Monday, September 11, 2006

Signs of the Economic Apocalypse, 9-11-06

From Signs of the Times, 9-11-06:

Gold closed at 617.90 dollars an ounce Friday, down 2.6% from $634.20 at the close of the previous Friday. The dollar closed at 0.7890 euros Friday, up 1.3% from 0.7791 for the week. The euro, then, closed at 1.2674 dollars Friday compared to 1.2836 dollars at the end of the previous week. Gold in euros would be 487.53 euros an ounce, down 1.3% from 494.08 for the week. Oil closed at 66.25 dollars a barrel Friday, down 4.4% from $69.19 at the close of the week before. Oil in euros would be 52.27 euros a barrel, down 3.1% from 53.90 for the week. The gold/oil ratio closed at 9.33 Friday, up 1.7% from 9.17 at the end of the week before. In U.S. stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11,392.11 Friday, down 0.6% from 11,464.15 at the close of the previous Friday. The NASDAQ closed at 2,165.79, down 1.3% from 2,193.16 for the week. In U.S. interest rates, the yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note closed at 4.77%, up five basis points from 4.72 for the week.

Oil prices dropped sharply last week, as did gasoline prices. Gas prices are down 50 cents a gallon in the U.S. from a few weeks ago. Must be an election coming up. That would account for all the fear they are trying to drum up around the fifth anniversary of 911. So for the next two months we will get low gas prices and fear, fear, fear, culminating in an election close enough for the Republicans to steal. Happy False Flag Day!

Recently we have been looking at the appeal of neoliberalism, the application of neo-classical economics (free-trade globalism based on multinational corporations) to achieve liberal goals, to the pathocracy. Because of that appeal United States seems to have wedded a neoliberal economic policy to a neoconservative foreign policy. To the neocons, the United States will achieve and maintain its status as a universal empire (“global hegemon” in today’s terminology) by imposing the opening of markets in the rest of the world to U.S. allied corporations using brute force or the threat of it. So which philosophy is driving the other? It seems clear that neoconservatism is. Neoliberalism acts as a cover for neoconservative goals. This is clear when you look at the reality of the United States’s drive for “global free trade.”
Trade Imperialism: Collapse of Doha and the Rise of Mercantilism

Most of the world’s advocates of free trade fault the US for the failure of the Doha world trade talks. Apart from Washington’s rhetoric calling for a ‘global free trade’ agreement in the current ‘Doha Round’, in practice it is pursuing a mercantilist policy of protecting non-competitive local producers and setting quotas on imports, which compete favorably with local producers. Washington subsidizes agro-export corporate ‘farmers’ and pushes the rest of the world, particularly Asian, African and Latin American countries to lower tariffs in manufacturing, services and agriculture to highly competitive US corporations. The breakdown of Doha trade talks in late July 2006, was almost unanimously blamed on the US which argued that the rest of the world should lower their farm import tariffs to US agricultural products, subsidized to the tune of $19 billion in 2005.

Even the neo-liberal Brazilian President Lula DaSilva, who shares the US position in reducing farm tariffs, blamed US intransigence on subsidies for the failure of the trade talks. Washington’s ‘trade reforms’ proposed at Doha in 2006 actually raise the ceiling for trade distorting subsidies $3.5 billion dollars over actual spending in 2005. Washington’s demand to saturate Asian rice markets, African cotton markets and Latin American soya markets with heavily subsidized agricultural products thus driving millions of Third World farmers and peasants into bankruptcy dampened the spirits even of the most ardent Third World advocates of ‘free markets’. Kamal Nath, India’s Trade Minister, pithily summed up the problem by saying, “Indian farmers con compete with US farmers but not with the US Treasury” .

Washington’s big trading partners in Brazil, India, China, South Africa and elsewhere have offered to lower or eliminate tariffs on manufactured goods, services (including high tech, low tech and information-based industries), financial and banking sectors, retail and wholesale commerce, pharmaceuticals and other sectors, sign on patent protection codes in exchange for the US ending its quotas and tariffs on labor-intensive industries, steel, textile and other light consumer goods industries and eliminating its multi-billion dollar agricultural subsidies. Washington has rejected a global free trade reciprocity agreement, and has instead pursued bilateral trade agreement with client regimes willing to sacrifice local farm and manufacturing producers.

For example, Washington has signed bilateral free trade agreements with Chile and Peru, which are largely mineral and raw material-exporting countries; it has signed a free trade agreement with tropical fruit and coffee-exporting Central America and Colombia – the latter a recipient of over $5 billion dollars in military aid over the past 7 years. Uruguay, another likely free trade partner with Washington, is banking on selling more beef, mutton and wool and hosting more highly contaminating paper mills. Mexico is a key ‘free trade’ partner, providing a cheap labor platform for US assembly plants re-exporting to the US, and exporting over 20 million low paid ‘temporary’ workers to the US over the past decade. In addition Mexico has lowered all investment barriers to the US takeover of its banking, transport, retail trade, fast food, telecommunications and agro-export sectors and opening its markets to the massive inflow of US-subsidized agricultural products.

While continuing to formally pursue a global free trade agenda, Washington, in practice, is building a series of satellite bilateral trade and investment pacts which extend the US economic empire.

Given the type of class warfare engaged in by the neocons, that of the crony-connected rich few against everyone else, their true economic philosophy may be Nazi-style fascism rather than neoliberal free-trade. In that system the way to get rich is to own weapons-producing firms or prison-making firms and to get as close to Power as possible. The Bush family has been doing it that for generations:
About Those Nazi Appeasers
Bush Family Values

By Michael Donnelly
September 7, 2006

It's astonishing to see how desperate our homegrown fascists have become. The entire cabal is in full-on media blitz mode with Rummy, Dick and Theodosius, er, Bush slamming their foreign opponents with the latest absurd tag "Islamic Fascists;" and, their domestic ones as "Nazi appeasers." Or, in the deranged mind of Condi Rice; domestic opponents are tantamount to folks who would have stopped the Civil War and allowed slavery to continue in the South.

It's not just desperate; it's monumentally moronic, given the real history. This bizarre trip on the Wayback Machine demands a deeper look--though don't look to the mainstream media. Given the opening, one would think that everyone by now would be fully informed that the Bush Family took "Nazi appeasement" to far greater heights and were actually part of an American faction of documented Nazi SUPPORTERS.

We're also unlikely to see much mainstream media analysis of the new "Islamic Fascist" branding of those opposing the Empire's designs on the Middle East. As Sir Winston Bush gets a media pass as he tries to conflate fascism, communism and Islam while also trying to ironically tie his criminal wars to WWII and the Cold War, it warrants our own trip on the Wayback Machine to see just what the Bush family was doing during those earlier "good wars."

Samuel Bush: arms merchant

George W. Bush's great-grandfather, Samuel Bush was charter member of the military/industrial complex. In 1918, he was chief of the Ordnance, Small Arms and Ammunition Section for the War Industries Board, with oversight responsibility for Percy Rockefeller's Remington Company. Rockefeller had helped get Bush's son, Prescott into Yale and Skull and Bones in 1916.

A 1926 Senate Munitions Inquiry (the Nye Committee) into the military/industrial complex's WWI windfall examined Samuel Bush's dealings with Remington as part of his War Industries Board duties. Virtually ALL of the records of Samuel Bush's efforts were destroyed by the National Archives "to save space."

Prescott Sheldon Bush; George Herbert Walker: Nazi collaborators

George W. Bush's grandfather, former Connecticut Senator Prescott S. Bush was a Wall Street banker with Brown Brothers Harriman. (Averill Harriman was also instrumental in getting young Prescott into Yale and S&B.) Bush's maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker was the bank's first president. Walker built the famed Bush family estate at Kennebunkport on Walker Point. Prescott Bush joined W. A. Harriman & Company in 1926 and became its CEO.

Harriman Bank was the official Nazi financial conduit in the US. Closely tied to Fritz Thyssen, who proudly claimed in his 1941 book "I Paid Hitler" that he was the Nazi Party's first and greatest financial backer. The Union Banking Corporation (UBC) was a subsidiary of Harriman created by Walker and it was used for Nazi financial matters. Thyssen provided 100,000 gold marks ($10 million in today's dollars) to the Nazis in 1923 just prior to Hitler's failed putsch. By 1941, UBC held a private Nazi stash of over $3,000,000 ($36 million in today's dollars) in its New York vaults.

After the war, a Treasury Department investigation reported that during the two years after the Stock Market crash; "Thyssen dedicated his fortune and his influence to the single purpose of bringing Hitler to power. In 1932, he arranged the now famous meeting in the Düsseldorf Industrialists' Club, at which Hitler addressed the leading businessmen of the Ruhr and the Rhineland. At the close of Hitler's speech, Thyssen cried, `Heil Herr Hitler'. By the time of the German elections later that year, Thyssen had succeeded in eliciting contributions to Hitler's campaign fund from all of the big industrial combines. He himself is reported to have spent 3,000,000 ($30 million today) marks on the Nazis in 1932 alone.

During 1933 Thyssen served as intercessor between von Hindenburg, von Papen, and Hitler. He brought them together at a secret meeting which laid the basis for the appointment of Hitler as Reichschancellor."

It was Thyssen, not Prescott Bush as some now claim, who was called "Hitler's Angel" by the New York Herald Tribune. He later fled Germany in 1939.
Even though Hitler had declared war on the US, it was still legal for UBC to conduct finances for the Nazis. But, after Pearl Harbor that outrage finally changed. After another ten months of Bush/Harriman/UBC work for the Nazis; in November 1942, under the Trading With the Enemy Act, all of the Harriman business interests were seized by the government, including UBC.

The assets were held by the government for the duration of the war and then quickly returned. Prescott Bush' interest in UBC consisted of One Share--worth $1,500,000 ($19 million in today's dollars) at the time UBC was disbanded in 1951. (The Harriman family garnered $4 billion!) It was the money used to start the Bush Family Texas oil empire.

Another Harriman subsidiary through Silesian Holding Co.; Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation saw the Harriman-Bush group owning one-third of a complex of steel making, coal-mining, and zinc-mining activities in Germany and Poland. The other two-thirds were owned by Wehrwirtschaftsführer (Military Economy Leader) Friedrich Flick. Silesian Holding Company's president was George Walker and its sole directors were Prescott Bush and Averill Harriman.

Silesian Steel used slave labor from Auschwitz (even before the concentration camp was built there) in its coal, iron and zinc mining operations. At Nuremberg, Flick was sentenced to seven years for Silesian's role in building up the Nazi war machine. Harriman, Bush and Walker were never charged.

June 14, 1940, nine months after the Nazis conquered Poland, the IG Farben Company opened an Auschwitz factory and slave labor camp in occupied Poland, to produce artificial rubber and gasoline from coal. This was done in a partnership with Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company (EXXON).

The millions made off the labor of hundreds of thousands of Nazi victims were inherited by William S. Farish III, grandson of William S. Farish, the head of the IG/Standard cartel. Farish III is George H.W. Bush's best friend and the person who took over Bush's assets and managed them in a blind trust after Bush was elected vice-president.

Investigator John Loftus has said, "As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman to be prosecuted for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany."

I've yet to take the Wayback Machine back to investigate Rice's whopper that decrying the carnage of the U.S. Civil War meant supporting leaving Slavery in place. But, I'm pretty certain that the same unsavory links to what John Trudell calls, "the colonial industrial class" were just as odious in the 1860s.

MICHAEL DONNELLY has numerous family members who fought in WWII against the Nazis while the Bush family was enriching themselves collaborating. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

One result of a system run by such people is the habits of super-rich described in the article below:

The Jet Set's Shopping List Unmasked
How do the very wealthy spend their money? You may not want to know.

By Thomas Kostigen

MarketWatch

Private jet owners have an average annual income of $9.2 million and a net worth of $89.3 million. They are 57 years old. And 70 percent of them are men.

Hannah Shaw Grove and Russ Alan Prince, two researchers, surveyed the group to find out who they are, what makes them tick, and perhaps most interestingly, what they spend their money on.

The average jet setter spends nearly $30,000 per year on alcohol (wines & spirits). Grove and Prince note that this amount is about two-thirds of the median household income in the U.S. And that's the smallest category of spending they surveyed.

The next smallest was "experiential travel," which includes guided tours, such as photographic safaris, or hikes to Machu Picchu, or eco-tours to the Brazilian rainforest, or kayaking in Baja California during the gray whale migration. For these experiences, jet setters spend an average of $98,000 per year.

Travel

But these journeys are small potatoes when compared to how much these wealthy individuals spend on hotels and resorts ($157,000 a year), or events at hotels and resorts ($224,000 a year). Spa treatments even fetch more jet-set dollars than wilderness tours. The average jet setter spends $107,000 a year at spas around the world.

Not that many of these "global citizens," as they like to be called, would know: Just 34 percent of jet owners open their own mail and only 19 percent pay their own bills, Grove and Prince found. This results in a sort of detachment from the world and creates "the low level of awareness that most jet owners have about their finances," they say.

Indeed, it would take a curious psychological composition to comprehend spending $147,000 a year on watches, as the jet set do. Or $117,000 on clothes. Or a whopping $248,000 a year on jewelry…


Another result of such a ponerized system, one created by and for psychopaths, people without consciences, can be seen in this reaction by Kevin, the Cryptogon blogger to the Newsweek article on risky mortgages we quoted last week:

This Business Week article is pretty good, but I feel the need to take you much deeper down the rabbit hole. Try to get comfortable, it's not going to be pleasant.

I used to work for one of the oldest and largest financial services companies in the world. But you wouldn't have known it from looking at the sign on the outside of the building. You see, the firm kept its name out of public view when it came to this business: the sub prime mortgage lending racket.

Why?

This Wall Street firm, spoken about in hushed tones around country clubs and cocktail parties, DOES NOT want to have its name associated with the financial services equivalent of a chop shop or a whore house. Oh no. It just wants the money associated with this despicable operation, and none of the press. Questions in the media about the propriety of these activities might cause discomfort for investors. Certain public appearances need to be maintained, after all.

This firm premeditated the exit from the crash unfolding before our eyes, both legally and in terms of public relations, years in advance.

Here's what it did.

The firm's strategy was to acquire fly-by-night companies who were dealing in these dodgy (sub-prime) loans and making impossible to imagine amounts of money at it. The outward public appearances of these acquired companies did not change. Some of the fly-by-night, fast-and-loose, make-it-up-as-you-go and illegal activities were transformed into probably-no-jail-time best-practices. The CFO had a habit of putting me on hold without muting the headset. He always seemed to be talking about "scratch and dent deals" with someone else in his office. "Oh sh*t. They're not going to like this. *rhetorical chuckle* What's a few million dollars between friends..."

The Them.

Behind the scenes, however, executives who weren't decapitated on the spot as part of the acquisitions, started taking orders from Them, if you know what I mean. Entirely new computer networks were built that linked the systems of these up-start, sub-prime lending corporations that---if you're fortunate---you've never heard of, to what we called "The Mother Ship" in New York, a firm that just about anyone with a net worth of a million dollars or more would probably recognize.

I was present at one of these 3am infrastructure sessions (getting paid double time), in a machine room with servers stacked floor to ceiling, cooling fans screaming, and black coffee going down by the pot full. We were taking orders from the "global ops center" in New York. The blinking lights on the "big-iron" Cisco routers indicated that roughly US$5 billion in funny money was going to move between the red-headed stepchild operation I worked for and the polished halls of The Mother Ship each month.

US$5 billion per month.

This was just one tiny, fly-fart aspect of just one division of this diabolical corporation. And I was told it was chump change for them, and that it would be cut loose at the drop of a hat, if necessary, should any undue attention start coming their way.

A manager told me something like, "It's not worth the bad PR for them. They'll rake it in for as long as things can be kept quiet. But they won't tolerate any heat in the press."

I noticed that the scam seemed very similar to the way the CIA runs cut outs. Except with this, the firm was only concerned with its public image; it's no secret who owns whom in this game, if you know where to look, and everything had been done according to federal regulations that this firm probably wrote, so it's not a question of legal or illegal. When it comes time to shut down offices and roll up the operations, they want it to go smoothly. And if Joe and Jane Six pack start to wonder who actually sold them their dodgy loan, it won't be immediately apparent. And, if Joe and Jane Six pack read the fine print, they will find that they screwed themselves by signing on the dotted line anyway. When the press interviews these people, they will talk about how "Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" screwed them over, and how they didn't know, this, that and the other thing, etc...

But to where do all the fiber paths lead?

"Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" was just being used by the firm as insulation from the inevitable bad press, that is now emerging. "Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" will be shut down and forgotten after a few days or weeks. Joe and Jane Six Pack will get their clocks cleaned, as usual. They won't even know who was really behind it all. By this time, the Mother Ship will have found other front companies to hide behind and new victims to grind into cash.

The front company I worked for actually changed names twice over the course of a year. Both of them were owned by the firm. The old domain now forwards to some backwater page on the new company's domain that displays a date that is off by a couple of years. Of course, the parent firm is nowhere to be seen!

US$5 billion per month... You'd think they could get the webserver to display the right date. Nope. Too busy generating funny money.

The firm externalized the financial risks of being in this business by selling all of the paper they generated into the secondary mortgage market at the end of every month. This is an institutional marketplace that trades in commoditized mortgages, "debt paper." In other words, at the end of each month, the firm had none of the impossible-to-payback-negative-amoritization-no-money-down loans on their books!

I handled some issues for the secondary marketing department, even, would you believe, for the person who pulled the trigger on these paper dumps at the end of the month."

Who buys this stuff?" I asked.

"Oh lots and lots of people. Well, banks and insurance companies mostly. [Large European Bank name deleted] buys a lot of it."

I wonder if [Large European Bank name deleted] knew what I knew or cared about how those loans were generated. (Of course, they knew and didn't care. They'll sell this toilet paper debt to some other sucker down the line.)

See, I also handled issues for the used-car-salesman-type 'account executives'. Just before I left, the company switched loan origination systems. The people writing these loans were pissed because they were no longer able to get loans approved for people with fraudulent social security numbers. They would actually complain because the system was telling them that the would-be borrower was using a false/fake/invalid SSN."

The old system never gave me these problems. How am I supposed to get any work done?! I hate this new system."

But wait, there's more.

As part of my daily duties, I had to take remote control of the systems that these donkeys were using. Occasionally, (a couple of times per day, at least) I would see the credit summary screens for the loan applicants. The highest credit score I ever saw was something like 615. The lowest was 520. Sprinkled with bankruptcies, unpaid credit cards, default this, late that.

Every once in a while, I'd chuckle and ask the person on the phone, "And this guy can buy a $400,000 house with no money down!?"

Absolutely God damned right!

That's what this company did. All day. Monday through Friday.

Things started to get interesting when They sent a memo to all employees on what to say to anyone who presented themselves as auditors or investigators. We were to refer them to some flunkie.

I thought, "Oh goodie, we're going to get raided by a three-letter agency and guys wearing guns and blue wind-breakers are going to wheel the servers out on dollies! PHBs are going to be handcuffed and frog marched into a waiting paddy wagon!"

Sadly, that didn't happen. For me, the icing on the cake moment happened when the firm started offering these criminal loans to their own employees, and at deep discounts, to pad the numbers as business started to slow down! The memo actually said that because we were such valued employees---actually, I wasn't an employee, my title was IT-Outsourced-On-Site---we wouldn't be charged any "junk fees" associated with the origination of the loan.

WOW! No junk fees! Thank you, Master! Thank you, Master!


At the farther extreme of the system’s range of practices is outright murder. By those John Perkins called “the Jackals” in Economic Hit Men. Here is Wayne Madsen on a recent Jackal hit:
Sept. 4, 2006 -- The CIA's "Worldwide Attack Matrix" continues to target political leaders who stymie U.S. oil and natural gas company and other Bush-Cheney global plans. Created by then-CIA Director George Tenet in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, the CIA's "Worldwide Attack Matrix," a James Bond 007-style "License to Kill" designed to assassinate foreign "terrorists" regardless of where they live, has been used to eliminate troublesome rebel, progressive, and secessionist leaders who bear no threat against the United States but who threaten a number of U.S. energy company interests and other economic and political interests.

Former Baluchistan Governor and Chief Minister Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who served Pakistani leaders like President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (an ethnic Sindhi who was executed by a U.S.-backed military government) and ousted and jailed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was recently brutally assassinated by the CIA- and US Special Forces-backed security forces of Pakistan's dictator General Pervez Musharraf (a so-called ally of the Bush-Cheney-Blair "Global War on Terror"). Bugti, the charismatic 79-year Baluchi leader, was killed after he went underground in support of Baluchi autonomist forces who have become increasingly opposed to Punjabi human rights violations against ethnic Baluchis. The Baluchi Liberation Army responded to Punjabi aggression against Baluchis by launching attacks against natural gas pipelines in Baluchistan -- tactics that immediately earned the wrath of the oil-centric Bush-Cheney regime. Against the wishes of Pakistan's political and intelligence establishment, Musharraf ordered his forces to kill Bugti and against Muslim traditions, Bugti's body -- likely mutilated in the air attack assassination -- has not been returned to the family for burial in accordance with Muslim religious tenets. Musharraf's actions received the full backing of the Bush administration, which defended the action as necessary to preserve a "strong and unified" Pakistan. The Bush crime cartel wants to clear Baluchistan of troublesome independence-minded tribal leaders like Bugti before construction gets fully underway on the Pakistan leg of the Central Asian Gas pipeline (CentGas) from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and to the Arabian Sea in Baluchistan. The Bush cartel also wants to ensure that Baluchistan secessionists do not interfere in future military actions across the Pakistani Baluchistan border into Iranian Baluchistan.

It is noteworthy that Bugti was opposed to Musharraf's and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) support for local Taliban forces who are using the area around Quetta, the Baluchistan capital, as a base to launch attacks against U.S. "Coalition" forces in Afghanistan. For that reason, the assassination of Bugti earned the condemnation of the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan, as well as the government of India, which both realize that Musharraf and the ISI are the primary foreign backers of the Taliban. As the production of opium poppies reached an all-time high in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas, Bugti's opposition to the Taliban opium smuggling pipelines also did not sit well with either Musharraf, ISI, or people like Richard Armitage, Musharraf's chief Washington backer, who is no stranger to the global opium trade, having dealt with Taliban and Burma's Golden Triangle opium smuggling in support of off-the-books U.S. intelligence operations during his entire intelligence career.

The "Worldwide Attack Matrix" assassination of Bugti is the latest in a string of U.S.-sanctioned killings of secessionist and rebel leaders since 9-11. Others assassinated by U.S. intelligence assets include Theys Eluay, West Papuan independence leader killed by U.S.-trained Indonesian Special Forces in Nov. 2001 (Freeport McMoRan, a U.S. mining company, wants the West Papuan independence forces eliminated); Abdullah Syafii, Free Aceh Movement leader killed by Indonesian Special Forces in northern Sumatra in January 2002. (The Aceh independence movement threatened the interests of Exxo0n Mobil in the secessionist province); Nigerian Justice Minister and Attorney General Chief Bole Ige, a Yoruba leader who championed the interests of the southern Nigerian tribes (Igbo, Ogoni, and Yoruba) people opposed to the influence of oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron Texaco. Ige was killed by unknown assailants Ibadan in Nov. 2001; Elie Hobeika, Lebanese Christian leader who was opposed to U.S. plans for an oil and military terminus in Lebanon, killed by a car bomb in March 2002; Benjamin Hrangkhwal, leader of the northeast India National Liberation Front of Tripura, assassinated in February 2002 by U.S.-trained and supported Indian paramilitary forces trained at a nearby jungle warfare training center; Mikael "Mike" Nassar, associate of Hobeika's, assassinated gangland-style in Brazil along with his wife; Archbishop of Cali, Isaias Duarte, opposed to U.S.- supported paramilitaries and their U.S. military trainers, gunned down in front of his church in Mar. 2002; Angolan UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, killed by a Kellogg, Brown & Root supported Angolan Army unit in March 2002. Savimbi, Ronald Reagan's one-time "George Washington of Africa," threatened U.S. oil interests in Angola and was eliminated, his body gruesomely laid out on a slab and photos transmitted by U.S. intelligence around the world as a warning to others; Colombia's FARC leader Salvador "Silverio" Vargas Leon, killed by U.S. private military contractors and Colombian army units in March 2002. FARC threatened U.S. oil pipelines in Colombia; former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, assassinated in an October 2005 car bombing. Hariri was also opposed to neo-con military and oil pipeline terminus plans for Lebanon. Former Lebanese Communist Party leader George Hawi was eliminated in a carbon copy car bombing for the same reasons that Hobeika and Hariri were killed. Sudan Vice President and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader Dr. John Garang, an ally of the United States, killed in a helicopter crash in July 2005 after he expressed opposition to U.S. oil company plans for southern Sudan. Assassination carried out with the support of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, one of the Bush administration's chief clients in the region.

The Worldwide Assassination Matrix program works closely with U.S. Special Operations psychological warfare operations (Psyops) in transmitting gruesome images of the bodies of the assassinated targets around the world in attempt to warn others what awaits them if they do not fall into compliance with the Bush-Cheney-Blair agenda. Bugti's body is claimed by his son Talal to be lying frozen in a hospital as some sort of trophy.

One final note. Here is some more evidence that fascist-nationalist aggressive militarism is bad for the economy of the average person:

Report reveals 1.6 million Israelis living in poverty

By Rick Kelly

6 September 2006

Israel’s National Insurance Institute (NII) last week revealed another annual rise in the country’s poverty rate. Nearly 100,000 people fell below the poverty line last year, raising the total number impoverished to more than 1.6 million, 24.7 percent of the total population. At 35.2 percent, Israel now has the highest child poverty rate among advanced capitalist countries. The figures demonstrate the depth of the social crisis in Israel, which will be further exacerbated by the government’s planned cuts to social spending in the aftermath of the war in Lebanon.

The NII, a governmental welfare body, attributed much of the rise in poverty to previous government cutbacks, particularly of child allowance payments. After coming to power in 2000, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, slashed family payments, a policy carried forward by the current Kadima-Labour coalition of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The NII calculated that in 2005, child allowance cuts reduced the income of large families by 12 percent and families with two children by 6 percent. A total of 58 percent of large families were under the poverty line in 2005, up from 54.7 percent the year before.

Similar cuts to unemployment benefits have exacerbated the dire situation facing jobless Israelis. Unemployment is almost 9 percent, and the number of long-term unemployed has rapidly increased. In 2004, a quarter of all those out of work remained unemployed for more than a year, compared to just 6 percent in 1997. Only one in five unemployed people receive benefits, due to government restrictions and deliberately onerous bureaucratic procedures. Many who do receive payments are dragooned into menial “welfare-to-work” job schemes.

The NII also revealed the deep regional and ethnic disparities within the Zionist state. Arab-Israelis have a far higher poverty rate than Jews, with 52 percent of Arab families living under the poverty line. Poverty was the highest in Jerusalem, where 42 percent of residents and 56 percent of children were poor.

A striking feature of the NII report is the rise of the “working poor”. Poverty in Israel is by no means restricted to the unemployed, elderly, and disabled. As the country has become more closely integrated into the global economy, the wages and conditions of working people have been systematically downgraded. In order to maintain the profit rates of Israeli companies and to attract international investment, successive governments have privatised state industries, removed business regulations and lowered taxes for the wealthy.

These measures have had severe consequences for working people. “Despite overall economic growth, the percentage of poor families in which the head of the household was employed increased from 11.4 percent in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2005, from 160,000 families to 177,000 families,” Haaretz explained. “The percentage of poor families among families with workers increased from 40.6 percent to 43.1 percent. Nearly 60 percent of the working poor held full-time jobs.”

A study conducted by the Adva Centre, “Workers, Employers, and the Distribution of Israel’s National Income”, examined recent changes in the social position of the working class. The report found that since 2003, 65 percent of all new jobs were part-time and predominantly low paid. An extraordinary 20 percent of all new jobs created for men in the past five years were generated as a direct result of the Palestinian uprising, in security and other non-productive industries. Despite productivity increases, average wages have declined since 2000 and two-thirds of workers now receive less than $US320 a week.

A Haaretz article published September 1 described the situation facing one family, the Vaknins. Chaim Vaknin works as a gardener for 30 hours a week and receives the minimum wage, while his wife Racheli looks after their four children. One-third of their income goes to paying a mortgage on their small two-bedroom apartment. Despite Racheli’s family responsiblities and chronic arthritis, authorities forced her into a “welfare-to-work” program in order to qualify for a small income assistance payment. “We receive charity,” she said. “We get our schoolbags and clothing second-hand. It’s very hard to live on our income.”

Proposed budget cuts spark political crisis

Israel’s offensive in Lebanon will worsen the poverty rate, both through direct reconstruction costs in the north and through cuts to social spending to fund the Israeli Defence Forces’ rearmament. According to the Israel Institute of Social and Economic Research, an additional 50,000 people will fall below the poverty line this year.

The Olmert government has proposed an initial round of budget cuts worth $1.7 billion. The measures advanced by Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson include further reducing child allowances, raising the age of entitlement to unemployment allowance from 20 to 28, increasing university tuition fees by 50 percent, cutting grants for discharged soldiers, firing public service workers and privatising the postal service.

The government intends to make the working class pay for the Lebanon war. Shortly after tabling his budget proposal, Hirchson wrote a grovelling letter to the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, assuring big business that tax cuts scheduled to take effect over the next four years would not be reversed.

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