, and the probability of a law enforcement response under the Patriot Act’s terrorism clauses. Once again, the powers that be have proven that See Something, Say Something is NOT about protecting the American people - it’s about controlling us. ... It’s clear by our government’s actions in recent months and years that we are on the road to totalitarianism. At one time we were taking tiny steps, hidden from the public’s eye. Not anymore. ...
Napolitano announces expansion of Gestapo zones from airports to malls and hotels
Kurt Nimmo Infowars.com USA December 27, 2010
Visit this page for its embedded links and a video (six minutes, twenty-two seconds) concerning the “See Something, Say Something” program.
As we predicted, Homeland Security and national security state officialdom are in the process of expanding the police state and citizen humiliation grid from airports to hotels and shopping malls. “The United States is stepping up security at ‘soft targets’ like hotels and shopping malls, as well as trains and ports, as it counters the evolving Al-Qaeda threat, a top official said Sunday,” reports AFP. “We look at so-called soft targets — the hotels, shopping malls, for example — all of which we have reached out to in the past year and have done a fair amount of training for their own employees,” DHS boss Janet Napolitano said.
Big Sis Napolitano knows the government’s “See Something, Say Something” program to acclimate citizens to a police and surveillance state designed to rival anything established by East Germany’s Stasi is more Big Brotherism. “It just sounds very Big Brother to me, turning in the next door neighbor.” CNN’s Candy Crowley said to Napolitano during an interview on “State of the Union.” “It’s not,” Napolitano argued. “It depends on the common sense of the American people. I think they have common sense. And it depends on, again … getting through this notion that our safety, our security and the world we live in today is a shared responsibility.”
Homeland Security recruiting neighborhood busybodies
CrimeFileNews.com/The Intel Hub USA December 11, 2010
Washington, DC—There were the infamous Gestapo, Stazi and Red Guard. They all sought and maintained civilian armies of snitches to help their rogue governments maintain absolute power. These government thugs wanted any information they could use against the victims they selectively targeted. Today we have the Department of Homeland Security that is quickly stepping into this role in the United States. ... Now Homeland Security is beginning a massive recruitment drive to get people to snitch on their neighbors. When this happens they suggest they want information about crime or terrorism but this always degenerates into what these criminal regimes really want, a hideous form of Thought Police. What they truly want is information about Americans resisting the Police State.
DHS, TSA sets up VIPER checkpoints at bus terminals in Tampa
Johnny Narcoe Infowar.co USA December 2, 2010
Terrorizing innocent travelers at airports is simply not enough for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency recently tested a new program known as VIPER (Visual Intermodal Protection and Response) which involved placing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at Greyhound bus stations in Tampa to pat down and grope ground travelers. The agency even brought in local police with sniff dogs to allegedly help improve overall security. ...
In other words, there really is no legitimate — or legal — reason for TSA agents be frisking passengers at bus stops, but as long as the cited reasons include “security”, the public is simply supposed to accept the unwarranted checkpoints as a necessary evil for the sake of improved safety. “What we’re looking for are threats to national security as well as immigration law violators,” explained Steve McDonald from the U.S. Border Patrol, also trying to legitimize the efforts to the public. But the endeavor is really nothing more then yet another violation of civil liberties in the name of security. Harassing travelers and looking for “immigration law violators” without a warrant is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states that “a search or seizure is generally unreasonable and unconstitutional, if conducted without a valid warrant.”
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
New World Order
The corporatists' war on food: This little piggy went to market/This little piggy stayed at home. And some little piggies cry "Wee wee wee" for their heritage
The first publication date for the "This Little Piggy" Mother Goose rhyme was 1728. The last line "Wee wee wee ..." is used to accompany the child being tickled by the narrator of the poem. Would that life were so free and simple.Posted at: Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 07:39 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
We gleaned the following two items from The Bovine website. The Ontario site seeks freedom of choice for raw milk drinkers. But regardless of your feelings about raw milk, the site is a good source for information on the corporatist attack not only on the quality of our food but also on our freedoms.
“Drop the pig and put your hands in the air” — National Post on Mark Tijssen
The Bovine Ontario Canada December 7, 2010
Canadian Constitution Foundation litigation director Karen Selick wrote this story for the National Post:
Taking away every Canadian’s right to butcher. Mark Tijssen, the amateur butcher of Carlsbad Springs, with his sons. Photo: Landowner
When a responsible citizen shared freshly slaughtered pork with a friend, the government sent in armed officers.
The maxim “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” made sense back in the days when the only kind of acts that were illegal were genuine crimes that caused palpable harm to innocent victims: murder, rape, theft, etc. But with the growth of the regulatory state, every individual is now subject to thousands of pages of densely written federal, provincial and municipal statutes and regulations. The law is also embodied in innumerable judicial decisions. And it’s all in continual flux: Regulations are passed without parliamentary debate, and courts release new judgments daily. There is probably not a single law professor, judge or legislator in Canada who has even a passing familiarity with, let alone full comprehension of, all the laws we are required to obey. The average joe doesn’t stand a chance. We are all potential offenders every day, no matter how law-abiding we might wish to be. Given this welter of law, how should those responsible for enforcing it conduct themselves? A legal battle unfolding in Ottawa provides a prime example of how not to do it.
Mark Tijssen is a major in the Canadian Forces. He grew up on a farm, attending livestock auctions and helping his father butcher animals for the family’s own table. He’s also a hunter who dresses his own game. And he has a University of Guelph degree in biomedical toxicology. In short, he can tell a healthy animal from a sick one. He’s concerned, like many Canadians, about the safety of commercially produced meats.... Tijssen uses his farming and butchering skills to opt out of the commercial food supply. For years, he has inspected his own meat while still on the hoof, slaughtered it himself and packaged it for later use. In November 2009 he and a friend bought a pig, intending to share it. But for unknown reasons, a neighbour reported to the Ontario government that Tijssen was running an unlicensed slaughterhouse on his property. It’s perfectly legal to butcher your own pig and serve it to your immediate family in your own home. What’s not legal, as a result of new Food Safety and Quality Act regulations that quietly took effect in 2005, is letting someone else take home-butchered meat off the property. ...
Jim comment: Jeez! That means our shared Thanksgiving feast with other families here on Salt Spring Island (a more-than-30-year tradition) was a criminal act.
It fell to conservation officer Graham Ridley of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to deal with Tijssen’s neighbour’s complaint. Ridley could have phoned or visited Tijssen to make sure he knew about the 130-page regulation and warned him against violating it. A responsible person like a Canadian Forces major would surely have wanted to avoid getting into trouble with the law if he knew about it. But instead, Ridley staked out Tijssen’s home for five full days in November 2009, watching from a tree-house on the neighbour’s property, waiting to see whether anyone would leave Tijssen’s property with meat. How gratifying it must have been when he finally saw the co-owner of the pig leaving with a box of pork. At last, a charge could be laid! Ridley sprang into action, following the friend down the road and confiscating the pork.
Tijssen, on learning from his friend what had happened, telephoned Ridley the next day and acknowledged having butchered the pig. But faced with this golden opportunity of explaining the 2005 regulations to Tijssen, Ridley once again declined. Instead, the following evening, after dark, Ridley raided Tijssen’s property accompanied by four police cars and two MNR trucks, lights flashing. Armed police officers searched the property painstakingly and carried off 14 articles of butchering equipment — evidence of Tijssen’s heinous offence — even though Tijssen had already acknowledged in the previous day’s phone call that he had killed the pig. ...
Jim comment (for what it is worth): Genetically engineered pigs are ever closer to becoming meat on Canadian kitchen tables with the federal government poised to declare that they do not harm the environment. These little piggies are soon on their way to market: They are escaping (easily) the 'regulatory' hurdles.
Related: Commentary from the USA.
Was it the good-cop-bad-cop routine that enticed so many foodies to sanction FDA's takeover of food system?
David E. Gumpert The Complete Patient USA December 5, 2010
I keep asking myself, how did we ever get to this point, where political and economic control of America's food system is on the verge of being turned over to a government agency whose leaders declared early this year we have "no absolute right" to "any particular food" or to "bodily and physical health." ...
I keep wondering how smart informed people from all segments of the food rights and sustainable food arena got themselves engaged into supporting a hopelessly complex set of rules to maybe, possibly, depending-on-how-you-interpret-them allow certain small farms exemptions from this governmental takeover of the food system. And I marvel that a bunch of other smart people are willing to trust the FDA, and hope that it will suddenly transform itself from a bunch of hardasses who take pleasure in driving small food producers out of business into a sensitive agency dedicated to sustainable food production; you can see the skewering I took for contradicting that logic in a new posting about the food safety debate at Grist.org (although most of the comments are skeptical of the FDA apologists). ...
Finally, we're hearing that if the Congress doesn't pass S510 now, the opportunity for food safety controls will vanish "for a generation." That's just another form of fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the government-takeover artists have gone too far to turn back. They couldn't get the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), so they moved to "food safety." Believe me, if S510 doesn't make it through Congress this time, they'll soon be back with another scheme, and it will have just as little to do with food safety. I'll bet the farm on that one.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
New World Order
North American Union moves forward relentlessly
Canada surrenders sovereignty and privacy to U.S. Secure Flight ProgramPosted at: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - 11:53 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Dana Gabriel Be Your Own Leader USA November 29, 2010
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Canada is under pressure from U.S. officials to further comply with American security rules which in some cases, threatens its sovereignty and the privacy of its citizens. As a result of the war on terrorism, the U.S. government now has more power to restrict air travel and is not only dictating North American, but also international security measures.
Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act would require Canadian airline carriers that fly over the U.S. to provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with passenger information. This includes name, date of birth, gender, as well as passport and itinerary details when applicable. Airlines landing in the U.S. already have to supply this information, but allowing personal data to be shared on passengers who are only flying through American airspace essentially shreds existing Canadian protection and privacy laws. Bill C-42 complies with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight Program which would take effect globally at the beginning of next year. Most Canadian commercial flights pass over the U.S. while en route to Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe which in many cases would give the DHS the final say on who is allowed to travel to and from Canada.
Under Canada’s Passenger Protect Program, “airlines must compare passenger's names against a list that is controlled and managed by Transport Canada before a boarding pass is issued.” Secure Flight transfers that authority from airlines to the DHS. TSA will be responsible for pre-screening passengers and their personal information against federal government watch lists. ...
Related: Mexican magazine Proceso reveals the location of a US military-Intelligence megaplex in Mexico City. Megaplex includes offices for the CIA, FBI, DEA, Defense Intelligence, BATF, Department of Treasury and others. Mexico will now have a military ‘liaison’ for NORTHCOM.
North American Union – “U.S. super spy center” uncovered in Mexico
Jorge Carrasco and Jesus Esquive (Trans. Mario Andrade) Proceso/Intel Hub Mexico/USA November 17, 2010
With the approval of Felipe Calderón’s Administration, the U.S. Government finally got what it always wanted: To set up a super spy center in Mexico City. It was the escalation of the drug war in the country what opened the door to all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the military, to operate out of the Federal District without having to disguise their agents as diplomats.
The establishment of the Office of Bi-national Intelligence (OBI) was authorized by Calderon, after negotiations with Washington, which began under the government of his predecessor, Vicente Fox Quesada. The creation of the super spy center was authorized by the director of the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), Guillermo Valdés Castellanos, without taking into account any objections from the Mexican military. ...
Monday, November 15, 2010
New World Order
Sacrificing your sovereignty for NATO? It's OK, Canada. You're not alone
Right: Flag of NATO. Allied Command Operations (ACO), is responsible for NATO operations world wide. The commanding officer of Allied Command Operations has also retained the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe" (SACEUR), and continues to be a U.S. four-star general officer or flag officer who also serves as Commander, U.S. European Command.Posted at: Monday, November 15, 2010 - 10:30 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
The Afghan war is no ordinary war. The German army has engaged in its first combat operations since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945. Finnish soldiers have engaged in combat for the first time since World War II, and Swedish forces for the first time in almost 200 years. The only beneficiary of this conflagration is a rapidly emerging global NATO.
Afghan war: Largest military coalition in history
Project Censored Media Democracy In Action USA October 11, 2010
... The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has become history’s first global army. Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country. At the eighth anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, the world is witness to a twenty-first-century armed conflict waged by the largest military coalition in history. With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia, Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, and Montenegro are to join those of some forty-five other countries serving under the command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations and five continents serving under a unified command structure.
NATO’s fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington DC in 1999 welcomed the first expansion of the world’s only military bloc in the post–cold war era, absorbing former Warsaw Pact members such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Two years later, after the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington DC, NATO activated Article 5—in which the “Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” The main purpose of invoking NATO’s mutual military assistance clause was to rally the then nineteen-member military bloc for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the stationing of troops, warplanes, and bases throughout South and Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Flyover rights were also arranged with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and newly acquired airbases in Bulgaria and Romania have since been used for the transit of troops and weapons to the Afghan war zone.
The 1999 war against Yugoslavia was NATO’s first “out of area” operation—that is, outside of North America and those parts of Europe in the alliance. The war in Afghanistan, however, marked NATO’s transformation into a global war fighting machine. NATO officials now employ such terms as global, expeditionary, and twenty-first century to describe NATO and its operations. NATO members who have deployed troops to Afghanistan include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, as well as ten European nations that had never before been part of a military bloc—Austria, Bosnia, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland. The twenty-eight full original NATO members all have troops there as well.
All of the new members were prepared for full NATO accession under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, which demands weapons interoperability (scrapping contemporary Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones); increasing future members’ military spending to 2 percent of their national budget no matter how hard-hit that nation is economically; purging of “politically unreliable” personnel from military, defense, and security posts; training abroad in NATO military academies; hosting US Alliance military exercises; and instructing the officer corps in a common language—English—for joint overseas operations. ...
Related: When [Barack Obama] declares that "we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's Security Forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future" -- he is not talking about their future but rather the future we demand of them -- The future that salves and salvages the image of Rome ... or America. In the Roman Way of course we will achieve this though battle.... - Michael Vlahos
Are we not Romans?
Michael Vlahos Huffington Post USA December 3, 2009
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Steely Dan would say: "And they wrote it on the wall," inscribed like the stone stele of Daniel 5:1-31. The words tell us when we will leave. But how to decode these obscure, fateful words?
Americans like to compare themselves to old Romans, especially those martial neocons-of-the-soft-hands and their adder-tongued women. But hearken: It may be a fair analogy. Susan Mattern's Rome and the Enemy shatters our wool-dyed clichés of old Rome. The legions did not conquer for land: As if they were throwback Victorians lusting for cartographic dominion colored on a map.
Romans went to war and invaded others for five reasons:
Imago. Rome saw itself as exceptional -- unique among nations -- and thus for Romans, remorselessly, "foreign relations were a competition for honor and status between Rome and barbarian peoples; by proving its superior force through war and conquest. Rome extracts deference from other nations, who then remain submissive." How perfectly this captures the contemporary rhetorical orbit of a renewed American mission in Afghanistan, which is less about what happens to them than it is about how they make us feel about ourselves. ...
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
New World Order
Canadian developments in the global farmland grab
At a June 7, 2010 news conference, the National Farmers Union of Canada released a major research report on a corporate and investor buy-up of Canadian farmland. The report entitled Losing Our Grip: How a Corporate Farmland Buy-up, Rising Farm Debt, and Agribusiness Financing of Inputs Threaten Family Farms and Food Sovereignty (29-page PDF) also details the farm debt crisis, and agribusiness financing of farm input sales. From the news release:Posted at: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - 12:40 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
SASKATOON, Sask.—In countries around the world, including Canada, corporations, investors, and foreign interests are buying up farmland. The National Farmers Union (NFU) today released the first report of its kind documenting Canadian developments in a global land grab.
The NFU report gives ten specific examples of agribusiness and investment companies buying Canadian land. It gives details of these companies and their practices and thus illuminates the rapidly accelerating transfer of foodland ownership from family farmers and local citizens to foreign interests, investors, and corporations.
The report also details the role of Canadian federal and provincial governments in facilitating the farmland buy-up. Governments are failing to monitor or report corporate and investor purchases. Moreover, these same governments are acting to facilitate and promote purchases of farmland by non-farmers. ...
The opening paragraph of the report:
The land on which our food is grown is, to a significant extent, owned by local citizens and the families who work that land. This family farm model is widely supported—by farmers and non-farmers alike. But this model is under serious threat of extinction. And the issue goes beyond mere land ownership: the core issue is one of autonomy and control—ensuring that the men and women who produce our food have stable, resilient bases from which to make good, long-term decisions for their farms and for our food systems. This stability and long-term thinking can lead to superior environmental outcomes, more prosperous communities, and the inter-generational transfer crucial to our family-farm model. In working to ensure autonomy and control, the aim is not farmer “independence,” but rather healthy interdependence—the farmer as an integral part of his or her family, community, region, and nation. Our farmers are stewards who need to be free to react to the needs of their soils, animals, families, and neighbours as much as to the dictates of markets, bankers, or agribusiness. If corporations or wealthy investors take control of our land and farms, our food systems and ecosystems will be seriously damaged.
Our traditional model of farmer autonomy and control and local land ownership (and the national food sovereignty it supports) is currently threatened on at least three fronts: ...
Noted (nothing directly to do with family farms, nor need it be, but in some way related): Our parents and grandparents wouldn't have even considered the possibility of not sitting down to a family dinner -- but today this simple event is seriously falling by the wayside. Until recently, family dinners were always the way children were nourished, mind and body. This is not to blame parents caught up by the conflicting demands of low-wage work which are a part of the social controls that are more and more being imposed on society these days. Rather, it is just a statement of the obvious.
The family dinner: Reviving an endangered ritual
Laurie David Huffington Post USA November 2, 2010
A little more than a year ago, I had a classic Oprah "Aha!" moment while sitting at the dinner table on an ordinary school night with my two teenage daughters. It was an epiphany that brought me a small but powerful sense of relief. Like many moms, I spend more than enough time beating myself up over all the parenting mistakes, big and little, I've made (and will doubtless make in the future). But this particular evening, I realized I had actually done something right, as a parent; that is, to insist, for the past decade, that my family participate in the ritual of family dinner. As I sat there, dessert long since consumed, both girls still chatting away, I was awash in the glow of all the gifts the many weekday meals have brought us over the years. Now that my kids are teenagers and everything is getting tougher (everything!), this ritual has helped keep them at the table talking to me, and some days that is all you can hope for. I can even thank family dinner for helping us get through the misery of divorce and reconnecting me with my ex, around that very same table. ...
I started doing family dinner to create more cozy moments for my children and husband, but the truth is the benefits reach far beyond our table. It's not a coincidence that as the practice of family dinner has shriveled and shrunk over the last thirty years there has been an explosion of threatening new social stresses and health problems that were all but foreign to our grandparents. ...
New World Order
The new feudalism: Heavy-handed legislation and police actions target small producers
Shutdown of two small cheesemakers raises more doubts about food-safety legislationPosted at: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 - 12:36 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
David Gumpert Grist USA November 1, 2010
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In all the acrimony that has settled over Washington, one major legislative matter has continued to receive bipartisan support: food safety legislation intended to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration vastly expanded powers to reduce the amount of contaminated food getting into distribution. Highly publicized outbreaks over the last few years involving everything from spinach to peanut butter to ground beef to eggs have only seemed to heighten the support from consumer groups and the media alike. Grist contributor Elanor Starmer last week argued that we have a serious food safety problem only this legislation can resolve. The proposed legislation, strongly encouraged by the Obama administration, sailed through the U.S. House last fall, and then through a Senate committee earlier this year. And then the legislation stalled. First, there were concerns that the legislation, by requiring that all food producers put together complex production and hazard control plans (known as HACCP Plans), would have a draconian effect on small food producers, despite the fact that the most sensational of the tainted-food problems seemed to originate with mid-size and large producers. So Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) helped put together an amendment that would exempt small producers from some of the toughest provisions. ... In actuality, though, even as it has taken on an aura of inevitability, doubts about the legislation have been growing. A number of organizations representing family farmers and consumers -- such as the Cornucopia Institute and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund -- have expressed concerns that the legislation gives too much power to the FDA. Not only would the agency have the power to require HACCP plans, but it would also be able to inspect and examine the financial records of any food producer at its whim, rather than having to obtain court permission, as it does now. Moreover, it would have the power to declare food emergencies and quarantine large parts of the U.S., at its discretion, as well as decide on so-called "good agricultural practices" for America's small farms covering irrigation, crop rotation, and other matters traditionally under farmer purview.
The FDA hasn't helped its cause among foodies and farmers in the last few weeks by involving itself in the shutdown of two premium-quality raw-milk cheesemakers -- Morningland Dairy in Missouri and Estrella Family Creamery in Washington -- because of the presence of the pathogen listeria in some cheese samples or on the premises. Now, you might say, isn't this just an example of the FDA doing its job by protecting us from pathogens? It might be a positive thing except for two problems. First, neither of these cheese producers has made anyone ill in many years of operations, including the last few months, since the presence of the pathogens was discovered. Indeed, scientists are divided about the danger of listeria in trace amounts, and some have advised the FDA to change from a zero-tolerance approach to something more realistic, given the ubiquitous presence of listeria. Second, the FDA almost never shuts companies down for the simple presence of pathogens. It gives them opportunities to clean things up. Indeed, it rarely shuts companies down even after people get sick. The Iowa factory farms that sent out salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened upwards of 1,200 people last summer are a prime example. They recalled about 500 million eggs, but were never forced by the FDA to shut down their operations. It wasn't until mid-October that one of the culprits, DeCoster's Quality Egg LLC, even received a warning letter, which is typically the first step leading to more severe FDA actions. ...
Related: There is something desperately ironic about the situation where one government agency goes overboard with a regulatory regime that seemingly has nothing to do with actual food safety but that imposes enormous costs on local small abattoirs and butcher shops while at the border Canada has lost track of an estimated 70 trucks full of actual meat products selected for inspection in the last few months. - Grant Robertson, National Farmers Union of Canada
Uninspected meat trucks enter Canada from USA
Howling Duck Ranch British Columbia Canada March 9, 2010
Canadians are wondering if meat from the United States is safe after learning 70 truckloads have evaded border inspections since January. That’s how many truckloads the Windsor Star newspaper said had risked fines to cross the border before inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) showed up for their new 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift times. The new daylight only inspections began Jan. 4. The Star went public with its truck count on Feb. 19. Food entering Canada outside of those hours designated for inspection must wait until an inspector is scheduled to report for work before an inspection can take place and the truck can proceed to its destination. As a consequence, many trucks choose to ignore the regulation and pass on through to Canada with their loads. ...
Black market for raw milk growing in Canada
Jennifer Tryon CTV News Canada December 18, 2002
A dark shadow is being cast over the food that gives us life. CTV News has uncovered a growing underground of illegal, unpasteurized milk. "What we're providing is milk at its purest," says one raw milk farmer, who only agreed to be interviewed if his identity is concealed.
According to a government document, a quarter of a million Canadians drink unpasteurized milk. The farmer interviewed by CTV News says the demand is high. Some customers travel more than 200 kilometres to buy his illegal milk. "I would say [customers] beg for the milk. It's not even asking. They beg for the milk." The farmer says he sells 95 per cent of his product to people in the city. The other five per cent is made up of those who are ill and chefs, who he says use unpasteurized milk in their dishes to increase taste and quality.
Farmers that sell unpasteurized milk or give it away can face fines up to $250,000, and up to three years in jail. However, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says they'll only investigate if there's a complaint or someone gets sick. ...
If that statement regarding complaints were ever true, it certainly is not anymore. Here's just the latest incident in Canada:
Agister’s wife assaulted by officials in Edmonton Alberta raw milk seizure?
Gordon Watson The Bovine Ontario Canada October 27, 2010
I just got off the phone from conversation with an agister managing a herd with 2 cows, near Edmonton Alberta. He told me that yesterday afternoon (Oct 27 2010) his wife was pulled over while delivering raw milk to a member of the cowshare. An officer of the Edmonton police and an officer of some provincial ministry physically assaulted this lady, bruising and traumatizing her so badly that she went to the hospital, getting back home at 3 in the morning. All – in order to seize one gallon of raw milk out of her vehicle. That gallon being private property.
At the moment, I’m trying to locate the section of Alberta law which exempts dairies producing less than 50 liters per day, from being compelled to participate in the milk marketing quota scheme there at first blush, this is a classic example of the petty tyrant over-stepping bounds of authority. Via the grapevine, the agister heard that the milk has been tested; good!…. let’s see those results. In over a year, no member of the cowshare has reported getting sick from drinking the raw milk.
The idiot bureaucrats are strong on offence – when they’ve assuming the mantle of official-dom, all pumped-up in their vanity – but they go to pieces when we start shoving back via Freedom of Information / Access to Information / Privacy Act etc, getting the facts in what they wrote down. Especially delicious is when I catch them back-dating things and destroying evidence to cover what they know is wrong-doing. Then, the cover-up becomes the story. ...
More on that forcible seizure of raw milk near Edmonton by agriculture ministry inspector backed by police
Charlene Bishop The Bovine Ontario Canada October 29, 2010
Judith arrived at church around 6:30 p.m. to attend bible study. Carl, a potential cow share buyer, approached the van as Judith was going around taking her 4 year old daughter, out of the van. Carl had called earlier to purchase milk and was informed by Judith that she does not sell milk but people purchase cows or cow shares and that they milk the people’s cows for them. He was told that she would not do this without him signing a cow share contract so he was meeting her on the pretense that he was interested in a cow share. While Carl was there three people walked up to the passenger’s slider door of the van. Judith recognized Greg G. Smith, Investigator and Inspector, Agriculture and Rural Development and took action to close the van door. Greg G. Smith pushed against Judith and stepped in to block the door closing. The men addressed Judith by name. One person took Carl off to the side. Greg introduced everyone to Judith and she asked for all their business cards (see attached for the cards produced). Judith was given two of Glenn’s business cards so the third person was not identified.
Judith informed them that her van was a private vehicle, that they had no jurisdiction over her. She stood in front of the slider door so they could not get in. The men were stating that “we know what you are doing, you are transporting milk, we are seizing the milk, you cannot stop us, our boss is really mad at you.” Greg is detaining Judith and constantly moving right into her face and stepping into her, blocking, jostling her with his shoulders. The van was running so they told her to shut the van off. Judith locked the door from the passenger side and walked around to the driver’s side and got in the van and went to pull the driver’s door shut. As she is getting in the vehicle Judith is stating her rights. When she went to close the door Greg put his body between the door and Judith and he grabbed the door and pulled it open to stop her from closing it. Judith is yelling by this time “don’t touch me, get your hands off me, I want the cops here, I have private rights.” There were six people the witnessed the yelling and the incident. ...
Michael Schmidt’s update on the rapidly unfolding Alberta front in raw milk war
Michael Schmidt The Bovine Ontario Canada November 2, 2010
... It seems as if several Provinces in Canada have taken on to challenge the Cow Share concept in order to prevent a repeat of what happened in Ontario. I am in close contact with Judith the agister for the local cow share group [near Edmonton]. I am also in close contact with a wonderful lady with great organisational talent who works on behalf of the members and those who are very much concerned about food freedom. As of today it has become very clear that health authorities and agricultural authorities have banded together to take another farmer lady down. ...
I will be in Edmonton at the Legislature to jointly give a press conference with the local farmers about the current situation and about further actions we will take to protect farmers against these assaults. As I mentioned before we are witnessing a dramatic increase by government agencies to destroy small farms and small cow share communities. ...
And here is a comment from the USA on food freedom matters:
First they came for the raw milk, and I did nothing…..
Volatility USA October 27, 2010
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I’ve never drank raw milk, but it’s my right to do so. Humanity has done so for tens of thousands of years. On a broader level, we have a human and constitutional right to grow and produce our own food and distribute it among ourselves as citizens. When you read the history books few things stand out as so emblematic of tyranny as feudal designations of all the produce of the land and the farmer as belonging to the king or the nobles. Therefore it’s a metric of our recrudescence into a new feudalism that a new King, in the form of corporate agriculture and its government lackeys, is trying to proclaim itself the total lord of the food demesne, with the full force of law and the full violence of armed robbery. Since it’s a “fringe” culture, raw milk is ground zero for the government’s war on food freedom. Corporatism thinks that if it can make raw milk persecution the template, and establish here the legal, political, and tactical precedents, it can from there launch a broader assault on all production and distribution of food outside the corporate system. ...
So the takeaway is:
1. The government wants to smash local, sustainable food, especially where this is a business, but not exclusively where it’s a business.
2. The government targets small producers and distributors. It looks for a pretext for enforcement, and if it can’t find one it trumps one up. Law, science, and professional procedure are all to be freely used, abused, or discarded in this process.
3. The food bills in Congress would increase the government’s power while imposing extreme hardships on those same small producers and distributors. The Food Tyranny bill is therefore both a direct and indirect police state assault on non-corporate food.
This is about food, but not just about food. What’s at stake here is nothing less than our attempt to redeem democracy itself. That’s true on every battlefront. The same struggle is playing out in every sector. It’s corporate tyranny, abetted by a rogue, illegitimate government, against the people’s health, our social stability, our economic prosperity, our political participation, and in every way our right, wish, and will to live as democratic human beings. That’s the defining struggle of the age. And nowhere can it be more visceral than at the level of our very food.
So when you see them coming for the raw milk people, even if you don’t drink raw milk or use any product of it, you can know that they’re coming for you as well.
Monday, September 13, 2010
New World Order
New World Order ploy: Basel III announced
Intro: The Tower of Basel: Secretive plans for the issuing of a global currencyPosted at: Monday, September 13, 2010 - 11:59 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Ellen Brown Global Research Canada April 18, 2009
Left: Modest beginnings, BIS Office, Hotel Savoy-Univers, Basel, 1930. Right: 'The Tower of Basel' or 'The Boot'—BIS Tower Building, Basel, completed 1977.
... The BIS has been scandal-ridden ever since it was branded with pro-Nazi leanings in the 1930s. Founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1930, the BIS has been called “the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world.” Charles Higham wrote in his book Trading with the Enemy that by the late 1930s, the BIS had assumed an openly pro-Nazi bias, a theme that was expanded on in a BBC Timewatch film titled “Banking with Hitler” broadcast in 1998. In 1944, the American government backed a resolution at the Bretton-Woods Conference calling for the liquidation of the BIS, following Czech accusations that it was laundering gold stolen by the Nazis from occupied Europe; but the central bankers succeeded in quietly snuffing out the American resolution.
In Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966), Dr. Carroll Quigley revealed the key role played in global finance by the BIS behind the scenes. Dr. Quigley was Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he was President Bill Clinton’s mentor. He was also an insider, groomed by the powerful clique he called “the international bankers.” His credibility is heightened by the fact that he actually espoused their goals. He wrote:
“I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. . . . [I]n general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”
Quigley wrote of this international banking network:
“[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”
The key to their success, said Quigley, was that the international bankers would control and manipulate the money system of a nation while letting it appear to be controlled by the government. The statement echoed one made in the eighteenth century by the patriarch of what would become the most powerful banking dynasty in the world. Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild famously said in 1791:
“Allow me to issue and control a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes its laws.”
Mayer’s five sons were sent to the major capitals of Europe – London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Naples – with the mission of establishing a banking system that would be outside government control. The economic and political systems of nations would be controlled not by citizens but by bankers, for the benefit of bankers. Eventually, a privately-owned “central bank” was established in nearly every country; and this central banking system has now gained control over the economies of the world. ... And that is where the conspiracy theorists come in. Why did the BIS not retract or at least modify Basel II after seeing the devastation it had caused? Why did it sit idly by as the global economy came crashing down? Was the goal to create so much economic havoc that the world would rush with relief into the waiting arms of the BIS with its privately-created global currency? The plot thickens . . . .
Limousines park outside the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday where the world's top central bankers met to work on new bank rules. Photo: Associated Press. "We have done it in such a way that the economy will not suffer ... I think it will make a new crisis less likely ... but we cannot rule it out completely," said European Central Bank Governing Council member Nout Wellink, who chairs the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Earlier on September 3 in Seoul, Wellink told a press briefing that the risk of a double dip recession is irrelevant. Wellink said that as far as could be determined now, the economic recovery would continue. 'In a sense it will be irrelevant if we suffer a small setback,' he was quoted as saying.
Basel brings acceptance mixed with relief
Brooke Masters, Quentin Peel and Francesco Guerrera Financial Times UK Last updated September 13, 2010
Most big US and European banks should be able to meet the new global bank capital standards without having to raise substantial new equity, banking analysts said. But the sector is not entirely home free. Some smaller banks could struggle to meet the requirements announced by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on Sunday and the regulators said they are still working on several other proposals that could layer additional capital requirements on to the very biggest banks and in countries where an asset boom is developing.
After months of wrangling, central bankers and regulators from 27 countries struck a deal to set the global minimum standard for core tier one capital (essentially equity and retained earnings) at effectively 7 per cent. That includes a minimum of 4.5 per cent plus a 2.5 per cent buffer. The regulators also set a six-year transition period that will conclude at the end of 2018. The standard was weaker than many countries had lobbied for and had been widely trailed last week, so many bankers and analysts greeted it with a mixture of acceptance and relief. US banking executives and experts said the industry would be able to cope with the new rules without a rush to raise capital. However, some warned the stricter capital requirements and higher liquidity buffers might reduce banks’ lending capacity and crimp the economic recovery. ...
Shareholders cheer new banking regulations
Margot Patrick Wall Street Journal, The Source blog USA September 13, 2010
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Investors sent European bank shares higher Monday after the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision detailed new bank-capital requirements. But the short-term satisfaction in having some uncertainty removed shouldn’t override the longer-term outcome that banks are likely to become a lot less profitable and that customers could bear much of the cost. The head of the Basel Committee, Nout Wellink, said hundreds of billions of euros will need to be raised by banks to meet the new rules, through retained earnings or new capital, limiting the amount of money available for dividends or employee bonuses. It was never in doubt that a better-capitalized and therefore safer banking system would cut into these payouts, as will a host of other planned and proposed rules from domestic and international regulators.
Yet shareholders appeared to be delighted with the rules, mainly because they could have been far tougher. They are also comforted by the lengthy timeline for implementation, between 2013 and 2019, which UBS analysts called “surprisingly accommodative.” The BBA warned that the era of cheap money for consumers is over, and that bank customers can expect to pay more for loans and other services. ... One senior banking executive said the rules would prompt banks to hoard capital and cut lending capacity at a time when the US economy is struggling because of a lack of consumption and business investment. “There is nothing we can do: more capital on our balance sheet means less capital available to the rest of the economy,” he said. However, Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, welcomed the agreement, which he said was the “next step on the way to strong global financial reforms”. ... Axel Weber, German Bundesbank president, on Sunday night said he was glad agreement had been reached on “a consistent and challenging international framework”. ...
Reaction to Basel III rules for banks
Reuters/Daily Telegraph UK September 13, 2010
Global regulators and central bankers have ruled that banks must increase the amount of top quality capital they hold to withstand future shocks. Here are some reactions to the Basel III agreement. ...
Endnotes: Debtor's prison or credit control? What is important and undeniable is that effective reform must limit, severely, debt creation. As Ellen Brown has written this month: "It is interesting that the BIS knows that the main constraints on bank lending are its own capital requirements, yet it is talking about raising them, in an economic climate in which lending is already seriously impaired. Either the BIS is talking out of both sides of its mouth, or its writers don’t read each other."
Helicopter Ben needs to drop some money on Main Street
Ellen Brown thepeoplesvoice.org USA September 12, 2010
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... Beginning with some definitions, “quantitative easing” is explained in Wikipedia like this: “A central bank . . . first credit[s] its own account with money it has created ex nihilo(‘out of nothing’).It then purchases financial assets, including government bonds, mortgage-backed securities and corporate bonds, from banks and other financial institutionsin a process referred to as open market operations. The purchases, by way of account deposits, give banks the excess reserves required for them to create new money, and thus a hopeful stimulation of the economy, by the process of deposit multiplicationfrom increased lending in the fractional reserve banking system.”
“Deposit multiplication” is the textbook explanation for how credit expands as it circulates through the economy. In the textbook model, banks must retain “reserves” equal to 10% of outstanding deposits (including deposits created as loans). With a 10% reserve requirement, a $100 deposit can support a $90 loan, which gets deposited in another bank, where it becomes an $81 loan, and so forth, until a $100 deposit becomes $1,000 in credit-money.
The theory is that increasing the banks’ reserves will stimulate this process, but both the Federal Reserve and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) now concede that the process has not been working in the textbook way. (The BIS is “the central bankers’ central bank” in Basel, Switzerland.) The futile effort to push more money into bloated bank reserve accounts has been compared to adding more apples to shelves that are already overstocked with apples. Adding more reserves to a banking system that already has more reserves than it can use has no net effect on the money supply. The failure of QE either to increase bank lending or to inflate the money supply was confirmed in a March 24 paper by Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn, who wrote: “The huge quantity of bank reserves that were created [by quantitative easing] has been seen largely as a byproduct of the purchases [of debt instruments] that would be unlikely to have a significant independent effect on financial markets and the economy. This view is not consistent with the simple models in many textbooks or the monetarist tradition in monetary policy, which emphasizes a line of causation from reserves to the money supply to economic activity and inflation.”
The textbook model is obsolete because banks don’t make lending decisions based on how many reserves they have. They can always get the reserves they need. If customers don’t walk in the door with new deposits, the bank can borrow deposits from other banks, something they can now do at the very low Fed funds rate of .2% (1/5th of 1%). And if those deposits are not available, the Federal Reserve itself will supply the reserves. This was confirmed in a BIS working paper called “Unconventional Monetary Policies: An Appraisal”, which observed:
“[T]he level of reserves hardly figures in banks’ lending decisions. The amount of credit outstanding is determined by banks’ willingness to supply loans, based on perceived risk-return trade-offs, and by the demand for those loans. . . .
“The aggregate availability of bank reserves does not constrain the expansion [of credit] directly. The reason is simple: . . . in order to avoid extreme volatility in the interest rate, central banks supply reserves as demanded by the system. From this perspective, a reserve requirement, depending on its remuneration, affects the cost . . . of loans, but does not constrain credit expansion quantitatively. . . . [A]n expansion of reserves in excess of any requirement does not give banks more resources to expand lending. It only changes the composition of liquid assets of the banking system. Given the very high substitutability between bank reserves and other government assets held for liquidity purposes, the impact can be marginal at best.”
Again, one form of liquidity is just substituted for another, without changing the overall level in the pool.
If bank reserves do not constrain bank lending, what does? According to the BIS paper, “the main . . . constraint on the expansion of credit is minimum capital requirements.” These capital requirements, known as “Basel I” and “Basel II,” were imposed by the BIS itself. It is interesting that the BIS knows that the main constraints on bank lending are its own capital requirements, yet it is talking about raising them, in an economic climate in which lending is already seriously impaired. Either the BIS is talking out of both sides of its mouth, or its writers don’t read each other. ...
Debtor's prison or credit control
Hossein Askari and Noureddine Krichene Asia Times Online Hong Kong August 25, 2010
... The foundational problem is that the conventional banking system is a fractional reserve banking system that is predominantly based on debt financing and, by its structure, creates money, debt and encourages leveraging. The embedded risk of such a system is that its money and debt creation and leveraging could be excessive. Safeguards, such as deposit guarantee schemes, for example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States, and the classification of some banks as "too big to fail", are the implicit government subsidies that reduce funding cost and create moral hazard, encouraging mispricing and excessive assumption of risk by financial institutions.
Systemic risks inherent in the system, such as the linkages and the interdependencies of institutions as well as the prominence of too large too fail institutions, create financial instability and threaten the entire financial and real economy. In other words, the financial institutions of today, in particular the commercial banks, create excessive debt. It is this debt that is, in turn, the basis of systemic risk and threatens the financial system. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have confirmed that in every financial crisis for the last eight centuries and the world over, excessive debt has been the recurring feature. There is only one road to financial stability - adopt policies and practices that eliminate moral hazard and excessive debt creation and leveraging.
One way to ensure the stability of the financial system is to eliminate the type of asset-liability risk that threatens the solvency of all financial institutions, including commercial banks. This requires commercial banks to restrict their activities to two - (i) cash safekeeping, and (ii) investing client money as in a mutual fund. Banks would accept deposits for safekeeping only (as for example in a system with 100% reserve requirement) and charge a fee for providing this service and for check-writing privileges. In other words, in such a financial system, there would be no debt financing by institutions, only equity financing and risk sharing. Banks would not create money as under a fractional reserve banking system. Financial institutions would be serving their traditional role as intermediaries between savers and investors (affording savers instruments to encourage savings and channeling their savings to the most productive investments) but with no debt on their balance sheets, no leveraging and no predetermined interest rate payments as an obligation. Proposals along these lines are not new. ...
New World Order
New World Order notes: Harper gov't muzzles scientists; Bill Clinton to award Tony Blair with Liberty Medal & Annotations on the Preamble to The United States Constitution
Ottawa tightens muzzlePosted at: Monday, September 13, 2010 - 10:06 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Margaret Munro Postmedia News/Montreal Gazette Canada September 13, 2010
The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age. Natural Resources Canada scientists were told this spring they need "pre-approval" from Minister Christian Paradis's office to speak with national and international journalists. Their "media lines" also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained through access-to-information legislation.
The documents say the "new" rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago. They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest. "It's Orwellian," says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning. Scientists at NRCan, many of them world experts, study everything from seabeds to melting glaciers. They have long been able to discuss their research, until the rules changed in the spring. ...
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton will be in Philadelphia on Monday. Specifically, the two leaders will participate in an on-stage conversation that coincides with the publication of Tony Blair's memoir, A Journey and the presentation of the 2010 Liberty Medal. The event will take place at 2:30pm inside the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Old City. This event is not open to the public. Clinton, the center's chairman, said in a statement that Blair "continues to demonstrate the same leadership, dedication and creativity in promoting economic opportunity in the Middle East and the resolution of conflicts rooted in religion around the world."
Blair, again controversial, to get Liberty Medal
Kathy Matheson Associated Press USA September 13, 2010
PHILADELPHIA — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the Liberty Medal on Monday for his global human rights work, even as his new autobiography has reignited debate over his political leadership. The medal is given annually by the Philadelphia-based National Constitution Center to individuals or organizations whose actions strive to bring liberty to people worldwide. Blair is being honored for his work with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes religious tolerance; for his initiative to improve governance in Africa; and for advancing peace in Northern Ireland, among other efforts. The award will be presented by former President Bill Clinton at an outdoor ceremony on Independence Mall. ... The medal, first given in 1989, comes with a $100,000 cash prize. Blair will donate the money to his faith foundation and African Governance Initiative. ... The ceremony kicks off nearly a week of events leading to Constitution Day on Friday. The U.S. Constitution was adopted in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787.
Blair to get Liberty award Monday
Paul Nussbaum Philadelphia Inquirer USA September 12, 2010
... The Liberty Medal, first awarded in 1989 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, annually honors those who exemplify the constitutional principles of justice, fairness, and a balance between individual rights and the good of the community. ... Monday's medal presentation will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on 6ABC, and the Constitution Center will present a live stream of the presentation and the 2:30 Clinton-Blair conversation at www.constitutioncenter.org
Related: National Constitution Center
"The National Constitution Center is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance, through an interactive, interpretive facility within Independence National Historic Park and a program of national outreach, so that "We the People" may better secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
The United States Constitution
This links to the complete text.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
From a note to the Preamble:
The Constitution was written by several committees over the summer of 1787, but the committee most responsible for the final form we know today is the "Committee of Stile and Arrangement". This Committee was tasked with getting all of the articles and clauses agreed to by the Convention and putting them into a logical order. On September 10, 1787, the Committee of Style set to work, and two days later, it presented the Convention with its final draft. The members were Alexander Hamilton, William Johnson, Rufus King, James Madison, and Gouverneur Morris. The actual text of the Preamble and of much of the rest of this final draft is usually attributed to Gouverneur Morris.
The newly minted document began with a grand flourish — the Preamble, the Constitution's raison d'être. It holds in its words the hopes and dreams of the delegates to the convention, a justification for what they had done. Its words are familiar to us today, but because of time and context, the words are not always easy to follow. The remainder of this Topic Page will examine each sentence in the Preamble and explain it for today's audience.
We the People of the United States
The Framers were an elite group — among the best and brightest America had to offer at the time. But they knew that they were trying to forge a nation made up not of an elite, but of the common man. Without the approval of the common man, they feared revolution. This first part of the Preamble speaks to the common man. It puts into writing, as clear as day, the notion that the people were creating this Constitution. It was not handed down by a god or by a king — it was created by the people.
in Order to form a more perfect Union
The Framers were dissatisfied with the United States under the Articles of Confederation, but they felt that what they had was the best they could have, up to now. They were striving for something better. The Articles of Confederation had been a grand experiment that had worked well up to a point, but now, less than ten years into that experiment, cracks were showing. The new United States, under this new Constitution, would be more perfect. Not perfect, but more perfect.
Injustice, unfairness of laws and in trade, was of great concern to the people of 1787. People looked forward to a nation with a level playing field, where courts were established with uniformity and where trade within and outside the borders of the country would be fair and unmolested. Today, we enjoy a system of justice that is one of the fairest in the world. It has not always been so — only through great struggle can we now say that every citizen has the opportunity for a fair trial and for equal treatment, and even today there still exists discrimination. But we still strive for the justice that the Framers wrote about.
insure domestic Tranquility
One of the events that caused the Convention to be held was the revolt of Massachusetts farmers known as Shays' Rebellion. The taking up of arms by war veterans revolting against the state government was a shock to the system. The keeping of the peace was on everyone's mind, and the maintenance of tranquility at home was a prime concern. The framers hoped that the new powers given the federal government would prevent any such rebellions in the future.
provide for the common defence
The new nation was fearful of attack from all sides — and no one state was really capable of fending off an attack from land or sea by itself. With a wary eye on Britain and Spain, and ever-watchful for Indian attack, no one of the United States could go it alone. They needed each other to survive in the harsh world of international politics of the 18th century.
promote the general Welfare
This, and the next part of the Preamble, are the culmination of everything that came before it — the whole point of having tranquility, justice, and defense was to promote the general welfare — to allow every state and every citizen of those states to benefit from what the government could provide. The framers looked forward to the expansion of land holdings, industry, and investment, and they knew that a strong national government would be the beginning of that.
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
Hand in hand with the general welfare, the framers looked forward to the blessings of liberty — something they had all fought hard for just a decade before. They were very concerned that they were creating a nation that would resemble something of a paradise for liberty, as opposed to the tyranny of a monarchy, where citizens could look forward to being free as opposed to looking out for the interests of a king. And more than for themselves, they wanted to be sure that the future generations of Americans would enjoy the same.
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America
The final clause of the Preamble is almost anti-climactic, but it is important for a few reasons — it finishes the "We, the people" thought, saying what we the people are actually doing; it gives us a name for this document, and it restates the name of the nation adopting the Constitution. That the Constitution is "ordained" reminds us of the higher power involved here — not just of a single person or of a king, but of the people themselves. That it is "established" reminds us that it replaces that which came before — the United States under the Articles (a point lost on us today, but quite relevant at the time).
Jim comment: Sigh! What a noble experiment it was.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
New World Order
Not what you expect from a civilized society: Pending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement threatens global economy and governments' ability to promote and protect the public interest
ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties, for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet, legitimate commerce, and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development. - Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2008Posted at: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 - 12:13 PM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
ACTA is the predictably deficient product of a deeply flawed process. What started as a relatively simple proposal to coordinate customs enforcement has transformed into a sweeping and complex new international intellectual property and internet regulation with grave consequences for the global economy and governments' ability to promote and protect the public interest. - Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law, June 2010
“ACTA could also compel internet access providers to take on a greater 'Big Brother' role, including steps to filter Internet content, to cut off service to customers and to be held liable for customers’ activity.” - Ed Black, President and CEO of the USA's Computer & Communications Industry Association
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Electronic Frontier Foundation USA 2008
In October 2007 the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and Japan simultaneously announced that they would negotiate a new intellectual property enforcement treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada have joined the negotiations. Although the proposed treaty’s title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with new tools targetting “Internet distribution and information technology”.
In recent years, major U.S. and EU copyright industry rightsholder groups have sought stronger powers to enforce their intellectual property rights across the world to preserve their business models. These efforts have been underway in a number of international fora, including at the World Trade Organization, the World Customs Organization, at the G8 summit, at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Advisory Committee on Enforcement, and at the Intellectual Property Experts’ Group at the Asia Pacific Economic Coalition. Since the conclusion of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Issues of Intellectual Property in 1994 (TRIPS), most new intellectual property enforcement powers have been created outside of the traditional multilateral venues, through bilateral and regional free trade agreements entered into by the United States and the European Community with their respective key trading partners. ACTA is the new frontline in the global IP enforcement agenda.
To date, disturbingly little information has been released about the actual content of the agreement. ...
International experts find that pending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement threatens public interests
Communiqué, American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property USA June 23, 2010
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This statement reflects the conclusions reached at a meeting of over 90 academics, practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents gathered at American University Washington College of Law, June 16-18, 2010. The meeting, convened by American University's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, was called to analyze the official text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), released for the first time in April, 2010. Negotiating parties released the text only after public criticism of the unusually closed process and widespread disquiet over the negotiations' presumed substance. (See Wellington Declaration, EU Resolution on Transparency and State of Play of the ACTA Negotiations). We find that the terms of the publicly released draft of ACTA threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators. ...
The process of ACTA's negotiation is fundamentally flawed. Specifically, the negotiations:
The ACTA treaty is an evil thing
Edward Berridge The Inquirer UK June 24, 2010
If the world adopts the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty it will become a deeply unpleasant place to live, a bunch of top academics have warned. Politicians are pushing for the ACTA treaty, which was negotiated in secret, to be widely adopted across the world, handing over control of law enforcement to the entertainment industry. America in particular is pushing the adoption of the treaty as US politicians pander to Big Content. ... The legal experts say that the April 2010 draft leads them to conclude that the ACTA is hostile to the public interest in at least seven critical areas of global public policy. These include fundamental rights and freedoms; Internet governance; access to medicines; scope and nature of intellectual property law; international trade; international law and institutions; and democratic process. Basically it is not what you expect from a civilised society. You can read the full report here. If it is ever adopted it might be a good idea to build your own space ship and get the hell off this daft planet. Mars is nice in the summer, or so we are told.
Rights group opposes ACTA proceedings
Sophie Curtis eWEEKEurope UK July 2, 2010
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As international negotiators meet in Switzerland to discuss the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net is asking people to sign a petition calling for the urgent rethinking of patent and copyright clauses. ACTA is a proposed treaty for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. The scope of the agreement is broad, including counterfeit goods, generic medicines and “piracy over the Internet”. Countries will be given the option to join up to the agreement on a voluntary basis, and those that do will be able to refer cases of copyright infringement to an independent governing body. ...
La Quadrature staged a protest outside the Luzern Palace earlier this week, and is now calling on people to sign an open letter to negotiating governments, claiming that “ACTA belongs to the past”. “Whatever the final text will be after the next negotiation rounds, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will remain an illegitimate agreement, by its elaboration process (beyond any democratic control) as well as its content,” the group states. “In the age of globalized exchanges, the sharing of information improves our societies and saves lives. ACTA is emblematic of an outdated repression of the sharing of information and knowledge.” La Quadrature calls on decision-makers to rethink copyright from scratch to allow democratic participation and sharing of information, while guaranteeing fundamental freedoms. It also demands a rethink of the patent system.
Trade group slams administration over secret trade deal negotiations
BroadbandBreakfast.com USA July 6, 2010
A communications and technology lobbying group is gnashing its teeth over a pending international trade agreement governing intellectual property that it says could bind U.S. firms and give internet access providers too much authority. Talks have been ongoing in Switzerland recently over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a compact that began discussion in 2007.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association “fears ACTA will hand foreign governments and competitors new tools to attack to U.S. companies,” the group said in a statement. “ACTA could also compel internet access providers to take on a greater “Big Brother” role, including steps to filter Internet content, to cut off service to customers and to be held liable for customers’ activity.” CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said: “We believe President Obama understands the value of technology and the internet to empower citizens and has fought for open and high speed Internet access from here to China…. We are disappointed, therefore, that his administration is pushing an agreement that substantively threatens the benefits of technology and continues to limit the transparency surrounding an agreement that affects so many millions of Internet users and many related industries.” ...
Friday, May 7, 2010
New World Order
Global contagion still in the opening phase; we won't see the middle game even begin to unfold before July, almost certainly no sooner
The global political economy is a system that enriches the very few at the expense of the vast majority. The global economic crisis has contributed to widening social inequalities both within and between countries. Under global capitalism, mounting poverty is not the result of a scarcity or a lack of human and material resources. Quite the opposite holds true: the economic depression is marked by a process of disengagement of human resources and physical capital. People’s lives are destroyed. The economic crisis is deep-seated. The structures of social inequality have, quite deliberately, been reinforced, leading not only to a generalized process of impoverishment but also to the demise of the middle and upper middle income groups. Middle class consumerism, on which this unruly model of capitalist development is based, is also threatened. Bankruptcies have hit several of the most vibrant sectors of the consumer economy. The middle classes in the West have, for several decades, been subjected to the erosion of their material wealth. While the middle class exists in theory, it is a class built and sustained by household debt. The wealthy rather than the middle class are rapidly becoming the consuming class, leading to the relentless growth of the luxury goods economy. Moreover, with the drying up of the middle class markets for manufactured goods, a central and decisive shift in the structure of economic growth has occurred. With the demise of the civilian economy, the development of America’s war economy, supported by a whopping near-trillion dollar defense budget, has reached new heights. As stock markets tumble and the recession unfolds, the advanced weapons industries, the military and national security contractors and the up-and-coming mercenary companies (among others) have experienced a thriving and booming growth of their various activities. - Michael R. Crittenden and Victoria McGranePosted at: Friday, May 07, 2010 - 11:39 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
The Greeks know what is being done to them. Consequently, they have been marching, beating drums chanting "don't mess with us" and they shouted "thieves, thieves" as they attempted to storm parliament. Those actions came amid a 24-hour nationwide strike to protest their manipulation.
Intro: Greece and rigged market capitalism: "It's not economics really. It's arson. They bet against a company or a country and then burn it down."
Salt Spring News May 5, 2010
Eight links. Yves Smith told "Fox Business News" back in February:
Goldman has long had a culture of understanding where the rules were and playing up to the edge of the line and you know Wall Street has made a practice of doing that for years. The difference is that, over the decades - it really started in the 80s and got worse in the 90s - they were slowly chipping down the regulations. So, what was clearly illegal before is now permitted - though it's not kosher - and this is what is very disturbing to the public. This all doesn't look right - it doesn't make sense to them.
Back in 2003, writing for Risk Magazine, Nick Dunbar knew what was going on. We introduced his essay thus:
Note the pub date, 2003. Dunbar in this essay examines: "With the help of Goldman Sachs, Greece has been using giant swaps deals to ensure its national debt ratios meet EU targets. But these deals are likely to prove controversial." Greece is likely just the first to fall. Dunbar knew that seven years ago but he couldn't come right out and say it, given his purpose and the community for which he was writing.
Items: Greece fuels fears of contagion in U.S.
Bob Davis and Mark Gongloff Wall Street Journal USA May 5, 2010
Investors and policymakers are starting to worry that the economic crisis in Greece could cross the Atlantic and undermine the U.S. economic recovery, in the same way that U.S. housing woes in 2008 battered Europe. "What we have seen is that contagion"—economist-speak for a spreading crisis—"has gone global," says Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel. Early credit-market indicators of contagion to the U.S. aren't yet flashing red, but investors are keeping a wary eye on them. "This is like we've agitated a colony of prairie dogs, and everybody is looking out of their hole to see what's going on," said Howard Simons, bond strategist at Bianco Research in Chicago. "But it's no crisis, yet." ...
Michael Rivero, on his site What Really Happened, comments on the above story:
This confirms what I said below; the reason the Greek riots are crashing the US markets is the fear among bankers that American taxpayers will follow the lead of the Icelanders and Greeks (and Spanish and ...) and realize that there is no law and no moral right that allows the government to take money from the general population and give to private companies to save them from their own greed and recklessness. In a way, the globalists got what they wanted; a single world united under a single political ideal, but it is not the one they wanted. Instead of global socialism or global fascism what we have is a global revolution in which the people of planet Earth are finally fed up with the predatory practices of Federal Reserve style debt enslavement.
Proposal to audit Fed modified to limit impact on monetary policy
Michael R. Crittenden and Victoria McGraneWall Street Journal USA May 6, 2010
WASHINGTON—Senators altered an amendment boosting the government's ability to audit the Federal Reserve on Thursday afternoon to address warnings raised by current and former central-bank officials that it could affect monetary policy. ... The change came after the White House, Treasury Department and the Fed scrambled in recent days when it became clear that Mr. Sanders's original amendment was gaining momentum and could pass the Senate. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a letter sent Thursday to Mr. Dodd, warned of the consequences if government auditors could scrutinize the central bank's decision-making process on interest rates. "Such amendments, if enacted, would seriously threaten monetary policy independence, increase inflation fears and market interest rates, and damage economic stability and job creation," Mr. Bernanke wrote to [Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.)]. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, in a separate letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, cautioned that releasing information about monetary policy discussions at the Fed could affect markets and expose sensitive information about U.S. relationships with foreign countries. The letters are part of an orchestrated and aggressive push by the central bank and administration officials against the proposal, which is one element of the broader revamp of financial rules. Opponents argued it could erode the Fed's traditional independence in decisions about inflation and interest rates, and that could undermine a central component of its reputation among investors. ...
Michael Rivero, on his site What Really Happened, comments on the above story:
Now there is another theory for today's DOW; a "warning shot across the bow" from the money people that they will crash the economy rather than allow a public examination of how they all got so rich. Kind of like a corrupt CEO that loots his own company, then torches the place when the auditors show up.
Yesterday's British election resulted in a hung Parliament. The day before the election, Martin Walker wrote a commentary about just such an outcome. Walker argues a hung Parliament could spook financial markets by making it more difficult for the United Kingdom to mitigate its debt crisis — leading to a swift fall of the pound, higher interest rates and an instant financial crisis. While British politics may unfold in a stately, ponderous way, the financial markets operate by a more urgent clock.
The coming British collapse
Martin Walker The Globalist USA May 5, 2010
There has been an ugly symmetry in the way that Britain’s general election unfolded alongside the Greek fiscal tragedy and the crisis of the euro. On the one hand, it has vindicated much of the criticism that Anglo-Saxon economists have made against the euro since its inception. On the other, it could plunge the British and wider European economies back into an even deeper and more painful recession. Ironically, it was the success in the last televised debate of the most likely next British Prime Minister, Conservative David Cameron, that could condemn him to drink deep of the poisoned chalice that lies in store for the next British leader. The Chicago-based economist David Hale has cast something of a pall over the British scene by indiscreetly recounting a recent conversation he had with Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.
According to Hale, King said that so deep and savage were the public spending cuts that any incoming British government would have to impose that it would keep his party out of power “for a generation.” It may be worse than that, because of Cameron’s success in the final debate. He stopped in its tracks the hitherto extraordinary rise of the appealing young Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg with two well-aimed blows. With the first, he denounced Clegg’s proposal for amnesty for the uncounted number of illegal immigrants in Britain. With the second, he reminded the most Euroskeptical voters in the European Union that Clegg was the EU’s most passionate fan in British politics, and that he favored dropping the British pound and joining the euro. With Greece on the verge of a default on its debt, the Germans stubbornly resisting any realistic rescue and Portugal and Spain starting their own slides into similar disaster, this was not a week for a British politician to advocate joining the euro. And much as Clegg protested that he would only do so “when economic conditions were right,” the damage was done. For all his fresh appeal in the face of the two unpopular old parties, Clegg’s association with the euro and amnesty have hurt him. ...
The following text is the Preface of The Global Economic Crisis. The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall (Editors), Montreal, Global Research, 2010, which is to be launched in late May.
The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century
Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall Global Research Canada May 8, 2010
In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a "war without borders" led by the United States of America and its NATO allies. The conduct of the Pentagon’s "long war" is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy. We are not dealing with a narrowly defined economic crisis or recession. The global financial architecture sustains strategic and national security objectives. In turn, the U.S.-NATO military agenda serves to endorse a powerful business elite which relentlessly overshadows and undermines the functions of civilian government. ...
Despite the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives presented within this volume, all of the contributors ultimately come to the same conclusion: humanity is at the crossroads of the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history. The meltdown of financial markets in 2008-2009 was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation. The "bank bailouts" were implemented on the instructions of Wall Street, leading to the largest transfer of money wealth in recorded history, while simultaneously creating an insurmountable public debt. With the worldwide deterioration of living standards and plummeting consumer spending, the entire structure of international commodity trade is potentially in jeopardy. The payments system of money transactions is in disarray. Following the collapse of employment, the payment of wages is disrupted, which in turn triggers a downfall in expenditures on necessary consumer goods and services. This dramatic plunge in purchasing power backfires on the productive system, resulting in a string of layoffs, plant closures and bankruptcies. Exacerbated by the freeze on credit, the decline in consumer demand contributes to the demobilization of human and material resources. This process of economic decline is cumulative. All categories of the labor force are affected. Payments of wages are no longer implemented, credit is disrupted and capital investments are at a standstill. Meanwhile, in Western countries, the "social safety net" inherited from the welfare state, which protects the unemployed during an economic downturn, is also in jeopardy. ...
The existence of a "Great Depression" on the scale of the 1930s, while often acknowledged, is overshadowed by an unbending consensus: "The economy is on the road to recovery". While there is talk of an economic renewal, Wall Street commentators have persistently and intentionally overlooked the fact that the financial meltdown is not simply composed of one bubble – the housing real estate bubble – which has already burst. In fact, the crisis has many bubbles, all of which dwarf the housing bubble burst of 2008. Although there is no fundamental disagreement among mainstream analysts on the occurrence of an economic recovery, there is heated debate as to when it will occur, whether in the next quarter, or in the third quarter of next year, etc. Already in early 2010, the "recovery" of the U.S. economy had been predicted and confirmed through a carefully worded barrage of media disinformation. Meanwhile, the social plight of increased unemployment in America has been scrupulously camouflaged. Economists view bankruptcy as a microeconomic phenomenon. The media reports on bankruptcies, while revealing local-level realities affecting one or more factories, fail to provide an overall picture of what is happening at the national and international levels. When all these simultaneous plant closures in towns and cities across the land are added together, a very different picture emerges: entire sectors of a national economy are closing down. Public opinion continues to be misled as to the causes and consequences of the economic crisis, not to mention the policy solutions. People are led to believe that the economy has a logic of its own which depends on the free interplay of market forces, and that powerful financial actors, who pull the strings in the corporate boardrooms, could not, under any circumstances, have willfully influenced the course of economic events. The relentless and fraudulent appropriation of wealth is upheld as an integral part of "the American dream", as a means to spreading the benefits of economic growth. As conveyed by Michael Hudson, the myth becomes entrenched that "without wealth at the top, there would be nothing to trickle down." Such flawed logic of the business cycle overshadows an understanding of the structural and historical origins of the global economic crisis. ...
Friday, March 12, 2010
New World Order
Global governance: How global trade agreements have strengthened the food safety regulators power to crush small producers (and also their ability to provide other benefits to agribiz)
The shift in power to a global-level bureaucracy undermines one of the cornerstones of democracy—the practice of citizens working with public officials to develop laws that protect the public welfare. - World Trade Organization by Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, Foreign Policy in Focus, January 1, 1997Posted at: Friday, March 12, 2010 - 10:54 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
The folks at The Bovine pointed us to the following commentary by David Gumpert. They commented:
According to Complete Patient author David E. Gumpert, it’s international trade agreements that are the driving force behind recent highly-restrictive “food safety” legislation that legislators have enacted and are trying to enact in the United States. Here in Canada we’ve heard talk that under such trade agreements, Canada is obliged to dismantle its supply management systems, things like milk marketing boards.
The elephant in the food rights room: How global trade agreements have strengthened the regulators
David E. Gumpert The Complete Patient USA March 10, 2010
Visit this page for its embedded links.
Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a web presentation by Doreen Hannes, a food rights activist, in preparation for National Small Farm and Ranch Grassroots Lobby Day in Washington today (Wed). The title of her presentation was “Global Agreements Create Domestic Disturbance”. The thrust of her presentation was that one of the key reasons we’re running into so much resistance from regulatory, legislative, and judicial authorities with regard to raw milk, and related food rights issues, is because the United States is tied to a complex web of international agreements that impose ever-more-strict controls on agriculture, in the name of food rights. What was especially disturbing about the presentation was her citation of specific language within the current food safety legislation pending in Congress (HR 2749 and S 510) that makes a number of explicit connections to international trade and agriculture agreements. Essentially, the food safety legislation states several times that it is consistent with international trade and treaty agreements.
One goal of stated in HR 2749 is to “facilitate global or regional harmony of standards and requirements…” What are some of these standards and requirements? The key ones seems to be good agricultural practices (GAP), traceability (read National Animal Identification System as one key component), and HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points). The matter of international agreements and agencies is quite complex. There are any number of global agencies, beginning with the World Trade Organization, and continuing through a number of United Nations agencies, along with the International Monetary Fund, and so forth. Like good bureaucrats everywhere, they keep expanding their roles and rules. The matter of Good Agricultural Practices has already taken hold in Colombia, she said. There, owners of family farms must regularly consult with local “technicians” before they do any irrigating, crop rotation, or fertilizing.
In connection with this regulated approach to agriculture, I received an email today from Brian Snyder, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, about meetings going on around the country in connection with the Produce Safety Project, which involves the U.S. Food and Drug Administration setting "safety" standards for growing vegetables and fruits. According to Snyder, “I am told that the first meeting held in New York focused very heavily on composting procedures, with a comment made that federal organic standards in particular are well behind the current scientific thinking about compost and what the standards for everyone will eventually be.” Note mention in the various organizations involved about “GAP”. How does the idea of consulting a "technician" sound in connection with producing your own compost? What all this says to me is that the international trade agreements give the Congress and President “cover” for passing the food safety legislation. When all else fails, they can say, “We may not agree with everything in this legislation, but we’re obligated under international agreements.” Of course, we understand that agribusiness supports these moves because the major food producers are global companies, and benefit from a reduction in competition from small producers. ...
Related: Trade deficit in food safety: Proposed NAFTA expansions contribute to unsafe food imports
Public Citizen USA July 2007
Trade Deficit In Food Safety (32-page PDF)
From the Executive Summary:
Revelations of significant safety threats posed by imported foods have dramatically heightened public awareness that current policies are failing to protect consumers from exposure to dangerous – and potentially deadly – imported food and products. The recent discovery of tainted imports of pet food ingredients that sickened or killed some 39,000 animals should be a wake-up call for all Americans. A steadily increasing amount of food on U.S. dinner plates is imported. The massive growth in imports and current trade rules that limit domestic safety standards on imported products and border inspection are forcing U.S. consumers increasingly to rely on foreign governments to regulate the food and other products they will bring into their homes. ...
From the Conclusion:
Passage of the pending FTAs will elevate, not lessen the threat to the safety of the U.S. food supply. The FTAs could have been an opportunity to create a new model for enhanced food safety in trade. Instead, the agreements if implemented as written may well generate the next spate of newspaper and cable television reports of problems with food products from these countries – problems that could have been avoided if these agreements had been renegotiated to address these problems. Now the only way to avoid extending the failed trade model that in undermining our food safety is for Congress to reject the pending NAFTA expansion agreements. ...
Food safety: Who's really in charge here?
Gail Combs OpEdNews USA March 9, 2009
Visit this page for its embedded links.
Americans are under the false assumption they control US laws through their duly elected officials. This is especially true when it comes to food safety. This used to be the case but in the last decade the balance of power shifted sharply in favor of corporate control of rule making. Corporations have always had a disproportionate amount of power because of money for campaign donations and lobbying. But in 1995 they made a giant leap forward in consolidating their position with the ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO). A VP of Cargill, drafted the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) with the agenda of promoting trade at the expense of food safety.
The AoA SPS Agreement “Aims to ensure that governments do not use quarantine and food safety requirements as Unjustified trade barriers:” This statement shows the primary goal is opening borders to facilitate trade and NOT to promote food safety. ... As the WTO matures and its approved international regulatory organizations produce a steady stream of “International Guidelines” WTO intrudes more and more in the internal law of countries compeling them to “harmonize” with the international guidelines. Guidelines with the primary goal of making money for international corporations. ...
Noted: Sales of GMO-free food up 67% in 2009
The Bovine Ontario Canada March 8, 2010
In case there was every any doubt in anyone’s mind that GMOs were a bad idea, here’s the economics that reflect consumers voting with their dollars against GMO foods. I’m guessing Monsanto would say they all need to be “re-educated”. Thanks to Gordon Watson for the heads-up on this. And now an excerpt from Nielsen’s blog: ...
Here are the stats on different categories of health labeling, again from Nielsen:
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
New World Order
The 'Terror-Industrial Complex' and the concomitant U.S. police state
The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, “disappear” 30,000 of the nation’s citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain. - Chris HedgesPosted at: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 10:24 AM -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: (#)
Ironic, isn't it, that "the war on terror" to make us safe ends in a police state with the [United States] government declaring the right to murder American citizens whom it regards as a threat. - Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal
The Terror-Industrial Complex
Chris Hedges Truthdig USA February 8, 2010
Mohammad Ahmed, son of Aafia Siddiqui, takes part in a demonstration arranged by Human Rights Network. Photo: Fareed Khan/Associated Press
The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security comes not from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe. The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. ... “Justice was not served,” Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network and the spokesperson for Aafia Siddiqui’s family, told me. “The U.S. government made a decision to label this woman a terrorist, but instead of putting her on trial for the alleged terrorist activity she was put on trial for something else. They tried to convict her of that something else, not with evidence, but because she was a terrorist. She was selectively prosecuted for something that would allow them to only tell their side of the story.” ... “It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism,” said Foster. “It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges. The government is allowed to tell the jury you are a terrorist before you have to put on any evidence. The fear factor that has emerged since 9/11 has permeated into the U.S. court system in a profoundly disturbing way. It embraces the idea that we can compromise core principles, for example the presumption of innocence, based on perceived threats that may or may not come to light. We, as a society, have chosen to cave on fear.”
I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. ... Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. ...
It is now official: The U.S. is a police state
Paul Craig Roberts OpEd News USA February 9, 2010
Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration's "war on terror," which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties. ...
As our Founding Fathers and a long list of scholars warned, once civil liberties are breached, they are breached for all. Soon U.S. citizens were being held indefinitely in violation of their habeas corpus rights. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui an American citizen of Pakistani origin might have been the first. Dr. Siddiqui, a scientist educated at MIT and Brandeis University, was seized in Pakistan for no known reason, sent to Afghanistan, and was held secretly for five years in the U.S. military's notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan. Her three young children were with her at the time she was abducted, one an eight-month old baby. She has no idea what has become of her two youngest children. Her oldest child, 7 years old, was also incarcerated in Bagram and subjected to similar abuse and horrors. Siddiqui has never been charged with any terrorism-related offense. A British journalist, hearing her piercing screams as she was being tortured, disclosed her presence. An embarrassed U.S. government responded to the disclosure by sending Siddiqui to the U.S. for trial on the trumped-up charge that while a captive, she grabbed a U.S. soldier's rifle and fired two shots attempting to shoot him. The charge apparently originated as a U.S. soldier's excuse for shooting Dr. Siddiqui twice in the stomach resulting in her near death. On February 4, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted by a New York jury for attempted murder. The only evidence presented against her was the charge itself and an unsubstantiated claim that she had once taken a pistol-firing course at an American firing range. No evidence was presented of her fingerprints on the rifle that this frail and broken 100-pound woman had allegedly seized from an American soldier. No evidence was presented that a weapon was fired, no bullets, no shell casings, no bullet holes. Just an accusation. ...
An ignorant and bigoted American jury convicted her for being a Muslim. This is the kind of "justice" that always results when the state hypes fear and demonizes a group. The people who should have been on trial are the people who abducted her, disappeared her young children, shipped her across international borders, violated her civil liberties, tortured her apparently for the fun of it, raped her, and attempted to murder her with two gunshots to her stomach. Instead, the victim was put on trial and convicted. This is the unmistakable hallmark of a police state. And this victim is an American citizen. Anyone can be next. Indeed, on February 3 Dennis Blair, director of National Intelligence told the House Intelligence Committee that it was now "defined policy" that the U.S. government can murder its own citizens on the sole basis of someone in the government's judgment that an American is a threat. No arrest, no trial, no conviction, just execution on suspicion of being a threat. ...
Related: Lest we forget: The Harper government's attitude toward Omar Khadr (well-documented in our archives) is just one revealing example of how Canada is moving to 'harmonize' with the USA in apparent preparation for full union.
Former boy soldier, youngest Guantanamo detainee, heads toward military tribunal
Peter Finn Washington Post USA February 10, 2010
Omar Khadr, the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was 15 when he allegedly threw a grenade that killed a U.S. Special Forces medic in Afghanistan. Now, more than seven years later, Khadr is drawing the Obama administration into a fierce debate over the propriety of putting a child soldier on trial. The struggle against al-Qaeda has thrown up few detainees with as baleful and unlikely a background as Khadr's -- a father who moved his family to Afghanistan and inside Osama bin Laden's circle of intimates when Omar was 10; a mother and sister who said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were deserved; and a brother, the black sheep of the clan, who said he became a CIA asset after his capture in Afghanistan. This background has convinced U.N. officials, human rights advocates and defense lawyers that Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was an indoctrinated child soldier and, in line with international practice in other conflicts, should be rehabilitated, not prosecuted. "The U.N. position is that children should not be prosecuted for war crimes," said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, after meeting administration officials in October. But U.S. government officials said they expect to go to trial at Guantanamo Bay in July and will put Khadr before a jury of military officers on multiple war crimes charges, including murder. ... [T]he Khadr case could prove to be another lightning rod in the debate over the administration's detention and prosecution decisions, sparking the kind of international scrutiny that few other military tribunals will generate. Khadr's fate seems increasingly certain. Last month, Canada's Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it would not compel the Canadian government to seek his repatriation, as it had been previously ordered to do. Now, Khadr's case will probably be the first full military commission trial under President Obama. ...
Noted: Norman Farrell reviews some border entry-denials executed by Canadaian authorities, 2007 - 2010.
No huddled masses please
Norman Farrell Northern Insights Vancouver Canada February 8, 2010
Martin Macias, new media journalist denied entry to Canada, is not a pathfinder. Because he is a critic of the Olympic movement, notably with No Games Chicago, Macias is unwelcome in Stephen Harper's Canada. Indeed, he is not the first to be unwelcome in Canada. Nor will he be the last. ...
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
New World Order
British Columbians waking up to the fact that the 2010 Winter Olympics are just another fascist fraud
The 2010 Winter Olympic rings in Vancouver harbor. Photo: Andy Clark/Reuters
It's understandable that local mainstream news media are slow in connecting the dots, especially CanWest which is now paid by the Olympics to boost the Games. They own The Vancouver Sun, Province, Courier and Global Television, and have much less incentive than most news companies to inform residents that many of the negative issues we see happening here lately are tied directly or impacted by the 2010 Olympics. - Vancouver sags under Olympic weight
Nine days before the games and with police officers on every corner, Vancouver is far from an Olympic wonderland. Jim comment: I tend to view the Games the same way I view the global oligarchy's wars. I have tremendous admiration for the athletes just as I do for the aircrews, Marines, sailors and soldiers involved. But as for the structures created which showcase their heroics—be it the IOC or the related international über-community of global disaster capitalism—those structures are criminal enterprises founded on unconstrained moral failure.
"I'm not anti-sport. But I am against the idea that sporting events like this, which are really mega-industry events, are somehow separate from political events and they're not." - Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, 35, a key figure in the militant Olympic Resistance Network (an umbrella organization for groups like the Anti-Poverty Committee, StopWar.ca, the Work Less Party and the Native Youth Movement), cited by Doug Ward in Anti-Olympic protesters get their game on
The Olympic torch's shadowy past
Chris Bowlby BBC News UK April 5, 2008
The Olympic torch is being welcomed this weekend in the UK as a symbol of the sporting spirit, uniting people around the world in peaceful competition. But the idea of lighting the torch at the ancient Olympian site in Greece and then running it through different countries has much darker origins. It was invented in its modern form by the organisers of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. And it was planned with immense care by the Nazi leadership to project the image of the Third Reich as a modern, economically dynamic state with growing international influence.
The organiser of the 1936 Olympics, Carl Diem, wanted an event linking the modern Olympics to the ancient. The idea chimed perfectly with the Nazi belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich. And the event blended perfectly the perversion of history with publicity for contemporary German power. The first torch was lit in Greece with the help of mirrors made by the German company Zeiss. Steel-clad magnesium torches to carry the flame were specially produced by the Ruhr-based industrial giant Krupp. Media coverage was masterminded by Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, using the latest techniques and technology. Dramatic regular radio coverage of the torch's progress kept up the excitement, and Leni Riefenstahl filmed it to create powerful images. The route the torch takes has always been a matter of careful political planning too. ...
Siegfried Eifrig lit a fire on an altar in Berlin in 1936. Mr Eifrig said he was saddened by the 2008 controversy.
In 1936 itself there was no doubt that the spectacle of his torch relay was judged a great international success. As a suitably Aryan-looking German athlete carried the torch into the stadium in Berlin the BBC radio commentator was deeply impressed: "He's a fair young man in white shorts, he's beautifully made, a very fine sight as an athlete." Another relay runner was Siegfried Eifrig, who had carried the torch as it arrived in the centre of Berlin. Flanked by huge swastika flags, he then lit a fire on an altar - typical of the pseudo-religious symbolism Nazism relished. Eifrig is still alive, aged 98, and still has his Krupp torch engraved with the route of the 1936 relay. But he told me this week that he was saddened by the controversy this year's relay has attracted, as it ought to be kept a "purely sporting" affair. And he is critical of the way the politicians always seek to exploit it, seeing the plan to take the torch across the summit of Mount Everest as a "pointless gesture" that makes a nonsense of the relay as an athletic challenge. Having survived the war as a soldier and then a British prisoner of war, he now sees the 1936 relay in a more sober light than when he was one of its stars. No matter how great the emphasis on the torch as a bright sporting symbol, he knows better than most that, amid the political wrangling and media hype, less welcome historical ghosts are running alongside.
'Saluting' Nazi filmmaker a no-win for VANOC
Joe O'Connor National Post Canada January 28, 2010
It has been raining on Cypress Mountain of late, causing some logistical headaches at the Olympic venue, but the latest dark cloud on the horizon appears on the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) website. "Lights Will Guide You Home" is a four-minute video celebrating the Olympic torch run. It also happens to include the work of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose biggest fan was a madman named Adolf Hitler. Riefenstahl was friends with the Nazi leader, and was a sometime propagandist for his National Socialist program. Her film Triumph of the Will‚ about the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg in 1934, helped put Hitler on the international map.
A few years later, Riefenstahl shot Olympia, a movie about the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where Hitler hoped to show the world his Aryan utopia. There is an ongoing debate about whether the film is a piece of propaganda or a non-partisan work of art. (Let's just assume it was a bit of both). One of Riefenstahl's most wondrous inventions in Olympia -- in addition to filming athletes in slow motion -- was the Olympic torch relay. She concocted the now well-worn ritual for her movie, and VANOC incorporated some of her scenes into its four-minute clip. Borrowing from a Nazi propagandist -- er, ah, cinematic genius -- is no crime. (Not crediting Riefenstahl's work, which would appear to be the case with VANOC, could be). But where VANOC may run afoul is in the editing applied to Olympia.
Items: News media, 2010 Olympics
Maurice Cardinal OlyBLOG.com Vancouver Canada October 2006
... The special challenge in Olympic regions is that most people have no idea that local mainstream news media generate obscene amounts of revenue from the Olympics, and more importantly, that some make more money if they primarily tell the Olympic side of the story. For some news media companies, profit is proportionately tied to "Olympic Spirit." The Vancouver Sun for example has already made a fortune off of 2010 by selling copious amounts of double-spread full color advertising to condo king Bob Rennie who capitalized on Olympic frenzy and pumped the well dry for all it was worth. People who foolishly bought in at artificially inflated prices would have been much better off investing in bonds, and then buying a home when the market takes a dive, which it started to already in Q3 2006. I'm sure lenders like RBC, also Olympic sponsors, are quietly rubbing their hands in glee knowing they have customers locked into bubble-bursting mortgages.
Communities now know more about what has transpired in past contemporary Olympic regions than any region has in the past. We in Vancouver/Whistler even now know more than we knew in Turin, and their Games happened less than a year ago. Our knowledge grows exponentially. Considering VANOC's resistance to offer clear fiduciary and planning transparency, and the incredible amount of revenue that media will generate, plus the volatile nature regarding almost everything connected to our 2010 Olympic Games; any media action that promotes false information regarding 2010 Olympics planning, operations and logistics, should constitute grounds for an inquiry -- just like they did in Sydney, Australia in the ramp up to their Olympic Games in 2000. Because of legal issues (I don't want to be sued), I'm not claiming a case of checkbook journalism, or even one of advertorial impropriety, however, you have to wonder how a news company that purports to be professional, can allow something like the following to happen. Read on and make up your own mind regarding what you think is transpiring here in our Vancouver/Whistler regions. ...
Strollers, Frisbees, umbrellas among items banned from Olympics
Larry Pynn Canwest News Service/National Post Canada February 2, 2010
VANCOUVER -- Everything from strollers to Frisbees, umbrellas, laser pointers and flags from non-participating countries are banned from Olympic venues, Vancouver 2010 officials announced this week. Officials told a Monday news conference that spectators should expect airport-style security, complete with x-ray machines and magnetometer screenings, when the Games begin on Feb. 12. Spectators should arrive two hours before city events, three hours before mountain events, and four hours before the open and closing ceremonies, Olympic officials said. RCMP Sgt. Mike Cote, a spokesman for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, said security measures will escalate if there are threats made against the Games. ...
Let the Bailout Games begin
Bob Mackin 24 Hours Vancouver/TheTyee.ca British Columbia Canada January 11, 2010
NBC expects to take a bath and VANOC, rocked by recession, still has its hand out.
Once upon a time, when Vancouver 2010 was an itty-bitty bid, they were called the "Sea to Sky Games." Then the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave its seal of approval in 2003, when President Jacques Rogge opened an envelope in Prague and read "Vonn-KOO-vah!" Hello, Canada's Games. The years turned to months and months turned to weeks. Now we count the days and hours until the wintry version of the Montreal Olympics. Welcome to the Bailout Games. Even with the intense participation of some of the world's biggest corporations, the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held together by government spending -- much of it never contemplated before the economic bubble burst weeks after the 2008 Beijing Games. ...
As Olympics near, people in Vancouver are dreading Games
Dave Zirin Sports Illustrated USA January 25, 2010
When I arrived in Vancouver, the first thing I noticed was the frowns. The International Olympic Committee has leased every sign and billboard in town to broadcast Olympic joy, but they can't purchase people's faces. It's clear that the 2010 Winter Games has made the mood in the bucolic coastal city decidedly overcast. Even the customs police officer checking my passport started grumbling about "$5,000 hockey tickets." Polls released on my first day in Vancouver back up this initial impression. Only 50 percent of residents in British Columbia think the Olympics will be positive and 69 percent said too much money is being spent on the Games. "The most striking thing in the poll is that as the Olympics get closer, British Columbians are less likely to see the Games as having a positive impact," said Hamish Marshall, research director for the pollster, Angus Reid. "Conventional wisdom was that as we got closer to the Olympics, people here would get more excited and more supportive." If the global recession hadn't smacked into the planning last year, with corporate sponsors fleeing for the hills, maybe the Vancouver Olympic Committee would be on more solid ground with residents. But public bailouts of Olympic projects have decisively altered the local mood.
I spoke to Charles, a bus driver, whose good cheer diminished when I asked him about the games. "I just can't believe I wanted this a year ago," he said. "I voted for it in the plebiscite. But now, yes. I'm disillusioned." This disillusion is developing as the financial burden of the Games becomes public. The original cost estimate was $660 million in public money. It's now at an admitted $6 billion and steadily climbing. An early economic impact statement was that the games could bring in $10 billion. Price Waterhouse Coopers just released their own study showing that the total economic impact will be more like $1 billion. In addition, the Olympic Village came in $100 million over budget and had to be bailed out by the city. Security was estimated at $175 million and the final cost will exceed $1 billion. These budget overruns are coinciding with drastic cuts to city services. On my first day in town, the cover of the local paper blared cheery news about the Games on the top flap, while a headline announcing the imminent layoff off 800 teachers was much further down the page. As a staunch Olympic supporter, a sports reporter from the Globe and Mail said to me, "The optics of cuts in city services alongside Olympic cost overruns are to put it mildly, not good." But these aren't just p.r. gaffs to Vancouver residents....
Vancouver's Olympics head for disaster
Douglas Haddow Guardian UK January 31, 2010
Douglas Haddow is a Vancouver-based freelance writer. Visit this page for its embedded links.
... Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of $6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m. With more than 15,000 members, it's the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards. With a police officer on every corner and military helicopters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like post-war Berlin than an Olympic wonderland. Whole sections of the city are off-limits, scores of roads have been shut down, small businesses have been told to close shop and citizens have been instructed to either leave the city or stay indoors to make way for the projected influx of 300,000 visitors. Vancouver's Olympic committee has also assumed the role of logo police. Librarians are being commanded to feed McDonald's to children while unauthorised brands have been banned from Olympic venues. Worse yet, they've begun to casually slip clips from Leni Riefenstahl films into their Coldplay-soundtracked promotional videos.
This manic mix of hype and gloom is a byproduct of the games' utter pointlessness. For those who have been planning their resistance since 2003, Vancouver is about to become the world's premier political stage. It will be the best chance yet for the Olympics to be derailed and exposed as what they are: a corrupt relic of the 20th century that does little more than gut city coffers and line the pockets of developers and investors. ...
Could Vancouver 2010 be the next 9/11?
Marc Stinebaugh Dprogram.net USA Last updated January 31, 2010
I now believe I have reasonable grounds to suspect there could be a “false flag” operation carried out somewhere in the Vancouver area during the Olympics in Canada. Yes, this is purely speculation, but I feel the mention of it is justified in the interest of our national security to keep an eye on potentially dangerous overlapping occurrences. The games will take place in Vancouver and Whistler from Feb. 12th until Feb. 28th. Below, I have compiled the following suspicious activity and coincidences by searching and analyzing the news from various media sources and by speaking with my own contacts. ...
There are scores of sites now popping up warning about this possible attack on the Olympics, and lots of people will soon be searching for more evidence that this could be a false-flag attack. A friend of mine in the Army at Ft. Bragg, NC said to me in recent months that he believes the US military is preparing for a false-flag attack. Now that was scary for me to hear, because he didn’t go into any more detail than that. Anything is possible, and these things are plausible. We don’t need to be afraid, we just need to get the word out, if we do, this may never happen. The reason it would happen is so it could be blamed on another entity, if they can’t do that anymore, they lose that method and have less power over us. Together by spreading the information about this, we can eliminate the threat of false flag terror take away that weapon from those who wish to exploit it and we can use this information as a weapon and turn it right back around on them.
I would rather nothing happen, but if it does, we’re going to be here ready to answer why we thought it would happen, and ready to turn this event back against them. So please, join in the search for more information, check out the companies involved, check out the people involved, check their connections, check out previous false flag attacks, learn how they work and find out if anything you see this time reminds you of a previous event. Together, we can save the world, one person at a time, wake up to the world around you, and wake up those around you. Thank you. If you have any further information you would like to contribute to the next update, feel free to contact the author using one of the methods provided at the beginning of the article. I am currently looking for information regarding the stock market, big business deals, and anything else that could be relevant. ...