CONTENTS / BLOG (19), Just World Campaign

• Free papers or a free press.  France flag; 

Free papers or a free press

   Le Monde Diplomatique (France), , by Ignacio Ramonet, (Translated by Barbara Wilson), Monday, January 1, 2007
   FRANCE: THE press is in crisis; the worst crisis in its history. For the past three years newspapers and news magazines in France, including Le Monde diplomatique, and almost everywhere in the world have been steadily losing readers. Their delicate economic balance is upset, their survival threatened and, with it, the democratic right to express a range of opinions. What is to blame for this depressing state of the press?
   First, the rise and rise of "free" newspapers. The "free" is a lie since it leads some readers to believe that news costs nothing, whereas "free" papers are paid for by an advertising levy that is incorporated in the price of everything else they buy.
   In just a few years these publications have shot to the top of the circulation tables. As a result many people have stopped buying daily papers and advertisers are turning to the "free" papers instead. Sales on the newsstands and advertising are the two main sources of a newspaper's revenue; the third is subscriptions.
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   Then there is the internet, which is revolutionising every aspect of cultural life -- music, publishing, cinema, television -- as well as the media. It is significant that the international news channel France 24 was launched first on the web and only later on cable and satellite.
   People turn more and more to the internet for news and information and some have stopped buying newspapers. They too, like those who read the "free" papers, have deserted the newsstands, many of which have then been forced to close down with a corresponding reduction in sales of all newspapers and periodicals (1).
   The internet is attractive, access to many sites is free, people can express their own opinions in their own way on blogs and it is easy to exchange ideas on everything under the sun. But this increase in freedom must be weighed against some contrary considerations. There is the disturbing fact that many groups that have engaged through the internet in intense, internal debate in a spirit of democratic participation, have been crushed, reduced to impotence or self-destruction.
   The researcher Eric Klinenberg in the United States has noted that the internet used to be remarkable for many new sites expressing a wide range of political opinions, yet the most popular sites are now controlled by the most powerful media groups. This means that, as always in the history of communications, whenever a new medium appears -- from newspapers in 18th century to the independent radio stations of the 1970s and the internet today -- it begins by extending the boundaries of free speech, only to be taken over and tamed by the money men.
   Reader profiles based on search engine utilisation are now being sold to businesses keen to target potential consumers more effectively.
   In France, control of the mass media is concentrated in the hands of a few industrial and financial groups, including two arms manufacturers, Lagardere (via Hachette) and Dassault (via Socpresse). This disturbing fact should prompt members of the public to rally round and support the independent press, including Le Monde diplomatique.
   You will recall that our magazine is owned jointly by the Le Monde group (51%) and by our readers and production team (49%). This is extremely rare in the press, not only in France but in the world, and it guarantees complete independence from all the powers that be, political, media or financial.
   This peculiar feature is highly prized in other countries and has been instrumental in allowing us to expand our international editions, of which there are now some 60 in more than 30 languages. This is unique in the world press but it has not prevented a decline in sales in France itself, sales on which the financial balance of the paper depends.
   In the media battle ahead Le Monde diplomatique is counting on the loyalty of its readers and a large association of readers' groups (the Friends of Le Monde diplomatique). But it is also taking a number of initiatives, starting in February: while it remains more than ever committed to fact-based journalism, the editorial content will contain substantial innovations.
   This is meant as a signal to readers, a call to rally round and take action. To subscribe to Le Monde diplomatique is the best way to show your support for a free press, free speech and independent journalism.
   (1) The number of press sales points in France has dropped from 36,000 to 28,000 in only a few years.
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thanks to Michael P. ENDS.] [Jan 1, 2007]
• Call for fair share of boom windfalls.  Australia flag; 

Call for fair share of boom windfalls

   The Perth Voice (suburban free newspaper), news [at] fremantleherald [dot] com , by BRENDAN FOSTER, p 2, Saturday, January 13, 2007
   PERTH: EQUAL rights for all and special privileges for none is the catch-cry of the East Perth-based Georgist Education Association.
John Massam, Georgist Education Association president, *Perth Voice*. Brendan Foster photo
• Georgist Association president John Massam believes everyone should share in nature's gifts and opportunities.

   The association is holding lectures this Sunday and Tuesday to explain the work of social philosopher Henry George who believed the root cause of social problems is an inequality of rights.
   "Henry George was a self-taught economist who argued that the task of government is to secure the equal rights of land to everyone," WA branch president John Massam said.
   Mr Massam said society should collect revenue from "windfalls" gained when people profited from shares or land values that go through the roof.
Lucky breaks
   "You can't tax a beggar but people who make huge amounts of profit from land or 'lucky breaks' should pay a bigger tax that is placed in public revenue," he said.
   "The public revenue collected from this tax could help pay for the police force, the army and navy and in doing so, lower income tax to almost nothing."
   Mr Massam said the Georgists also believed that there were imperfections in democracy and all opinions should be represented in parliament.
   "The Liberal Party defy what the State Government and people of WA want by planning to mine uranium, yet it goes against the popular will of the people," he said.
   Richard Giles from the Sydney branch will lecture on housing affordability this Sunday January 14 from 2 - 3.30pm at 10 Broome St, South Perth.
   There will also be a lecture on social justice and taxation on Tuesday January 16 from 10am - 1pm at the Georgist Education Association (Perth Tattersall Bowling Club), 2 Plain Street, East Perth.
   For more information Mr Massam on 9343 9532. #
   [ON THE WEB: .  ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Regarding "imperfections in democracy," proportional representation elections is one of the policies proposed by association members.  ENDS.]
   [EPILOGUE: Advertising was placed with two small newspapers; both Sydney and Perth advertised in the W.A. daily paper.  There were approx. 32 at the first lecture, and 42 at the second.   ENDS.]
   [E-MAIL ADDRESS worries?  Don't worry; this Perth paper is operated by a Fremantle paper.  [Jan 13, 07]

• Council slams lock-up plan. 

Council slams lock-up plan

   The Perth Voice, by FIONA WILLAN, p 3, Saturday, January 13, 2007
   PERTH: IN a rare display of unity, Perth council voted unanimously this week against the WA government's bid to resume private Northbridge land for a new police station.
   The public gallery was a sea of familiar faces at Monday evening's special council meeting, called by Cr Judy McEvoy.
   Cambridge mayor Marlene Anderton, Property Council of WA president Joe Lenzo, Northbridge Business Improvement Group president Paul Afkos, former Big N president Bob Smales and the WA Association of Property Rights' Leo Killigerew were among the crowd.
   "This is an extraordinary attack on private citizens," Cr McEvoy told council.
   She criticised the government for failing to negotiate with landowner Graeme Hardie before deciding to resume Lot 12, at the corner of Lake and Roe Streets.
   Cr Max Kay said council would've thought twice about injecting $31 million into the Northbridge link project had it realised it would include a number of apartments overlooking a police lock-up.
   Councillors said sites such as the empty IMAX theatre, Mega-Mart building and James Street carpark opposite Russell Square were more appropriate sites.
   Perth Police Superintendent Duane Bell told the Voice the footprint of the proposed police headquarters was too large for most sites.
   "All [police] land was considered, all government land was considered and railway land was considered and quickly dismissed," he said.
   All large sites were considered, but Lot 12 was deemed most appropriate - it was the right size, was central and a relatively safe location for police headquarters.
   Supt Bell said Mr Hardie had been informed of the possibility of land resumption at a meeting in mid-2006.
   Mr Hardie told the Voice the first he heard of it was through an unofficial phone call from a government property consultant in November 2006. #
   [COMMENT: While landowner Hardie is having his land compulsorily acquired by the Labor State Government, disgraced former Labor Premier Brian Burke is being questioned over his telephone calls (being broadcast on radio and television) and other actions allegedly to assist a land developer who is planning the "Port Coogee" canal home scheme.  The Corruption and Crime Commission questions are also about firms acting for developers allegedly paying the electoral expenses of candidates (successful) for local government elections, and their subsequent actions.  "It's not what you know, it's who you know."  Should Mr Hardie telephone such lobbyists?  ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT: The report notes that "the empty IMAX theatre, Mega-Mart building and James Street carpark opposite Russell Square" were more appropriate.  Even people living on the other side of the planet could guess from Perth's population that it is indeed highly likely that there are a number of suitable alternative sites for the proposed lockup.  In the 1940s the lockup was north of the railway line; later it moved to East Perth almost at the Causeway.  What Perth needs are more police on patrol, not more lockups.   ENDS.] [Jan 13, 07]

• Why housing is unaffordable.  Australia flag; 
  Association for Good Government (New South Wales), talk by its Secretary Mr Richard Giles, under the auspices of the Georgist Education Association Inc. (Western Australia), at 10 Broome St., South Perth, on Sunday, January 14, 2007.


Richard Giles, talk in Perth, WA, Australia, Sun., Jan. 14th, 2007
A publication of the Association for Good Government, Sydney
We are here to talk about housing affordability. Housing affordability is falling and we want to know the reasons for it.
1. What is Housing Affordability?
   Reduced to its simplest terms declining housing affordability means two things. First, those who are renting or buying homes are spending more and more of their disposable income on rents and mortgages. Second, it means that more and more folk who want to buy a home cannot do so because the mortgage is beyond them.
   Those are obvious conclusions from the information on your Facts and Principles Sheet. That information in the end says nothing more than this: the cost of accommodation is rising faster than incomes. The result is that shelter is absorbing an ever-greater proportion of wages, even though, as now, that is most often a double income.
   That the cost of shelter can rise faster than the rise in incomes is partly due to an important principle. This is that the cost of housing tends to absorb all surplus disposable income.    Food, clothing, shelter are the basics of life. So it is not surprising that people will try to meet the rising cost of shelter.
Page 2.
   To illustrate: in the 1970s double incomes became common and provided overseas holidays and other ‘extras’. But now what we see are two things. On the one hand rising property prices are absorbing those gains so that many on double incomes are no better off than single income families were thirty years ago. On the other hand we find young people more prepared to stay at home or batch in large numbers while holding on to the ‘extras’.
2. Land Appreciates; Houses Depreciate
   Some weeks ago I tuned into one of those TV advertising programs that tell you how quite ordinary people can become immensely wealthy.
   My attention was immediately captured, not by the prospect of becoming immensely wealthy, but by a principle the speaker began with. It was this.
“Land appreciates in value; houses depreciate in value”.
   His comfortable life today, he said, was based on that principle. So I immediately learned where the wealth was coming from. It was coming from the mounting value of land helped along by generous helpings of tax depreciation allowances and negative gearing.
   The speaker even showed us how to do it.
   Knowing that it is really the land and not the house that matters buy a mediocre house in a smart new suburb. The house will make no money at all but, courtesy of the renter and the ‘tax breaks’, it will at least pay for itself. But, as the new suburb fills with smart new houses with well-kept streets, lawns and gardens, and, consequently, as amenities increase, the land value will leap ahead.
Page 3.
   It was as if we have opened a secret bank account, a land account, one that will never be robbed. Having a house on the land pays the account-keeping fees!
   Our salesman even spoke with some pride about the fact that his house was the worst in the neighbourhood. And, of course, he did not live there. So much for his contribution to the community.
   One other thing - and it is remarkable. He claimed (I do not know how honestly) that he had used none of his own money. The money had come from the bank, from the renter, and from the Australian taxpayer.
   Of course there is nothing wrong in any of this, and quite extraordinarily ordinary people, one after the other, came forward to thank him for making them millionaires and to tell him how he had improved their self-esteem. He had helped make the world a better place!
   Or had he? And here we come more directly to our subject of housing affordability.
3. The Effects of ‘Rent-Seeking’
   Our salesman was encouraging us to undertake certain economic activities, activities doubtless called rent-seeking that add to the wealth of some individuals. But do they add to the wealth of the community as a whole?
Page 4.
   I surmise that, in a properly run society, anyone who makes a million dollars over, say, a six or seven year period (and some had), will have made a very significant contribution to society. So let us ask the persons in our story what they had done. They had borrowed funds, and bought and sold houses. So their contribution to society seems to have been to exchange titles to property. That does not seem to be much of a contribution.
   You might say that I have missed the point. The fact that their activities are rewarded by government by ‘tax breaks’ shows that this is an activity that ought to be encouraged. We do tend to look at the matter that way and, indeed, that is one way to look at it. But there is another way.
   Remember the house was already there. So they had not increased the stock of housing. What they did was to buy the house and leave it empty until someone who wanted to live there paid the rent they demanded to get access to it. The trick here seems to be create an obstacle, then demand money to remove it!
   These people entered the housing market when they did not need accommodation. They increased the demand for houses and the demand for housing finance. So their efforts helped raise the cost of housing; that is, the cost of housing land and the cost of housing finance. Forcing up property prices and interest rates does not sound much like a contribution either.
Page 5.
   My intention is not, maliciously, to heap criticism on a group of investors who have legally and courageously taken risks to better their own condition.
   My intention has been to highlight what is an obvious structural weakness in the housing market.
   This weakness is that presently the housing market encourages rent-seekers to compete with both genuine home buyers and genuine investors.
   Confirmation that this is the wrong way to do things is given by the economics of this activity. It makes nonsense out of the laws of supply and demand. We might remember that for a long time the Reserve Bank deferred raising interest rates. Its Governor was well aware of a growing “bubble” in the housing market but he delayed applying the brakes to this rent-seeking activity. This was because he saw that raising interest rates would also stifle useful investment. In other words what was going to stop this harmful activity would harm useful activity as well. This is the kind of dilemma that policy-makers face when they confront rent-seeking.
   The dilemma is based upon the fact that investment in land seems to work quite contrarily to other investment. Normally, when prices for a commodity go up, increasing demand causes the supply of that commodity to expand. But, when the price of land begins to move upward, supply tends to freeze. The reason, of course, is that everyone is tempted to hold onto property, expecting the price to go even higher. In short, with land, increasing demand reduces the supply!
Page 6.
   One other thing: this increasing price which, might for ordinary goods and services cause demand to slacken, actually causes demand for land to increase. This causes a more rapid escalation in land values. The reason is again obvious. The rise in land price is now so obvious that the general public are lured into investing. So we have increasing demand as well as falling supply. The “bubble” is a speculative value; that is, its value is far beyond the value of its location.
   We might indeed say that something is very wrong with the land market. But what is it that is wrong?
4. Not ‘Housing’ but Land
   You may have noticed that I have talked of land when, ordinarily we talk of housing. But, remember, houses depreciate. If we talked less about housing and more about land we might begin to better analyse housing affordability.
   Let us take this analysis further. It is land that appreciates in value and not houses. So, many who can afford to, prefer to hold valuable land vacant. That reduces the supply of serviced land and increases its price. It also increases the cost of supplying those services.
   So new home buyers invest in relatively unserviced land around the edge of the city or in satellite towns and councils extort development levies from them under the so-called user-pays principle. That again adds to already high prices for land.
Page 7.
   We may call these places commuter suburbs. Denied land closer to the centre these new home buyers live far away from relatives and old friends. More to the point they are often far from their jobs. There, time and money is wasted commuting. This fragmented life is not good for families. That and the financial pressure of excessive mortgages can often destroy marriages.
   With two or even three jobs needed to keep abreast of the mortgage and so much of their disposable income spoken for, child-bearing is postponed or abortions increase. These families have a home but too little disposable income left to furnish it. Thus, they tend to live on credit. The relation between credit-card debt and mortgage debt is too little appreciated.
5. Do We Want Affordable Housing?
   But let us stop complaining and protesting. What we seem to want by being here is to make housing more affordable.
   So let us turn first to the experts. A prestigious inquiry was held in Canberra in June, 2006. It was called the National Summit on Housing Affordability. Symbolically, it was held at old Parliament House.
Page 8.
   Unfortunately, like all previous inquiries, this one gave us no answers. It called for a new Federal Department of Housing to keep statistics and to set “benchmarks” and a Five Year Plan (would that solve anything?). It called for national leadership (but was not this Summit supposed to give that?). It called for ‘tax breaks’ for private investors (as if that was not part of the problem); it called for more infrastructure and for what it called a “more supportive economic environment” (but that would only raise land prices); and it called for another inquiry.
   Curiously it called its report A Call for Action. That was a perfect disguise for the fact that it had failed itself to take action. In other words, the experts called on the government to do something while the government called on the experts to do something!
   So let us start from scratch. What is the problem? What we have already discussed shows us what it is. It is that there is a chronic under-supply of land that, periodically, becomes acute, leading to excessively high prices for land. At this time we have inquiries.
   But when we state the problem this way we come to an ominous conclusion. We see that why the problem will not be solved is that we like rising prices for land. We just do not want action that will once and for all reduce the price of land.
   For that reason the recent Summit virtually turned the inquiry into a welfare issue. It gave the term affordable housing a new meaning. It became housing for the poor. That was a safer issue to address and something could be done about that problem. Government could create more public housing and more ‘tax breaks’ could be given to encourage private investment.
Page 9
   Take note, as a society we greet rising land prices as good news, while we see falls in the price of residential land as disastrous. As a society we hold solidly to the interests of the “winners”, property-owners, and not to those of the underdogs.
   In one sense we need go no further. We just do not want to make housing more affordable!
9. Increasing Land Supply
   But, treating the matter as a hypothetical, what would we do if we were really serious about increasing the supply of land?
   Funnily enough we are very serious about increasing the supply of labour and the supply of capital. But, without increasing the supply of land, the effect of policies to increase the supply of labour and the supply of capital can only be to further increase the price of land. What else?
   So far we have treated land unaffordability as a single issue. It is really two issues. There is the long-term problem of a tendency of land values to rise, and there is the short-term problem.
   The short-term problem is due to speculative “bubbles”. The long-term problem is due to the fact that the on-going rise in population and increases in economic efficiencies create rises in land values. It is that long-term problem which causes the short-term problem of speculation.
Page 10.
   You might have noticed that I have said that the growth of the economy is the long-term problem. That might seem silly. It is bizarre, but it is nonetheless true, that progress itself is the most serious cause of what we call housing unaffordability.
   Mortgages have now been extended from 25 years to 30 years and, soon it is envisaged there will be 50 year mortgages. To repeat: something must be rotten in the land market when progress itself causes it to break down.
   It seems like we are expecting the problem to get worse. But let us continue our analysis.
10. Land Values as Public Revenue
   We got to the point of saying the obvious: that rising population and economic improvement are the driving forces behind the upward movement in land values. A speculator in land values knows that proposition is indisputable.
   But the problem of land unaffordability is not unresolvable. We only like to make it look like that. All we really need to do is to look at the problem from a community viewpoint rather than from a personal viewpoint. To do that all we need to do is to do something quite horrid by the norms of modern economics, we need to replace a selfish view of the issue by a moral view.
   Justice requires that we see that land values be returned to those who produce them. And that is the community. It alone has a moral right to land values and it alone needs the moral courage to take them.
Page 11.
   Let me put this another way. We produce land values and we suffer the effects of not collecting it. If we adopted a more principled way of dealing with land we would make the land market work more like other markets. For instance, the only ones buying land would be those who wanted to use it. Speculation would vanish. Owners of productive land would release it for use. There would not be, at least in the foreseeable future, any shortage of land, any failure of supply.
   Revenue generated by community growth would be spent upon public services. Infrastructure would then stop being extorted by development levies from unwilling developers and home buyers.
   You might say that we as a community would be like a vast company that ‘ploughed back’ part of it earnings in services that would enable further growth while, at the same time, it paid its individual share-holders a citizen’s dividend.
It really is so easy to have abundance and happiness but it is only just that we must deserve it!
§ § §
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E-MAIL: goodgov AT westnet DOT com DOT au - INTERNET:
[The original Page Numbers of the talk are shown above for reference, although in Perth a shrinkage from 11 pages to 4 was effected by reducing the margins and the font size and switching to Times New Roman, to save paper and costs.]
2 Plain Street, East Perth, Western Australia, 6004
Tel. +61 (0) 8 9221 1973, or 9343 9532
[Jan 14, 07]

• Bush Must Go; Only Impeachment Can Stop Him  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Palestine Authority flag; Palestine Authority website 

Bush Must Go

Only Impeachment Can Stop Him
   Information Clearing House (USA), www.information clearinghouse. info/article 16175.htm , By Paul Craig Roberts, Jan/ 15/ 2007
   UNITED STATES: When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the US has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state in the US?
   Americans don't have much time to realize this and to act before it is too late. Bush's "surge" speech last Wednesday night makes it completely clear that his real purpose is to start wars with Iran and Syria before failure in Iraq brings an end to the neoconservative/Israeli plan to establish hegemony over the Middle East.
   The "surge" gives Congress, the media, and the foreign policy establishment something to debate and oppose, while Bush sets his plans in motion to orchestrate a war with Iran. Suddenly, we are hearing Bush regime propaganda that there are Iranian networks operating within Iraq that are working with the Iraqi insurgency and killing US troops.
   This assertion is a lie and preposterous on its face. Iranian Shi'ites are not going to arm Iraqi Sunnis, who are more focused on killing Iraqi Shi'ites allied with Iran than on killing US troops. If the Iranians wanted to cause the US trouble in Iraq, they would encourage Iraqi Shi'ites to join the insurgency against US forces. An insurgency drawn from 80% of the Iraqi population would overwhelm the US forces.
   CBS reports that the news organization has been told by US officials "that American forces have begun an aggressive and mostly secret ground campaign against networks of Iranians that had been operating with virtual impunity inside Iraq." To manufacture evidence in behalf of this lie to feed to the gullible American public, US forces invaded an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and kidnapped 5 consulate officials, claiming the Iranians were part of plans "to kill Americans." In typical Orwellian fashion, Secretary of State Condi Rice described Bush's aggression against Iran as designed to confront Tehran's aggression.
   Iraqi government officials in the Kurdish province and the Iraqi foreign minister have refused to go along with Bush's propaganda ploy. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced that the Iranian officials were no threat and were working in a liaison office that had Iraqi government approval and was in the process of being elevated into a consulate.
   The Iraqi foreign minister said that US troops tried to seize more innocent people at the Irbil airport but were prevented by Kurdish troops.
   The Kurds, of course, have been allies of the US forces, but Bush is willing to alienate the Kurds in the interest of provoking a war with Iran.
   If Bush is unable to orchestrate war with Iran directly, he will orchestrate war indirectly by having US troops attack Iraqi Shi'ite militias. Bush has already given orders for US troops to attack the Iraqi Shi'ite militias, who oppose the Sunnis and have not been part of the insurgency. Obviously, once Bush can get US troops in open warfare with Iraqi Shi'ites, the situation for US troops in Iraq will quickly go down hill. Bush will be able to blame Iranian Shi'ites for arming Iraqi Shi'ites that he can say are killing US troops.
   Bush has also ordered the Persian Gulf to be congested with TWO US aircraft carrier attack groups. There is no military or diplomatic reason for even one attack group to be in the Persian Gulf. If Bush fails to orchestrate a war with Iran by kidnapping its officials or by attacking Shi'ite militias, he can orchestrate an event like the Tonkin Gulf incident or have the Israelis pull another USS Liberty incident and blame the Iranians.
   The Tonkin Gulf incident was used by the Johnson administration to deceive Congress and to involve the US in the Vietnam war. Johnson alleged a North Vietnamese attack on US warships.
   In 1967 Israel attacked and destroyed the US intelligence ship Liberty, because Liberty's crew had picked up proof that Israel had initiated the war with Egypt and intended to attack Syria the next day ( http://www. lewrockwell. com/orig/ margolis12. html ). Some have speculated that Israelis hoped their attack on the Liberty could be blamed on Egypt and used to draw the US into the war against Egypt.
   In 2003 the Moorer Commission [see http://www. ussliberty. org/report/ report.pdf and http://www. ussliberty. org/moorer findings.htm ], headed by Admiral Tom Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, concluded:
   "That in attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States."
   "That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty."
   "the Captain and surviving crew members were later threatened with court-martial, imprisonment or worse if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government."
   "That due to the influence of Israel's powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people."
   "That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel's interests when they conflict with American interests."
   On the 30th anniversary of Israel's destruction of the Liberty, Admiral Moorer said that Israel attacked the Liberty because Israel knew that the intelligence ship could intercept Israel's plans to seize the Golan Heights from Syria, an act of Israeli aggression to which the US government was opposed. Admiral Moorer said, "I believe Moshe Dayan concluded that he could prevent Washington from becoming aware of what Israel was up to by destroying the primary source of acquiring that information--the US Liberty. Moorer reports that after a 25 minute air attack "that pounded the Liberty with bombs, rockets, napalm and machine gun fire … three Israeli torpedo boats closed in for the kill … the torpedo boats' machine guns also were turned on life rafts that were deployed into the Mediterranean as well as those few on deck that had escaped damage."
   Admiral Moorer says, "What is so chilling and cold-blooded, of course, is that they [Israel] could kill as many Americans as they did in confidence that Washington would cooperate in quelling any public outcry." [ see http://www. moorer3.htm ]
   The US invasion of Iraq and the looming US attack on Iran are proof that Israel has even more power over the White House today.
   Bush has many ways to widen his war in the Middle East. His brutal aggression against Somalia has largely escaped criticism for the war crime that it is. On January 11 the US National Intelligence Director told Congress that Hezbollah in Lebanon may be the next US threat. Just as he lied to the entire world about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, Bush is lying about Iran. Bush and the neoconservatives are frantic for war with Iran to get underway before the US Congress forces a US withdrawal from the failed adventure in Iraq.
   Bush's entire "war on terror" is based on lies. The Bush Regime, desperate to keep its lies covered up, is now trying to prevent American law firms from defending the Guantanamo detainees. The Bush Regime is fearful that Americans will learn that the detainees are not terrorists but props in the regime's orchestrated "terror war."
   On January 13 the New York Times (editorial) said that "Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, tried to rally American corporations to stop doing business with law firms that represent inmates of the Guantanamo internment camp." Stimson alleged that it was "shocking" that American law firms were "representing detainees down there." He suggested that when corporate America got word of if, "those C.E.O.'s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms. We want to watch that play out."
   The only reason for the Bush Regime's policy of indefinite detention without charges is that it has no charges to bring. The detainees are not terrorists. They are the Bush Regime's props in a fake war that serves as cover for the Regime's hegemonic policy in the Middle East.
   The only action that can stop Bush is for both the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate to call on the White House, tell Bush they know what he is up to and that they will not fall for it a second time. The congressional leadership must tell Bush that if he does not immediately desist, he will be impeached and convicted before the week is out. Can a congressional leadership that lives in fear of the Israel Lobby perform this task?
   All the rest is penny-ante. Revoking the Iraqi War Resolution as Rep. Sam Farr has proposed or requiring Bush to obtain congressional authorization prior to any US attack on Iran simply lets Bush and his Federalist Society apologists for executive dictatorship claim he has commander-in-chief powers and proceed with his planned aggression. Cutting off funding is not itself enough as Bush can raid other budgets. Non-binding resolutions of disapproval are meaningless to a president who doesn't care what anyone else thinks.
   Nothing can stop the criminal Bush from instituting wider war in the Middle East that could become a catastrophic world war except an unequivocal statement from Congress that he will be impeached.
   Bush has made the US into a colony of Israel. The US is incurring massive debt and loss of both life and reputation in order to silence Muslim opposition to Israel's theft of Palestine and the Golan Heights. That is what the "war on terror" is about.
   [CONGRESSIONAL RECORD and MOORER: Congressional Record, October 11, 2004, Page E1886
Congressional Record, October 11, 2004, Page E1887
Congressional Record, October 11, 2004, Page E1888
Congressional Record, October 11, 2004, Page E1889
Admiral Moorer's statement of June 8, 1997, for the 30th anniversary of the attack
Who was Admiral Moorer? (1912-2004). ENDS.] [Jan 15, 07]

• Principles For Those Seeking Social Justice  Australia flag; 
   Association for Good Government (New South Wales), talk by its Secretary Mr Richard Giles, under the auspices of the Georgist Education Association Inc. (Western Australia), at 2 Plain St, East Perth, on Tuesday, January 16, 2007.

Principles For Those Seeking Social Justice

Richard Giles, talk in Perth, WA, Australia, Tue., Jan. 16th, 2007
A publication of the Association for Good Government, Sydney
   Suddenly awake and momentarily revolted by hearing of some injustice many people look around for answers. But it is only for a short while. Then, comforted by the thought “It’s sad but that is the way things are” they turn over and go back to sleep again. I presume that we are here because we think we can do better than this …
   The title of this course is Principles for Those Seeking Social Justice. That title suggests two questions. What principles? And will principles help?
   Principles have certainly solved technical problems.
   We have made great technical progress for an obvious reason. We have realised that everything is under physical law and we have discovered and applied these physical laws. But our civilization is faced with extinction because we have failed to discover and apply another set of laws, those to do with the regulation of society.
   The quickest way to reach a solution is to find and then apply the relevant principle. Some of us did it at school in Geometry using the principles enunciated by Euclid.
   These laws governing our behaviour are normally called social and moral laws. Sometimes we think of morality as something to make us “better persons”. But moral laws are more important than that. Moral laws make societies sound and healthy …
Page 2.
   What rule or principle do we think is the most basic moral principle that we know? In other words, if we had to revert to a moral principle to apply to a social problem what would it be? …
   Many people would say it was the Golden Rule. This traditionally is stated as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. In the Bible it is stated in Matthew (7:12) as “Therefore all things whatsoever we would that men should do unto you, do ye even to them: for this is the law and the prophets”.
   Do we agree that this is the principle upon which to base just or equal relationships? …
   But what are the “things … ye would that men should do to you”? Thomas Jefferson suggests what they are in the American Declaration of Independence in very broad terms.
   “We hold these truths to be self-evident- that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …”
   If asked for the “things … ye would that men should to you” we could very well answer “We want to live, to live freely, and to be happy”. We feel that we have a right to satisfy those desires. But, for this to happen, do you agree that we have to be willing to give the same right to others? …
Page 3.
   A recent incident may illustrate this. A ferry capsized off a Greek island. A group of survivors found themselves in a lifeboat. At one end of the boat several men believing there were too many in the boat began to panic. They were threatening an all-out brawl. At the other end were several women when they spied a man in the water swimming towards the boat. The men fearful and insecure screamed that he was not to come on board. But one woman grabbed his arm while another called out that she was not going to let go. The women however lacked the strength to haul the man aboard. Finally, the men relented and dragged him into the lifeboat. The woman interviewed said that a decision had to be made when everyone first came aboard. Was it to be each man for himself or were they all going to co-operate?
   It is like that in the economy. Either our economics is going to be a study of how to get as much as possible for oneself or it is going to be a study of how to add to the wealth of the community as a whole.
   In Roman Times some emperors capriously took the lives of those around them. It was not long before, in one way or another, they themselves were murdered. You might be able to think of other examples …
   It therefore becomes important to secure, not just my rights, but everyone’s rights. That is certainly the case if we are seeking social justice. Thomas Jefferson lays down this as the basic obligation of government. He writes “that to secure these (equal) rights, governments are instituted among men …”.
Page 4.
   Just imagine the kind of society we would have were government to do this; that is, to institute equal rights for everyone. The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu describes such a government as “but a shadowy presence”. It would practically not exist, at least it would not exist as an omnipotent coercive force …
   You might say that we are a long way from such a society but that is not so. We are social beings. We are equipped quite naturally to live harmoniously with others.
   Think of the everyday situations in which we find ourselves: at parties, on buses or trains, walking along the street or in a park, organising the washing up, driving a car, attending a lecture or meeting; we could go on and on. Do we agree that most of the time we live harmoniously with others? …
   True, we can complain about isolated incidents but generally, we would have to say, we do preserve some kind of equality in our relationships. Let us face it, if we did not life would be impossible. Well, is it impossible? …
   Yet it is only too true that marriages, friendships, partnerships, singing groups, relations between family members can collapse, often because they involve unequal relationships.
Page 5.
   But there are larger relationships than these. There is war between nations. There is civil strife between classes or religions or races. Unequal relations in these cases is the stuff of social injustice. In other words, social injustice is institutionalised as unequal relationships between groups.
   The present furore over industrial relations is founded upon the perception that this legislation is going to produce unequal relationships between employers and employees. Do you agree? …
   Recently a letter was discovered dating from 1893. In it a mine manager announced a reduction in wages to his workers in these terms.
   “It is, as it appears to me, only fair to afford you an opportunity of obtaining better pay elsewhere, and this is my reason for giving you a month’s notice (of the pay reduction). You will not inconvenience me much by leaving, as I am simply beset with men begging for employment at any price, and I think I know where to lay my hands on what I want if you leave”.
   Does this old letter sound familiar? …
   If this letter is familiar then the unequal relationship it portrays is also familiar even though the letter was written more than one hundred years ago. But is this unequal relationship only a hundred years old? …
   Of course it has lasted much longer. In that time how many have experienced this injustice? …
Page 6.
   Apparently, nothing over this long period has really radically changed this kind of relationship. Then will future legislation promised now end it? …
   But there is another aspect. Trade union organisers and Labor politicians promise to abolish the recent changes in industrial laws. Their plans, however, seem to be nothing more than to use an even stronger force to coerce employers. This is the State. We are again looking at an unequal relationship, unequal rights.
   Is this the same as giving equal rights? …
   So, even if support this legal remedy maybe we have to admit that it is a second best solution. It sounds a little artificial. It sounds like coercion is being used to protect one party form the other. Do you agree that a more ideal solution would be find what is unequal in the rights of worker and employer and resolve that? …
   One objection to this could be that the longevity of this inequality must indicate that it is natural. But then we are back to the way we started: we are throwing up our hands and accepting injustice … . . . . . . .
Page 7.
   It looks like we have to analyse this employer-employee relationship.
   This relationship may be easier to see if we first do a little economic analysis. Three causes or factors lie behind production. They are called factors of production. These factors are land, labour, and capital. All these factors gain returns. Land receives rent; the labourer receives wages; and the capitalist receives interest or profit.
   Let us see these factors in action in a simple situation. That is the case of the share-cropper. A share-cropper is a tenant farmer who pays his landlord part of this crop in rent. In some cases the landlord supplies seed, tools, and farm buildings. So, while we see him as a landlord he is both a landlord and a capitalist.
   It is common for a share-cropper to get the worst end of the bargain. His rent in the worst cases can amount to half his crop. That might seem a trifle unfair. He is the victim of an unequal relationship. But which right is unequal? Let us see.
   The landlord has a right to the farm land and to the farm capital. But which right gives him the greater power over the share-cropper? …
   We can put that question another way. What represents the greater loss and trouble to the farmer the loss of the capital or the loss of the land? …
Page 8.
   Undesirable as the loss of buildings, tools, and seed might be the loss of the land will prevent his having either any land or any capital. The loss of the land is the greater loss.
   Now, had the landlord chosen he may have made the share-cropper into a farm labourer; that is, employed him to grow the crop. Would his employment position have been essentially any different? …
   So, now we have an employer-employee relationship. Has that changed our conclusion that the right to the land, carrying with it the threat of eviction, is a more powerful right to the farm labourer than the right to the farm capital? …
   It really has not.
   The greatest inequality of rights stems from the fact that one owns the land and the other does not. Again, would the situation be any different were the person exercising this power not the landlord but his steward or agent? …
   It really would make no difference to the worker whether the owner or his steward exercised the power to evict him …
   Now let us turn to a case that seems to be far more complex. Let us take a worker in a factory. His employer is a corporation. Its agent is the Chief Executive Officer whom the worker might never have seen. The most obvious feature of the factory may be the acres of buildings and complex machinery or capital.
Page 9.
   But does the fact of this predominant appearance of capital really change the basic relationship between employer and employee? …
   While we might take little notice of this fact the corporation is nonetheless a landowner. In fact, corporations own far more land than individuals. They are the largest urban landowners. Their agents exercise the rights of landowners. One of those rights is the power to evict.
   You might remember the letter from the mine manager to his workers (p.5). The threat he conveys is that, if they do not accept a reduction in pay, they will be dismissed. That is they will be evicted from the mine site. The threat is not simply to take away the tools that the workers use; it is to remove them from the workplace.
   A survey of American workers has revealed a surprising fact. This is that 43% of American workers do not take annual holidays. Why don’t they take annual holidays? …
   We live amid miles of concrete, capital one could say. At work land is invisible but, arguably, it remains vitally important. Why has the Landlord and Tenant Act grown so enormous? …
   One answer is that, recently, we have tried to protect the tenant from the greater power of the landlord. We have tried to do it by coercion.
Page 10.
   At the moment we cannot accept with any certainty that it is the power of landownership that gives the greater bargaining power to employers.
   So, to continue, let us proceed by What if …? That is, let us hypothesise that the greater bargaining power of the employer is because he owns rights to industrial land and the worker does not.
   Let us try to correct this. We need not aim to make everyone into an employer. This would mean that everyone would become a capitalist. Clearly, in our society that is not possible. Instead, let us aim to increase the number of employers including the self-employed. How would that help workers? …
   Clearly, if an inequality of land rights is the problem, to correct it we need to make our rights in land equal.
   To help us achieve this let us turn to a social law. A social law is one that results from many people seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at the same time. It is a law of large numbers.
   We are not only land animals. We are social animals. We congregate together and we co-operate. Wherever we congregate together and co-operate production is easier and what we produce is more sophisticated.
   What we do not realise is that when we do congregate and co-operate we add value to land. To help this co-operation along we build all kinds of infrastructure. We build highways and railways, ports and power stations. Real estate agents know that location is the most important element in the value of land.
Page 11.
   The result is that while most land in cities is covered in concrete making it worthless as farmland the value of land in cities varies enormously. This is the result of a social law: the law that makes human beings live together and co-operate. Do we see this? …
   Now, we are quite used to paying more for better locations. We do it when we go to the theatre, or to a concert, to a sporting event, or when we buy a house. But, if we leave that value in the hands of private individuals or corporations we have not changed anything. Some are going to be enormously wealthy and powerful because they own rights to valuable land while the majority who lack land rights will continue to be less powerful and poorer.
   So what can be done? …
   The adjustment that seems to be suggested by our discussion is one to our institution of private property in land. Moral law suggests to us that our collective desires for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may best be satisfied by equal rights.
   Social law suggests to us that the more we come together and co-operate the more we will produce. One important effect of this is to make some land in cities more valuable than other land.
   The problem is how to achieve equal rights in land of unequal value. The answer to that problem seems clear enough. We as a community must assert a right, not to the land itself, but to the value of land. Plainly, this suggestion needs careful consideration.
-- Richard Giles, of N.S.W., talk in Perth, January 16th, 2007
New South Wales
TELEPHONE (02) 4455 7880; FACSIMILE (02) 4455 7881
E-MAIL: goodgov AT westnet DOT com DOT au

The magazine Good Government, $20 ($14 if unwaged) to P.O. Box 251, Ulladulla, NSW, 2539
§ § §
[The original Page Numbers of the talk are shown above for reference, although in Perth a shrinkage from 11 pages to 5 was effected by reducing the margins and the font size and switching to Times New Roman, to save paper and costs. The article Who was Henry George? was appended to the original, but in Perth has been separated.]
2 Plain Street, East Perth, Western Australia, 6004
Tel. +61 (0) 8 9221 1973
[Jan 16, 07]

• Who was Henry George?  United States of America flag; 
   Association for Good Government (New South Wales), distributed with the text used at the talk "Principles for those seeking social justice" by its Secretary Mr Richard Giles, under the auspices of the Georgist Education Association Inc. (Western Australia), at 2 Plain St, East Perth, on Tuesday, January 16, 2007.


   Who wrote the most popular book on economics ever written? Which American's funeral rivalled that of Abraham Lincoln's? Did you know that Progress and Poverty sold over two million copies prior to 1914? Did you know that over 50,000 people lined up to pass by the body of Henry George during the seven hours it lay in state, and that more than 100,000 lined the streets along the path of his funeral procession? The funeral procession was compared in size and spontaneous reverence to that of Abraham Lincoln.
   Henry George was born September 2, 1839, in Philadelphia and died in New York on October 29, 1897. He lived most of his life in San Francisco as a typesetter, journalist, editor and managing editor. At fourteen he left school and went to sea; at twenty-two, unemployed and faced with going back to sea for good and losing the girl he loved, he proposed marriage. Although penniless he was accepted with the solemn words, "If you are willing to undertake the responsibilities of marriage, I will marry you". The couple eloped and he married in borrowed clothes. Although he tried all kinds of jobs they remained poor. George was forced to beg $5 for food for his starving wife and second baby.
   In 1865 his fortunes changed when he began to write and find publishers. Already suspicious of the effects of progress on the poor, he was "appalled and tormented" by the extremes of wealth and poverty he saw in New York, America's leading city. Back in California he formed the opinion that poverty was caused by the monopoly of natural opportunities, in other words the monopoly of land. But this view was immeasurably refined by a giant insight when, riding well out of Oakland one day in 1869, he strayed onto the path of the projected Sacramento-Oakland railroad.
   For something to say he asked a passerby how much land was selling for. He was told it was selling for more than $1000 an acre. As he told it some twenty-four years later, it was then that he realised what became of progress. Rent took it! Progress increased the value of land but not wages.
   Still thinking in terms of California he wrote a pamphlet in 1871 advocating a single tax on land values to give to producers their full wages, to Government its natural revenue, and to the people their right to land.
   He next turned his theory to an explanation of the depression gripping the United States after 1873. It was this essay which, expanded into a study of civilization, and making use of the Ricardian concept of economic rent, showed how production was divided between rent and wages, how progress, whatever its form, increased the relative proportion of rent to wages; and how the monopoly of land reduced wages to a customary minimum, produced trade depressions, and suggested false ideas about the nature of economics and the capacity of the earth to provide for its inhabitants. The story goes that, the night in March, 1879 he completed Progress and Poverty, he fell to his knees in tears to thank God for what he had seen and for what he had been allowed to do for humanity.
   With the help of a friend in the printing business who provided the plates, he printed an author's edition of 500 copies. These plates, given to the publishers Appletons of New York, were the basis of a regular edition to 1880, and Henry George moved to New York in the same year.
   The story of one of George's closest associates, Louis Post, illustrates the often accidental paths by which people come to the ideas of this book. Post, a New York journalist, took a cursory look at (The Irish) Land Question published by George in 1881, and dashed off an editorial "demolishing" its main idea. Land monopoly might be bad, he wrote, but land tax would simply be passed onto tenants.
   The quality of the book had nonetheless impressed upon him a lingering doubt, so he sent off the editorial to George asking for a comment. Progress and Poverty came back. He read the book in its entirety, interrupted only by some few hours of sleep.
   He was convinced, even though he could not remember having seen the answer to his question. Later on, in conversation with a friend, he praised George's land tax - and was immediately confronted with his own question. "Landowners will raise rents, and so recover your land-value tax from their tenants".
   The doubt came back; but he pressed forward. Taking a new tax on the production of sugar as an example, he asked what would happen to its price. His friend replied that the tax would increase the price of sugar, just as a land tax would increase the price of land. This time he was confused; but he went on. He suggested, and his friend agreed, that this tax on sugar must increase its cost of production and, where the sugar could not be sold at the increased price, decrease its supply. He then found himself asking his friend whether "a heavy land tax" would decrease the supply of land or whether it would actually make it more plentiful. His friend was puzzled, and Post found himself suggesting that this tax had not added to the cost of producing land, but that it had added to the cost of holding it out of use. He later found much the same answer tucked away in Progress and Poverty.
   With Post's support the book was serialised in a New York daily and, in 1883, George was commissioned to write a series of articles on current problems, later collectively printed as Social Problems. In 1885 he wrote the third of his most popular books, Protection or Free Trade? - a work which, while persuasively arguing for free trade, shows why workers legitimately doubt that it raises wages. (Unfortunately, George had to write it twice after a cleaning lady had thrown out his original manuscript in the rubbish!)
   George was of course now a public figure. He made lecture tours of Great Britain, The United States, and even Australia (April to June, 1890) - his wife was Australian. In Australia the rich took to free trade, but it did not excite workers, who were protectionists. On the other hand, land tax won him the support of workers but alienated the rich. Nonetheless, press reports recorded his powers as an orator.
   While noting his slow, almost hesitant start, the Brisbane Courier and Sydney Echo for example showed amazement at his effortless power to form polished sentences, and to hold an audience of all shades of opinion upon the subject of economics for two hours without using any notes. (The hesitant start can be explained by his nervousness, and his habit of speaking extemporarily).
   Back in America he helped form Land and Labor clubs and continued to edit a journal the Standard (until 1892). He also continued to write. Without being named his main ideas were attacked in several placed by the Papal encyclical Rerum Novarum whose centenary was celebrated in 1991. His response was an open letter to Pope Leo XIII, The Condition of Labour, perhaps the most readable and straight-forward outline of his views.
   At the height of his popularity, in 1886, he was nominated by labour organisations and liberals for Mayor of New York. Tammany Hall advised all respectable citizens to "save society" from the violent revolution George planned if he were elected. As it happened George came second, behind the Democrat candidate but ahead of the Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. Without his own scrutineers it was said that on election day many of George's votes had sailed down the Hudson! It was during this campaign that his most energetic supporter, Father McGlynn, was warned by his superior not to make public speeches in favour of George's ideas. When he persisted he was excommunicated. Dr. McGlynn was reinstated in 1892, possibly showing that The Condition of Labour had some effect.
   In 1890, soon after the gruelling three months tour of Australia, George was struck down by aphasia. One result was that he retired to his project to write a primer on economics. Uncompleted at his death in 1897 The Science of Political Economy is far from a primer. Instead it carried forward his thinking, especially about land value which he now more thoroughly identified as an antisocial power to deny access to land.
   His physical weakness continued. Against the advice of his doctor and friends in early October, 1897, he once again accepted the nomination of organised labour to stand for Mayor of New York. Four or five public speeches each day, often to immense crowds of working people, scattered his last physical resources. The opening words of his last speech, made on October 28 on the eve of the election, were only begun after he had wandered silently and uncertainly for some time about the stage. He died the next day.
§ § §
New South Wales
TELEPHONE (02) 4455 7880; FACSIMILE (02) 4455 7881
E-MAIL: goodgov AT westnet DOT com DOT au

The magazine Good Government, $20 ($14 if unwaged) to P.O. Box 251, Ulladulla, NSW, 2539
2 Plain Street, East Perth, Western Australia, 6004
Tel. +61 (0) 8 9221 1973 and 9343 9532
[issued Jan 16, 07]

• AWB chiefs reap $6.5m bonanza.  Australia flag;  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

AWB chiefs reap $6.5m bonanza

   The West Australian, by SHANE WRIGHT, ECONOMICS EDITOR, pp 1 and 4, Thursday, January 18, 2007
   AUSTRALIA: Five discredited former AWB executives reaped payments of $6.5 million from the wheat exporter last year, including golden handshakes of $2.65 million, even though four of them may face charges for their role in the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.
   AWB's annual report, released yesterday, shows that former executive director Andrew Lindberg collected $1.4 million as a termination payment even though kickback payments by the company to the regime of Saddam Hussein took place on his watch.
   Mr Lindberg, who resigned last year and will not face charges out of the Cole inquiry into the Saddam kickbacks, was paid more than $3 million for just five months work.
   In 2005, he was paid $1.8 million, of which almost $900,000 was in performance bonuses.
   But four men who could face charges, including breaches of the Crimes Act and the Corporations Act, were also paid handsomely for their time with the company, and for leaving it.
   Former chief financial officer Paul Ingleby, who Justice Terence Cole found effectively approved the system of kickback payments, was paid $964,000 in 2006, including a $200,000 retention payment.
   In evidence to the Cole inquiry, Mr Ingleby revealed that he claimed the kickbacks to the former regime of Saddam Hussein as a company tax deduction.
   The Australian Taxation Office investigated but eventually found the claims were legitimate because Mr Cole did not rule that the payments amounted to bribery of foreign officials under Australian law.
   Mr Cole found Mr Ingleby approved the mechanism for paying the kickbacks, recommending he be investigated for possible criminal offences.
   Mr Cole said he could not accept AWB's former trading chief Peter Geary as a frank and truthful witness. But he was paid $572,000 for his work with the company.
   Mr Ingleby and Mr Geary could make hundreds of thousands of dollars more. They paid well below market price for thousands of AWB shares as part of a share rights issue made to them.
   AWB shares are currently worth $3.36, giving the two not only a paper profit but also access to the company's dividend stream.
   Former general manager of international sales Charles Stott was paid almost $1.4 million, including a $781,000 termination payment.
Discredited AWB chiefs paid $6.5m when they left
   And former in-house general counsel Jim Cooper was paid $643,000, including a $468,000 termination payout, before he left AWB on April 15 last year.
   The Cole report said Mr Cooper must have known that a complex debt recovery, referred to as the Tigris matter, was a sham.
   The payments cover the period stretching from the release of the initial United Nations report into the oil-for-food scandal and the Cole Commission hearings. Mr Cole's report was not released until late November.
   The task force examining Mr Cole's recommendations begins in Melbourne next week.
   WA Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey said that the share rights offer to Mr Ingleby and Mr Geary was particularly upsetting. "After the release of AWB's annual report for 2006, it is obvious that AWB continues to put their own interests ahead of the interest of wheat growers," he said.
   Shadow attorney-general Kelvin Thomson said every taxpayer and wheat grower should be shocked at the size of the payouts. #
   [RECAPITULATION: … Mr Lindberg, who resigned last year and will not face charges out of the Cole inquiry into the Saddam kickbacks, was paid more than $3 million for just five months work.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: All the directors and office-bearers ought to be in a remand centre, awaiting trial, for immorally dealing with a dictator, who paid cheques to the families of Palestinians and others who murdered people in Israel by suicide attacks, that is, terrorism. ENDS.]
   ALSO SEE: p 4, "WA farmers to get say on exports":
   AND, p. 4, "Fat payouts": [Jan 18, 07]

• UN director on bribery charges.  United Nations flag;  

UN director on bribery charges

   The West Australian, p 4, Thursday, January 18, 2007
   NEW YORK: The former director of the scandal-tainted UN oil-for-food program in Iraq has been charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to the scheme.
   Former executive director Benoh Sevan, 69, and Ephraim Nadler, 79, a businessman and brother-in-law of former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, were named in an indictment in a US court yesterday.
   Mr Sevan is accused of receiving $204,700 in kickbacks from the government of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein through Mr Nadler.
   He faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted and Mr Nadler up to 112 years.
   "The allegations in this current indictment that the executive director of the very program that was created to provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people was involved in such a scheme demonstrates how pervasive the corruption was," prosecutor Michael Garcia said.
   A statement issued by Mr Sevan's US lawyer dismissed the allegations as "not only trivial, they are without basis".
   Mr Sevan resigned from the UN in August 2005 and criticised then-UN secretary general Kofi Annan for "sacrificing" him.
   [RECAPITULATION: … Ephraim Nadler, 79, a businessman and brother-in-law of former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, were named in an indictment …   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: And, Mr Kofi Annan's son is also being accused of corruption, too.   So more than one family partakes!  New meanings for "family values" and "spreading the wealth"!  ENDS.] [Jan 18, 07]

• A Multi-Year History in Brief. 

A Multi-Year History In Brief

   E-mail of January 23, 2007, said to derive from the David Icke website, which is www.david, received January 26, 2007
   18th May, 1967: Texas oil billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, using a sophisticated satellite technique to detect global deposits, discovers a huge oil source south of New Zealand in the Great South Basin.
   10th June, 1967: Hunt and New Zealand Finance Minister reach an agreement: Hunt will receive sole drilling rights and Muldoon will receive a $US100,000 non-repayable loan from Hunt's Placid Oil Co.
   8th September, 1967: Placid Oil granted drilling rights to the Great South Basin.
   10th May, 1968: Hawaiian meeting between Onassis and top lieutenants William Colby and Gerald Parsky to discuss establishment of a new front company in Australia - Australasian and Pacific Holdings Limited - to be managed by Michael Hand. Using Onassis-Rockefeller banks, Chase Manhattan and Shroders, Travelodge Management Ltd sets up another front to link the operations to the US.
   Onassis crowned head of the Mafia; Colby (head of CIA covert operations in S.E. Asia) ran the Onassis heroin operations in the Golden Triangle (Laos, Burma, Thailand) with 200 Green Beret mercenaries - i.e. the Phoenix Programme.
   Gerald Parsky deputy to ex-CIA/FBI Robert Maheu in the Howard Hughes organization, took orders from Onassis and was made responsible for laundering skim money from the Onassis casino operations in Las Vegas and the Bahamas.
   Mid-July, 1968: Placid Oil Co and the Seven Sisters (major oil companies) begin Great South Basin oil exploration - Hunt finances 45.5% of exploration costs, Gulf Oil 14.5%, Shell (US) 10%, B.P. Oil 10%, Standard Oil California 10%, Mobil 6.5% and Arco 6.5%.
   12th October, 1968: Hunt and Seven Sisters announce confirmation of new oil source comparable to the Alaskan North Slope - gas reserves estimated at 150 times larger than the Kapuni Field.
   Early 1969: Mafia consolidates its banking operations; David Rockefeller becomes Chairman of Chase Manhattan; Wriston at Citibank and Michele Sindona captures the Vatican Bank, Partnership Pacific launched by Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo and Bank of New South Wales.
   24th February, 1969: Onassis calls Council meeting in Washington to discuss strategy to monopolize the Great South Basin discovery. Council members included Nelson Rockefeller and John McCloy, who managed the Seven Sisters, and David Rockefeller, who managed the Mafia's banking operations.
   McCloy outlines the plan to capture all oil and mineral resources in Australia and N.Z.
   10th March, 1969: Parsky and Colby use Australasian and Pacific Holdings to set up a 'front' company in Australia. Using old banks - Mellon Bank and Pittsburgh National Bank - they buy control of near-bankrupt Industrial Equity Ltd (I.E.L.) managed by New Zealander Ron Brierly. 'Australasian and Pacific Holdings' 'consultant' Bob Seldon helps Michael Hand set up the new organization. Seldon took orders from Mellon and Pittsburgh National Banks, while Hand was directly responsible to Gerald Parsky and William Colby. Ron Brierly would take orders from Hand.
   24th July, 1969: New board established for I.E.L. includes Hand, Seldon, Ron Brierly, plus two Brierly associates - Frank Nugan and Bob Jones. Both are appointed consultants to Australasian and Pacific Holdings Ltd.
   Jones will help Brierly launder funds into real estate (Brierly/Jones Investments) while Seldon and Nugan will channel funds into oil and mineral resources through I.E.L.
   October 1969: Chase Manhattan begins new operation in Australia with National Bank Australasia and A.C. Goods Associates - Chase-NBA.
   J.C. Fletcher appointed chairman of Seven Sisters' company - British Petroleum (N.Z.).
   17th February 1970: Gerald Parsky sets up a new heroin-dollar laundry in Australia - Australian International Finance Corp - using the Irving Trust Co. New York.
   April 1970: Onassis, Rockefeller and the Seven Sisters begin setting up the shadow World Government using the Illuminati-controlled banks and the transnational corporations. In Melbourne they set up the Australian International Finance Corporation using:
* Irving Trust Co. N.Y. - linked to Shell Oil, Continental Oil, Phillips Petroleum.
* Crocker Citizens National - linked to Atlantic Richfield (Arco), Standard Oil of California which is Rockefeller-controlled.
* Bank of Montreal - Petro Canada, Penarctic Oils, Alberta Gas, Gulf Oil.
* Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ).
   Japanese members of One World Government move into New Zealand, helped by Finance Minister R. Muldoon
   Mitsubishi and Mitsui make a profitable deal buying up rights to ironsands helped by Marcona Corp. (US) and Todd (Shell/BP/Todd)
   Todd rewarded with sole New Zealand franchise for Mitsubishi vehicles
   Muldoon helps Mitsui (Oji Paper Co) obtain a lucrative 320 million cubic foot Kiangaroa Forestry contract with Carter Holt
   November, 1970: Fletchers extend the Rockefeller Travelodge operation by buying control of New Zealand's largest travel company - Atlantic and Pacific Travel.
   Manufacturers' and Retailers' Acceptance Company (in 1970 changed to Marac): This firm specialises in leasing and factoring (buying debts at a discount). It also finances imports and exports.
   The major shareholders are: the Fletcher Group (38.0%), the Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd (24.7%), NIMU Insurance (7.7%), Phillips Electrical (3.8%), National Mutual Life Association (2.4%), New Zealand United Corporation (4.0%).
   The CBA is a partner in the supranational Euro-Pacific Corporation, the other partners being the Midland Bank (UK), the United California Bank (USA), Fuji (Japan) and Societe Generale de Banque (France).
   Early 1971: Onassis and Rockefeller begin global operation to buy influence for the One World Government concept. They use Lockheed, Northrop and Litton Industries 'agent' Adnan Khashoggi, to organize operations in the Middle East, Iran and Indonesia. I.C.I. set up $2.5 million slush fund to Australia and N.Z.
   Finance Minister Muldoon changes law to allow Mafia-controlled banks to begin operations in New Zealand. Links also made by N.Z.I. in preparation for:
Paxus control with Hong Kong and Shanghai;
Wells Fargo with Broadbank;
Chase Manhattan with General Finance;
Bank of America and Barclays with Fletchers and Renouf in New Zealand United Corp.
   All members of the Business Round Table Organization.
   Late 1971: Gulf Oil and their man Brierly begin organizing chains of Shell companies and dummy corporations to conceal their takeover operations of oil, gas and mineral resources and related industries such as vehicle franchises, vehicle spare parts and finance services - all part of the Seven Sisters' controlled car culture.
   To extend links to the US banking operations they buy control of I.S.A.S. (NSW) and I.S.A.S. (Qld), which hold sole franchise for construction and mining equipment produced by International Harvester Credit Co, which is part of Chase Manhattan Bank and associated with First National Bank Chicago (Chairman Sullivan also Executive Vice-President of Chase Manhattan), Continental Illinois (linked with CIA and Mafia Michele Sindona of Vatican Bank) and Rockefeller's Standard Oil of Indiana (AMOCO).
   I.S.A.S. (Qld) also has strategic holdings in North Flinders Mines, Flinders Petroleum, Apollo International Minerals.
   February 1972: Onassis and Rockefeller help associate Adnan Khashoggi buy the Security Pacific National Bank in California and take control of the United California Bank through CIA-linked Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Both banks used by Onassis and Khashoggi to funnel bribes and payoffs via the CIA's Deak Bank to captive Japanese and other crooked politicians. Security Pacific also used to 'launder' over $2 million for Nixon's re-election campaign. Khashoggi also buys 21% of Southern Pacific Properties, which is the major stockholder in Travelodge (Aust), thereby establishing direct links to New Zealand, and U.E.B. and Fletchers through its equity links with Travelodge (N.Z.).
   April 1972: Mafia banking operations expanded through New Hebrides with establishment of Australian International Ltd to finance Pacific development by the oil companies (Seven Sisters). Banks involved include Irving Trust NY, Bank of Montreal, Crocker International, Australia & N.Z. Bank and the Mitsubishi Bank, whose president, Nakamaru, is appointed Chairman.
   26th May, 1972: Gerald Parsky installs Michele Sindona as 'owner' of Franklin National Bank, helped by the Gambino Mafia family and David Kennedy - Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank and Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury.
   Pacific Basin Economic Council Conference in Wellington, NZ. Vice-President Shigeo Nagano also chairman of Nippon Steel and member of Onassis and other World Government organizations. Chairman of NZ sub-committee, J. Mowbray is also General Manager of the National Bank.
   Meanwhile, Michele Sindona, acting as the go-between for the Mafia and the CIA, was the conduit between US and European banks. Michele Sindona's Vatican Bank and associate Calvi's Abrosiano Bank was used to finance CIA neo-fascist Italian/Latin American operations through Licio Gelli's P2 Lodge, which helped to organize the 'death squads' of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. This aided the P2 members such as Klaus Barbie ('The Butcher of Lyons') and Jose Rega - organizer of the A.A.A. in Argentina.
   16th August, 1972: Gulf Oil associate Bob Seldon helps establish new banking operation, first NZ international banks include Bank of New Zealand, D.F.C. (Aust), N.Z.I., Morgan Guaranty Trust, Morgan Grenfel and S.F. Warburg.
   Fletchers begins expansion overseas with deals signed in Indonesia, Fiji and New Guinea.
   December 1972: Kirk elected Prime Minister of New Zealand.
   February, 1973: Gerald Parsky, William Colby, Michael Hand, Frank Nugan and Bob Seldon move to further consolidate the Mafia banking operations. In NZ they acquire 20% Fletcher subsidiary Marac, using the Security Pacific National Bank helped by Marac Corporate secretary Alan Hawkins.
   Frank Nugan and Michael Hand use Fletcher and Renouf and their NZ United Corporation to link with I.E.L. and Brierly Investments through cross-shareholding agreement.
   In Australia, the Nugan Hand Bank begins operations with 30% of the stock held by Australasian and Pacific Holdings (100% Chase Manhattan Bank), 25% by CIA's Air America (known as 'Air Opium'), 25% by South Pacific Properties and 20% held by Seldon, Nugan and Hand.
   The Irving Trust Bank's New York Branch establishes US links between the CIA and Nugan Hand, a worldwide network of 22 banks set up to:
a) 'launder' money from Onassis heroin operations in the Golden Triangle and Iran
b) as a CIA funnel to pro-US political parties in Europe and Latin America, including Colby's P2
c) a spying conduit for information from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand
d) finance arms smuggled to Libya, Indonesia, South America, Middle East and Rhodesia using the CIA's Edward Wilson
   Colby and Kissinger use key CIA and Naval Intelligence officers to oversee the operation, including Walter McDonald (former Deputy Director CIA), Dale Holmgren (Flight Service Manager CIA Civil Air Transport), Robert Jansen (former CIA Station Chief, Bangkok), etc.
   Heroin flown into Australia by CIA's Air America and trans-shipped to Onassis lieutenant in Florida, Santos Trafficante Jr, assisted by Australian Federal Bureau of Narcotics officials and coordinated by CIA's Ray Cline.
   14th June, 1973: Inauguration of the Onassis shadow World Government - the Trilateral Commission. Includes over 200 members from the US, Europe and Japan - bankers, government officials, transnational corporations' top executives, trade unionists, etc. Of the world's largest corporations, 24 directly represented and dozens more through interlocking directorships.
   * Trilateralist strategy: monopolization of the world's resources, production facilities, labour technology, markets, transport and finance. These aims backed up by the US military and industrial complexes that are already controlled and backed up by the CIA.
   18th August, 1973: Ray Cline and Michael Hand meet in Adelaide to discuss CIA plan to establish spying operations in NZ.
   September 1973: Seagram's, with strong links to Chase Manhattan Bank of Montreal and Toronto Dominion Bank, buys 2,800 acres of prime land in Marlborough helped by Peter Maslen.
   17th February, 1974: Mafia sets up New Hebrides Bank - Commercial Pacific Trust Co (COMPAC). Banks include CBA, Europacific Finance Corporation, Trustee Executors and Agency Co, Fuji Bank, Toronto Dominion Bank, European Asian Bank and United California Bank, COMPAC to be used as a cover for heroin dollar laundering operations.
   26th February, 1974: Michael Hand meets Bob Jones in Wellington to implement plans for the CIA's new spying operation - countries targeted include France, Chile, West Germany and Israel.
   Using the Brierly/Jones Investment funnel, Jones buys building in Willeston Street which will be rented to France and Chile, another at Plimmer Steps to house West Germany and Israel.
   CIA will set up eavesdropping communications centre inside the Willeston Street building and another at 163 The Terrace which will link with equipment installed in the Plimmer Steps building. Four CIA technicians will run the whole operation.
   April 1974: Finance Minister Rowling appoints Ron Trotter to the Overseas Investment Commission, whose chairman, G. Lau, is also a member of the Todd Foundation (Shell/BP/Todd) investment board.
Whitlam and Kirk
   Mid-1974: Gough Whitlam and Norman Kirk begin a series of moves absolutely against the Mafia Trilateralists. Whitlam refuses to waive restrictions on overseas borrowings to finance Alwest Aluminium Consortium of Rupert Murdoch, BHP and R.J. Reynolds. Whitlam had also ended Vietnam War support, blocked uranium mining and wanted more control over US secret spy bases - e.g. Pine Gap.
   Kirk had introduced a new, tough Anti-Monopoly Bill and had tried to redistribute income from big companies to the labour force through price regulation and a wages policy.
   Kirk had also rejected plans to build a second aluminium smelter near Dunedin and was preparing the Petroleum Amendment Bill to give more control over New Zealand oil resources.
   Kirk had found out that Hunt Petroleum, drilling in the Great South Basin, had discovered a huge resource of oil comparable in size to the North Sea or Alaskan North Slope. Gas reserves alone now estimated at 30 times bigger than Kapuni and oil reserves of at least 20 billion barrels - enough for New Zealand to be self-sufficient for years.
   Oil companies completely hushed up these facts. To have announced a vast new oil source would probably mean a decline in world oil prices, which would not have allowed OPEC and Onassis plans for the Arabs to eventuate. N.Z. could be exploited at a later date, particularly since the North Sea operations were about to come on stream - Kirk was the last to hold out.
   September, 1974: According to CIA sources, Kirk was killed by the Trilateralists using Sodium Morphate. Rowling's first act as NZ Prime Minister was to withdraw Kirk's Anti-Monopoly Bill and the Petroleum Amendment Bill.
   Later, Rowling was to be rewarded with ambassadorship to Washington. Incidentally, the Shah of Iran was murdered the same way as Kirk on his arrival in the US.
   6th October, 1974: Ray Cline implements William Colby plan to oust Australian Prime Minister Whitlam. Nugan Hand Bank finances payoffs to Malcolm Fraser and other pro-US politicians. A joint bugging operation commences between CIA and ASIA.
   Rupert Murdoch, playing his part, uses his newspapers and television network to spread lies and misinformation. Whitlam, as well as refusing to waive restrictions on overseas borrowing to finance the aluminium consortium, had plans to ensure that all corporations were at least 50% Australian-owned. This interfered with the Seven Sisters' plans to build three oil refineries at Cape Northumberland in South Australia to exploit the Great South Basin discovery.
   December, 1974: Australian Governor-General John Kerr joins Ray Cline's payroll and received his first pay-off of $US200,000 credited to his account number 767748 at the Singapore branch of the Nugan Hand Bank.
   11th November, 1975: Governor-General Kerr sacks the Whitlam Government.
   August 1975: Rowling re-introduces unrecognizable Commerce Bill, designed to aid monopolization of the NZ economy and repeals the News Media Ownership Act, allowing more foreign ownership of NZ media. The new legislation does not define monopoly, competition or stipulate permissible maximum market share, or even ascertain what the public interest is - resulting in a sell-out to big business.
   December, 1975: Election battle between Rowling and Muldoon. Oil companies pour thousands of dollars into Muldoon's campaign via National Bank (NZ), whose general manager Mowbray is also a member of Todd Foundations; Investment Board Director Tudhope also Managing Director Shell Oil and Chairman Shell/BP/Todd. Muldoon wins.
   February, 1976: Muldoon implements pre-election secret agreement with the NZ Seven Sisters' oil representatives of Shell/BP/Todd for helping finance the National Party campaign.
   Muldoon removes the $3 per barrel oil levy for the New Zealand Refining Company, which increases the oil companies' profits by 100% at the taxpayers' expense and with all future oil prospecting licenses, the Government has the option to take 51% of any discovery without meeting exploration costs. This is designed to discourage further exploration, thereby keeping the lid on the Great South Basin discovery.
   Meanwhile, in Australia, new P.M. Malcolm Fraser reopens uranium mining and opens the way for takeover of mineral resources with big tax breaks for oil exploration, coal and mining.
   Muldoon returns a favor to the oil companies by arranging $US200 million loan for Maui Gas Development for Shell/BP/Todd.
   September, 1976: With captive politicians in place in both Australia and New Zealand, the Internationalists can now proceed with their strategy of takeover of the economy and exploitation of natural resources.
   "In New Zealand, the elimination of unnecessary competition is fundamental to a sound economy," Brierly says.
   Parksy and Colby use Brierly/Jones Investments as a vehicle to buy into A.B. Consolidated Holdings in New Zealand.
   Associate of R. Jones, Pat Goodman, is appointed 'consultant' of Australasian and Pacific Holdings.
   November, 1976: The Internationalists (Mafia) set up a NZ money 'funnel' using Brierley's City Realties. National Insurance Co acquires 33% of the stock. Largest stockholders in National Insurance are the US Firemen's Fund - Chairman and President Myron Du Bain also Vice Chairman of American Express (Amex). Chairman of I.E.L. linked International Harvester, Archie McCardell, also Amex Director. Amex linked with Chase Manhattan and seven Sisters' Texaco and Mobil. Du Bain also Director of CIA-linked United California Bank, which is a partner in Commercial Pacific Trust.
   To complete the money funnel, National Insurance becomes a stockholder in Chase Manhattan's Chase-NBA. Brierley's declared assets reach $100 million, with shareholder's capital of only $2.5 million - all cash acquisitions.
   3rd February, 1977: Parksy and Colby close down the Brierley/Jones Investment funnel and open up separate channels for Brierley and Jones. Jones will be supplied with 'laundered' funds via Sydney branch of the Nugan Hand Bank, while for Ron Brierley, Gerald Parsky uses Myron Du Bain, Dierctor of United California Bank and also chairman and president of the US Firemen's Fund, which are the largest stockholders in National Insurance (NZ). Funds to be 'laundered' via Chase Manhattan Bank through National Insurance to City Realty and via United California Bank through COMPAC (New Hebrides) to National Insurance and City Realties.
   To expand the Bierley/I.E.L. 'front', Parsky establishes Industrial Equity Pacific (Hong Kong).
   September 1977: Brierley's new holding company begins operations - A.B. Consolidated. H.W. Revell appointed Deputy Chairman and B. Hancox General Manager, while newly-appointed directors include S. Cushing, B. Judge, O. Gunn and P. Goodman, linked with Renouf, Fletcher and Papps through I.E.L./N.Z.U.C.
   * Strategy: To target and divide key sectors of the economy for takeover, exploitation and monopolization. Operations to extend to use Hong Kong facility, I.E.P. Fletchers to extend the Khashoggi/Rockefeller Travelodge operation by taking holdings in Vacation Hotels and Intercontinental Properties (Renouf Chairman).
   October, 1977: Muldoon and John Todd - Shell/BP/Todd - sign an agreement. NZ Govt would take 24.5% holding in the Great South Basin for $1.65 Billion. Hunt would reduce his holding from 45.5% to 27.5% and Arco would sell its 6.5%.
   * Reason: Hunt did not possess the technology to pump oil from deep water; Gulf possessed the technology but did not tell Hunt. Arco was not told anything and were swindled out of its 6.5% concession.
   November, 1977: Muldoon introduces the S.I.S Amendment Bill, designed to keep the economy free of obstruction and to help uncover obstructive elements. Telephone taps, mail tampering and other surveillance methods approved after CIA input on contents of legislation.
   Late 1977: Muldoon travels to the US to meet top Rockefeller officials, including Trilateralists' Deputy Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, and Richard Bolbrooke, who were in charge of the new "South Pacific Desk" at the State Department established by Rockefeller to target exploitation of both New Zealand and Australia. In Los Angeles, Muldoon meets top Rockefeller officials, Robert Anderson (Rockwell Chairman, also Director of Kashoggi's Security Pacific National Bank) and P. Larkin (Rockwell Director, also Chairman, Executive Committee Security Pacific National Bank and Director of Marac).
   April, 1978: Muldoon sets up Petrocorp. New Zealand taxpayers pay for the exploration costs but the oil companies control all distribution outlets. Muldoon blocks development of Maui B as restructured supplies mean higher prices and bigger profits for Shell/BP/Todd. South Island gas market not developed as Great South Basin fields closer than Kapuni. Plans develop for re-opening of National Parks for mineral exploitation.
   22nd July, 1978: Director of Australian Federal Bureau of Narcotics suspends his investigation into the Nugan Hand Bank after pressure from the CIA and Australian politicians controlled by Mafia, particularly Malcolm Fraser.
   Brierly's declared assets reach $200 million, with shareholders' funds only $17 million.
   May, 1979: Trilateral Commission secretary Zbignieu Brzezinski appoints Muldoon chairman of Board of Governors of IMF/World Bank on orders of David Rockefeller. Muldoon would head three-man administration committee which included Canadian Finance Minister Mitchell Sharp, key figure in the Mafia Council and the Trilateral Commission. Australian Treasurer McMahon also involved.
   8th June, 1979: Michael Hand, Frank Nugan, Brierley and James Fletcher meet in Hand's Sydney penthouse to discuss the establishment of the New Zealand Mafia organization.
   Mid- 1979: Gulf Oil using its man Brierley, begins operations designed to capture key sectors of the economy. A.B Consolidated restructured into the Goodman Group and Goodman to run operations but with the majority of the stock held by IEL and Brierley using Shell companies plus dummy corporations.
   * Strategy: To take over food and produce resources, Brierley and Fletcher restructured a small private company, H.W. Smith, using Cyril Smith as Chairman but with key executives Judge, Collins and McKenzie. Bob Jones helps.
   Private company used, as no Commerce Commission control, accounts not published, no public disclosure of transactions. Bunting is established as a shell company and the South Island is targeted for asset-stripping and takeover, as well as key sectors of the automobile industry.
   Unlimited funds channeled through City Realties, NZUC and Marac extends Travelodge operations by buying control of Transholdings, which has strategic holdings in Vacation Hotels and Tourist Corp. Fiji Holdings.
   17th August, 1979: New Zealand Mafia inaugural meeting in Sydney including Hand, Brierley, Fletcher, Goodman, R.Trotter, Alan Hawkins and L.Papps.
   Key sectors of the economy would be taken over- food, using Goodman; forestry and farming, using Fletcher and Trotter; property, using Brierley and Jones. Brierley, Hand and Papps would be responsible for banking, insurance and finance, while Hand and Hawkins would be responsible for setting up new "laundry" channels into New Zealand.
   The economy would be taken over using cheap loans of less than 5%, while consumers would pay 28%.
   October, 1979: BP Oil begins $100 million joint venture deal with Fletcher and Trotter at Tasman.
   Muldoon makes secret deal with oil companies which effectively robs New Zealand taxpayers by giving Shell/BP/Todd the Maui Gas deal. Normally the granting of drilling rights on public land is done using a worldwide system which incorporates an auction tender system. Muldoon bypassed this. Also, Shell/BP/Todd pays no tax on Kapuni profits, while putting funds into Maui development.
   19th November, 1979: Secret meeting in Auckland between Muldoon, Fletcher and Trotter to transfer 43% Tasman Pulp and Paper held by New Zealand Government to Challenge Corporation (Chairman Trotter) and Fletchers. Tasman has lucrative 75-year contract for cheap timber signed in 1955.
   Muldoon paid off with a $1 million 'non-repayable' loan - $500,000 to be paid into account number 8746665 at New Hebrides branch of the Australian International Bank.
   November, 1979: Muldoon drops restrictions on foreign investment. AMAX (Standard Oil of California subsidiary) captures the Martha Hill goldmine.
   Muldoon unveils the Government's plans (instructed by Rockefeller) to form New Zealand into an offshore production base for the multi-national corporations as benefits include government export incentives, stable government, cheap labour, and so on.
   27th November, 1979: Gerald Parsky's lieutenant, David Kennedy, meets Muldoon to deliver $US100,000 cash to Muldoon for implementing the Internationalists' Mafia Think Big plans.
   These plans began with big contracts and guaranteed profits for the Seven Sisters, Bechtel, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Nippon Steel, Internationalists' Mafia banks.
   With the experimental petroleum plant, the oil price has to be $50/barrel to be profitable, yet Mobil's profits are guaranteed.
   New Zealand Steel is to be expanded 500%, even though there was a global steel glut of 50%.
   Fletchers own 10% of New Zealand Steel and are majority stockholders in Pacific Steel and control monopoly over wire rod, reinforcing steel. Also, New Zealand taxpayers subsidize Fletchers' profits.
   Muldoon introduces the National Development Bill with 'fast-track' legislation, to keep the economy 'free of obstruction' for long-term monopolization. C.E.R. plan introduced, designed to integrate the economies of Australia and New Zealand with the Trilateral Commission for the purpose of exploiting the South Pacific countries and as a 'back-door' entrance into China - the world's largest untapped consumer market. New Zealand is also the closest country to Antarctica, which has a vast mineral resource for future exploitation.
   "Think Big" projects begin, even though Muldoon aware of studies that show New Zealand could conserve up to 40% of energy consumption using existing technology, which would mean funds could be invested elsewhere to lower consumer prices, lower inflation rates, less demand for imported oil and increased employment by creating new industry to manufacture and install energy-saving technology. None of these options seriously considered as all would lessen profits for members of the Rockefeller organizations.
   December 1979: Muldoon unveils 'stage two' of a four-stage plan to exploit the Great South Basin discovery. Plan prepared by Trilateralist 'Think Tank' - the Brookings Institute.
   'Stage Two' includes methanol plant and synthetic petrol plant, which would initially use gas from the Maui field and later would link with underwater gas pipe from Campbell Island.
   With the New Zealand Steel 500% expansion, 'stage three' of the project and Think Big contracts to go to Bechtel, Fluor Corp., Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Nippon Steel, etc. All investments would be financed by the New Zealand taxpayer.
   17th January, 1980: $500,000 deposited in Muldoon's account number 8746665 at the Australian International Bank, being the final payment for the Tasman deal.
   Early 1980: Kashoggi Travelodge operations extended with affiliation agreement between Dominion Breweries and Western International Hotels (Seattle First National Bank).
   May, 1980: Mafia's Nugan Hand banking operation crashes after Frank Nugan killed. Death ruled as suicide even though no fingerprints found on the rifle. Maloney, Houghton, Yates and Hand shred important documents, but miss some. CIA helps Hand and Bank President Donald Beasley escape to the U.S. The CIA and Australian Security Intelligence Organization cover everything up. Beazley appointed President of Miami City National Bank, run by Alberto Dugue for 'laundering' profits from the CIA Colombian cocaine operation.
   There is a probability that Michael Hand killed Frank Nugan because of his involvement with Hand's fiancée.
   25th May, 1980: Colby arrived in Australia to discuss replacement of the Nugan Hand Bank with Hand, Brierley, and Seldon. Immediate funding available from Sydney branch of the Deak Bank, a separate CIA operation, and IEL would be used to buy NZI Corp., to prepare for future laundering operations.
   Maloney, Houghton, Yates, and Hand would shred all documents leading back to the New Zealand Great South Basin connection, and the CIA would help Hand and Bank President Donald Beazley escape to the USA. The CIA and ASIO would also cover everything up.
   Hand and Beazley turn up in Miami - Beazley appointed President and Hand 'consultant' to the Miami City National Bank, but also Hand turned up in El Salvador to help organize bankrolling of the Contras with other ex- members of Nugan-Hand.
   23rd June, 1980: New Zealand Mafia, including Brierley, Fletcher, Trotter, Jones, Hawkins, Goodman, and Papps meet in Wellington to discuss merger of Fletcher Challenge and Tasman.
   In order to replace Nugan Hand Bank's 22 world-wide branches, quick moves are made to buy control of NZI by New Zealand Mafia using Brierley, thereby capturing an established, world-wide organization through the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, which is also linked to the CIA through its subsidiary, World Finance Corporation.
   Late 1980: Fletchers, with strong Rockefeller links, obtains lucrative contracts on US Bases in the Pacific and joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
   Control extended over New Zealand natural resources - Fletcher Challenge and Tasman Pulp and Paper merged. NZFP takes control of M.S.D. Spiers and Moore Le Messurier (Aust). Brierley begins joint venture with NZFP through Williamson and Jeffrey. I.E.L, through Goodman, buys 20% of Watties and begins cross-shareholding agreement. Goodman continues buying up control of NZ bakeries and flour- mills.
   February, 1981: TNL., Brierley, AMOIL and MIM Holdings begin joint gold mining operation. MIM major shareholder is ASARCO (US), whose Chairman, Barber, is also Director of Chase Manhattan Bank.
   New Zealand Insurance and South British merger.
   Parliamentarians For World Order - Richard Prebble elected one of twelve councilors.
   Fletcher and Papps (Chairman UEB) sell their hotel operations to Singaporian interest closely associated with the Pritzker family - owners of the Hyatt Hotel chain. Bueton Kanter, Pritzker family lawyer and Director of Hyatt Hotels, who helped arrange the deal, was an old family partner of Paul Helliwell (CIA paymaster for the Bay of Pigs fiasco) and had helped the Pritzker family set up tax shelters using the CIA's Mercantile Bank and Trust and the Castle Bank, which had been set up by Helliwell for 'laundering' profits from the Onassis heroin operations as well as 'skim money' from the Hughes casino operations in Las Vegas.
   Others who used these banks include Richard Nixon, Bebe Rozo, Robert Vesco, Teamsters Union, etc.
   12th March, 1981: Brierley calls secret meeting in Auckland, which includes Jones, Fletcher, Hawkins, Papps and Burton Kanter, to discuss transfer of the Fletcher Challenge and UEB hotel operations to the Singapore front company controlled by the Pritzker family.
   20th July, 1981: Parsky, Colby, Brierley and Seldon meet in Sydney with two new members, Kerry Packer and Alan Bond.
   Chase Manhattan and Security Pacific National Bank will acquire 60% of Packer's company, with the stock being held in Australia, and 35% Bond's company, with the stock being held in Hong Kong.
   August 1981: Gulf Oil, using Brierley, strengthens its hold over New Zealand natural resources. Cue Energy launched, starring Lawrey and Gunn. NZOG launched with strategic holdings by Jones, Renouf and Brierley with licenses in PPD 38206 and 38204 - both next to Hunt's Great South Basin discovery, NZOG also controls 80 million tonnes of coal through the Pike River Coal Company.
   Brierley-controlled Wellington Gas, Christchurch Gas, Auckland and Hawkes Bay Gas and Dual Fuel Systems (Australasia) which controls the vehicle gas conversion market.
   Liquigas Limited set up to distribute LPG, controlled by Shell/BP/Todd and Fletcher Challenge.
   15th February, 1982: Brierley calls New Zealand meeting - Jones, Fletcher, Trotter, Hawkins, Goodman and Papps. New members include Bruce Judge, J. Fernyhough, and Frank Renouf.
   With Muldoon about to deregulate the liquor industry, Brierley and Fernyhough plan to buy up the New Zealand liquor industry, along with its outlets, Lion Breweries and Rothmans to help.
   Brierley will do the same in Australia. J.R. Fletcher becomes Managing Director of Brierley's Dominion Breweries to oversee operations. Rothmans and Brierley (through Goodman) have equal holdings in Saudicapital Corp. Lion Directors Myers and Fernyhough also stockholders in NZOG.
   Fletcher and Brierley begin their takeover of the freezing works industry. FCL buys into South Island works while Brierley begins takeover of Waitaki NZR through Watties with the help of Athol Hutton.
   With Think Big projects beginning, Fletcher and Trotter plan to take strategic holdings in NZ Cement, Wilkins Davies, Steel & Tube etc., and Brierley would use Renouf to take 3% stake of the Martha Hill gold-mine.
   Also targeted are clothing, footwear, carpet manufacture and more of the auto industry for takeover and monopolization.
   June, 1982: Meantime, in Australia, an new money funnel begins. H.W Smith buys to obscure South Pine Quarries, which is renamed Ariadne (Aust). South Pine Quarries owns 50% of Coal-Liquid Inc., with the other half owned by US Defense contractors McDonnellDouglas. Coal-Liquid renamed Impala Securities.
   The common link between Gulf Oil and McDonnell Douglas is the CIA's Mercantile Bank and Trust, which both companies use for world-wide bribery and payoff operations. McDonnell Douglas officials McKeough and G.T.Hawkins later appointed directors of Impala Securities.
   US links strengthened through Industrial Equity Pacific, which acquires part of Higbee Company in Cleveland, which in turn is closely linked to the National City Bank of Cleveland. This bank is closely associated with Gulf Oil's bank, Pittsburgh National and Mellon Bank.
   Bruce Judge installed as Ariadne manager.
   July, 1982: Media takeover begins. Brierley takes 24% NZ News Ltd and begins buying up private radio. Rupert Murdoch helps.
   27th July, 1982: Brierley, Jones and Goodman meet in Auckland with two Japanese members of the Trilateral Commission to discuss integration of the New Zealand economy into the Pacific Rim economy. Trilateralists include: Takeshi Watanabe (Japanese Chairman of Trilateral Commission) and Daigo Miyado (Chairman Sanwa Bank).
   The Japan/New Zealand Business Council would be established to co-ordinate policy with Goodman appointed as Chairman.
   17th August, 1982: Inauguration of restructured US Mafia Council - rulers include David Rockefeller, responsible for Banking; John McCloy; Redman Rockefeller and J.D. Rockefeller, who would run the Seven Sisters.
   Second-tier Council includes: Gerald Parsky - responsible for heroin and cocaine operations; William Simon - responsible for running the Presidency, Cabinet, etc; Katherine Graham - link to arms manufacturers; Zbigniew Brzezinski - link to National Security Council and CIA; George S. Franklin - link to FBI.
   Third-tier Council includes: Zbigniew Brzezinski - Secretary; Gerald Parsky - Heroin Cocaine operations; William Colby - crack operations, assassinations; John N. Perkins - banking, laundering; Leonard Woodcock - labour, unions; Mitchell Sharp - banking; William Simon - presidency, Cabinet; Ernest C. Arbuckly - arms manufacturers; George W. Bull - Bilderberg and Council of Foreign Relations; Katherine Graham - arms manufacturers; Alden W. Clausen - World Bank, IMF; Willam T. Coleman - CIA; Archibald K. Davis - media, radio, television, and newspapers; George S. Franklin - FBI, and Trilateral Commission co-ordinator; J.D. Rockefeller - to "spy" on the 15 man council.
   September, 1982: Goodman now helps establish the Japan/New Zealand Council with the Bank of Tokyo and the Industrial Bank of Japan. Tokai Pulp Co. buys shareholding in NZFP, which also begins joint venture with Shell Oil.
   Fletcher Challenge strengthens links with the Rockefeller organization by acquiring the Canadian operations of Crown Zellerbach, whose chairman is also director of Gulf Oil. Crown Zellerbach Corp. has direct connections to Rockefeller through directors Mumford, Hendrickson and Granville, to United California Bank through Roth and to the Bank of America through Chairman C.R. Dahl.
   Meanwhile, Robert Jones Investments floated to extend operations of City Realties, Ilmond Properties, Chase Corp., etc. The Commerce Building in Auckland sold to Robert Jones Investments by Robert Jones Holdings for $950,000 when recently it was offered on the market for $200,000. A quick $750,000 for Jones. Robert Jones Investments was set up by Brierley, Jones and Hawkins.
   8th December, 1982: Mitchell Sharp heads top-level Mafia meeting in San Francisco. Others include Parsky, Perkins, Woodcock and C.R. Dahl - Chairman of Crown Zellermach.
   Also present are - Brierley, Trotter, Fletcher and Seldon. Meeting to discuss Great South Basin exploitation strategy with:
first priority being monopolization of the economy
second priority to establish oil refineries and related industries
third to integrate New Zealand economy into Trilateral economy
fourth, to concentrate power back to the U.S. through the Seven Sisters, Chase Manhattan and Security Pacific National Bank
   Fletcher Challenge will link New Zealand economy directly to the U.S. by merging with Canadian subsidiary of Crown Zellerbach with funds provided by Security Pacific National Bank and United Californian Bank.
   Brierley, Fletcher, Trotter and Seldon will be New Zealand Ruling Council, headed by Brierley, who would take orders from Gerald Parsky.
   Mid-1983: Brierley's Ariadne (Aust) takes control of Repco (NZ) through Repco (Aust), thereby taking control of key auto-related industry, helped by Borg Warner and Honeywell - which are closely associated with IEL through International Harvester, Continental Illinois Bank and the First National Bank of Chicago. Toyota and Nissan also help so that Brierley now largest distributor of auto and industrial parts, largest manufacturer of pistons, filters and engine bearings, as well as biggest supplier of forklifts, tractors and agricultural equipment.
   Meantime, control is extended over the Great South Basin oil source with Hunt, after big losses resulting from trying to corner the world's silver market, being forced to sell out some of his concession to Gulf Oil, which uses Brierley to set up a new company - Southern Petroleum - which takes a 14.5% interest. Hunt retains overall control with 45.5%, Petro-Corp has 40% and Chairman F. Orr, also a Director of Brierley - controlled Watties.
   Brierley, through Goodman, takes control of TNL Group and its subsidiaries NZ Motor Bodies and L & M Mining, which has 15% interest in the Chatham Rise, right next to the Hunt concession.
   Southern Petroleum set up by Brierley in New Zealand was spearheaded by the Seven Sisters' companies with Gerald Parsky and William Colby initiators. Southern Petroleum to include 21% of the Great South Basin held by gulf and Mobil Oil. 90% of this stock held in Australia through IEL (ie Brierley's).
   11-12th May, 1983: New Zealand Mafia meet in Cook Islands. Includes Brierley, Trotter, Fletcher, Jones, Hawkins, Goodman, Pappas, Judge, Renouf, and Fernyhough. New members include A. Gibbs, McConnell, H.Fletcher and O.Gunn. Japanese Trilateralists Takeshi Wataneve and Daigo Miyado discuss 'integration' of New Zealand into the Pacific Rim economies.
   A new political party would be established using Jones and financed by the New Zealand Mafia Council.
   * Reason: Parsky and Colby wanted Muldoon out because he had 'welched' on a deal to set up two US military deep-water submarine bases planned for Dusky Sound and Guards Bay in the South Island. Parsky, Brierley and Ray Cline hold a separate meeting to discuss the purchase of New Zealand politicians, including Lange, Douglas and Bolger.
   Cline was 'consultant' to the CIA's Deak Bank, took orders from Colby, and was responsible for the 10 Australian politicians on the CIA's payroll, including: J. Bjelke Petersen I. Sinclair P. Keating McMullen M. Fraser D. Anthony K. Newman J Carrick B. Cowan R. Connor
   Cline outlines CIA plan to begin subliminal television advertising.
   22nd June, 1983: New Zealand politician J. Bolger meets Ray Cline in Sydney and agrees to join the organization for a monthly fee of $US20,000 to be paid into account number GA1282117 at Geneva branch of Credit Swiss.
   20th July, 1983: New Zealand politician R. Douglas meets Ray Cline in Wellington and agrees to join the organization for a monthly fee of $US10,000 to be paid into account number 3791686 at the Sydney Branch of the Deak Bank.
   July 1983: Parsky launches a new front company, Chase Corporation, with 25% of the stock being held through Security Pacific National Bank in Australia and 25% held in Hong Kong by Chase Manhattan. Brierley and Hawkins set up a 'back-door' listing to cover up true-ownership.
   August, 1983: Muldoon imposes withholding tax on all offshore borrowing.
   Chase Manhattan, United California Bank and Brierley begin new banking operation in New Zealand to take over the International Harvester Credit Co (NZ), Australasian Investment Company. Participants include Chase Manhattan's Kuwait Asia Bank, D.F.C., Saudicorp (Brierley has 12% through Goodman) and United California, represented by National Insurance which is part of Equus Holdings.
   Renouf sells 20% NZUC to Barclays and prepared for expanding of operations with Brierley.
   Meantime, Murdoch and Brierley expand their close ties by each taking a piece of New Zealand Maritime Holdings and with the election imminent, divide up New Zealand media for takeover to increase Mafia control. NZ News buys Hawkes Bay News, Nelson Tribune, Timaru Herald, etc. Brierley increases holding in Hauraki Enterprises and other private radio stations. Brierley and Murdoch have majority stockholding in NZPA with 48.5%, while in the UK, Murdoch has large stockholding in Reuters.
   The phony news becomes THE news.
   Head of the Murdoch operation is Burnett, who is also on the board of Winstones - a Brierley company.
   September, 1983: With global heroin epidemic, Rockefeller expands operations to recycle profits.
   New Zealand South British sets up the IDAPS computer bureau to establish international holding companies, dummy corporations, etc and to pursue aggressive global acquisition programme. IDAPS linked to satellite bureau in Australia, Far East, UK and the US, where the global network is completed through links with the Rockefeller organization computer network.
   General Manager of the operation, George Wheller, previously director of the international operators of Firemen's Fund (US), Chairman Du Bain, director of the United California Bank, and Vice-Chairman of Amex.
   As part of the expanded laundry operation, Rockefeller associate Adnan Kashoggi establishes new Australian bank - Security Pacific National Bank (Aust). Brierley's part of this operation is to buy up computer companies such as Andas, CID Distributors (NZ Apple computer franchise, etc).
   Investment companies begin operations in Australia and New Zealand to assist recycle Mafia profits.
   October 1983: Brierley takes over NZFP through Watties, helped by newly- appointed chairman Papps. Papps also chairman of NZ Railways and presided over transport deregulation, the major beneficiaries of which include Watties and Freightways - Managing Director Pettigrew and Director Lang also both on the NZFP board with Papps.
   Papps also responsible for the railways' electrification programme with big contracts for Cory Wright & Slamon, whose directors include I.I McKay, also on the board of NZFP.
   Late 1983: AMAX (Social) gives Gulf Oil a share in the Martha Hill gold bonanza by selling 15% of its holdings to Briereley through Goodmans. Oil companies say that only $870 million worth of minerals in Martha Hill, while true figure is closer to $3 billion.
   21st January, 1984: Australian Mafia Council meets in Sydney. Includes: Brierley Seldon Fletcher Jones Goodman Hawkins Papps Packer Bond Japanese Trilaterist Daigo Miyado
   New members include: J. Elliott L. Adler Holme's A'Court
   Seldon outlines strategy of merging Australian economy with the Trilateralist economy through Europe and the US.
   In Australia, the Mafia Council will monopolize the economy with company takeovers through the use of loans at less than 5%.
   Holme's A'Court's company would be taken over using Security Pacific National Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank, with some of the stock being held in London.
   Equiticorp will be launched using Hawkins, with 50% of the stock held by Security Pacific National Bank and Chase Manhattan in the US Equiticorp to registered in Hong Kong to cover up true ownership, and will use the same laundry as Chase Corporation - Hawkins will set up a maze of shell companies and dummy organizations to disguise operations.
   Hawkins previously associated with Kashoggi when Corporate Secretary of Marac, and linked with Renouf through their stockholding in CBA Finance, which is a partner in Commercial Pacific Trust with United California Bank, Hawkins forms umbrella company with Chase Corpl, Jedi Investments and Teltherm and begins setting up a maze of cross holding companies. Brierley retains his connection through his Charter Corporation's holding in Teltherm.
   January 1984: Brierley and Elliott begin moves to monopolize the food industry in Australasia by merging Goodman and the Elders Group, while Brierley sells 10% of Watties to the NZ Dairy Board - setting the stage for land takeover and establishment of the Corporate Farm.
   February 1984: New Zealand politician D. Lange meets Ray Cline in Wellington and agrees to go on the Mafia payroll for monthly fee of $UA40,000 paid into account number 5263161 at Commercial Pacific Trust, New Hebrides.
   March 1984: Muldoon knighted with GCMG for keeping the economy free of obstructions for easier takeover and exploitation.
   24th May, 1984: Four-man CIA team coordinated by Ray Cline arrive in New Zealand to begin installation of equipment for subliminal television advertising at five sites: Waiatarua Mt Erin Kaukau Sugarloaf Obelisk
   Sophisticated equipment can be installed within one kilometer of TV relay arrivals and all linked to one IDAPS computer bureau in Auckland.
   Same equipment installed in: Australia ,August 1985 Japan, September 1986 UK, February 1987 New York, 1987
   Also, Amax geologists now estimate Martha Hill gold source could be worth up to $30 billion on strength of high gold/tonne ore assay.
   17th July, 1984: In New Zealand, subliminal advertising begins on Channel Two between 6pm and midnight - hours later extended to begin at noon. Subliminal messages prepared in the US by the CIA and with New Zealand election imminent, tell voters to support the Labour Party, the New Zealand Party and to buy Mafia company products.
   New Zealand Party was formed to ensure that Muldoon would lose, as Big Business unhappy with controls over economy. Big campaign contributions from Brierley, the oil companies and the Business Round Table ensure a Labour victory.
   Later, Lange agrees to repay the favor to Brierley by selling the Government holding in the Kariori Pulp Mill to Winstones. New Zealand taxpayer loses $100 million.
   Government then becomes the arm of big business, using economic policies provided by the Business Round Table, implemented by Finance Minister Roger Douglas and the package being sold by David Lange, who also keeps up a noisy CIA directed ANZUS withdrawal campaign.
   * Reason:
1) ANZUS Treaty did not cover Mafia requirements over the Great South Basin discovery
2) To identify any opposition or threats within New Zealand who align themselves with supposed Government policy, Lange increases the SIS budget and strengthens links with the CIA
   Brookings Institute are the actual designers of the New Zealand Government economic policies provided by the Business Round Table (NZ Mafia front) and implanted by the Government.
   Douglas devalues the dollar and deregulates interest rates, which means cheaper labour, cheaper capital assets and high mortgage rates, thereby implementing Big Business policy of driving farmers off the land, establishment of the corporate farm and eventually remove viability of small business sector, etc.
   27th September, 1984: New Zealand Mafia meets at new 'safe house' registered under Fernyhough's name, in Auckland. Those present include Brierley J. Fletcher Trotter Jones Goodman Gunn Papps Hawkins Judge Renouf Fernyhough Gibbs McConnell
   Daigo Miyado announces appointment of Trotter as International Vice President of the Trilateral Commission Pacific Basin Economic Council.
   Brierley outlines strategy of privatization of the New Zealand Government and the establishment of the New Zealand Centre for Independent Studies which will be chaired by Gibbs, aided by Fernyhough and controlled by Cline, which will 'advise' Treasury on privatization.
   Parsky, Brierley and Seldon hold a separate meeting with Parsky, outlining plans for an expanded laundry operation which will coincide with the launch of 'Crack' - a new addictive product developed by CIA chemists for the world market.
   Equiticorp (Aust) will be launched with Adler as Manager and a new merchant bank using Elders, Goodman and Jarden.
   IEI will merge with Armco Bank, which has 20 branches in South East Asia; Ariadne will acquire the Bank of Queensland, and Brierley Investments will form a cross-shareholding with NZI Corp to further increase control by their Mafia organization. Other plans include the laundering of funds directly to the New Zealand and Australian Governments and the establishment of key companies within the economies of New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.
   The first key company will control the food industry in Australasia through merger of Elders, Goodmans, Allied Mills, Fielder Gillespie and Watties. Allied Mills will control 30% Goodmans, 30% Fielder, 20% Watties and will expand into Europe via acquisition of Rank, Hovis McDougall (UK). Allied Mills will be controlled through IEL.
   26th October, 1984: Trotter, Hawkins, Lange and Douglas meet in Wellington to implement Mafia plans to privatize the Government and to deregulate the banking system.
   Late 1984: As part of the IDAPS computer-controlled 'laundry' operation, Trotter and Fletcher help establish the 'Pacific Investment Fund' with Australian and New Zealand investments to be managed by Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank subsidiary, Wardley and the Japanese operation controlled by Tokyo Trust and Banking Company - owned by Sanwa Bank, Taiyo-Kobe Bank and Nomura Securities. All are members of the Rockefeller World Government organization.
   18th July, 1985:
   Australian Mafia meet in Sydney to discuss privatization of the Australian Government. Those present include: Brierley Trotter Fletcher Seldon Goodman Papps Packer Bond Elliott Adler Japanese Trilateralist Daigo Miyado
   Cline will set up Australian Centre for Independent Studies to 'advise' the Treasurer on the takeover of the economy. Impala Pacific will be set up in Hong Kong through Ariadne with 60% of the company stock held by Chase Manhattan and Security Pacific National Bank in Australia. In the UK, Tozer, Kemsly & Millbourn would be taken over using IEP, while in Australia, the Holme's A'Court Bell Group would be used to merge with Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, through Standard & Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), and Marae (NZ) Broadlands (Aust) would merge with NZI Corporation.
   18th August, 1985: Cline and 6-man CIA team begin installation of subliminal television equipment in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
   8th November 1985: Parsky, Colby and J.D Rockefeller meet in New York to discuss their plans to assassinate McCloy and the Rockefellers and to take control of the Mafia organization.
   Colby would organize a 8-man 'hit squad' to be headed by Gordon Liddy who had worked for Colby in the 1960's as a CIA contract killer, and was responsible for over 10 murders including:
17/8/61 - two members of the Gambino Mafia family in New York
24/11/63 - Officer Tippitt after the Kennedy assassination in Dallas
18/12/63 - witness to the Kennedy assassination in Dallas
19/4/65 - Politician in Chicago
27/7/65 - Politician in Washington
8/9/65 - Politician in Washington
27/11/66 - US 'independent' cocaine importer, in Mexico
25/11/67 - 'Independent' heroin importer, in Los Angeles
9/2/69 - Politician in Washington
   28th November 1985: Australian Mafia meet in Sydney - includes: Trotter Fletcher Hawkins Bond Elliott Adler Holme's A'Court
   Discussed strategy for merger of Goodman, Allied Mills, Fielde Gillespie Davis, Watties and Elders with Chase Manhattan Bank taking 20%, Elders and IEL 10%, with stock being held through Chase-AMP Bank.
   Elders would be used as major 'vehicle' in the global liquor economy with Courage Brewery in the UK to be used as entry into Europe.
   Strategy finalized to take over BHP, Australia's largest company, using Holme's A'Court, Brierley, Elliott and Hawkins.
   In London, Chase Manhattan would takeover stockbrokers Simon & Coates who specialize in Australasia Mafia owned companies such as Fletcher Challenge, Brierley, NZI Corp, Elders, Bell Group and BHP. Chase Manhattan could then issue and buy stock to manipulate the Australasian economy by increasing price, paying no taxes, creating inflation, and enslaving the people through debt to Mafia controlled banks.
   Parsky would oversee the 'launder' of further loans to the NZ Government and would begin to channel 'loans' through the Australian Treasury using captive politician Keating. Also NZ Government building would be sold to Jones and Australia Government buildings would be sold to Adler which would then be rented back to the respective Governments at inflated prices.
   17th November 1986: Brierley, Seldon, Packer, Bond, Elliott, Holmes, Court and Adler meet in Sydney. Also present is Rupert Murdoch to assist in Parsky strategy of media takeover in Australasia and the Pacific using Packer and Bond (TV and Radio) Brierley and Holmes A'Court (newspapers).
   Murdoch takes orders from Brzezinski since his News Corp was taken over in 1982 by Chase Manhattan and Security Pacific National Bank.
   At a separate meeting with Brierley, Seldon and Cline, Parsky outlines plan for 'key' Media Australasian Holding company using the Bell Group which would be taken over by with Chase Manhattan holding 27.5% in London and the US. Another 10% of the stock would be held through Security Pacific National Bank (US).
   8th February 1987: US Mafia Council meet in Washington - including David Rockefeller, John McCloy, Brzezinski, Parsky, Simon, Katherine Graham, and George Franklin.
   Brzezinski outlines plans to invade Iran using 75,000 strong mercenary army supported by US Air Force and Navy with starting date of 8th February, 1988. An integral part of the plan Saudi and Kuwaiti oil tankers would fly the US flag to provoke an Iranian attack so that US invasion of Iran would be 'justified'.
   * Reason: The Seven Sisters wanted to exploit a secret oil field near Bandar Abbas discovered in 1976 with estimate 150 billion barrels and also a huge gold source at Neyshabur discovered in 1977.
   The Iranian invasion would begin after the World economic system was collapsed by the Mafia controlled banks - target date 17th January 1988. Other countries on the takeover list include:
Mexico - for oil at Baisas
Nicaragua - for oil at Connto
Colombia - for gold at Popayan
South Korea - for gold at Chunchon
New Zealand - for oil in the Great South Basin.
   (Obviously this part of the plan failed to happen) #
[Jan 26, 07]
• [Debt-driven economy of Australia - David Keane, January 26, 2007]
  Australia flag; 


   Recent Australian Economic Trends, au/~keane/ civilrep , By David Keane, keane@nw. Western Australia, January 26, 2007
   AUSTRALIA: From April 2002, I have been producing analyses every three months, and sending these assessments out in a quarterly publication Recent Australian Economic Trends which is available by email to anyone contacting me and requesting to be placed upon the email distribution list.
   Any assessment of Australian financial management and bank regulatory policy, must begin with an assessment of the current state of Australia's financial affairs. In particular, it is vital that we analyse such significant national financial indicators as Gross Domestic Product, Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Liabilities, Domestic Credit, and Total Australian Liabilities. Figures for these data are available on Internet at the website for the Reserve Bank of Australia ( http://www. statistics/ ). In this article, I have taken June data from June 1988 to June 2003, and quarterly data from June 2004. You can confirm these data by looking up Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Equity and Gross Foreign Liabilities on Reserve Bank table H4, seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit on table D2, and Gross National Product on table G10.
   These figures are provided by the Australian Reserve Bank every quarter, now 3 months late. On 20/December/06, the Australian Reserve Bank published the September 2006 figures for table H4, and so now we have available all the information for all these statistical categories up until the end of September 2006.
   I simply rearrange the Reserve Bank figures which helps with comparison and trend analysis, and so it can be easily understood by the lay person. I add together the figures for Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt and Domestic Credit to come up with an overall figure of "Total Australian Liabilities".
   In the analysis released in September 2004, the yearly increase in Total Australian Liabilities for the first time exceeded 25% of the Australian Gross Domestic Product. The level of Australian liabilities is now blowing out in a very dangerous and volatile manner. This, together with the serious concern about the collapsing US economy, led me to title the September 2004 edition, the "Double Alarm Bells Edition". We have clearly entered the end stage of our society's experiment with a debt driven economy. These three-monthly analyses therefore take on a brand new significance, as they tend to forecast turbulent weather ahead, much in the manner of a barometer.
Table A
   In Table A, the "Date" refers to quarterly figures provided by the Reserve Bank.
   "F Equity" refers to total Gross Foreign Equity (foreign ownership of Australian assets).
   "F Debt" refers to total Gross Foreign Debt.
   "F Liabilities" refers to Gross Foreign Liabilities = Gross Foreign Equity + Gross Foreign Debt.
   "saDomCr" refers to seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit.
   "TotalLiab" refers to Total Australian Liabilities = Gross Foreign Equity + Gross Foreign Debt + Domestic Credit.
Date		F Equity	F Debt		F Liabilities	saDomCr	TotalLiab
		A$billions	A$billions	A$billions	A$billions	A$billions
Jun-88		74.0		138.1		212.2		247.8		460.0
Jun-89		89.1		161.9		251.0		300.5		551.5	
Jun-90		98.7		184.2		282.9		337.1		620.0
Jun-91		105.2		197.7		302.8		346.0		648.8
Jun-92		113.2		218.0		331.1		341.9		673.0
Jun-93		127.6		238.5		366.1		348.0		714.1
Jun-94		158.3		235.4		393.7		371.4		765.1
Jun-95		172.0		268.2		440.3		406.3		846.6
Jun-96		193.2		275.5		468.7		458.6		927.3
Jun-97		217.1		302.8		519.9		502.4		1022.3
Jun-98		249.5		347.0		596.5		562.4		1158.9
Jun-99		287.0		359.8		646.8		624.9		1271.7
Jun-00		338.1		416.8		754.9		697.3		1452.2
Jun-01		357.4		496.3		853.7		772.7		1626.4
Jun-02		350.3		533.4		883.7		868.0		1751.7
Jun-03		363.0		582.7		945.7		964.7		1910.4
Jun-04		431.8		657.1		1088.9		1091.8	2180.7
Sep-04		437.8		663.0		1100.8		1126.4	2227.2
Dec-04		473.8		693.7		1167.5		1165.9	2333.4
Mar-05	482.1		694.1		1176.2		1199.1		2375.3
Jun-05		421.4		715.4		1136.7		1240.3	2377.0
Sep-05		450.5		733.8		1184.3		1281.1	2465.4
Dec-05		470.6		768.4		1239.0		1323.9	2562.9
Mar-06	500.0		813.3		1313.3		1370.7		2684.0
Jun-06		502.1		839.2		1341.2		1421.8		2763.0
Sep-06		526.0		867.5		1393.6		1468.2		2861.8
Table B
   In Table B the figure I quote for annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) represents the four most recent (to that month) quarterly figures added up. For example the December 2005 annual GDP represents the quarterly GDP figures for March/05 + June/05 + September/05 + December/05 all added together to get an annual figure.
   Then the figures for Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Liabilities, seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit and Total Australian Liabilities are provided as a percentage of annual GDP.
Date		GDP		F Equity     F Debt	F Liabilities  DomCr	TotalLiab
		A$billions	%ofGDP    %ofGDP	%ofGDP   %ofGDP	%ofGDP
Jun-88		514.812	14.4	       26.8	41.2	      48.1	89.4		
Jun-89		533.857	16.7	       30.3	47.0	      56.3	103.3
Jun-90		554.858	17.8	       33.2	51.0	      60.8	111.7
Jun-91		551.283	19.1	       35.9	54.9	      62.8	117.7
Jun-92		551.726	20.5	       39.5	60.0	      62.0	122.0
Jun-93		571.876	22.3	       41.7	64.0	      60.9	124.9
Jun-94		595.334	26.6	       39.5	66.1	      62.4	128.5
Jun-95		622.057	27.7	       43.1	70.8	      65.3	136.1
Jun-96		647.659	29.8	       42.5	72.4	      70.8	143.2
Jun-97		673.098	32.3	       45.0	77.2	      74.6	151.9
Jun-98		703.258	35.5	       49.3	84.8	      80.0	164.8
Jun-99		739.628	38.8	       48.6	87.4	      84.5	171.9
Jun-00		769.045	44.0	       54.2	98.2	      90.7	188.8
Jun-01		784.018	45.6	       63.3	108.9	      98.6	207.4
Jun-02		813.542	43.1	       65.6	108.6	    106.7	215.3
Jun-03		839.187	43.3	       69.4	112.7	    115.0	227.6
Jun-04		873.197	49.5	       75.3	124.7	    125.0	249.7
Sep-04		881.031	49.7	       75.3	124.9	    127.9	252.8
Dec-04		885.581	53.5	       78.3	131.8	    131.7	263.5
Mar-05	890.044	54.2	       78.0	132.2	    134.7	266.9
Jun-05		896.568	47.0	       79.8	126.8	    138.3	265.1
Sep-05		902.934	49.9	       81.3	131.2	    141.9	273.0
Dec-05		910.073	51.7	       84.4	136.1	    145.5	281.6
Mar-06	917.274	54.5	       88.7	143.2	    149.4	292.6
Jun-06		922.386	54.4	       91.0	145.4	    154.1	299.5
Sep-06		927.337	56.7	       93.5	150.3	    158.3	308.6
A New Rate of Increase of Indebtedness
   Total Australian Liabilities has risen by 35.6% of GDP in just one year. Or if we look at only the last quarter, Total Australian Liabilities has risen by 4 x 9.1% = 36.4% of GDP projected for a year. Either way, we have set a new record for these figures. The trend is alarming, depicting an exponentially increasing series of data.
   The trend is unsustainable and a huge crash is imminent in the future. I will not provide an analysis of the situation in this newsletter, preferring to do forward research so to publish a greatly in-depth analysis next newsletter.
   Yours for a truly sharing economy, David Keane
   [ON THE WEB, ALSO:   . ENDS.] [Jan 26, 07]
• [Canada Apologizes, will pay $8.9 m, for its part in U.S. sending Mr Maher Arar to be tortured in Syria.]   Canada flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Syria flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Canada Apologizes to Deportation Victim

   The Guardian (Britain), latest/story/ 0,,-6373 608,00.html , By BETH DUFF-BROWN, Associated Press Writer, AP Photo OTTH107, OTTH112, 9:16 PM, Friday January 26, 2007
   TORONTO (AP) - The prime minister apologized Friday to a Syrian-born Canadian and said he would be compensated $8.9 million for Ottawa's role in his deportation by U.S. authorities to Damascus, where he was tortured and imprisoned for nearly a year.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper again called on Washington to remove Maher Arar from its no-fly and terrorist watchlists. He reiterated that Canada would keep pressing the United States to clear Arar's name.
   "On behalf of the government of Canada, I want to extend a full apology to you and Monia as well as your family for the role played by Canadian officials in the terrible ordeal that you experienced in 2002 and 2003," Harper told reporters in Ottawa, referring to Arar's wife, Monia Mazigh, and their two children, who now live in British Columbia.
   "I sincerely hope that these words and actions will assist you and your family in your efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in your lives," Harper said, adding the compensation package would also pay Arar's estimated $1 million in legal fees.
   Arar later thanked the Canadian government and his fellow citizens.
   "The struggle to clear my name has been long and hard; my kids have suffered silently and I feel that I owe them a lot," he said.
   "Without the support of the Canadian people, I may never have come home and I would not have been able to stay strong and push for the truth."
   Arar's case was an example of rendition, a practice in which the U.S. government sends foreign terror suspects to third countries for interrogation.
   He was exonerated in September after a two-year public inquiry led by Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Dennis O'Connor. It found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrongly labeled Arar as an Islamic fundamentalist and passed misleading and inaccurate information to U.S. authorities, which very likely led to Arar's arrest and deportation.
   The report said the 37-year-old wireless technology consultant's inability to find work since his return from Syria has had a devastating economic and psychological impact on him and his family.
   O'Connor urged the RCMP to make policy changes on information sharing, training and monitoring of security probes. In the aftermath, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigned.
   Arar was detained at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2002 during a stopover on his way home to Canada from a vacation with his family in Tunisia.
   He said he was chained and shackled by U.S. authorities for 11 days for interrogation and then flown to Syria, where he was tortured and forced to make false confessions. He was released 10 months later, with Syrian officials saying they had no reason to hold him further.
   A Canadian inquiry determined that Arar was indeed tortured, and it cleared him of any terrorist links or suspicions.
   Since then, Ottawa has been demanding a formal apology from Washington, as well as the removal of Arar's name from watchlists. "We think the evidence is absolutely clear and that the United States should in good faith remove Mr. Arar from the list," Harper said.
   The U.S. government insists it has reasons to keep him on its watchlists.
   In February 2006, the U.S. District Court of Appeals dismissed Arar's lawsuit against U.S. government officials, ruling his deportation was protected on national security grounds. His attorneys with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed an appeal in December.
   "We are grateful that the Canadian government has had the humanity to try to right the terrible wrong that was done to Maher," said CCR attorney Maria LaHood. "We still hope the U.S. government will follow Canada's lead."
   Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this month scolded Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for refusing to explain why the United States had sent a Canadian citizen to Syria.
   "The Canadian government now has taken several steps to accept responsibility for its role in sending Mr. Arar to Syria, where he was tortured," Leahy said Friday. "The question remains why, even if there were reasons to consider him suspicious, the U.S. government shipped him to Syria where he was tortured, instead of to Canada for investigation or prosecution."
   He said the Justice Department intended to respond to his demands next week.
   U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins on Wednesday chastized Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day for continuing to press Washington on Arar. "It's a little presumptuous of him to say who the United States can and cannot allow into our country," Wilkins said.
   In a recent letter to Day, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Gonzales said U.S. files indicate the decision to keep Arar on watchlists is "appropriate."
   "Our conclusion in this regard is supported by information developed by U.S. law enforcement agencies that is independent of that provided to us by Canada with regard to Mr. Arar," the letter said, adding that they wished to thank Canada for its cooperation in fighting terrorism.
   Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., condemned the Bush administration for not removing Arar from the watchlists, saying he was "wronged in a terrible way by our government and by the government of Canada."
   "I will continue to press the Bush administration to come clean on their policies to outsource torture and to finally bring an end to this horrific and indefensible practice," Markey said.
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: By courtesy of Michael P. e-mail 27 Jan 07. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: …. but what will it take to get an official apology from the warlords in Washington ? -- M. COMMENT ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT: "Christian" fundamentalist Bush and his war-profiteering colleagues are as dangerous to world peace as Islamic fundamentalists (and Marxist ones as well). President Bush claimed a few years ago that he had "a mission from beyond the stars." This is on a par with the 72 self-renewing virgins, etc. -- not a speck of evidence for either. ENDS.] [Jan 26, 07]

[Whisson invention:  Getting moisture by wind from the air]

  Australia flag; 
   The Weekend Australian Magazine ( magazine@ theaustralian. ), by Phillip Adams, Magazine p 42, January 27-28, 2007

PHILLIP ADAMS:  While we watch our
dams dry, our rivers die, our lakes
and groundwater disappear, Max
has come up with a brilliant idea.

For all sorts of personal and political reasons, Max Whisson is one of my most valued friends. We first made contact at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, when this most ethical of men was a principal guardian of our Red Cross blood supply. More recently he's been applying his considerable scientific skills to the flow of another precious fluid. Water.
   Does this country face a more urgent issue? Will the world have a greater problem? While we watch our dams dry, our rivers die, our lakes and groundwater disappear, while we worry about the financial and environmental costs of desalination and the melting of the glaciers and the icecaps, Max has come up with a brilliant and very simple idea.
   It involves getting water out of the air. And he's not talking about cloud-seeding for rain. Indeed, he just might have come up with a way of ending our ancient dependence on rain, that increasingly unreliable source. And that's not all. As well as the apparently empty air providing us with limitless supplies of water, Max has devised a way of making the same "empty" air provide the power for the process. I've been to his lab in Western Australia. I've seen how it works.
   There's a lot of water in the air. It rises from the surface of the oceans to a height of almost 100 kilometres. You feel it in high humidity, but there's almost as much invisible moisture in the air above the Sahara or the Nullarbor as there is in the steamy tropics. The water that pools beneath an air-conditioned car, or in the tray under an old fridge, demonstrates the principle: cool the air and you get water. And no matter how much water we might take from the air, we'd never run out. Because the oceans would immediately replace it.
   Trouble is, refrigerating air is a very costly business. Except when you do it Max's way, with the Whisson windmill. Until his inventions are protected by international patents, I'm not going to give details. Max isn't interested in profits - he just wants to save the world - but the technology remains "commercial in confidence" to protect his small band of investors and to encourage others.
   In essence, windmills haven't changed in many centuries. The great propellers producing electricity on modern wind farms are direct descendants of the rusty galvo blades that creak on our farm's windmills - and the vanes that lifted Don Quixote from his saddle.
   Usually a windmill has three blades facing into the wind. But Whisson's design has many blades, each as aerodynamic as an aircraft wing, and each employing "lift" to get the device spinning. I've watched them whirr into action in Whisson's wind tunnel at the most minimal settings. They start spinning long, long before a conventional windmill would begin to respond. I saw them come alive when a colleague opened an internal door.
   And I forgot something. They don't face into the wind like a conventional windmill; they're arranged vertically, within an elegant column, and take the wind from any direction.
   The secret of Max's design is how his windmills, whirring away in the merest hint of a wind, cool the air as it passes by. Like many a great idea, it couldn't be simpler - or more obvious. But nobody thought of it before.
   With three or four of Max's magical machines on hills at our farm we could fill the tanks and troughs, and weather the drought. One small Whisson windmill on the roof of a suburban house could keep your taps flowing. Biggies on office buildings, whoppers on skyscrapers, could give independence from the city's water supply. And plonk a few hundred in marginal outback land - specifically to water tree-lots - and you could start to improve local rainfall.
   This is just one of Whisson's ways to give the world clean water. Another, described in this column a few years back, would channel seawater to inland communities; a brilliant system of solar distillation and desalination would produce fresh water en route. All the way from the sea to the ultimate destination, fresh water would be produced by the sun. The large-scale investment for this hasn't been forthcoming - but the "water from air" technology already exists. And works.
   If you're interested, email me at . After some filtering I'll pass the messages on to Max, particularly if you have a few million to invest. Better still, you may be the Premier of Western Australia or the Prime Minister of a drought-afflicted country suddenly expressing concerns about climate change. In that case, I'll give you Max's phone number.
   Australia needs a few Whissons at the moment - and the Whissons need some initial government funding to get their ideas off the ground. For the price of one of John Howard's crappy nuclear reactors, Max might be able to solve a few problems. Ours and the world's. ◎
   [COMMENT: Let's hope he doesn't suffer the fate of Rudolf Diesel! COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 27-28, 2007]

• How Britain Created Ulster's Murder Gangs.  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Northern Ireland (UK) flag;  

How Britain Created Ulster’s Murder Gangs

   The Herald (Glasgow), Est 1999, Scotland's award-winning independent newspaper, www.sunday news/ herald news/display. var.1152814. 0. how_ britain_ created_ ulsters_ murder_ gangs.php , By Neil Mackay, January 28, 2007
   On Monday, the world was stunned by the release of a report by Nuala OLoan, the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland, which stated that Special Branch officers in Belfast had colluded with loyalist terrorists working for the British state as informers.
   According to OLoan, police failed to stop these paramilitary gangs, part of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) from killing an estimated 15 people in the 1990s.
   While this was seized upon by republicans as proof that security forces had aided a loyalist campaign of sectarian assassination, in reality OLoans findings barely scratched the surface of a 30-year history of criminality and murder orchestrated by the British army and the Ulster police.
   Since the Sunday Herald was founded in 1999, it has led the way in exposing the dirty war in Northern Ireland. Today, we report on the most shocking revelations to date. Our investigations show that far from merely turning terrorists to work for the state, British military intelligence actually created loyalist murder gangs to operate as proxy assassins. They even cleared areas in which the gangs were operating of police and army, to allow them to carry out their hits and escape.
   He insists on being named only as "JB", a sick, ageing man, who fears that ill-health or a bullet from an assassin wishing to silence him will claim his life before he has the chance to tell the true story of his life and crimes. On Wednesday, JB passed a bundle of papers to the Sunday Herald, making up the bulk of his unpublished memoirs, which paint British military intelligence as a callous, murderous, criminal cabal. JB claims that he - and dozens of other members of the terrorist organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) - were trained and armed by military intelligence.
   He also claims select UVF officers were ordered by military intelligence to carry out assassinations against both IRA figures and ordinary Catholics. Such soft targets as innocent men and women were pinpointed by military intelligence in order to psychologically undermine the nationalist population of Northern Ireland and cut the support base from beneath the Provisional IRA.
   Martin Ingram, the false cover name for a former member of the covert British military intelligence outfit the Force Research Unit (FRU), has supported the claims made by JB. Ingram eventually turned whistleblower, disgusted at the deaths the FRU had caused by colluding with terrorists in Ulster. He later went on to write a book about the double agent Stakeknife - IRA operative Freddie Scappaticci - who had been "handled" by Ingram's FRU team and exposed by Sunday Herald investigators. Ingram says he is aware of JB's history, and believes his claims are "completely credible". Loyalist sources have also confirmed JB's credibility.
   JB, who was convicted twice of terrorist offences, once in the 1970s and again in the early 1990s, says he carried out some 50 UVF operations sanctioned by his handlers in the Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF), the army team which gathered intelligence and ran agents in Ulster. He says he became a "killer, bomber, arsonist and robber". Of the 50 state-sanctioned operations he took part in, "not all were successful".  Some, he says, "were aborted". So far he has refused to go into details of the actual murders he took part in on behalf of British military intelligence. Beyond admitting that killings took place, he will only talk about how the British army trained him as a terrorist proxy.
   In JB's words, "military intelligence trained, armed and moulded squads of loyalists to put pressure on the IRA to abandon their campaign of bloodshed and carnage". JB was a young UVF member in the early 1970s when first approached by an MRF handler. JB says the military intelligence officer, whom he will name only as "Mike", told him that the then prime minister Edward Heath had sanctioned the "training of loyalists".Mike later added that "nobody, except at the very highest level of the British government and senior officers of the military" knew about the covert counter-insurgency operations.
   Mike told JB that "London has ordered the war be taken to the IRA obviously this can't be done openly and must be done covertly. That's why we are looking for people like you … We are enlisting men from all over the province to co-ordinate attacks, to convince the Catholic people that support for the Provos will only bring death and destruction to their own community."
   As well as being trained in firearms at army barracks and firing ranges around Northern Ireland - primarily at Palace Barracks near Holywood in County Down - men like JB were also provided with intelligence on potential targets and given details about which targets to hit. JB knows of at least 30 loyalists who received similar training to him, but believes more than 120 could have been trained as proxy assassins. At times, he was given a British army uniform to provide him with cover while with his handlers. He even drank, on occasions, with his handlers in the NAAFI - armed forces bars on military bases.
   When proxies like JB were dispatched on a murder operation, military intelligence would impose an Out Of Bounds (OOB) order on the area in which the attack was to take place. In military terms, an OOB means an intelligence operation is under way and army and police are forbidden from entering the area. This gave loyalist murder gangs freedom to operate with impunity during such state-sanctioned attacks. At one stage, claims JB, Mike told him: "Mr Heath and the top brass have given the green light for this."
   JB was trained by military intelligence, he says, in how to use a variety of hand-guns, machine guns and rifles, as well as bomb-making techniques. The UVF men working for military intelligence were also given consignments of guns and ammunition by handlers, sent on gruelling fitness courses and schooled in the arts of surveillance, counter-surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other classes included lectures on forensic science, how to avoid leaving incriminating evidence at the scene of crimes and how to steal cars for use in assassination operations.
   JB also claims military intelligence instructed loyalists to plant explosives in a Catholic bar to make it look as if the IRA had accidentally set off the bomb. It was hoped such acts would drain Catholic support for republicans.
   The bomb was planted in McGurk's Bar in Belfast on December 4, 1971. It killed 15 men, women and children. The immediate blame was indeed placed on the IRA. However, seven years after the bomb, a UVF man received 15 life sentences for the atrocity. JB says he was told about the planned bombing two weeks before the attack and was with his handler at the time it happened. He also claims he saw his handler take pot-shots at republican youths on the streets of Belfast around this time.
   A captain in military intelligence spelt out the reasons for the army creating these secret counter-insurgency cells during one discussion with JB. He said: "This type of war can't be won by conventional means. The only solution is to implement a counter-operation, to counteract the violence of the enemy by heaping more violence on them That's why we've chosen men like you to instil trepidation and pandemonium among the Provos and their support base, the Catholic community We will match whatever they do, and outdo them."
   In the weeks leading up to the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry, on January 30, 1972, in which the Paratroop Regiment killed 13 people taking part in a civil rights demonstration, JB was informed by his handlers that the British army had been ordered by the Cabinet "to use whatever force and tactics necessary to put these troublemakers down". JB "concludes there were plans for mass murder to be committed that day The Bloody Sunday massacre was sanctioned by the government and top military chiefs." JB is sure that there was a preconceived plan to open fire on the civil rights demonstrators, with the full knowledge this would cause civilian deaths. He believes military intelligence thought this would shake the IRA. Instead, the massacre was a huge boost to IRA support and recruitment.
   The day before Bloody Sunday, JB was taken for a training session at Palace Barracks, where he was given a pep-talk by a major who praised him for "having the courage and loyalty to participate in covert actions against the common enemy". The major told JB: "We are hoping to provoke a confrontation with the IRA in Derry, and give them an example of what to expect in future attacks." JB was then offered the chance, he claims, to accompany his military handler, Mike, to Derry to watch the operation to contain the demonstration. Military intelligence sources today say events such as this would help forge a bond, or esprit de corps, between agent and handler.
   JB was provided with a British army uniform, a gas mask, camouflage face-paint and a rifle as cover for the time he would spend in Derry with his handler. During the events, JB watched from a military intelligence observation post as soldiers opened fire on civilians. He also claims to have seen members of military intelligence shooting at, and hitting, unarmed civilians from the gun nest in the observation post.
   Another killing carried out by loyalists and facilitated by military intelligence by the imposition of an OOB order took place in February 1972 when a bomb exploded in a pub killing, one Catholic man and injuring five others.
   Trained proxies such as JB were often taken on "dummy run" assassination operations by handlers to ensure the OOB system was working. An OOB order would be given on a specific area of Belfast and JB and his team would enter the area, locate the home of a target, "recce" it and then leave. If they met with no security force patrols, they knew the OOB system was effective.
   Mike at one time told JB: "We don't expect every time an ASU active service unit of the UVF goes out, they will kill somebody. The mere fact an attempt has been made and shots fired, even if they wound or miss altogether, is all part of the terror tactics." The policy was meant to "scare the shit" out of Catholics. Mike also instructed JB on how to "extract information" from Catholics or republicans they kidnapped. The techniques were "gruesome", JB said. Mike made clear that torture should be used, and referred to the victims as "Taigs", a derogatory term for Catholics. Mike also advised on the best shot to use to dispatch a victim of a backstreet execution.
   While refusing to give a statement about the actual operations in which he took part, JB said he knew about a number of high-profile loyalist atrocities, sponsored by the MRF. These included the shooting of three members of the Miami Showband, a popular Irish group, in July 1975. The band's bus was flagged down by members of the UVF dressed in army uniforms at a fake military checkpoint. Another MRF-sponsored atrocity, says JB, was the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 17, 1974, which killed 33 people and injured 250.
   JB lists a series of killings by loyalists which were facilitated by military intelligence putting out OOB orders on the location where the target lived, including the murder of a taxi driver, an eight-year-old girl, various men walking alone in Catholic areas and a Catholic woman in a bomb blast at public toilets in Lurgan. Referring to the last killing, JB says: "As long as it was a Catholic killed, fear would be creeping into Catholic minds - who would be next?'"
   When UVF proxies were targeting republicans or IRA men, nearly all the intelligence used in planning hits came from the British army's intelligence wing.
   Perhaps the most horrible of all hits facilitated by military intelligence, says JB, was one that involved the infamous Shankill Butchers murder gang. An OOB was put in place, allowing the UVF to put up an illegal roadblock at which they abducted a Catholic man and took him to the head of the Shankill Butchers - a UVF psychopath called Lenny Murphy.
   The gang tortured their victims for hours with knives before finally executing them. Sometimes the torture sessions took place in front of baying crowds in loyalist drinking dens. At least 19 people died at the hands of the gang. JB states: "I verify and confirm what I have written is a true and very accurate account of events." #
   [COMMENT: We read that two United States military agents, driving a car carrying explosives, were seized by Iraqis in Iraq, and were let go. ("U.S. caught in Iraq car-bombing")  Two British agents, similarly caught, were taken to an Iraqi police station, and the British sent an armoured car to smash through the police station's wall to rescue their compatriots.  Is Northern Ireland any different?  COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 28, 07]
• Rare defeat for U.S. in S.African "al Qaeda" case.  United Nations flag;   South Africa flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Rare defeat for U.S. in S.African “al Qaeda” case

   Yahoo! News (Singapore), 29/3/46a9m.html , By Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent, Reuters, 10:27 PM, Monday January 29, 2007
   LONDON (Reuters) - Two South African Muslim men whom Washington accuses of financing al Qaeda have escaped being placed on a U.N. terrorism blacklist, but their reprieve may only be temporary.
   The case of Junaid and Farhad Docrat shines a rare light on a secretive U.N. sanctions regime which, despite reforms last month aimed at making the system fairer, can still freeze people's assets without telling them why.
   The two cousins escaped an international travel ban and worldwide freeze on their assets because their government last week blocked a U.S. proposal to place them on the U.N. al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions list.
   But they will be vulnerable to any new U.S. attempt from next year, when South Africa ends its term on the U.N. Security Council and loses its place on the 15-member sanctions committee, where any member can veto a listing.
   Critics argue the system is unfair because it is a matter of chance whether a suspect's government is on the Security Council at the time their case comes up.
   It is also highly politicised, they say, because governments may be tempted to back U.N. sanctions against their domestic opponents, even when the evidence of terrorist links is slim.
   "The whole system is wrong because it relies totally on political discretion," said Iain Cameron, a law professor who has compiled critical reports on the sanctions regime for the Swedish government and the Council of Europe.
   The Docrats were also fortunate in that word of their case leaked out, enabling their lawyer to mount an effective publicity campaign.
   Most cases remain secret until the suspects' names appear on the U.N. list, which currently contains 362 individuals. Once on the list, it is very hard to get off -- since 2002, only nine people have managed to get their names removed.
   Richard Barrett, coordinator of the monitoring team that assists the U.N. sanctions committee, said it had responded to concerns about fairness by introducing reforms last month.
   People who believe they have been wrongly sanctioned can now complain directly to the U.N. Secretariat, instead of having to persuade their government to take up their case.
   But he acknowledged that it was still up the state that proposed the listing to decide whether any of the evidence can be released outside the sanctions committee. It may refuse, especially when the case is based on secret intelligence.
   "It may be that not one line of it is releasable," said Barrett. "There's still no right of the individual to see all that information unless the country submitting it agrees that it's OK to release publicly."
   In the South African case, Washington did go public last Friday, alleging both the Docrats had channelled funds for the benefit of al Qaeda. It ordered a freeze on any U.S. assets they hold, and banned Americans from doing business with them.
   The step may be partly symbolic, because the Docrats' lawyer said they had no U.S. funds. But it may deter other companies, including South African ones, from doing business with the men, for fear of falling foul of Washington themselves.
   When it comes to the U.N. blacklist, some lawyers say they have tried and failed for years to find out what their clients are accused of.
   "All the time you're being told: 'We're not giving you everything because so much of it is classified, and we can't possibly reveal all of this'," said a lawyer for a Middle Eastern man listed by Washington after the September 11 attacks.
   "You never actually get to discover what all the evidence against your client is." #
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thanks to Michael P. ENDS.] [Jan 29, 07]
• [Amanda Vanstone says Islamist "free to go," then followed her surprise dismissal.]  Australia flag; 

Sheik’s outburst more than once is enough!

   News Weekly (Australia), by Dr Christopher J. Ward, National Affairs, pp 7-8, February 3, 2007
   Australia's firebrand Islamic cleric Sheik al-Hilaly has resumed his attack on Australian culture and values. Given that the sheik's fundamentalist Islamic views enjoy a considerable following, social scientist Dr Christopher J. Ward asks: to what extent can a democratic country permit what is effectively a hostile counterculture to exist unchecked in its midst?
Australia's top Muslim cleric - the "grand mufti" of Australia, Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly - has done it again. He has proved quite conclusively that he has learned nothing from his inappropriate remarks demeaning Australian women as "uncovered meat" in October 2006.
   Neither his self-proclaimed exile nor taping his mouth has stopped him from appearing on Egyptian television to once again denigrate this country, criticising Australian law, culture and values, although one is sorely tempted to agree with him about certain practices that are anathema to some Christians as well as Muslims. However, the disdain that he showed for Australia in describing this country as peopled by descendents of English convicts, and claiming that Muslims had more right to live here as they had paid their fares, is beyond the pale.
   Islamic fundamentalism
   It was also informative that the sheik made these comments on an Egyptian current affairs program, while "explaining" the gaffes of last year. He visits that country frequently and it is only reasonable to point out that it is home to the notorious Muslim Brotherhood, the umbrella organisation for Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups, especially Jamaat al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, both of which have ties to al Qaeda.
   While not for one minute suggesting that the sheik is a member of either group, his theology is very much in their tradition and he has a long, documented record of inflammatory statements since arriving in Australia. In 2004, he was reported as stating that the 9/11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center were "God's work against the aggressor", and has appeared to support suicide-bombers. Hence the current criticism from a number of Australian Islamic groups and individuals is as welcome as it is unexpected.
   As usual when al-Hilaly manages to shoot from the lip, his old colleague and erstwhile translator Keysar Trad, president of the so-called Islamic Friendship Association, was quick off the mark, stating that the comments appeared to be a "slip of the tongue".
   "I don't believe that he intended to take a swipe at Australian society. I got the impression that he was trying to justify living here to a person that was probing him… Those offensive remarks were made when the interviewer challenged him…
   "He was about to explain why he stays here despite all the controversy." (The Australian, January 13, 2006 [or 2007 ?]).
   It is noteworthy that this time "Trad the Translator" actually remarked that the mufti's words were offensive - surely a first.
   Not unsurprisingly, the sheik has once again claimed that the remarks in Egypt have been taken out of context and, predictably, Keysar Trad has again supported the "grand mufti", although Sheik al-Hilaly it must be said that quite a number of prominent Australian Muslims have said that enough is enough - he is an embarrassment to their community.
   Political reaction was quite interesting. The Prime Minister John Howard's first reaction, when he emerged briefly from his well-earned holiday, was somewhat muted: he described al-Hilaly as "a growing embarrassment to his community". Opposition leader Kevin Rudd was quoted as saying that al-Hilaly was "several sandwiches short of a picnic".
   Again, according to The Australian, Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile took the view that there was nothing new about the brouhaha. "Obviously, they [the sheik's words] were totally inappropriate, as we've come to expect from Sheik Hilary," he said. "You would ask yourself a question: 'Why does an individual live in a country where he doesn't agree with the laws of the land?' "  And indeed that is a question that should rightly be asked.
   Perhaps the Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, who has been criticised of late, deserves plaudits for being one of the first to condemn al-Hilaly's words. In a pointed statement, she said: "Australians can be forgiven for questioning how seriously Sheik Hilary takes his citizenship pledge to Australia and its people, a pledge that he shared Australia's democratic beliefs and he respected our rights and liberties."
   She added: "I remind Sheik Hilary that if he doesn't like Australia, our heritage or our way of life, he doesn't have to come back."
   Despite significant and welcome criticism from within the Muslim community, including Kuranda Seyit, executive director of the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations, and Waleed Aly, media spokesman for the Islamic Council of Victoria, there is little doubt that condemnation of the sheik across the board is tantamount to flogging him with a limp lettuce-leaf and will have about the same effect. Surely it is time that a new look is taken at the elements within the Islamic diaspora in this country.
   Once again, the question has to be asked: "To what extent can a democratic country permit what is effectively a hostile counterculture to exist unchecked in its midst?" Let there be no doubt that fundamentalist Islam constitutes such a counterculture.
   As in most Western countries, a proportion of fundamentalist Muslims in Australia crave Sharia law. They are by no means a majority but overseas research, especially in the United Kingdom, consistently suggests that about 40 per cent of a given Islamic community is likely to feel that way.
   Social research conducted in the UK also indicates that the majority of that 40 per cent are likely to be from a low socio-economic background and face difficulty in securing employment. However, a segment of fundamentalists are well-educated and, unlike the previous group, appear to be assimilated. As the bombings in London in 2005 proved, attacks were found more likely to be carried out by educated fanatics.
   A colleague of mine is famous, or notorious, for abhorring uncritical cross-cultural transfer of research results. However, it must be said that the UK is a comparable society to Australia in many respects. After all, we share a common heritage; more or less adhere to Judeo-Christian ethics; and are globalising societies, which welcome migrants.
   A problem arises when any migrant community achieves what could be described as a critical mass - that is, a sufficient number to practise their own cultural rites and follow their own mores arid values, without necessarily being dependent on society as a whole.
   For example, in 1970, ABC television's current affairs program Four Corners ran a documentary on Greek migrants in Victoria, working on the assembly lines at General Motors Holden in Dandenong.
   There was criticism that so few spoke English. One worker summed up what was probably the majority view, through a translator: "I speak Greek at home; have fun at the Greek club; worship at the Greek Orthodox Church and all my mates on the assembly line are Greek. Why should I learn to speak English?"
   Why, indeed, especially when we were becoming a multicultural country?
   The dividing line in this instance is that Greek immigrants basically followed in the European tradition and the Orthodox religion.  Their folkways, like so many European migrant groups, were able to be sustained without conflict with the host culture.
   However, many Muslim immigrants find it extremely difficult to become involved in everyday life, have problems with the English language and become effectively "ghettoised".
  ‘Australian citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and if the mechanism does not exist in law for revoking citizenship and deporting a person, then it should be immediately introduced into Federal Parliament. ’  
   It is not difficult to feel sympathy for them and, while many work hard, others are left to the mercies of the welfare system and the charity of their community. And it must be said that Islamic charity groups funded from abroad, as well as locally, make life tolerable for newcomers.
   Regrettably, in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada, money from some of these charities has found its way into the hands of extremists and putative terrorists. Muslims in Australia are not a homogenous group - we see that in everyday life. Some of those most critical of Sheik al-Hilaly run the risk of alienation from their co-religionists and, given the dynamics of migrant communities, they could face punishment to varying degrees.
   The problem with the "grand mufti", as the sheik is frequently described, lies in the fact that he cannot be removed from what was a virtually self-appointed position.
   Moreover, his support base, centred on the Lakemba mosque in western Sydney, is strong and fundamentalist in orientation. The claim that the sheik's remarks have again been taken out of context does not stand serious scrutiny, notwithstanding a belated apology.
   Is this good enough? How many more times must Australia be traduced by this man and how long can ordinary citizens be expected to tolerate such divisive comments? Can we effectively measure the contribution the sheik has made to Australian life in terms of enrichment?
   The Prime Minister has quite rightly pointed to the fact that the previous Labor administration granted al-Hilaly Australian citizenship, probably for purely political and electoral reasons. It must be said that this was done in the face of honourable and stern opposition from the then Minister for Immigration, Chris Hurford, and objections from ASIO.
   Some elements of the press are apparently trying to stifle the sheik by using humour, and this can be a useful tactic. However, it is doubtful whether many in the Muslim communities see the joke. In fact, it is no laughing matter.
   Simply stated, Sheik al-Hilaly is a divisive force within Australia. The Howard Government has no qualms in turning away refugees, many of whom are deserving of support and residency.
   Australian citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and if the mechanism does not exist in law for revoking citizenship and deporting a person, then it should be immediately introduced into Federal Parliament.
   It should also be possible to deny re-entry to this country to "citizens" who have effectively undermined our way of life and slandered our fellow countrymen. Contrary to belief in some quarters, national sovereignty is one of the most important issues for the 21st century. #
   [RECAPITULATION: … the Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, … added: "I remind Sheik Hilary that if he doesn't like Australia, our heritage or our way of life, he doesn't have to come back." RECAP. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: And guess who had to be contacted while away from her usual haunts, to be told she was going to be out of the Ministry! Without any prior warning!  And doing no worse than her predecessor in gulling the Australian public!  ENDS.]
   [EPILOGUE: By the day after Anzac Day, April 25, 2007, Ms Vanstone was saying STILL she did not know what her next posting would be.  She's not the first Member of Parliament to lose the plums of office for being realistic about immigration and suchlike matters!  The "Insiders" know what they are about!  [Feb 3, 07]

• [Water centralism, without authority, and sell-off?]  Australia flag; 

[Water centralism, without authority, and sell-off?]

   The West Australian, Letters, p 20, Monday, February 5, 2007
Water warning
   How odd that individual members of the Federal Parliament have said little or nothing to their electorates about this latest foot in the door towards the Commonwealth taking over States' rights - the management of water supplies.
   That aside, does the water proposal revive the Commonwealth intention, recurring again and again over the years, to abolish the States and reduce their governments to the level of regional councils, leaving Canberra in sole charge?
   The answer to the overweening ambitions of the Commonwealth is quite clear: we should secede from the Federation and become an independent State. Our geography, economy and capability do more than support the idea of such a change - they demand it.
   If John Howard, in walking on water, hopes to make a new road to federalism, he should remember a fact or two. A slip on water may be followed by a gulp and a gurgle, and permanent silence. Michael Jardine, president, WA Secession Association, Mt Lawley.
No authority
   It does not seem to occur to the Prime Minister or the premiers that they have no authority from the people of Australia to, in effect, alter the Constitution which was enacted by the British Parliament after being supported by the majorities in referendums in all the colonies.
   The Constitution itself prescribes that there is only one way in which the Constitution can be changed - by dual majorities in a referendum. No referendum is being proposed for expected transfer of power over river systems from the States to the Commonwealth.
   The politicians seem to think that they have the right to overrule the Constitution without any authority from the electorate. A. W. B. Hassell, Lakelands.
Sell-off plan?
   We should think carefully about John Howard offering the States $10 billion of taxpayers' money provided he gets control of the Murray-Darling-Murrumbidgee.
   What would a former lawyer and States' rights advocate and a former international banker have in common in this turnaround?
   Their desire to sell our water to global corporations, just like South America lived to regret. Right? John C. Massam, Greenwood.
Today's text
Share your belongings with your needy fellow-Christians, and open your homes to strangers. -- ROMANS 12:13. (The Bible for Today). From the Bible Society.

   Letters to the Editor, WA Newspapers, GPO Box N1027 Perth WA 6843. Fax 08 9482 3830. E-mail to: letters@wa
   [COMMENT: Isn't it strange that the Liberal-National Government, and its Labor "Opposition," preach how efficient it is to have the National Competition Policy, but now during a drought they want competition between State water managements to be swallowed up by a monopoly? Isn't it strange that the AWB wheat single-desk selling policy is now called a monopoly, and the first step has been taken by the Howard government towards breaking its power to protect graingrowers? COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 05, 07]
• [Naming sex-accused, and delays in courts.] 

[Naming sex-accused, and delays in courts.]

   The West Australian, Letters to The Editor, p 20, Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Don't name the accused
   The acquittal of former taxi driver, 37-year-old Sirwan Baziani, and 64-year-old Perth psychologist Bruce Beaton of sex charges highlight serious concerns in our criminal justice system where, in sexual cases, the identity of the accused is published before the case is heard in court. In the case of the taxi driver, DNA evidence resulted in the charges being withdrawn.
   The cases highlight two serious deficiencies in our criminal justice system whereby, before going to court, your name can be splashed in the newspapers and television, which multiplies the mental trauma for these innocent victims of injustice by 100 times. If they weren't named until trial or conviction, the trauma would be minimal. In fact, the taxi driver wouldn't have been named at all.
   It's time for reforms to be seriously considered by the Government. In sex cases, withholding the identity of the suspect until trial or conviction should be considered. And why should, for example, the psychologist have to sell his house to finance his legal bill and maintain his innocence because the State couldn't prove the allegations against him?
   It's time to make good the loss to people who have been found not guilty by a judge or jury. Brian G. Tennant, Subiaco.
Why system doesn't work
   The West Australian is correct when it asserts that the people of WA are entitled to a court system in which those who appear before it can have confidence that justice will be done (Don't dismiss case for better provision for court system, 2/2).
   The suggestion that providing extra judicial officers to deal with a significant increase in the workload of most jurisdictions may alleviate some of the delays being experienced in dealing with court cases. However, resources are also required among the court staff who work in the court registries and support the judiciary.
   New legislation and other processes introduced in recent years have also added to the workload of both judiciary and court staff.
   All these factors, with a steady increase in the number of matters being brought before the courts, have helped contribute to the delays which seem to "sneak up" on the court system. However, behind these delays and other challenges facing the court system is an Attorney-General whose competence and knowledge in dealing with these challenges should be questioned.
   The Attorney-General also appears to be getting advice on what is happening in the courts and how to deal with the problems from an administration and consultants who do not wish to rock the boat by critically questioning policies and initiatives put forward by the executive arm of government if there are adverse or negative impacts which they can foresee.
   A case in point was the decision to split the Department of Justice a year ago. Has this really brought benefits or was the split really only a cosmetic enhancement to create the illusion that the administration of justice would improve?
   The people of WA deserve better leadership from those who administer the courts and from the Attorney-General who is responsible to the Government and the people for the overall state of the court system. Richard Titelius, Ballajura.
[Feb 07, 07]
• [Consumers will pay the $10,000 per head, AND more for tapwater.]  Australia flag; 

[Consumers will pay the $10,000 per head, AND more for tapwater]

   Letter to The West Australian , sent by John C. Massam, Wednesday, February 14, 2007
   PERTH: It is the consumers who will bear the cost of the $10,000 per head dinner to meet PM Howard and other Federal Ministers in Perth.
   We consumers pay as taxpayers to bring the Cabinet to Perth, and we pay as purchasers in higher prices of the goods and services that the well-heeled sell, and we pay as shareholders or superannuation recipients by not receiving the full company dividends we ought to receive.
   Meanwhile, the pawns of the well-heeled say that householders ought to pay more for tap water, while the foreign-controlled BHP-Billiton draws 33 million litres of water DAILY free of charge in Australia.
   Muddle on, Australia!
[Feb 14, 07]
• [EU inquiries show that CIA kidnapped people and flew them away for torture.]  European Union (EU) flag;  

EU endorses damning report on CIA

   British Broadcasting Corporation, http://news. 2/hi/europe/ 6360817.stm , Last Updated 17:33 GMT, Wednesday, February 14 2007
   The European parliament has approved a damning report on secret CIA flights, condemning member states which colluded in the operations. Alleged CIA flight taking off from Spain.
   The EU report said the US had operated 1,245 flights
   The UK, Germany and Italy were among 14 states which allowed the US to forcibly remove terror suspects, lawmakers said.
   The EU parliament voted to accept a resolution condemning member states which accepted or ignored the practice.
   The EU report said the CIA had operated 1,245 flights, some taking suspects to states where they could face torture.
   The report was adopted by a large majority, with 382 MEPs voting in favour, 256 against and 74 abstaining.
   The final version denounces the lack of co-operation of many EU member states and it condemns the actions of secret services and governments who accepted and concealed renditions.
We must be vigilant that what has been happening in the past five years may never happen again
Giovanni Fava, Italian Socialist MEP and report author

   It is unlikely, the report says, that European governments were unaware of rendition activities on their territory, something the British government, among others, has denied.
   "This is a report that doesn't allow anyone to look the other way. We must be vigilant that what has been happening in the past five years may never happen again," said Italian Socialist Giovanni Fava, who drafted the document.
   The parliament also called for an "independent inquiry" to be considered and for closure of the US' Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
   Human rights campaigning group Amnesty International welcomed the EU lawmakers' vote, but urged member states to carry out independent investigations.
   Revealing facts
   Although the report has no force in EU law, Mr Fava said during the parliamentary debate that the related investigation, over a year, had uncovered much new evidence.
   Many of those taken from EU states were subjected to torture to extract information from them, the report said.
♦ Austria
♦ Belgium
♦ Cyprus
♦ Denmark
♦ Germany
♦ Greece
♦ Ireland
♦ Italy
♦ Poland
♦ Portugal
♦ Romania
♦ Spain
♦ Sweden
♦ United Kingdom

   It said there was a "strong possibility" that this intelligence had been passed on to EU governments who were aware of how it was obtained.
   It also uncovered the use of secret detention facilities used as the flights made their journey across Europe towards countries such as Afghanistan.
   It was not possible to contradict evidence or suggestions that secret detention centres were operated in Poland and Romania, the report said.
   'Incommunicado detention'
   Centre-right MEPs - the largest group in parliament - have been highly critical of the report, saying it is primarily motivated by anti-Americanism.
   EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said the commission would act on the truth, even if it were uncomfortable or unpalatable. But he called for a relaunching of the Euro-Atlantic relationship and said Europe must continue to work with its US partners.
   During the course of their investigation, delegations of MEPs travelled to countries including Romania, Poland, the UK, the US and Germany to investigate claims of European involvement in so-called extraordinary renditions.
   The governments of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK were criticised for their "unwillingness to co-operate" with investigators.
   The report defines extraordinary renditions as instances where "an individual suspected of involvement in terrorism is illegally abducted, arrested and/or transferred into the custody of US officials and/or transported to another country for interrogation which, in the majority of cases involves incommunicado detention and torture". #
   [BACKGROUND: "EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap'," An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003.  The suspects are accused of abducting Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, without Italian permission, and flying him to Egypt for interrogation.  Abu Omar was allegedly kidnapped from a Milan street. -- BBC, Friday, December 23, 2005, europe/455 5660.stm . ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Politicians, worldwide, since December 2005 have had no excuse for not acting against the illegal kidnappings, and for not refusing to co-operate with people more akin to the Mafia and terrorists than to decent democratic citizens. COMMENT ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT: Roman Catholics who believe in liberty must be particularly sad to see that the most RC countries were among the ones which refused to even co-operate with the investigations, let alone stop the kidnappers.   The CIA "illegals" were acting to contradict the mission of Jesus "To preach deliverance to the captives" (Luke 4:18/19), and His call to treat others as one would wish to be treated.
   Note that Orthodox, Protestant, and Anglican "Christian" countries were also co-operating with the warmongering Bush and War Industries U.S. Administration.  In addition, so were supposedly Muslim governments.  By so doing, they were accelerating a loathing of "democracy" among the 1,000,000,000 Muslims in the world.  Yes, the incitement to these people could lead to perpetual war, as in George Orwell's book 1984!  War profits without end! ENDS.] [Feb 14, 07]

• [Hicks outrage: Held 5 years with changing charges and newfangled illegal courts, writer sees a puzzle.]  Australia flag;  Afghanistan flag;  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

One thing’s for sure, Hicks is an enigma

Paul Gray observes how Hicks, an Australian held prisoner by the US military in Cuba, has become a topic of growing interest to Catholics
   The Record (R.C. newspaper in W. Australia), by Paul Gray, Vista section page 4, Thursday, February 15, 2007
   The bishops of Australia have put their name to a statement of concern about David Hicks' case. One in particular, the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has voiced his anger at the long delays in bringing Hicks to trial. In more muted tones, Cardinal George Pell is another who has raised his concern about the issue, publicly.
   Now, the Hicks issue is on the front-burner nationally, as Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer come under raking fire in Canberra, from the Opposition and human rights agencies, over what the latter allege is the Government's neglectful attitude towards Mr Hicks.
   Responding, Mr Howard has appeared to give ground, inch by inch, on the question. […]
  [Picture] A drag: US Army police escort a detainee to his cell in Camp X-Ray at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.   PHOTOS: CNS  
   The essential point raised by opponents of Hicks' continued incarceration is that he is being punished, through deprivation of freedom, without having had the opportunity to have the case against himself tested in a court of law. This may mean, in fact, that he is an entirely innocent man, wrongly detained.
   Alternatively, he may be guilty of serious offences. The principal objection in the case is that, without a trial, it is impossible for any reasonable person to know what is true. […]
  [Picture] Protest: Demonstrators demand the release of David Hicks from Guantanamo Bay detention centre in a march from Parliament to the US Embassy in Canberra. 
   Did Mr Hicks fire a gun at anyone else? Did he fire a gun at anyone else? Did he conspire with others to have bombs planted, either in Afghanistan or other countries?
   Despite the general wide availability of knowledge in this media age, few people in Australia or the United States can answer such questions. Claims about Mr Hicks' activities, however, exist in plenty. The most detailed set of these occurred in an article by journalist Piers Akerman this month.
   Mr Akerman reported the contents of US Defence department files. He also referred to "a chronological precis of (Mr Hicks') activities on file with the US defence department." Mr Akerman reports that Hicks "saw bullets flying" during a retreat from frontline fighting against "Coalition forces" in November 2001.
   The article claimed that Hicks engaged in detailed training in Afghanistan in activities such as marksmanship, "kidnapping techniques" and "assassination methods." Basing himself on the US Defence Department file or files, Mr Akerman also made the claim that Mr Hicks joined a group of fighters "engaged in combat against Coalition forces." These are serious allegations - the most serious yet to have been levelled against Mr Hicks on the public record so far.
   The concern in the mind of human rights activists will be that a miscarriage of justice may occur if these charges cannot be sustained through a fair and open legal process. Miscarriages of justice are not unknown in the English tradition - despite the fact that the legal systems of the United States Britain and Australia are highly regarded, not only by legal historians but by ordinary people.
   Two examples of miscarriage of justice, both British, are the 1970s-era cases of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. These two cases involved serious allegations of terrorist action and conspiracy by Irish people. The fallout from those cases, which seriously embarrassed Britain's legal establishment, was memorable. The Australian Government will be hoping for no repeat occurrence in the case of David Hicks. #
   [RECAPITULATIONS: The essential point raised by opponents of Hicks' continued incarceration is that he is being punished, through deprivation of freedom, without having had the opportunity to have the case against himself tested in a court of law. This may mean, in fact, that he is an entirely innocent man, wrongly detained. […]
   Two examples of miscarriage of justice, both British, are the 1970s-era cases of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. RECAP. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Hundreds of years ago the cases of locking up people on whims and rumours led the English Establishment, fearing King Charles II's heir might lock his opponents up unfairly, to force the Habeas Corpus Act onto the Merry Monarch in 1679.  Habeas Corpus was suspended during the Irish resistances to English occupation and during the World Wars (See Pears Cyclopaedia, ~ 1958, p 573).  Theoretically the right to a speedy trial by proper courts had existed since Magna Charta, June 15, 1215, or even in the reign of King Alfred or earlier.  COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 15, 07]

• [Geraldton base:  Libs toy with Garrett's forgotten years]  Australia flag; 

Libs toy with Garrett’s forgotten years

   The Australian, http://blogs. the australian. mattprice/ index.php/ theaustralian/ comments/libs_ toy_with_ garretts_ forgotten_ years/ ; by Matt Price, Friday, February 16, 2007
   AUSTRALIA: PETER Garrett has performed a very clunky and awkward U-turn, finally declaring his "100 per cent" support for a new US military base proposed for Western Australia.
   The rock star cum celebrity pollie copped a pasting on Thursday after refusing five times to answer questions about the Geraldton base (Matt Price: Garrett slips up in an Oily moment)
   It prompted an all-out assault from the Coalition in parliament, a staunch declaration of support for the base by the federal Labor Party and belated acknowledgement by Garrett that he vigorously supported ALP.
   Garrett's discomfort has been caused by his old band's history of contempt for the US military, as expressed in Oils classics such as US Forces.
   Here's what Labor's environment shadow said today: "I want to make it perfectly clear that when I joined the Labor Party I accepted and understood what the policy was for Australian joint facilities… and that is a policy I unreservedly accept.
   "Twenty-five and thirty years ago, like a lot of other Australians, I was involved in actions and activities across this country. Of course you change your mind about some things over time; no one listening to this interview would expect otherwise.
   "There would be members on both frontbenches of the parliament, many people sitting in their bedrooms, in their lounge rooms, in the pub today who have views… which have evolved over time; mine have."
   Fair enough, I reckon. Most thinking people change their minds about issues as they grow older. Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, who hopped into Garrett in parliament, was once an ALP member who around the time Midnight Oil was at its peak proudly declared he'd never voted Liberal in his life.
   Garrett's problem is his lack of finesse. Episodes from his outspoken past will keep resurfacing this year - he's now a frontbencher and we're in feral election campaign mode.
   Refusing to answer questions is dumb and merely invites the spotlight. People will more readily forgive a change in old attitudes if Garrett is confident and upfront about his views, not babbling into the camera trying to duck relevant questions.
   Over to you…
   Your Comments
   Clement D Tsang of Shanghai (16 February at 11:54 AM)
   Small Hurt - is something that the cyber generation would call this comment..
   The crucible of democracy - the Parliamentary system, is sometimes the biggest waste of time, and this so called 'gaffe' by Garrett is a side issue to get both sides excited about who they call themselves during the election campaign..
   I just hope the ALP dont fluster at the finish line - I am sure that Rudd will get even more furious, which is exactly what I think he needs to do to win it…
   Jono of Carlton (16 February at 11:56 AM) Of course Garrett personally disagrees with this Labor Policy. But he's part of a political team, playing the political game, and therefore must pledge his support for the plan. He would certainly cop it from both sides if he didn't. It's all about winning the election, after that Labor can change their minds on anything they like. Garrett is learning quickly how to dodge and weave in the political arena, and once he holds power in government he can fully spread his wings and fly us all to safety!
   Sophocles of Sydney (16 February at 11:57 AM) Yawn. We all knew who Peter Garrett was before yesterday. Garrett's past is no secret. Let's now have an inquistion into every view ever expressed by every MP in the chamber. I expect the thought police would be well occupied with some very murky and scary offenders in the backbenches and National Party regions. Howard as The Rodent was reaching for the supreme wedge. More important that Garrett's pasat, why haven't we heard about the negotiations for this US base before now? Something Howard was keeping in reserve for later in the feral election campaign? Something he had to pull off the shelf because he was copping an a*se kick from climate change, Hicks and Iraq?
   SteveWJ of North Sydney (16 February at 11:58 AM) How many people does one know who would stand by actions and comments made "in extremis" 20 years when the world was a very different place and we were all very different people. This sort of exercise by the Liberals (and Labor have been equally guilty in the past, too) goes a long way towards explaining why worthy, intelligent and committed people do not join politics and make public contributions. I would actually argue conversely that it creates unaccountable and dangerous blow-hards like Alan Jones. Peter Garrett, love him or not, has had a very positive impact on Australia over a long period by generating genuine and passionate interest among the young (now not so young) in a highly altruistic way into important global issues, most of which have emerged in time as real problems. His values and his commitment to what he saw as important has been consistent and principled. Having said that, now that he is an MP the question about his current attitude to the US presence in Australia must be asked. But to make a circus out of Garrett, including Peter Costello's ridiculous pastiche on the floor some time ago when he copied Garrett's dancing style, is tantamount to a personal act of denigration. Costello and the Libs risk losing a little corner of voters who respect Garrett's principled life well ahead of the Treasurer and his boorish behaviour. Another thing for you and your colleagues, Matt, is that despite knowing full well that we cannot in practice shoehorn half of the population's views to correlate neatly with Labor and the other half to correlate with the Coalition, so why exect politicians to hypocritically follow that route? Why do many journalists continue to pretend that this constancy of policy support should exist among Members, but it doesn't have to exist outside? Its an unrealistic view and smacks of synthetic story generation. Or am I being cynical?
   Matt Price response: Journalists are paid to ask politicians questions, Steve, and when a senior, high profile figure like Garrett can't answer a glaringly obvious and reasonable query, that's news.
   Mark of Canberra (16 February at 12:00 PM) Matt, Much ado about nothing ! Politicians (including, famously, our PM on many occasions in and out of parliament), duck questions they find awkward. The efforts by Downer, Costello and Nelson were especially juvenile yesterday because, as we know, they would not agree with every plank of Liberal policy, yet as team players they fall into line. Garrett has stressed this reality on many occasions. Perhaps this is the angle you journos might also have considered looking at instead of superficial attempts at political one-upmanship by overgrown undergraduates on the Lib front-bench !
   I remember the '80's (16 February at 12:09 PM) Yes, as Peter Garret says, there would be many people sitting in their bedrooms, in their lounge rooms, in the pub today who have views … views which have evolved over time. The difference between those people and Garrett is that the former's views were contained to the bedroom, the lounge room, or the pub, and were expressed as one vote each at the ballet box; whereas Garrett's views from those days were - and still are - broadcast on radio and TV to the world, and influenced - and continue to influence - a great number of people to support an anti-US stance. Does Garrett ever stop to consider just how much the US forces have influenced his life in ways he may not have appreciated? For example, has he ever flown on a 747 jet? If so, whoever paid his ticket helped pay for the finance obtained by the airline to buy that jet. The airline bought that jet from the Boeing Company, which built that jet at their plant in Seattle, Washington state. Boeing's funds and know-how required to design and build the 747 can be traced to the money and experience gained during Boeing's history as a big US defence contractor, a history stretching back to before World War 2. US forces do indeed give the nod …
   Matt Price response: I wonder if Darryl Braithwaite and other members of Sherbet still believe in wide access to handguns as expressed in "You've Got The Gun." (1972)
   John Kotsopoulos (16 February at 12:15 PM) You a very ineffective attack poodle Matt. Tell me why does it matter that he may have held certain views about the US in the past? Costello was ex- Monash Labour club, Nelson and Malcom "you broke the nation's heart" Turnbull have more relevant form. Oh and does Senator George Brandis resile from his description of Howard as "The Lying Rodent" (c) ?.
   Matt Price response: It's not the views, John - I thought I made it clear that Garrett's change of thought to line-up with ALP policy is perfectly reasonable. But a bloke that smart and with so much experience of politics and the media ought to be able to get his lines right.
   RD of SydneyCBD (16 February at 12:17 PM) What if Australian's don't want our country dotted with US military bases? Doesn't anyone wonder what the people, not the politicians, want? I think it ought to be the subject of a referendum and then we would not need to push people around for their convictions. Plus, it is very important that we have political leaders who dissent from the majority, what hope democracy without that? None, I suggest. I wish our media and politicians were mature enough not to bully people for thinking differently. Naive old me!
   aly (16 February at 12:17 PM) MATT dont go there!! Garret is a national icon and treasure, we all know he is a man of principle and you journos trying to put him on the spot for ideals held in his youth only makes you look stupid, we all knew when he joined the labor party he would have to tone down some of his ideas, we accept that, he obviously felt he had a better chance of helping his beloved OZ by being with labor rather than under the rodent or the radical greens, now THAT shows a lot of nous. if your going to walk down memory lane why dont you grill ex labor party man {ive never voted for the liberals}brendan nelson--- now that was a HUGE u turn bought about by raw ambition not ideals.
   Matt Price response: Actually, Aly, I think PG looked silly ducking the questions. Just as Nelson looks ridiculous preaching about political consistency.
   Michael of Sydney (16 February at 12:17 PM) Matt Haven't you changed your tune? I remember when you were impartial. Now you're holding people like Garrett up to standards you don't seem to demand of government members. What about Howard's change of mind on issues like Medicare and GST? You seem a little ready to excuse those. h all of Labor's policies. There are plenty of government members who don't agree with every government position, such as in relation to David Hicks. M
   Bruce of Hobart (16 February at 12:19 PM) It will be hard for some of the people who are familiar with Peter's musical career, who support him for his political stances in Midnight Oil, to reconcile that profile with the current one. Peter will need to explain a lot about his pathway to his current convictions, about how much is his own beliefs and how much is party policy. He clearly wants to make a difference in the mainstream, meaning he is not able to please everyone.
   Jason of Queanbeyan (16 February at 12:20 PM) This whole thing is interesting only in that no commentator has bothered to point out Peter Garret's previosuly stated position on this issue. Almost his first statement when preselected prior to the 2004 election was that he had reversed his view on US bases in Australia and he was fully supportive of them as an important part of the US alliance. Sure he failed to answer a few questions, as he said today the announcement was certainly a surprise (even to some government members) and he wasn't briefed on it and therefore did not feel able to answer the question. As he gets more experienced at the political game he will learn the art of the non answer better I am sure. However the question remains, why was this announced so soon, it is not even finalised with no memorandum of understanding or any idea how it will work or when it will be built. Without a memorandum of understanding how can we be sure we will know everything that goes on there as the government tried to assert yesterday. Will we really have access to everything they hear from other nations? I doubt it. My guess is the memorandum will have an out clause when the info gathered is not in America's interests to share it will not be shared. I am concerned about the perception that is devloping with Liberal Government this week, they seem to be making decisions and announcemnts on the run, the grand water scheme wasn't put through cabinet and it seems collegues were not consulted, (something I remember Howard gleefully accusing Latham of on his now imfamous troops out by christmas policy) it was a fait acomplie that has been foistered on the Premiers without much in terms of detail on how it would work (They are spending the new few weeks sorting it out at the beauracrat level till they can all agree?). The announcement of this base seems premature and designed for political point scoring, the comments on the democrats were at least a little reckless. What is going on here??
   Matt of Sydney (16 February at 12:31 PM) The attack on Garrett in Parliment did not look planned out. If it was, it was messy. You had pompous Downer reading lyrics from a Midnight Oil song (that was the grab that got played on the 6 o'clock news). Remember Redgum anyone? I agree his media standup was bad, but Garrett is popular with ordinary Australians and Libs missed a freekick by using pompous Downer. Garrett will have learnt from it.
   Matt Price response: At least he didn't sing US Forces, Matt.
   Uncle of Albury (16 February at 12:40 PM) Was it a core statement or just one that can bend with breeze, learn from the best Pete, ask big John. And as for being roughed up by (by me a pony daddy Downer, oh please!
   Abu Bashir Bakir of Canberra (16 February at 12:45 PM) Because Peter Garret mouthed those words , "US Forces Get The Nod", doesn't mean he actually believed them , he did it for the money and for a very hefty supply of it indeed. Midnight Oil continued to use political issues to ply thier recordings to the public , in fact it was thier stock in trade to do so. It i easy to see that Peter does not have what it takes to be a leader, but as part of a Team , like his days with the 'Oils', he can be relyed upon to pay his share; I mean it's not like he doesn't own property and only buys it to give back to the Aboriginal inhabitants of this land , he's as self serving as anyone else except that he's tasted probably more champagne and actually thinks he deserves it. Typical Labour Man.
   Matt Price response: I'm glad he did mouth them, Abu. It's a brilliant song.
   Marto of Adelaide (16 February at 12:46 PM) This is really just a cheap attempt to distract attention from the governments recent and not so recent failings. Everyone knows what the guy stands for. He shouldn't have to agree with everything Labor proposes. I would prefer to see a government where they can agree to disagree rather than just toe the line no matter how extreme the agenda. Sure the Libs don't publicly spat that often but I see that as a sign they are too scared to talk out rather than displaying party unity on particular issues. I have views that I held in the past which have changed somewhat to what I believe today. If we all stuck to our guns and never changed our opinions from the time we were young until the time we died - how stupid would we look. The Australian is a paper I used to respect but it has changed so much in recent years. There is very little balance left in its reporting. I'm no tree hugging lefty but you should really take a good look at your ranks and find some new talent. The articles/blogs are looking very predictable these days (lack imagination). Many people have been looking for a reason to vote Labor for the past couple of elections. They are tired of a government controlled by lies and endless spin.
   Aussie Bob of Sydney (16 February at 12:48 PM) You're being disingenuous Matt. Costello was once a Labor Party member, via the Christian Socialist organisation. Nelson even tried for Labor preselection. He famously claimed he "never voted Liberal in his life" (until he did, as was his right… to change his mind). And Abbott was a trainee priest who ditched his vocation, ended up getting his girlfriend pregnant and then deserted her… all by his own admission. Well, a t least he thought he got her pregnant… Garrett is no ordinary Australian. He is an ikon, loved even, by many. Those who appreciate what he's trying to do for his country will understand that he's had to accommodate some of his erstwhile principles (from 20 years back!) in order to get the main message through on Climate Change. This is a storm in a teacup, and if it's the best the government can dish up, then bring 'em on. They don't get it: people aren't listening to them any more. They want an alternative. Garrett and his colleagues are that, in spades, warts and all. If all of us had to freeze our opinions and positions to whatever they were in our twenties, the world would be a vastly different place, and that includes the front bench of the Liberal Party.
   Burnie of Port Melbourne Vic (16 February at 12:50 PM) Gee, Matt, you're being a bit tough, here. Yes, Garrett was clunky in his initial response but according to the conventions of responsible governement (which the "alternative government" usually also adopt), the essence of his response was perfectly correct: it's for the responsible shadow minister to comment, "my gig's the environment". Anyway, if you want to talk about consistency, check out your colleague Greg Sheridan's contributions this week. On Tuesday, it was "John Howard made a serious mistake in the extravagance of his rhetorical outburst against US presidential candidate Barack Obama". And it was ll "too Machiavellian" to suggest that Howard was up to his usual political playmaking. Howard wouldn't play politics with such sensitive matters, would HE/ Oh yes he would and oh yes he did, according to none other than Greg Sheridan himself in his column on Thursday. A great week for Howard for Howard and what brilliant politics in "changing the conversation" to national security - hey, look , "climate change completely disappeared" ! What a relief for us all. Now, while I have your attention, for the first time in many years, I happened to catch Question Time in the House of Representatives. What a travesty and it's all aided and abetted by you media hounds who seem mesmerised by Costello's one liners.
   Matt Price response: Tough? Disingenuous? You're kidding. Imagine Malcolm Turnbull or Abbott or Costello fluffing a press conference like that - they'd have been similarly mauled. I disagree with Greg, Burnie - it's been a very bad week for the PM. But - call me shallow - I rather enjoy the Treasurer's one-liners, especially his running gag about Labor support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
   dedre okulicz of D^Aguilar (16 February at 12:55 PM) Times change, and with age comes maturity and wisdom and knowing when its the right time to bite your tongue. Peter Garrett comes across as a thoughtful, principled young man , i hope he achieves all he has set out to do. Has anyone asked Brendan Nelson why he stopped wearing an earring, hmmm I wonder
   Matt Price response: My understanding, Diedre, is Nelson has lost the earring he famously declared he'd never ever remove. He's been asked about it loads of times. I suggest the ALP organise a large reward for information that leads to the discovery of the vanishing stud.
   Miranda of Townsville (16 February at 01:00 PM) I have no doubt that Peter Garrett is experiencing a certain amount of cognitive dissonance over this issue, as it seems pretty likely that he hasn't really changed his views on US bases since the 80s. However, party discipline needs to be adhered to, and with good reason - voters need always to know exactly what they are voting for. I feel sorry for him because he knows the only way to make a difference is to be in power and the only way to be in power is to be with one of the two major parties. He has no choice but to toe the party line. His attempts at stonewalling the questions show a decent human being trying to square the circle. It's sad that it has to be this way.
   Matt Price response: I guess that's one way of looking at it, Miranda. He strikes me as an honest, upfront, decent fellow who hasn't yet perfected the art of seamless political dissembling. He'll learn, though. #
[Feb 16, 07]
• [Hicks illegal imprisonment -- Hypocrites breaking our law at every turn]  Australia flag; 

Hypocrites breaking our law at every turn

   The Age (Melbourne, Australia), www.theage. national/ hypocrites- breaking- our-law- at-every- turn/2007/ 02/17/11714 05502477.html , COMMENT, by Robert Richter, February 18, 2007
   AUSTRALIA: PHILIP Ruddock is a hypocrite when parading his Amnesty International membership. He pretends to give a toss for the organisation and the principles for which it stands: the rule of law, freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment, freedom from torture, opposition to the perversion of accepted civilised notions of justice and the obligations he owes to those notionally under his protection. Instead, he has publicly and shamefully betrayed all of these precepts.
   He is a liar when he pretends concern for David Hicks' fate. His protestations about Australia's efforts to secure a speedy trial for Hicks cross the line of decency when we consider that Hicks is, after five years, not charged with any offence. Nor is he subject to the jurisdiction of any lawfully constituted court of justice. We know he has not committed any offences against Australian law. Our A-G says so. We also know that he does not stand charged with any known crime against US law. So how is it that the Attorney-General has not demanded the return of Hicks to the country that owes him protection as a matter of law?
   It is because the A-G has publicly prostituted his duties to the law -- and to those he owes a duty of protection -- in the service of his political masters in the government he serves.
   I say this without cover of privilege and challenge him to sue for defamation and take the risk of the facts emerging in any litigation. Cabinet solidarity is one thing; his mealy-mouthed public utterances on the subject are another. He should at least have the decency to stay silent rather than seek to defend and advance the indefensible.
   He is, when last I looked, the Attorney-General. That means he is the first law officer of the Commonwealth. It is his primary obligation as Attorney-General -- not as a politician, which he discharges in the hurly-burly of politics as an ordinary MP -- to transcend the lies and evasions of politicians intent on holding on to power, and to discharge his duties to the law and the constitution: to protect and uphold the rights and liberties of, as well as enforce duties by, citizens of this country.
   His utterances about David Hicks are damp-squib lies and deceptions, as are those of his political masters John Howard and of Australia's-face-to-the world, Alexander Downer.
   When I became a citizen of Australia, I believed that as part of my pledging allegiance I also acquired the protection of my country at home and abroad. I can no longer believe in the latter while people like Ruddock, Howard and Downer are custodians of such protections. Nor can other Australians. Messrs Ruddock, Howard and Downer's pronouncements about seeking to have Hicks charged early in the new year (in front of commissions that have not yet been lawfully set up!) seem to me to be a desperate cover-up of their government's fundamental dereliction of duty. Instead of demanding Hicks' return, they have made themselves complicit in procuring an illegal process to occur as soon as possible.
   Rather than facing up to their duties to protect the fundamental rights of those subject to their theoretical protection, Ruddock , Howard and Downer are deliberately compounding the illegal actions of the American Administration by counselling and procuring an illegal process. This is a crime under our law. Instead of confessing to a wrong and doing the decent thing by trying to set it right, they are pushing ahead with "churching the whore" after the abortion. They urge the Americans to create a facade of legality for what is seen by all honest jurists as a gross violation of national and international law.
   Shame on you Philip Ruddock. I say the same to your superiors and accomplices, but I pick you out because you are supposed to be the enforcing arm of law and justice in Australia, instead of the aider and abettor of the disregard of national and international law and justice.
   In his latest defence of the indefensible (7.30 Report, February 6), Ruddock likened the serving of "draft charges" on David Hicks to being charged in Australia pending committal proceedings. He is lying. Hicks has not been charged. This can only happen with the approval of a "convening authority", which does not yet exist. Moreover, he is deliberately lying when comparing the process to what might happen in Australia because he knows that a person charged here must be brought before a court as soon as practicable -- within 24 hours -- or have access to habeas corpus.
   As a lawyer, he knows that if the matter had been placed before an Australian court, it would be struck out as an abuse of process for a number of reasons: one of the "draft" charges is retrospective and would be struck out. The charge of attempted murder would be thrown out because, as any university law student would know, training is not an attempt to do it. You actually have to be "on the job" in trying to kill. This is so without even addressing the issues of hearsay or the use of coerced evidence, which raise other fundamental objections to what is proposed.
   I used to say Ruddock bore an uncanny resemblance and presentation to an undertaker. I no longer do so because undertakers are decent, honest people doing a decent and honest job and should not be demeaned by a comparison to the indecency perpetrated by Ruddock as the frontrunner for his masters.
   Shame on you all. Bring David Hicks home NOW.
   Robert Richter, QC, is a Melbourne barrister. #
   [COMMENT: Mr Richter is right about the disgraceful behaviour of the Australian Liberal-National Government.  He is described in other newsitems as a Left-wing civil liberties lawyer.  Unlike the most dangerous Left-wingers of the 20th century (the Bolsheviks/Communists), he opposes the death penalty.
   Mr Ruddock (Liberal), now the nation's chief Legal Officer, formerly Immigration Minister, was transferred from that position when an MHR kept giving examples of supposed $10,000 payments being made to political accounts, followed by the granting of visas overriding the advice of immigration officers.  This is similar to the Labor Party's overriding of departmental advice that Sheikh Al-Hilali was unsuitable to be given a resident's visa. 
   Al-Hilali had been expelled from two Muslim countries for being too extreme!  In recent weeks he has stated that the Muslims have more right than the convict Anglo-Saxons' descendants to be in Australia, and that there are ruins of Muslim buildings in Australia pre-dating the British invasion of Australia!  What a wonderful world he lives in!   COMMENT ENDS.]
   ON THE WEB: ENDS.] [Feb 18, 07]

• $30m deal for brokers' victims.  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

$30m deal for brokers’ victims

   The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), au/perthnow/ story/0,21598, 21241781-27 61,00.html , EXCLUSIVE, by Joe Spagnolo, 01:00pm, February 17, 2007, published page 3, Feb 18, 2007
   PERTH: THE Carpenter Government and litigation funders IMF have finally agreed on a $30 million settlement package for victims of the Finance Brokers' scandal.
   An estimated 2300 West Australians will now recoup some of the money they lost. For some, it amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
   IMF executive director Hugh McLernon, whose firm has spent $1.4 million funding claims by 2100 investors in the past six years, has agreed to accept $3.4 million in fees after initially wanting double that amount.
   Mr McLernon, who is chasing a further $90 million in claims for clients in a law suit against seven legal firms tied to the scandal, has agreed to a condition demanded by the Government - that lobbyist Brian Burke not receive a cent of the compensation package.
   He had used Mr Burke and his partner Julian Grill in the long-running campaign.
   "I can guarantee that not one cent of this money is going to Brian Burke," Consumer Protection Minister Sheila McHale said.
   "The agreement was that the bulk of this money would go to the victims."
   Mr McLernon said he accepted a reduced fee for the sake of his clients. Hundreds had died awaiting a payout, he said.
   "Unless we agreed, our clients would not have got anything," Mr McLernon said.
   He said the finance brokers' victims would get back about 18 per cent of the money they lost, plus 6 per cent interest a year from when it was lost.
   Frank and Pat Lathlean, of Willagee, lost $143,000. Mr Lathlean praised IMF yesterday, saying if not for them he and his wife would have had nothing.
   The $143,000 they lost was to to buy a small retirement home, but those plans were now over, he said.
   The deal will see the Government set up a $30 million ex-gratia compensation fund for IMF's clients and an estimated 200 or more others affected.
   IMF will administer the compensation fund on behalf of the state. It will place advertisements calling for victims who are not IMF clients to lodge claims within two months.
   Ms McHale said settlement was conditional on 95 per cent of IMF's clients agreeing to it.
   IMF will not recover any extra fees or expenses over its damages claim against the Government, but may make millions more if the lawsuit against the legal firms is successful.
   [BACKGROUND: Mr Burke (ex-prisoner) and Mr Grill are former "Labor" ministers, now in disfavour with all except some in the moneyed classes, and supposedly as lobbyists in some deals co-operating with former Senator Crichton-Browne ("Liberal").  The finance brokers' scandal went on while a "Liberal" Doug Shave was a minister of a department supposedly supervising such dealers.  His former father-in-law was being refused his money back, so a departmental officer was sent to see the finance broker concerned.  He was paid back.  Yet the minister/department made no further effort to stop the massive dishonesty that later inquiries revealed.  The present "Labor" government, responding to the pressure hinted at in the above article, is doing something at last.  COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 18, 07]
• No puzzle about Hicks -- civil court trial to clear the air. 

No puzzle about Hicks — civil court trial to clear the air

   Letter to the Editor of The Record, sent by John C. Massam on Sunday, February 18, 2007
   Thanks for publishing Paul Gray's "One thing's for sure, Hicks is an enigma" ( Vista, Feb 15).
   As the article says, "The essential point raised by opponents of Hicks' continued incarceration is that he is being punished, through deprivation of freedom, without having had the opportunity to have the case against himself tested in a court of law. This may mean, in fact, that he is an entirely innocent man, wrongly detained."
   AND, "Two examples of miscarriage of justice, both British, are the 1970s-era cases of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six." (They were Irish people, living in England, whom the police "framed" for IRA terrorist acts.)
   Serendipitously, the article appeared a day after the European Union Parliament exposed 14 of its member nations, supposedly Christian, who have allowed U.S. CIA agents to kidnap people off the streets of Europe, and fly them off to Muslim or other countries for torture, or use European airports for overseas victims. Italy had previously issued arrest warrants for the U.S. kidnappers!
   Read "EU endorses damning report on CIA," British Broadcasting Corporation, http:// uk/2/hi/europe/ 6360817.stm , Wednesday, February 14, 2007.
   Sadly, although 382 MEPs voted in favour, there were 256 against and 74 abstaining. Nearly half accept "Big Brother" Hitler-Stalin justice!
   You see, it isn't just terrorist groups who kidnap people! Nor as a Brazilian man hurrying to a train found out in England, who shoot people dead for nothing.
   Hundreds of years ago opposition to locking up people on whims and rumours led the English Establishment, mistrusting King Charles II's heir, to force the Habeas Corpus Act onto the Merry Monarch in 1679.
   Habeas Corpus was suspended during the Irish resistances to English occupation and during the World Wars (See Pears Cyclopaedia, ~ 1958, p 573).
   Theoretically the right to a speedy trial by proper courts had existed since Magna Charta, June 15, 1215, or even in the reign of King Alfred or earlier.
   The main author of Magna Charta is believed to have been Archbishop Stephen Langton. He must have been a Catholic who heeded the Jesus message "to preach deliverance to the captives." (Luke 4:18 or 19)
   Even convicted criminals who repeatedly offend have the right to be brought before regular courts, but the Australian, British and American governments don't believe suspects in their phoney war on terror have normal rights.
   [ADDITION: While the Coalition of the Killing hold and torture prisoners of war, what mercy can Australian or other soldiers (and others) expect from Muslims or others who capture them in Iraq or Afghanistan?  There is a sharp contrast between "Strike off the heads of the disbelievers," and "Do unto others as you would that they do unto you."  The latter would attract, the former repels.  But acting like the rival belief leads to its followers being repelled.  ENDS.] [Feb 18, 07]
• Torture at Abu Ghraib: The full sworn testimony of Ali Shalal.  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Malaysia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
   Global Research, index.php? context=view Article&code= 20070219& articleId= 4865 , February 19, 2007
Author Index

by Michel
now also available in pdf format

The Globalization
of Poverty

by Michel

Celsius 911
World Takeover
& the War of Terror


Produced by
Jeremy Wright

February 21, 2007    Stop the War on Iran   

Torture at Abu Ghraib: The full sworn testimony of Ali Shalal

Global Research, February 19, 2007
Perdana Global Peace Organization, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Editor's Note

The following text is the testimony given by Professor Ali Shalal, who was tortured at Abu Ghraib Prison. This statement was presented to the War Crimes Commission set up under the helm of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, as evidence in the procedure launched in Kuala Lumpur directed against US President George W. Bush, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australia's Prime Minister John Howard.

Ali Shalal, known to the World as the "man behind the hood", is a man of tremendous courage and determination. I heard his testimony, I had the opportunity of speaking to him on several occasions in the course of the war crimes Conference. We established bonds of friendship and solidarity. We shared our determination to bring the war criminals in high office to justice. 

Ali Shalal is a professor of theology. He is a tremendous source of inspiration. It is important to understand that what Ali Shalal experienced is part of a routine process of torture, applied systematically to those arrested.  Many of his companions in Abu Ghraib died as a result of torture or were executed upon their release so that they would not reveal the gruesome horrors and atrocities committed on the orders of the Bush administration. Also of significance, as confirmed by his testimony, was the fact that Israeli "civilians" were involved in assisting the US prison interrogators.

Ali Shalal survived and provided testimony in the name of all those who were tortured to death. Ali Salal's words will go down in history.

The war criminals in high office will be brought to justice. It is also our determination that they will be given a fair trial.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 19 February 2007

Ali Shalal and Michel Chossudovsky in Kuala Lumpur, & feb 2007



I, Ali Sh. Abbas (alias Ali Shalal) of full age and an Iraqi citizen do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:

  1. I am 45 years old
  2. I now live in Amman, Jordan.
  3. I was an Islamic education lecturer in the city of Al-Alamiya, Iraq
  4. The purpose of making this statutory declaration is to put on record my torture experience in the Abu Ghraib prison.
  5. On the 13th October, 2003 while I was going to prayer in the mosque in Al-Amraya, the American troops arrested me. They tied my hands to the back of my body and put a bag over my head. They took me to a small prison in a U.S. military camp in Al-Amraya.
  6. The Commander of this military camp, one Captain Philips told me that he had received an order from his superior to arrest him and he did not know the reasons for my arrest. I was left alone in the prison.
  7. After two days, they transferred me to the Abu Ghraib prison. The first thing they did to me was to make a physical examination of my body and abused me. Together with other detainees, we were made to sit on the floor and were dragged to the interrogation room. This so called room is in fact a toilet (approximately 2m by 2m) and was flooded with water and human waste up to my ankle level. I was asked to sit in the filthy water while the American interrogator stood outside the door, with the translator.
  8. After the interrogation, I would be removed from the toilet, and before the next detainee is put into the toilet, the guards would urinate into the filthy water in front of the other detainees.
  9. The first question they asked me was, "Are you a Sunni or Shiia?" I answered that this is the first time I have been asked this question in my life. I was surprised by this question, as in Iraq there is no such distinction or difference. The American interrogator replied that I must answer directly the questions and not to reply outside the question. He then said that in Iraq there are Sunnis, Shiias and Kurds.
  10. The interrogators wore civilian clothes and the translator, an Afro-American wore American army uniform.
  11. When I answered that I am an Iraqi Muslim, the interrogator refused to accept my answer and charged me for the following offence:

  12. (a) That I am anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic.
    (b) I supported the resistance
    (c) I instigated the people to oppose the occupation
    (d) That I knew the location of Osama bin Ladin
    I protested and said that Muslims and Jews descended from the same historical family. I said that I could not be in the resistance because I am a disabled person and have an injured hand.
  13. The interrogator accused me that I had injured my hand while attacking the American soldiers.
  14. The interrogator informed me that they knew that I was an important person in the community and therefore could help them. As an inducement for my cooperation, the interrogator offered medical help for my injured hand.
  15. When I did not cooperate, the interrogator asked me whether I considered the American army as "liberator" or "occupier". When I replied that they were occupiers, he lost his temper and threatened me. He told me that I would be sent to Guantanamo Bay where even animals would not be able to survive.
  16. They took me to another room and took record of my thumb print, a photo of my eye and a sample of my saliva for DNA analysis. After this procedure, they tagged me by putting a band round my wrist with the following particulars: my name, a number, my religious status and whether I had previous arrest.
  17. They then beat me repeatedly and put me in a truck to transfer me to another part of the Abu Ghraib prison.
  18. This part of the prison, was in an open space and consisted of five sectors, surrounded by walls and barb wires and was called "Fiji Land". Each sector had five tents and surrounded by barb wires. When I was removed from the truck, the soldiers marked my forehead with the words "Big Fish" in red. All the detainees in this camp are considered "Big Fish". I was located in camp "B". 
  19. The living conditions in the camp were very bad. Each tent would have 45 to 50 detainees and the space for each detainee measured only 30cm by 30cm. We had to wait for 2 to 3 hours just to go to the toilets. There was very little water. Each tent was given only 60 litres of water daily to be shared by the detainees. This water was used for drinking and washing and cleaning the wounds after the torture sessions. They would also make us to stand for long hours.
  20. o food is given to us. When food is given, breakfast is at 5.00 am, lunch is at 8.00 am and dinner at 1.00 pm. During Ramadhan, they bring food twice daily, first at 12.00 midnight and the second is given during fasting time to make the detainees break the religious duty of fasting.
  21. During my captivity in the camp, I was interrogated and tortured twice. Each time I was threatened that I would be sent to Guantanamo Bay prison. During this period, I heard from my fellow detainees that they were tortured by cigarette burns, injected with hallucinating chemicals and had their rectum inserted with various types of instruments, such as wooden sticks and pipes. They would return to the camp, bleeding profusely. Some had their bones broken.
  22. In my camp, I saw detainees brought over from a secret prison which I came to know later as being housed in the "Arabian Oil Institute" building, situated in the north of Baghdad. These detainees were badly injured.
  23. After one month and just before sunset my number was called and they put a bag over my head and my hands were tied behind my back. My legs were also tied. They then transferred me to a cell.
  24. When I was brought to the cell, they asked me in Arabic to strip but when I refused, they tore my clothes and tied me up again. They then dragged me up a flight of stairs and when I could not move, they beat me repeatedly. When I reached the top of the stairs, they tied me to some steel bars. They then threw at me human waste and urinated on me.
  25. Next, they put a gun to my head and said that they would execute me there. Another soldier would use a megaphone to shout at me using abusive words and to humiliate me. During this time, I could hear the screams of other detainees being tortured. This went on till the next morning.
  26. In the morning, an Israeli stood in front of me and took the bag from my head and told me in Arabic that he was an Israeli had interrogated and tortured detainees in Palestine. He told me that when detainees would not cooperate, they would be killed. He asked me repeatedly for names of resistance fighters. I told him that I do not know any resistance fighters but he would not believe me, and continued to beat me.
  27. This Israeli dressed in civilian clothes tortured me by inserting in turn first with a jagged wooden stick into my rectum and then with the barrel of a rifle. I was cut inside and bled profusely. During this time, when any guard walked past me, they would beat me. I had no food for 36 hours.
  28. The next morning, the Israeli interrogator came to my cell and tied me to the grill of the cell and he then played the pop song, "By the Rivers of Babylon" by Pop Group Boney M, continuously until the next morning. The effect on me was that I lost my hearing, and I lost my mind. It was very painful and I lost consciousness. I only woke up when the Israeli guard poured water on my head and face. When I regain consciousness, he started beating me again and demanded that I tell him of the names of resistance fighters and what activities that I did against the American soldiers. When I told him that I did not know any resistance fighters, he kicked me many times.
  29. I was kept in the cell without clothes for two weeks. During this time, an American guard by the name of "Grainer" accompanied by a Moroccan Jew called Idel Palm ( also known as Abu Hamid) came to my cell and asked me about my bandaged hand which was injured before I was arrested. I told him that I had an operation. He then pulled the bandage which stained with blood from my hand and in doing so, tore the skin and flesh from my hands. I was in great pain and when I asked him for some pain killers, he stepped on my hands and said "this is American pain killer" and laughed at me.
  30. On the 15th day of detention, I was given a blanket. I was relieved that some comfort was given to me. As I had no clothes, I made a hole in the centre of the blanket by rubbing the blanket against the wall, and I was able to cover my body. This is how all the prisoners cover their bodies when they were given a blanket.
  31. One day, a prisoner walked past my cell and told me that the interrogators want to speed up their investigation and would use more brutal methods of torture to get answers that they want from the prisoners. I was brought to the investigation room, after they put a bag over my head. When I entered the investigation room, they remove the bag from my head to let me see the electrical wires which was attached to an electrical wall socket.
  32. Present in the room was the Moroccan Jew, Idel Palm, the Israeli interrogator, two Americans one known as "Davies" and the other "Federick" and two others. They all wore civilian clothes, except the Americans who wore army uniforms. Idel Palm told me in Arabic that unless I cooperated, this would be my last chance to stay alive. I told him that I do not know anything about the resistance. The bag was then placed over my head again, and left alone for a long time. During this time, I heard several screams and cries from detainees who were being tortured.
  33. The interrogators returned and forcefully placed me on top of a carton box containing can food. They then connected the wires to my fingers and ordered me to stretch my hand out horizontally, and switched on the electric power. As the electric current entered my whole body, I felt as if my eyes were being forced out and sparks flying out. My teeth were clattering violently and my legs shaking violently as well. My whole body was shaking all over.
  34. I was electrocuted on three separate sessions. On the first two sessions, I was electrocuted twice, each time lasting few minutes. On the last session, as I was being electrocuted, I accidentally bit my tongue and was bleeding from the mouth. They stop the electrocution and a doctor was called to attend to me. I was lying down on the floor. The doctor poured some water into my mouth and used his feet to force open my mouth. He then remarked, "There is nothing serious, continue!" Then he left the room. However, the guard stopped the electrocution as I was bleeding profusely from my mouth and blood was all over my blanket and body. But they continued to beat me. After some time, they stopped beating me and took me back to my cell.
  35. Throughout the time of my torture, the interrogators would take photographs.
  36. I was then left alone in my cell for 49 days. During this period of detention, they stopped torturing me. At the end of the 49th day, I was transferred back to the camp, in tent C and remained there for another 45 days. I was informed by a prisoner that he over heard some guards saying that I was wrongly arrested and that I would be released.
  37. I was released in the beginning of March 2004. I was put into a truck and taken to a highway and then thrown out. A passing car stopped and took me home.
  38. As a result of this experience, I decided to establish an association to assist all torture victims, with the help of twelve other tortured victims.
  39. I feel very sad that I have to remember and relive this horrible experience again and again, and I hope that the Malaysian people will answer our call for help. God willing.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.

Subscribed and solemnly declared by the

above named Ali Sh. Abbas alias Ali Shalal on February 2007 at Kuala Lumpur through the interpretation of ABBAS Z. ABID (Iraqi Passport No. S379532) with the said ABBAS Z. ABID having been first affirmed that he had truly, distinctly, and audibly translated the contents of this Statutory Declaration to the deponent Ali Sh. Abbas alias Ali Shalal and that he would truly and faithfully interpret the affirmation about to be administered unto him the said Ali Sh. Abbas alias Ali Shalal.








(Iraqi Passport No. S379532)

Before me,

Commissioner of Oaths,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia






Significantly, Ali Shalal chose to speak from a text sworn under Malaysia's Statutory Declaration Act 1960, before a Commissioner for Oaths in Kuala Lumpur.

Ali's statutory declaration was endorsed by Abbas Z. Abid, a survivor of the Fallujah Massacre, who interpreted his Arabic text into English.

The audience that filled Dewan Merdeka to the brinks held their breath listening to Ali Shalal, who gave a live testimony of torture as a direct-hit victim while he was custody in the infamous Aby Ghraib prison, in the US-occupied Iraq. His statutory declaration will be deposited with the War Crimes Commission as one of the petitions from War Crime Victims. Subsequently, Ali Shalal's petition is expected to be forwarded for deliberation by the War Crimes Tribunal, which will begin its preliminary deliberation later in the afternoon.

When the War Crimes Commission sits for the preliminary proceedings at 9.00am this morning , War Crimes victims will present their petitions and give their witnesses' accounts.

They include war crimes victims from the war in Afghanistan aka The Global War on Terror; war in Iraq including the Fallujah Massacre; war in Lebanon, and war in Palestine.

New York Times retracted story

March 11 last year, The New York Times ran a dramatic front-page story that matched the infamous photo: the chilling shot of an Abu Ghraib prisoner, hooded, standing on a box, electrical wires attached to his outstretched arms.

The "Prisoner in the Hood" was identified by the NY Times as Ali Shalal Qaissi.

However, the story was challenged by online magazine Salon. On March 18, the NY Times acknowledged that its story was flat wrong, and the paper admitted that the prisoner in the photograph was not Qaissi, who has reportedly admitted to the falsehood.

In an editor's note, the NY Times said "the Times did not adequately research Mr. Qaissi's insistence that he was the man in the photograph" and "should have been more persistent in seeking comment from the military.

And the story died instantly in America's media.

The matter was raised at the pre-Conference press briefing on Sunday, to which Dr Mahathir, chairman of PGPO, answered: "The US military will naturally deny everything because you would not know who is behind the hood. But we believe that Ali Shalal is the man behind the hood that you saw in the picture."

The torture

When Ali Shalal took the podium yesterday, he displayed several video clips of the tortures in Abu Ghraib, laid with soundtracks of Iraqi music. In the dark, I could figure out he was wearing an academic's suit, but complete with a songkok that's typically Malaysian. The session's moderator, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, later confirmed what I had guessed. It was indeed a songkok.

Ali-Shalal_0076.jpg Then he began to speak, albeit in a monotonous, emotionless tone. What can you expect from a person who went through hell several times, only to tell the world his first-hand account of war crimes.

I could understand his first sentence in Arabic. "Ana ALI SH. ABBAS". He was saying he is Ali Sh. Abbas alias Ali Shalal, 45, who is now residing in Amman, Jordan.

Despite Ali's monotone articulated through his native language, and the time-lapse the [? that] slipped while I tried to catch what he meant, I felt chills up my spine. It was human torture of the sadistic kind.

These are some images I took as I sat on the floor listening to him by reading the English translation of his testimony, which was actually his Statutory Declaration. Quote:

In the morning, an Israeli stood in front of me and took the bag from my head and told me in Arabic that he was an Israeli (who) had interrogated and tortured detainees in Palestine.
Worse was to come. Ali was later electrocuted on three separate occasions. On the first two sessions, he was electrocuted twice, each time lasting a few minutes. And on the last session, as he was being electrocuted, he accidentally bit his tongue and was bleeding from the mouth.

  There wasn't mercy, even from doctors. Quote:
The doctor just poured some water into my mouth and used his feet to force open my mouth. He then remarked: "There is nothing serious, continue!" Then he left the room. However, the guard stopped the electrocution as I was bleeding profusely from my mouth and blood was all over my blanket and body. But they continue to beat me. After some time, they stopped beating me and put me back to my cell.

Throughout the time of my torture, the interrogators would take photographs.

After that incident, Ali was left alone in his cell for 49 days, and the interrogators stopped torturing him. Quote:

I was released in the beginning of March 2004. I was put into a truck and taken to a highway and then thrown out. A passing car stopped and took me home.
All these, because Ali was arrested by the American troops on October 13, 2003 while he was going to a prayer in the mosque of Al-Amraya, and later transferred to Abu Ghraib prison.

All these, because Ali had refused to confess to his captor's question whether he was a Sunni or Shia Muslim.

All that Ali was willing to answer was that he was an Iraqi Muslim, an answer that his captors refused to accept. He was instead charged for the following "offence", as contained in paragraph 11 of the Statutory Declaration:

a ) That Ali was anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic
b ) He supported the resistance
c ) He instigated the people to oppose the occupation
d ) that he knew the location of Osama bin Laden
The captors refused to considered his plea that he was a disabled person and had an injured hand. Instead, the interrogators accused him of injuring his hand while attacking the American soldiers.

At the point of his capture by the American troops, Ali was a lecturer in Islamic education in the city of Al-Alamiya, Iraq.

Life reclaimed

Now that Ali has reclaimed his life, he vowed to do something good for his countrymen who went through the same fate. He has decided to to establish an association to assist all torture victims, with the help of 12 other tortured victims.

Ali-Shalal_0012.jpg At the end of his presentation, Ali told this to the audience who were still enthralled by his gory, gripping account:

I feel very sad that I have to remember and relive this horrible experience again and again, and I hope that the Malaysian people will answer our call for help. God willing.
Fortunately, I could still grasp some Arabic words which I learned during my trip to Tunisia in 2005. Ali ended his presentation with 'Shukran Malaysia' (Thank you, Malaysia).

Ali-Shalal_0069.jpg It was a standing ovation… amidst revelation by Tun Hasmah that it wasn't really an easy task getting Ali into Malaysia to speak.

Ali-Shalal-Ovation_0055.jpg In a way, Ali Shalal is a lucky war victim. His torture and misery were made enduring the world over only because of media snafu in the USA. There are a lot more silent, but no less inhuman, war crimes stories unheard and unspoken of elsewhere, which will be unending so long as warmongers and war criminals remain roaming free on this earth.

The job cut out for the War Crimes Tribunal has just begun.

All LensaPress, photos by Jeff Ooi  

   [COMMENT: To tell a supposed Arab or a Muslim that he is an anti-Semite shows the supreme arrogant ignorance of the United States officer corps, and their Big Business directors.  If you care to look it up, Arabs ARE Semites, the Arabic language is a Semitic language, and the Muslim religion came from Semitic and other roots.  One ought to recite to the Bush-Cheney warmongers "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." 
   Meanwhile, the Howard-National Party warmongers have got Australia talking about a proposed Canberra rivers and water dictatorship, instead of about their proposal to set up a kidnap and torture centre near Geraldton, Western Australia.  Both undemocratic schemes have the support of the so-called Labor Party!!   COMMENT ENDS.]
   ON THE WEB, ALSO, AT: . ENDS.] [Feb 19, 07]

• Carpenter's men tell me all: Burke  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

Carpenter’s men tell me all: Burke

   The West Australian, www.thewest. aspx?MenuID= 145&Content ID=21857 , by ROBERT TAYLOR and SEAN COWAN, Page One, Wednesday, February 21, 2007
   PERTH: Brian Burke boasted to disgraced former MP Norm Marlborough that he could rely on at least two current Carpenter Government ministers and five different ministerial officers to provide him with confidential Cabinet information.
   … sensational day at the Corruption and Crime Commission hearing into lobbyists yesterday, secret tape recordings of phone conversations … […]
   Mr Burke, who was doing work for litigation funder IMF, continually pushed Mr Marlborough for information on Government deliberations over compensation for victims of the finance brokers scandal. […]
   [FOR MORE, visit source, or click: . ENDS.] [Feb 21, 07]
• [Crichton-Browne, Liberal heavyweight fronts CCC.]  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

Liberal heavyweight fronts CCC

   The West Australian Online, www.thewest. default.aspx? MenuID=145& ContentID=21906 , by SAM RILEY, February 21, 2007
   PERTH: Former Liberal heavyweight Noel Crichton-Browne took the stand at the Corruption and Crime Commission today to answer questions about what he knew about confidential cabinet information leaked to disgraced former premier Brian Burke. […]
   In one phone conversation Mr Burke tells Mr Crichton-Browne what he wants in an opposition motion to be moved by Shadow Consumer Protection Minister Anthony Fels. […]
   He also admitted dictating a speech to the secretary of Mr Fels, which was later delivered in Parliament virtually unchanged.
   Mr Crichton-Browne was employed by Mr Burke and Mr Grill on a $2000 month retainer. […]
   [FOR MORE visit source, or click: . ENDS.] [Feb 21, 07]
• Burke, Crichton-Browne deal.  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

Burke, Crichton-Browne deal

   PerthNow powered by The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), au/perthnow/ story/0,21 598,2126 3149- 2761,00.html , by Adam Gartrell, 01:00pm, February 21, 2007
   PERTH: FORMER Liberal senator and party power-broker Noel Crichton-Browne used a sitting MP raise a motion on his behalf, a corruption inquiry heard today. […]
   West Australian Liberal MP Anthony Fels did the bidding in parliament of former senator and party power-broker Noel Crichton-Browne, who was acting in league with disgraced former premier Brian Burke, … to help garner Liberal support for his plans to pressure the Labor government into compensating the victims of the state's finance brokers' scandal.
   Mr Burke was at the time a paid lobbyist of IMF, the litigation funder acting on behalf of thousands of victims of the scandal, who lost up to $150 million by investing in pooled mortgage schemes touted by WA finance brokers during the 1990s. […]
   [FOR MORE visit source, or click:  ENDS.] [Feb 21, 07]
• The Second Great Depression [and other news]  United Nations flag;  

The Second Great Depression [and other news]

   Information Clearing House (USA), http://tinyurl. com/dy6yy , February 22, 2007
   The Second Great Depression, By Mike Whitney. December's figures indicate that foreign investment is drying up and the world is no longer eager to purchase America's lavish debt. The only thing the Federal Reserve can do is raise interest rates to attract foreign capital or let the dollar fall in value. The problem, of course, is that if the Fed raises rates, the real estate market will collapse even faster which will strangle consumer spending and shrivel GDP.
   A War Conspiracy Documented By John Prados There is a new hot document that confirms that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair intended to sucker Saddam into war. It demonstrates that this aim was present long before the Bush-Blair talks, and indeed that provocation formed an integral feature of the U.S. war plan.
   War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide By Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank The administration's own National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism: implications for the United States," circulated within the government in April 2006 and partially declassified in October, states that "the Iraq War has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists…and is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."
   Audit: Anti-Terror Case Data Flawed By LARA JAKES JORDAN Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.
   Lebanon will be first victim of Iran crisis By Robert Fisk How easily the sparks from the American-Israeli fire fall across the Middle East. Every threat, every intransigence uttered in Washington and Tehran now burns a little bit more of Lebanon.
   Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility By Dana Priest and Anne Hull Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
   It All Comes Down To Control An interview with Noam Chomskey "There are several issues in the case of Iran. One is simply that it is independent and independence is not tolerated."
   The Denial Machine Video This documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences .
   At least 67 killed In another bloody day of U.S. occupation: A suicide car bomb killed 11 people, including four policemen, and wounded 38 at a police checkpoint near a busy market in the holy city of Najaf,
   Another Black Hawk Down: : "I saw a ball of fire hitting the aircraft and smoke coming out of the helicopter as it came down," Mashhadani told Reuters.
   Tearful US occupation force soldier recounts rape and murder of Iraqi child: A U.S. soldier under court-martial at a Kentucky military base broke down in tears on Wednesday as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family.
   Top Sunni official fired over rape case : Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday fired a top Sunni official who had called for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite-dominated security forces.
   Blair announces Iraq troop pullout : Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has said that Britain will reduce the number of its troops in Iraq by 1,600 within the coming months, but UK forces will maintain a presence into 2008.
   From his office in clouded cuckoo land: Cheney says: UK Troop Withdrawal 'Sign Of Success' In Iraq: Cheney said Pelosi and other Democrats were pushing a policy in Iraq that would "validate the al Qaeda strategy."
   Reid: The British Acknowledge a Reality Bush Refuses to Accept : - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today released the following statement on news that the British government will begin to redeploy its troops from Iraq.
   Denmark to withdraw its Iraq troop contingent by August: Denmark's prime minister said Wednesday that his country will withdraw its 460-member contingent from southern Iraq by August and transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces.
   Iraqis welcome British and Danish pullout: Sami al-Askari, a Shiite lawmaker and political adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said: "The withdrawal is the wish of the Iraqi government and all the political powers in the country."
   Lithuania mulling Iraq troop withdrawal: Defense Ministry spokeswoman Ruta Apeitkyte told The Associated Press that the Baltic country was considering not replacing the contingent when its mission ends in August.
   'There's a lot left to be done': Before the "formal handover" to the Iraqis, Paul Bremer, the US viceroy in Baghdad, insisted the country was 'fundamentally changed for the better' by the occupation. But assassinations, car bombs and attacks on the country's oil supply told a different story, says Rajiv Chandrasekaran in the final exclusive extract from his new book,,2017735,00.html
   12 Civilians Killed as Fierce Fighting Returns to occupied Mogadishu: Hospitals in Mogadishu yesterday struggled to treat more than 40 wounded, including several children, as the death toll rose to 12 after the worst fighting since Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia.
   Somali Resistance Warn "Peacekeepers" Away : Somali resistanc forces warned Wednesday against the impending deployment of African peacekeepers in the war-ravaged country, as families began burying their dead after some of the heaviest violence to hit the capital this year.
   Somalia: 'The situation will deteriorate further' : During their six-month rule of Mogadishu, where they routed a United States-backed warlord alliance after months of bloody combats, the Islamists brought a semblance of order and security by imposing strict observance of Sharia law.
   Two Nato occupation force soldiers die in Afghan attacks: A soldier serving with the Nato-led force in Afghanistan was killed in a clash in the south of the country today, while a mine blast killed a Spanish female soldier in the west, officials said.
   Italian premier quits over Afghan vote: Divisions in his governing coalition take their toll as Romano Prodi submits his resignation after nine months in office.
   Israel assassinates Palestinian resistance commander: He was shot dead in Jenin by special forces dressed up as Palestinians, witnesses said. The unit ambushed his car at a roundabout before firing into the car, the sources added.
   Sanctions against the Palestinians: Given the international Quartet is meeting today, the British government must seize this opportunity to overturn its wrong and disastrous position of supporting sanctions against the Palestinians, which have created a humanitarian disaster.,,2017677,00.html
   Israel building 3,000 new illegal settler homes - watchdog : Israel is building 3,000 illegal homes in Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank and their continued growth could make a viable Palestinian state impossible, the Peace Now group said on Wednesday.
   About 2,000 Israelis living in illegal West Bank squatter camps: Under the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, Israel has pledged to dismantle the dozens of small illegal enclaves built since 2001 as satellites of established settlements, but little action has been taken.
   'Israeli democracy built on 1948 transfer': Arab-Israeli MK speaks at Israel Apartheid Week, says West Bank, Gaza apartheid worse than in South Africa,7340,L-3367712,00.html
   Iran ready to give guarantees on its peaceful N-program: : Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani here Tuesday expressed his country's readiness to give guarantees that its peaceful nuclear activities would not be diverted to non-peaceful uses.
   Unconfirmed report: Unnamed source: Iran drones 'can attack US ships' : An Iranian website close to the Revolutionary Guard has said they have drones that can launch attacks on American warships in the Persian Gulf.
   Iran calls for Russia support in UNSC : Iran is not set for confrontation with the world community, and it calls on Russia to support it in the UN Security Council, the chief of the Federation Council's committee on international affairs, Mikhail Margelov, said.
   U.S. puzzled by Russia's missile shield concerns : An American diplomat said Tuesday his country was puzzled by Russia's anxiety about the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in central Europe while a senior Russian military official reiterated national security concerns.
   A top aide to Bush heads to Moscow after Putin criticism: President George W. Bush's national security adviser left Tuesday for talks in Moscow amid a sharpening of Russian rhetoric against the United States, underscored by a Russian general's threat to aim missiles at the Czech Republic and Poland if they accept U.S. antimissile bases.
   Cheney gets a hostile reception in Tokyo: Japanese Cabinet Ministers have openly denounced US policy in Iraq as childish and accused the Bush Administration of being cocky. The latest blow was last week's agreement on North Korea's nuclear programme which is privately regarded by many in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Government as an American betrayal.
   London Mayor Signs Oil Deal With Chavez : London's socialist mayor signed an agreement Tuesday with Venezuela's state-owned oil company to provide discounted oil for the city's iconic red buses, praising the idea as the brainstorm of the country's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez,,-6428835,00.html
   Stephen Lendman: Ecuador's President Embraces Bolivarianism : Correa took office January 15 in a country of 13 million, over 70% of whom live in poverty. They voted for a man promising social democratic change and the same kinds of benefits Venezuelans now have under Hugo Chavez
   Affidavit: McVeigh had high-level help: Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols says a high-ranking FBI official "apparently" was directing Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and might have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah.
   Report finds U.S. terrorism statistics inaccurate : The findings drew immediate criticism from U.S. senators, who said it raised serious doubts over how effectively the administration was fighting the terrorism threat.
   FBI Translating Over 1,000 Wiretap Conversations a Day: In a widely overlooked report to the Senate Judiciary Committee in November, bureau officials ticked off their counterterrorism take over the past four years: 519,217 hours of audio. 5,508,217 electronic data files . 1,847,497 pages of text
   US judge orders domestic spying cases to proceed : The EFF suit charged that AT and T let the National Security Administration (NSA) snoop on e-mails and telephone calls without warrants required to do such spying legally. The White House has confirmed that it authorized the NSA program to track overseas communications as part of "war on terror" attempts to uncover threats against the country.
   Revealed: 439,000 snooping requests made: UK security and law enforcement agencies made nearly 439,000 requests to monitor people's phone calls, emails and post during a 15-month period, the spying watchdog has revealed.,3800010403,39165898,00.htm
   UK: MPs attack plan to give police access to ID card database : The Government's plan to bring in identity cards has run into further problems after it emerged that the police would be able to use the national database to check fingerprints found at crime scenes.
   What Would You Do If Bush Declared Martial Law?: The Bush administration inserted two provisions into last October's defense budget bill that would make it easier to declare martial law in the US. Senators Leahy and Bond have introduced a bill to repeal these changes, and it is important that voters keep track of this bill and hold their Congresspeople to account on it.
   WISE QUOTES, etc.: Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams
   "We have stricken the shackles from 4,000,000 human beings and brought all labourers to a common level, but not so much by the elevation of former slaves as by reducing the whole working population, white and black, to a condition of serfdom. While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to conceal the ugly fact that by our iniquitous money system we have manipulated a system of oppression which, though more refined, is no less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery.": Horace Greeley - (1811-1872) Editor of the New York Tribune, ran against Ulysses Grant for presidency
   The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread to the law courts. And then to the army, and finally the Republic was subjected to the rule of emperors: Plutarch - Historian of the Roman Republic
   During the last few years, politics has worked perversely: taxes on the wealthy have been cut, and so have programs directed at the poor. The reason isn't difficult to explain. Many Americans-- especially those who have been losing ground have given up on politics. As their incomes have shrunk, they've lost confidence that the "system" will work in their interest. That cynicism has generated a self-fulfilling prophesy. Politicians stop paying attention to people who don't vote, who don't work the phone banks or walk the precincts, who have opted out. And the political inattention seems to justify the cynicism. Meanwhile, the top tier has experienced precisely the opposite--a virtuous cycle in which campaign contributions have attracted the rapt attention of politicians, the attention has elicited even more money, which in turn has given the top tier even greater influence.: Robert Reich - Former Secretary of Labor
   NEW - NEW - NEW ICHBLOG.EU without the bells and whistles. Click here for text only version of the site (great for dialup users)!
   Read this newsletter online
   Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War On Iraq - At Least 655,000 + +
   Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America'sWar On Iraq 3,148
   The U.S. War On Iraq Costs $368,164,338,968
   See the cost in your community
[Feb 22, 2007]
• Premier forced home to face new Cabinet crisis.  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn.  India flag;  
Corruption watchdog leaves another Carpenter minister fighting for his job

Premier forced home to face new Cabinet crisis

   The West Australian, www.thewest. aspx?MenuID= 77&ContentID= 22034 , by ROBERT TAYLOR and SEAN COWAN, pp 1 and 7, Friday, February 23, 2007
   PERTH: Alan Carpenter will fly into Perth today to confront the fresh crisis engulfing his Government as another Labor Minister's career hangs by a thread and speculation mounts that more of his Cabinet colleagues will be grilled by the Corruption and Crime Commission.
   Mr Carpenter was forced to cut short his trade mission to India yesterday after the commission revealed that Environment Minister Tony McRae had asked lobbyist Julian Grill for fundraising help while dealing with a planning proposal put forward by one of Mr Grill's clients.
   And The West Australian understands there will be further pain for the Government next week when more ministers are expected to be called before the commission to explain their actions.

   [To read more, visit source, or click: Australia / Australia Chronology # Premier]
   [FOR SALE: The Burke Ambush, 1986, Patrick ("Paddy") O'Brien (ed.), $30; Burke's Shambles, 1987, Anthony McAdam and Patrick O'Brien, $30; or the pair for $50.  The vendor reserves the right to refuse any potential purchaser, or to suspend sales at any time. - 28 Feb 07.  Also recommended: The Executive State, 1991, Patrick O'Brien and Martyn Webb, and The Burkes of Western Australia by Brian Peachey. [Feb 23, 07]

• Oil bonanza stays in Western sights after cosmetic change to Iraqi deals.  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Oil bonanza stays in Western sights after cosmetic change to Iraqi deals

   The Independent (London), news.independ business/ news/article 2302937.ece , By Tim Webb, February 25, 2007
   BAGHDAD: The final draft of Iraq's controversial hydrocarbons law has been submitted to the Iraqi Cabinet ahead of its presentation to Parliament for ratification next month.
   Iraqi officials have attempted to defuse the backlash caused by last month's revelation in The Independent on Sunday that the law would grant foreign oil companies a large slice of the country's oil reserves.
   The final draft has quietly dropped the term "production-sharing contracts" used in earlier drafts. These contracts involve energy companies paying for the initial investment in an oil field but reaping bigger returns if their gamble pays off.
   The proposed introduction of production-sharing agreements in Iraq is controversial because they are usually used in challenging regions where oil is difficult and expensive to access, such as the Amazon. By contrast, much of Iraq's 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves - the second-largest in the world - has already been discovered and is cheap to drill.
   But the draft, seen exclusively by The Independent on Sunday, still proposes handing over exploration and production contracts for up to 32 years - far longer than most deals between companies and governments.
   The draft empowers the new Federal Oil and Gas Council to set the exact terms of each contract, but given Iraq's parlous economy and security uncertainties, the terms offered are likely to be very generous. Greg Muttitt, a campaigner from lobby group Platform, said: "This is a huge amount of time. If contracts are signed in the coming months… there will be a massive risk premium, and the Iraqi side would be negotiating from a position of extreme weakness. As a result, the terms would be highly profitable for the companies, and Iraqis would be unable to change them for 20 years."
   Other differences between previous drafts include the omission of a requirement for the terms of each contract to be published within two months. Now, according to Article 36, only non-specified "financially significant" details need be published, and no timeframe is given.
   Iraqi unions have expressed their opposition to the proposed law. In a speech earlier this month to a conference, Hassan Jumaa, head of the Federation of Oil Unions, said: "We strongly warn all the foreign companies and foreign capital in the form of American companies against coming into our lands under the guise of production-sharing agreements."
   Foreign oil firms already operating in Iraq are anxious not to antagonise unions as some may have links to insurgents who could target oil installations.
   David Horgan, managing director of Petrel Resources, an AIM-listed oil company focused on Iraq, said contracts could be renegotiated by the government.
   "The term 'production-sharing agreement' used in previous drafts has been dropped because of the controversy the term caused. They have built quite a lot of flexibility into the law. It makes sense to reward companies who start work now when the security situation is bad. The terms can always be made less attractive in a few years when things calm down."
   He added that the Iraqi government had changed its approach in recent weeks over the hydrocarbons law. Rather than trying to force it through, particularly in the face of opposition from the Kurds in the north seeking more control over their oil resources, officials have attempted to achieve consensus within government, he said.
   Last weekend, past and present officials from the oil ministry met in a hotel in Jordan to hammer out the draft's final details. #
   [COMMENT: It won't be only the unions opposed to selling out the fabulous riches of the Mesopotamian oilfields to the "oily characters" rotating around warmongers like George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard!  Every patriotic Shia, Sunni, Kurd, and Assyrian Iraqi will oppose it.  Like many past treaties by "Westerners", the Coalition of the Killing is setting up their Iraqi victims to have another revolution in rage against the economic pillage, followed by another dictator, who, after some time, Global Corporations will sell armaments to, and sell to some rebels, too!  "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [LINK/S: Speech of Mr Hassan Jumaa, head of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, Tuesday, February 6th 2007: www.carbonweb. org/showitem. asp?article= 251&parent= 4&link=Y&gp=3
   General Union of Oil Employees in Basra (same speech, prints out better): www.basra .
   Hassan Jumaa: "Recently the Constitution of Iraq on which the Iraqi people voted in the most dire and difficult of conditions notes in clause 111 that oil and gas are the property of the Iraqi people. But, alas, this clause in the constitution will remain but ink on paper if the oil law and oil investment law being presented to the Parliament are ratified, laws which permit production-sharing contracts, laws without parallel in many oil producers, especially the neighbouring countries."   ENDS.] [Feb 25, 07]

• [Samuel Burke, by 'The Bard of the Baw Baws' -- Why developers and negative-gearers get ahead]  Australia flag;  Victoria (Australia) flag;
   Original Publisher: Prosper Australia (Melbourne, Australia), By "The Bard of the Baw Baws," that is, Mr Jack Rankin, father of Anne Schmid, office lady of Prosper Australia, Melbourne, ~ 1950s, reformulated for distribution at "Land Tax Revolt" outside Perth Parliament House on Feb 27, 2007, displayed Feb 26, 07.


   "I am a wealthy gentleman
   My name is Samuel Burke
   And I grow richer every day
   Although I do not work

   I am no thief nor highwayman
   I keep within the law
   But as the blotter sucks the ink
   So I, my riches draw.

   I don't possess the Midas touch;
   Nor would I stoop to beg,
   Yet legally I have amassed
   A mammoth golden egg.

   I started when my uncle died -
   My bachelor Uncle Sid;
   He left his cat a thousand notes
   And me but fifty quid.

   I thought I would inherit more;
   I thought he loved me well
   But when his cat gained more than I,
   It needled me like hell.

   By chance our politician came
   And asked why I was glum.
   I told him of my legacy -
   The meagre paltry sum."

   "Cheer up my lad", our member said
   "You must take my advice
   You must invest the lot in land
   ’Twill soon increase in price.

   Jump in my car and come with me"
   (He took me to the coast)
   "It's here that values will advance;
   It's here they'll rise the most.

   Now here are tidings that you must
   Not breathe to any man;
   It's here that money will be spent;
   It's on our secret plan.
   It's here the government intends
   To make a thriving port
   This is the place to speculate;
   The best that could be sought.

   It's here that roads and railway tracks
   Are going to converge,
   All these will lift the price of land
   And force the upward surge".

   He said he'd purchased all he could
   And prospects were so bright,
   Asserting that within a year
   He would come out all right.

   I bought a block and very soon
   The public works began,
   Up went the value of my lot,
   I was a prosperous man.

   As time went on, I sold my patch,
   For just two thousand quid.
   I wanted cash to spend elsewhere
   And this - I surely did.

   I bought more land where I perceived
   Would rapidly progress.
   I sold it all more readily -
   With even more success.

   And ever since those early days
   I keep upon the scent,
   I nose it from the governments
   Where money will be spent.

   And there I buy what land I can
   And have the titles set;
   And wait until it's right for sale;
   And thus great profits net.

   Just as the spider sets its web
   To catch the flies and lice;
   I, too, can catch what others earn
   As lots advance in price.

   What need is there for me to work?
   I buy and then relax;
   By merely owning land I reap
   What others pay in tax.

   Now I have many millions worth
   Of land and real estate
   Enriching me with increments
   While I but rest and wait."

   So that's the tale of Samuel Burke
   Which he himself unfurled,
   Its stench ascends to Heavens heights
   And reeks throughout the world.

   Some half our earnings goes in tax
   Which governments demand
   And much of it's presented free
   To owners of the land.

   To owners, such as Samuel Burke,
   Whose estates are far flung;
   Who reaps the earnings of us all
   Which by imposts are wrung.

   No wonder we have millionaires
   And needy folks galore;
   When some can reap what others earn
   And keep within the law.
   The truth about all taxes must
   No longer be ignored;
   Our present taxes are
   Deception, theft and fraud.

   We must collect a charge on land
   For government's finance,
   And untax toil and industry
   So all may have a chance

   I plead with all tax-burdened folk
   To join us in the fight;
   And introduce these great reforms
   Of justice truth and right.
§   §   §              
   For more information on how natural resource revenue can help make all Australians prosper and bring employment to all without ecological harm, contact: GEORGIST EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (Inc), www.multiline. ~georgist .  Postal: 2 Plain St, East Perth WA 6004, Australia.  Tel. 08  9343 9532, 0408 054 310, or 9221 1973.
   georgist@ multiline. , OR john.massam@ multiline. .
   PROSPER AUSTRALIA (Victoria), www.prosper. AND www.taxreform. .  Bookshop and Office, lst Floor, 27 Hardware Lane (off Bourke St), Melbourne Vic 3000.  Tel. 03  967O 2754, Fax 03  967O 3063 . Membership $30.00 p.a., bi-monthly journal Progress
   ASSOCIATION FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT, www.associat ionforgoodgov. , Sydney, NSW.  Tel 02  4455 7880, Fax: 02  4455 7881.  Postal: P.O. Box 251, Ulladulla NSW 2539
   goodgov AT westnet DOT com DOT au , bi-monthly magazine: Good Government
AUTHORISED by John Charles Massam, Georgist Education Association Inc, 2 Plain St, East Perth, WA, 6004.
   [ON THE WEB:   ENDS.]
I keep upon the scent, 
I nose it from the governments 
Where money will be spent. 

And there I buy what land I can 
And have the titles set; 
And wait until it's right for sale; 
And thus great profits net. 
[For Feb 27, displayed 26 Feb 07]

• [Negative gearing on land, now revolt against land tax.] 

[Negative gearing on land, now no land tax either!]

   Georgist Education Association (Inc.), by John C. Massam, Tuesday, February 27, 2007
   PERTH, W.A.:




to pay LAND TAX, either

WHO is left to pay for hospitals, schools, police, and the defence forces?
Will the tax avoiders go into the front line to stop crime or alien attacks?

I'd like to see that!

LAND increases in value mainly because of COMMUNITY GROWTH and enforcement of the RULE OF LAW, and public SPENDING.

Why shouldn't the Community, through governments, get that increased land value back, as a charge for progress and a stable society?

Taxation is the price we pay for civilisation.

   Authorised by the Georgist Education Association Inc, www. multiline. georgist 2 Plain St, East Perth, WA, 6004, or telephone 08 9221 1973, or 08 9343 9532, 0408 054 319, georgist@ multiline. , AND john.massam@ multiline.
   [ON THE WEB:   ENDS.] [Feb 27, 07]
['Wogs and sprogs and market gardeners' -- Brian Burke]  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

Burke apology for language

   Wanneroo Times, , By Frances Sacco and Justin Bianchini, Tuesday edition, page 3, February 27 - March 5, 2007
   PERTH: BRIAN Burke has apologised for using derogatory language in relation to Wanneroo market gardeners, saying he was embarrassed the comments came to light.
   Last week a secretly taped phone conversation between the former WA Labor Premier and former Joondalup Commissioner Peter Clough was played to the Corruption and Crime Commission in which Mr Burke referred to his "Wogs and sprogs and market gardeners". […]
   In a secretly taped phone call between Wanneroo Deputy Mayor Sam Salpietro and Mr Burke on Anzac Day last year, … Cr Salpietro was discussing councillor support for a rezoning application involving one of Mr Burke's clients when he referred to Mrs Hughes and her Wanneroo councillor husband, Colin: […]
   [TO READ MORE, click:
   [RECAPITULATION: Mr Burke … 'Wogs and sprogs and market gardeners'   ENDS.] [Feb 27, 07]

• [Will Brian Burke's 'wogs and sprogs' comments end his lobbyist career? Hypocritical 'multiculturalism' exposed.] 

Will Burke’s ‘wogs’ comments end his lobbyist career?

   Letter e-mailed to Wanneroo Times, by John C. Massam, sent on Wednesday, February 28, 2007
   WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Surely ex-Premier Brian Burke's "wogs and sprogs and market gardeners" description of the Wanneroo area's non-Anglo-Celt residents (WT 27/2) exposes his "multicultural" credentials as hypocrisy.
   He is not alone among the "silent majority" who denigrate ethnic and other groups, while permitting the adoption of U.N.-type anti-discrimination laws that make it an offence, even to tell the truth.
   One West Australian was fined $10,000 for remarks about the anti-women and undemocratic traditions of a certain ethnic group, and the lawyer for two Victorian pastors were forbidden during a hearing even to read out the written principles of a different group.
   Like me and millions of others, Mr Brian Burke spent most of his life as a member of the parasite classes which eat food that other people have grown.  But most of us respect the people who go out in cold weather and burning heat to grow the essentials of life, and many of us actually love their way of life, quietly growing herbs in pots and fruit-trees in our gardens.
   Mr Burke is allegedly in a business relationship with Mr Julian Grill (also "Labor") and "Liberal" Mr Noel Crichton-Browne -- plus luminaries in the property development and business communities of Perth.
   We had read all about such goings-on around 1986-87, but the major parties would not bring in the critical reforms, including the petition and referendum (CIR) reform recommended around the time of the Royal Commission.
   The Corruption and Crimes Commission is to be congratulated for exposing this group, and trying to clean up "the Wild West" -- again. #
A cut-down version was in The Australian, March 2, 2007, and see:
http://blogs.the australian. letters/index. php/theaustral ian/comments/ voters_will_ struggle_to_ find_an_hon est_politic ian_in_wa/
[Feb 28, 07]

• Verbal Trickery.  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

  Verbal Trickery  

   Annals Australasia, annals australasia @nareg. , p 29, January-February 2007
   'We must distinguish between these two very different pieces of verbal trickery.  Both are well-known and tried ways of keeping a name while you change a thing.  In the first case you take the name off one institution and put it on another.  The classic example in English history is the case of the Church of England.
   In the other case you preserve the name attached to the fossil of the thing, but you transfer its active principle (in the case of the House of Commons, Sovereignty) to another thing.
   The classic example of this second policy in English history is the change in the function of kingship, the old established authority of which was taken away and given to the Aristocratic rule of Parliament, while the name "King" and some few ritual trappings of the old kingly function were retained.
   In the first policy you call a new thing by an old name, and pretend you have the old thing still, because you have the old name.  In the second policy you keep alive the mere name of a dead thing, and you pretend it is not dead because its name is alive …'
[Jan-Feb 2007]

• Government accused of power abuse.
  [Book review] Australia flag; 

Government accused of power abuse

   Messenger (Anglican journal, Perth, Western Australia), jhodder@ perth. , By Caroline Batt, p 19, issue of March 2007
   AUSTRALIA: THE Howard Government has used intimidation and public denigration to silence opposition to its policies, and is exerting an insidious level of control over religious and other charities, according to author/editor Clive Hamilton.
   Hamilton claims the government has taken abuse of power to a new level in Australia, exercising inappropriate control across all sectors of the Australian community, from charities and universities to the media and the judiciary.
   Tactics include bullying, threats of funding cuts, smearing of reputation and character, and manipulation of democratic processes.
   The Government is guilty of "progressively dismantling the democratic processes that create the capacity for public debate" and is "pervaded by an intolerant and anti-democratic sentiment," Mr Hamilton and co-editor, politics academic Sarah Maddison, assert in their book Silencing Dissent.
   Hamilton, executive director of left-leaning thinktank the Australia Institute, said publication in an election year seemed "a good time to raise these questions about democracy in Australia."
   However, he said the book was prompted by a study undertaken in 2004 into the state of nongovernment organisations.
   "It really surprised us the extent to which these NGOs thought critical opinion would bring the wrath of the government down on them…. it was quite alarming the extent to which the NGO sector felt as if they were under the thumb of government and felt as if they couldn't carry out their function," he said.
   "We thought a healthy NGO sector is only one component of a vibrant democracy. We also need universities where academics can speak out, research agencies where scientists are free to speak about their results, a public service that can give frank and fearless advice… (the book examines all of these) and all of these have been subject to extraordinary attempts at control.
   "In the charitable sector there are a whole lot of religious institutions and organisations with religious affiliations who represent the interests of the disadvantaged. A lot of the attacks on NGOs are on religiously connected ones."
   Hamilton said the government had been allowed to get away with its bullying because of a culture of fear - people were afraid both on their own behalf, that they might lose their jobs or otherwise suffer, and also on behalf of their organisation, that it might be defunded and unable to continue its important role.
   "We have seen the replacement of people committed to independence with people who are more like political operatives who are always looking for the path of least resistance," Hamilton said.
   But he said NGOs were also partly to blame for the situation, and religious charities in particular had let down the community.
   "I think NGOs should have been much more courageous in defending their independence. A few have decided independence is worth more than their government funding and they are to be congratulated, but most have caved in," Hamilton said.
   "Many of the religious charities have been at the forefront of taking the government shilling and selling their souls."
   He said the role of the NGO sector as a whole had been compromised. "In many respects people working in charities and other NGOs can best see the effects of government policy - the effects on people with disabilities, aged care, the natural environment, and so on. They are the ones in a position to blow the whistle."
   The author dismissed suggestions the Internet provided a new means of expressing dissent by being largely beyond the government's control, and said the web was "vastly overhyped" as a demonstrating tool.
   Hamilton and the Australia Institute are currently being sued by department store David Jones over suggestions the retailer effectively engaged in "corporate paedophilia" by eroticising young children in advertising.
   Asked if the government's desire to control opinion was mirrored in the corporate sector, Hamilton said: "I'm afraid I can't comment on the case at all. I will leave others to draw that conclusion."
   Silencing Dissent - How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate, edited by Clive Hamilton & Sarah Maddison, Allen & Unwin, 2007. #
   [RECAPITULATION: Many of the religious charities have been at the forefront of taking the government shilling and selling their souls.   ENDS.]
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thanks, Josie v. d. Leeden.  ENDS.]
[March 2007 issue]

• Post-Return Abuses by Russia.  Russia flag;  

Post-Return Abuses by Russia

   Human Rights Watch, reports/2007/ russia0307/ 5.htm#_Toc1 62429428 , March 2007
   Russian government abuses of the ex-Guantanamo detainees fell into three main categories: torture; harassment; and denial of the right to a fair trial.  Detainees, detainees' relatives, lawyers, and other individuals with whom Human Rights Watch spoke reported that law enforcement officers left a clear impression of intending to "get" ("ustroit") the detainees or "hang" ("povesit") a crime on them.  Over the course of several run-ins with law enforcement, Airat Vakhitov said, "I was told many times that after my time in Guantanamo, it wasn't necessary to prove I was a terrorist. That any one of us could be thrown in jail because we were terrorists."44
   The two law enforcement agencies described as most abusive by those whom Human Rights Watch interviewed were the Federal Security Service, or "FSB" in Russian; and the Organized Crime Department of the Ministry of the Interior, a police unit known by its Russian acronym "UBOP."45  Some detainees also complained of abuse by investigators from the procuracy, who were responsible for building criminal cases.  Often local and regional FSB and UBOP conducted interrogations together.  Sometimes the men who beat or detained them did not wear any identifying insignia. 
   In addition to being serious violations of human rights for which the Russian government is primarily responsible, incidents of torture are also evidence that the US government violated the Convention against Torture by returning the seven detainees to Russia. The fact that all the ex-detainees were frequently harassed by law enforcement, and two of them were denied a fair trial, is part of the general pattern of abuse they suffered. But the harassment and unfair trials also clearly had the objective of returning the ex-detainees to state custody. These measures therefore put the ex-detainees at greater risk of torture as well.
Torture and Ill-Treatment
   The mistreatment of the former Guantanamo detainees began from the moment they touched down on Russian soil.  Airat Vakhitov told Human Rights Watch,
When we [first] got to Russia they didn't torture us, they just dealt with us very roughly, they beat us when we touched down at Sheremetyevo
   Ravil Gumarov did not remember specific abuse, but told Human Rights Watch he thought officials were trying to act tough by treating the seven men like terrorists, putting masks on them, tying their hands, and laying them down on the floor of the airplane.47
   Vakhitov told Human Rights Watch that he was only once formally interrogated in prison in Pyatigorsk: he was asked to provide a chronology of his activities in Afghanistan.  Although he was never tortured, on one occasion while he was praying he was told to get up onto his knees and pray not to Allah but to Jesus Christ.  When he refused, he was rolled over and his clothes were burned with the ends of cigarettes.48  Other detainees told lawyer Alexandra Zernova that the facility in Pyatigorsk was "very quiet" compared to what they had endured in Guantanamo--and what some of them endured afterwards.49 
Rasul Kudaev
   Rasul Kudaev presents the strongest case of mistreatment in Russian detention because eyewitness testimony, photographic evidence, and official medical documents exist to prove it. 
   Kudaev returned from Guantanamo in poor health. According to his mother, he suffered from hepatitis, stomach ulcers, the after-effects of a bullet he received in the hip in Afghanistan that was never removed, serious headaches, high blood pressure, and other ailments.  These medical problems rendered him unable to work and to walk without a crutch and a profound limp.50
   On October 13, 2005, several groups of armed men attacked government buildings in Nalchik, the republican capital of Kabardino-Balkaria in southern Russia.  Kudaev lived in the village of Khasania on the outskirts of Nalchik with his mother and brother.  Approximately 150 people died in the attacks, including at least 94 people reported to have been attackers, 35 policemen, and 12 civilians.51 His mother claims that Kudaev was home on the day of the attack, as he was every day, due to his health. Ten days later, on October 23, as part of a sweep of dozens of arrests in connection with the attack, a group of agents picked up Kudaev at his home.
   According to his mother, Fatimat Tekaeva, who was home with him at the time of the arrest, about two dozen men dressed in camouflage and masks arrived in armored vehicles, cars, and trucks, armed with automatic weapons and sniper rifles, and swarmed onto the property.  They beat Kudaev as they handcuffed him and hustled him across the yard.52  In a statement she wrote on December 28, 2005, in connection with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, Tekaeva said she screamed to her neighbors to come and witness the fact that her son was walking on his own, because she was afraid that he would be beaten in custody until he was no longer capable of walking.  In response, she said, an officer of the local UBOP, R. Kiarov, said, "We're not going to beat him here, all will start at the UBOP." 53
   Several pieces of evidence make it clear that, indeed, Kudaev was very seriously beaten in the days immediately after his arrest.
   On October 24 lawyer Irina Komissarova gained access to Kudaev at the UBOP, also known as the "Sixth Department." She described the scene:
   Upon arrival at the Sixth Department I saw Kudaev R.V., who was sitting on a stool, in a contorted position, holding his stomach. There were a large bruise and many scratches on the right side of his face near the eye.  Apart from the investigator, there were many other persons in the office (three to five people). Investigator Artemenko A., who had worked with him that day, gave me the record of the interrogation of suspect Kudaev R.V. to read.  After reading the document, I asked Kudaev R.V. whether he had indeed given the testimony.  In response, he expressed the wish to talk to me alone…
   In our conversation, Kudaev R.V. told me that he had been tortured and beaten after he was brought to the Sixth Department.  The testimony in the interrogation record was not his, it had been made up, and it was not correct…
   When Kudaev R.V. informed the investigator that he would not sign the interrogation record… all hell broke loose!!!  From all sides people in the office gathered around (by the way, none introduced themselves) and everyone started issuing threats at Kudaev R.V.  In the end, he could no longer stand it and said that he would sign the interrogation record because he was afraid that after I left they would beat him again.  Someone in the room told me "you are free to go, we don't need your services any more."
   The fear expressed by Kudaev R.V. that he would again be beaten I saw as realistic.54
   On October 25 Kudaev was taken before a Nalchik City Court judge, who authorized his continued detention on suspicion of terrorism, participation in an illegal armed formation, attempt on the life of a law enforcement official, and murder.55  After the hearing he was transferred to a pretrial detention facility, or SIZO, where he was evidently beaten again.56 Komissarova gained access to him the following day:
   They almost carried him in because he could not walk without outside help.  In my conversation with him, he told me that he had been subjected to physical violence.  That is, he was beaten when he was delivered to the building of the UBOP on 23 October 2005, and he was also brutally beaten at the time of his arrival at the SIZO on 25 October 2005.  He was beaten in the area of the lower back and on the heels.  One could see that he could not straighten out because of the pain, the leg that he could not stand on twitched, there were bruises on his face.57
   Komissarova described other details of Kudaev's wounds to a local journalist:
   When I came to the pre-trial detention centre to talk to Rasul, two men carried him to me because he couldn't walk. Rasul couldn't hold up his head. On the right side of his face there was a large haematoma, his eye was full of blood, his head was a strange shape and size, his right leg was broken and he had open wounds on his hands.58
   On October 27 Komissarova lodged a formal request for a forensic medical examination of Kudaev. Later, Kudaev told Komissarova that he was beaten again on the following day, October 28.59  
   On November 9, despite her objections, Komissarova was interrogated as a witness in her client's case. The following day an investigator issued a decision removing Komissarova as Kudaev's lawyer because she had given witness testimony.60
   Kudaev was also denied necessary medicines, which may have contributed to his suffering. Despite daily pleadings from his mother, only eight days after his arrest did officials on duty at the detention facility accept packages of medicine that his mother said he required on a daily basis.61
   In November 2005 photographs of several people detained after the October 13 events, including Rasul Kudaev, began circulating on the internet. They were all headshots showing the subjects covered with bruises, sores, and swelling. All of them except the photograph of Kudaev showed the prisoner's number at the bottom of the image, making it clear that they had come from official investigations.62
   The photograph of Rasul Kudaev resembles the others in quality and in the background visible behind the detainees' heads. Although it is not possible to officially authenticate its provenance, the preponderance of other evidence of mistreatment of Kudaev suggests that it is genuine.
  [Picture] Man smiling, in front of wooden door. © 2005 RFE/RL.   
  [Picture] Man, with plumper cheeks. © 2006 RFE/RL.   
   Photographs of Rasul Kudaev, before and after he was detained, circulated widely on the internet.
   Although the photographs were not widely published in local or national newspapers, which are generally controlled by the authorities, they circulated quickly in cyberspace and contributed to local uproar about the way the detainees were being treated.  The uproar led the president of Kabardino-Balkaria, Arsen Kanokov, and the special envoy of the Russian president to the Northern Caucasus, Dmitri Kozak, to visit in early December the detention facility in Nalchik where Kudaev and others were being held.  The two officials were reportedly angry at what they saw and heard and ordered the facility opened to journalists.  Ultimately, the facility was open on December 8, 2005, but only to Russian a state-run television crew.  Rasul Kudaev was able to speak to the camera.  In a letter to his mother, he briefly described his meeting with Kozak and Kanokov, and said that when he told the two men about his mistreatment, "the veins on [Kanokov's] neck swelled up with fury. He left here very angry."63  However, it appears that neither man took action against the perpetrators of the abuse of Kudaev or any other of the detainees.
   In addition to the statement by his former lawyer and the photographs, medical documents also attest to the mistreatment of Kudaev in detention.  The families of detainees who are beaten and tortured often have difficulties obtaining such medical documents because the authorities are, for obvious reasons, reluctant to allow independent medical examiners into Russian detention facilities.
   Some medical records that are believed to document Kudaev's condition have not yet been released to his family and lawyers. But one has:  a note from the ambulance service station in Nalchik, dated November 1, 2005, and signed by the head doctor, Kh.Kh. Sheribov. It states that an ambulance was called at 23:20 on October 23, 2005, to attend to Kudaev.  The note does not specify who called the ambulance or where the ambulance went, although by that hour Kudaev was already in the custody of the UBOP.  The note states that Kudaev was diagnosed that night as having "psycho-motor excitement, hypertension in the arteries, and numerous bruises."64
   The local procuracy refused to accept a petition filed by Kudaev's lawyer to open a criminal investigation of Kudaev's mistreatment, and on July 6, 2006, Nalchik City Court upheld the procuracy's decision.  But in a decision that surprised Kudaev's family and local human rights organizations, on August 25, 2006, the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria overruled the city court and ordered it to reconsider its ruling.65 The case is now pending again before Nalchik City Court.
   Rasul Kudaev has submitted documents to the European Court of Human Rights claiming that he was tortured.
Timur Ishmuratov
   Timur Ishmuratov also experienced beatings at the hands of the FSB and the UBOP.  He remembered that just before the detainees were released from Pyatigorsk, a high-ranking FSB official met with all of them and told them that "the Russian government has no complaints against you." According to Ishmuratov, "[The official said that] if you live according to the law, then you won't have any harassment. He cited the Russian leadership. I believed him."66
   Ishmuratov was wrong.
   In the early morning of January 8, 2005, an explosion occurred on a small pipeline delivering home heating fuel to a residential section of Bugulma, a city in southern Tatarstan, several hundred kilometers east of Moscow. Ishmuratov and his wife lived in a small town not far away. There were no casualties in the explosion. After several months of being called in for increasingly aggressive questioning and harassment (documented later in this report), Ishmuratov was taken into custody on April 1, 2005, from the Bugulma mosque where he worked as a guard.  On April 13, he described the initial period of his detention in a four-page handwritten statement that was later smuggled out of the Almetevsk detention facility. His statement said that during the first few days of interrogations he refused to confess to the crime. But on April 5, he was brought for the first time to the FSB, where the interrogation turned violent. He wrote,
   At around 3 p.m., they took me to the FSB, into a room for visitors where two employees of the police organized crime unit [UBOP] named Farid and Damir forced me to take off my clothes.  I stripped to my underwear; the window was open and it was very cold.  Then they started to beat me up.  They punched me in my head and face, knocked me on the floor and kicked me.  Kuzmin [Nikolai A. Kuzmin, head of the Bugulma City Internal Affairs Department] and Engalychev [Ravil Rinatovich, head of the Bugulma branch of the FSB] were present.  Kuzmin also hit me a few times.  They demanded that I give a confession of my participation in the pipeline explosion.  During all this they threatened to call in my mother and my pregnant wife for questioning.  They also brought in a copy of the Koran and were throwing it around and covering it with cigarette ashes, which put strong pressure on my religious feelings.  Kuzmin said he'd already "worked over" Ildar Valiev and my brother Rustam Khamidullin and that they'd given the necessary testimony.  Kuzmin said, "Your brother lasted two days, how long will you hold out?" Around 11 p.m. I agreed to give them the testimony they needed.  I agreed to give [it], being unable to withstand the physical and psychological pressure, and also out of concern for my wife and unborn child… They warned me that I had to stick to the testimony in all my interrogations, otherwise they'd beat me up again.67
   Ishmuratov's mother told Human Rights Watch that security service officers brought Ishmuratov in handcuffs to the maternity hospital, where his wife had just delivered a baby, to put pressure on his family not to hire a lawyer to pursue complaints of abuse.68  Ishmuratov's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that his client knew that his brother had been taken into custody, and this added to the psychological pressure on Ishmuratov.69 (Ishmuratov's brother, Rustam Khamidullin, told Human Rights Watch that police from the Tatarstan republic-level UBOP detained him at his aunt's house in Nefteyugansk, Khanti-Mansiisk district in western Siberia, on March 31, 2005. Police held him for several days at the Nefteyugansk police station and beat him while he was handcuffed to a radiator to coerce him to admit that he had witnessed preparations for the crime. Police then took him by train to Tatarstan. Khamidullin told Human Rights Watch that he was kept in a regular compartment of a passenger train and beaten on the head and body during the two-day train journey.70)
   Ishmuratov later recanted his confession in both his 2005 trial and 2006 ret rial.
   Ishmuratov's April 13 statement asked for a criminal case to be opened against the men who had beaten him in detention and ended with two stark sentences: "I ask you to help me escape from torture and obtain justice. I'm a former prisoner of the American camp at Guantanamo, where I endured the bullying of the American military, and now I'm treated even worse by the special forces and law enforcement authorities of Russia."71 No investigation of his allegations of mistreatment was ever undertaken. He was ultimately sentenced to 11 years and one month in prison, in part on the basis of the confession that he says he was beaten and threatened into giving.
Ravil Gumarov
   Ravil Gumarov was detained on April 1, 2005, on suspicion of participating with Ishmuratov in the Bugulma pipeline explosion.  According to Gumarov he confessed to the pipeline explosion as a result of torture by FSB and UBOP officials, even though he later recanted that confession in court testimony.  He was convicted and sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment.
   Toward the end of January 2005 Rustam Garifullin, the deputy director of the UBOP in Naberezhnyi Chelni, Tatarstan, had summoned Gumarov to ask him whether he was involved in the pipeline incident, but did not arrest him. Then on April 1 Garifullin detained Gumarov at his mother's apartment, supposedly just to ask a few questions. The next time she saw her son was in court several months later.72
   Gumarov told Human Rights Watch that he was deprived of sleep for seven or eight days after his arrest in Naberezhnyi Chelny. He was kept in a tiny cage, about one meter by half a meter, where he was allowed to sit on a tiny bench during the day while being interrogated, but at night he was fastened by one handcuff to the bars of the cage over his head.  He was continually asked to confess to the pipeline explosion.  After a week or 10 days he was transferred to a room in the administrative building housing the FSB in Bugulma.  There he was tortured using a common technique of Russian law enforcement:  a gas mask is put over the detainee's head and then the oxygen is turned off, producing the beginnings of asphyxiation and a sense of panic.73 This form of torture is known in Russia as "little elephant," or "slonik," because the tube dangling from the front of the mask resembles the trunk of an elephant.
   Gumarov told Human Rights Watch that investigators also pulled hairs from his beard, and on one occasion poured an entire bottle of vodka down his throat, a particularly offensive form of mistreatment for an observant Muslim.  "I hadn't had any alcohol for seven years, they poured a bottle in me and I was out of it," he told Human Rights Watch.74 Gumarov told a Moscow press conference that at one point, while he was being beaten on his back to force a confession, he said, "What are you doing? This is like 1937 [the height of Stalin's repression]," and they answered, "If this were 1937, you'd have been shot a long time ago."75 He told his mother that investigators had drugged him with a special kind of tea to get him to sign a confession. Eventually, he did. In a handwritten letter that was smuggled out of the detention facility in Bugulma and brought to his mother, Gumarov wrote,
   Mama, don't listen to the authorities, no matter what they say about me… My nerves gave in, I couldn't take it. I spoke against myself and the worst thing is that I spoke against others. Everyone has a limit for what they can take, and many break sooner or later. They broke me too. It seems I'm destined to serve time for something I didn't do.76
Harassment and Arbitrary Detention
   Faced with the return of seven former detainees from Guantanamo, Russian law enforcement might legitimately have been expected to keep an eye on whether the men were engaged in any suspicious activity after they got home. Such surveillance could have been conducted while also respecting the ex-detainees' human rights. It was not.
   The detainees and their family members uniformly complained of being frequently called, followed, and threatened by the FSB, UBOP, and other police officials after their return.   Some family members reported that their homes were searched without warrants, in violation of Russian and international law.  Some reported, in fact, that their homes were so frequently searched that they were unable to provide exact dates of those searches. 
   Ravil Gumarov told Human Rights Watch that officials from the FSB and UBOP called him at least once a week, beginning right away after he returned home from the Pyatigorsk prison to Naberezhnyi Chelny. They frequently requested that he come down to their offices for questioning, and a car followed his every movement outside the home for about a month after he returned.77  Two investigators from the FSB and the UBOP called so often that Gumarov's mother recognized their voices and knew their names and telephone numbers.  "They called Ravil in all the time, whenever anything happened… There was a shooting somewhere, and they called him in; somebody committed a murder somewhere, and again they called him in."78
   After being released from Pyatigorsk in June 2004, Ruslan Odizhev returned to his family's home in Nalchik.  According to his mother the harassment began immediately: "They came all the time, threatening, calling him all the time to the department, the first department, the sixth department [the UBOP, which was] well-known to us, the Gestapo."  She drew aside the curtain at the apartment's window to point out to Human Rights Watch researchers where a modest, unmarked car used to be always parked, so the FSB could keep an eye on their movements.79
   For other former Guantanamo detainees the harassment did not begin right away.  Timur Ishmuratov said he believed the words of the high-ranking FSB official who told all the detainees, as they were preparing to leave the Russian detention facility in Pyatigorsk, that if they lived within the law they would not face any harassment.  "I believed him, I got out, tried to build a personal life, got married, tried to find work," he said.80  He moved to the small town of Urussu, near Bugulma, where he found temporary jobs on construction sites and working for a mosque.  But in mid-January 2005, about a week after the explosion on a local gas pipeline (described above), his mother called from Bugulma to say security operatives were looking for him.
   Ishmuratov went into Bugulma voluntarily, thinking he could easily demonstrate his innocence, and found a large group of officials from the FSB and the UBOP waiting for him.  They interrogated him for six hours.  To his surprise, although they asked a few questions about where he had been on January 8 (the day of the explosion) and the day before, most of the questions were about Guantanamo, Islam, the Russian officials he had spoken with in Pyatigorsk, and who figured in his current circle of acquaintances.  After that he was called in for questioning often, sometimes two to three times a week.  And although the early interrogations were mostly respectful, over time they grew increasingly aggressive and vulgar.  Ishmuratov was particularly offended by the interrogators' use of curse words, since he had not used such words in the five years since he had become an observant Muslim.  "I thought because I was innocent, it would stop," he said of the harassment.81 
   After his release from Pyatigorsk, Shamil Khazhiev returned to Uchali, a small town in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, where his family lived. Human rights activist Alexandra Zernova, who met with Khazhiev on several occasions, said that he was repeatedly questioned by local FSB and UBOP officials after his return, and was briefly detained in Ufa, the Bashkortostan capital, in December 2004, on suspicion of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir. He was released without charge. In September 2005, while riding on a train, he was questioned by UBOP officials from Samara.  According to Zernova, Khazhiev has been unable to secure employment since his return from Guantanamo.82 He left Russia in March 2007.
   Airat Vakhitov told Human Rights Watch that he was subjected to constant police harassment and mistreatment over the course of nearly two years after his release from post-Guantanamo detention in Pyatigorsk.  "They constantly called me in for interrogation and told me they were following me, so that I mustn't think I'd be at liberty for long," Vakhitov told Human Rights Watch.  He moved around constantly, sleeping in different places, because "I'm afraid to stay in one place in Russia."83
   In early April 2005, acquaintances at UBOP in Tatarstan, where Vakhitov was from, warned him he should go into hiding.  "I was in hiding for several months in various apartments, giving my tailers the slip. There was always a tail."84 During this period the authorities called Vakhitov on his cell phone and told him that his request for a passport for foreign travel had been granted.  When he went into the passport office in Kazan, "the boss of the passport desk placed a call to [law enforcement] operatives and started stalling for time.  I understood that they were going to arrest me. In fact my passport wasn't ready yet; they had tricked me.  I stood in the corridor and saw the group of goons, and then quietly I got out of there."85
   Vakhitov moved to Moscow, where he was joined by fellow ex-Guantanamo detainee Rustam Akhmiarov.  On August 27, 2005, Vakhitov and Akhmiarov were seized from the apartment of Islamic activist86 Gaidar Jemal by unidentified men, whom Vakhitov believes were from the UBOP.  Before being removed from the apartment, Vakhitov and Akhmiarov managed to call a journalist and soon the news of their seizure was being relayed over Ekho Moskvy , an independent radio station broadcasting in the Russian capital.  These radio reports may have prompted a sudden phone call to their two captors as Vakhitov and Akhmiarov were being driven outside Moscow along a lonely road surrounded by forest.  Vakhitov told Human Rights Watch that the caller appeared to have told the captors that they had to change plans; the car turned around and headed for Sheremetyevo airport instead, and from there Vakhitov and Akhmiarov were flown to a detention facility in Kazan. 
   According to Vakhitov they were not mistreated in detention, although an official of the Tatarstan procuracy described them publicly as terrorists, without providing any evidence.  In violation of Russian law, neither man was present during a court hearing that sanctioned their continued detention.87  On August 30 Amnesty International issued an urgent action appeal on their behalf, while Alexandra Zernova gave several interviews from London and called Russian authorities to protest the detention. The two men were not formally charged, and were released in Naberezhnyi Chelny on September 2, 2005.88
   Rasul Kudaev was also the target of frequent harassment and threats by law enforcement personnel, sometimes in uniform and sometimes not, after his release from post-Guantanamo detention in Pyatigorsk.  Sometimes they came to speak to him at his home in Khasania.  Sometimes they took him away for questioning.  For example, in June 2005 authorities visited him and threatened to arrest him for evading military service in the Russian army and falsifying documents. On August 15, 2005, two men in masks and two without masks came to his home and said they wanted to speak with him about Ruslan Odizhev, the other former Guantanamo detainee who lived nearby.  These unidentified agents took him to the offices of the UBOP and interrogated him for several hours, without presenting any identification, warrants, or other documentation. 
   "From the moment he returned home in '04, when the Americans turned him over from the Guantanamo camp, we've been under continuous pressure from law enforcement and special forces, trying repeatedly to fabricate criminal charges against him," Kudaev's mother, Fatimat Tekaeva, told Human Rights Watch.89
   In addition to threats, phone calls, visits, and repeated detentions for questioning by law enforcement, the former Guantanamo detainees suffered from a more subtle, but highly disruptive, form of harassment: the difficulty of getting Russian authorities to return their basic identity documents.  Without such documents, the former detainees experienced great difficulty in finding a job, housing, and medical treatment.
   The lack of official identity papers posed a particularly serious problem for Rasul Kudaev, who had received serious injuries in Afghanistan and was still suffering the aftereffects, according to his mother.  The family negotiated with a hospital to remove a bullet from Kudaev's hip that was causing him pain and impeding his movement, but they were unable to get the personal identity documents that the hospital required before it could treat him.  Kudaev's mother told Human Rights Watch,
   The fact was, we couldn't get a copy of his birth certificate for half a year!  Every day we drove around the district: three hours here, three hours there.  And where was I supposed to get money for all this?… They wouldn't give us the documents… How much my nerves suffered, how much my health, and how much money I spent on this, only Allah knows.  And then we got [the document], and then we had to get a passport, and then we needed a medical insurance policy, because you can't get [medical] treatment in Russia without that.  We'd just gotten the passport, and a month later the events [of October 13, and Kudaev's arrest] happened.  We just didn't make it in time for the operation.90
   Although obtaining official documents from the Russian bureaucracy can be a trying experience for anyone, not only a former detainee of Guantanamo, such an extremely attenuated process is highly unusual.
   Ruslan Odizhev was also unable to obtain his internal passport (national identity document), which was necessary to obtain formal work.  His mother believes that pressure from the FSB kept the local police from giving him the document because it was only through the intervention of a friendly FSB officer that Odizhev finally did receive his passport in spring 2005. However, he went into hiding soon thereafter, never having had a formal job after his release from Guantanamo.91
   Ravil Gumarov found it difficult to find work, even once his identity papers had been returned to him. "It's like there's a stamp on us," he said at a Moscow press conference in October 2005. "We're like, out of Guantanamo, and they stamp you and no one will hire you, it's impossible to set yourself up anywhere."92 He later told Human Rights Watch, "Even friends won't give you work [after Guantanamo] because they're afraid of the FSB."93
Criminal Investigations and Prosecution
   Gumarov and Ishmuratov have stood trial twice (in 2005 and 2006) and gone through an appeal hearing for the Bugulma pipeline explosion. The trials were riddled with procedural irregularities that call into serious question whether their right to a fair trial was respected.  Those irregularities started with neither man being given immediate access to a lawyer, although both asked for them. Ishmuratov said that he began asking for a lawyer on April 1, the day he was detained.94
   In September 2005 a jury at the Tatarstan Supreme Court in Kazan unanimously acquitted Gumarov, Ishmuratov, and a third defendant, Fanis Shaikhutdinov, of the pipeline explosion.  The event was hailed in the media as "the first time in Russia a not-guilty verdict is reached in a terrorism case," and the three men gave a press conference in Moscow describing their mistreatment in detention.95
   Prosecutors submitted a request to the Supreme Court of Russia to "annul" the acquittal, a request that was granted on January 17, 2006.  Annulments of jury verdicts are not uncommon in Russia, despite the prohibition on double jeopardy under both Russian and international law. The procurator general of Tatarstan, Kafil Amirov, insisted that the second trial did not constitute double jeopardy because the first verdict had been "annulled" ["otmenyon"], as though it had never existed. He said, "We think the jurors took this case too lightly. They didn't fully understand… they're simple people."96
   Gumarov and Shaikhutdinov went into hiding in Moscow, where they were rearrested in the apartment of Airat Vakhitov. Ishmuratov fled to Ukraine on January 27 and attempted to claim political asylum. His request was denied and he was deported back to Russia on February 6.97
   The second trial, also a jury trial in the Tatarstan Supreme Court, ended on May 5, 2006, with a unanimous vote to convict all three defendants of terrorism (article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code) and illegal possession of weapons or explosives (article 222). They were also ordered to pay the equivalent of about US$2,000 in property damages.  On May 12 the court sentenced Gumarov to 13 years of imprisonment, and Ishmuratov to 11 years and one month; Fanis Shakhutdinov was sentenced to 15 years and five months.
   Lawyers and relatives of the accused expressed suspicion that two juries could reach such diametrically different verdicts, and believe that the second jury was pressured to convict. Defense lawyers appealed the case to the Russian Supreme Court in July 2006, arguing that the case should be retried due to procedural irregularities, including the prosecution's introduction of new witnesses without any opportunity for pretrial cross-examination, as required by Russian law. The three-judge panel of the Supreme Court returned its decision on November 29, 2006, after half an hour of deliberation. The panel reduced the sentences of each of the three defendants, without making any change to the verdicts (although the harshness of the sentences had not been a feature of the appeals, which were rejected in full).98
   In July 2006 Human Rights Watch found a signed confession to the Bugulma pipeline explosion in the case file of another criminal investigation. The five-page confession was signed by Vilsur Khairullin, who was accused of conspiring to blow up key industrial targets in Tatarstan in 2005. According to the document, the interrogation was conducted by an investigator in the serious crimes division of the Tatarstan procuracy, V.A. Maksimov, on July 7, 2005, between 10:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. In the confession, Khairullin says that he planned and executed the explosion alone.99
   Gumarov and Ishmuratov were in custody at the time Khairullin made his confession, awaiting trial for the same crime. Yet prosecutors never mentioned the confession to lawyers for either defendant. Investigator Maksimov told the Washington Post  that he took Khairullin to the scene of the crime, but Khairullin was unable to identify the exact location of the explosion, so they did not feel it necessary to inform defense lawyers for Gumarov, Ishmuratov, and Shaikhutdinov about his confession.100
   Given the record of torture among Russian investigators, it seems entirely possible that Khairullin's confession was not genuine. But as a matter of due process, such potentially exculpatory evidence should have been made available to the defendants.  And if the confession was not genuine, it raises the question of what methods Russian investigators might have used to extract it.
   Rasul Kudaev, the other ex-Guantanamo detainee currently in detention, has not yet been formally indicted or prosecuted, more than one year after his arrest in Nalchik. Kudaev's extensive torture by Russian authorities was detailed above.  In addition, Kudayev's right under Russian and international law to be represented by a lawyer was compromised when Irina Komissarova, his original lawyer, was removed from the case.
44 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Airat Vakhitov, September 7, 2006.
45  UBOP stands for Upravlenie Borby Organizovannoi Prestupnosti, or Directorate for Fighting Organized Crime. It is also sometimes known as the "Sixth Department"--see below.
47 Human Rights Watch interview with Ravil Gumarov, date and place withheld.
48 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Airat Vakhitov, September 7, 2006.
49 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Alexandra Zernova, September 24, 2006.
50 Human Rights Watch interviews with Fatimat Tekaeva, Nalchik, Russia, November 2, 2005, and Khasania, Russia, July 26, 2006.  
51 "Interior Ministry: Attackers on Capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Connected with Foreign Special Services" ("MVD: Napadavshie na stolitsu Kabardino-Balkarii svyazany s inostrannymi spetssluzhbami"), Caucasian Knot News,  October 17, 2006, (accessed January 14, 2007).
52 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatimat Tekaeva, November 2, 2005.
53 Written testimony of Fatimat Tekaeva, appendix document 4 submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, dated December 28, 2005, unpublished document on file with Human Rights Watch.
54 Complaint to the lawyers' association of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, the procuracy of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, and others by Irina Komissarova, appendix document 11 submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, dated November 3, 2005, unpublished document on file with Human Rights Watch.
55 Ruling of the Nalchik City Court, October 25, 2005, on file with Human Rights Watch. At this writing, Kudaev has not been formally indicted.
56 SIZO is the Russian acronym for sledstvennyi izoliator, or "investigation-isolation unit."
57 Complaint to the lawyers' association of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic by Irina Komissarova.
58 Luisa Orazayeva, "Suspect Vanishes From Kabardino-Balkaria Jail," International Caucasian Forum, February 2, 2006, (accessed July 22, 2006).
59 Timeline of the arrest of Rasul Kudaev, section 14.23, document submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, unpublished document on file with Human Rights Watch.
60 Decision on the removal of lawyer by Kotliarov E.A. of the Procuracy General of the Russian Federation for the Southern Federal Region of November 10, 2005, appendix document 22 submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, unpublished document (in Russian) on file with Human Rights Watch. The prosecutor's office invited Komissarova in to discuss her allegations that her client had been abused, and then she was promptly prohibited from representing him because she had given evidence in the case. Human Rights Watch interview with Irina Komissarova, Nalchik, Russia, July 25, 2006. Human Rights Watch has found several cases in the Russian criminal defense system of energetic defense lawyers being barred from serving their clients after they are forced to submit to interrogations and then declared "witnesses."
61 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatimat Tekaeva, November 2, 2005.
62 The full set of photographs is available at (accessed July 22, 2006).
63 Lyudmila Maratova, "Removed Prisoner Lost Again," Caucasian Knot News, January 20, 2006, (accessed July 22, 2007).
64 Certificate from ambulance service, November 1, 2005, unpublished document (in Russian) on file with Human Rights Watch.
65 Appeal Ruling, Judge A.Kh. Boziyev, Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, August 25, 2006, document (in Russian) on file with Human Rights Watch.
66 Timur Ishmuratov, Ravil Gumarov, and Fanis Shakhutdinov, press conference at RIA-Novosti, Moscow, October 14, 2005, (accessed September 9, 2006).
67 Copy of Ishmuratov's statement on file with Human Rights Watch.
68 Human Rights Watch interview with Zoya Ishmuratova, Bugulma, Russia, November 5, 2005.
69 Human Rights Watch interview with F.I. Baibikov, Kazan, Russia, August 2, 2006.
70 Human Rights Watch interview with Rustam Khamidullin, Bugulma, Russia, June 6, 2006. 
71 Statement of Timur Ishmuratov in Russian, April 13, 2005, document on file with Human Rights Watch.
72 Human Rights Watch interview with Saria Gumarova, Naberezhnyi Chelny, Russia, August 3, 2006.
73 Human Rights Watch interview with Ravil Gumarov, date and place withheld. See also Ishmuratov, Gumarov, and Shaikhutdinov, press conference, October 14, 2005.
74 Human Rights Watch interview with Ravil Gumarov, date and place withheld.
75 Ishmuratov, Gumarov, and Shaikhutdinov, press conference, October 14, 2005.
76 Letter obtained in Human Rights Watch interview with Saria Gumarova, August 3, 2006, copy on file with Human Rights Watch. In his interview with Human Rights Watch, Gumarov himself confirmed that the letter was genuine.
77 Human Rights Watch interview with Ravil Gumarov, date and place withheld.
78 Human Rights Watch interview with Saria Gumarova, August 3, 2006.
79 Human Rights Watch interview with Nina Odizheva, July 24, 2006.
80 Ishmuratov, Gumarov, and Shaikhutdinov, press conference, October 14, 2005.
81 Ibid.
82 Letter from Alexandra Zernova, human rights activist, to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, March 21, 2006.
83 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Airat Vakhitov, September 7, 2006.
84 Ibid.
85 Ibid.
86 Jemal is a prominent commentator on Muslim affairs in the Russian and international media.
87 Amnesty International "Russian Federation: Further information on Fear for safety/fear of torture or ill-treatment/'disappearance,'" AI Index: EUR 46/034/2005, September 2, 2005, http://web. library/index/ engeur4603 42005 (accessed September 9, 2006).
88 Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with Airat Vakhitov, September 7, 2006, and with Alexandra Zernova, September 5, 2006.  Vakhitov credits international pressure for their release.
   89 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatimat Tekaeva, November 2, 2005.
90 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatimat Tekaeva, July 26, 2006. The "passport" she refers to is a national identity card, not an international travel document. She was an eyewitness to the harassment described here.
91 Human Rights Watch interview with Nina Odizheva, July 24, 2006.
92 Ishmuratov, Gumarov, and Shaikhutdinov, press conference, October 14, 2005.
93 Human Rights Watch interview with Ravil Gumarov, date and place withheld.
94 Ishmuratov, Gumarov, and Shaikhutdinov, press conference, October 14, 2005.
95 Ibid.
96 Human Rights Watch interview with Kafil Amirov, Kazan, Russia, July 19, 2006.
97 Letter from Zernova, March 21, 2006.
98 Ishmuratov's sentence was reduced to eight years, Gumarov's was reduced to nine, and Shaihutdinov's was reduced to 10-and-a-half. A Human Rights Watch observer was present in the courtroom.
99 "Protocol of the additional testimony of the accused," document (in Russian) on file with Human Rights Watch.
100 Peter Finn, "From Guantanamo to a Russian Prison," The Washington Post, September 3, 2006.
   [COMMENT: There are many other pieces of evidence, including political murders and arrests, that Putin (former secret policeman) has taken Russia back to some of the practices of the old Bolshevik Soviet Communists and the former Tsarist Imperial regimes. COMMENT ENDS.] [March 2007]

• [Businessmen's corruption usually not exposed as the Burke group's has been.]
  Australia flag; 

[Businessmen’s corruption usually not exposed as the Burke group’s has been.]

   The Australian online comments, by "Mulga Fumblebrain" of Adelaide, 10:29 AM, March 02, 2007
   AUSTRALIA: The Burke affair says so much about the sad state of affairs in this benighted country.
   Burke himself is typical of right-wing Labor. No ideology remains after decades of compromise and betrayal of their constituency, but naked self-interest.
   The triumph of the santamaniac tendency is a Labor Party devoid of any class consciousness, supplicant to a 'business community' whose class consciousness and delusions of superiority are pathological.
   Indeed the aspiration of most Labor figures seems to be to leverage their political connections into post-political wealth. Witness Hawke, Keating and Carr.
   Those not playing the game, Jim Cairns and Barry Jones for example, are treated with bemused contempt.
   The Burke affair seems to be concentrating entirely on the politicians and lobbyists, and ignoring the business grandees behind the scenes.
   In a show democracy like our own, where real power is economic and the real rulers are businessmen, the business class, whose very modus operandi is essentially corrupt, are untouchable.
   Imagine the saucy vignettes one could expose if the boardrooms or private offices of our unelected rulers, the business elites, were bugged. Not much chance.
   Burke was an employee, his lack of principle and scruple no concern to the Labor mates, or the business interests concealed by a gossamer veil.
   But to pretend that corruption and influence peddling are Labor concerns alone, is laughable in the extreme. Corruption on the Right is merely better organised and more socially acceptable, because perennial.
   Upstarts like Burke have ambitions above their station in life, whereas businessmen secretly conniving with Howard to shove nuclear power down our throats, are exemplars of all that has made Australia what it is today.
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: By courtesy of Tony.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: And below John's letter in Friday's Australian (online), among the responses to the topic is the above, which seems to be on the money (quite literally) -- T T-S.  COMMENT ENDS.]
[Mar 02, 07]

• Our forsaken schools  Australia flag; 

Our forsaken schools

   The Weekend Australian, www.theaust 0,20867,2131 4703-7583, 00.html , by Christopher Pearson, p 28, Opinion, March 3-4, 2007
JULIE Bishop, the federal Education Minister, was quite matter-of-fact on The 7.30 Report on Wednesday night.  "About a third of our 15-year-olds are functionally illiterate." Left unspoken were two other obvious conclusions.
   First, these were kids their teachers had given up on. Second, their parents lacked the ability or inclination to rectify the problem at home.  For the first time since the mid-19th century, reading has become a chore adults quite commonly delegated to other people and inter-generational illiteracy is becoming an entrenched dimension of disadvantage.
   It's with this grim view of the present and the foreseeable future in mind that we should take on board last week's report from the Productivity Commission. As usual, it beat the drum on the benefits of reforming energy markets, transport and infrastructure; unfinished business that can further enhance national prosperity. But it stressed the need for a new agenda: human capital reform.
   Partly this was a matter of reducing chronic disease and injury to ensure fewer people are excluded from the work force. Partly it was a matter of reforming tax and welfare systems to increase incentives to work. Mostly it was about education.
   If ever there were a time for a back-to-basics approach, the Productivity Commission says it is now. The agenda takes in improving early childhood education, literacy and numeracy, better school completion rates and skills training. It estimates substantial reform could add 9 per cent to economic output during the next 25 years, increase household incomes by an average $1800 and lift workforce participation by nearly 5 per cent. It also calculates that during that time it could boost state and federal revenues by up to $25 billion.
   The Productivity Commission's brief is to imagine how much better off we'd all be in a more rationally ordered world. Sceptics tend to share Kant's intuition that "out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made". But even so, within living memory, before 1970, we know that ordinary state school students were regularly achieving much higher levels of literacy and numeracy than their present counterparts. Is it too much to ask the current crop of schoolteachers to replicate these results?
   According to the annual Schools Australia report, released on Monday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an increasing number of parents think it is. They are giving up on public education in hordes and droves. In the past decade, private schools have grown at nearly 20 times the rate of government schools. The number of state school students has risen by just 1.2 per cent since 1996, compared with 21.5 per cent for Catholic and independent schools, to say nothing of the more radical option of home schooling, for which reliable statistics are hard to find.
   In Victoria, where dissatisfaction with public education has long been an issue and nearly 40 per cent of senior secondary students are educated privately, overall enrolments remained relatively steady. In South Australia during the decade, government school enrolments fell by 7.7 per cent and in the ACT by 12.3 per cent.
   These regional collapses of confidence in public education are certainly spectacular but they need to be seen against the backdrop of long-term change. Since the Karmel report in 1975 and the era of substantial public funding of non-government schools, there has been a fairly steady drift to the private sector. Jack Keating, an educationist at the University of Melbourne, reckons it at about 0.4 per cent a year. Last year 66.8 per cent of Australian children were in government schools and 33.2per cent in the private sector. If, as seems inevitable, the rest of the country follows Victoria's example, the ratio will soon be 64.6per cent to 35.4 per cent.
   The question everyone in the political class is tiptoeing around is this. At what point do most public schools simply become sinks of disadvantage, places where a residue of kids with average or below average IQs and more than their fair share of other problems confound everyone's efforts to teach them life's basic survival skills? You could re-formulate the question by asking: at what stage does the abandonment of public-sector education by what used to be called the lower middle classes reach a tipping point?
   Some compare the presence of parents who work in the professions to the proverbial "leaven in the lump" of a school community; the dads who are likeliest to coach the soccer team and the mums who volunteer to teach remedial reading. Others, less sentimentally, say that petit bourgeois parents are good at getting grants and zebra crossings out of local MPs because they're more effective at making formal complaints and marketing grievances to the media.
   Those parents and their children are gravitating towards the larger, academically successful and selective public schools, which are likely to stay that way while most of the smaller, academically weaker schools will stay small and become weaker still. That means average students are probably going to be increasingly short-changed, as the burden of looking after the overall educational needs of communities in non-selective schools becomes a more thankless task, entrusted to an increasingly demoralised bunch of teachers.
   There was a time when I would have greeted any decline in public-sector education as a cause for celebration. I still think that a great many state teachers and their appalling unions have preyed like parasites on the long-suffering proletariat. The trouble is that the private sector often employs the same kinds of teachers, is politically correct and third rate in much the same ways and is infected with many of the same fads and questionable methods.
   The Catholic parochial system, for example, is almost beyond parody. The values and formation it purports to instil in its pupils is anything but Catholic.
   Father O'Bubblegum, Auberon Waugh's comic creation, can still be found strumming his guitar and singing the lyrics of John Lennon's Imagine, with no sense of incongruity, at school masses. Vatican II-era nuns can still be heard pushing the feminist pieties and Marxist Sociology 101 they learned as mature-age entrants in diploma courses 30 years ago. Lay teachers who are often neither Catholic nor discernibly Christian are entrusted with religious instruction.
   It is scarcely surprising that so few of the kids passing through the system should still be going to church even one Sunday a month by the time they're 20. Apart from the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, few Australian Catholic bishops have attempted any sort of reform or reined in their education bureaucracies. Some profess themselves powerless to do so. Accordingly, there has been a marked trend in recent years for traditionally minded Catholic parents to send their children to Anglican or Lutheran schools where, whatever else is lacking, at least the biblical catechesis is adequate.
   While the Catholic schools are more aggressively ordinary and anti-intellectual, there's no shortage of paid-up philistines in the independent schools. And let's not forget the genteel ideologues. The social justice wing of the Uniting Church is over-represented, as are the deep greens, people who won't teach phonics and the social studies teachers who fancy themselves in "Sorry" T-shirts. It's gratifying to see how many of the young survive their ministrations with critical faculties intact and a sceptical, often explicitly conservative attitude to all the codswallop they've been taught.
   A great deal more could and no doubt should be said about the shortcomings of Australia's Catholic and independent schools. But, whatever private education's failings, if what we conceive as the public sector is to remain viable it is going to have to become much more like its private competition. Whether along the lines of charter schools or various hybrids, public schools urgently need to be rebadged and given a new remit. The less they operate like government agencies, the more confidence they're likely to inspire in parents. The more power parents and principals have, at the expense of head office and the unions, the better the chance of shifting demoralised or incompetent staff and boosting morale. Performance-linked pay is another overdue development.
   In the rebadge exercise, there should be a rethink of the ownership and control of schools that aims to capture the benefits that come when an enterprise is owned (and loved) by the people who work there, or even by an individual, rather than by the state. For example, short of outright sale, there's a case to be made for leasing existing public school premises at peppercorn rentals to the entrepreneurial heads of the low-fee colleges that are burgeoning on the outskirts of most of the capital cities.
   Some, I'm sure, would leap at the chance to take over deadbeat schools, lock, stock and barrel and run them more or less non-selectively on a state subsidy, which would in all likelihood be a fraction of the present cost. In a market system, as Keating argued in The Age last week, they should be rewarded for taking on the most challenging and disadvantaged pupils.
   [RECAPITULATION: "About a third of our 15-year-olds are functionally illiterate." … The number of state school students has risen by just 1.2 per cent since 1996, compared with 21.5 per cent for Catholic and independent schools …
   I still think that a great many state teachers and their appalling unions have preyed like parasites on the long-suffering proletariat. The trouble is that the private sector often employs the same kinds of teachers, is politically correct and third rate in much the same ways and is infected with many of the same fads and questionable methods. …
   The Catholic parochial system, for example, is almost beyond parody. … Father O'Bubblegum … can still be found strumming his guitar and singing the lyrics of John Lennon's Imagine, with no sense of incongruity, at school masses. Vatican II-era nuns can still be heard pushing the feminist pieties and Marxist Sociology 101 they learned as mature-age entrants in diploma courses 30 years ago. Lay teachers who are often neither Catholic nor discernibly Christian are entrusted with religious instruction. …
   … there's no shortage of paid-up philistines in the independent schools. And let's not forget the genteel ideologues. The social justice wing of the Uniting Church is over-represented, as are the deep greens, people who won't teach phonics and the social studies teachers who fancy themselves in "Sorry" T-shirts. It's gratifying to see how many of the young survive their ministrations with critical faculties intact and a sceptical, often explicitly conservative attitude to all the codswallop they've been taught.   ENDS.] [Mar 3-4, 2007]

• Tokyo governor promotes kamikaze film  Japan flag;  

Tokyo governor promotes kamikaze film

   The West Australian Online, www.thewest. aspx?Story Name=361026 , AAP, 8:35 WST, Saturday, March 03, 2007
   TOKYO: Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara launched a publicity campaign for a film celebrating the bravery of its wartime "kamikaze" suicide pilots on Friday, as Japan wrangled again with Asian neighbours over its World War Two history.
   "I Go to Die for You," scripted by Ishihara, a 74-year-old nationalist writer and politician, tells the story of the young men, mostly in their teens and twenties, who were trained to crash explosive-laden aircraft into US warships. […]
   The launch of the film casting Japan's wartime military as tragic heroes came just as South Korea drew renewed attention to what it says is Japan's failure to atone for atrocities committed by its armed forces before and during the war.
   "We hope that Japan will not try to glorify or justify a mistaken past, but instead show sincerity by following its conscience and the international community's generally accepted precedent," South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said on Thursday. […]
   The first kamikaze attack took place off the coast of the island of Leyte in the Philippines in 1944 and its success led to the recruitment of more young men for suicide missions.
   "One thing I want to make clear is that the suicide attacks by religious fanatics around the world are completely different from the special attack forces," Ishihara told reporters.
   "They are random attacks on civilians. The special attacks were clearly acts of war," he said.
   More than 2,000 planes were used and 34 US ships were sunk in Japanese suicide attacks in the last few months of the war, according to a Japanese encyclopaedia. #
   RECAPITULATION: … the suicide attacks by religious fanatics around the world are completely different … ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Ishihara is telling a "whopper," because there is a religious element to the suicide pilots' disgraceful attacks, and the outrageous way their elite tricked them into it. 
   The Japanese Prime Minister for years attended a religious ceremony at a Japanese war shrine which honoured, among the thousands of dead killed in the imperial wars of conquest, war criminals.
   The Japanese school system refuses to include the horrors of the Rape of Nanking and other atrocities during the imperial conquests of Korea, Manchuria, China, and later Indochina, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Burma, etc. 
   When the Japanese invaded a non-Chinese area, they spent a huge amount of time hunting down and murdering any Chinese they could find.
   Allied forces recorded this genocide, while suffering in such atrocities as the Burma Railway and the death marches.
   The Japanese "Establishment" is now ("Leader denies Japan war role in sex slavery," The West Australian, p 42, Saturday, March 3, 2007, quoting PM Shinzo Abe) trying to say that thousands of non-Japanese women went voluntarily as "comfort women" to the war zones where the Japanese were murdering, conquering, looting, etc.!!!  They were sex slaves.
   In brief, just like large segments of the German people after the 1st World War, some prominent Japanese have not repented for the wars of agression, and harbour resentment that could lead to future invasions.  Remember, however, that China has, since World War II ended, conquered Tibet, and attacked Vietnam more than once.  (To keep a balanced outlook, remember that the U.S.A. has engaged in dozens of warlike activities since 1945.)   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [DOCTRINE: The war party actually took over a sect of Shinto, and made it like a State religion, so it became an article of faith that heaven awaited anyone who died for the Emperor.  Readers -- is there a present-day terrorist group that teaches a similar doctrine to its young people?   ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT: Those people who keep claiming that President Truman and the U.S.A. committed a war crime by using the atomic bomb ought to re-read in history of how the suicide pilots could have broken the back of the Allied liberation of East Asia, and would have prevented a quick end to the deaths and degradation going for another few years.  They ought to also read of how Japanese in foxholes had to be burnt out with flamethrowers, because to surrender was "dishonour" under the Code of Bushido.  This religious and "knightly" zeal delayed the liberation of various places by weeks, and was costly in the lives of the Allies and of the civilians in those countries, as well as wasteful of the lives of the deluded Japanese.   ENDS.] [Mar 03, 07]

• Lobby pair turn on own  Australia flag; 

Lobby pair turn on own

   Perth Now powered by The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), au/perthnow/ story/0,21598, 21319747-27 61,00.html , 03:00pm, March 03, 2007
  [Picture] TURNCOAT: WA Education Minister Mark McGowan has accused lobbyist Julian Grill of turning on the ALP during the last election, when he and Brian Burke helped a Liberal campaign in his seat of Rockingham     Picture: Jody D'Arcy  
   LOBBYIST Julian Grill worked against his own party at the last state election when he was paid "thousands" of dollars to help a campaign against the Labor Government.
   And disgraced former premier Brian Burke helped the campaign with "advice."
   Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels confirmed yesterday that the council paid Mr Grill thousands of dollars and took advice from Mr Burke at meetings at his home about a campaign designed to put heat on the Gallop Government about a local train line.
   But Education Minister Mark McGowan, also Rockingham's MP, said ratepayers' cash had bankrolled what was a political campaign against him and the Government - engineered by local Liberals including Mr Sammels - that enlisted the services of the notorious lobbyists.
   "I was disgusted to find during the last state election that Liberal party people were using ratepayers' money to fund a campaign involving Mr Burke and Mr Grill, against me and the Government," Mr McGowan said. [* * *]
   [READ IT ALL at the link above, or at: Australia / Australia Chronicle # Lobby  [Mar 03, 07]

• Concern as China builds up Dili links.  East Timor flag; East Timor Action Network  China flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; 

Concern as China builds up Dili links

   The West Australian, By LINDSAY MURDOCH, p 44, Saturday, March 3, 2007
   DILI: Street thugs have a favourite place on Dili's waterfront. Just past the fortified Australian Embassy residential compound, they hide behind a high fence on a building site with an unending supply of rocks.
   The architect's plans on a billboard at the front of the complex look like a luxury resort hotel in Ball, with coconut palms, fountains and garden walkways.
   But the building, due for completion by September to house East Timor's Foreign Ministry, is the first of three as part of a "charm offensive" by China.
   As the fledgling Government in Dili struggles to recover from violent upheaval last year, which left dozens dead and almost 3000 buildings destroyed, China has steered Dili's biggest construction projects.
   Diplomats in the capital are watching curiously how the world's most heavily populated nation is spending many millions of dollars to establish an economic, diplomatic and strategic foothold in one of the smallest nations on Australia's doorstep.
   They say China is looking to East Timor for a source of raw material and energy supplies and wants to develop close ties with the nation as part of a strategy to expand Beijing's influence in South-East Asia.
   Diplomats say China also is keen to use close ties with Dili to limit Taiwan's ambitions in the region.
   As well as the Foreign Ministry, China plans to build a new presidential palace and its own embassy, all funded by Beijing, overseen by Chinese engineers and built by Chinese and Timorese workers.
   China has wooed East Timor's leaders with all-expenses-paid trips to China, established tentative relations with East Timor's army, including donating equipment such as tents and uniforms, and has paid for at least six army officers to be trained in China.
   The building of a presidential palace on a former heliport in central Dili is embarrassing for Australia, which has just spent millions of dollars building a warehouse complex on the site for its 800-strong soldier contingent deployed in the country.
   Australia has been asked to move the building several hundred metres to allow China to build a palace for whoever wins presidential elections due on April 9. East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta said the land "had been allocated previously for presidential accommodation".
   Work is set to start soon on a grand new Chinese embassy on another waterfront site.
   Australian academic Kate Reid-Smith has raised the possibly that East Timor could eventually become China's newest satellite state in South-East Ask.
   "If China secured working control of Timor Leste's (East Timor's) sea lanes, the capacity to isolate Australian and Indonesian territorial and military assets, considered strategic threats to Chinese interests, opens a regional Pandora's box," she said.
   But Mr Ramos Horta said that China should not be feared despite concerns by Western countries that it was emerging as a world power.
   "I do not see how China should be seen as a rival," Mr Ramos Horta said.
   "Demographics dictate that the Chinese have to create jobs for their millions of workers who come on to the market every year. That means continuing to expand their economy and expanding their economy means stability in the world." #
   [COMMENT: It would be better to believe Kate Reid-Smith's warning about sea-lanes, remembering that the bumblefooted Howard Cabinet is heading the same way as the pro-China Rudd-Burke groups in Labor.  (By the way, former Labor leader Kim Beazley was also a pro-swamping high-immigration man.)
   For Mr Ramos Horta to say that the land had been allocated for presidential accommodation is a laugh -- the East Timorese "government" is only playing at being rulers, and has plenty of land available for palaces!
   Until East Timor can wrest control of its half of the seabed from Australia and the international oil cartel, its leaders ought to live quietly in ordinary-sized houses, preferably in an allied army camp!
   The sad story of the recent anti-Chinese riots in the Solomon Islands, and the mass-murders of Chinese people years ago by the Indonesian army, ought to be studied by the East Timorese.  And by the current Chinese dictators.   COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 3, 07]

• Friend of Julian Grill -- where do you stand on major problems?  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

Friend of Julian Grill – where do you stand on major problems?

   From an Unusual Suspect, Letter to Mr Graeme Campbell (former Labor and then Independent MP for Kalgoorlie), 72 Hare St, Kalgoorlie WA 6430, Australia, Sunday, March 4, 2007
   Hearing, reading, and viewing the unfolding machinations of the "Labor" Brian Burke, Julian Grill, and "Liberal" Noel Crichton-Browne lobbying efforts in Western Australia reminds me of the intricacies about immigration and cultural aggression unravelled in a book Australia Betrayed; How Australian democracy has been undermined and our naive trust betrayed, 1995. 1
   Let me quote: "The present leadership in Australia, on the other hand, works against the grain of its country's most valued traditions, …"
   MHR Graeme Edwards and others seem to maintain that they will continue their friendship with former MLA Julian Grill.  Did you read the years-old newsitem of how the Lord McAlpine sold 53 Mount Street, Perth, to Minister Grill at below an estimate of its value, and later a Broome development received ministerial approval?  […]
   Page 8 says that Kim Beazley is still keeping up his friendship with Burke.  Listen to the tape recordings on www.perthnow. and read the transcripts at www.ccc.wa. .  …
   Whose side are you on?  The crooked pro-immigration anti-patriotic money-grabbing Establishment, or the people?  Yours etc.
   READ IT ALL AT Australia / Australia Chronology 1 # Friend
   [LATER: Months later, when Mr Grill attended W.A. Parliament to make a parliament-ordered apology, Mr Campbell was there outside Parliament to tell the television viewers that Mr Grill had done good things.  (And yes, in recent years as a lobbyist he did support a move to pay recompense to people defrauded in the W.A. mortgage brokers's scandal.) ENDS.] [Mar 4, 07]

• CFMEU may still use Burke as an adviser. 

CFMEU may still use Burke as an adviser

   The West Australian, www.thewest. aspx?MenuID= 77&ContentID= 22757 , by KIM MACDONALD, p 4, Monday, March 5, 2007
   PERTH: Brian Burke's imprint on the Labor Party could continue after the powerful construction union refused to rule out using the disgraced former premier as a general adviser despite conceding he would no longer be useful as a lobbyist.
   It comes as the Left-aligned Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union pleads with the construction union to drop all contact with Mr Burke and his business partner Julian Grill, claiming the pair treated the Labor Party as an extension of their business empire and did not care about the working class.
   But Kevin Reynolds, secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said he and Mr Burke had been close friends for 30 years and he was not about to "throw him on the scrapheap".
   Mr Reynolds said the CFMEU's State executive would consider whether there was a role for Mr Burke to play for the union, such as a general advisory role. […]
   AMWU secretary Jock Ferguson said … "If you seek power on the back of a tiger, you may well end up inside it," … #
   READ MORE AT Australia / Australia Chronology 1 # CFMEU   [Mar 5, 07]

• [Why wasn't Mr Rudd's explanation given in Parliament? -- Burke furore] 

[Why wasn’t Mr Rudd’s explanation given in Parliament? – Burke furore]

The West Australian, Letter to The Editor, p 19, Tuesday, March 6, 2007
   Kevin Rudd should explain to the electorate why he did not respond in Parliament to the Government's vigorous exposure of his meetings with Brian Burke.
   Normally, a leader of the Opposition would have responded or made a personal explanation about how he happened to have been a guest of Brian Burke. But he sat mute.
   He chose instead to call a press conference immediately after Parliament adjourned to give an account of his involvement. Brian Peachey, Woodands.
[Mar 6, 07]

• [A Tragic Mistake -- Justice American style.]  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

A Tragic Mistake

   Repent Australia, Vol 12, No 4, page 1, April 2007 (received Mar 6, 2007)
   Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on 14 April 1865, seven men and one woman were arrested as accomplices of the actual killer John Wilkes Booth.
   For about three months they were locked in cells with their heads encased in canvas shrouds, their hands manacled with handcuffs and their legs chained to heavy iron balls until brought to trial.
   Four of them were consigned to the gallows and four to imprisonment on fever-ridden Fort Jefferson Island where one died after a year.
   Three years later the three survivors were pardoned and the nation shamefacedly confessed that, except for two of them, none of the victims of an angry nation's vengeance should even have been charged.
   Man judged man – and made a tragic mistake. […]
   [COMMENT: The U.S. justice system hasn't changed for the better since 1865, judging by the hoods on prisoners, the chaining, and other attacks on human rights in Abu Ghraib (Iraq), Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), and the other hellprisons run illegally by the United States of America.  The U.S. leadership, the Congress, and the electors, have not been swayed by the Red Cross-Red Crescent, nor by the international human rights commissions, nor even by news media exposes.  The Congress has recently passed a law to prevent innocent victims suing for compensation! 
   The Repent Australia leaflet talks of the "dark, perilous days of lawlessness and confusion."  Many reformers are tempted to write that the electors are tricked into voting for lawless politicians, blaming shadowy forces behind the scenes and discussing conspiracy theories.  The Just World Campaign has reluctantly come to a different view -- who is to blame for the re-election of the three warmongers in the U.S.A., Britain, and Australia?  If 80 per cent of the votes had been AGAINST an aggressive war for oil, even the electoral fraud that was practised could not have prevented changes of government in each country.
   A "parish pump" example:  In Western Australia, Labor Minister Norm Marlborough was exposed by the Corruption and Crime Commission, and ordered out of the Labor Party and out of Parliament by the Premier.  He resigned, a by-election was held in Peel electorate, and with a reduced majority a Labor candidate was elected!  In other words, although the same corrupted party had chosen a candidate by the same methods that had put people like the Marlboroughs and such up as candidates, we are told that the electorate virtually said "Kick me again!"
   "The fault … is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." -- CASSIUS, Julius Caesar, 1, 2, 135; William Shakespeare, 1564-1616.   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [INFORMATIVE LINK: Torture at Abu Ghraib: The full sworn testimony of Ali Shalal, index.php? context=view Article&code= 20070219& articleId= 4865 , February 19, 2007. [Apr 2007, received Mar 6, 07]

• [Grill and Burke saved taxpayer by mine deals, but Lefties oppose.]  Australia flag; / 

It’s all about Labor factional warfare

   The West Australian, Various Letters to The Editor, p 20, Wednesday, March 7, 2007
It's all about Labor factional warfare
   When John Howard has a meal or a meeting with George Bush it could give rise to some concern. […]
   One could deduce that the hysteria surrounding Julian Grill and Brian Burke is because they were obviously successful. They held the Government accountable; this is something that Mr McGinty's left-wing lobbyists will never do.[…]
   It is a matter of record that had it not been for the work of Julian Grill and Brian Burke, Portman Mining would have been forced to close down …
   Similarly, Xtrata, a Swiss company, closed down the vanadium mine in the Murchison … It had no concern for the substantial taxpayer investment in infrastructure. […] Graeme Campbell, Kalgoorlie.
A surprise?
   Brian Burke has been demonised and slammed for the ramifications of his lobbyist tactics. …
   The CCC has recorded damning conversations between the lobbyists and their political friends. Is the fact that business and politics are dirty and underhanded affairs a surprise to anyone? […]
   … Instead of stoning him to political death we should harness his intellect and get him working for us. […] Ian Evans, Geraldton.
Face the people
   Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as "government of the people, by the people, for the people".[…]
   When a government loses the moral right to govern, as the Carpenter Government has done, then it should face the people at an election. […]
   Kerr did the right thing with Whitlam in 1975. Demand that the State Governor do his duty here in WA now. Bob Stephen, Hillarys.
It's draconian
   Some public good may yet come of the W A Inc Mk II saga. […]
   … it is completely another thing to compel the suspected person to undergo interrogation without that evidence being disclosed and thus virtually to invite him (or her) to commit perjury.[…] Malcolm Hall, Perth.
Short memory
   In a TV interview Peter Costello claimed Mr Burke had played Kevin Rudd like a piano. He has a short memory. Mr Howard played him like a piano over the leadership question. The tune? When I'm 64. George Lodge, Bentley.
   Letters to the Editor, WA Newspapers, GPO Box N1027 Perth WA 6843. Fax 08 9482 3830. E-mail to: letters@wa
   READ MORE AT Australia / Australia Chronology 1 # Grill [Mar 07, 07]

• Burke, Grill, Crichton-Browne Outcry Is 'Red Herring' For Sell-Outs  Australia flag; 

Burke, Grill, Crichton-Browne Outcry is ‘Red Herring’ for Sell-outs

   From an Unusual Suspect, another letter to Mr Graeme Campbell (former Labor and then Independent MP for Kalgoorlie), Wednesday, March 7, 2007
   […] The main point I made was that you are one of many members and ex-members of political parties who contend that they are friends with so-and-so, and they intend to continue that friendship -- no matter what, it seems.
   … a Royal Commission …   Later a Commission on Government, at great cost, reported on reforms to the system designed to prevent a repeat -- but the major parties balked.  … Sadder for me was reading the Graeme Edwards (Vietnam war victim) is part of the "fellowship".  Even allowing for some boasting, today's report that Noel Crichton-Browne aided the careers of two Liberals is amazing. […]
   READ MORE AT Australia / Australia Chronology 1 # Burke [Mar 7, 07]

• Relocalisation -- bringing it back home. 


– bringing it back home
   Living Now, 116 Cardigan St, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, Tel. 03 9342 3500;  BY MARTIN OLIVER  pp 12-13, March 2007 issue, obtained 07 Mar 07
Over the last eleven years, Australians have been encouraged to believe in the all-pervading importance of our export-orientated economy.  By contrast, in many places, especially newer 'McMansion' suburbs, the once-familiar concept of 'community' has eroded, leaving a collection of private individuals sharing the same locality.
During the same period, Australia has also seen an accelerating shift towards greater extremes of wealth and poverty, also known as 'income polarisation'. If current trends persist, and there is a greater financial squeeze, low-income earners could compete with others for low-paid jobs (win-lose), or work together for a collective benefit (win-win). The second option requires mutual trust and a shared belief in a society of cooperatively minded people.
   Helena Norberg-Hodge arrived in Ladakh in 1975, accompanied by a German documentary team. Previously cut off from the outside world, this remote mountainous region of India, also known as 'Little Tibet', had just been opened up to tourism. She was privileged to experience Ladakh both before and after the impact of globalisation.
   Up to this point, the population had been healthy and happy, living in extended family groups with a high level of self-sufficiency. There was no crime, and money was tangential to their existence. Although well adapted to survival in a tough climate, the Ladakhis were no match for the global juggernaut. As the province switched over to a cash economy, people were forced to leave their land and move to Leh, the swelling regional capital. Absurdities multiplied when imported flour became cheaper than flour grown in the nearest village, and eventually it became uneconomic for Ladakhi farmers to continue earning a living. In her influential book Ancient Futures, which details the cultural unravelling in Ladakh, Norberg-Hodge emphasises that similar changes have been taking place throughout the world. Searching for solutions, she has become a key formative figure in the 'relocalisation' movement that aims to reverse globalisation with an emphasis on local production, particularly in the key area of food.
   Traditionally, when things were a little less topsy-turvy, town and cities were largely self-sufficient, and would trade to obtain commodities that they were unable to produce locally.
   Under the prevailing 'neoliberal' view championed by governments and big business since the 1970's, regions and even nations are supposedly better off specialising in a few key exports and importing the rest from elsewhere. In many places, aided by government policies, local production of necessities has largely died off, and the modern global economy now treats communities as ready markets.
   In a quest for sanity, relocalisation groups linked to the Canada-based Post Carbon Institute have recently started to spring up in various parts of Australia, including the Northern Rivers of NSW and Kuranda, Maleny, and the Burnett region in Queensland. They are part of a fast-growing international network.
   The urgency of their mission is spurred by the prospect of the world's oil supply peaking within a few years, which, together with climate change, will probably force radical changes to future agricultural practices and trade patterns. Much farming and food distribution in industrialised countries has become heavily dependent on oil -- for fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, packaging, and transportation. Without a shift towards local 'low carbon' alternatives, the world's food supply graph will closely follow any downward trend in oil production.
   To many people, Irish economist Richard Douthwaite's 1996 book Short Circuit is still the relocalisation bible. He takes the sobering view that, as a consequence of free trade and deregulated capital movements, residents of Western countries can no longer depend on continuous access to food and energy imported into their local area from a distance.
   In Douthwaite's view, the only way to ensure continuation of supply is to build an independent local economy. He lists four key areas: implementing local agriculture; designing a decentralised energy network; creating a complementary local currency; and setting up a local banking system.
   One of the fastest-growing sources of planetary greenhouse emissions is trade-related transportation. Much of this to-ing and fro-ing involves the long-distance movement of food, with the result that the oil industry, shipping companies and middlemen take the lion's share while the farmer often loses out. The inefficiencies of this system are highlighted by Norberg-Hodge, who gives an example of the UK and France exporting to one another roughly equal tonnages of butter.
   Government policies tend to create an uneven playing field between large and small food producers, with agricultural subsidies generally going to the big players to facilitate exports. As conditions for agribusiness grow increasingly deregulated, in some countries small growers and artisan manufacturers are becoming increasingly over-regulated, particularly in the area of hygiene.
   Some imported produce such as American grapes and Mexican garlic is appearing in Australian supermarkets. To support domestic growers, consumers need to remain informed via country of origin labelling, and may have to pay extra - assuming that the Australian-grown option remains available. Another solution is to buy local or grow your own. Various options include backyard vegetable patches, community gardens, and fruit trees in cities. Other initiatives that actively connect consumers with growers are farmers' markets and Community Supported Agriculture 'box schemes'.
   In the UK, America and Canada, the number of farmers' markets has mushroomed in recent decades. This movement was non-existent in Australia until the mid-1990's, but today dozens of markets are running in cities and rural areas. Among the many advantages are far greater returns to the grower. While a farmer selling to a supermarket might expect to be paid 5-20% of the retail price, selling direct at a farmers' market provides a far higher 40-80% return, helping to make some smaller acreages financially viable.
   Environmentally speaking, buying from local farmers helps curb climate change by cutting down on embodied fossil fuels. Food is more likely to be organic or chemical-free, packaging is minimal, and eating in season enhances freshness while reducing the need for energy-hungry refrigeration.  Tests have shown tht supermarket produce may be anywhere up to a year old.
   A growing number of people in North America, where the average item of food travels thousands of kilometres from farm to plate, are starting to revolt by restricting their diet to what is grown or processed within a hundred miles (about 160 kilometres) of where they live. This '100 Mile Diet' experiment was pioneered by Alisa Smith and James McKinnon in the Canadian city of Vancouver.
   Some 'locavores' have quickly learned that eating exclusively local means a restricted choice. Often participants have lost weight, while others have ditched veganism to include meat in their diet. Sometimes the diet has uncovered a wealth of nearby artisan food makers whose existence participants had earlier been unaware of.
   Bearing out Douthwaite's warning, in South Australia and Victoria where the power sector has been privatised, higher prices and periodic power cuts have become a feature of life. Across the Tasman, Auckland was closed down for several weeks in 1998 following a blackout caused by a slow infrastructure upgrade by the city's utility. Could such problems be solved at a local level?
   A few Greens such as Caroline Lucas, a UK representative in the European Parliament, advocate the radical step of dismantling the national power grid. Besides dramatically cutting carbon emissions, this would require a major shift towards smaller scale renewable energy such as wind, solar and tidal power. Even in cooler countries, financial hurdles permitting, each building could become a miniature solar power station.
   Europe has also seen some discussion about 'microgrid' systems that can circulate electricity or heat within a community. Such a set-up could service the needs of dozens of households through one large wind turbine, or perhaps a small-scale biomass heat plant using coppiced tree plantations as a feedstock.
   Every day, trillions of dollars float around the financial markets, in search of profit through speculative currency trades, or via investment in a range of morally questionable activities. From a relocalisation standpoint, the key question is whether the supply of money within a community continues to circulate locally, generating prosperity, or whether it quickly disappears elsewhere.
   Keeping dollars within the local economy may be more reliable than the preferred strategy of Australian councils - attempting to lure investment dollars from outside. In practical terms, often this comes down to the choice between shopping at supermarkets and large chains, or at smaller independent stores. A recent study by the New Economics Foundation in the UK has found that every dollar spent at a locally owned outlet circulates to generate nearly twice as much income for the local economy as the same dollar spent at a supermarket.
   Of all countries, in Australia the supermarket sector is concentrated in the smallest number of corporate hands, with Woolworths and Coles controlling about eighty per cent. Supermarket openings are often followed by a wave of local stores shutting down, as they find themselves unable to compete on price. Unless we support independent retailers, they will inevitably disappear.
   Maleny is an alternative town in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland that is home to Australia's greatest concentration of cooperatives - 21 at the last count. In 2004, a large percentage of the community united, ultimately without success, behind a campaign to stop a Woolworths development. This was widely seen as a 'Ladakh-style' incursion by an element of the global economy into a town that is pioneering democratic economic ownership.
   To aid local spending, complimentary local currency can play an important role. This includes LETS (Local Energy Trading Systems), Time Dollars, and a variety of note-based currencies. All are transacted in a similar manner to regular cash or cheques, except that being tied to the local area they can be harnessed to strengthen relocalisation efforts. LETS, which has made the greatest inroads in Australia, plays a useful role in stimulating trade among individuals. At the same time, its reliance on paper cheques and accounting using negative and positive balances have generally failed to excite the business community. In the upstate New York city of Ithaca, a remarkable individual called Paul Glover was responsible for the introduction of the Ithaca Hour. This US $10-equivalent note and its various denominations have been an incredible success, attracting around 300 participating businesses, and encouraging replication across America and further afield.
   Not content with this achievement, Glover went on to found the Ithaca Health Alliance, a health insurance cooperative open to all New York State residents. In an arena dominated by corporate giants, he is a believer in what he terms 'Health Democracy' and is working to set up a similar cooperative in Philadelphia. Back in the years when neither Centrelink nor Medicare existed, a group of Australian workers banded together to create a vital safety net. Starting in the middle of the 19th century, members of friendly societies would pay a weekly premium in exchange for a guarantee of support in the event of illness or hardship.
   One of Australia's few remaining friendly societies, Foresters ANA, has been helping to establish and support local lending circles in its home city of Brisbane and elsewhere in Queensland. These small groups issue zero-interest loans on a similar principle to the original friendly societies, and owe their low default rate to group cohesion and mutual trust.
   Communities, unlike isolated individuals, can come together to decide what is best for the local area, rather than for profit-hungry outside interests. If they are ambitious, this may involve taking the first steps towards an independent local economy.
   As in the mainstream arena, access to finance is a high priority. While much charitable giving and philanthropy directs funds to charities involved in downstream 'problem management' activities, a shift of emphasis towards proactive local initiatives can facilitate upstream solutions.
   If no government money is accepted, the resulting feeling of autonomy can generate substantial energy, and long-term resilience against the vagaries of government funding is assured. Control of land is another important factor. Rather than planning to continue running a group project such as a community garden on land leased from the local council at a peppercorn rent, a community buy-out of the site protects against the unpleasant surprises experienced by some garden projects.
   In the same way that friendly societies evolved from nothing to establish hospitals and pharmacies, there is no reason why a community group should not become an umbrella for a network of mutually supporting cooperatives, creating local well-paid employment.
   Garth Kindred of the Autonomous Regions Coalition (ARC) in Northern NSW believes that the region has been starved of funding by a Sydney-centric state government. Instead of lobbying for more money, the ARC has opted for a more creative approach involving relocalisation and community-level democracy. He hopes that more regions throughout the country will start looking at autonomy.
   Following a Y2K-style data event, a natural disaster, or an oil supply squeeze, relocalised communities will be more resilient to disruption. In the same way that Cuba survived a substantial cut in its oil imports by decentralising the food supply chain, individualist Australia could perhaps benefit from transcending personal concerns to think holistically about the future.
   [Picture] Martin Oliver is a writer and researcher based in Lismore (Northern NSW).
Relocalisation initiatives
Community building
Agriculture and food
Finance #
   [RECAPITULATION: Some imported produce such as American grapes and Mexican garlic is appearing in Australian supermarkets. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: This is not the half of it!  Garlic from China is ruining the Western Australian growers, and fruits come in from various directions.
   And the Federal Government plans to import New Zealand apples (subject to fire blight), saying it cannot be scientifically PROVEN that the disease will spread!  A4 paper from two overseas countries was about $4 cheaper per carton of five than the Australian-made, when the Webmaster bought some this week.  On March 7 prawns from two overseas countries were seen alongside Australian ones while the Webmaster was shopping.
   The writer claims that most food travels hundreds or thousands of miles, and the growers get less and less. We have an example in WA -- the Big Two are paying the dairies LESS now for milk than five years ago. My guess is that they must have bought broadacre automated dairies in Victoria, and wish to increase those profits, too.
   (A radio team recently researched and found that in the shopping centres, the big grocers etc. get the rent at one-third of what the other businesses pay.  I wonder who has the controlling interest in shopping centres!   COMMENT ENDS.] [March 2007, obtained 07 Mar 07]

• [How Burke's team silenced reporters.] With a nod and a WA Inc.  Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 

With a nod and a WA Inc

   The Weekend Australian, by Jan Mayman, p 22, March 10-11, 2007
The old Brian Burke scandals have become laced with irony as probes into the former premier's contemporary activities continue, writes Jan Mayman
IT was a moonless, stormy Sunday night when they knocked on my door after 10pm: two men in raincoats looking furtive. I'd never seen them before and restrained my huge dog as I peered through the flyscreen. They had no trouble persuading me to let them in. "We have a very important story for you. Can we show you our documents?"
   They emptied their briefcases and spread papers all over my dining room table as my dog sat in a corner watching every move. He wanted to jump up and lick them, though they clearly didn't realise that.
   Looking edgy, they rapidly explained their story. They were senior bureaucrats in the West Australian State Energy Commission, and Brian Burke's Labor government was planning to enter what they said was a potentially disastrous deal led by a dodgy South Korean company, a wildly uneconomic plan to build an aluminium smelter fuelled by WA's North West Shelf gas – sold at half production cost. Local consumers would be subsidising huge foreign profits.
   They believed publicity was their only hope of blocking the scheme and I was the Perth correspondent of the now defunct National Times, edited by the fearless Brian Toohey. He would love the story, they assured me.
   I was incredulous. Burke was the toast of the country in those sparkling 1980s, hailed as a future Labor PM, architect of WA Inc – the most efficient combination of business and politics the country had seen. And who were these late-night callers? Their highly technical documents were largely incomprehensible to me. The scheme had been enthusiastically reported in The West Australian. One of its principals, a glamorous Korean billionaire, had been pictured dancing with the state's youthful energy minister, David Parker.
   The next day I checked my night visitors' names with some trusted sources and established they were indeed the senior public servants they claimed to be. Then I found an academic who agreed to check the documents and help me translate them into plain English.
   He called me back in high excitement. This was indeed an extraordinary deal, potentially disastrous for WA.
   "Are you sure these documents are genuine?" he asked. I assured him I was. He was stunned. I recalled an incident in Burke's first days as premier, when I was chatting to his press secretary after interviewing the new Labor hero, then aged 36, in his Parliament House office.
   There was a small commotion as a rotund, balding man strode into the anteroom and pushed open the premier's door without knocking. He was clutching a large pigskin briefcase so full of papers it would not close.
   "Who was that?" I asked. It was Laurie Connell, the well-known racing identity and the last person I would have imagined as a political adviser. We were all so innocent in those distant days.
   The academic was at first very reluctant to have his name mentioned in the media. Eventually he agreed, when I explained that such a sensational expose would lack credibility without analysis of the documents by an impartial expert.  After discussions with Toohey, I took the documents to Sydney along with my story. I wanted to be present for the inevitable discussions with sub-editors and lawyers, and to make sure no errors crept in during the editing process, something that happens even on the finest newspapers.

  [Pictures] Seat of power: Parliament House, Perth, where master strategist and Labor Party darting Brian Burke ruled during the glittering '80s    Formidable: Burke    Open access: Laurie Connell  
   The story got a great run in The National Times but driving home in a taxi from Perth airport, I was unnerved to see newspaper posters on every corner: "Police seek stolen documents". I had an uneasy feeling they might mean me. I was right.
   The next morning my cleaning lady arrived early, and I tried to sound casual as I warned her that the police might drop by wanting to see me.  She looked bemused.  "Don't let them in whatever they say. I'm off to walk the dog."
   I was actually taking the documents to a friendly neighbour, on Toohey's advice "Get everything out of your house and say nothing.  Refer them to me."  The neighbour stashed them under her bed, and I returned home.
   "The police have been, they're coming back," said the cleaning lady, white-faced, eyes wide with dismay.
   Soon afterwards they arrived, plainclothes men, the classic nice guy, nasty guy pair.
   "We'd like to come in and talk to you," said Mr Nice Guy, while the surly one stood scowling.  "I have nothing to say to you," I replied through the screen door, holding back my big dog.  A cross between a great dane and a ridgeback, he did not like these visitors and growled softly as we spoke.  They did not linger.
   Soon afterwards the real harassment began – endless phone calls from the media and later, television crews outside my home.  With the exception of fellow freelancer Duncan Graham and The Australian's Vickie Laurie, most fellow journalists were unsympathetic and clearly considered me a criminal.  They had been well briefed.  Few were interested in the serious issues my story raised.

  For the first time in my life I found it hard to sleep. As the headlines continued, many friends stopped calling  
   A senior Australian Journalists' Union official called. A former colleague, he then worked for Burke's media machine. I poured out my feelings to him: "… this is police-state stuff, trying to invade a journalist's home, intimidation of the worst kind, time to make a stand. If they get away with this …"
   He could not understand why I was angry. "You have to look at it from the police point of view, Jan, they are only doing their job," he said. Over the next few days, as I waited for the police to return with a warrant, I thought of a cousin who'd left the force because he loathed doing house searches – turning a place over, it was called – leaving a home in chaos as a technique to wear suspects down and induce confessions.  I wondered if my friendly neighbour could mind my cello, a precious French antique, and whether I should put my fiercely protective dog in a kennel for his own safety.
   I had a call from the academic I had quoted in my story. The police had visited his home, too, at dinner time.  He and his wife were appalled, the children were deeply upset.  He had to spend $200 on legal advice – a large sum in those days.  I was horrified.
   With the support of journalist friends in other states, I planned to make a formal complaint to the Australian Journalists' Association, appealing to the national executive to issue a formal protest against Burke, himself a former journalist and AJA member.  When Burke called a media conference to ramp up the "stolen document" saga, I attended and asked if he or Parker had sent the police to my home.  He avoided the question.  Much later on I learned Parker had intervened to stop police raiding my home in the early morning: with a search warrant.
   For the first time in my life I found it hard to sleep at night, insomnia that still lingers.  As the headlines continued, many friends stopped calling and elderly neighbours were stunned by this apparent outbreak of crime in respectable suburbia.  "She seemed like such a nice girl, too," was one comment.
   Eventually a Burke minder contacted me with an offer: if I agreed to drop my campaign against Burke via the journalists' union, they would withdraw all action against my academic source and me, too.  They would even refund his legal fees.  Neither of us had been charged with anything but 1 knew the underpaid academic would appreciate compensation for his legal fees, and I urgently needed to get back to earning my living, so I reluctantly agreed.
   I should have maintained my rage, because the academic was never paid and was so upset by the experience that he left the state.
   The Korean-led consortium that had planned to rape and pillage WA resources fell over the following year.  The alleged Korean billionaire was never seen in town again.
   In the years that followed, the WA media was inundated with endless stories about wondrous government-business money-making partnerships.  Few were critically analysed.  Key financial details were often hidden on the grounds of "commercial confidentiality" and "the shield of the ground".  It was a stunning assault on our hallowed Westminster tradition of transparent public accounting.
   Journalists who toed the line were rewarded with lavish hospitality and exclusive stories.  Those whose reports offended WA Inc people were often sued.  At one stage, 20 or so had defamation writs hanging over their heads.  None of these got to court, but they effectively silenced public debate.
   Like other Burke mates, Connell became a multimillionaire and a household name before his early death.  No brave bureaucrats risked their jobs by leaking documents to journalists.  The public service was politicised at the highest level by Burke appointees.
   The crazy times rolled on until the 1987 stockmarket crash brought the house of cards down to expose the rotten core of WA Inc.
   It took a later Labor premier, Carmen Lawrence, to call the royal commission that finally exposed some of the corruption and triggered the legal action that sent Burke to jail for rorting his travel expenses.
   The Burke forces have never forgiven her and too many in the WA Parliament today owe their seats to them.  This is the problem facing Premier Alan Carpenter.  He made his name covering the WA Inc royal commission for the ABC.  I wonder if ever he wishes he was back in journalism?

   Jan Mayman is a Perth freelance journalist and a Gold Walkley award winner. #
   [COMMENT: A number of the businesspeople who started or enlarged their fortunes from the WA Inc corruption were members of the so-called Curtin Foundation.  Although Burke and Alan Bond were imprisoned for a few years, most of the other businessmen were never charged, imprisoned or sued, and some are still in business.  Estimates of the money removed from the taxpayers, investors, and consumers range from $AU 1000m to 2000m.  (And the devoted public servants of the State Energy Commission?  No facts, but the SEC has been sold by the "LibLab" Parties -- on its way to being globalised so that the profits will flow overseas in a different way.)  For books on the subject published at the time, click Books.   COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 10-11, 07]

• [Overblown Personnel Matters; Untruths about sacking prosecutors were exposed early.]  United States of America flag; 

Overblown Personnel Matters

   New York Times, (Original NYTimes by subscription only), www.truthout. org/docs_2006/ 031207O.shtml , By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, Monday, March 12, 2007
   UNITED STATES: Nobody is surprised to learn that the Justice Department was lying when it claimed that recently fired federal prosecutors were dismissed for poor performance. Nor is anyone surprised to learn that White House political operatives were pulling the strings.
   What is surprising is how fast the truth is emerging about what Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, dismissed just five days ago as an "overblown personnel matter."
   Sources told Newsweek that the list of prosecutors to be fired was drawn up by Mr. Gonzales's chief of staff, "with input from the White House." And Allen Weh, the chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, told McClatchy News that he twice sought Karl Rove's help - the first time via a liaison, the second time in person - in getting David Iglesias, the state's U.S. attorney, fired for failing to indict Democrats. "He's gone," he claims Mr. Rove said.
   After that story hit the wires, Mr. Weh claimed that his conversation with Mr. Rove took place after the decision to fire Mr. Iglesias had already been taken. Even if that's true, Mr. Rove should have told Mr. Weh that political interference in matters of justice is out of bounds; Mr. Weh's account of what he said sounds instead like the swaggering of a two-bit thug.
   And the thuggishness seems to have gone beyond firing prosecutors who didn't deliver the goods for the G.O.P. One of the fired prosecutors was - as he saw it - threatened with retaliation by a senior Justice Department official if he discussed his dismissal in public. Another was rejected for a federal judgeship after administration officials, including then-White House counsel Harriet Miers, informed him that he had "mishandled" the 2004 governor's race in Washington, won by a Democrat, by failing to pursue vote-fraud charges.
   As I said, none of this is surprising. The Bush administration has been purging, politicizing and de-professionalizing federal agencies since the day it came to power. But in the past it was able to do its business with impunity; this time Democrats have subpoena power, and the old slime-and-defend strategy isn't working.
   You also have to wonder whether new signs that Mr. Gonzales and other administration officials are willing to cooperate with Congress reflect the verdict in the Libby trial. It probably comes as a shock to realize that even Republicans can face jail time for lying under oath.
   Still, a lot of loose ends have yet to be pulled. We now know exactly why Mr. Iglesias was fired, but still have to speculate about some of the other cases - in particular, that of Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney for Southern California.
   Ms. Lam had already successfully prosecuted Representative Randy Cunningham, a Republican. Just two days before leaving office she got a grand jury to indict Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor, and Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the former third-ranking official at the CIA (Mr. Foggo was brought in just after the 2004 election, when, reports said, the administration was trying to purge the CIA of liberals.) And she was investigating Representative Jerry Lewis, Republican of California, the former head of the House Appropriations Committee.
   Was Ms. Lam dumped to protect corrupt Republicans? The administration says no, a denial that, in light of past experience, is worth precisely nothing. But how do Congressional investigators plan to get to the bottom of this story?
   Another big loose end involves what U.S. attorneys who weren't fired did to please their employers. As I pointed out last week, the numbers show that since the Bush administration came to power, federal prosecutors have investigated far more Democrats than Republicans.
   But the numbers can tell only part of the story. What we really need - and it will take a lot of legwork - is a portrait of the actual behavior of prosecutors across the country. Did they launch spurious investigations of Democrats, as I suggested last week may have happened in New Jersey? Did they slow-walk investigations of Republican scandals, like the phone-jamming case in New Hampshire?
   In other words, the truth about that "overblown personnel matter" has only begun to be told. The good news is that for the first time in six years, it's possible to hope that all the facts about a Bush administration scandal will come out in Congressional hearings - or, if necessary, in the impeachment trial of Alberto Gonzales. #
   [RECAPITULATION: … all the facts about a Bush administration scandal will come out in Congressional hearings - or, if necessary, in the impeachment trial of Alberto Gonzales.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Impeachment!  That is one of the Establishment's newspapers saying that, not some spruiker on a street corner!  Why the turnaround?  Perhaps no previous White House was ever exposed betraying the secrecy of a CIA agent like Ms Plame was exposed -- has it?   COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 12, 07]

• Iran's nuclear vision first glimpsed at MIT; With the shah's fall, students sent to Cambridge were left to choose between US and theocracy  Iran (formerly Persia) flag;  United  States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Iran’s nuclear vision first glimpsed at MIT

With the shah’s fall, students sent to Cambridge were left to choose between US and theocracy
   The Boston Globe, com/news/wor ld/middleeast/ articles/2007/ 03/12/irans_ nuclear_vision_ first_glimpsed_ at_mit/ , By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff, March 12, 2007
   CAMBRIDGE -- The young Iranians arrived in Cambridge in the summer of 1975, part of a historic venture between their government and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to train the first generation of Iranian nuclear scientists. The program began as a symbol of friendship but quickly became a lesson in unintended consequences.
   Four years later, the Shah of Iran fell, replaced by an Islamic theocracy that Washington considers an enemy to this day.
   The stunned students, who had expected to help the shah build a vast network of nuclear power plants, had to choose between America and Iran. Their decisions may have changed the course of history.
   At least three have spent their careers building the Iranian nuclear program that Washington is now fervently trying to curtail, according to a Globe investigation that tracked down 28 of the program's 35 graduates.
   One graduate -- Mansour Haj Azim , remembered by classmates as quiet and studious -- was a leader of Iran's nuclear program and, according to one widely cited report, the supervisor of a suspected weapons-related site.
   Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of the graduates are working in the United States, some of them in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and for American defense contractors.
   Two of them died, one in a car crash in the United States and the other reportedly executed in Iran for forbidden political activity.
   The story of the graduates offers a larger perspective on Iran's nuclear ambitions and America's looming nuclear standoff with Iran. The students arrived in Massachusetts at a time of great optimism about nuclear energy but grew to middle age amid fears of proliferation -- particularly in their native country.
   "It was a wonderful program," said Mohammad "Moe" Moghimi , who now lives in Newton and teaches at Middlesex Community College. Had history been different, he said, "We would have had five or six nuclear power plants functioning in Iran by now, or maybe more."
   Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice frequently questions why Iran would need nuclear reactors when it has some of the largest oil reserves in the world.
   But in 1974, US officials made the opposite argument, urging Iran to invest its windfall oil profits in expensive US nuclear technology, according to former MIT students and professors and letters found in the MIT and State Department archives.
   "There was a push to say, 'Hey, now you have a lot of money but the oil is going to run out eventually. Why don't you build nuclear power plants?' " recalled Marvin Miller, a professor who taught some of the Iranian students.
   Mohammad H. Kargarnovin , a graduate of the MIT program who now teaches mechanical engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Iran, recalled: "All of a sudden, the [Iranian] government decided to have nuclear power, so in order to operate things, they needed human power and they started to send students for education outside. We were told, 'You are responsible to take on this, to take the needle from zero to 100.' "

   In March 1974, the shah announced plans to build more than 20 reactors -- beginning with two at a site called Bushehr -- arguing that they would cover domestic energy needs and free up oil for export.
   The Nixon administration was so eager to help that it sent Dixy Lee Ray , the chairwoman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, to Tehran in May 1974 to offer up her agency as a "clearinghouse" for Iranian investments, according to a recently declassified State Department memo.
   Ray's team "urged the Iranian side to get on with the job of site selection [for the reactors] as soon as possible," the memo said.
   A few months later, MIT got a request from the shah for a large number of Iranian students to be accepted into the next year's nuclear engineering class -- nearly doubling the size of the graduate program -- recalled Edward Mason , then the head of the nuclear engineering department.
   Mason said the US government had boundless optimism about nuclear power.
   "US officials said one way to have peace [in the Middle East] was to put nuclear reactors there, raise people out of poverty, make the deserts bloom," he said. "The attitude then was much different than it is today about the potential dangers of somebody diverting plutonium and making weapons… . I taught a course in enrichment, reprocessing, fuel manufacture and the like. We were teaching [the Iranian students] how to do it, as we were teaching people from all over the world."
   Later that year, MIT agreed to admit the Iranian students for a three-year master's program in which they could get hands-on experience with MIT's research reactor.
   In exchange, Iran would pay more than half a million dollars to cover the costs of extra professors and classroom space. The Iranian students also agreed to serve at least two years at the Atomic Energy Organization.
   The deal was struck after the end of the regular admissions process, so MIT professor Kent Hansen flew to Tehran to select the students out of a group chosen by the Iranian government.
   Their unusual admissions process, and Iran's hefty payments, sparked a debate on MIT's campus. A student referendum voted against the special program, and the issue was hotly debated at three faculty meetings.
   Noam Chomsky , an outspoken opponent on the faculty, said in an interview that the program amounted to "leasing the nuclear engineering department to the shah in exchange for an unspecified amount of money."
   Hansen, however, insists that MIT never relaxed its standards. Yet when the first students arrived on campus many were dismayed by the feeling that Iran had purchased their place.
   "It was kind of discouraging because all of us thought we were the best in the country," said Farid Bamdad , who now works at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in Washington. He said he studied even harder to prove that he deserved his spot at MIT.

   That year, half of all faces were Iranian in many classrooms. But the students still struggled to adjust.
   Six immediately switched to business school, Mason said. One dropped out after the first semester. But others stayed on, sometimes studying all night, attending monthly tea-and-cookie gatherings in the nuclear engineering department, and flying to Washington for occasional pep talks at the Iranian embassy.
   Some students distinguished themselves, like Roohollah Karimi , who took a legendary load of classes, and Hashem Akbari, who was known for studying for hours.
   Bamdad said some of his classmates mingled easily with Americans. A small group was more religious, keeping to themselves and taking the Red Line subway to a mosque in Quincy for Friday prayers.
   By 1977, however, the program was foundering due to financial disputes. MIT's chancellor, Paul Gray , kept sending bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to records in MIT archives. The Iranian government -- perhaps burdened by growing resistance to the shah's opulent rule -- balked at the cost.
   Nonetheless, more than a dozen Iranian students remained in Cambridge in February 1979 when the shah's regime collapsed, succeeded by revolutionary forces devoted to a long-exiled cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
   The students, realizing that their lives were changing forever, debated the future among themselves.
   "Some were more toward Islamic way of thinking -- they were happy," recalled Moghimi. "The others were pro-shah. They were angry. These groups were having discussions all the time."
   Many of the first wave of graduates had already gone back to Iran when the revolution occurred.
   "A lot of us wanted to go back and marry an Iranian girl," said Moghimi, who recalled that he, Azim, Akbari, and Karimi were in Iran around that time.
   Moghimi worked briefly at the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, where he remembers scientists pouring millions of dollars into expensive, grandiose nuclear research that had few practical applications for either power or weaponry.
   "They just wanted to show that they were big, that they were active in the area of nuclear research," he said.
   As the political unrest grew, Moghimi decided to return to MIT to pursue a PhD. He got his visa two days before revolutionaries stormed the US embassy.
   Karimi and Akbari -- stars of their class -- also grew dismayed with the chaos. Karimi changed his first name to Roy and moved to Maryland. Akbari went to California, where he is now a specialist in alternative energy.
   But Azim and another MIT student, Mohammad Zaker, stayed in Iran.
   At first, their futures seemed dim. After the revolution, all the students got letters saying that their services were no longer needed. The shah's vision of a nuclear future was too Western for the new Islamic Republic.

   The companies that had agreed to build reactors for the shah pulled out, and the US government used its diplomatic leverage to block all sales of nuclear technology. To make matters worse, war broke out with neighboring Iraq, whose forces bombed the still-incomplete Bushehr reactors.
   But in the early '80s -- near the start of the eight-year war with Iraq -- Iran began reconstituting its nuclear program. Azim and Zaker rose rapidly through the ranks. Zaker became head of a research reactor in Tehran. Azim became deputy director of the Atomic Energy Organization.
   Soon, government officials began contacting the former MIT students in the United States, trying to persuade them to return. Bamdad said the Iranian government contacted his brother in Iran, demanding that Bamdad either repay his MIT tuition or serve out his two-year obligation to the Atomic Energy Organization. Bamdad didn't return.
   Ali-Akbar Salehi , who earned his PhD from MIT in the late 1970s but was not part of the special program, approached several of the program's graduates in America about returning to Iran, Moghimi recalled. It is unclear how many took up the offer. Salehi also rose in the ranks, becoming Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
   In 1982, Azim visited Moghimi in Boston and offered him a well-paid position in Iran, Moghimi said.
   "He said 'We are going to complete Bushehr,' " Moghimi recalled. But Moghimi wasn't interested.
   In the early 1990s, the CIA began declaring that Iran was developing a nuclear bomb. A frequently cited 1992 special report in a publication called Mednews named Azim as the supervisor of a secretive weapons-related research center near the Caspian Sea.
   But Iranian officials denied any weapons ambitions. One senior official told Harvard University professor Richard Wilson that Iranian scientists were only "trying to continue what they started 25 years ago that they were encouraged to learn at MIT," Wilson said.
   In 1992, Moghimi and Azim met again in Iran, and Moghimi asked his friend, point blank, whether Iran was developing a nuclear weapon.
   "He said, 'No way. They are only nuclear power plants.' He said, 'If the Iranian government wanted to do that, it would be suicide,' " Moghimi recalled. "I believed him."
   Now Moghimi is not so sure, as Iran insists on trying to enrich uranium -- which could be used as fuel for nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.
   The last time the two men spoke was about three years ago. Although his friend didn't say it, Moghimi got the impression that Azim was restless. He asked Moghimi for a letter of invitation so he could visit the United States.
   Moghimi sent one, but has not heard from Azim since. ■
   [COMMENT: All those patriots who were put out of people's minds, or denigrated as racists or reactionaries, for opposing the "overseas students' programmes" after the 2nd World War are probably very old, dying, or dead.  But, as the Greek city states found out centuries ago, if the outer nations learn your secrets, in the end you are ruled by Macedonians.   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT: Re-read the last sentence.  Has Azim already arrived in the West, without contacting his old chum? ENDS.]
   [DOCTRINE: "As for the disbelievers, for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water" (22:19).   DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Mar 12, 07]

• Higher learning? 

Higher learning?

   The New Republic (U.S.A.), blog/spine? pid=88148 , The Spine, by Marty Perez, Mar.12.07
   I know that the internationalization of our universities is high on everybody's wish list, at least with everybody who makes a living in our academic institutions. Probably, however, much of this is just a scam.
   "The higher learning" is not everywhere the higher learning. So, many mediocre intellects come from foreign countries to less than mediocre colleges and graduate schools, and the most one can say about these enrollments is that they are a favorable cash transaction for the U.S. You may recall those eight male students from some place in the Middle East who came to study I forget where and never showed up at the registrar's office to enroll.
   Of course, some very brilliant intellects come here--maybe even many--and they end up making significant contributions to the life of the mind, the spirit and the economies of America and their places of origin.
   This morning's Boston Globe, in an article by Farah Stockman, tells the chilling tale of a venture initiated by do-gooding Governor Mike Dukakis to bring young Iranian scientists to study at MIT. And they came.
   The program was intended to build a cadre of nuclear physics and nuclear engineers to help the Shah build nuclear power in his country. When the Ayatollah came, the Shah left … and so also did a few of the MIT PhDs.
   But many of them remained behind, and some of them are responsible for the weapons with which Ahmadinejad is now imperiling the world.
   This is a case of unwanted and unexpected outcomes. I wonder if these contingent results are ever part of the discussion. Are there Egyptian nuclear proto-experts now at MIT or Cal Tech or Stanford learning the dangerous trade? #
[Mar 12,07]
• [US says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to 9/11 terror attacks, and the 1993 ones, Bali, shoe-bombings, three assassination attempts -- 29 crimes in all.]  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Pakistan flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Libya flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

US says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to 9/11 terror attacks

   The Independent (London), http://news. independent. americas/ article 2359157.ece , By Andrew Buncombe in Washington, Published: Thursday, 15 March 2007
   WASHINGTON: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man long alleged to have planned the September 11 attacks, has admitted responsibility for those strikes on the US and other al-Qa'ida operations, according to a transcript of a hearing taking place at Guantanamo Bay. There was no way to confirm the testimony as the Bush administration has banned reporters and lawyers from proceedings.
   According to the transcript, Mr Mohammed told a hearing on Saturday that he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z". He also apparently claimed to have planned assassination attempts on the former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and on Pope John Paul II. He also said he was responsible for the 1993 attack on New York's World Trade Centre, the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, and an attempt to bring down two American airplanes using shoe bombs. In all, he said he was behind 29 planned attacks.
   Speaking through his representative, a member of the US military, he reportedly said: "I was the operational director for Sheikh Usama [Osama] Bin Laden for the organising, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation."
   Mr Mohammed, a Pakistani national arrested by the Pakistani authorities in March 2003 and handed over to the United States, was among 14 so-called "high value" detainees transferred to Guantanamo Bay last September from a series of secret "black sites" operated by the US around the world. Last Friday the US military began holding what it calls Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT), to assess whether the prisoners meet the criteria to be held. None of them has been formally charged with any crime.
   The Pentagon said that, while it would not allow lawyers or the media to attend - a reversal of its policy at other CSRT, it would release an edited transcript of the proceeding. The transcript from Mr Mohammed's hearing ran to 26 pages, though some of his comments had been blacked out.
   So far, the US military has completed hearings against six of the 14 men. It also released transcripts of hearings for Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh.
   Mr Binalshibh is suspected of helping Mr Mohammed with the September 11 attack plan and is also linked to a foiled plot to crash planes into Heathrow Airport. Mr al-Libi is a Libyan accused of masterminding two bombings 11 days apart in Pakistan in December 2003 that targeted President Pervez Musharraf. #
   [BACKGROUND and COMMENT: Read the transcript issued by the Pentagon - for what it's worth. If what they say is admitted they've got their man and there's no need to have a show trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or of anyone else.
   The man apparently says he was responsible for everything - and again for what it's worth, as I read the open part of transcript the detainee has submitted in writing allegations "regarding certain treatment (he) claims to have received at the hands of US agents" between his date of his capture in 2003 until the date of his arrival in Gitmo, he was also asked ".. in one of the exhibits you indicate you are not under any pressure or duress today. Is that correct? Answer . ".. yes."
   Q. "You do not believe you are under any pressure or duress today. Is that correct? Answer . "yes…"
   "Now what you have told us about your previous treatment is on the record of this proceeding now and will be reported for any investigation that is appropriate"
   An apparent admission that there is was [sic] no "torture" during this hearing is being reported as his confession that he was responsible for whatever the Pentagon claims he was responsible for. -- Michael P   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT on the above: He's been held without due process since 2003, and the questioners pretend that he said he is "not under any pressure or duress"!  Why don't his oppressors volunteer to go into Guantanamo Bay as shackled prisoners for three to five years, if that is not "presure or duress"?   No lawyers or reporters were allowed to be present at a trial conducted by agents of "the home of the free."
   [3rd COMMENT: One man organising the attacks of 1993, 2001, the Bali bombings, the shoe bombers, assassination attempts -- 29 in all!!!  Is he Superman, or the Antichrist?  His torturers ought to be punished for over-doing it!
   [4th COMMENT: Is this like the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that were ready to be "deployed in 45 minutes", that President George W. BLUSH, PM Tony BLIAR, and PM John COWHERD told us about?  The Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany, not to mention other dictatorships both past and present, have presented "confessions" to their kangaroo courts.  Does anyone remember the "confession" of Cardinal Mindzenty of Hungary?  The Communist secret police had him confessing to plotting in one city abroad, whereas in reality he was on his itinerary in another city -- such incompetence!
   [REALITY CHECK: The Bush family and some Arabian millionaires were business associates for years.  One or some of the Arabs quarrelled with the Bushes, and after 9/11 about 30 of the Bin Ladin family were flown out of the U.S.A. in a special aircraft.
   [NEWSPAPER SARCASTIC: The daily newspaper in Perth headlined this almost unbelievable string of alleged admissions "Mohammed the Confessor."  (Those who know mediaeval English history will know of a saintly king called Edward the Confessor.)  If the American public had about five times its present brain-power, this incredible claim by the Bush Administration would bring about loud agitation for him to be impeached and replaced.]
   [IRREVERENT CHUCKLE: Read the reporter's name again, out loud!  [Mar 15 07]

• Why KSM's Confession Rings False.  United  States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Saudi Arabia flag;  Qatar flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Pakistan flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Why KSM’s Confession Rings False

   Time magazine (USA), time/world/ article/0,8599, 1599861,00.html , By ROBERT BAER, Thursday, Mar. 15, 2007
  [Picture] The World Trade Center, September 11, 2001    Picture: HUGH ZAREASKY / GETTY  
   UNITED STATES: It's hard to tell what the Pentagon's objective really is in releasing the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession. It certainly suggests the Administration is trying to blame KSM for al-Qaeda terrorism, leading us to believe we've caught the master terrorist and that al-Qaeda, and especially the ever-elusive bin Laden, is no longer a threat to the U.S.
   But there is a major flaw in that marketing strategy. On the face of it, KSM, as he is known inside the government, comes across as boasting, at times mentally unstable. It's also clear he is making things up. I'm told by people involved in the investigation that KSM was present during Wall Street Journal correspondent Danny Pearl's execution but was in fact not the person who killed him. There exists videotape footage of the execution that minimizes KSM's role. And if KSM did indeed exaggerate his role in the Pearl murder, it raises the question of just what else he has exaggerated, or outright fabricated.
   Just as importantly, there is an absence of collateral evidence that would support KSM's story. KSM claims he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation from A-Z." Yet he has omitted details that would support his role. For instance, one of the more intriguing mysteries is who recruited and vetted the fifteen Saudi hijackers, the so-called "muscle." The well-founded suspicion is that Qaeda was running a cell inside the Kingdom that spotted these young men and forwarded them to al-Qaeda. KSM and al-Qaeda often appear bumbling, but they would never have accepted recruits they couldn't count on. KSM does not offer us an answer as to how this worked.
   KSM has also not offered evidence of state support to al-Qaeda, though there is good evidence there was, even at a low level. KSM himself was harbored by a member of Qatar's royal family after he was indicted in the U.S. for the Bojinka plot – a plan to bomb twelve American airplanes over the Pacific. KSM and al-Qaeda also received aid from supporters in Pakistan, quite possibly from sympathizers in the Pakistani intelligence service. KSM provides no details that would suggest we are getting the full story from him.
   Although he claims to have been al-Qaeda's foreign operations chief, he has offered no information about European networks. Today, dozens of investigations are going on in Great Britain surrounding the London tube bombings on July 7, 2005. Yet KSM apparently knew nothing about these networks or has not told his interrogators about them.
   The fact is al-Qaeda is too smart to put all of its eggs in one basket. It has not and does not have a field commander, the role KSM has arrogated. It works on the basis of "weak links," mounting terrorist operations by bringing in people on an ad hoc basis, and immediately disbanding the group afterwards.
   Until we hear more, the mystery of who KSM is and what he was responsible for is still a mystery.
   Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is the author of  See No Evil and, most recently, the novel  Blow the House Down
[Mar 15, 07]

• Iraq friendly fire death "criminal": UK coroner  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags   Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Iraq friendly fire death “criminal”: UK coroner

   Reuters, www.reuters. com/article/ topNews/idUS L16613309 20070316 , By Peter Graff, (Additional reporting by Michael Holden, Paul Hughes and Katherine Baldwin), 2:44PM EDT, Fri Mar 16, 2007
   LONDON (Reuters) -- A British coroner ruled on Friday a U.S. friendly fire air strike that killed a British soldier was "criminal", a scathing verdict in a case that has exposed rifts between the Iraq allies.
   A U.S. A-10 tankbuster attack plane killed Lance Corporal Matty Hull by firing on his vehicle near Basra in the first week of the 2003 invasion, after the American pilots mistook Hull's British convoy for Iraqis.
   "The attack on the convoy amounted to an assault. It was unlawful because there was no lawful reason for it and in that respect it was criminal," coroner Andrew Walker said, recording a verdict of "unlawful killing".
   He said the planes were not in danger and the incident could not therefore be justified as self-defense.
   State Department spokesman Sean McCormack disputed the coroner's findings.
   "We certainly would not agree with any conclusion that categorizes this as a criminal act," he told reporters in Washington. "There was a terrible tragedy. There was an unfortunate chain of events that led to the actions that resulted in the death of this individual during a time of war."
   Washington has said its own investigation into the incident exonerated the pilots. An earlier British military probe concluded "procedures were not followed" because the planes opened fire without seeking clearance from ground controllers.
   The case has been covered extensively in British media, where the issue of friendly fire deaths has been vivid since the first Gulf War in 1991, when another U.S. A-10 killed nine British soldiers in a mistaken attack.
   British commentators have said Hull's death -- and the Pentagon's insistence no one was to blame -- demonstrate that rules for U.S. pilots allow them to be more gung-ho than their British comrades.
   Washington does not publish the "rules of engagement" that explain when its forces can fire, but strongly denies they behave irresponsibly.
   In a cockpit video, the U.S. pilots are repeatedly told there are no friendly forces in the area. They can be heard convincing themselves that orange panels -- meant to mark the British vehicles as friendly -- were in fact orange Iraqi rocket launchers, before they open fire without seeking permission.
   The coroner and Hull's family have repeatedly accused Washington of trying to hide details from the inquest. At one point Walker suspended the inquest when Washington refused to allow him to see the cockpit video.
   The inquest resumed after a British newspaper leaked the video, and Washington later said the coroner could see it. But parts of the transcript of the U.S. probe remained blacked out.
   Hull's widow said she did not want criminal or disciplinary action to be taken against the American pilots.
   "I hope that they are at peace with themselves and they can move on in their lives," Susan Hull told reporters. "I'm sure that they are feeling remorse for what they did."
   Britain's Ministry of Defense said in a statement it was carefully considering the coroner's comments and apologized for the "confusion and upset" caused over the handling of the video.
   Susan Hull said the lack of cooperation from the United States throughout the trial had been "very disappointing".
   No American witnesses gave evidence.
   But the video footage -- which was played out on television -- gave a graphic account of the incident. One of the pilots could be heard weeping after they realized what they had done.
   "We're in jail, dude," one of them said.
   (Additional reporting by Michael Holden, Paul Hughes and Katherine Baldwin)
   [RECAPITULATION: The coroner … repeatedly accused Washington of trying to hide details from the inquest. … Washington refused to allow him to see the cockpit video.  The inquest resumed after a British newspaper leaked the video, and Washington later said the coroner could see it.  But parts of the transcript of the U.S. probe remained blacked out.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: So, Bush's warmongering team refuses to allow UK law officers to do their duty!  By the way, Bush's team is sacking US law officers who do their duty.  He stole the White House, and now he's wrecking the Department of Justice.   COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 16, 07]

• The Australian economy at the crossroads.  Australia flag; 
   Australian Economic Trends - Special Edition, , By David Keane, keane@nw. Western Australia, March 17, 2007


By David Keane, March/2007
PO Box 582, Gosnells 6110, WA

   Imminence of Three Global Tipping Points
   Never before in modern history, have the financial markets demonstrated such unpredictability and volatility. The crisis facing humanity is reminiscent of early 1929, just before the great stock market crash. But the present volatility, level of indebtedness and lack of safeguards is now far more extreme than in 1929.
   Let us consider an article by Ann Pettifor, of New Economics Foundation, 1/September/2003.
   "Jubilee Research at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), the team that spearheaded global awareness of a third world debt crisis released provocative new research in September 2003 which argues that the "first world" is approaching a major debt crisis. These findings appear in the first of NEF's annual reports on the global economy, Real World Economic Outlook, which shadows the IMF's annual World Economic Outlook.
   "The report predicts that a giant credit bubble, created by central bankers and finance ministers (the engineers of decades of 'easy money') has now reached a 'tipping point'. This point - at which the 'bubble' of financial assets exceeds GDP by nine times - has triggered financial crisis elsewhere. Another 'tipping point' would be a rise in interest rates - not likely for economies like the US and the UK which have massive foreign deficits.
   "On a global level, there is a US$100 trillion of debt outstanding, but only US$33 trillion of income with which to repay those debts. Even the drastic recent stock market falls (in 2001) have barely dented the credit superstructure. When this credit bubble bursts in the United States and Britain, it will be middle class consumers that will first bear the brunt of the financial crash."

   A global economic collapse was delayed in 2001 because China and Japan both bought immense amounts of US treasury bonds. Also the US economy temporarily recovered by building a colossal real estate bubble, which gave the illusion of a temporarily prospering US economy. But in real economic terms, both of these influences will prove useless when the global collapse actually does happen, and will only amplify the future problem.
   Now in 2007 we see signs that the US real estate bubble is about to burst, leading USA into a recession. But how deep will the recession bite? Will it lead to a frenzy of demands to repay world debts, as Ann Pettifor considers has been imminent for several years now? Whatever may befall the global economy in 2007, the spiralling escalation of global debt is clearly unsustainable, and sooner or later the present debt-driven economic system must collapse, leading to a massive global economic crisis, through which the only way forward will be to develop an economy based upon the principle of economic sustainability. This is the first tipping point, the world debt tipping point.
   The second tipping point is world oil production. If anyone will examine the graph for world oil production over the past few decades, you will notice that it takes the form of a bell curve. We have been at the top of the bell curve for about two years now, at a global oil production of about 84 billion barrels of oil a day. And still the new world economies of China and India are exhibiting a ravenous escalation in demand for oil. Yet it will be impossible for the world oil supply to increase above its present level. By 2009 to 2010, the bell curve must enter into a stage of steady decline in global production. The increase in the price of oil over the next year will be inevitable, to well over US$100 a barrel. How will inflationary pressures react? How will a global recession economy manage this problem?
   The third tipping point is global climate. Only this year in 2007, have world scientists concluded that mankind has been a major contributor to the pattern of global warming. But many scientists believe that any action governments will in future come up with will be too little, too late. They believe that the world climate tipping point has already been passed, and we must brace ourselves for extremes of weather that are not yet acknowledged as possible by conservative governments. How will these escalating extremes of weather affect the global economy?
   Impact upon Australia
   It now seems very likely, that those politicians who will be elected during the 2007 Australian federal election campaigns, will be forced to accept the responsibility of facing the most profound economic crisis in the Australia's history. How will they be able to respond, should the global economy enter deeply into depression?
   First we must consider, how will a global economic depression impact Australia? The impact will be felt in four ways: Firstly, the entire economy and employment will stagnate. Secondly, there will be a frenzy of demand for Australia to pay off its international debt. Thirdly, the number of bankruptcies will skyrocket because of the high level of domestic debt. And fourthly, most foreign investors in Australian property will take their money out of Australia, and service fees for privatised industries such as phone, water, electricity, transport (that were previously nationalised and therefore owned by the people) will multiply three or four-fold.
   To get a measure of Australia's vulnerability in times of global economic depression, it is vital that we analyse such significant national financial indicators as Gross Domestic Product, Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Liabilities, and Domestic Credit. Figures for these data are available on Internet at the website for the Reserve Bank of Australia ( ). In this article, I have taken June data from June 1988 to June 2005, and quarterly data from June 2005. You can confirm these data by looking up Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Equity and Gross Foreign Liabilities on Reserve Bank table H4, seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit on table D2, and Gross National Product on table G10.
   These figures are provided by the Australian Reserve Bank every quarter, now 3 months late. On 15/March/2007, the Australian Reserve Bank published the December 2006 figures for table H4, and so now we have available all the information for all these statistical categories up until the end of December 2006.
   I simply rearrange the Reserve Bank figures which helps with comparison and trend analysis, and so it can be easily understood by the lay person. I add together the figures for Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt and Domestic Credit to come up with an overall figure of "Total Australian Liabilities".
Table A
   In Table A, the "Date" refers to quarterly figures provided by the Reserve Bank.
   "F Equity" refers to total Gross Foreign Equity (foreign ownership of Australian assets).
   "F Debt" refers to total Gross Foreign Debt.
   "F Liabilities" refers to Gross Foreign Liabilities = Gross Foreign Equity + Gross Foreign Debt.
   "saDomCr" refers to seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit.
   "TotalLiab" refers to Total Australian Liabilities = Gross Foreign Equity + Gross Foreign Debt + Domestic Credit.
Date		F Equity	F Debt		F Liabilities	saDomCr	TotalLiab
		A$billions	A$billions	A$billions	A$billions	A$billions
Jun-88		74.0		138.1		212.2		247.8		460.0
Jun-89		89.1		161.9		251.0		300.5		551.5	
Jun-90		98.7		184.2		282.9		337.1		620.0
Jun-91		105.2		197.7		302.8		346.0		648.8
Jun-92		113.2		218.0		331.1		341.9		673.0
Jun-93		127.6		238.5		366.1		348.0		714.1
Jun-94		158.3		235.4		393.7		371.4		765.1
Jun-95		172.0		268.2		440.3		406.3		846.6
Jun-96		193.2		275.5		468.7		458.6		927.3
Jun-97		217.1		302.8		519.9		502.4		1022.3
Jun-98		249.5		347.0		596.5		562.4		1158.9
Jun-99		287.0		359.8		646.8		624.9		1271.7
Jun-00		338.1		416.8		754.9		697.3		1452.2
Jun-01		357.4		496.3		853.7		772.6		1626.3
Jun-02		350.3		533.4		883.7		868.0		1751.7
Jun-03		363.0		582.7		945.7		964.6		1910.3
Jun-04		431.8		657.1		1088.9		1091.7		2180.6
Jun-05		421.4		715.4		1136.7		1240.1		2376.8
Sep-05		451.0		733.9		1184.9		1281.2		2466.1
Dec-05		472.1		768.6		1240.7		1324.1		2564.8
Mar-06        502.0		813.4		1315.4		1370.5		2685.9
Jun-06		505.3		840.0		1345.3		1421.5		2766.8
Sep-06		517.3		878.4		1395.7		1472.0		2867.7
Dec-06		565.3		900.3		1465.5		1520.0		2985.5
Table B
   In Table B the figure I quote for annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) represents the four most recent (to that month) quarterly figures added up. For example the December 2006 annual GDP represents the quarterly GDP figures for March/06 + June/06 + September/06 + December/06 all added together to get an annual figure.
   Then the figures for Gross Foreign Equity, Gross Foreign Debt, Gross Foreign Liabilities, seasonally adjusted Domestic Credit and Total Australian Liabilities are provided as a percentage of annual GDP.
Date	    GDP		  F Equity     F Debt	  F Liabilities  DomCr	TotalLiab
	    A$billions	  %ofGDP      %ofGDP	  %ofGDP         %ofGDP	%ofGDP
Jun-88     514.736	  14.4	       26.8	41.2	          48.1	89.4		
Jun-89		533.775	16.7	       30.3	47.0	      56.3	103.3
Jun-90		554.773	17.8	       33.2	51.0	      60.8	111.8
Jun-91		551.198	19.1	       35.9	54.9	      62.8	117.7
Jun-92		551.458	20.5	       39.5	60.0	      62.0	122.0
Jun-93		571.871	22.3	       41.7	64.0	      60.9	124.9
Jun-94		595.329	26.6	       39.5	66.1	      62.4	128.5
Jun-95		622.058	27.7	       43.1	70.8	      65.3	136.1
Jun-96		647.659	29.8	       42.5	72.4	      70.8	143.2
Jun-97		673.099	32.3	       45.0	77.2	      74.6	151.9
Jun-98		703.258	35.5	       49.3	84.8	      80.0	164.8
Jun-99		739.630	38.8	       48.6	87.4	      84.5	171.9
Jun-00		769.046	44.0	       54.2	98.2	      90.7	188.8
Jun-01		784.017	45.6	       63.3	108.9	      98.5	207.4
Jun-02		813.541	43.1	       65.6	108.6	    106.7	215.3
Jun-03		839.187	43.3	       69.4	112.7	    114.9	227.6
Jun-04		873.197	49.5	       75.3	124.7	    125.0	249.7
Jun-05		896.569	47.0	       79.8	126.8	    138.3	265.1
Sep-05		902.931	49.9	       81.3	131.2	    141.9	273.1
Dec-05		909.991	51.9	       84.5	136.3	    145.5	281.8
Mar-06        917.288	54.7	       88.7	143.4	    149.4	292.8
Jun-06		922.637	54.8	       91.0	145.8	    154.1	299.9
Sep-06		927.812	55.8	       94.7	150.4	    158.7	309.1
Dec-06		934.191	60.5	       96.4	156.9	    162.7	319.6
   Let us first consider the evolution of the figure for Total Australian Liabilities (= Gross Foreign Equity + Gross Foreign Debt + Domestic Credit) as a % of GDP. In the post-recession years of 1994 to 2000, Total Australian Liabilities was increasing at a regular rate of about 10% of GDP every year. This in itself reflects an unsustainable pattern and therefore lack of economic vision by the incumbent Australian government.
   But after the year 2000, something very alarming started to happen. Let us look at the yearly increments of Total Australian Liabilities as a % of GDP from the year 2000;
	Year to June 2001	increment = 18.6 % of GDP
	Year to June 2002	increment = 7.9 % of GDP
	Year to June 2003 	increment = 12.3 % of GDP
	Year to June 2004	increment = 22.1 % of GDP
	Year to June 2005 	increment = 15.4 % of GDP
	Year to June 2006 	increment = 34.8 % of GDP
	Year to Dec 2006	increment = 37.8 % of GDP
   The most recent three monthly increment of Total Australian Liabilities is 10.5 % of GDP for three months, or if that figure is extended over a year, 42% of GDP annual increase.
   If we examine these figures, we will observe the graph for an exponential growth curve. I leave it to you to calculate where Australia's total liabilities is likely to be in five year's time if we do not have a global economic depression, and Australian economic management continues in the same direction.
   We do not get the classic signs for exponential growth of Total Australian Liabilities in the post-recession years of 1994 to 2000. A major reorientation in economic leadership happened in the few years leading up to 2000. What happened?
   Although Paul Keating led Australian government in the direction of globalisation, deregulation, privatisation and rationalist economics, his leadership in this direction was balanced by other more traditional economic practices. However with the transition to the Howard-Costello government, caution was thrown out of the window. The economic driving force became unconditional support for a debt driven economy.
   The Liberal government can claim that they eliminated government debt, but at what cost? At the cost of thrusting management of several vital sectors of the economy onto the competitive market, with its bottom line of profit for shareholders becoming the first priority. The manufacturing sector has been decimated, infrastructure has become neglected, and education and health have become subject to the National Competition Policy. The public and social supports Australians will need during times of economic depression have been privatised, handing over to financial ownership that will flee the country at times of depression.
   If the manufacturing and production sectors are decimated, what then is driving the economy? We are driven by the short term boom-time gains and illusory bubbles of a debt-driven economy. It is like the Australian government is running the economy on the national credit card. The short term glamours of such extravagance may appear (before the collapse) like a well run economy. But when the global economic collapse comes, the international creditors will come clamoring at our door, and the people will no longer have the social support systems that for many generations they took for granted.
   Ten years of credit card extravagance and consumerism has been exchanged for the economic future of our children. It will be our children who will need to pay off the debts of our extravagant generation.
   Let us look at the last 18 months of the escalation in our Total Australian Liabilities. It is no longer 10 % of GDP, as between the years 1994 and 2000. Nor is it 15% to 20 % of GDP as in the years 2001 to 2005. In 18 short months, this figure has blown out to an annual increase of around 40% of GDP. The government has lost control of the national economy. This blowout is the only factor driving the national economy.
   Is it possible for the Liberal government to reign in this blowout? Let the Liberal leaders declare exactly how they will do it, without exposing the shallowness of and short term vision of rational economic management.
   And if they choose not to reverse this trend, what economic future for our children? Who has the conscience to consider the long term consequences of an economic policy without vision?
   Australian government stands at a crossroads, between the present disastrous (for our children) economic course reminiscent of lemmings racing towards the precipice, or an economic course based upon principles of economic sustainability. The latter course is not easy, will require much discipline, and may at first appear as bitter medicine for a generation accustomed to irresponsibility, easy money and fast credit. Yet it is the only course that will provide hope for our children.
   Nine Steps of Transition to a Sustainable Economy
  1. Admission of the failure of rationalist economic policies.
       The economic policies imposed upon the Australian people over the past few decades, by both Labor and Liberal governments, have been disastrous! What parents would live off credit and then before they pass away, pass the huge debt on to their children, thus forcing their children to live in extreme poverty? Yet such has been the callousness of our political leaders of the past few decades. No solution can work while our national government continues to pretend that an unregulated economy and escalating national debt is sustainable. Unless our political leaders stop their denial and admit outright that the economic policies of both major parties over the past decade have been appalling, then we can expect only half-measures. But half measures will not work!
       The only way to adopt an economics in which everyone benefits, is to begin by unconditionally rejecting rationalist economics, with its divisive and separative underlying philosophy. No agenda for reform can work without a frank admission that rationalist economic policies have failed utterly.
  2. Openness of Economic Information
       Once our leaders have admitted that rationalist economic policies have failed utterly, they must admit also about the censorship of vital economic information over the past few generations. Government needs to come into immediate consultation with civil society, to develop a broad policy on openness of economic information.  A Code of Openness of Economic Information needs to be developed, if not by our political leaders, then by civil society.
       What items would such a Code of Openness of Economic Information embrace?
       There would be a right to absolute openness and public availability of essential economic information from the ATO (Tax Office), Treasury and ABS (Bureau of Statistics). This will include degree and amount of foreign ownership, amounts of money and profits shifted overseas, amounts and details of tax paid by foreign and Australian ownership, analysis regarding nominee shareholders, national turnover, and comparative impact of the Double Tax Agreement Act. A commission needs to be set up to investigate these figures for the past few generations, to disclose to the public the vital economic truths and trends that had previously been hidden from the public. We need clear answers to the questions of how our economy became so horrendously managed, and whether any corruption and false statements to the public were involved.
       We need to inaugurate investigations regarding past investment practices, the buying up of Australian businesses, and profit transfers overseas.
       We need to develop a Green GDP, taking into account the volunteer economy, and social factors, and we need to bring in full-cost pricing embracing measures for toxic wastes, resource depletion, inefficient and wasteful practices, pollution and effects upon culture and living standards. And we must remove subsidies made out to powerful lobby groups. Methods of assessing unemployment rates and cost-price increases (CPI) need to be overhauled.
       These may seem radical approaches, but if we are to save our economy, we need to start the new economic planning on clean places.
  3. Freezing the growth of foreign liabilities and annual reduction of foreign liabilities by at least 1% of GDP each year.
    (a) Reversing Growth in Foreign Debt

       The only way to avoid a complete tragedy, is to firstly develop a mechanism by which imports and exports are exactly balanced each year, and then start gradually paying off our huge foreign debt. Australia is a consumer nation, and at present we are importing more than we export. A mechanism needs to be found by which the cost of imports is automatically increased in comparison to exports, until our cost of imports equals our cost of exports.
       Australian economic theorist John Iggulden has proposed such a mechanism, which he calls the Impex System of Foreign Exchange Management. (Impex is short for Import-Export). He proposes setting up an official Impex Facility (perhaps a branch of the Reserve Bank) through which all overseas transactions pass. Money earned overseas would be exchanged, not for Australian dollars directly, but for an Impex draft. And the only way anyone could spend money overseas, would be to buy Impex drafts. These drafts would be weighted so that medium term imports (overseas spending) and exports (overseas earnings) are balanced. That is, if imports temporarily exceed exports, the cost of the Impex draft in Australian dollars (the Impex rate) increases, until the cost of imports reduces import demand, and imports and exports once again come into equilibrium. A high Impex rate would in effect put an additional cost on all interest, services, and foreign profits going out of Australia.
       Once the mechanism is established, Australia can start the long haul of paying off our huge foreign debt, by setting the Impex rate slightly higher than the natural market rate. It is a fallacy to believe we need foreign investment. Once we have developed a balance of foreign exchange mechanism, all the money needed for investment in Australia can be better provided by government and Australian investors, without the lethal element of exorbitant foreign interest rates over which our government has no control.
    (b) Reversing Growth in Foreign Equity: Foreign Ownership and FIRB Reform
       The Impex system will need to be supported by a reformed Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to reverse the disastrous situation where foreign ownership/control of Australian enterprises has now officially exceeded 50%, and may well exceed 90% if we take into account nominee shareholders. FIRB's approval criteria must be based not only on the estimated expenditure in Australia but more importantly, on the long-term employment of Australians. FIRB's role in funding should be expanded to include information and education to local enterprises for which Australia would otherwise be dependent on foreign investment and imports. As well FIRB should ensure:
    • Transfer of ownership to Australian owners and investors at the end of 10 to 15 years,
    • Detailed monitoring and regulation of foreign capital,
    • Investment of foreign capital in import replacement industries, and enterprises consistent with national environmental and social priorities,
    • Approval of foreign involvement in new ventures only where foreign capital, technology and relevant expertise are not available in Australia,
    • Strict monitoring of export and import prices to reduce transfer pricing arrangements,
    • Prohibition of foreign investment used to acquire land for residential or commercial purposes.
  4. Creation of new money to be placed exclusively under the control of the Australian Reserve Bank. Private banks to lose their present authority to create new money, or to loan money for which it does not hold cash.
    (a) Money Supply

       Historically no depression has occurred without a significant contraction in the money supply, and likewise no significant contraction in the money supply has occurred without an accompanying depression.
       And overseas experiences have demonstrated that a stock-market crash does not necessarily imply that a depression will occur.
       What then causes recessions and depressions? The key indicator of whether a major recession is likely to occur has always been the volume, velocity and distribution of the supply of money. Major recessions are induced when there is a contraction in the money supply. This inevitably occurs whenever there is a failure of major banks (or a significant proportion of private banks overall). This is connected with the fact that the financial system exerts a dominant control over the creation of credit, which in Australia and most countries comprises at least 90 percent of the money supply.
       The Achilles' heel of the Australian economy is our massive foreign debt. This debt, together with deregulation of the market and lack of fiscal controls, means that our government is impotent to take constructive action, once overseas factors (inflation, rising interest rates and/or a stock exchange collapse) invite the hedge funds to eat into our dollar.
       By foreign debt, we must include both public and private foreign debt. The shift of foreign debt to the private sector means that the government has even less control.
       Most of our "foreign investment" is unnecessary, and in essence constitutes irrepayable loans, the interest payments of which are usually allowed and encouraged to continue indefinitely.
       As long as this ridiculous system exists, governments will actually remain fearful of full employment because of its effects in an open deregulated economy, upon inflation, balance of payments and foreign debt. In fact governments have come to value unemployment as a defence against inflation. And yet if proper economic management and regulation were instituted, there would be no reason why full employment could not be possible.
    (b) Centralising the Creation of Money
       Who should create and sustain a nation's money supply, the conditions attached to its creation, and the relationship of money creation to foreign investment?
       When banks issue loans, they create money out of nothing. As over 90% of the money in circulation in Australia is not cash, but paper money issued as loans by private banks and lending institutions, the private banks control the amount of money flow in the economy. Our present economy is debt-driven.
       We need to challenge the debt-based economic system. The government, via a democratically accountable authority, must undertake to create a supply of money, debt-free (that is it does not have to be repaid) into the system. This authority then spends (not lends) a supply of money into the system on the basis of proven need. This then will reduce the overall burden of debt in society, break reliance upon the banking system for the supply of money, and solve many of society's economic problems.
       All national governments have the sole legal right through their national banks to create money. Unfortunately, most countries including Australia have now transferred this right of money creation to the private banking system, which is misusing it by creating money for manipulative, exploitative, and blackmail purposes against the real owners of the money (the Australian people), then loaning back the money to governments and others at a high rate of interest. In Australia, private banks are licensed to issue credit, providing they maintain a capital reserve of at least just 8% of all the credit they issue.
  5. Governments, instead of borrowing at market interest rates, especially from private banks and foreign lenders, are issued interest-free or very low interest loans by the Reserve Bank or State Banks.
       The finance needed for essential projects, including schools and hospitals, small business development, rural renewal, environmental projects, and large national projects could easily be provided from either the Reserve Bank or Treasury in the form of low interest loans. This would work only if the entire financial system were transformed. If the rights for money creation were focussed exclusively in the Reserve Bank, then taxpayers and people in general would benefit immensely, as there would be a release of resources that could be directed towards a multitude of beneficial areas.
       An Economic Sovereignty Loan Plan would be established by which governments, instead of borrowing at market interest rates, especially from banks and foreign lenders, are issued interest-free or very low interest loans by the Reserve Bank or State Banks. These would be for capital infrastructure projects and to retire existing debt. Interest on public debt of over $200 billion now costs Australian taxpayers more than $20 billion annually. Retiring public debt would gradually eliminate the annual interest bill and improve the budget deficit. A sum of 1% of GDP should be made available for various levels of government in the first year for employment intensive capital works.
       When full employment is reached, increased tax revenues may overtake any need for further government credit. Eventually all credit would be interest free and issued by governments through banks. The amount of interest free Sovereignty Loans should increase by 1% of GDP a year. Thus the reserve Bank and State authorities eventually transfer all government debt held by private banks to their own accounts, and then lend it interest-free or at low interest for approved capital projects.
  6. Reserve Bank printing 100% amount of money presently circulating as bank loans.
       The central cause of inflation and deflation, is the power of banks to create money by granting or recalling loans, and they thereby increase or decrease the amount of money in circulation. Over 90% of circulating money has no cash basis; it is simply paper money which "trusts" that all money flows will be balanced. But at times of economic crisis (caused because now banks lend the same money 8 or 10 times over and so over-commit), the banks strongly reduce the amount of paper money circulating. During the Great Depression, circulating money in the US reduced from $27 billion in 1929 to $20 billion in 1933.
       The power of private banks to "create" money (by issuing loans without balancing cash holdings) should be withdrawn and money making power should be returned exclusively to central government. In the book, 100 Per Cent Money (an Adelphi publication, N.Y. 1935), Irving Fisher proposes the government withdraws the right for private banks to make loans in excess of cash holdings, while simultaneously the government prints sufficient money so that money in circulation at that time is matched by cash in the economy. This cash is then distributed to banks according to their former circulation, so that all paper money and loans are matched by cash money in the bank. From then onwards, banks can only make new loans or send out paper money, if they have the hard cash to balance it. In this way, inflation and deflation would be substantially eliminated, thus greatly reducing the risk of booms and depressions. The amount of money in circulation would then be controlled exclusively by the government, who would increase it (by buying bonds) or decrease it (by selling bonds) to maintain price levels, the dollar value and employment at optimum levels.
  7. Developing a National People's Bank Policy
       Initiatives should be taken to develop a national People's Bank policy, which should invite participation from current People's Banks such as the Bendigo Bank, micro-credit banks such as the Grameen Bank, and civil society (through a national Civil Society Forum). In this way, the emerging policy will be developed democratically by the people, for the people. The emerging People's Banks must be based upon the ideal of introducing minimal bank fees or very low interest rates and priority on serving the people. Ownership of the banks will be vested either in government (owning the banks on behalf of the people) or by private shareholders under strict guidelines that ensure that no superfluous profits are made to be siphoned off by greedy interests. Because the corporate goal of profit-making has been replaced by the goal of minimising interest rates on loans and maximising customer service, these banks will eventually dominate the private banking sector in Australia.
       Once a People's Bank policy has been initiated, strategies can then be cultivated to reduce Australia's private domestic debt.
  8. Restoration of the Public Sector
       Our present government, guided by their rationalist economic advisors perceive almost all public spending to be an unnecessary drain upon the taxpayer, and regard it as their duty to see such spending wound back as much as possible. But modern research has found a strong correlation between public sector investment in infrastructure and private sector profitability. There is no gain for anyone in dismantling a public sector bureaucracy if it is simply going to be replaced by a private sector bureaucracy (as is the common practice these days). A healthy economy requires a relatively strong public sector because no private sector organisation can be trusted to self-regulate in a manner which adequately allows for social priorities and the national interest. Private sector operations invariably entail a conflict between the interests of private shareholders and the wider public interest. A strong public sector can provide a valuable instrument by which governments can intervene to create effective demand, whenever this is desirable for the common good.
  9. Tax Reform Debate involving Participation by Civil Society and State Governments
       The introduction of the GST tax placed an appalling burden upon small businesses, while not delivering major improvements in the economy. The main problem with GST was in the lack of information and public debate before legislation. With such secrecy, and the final decision being made between Liberal and Democrat leaders behind closed doors, the GST legislation was doomed to fail before introduction. Herein lies the key to why tax models enacted by the Commonwealth governments have consistently failed over the past generation. That key has been in the undemocratic, authoritarian and secretive monopoly on policy and decision making by Commonwealth governments. The Commonwealth government has never even invited State governments to have equal participation for developing Australia's long term tax policy. State governments are simply briefed on the Commonwealth government's tax plans as a "fait accompli".
       A further reason such authoritarian and secretive tax legislation does not work, is because there are vital ethical issues involved in the tax debate. Such as balancing fairness and tax impact on various levels of wealth or income, with complexity and evasion issues. In the past such ethical issues have never been openly debated; they are simply decided on ideological grounds. Hence the inevitable failure of resulting tax policies.
       The practical and ethical issues involved need comprehensive and open debate with equal participation by civil society and State governments, and for this, all relevant economic information needs to be made available by the Commonwealth government, so that public and State government think tanks each are free to undertake comprehensive assessment of various economic and tax models. The creative fruit of such open people centred debate will then lead us to a tax model that will work, and save the people and our government vast amounts of money formerly wasted.
By David Keane, March 2007
   Policy on the Economic Sovereignty Plan and Foreign Ownership and FIRB Reform by courtesy of Economic Reform Australia (ERA) policy. ERA also helped immensely with advice in numerous other economic areas. Their policy statement and newsletter are available for anyone who wants to be in touch with progressive economic thought in Australia. Economic Reform Australia, 14 Gallimore Ave, Balmain 2041. #
   [POLITICIANS whose e-mail equipment seems to refuse input from Just World Campaign, and which refused to accept the first 2/3 of a page of David Keane's economic analysis, are listed on: Australia / Austchron1 # politicians.  ENDS.] [Mar 17, 07]

• A Double Standard on State Secrets?  United  States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Germany flag;   Macedonia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Afghanistan flag;  Albania flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

A Double Standard on State Secrets?

   Time magazine (USA), time/nation/ article/0,85 99,1600678, 00.html , By REYNOLDS HOLDING, Monday, Mar. 19, 2007
   UNITED STATES: If you don't know what to make of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confession -- and I certainly don't -- blame the Bush Administration's duplicitous and inconsistent approach to handling state secrets.
   I mean, here's a guy with a long record of clear-cut evil, and all the transcript of his confession does is raise questions. Were his claims of responsibility for dozens of attacks mere boasts or the fruits of abuse or torture over years of detention? Why did the Pentagon claim the initial transcript was complete, only to add a section later about the killing of Daniel Pearl? Why was Sheikh Mohammed denied witnesses on the baffling basis that their testimony would be irrelevant? And why did three of the four tribunal members say absolutely nothing during the hearing on whether he qualifies as an enemy combatant?
   We don't know the answers, because the facts behind the confession are secret. Which would be fine, if we could trust the Administration to keep secret only that which should be secret. Then we could take the confession at face value. But we can't, or at least shouldn't, and two recent cases show us why.
   The first involves the unfortunate abduction of German citizen Kahlid El-Masri. In December 2003, while traveling in Macedonia, El-Masri was detained by Macedonian police and turned over to the CIA, apparently as a suspected terrorist. He was then spirited away to Kabul, Afghanistan, for five months of what he describes as beatings, drugging and other mistreatment. At some point, his captors apparently discovered that they had the wrong guy, and so in May 2004 they dumped him in the wilds of Albania.
   In early 2006, El-Masri sued the CIA and various private contractors that, he claimed, had mistakenly subjected him to "extraordinary rendition," the CIA program of moving suspects to countries that allowed interrogation techniques prohibited in the U.S. In March 2006, government lawyers moved to dismiss his case, because it would require disclosure of state secrets about extraordinary rendition. El-Masri objected, arguing that the rendition program had been so widely covered that much of it was no longer secret. And whatever was still secret could remain so by allowing only the judge to review it. But the federal judge in Virginia dismissed the lawsuit, and an appeals court affirmed the decision earlier this month.
   The upshot: When called to account for its actions in court, the government effectively shuts down litigation involving embarrassing information that may also include state secrets.
   Here's the second case. In August 2005, the Justice Department charged two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, with conspiring to pass secrets to reporters and an Israeli official. The government discovered, though, that the prosecution would require the use of -- you guessed it -- state secrets. Instead of shutting down the case, Justice Department lawyers asked a federal judge in Virginia last week to approve an elaborate scheme for keeping the information confidential. It involved playing recordings of confidential wiretaps through headphones so only the judge, the defendants' lawyers and the jurors could listen. The public would be shut out, a result that the two lobbyists, who have pleaded not guilty, say would hurt their defense. Aside from raising issues like whether jurors would be sworn to secrecy for life, the procedure is apparently unprecedented, and the judge has ordered a hearing on it this week.
   The upshot: When calling people to account for their actions in court, the government finds ways to pursue litigation involving state secrets.
   Granted, the El-Masri case was a civil lawsuit, while the AIPAC case is a criminal prosecution. As Aziz Huq of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU law school says, "There's a difference between denying someone a remedy based on secrecy and subjecting someone to criminal sanction based on secret evidence." The latter is more serious. But the public's right to know what goes on in court is still the same. You would think that, at least for the sake of consistency, the Bush Administration would find a way for El-Masri's case to go forward with secret evidence or, alternatively, drop the AIPAC prosecution or decline to use secret evidence in it.
   But that is apparently not how the Administration works. Instead, it exploits claims of secrecy for its own legal advantage, depending upon whether it is the prosecutor or the prey. There is probably good reason to keep much of the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed secret. But given the Administration's track record in these recent cases, we can't just take the government's word for it. #
   [RECAPITULATION: Why did the Pentagon claim the initial transcript was complete, only to add a section later about the killing of Daniel Pearl? Why was Sheikh Mohammed denied witnesses on the baffling basis that their testimony would be irrelevant? And why did three of the four tribunal members say absolutely nothing during the hearing on whether he qualifies as an enemy combatant? […]
   German citizen Kahlid El-Masri. In December 2003, while traveling in Macedonia, El-Masri was detained by Macedonian police and turned over to the CIA … beatings, drugging and other mistreatment. … in May 2004 they dumped him in the wilds of Albania. In early 2006, El-Masri sued the CIA and various private contractors … the government effectively shuts down litigation involving embarrassing information that may also include state secrets. […]
   In August 2005, the Justice Department charged two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, with conspiring to pass secrets to reporters and an Israeli official. The government discovered, though, that the prosecution would require the use of – you guessed it – state secrets. …
   When calling people to account for their actions in court, the government finds ways to pursue litigation involving state secrets. ENDS.] [Mar 19, 07]

• [No religion deserves the right to be exempt from criticism.]  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

[No religion deserves the right to be exempt from criticism]

   Australian Reader's Digest, by Richard Barber, p 75-76, received Mar 20, '07, issue of April 2007.
   [Interview with Mr Rowan Atkinson, 52, who acts as "Mr Bean," "Blackadder," and "Johnny English," in an article entitled "The Real Mr Bean"]
   RD: Occasionally, though, you put your head above the parapet in real life – such as when you gave a speech in the House of Lords against a proposed government bill intended to outlaw religious hatred.
   Atkinson: Yes, I'm a great believer that there should be no ideas or notions which cannot be questioned or ridiculed or criticised.  All religions deserve equal freedom of worship and practice but none deserves the right to freedom from criticism.  That has always been the western European tradition, something I believe it's important to maintain whatever the changes in the ethnic constituency of the UK.  I'm happy to say that the Lords' amendment to the bill is the one that prevailed.  If it hadn't, I think there would have been much more soical trauma and difficulty.
   [COMMENT: He's right about such anti-vilification bills causing more trauma, such as happened in Victoria in recent years.  But he's wrong about freedom to criticise being the western European tradition.  Persecution of anyone who criticised or opposed the ruler's religion was practised with the co-operation of the Orthodox, Roman, Reformed, and Anglican Churches for centuries. COMMENT ENDS.] [April 2007]

• Questions Linger About Bush, Bin Laden And BCCI.  [BCCI is a bank]

Questions Linger About Bush, Bin Laden And BCCI.

   Inter Press Service News Agency, www.ichblog. eu/text/cont ent/view/11 09/1/ , Analysis by Lucy Komisar, April 05, 2007
   The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist -- it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.
   NEW YORK, Apr 4 (IPS) - Now that the U.S. Congress is investigating the truth of President George W. Bush's statements about the Iraq war, they might look into one of his most startling assertions: that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
   Critics dismissed that as an invention. They were wrong. There was a link, but not the one Bush was selling. The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist -- it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.
   BCCI was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a dirty offshore bank that then-president Ronald Reagan's Central Intelligence Agency used to run guns to Hussein, finance Osama bin Laden, move money in the illegal Iran-Contra operation and carry out other "agency" black ops. The Bushes also benefited privately; one of the bank's largest Saudi investors helped bail out George W. Bush's troubled oil investments.
   BCCI was founded in 1972 by a Pakistani banker, Agha Hasan Abedi, with the support of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and head of the United Arab Emirates. Its corporate strategy was money laundering. It became the banker for drug and arms traffickers, corrupt officials, financial fraudsters, dictators and terrorists.
   The CIA used BCCI Islamabad and other branches in Pakistan to funnel some of the two billion dollars that Washington sent to Osama bin Laden's Mujahadeen to help fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. It moved the cash the Pakistani military and government officials skimmed from U.S. aid to the Mujahadeen. It also moved money as required by the Saudi intelligence services.
   The BCCI operation gave Osama bin Laden an education in offshore black finance that he would put to use when he organised the jihad against the United States. He would move money through the Al-Taqwa Bank, operating in offshore Nassau and Switzerland with two Osama siblings as shareholders.
   At the same time, BCCI helped Saddam Hussein, funneling millions of dollars to the Atlanta branch of the Italian government-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), Baghdad's U.S. banker, so that from 1985 to 1989 it could make four billion dollars in secret loans to Iraq to help it buy arms.
   U.S. Congressman Henry Gonzalez held a hearing on BNL in 1992 during which he quoted from a confidential CIA document that said the agency had long been aware that the bank's headquarters was involved in the U.S. branch's Iraqi loans.
   Kickbacks from 15 percent commissions on BNL-sponsored loans were channeled into bank accounts held for Iraqi leaders via BCCI offices in the Caymans as well as in offshore Luxembourg and Switzerland. BNL was a client of Kissinger Associates, and Henry Kissinger was on the bank's international advisory board, along with Brent Scowcroft, who would become George Bush Sr.'s national security advisor. That connection makes the Bush administration's surprise and indignation at "oil for food" payoffs in Iraq seem disingenuous.
   Important Saudis were influential in the bank. Sheik Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of the late Saudi King Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence from 1963 to 1979, and the CIA's liaison in the area, became one of BCCI's largest shareholders. George Bush Sr. knew Adham from his time running the CIA in 1975.
   Another investor was Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, who succeeded Adham as Saudi intelligence chief. The family of Khalid Salem bin Mahfouz, owner of the National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, banker to King Fahd and other members of the ruling family, bought 20 to 30 percent of the stock for nearly one billion dollars. Bin Mahfouz was put on the board of directors.
   The Arabs' interest in the bank was more than financial. A classified CIA memo on BCCI in the mid-1980s said that "its principal shareholders are among the power elite of the Middle East, including the rulers of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and several influential Saudi Arabians. They are less interested in profitability than in promoting the Muslim cause."
   The Bushes' private links to the bank passed to Bin Mahfouz through Texas businessman James R. Bath, who invested money in the United States on behalf of the Saudi. In 1976, when Bush was the head of the CIA, the agency sold some of the planes of Air America, a secret "proprietary" airline it used during the Vietnam War, to Skyway, a company owned by Bath and Bin Mahfouz. Bath then helped finance George W. Bush's oil company, Arbusto Energy Inc., in 1979 and 1980.
   When Harken Energy Corp., which had absorbed Arbusto (by then merged with Spectrum 7 Energy), got into financial trouble in 1987, Jackson Stephens of the powerful, politically-connected Arkansas investment firm helped it secure 25 million dollars in financing from the Union Bank of Switzerland. As part of that deal, a place on the board was given to Harken shareholder Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, whose chief banker was BCCI shareholder Bin Mahfouz.
   Then, in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half-brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time -- organising al Qaeda.
   The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 -- somewhere between 9.5 billion and 15 billion dollars -- made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.
   But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."
   When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits -- was virtually forced to -- only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations. Now could be a good time to take another look at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection.
   *Investigative journalist Lucy Komisar's chapter, "The BCCI Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad," appears in the new book "A Game as Old as Empire", just published by Berrett-Koehler (San Francisco). (END/2007)
   Link to this page:
   [CAUTION: Take care with this newsitem.  Careful checking is recommended.  ENDS.] [Apr 05, 07]

• 'My Name Used to Be #200343'.  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

‘My Name Used to Be #200343’

   IPS News, www.alternet. org/story/ 50191/ , By David Phinney, Posted April 7, 2007.
   *David Phinney is a journalist and broadcaster based in Washington, DC, whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and on ABC and PBS. He can be contacted at: .
   An American former Navy soldier and private contractor imprisoned and tortured in Iraq by the U.S. military and falsely accused of "aiding terrorists" warns that our worst fears about Iraq have come true.
   A year ago, Donald Vance learned what it's like to be falsely accused by the U.S. military of aiding terrorists. He was held without charge for more than three months in a high-security prison in Iraq, and interrogated daily after sleepless nights without legal counsel or even a phone call to his family.
   On Wednesday, the former private security contractor was honored for his ordeal in Washington and for speaking out against the incident. At a luncheon at the National Press Club, Vance received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, an award named in memory of Army helicopter gunner Ron Ridenhour who struggled to bring the horrific mass murders at My Lai to the attention of Congress and the Pentagon during the Vietnam War.
   Vance was joined by former president Jimmy Carter, who won a lifetime achievement award, and journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post who was recognised for his recent book, "Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone".
   As hundreds at the luncheon finished their lobster salad, Vance, a two-time George W. Bush voter and Navy veteran, recounted the events of his imprisonment and the grief of his fiancee and family. They did not know if he was alive or dead, he said. They were already making inquiries to the U.S. State Department on how to ship his body home.
   He then drew a wider circle around his ordeal to include the countless others who have been held falsely without charge and denied normal legal constitutional protections under law. "My name used to be 200343," Vance said recalling his prisoner ID. "If they can do this to a former Navy man and an American, what is happening to people in facilities all over the world run by the American government?"
   Vance's nightmare began last year on Apr. 15 when he and co-worker Nathan Ertel barricaded themselves in a Baghdad office after their employer, an Iraqi private security firm, took away their ID tags. They feared for their lives because they suspected the company was involved in selling unauthorised guns on the black market and other nefarious activity. A U.S. military squad freed them from the red zone in Baghdad after a friend at the U.S. embassy advised him to call for help.
   Once they reached the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, government officials took them inside the embassy, listened to their individual accounts and then sent them to a trailer outside for sleep. Two or three hours later, before the crack of dawn, U.S. military personnel woke them. This time, however, Vance and Ertel, Shield Security's contract manager, were under arrest. Soldiers bound their wrists with zip ties and covered their eyes with goggles blacked out with duct tape.
   The two were then escorted to a humvee and driven first to possibly Camp Prosperity and then to Camp Cropper, a high-security prison near the Baghdad airport where Saddam Hussein was once kept. Vance says he was denied the usual body armour and helmet while traveling through the perilous Baghdad streets outside the safety of the Green Zone or a U.S. military installation.
   It was not the way the tall 29-year-old with an easy charm and keen mind had expected to be treated. Vance claims that during the months leading up to his arrest, he worked as an unpaid informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sometimes twice a day, he would share information with an agent in Chicago about the Iraqi-owned Shield Group Security, whose principals and managers appeared to be involved in weapons deals and violence against Iraqi civilians. One company employee regularly bartered alcohol with U.S. military personnel in exchange for ammunition they delivered, Vance said.
   "He called it the bullets for beer programme," Vance claimed while relating the incident during an interview this week at a cigar bar just walking distance from the White House.
   But his interrogators at Camp Cropper weren't impressed. Instead, his jailers insisted that Vance and Ertel had been detained and imprisoned because the two worked for Shield Group Security where large caches of weapons have been found -- weapons that may have been intended for possible distribution to insurgents and terrorist groups, Vance said.
   In a lawsuit now pending against former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and "other unidentified agents," Vance and Ertel accuse their U.S. government captors of subjecting them to psychological torture day and night. Lights were kept on in their cell around the clock. They endured solitary confinement. They had only thin plastic mattresses on concrete for sleeping. Meals were of powdered milk and bread or rice and chicken, but interrupted by selective deprivation of food and water. Ceaseless heavy metal and country music screamed in their ears for hours on end, their legal complaint alleges.
   They lived through "conditions of confinement and interrogation tantamount to torture", says the lawsuit filed in northern Illinois U.S. District Court. "Their interrogators utilised the types of physically and mentally coercive tactics that are supposedly reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."
   Rumsfeld is singled out as the key defendant because he played a critical role in establishing a policy of "unlawful detention and torment" that Vance, Ertel and countless others in the "war on terror" have endured, the lawsuit asserts, noting that the former defence secretary and other high-level military commanders acting at his direction developed and authorised a policy that allows government officials unilateral discretion to designate possible enemies of the United States.
   Because the incident and allegations are now in litigation, the Pentagon has no comment, spokesman Army Lieut. Col. Mark Ballesteros said. He referred all inquires to the U.S. Justice Department, which also had no comment for similar reasons.
   But darker allegations are included in the complaint over false imprisonment. Because he worked with the FBI, Vance contends, U.S. government officials in Iraq decided to retaliate against him and Ertel. He believes these officials conspired to jail the two not because they worked for a security company suspected of selling weapons to insurgents, but because they were sharing information with law enforcement agents outside the control of U.S. officials in Baghdad.
   "In other words," claims the lawsuit, "United States officials in Iraq were concerned and wanted to find out about what intelligence agents in the United States knew about their territory and their operations. The unconstitutional policies that Rumsfeld and other unidentified agents had implemented for 'enemies' provided ample cover to detain plaintiffs and interrogate them toward that end."
   It may take some time to sort out the allegations as the legal process grinds forward, but, in the meantime, Vance is raising new questions about his detention. He still wonders why his jailers didn't just call the FBI and have him cleared. They had access to his computer and cell phone to determine if his claims were true.
   "When I told them to do that, they just got angry and told me to stop answering questions I wasn't being asked," Vance said. "I think they were butting heads with the State Department. I just snitched on the wrong people. I took the bull by the horns and got the horn."
   And why weren't managers with the Shield Group held and interrogated?
   Interrogators were certainly interested in these other individuals, according to the lawsuit. They wanted to know about the company's structure, its political contacts, and its owners -- most of whom are related to a long-established Iraqi family who fled Iraq during the years the country was ruled by Saddam Hussein, Vance said.
   More startling even now is that the company has reformed. At the time they left, Shield Security held U.S.-funded contracts with the Iraqi government, Iraqi companies, NGOs and U.S. contractors. As far as Vance knows, the company still does -- but under a different name: National Shield Security.
   "I built their web site," he said. "And they are still being awarded millions of dollars in contracts." #
   [COMMENT: The U.S.A. arresting and harming their own contractors!  Aren't the Bushies wonderful!   ENDS.]
   [LINK: National Shield Security is at: www.nss ENDS.]  [April 7, 2007]

• Rallying Around Their Racist Friend; Before firing, pundits defended Imus.  United States of America flag; 

Rallying Around Their Racist Friend

Before firing, pundits defended Imus
   FAIR, , Media Advisory, April/11/07
   UNITED STATES of AMERICA: In the aftermath of the racial outburst that got talkshow host Don Imus dropped from MSNBC--referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos"-- a Washington Post editorial (Apr/10/07) posed a question many critics have been asking for years: How do prestigious journalists defend their cozy relationship with a well-known bigot?
   As the Post put it: "But those who bask in the glow of his radio show ought to consider whether they should continue doing so. After all, you're judged by the company you keep." Since discovering Imus' long record of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia is not difficult (Slate, Apr/10/07), it's a question reporters should have been asking long ago--FAIR posed the very same question to NBC's Tim Russert six years ago, for example (Action Alert, Mar/1/00).
   When journalist Phil Nobile (, Jun/28/01) presented many top pundits with evidence of Imus' bigotry, few (of the white ones, anyway) seemed to think what Imus was saying should affect their decisions to appear on his program. Nobile noted that Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz wrote in his 1996 book Hot Air that "Imus's sexist, homophobic and politically incorrect routines echo what many journalists joke about in private."
   Really? Do Washington journalists really call people "thieving Jews"--and then make mock apologies, saying that the phrase is "redundant" (Imus in the Morning, Dec/15/04)? Did they really call Clinton's attorney general "old Bigfoot shaky Janet Reno," taunting her for her Parkinson's disease (Imus in the Morning, Jun/12/01)? Do they really laugh uproariously at the news of hundreds of Haitians drowning (Imus in the Morning, Mar/20-24/00)? If so, Kurtz has been sitting on a great many scoops.
   Whatever their private conversations, many pundits are now being forced to answer questions about their associations with Imus, and those answers are worth documenting. Appearing on the Imus in the Morning show on April 9, Newsweek's Howard Fineman explained:
You know, it's a different time, Imus. You know, it's different than it was even a few years ago, politically…. And some of the stuff that you used to do, you probably can't do anymore…. You just can't. Because the times have changed. I mean, just looking specifically at the African-American situation. I mean, hello, Barack Obama's got twice the number of contributors as anybody else in the race…. I mean, you know, things have changed. And the kind of--some of the kind of humor that you used to do you can't do anymore. And that's just the way it is.
   Fineman's suggestion, clearly, is that Imus' brand of racism was acceptable not too long ago-- at least before Barack Obama was able to raise significant campaign donations.
   On PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer (Apr/9/07), Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant rejected the notion that appearing with Imus gave some form of cover to his bigotry:
I don't consider myself an enabler. But I recognize--and one reason I feel that it's possible to be this tough on him is that I think he understands that those of us from politics and public affairs and whatever who work with him are going to be seen as enabling. And if that's the case, then his conduct is of interest to me as much as it is to you.
   Those words stand in contrast with what Oliphant said on Imus' show that very morning:
The train went off the tracks, which, you know, can happen to anybody. And, of course, what counts when the train goes off the tracks is what you then do…. Those of us… who know better, have a moral obligation to stand up and say to you, "Solidarity forever, pal."
   That's not enabling?
   Other media defenders point out that Imus does charity work, as if this gives him more room to be a racist. As USA Today's Peter Johnson noted (Apr/10/07), "His politically incorrect satire has been tempered by an intellectual and considerate side: He runs a camp for sick kids, cares about politics and has an eye for books that can catapult them onto the best-seller list." (As the Wall Street Journal has pointed out--Mar/24/05--Imus' ranch spends $3,000 a night to host each child; other organizations that do similar work spend about one-tenth as much.)
   Appearing on the CBS Early Show (Apr/10/07), CNN host Lou Dobbs said much the same. While calling Imus' remarks "inexcusable," Dobbs went to offer what sounded very much like an excuse:
These calls for his resignation, frankly, in my opinion, this is a man you have to take into account. He does more public service, works with kids, he is an absolutely exemplary person in terms of his humanitarianism. And those who suggest you can't take into account the broader man for these, as I say, ignorant and inexcusable remarks, I don't think is adequate.
   NBC reporter David Gregory (MSNBC, Apr/9/07) stressed that "Imus is a good man," and that "this is a difficult time, not just because of the hurt that he has inflicted and what he said, as he tries to deal with it, but for all of us who are on the program and certainly don't want to be associated with this kind of thing that he's done, as all of this plays out." Gregory apparently wasn't so bothered with his association with Imus before this latest controversy.
   Others made it seem as if deciding not to appear on the Imus show would be a problem. Newsweek editor Evan Thomas told the New York Times (Apr/9/07), "He should not have said what he said, obviously. I am going on the show, though. I think if I didn't, it would be posturing." To which the Charlotte Observer editorialized (Apr/10/07), "Which raises this question for Mr. Thomas: What posture would that be--upright?"
   In a Los Angeles Times report (Apr/11/07), some Imus guests appeared to have second thoughts about their silence. CBS reporter Jeff Greenfield said, "That's something people like me should have challenged him on." (Greenfield, to his partial credit, did try to raise the issue when he interviewed Imus on Larry King Live--Feb/24/00.)
   Others, meanwhile, seem to think Imus really means it when he says he's sorry. CBS host Bob Schieffer condemned Imus' remarks, but "said he would probably go on Imus' show again, noting that they had been friends for 15 years." The Times quoted Schieffer: "There's probably a good lesson for all of us in this. We all need to refocus and be sensitive to these things. Maybe sometimes he's gone too far and some of us really haven't been paying attention." Newsweek editor Jon Meacham (Washington Post, Apr/11/07) said: "We don't want to rush to judgment…. Imus appears genuine about changing the tone, but if there's any backsliding, then it's over as far as we're concerned."
   Pundits making such assessments might consider that this was not the first time Imus has appeared to sound contrite about his words, so it's hard to know why to believe him this time around. In a recent Vanity Fair profile (Feb/06), Imus said: "I regret the times I've been mean to people…. It's fine to pick on people who can defend themselves and deserve it. Some people don't deserve to be picked on who I picked on, so I don't do it anymore."
   He made a similar pledge on his show years earlier (Mar/4/00):
There's no reason to hurt people's feelings. In some cases I have, and I'm not going to do it anymore. I get accused of being a racist all the time, but I'm not. I realize that we do things here that are misconstrued and frankly I regret it. People have criticized me and they're right.
   Given Imus' repeatedly violated vows to rein in his racist schtick, one has to look to his pundit friends--his enablers--to show more resolve. Unfortunately, given their co-dependent relationship with the talk host, such resolve is unlikely. As Newsweek's Fineman put it (Imus in the Morning, Apr/9/07): "You know, all of us who do your show, you know, we're part of the gang. And we rely on you the way you rely on us."
   Feel free to respond to FAIR ( ). We can't reply to everything, but we will look at each message. We especially appreciate documented examples of media bias or censorship. And please send copies of your correspondence with media outlets, including any responses, to . #
   [COMMENT: Some Australians can't even translate what the insult meant!  But it was evidently an anti-negro and anti-woman description of a successful university sports team -- denigration, instead of enjoying their happiness after a success.  LATER INFO.: Evidently, it was virtually saying they were negro whores.  (The "Establishment" in the West has many of such dangerous people who can denigrate ordinary people, but oppose anyone who exposes the main dangers to civilisation.)   COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 11, 07]

• Creating a Market for Security. 

Creating a Market for Security

   Information Clearing House, Information Clearing House | PO Box 365 | Imperial Beach | CA | 91933, USA, Various newsitems, E-mail of April 13, 2007
   Creating a Market for Security, By Paul Craig Roberts.  The War on Terror is a marketing campaign for security industries and terrorism experts. The latter are pulling in the consulting fees, and the former are rapidly inventing new products that enable "our" government to watch our every move and to know our location at every moment. www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 17521.htm
   Iran May Be The Greatest Crisis Of Modern Times, By John Pilger.  We are being led towards perhaps the most serious crisis in modern history as the Bush-Cheney-Blair "long war" edges closer to Iran for no reason other than that nation's independence from rapacious America.  www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 17522.htm
   Awful Truth About Hillary, Barack, John and Whitewash, By Norman Solomon.  This year, with their virtually identical statements about "options" and "the table," the leading Democratic presidential candidates - Clinton, Obama and Edwards - have refused to rule out any kind of attack on Iran.  If you're not shocked or outraged yet, consider this: www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 17520.htm
   The Iraqi Resistance Only Exists To End The Occupation, By Haifa Zangana.  The escalating attacks are not usually aimed at civilians, but are a direct response to the brutal actions of US-led troops.  www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 17523.htm
   Kurdistan's Covert Back-Channels, By Laura Rozen.  How an ex-Mossad chief, a German uberspy, and a gaggle of top-dollar GOP lobbyists helped Kurdistan snag 15 tons of $100 bills.  www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 17524.htm
   In case you missed it, Custodians of Chaos, By Kurt Vonnegut.  In this extract from his memoirs, Kurt Vonnegut is horrified by the hypocrisy in contemporary US politics.  www.inform ationclear inghouse. info/article 13659.htm
   20 Shia gunmen die in British retaliation: British forces have hit back at Iraqi resistance fighters, by launching an operation in which they shot dead more than 20 "gunmen".  http://snip 1g9qb
   Explosion at Iraq parliament cafe kills 8 including 2 MP's: An explosion has hit a cafeteria at the Iraqi parliament, killing at least eight people, at least two of them MPs, the US military has said. uk/2/hi/middle_ east/6548337. stm
   Parliament suicide bomber 'was Sunni MP's bodyguard': The blast came hours after a suicide truck bomb exploded on a major bridge in Baghdad, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars tumbling into the Tigris River, police and witnesses said.  At least 10 people were killed.
   Troops accused of killing suspects: Corpses lay unclaimed in deserted streets of central Baghdad yesterday and accusations of extrajudicial execution hung over the US-trained Iraqi Army after the most intensive gun battle in the capital since the American military launched its last-ditch security plan to prevent the collapse of the city.  www.timeson tol/news/world/ iraq/article 1642663.ece
   Under siege: A special report from war-torn Mosel: "If you go in the streets by yourself, you'll be dead in 15 minutes," says Khasro Goran, the deputy governor of Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city.  http://news. independent. middle_east/ article2442 515.ece
   Refugees Speak of Escape from Hell: "America is the reason why Iraq was invaded, so we would like the American administration to give aid to us refugees," she added.  "I would like people to read this and tell Bush to help us."  www.ipsnews. net/news.asp? idnews= 37302
   Payment sought in murder of Iraqi and Afghan civilians by US occupation forces:  The military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for non-combat-related killings, injuries and property damage.  That figure does not include condolence payments.  www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ world/470 7769.html
   Tour extension hits families, soldiers hard: Active-duty soldiers will now serve 15 months in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of 12, an extension that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates portrayed as needed to maintain predictable troop levels, but it came as another painful sacrifice for the volunteer U.S. Army.
   Turkish army seeks OK for raids on Kurds: Turkey's military asked the government Thursday to approve attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, signaling growing frustration over a lack of action against the guerrillas by Iraqi and U.S. forces.  www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ ap/world/ 4709361. html
   Iraqi group 'splits' from al-Qaeda: "They killed about 30 of our people, and we definitely don't recognise their establishment of an Islamic state - we consider it invalid."
   Iraq policy 'spawned new terror':  The British and US policy towards Iraq has "spawned new terror in the region", a think tank report has said.  http://news. 2/hi/uk_news/ politics/ 6542567.stm
   War pimp alert:  U.S. Says It Found Iranian Arms in Sunni Area:  Arms that American military officials say appear to have been manufactured in Iran as recently as last year have turned up in the past week in a Sunni-majority area, the chief spokesman for the American military command in Iraq said Wednesday in a news conference. [Iran is a Shi'ite stronghold.]
   Media obscures Iran's nuclear program with 'Fog Facts':  Yesterday, the AP ran a story about Iran's nuclear program that was a perfect example of the phenomenon.  Consider the opening four paragraphs
   2 NATO soldiers, 35 militants killed in Afghan violence: Roadside bombs struck two NATO convoys in eastern Afghanistan today and killed two soldiers hours after an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition killed at least 35 militants in the south, officials said.
   Two more Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan: Confirmed: Two Canadians have been killed and three injured in Afghanistan, a military official at CFB Gagetown says.
   Afghani mass grave hides 400 dead: The grave was found by local farmers in a desert just outside Faizabad, the capital town of the remote Badakhshan province, deputy governor Shams-ul Rahman Shams said.
   In case you missed it: Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death: In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops.
   'American Taliban' Moved To Colorado Prison: John Walker Lindh, known as the "American Taliban" has been moved to the federal supermax prison in Colorado where he is being held in solitary confinement.
   Algeria Attack and the al-Qaeda Penetration of Africa : It is sincerely mysterious "al-Qaeda" has a knack of showing up in places targeted by the neocons.  For instance, Africa, in particular Somalia and, more recently, Algeria.
   Up to 400 feared dead in attacks in Chad: Up to 400 people were killed in Chad in a recent attack survivors say was carried out by Sudanese and local Janjaweed militia aided by Chadian rebels, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
   Ohio man charged with joining al-Qaida : A federal grand jury alleges the suspect conspired to bomb European resorts and U.S. government facilities.
   Hizbullah accuses US of secret war and arming opponents: Cheney sanctioned covert operations, says leader,,2054274,00.html
   UN envoy on children says Israel broke international law in 2006 war in Lebanon: A UN envoy for children in conflict said Thursday she had been horrified by the destruction of a Lebanese village besieged by Israeli troops last year, and that many of Israel's actions during the war against Hezbollah had violated international law.
   On Video: Palestinian As Human Shield: International law, including the Geneva Conventions and Hague regulations, prohibits placing civilians in harm's way during military operations.
   Israeli PM keeps final status issues off agenda for talks with Abbas Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will block any attempt by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss final status issues when the two leaders meet on Sunday, the Prime Minister's Office said on Wednesday.
   Russia, Saudi Arabia sign $100m contract to build oil pipeline: A Russian company signed Saturday the first ever contract, worth more than $100 million, to build an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia with a Saudi company.
   Ukraine President Yushchenko rejects US anti-missile system: Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday: rejected any discussion of deployment of US anti-missile systems to his country, ending months of waffling by leaders of the former Soviet republic.
   Standing up to the west: It should come as no surprise that Russia is preparing its own military response to US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe.,,2054758,00.html
   U.S. seeks control of Europe through missile shield - Gorbachev: Deployment of U.S. missile-defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic is an attempt by the U.S. to control Europe, the former Soviet president said Thursday.
   China poses risk to key U.S. satellites: top general: China's use of a missile to destroy a satellite in January put vital U.S. national-security satellites at risk, the top U.S. Air Force general said on Wednesday.
   Ex-FBI boss blasts MI5's Ulster record: This is the first time that Freeh has so openly criticised MI5, which worked closely with the FBI in operations against the IRA while Freeh was FBI director.
   White House Can't Say If Lost E-Mails Include Firings: The Bush administration acknowledged that some lost White House e-mails might have dealt with the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, as a Senate panel stepped up demands for more information on the removal of the prosecutors.
   Leahy Doubts Bush Aides on Lost E-Mails: President Bush's aides are lying about White House e-mails sent on a Republican account that might have been lost, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested Thursday, vowing to subpoena those documents if the administration fails to cough them up.,,-6552441,00.html
   Clinton suffers virtual defeat in MoveOn vote on Iraq: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, lagged behind her main competitors, as well as some lower-tier candidates, in a straw poll taken after a virtual town hall meeting on Iraq.
   Wolfowitz 'sorry' for favouritism: The former deputy US defence secretary refused to say if he might have to resign as the World Bank's board of governors met to discuss the row.
   US malaise unlikely to slow growth worldwide: The global economy should continue to enjoy its best run of buoyant growth for more than 40 years during this year and next, despite a sharp slowdown in the United States, the International Monetary Fund forecast yesterday.
   Jobless claims rise dramatically: The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in two months.
   It is part of the moral tragedy with which we are dealing that words like "democracy," "freedom," "rights," "justice," which have so often inspired heroism and have led men to give their lives for things which make life worthwhile, can also become a trap, the means of destroying the very things men desire to uphold.  Sir Norman Angell (1874 - 1967), 1956.
   "As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.  I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.  God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." : U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 - (letter to Col. William F. Elkins) - Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)
   They (corporations) cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls: Lord Edward Coke
   Criminal, n. A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation: Howard Scott
   Click here for text only version of the site (great for dialup users)!
   Read this newsletter online
   Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War On Iraq - At Least 655,000.
   Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq 3,294.
   The War in Iraq Costs $416,488,254,186
   See the cost in your community,
   Peace & Joy, Tom Feeley
[Apr 13, 07]

• [Sen. David Johnston -- e-mails not getting through.]  Australia flag; 

[Sen. David Johnston – e-mails not getting through]

   From John C. Massam, Greenwood (Perth), Western Australia, but "bounced", reporting a slightly-different e-mail address, To Senator David Johnston (Liberal, West. Aust.), April 14, 2007
   Dear rep. of the people
   No, I don't want censorship of the pro-jihad books. Jihad books are our way to learn what the challenge is.
   Rather, I would like that money, and more, saved. You politicians have been paying money to set up schools that teach holiness by warfare, if you would but know it.
   Koran 2:193 (or 189):- … Fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left. dept/MSA/ quran/002.qmt. html#002.193
   With mosques preaching it, and the internet available so that anyone can print jihad teachings, why cause more feelings of being persecuted? Jihad feeds on such inferiority complexes.
   Instead, why not offer money to people who are shocked at Australian clothing and lack of clothing, liquor, smoking, and gambling, to emigrate to some country that does not have these things?
   And why not forbid immigration of people who belong to belief systems that oppose these Australian foibles? And stop giving aid to Third World countries that have huge armaments? #
   [AFTERMATH: A printout was posted to Senator Johnston.  He is not the first politician whose e-mail "client programme" stops working, somehow!   ENDS.] [Apr 14, 07]

• The Iraq Money Trail; The Inexplicable Enrichment of Bush Cronies.  United  States of America flag;  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
The Inexplicable Enrichment of Bush Cronies

The Iraq Money Trail

   Counter Punch, www.counter pringle0417 2007.html , By EVELYN PRINGLE evelyn-pringle@ , April 17, 2007
   It's time for Americans to face the cold hard truth that nothing will be accomplished by allowing the daily carnage in Iraq to continue, and if Bush has his way, our young people will be dying in this war profiteering scheme until hell freezes over. Congress needs to authorize funding to pull our troops out of that deathtrap and not one dime more.
   It apparent that Bush is a madman who will listen to no one. After Bush's speech on January 10, 2007, about the plan to send more troops, retired Army Col Doug McGreggor, a former advisor to Don Rumsfeld in 2003, said in a broadcast interview, "There seems to be a complete failure to understand that we have been trying to suppress a rebellion against our occupation."
   "As long as we are there," he warned, "we are the number one public enemy for the Muslim-Arab world."
   "We were after all," he points out, "a Christian army occupying a Muslim Arab country, something which in the Middle East, is essentially a disaster."
   This decorated combat veteran says Bush's strategy will never work. "We did not go to Iraq originally," he explains, "to dismantle the state, dismantle the army, the police, and the government, to occupy the place with the object of changing the people that lived there into something they did not want to become."
   After Bush's speech, military families also spoke out publicly against the decision to send more troops. "I don't have words for it," said Nancy Lessin, of Military Families Speak Out, a group of 3,100 families, including 100 who have lost a loved one in the war.
   "This is a war," she said, "that should never have happened, that has wreaked so much havoc on our loved ones, Iraqi children, women and men, and now to be facing, almost four years into it, this news of an escalation of the war, is just unbearable."
   An Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed that 70% of Americans opposed sending more troops, but Bush went right ahead and did it anyways. And then to make matters worse, this month he announces the plan to extend the 12-month tours to 15-months to allow his 30,000-troop buildup in Baghdad to stay for another year.
   This war is going to bankrupt the US. A January 2007 study by Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Prize in economics in 2001, and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes, estimated that the total costs of the Iraq war could be more than $2 trillion when the long-term medical costs for the soldiers injured so far are factored in.
   The only people who are benefiting from Bush's war on terror are members of the Military Industrial Complex. Since 9/11, the pay for the CEOs of the top 34 defense contractors in the US has doubled, according to the August 2006 report, "Executive Excess 2006," by the Institute for Policy Studies, and the United for a Fair Economy.
   The bill is rising so fast because the level of war profiteering is unprecedented. The Excess Report lists George David, CEO of United Technologies, as the top earner, making more than $200 million since 9/11, despite investigations into the poor quality of the firm's Black Hawk helicopters.
   Halliburton CEO David Lesar made $26.6 million in 2005, and nearly $50 million since 9/11, an amount that even beats the $24 million that Dick Cheney received in exchange for the guarantee that Halliburton would be the number one military contractor during the Bush administration.
   Cheney himself is also taking in war profits, contrary to what he told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" in 2003, when he denied making any money off his former employer. "Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president," he said, "I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest."
   "I have no financial interest in Halliburton," Cheney told Tim, "of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."
   Those statements were proven false when financial disclosure forms showed that Cheney had received a deferred salary from Halliburton of $205,298 in 2001, $262,392 in 2002, $278,437 in 2003, and $294,852 in 2004.
   In 2005, an analysis released by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), reported that Cheney continued to hold over 300,000 Halliburton stock options and said their value had risen 3,281% over the previous year, from $241,498 to more than $8 million.
   "It is unseemly for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his Administration funnels billions of dollars to it," Senator Lautenberg said.
   Cheney may be the most visible profiteer to those who find it difficult to follow the war on terror money trail, but many other members of the administration with insider knowledge set themselves up to profit early on as well.
   For instance, there was the Undersecretary of Defense, Doug Feith, largely credited for fabricating the tales that got the US into the war to begin with, along with his fellow neocons and best buddy, Ahmed Chalabi.
   Feith was a partner with Marc Zell, in the Feith & Zell, DC law firm before joining the administration. After he left for the White House, Zell renamed the firm, Zell, Goldberg & Co, and teamed up with Salem Chalabi, Ahmed nephew, to solicit contracts for clients in Iraq. This scam operated under the name, "Iraqi International Law Group."
   At the time, the National Journal quoted Salem as saying that Marc Zell was the firm's "marketing consultant" and had been contacting law firms in Washington and New York to ask if they had clients interested in doing business in Iraq.
   According to its web site back then, the IILG was made up of lawyers and businessmen who "dared to take the lead in bringing private sector investment and experience" to the war-torn country and offered to "be your Professional Gateway to the New Iraq."
   "The simple fact is," the site stated, "you cannot adequately advise about Iraq unless you are here day in and day out, working closely with officials at the CPA, the newly constituted governing council and the few functioning civilian ministries [oil, labor and social welfare, etc]."
   It is highly likely that the preceding statement was absolutely true when made because Feith helped set up the Coalition Provisional Authority in May 2003, with its leader Paul Bremer, and Feith's office and the CPA were in charge of awarding reconstruction contracts with Iraqi money.
   For his part, Salem was a legal adviser to Iraq's governing council, of which his Uncle was a member, and Bremer even tried to appoint him to lead the tribunal that would try Saddam.
   Uncle Chabali footprints in the profiteering racket can be traced back to September 2003, when the CPA awarded an $80 million contract to Nour USA, a company with ties to Winston Partners, which is a whole other story in itself because Winston Partners is headed by none other than Marvin Bush, the brother to the president.
   In May 2003, Nour was founded by, Abul Huda Farouki, whose financial ties to Ahmed Chalabi date back to 1989, when Chalabi was CEO of the Petra Bank, and helped Farouqi finance projects around the world.
   Nour's website at the time described the firm as an "international investment and development company" with more than 100 employees based in Iraq, and listed expertise in telecommunications, agribusiness, internet development, recruitment, construction materials, oil and power services, pharmaceuticals and fashion apparel.
   In January 2004, Nour picked up another contract to equip the Iraqi armed forces and police worth $327 million. However, shortly thereafter, Nour came under fire when a shady deal surfaced involving the first $80 million contract and Ahmed Chalabi.
   Newsday reported that Chalabi had received $2 million for helping to arrange the contract, but as it turned out, the contract was actually awarded to Erinys International, a firm set up in Iraq immediately after the invasion. The problem arose, Newsday said, because within days of receiving the contract, Erinys became a joint venture operation with Nour.
   Next, the $327 million contract was in jeopardy after it was revealed that Nour had no experience providing military equipment and Nour claimed that it planned to subcontract its weapons procurement to Ostrowski Arms. However, the army soon learned that Ostowski had no license to export weapons.
   The contract was finally axed in March 2004, after six of the 17 firms that bid on it complained that Nour's winning bid was impossibly low.
   Following the money trail on this insider deal turned up the names of a few more suspects. According to the National Journal, a Nour executive said the Cohen Group "introduced us to people in the U.S. government who were involved in oil-industry security." Former Republican Congressman and Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen, sits at the helm of the Cohen Group, and according to a report by David Hilzenrath in The Washington Post on May 28, 2006, when he left office in January 2001, Cohen was saddled with debt and his final financial disclosure form, "listed tens of thousands of dollars of charge-account debts at interest rates as high as about 25 percent."
   However, within a matter of weeks Cohen and his wife were residing in a $3.5 million mansion. It seems Cohen had wanted this house but was still in office and had no way to finance the purchase, so Frank Zarb, then chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, sold the house to Michael Ansari, chairman and CEO of defense contractor MIC Industries, in October 2000, and the Cohen took up residence in January or February of 2001, according to the Post.
   From there, Cohen went on to join the board and audit committee of the Nasdaq Stock Market, and 11 days after he left office, MIC announced Cohen's appointment as chairman of its board of advisers in a press release.
   In no time at all the Cohen Group was raking in mega-bucks. In applying for one contract, that earned the Group $490,000 over seven months, the firm bragged that it had helped Lockheed win a $3.6 billion contract for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Poland, financed by the US government.
   The Group's proposal said its efforts for the Lockheed deal included "advocacy with key decision-makers in the White House, Office of the Vice President, National Security Council, Department of Defense and the State Department during an 18-month campaign," according to the Post.
   In regard to helping Nour get contracts in Iraq, according to the Post, where the government disclosure form for Nour asks the firm to identify "Specific lobbying issues," the Group's filings say: "Exploring overseas business opportunities."
   When it comes to war profiteering, members of the Bush administration have given a whole new meaning to the "revolving door." A whole gang of thugs has been robbing us blind in Iraq since day one and nobody seems to be able to stop it.
   Congress knows what's going on. Back on September 30, 2003, during the Senate debate over the first Iraq spending bill, Senator John Edwards said he refused to funnel the $87 billion to Cheney and other Bush cronies after learning that Bush's former campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, who was later appointed to head FEMA, had quit his job 3 weeks before the bombs began to fall in Iraq to start the consulting firm, New Bridge Strategies, for clients seeking contracts in Iraq.
   "First, Vice President Cheney's Halliburton receives more than $2 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts," he said, "and now this."
   He called it outrageous and disrespectful to the young people serving in Iraq. "President Bush should start addressing this credibility gap by calling on Joe Allbaugh and his friends to stop using their influence to secure government contracts in Iraq," he said.
   Senator Edwards said there used to be talk about money for Iraq being a blank check but we now "know the president is writing it out to Joe Allbaugh and Halliburton and it's all endorsed by Vice President Cheney," he said.
   In hindsight, Edwards should have expressed outrage at a few more people because the profiteering team at New Bridges was stacked with Republicans. The company's address was the same as a lobbying firm run by Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee that went under the name of Barbour Griffith & Rogers.
   And as luck would have it, Lanny Griffith was the CEO of New Bridge, and Ed Rogers was the vice president.
   The firm's initial web site told potential clients, "the opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq."
   And these greedy thugs were so shameless that they didn't even try to hide their elation over all the money they planned to make in Iraq. "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine," one of the firm's partners told Naomi Klein, quoted in an article in Harper's Magazine in September 2004. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven," the partner said, "could knock out thirty Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country."
   There were rumors that a McDonald's might open, a Starwood hotel was mentioned, and General Motors was said to be planning a factory and according to Ms Klein, Citigroup was preparing to offer loans guaranteed against future sales of Iraqi oil.
   However since the war never did end, in 2004, Joe Allbaugh abandoned the quest for reconstruction gold mine in Iraq and started a consulting firm with the former director of Cheney's secret energy task force, Andrew Lundquist, and their first client was Lockheed Martin.
   The marriage between the ex-campaign manager, Cheney's buddy, and Lockheed apparently worked out much better than the plan to build 7-Elevens in Iraq, because Lockheed stock value has doubled since 2001, and according to the Excess Report, the firm's CEO has made $50 million since 9/11.
   It may well have been that Joe's new firm was simply an outgrowth from the many other firms set up by this same gang because Haley Barbour had already worked as a lobbyist for a Lockheed.
   One thing is certain, Lockheed was not lacking for administration insiders when Allbaugh came knocking. For instance, before Cheney took over as VP, his wife, Lynne served on the board of Lockheed, receiving deferred compensation to the tune of half a million dollars in stock and fees, according to a January 16, 2007 report by Richard Cummings.
   Cummings notes that Cheney's "2004 financial disclosure statement lists Lockheed stock options and $50,000 in Lockheed stock."
   In addition, Cheney's son-in-law, Philip Perry, Cummings says, was appointed to serve as general counsel to the Department of Homeland Security, and he had been a registered lobbyist for Lockheed who had worked for a law firm representing Lockheed with the Department of Homeland Security.
   According to Cummings, less than a month after 9/11, in October of 2001, the Pentagon announced a $20 billion contract for Lockheed for the development of the Joint Strike Fighter, called the F-35. At the time, Edward Aldridge was Undersecretary of Defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, which was responsible for the approval of the contract. Aldridge left his government post in 2003, and he now just happens to serve on Lockheed's board of directors.
   However, the most stunning revelation in the Cummings report, is that in November 2002, Stephen Hadley, deputy national security advisor at the time, called Lockheed employee, Bruce Jackson, to a meeting at the White House and told him that the US was definitely going to war in Iraq but there was one small hitch, the administration could not decide what reason to use to justify it.
   So Jackson formed the "Committee for the Liberation of Iraq," and its mission statement said it was "formed to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations."
   According to Cummings, the "pressure group began pushing for regime change - that is, military action to remove Hussein - in the usual Washington ways, lobbying members of congress, working with the media and throwing money around."
   Jackson told Cummings that he did not see the point of going on about WMDs or an Al Queda link because he thought the human rights issue was enough to justify the war.
   However, Hadley did not agree. "The committee's pitch," Cummings says, "or rationale as Hadley would call it, was that Saddam was a monster -- routinely violating human rights -- and a general menace in the Middle East."
   Jackson said he closed down the Committee in June 2003 because its human rights rationale had been abandoned. "We were cut out," he told Cummings, "after the whole thing went to Rumsfeld," and Hadley explained that "terrorism and WMDs" were now the rationale for the war, not human rights.
   However, Cummings reports that members of the war sales team that served with Jackson have done well for themselves. The president of the Committee, Randy Scheunemann, became the president of the Mercury Group, and lobbied for Lockheed and others, and then set up the firms, Scheunemann and Associates, and Orion Strategies, which, among other things, consults with companies and countries looking to do business in Iraq.
   In November 2003, another Committee member, Rend Al-Rahim Francke, was appointed Iraqi ambassador to the US.
   Meanwhile back in Iraq goldmine, the Iraqis have nothing to show for all the torture that they have endured for the past 4 years. On average, Iraqis still get only about two hours of electricity a day, and the situation won't be improving anytime soon because the US has not built a single major power plant.
   And despite the $22 billion funneled to the war profiteers for reconstruction, a US official recently said, Baghdad may not have continuous 24-hour electricity until the year 2013.
   For the people drawn to Iraq to fight against the occupation, this is not a war against Americans; it's a war against Bush. He tore this country apart for no reason and then just as the Iraqis predicted, the greedy gang of thugs swooped in and ripped everybody off.
   And there is no reason to believe that the thievery has ended or the situation in Iraq will get better because an audit released on January 31, 2007, by Inspector General, Stuart Bowen, reported that the $300 billion war and reconstruction effort continues to be plagued with waste and corruption, and yet Bush now wants us to hand over another $100 billion to be funneled through Iraq to the exact same gangsters.
   We will never win in Iraq no matter how long we stay because the other side will always have more people willing to die for the cause, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if the number of daily attacks continues to escalate as they have for the last 4 years, the US will run out of troops before they do. #
   [RECAPITULATION: … in November 2002, Stephen Hadley, deputy national security advisor at the time, called Lockheed employee, Bruce Jackson, to a meeting at the White House and told him that the US was definitely going to war in Iraq but there was one small hitch, the administration could not decide what reason to use to justify it. […] "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine," one of the firm's partners told Naomi Klein, quoted in an article in Harper's Magazine in September 2004. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven," the partner said, "could knock out thirty Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country." […] Back on September 30, 2003, during the Senate debate over the first Iraq spending bill, Senator John Edwards said he refused to funnel the $87 billion to Cheney and other Bush cronies after learning that Bush's former campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, who was later appointed to head FEMA, had quit his job 3 weeks before the bombs began to fall in Iraq to start the consulting firm, New Bridge Strategies, for clients seeking contracts in Iraq. […] In 2005, an analysis released by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), reported that Cheney continued to hold over 300,000 Halliburton stock options and said their value had risen 3,281% over the previous year, from $241,498 to more than $8 million.  "It is unseemly for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his Administration funnels billions of dollars to it," Senator Lautenberg said.   ENDS.] [Apr 17, 07]

• High immigration is harming Britain's poor, says minister.  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

High immigration is harming Britain's poor, says minister

   The Times Online (London), See www. progressive- governance. net/pressroom/ pressclippings. aspx?id= 1228 , by Richard Ford, April 18, 2007
   LONDON: Large-scale immigration has damaged the poorest communities and deeply unsettled the country, Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, said today.
   Mr Byrne says that inequality and child poverty are two of the main side-effects of migration, which has been running at record levels since Labour came to power.
   The immigration minister, announcing that a points system of immigration would begin in UK next year, also highlighted the pressures caused by migration on schools and housing, and how they are affecting attempts to improve educational standards.
   Mr Byrne made his remarks before publication tomorrow of official figures showing net migration of 185,000 in 2005, four times the figure when Labour came to power in 1997. He said that if Labour fails to address public concern about the level of immigration and its effects on the country and public services, it could lose the next general election.
   Mr Byrne said the UK points system of immigration will be similar to that used by Australia, where potential immigrants are awarded points according to their employment skills. The system allows officials to increase the points awarded for skills in short supply. In Australia chefs and hairdressers are currently deemed worthy of additional immigration points.
   "Migration has to support Britain's national interests. A new Australian-style points-based system will be simpler, clearer and easier to enforce," Mr Byrne said. "Crucially it will give us the best way of letting in only those people who have something to offer Britain."
   The scale of net migration has caused a marked change in public concern about immigration, Mr Byrne says. Globalisation and immigration have made Britain richer but have also "deeply unsettled the country", he wrote in a pamphlet titled Rethinking Immigration and Integration, published by Policy Network, a centre-left think-tank.
   Mr Byrne says sudden increases in immigration into poor parts of Britain hit government attempts to improve life for the indigenous population. "When a junior school such as the school in Hodge Hill, my own constituency in Birmingham, sees its population of children with English as a second language rise from 5 per cent to 20 per cent in a year, then boosting standards in our poorest communities gets harder," he said.
   Last month research published by the Home Office said that thousands of impoverished asylum-seekers had been dumped in socially deprived areas of the country under the Government's dispersal policy.
   The report, which was produced in 2002 but only released under freedom of information laws last month, highlighted some of the difficulties caused by the arrival of new migrants in poor areas.
   Fifty different languages had been introduced into Newcastle upon Tyne, and in other areas doctors dealing with new migrants experienced difficulties treating unfamiliar diseases such as malaria and TB.
   In a separate article in today's pamphlet, Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and a deputy leadership candidate, says that the communities undergoing the most rapid demographic change because of migration are the most poorly equipped to deal with it as they suffer high levels of poverty, social immobility and poor public services. John Reid, the Home Secretary, met the French Interior Minister yesterday and raised the issue of a centre being built offering showers, information and food to migrants gathering in Sangatte, northern France.
   The Conservatives fear that the building will act as a magnet for those seeking to enter Britain illegally. #
   When we fought to hold back the invasion of OUR COUNTRY by Germany under Hitler it was called "Our finest hour". Now when we call for the same action to hold back MASS IMMIGRATION we are called RACISTS, Thank you b'lair and nulabour for masterminding the destruction of MY COUNTRY, Hideous white, Stockton on Tees, ENGLAND (for now)
   I live in Camden, Central London. I have seen over the last few years a dramatic change in the demography to the point where there are demands now from the 'Muslim community' for a mosque and Islamic centre which the council through a community grant will fund using taxpayer's money while, I may add, money for kids special needs is being cut by £40K. I am afraid the ideal of a melting pot is not happening as I can see that community doesn't want to integrate but have it's own 'ghetto'. Clem Alford, London, UK
   The situation is very tense in parts of London and other cities, sadly future conflict is inevitable as white native Brits start fighting back against the discrimination they are now facing. Steven , London, UK
   Is it really the case that Australia can't find enough chefs and hairdressers from within its own population? Barry, Wallington, UK
   Sorry to say it, but when people were saying that immigration was too high over ten years back and that settlement policies were ineffective, only to be barracked as racist, who were the idiots calling them so? People who weren't part of the communities where the unfortunate immigrants were sent to. Has it strengthened our country? No. We may have a strong economy but I for one no longer feel British in relation to what Britain has become. I don't really care about the country and I am not alone. I am also 30 years old so not excessively old John, Shrewsbury, England
   Labour are slow learners; the vast majority of the English public have been grumbling about this for years, but grumbling quietly because of Labour's anti-racism laws that have made any dissent on this subject seem like a crime. This country is full, the housing shortage is causing problems, the public services are over-stretched, the public transport infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of passengers, land is short and society is struggling to come to terms with the influx of so many people from so many different cultures. All of this is so obviously wrong for the country, so why has it taken Labour so long to react with a good idea? Someone more cynical than I might think it was politically motivated perhaps? Ian, Birmingham, England
   The unprecedented mass immigration presided over by the present government has inflicted grave and lasting damage on our culture and society. This was both predictable and predicted, but the government went ahead with its irresponsible and arrogant policy without regard for the country and people. For the minister to say, after the event, that immigration has "deeply unsettled the country" is not merely disingenous - it is reminiscent of the contrition of a psychopath. The policy, and harm, were deliberate, and cannot now be undone. Stu G, London
   It is crystal clear that the horrendous immigration policies and shambolic procedures of the Labour Government were chiefly responsible for 'gifting' thousands of votes to the BNP in the May 2006 elections, thus causing the election of BNP councillors in certain areas. Further, continued membership of the EU precludes the UK from controlling the huge numbers of immigrants from EU countries. Britain cannot accept this astronomic level of immigration without it having a retrograde effect on our traditions and hard-won freedoms and liberties. It is a truism to say that the Labour Government isn't fit for purpose, and Britain will be BETTER OFF OUT of the EU, so we can take control of immigration at our borders and Ports of Entry. Indeed, if we had a managed withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan they could be redeployed on such duties here in Britain. Cllr Keith Standring, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK
   Quite right Annie, a very worthy chap many years ago warned us of just this situation and its results, he was banished to Northern Ireland for his trouble. It didn't suit the powers that be then, they don't care now. Remember him? His name was Enoch [Powell]. Dave, Groningen, Netherlands
   Begin deporting all those who advocate extremist violence in the name of intolerant religion and you will mitigate much of the harm done by immigration while retaining most of the benefits. Those who come here without committing themselves to core liberal values such as tolerance come solely for material advantage, and are accordingly parasites. Boot them. Maynard, London, UK
   What good has mass immigration been for UK (well, England, as most come to England)? The only thing good is the potential for a bigger work force to pay more taxes (although most of them get their tax back as they say they leave the country after 2-3 years - then come back & the cycle repeats itself so they're always cheating the system). The negative points: They over-burden our welfare state & public services. Schools, hospitals & doctors surgeries are full of them. Police are bogged down dealing with them. Housing is at bursting point. It seems that the E. Europeans & blacks are at the root of a high percentage of crime, particularly violent crime & many blacks ways are bad for family life. How many fathers are missing from their family homes - there are proportionately more single black mothers bringing up their kids alone than the indigenous population. Why are there no criminality & health checks done on immigrants before entering. They now tip the balance in our voting system. Michael Pickles, Bournemouth, England
   THE French are not silly they also understand the problems caused by mass migration and that's what it is .Why doest someone in government get up and say enough is enough our NHS and welfare system is at breaking point already ask our nurses and doctors the TAX PAYER is being taxed to death come on MPs get a grip think of the future something has to be done ,close the gates lock the doors at least for the next 10 years, AND I am not a member off any racist party but I DO UNDERSTAND ECONMICS and its not possible to sustain the increase . George William Taylor, HULL, UK
   Oh dear, is it election time again! New Labour attempting to garner support by appearing to address public concern over their insane immigration policies. They have continued on their merry way, swamping the country with illegal immigrants during the past ten years, ignoring all pleas for control as being racist. Now they have sensed the colossal extent of public discontent they think a bit of spin will get them in the nation's good books again. It won't! B. J. Carroll, Hong Kong, China
   This is nothing more than an attempt to very belatedly convince us that something is being done to deal with this enormous problem. The proposals are all very well but I do not see how they will give the government power to deport suspected terrorists, failed asylum seekers etc to countries less 'liberal' than ours, where they might be badly treated, including most of Africa and the Middle East? There exist at present tight controls over immigration linked to family ties, skills levels, investment etc but these controls are totally irrelevant in the areas of greatest concern. Nick Hill, London.
   So the Labour Government have finally had to admit that what the BNP has been saying for all these years is, in fact, true! Hrothgar, Schaumburg, IL, USA #
   [SARDONIC QUESTION by a reader: Is it really the case that Australia can't find enough chefs and hairdressers from within its own population? Barry, Wallington, UK.   ENDS.]
   [ANSWER: The Australian politicians and bureaucrats were pulling that trick more than 20 years ago, but when migrants arrived they found that it was difficult, without doing an APPRENTICESHIP, to be allowed to work as a hairdresser, and chef jobs were nothing like plentiful.
   [NOTE For the jelly-headed PC people:- No Australian, immigrant, or tourist has ever been found, starved to death, with his/her hair to the waist, because of a lack of cooks and haircutters.  This Webmaster has been carefully scouring the news media for more than 20 years, and looking up back lanes and at gutters on his travels, and has not heard of or seen one such.  Success!  AND, we now have schools like the one in the comment above, where the teachers can't even begin to teach kids of NESB.  NESB means Non English-Speaking Background.  Oh, brave new world! 
   MORE SUCCESSES: Some Australian States are now about to release a home-grown terrorist, Jack Roche, and to bring back to our prisons from the Guantanamo Bay hellhole another one, David Hicks.  They went to government-subsidised places of prayer in Australia and heard calls to fight for a divinity.  "Queen of Peace, pray for us," the little RC kids used to be taught to pray in the 1940s era.  RCs are and were at the forefont of the "immigration at all costs" policies.  And other Churches were right with them!  Now hardly anyone is going to church, so the Churches' influence is far less than it was.   ENDS.]
   [THANKS to Nick Maine, www.nick . ENDS.]
   [SIMILAR NEWSITEM: "Migration fears key to election, warns minister," The Guardian, immigration/ story/0,,205 9687,00.html ; "Pace of change unsettling country, says Byrne; Boom 'impossible without influx of foreigners';" by Alan Travis, home affairs editor, Wednesday April 18, 2007.   AND see a newsitem of April 24, 2007.   ENDS.] [Apr 18, 07]

• Stowaway beetles a worry.  Australia flag;  China (People's Republic of China) flag; 

Stowaway beetles a worry

   The West Australian, By TORRANCE MENDEZ, p 50, April 21, 2007
   WESTERN AUSTRALIA: A beetle which stowed away in a cargo of willow screens bound for Bunnings stores is posing a threat to Australian hardwood.
  [Picture] Outlaws: Chinese auger beetles attack hardwood timber.  
   Alarm over the Chinese auger beetle was raised when a Mt Magnet woman discovered the insects in decorative screens for her home. The Department of Agriculture and Food identified the pest and issued an alert.
   DAF principal entomologist Nic Monzu called for immediate action. "This beetle is a pest of hardwood timber," he said. "Internal wooden fittings of houses could be at risk of attack if it were to become established."
   Anyone who suspects they may have the beetle should contact the department's pest and disease information service to arrange an inspection: 1800 084 881.
   The auger beetle is so named because it leaves a perfectly round hole in timber as though done with an auger. It feeds only on dry wood, is 10-14mm long, has a dark brown colour and is cylindrical in shape.
   Signs to look for include fine wood dust it leaves on the surface of wood.
   So far five batches of the beetle have been found from a shipment of 1100 screens imported from China by an Australia-based supplier to Bunnings.
   Anyone who bought the screens in February, March or April should check for signs of beetle activity. The panels are 1.8m tall and 3m wide. #
   [COMMENT: Western Australia, like most States, has a large variety of native hardwoods.  In a world being lectured about Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide emissions, and the shortage of Oil, is it not amazing that unnecessary hardwood screens are being hauled a quarter way around the globe from the worker-exploiting country, China, which has an outrageous human-rights record?
   Is there any excuse?  No, because in 1999 the Asian Longhorn Beetles from China had been invading United States forests, and the newsitems ought to have alerted real thinkers to the stupidity of using finite oil resources to move wooden products from over-populated China, where the pressures to destroy forests are tremendous, to North America, which has a large selection of native and other timbers.
   "Free Trade" and "Globalism" -- what crimes are committed in your name!  Free Trade costs ya!   ENDS.]
   [LINK/S: "Asian Long-Horned Beetles invade Manhattan. Tree-Eaters Threaten to Kill Thousands of Central Park Trees,", 19 Aug 1999.   ENDS.] [Apr 21, 07]

• Sunnis, Shiites unite to oppose divisive wall.  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United  States of America flag; 

Sunnis, Shiites unite to oppose divisive wall

   The Sydney Morning Herald, au/news/world/ sunnis-shiites- unite-to-oppose- divisive-wall/ 2007/04/20/ 1176697 093363.html , Edmund Sanders in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Reuters, April 21, 2007
   A US military brigade is building a five-kilometre concrete wall to cut off one of Baghdad's most restive Sunni districts from the Shiite neighbourhoods that surround it, raising concern about the further Balkanisation of Iraq's most violent city.
   The Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said an "open battle" was being waged for control of the country, and a senior US politician said the war for Iraq was "lost".
   A suicide bomber slipped past security barriers on Thursday to kill 12 people in the capital, a day after more than 230 people died in the worst wave of mass killings since January, when the US President, George Bush, announced his plan to increase US troop levels by 30,000.
   Mr Maliki said militants had "proven their spite by targeting humanity. It is an open battle and it will not be the last in the war we are fighting for the sake of the nation, dignity, honour and the people." He was speaking at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of his Islamic Dawa Party.
   The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, was in Baghdad and was expected to increase pressure on Mr Maliki to bridge the sectarian divide.
   In Washington, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said on Thursday that he had told Mr Bush at a meeting the previous day that "this war is lost" and Mr Bush's troop build-up plan was "not accomplishing anything".
   Mr Reid said his message for Mr Bush was to recall the Vietnam War, when President Lyndon Johnson dispatched thousands more troops even though he knew the conflict was unwinnable.
   "The war can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically, and the President needs to come to that realisation," Mr Reid said.
   US commanders in northern Baghdad said the 3.6-metre-high barrier would make it more difficult for suicide bombers, death squads and militia fighters from sectarian factions to attack one another and slip back to their home turf.
   Construction began last week and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. However, officials said the barrier was not a central tactic of the continuing security crackdown.
   "We defer to commanders on the ground, but dividing up the entire city with barriers is not part of the plan," a US military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver, said.
   Although Baghdad is replete with blast walls, checkpoints and other temporary barriers, including a massive wall around the green zone, the wall being constructed in Adhamiya would be the first to essentially divide a neighbourhood by sect.
   A largely Sunni district, Adhamiya is one of Baghdad's main flashpoints, avoided not only by Shiites but also by Sunni outsiders. The area is almost completely surrounded by Shiite-dominated districts.
   Sunnis and Shiites living in the shadow of the barrier are united in their contempt for it.
   "Are they trying to divide us into different sectarian cantons?" said Abu Ahmed, a Sunni shop owner in Adhamiya. "This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation."
   Some of his customers come from Shiite or mixed neighbourhoods that are now cut off by the barrier.
   Several residents likened the wall to the barriers built by Israel around some Palestinians areas. "Are we in the West Bank?" asked Abu Qusay, a pharmacist, who said access to his favourite kebab restaurant in Adhamiya had been cut off. #
   [RECAPITULATION: "This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation."   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: How can there be reconciliation, with the hate going back to the death of Ali, centuries ago, and all rulers of Muslims since then having to keep the lid on it?
   The Shi'ites believe in the hereditary principle for ruling the Muslim world, they reverence saints and shrines, they believe that a Hidden Imam will come back to save the world, they use whips on themselves when bewailing the murder of Ali, and even hold their hands differently when praying! 
   On the other hand, the Sunnis are opposed to most of those practices, and label the Shi'ites like "hypocrites," "polytheists" (honouring more than one god), or even "disbelievers" or "unbelievers", who are denigrated in the Koran violence texts.
   Both groups believe they have a right to bring all the world under their rule, by conviction or compulsion -- see Koran 3:83 (or 77) www. usc. edu/ dept/MSA/ quran/003. qmt.html #003.083 .   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [DOCTRINE: Use Search Engines, or visit www.multiline. ~johnm/ submit/ koran.htm to find Koran quotes condemning "disbelievers" / "unbelievers" such as 2:191, 2:193, 5:80, 8:12, 9:30, 9:73, 16:108, 22:19
   "Hypocrites" and similar are condemned in 6:70, 9:73, 33:1, 33:48 (or 47).
   The unbelievers and hypocrites are not to be obeyed, according to 33:1 and 33:48.
   As for non-Muslims, they are labelled in several ways, but are to be either destroyed or humbled and made to pay extra taxes.
   2:193 (or 189):- … Fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left. dept/MSA/ quran/002. qmt.html# 002.193
   2:216 (or 212):- Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. dept/MSA/ quran/002. qmt.html #002.216 .
   Visit: www. multiline. ~johnm/ submit/ koran.htm# otherfaiths_ koran . DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Apr 21, 07]

• [1976 CIA terror bombing.] Cuba fury as bomb suspect free.  [Posada Carriles] - The "war on terror"? Whose terror? United  States of America flag;  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Venezuela flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Cuba fury as bomb suspect free

   The Weekend Australian, by Correspondents in El Paso and Miami, AFP, MCT, p 13, April 21-22, 2007
   A FORMER CIA agent wanted by Cuba and Venezuela for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner was freed on bail in Texas yesterday, in a controversial move likely to inflame tensions between the US and Cuba.
   Luis Posada Carriles, a fierce opponent of Cuban President Fidel Castro, was released on $US350,000 ($419,250) bail on immigration fraud charges and immediately flew to Miami, infuriating authorities in Cuba and Venezuela, who have been trying to extradite him to stand trial over the airliner bombing, which killed 73 people.
   A US judge in El Paso said earlier this month the Venezuelan national could be freed on bail on condition he remained at his Miami home and was monitored.
   Mr Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent and US army officer, has been detained since May 2005, when he entered the US illegally.
   President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela said yesterday: "We demand they extradite that terrorist and murderer to Venezuela, instead of protecting him."
   Cuba "energetically" condemned the decision, said Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera, who heads the communist country's representatives in Washington.
   Prensa Latina, the Cuban news agency, reported yesterday that 50,000 people gathered in Bayamo, in southeastern Cuba, to protest at the release of Mr Posada Carriles and demand he be tried for the airlineer bombing.
   US prosecutors have accused Mr Posada Carriles of lying on immigration documents on a citizenship application.
  [Picture] Released: Accused airline bomber Luis Posada Carriles is helped by his daughter as he arrives at his home in Miami yesterday    Picture: AP  
   The charges include a claim he paid a smuggler to bring him across the Mexican border, when in face he arrived in the US by boat, carrying a false passport. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 10 years' jail for naturalisaion fraud and five years for each of six false statement counts.
   The New York Times reported that the Cuban Government has accused Mr Posada Carriles of plotting to assassinate Dr Castro in 2000, and of planning a series of explosions in Havana hotels in 1997. Mr Posada Carriles was jailed in Panama over the attempt on Dr Castro's life hut was pardoned by officials in Panama. He admitted, then later denied, directing the hotel bombings in 1997.
   He has also denied responsibility for the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455, which was blown apart and crashed off the coast of Barbados on October 6, 1976.
   Investigators in Venezuela, where Mr Posada Carriles had been chief of operations in the secret intelligence police, traced one of the bombs to the plane's luggage compartment. Mr Posada Carriles was held in Venezuela in 1976 and convicted of masterminding the bombing of the Cuban jet. But he escaped from prison in I985 dressed as a priest after associates bribed a guard.
   US officials have refused to extradite him to Venezuela or Cuba, claiming he might be tortured there.  Declassified US documents show Mr Posada Carriles worked for the CIA for 11 years, from l965 to June 1976. #
   [RECAPITULATION: Mr Posada Carriles was jailed in Panama over the attempt on Dr Castro's life hut was pardoned by officials in Panama. He admitted, then later denied, directing the hotel bombings in 1997. […] Mr Posada Carriles was held in Venezuela in 1976 and convicted of masterminding the bombing of the Cuban jet. […] Mr Posada Carriles worked for the CIA for 11 years, from l965 to June 1976.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: The "Insiders" know how to protect their own terrorists!  There are books about the CIA, and the Iran-Contra corruption, and even a book called Rogue State exposing how terror has been used by the Insiders.  The hypocrisy of President George W. BLUSH, PM Tony BLIAR, and PM John HOWODD is exposed, but politicians would have to actually do some reading to understand this.   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [LINK/S:   ENDS.] [Apr 21-22, 2007]

• Castro's enemy savours release.  United  States of America flag;  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Castro’s enemy savours release

   The Weekend Australian, MCT, p 13, April 21-22, 2007
   MIAMI: Barely a ghost of the warrior of yore who once plotted against Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a rumpled and jail-worn Luis Posada Carriles shuffled off a private jet at Miami international airport and for the first time savoured life outside the shadows of his militant past.
   Well, almost. Under 24-hour house arrest and soon to be fitted with an ankle bracelet for monitoring, Mr Posada must remain at his wife's Miami apartment until his trial in May.
   It is a place where he has never lived and far removed from exotic locales such as Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Aruba that he used as bases to plot against Cuba's communist Government The former CIA operative, 79, is now living in a city that has not been home since the Nixon years and with a wife separated from him for more than 30 years.
   Frail-looking and unsteady, dressed in a rumpled beige suit and flanked by lawyers, Mr Posada arrived at home in a silver sports utility vehicle with five people inside, including daughter Janet Posada Arguello.
   They rushed him up a walkway to a narrow staircase as photographers and reporters tried to take his picture and pose questions. He had little to say: "Estoy muy contento" – I'm very happy. "Estoy muy agradecido" – I'm very grateful.
   Posada lawyer Arturo Hernandez said the release surprised even Mr Posada. He was awakened at 4am and given his clothes by 7.30am. After signing papers in El Paso, Texas, he hopped on a private jet and arrived in Miami about 6pm.
   Miami allies said Mr Posada's freedom was overdue. "He is not a danger to this community, and people here know he had nothing to do with the blowing up of the airplane," said Jose "Pepin" Pujol, one of the men who US officials believe smuggled Mr Posada into the country.
   Mr Posada, codenamed Bambi, who says his facial scars are the result of an assassination attempt by Cuban agents, now must worry about his safety, Mr Hernandez said.
   Within hours of the last time Mr Posada declared he was in Miami, in 2005, the federal Government took him to an immigration detention centre in El Paso, where he languished for almost two years.
   Mr Hernandez said that during the flight to Miami, Mr Posada was "very nostalgic". He said: "I found his overriding thought was gratitude not only for Cuban Americans but for the legal system and for this country, which is governed by laws."
   Gilberto Abascal, the US Government's star witness against Mr Posada in the immigration fraud case, told The Miami Herald he had nothing against Mr Posada but would tell the truth at trial.
   Depending on who gets asked, Mr Posada is either a freedom fighter or a terrorist. In 1997, a bomb at a Havana hotel killed Italian Fabio Di Celmo.
   Mr Posada has never been charged in the US for that bombing, but admitted to The New York Times that he co-ordinated the attacks, a claim he later retracted.
   A grand jury in New Jersey is investigating the decade-old case but has not issued charges. #
[Apr 21-22, 2007]

• Prosecutor cut because of lecture.   

Prosecutor cut because of lecture

   The Weekend Australian, by Brad Norington, p 11, April 21-22, 2007
   AUSTRALIA – ONE of Australia's most high-profile Crown prosecutors was removed from a sexual assault trial after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal ruled there would be a "perception of unfairness" if she continued to handle the brief.
   Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen was last month removed from the NSW District Court trial of a man known as MG, because of a lecture she gave to students at Newcastle University two years ago that contained details of the alleged assaults.
   Ms Cunneen also canvassed how defence lawyers used tricks to secure freedom for their obviously guilty clients.
   MG's lawyers argued successfully that because of her public statements, it could be seen by a fair-minded person that Ms Cunneen "may not discharge her obligations with appropriate fairness and detachment".
   Appeals Court judges Anthony McClellan, Virginia Bell and Cliff Hoeben said: "It is not for the Crown prosecutor to take a public role in supporting the complainant as against the accused at a criminal trial.
   "Where this occurs, any reasonable person would seriously doubt whether the process is fair."
   The removal of Ms Cunneen from MG's trial on March 5 was the subject of non-publication orders until yesterday, when MG was acquitted of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of detaining for advantage.
   After spending six years as the prosecutor for MG's case and related trials, Ms Cunneen was replaced in MG's trial with fellow Crown prosecutor Lou Lungo, who was given just six days to work on the brief.
   MG was a former associate of Bilal Skaf, the gang rapist successfully prosecuted by Ms Cunneen and sentenced to a maximum 38 years for a series of assaults committed in 2000.
   Ms Cunneen also successfully prosecuted Bilal Skat's brother, Mohammed Skaf, who was sentenced to a maximum 26 years for his role in assaults involving Skaf.
   MG, who was charged in connection with the assault of Ms C, cannot be named because he was a minor aged 14 at the time of the offences.
   He is currently serving lengthy prison terms for other gang rapes.
   Ms Cunneen attracted controversy in October when a committee of senior judges, including NSW Chief Justice Jim Spigel-raan, blocked her from being appointed to senior counsel.
   At the time, Ms Cunneen's blackballing was widely seen as punishment for criticising the abuses of some defence lawyers.
   Ms Cunneen declined to comment on her trial removal yesterday.
   But NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery leapt to her defence, voicing his complete support and confidence in her to continue in her role with "great skill, courage, integrity and commitment".
   Mr Cowdery also expressed complete support for Mr Lungo. He said the court's decision to remove Ms Cunneen was based on what it regarded as unusual circumstances of MG's case.
   Legal sources said the removal of Ms Cunneen could possibly make prosecutors and other barristers reluctant to speak on public matters, and to students, if their public views could later be used against them in court. #

   [COMMENT: No, students must NOT be given examples by a person (from either the Crown Prosecutor's office or from the defence teams) from cases that are currently in and out of the courts!  Already these rapes are six years old, and the cases and appeals and comments such as the revealing one from Al-Hilali go on and on.  It is a shame that Ms Cunneen did not really understand that her job makes her a kind of servant of Crown JUSTICE, and although she might have thought she was helping students, she was not teaching them that Justice is above the law.  (Many defence lawyers, too, have forgotten that they have responsibilities to Justice.)  She really let down the People, by kicking an "own goal."
   The result of her action, and failure by her superiors to immediately after the talk to appoint a substitute, was that her substitute had hardly any time to read up on the case, and this may have resulted in the acquittal, which was possibly unmerited. COMMENT ENDS.]
   [KORAN (said to be from Allah's record in heaven):
   33:50 (or 33:49):- O Prophet!  We allow thee thy wives whom thou hast dowered, and the slaves whom thy right hand possesseth out of the booty which Allah hath granted thee, […] < dept/MSA/ quran/033. qmt.html #033.050 >
   33:51:- You may put off any of your wives you please and take to your bed any of them you please.  Nor is it unlawful for you to receive any of those whom you have temporarily set aside. … DOCTRINE ENDS.]
   Sahih Muslim's, Book 008, Number 3371:- […] We … took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). […]
   Book 008, Number 3383:- Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said:  I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive.  He said: Practise 'azl, if you so like … TRADITION ENDS.]
[April 21-22, 2007]

• [Never seen Iraq as part of the war on terror – UK ex-Cabinet Minister.]  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags   Australia flag; 

[Never seen Iraq as part of the war on terror – UK ex-Cabinet Minister.]

   The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), p 76, Sunday, April 22, 2007
   CANBERRA: We have never seen Iraq as part of the war on terror. Certainly we are engaged in a war on the streets in Iraq against terrorism, but our raison d'etre for our involvement in Iraq has not been about terrorism. – British High Commissioner Helen Liddell.
   [COMMENT: This is a TRUE statement, and a REVELATION exposing much of the lying explanations given for the illegal Iraq invasion in the bloodsoaked months since the so-called "Mission Accomplished" playacting of President BLUSH.  ENDS.]
   [SITUATION: Ms Liddell was in the BLIAR British Cabinet that made the decision to invade Iraq.  She made this REVEALING statement at the National Press Club, Canberra, late last week.  Within hours PM COWHERD has claimed that the UK government leader knows better than her!   ENDS.]
   [2nd COMMENT:   We don't know if anybody at the Press Club asked Ms Liddell if the UK entered the invasion for the mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction (unfindable), or some other reason.  Many informed thinkers say the invasion was to wrest control of the PETROLEUM from Iraq and the French and Russian companies that the murderous dictator Saddam Hussein (since executed) was planning to deal with, instead of the Anglo and American companies that had previously had the concessions.  It is understood that he was also planning to move Iraq's foreign currency holdings out of the U.S. dollar and into the euro.  The debtridden "Insiders" of Wall Street would violently resent such an action.   ENDS.] [Apr 22, 07]

• Arc of instability still threatens the West.  [Churchill wrote of fanatical frenzy and fatalistic apathy]  Australia flag;  New Zealand flag;   Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  France flag;  Turkey flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Pakistan flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Afghanistan flag;  Iran (formerly Persia) flag;  Syria flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Lebanon flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Soviet flag (superseded ~ 1990); Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Arc of instability still threatens the West

More than 90 years after the Anzacs went to war against the Turkish Empire, Middle Eastern Islamists wage war against Western values, says Paul Sheehan
   The West Australian, by Paul Sheehan, p 16, Tuesday, April 24, 2007
   In less than 48 hours the dawn services will begin, followed by the whole khaki extravaganza: the Anzac Day parades, the drinking, the two-up games and the footy. So it is worth pausing to reflect that Australia is actually engaged in a war, even if it is an unconventional, undeclared war.
   Australians have been killed and wounded in their hundreds as a result of this conflict but the casualties don't happen to be Australian soldiers. Not yet. We've been extremely fortunate. It is only a matter of time, though, because Australia is now embroiled in an arc of increasing anti-Western fundamentalism, stretching unbroken through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon – 300 million Muslims, the same population as the US and almost the same as Western Europe's.
   Into the middle of this region of conflict without end, Australia will send 1000 more military personnel, to be deployed in Afghanistan by the middle of next year. The decision to commit these forces was made by Prime Minister John Howard and has been supported by Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd. Both leaders have acknowledged the increased and inevitable risks involved.
   Australian forces will be going back into a country which has endured 20 separate wars, invasions, coups or state crises over the past two centuries, with no end in sight. For the record, this is the potted history of instability since Afghanistan became a nation: Afghan-Persian war (1816), Afghan-Sikh war (1836), second Afghan-Persian war (1836-38), first Anglo-Afghan war (1839-42), first Afghan civil war (1850-55), Persian invasion (1856-57), second Afghan civil war (1863-79), second Anglo-Afghan war {1878-80), Russian-Afghan war (1885), third Anglo-Afghan war (1919), third Afghan civil war (1928-29), first Pashtun crisis (1955-57), second Pashtun crisis (1961-63), Republican coup (1973), Marxist coup 1978, Armin coup 1979, Soviet invasion (1979-1989), fourth Afghan civil war (1989-92), fifth Afghan civil war (1995-96), American-led invasion (2001-present).
   These 20 eruptions represent more than 60 years of turmoil and sucked in the three great imperial powers of the past 200 years: Britain, the Soviet Union and the US. None of them has profited. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, 14,453 members of its armed forces were killed, 53,753 wounded and more than 400,000 fell ill in the primitive conditions before the troops withdrew 10 years later. What was won? Nothing.
  ‘Within 10 years this arc of instability, from Pakistan to Iraq, could be controlled by Islamic theocracies. ’  
   What was lost? In the 28 years since the Soviet invasion, the once mighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has ceased to exist. The Islamic Revolution, which began in Iran in 1979, remains in power 28 years on and has spread its influence into Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. The Muslim population in the region has doubled, while the population of Russia has declined. And Islamic fundamentalism has been globalised.
   In the clash between modernity and medievalism, modernity has been losing.
   Within 10 years this arc of instability, from Pakistan to Iraq, could be controlled by Islamic theocracies, with two of them, Pakistan and Iran, nuclear-armed.
   Iraq is a disaster zone, exactly the opposite of what the Bush Administration intended when it invaded the country in 2003. Iran, emboldened by the American failure, has become a centre of instability.
   Afghanistan, as usual, is a quagmire for the West and Pakistan, with its 170 million people, the biggest Muslim nation in the Middle East, is potentially the most worrisome of all. Pakistan has nuclear arms.
   It also has a burgeoning ultra-orthodox, anti-Western Islamic movement which mimics the insane excesses of the Taliban. Pakistani militants masterminded the mass murder on the London Underground on July 7,2005, and other bomb plots in Britain. The country's military leader, President Pervez Musharraf, has survived multiple assassination attempts by jihadists. In 2003, he was saved from obliteration by an anti-jamming device in his car when a powerful bomb exploded soon after his convoy passed. Eleven days later, two suicide bombers died while trying to kill him. He has survived three near-death experiences and lives in a state of siege.
   This region has proved a graveyard for Western vanities. The famous Western imperialist Winston Churchill – the political villain of Gallipoli and political hero of World War II – was intimately familiar with the arc of instability which now confronts the West. More than 100 years ago, he saw first-hand, and vividly described, the implacable anti-modernism and anti-Westernism of the Muslim heartland:
   "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy… there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live …
   "No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." (The River War, 1899). Were Churchill alive today, it is unlikely he would be inclined to change his views. #
   [RECAPITULATION: The Muslim population in the region has doubled, while the population of Russia has declined. And Islamic fundamentalism has been globalised.  In the clash between modernity and medievalism, modernity has been losing. […]
   Winston Churchill – the political villain of Gallipoli and political hero of World War II – was intimately familiar with the arc of instability which now confronts the West. More than 100 years ago, he saw first-hand, and vividly described, the implacable anti-modernism and anti-Westernism of the Muslim heartland […]
   "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy… there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live …   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: But, wouldn't if have been better if the Great Powers and others had kept out of Afghanistan?  Then, maybe, there would be less of their people wanting to threaten the West.   COMMENT ENDS.]
   [ALSO displayed on the Submit directory at "submit/subchron6.htm#arc".  [Apr 24, 07]

• [UK Immigration damaging the poor.]  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

[UK Immigration damaging the poor.]

   The Times Online (London), www.timeson tol/life_and_ style/career_ and_jobs/public_ sector/ article 1693203.ece , April 24, 2007
   LONDON: (13) Immigration boosted Britain's population by 185,000 in 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics. The Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, said it has damaged the poorest communities and risks losing Labour the next general election.
   [MORE READING: Civitas, The Institute for the Study of Civil Society, UK, books: www.civitas uk/acatalog/ Immigration. html   ENDS.]
   [LOOKBACK: See April 18 newsitem.   ENDS.] [Apr 24, 07]

• The real scandal at the World Bank. The Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world. 

The real scandal at the World Bank

The Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world
   The Independent (Britain), http:// comment. independent. a_l/johann_hari/ article2486 595.ece , by Johann Hari, , April 26, 2007
   While the world's press has been fixated on the teeny-weeny scandal over whether the World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz helped to get his girlfriend a $300,000-a-year gig next door, they have been ignoring the rancid stench of a far bigger scandal wafting from Wolfie's Washington offices.
   This slo-mo scandal isn't about apparent petty corruption in DC. It's about how Wolfowitz's World Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world, and knowingly worsening our worst crisis - global warming - every day.
   Let's start with the victims. Meet Hawa Amadu, 70-something, living in the muddy slums of Accra, the capital of Ghana, and trying to raise her grandkids as best she can. Hawa has a problem - a massive problem - and the World Bank put it there. She can't afford water or electricity any more. Why? The World Bank threatened to refuse to lend any more money to her government, which would effectively make it a leper to governmental donors and international business, unless it stopped subsidising the cost of these necessities. The subsidies stopped. The cost doubled. Now Hawa goes thirsty so her grandchildren can drink, and weeps: "Am I supposed to drink air?"
   She is not alone. Half a world away, in Bolivia, Maxima Cari - a mother - is also thirsty. "The World Bank took away my right to clean water," she explains. In 1997 the World Bank demanded the Bolivian government privatise the country's water supply. So Maxima couldn't afford it any more. Now she has to use dirty water from a well her villagers dug. This dirty water is making her children sick, and she is sullen. "I wash my children weekly," Maxima says. "Sometimes there's only enough water to wash their hands and faces, not their whole body … This is not a nice way to live." The newly elected socialist government of Evo Morales is planning to take the water back - and he is, of course, condemned and threatened by the World Bank.
   Meet some more victims. I have met hundreds, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East. Muracin Claircin is a rice farmer in Haiti - only he can't grow rice any more. In 1995, the World Bank demanded Haiti drop all restrictions on imports. The country was immediately flooded with rice from the US, which has been lavishly subsidised by the US government. The Haitian government barely exists and can't offer rival subsidies anyway: the World Bank forbids it. So now Muracin is jobless and his family are starving.
   Some 5,000 miles away, Charles Avaala in Ghana is watching his tomatoes rot. He used to grow them for a government-owned community tomato cannery that provided employment for his entire community. The World Bank ordered his government to close it down, and to open the country's markets to international competition. Now he can't compete with the subsidy-fattened tomatoes from Europe. He, too, is starving.
   How would Hawa and Maxima and Muracin and Charles feel if you told them none of this is considered a scandal, but business as usual?
   These victims are not merely an anecdote soup; they are an accurate summary of the World Bank's effect on the poor. Don't take my word for it. The World Bank's own Independent Evaluation Group just found that barely one in ten of its borrowers experienced persistent growth between 1995 and 2005 - a much smaller proportion than those who stagnated or slid deeper into poverty. The bank's own former chief economist, Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, says this approach "has condemned people to death… They don't care if people live or die."
   Why? Why would a body that claims to help the poor actually thrash them? Because its mission to end poverty has always been mythical. As George Monbiot explains in his book The Age of Consent, the World Bank was created in the 1940s by US economist Henry Dexter White to be a further projection of US power. The bank's head is invariably American, the bank is based in Washington, and the US has a permanent veto on policies. It does not promote a sensible mix of markets and state action - the real path to development. No: the World Bank pursues the interests of US corporations over the poor, every time.
   The bank's staff salve their consciences by pickling themselves in an ideology - neoliberalism - that says there is never a conflict between business rights and human rights. If it's good for Shell, it must be good for poor people - right?
   This ideology also backfires on us in the rich world. In 2000, the World Bank was finally forced to undertake a review of its energy policies. It did its best to rig it, putting the former energy minister of the corporation-licking Indonesian dictator General Suharto in charge. Emil Salim was even serving on the board of a coal company at the time he was appointed. But - to everyone's astonishment - Salim concluded by opposing the carbon-pumping oil and gas projects that make up 94 per cent of all the bank's energy projects. He said they should be stopped altogether by 2008.
   The bank's response? It ignored its own report and carried on warming. The business climate, it seems, trumps the actual climate. Feel the heat.
   While the elites huff and puff about Wolfowitz's alleged small corruption and ignore his organisation's proven immense corruption, there is something we - ordinary citizens - can do. In the summer of 2001, at the global justice protests in Genoa, I met Dennis Brutus, a former inmate of Robben Island prison alongside Nelson Mandela. He had been repelled by the bank's actions in South Africa, and started his protests against them by asking a very basic question: who owns the World Bank? It turns out we do. Ordinary people in the West - through their trade unions, churches, town councils, universities and private investments - own it. The bank raises nearly all its funds by issuing bonds on the private market. They are often held by socially minded institutions, the kind who signed up to Make Poverty History. So, Brutus realised, we have a simple power: to sell the bonds and bankrupt the World Bank. "We need to break the power of the World Bank over developing countries just as the disinvestment movement helped break the power of the apartheid regime in South Africa," he explained.
   The campaign to make World Bank bonds as untouchable as apartheid-era investments has already begun. The cities of San Francisco, Boulder, Oakland and Berkeley have sold theirs. Several US unions have also joined. Even this small ripple has caused anxiety within the bank about the threat to its "AAA" bond rating.
   In the Genoa sun, as tear gas fired by the Italian police hissed in the background, Brutus told me: "I lived to see the death of political apartheid. Now I want to live to see the end of global financial apartheid."
   This is the fight we should join. Not some petty squabble over which Washington technocrat is morally pure enough to lead the forces of subsidy-slashing and starvation. #
   [COMMENT: Mr Wolfowitz was also one of the Guilty Men of the Iraq War lies.  The two activities are intertwined.   ENDS.]
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thanks, Michael P.   ENDS.] [April 26, 2007]

• Free Trade's Great, but Offshoring Rattles Me   - [Economist worries because professional jobs are going too!] United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

Free Trade’s Great, but Offshoring Rattles Me

   The Washington Post, www.washington dyn/content/ article/2007/05/04/ AR200705040 2555.html , By Alan S. Blinder, Page B04, Sunday, May 6, 2007
   I'm a free trader down to my toes. Always have been. Yet lately, I'm being treated as a heretic by many of my fellow economists. Why? Because I have stuck my neck out and predicted that the offshoring of service jobs from rich countries such as the United States to poor countries such as India may pose major problems for tens of millions of American workers over the coming decades. In fact, I think offshoring may be the biggest political issue in economics for a generation.
   When I say this, many of my fellow free-traders react with a mixture of disbelief, pity and hostility. Blinder, have you lost your mind? (Answer: I think not.) Have you forgotten about the basic economic gains from international trade? (Answer: No.) Are you advocating some form of protectionism? (Answer: No !) Aren't you giving aid and comfort to the enemies of free trade? (Answer: No, I'm trying to save free trade from itself.)
   The reason for my alleged apostasy is that the nature of international trade is changing before our eyes. We used to think, roughly, that an item was tradable only if it could be put in a box and shipped. That's no longer true. Nowadays, a growing list of services can be zapped across international borders electronically. It's electrons that move, not boxes. We're all familiar with call centers, but electronic service delivery has already extended to computer programming, a variety of engineering services, accounting, security analysis and a lot else. And much more is on the way.
   Why do I say much more? Because two powerful, historical forces are driving these changes, and both are virtually certain to grow stronger over time.
   The first is technology, especially information and communications technology, which has been improving at an astonishing pace in recent decades. As the technology advances, the quality of now-familiar modes of communication (such as telephones, videoconferencing and the Internet) will improve, and entirely new forms of communication may be invented. One clear implication of the upward march of technology is that a widening array of services will become deliverable electronically from afar. And it's not just low-skill services such as key punching, transcription and telemarketing. It's also high-skill services such as radiology, architecture and engineering -- maybe even college teaching.
   The second driver is the entry of about 1.5 billion "new" workers into the world economy. These folks aren't new to the world, of course. But they live in places such as China, India and the former Soviet bloc -- countries that used to stand outside the world economy. For those who say, "Sure, but most of them are low-skilled workers," I have two answers. First, even a small percentage of 1.5 billion people is a lot of folks. And second, India and China will certainly educate hundreds of millions more in the coming decades. So there will be a lot of willing and able people available to do the jobs that technology will move offshore.
   Looking at these two historic forces from the perspective of the world as a whole, one can only get a warm feeling. Improvements in technology will raise living standards, just as they have since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. And the availability of millions of new electronically deliverable service jobs in, say, India and China will help alleviate poverty on a mass scale. Offshoring will also reduce costs and boost productivity in the United States. So repeat after me: Globalization is good for the world. Which is where economists usually stop.
   And where my alleged apostasy starts.
   For these same forces don't look so benign from the viewpoint of an American computer programmer or accountant. They've done what they were told to do: They went to college and prepared for well-paid careers with bountiful employment opportunities. But now their bosses are eyeing legions of well-qualified, English-speaking programmers and accountants in India, for example, who will happily work for a fraction of what Americans earn. Such prospective competition puts a damper on wage increases. And if the jobs do move offshore, displaced American workers may lose not only their jobs but also their pensions and health insurance. These people can be forgiven if they have doubts about the virtues of globalization.
   We economists assure folks that things will be all right in the end. Both Americans and Indians will be better off. I think that's right. The basic principles of free trade that Adam Smith and David Ricardo taught us two centuries ago remain valid today: Just like people, nations benefit by specializing in the tasks they do best and trading with other nations for the rest. There's nothing new here theoretically.
   But I would argue that there's something new about the coming transition to service offshoring. Those two powerful forces mentioned earlier -- technological advancement and the rise of China and India -- suggest that this particular transition will be large, lengthy and painful.
   It's going to be lengthy because the technology for moving information across the world will continue to improve for decades, if not forever. So, for those who earn their living performing tasks that are (or will become) deliverable electronically, this is no fleeting problem. #
   [COMMENT: And the U.S. doesn't need U.S.-citizen economists, either! The penny drops! After the damage has been done, unfortunately. COMMENT ENDS.] [May 6, 07]

• US Marine 'shot dead Iraqis who had their hands up'.  United States of America flag;  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

US Marine ‘shot dead Iraqis who had their hands up’

   The Times Online (London), www.timeson tol/news/ world/iraq/ article 1774532.ece , From The Times, by Tim Reid, May 11, 2007
   CAMP PENDLETON, California: A US Marine yesterday told a court investigating an alleged massacre in the Iraqi town of Haditha that he watched a superior officer shoot and kill five civilians as they held their hands up in an attempt to surrender.
   Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, testifying after being given immunity from prosecution, admitted lying about events in Haditha in November 2005, and said that he urinated on the head of one of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed by his unit.
   The Haditha killings have prompted the biggest US criminal case involving civilian deaths in Iraq. Seven US Marines face charges, including three who have been charged with murder.
   Four have been accused of trying to cover up the incident, including Captain Randy Stone, who was sent to Iraq only weeks before the killings. His lawyer claims that Captain Stone did nothing wrong because Marines throughout the command chain knew about the killings but agreed not to order an investigation because the deaths were deemed to have been lawful.
   Sergeant Dela Cruz was charged initially with murder but the prosecution dropped the case after he agreed to testify against members of his former unit.
   At a pre-trial hearing in Camp Pendleton, California, he said that he watched how his squad leader, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, shot five Iraqis who were trying to surrender and then told his men to lie about the killings.
   "He [Seargeant Wuterich] told me that if anybody asked, they were running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," Sergeant Dela Cruz said. #
   [COMMENT: Such murders are PART of the explanation of the "insurgency" and the spread of Islamist terrorism around the world.  Arms manufacturers and dealers are rubbing their hands with glee.  The Bush cabal include arms manufacturers. ENDS.] [May 11, 2007]

• Another legacy, another myth. 

Another legacy, another myth

   The New Statesman, www.newstates 05140017 , by John Pilger, (sighted May 13, 07) Published 14 May 2007
   No wonder "Washington-besotted" Gordon Brown is attracted to the politics of the opportunist Robert Kennedy, writes John Pilger
   On 5 June 1968, just after midnight, Robert Kennedy was shot in my presence at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He had just acknowledged his victory in the California primary. "On to Chicago and let's win there!" were his last public words, referring to the Democratic Party's convention that would nominate a presidential candidate. "He's the next President Kennedy!" said the woman standing next to me. She then fell to the floor with a bullet wound to the head. (She lived.)
   I had been travelling with Kennedy through California's vineyards, along unsurfaced roads joined together by power lines sagging almost to porch level, and strewn with the wrecks of Detroit's fantasies. Here, Latino workers vomited from the effects of pesticide and the candidate promised them that he would "do something". I asked him what he would do. "In your speeches," I said, "it's the one thing that doesn't come through." He looked puzzled. "Well, it's based on a faith in this country … I want America to go back to what she was meant to be, a place where every man has a say in his destiny."
   The same missionary testament, of "faith" in America's myths and power, has been spoken by every presidential candidate in memory, more so by Democrats, who start more wars than Republicans. The assassinated Kennedys exemplified this. John F Kennedy referred incessantly to "America's mission in the world" even while affirming it with a secret invasion of Vietnam that caused the deaths of more than two million people. Robert Kennedy had made his name as a ruthless counsel for Senator Joe McCarthy on his witch-hunting committee investigating "un-American activities". The younger Kennedy so admired the infamous McCarthy that he went out of his way to attend his funeral. As attorney general, he backed his brother's atrocious war and when John F Kennedy was assassinated, he used his name to win election as a junior senator for New York. By the spring of 1968 he was fixed in the public mind as a carpet-bagger.
   As a witness to such times and events, I am always struck by self-serving attempts at revising them. The extract from Gordon Brown's book Courage: eight portraits that appeared in the New Statesman of 30 April is a prime example. According to the prime-minister-to-be, Kennedy stood at the pinnacle of "morality", a man "moved to anger and action mostly by injustice, by wasted lives and opportunity denied, by human suffering. [His were] the politics of moral uplift and exhortation." Moreover, his "moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence".
   In truth, Robert Kennedy was known in the United States for his lack of moral courage. Only when Senator Eugene McCarthy led his principled "children's crusade" against the war in Vietnam early in 1968 did Kennedy change his basically pro-war stand. Like Hillary Clinton on Iraq today, he was an opportunist par excellence. Travelling with him, I would hear him borrow from Martin Luther King one day, then use the racist law-and-order code the next.
   No wonder his "legacy" appeals to the Washington-besotted Brown, who has sought and failed to present himself as a politician with enduring moral roots, while pursuing an immoral agenda that has privatised precious public services by stealth and bankrolled a lawless invasion that has left perhaps a million people dead. As if to top this, he wants to spend billions on a Trident nuclear weapon. Moral courage, Brown wrote of his hero, no doubt seeking to be associated with him, "is the one essential quality for those who seek to change a world that yields only grudgingly and often reluctantly to change".
   A man with Blair as his literal partner in crime could not have put it better. All the world is wrong, bar them and their acolytes. "I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will [walk down] the road history has marked for us … building a new world society …" That was Robert Kennedy, quoted by Brown, celebrating a notion of empire whose long trail of blood will surely follow him to Downing Street.
   John Pilger's new film, "The War on Democracy", goes on cinema release on 15 June  www.john #
   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Information Clearing House, "The Kennedy myth rises again," www.information clearinghouse. info/article 17679.htm, dated May 11, 07. ENDS.] [Sighted 13 May 07, for May 14, 07]

• Harry joins the landed gentry; Tramp wins $5 million land grab.  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  
Tramp wins $5 million land grab

Harry joins the landed gentry

   Herald Sun (Melbourne), by James Mills, Daily Mail, p 38, Friday, May 25, 2007
   LONDON: HOME sweet home for Harry Hallowes is a rickety shack surrounded by junk.
   Yet the 70-year-old Irish tramp has become the unlikeliest of property millionaires.
   Mr Hallowes is now the proud owner of a prime plot of land on the edge of Hampstead Heath in London by claiming squatter's rights.
   Because he has lived there longer than the 12 years required by law, the Land Registry has declared him the legal owner.
   The plot near Highgate, which consists of a 27.4m square woodland area around a 3.6m by 2.4m shack, has been Mr Hallowes' home since 1986.
   If the plot was sold with permission for housing, estate agents say it would fetch more than $4.8 million.
   But Mr Hallowes says he has no intention of cashing in, and plans to leave the plot to the royal family when he dies.
  [Picture of man wearing soft hat, seated cornerways on a chair or stool.] Happy as Harry: a legal ruling has made squatter Harry Hallowes a landowner.  
   Yesterday, after a visit to the shops with his plastic bag hanging from an umbrella slung across his shoulder, he asked: "Do I look like the type that would sell up and go jetting all over the world?
   "I'm not into package holidays and all that other modern stuff where they bundle everyone up like a package and send them all over the place.
   "It all sounds quite nauseating. I'm quite happy here with all my friends and all the nature.
   "I'm pretty lazy, if I'm honest. I do a bit of weightlifting and I chop wood for the fire.
   "I don't much care what happens to the land after I'm gone as long as they keep the wildlife. I'm all for wildlife.
   "If I write a will I will leave the land to the royal family. They are the last bastion of refinement and sophistication so they'd know what to do with it.
   "But there are a lot of greedy people behind the scenes who would love to get their hands on this."
  [Picture of a doorway of a shack, "Harry's humble squat."  Below is an aerial picture showing the imposing "Athlone House," with an area circled to show the shack.]  
   His grey hair stained yellow by smoke from his open fire, Mr Hallowes said the only changes he wanted to make were to install running water and electricity in his shack.
   "Water is a problem because I have to use my friends' taps in Highgate," Mr Hallowes said.
   Over the years Mr Hallowes has become well-known in the community, surviving on food handouts and doing odd jobs.
   His friends in the area include Monty Python star and film director Terry Gilliam.
   A spokesman for Gilliam said: "We are delighted by this. Harry is an amazing man, very intelligent, and Terry and his wife have done a lot to help him out over the years."
   Mr Hallowes' squat is in the grounds of Athlone House nursing home.
   Its sale to property developers sparked an attempt to evict Mr Hallowes, which then led to the landmark legal victory. - DAILY MAIL.
   [COMMENT: Much as reformers, environmentalists, and others might sympathise with this legalistic victory, it only proves that the law is an ass.  If the nursing home directors and manager had been both alert and heartless, they could have evicted him years before, thus protecting their title to the land, and their ability to collect all the cash.  Kindness, evidently, is not its own reward!  But, there is a question here of economic social justice. COMMENT ENDS.] [May 25, 07]

• Vizard's $18m coup; Mansion fetches a record.  Australia flag; 


Mansion fetches a record
   Herald Sun (Melbourne), by Craig Binnie and Nicole Lindsay, Page One, Tuesday, May 29, 2007
   MELBOURNE: FORMER TV star and businessman Steve Vizard has sold his Toorak mansion to a mystery buyer for a record $18 million. The house was not on the market when the unknown buyer asked a real estate agent to knock on the door.
   Mr Vizard, 51, is bound by a confidentiality agreement that stops him talking about the sale.
   But the sale of the mansion represents a massive return for the father of five.
   Steve and Sarah Vizard bought the 100-square, two-storey English mansion-style home about five years ago for $5.4 million.
   They bought the block next door with a tennis court for another $1.2 million and spent $1 million on renovations.
   The stunning offer and unusual circumstances has staggered the Vizards, according to friends.
   "When the offer came in it was too good to refuse," a friend told the Herald Sun last night.
   "The offer set everyone back on their heels.
   "It was obviously someone who really wanted it. It was obviously someone rich, but I'm told they are not a household name."
   A friend last night said the real estate agent who doorknocked Sarah Vizard said the potential buyer wanted to inspect the home and could be around within five minutes.
   Several days later the Vizards received the offer.
   "It is a lovely property. The house is beautiful but the setting is gorgeous," the friend said.
   "The yard is a bit like an English country estate in miniature. It has got a tennis court and a pool and an Edna Walling garden and clearly it was perfect for someone with a lot of money.
   "In one way they will be sorry to leave it but when you get an offer like that you don't knock it back."
   Continued Page 4
   [COMMENT: Who said that various writers and Henry George were wrong about the unearned increment of land? COMMENT ENDS.] [May 29, 07]

• Myths of the Global Market 

Myths of the Global Market

   New Internationalist (UK, N. America and Australia), by John McMurtry, pp 34-35, June 2007
   Free markets are often presented as the sole solution to poverty and human development. But the global market is inefficient and life-destructive, writes John McMurtry.
   At the end of 2OO6, the UK-based journal of world economic affairs, The Economist, produced a banner issue on 'Happiness and Economies'. Not surprisingly, the magazine concluded that human happiness and market economies are closely linked. But in arguing the case the lead article unwittingly revealed the market's Achilles heel. Orthodox economics has no means of separating the universal needs of human beings from junk commodities for the masses, or gold toilet-seats for the rich.
   Not even consumers in the developed world are made happier by ever more market commodities. Robert Lane's study The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies shows that human satisfaction actually declines as income and commodity consumption rise beyond need. But the message does not compute to mainstream economists or policymakers.
   Neoclassical economics is based on the premise that market growth produces more happiness as more commodities are bought. If this baseline assumption is false, the paradigm collapses. So the ground shifts to other claims. The Economist, for example, explains that many 'goods' can be 'only enjoyed if others don't' [have them]. The falsehood of the first premise is diverted to the nasty fact that some can only enjoy what they have at the expense of others. In the end all that matters is the willingness to pay if you can afford it. This is the only measure of human welfare that exists in market and neoclassical doctrine.
   A logical person might think that equating what you pay for something with happiness is inane. But the problem is ignored. Instead, supporters argue that the global market is both 'productive and efficient'. This assumption does not hold up either. The global market system produces many times more waste than any economic order in history. In his world-renowned text Economics, Paul Samuelson defines economic efficiency as 'absence of waste'. But, like all economists of the dominant paradigm, Samuelson includes only wastes that cost private enterprises money. So as long as pollution and damages to others can be externalized, it is 'more efficient' - even if gluttonously wasteful. These 'externalities' are kept off the books. That is why depredation of the most basic means of human life - breathable air, water aquifers, the oceans, soil fertility - are ignored by both governments and corporations, both of which operate within the same life-blind model.
   Such an economic calculus is fatal but unquestioned. No principle of business or economics has been developed to distinguish commodities that cause disease from goods that enable people's lives. After 25 years of corporate-led market deregulation, the fall-out is evident. Diseases like cancer increase as chemical carcinogens poison the environment, but are ignored by government food-and-drug overseers, cancer institutes and economists.
   Cigarettes, for example, were recognized as a cause of lung cancer by 1950. Big tobacco steadfastly denied the charge for over 40 years while 160,000 Americans a year died from the disease. Historian Allan Brandt's definitive study, The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America, records the long-term strategy of industry to avoid public intervention at all costs.
   The poisoning of fellow citizens by deregulated water-testing agencies in 1999 shocked Canadians. Yet if the market is free of regulation from the start, the problem may not come to public notice. For example, in 2004 the US derailed a UN Food and Agriculture Organization campaign to educate consumers about healthy and unhealthy foods. The media subsequently ignored a warning by the US Surgeon-General in March 2006 that 'the obesity epidemic is a bigger world problem than terrorism'. Recently corporate food producers in Britain have been campaigning against colour-coded warnings on cereals laden with sugar, salt and fat.
   The market also discriminates against healthful products unless they promise more profits. The British Medical Journal reported in July 2003 that a daily low-cost pill made up of six known drugs resulted in an 80-percent reduction of heart attacks in everyone over 55 - 'a greater impact on the prevention of disease in the Western world than any known intervention'. Pharmaceutical corporations had little interest because the drugs involved were inexpensive and out of patent. Governments fail to produce the pills themselves because they would be pilloried by corporate PR campaigns for 'undermining the free market' - just as public healthcare is still demonized in the US as 'socialist'.
   A tragic macro-spiral unfolds. The more the global market is unregulated, the more it cumulatively despoils and destroys human life and ecological systems. Even the eminent UN Scientific Panel on Climate Change does not connect climate destabilization to global market growth producing ever more industrial gases. Instead, new markets in 'carbon trading' are prescribed - exchangeable rights to pollute for polluting corporations. So the life-blind market mechanisms are extended further. The global spiral downwards continues as long as the public accepts it.
   The global market is driven by private capital-money which competitively seeks to maximize returns to its owners. But these money-stocks are not tangible goods like 'fish stocks' or 'forest stocks'. Money grows by consuming human and natural resources as part of its feeding cycle. So the 'life capital' of society is eroded as private capital accumulates.
   As governments decline into 'the best democracies that money can buy' there is no public authority left to protect the common interest. Our political leaders assume market growth is essential to society's development. So public welfare is sacrificed to 'more global market competitiveness' - and more life-system depredation. To name the causal links remains taboo.
   For example, even long-standing precautionary standards are abandoned as governments hand over hazardous product testing to corporate 'clients'. Business-led public-relations campaigns demand that social programmes be privatized and taxes cut so we can 'compete in the global market'. More pollution, more waste and more unneeded goods? That's just 'giving consumers what they want'. Neoclassical economists tell us the 'invisible hand' of competition ensures the 'social optimum'. This has become the grand narrative of our age. It even appears rigorous and scientific -- until humanity is confronted by global climate destabilization and fossil-fuel exhaustion.
   The fulcrum level of the great myth is that all commodities are 'goods', never 'bads'. The rest is simple. Just add up the sales of the 'goods' and you have the sum of society's happiness and well-being. Production of junk foods, violent video games and fossil-fuel leisure machines all count as much in the National Accounts as organic foods, clean water or solar-powered electricity. The macro-pattern is undeniable but unspeakable in economic, business and media discussions.
   If we really want to steer out of the life-system meltdown, market controls are an economic imperative. But how best to do that if the universal necessities that people need are not yet defined? Professional economics sees only 'market demand', while liberals and postmodernists equate human needs to individual wants. But if the demand for a private weekend jet counts more than the need of millions of African villagers for clean water, then the market produces the weekend jet. The government might even subsidize the company that makes the jets and keep the price of jet fuel low. Meanwhile, thousands of children die daily from water-related illnesses. The truth is what sells.
   The deepest confusion is the equation of private money stocks to 'capital'. Real capital is wealth that produces more wealth - from ecological services and social infrastructures to scientific knowledge and technologies that produce life goods. All have been subjugated to money-capital which produces nothing. Few recognize that money-capital is not real capital, but demand on real capital, with no bounds. So every form of human, natural and social capital is sacrificed to the growth of money-capital - concentrated in the possession of about 2 per cent of the population who invariably have more than the bottom 90 per cent. This is waggishly called 'wealth creation'. In fact, it is not even an economic order. It is a system of predatory waste.
   Anthropologists talk of 'cultural insanity' but avoid the present form of it. Jared Diamond's recent book Collapse is a case in point. He studiously blinkers out money-capital, which is the main driver of this predicted collapse. Even critics like Diamond fail to see that the most basic formations of life-capital are off the radar of the global market.
   Life-capital is the wealth of human and ecological life that reproduces and grows in any sane economic order. A sustainable mantle of topsoil, the phytoplankton base of marine life, the biodiverse habitats of species reproduction, the biosphere itself - are all strata of life-capital. The human needs served are all recognized by one principle: whatever our life capacities are reduced without (whether clean air or healthcare) is a life necessity. Whatever does not enable and support these life capacities is not 'economic' in the most fundamental sense.
   There is one set of life goods that is required by all peoples without which they suffer or die:
  • Atmospheric goods - breathable air, open space and light
  • Bodily goods - clean water, nourishing foods and waste disposal
  • Home and habitat-shelter and a life-enhancing environment
  • Care through time - love, safety and healthcare
  • Human culture - music, language, art, play and sport
  • Human vocation - meaningful work of value to others
  • Economic justice - right to enjoy these life goods and obligation to help provide them
       We conserve the conditions that make these possible or we die one step at a time. Past civilizations from the Sumerians, Khmers and Aztecs to Hitler's '1,000-year Reich' went extinct through life-blind worship of their own systems. We travel the same path. The difference is that we know what they did not. We have economic instruments like public infrastructures, life-protective laws and standards, green and social taxes and binding trade regulators. Above all, we have the world itself to lose.
       John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, Ontario.
       [RECAPITULATION: … new markets in 'carbon trading' are prescribed - exchangeable rights to pollute for polluting corporations. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The Insiders have worked it all out! ENDS.] [June 2007]

    • Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007. 

    Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

       Project Censored (USA), www.project censored. org/censored_ 2007/index.htm , E-mail of June 15, 2007
    1. Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
    2. Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
    3. Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
    4. Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
    5. High-Tech Genocide in Congo
    6. Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
    7. US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
    8. Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
    9. The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
    10. Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
    11. Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
    12. Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
    13. New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
    14. Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
    15. Chemical Industry is EPA's Primary Research Partner
    16. Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
    17. Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
    18. Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
    19. Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
    20. Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
    21. Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
    22. $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
    23. US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
    24. Cheney's Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
    25. US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Garan Lewis. ENDS.] [Jun 15, 07]

    • Federal MPs get 6.7pc pay increase.  Australia flag; 

    Federal MPs get 6.7pc pay increase

       The West Australian, By ANDREW PROBYN and SHANE WRIGHT, Page One, Wednesday, June 20, 2007
       CANBERRA: John Howard has secured a $20,700 annual pay rise and backbenchers an extra $8000 as a result of a Remuneration Tribunal decision to award Federal MPs a salary increase of 6.7 per cent, more than double the national inflation rate.
       It will take the Prime Minister's salary to $330,000 and a backbencher's base salary to $126,920.
       The West Australian understands that the tribunal's decision, which will flow on to the pay of State and Territory MPs, judges and magistrates, was not scheduled to be made public until late on Friday, reducing the chance of it receiving media scrutiny.
       The average full-tune wage in WA is $59,404 a year, or $1142 a week. An ordinary backbencher will now earn more than twice that at $2438 a week while Mr Howard will collect almost six times as much at $6345.
       Deputy Prune Minister Mark Vaile receives a $16,300 pay rise, taking his minimum wage to $260,000, while Treasurer Peter Costello will be paid $237,339. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's pay increases $14,743, to $234,800.
       Federal MPs' pay has risen 48 per cent in eight years. In 1999, a backbencher was paid $85,500. Now the same MP gets $41,409 more.
       None of this includes the tens of thousands of dollars MPs and senators receive in travel, staying-away-from-home and postal allowances.
       The tribunal said its decision took into account the 4.2 per cent increase in the wage price index, which reflects the general lift in wages, and last year's minimum wage decision by the Australian Fair Pay Commission.
       But in an unexpected bonus for MPs, the tribunal also granted a 2.5 per cent "discretionary" increase.
       Greens leader Bob Brown said the pay rise was unjustifiable and should be overruled by Parliament. "While 1.2 million pensioners have had no real increase in their meagre $219 per week since Howard came to power, MPs are getting more than $150 a week on top of the $2000 a week already paid," Senator Brown said.
       "On top of that, MPs qualify for the extra tax cuts for the rich in the Costello Budget."
       Under the tax cuts announced by Mr Costello in last month's Budget, Mr Howard will save $2750 by the 2008-09 financial year.
       The 1.2 million workers who rely on Federal minimum wages are likely to get their next pay riseon the eve of this year's Federal election under a timetable revealed by the Australian Fair Pay Commission. #
       [RECAPITULATION: … Federal MPs a salary increase of 6.7 per cent, more than double the national inflation rate. … the tribunal also granted a 2.5 per cent "discretionary" increase. ENDS.] [Jun 20, 07]

    • Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, to Mansion House.   

    Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, to Mansion House

       H. M. Treasury (United Kingdom), http://www. hm-treasury. 80/2014. htm , by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, June 20, 2007
       20 June 2007
       Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, to Mansion House
       Check against delivery
       My Lord Mayor, Mr Governor, my Lords, Aldermen, Mr Recorder, Sheriffs, ladies and gentlemen.
       Over the ten years that I have had the privilege of addressing you as Chancellor, I have been able year by year to record how the City of London has risen by your efforts, ingenuity and creativity to become a new world leader.
       Now today over 40 per cent of the world's foreign equities are traded here, more than New York:
  • over 30 per cent of the world's currencies exchanges take place here, more than New York and Tokyo combined,
  • while New York and Tokyo are reliant mainly on their large American and Asian domestic markets, 80 per cent of our business is international, and
  • in a study last week of the top 50 financial cities, the City of London came first.
       So I congratulate you Lord Mayor and the City of London on these remarkable achievements, an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London.
       And I believe the lesson we learn from the success of the City has ramifications far beyond the City itself - that we are leading because we are first in putting to work exactly that set of qualities that is needed for global success:
  • openness to the world and global reach,
  • pioneers of free trade and its leading defenders,
  • with a deep and abiding belief in open markets,
  • champions of diversity in ownership and talent, and of flexibility and adaptability to change, and
  • a basic faith that from wherever it comes and from whatever background, what matters is that the talent, ingenuity and potential of people is harnessed to drive performance.
  • And I believe it will be said of this age, the first decades of the 21st century, that out of the greatest restructuring of the global economy, perhaps even greater than the industrial revolution, a new world order was created.
       When my predecessors spoke to this event a century or more ago, the world order of the nineteenth century they described was defined by the balance of military power, and saw European empires dividing the world between them from 1945 to 1990 when my predecessors of the post war years spoke to you. The world order was defined by the high-stake stand-off of the cold war years, these were orders ultimately reflected by political weight and military strength.
       Today with Asia already out-producing Europe, India and China are becoming part of this new order, principally because of their economic strength and potential.
       And while military and political power retain their status, future strength will depend much more on economic strength.
       Indeed success will flow to, and the next stage of globalisation will be driven by those countries:
  • which are open and not closed, stable, pro competition and flexible, able to adjust quickly to change, and
  • can as a result find - through their social and political cultures - the best means of developing and creating wealth through the scientific, creative, and entrepreneurial talent of their people, not least through being world class in education and skills.
       So why am I more optimistic than ever about the future of our islands, just one per cent of the world's population, in this new era of globalisation?
       By your efforts Britain is already second to none:
  • for our openness, pro Europe, pro free trade,
  • a world leader in stability, and we will entrench that stability, by ensuring Britain's macroeconomic framework remains a world benchmark, and
  • we are flexible, and in being vigilant against complacency, we must be, as I believe we are ready to become even more flexible.
       So let me say as I begin my new job, I want to continue to work with you in helping you do yours, listening to what you say, always recognising your international success is critical to that of Britain's overall and considering together the things that we must do - and, just as important, things we should not do - to maintain our competitiveness:
  • enhancing a risk based regulatory approach, as we did in resisting pressure for a British Sarbannes-Oxley after Enron and Worldcom,
  • maintaining our competitive tax regime, and having cut our main rate of corporation tax to again the lowest in the G8, today we are publishing the next stage of implementing Sir David Varney's recommendations for a more risk based approach to the administration of the system, with greater certainty on tax matters when it's needed most;
  • and ensuring a modern planning system, that balances our economic and environmental needs with a more predictable and accountable decision making process, including that for major infrastructure projects.
       And because I recognise the benefits Crossrail would bring to the City, we are using every effort to find a solution to its affordability. I will ensure this work is stepped up but as you know the only financing solution that will work will require all parties - public and private - contributing significantly.
       But most importantly of all in the new world order, as the City bears witness, Britain's great natural resource are our people - resourceful, enterprising, innovative - the foundation on which we will compete successfully.
       The financial services sector in Britain and the City of London at the centre of it, is a great example of a highly skilled, high value added, talent driven industry that shows how we can excel in a world of global competition. Britain needs more of the vigour, ingenuity and aspiration that you already demonstrate that is the hallmark of your success.
       We are unquestionably an enormously talented and creative country. Historically, we've been one of the most inventive nations in the world. And as the City shows with its high skills, if we are to be what I want Britain to be - the great global success story of this century - our first priority, and this is the theme of my final speech to you as Chancellor, must be to use the talents of every individual in our country far better than we do today by ensuring we become world class in education.
       But if we fail to equip people successfully for the future and then as a result of them being left behind by our competitors, they start to see themselves as the victims not beneficiaries of globalisation, I have no doubt that open markets, free trade and flexibility will be challenged by protectionist pressures.
       Indeed this is what we are already seeing in the USA, parts of Europe and Asia.
       So the choice is for me clear: invest in education, to prevent protectionism.
       It is investment in education that when combined with free trade, open markets and flexibility makes for the virtuous circle of an inclusive globalisation:
  • the key to prosperity for all as well as to opportunity for all,
  • the key to making globalisation work, and
  • to become world class in education is our mission.
       And so I believe it is time for all of us, and particularly businesses who recruit skilled people, to usher in a national debate on how we, Britain, can move to becoming world class in education.
       But for me the necessity for this national debate is fundamental. Because unless we widely engage people in the debate about being world class in education - and show how people themselves must now be involved in an endeavour that is essential to secure our common future prosperity - then that future prosperity is at risk.
       Let me give one example.
       Today there are in Britain 5 million unskilled people. By 2020 we will need only just over half a million. So we must create up to five million new skilled jobs and to fill them we must persuade five million unskilled men and women to gain skills, the biggest transformation in the skills of our economy for more than a century.
       And we will need 50 per cent more people of graduate skills. Yet, while China and India are turning out 4 million graduates a year, we produce just 400,000.
       Quite simply in Britain today there is too much potential untapped, too much talent wasted, too much ability unrealised.
       And so despite all the progress we have made, there is no place in the new Britain we seek for complacency and no room for inadequate skills, low aspirations, a soft approach to discipline or for a culture of the second best.
       Other countries aren't standing still, rather they are pushing forward the frontiers - showing what a 21st century education system can offer. There are many good examples:
  • in Finland every teacher now has a masters degree and many have PhDs,
  • in Ireland 55 per cent now go on to higher education and their target is for 90% to stay in education until 18,
  • in France every pupil now learns a second language in primary school, and
  • in Singapore the consistently high quality of classroom teaching has led them to be world leaders in maths and science.
       The global competition to create highly skilled, value added economies is fierce and can only get fiercer.
       I am passionate about education because I want a Britain where there is no cap on ambition, no ceiling on talent, no limit to where your potential will take you and how far you can rise. A Britain of talent unleashed, driving our economy and future prosperity.
       And because schools are the foundation, we need to ensure all schools are committed to high standards and are at the same time centres of creativity, innovation and enjoyment. Ready to challenge and inspire - fostering scholarship, inquisitiveness and independence of thought, teaching facts and imparting knowledge - of course. But doing far more than that - nourishing all forms of talent - because that is the future of our nation.
       The foundation of our new approach is that for the first time young people in Britain will be offered education to 18 and for the first time also a clear pathway from school to a career: either through college or university and then a profession, or through an apprenticeship and skilled work. Diplomas such as engineering or for others a young apprenticeship with an employer. For those who need more support we will provide pre-apprenticeship courses as a stepping stone to a full apprenticeship of which there will, over time, be 500,000.
       And I believe that taking private and public investments together, advanced industrial countries will have in future aspire to invest not 5-6-7-8 per cent of their national income, on education science and innovation but 10 per cent, one pound in every ten.
       And to mobilise all the energies of our country - the Secretary of State for Education and I propose a National Council for Educational Excellence - bringing together leaders in business, higher education, and the voluntary sector, alongside school heads, teachers and parents, all who can play their part.
       It is good for our country that we have businesses involved in some schools, and I can congratulate companies who are. In future every single secondary school and primary school should have a business partner and I invite you all to participate, every secondary school should have a university or college partner, every school should work directly with the arts and cultural and sporting communities in their area, every school should work with other local schools to raise standards for all.
       I am pleased that Sir Terry Leahy, Sir John Rose, Richard Lambert, Bob Wigley and Damon Buffini have agreed to join the Council. The Council will be advised by Sir Michael Barber, Julia Cleverdon, Head of Business in the Community, has agreed to report on how more businesses, small medium and large, can play a bigger part in support of our schools.
       We have asked Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Exeter University to report on what more universities and colleges can do to help our schools. We have asked Edward Gould, former chair of the Independent Schools Council and Steve Munday, Principal of Comberton Village College to work jointly to identify how in areas such as sports science and languages private and state funded schools can work together to raise standards to the benefit of all.
       We would like this new Council to promote national debate, that I invite you to be part of, about our ambitions for our education system in the years to 2020: today we invest £5,500 in the education of a pupil in the public sector and £8,000 or more in the private sector, 50 per cent per pupil less, and my aim is, over time, to raise our public investment towards that £8,000 figure.
       First, our future education policy must and will champion aspiration and excellence with a renewed focus on standards and rigour in teaching methods, particularly in literacy and by reviewing fundamentally the teaching of numeracy.
       So my proposal is for a far-reaching new nationwide programme that will empower head teachers to provide individual guidance and support for every child in Britain:
  • for each pupil, a personal learning guide or coach to help them make the right curriculum choices and to act as an easy point of contact for parents,
  • to back this up, for pupils at risk of falling behind, early intervention and special support to help them catch up. This is already underway with the 'Every Child a Reader' programme for literacy, which is now being matched with the 'Every Chid Counts' initiative for numeracy, alongside one-to one tuition for up to another 600,000 children,
  • for all secondary school pupils, starting with a pilot this year, access to after-school small group tuition in subjects areas they have special interest in,
  • for pupils who show a special aptitude or talent, extra support through growing our gifted and talented programme,
  • for young people at risk of disillusion or dropping out, a mentor - often from a local business - to help them raise their sights, and
  • to ensure that those on low incomes receive the support they need, I would also like to pilot a new learning credit which they, their parents and the school can agree will be spent on extra provision in order to make the most of their potential.
       And because this personalised approach to learning is at the heart of the next stage of education reform, we need a renewed focus on setting by ability in the key subjects essential to our competitiveness like maths, English, science and languages as the norm in all our schools; we need pupils increasingly assessed on these subjects by stage, when they are ready to move to the next level; and we need schools held to account for ensuring that every child makes progress.
       Second, in order to achieve excellence in the classroom, future educational policy must and will champion greater diversity, the best way of both encouraging innovation and meeting the different and individual needs of every child. Already we are close to every school being either a specialist, trust or academy school - like the City of London's own academy in Bermondsey I recently visited with Lord Adonis, and applaud and like so many is flourishing. And we will now consider reduced cash contributions for universities and colleges to make it easier for them to play a fuller part in the expansion of academies.
       And we should also be willing to consider new proposals for: combined all-through primary and secondary schools, employer-led skills academies to transform the quality of vocational provision, and studio schools that motivate dis-engaged pupils by allowing them to learn the curriculum alongside a chance to work in and run a real business based in the school.
       Third, future education policy must and will champion excellence in teaching. Excellent standards require excellent teachers and hence greater status and respect for the difficult job they do. So we need to give heads the freedom they need to lead schools and respect the professionalism of our teachers - helping them to train and retrain, and become expert tutors and subject specialists. We also need to attract more of the most inspirational graduates from the best universities into our schools. So we will expand our 'Teach First' programme for the best graduates and complement it with a new 'Teach Next' programme, encouraging men and women of talent to move mid or late career into teaching.
       And fourth, future education policy will champion discipline. I know parents and employers expect us to do more to help schools recognise this vital role in developing children and young people and they are right to do so. I want teachers to be in control in every classroom, so we will work with the profession not just to ensure that teachers can make maximum use of tough new powers, but to emphasise the priority of setting boundaries on what is acceptable and unacceptable, I will ask Ofsted to consider raising the bar on what is satisfactory and unsatisfactory behaviour. And we will take further steps not just to stamp out bullying in and outside the school but give parents rights of appeal.
       And alongside discipline there are broader educational goals that have had too little attention: good behaviour, decent manners, the ability to communicate well and work in a team - these soft skills that help a young person's character develop, that are critical for their employability, and are the essential complement to the hard skills they gain from higher standards.
       And we'll do this by encouraging parents to work with schools and organisations in the community that have a reputation for fostering children's character, like the cadets and skill-force; and by building a new offer of national youth community service for young people.
       I have spoken about education this evening.
       Only with investment in education can open markets, free trade and flexibility succeed.
       And the prize is enormous. If we can show people that by equipping themselves for the future they can be the winners not losers in globalisation, beneficiaries of this era of fast moving change, then people will welcome open, flexible, free trade and pro-competition economies as an emancipating force.
       If we can become the education nation, great days are ahead of us.
       While never the biggest in size, nor the mightiest in military hardware, I believe we are - as the city's success shows - capable of being one of the greatest success stories in the new global economy.
       Already strong in this young century, but greater days are ahead of us. Britain the education nation, Britain a world leader for its talents and skills, So tonight in celebrating the success of the talents, innovations and achievements of the city let us look forward to working together for even greater success in the future. #

  •    [RECAPITULATION: Now today over 40 per cent of the world's foreign equities are traded here, more than New York: *** And because I recognise the benefits Crossrail would bring to the City, we are using every effort to find a solution to its affordability. I will ensure this work is stepped up but as you know the only financing solution that will work will require all parties - public and private - contributing significantly. *** things we should not do - to maintain our competitiveness:
  • enhancing a risk based regulatory approach, as we did in resisting pressure for a British Sarbannes-Oxley after Enron and Worldcom,
  • maintaining our competitive tax regime, and having cut our main rate of corporation tax to again the lowest in the G8, today we are publishing the next stage of implementing Sir David Varney's recommendations for a more risk based approach to the administration of the system, with greater certainty on tax matters when it's needed most; ... ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: This is senselessness from the highest civil authorities, even though symptoms of impending collapse were being revealed.  In the months that followed there was a "run" on a British bank, saved by a government bale-out, then in 2008 threats to the solvency of banks in various countries, and the collapse (no bale-out) of Lehman Brothers, a famous New York financial house.  In September and October 2008 there followed governments furiously creating credit out of nothing to save financiers around the globe, and articles extolling Depression President Franklyn D. Roosevelt !  "We have nothing to fear but -- fear itself!" COMMENT ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Michael P, Oct 14, 2008, after the global financial meltdown (caused partly by "risk-taking"), URL contained in "This is what denial does" http://www. monbiot. com/ archives/ 2008/10/14/ this-is- what-denial- does/ by George Monbiot, in The Guardian (London), October 14, 2008.  In this he wrote: "The credit crunch is petty when compared to the nature crunch.  The two crises have the same cause. In both cases, those who exploit the resource have demanded impossible rates of return and invoked debts that can never be repaid. In both cases we denied the likely consequences. *** The obvious example is Easter Island, where society disintegrated soon after the population reached its highest historical numbers, the last trees were cut down and the construction of stone monuments peaked." ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Silent Spring and The Population Bomb ought to be part of every economics course in every university, because pressure on the world's environment is of top importance, no matter what religionists or starry-eyed reformists proclaim. ENDS.
       [LOOK BACK to 2004: Gordon Brown speech, June 16, 2004, http://www. hm-treasury. 1534.htm: "... in budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers, ..." ENDS.]
    [June 20, 2007]
    • CIA Releases Two Collections of Historical Documents.  [Plans to assassinate and overthrow leaders, Watergate, etc. ] United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    CIA Releases Two Collections of Historical Documents

       Central Intelligence Agency (U.S.A.), news-information/ press-releases- statements/ cia-releases- two-collections- of-historical- documents.html ; Press Release, June 26, 2007
       UNITED STATES of AMERICA: Today the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released two sets of previously classified historical documents.
       "The CIA fully understands that it has an obligation to protect the nation's secrets, but it also has a responsibility to be as open as possible," said CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. "I've often spoken about our social contract with the American people, and the declassification of historical documents is an important part of that effort."
       The first collection, which some call the "Family Jewels," consists of almost 700 pages and was compiled in 1973 under Director of Central Intelligence James Schlesinger, who asked CIA employees to report activities they thought might be inconsistent with the Agency's charter.
       In 1974, the CIA provided the documents to Congress. They were exhaustively reviewed by the Presidentially appointed Rockefeller Commission and by the Church and Pike Committees in Congress. Parts of the collection were released to the public in subsequent years.
       The release of this collection answers a Freedom of Information Act request from 1992. In the past year, the Agency has made a concerted effort to close out its old cases under the law. Since October 2006 alone, the Agency has reduced the number of FOIA cases older than 5 years old by more than half.
       The second collection, the CAESAR-POLO-ESAU papers, consists of 147 documents and 11,000 pages of analysis from 1953 to 1973. The CAESAR and POLO papers studied Soviet and Chinese leadership hierarchies, respectively, and the ESAU papers were developed by analysts to inform CIA assessments on Sino-Soviet relations.
       The documents are available online at .
       [COMMENT: Breaching ethics and the law for years.  Then he tells us they have a compact with the American public! ENDS.] [Jun 26, 07]

    CIA hired mafia to kill Castro.  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Congo Kinshasa / Democratic Republic of Congo / Zaire (formerly Belgian) flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Dominica flag;  

    CIA hired mafia to kill Castro

       The West Australian, www.thewest. , p 32, Thursday, June 28, 2007
       WASHINGTON: The CIA offered $US150,000 to mafia figures to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro in one of several plots against foreign leaders detailed in 693 pages of classified US documents released yesterday.
       Other CIA targets described in a collection of sensitive documents the CIA calls its "family jewels" included Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba and Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.
       The documents also chronicle activities including illegal wiretaps and hunts for spies at political conventions. Releasing them, CIA director Michael Hayden said they included "reminders of some things the CIA should not have done".
       A long memorandum describes the recruiting of wanted mafia figures to assassinate Dr Castro.
       The man chosen for the "sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action" was Johnny Roselli, who was actually the mafia's head of Cuba operations Santo Trafficante. He recruited a Sam Gold to help. The CIA found that Mr Gold was actually Salvatore "Momo" Giancana, head of the Chicago mafia and "successor to Al Capone". Both were on the US attorney-general's 10 most-wanted fugitives list.
       The memorandum says: "It was to be made clear to Roselli that the US Government was not, and should not, become aware of this operation."
       The mafiosi recommended against the use of firearms to kill Dr Castro and suggested instead "some type of potent pill that could be placed in his food or drink".
       "Sam indicated that he had a prospective nominee in the person of Juan Orta, a Cuban official who had been receiving kick-back payments from gambling interests, who still had access to Dr Castro and was in a financial bind," the document said.
      [Picture] Plot survivor: A bid to poison Fidel Castro failed when the assassin got cold feet, the CIA papers show..    Picture: Associated Press  
       "Roselli gave Orta the pills but, after several weeks of reported attempts, Orta apparently got cold feet and asked out of the assignment.
       "Neither of these individuals was ever paid out of agency funds."
       Another memorandum recounts CIA planning to assassinate Mr Lumumba, then prime minister of the Republic of Congo. Poison was to have been used. A Belgian commission later attributed Mr Lumumba's murder in 1961 to local rivals who had imprisoned him.
       Mr Lumumba had been overthrown in a coup in 1960 long believed backed by the CIA.
       Also revealed were plans to assassinate Mr Trujillo, who was shot dead by political opponents in 1961.
       In 1972, CIA director Thomas Colby offered a carefully worded disclaimer in response to a letter from Lloyd Shearer, of Parade magazine, who asked about direct CIA involvement in assassinations.
       "I can say, under oath if need be, that the CIA has never carried out a political assassination nor has it induced, employed or suggested one which occurred," he wrote.
       The "family jewels" files were assembled by then-director of the CIA James Schlesinger after the agency was implicated in the Watergate scandal in 1974. They also detail surveillance including opening the personal mail of Vietnam War opponent and actor Jane Fonda.
       Mr Hayden said: "The documents provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency."
       He said he had decided to release them in response to a 1992 Freedom of Information Act request in an attempt to convince critics that the agency embraced openness when possible.
       "Internal reforms and oversight after the Watergate disclosures have given the CIA a far stronger place in our democratic system," he said. #
       [COMMENT: The FOI application was made in 1992, and the facts revealed about 15 years later in 2007!  Ain't demahcracy grand!  Obviously, the CIA has NOT embraced openness, nor is it democratic.  And that says a lot about the U.S. Establishment, and the voters.  Most of these facts have been known or hinted at for years through news reports, and books published by disgusted ex-CIA and State Department operatives, such as Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, 1974, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. ENDS.] [Jun 28, 07]

    • Double agent cleared KGB of involvement in Kennedy killing   [Nosenko illegally imprisoned by U.S. 1962-65.] United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    Double agent cleared KGB of involvement in Kennedy killing

       The West Australian, p 32, Thursday, June 28, 2007
       UNITED STATES: International controversy over CIA extrajudicial prisons and harsh interrogation of terror suspects might have been foreshadowed by an infamous case described in the "family jewels" documents.
       In 1962, the CIA recruited a Soviet intelligence officer named Yuriy Ivonovich Nosenko in Geneva. After serving as a CIA spy for two years, Mr Nosenko said he had knowledge of the KGB's file on Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of president John F. Kennedy, and wanted to defect. He was flown to Washington a week later.
       According to a memorandum in the files, the CIA confined and interrogated him until August 1965 in a Maryland safe house. Then he was moved to a specially built "jail" in a remote area, the files show.
       Interrogators were convinced that Mr Nosenko was a double-agent and questions persist today.
       But after "a long period of hostile interrogation" Mr Nosenko never changed his core story - that the KGB played no role in the Kennedy assassination.
       Concerned about its treatment of Mr Nosenko, the agency moved him in 1967 and freed him soon after.
       "It soon became apparent that Nosenko was bona fide," according to the memorandum, which goes on to say that the Russian was given a new identity, put on the CIA payroll and married an American.
       The document quotes Mr Nosenko as saying: "While I regret my three years of incarceration, I have no bitterness and now understand how it could happen."
       Under its charter, the CIA is not allowed to carry out domestic intelligence-gathering. But the files include several cases of spying on Americans, including student movements, citizens opposed to the Vietnam War and prominent journalists.
      [Picture] Assassinated: President Kennedy.   #
       [COMMENT: "The land of the free" held him imprisoned, without trial, from 1962 until 1967 (which seems longer than three years!)  And he had offered to help them! ENDS.] [Jun 28, 07]

    • Imminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities. 

    Imminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities

       ZNet, content/ showarticle. cfm?SectionID= 22&ItemID=13171 , Thanks to Information Clearing House, www. information clearinghouse. info/article 17941.htm , By Noam Chomsky, June 27, 2007
       Regrettably, there are all too many candidates that qualify as imminent and very serious crises. Several should be high on everyone's agenda of concern, because they pose literal threats to human survival: the increasing likelihood of a terminal nuclear war, and environmental disaster, which may not be too far removed. However, I would like to focus on narrower issues, those that are of greatest concern in the West right now. I will be speaking primarily of the United States, which I know best, and it is the most important case because of its enormous power. But as far as I can ascertain, Europe is not very different.
       The area of greatest concern is the Middle East. There is nothing novel about that. I often have to arrange talks years in advance. If I am asked for a title, I suggest "The Current Crisis in the Middle East." It has yet to fail. There's a good reason: the huge energy resources of the region were recognized by Washington sixty years ago as a "stupendous source of strategic power," the "strategically most important area of the world," and "one of the greatest material prizes in world history."[1] Control over this stupendous prize has been a primary goal of U.S. policy ever since, and threats to it have naturally aroused enormous concern.
       For years it was pretended that the threat was from the Russians, the routine pretext for violence and subversion all over the world. In the case of the Middle East, we do not have to consider this pretext, since it was officially abandoned. When the Berlin Wall fell, the first Bush administration released a new National Security Strategy, explaining that everything would go as before but within a new rhetorical framework. The massive military system is still necessary, but now because of the "technological sophistication of third world powers"–which at least comes closer to the truth–the primary threat, worldwide, has been indigenous nationalism. The official document explained further that the United States would maintain its intervention forces aimed at the Middle East, where "the threat to our interests" that required intervention "could not be laid at the Kremlin's door," contrary to decades of fabrication. [2] As is normal, all of this passed without comment.
       The most serious current problem in the minds of the population, by far, is Iraq. And the easy winner in the competition for the country that is the most feared is Iran, not because Iran really poses a severe threat, but because of a drumbeat of government-media propaganda. That is a familiar pattern. The most recent example is Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was virtually announced in September 2002. As we now know, the U.S.-British invasion was already underway in secret. In that month, Washington initiated a huge propaganda campaign, with lurid warnings by Condoleezza Rice and others that the next message from Saddam Hussein would be a mushroom cloud in New York City. Within a few weeks, the government-media propaganda barrage had driven Americans completely off the international spectrum. Saddam may have been despised almost everywhere, but it was only in the United States that a majority of the population were terrified of what he might do to them, tomorrow. Not surprisingly, support for the war correlated very closely with such fears. That has been achieved before, in amazing ways during the Reagan years, and there is a long and illuminating earlier history. But I will keep to the current monster being crafted by the doctrinal system, after a few words about Iraq.
       There is a flood of commentary about Iraq, but very little reporting. Journalists are mostly confined to fortified areas in Baghdad, or embedded within the occupying army. That is not because they are cowards or lazy, but because it is simply too dangerous to be anywhere else. That has not been true in earlier wars. It is an astonishing fact that the United States and Britain have had more trouble running Iraq than the Nazis had in occupied Europe, or the Russians in their East European satellites, where the countries were run by local civilians and security forces, with the iron fist poised if anything went wrong but usually in the background. In contrast, the United States has been unable to establish an obedient client regime in Iraq, under far easier conditions.
       Putting aside doctrinal blinders, what should be done in Iraq? Before answering, we should be clear about some basic principles. The major principle is that an invader has no rights, only responsibilities. The first responsibility is to pay reparations. The second responsibility is to follow the will of the victims. There is actually a third responsibility: to bring criminals to trial, but that obligation is so remote from the imperial mentality of Western culture that I will put it aside.
       The responsibility to pay reparations to Iraqis goes far beyond the crime of aggression and its terrible aftermath. The United States and Britain have been torturing the population of Iraq for a long time. In recent history, both governments strongly supported Saddam Hussein's terrorist regime through the period of his worst crimes, and long after the end of the war with Iran. Iran finally capitulated, recognizing that it could not fight the United States, which was, by then, openly participating in Saddam's aggression–something that Iranians have surely not forgotten, even if Westerners have. Dismissing history is always a convenient stance for those who hold the clubs, but their victims usually prefer to pay attention to the real world. After the Iran-Iraq war, Washington and London continued to provide military equipment to their friend Saddam, including means to develop weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Iraqi nuclear engineers were even being brought to the United States for instruction in developing nuclear weapons in 1989, long after Saddam's worst atrocities and Iran's capitulation.
       Immediately after the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and the United Kingdom returned to their support for Saddam when they effectively authorized him to use heavy military equipment to suppress a Shi'ite uprising that might well have overthrown the tyrant. The reasons were publicly explained. The New York Times reported that there was a "strikingly unanimous view" among the United States and its allies, Britain and Saudi Arabia, that "whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered the West and the region a better hope for his country's stability than did those who have suffered his repression"; the term "stability" is a code word for "following orders." [3] New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman explained that "the best of all worlds" for Washington would be an "iron-fisted military junta" ruling Iraq just the way Saddam did. But lacking that option, Washington had to settle for second-best: Saddam himself. An unthinkable option–then and now–is that Iraqis should rule Iraq independently of the United States.
       Then followed the murderous sanctions regime imposed by the United States and Britain, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, devastated Iraqi civilian society, strengthened the tyrant, and forced the population to rely on him for survival. The sanctions probably saved Saddam from the fate of other vicious tyrants, some quite comparable to him, who were overthrown from within despite strong support from the United States and United Kingdom to the end of their bloody rule: Ceausescu, Suharto, and quite a rogues gallery of others, to which new names are being added regularly. Again, all of this is boring ancient history for those who hold the clubs, but not for their victims, or for people who prefer to understand the world. All of those actions, and much more, call for reparations, on a massive scale, and the responsibility extends to others as well. But the deep moral-intellectual crisis of imperial culture prevents any thought of such topics as these.
       The second responsibility is to obey the will of the population. British and U.S. polls provide sufficient evidence about that. The most recent polls find that 87 percent of Iraqis want a "concrete timeline for US withdrawal," up from 76 percent in 2005. [4] If the reports really mean Iraqis, as they say, that would imply that virtually the entire population of Arab Iraq, where the U.S. and British armies are deployed, wants a firm timetable for withdrawal. I doubt that one would have found comparable figures in occupied Europe under the Nazis, or Eastern Europe under Russian rule.
       Bush-Blair and associates declare, however, that there can be no timetable for withdrawal. That stand in part reflects the natural hatred for democracy among the powerful, often accompanied by eloquent calls for democracy. The calls for democracy moved to center stage after the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so a new motive had to be invented for the invasion. The president announced the doctrine to great acclaim in November 2003, at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington. He proclaimed that the real reason for the invasion was not Saddam's weapons programs, as Washington and London had insistently claimed, but rather Bush's messianic mission to promote democracy in Iraq, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The media and prominent scholars were deeply impressed, relieved to discover that the "liberation of Iraq" is perhaps the "most noble" war in history, as leading liberal commentators announced–a sentiment echoed even by critics, who objected that the "noble goal" may be beyond our means, and those to whom we are offering this wonderful gift may be too backward to accept it. That conclusion was confirmed a few days later by U.S. polls in Baghdad. Asked why the United States invaded Iraq, some agreed with the new doctrine hailed by Western intellectuals: 1 percent agreed that the goal was to promote democracy. Another 5 percent said that the goal was to help Iraqis. [5] Most of the rest took for granted that the goals were the obvious ones that are unmentionable in polite society–the strategic-economic goals we readily attribute to enemies, as when Russia invaded Afghanistan or Saddam invaded Kuwait, but are unmentionable when we turn to ourselves.
       But rejection of the popular will in Iraq goes far beyond the natural fear of democracy on the part of the powerful. Simply consider the policies that are likely to be pursued by an independent and more or less democratic Iraq. Iraqis may have no love for Iran, but they would doubtlessly prefer friendly relations with their powerful neighbor. The Shi'ite majority already has ties to Iran and has been moving to strengthen them. Furthermore, even limited sovereignty in Iraq has encouraged efforts by the harshly repressed Shi'ite population across the border in Saudi Arabia to gain basic rights and perhaps autonomy. That is where most of Saudi Arabia's oil happens to be.
       Such developments might lead to a loose Shi'ite alliance controlling the world's major energy resources and independent of Washington, the ultimate nightmare in Washington–except that it might get worse: the alliance might strengthen its economic and possibly even military ties with China. The United States can intimidate Europe: when Washington shakes its fist, leading European business enterprises pull out of Iran. But China has a three-thousand-year history of contempt for the barbarians: they refuse to be intimidated.
       That is the basic reason for Washington's strategic concerns with regard to China: not that it is a military threat, but that it poses the threat of independence. If that threat is unacceptable for small countries like Cuba or Vietnam, it is certainly so for the heartland of the most dynamic economic region in the world, the country that has just surpassed Japan in possession of the world's major financial reserves and is the world's fastest growing major economy. China's economy is already about two-thirds the size of that of the United States, by the correct measures, and if current growth rates persist, it is likely to close that gap in about a decade–in absolute terms, not per capita of course.
       China is also the center of the Asian Energy Security Grid and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes the Central Asian countries, and just a few weeks ago, was joined by India, Iran, and Pakistan as observers, soon probably members. India is undertaking significant joint energy projects with China, and it might join the Energy Security Grid. Iran may as well, if it comes to the conclusion that Europe is so intimidated by the United States that it cannot act independently. If Iran turns to the East, it will find willing partners. A major conference on energy last September in Teheran brought together government officials and scholars from Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Georgia, Venezuela, and Germany, planning an extensive pipeline system for the entire region and also more intensive development of energy resources. Bush's recent trip to India, and his authorization of India's nuclear weapons program, is part of the jockeying over how these major global forces will crystallize. A sovereign and partially democratic Iraq could be another contribution to developments that seriously threaten U.S. global hegemony, so it is not at all surprising that Washington has sought in every way to prevent such an outcome, joined by "the spear carrier for the pax americana," as Blair's Britain is described by Michael MccGwire in Britain's leading journal of international affairs. [6]
       If the United States were compelled to grant some degree of sovereignty to Iraq, and any of these consequences would ensue, Washington planners would be facing the collapse of one of their highest foreign policy objectives since the Second World War, when the United States replaced Britain as the world-dominant power: the need to control "the strategically most important area of the world." What has been central to planning is control, not access, an important distinction. The United States followed the same policies long before it relied on a drop of Middle East oil, and would continue to do so if it relied on solar energy. Such control gives the United States "veto power" over its industrial rivals, as explained in the early postwar period by influential planners, and reiterated recently with regard to Iraq: a successful conquest of Iraq would give the United States "critical leverage" over its industrial rivals, Europe and Asia, as pointed out by Zbigniew Brzezinski, an important figure in the planning community. Vice President Dick Cheney made the same point, describing control over petroleum supplies as "tools of intimidation and blackmail"–when used by others. [7] He went on to urge the dictatorships of Central Asia, Washington's models of democracy, to agree to pipeline construction that ensures that the tools remain in Washington's hands.
       The thought is by no means original. At the dawn of the oil age almost ninety years ago, Britain's first lord of the admiralty Walter Hume Long explained that "if we secure the supplies of oil now available in the world we can do what we like." [8] Woodrow Wilson also understood this crucial point. Wilson expelled the British from Venezuela, which by 1928 had become the world's leading oil exporter, with U.S. companies then placed in charge. To achieve this goal, Wilson and his successors supported the vicious and corrupt dictator of Venezuela and ensured that he would bar British concessions. Meanwhile the United States continued to demand–and secure–U.S. oil rights in the Middle East, where the British and French were in the lead.
       We might note that these events illustrate the actual meaning of the "Wilsonian idealism" admired by Western intellectual culture, and also provide the real meaning of "free trade" and the "open door." Sometimes that is even officially acknowledged. When the post-Second World War global order was being shaped in Washington, a State Department memorandum on U.S. petroleum policy called for preserving absolute U.S. control of Western hemisphere resources "coupled with insistence upon the Open Door principle of equal opportunity for United States companies in new areas." [9] That is a useful illustration of "really existing free market doctrine": What we have, we keep, closing the door to others; what we do not yet have, we take, under the principle of the Open Door. All of this illustrates the one really significant theory of international relations, the maxim of Thucydides: the strong do as they can, and the weak suffer as they must.
       With regard to Iraq today, talk about exit strategies means very little unless these realities are confronted. How Washington planners will deal with these problems is far from clear. And they face similar problems elsewhere. Intelligence projections for the new millennium were that the United States would control Middle East oil as a matter of course, but would itself rely on more stable Atlantic Basin reserves: West African dictatorships' and the Western hemisphere's.
       But Washington's postwar control of South America, from Venezuela to Argentina, is seriously eroding. The two major instruments of control have been violence and economic strangulation, but each weapon is losing its efficacy. The latest attempt to sponsor a military coup was in 2002, in Venezuela, but the United States had to back down when the government it helped install was quickly overthrown by popular resistance, and there was turmoil in Latin America, where democracy is taken much more seriously than in the West and overthrow of a democratically elected government is no longer accepted quietly. Economic controls are also eroding. South American countries are paying off their debts to the IMF–basically an offshoot of the U.S. Treasury department. More frightening yet to Washington, these countries are being aided by Venezuela. The president of Argentina announced that the country would "rid itself of the IMF." Rigorous adherence to IMF rules had led to economic disaster, from which the country recovered by radically violating the rules. Brazil too had rid itself of the IMF, and Bolivia probably will as well, again aided by Venezuela. U.S. economic controls are seriously weakening.
       Washington's main concern is Venezuela, the leading oil producer in the Western hemisphere. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that its reserves might be greater than Saudi Arabia's if the price of oil stays high enough for exploitation of its expensive extra-heavy oil to become profitable. Extreme U.S. hostility and subversion has accelerated Venezuela's interest in diversifying exports and investment, and China is more than willing to accept the opportunity, as it is with other resource-rich Latin American exporters. The largest gas reserves in South America are in Bolivia, which is now following much the same path as Venezuela. Both countries pose a problem for Washington in other respects. They have popularly elected governments. Venezuela leads Latin America in support for the elected government, increasing sharply in the past few years under Chávez. He is bitterly hated in the United States because of his independence and enormous popular support. Bolivia just had a democratic election of a kind next to inconceivable in the West. There were serious issues that the population understood very well, and there was active participation of the general population, who elected someone from their own ranks, from the indigenous majority. Democracy is always frightening to power centers, particularly when it goes too far beyond mere form and involves actual substance.
       Commentary on what is happening reveals the nature of the fears. London's Financial Times warned that President Evo Morales of Bolivia is becoming increasingly "authoritarian" and "undemocratic." This is a serious concern to Western powers, who are dedicated to freedom and democracy everywhere. The proof of his authoritarian stance and departure from democratic principles is that he followed the will of 95 percent of the population and nationalized Bolivia's gas resources, and is also gaining popularity by cutting public salaries and eliminating corruption. Morales's policies have come to resemble the frightening leader of Venezuela. As if the popularity of Chávez's elected government was not proof enough that he is an anti-democratic dictator, he is attempting to extend to Bolivia the same programs he is instituting in Venezuela: helping "Bolivia's drive to stamp out illiteracy and pay[ing] the wages of hundreds of Cuban doctors who have been sent to work there" among the poor, to quote the Financial Times' lament. [10]
       The latest Bush administration's National Security Strategy, released March 2006, describes China as the greatest long-term threat to U.S. global dominance. The threat is not military, but economic. The document warns that Chinese leaders are not only "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up." [11] In the U.S.-China meetings in Washington a few weeks ago, President Bush warned President Hu Jintao against trying to "lock up" global supplies. Bush condemned China's reliance on oil from Sudan, Burma, and Iran, accusing China of opposition to free trade and human rights–unlike Washington, which imports only from pure democracies that worship human rights, like Equatorial Guinea, one of the most vicious African dictatorships; Colombia, which has by far the worst human rights record in Latin America; Central Asian states; and other paragons of virtue. No respectable person would accuse Washington of "locking up" global supplies when it pursues its traditional "open door policy" and outright aggression to ensure that it dominates global energy supplies, firmly holding "the tools of intimidation and blackmail." It is interesting, perhaps, that none of this elicits ridicule in the West, or even notice.
       The lead story in the New York Times on the Bush-Hu meeting reported that "China's appetite for oil also affects its stance on Iran….The issue [of China's effort to 'lock up' global supplies] is likely to come to a particular head over Iran," where China's state-owned oil giant signed a $70 billion deal to develop Iran's huge Yadavaran oil field. [12] That's a serious matter, compounded by Chinese interference even in Saudi Arabia, a U.S. client state since the British were expelled during the Second World War. This relationship now threatened by growing economic and even military ties between China and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, now China's largest trading partner in West Asia and North Africa–perhaps further proof of China's lack of concern for democracy and human rights. When President Hu visited Washington, he was denied a state dinner, in a calculated insult. He cheerfully reciprocated by going directly to Saudi Arabia, a serious slap in the face to Washington that was surely not misunderstood.
       This is the barest sketch of the relevant global context over what to do in Iraq. But these critical matters are scarcely mentioned in the ongoing debate about the problem of greatest concern to Americans. They are barred by a rigid doctrine. It is unacceptable to attribute rational strategic-economic thinking to one's own state, which must be guided by benign ideals of freedom, justice, peace, and other wonderful things. That leads back again to a very severe crisis in Western intellectual culture, not of course unique in history, but with dangerous portent.
       We can be confident that these matters, though excluded from public discussion, engage the attention of planners. Governments typically regard their populations as a major enemy, and keep them in ignorance of what is happening to them and planned for them. Nevertheless, we can speculate. One reasonable speculation is that Washington planners may be seeking to inspire secessionist movements that the United States can then "defend" against the home country. In Iran, the main oil resources are in the Arab areas adjacent to the Gulf, Iran's Khuzestan–and sure enough, there is now an Ahwazi liberation movement of unknown origin, claiming unspecified rights of autonomy. Nearby, Iraq and the gulf states provide a base for U.S. military intervention.
       The U.S. military presence in Latin America is increasing substantially. In Venezuela, oil resources are concentrated in Zulia province near Colombia, the one reliable U.S. land base in the region, a province that is anti-Chávez and already has an autonomy movement, again of unknown origins. In Bolivia, the gas resources are in richer eastern areas dominated by elites of European descent that bitterly oppose the government elected by the indigenous majority, and have threatened to secede. Nearby Paraguay is another one of the few remaining reliable land bases for the U.S. military. Total military and police assistance now exceeds economic and social aid, a dramatic reversal of the pattern during Cold War years. The U.S. military now has more personnel in Latin America than most key civilian federal agencies combined, again a sharp change from earlier years. The new mission is to combat "radical populism"–the term that is regularly used for independent nationalism that does not obey orders. Military training is being shifted from the State Department to the Pentagon, freeing it from human rights and democracy conditionality under congressional supervision–which was always weak, but had some effects that constrained executive violence.
       The United States is a global power, and its policies should not be viewed in isolation, any more than those of the British Empire. Going back half a century, the Eisenhower administration identified three major global problems: Indonesia, North Africa, and the Middle East–all oil producers, all Islamic. In all cases, the concern was independent nationalism. The end of French rule in Algeria resolved the North African problem. In Indonesia, the 1965 Suharto coup removed the threat of independence with a huge massacre, which the CIA compared to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The "staggering mass slaughter," as the New York Times described it, was greeted in the West with unconcealed euphoria and relief. [13] The military coup destroyed the only mass-based political party, a party of the poor, slaughtered huge numbers of landless peasants, and threw the country open to Western exploitation of its rich resources, while the large majority tries to survive in misery.
       Two years later, the major problem in the Middle East was resolved with Israel's destruction of the Nasser regime, hated by the United States and Britain, which feared that secular nationalist forces might seek to direct the vast energy resources of the region to internal development. A few years earlier, U.S. intelligence had warned of popular feelings that oil is a "national patrimony" exploited by the West by unjust arrangements imposed by force. Israel's service to the United States, its Saudi ally, and the energy corporations confirmed the judgment of U.S. intelligence in 1958 that a "logical corollary" of opposition to Arab nationalism is reliance on Israel as "the only strong pro-Western power in the Middle East," apart from Turkey, which established a close military alliance with Israel in 1958, within the U.S. strategic framework. [14]
       The U.S.-Israeli alliance, unique in world affairs, dates from Israel's 1967 military conquests, reinforced in 1970 when Israel barred possible Syrian intervention in Jordan to protect Palestinians who were being slaughtered during Black September. Such intervention by Syria was regarded in Washington as a threat to its ally Jordan and, more important, to the oil-producers that were Washington's clients. U.S. aid to Israel roughly quadrupled. The pattern is fairly consistent since, extending to secondary Israeli services to U.S. power outside the Middle East, particularly in Latin America and southern Africa. The system of domination has worked quite well for the people who matter. Energy corporation profits are breaking all records. High-tech (including military) industry has lucrative ties with Israel, as do the major financial institutions, and Israel serves virtually as an offshore military base and provider of equipment and training. One may argue that other policies would have been more beneficial to the concentrations of domestic power that largely determine policy, but they seem to find these arrangements quite tolerable. If they did not, they could easily move to terminate them. And in fact, when there are conflicts between U.S. and Israeli state power, Israel naturally backs down; exports of military technology to China are a recent example, when the Bush administration went out of its way to humiliate Israel after it was initially reluctant to follow the orders of what Israeli commentator Aluf Benn calls "the boss-man called 'partner'."
       Let us turn next to Iran and its nuclear programs. Until 1979, Washington strongly supported these programs. During those years, of course, a brutal tyrant installed by the U.S.-U.K. military coup that overthrew the Iranian parliamentary government ruled Iran. Today, the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power, and therefore must be pursuing a secret weapons program. Henry Kissinger explained that "For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources." As secretary of state thirty years ago, Kissinger held that "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals," and the United States acted to assist the Shah's efforts. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, the leading planners of the second Bush administration, worked hard to provide the Shah with a "complete 'nuclear fuel cycle'–reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis. That is precisely the ability the current administration is trying to prevent Iran from acquiring today." U.S. universities were arranging to train Iranian nuclear engineers, doubtless with Washington's approval, if not initiative; including my own university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, despite overwhelming student opposition. Kissinger was asked about his reversal, and he responded with his usual engaging frankness: "They were an allied country." [15] So therefore they had a genuine need for nuclear energy, pre-1979, but have no such need today.
       The Iranian nuclear programs, as far as is known, fall within its rights under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which grants non-nuclear states the right to produce fuel for nuclear energy. The Bush administration argues, however, that Article IV should be strengthened, and I think that makes sense. When the NPT came into force in 1970, there was a considerable gap between producing fuel for energy and for nuclear weapons. But with contemporary technology, the gap has been narrowed. However, any such revision of Article IV would have to ensure unimpeded access for nonmilitary use, in accord with the initial bargain. A reasonable proposal was put forth by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency: that all production and processing of weapon-usable material be under international control, with "assurance that legitimate would-be users could get their supplies." [16] That should be the first step, he proposed, towards fully implementing the 1993 UN resolution calling for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (called FISSBAN, for short), which bans production of fissile materials by individual states. ElBaradei's proposal was dead in the water. The U.S. political leadership, surely in its current stance, would never agree to this delegation of sovereignty. To date, ElBaradei's proposal has been accepted by only one state, to my knowledge: Iran, last February. That suggests one way to resolve the current crisis–in fact, a far more serious crisis: continued production of fissile materials by individual states is likely to doom humanity to destruction.
       Washington also strenuously opposes a verifiable FISSBAN treaty, regarded by specialists as the "most fundamental nuclear arms control proposal," according to Princeton arms control specialist Frank von Hippel. [17] Despite U.S. opposition, in November 2004, the UN Disarmament Committee voted in favor of a verifiable FISSBAN. The vote was 147 to 1, with 2 abstentions: Israel, which is reflexive, and Britain, which is more interesting. British ambassador John Freeman explained that Britain supported the treaty, but could not vote for this version, because he said it "divides the international community"–divided it 147 to 1. [18] A later vote in the full General Assembly was 179 to 2, Israel and Britain again abstaining. The United States was joined by Palau.
       We gain some insight into the ranking of survival of the species among the priorities of the leadership of the hegemonic power and its spear carrier.
       In 2004, the European Union (EU) and Iran reached an agreement on nuclear issues: Iran agreed to temporarily suspend its legal activities of uranium enrichment, and the EU agreed to provide Iran with "firm commitments on security issues." As everyone understands, the phrase "security issues" refers to the very credible U.S.-Israeli threats and preparations to attack Iran. These threats, a serious violation of the UN Charter, are no small matter for a country that has been tortured for fifty years without a break by the global superpower, which now occupies the countries on Iran's borders, not to speak of the client state that is the regional superpower.
       Iran lived up to its side of the bargain, but the EU, under U.S. pressure, rejected its commitments. Iran finally abandoned the bargain as well. The preferred version in the West is that Iran broke the agreement, proving that it is a serious threat to world order.
       In May 2003, Iran had offered to discuss the full range of security matters with the United States, which refused, preferring to follow the same course it did with North Korea. On taking office in January 2001, the Bush administration withdrew the "no hostile intent" condition of earlier agreements and proceeded to issue serious threats, while also abandoning promises to provide fuel oil and a nuclear reactor. In response, North Korea returned to developing nuclear weapons, the roots of another current crisis. All predictable, and predicted.
       There are ways to mitigate and probably end these crises. The first is to call off the threats that are virtually urging Iran (and North Korea) to develop nuclear weapons. One of Israel's leading military historians, Martin van Creveld, wrote that if Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, then they are "crazy," immediately after Washington demonstrated that it will attack anyone it likes as long as they are known to be defenseless. [19] So the first step towards ending the crisis would be to call off the threats that are likely to lead potential targets to develop a deterrent–where nuclear weapons or terror are the only viable options.
       A second step would be to join with other efforts to reintegrate Iran into the global economy. A third step would be to join the rest of the world in accepting a verifiable FISSBAN treaty, and to join Iran in accepting ElBaradei's proposal, or something similar–and I repeat that the issue here extends far beyond Iran, and reaches the level of human survival. A fourth step would be to live up to Article VI of the NPT, which obligates the nuclear states to take "good faith" efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, a binding legal obligation, as the World Court determined. None of the nuclear states have lived up to that obligation, but the United States is far in the lead in violating it–again, a very serious threat to human survival. Even steps in these directions would mitigate the upcoming crisis with Iran. Above all, it is important to heed the words of Mohamed ElBaradei: "There is no military solution to this situation. It is inconceivable. The only durable solution is a negotiated solution." [20] And it is within reach. Similar to the Iraq war: a war against Iran appears to be opposed by the military and U.S. intelligence, but might well be undertaken by the civilian planners of the Bush administration: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and a few others, an unusually dangerous collection.
       There is wide agreement among prominent strategic analysts that the threat of nuclear war is severe and increasing, and that the threat can be eliminated by measures that are known and in fact legally obligatory. If such measures are not taken, they warn that "a nuclear exchange is ultimately inevitable," that we may be facing "an appreciable risk of ultimate doom," an "Armageddon of our own making." [21] The threats are well understood, and they are being consciously enhanced. The Iraq invasion is only the most blatant example.
       Clinton's military and intelligence planners had called for "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment," much in the way armies and navies did in earlier years, but now with a sole hegemon, which must develop "space-based strike weapons [enabling] the application of precision force from, to, and through space." Such measures will be needed, they said, because "globalization of the world economy" will lead to a "widening economic divide" along with "deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation," hence unrest and violence among the "have-nots," much of it directed against the United States. The United States must therefore be ready to plan for a "precision strike from space [as a] counter to the worldwide proliferation of WMD" by unruly elements. [22] That is a likely consequence of the recommended military programs, just as a "widening divide" is the anticipated consequence of the specific version of international integration that is misleadingly called "globalization" and "free trade" in the doctrinal system.
       A word should be added about these notions. Both are terms of propaganda, not description. The term "globalization" is used for a specific form of international economic integration, designed–not surprisingly–in the interests of the designers: multinational corporations and the few powerful states to which they are closely linked. An opposing form of globalization is being pursued by groups that are far more representative of the world's population, the mass global justice movements, which originated in the South but now have been joined by northern popular organizations and meet annually in the World Social Forum, which has spawned many regional and local social forums, concentrating on their own issues though within the same overarching framework. The global justice movements are an entirely new phenomenon, perhaps the seeds of the kind of international that has been the hope of the workers movements and the left since their modern origins. They are called "antiglobalization" in the reigning doctrinal systems, because they seek a form of globalization oriented towards the interests of people, not concentrated economic power–and unfortunately, they have often adopted this ridiculous terminology.
       Official globalization is committed to so-called neoliberalism, also a highly misleading term: the regime is not new, and it is not liberal. Neoliberalism is essentially the policy imposed by force on the colonies since the eighteenth century, while the currently wealthy countries radically violated these rules, with extensive reliance on state intervention in the economy and resort to measures that are now banned in the international economic order. That was true of England and the countries that followed its path of protectionism and state intervention, including Japan, the one country of the South that escaped colonization and the one country that industrialized. These facts are widely recognized by economic historians.
       A comparison of the United States and Egypt in the early nineteenth century is one of many enlightening illustrations of the decisive role of sovereignty and massive state intervention in economic development. Having freed itself from British rule, the United States was able to adopt British-style measures of state intervention, and developed. Meanwhile British power was able to bar anything of the sort in Egypt, joining with France to impose Lord Palmerston's doctrine that "No ideas therefore of fairness towards Mehemet [Ali] ought to stand in the way of such great and paramount interests" as barring competition in the eastern Mediterranean. [23] Palmerston expressed his "hate" for the "ignorant barbarian" who dared to undertake economic development. Historical memories resonate when, today, Britain and France, fronting for the United States, demand that Iran suspend all activities related to nuclear and missile programs, including research and development, so that nuclear energy is barred and the country that is probably under the greatest threat of any in the world has no deterrent to attack–attack by the righteous, that is. We might also recall that France and Britain played the crucial role in development of Israel's nuclear arsenal. Imperial sensibilities are delicate indeed.
       Had it enjoyed sovereignty, Egypt might have undergone an industrial revolution in the nineteenth century. It shared many of the advantages of the United States, except independence, which allowed the United States to impose very high tariffs to bar superior British goods (textiles, steel, and others). The United States in fact became the world's leader in protectionism until the Second World War, when its economy so overwhelmed anyone else's that "free competition" was tolerable. After the war, massive reliance on the dynamic state sector became a central component of the U.S. economy, even more than it had been before, continuing right to the present. And the United States remains committed to protectionism, when useful. The most extreme protectionism was during the Reagan years–accompanied, as usual, by eloquent odes to liberalism, for others. Reagan virtually doubled protective barriers, and also turned to the usual device, the Pentagon, to overcome management failures and "reindustrialize America," the slogan of the business press. Furthermore, high levels of protectionism are built into the so-called "free trade agreements," designed to protect the powerful and privileged, in the traditional manner.
       The same was true of Britain's flirtation with "free trade" a century earlier, when 150 years of protectionism and state intervention had made Britain by far the world's most powerful economy, free trade seemed an option, given that the playing field was "tilted" in the right direction, to adapt the familiar metaphor. But the British still hedged their bets. They continued to rely on protected markets, state intervention, and also devices not considered by economic historians. One such market was the world's most spectacular narcotrafficking enterprise, designed to break into the China market, and also producing profits that financed the Royal Navy, the administration of conquered India, and the purchase of U.S. cotton–the fuel of the industrial revolution. U.S. cotton production was also based on radical state intervention: slavery, virtual extermination of the native population, and military conquest–almost half of Mexico, to mention one case relevant to current news. When Britain could no longer compete with Japan, it closed off the empire in 1932, followed by other imperial powers, a crucial part of the background for the Second World War. The truth about free trade and economic development has only a limited resemblance to the doctrines professed.
       Throughout modern history, democracy and development have had a common enemy: the loss of sovereignty. In a world of states, it is true that decline of sovereignty entails decline of hope for democracy, and decline in ability to conduct social and economic policy. That in turn harms development, a conclusion well confirmed by centuries of economic history. The work of economic historian M. Shahid Alam is particularly enlightening in this respect. In current terminology, the imposed regimes are called neoliberal, so it is fair to say that the common enemy of democracy and development is neoliberalism. With regard to development, one can debate causality, because the factors in economic growth are so poorly understood. But correlations are reasonably clear. The countries that have most rigorously observed neoliberal principles, as in Latin America and elsewhere, have experienced a sharp deterioration of macroeconomic indicators as compared with earlier years. Those that have ignored the principles, as in East Asia, have enjoyed rapid growth. That neoliberalism harms democracy is understandable. Virtually every feature of the neoliberal package, from privatization to freeing financial flows, undermines democracy for clear and well-known reasons.
       The crises we face are real and imminent, and in each case means are available to overcome them. The first step is understanding, then organization and appropriate action. This is the path that has often been followed in the past, bringing about a much better world and leaving a legacy of comparative freedom and privilege, for some at least, which can be the basis for moving on. Failure to do so is almost certain to lead to grim consequences, even the end of biology's only experiment with higher intelligence.
    1. See Aaron David Miller, Search for Security (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1980); Irvine Anderson, Aramco, the United States and Saudi Arabia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981); Michael Stoff, Oil, War and American Security (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980); Steven Spiegel, The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 51.
    2. National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington DC: The White House, March 1990).
    3. Alan Cowell, "Kurds Assert Few Outside Iraq Wanted Them to Win," New York Times, April 11, 1991.
    4. Nina Kamp and Michael E. O'Hanlon, "The State of Iraq," New York Times, March 19, 2006.
    5. Walter Pincus, "Skepticism About U.S. Deep, Iraq Poll Shows; Motive for Invasion Is Focus of Doubts," Washington Post, November 12, 2003; Richard Burkholder, "Gallup Poll of Baghdad," Government & Public Affairs, October 28, 2003.
    6. Michael MccGwire, "The Rise and Fall of the NPT," International Affairs 81 (January 2005): 134.
    7. Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Hegemonic Quicksand," National Interest 74 (Winter 2003/2004): 5-16; Stefan Wagstyl, "Cheney Rebukes Putin on Energy 'Blackmail,'" Financial Times, May 4, 2006.
    8. See Ian Rutledge, Addicted to Oil (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005).
    9. See Multinational Oil Corporation and U.S. Foreign Policy, Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, January 2, 1975 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1975).
    10. Hal Weitzman, "Nationalism Fuels Fears over Morales' Power," Financial Times, May 2, 2006.
    11. National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington DC: The White House, March 2006), 41.
    12. David E. Sanger, "China's Rising Need for Oil Is High on U.S. Agenda," New York Times, April 18, 2006.
    13. Editorial, New York Times, August 25, 1966
    14. Mark Curtis, The Great Deception (London: Pluto Press, 1998), 133.
    15. Darna Linzer, "Past Arguments Don't Square with Current Iran Policy," Washington Post, March 27, 2005.
    16. Mohamed ElBaradei, "Towards a Safer World," The Economist, October 16, 2003.
    17. Frank von Hippel, "Coupling a Moratorium To Reductions as a First Step toward the Fissile-Material Cutoff Treaty," in Rakesh Sood, Frank von Hippel, and Morton Halperin, "The Road to Nuclear Zero," Center for Advanced Study of India, 1998, 17.
    18. See Rebecca Johnson, "2004 UN First Committee," Disarmament Diplomacy 79 (April/May 2005), and Jean du Preez, "The Fissban," Disarmament Diplomacy 79 (April/May 2005),
    19. Martin van Creveld, "Sharon on the Warpath" International Herald Tribune, August 21, 2004.
    20. Jeffrey Fleishman and Alissa Rubin, "ElBaradei Asks for Restraint on Iran Sanctions," Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2006.
    21. Michael MccGwire, "The Rise and Fall of the NPT," International Affairs 81 (January 2005), 127; John Steinbruner and Nancy Gallagher, "Constructive Transformation," Daedalus 133, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 99; Sam Nunn, "The Cold War's Nuclear Legacy Has Lasted too Long," Financial Times, December 6, 2004.
    22. National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2015 (Washington DC, December 2000); U.S. Space Command, Vision for 2020 (February 1997), 7; Pentagon, Quadrennial Defense Review, May 1997.
    23. See Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid Marsot, Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 240; Harold Temperley, England and the Near East (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1936).
       Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This article is based on a talk delivered May 12, 2006, in Beirut, two months before Israel began its military campaign against Lebanon on July 13, 2006. It appears in Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam and Carol Chomsky (just published by Monthly Review Press, order online at www.monthly or call 1-800-670-9499).
       [RECAPITULATION: Such measures will be needed, they said, because "globalization of the world economy" will lead to a "widening economic divide" along with "deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation," hence unrest and violence among the "have-nots," much of it directed against the United States. ENDS.] [Jun 27, 07]

    • [Religious freedom at risk -- radical Islam, China, greatest threats.] 

    Religious freedom at risk – Asia, Africa

       The Record (R.C. Perth W. Australia weekly), By Jacob Buckenmeyer, Catholic News Service, p 5, July 12, 2007
       WASHINGTON (CNS) - The Hudson Institute's Centre for Religious Freedom presented its initial findings regarding world trends in religious freedom on July 9, ranking countries' religious intolerance on a scale of one to seven and naming radical Islam as the greatest threat to religious freedom worldwide. […]
       In his opening statement on July 9, Marshall cited specific governmental violations of religious freedom, including China where more than 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners and several Catholic bishops are under house arrest, and Eritrea, where unauthorised meetings of more than seven people are illegal and entire wedding parties have been imprisoned.
       The conditions in prisons are harsh, Marshall said. In Eritrea "in 2003, 57 teenagers found with Bibles were jailed in metal shipping containers in the desert; all but six died," he said. […]
       The centre found that most countries with high Islamic populations typically offer the least protection of religious freedom, with the exception of Mali and Senegal in East Africa.
       The poorest-scoring countries include Sudan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Iran. The low ranking of Islamic nations means that the greatest struggle for religious freedom is being fought within the Islamic community, Rev. Land said. […]
      [Map of the world, with colours to show categories of freedom of religion.] Religious Freedom Report. [Several countries were not rated.]    Source: Hudson Institute  
       "We need to remind ourselves that the people who are suffering the most from this radical Islamic jihadism are followers of Islam who refuse to knuckle under to this particularly virulent brand of ideology that is being propagated in their name," he said.
       Panel moderator Michael Novak, of the American Enterprise Institute, defined radical Islam as groups of Muslims who would use their beliefs to justify violence. […] A summary of the Hudson Institute's findings and rankings of religious freedom by country is available online at: www.hudson. org/religion . #
    Fuller version:
    [Jul 12, 07]

    • Terror suspect to go free.  [Mohamed Haneef] Australia flag;  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

    Terror suspect to go free

       The Australian, www. theaustralian. story/0,20867, 22067835- 601,00.html , by Kevin Meade, p 1, Friday, July 13, 2007
       BRISBANE: SUSPECTED terrorist Mohamed Haneef will be free within 24 hours after the Australian Federal Police declined to seek an extension of this time in detention.
       Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo emerged from Brisbane Magistrates Court to say that the AFP had told him of their actions. Dr Haneef, 27, who is yet to be charged with any offence, has been in custody since he was detained in Brisbane last Tuesday. He has been detained under an extension of "down time" under which he can be held but not questioned, and police are now allowed 12 hours of questioning before he must be released. But this could stretch out in practice, as the 12 hours does not need to be taken in the one block.
       A spokesman for the Australian Federal Police said an application for the extension of "dead time", in which a person could be held while an investigation took place but not questioned, had been withdrawn. Questioning had started at 3pm (AEST) today, the spokesman said. Dr Haneef has been in the Brisbane watchhouse since July 2, when he was picked up by police at the international airport trying to leave the country on a one-way ticket to India. His lawyers attended court today to oppose the bid by the AFP to hold him for a further three days. Lawyer Peter Russo told reporters before going into the Brisbane Magistrates Court his client - who is being questioned over his alleged links to the foiled UK terrorist plot - was getting depressed after 11 days in detention. He said Dr Haneef had become "a bit teary" when they discussed the length of time he already had spent in custody. Dr Haneef also today voluntarily consented to federal police DNA testing him and getting his fingerprints - a move which Mr Russo said a magistrate would have approved anyway.
       [COMMENT: Indiscriminately allowing people, irrespective of their belief systems, to come to Australia, whether under the weak "skilled temporary visa" programme or any other, leads to more attacks on civil liberties than the old selective immigration programme.  And it could lead to terror attacks.  The failure of the Australian electorate to elect candidates with a realistic world outloook is the cause of the disastrous immigration levels, which after about seven years of drought are increasing instead of decreasing. ENDS.] [Jul 13, 07]

    • Giving Arabs nuclear power 'reckless'.  Libya flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  France flag;  Bulgaria flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Germany flag;  

    Giving Arabs nuclear power ‘reckless’

       The West Australian, www.thewest. , p 27, Saturday, July 28, 2007
       TRIPOLI -- The West had to learn to trust Arab nations with nuclear technology if it wanted to eliminate the threat of terrorism, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said as he signed a deal that could lead to France supplying Libya with a new reactor.
       But the German Greens party immediately accused him of behaving recklessly.
       Mr Sarkozy's deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi came in response to Libya's release of six Bulgarian medics it had jailed for life for allegedly infecting children with HIV. It would give Libya a nuclear power plant to desalinate seawater even though Libya, with some of the world's biggest reserves of oil, would appear to have no shortage of energy.
       Col Gaddafi was running a covert nuclear weapons program until he was persuaded to give it up and invite international inspectors to Libya in 2003.
       Mr Sarkozy denied that the deal was risky.
       "Nuclear power is the energy of the future," he said. "If we don't give the energy of the future to the countries of the southern Mediterranean, how will they develop themselves? And if they don't develop, how will we fight terrorism and fanaticism?"
      [Picture] Unrepentant: Mr Sarkozy  
       He said there was a risk of "a war of civilisations" if the West considered Arab countries were not sensible enough to use civilian nuclear power.
       France has Europe's biggest civil nuclear power industry and a vital commercial interest in exporting reactors and technology, and might wish also to benefit from any oil deal Libya might be persuaded to sign.
       For decades, Libya was a pariah nation until it accepted responsibility in 2003 for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, and agreed to pay restitution to the victims.
       Col Gaddafi's announcement that he was dismantling his nuclear weapons program brought a lifting of US and European sanctions on Libya.
       Since then, international investment has increased in Libya's oil sector, its only big industry, which provides most of its gross domestic product of nearly $US75 billion ($87 billion).
       The French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire, said yesterday that civilian and military uses of nuclear technology were "indistinguishable" and added: "Delivering civilian nuclear energy to Libya would amount to helping the country, sooner or later, to acquire nuclear weapons".
       German Greens party co-president Richard Buetikofer said France was making it easier for Libya to "reach for nuclear arms".
       "This is reckless nationalistic activism on the part of President Sarkozy," he said.
       "Gaddafi may have vowed to give up the quest for nuclear firepower but can one really believe a dictator?"
       Similar criticism was widespread in Germany which has a strong anti-nuclear lobby and official plans to phase out nuclear power by around 2020.
       German Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Gernot Erler said: "Politically, this is a problematic affair. Above all the risk of proliferation increases with every country using nuclear energy."
       Gert Weisskirchen, a spokesman for Germany's Social Democrats, who are part of the ruling coalition, said it was wise to treat Libya with pragmatism, but asked: "Does one have to start with a nuclear plant?"
       Social Democrat MP Ulrich Kelber accused Mr Sarkozy of a cynical deal in freeing the Bulgarian medics.
       "It is all about show and the primitive pursuit of his own interests," he said. "This is something one sees with despots--it makes even US President George Bush look like an altar boy."
       [RECAPITULATION: Mr Sarkozy's deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi came in response to Libya's release of six Bulgarian medics it had jailed for life for allegedly infecting children with HIV. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Wouldn't it be better to have left Libya's HIV (theoretically impossible if they obeyed Allah's laws about no promiscuous sex relations) to be solved by the Muslims of Libya?  Didn't the Bulgarians and other such health workers have Bulgarians at home to treat? ENDS.]
       [ATOM BOMB SECRET: Extract from Pears Cyclopaedia, 61st edition (1950s), p 26, regarding the year 1945: October 9  U.S.A. to keep secret of manufacture of atomic bomb.
      In 1949: September … 23  Evidence announced of atomic explosion in U.S.S.R.  ENDS.]
       [HOW DID SECRET GET OUT? Books Major Jordan's Diaries, and one about how huge global corporations sold the secrets bit by bit, would enlighten truth-seekers.  Did you note that the USA has recently signed agreements with India, which has defied the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Pact ever since it was formed, to help them with nuclear energy?  So now Pakistan, an unstable Muslim-threatened dictatorship, which tricked the world while making a nuclear bomb, wants the USA to give them the same privileges as India! ENDS.]
       [ALSO displayed at ] [Jul 28, 07]

    • Gallic Puzzles.  France flag; 

    Gallic Puzzles

       Annals Australasia, annals australasia @nareg. , Ŝerco, p 11, July 2007
       A THIEF in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.
       However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.
       When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied:
       "Monsieur, that's the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."
       {And you thought your editor didn't have De Gaulle to print this for you!} J   :-)
    [July 2007]
    • Economic Hit Men and the Global Corporatocracy. 

    Economic Hit Men and the
    Global Corporatocracy

          "John Perkins on 'The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption' " on Democracy Now! website, Interview at: www.democracy sid=07/06/05/ 149254 , Interview with John Perkins by Amy Goodman, June 5, 2007
       AND "Economic Hit Men and the Global Corporatocracy," in Nexus, August-September 2007, pp 11ff
       Hundreds of thousands of protesters are gathering in Germany ahead of tomorrow's G8 meeting of the world's richest nations. The three-day summit is being held in the coastal resort of Heiligendamm. German police have spent $18 million to erect an eight-mile-long, two-meter-high fence around the meeting site. Global warming will be high on the agenda. Going into the meeting, President Bush has proposed to sideline the UN-backed Kyoto Accords and set voluntary targets on reducing emissions of greenhouse gas. Other top issues will include foreign aid and new trade deals.
       Today, we spend the hour with a man who claims to have worked deep inside the forces driving corporate globalization. In his first book, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", John Perkins told the story of his work as a highly paid consultant hired to strong-arm leaders into creating policy favorable to the U.S. government and corporations -- what he calls the "corporatocracy."
       Perkins says he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.
       John Perkins has just come out with a new book. It's called "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption." John Perkins joins me now in the firehouse studio.
  • John Perkins, From 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main where he was a self-described "economic hit man." He is the author of the new book The Secret History of the American Empire.
       This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. […]
    [Actual Jun 5, 2007; Nexus August-September 2007]

    • Bilderberg 2007 - Towards a One World Empire?  Turkey flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Spain flag;  

    Bilderberg 2007 – Towards a One World Empire?

      Discussions at the 2007 Bilderberg Group meetings covered concerns over the World Bank presidency, Russia’s muscle-flexing on energy issues and the failure of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan  
       Nexus, magazine. com/articles/ Bilderberg 2007.html , by Daniel Estulin © June 2007, pp 19ff, August - September 2007
       Extracted from Nexus Magazine, backissues/1405. conts.html , Volume 14, Number 5(August - September 2007), PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. , Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381
       by Daniel Estulin © 2007; E-mail: daniel@daniel , www.daniel
       The Sun has set on Bilderberg 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey. After a sumptuous lunch on this warm and sunny 3rd June, most Bilderbergers returned to their countries of choice, freshly armed with precise instructions from the Steering Committee on how to proceed in covertly expanding the powers of One World Government. Amongst this year's luminaries in attendance were: Henry Kissinger; Henry Kravis of KKR; Marie-Josée Kravis of Hudson Institute; Vernon Jordan; Etienne Davignon, Bilderberg Group President; Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, daughter of one of the founders, Prince Bernhard; and the King and Queen of Spain.
       As a rhetorical question, can someone please explain to me how it is that progressive liberals such as John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as well as do-gooder humanitarians with multiple social projects on the go, such as David Rockefeller and every Royal House in Europe, can perennially attend Bilderberg meetings knowing that the final objective of this despicable group of hoodlums is a fascist One World Empire? How could it be orchestrated?
       The idea is to give to each country a political constitution and an appropriate national economic structure, organised for the following purposes: (1) to place political power into the hands of chosen people and eliminate all intermediaries; (2) to establish a maximum concentration of industries and suppress all unwarranted competition; (3) to establish absolute control of prices of all goods and raw materials (Bilderbergers make it possible through their iron-grip control of The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization); and (4) to create judicial and social institutions that would prevent all extremes of action.
       Although participants emphatically attest that they attend the Club's annual meeting as private citizens and not in their official government capacity, that affirmation is dubious - particularly when you compare the Chatham House Rule with the Logan Act in the United States, where it is absolutely illegal for elected officials to meet in private with influential business executives to debate and design public policy.
       Bilderberg meetings follow a traditional protocol founded in 1919, in the wake of the Paris Peace Conference held at Versailles, by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) based at Chatham House in London. While the name Chatham House is commonly used to refer to the Institute itself, the Royal Institute of International Affairs is the foreign policy executive arm of the British monarchy.
       According to RIIA procedures: "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed; nor may it be mentioned that the information was received at a meeting of the Institute."
       The Logan Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. However, there have been a number of judicial references to the Act, and it is not uncommon for it to be used as a political weapon.
       Those who have attended Bilderberg Group meetings over the years and flouted the Logan Act include: Allen Dulles (CIA); Senator William J. Fulbright (from Arkansas, a Rhodes Scholar); Dean Acheson (Secretary of State under President Truman); Nelson Rockefeller and Laurance Rockefeller; former President Gerald Ford; Henry J. Heinz II (former CEO, H. J. Heinz Co.); Thomas L. Hughes (former President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Robert S. McNamara (President Kennedy's Secretary of Defense and former President of the World Bank); William P. Bundy (former President of the Ford Foundation, and former editor of the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs journal); John J. McCloy (former President of Chase Manhattan Bank); George F. Kennan (former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union); Paul H. Nitze (former representative of Schroeder Bank; Nitze played a very prominent role in matters of arms control agreements, which have always been under the direction of the RIIA); Robert O. Anderson (former Chairman, Atlantic Richfield Co., and Chairman, Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies); John D. Rockefeller IV (former Governor of West Virginia, now US Senator); Cyrus Vance (Secretary of State under President Carter); Eugene Black (former President of the World Bank); Joseph Johnson (former President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster (former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and later Superintendent of West Point Academy); Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Adviser to President Carter, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission); General Alexander Haig (once European NATO Commander, former assistant to Henry Kissinger, and later Secretary of State under President Reagan); James S. Rockefeller (former President and Chairman, First National City Bank, now Citibank).
       Thanks to our inside sources at the conference, we have compiled what we believe to be an accurate and a credible model of the Bilderberg 2007 conclusions. Following is a summary of some key points with some additional commentary added. Other subjects discussed were climate change and global warming, Turkey's role in the new European Union, World Bank reforms, Middle East geopolitics, the conflict in Iraq, Iran's potential nuclear threat, and the future of democracy and populism.
       Robert Zoellick and The World Bank
       The United States delegation is standing unanimously behind Robert Zoellick's candidacy as the next President of The World Bank. Zoellick is a 53-year-old Wall Street executive, a former official in two Bush administrations and a free-market fundamentalist. During the meeting, he pledged "to work to restore confidence in the bank".
       "We need to put our differences aside and focus on the future together. I believe that the World Bank's best days are still to come," Zoellick said. The chances of Zoellick not being approved for the presidency are slim to none. The final decision is to be made in late June by the bank's 24-member board of directors.
       The United States and Europe have a tacit agreement between them that the World Bank's President should always be a US national, while its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), should always be headed by a European. Nevertheless, according to our sources at the conference, European Bilderbergers are not at all pleased with continuing the status quo, in which the US nominates a single candidate after informal consultations with World Bank members.
       The Zoellick nomination also appears to short-circuit burgeoning calls for reform of this selection process at the World Bank, one of the cornerstones of the global financial architecture as designed by the victors of World War II. One Belgian Bilderberger proposed "a merit-based selection process, without regard to nationality", something which will obviously be discarded by the inept Bush administration. What is quite remarkable is that on several occasions European Bilderbergers openly rejected the current model, saying "the nomination reeks of double standards", especially because both the USA and the World Bank preach accountability and transparency to developing countries - the main clients of the bank.
       But with the IMF under the control of a Spaniard, Rodrigo Rato, and the European Central Bank headed by a Frenchman, Jean-Claude Trichet, it was difficult to imagine that the USA would give up control of the World Bank. Only the US Federal Reserve would remain in the hands of the Americans.
       "Replacing one Bush appointee with another will not resolve the fundamental governance problems of the World Bank," said one Scandinavian. "Member governments should reject a back-door deal that leaves the bank's governance structure intact, and should press for an open, merit-based selection process," he said.
       Zoellick's name also raised eyebrows among development groups for his close ties to the US establishment and corporate interests.
       One of the attendees (I have not been able to confirm this individual's identity) asked Zoellick how he was planning to patch up relationships with Third and Fourth World nations when he is best remembered during his tenure as US Trade Representative for arm-twisting poor nations' governments to adhere to US-imposed intellectual-property laws that make medicines, for example, unaffordable in the developing world. Zoellick has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medications for millions of people.
       However, what has really riled both the American and European delegates is the fact that the World Bank's dirty linen is being washed in public, thanks in great part to Paul Wolfowitz and his ineptness, which incidentally he has blamed on the press.
       [Postscript: On 25 June, Robert Zoellick was unanimously elected President of The World Bank for a five-year term, taking over from Paul Wolfowitz on 1 July. In a statement posted at , he said: "Once I start at the World Bank, I will be eager to meet the people who drive the agenda of overcoming poverty in all regions, with particular attention to Africa, advancing social and economic development, investing in growth, and encouraging hope, opportunity and dignity."]
       Relations with Russia
       Another issue of great concern to both American and European Bilderbergers is Russia's current muscle-flexing on the issue of energy. The controversy over the TNK-BP licence, BP's Russian venture, is just one of many circumstances causing anger amongst the globalist elite.
       One American Bilderberger said that after years of economic stagnation, "Russia is acting against unipolarity's accommodating ideologies and politics, against its recently resurgent manifestations and machinations, and against the instruments of its perpetuation, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO]".
       Bilderberg 2007 served as a consensus-building exercise to decide on a common policy and strategy to deal with Russia's resurgence. In particular, Bilderberg is not at all happy with Russia's current strategy of actively dismantling what remains of "the atmosphere of acquiescence to America's will", in the words of one Bilderberger, which arose in the post-Soviet period and was absolutely crucial to the thriving of US-led unipolarity.
       That was in the beginning of the 1990s, the early stages of the Yeltsin reign. With the wholesale looting of Russia in the 1990s through shock therapy and the loans-for-shares scheme, engineered by the socialist theoreticians at Harvard such as Jeffrey Sachs, Andrei Schliefer, David Lipton and Jonathan Hay, the country was brought into the dawn of the 21st century capitalist economy. As a result, Russia eventually toppled into anarchy, its population rendered desperate; its ability to support a world-class military establishment was smashed, which then made it inevitable that colonial behaviour would occur. That is exactly what George Ball was proposing during the Bilderberg 1968 meeting in Canada. I'll get back to Ball later in this section.
       Incidentally, the term "shock therapy" refers to the sudden release of price and currency controls combined with the withdrawal of state subsidies and immediate trade liberalisation within a country - all the necessary ingredients for impoverishment of the society…in this case, Russia.
       In Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, [1] "Russia" and "vital energy reserves", as it turns out, are mentioned more frequently than any other country and subject in the book. Brzezinski is President Carter's former National Security Advisor, a co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Club and a close associate of David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. He is the proverbial insider's insider. According to Brzezinski, global US and thus Bilderberg hegemony depended on having complete control of Russia's vital energy reserves in Central Asia. As long as Russia remained strong, it remained a threat - a potential block to the complete imposition of Bilderberg-led economic and military will.
       Bilderberg energy imperatives and geopolitical control are once again coming to play a key role in the lives of hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people.
       Brzezinski spelled out in The Grand Chessboard the compelling energy issue driving American policy: "A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 percent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprise and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources."
       The history of mankind has always shown that controlling the heart of Eurasia was the key to controlling the entire known world. Azerbaijan, containing the riches of the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia, is a case in point. From the US perspective, the independence of the Central Asian states will be rendered nearly meaningless if Azerbaijan becomes fully subordinated to Moscow's control. To the Bilderbergers, energy imperatives are the end game.
       The energy theme appears again later in Brzezinski's book, written four years before 9/11: "The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the US Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy."
       Clearly, to the Bilderbergers, Russia was the beginning of the end game.
       During a presentation titled "Internationalisation of Business" to the 26-28 April 1968 Bilderberg meeting at Mont Tremblant, Canada, George Ball provided a far more truthful and insightful glimpse into the group's economic orientation. Ball, who was Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs under JFK and Lyndon Johnson, a Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group as well as a Senior Managing Director for Lehman Brothers and Kuhn Loeb Inc., defined the Bilderberg's new policy of globalisation and how it would shape the New World Order.
       As Pierre Beaudry noted in Synarchy Movement of Empire, [2] "…Ball presented an outline of the advantages of a new-colonial world economic order based on the concept of a 'world company', and described some of the obstacles that needed to be eliminated for its success. According to Ball, the first and most important thing that had to be eliminated was 'the archaic political structure of the nation state'."
       In other words, Ball was calling for a return to the old colonialism system, but this time built on the concept of a "world company".
       "Ball wrote: 'To be productive, we must begin our inquiry by explicitly recognizing the lack of phasing between development of the world company - a concept responding to modern needs - and the continued existence of an archaic political structure of nation states, mostly small or of only medium size, which is evolving only at glacier pace in response to new world requirements of scope and scale.'"
       Beaudry concluded: "It was clear for Ball that the very structure of the nation state, and the idea of the commonwealth, or of a general welfare of a people, represented the main obstacle against any attempt of freely looting the planet, especially the weak and poor nations of the world, and represented the most important impediment to the creation of a neo-colonial world empire. The priority of the world company is obviously based on international free trade without restraint, that is, trade measured by the British standard of profit of buying cheap and selling dear. The problem is that national governments have priorities, which are different than and contrary to those of a looting company…"
       On page 39 of a Bilderberg transcript from the 1968 meeting at Mont Tremblant, Ball self-assuredly stated the following: "Where does one find a legitimate base for the power of corporate managements to make decisions that can profoundly affect the economic life of nations to whose governments they have only limited responsibility?"
       In other words, Messrs Rockefeller and Davignon, what Mr Ball would like to know is: how does one establish a Halliburton type of world company, which would greatly surpass in authority any government on the planet? Isn't that what "world company", run by the ruling class, stands for?
       Not according to Bilderberg President and Belgian multimillionaire Etienne Davignon. During his 2005 BBC interview, Mr Davignon said: "I don't think a global ruling class exists. Business influences society, and politics influences society - that's purely common sense. It's not that business contests the right of democratically elected leaders to lead."
       Is that so, Mr Davignon? Current parliamentary democracy works on the basis of an "elected" head of state and a parliament, which can be dumped any time you decide to orchestrate a crisis and put a third branch of government in charge of its financial system, called an "independent central banking system".
       In the United States, this "independent" banking system is known as the Federal Reserve, a privately owned bank interlocked with the Bilderberg Group. In Europe, the independent banking system is run through the European Central Bank, whose monetary policies are put together by the leading members of the Bilderberger elite, such as Jean-Claude Trichet. In Britain, this independent system is run by the Bank of England, whose members are also full-time members of the Bilderberg Group's inner circle. The independent central banking system controls the emission of currency, controls national credit and interest rates, and, any time the government displeases it, uses its power to orchestrate the overthrow of the government. The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was overthrown because she opposed the wilful handover of British sovereignty to the global world company superstate designed by the Bilderbergers. This is what Kuhn, Loeb and Lehman Brothers have been building worldwide, by way of mergers and acquisitions, from the 1960s until today. In the past decades, the entire deregulation policy of US industries and banking was precisely set up in response to this blueprint scenario for creating giant corporations for a new empire whose intention is nothing short of perpetual war.
       Could the eventual dismemberment and weakening of Russia - to the point that it could not oppose US military operations that have now successfully secured control of the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia - been part of a multi-decade plan for global domination? Most credible senior analysts definitely believe so.
       At a 1997 symposium held in Bonn, Germany, Dr Sergei Glazyev, Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, explained: "This colonisation, masked as reforms, destroyed the basic institutions of Russian society along the following basic lines: (1) destruction of the financial system of the state by means of an endless build-up of the state debt pyramid, shrinking of the tax base, deepening of the non-payments crisis, and disorganisation of the monetary system; (2) destruction of the scientific and technological potential of the country, achieved by means of a many-fold reduction in state financing of science, the collapse of technological cooperation and scientific production integration in the course of mass privatisation, and the refusal of the government to have any scientific and technical, industrial or structural policy at all; (3) sale of controlling blocs of shares in the leading and most valuable Russian firms, in industry, electric power and telecommunications, to foreign companies; (4) Transfer of the right to exploit the most valuable Russian raw materials deposits to transnational corporations; (5) establishment of foreign control over the Russian stock exchange; (6) establishment of direct foreign control over the shaping of Russian domestic and foreign economic policy." [3]
       The Bilderberg conclusions are striking in their candidness: "The US can no longer ride roughshod over, nor bully, nor simply ignore resurgent Russia, rising China or the globe's regimes that supply the vital oil that fuels the US economy. Something must be done, and urgently, in order to cut deeply into Russia's mounting global energy leverage. The US-Russia strategically deteriorating relations are one victim of this geopolitical struggle for energy supremacy."
       One Finnish delegate's opinion that "no US-Russia military confrontation is likely, no matter how tense things should get" is increasingly an unsafe one as a more desperate US pushes back against a much more aggressive Russia. Dr Henry Kissinger added that "aggressive, unilateralist US foreign policy has forced 'axis of evil' states to accelerate their pursuit of nuclear weapons to immunise themselves against US military strikes".
       Richard Perle pointed out that in response to aggressive US tactics across the globe, Russia has undertaken asymmetric steps to undermine the ability of the US to project its military power effectively into their neighbourhoods and into those of their partners and allies. When one American Bilderberger tried to object, European delegates brought up China's recent response to US intentions to weaponise space: a simple and relatively inexpensive demonstration of destruction of its satellite. The example produced snickering in the room, much to the chagrin of the Americans.
       Afghanistan and the price of treason
       Another subject under discussion dealt with Afghanistan. It was commonly agreed by the attendees that the US-led NATO alliance/mission is in a state of quagmire and that "the situation in the country is getting worse". The problem can be defined, in the words of one British Bilderberger, as "one of the unreal expectations". He went on to explain that clamouring for democratic reform while simultaneously propping up Pashtun warlords without delivering serious progress "has managed to discredit a lot of our basic notions in the eyes of the Afghans".
       Bilderbergers, however, aren't the only ones left scratching their heads as to how Western governments and their carefully chosen Afghan partners have managed to spend billions of dollars in development assistance with little to show for it.
       Catastrophe is good for business; always has been. Without suffering, there would be no humanitarian assistance. And without humanitarian assistance, there would be no room for undercover intelligence network operations as part of Western imperatives for geopolitical control.
       The worse it looks, the better it sells. While the American people were getting their daily diet of ubiquitous images of repression, suffering and burka-clad Afghani women beamed into every living room in America, a propaganda campaign was surreptitiously launched in the pages of newspapers and glossy magazines. The New York Times and the New Yorker were greasing the gears of the misery machine by urging the US government, the United Nations and anyone who would listen to "do something" - amid the jewellery advertisements. Terror and horror, like expensive jewellery, became commodities.
       Today, Afghanistan and its African cousins of Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo and Rwanda and the rest of the nations blessed with Western humanitarian help are all basket cases. Bilderbergers seem to be asking: how is it possible that humanitarian missions of such scale and magnitude could have failed so miserably? Is it a case of good-intentioned exercises going bad due to corruption, greed and lack of oversight? Or is it the merciless dismemberment of yet more foreign lands and cultures exercised stealthily through humanitarian aid agencies tied to the larger apparatus of government?
       Furthermore, the US government's support for known Afghani drug warlords adds another vital clue to the puzzle. The amount of profit generated annually by the drug trade, according to the United Nations, is somewhere around $700 billion in tax-free cash flow per year. Seven hundred billion dollars a year is too much money to hide in a sock. You need a lot of experience and expertise to move those kinds of funds stealthily. Does anyone doubt that Afghanistan is about drugs? Does anyone doubt that the CIA is involved?
       For example, the CIA financed the Muslim Brotherhood in 1977 and trained the mujahedin in preparation for the campaign of collusion between Washington and right-wing Islam: the Afghan War. The roots to the Afghan conflict can be traced to Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, the centre of the Muslim Brotherhood's activity. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, alleged airline hijacker Mohammed Atta was identified as a Muslim Brother in several Western publications such as the Washington Post (22 September 2001), the Observer (23 September 2001) and Newsweek (31 December 2001). Other Muslim Brothers involved were Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, an Egyptian by the name of Ayman al-Zawahiri, is also a lifelong member of the Brotherhood.
       Robert Dreyfuss, in his extremely important book Devil's Game, [4] explained it thus: "They returned to Afghanistan and formed a branch of the Brothers, the Islamic Society. Later, these same 'professors', as they were known, would form the backbone of the Afghan mujahedin who waged a US-backed, decade-long war against the Soviet occupation. The three leading 'professors' were Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar." Sayyaf and Hekmatyar, two big-time Pashtun drug traffickers and CIA assets, were backed by Pakistani Intelligence as well as Pakistan's own "branch" of the Brotherhood and funded by Saudi money.
       There is yet another link between the Brotherhood and the super-secret Bilderberg Group. In the early 1980s, Bilderberger Michael Ledeen of the ultraconservative American Enterprise Institute and Bilderberger Richard Perle used Hekmatyar as a poster boy of anti-Soviet resistance at the time when Hekmatyar was actively working with Hezb-i-Islami terrorists to undermine America's influence in Afghanistan. Does anyone reading this doubt that this is hardly a coincidence?
       First came the "humanitarian relief" through non-government organisations. In short order, this was followed by the US military which came to the rescue out of the goodness of its heart for "purely humanitarian objectives". Once on the ground, it became an exercise in "nation-building". In the end, it morphed into the hunt for a terrorist dictator.
       During an animated discussion at Bilderberg 2007 in Istanbul, one Italian asked if the US-led NATO forces have "the will to stay the course". In the wake of the US military siege of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001, the commanding general, Tommy Franks, reportedly said it was not his intention to "get embroiled in a Soviet-style long-term engagement as in the 1980s". [5] Now, however, American Bilderbergers are pressuring NATO allies to provide larger troop contributions to the cause.
       Dr Kissinger insisted that "the will" is lacking and so "we must now begin to acknowledge our limits". "The choices facing us are very difficult," reflected one European Royal, wholeheartedly agreeing with Kissinger's assessment on the lack of commitment and will. A NATO representative categorically stated that the West has neither the political intelligence nor the understanding to fight a protracted, decade-long counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
       The Bilderberg Group is not the end but the means to a future One World Government. This organisation has grown beyond its secretive beginnings to become a virtual shadow government which decides in total secrecy at annual meetings how its plans are to be carried out. The ultimate goal of this nightmare future is to transform Earth into a prison planet by bringing about a single globalised marketplace, controlled by a One World Government, policed by a United World Army, financially regulated by a World Bank, and populated by a microchipped population whose life's needs have been stripped down to materialism and survival - work, buy, procreate, sleep - all connected to a global computer that monitors our every move.
       And it is becoming easier because the development of telecommunications technology together with profound advances in present-day knowledge and new methods of behaviour engineering to manipulate individual conduct are converting what, in other epochs of history, were only evil intentions into a disturbing new reality. Each new measure, viewed on its own, may seem an aberration, but a whole host of changes, as part of an ongoing continuum, constitutes a shift towards total enslavement.
       But there is hope. In almost every corner of the planet, stress points are beginning to fracture and people are starting to take sides. There is a general awakening taking place as people hold mirrors up to the irrationality that's being imposed upon them. This awakening is beginning to empower our collective learning and understanding. You see, the powers-that-be have told us that world events are too difficult for the layperson to understand. They lied! We have been told that national secrets must be zealously protected. Indeed, they must! No government wants its citizens to discover that its best and brightest participate in massive collusion, conspiracy and pillaging of the planet.
       Now, as the year 2007 unfolds, we find ourselves at the crossroads. The road we take from here will determine the very future of humanity and whether we will become an electronic global police state or remain free human beings. We must always remember that it is not up to God to bring us back from the "New Dark Age" planned for us. It is up to us. Forewarned is forearmed. We will never find the right answers if we don't ask the right questions.
       1. Brzezinski, Zbigniew, The Grand Chessboard: American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives, Basic Books, New York, 1997
       2. Beaudry, Pierre, Synarchy Movement of Empire, Leesburg, Virginia, USA, 2005, Book IV, chapter 4, pp. 104-05, at http://www. organisations/ SME/Synarchy_ Movement_ of_Empire_ book_04.pdf
       3. Glazyev, Sergei, "From a Five-Year Plan of Destruction to a Five-Year Plan of Colonisation", EIR Bonn Symposium, 1997
       4. Dreyfuss, Robert, Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 2005
       5. Smucker, Philip, "Missions impossible: NATO's Afghan dilemma", Asia Times Online, 1 June 2007, http://www. atimes/ South_Asia/ IF01Df01. html
       About the Author:
       Based in Spain, Daniel Estulin is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been researching the Bilderberg Group for over 15 years. He is the author of La Verdadera Historia del Club Bilderberg (2005), a bestseller in Spain and now in its 13th printing; it has been translated into 24 languages and sold to over 42 countries. The English-language edition, The Story of the Bilderberg Group, is to be published by Trine Day, USA in September 2007 (available through The sequel, Los Secretos del Club Bilderberg (2006), is already in its second printing in Spanish; bidding for international rights is scheduled for (northern) autumn 2007.
       Estulin's previous contribution to NEXUS was in 2005 with "Breaking the Silence: Bilderberg Exposed" (vol. 12, no. 5). The original text of this 2007 article is at the web page http://www. danielestulin. com/?op=noticias &noticias= ver& id=345& idioma=en.
       Daniel Estulin can be contacted by email at For more information, visit his website at http://www. danielestulin. com.
       Istanbul, Turkey, 31 May - 3 June 2007
       This year's delegation included many of the most important politicians, businessmen, central bankers, European commissioners and executives of the Western corporate press. They were joined at the table by leading representatives of European royalty.
       According to the Bilderberg Steering Committee list which this author has had access to, the following names have now been confirmed as attendees at the Bilderberg 2007 conference (uncharacteristically, David Rockefeller was not present).
       Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (USA); George Alogoskoufis, Minister for Economy and Finance (Greece);
       Ali Babacan, Minister for Economic Affairs (Turkey); Francisco Pinto Balsemo, Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA SGPS, former Prime Minister (Portugal); Michel Barnier, Vice President, Merieux Alliance; former Minister for Foreign Affairs (France); Michael Barone, Senior Writer, US News & World Report (USA); Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister of Economics and Labour (Austria); Nicolas Baverez, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (France); Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, Queen of The Netherlands (The Netherlands); Leonor Beleza, President, Champalimaud Foundation (Portugal); Franco Bernabe, Vice Chairman, Rothschild Europe (Italy); Rosina M. Bierbaum, Professor and Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan (USA); Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs, former Prime Minister (Sweden); Mehmet A. Birand, Columnist (Turkey); Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co. (USA); Anders Borg, Minister for Finance (Sweden); Charles G. Boyd, President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security (USA); Umit N. Boyner, Member, Executive Board, Boyner Holding (Turkey); Vendeline A. H. von Bredow, Business Correspondent, The Economist; Rapporteur (Germany); Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group (USA); Oscar Bronner, Publisher and Editor, Der Standard (Austria); Hubert Burda, Publisher and CEO, Hubert Burda Media Holding (Belgium); Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Ontario (Canada);
       Cengiz Candar, Journalist, Referans (Turkey); Henri de Castries, Chairman of Management Board and CEO, AXA (France); Juan Luis Cebrian, CEO, Grupo PRISA media group (Spain); Hikmet Cetin, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan (Turkey); Kenneth Clarke, Member of Parliament (UK); Timothy C. Collins, Senior Managing Director and CEO, Ripplewood Holding, LLC (USA);
       Frans van Daele, Permanent Representative of Belgium to NATO (Belgium); George A. David, Chairman, Coca-Cola HBC SA (Greece); Etienne Davignon, Vice-Chairman, Suez-Tractebel, Honorary Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings (Belgium); Richard Dearlove, Master, Pembroke College, Cambridge (UK); Kemal Dervis, Administrator, UNDP (Turkey); Anna Diamantopoulou, Member of Parliament (Greece); Thomas E. Donilon, Partner, O'Melveny & Myers LLP (USA); Mathias Dopfner, Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer AG (Germany); Cem Duna, Former Ambassador to the European Union (Turkey); Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings, Inc. (USA);
       Anders Eldrup, President, DONG AS (Denmark); John Elkann, Vice Chairman, Fiat SpA (Italy);
       Ulrik Federspiel, Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Denmark); Martin S. Feldstein, President and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research (USA);
       Timothy F. Geithner, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York (USA); Paul A. Gigot, Editorial Page Editor, The Wall Street Journal (USA); Eival Gilady, CEO, The Portland Trust, Israel (Israel); Dermot Gleeson, Chairman, AIB Group (Ireland); Emre Gonensay, Professor of Economics, Isik University, and former Minister for Foreign Affairs (Turkey); Marc Grossman, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group (USA); Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor (Austria);
       Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations (USA); Victor Halberstadt, Professor of Economics, Leiden University, former Honorary Secretary-General of Bilderberg Meetings (The Netherlands); Peter D. Hart, Chairman, Peter D. Hart Research Associates (USA); Frank Heemskerk, Minister for Foreign Trade (The Netherlands); Paul Hermelin, CEO, Cap Gemini SA (France); Richard C. Holbrooke, Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC (USA); Jan H. M. Hommen, Chairman, Reed Elsevier NV (The Netherlands); Jaap G. de Hoop Scheffer,* Secretary-General, NATO (The Netherlands/International);
       Atte Jaaskelainen, Director of News, Sports and Regional Programmes, YLE (Finland); Kenneth Jacobs, Deputy Chairman, Head of Lazard USA, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (USA); James A. Johnson, Vice Chairman, Perseus LLC (USA); Vernon E. Jordan, Jr, Senior Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (USA); His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I,* King of Spain (Spain);
       Jyrki Katainen, Minister of Finance (Finland); Jason Kenney, Member of Parliament (Canada); Muhtar Kent, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Coca-Cola Company (USA); John Kerr (Lord Kerr of Kinlochard), Member, House of Lords, Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK); Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates (USA); Eckart von Klaeden, Foreign Policy Spokesman, CDU/CSU (Germany); Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO, Siemens AG (Germany); Mustafa V. Koc, Chairman, Koc Holding AS (Turkey); Bruce Kovner, Chairman, Caxto Associates LLC (USA); Henry R. Kravis, Founding Partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (USA); Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc. (USA); Idar Kreutzer, CEO, Storebrand ASA (The Netherlands); Neelie Kroes, Commissioner, European Commission (The Netherlands/ International);
       Bernardino Leon Gross, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Spain); Mogens Lykketoft, Member of Parliament (Denmark); William J. Luti, Special Assistant to the President for Defense Policy and Strategy, National Security Council (USA);
       Jessica T. Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA); Michael McDowell, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Ireland); John R. Micklethwait, Editor, The Economist (UK); Mario Monti, President, University Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (Italy); Craig J. Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation (USA); Egil Myklebust, Chairman, SAS and Norsk Hydro ASA (Norway);
       Matthias Nass, Deputy Editor, Die Zeit (Germany); Ewald Nowotny, CEO, BAWAG PSK (Austria);
       Christine Ockrent, Editor-in-Chief, France Television (France); Jorma Ollila, Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chairman and CEO, Nokia Corporation (Finland); George Osborne, MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (UK);
       Laurence Parisot, President, MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprises de France) (France); Christopher Patten, Member, House of Lords (UK); Richard N. Perle, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (USA); Rick Perry, Governor of Texas (USA); Volker Perthes, Director, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Germany); HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium (Belgium);
       Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo, Managing Director, IMF (International); Olli Rehn, Commissioner, European Commission (International); Heather Reisman, Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc. (Canada); Mat'as Rodriguez Inciarte, Executive Vice Chairman, Grupo Santander, Ciudad Grupo (Spain); Olivier Roy, Senior Researcher, CNRS (France);
       Paolo Scaroni, CEO, Eni SpA (Italy); Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, Google (USA); Rudolf Scholten, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (Austria); Jorgen E. Schrempp, former Chairman of the Board of Management, DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany); Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum (Switzerland); Robert W. Scully, Co-President, Morgan Stanley (USA); Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas (USA); Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, UN World Food Programme (USA); Kristen Silverberg, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Interational Organization Affairs (USA); Domenico Siniscalco, Managing Director and Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley (Italy); Javier Solana,* High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and the Western European Union (International); Her Majesty Queen Sophia, Queen of Spain (Spain); Ayse Soysal, Rector, Bosphorus University (Turkey); Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University (USA); Peter D. Sutherland, Chairman, BP PLC, and Chairman, Goldman Sachs International (Ireland); Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Sweden);
       Paul A. Taggart, Professor of Politics, University of Sussex (UK); Sidney Taurel, Chairman and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company (USA); J. Martin Taylor, Chairman, Syngenta International AG (UK); Peter A. Thiel, President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC (USA); Teija Tiilikainen, State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Finland); Michel Tilmant, Chairman, ING NV (The Netherlands); Jean-Claude Trichet, Governor, European Central Bank (France/International);
       Jens Ulltveit-Moe, CEO, Umoe AS (Norway);
       Daniel L. Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG (Switzerland); Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (The Netherlands);
       Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB (Sweden); Vin (J.V.) Weber, Partner, Clark & Weinstock (USA); Guido Westerwelle, Chairman, Free Democratic Party (Germany); Ross Wilson, Ambassador to Turkey (USA); James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC (USA); Paul Wolfowitz, President, The World Bank (International); Joseph R. Wood, Deputy Assistant to the Vice President, National Security Affairs (USA); Adrian D. Wooldridge, Foreign Correspondent, The Economist; Rapporteur (UK);
       Arzuhan Dogan Yalindag, President, TUSIAD (Turkey); Erkut Yucaoglu, Chairman of the Board, MAP, former President, TUSIAD (Turkey);
       Philip D. Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia (USA); Robert B. Zoellick,* former US Trade Representative, former Deputy Secretary of State, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (USA).
       * Known to have attended Bilderberg 2007, although not included on the official list of attendees distributed by the Bilderberg Meetings office.
    [© June 2007; republished Aug-Sep 2007]

    • Homes crisis LandCorp's fault: builders.  Australia flag; 

    Homes crisis LandCorp’s fault: builders

       The West Australian, www.thewest. , by BEN SPENCER, p 6, Wednesday, August 1, 2007
       PERTH: Big builder BGC has poured scorn on LandCorp for failing to supply affordable housing land for low and middle-income earners, saying the State-owned developer was operating as a commercial agency fundamentally focused on profits.
       BGC Construction general manager Gerry Forde claimed the State Government had clearly failed in its responsibility to supply land and the housing affordability crisis gripping the State would only get worse.
       Mr Forde placed much of the blame on LandCorp, the State Government's land developer, and described the approvals process and bureaucracy builders were forced to deal with as a "complete minefield".
       The claims were immediately rejected by Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who said it was the Court Liberal government which had commercialised LandCorp in 1999 and in doing so had demanded it reduce its role in the provision of residential land.
       "I think what has happened is that you have got LandCorp and you have got all these institutions trying to make too much money out of it," Mr Forde said.
       "LandCorp get into bed with a builder in a joint venture and the whole idea is that the Government is trying to make a profit out of it. Well they have got to stop looking at it from a commercial point of view. They are there to provide."
       Ms MacTiernan said the Labor Government had returned LandCorp to its intended role of providing affordable residential land across WA.
       She said an Opposition-commissioned report by WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry consultant Mike Nahan, which accused the Labor Government of stripping LandCorp of its social functions and called for a parliamentary investigation into its performance, was riddled with errors.
       "We have done the opposite," she said. "I have gone back into LandCorp and I have said 'we don't just love you for your money' and we have put a real focus on sustainable and commercial outcomes. We have got LandCorp back in the business of providing residential land."
       Ms MacTiernan said LandCorp had put 1189 lots on the market in regional areas and 1112 lots in Perth and the Peel region since 2004. JWH Group managing director Julian Walter said government agencies had to be involved in developing first home buyer land - it was the only way out of the current crisis.
       "Private enterprise is there to make a dollar and in a tight market you really do need someone like LandCorp in there developing land, which they are not doing," Mr Walter said.
       Builder Dale Alcock said the Government had neglected its responsibility to plan for the State, saying the downstream impacts of big resources projects getting approval had either been forgotten or ignored. #
    [Aug 1, 07]

    • Free advice from land of big Len. 

    Free advice from land of big Len

       The West Australian, www.thewest. , by Mark Drummond, Chief Reporter, Comment, p 6, Wednesday, August 1, 2007
       PERTH: He's Australia's biggest home builder with about 50 years in the game, he lives right here in Perth and he's happy to give the Carpenter Government some pro bono advice on how to go about solving the State's housing crisis.
       But there's probably one reason Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has never bothered giving him a call. And that's because his name is Len Buckeridge.
       "They have a talkfest (on housing affordability) and they do nothing," Mr Buckeridge bemoaned yesterday. "They appoint committees of people who don't know their a*se from their elbow, they all have cups of tea and talk b*llshit.
       "But no one has ever picked up the phone and asked me what I think. We're the biggest house builder in Australia still and you would think we have some knowledge on just where the problems lie. But they never think to ask."
       So The West Australian asked Mr Buckeridge yesterday what he would say if Ms MacTiernan ever got around to calling. And over nine cigarettes and three cups of tea, the colourful billionaire who built BGC into one of WA's biggest private companies identified the problems and spelt out what could be done to enable more West Australians to own their own home.
       Point One: The root of the problem is that land is too expensive.
       "The biggest single prohibition to building a house is the huge escalation in the price of land," Mr Buckeridge said.
       "The availability of land is unquestioned, there are huge quantities of urban zoned land. The price of land is absurd – $200,000 for a pocket handkerchief of land is just crazy. So land is the big element and it's so easy to fix it's not funny."
      [Picture] Standing on the sidelines: Home building magnate Len Buckeridge says talkfests won't solve the housing crisis.  
       Point Two: Urban sprawl has its upside.
       "If you restrict the urban area, it's denying what West Australians want," he said.
       "Now there is a penalty for urban sprawl. But if Alannah spends $1.6 billion to create a rapid rail to Mandurah, why doesn't she have urban subdivision clamouring around it?
       "They should be doing it hand over fist and they should be saying to private enterprise, you come up with the (subdivision) schemes.
       "Australians want to live in a spread urban environment. The traffic problems in Los Angeles are not as bad as the traffic problems in central London. They should absolutely open the floodgates on land subdivision. "
      ‘The price of land is absurd – $200,000 for a pocket handkerchief of land is crazy.’  
       Point Three: LandCorp should not be a cash cow.
       "When the Urban Land Development Authority was first set up, you had to develop to a certain standard, you had to develop within two years, you were prohibited from selling within five (years) and you had to be an owner-occupier," Mr Buckeridge said.
       "But it (successor LandCorp) has degenerated down to being a fiercely competitive seller of suburban land, it's staffed by half-wits.
       "To have their grand celebration last year to say 'We made $220 million' is a bloody disgrace. What they ought to be doing is keeping the prices right down.
       "If they're the government agency flogging off land, they should be saying, 'Guess what, last year we broke even and we were able to bring on stream 4000 house lots and not one of them exceeded $100,000'. Now that would be a far better contribution, the $220 million is a p*ss in the bucket.
       "To strangle the aspirations of the house owner to say we made this good profit – if they didn't have all those bl**dy clowns and wood ducks around they'd probably make twice that much anyway. It should be solely there to create affordable land."
       Mr Buckeridge claimed that by "holding hands" with private property developers, LandCorp was also guilty of forcing up the price of residential land "to absolutely grossly artificial levels".
       Point Four: The Government should farm-out the issuing of land titles.
       "There's a huge delay in the issue of titles," Mr Buckeridge said.
       "Titles issue is a disgrace. But they could palm it out to private surveyors who could do it twice as quick." #
       [RECAPITULATION: Point One: The root of the problem is that land is too expensive. […] Point Two: Urban sprawl has its upside. […] Point Three: LandCorp should not be a cash cow. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Correct! ENDS.] [Aug 01, 07]

    • Beware Howard's lust for power.  Australia flag; 

    Beware Howard’s lust for power

       Letters to The West Australian, www.thewest. , p 18, Friday, August 3, 2007
       As a long-time Liberal supporter (and one of the party's MPs for 15 years) I am appalled at John Howard's lust for power which is again showing itself in his push for more central power in Canberra.
       Mr Howard has long been accused by his opponents of being yesterday's man and being out of touch. He now runs the risk of being seen as such by his supporters.
       Throughout the world in the past 20 years the modern, enlightened trend has been away from rigid centralised power and in favour of devolved, decentralised control. Witness Tony Blair's decision to create a new parliament in Scotland, a new Welsh Assembly and now even a new decentralised parliament in Northern Island. Witness, too, the break-up of the old Soviet Union with its harsh, out-of-touch centralised planning and the creation of new, decentralised governments.
       Mr Howard has long trumpeted the claimed superiority of Federal, as opposed to State, control. Yet it was his Government that failed to provide some of the basic tests - like bringing home the right body when it was supposed to be repatriating Private Jake Kovco, like mistakenly deporting people who were actually Australian citizens, like crashing into the NT's child abuse crisis only to find the solutions are not quite so simple, like pushing the line that the Commonwealth now knows better about provision and location of hospital services. Heaven only knows what small employers will do when they wake up to the damage done by Mr Howard's centralisation of industrial relations powers just to satisfy big business.
      [Picture] John Howard  
       The sadness in all this is that for several years now the WA Liberal Party has gone to sleep on the job. Its MHRs and senators have abandoned their own and their party's principles as a party of federalism and thus anti-centralism.
       One detects a reckless and hopeless push by Mr Howard to do anything to stay in office, even if it means he abandons his party's long-held anti-centralist views.
       He leaves us with the feeling that with mindless followers in his Cabinet and on his back bench he can no longer be trusted to act like a true Liberal, a true federalist, a true anti-centralist. Phillip Pendal, former Member for South Perth.
    Central issue
       John Howard is behaving in a similar centralising way as Australia had feared Gough Whitlam would do - but didn't. He is centralising everything, using one or two clauses in the Federal Constitution to override river rights, grabbing for schooling and now reaching out for hospital ownership. Presumably the staff will come from overseas.
       It's no good appealing to the High Court - Mr Howard's team has been appointing the judges for years. Leaders of the 1950-60s, such as Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden, must be turning in their graves. Bring on citizens' initiated referendums. John Massam, Greenwood.
    [Aug 3, 07]

    • It's a joke. [75 children in a class?] 

    It’s a joke

       Letters to The West Australian, p 18, Friday, August 3, 2007
       Seventy-five kids in one class? Crikey! When I saw your report about so many kids supposedly able to learn in one class, I re-checked the date on the paper because I thought it was an April fool's stunt.
       The bureaucrat joker who came up with this one is obviously pretty distant from the realities of teaching in classrooms. Maybe it is the same scallywag who dreamt up the idea of primary schoolteachers having to assess their students using OBE.
       Before these educational experts expect our overworked and underpaid teachers to do this, I would like to see them get into a real classroom and give it a shot. Then I want to hear them field the flak from parents who are rightly concerned about their children being neglected in such battery-hen teaching.
       No wonder so many teachers have lost faith in the system and are voting with their feet. Andrew Bell, Woodvale.
    [Aug 3, 07]

    • [Whitlam in 1974 tried hospital grab.] 

    [Whitlam in 1974 tried hospital grab.]

       Letters to The West Australian, p 19, Friday, August 3, 2007
       In 1974 Gough Whitlam sought to take over Westmead hospital in Sydney. It would have augmented the Commonwealth-run repatriation hospitals by forcing a Federal intrusion in a State area of responsibility.
       The fundamental difference with Tasmania's Mersey Hospital proposal is that it does not involve the Federal Government in running a hospital but merely funding a community-based enterprise.
       Mersey-like capital city hospitals will draw patients from all over Tasmania. John Barich, Claremont.
    [Aug 3, 07]

    • Taxation And Housing Affordability Are Intermingled.  Australia flag; 

    Taxation And Housing Affordability Are Intermingled

       Georgist Education Association Inc, www.multiline. ~georgist , John Massam (President), john.massam@ , sent to the Federal Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd, to two newspapers, and to a periodical, August 4, 2007
       Among the best suggestions to stop housing becoming more unaffordable are to reduce several public and private imposts on production and building, and to collect revenue from all occupied land, thus spreading the load more fairly.
       Payroll tax, which varies from State to State, must be abolished at once.  It is a direct attack on employment, and its harmful effects on economic health are akin to the window tax of a bygone year which harmed physical health.
       Housing and other consumer costs are being boosted by the plunderous salaries and millions in golden handshakes being drawn by chief executives and their cohorts.  Retirement allowances of $29m and $50m, besides pushing prices up, can be said to be plundering shareholders and the Taxation Office, and result from overcharging consumers.  If governments shirk the duty of declaring them illegal, at least deny any retirement allowance as a company tax or income tax allowance, and levy a gift duty on each such payment.
       First home buyers ought to be exempt from Stamp Duty on their land purchases.  If Governments feel they must keep levying Stamp Duty to new entrants and/or to others, the rate ought to be reduced to the amount needed to cover the costs of the land registrations system, indexed, plus a safety margin of 10 per cent.  The duty could also be spread over five years.
       A universal land levy ought to be charged at about five per cent of the unimproved capital value of land, while at the same time reducing income tax and other taxes.  Land levy concessions ought to be limited to owner-occupiers for the first 15 years of their marriage or family-raising (once in a lifetime), with half-rates from the date the main breadwinner reaches 65.
       Investment property and all other landholdings should be levied, without concessions.  Naturally, such levies would be a legitimate income tax deduction expense for such landholders.  Sporting, religious, hospital, and charitable bodies would be expected to raise the levies from their members and donors.
       All these reforms must be accompanied by a great reduction in other taxes, with a huge simplification of the Commonwealth Income Tax Act.  Capital gains tax and local government rates also need careful supervision to prevent them being raised in order to finance luxuries (such as silk wallpaper in the PM's aircraft) and other waste. #
    [Aug 4, 07]

    • Moore licks his wounds  United  States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 


       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), STM Entertainment pages 10-11, By STEPHEN APPLEBAUM, August 5, 2007
       Michael Moore is now facing almost as many hostile Americans as he is institutions. By STEPHEN APPLEBAUM
     W  hen firebrand Michael Moore appeared at the Cannes Film Festival last May, it was many people's first sight of the film-maker since Fahrenheit 9/11 - his blistering assault on George Bush's record and character - had failed to derail the President's bid for re-election in 2004. Moore claimed that the reason for his low profile was the new tack he was taking with his latest documentary, Sicko - an examination of the American health-insurance industry and a cry from the heart for a socialised health system in the US. Moore felt that the new project would have to connect with his opponents as well as his allies if it were to have any effect. So he kept his head down.
       "I became very tired of all the yelling and screaming and not getting anywhere," he says. "Also, because of what I was trying to say, and trying to reach out to people who we disagree with and who aren't like us, I just wasn't in the mood to do that."
       Moore's frustration is understandable. In the days following his Oscar victory for Bowling for Columbine, and his memorable speech accusing Bush of being a fictitious president who had led the country into a fictitious war for fictitious reasons, Moore had found himself under attack like never before.
       "Right-wing radio went crazy on me," he recalls. "I couldn't walk down the street on any given day without someone wanting to hit me, spit on me or scream at me. It was pretty vicious."
       There are people on both sides of the Moore love-hate divide who call him a propagandist (controversial Fox News host Bill O'Reilly even compared him to Joseph Goebbels); Moore, however, vehemently rejects the description.
       "Propaganda is what those in power use to try and sway the public towards their point of view, often times shading the truth in order to get the desired result," he says.
       "But only those in power are able to use propaganda. I don't hold power. I can't create the system that I want to have created. So I'm using an art form to express myself."
       He says his aim is simple. "When I make any movie it is to make something that I would like to go see on a Friday night if I were going to a movie," he says. "That is always the first and foremost thought in my mind - 'How can we make something that will be so enjoyable and entertaining that people will want to take their date or their spouse or whatever to the theatre, eat popcorn, have a great time, laugh, cry, think, leave the theatre and talk about it an hour later, a day later, a week later?'."
       In Sicko Moore uses all the techniques in his film-making arsenal to explore the links between the pharmaceuticals industry, politicians and the health-insurance industry, using heartbreaking case studies to illustrate how the profit-led system of health care in the US fails the uninsured and insured alike.
       He travels abroad to France, England and Canada to look at their government-run health systems, and looks agog at the quality of the services on offer.
       When questioned about presenting London's Hammersmith hospital - a flagship National Health Service (NHS) Trust facility - as though it were representative of the standards offered by the service in general, with no mention of the long waiting lists, the lack of beds, the understaffing, the mismanagement of funds, the rationing or the dangerous "superbugs" that bedevil the NHS, Moore tugs at his baseball cap.
       "Yeah, well, I can tell you from my experience of British hospitals that I was surprised. Maybe because I'm comparing them to America, I was surprised at how nice they were," he says.
       "I'm not saying they don't have problems. But, trust me, from an American point of view, they all look pretty good."
       He adds that the Brits need to preserve what they have and to get back that which they have lost.
       Ultimately, says Moore, the point of looking at the issue of health in Sicko was to use it as a way to ask why the US has become the country that it is today.
       "I hope Sicko engenders a discussion not just about why we don't have universal health care in America but why we are the way we are these days," he says.
       "Is there something fundamentally wrong here? Is there something wrong with us? We have to ask these questions if we're going to be a better people.
       "And I think the world is dependent on that because our presence in the world is so powerful at the moment that we surely not only need to atone for what has happened in Iraq, but also to figure out how we can hold our hand out to the world and be a good neighbour."
    * Sicko opens on Thursday.
      [Picture] Michael Moore poses for a portrait in Cannes, France. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP Photo   #
    [Aug 5, 07]

    • Reserve Bank warned: Housing Affordability Tool Box Empty  Australia flag; 

    Reserve Bank warned: Housing Affordability Tool Box Empty;
    Speculators rub their hands with glee at prospect of further tax write offs

       Prosper Australia (Victoria), www.prosper. , News release distributed by Karl Fitzgerald, Projects Coordinator, Earthsharing Australia, au , Melbourne, Tel. +613 9670 2754, Wednesday, August 8, 2007
       "Today's interest rate increases have rewarded the wrong people. Speculators will today be able to increase the amount of tax they can write off" said Prosper Australia spokesman Karl Fitzgerald.
       "The Reserve Bank's policy tool box is empty when it comes to housing affordability. Higher interest rates hurt first home owners but reward speculators."
       "Today's Interest Rate increase will see $300m handed to speculators in the form of extra negative gearing tax write offs"
       "Higher interest rates allow a privileged few greater tax write offs via negative gearing."
       "Why are those who already own the planet encouraged to own even more?"
       "Recent Census figures show that there are 830,376 vacant dwellings in Australia representing 10% of all housing stock, up 112,000 on the last census. Why does government policy continually overlook the need to encourage greater efficiency in the land and housing market?"
       "The Reserve Bank should impose a Federal Site Rental fee on all land. With the Reserve Bank administering such a policy, the political machinations that flow from developer contributions are avoided. The Site Rental should be set at a flat rate."
       "With such a policy in place, no longer can land or property be withheld to manufacture capital gains. The extra supply puts downward pressure on land and housing prices. Urban infill over never ending sprawl becomes possible."
       "The imposition of such a revenue raising mechanism would allow government some real tax reform in an effort to remove some of the 56 taxes and 182 potential taxing points throughout Australia."
       "The Superannuation contributions deadline was expected to create a buyers' market. With Victorian house and land prices increasing a whopping 10.2% in just one quarter, it is obvious the government must look at deep seated reform. A Site Rental will assist first home buyers and penalise those after an easy dollar from land speculation" finished Mr Fitzgerald. #
       CONTACT: 1st floor, 27 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, Vic, 3000, Australia. [Aug 8, 07]

    • Stock markets recover from early losses, bolstered by central banks. 

    Stock markets recover from early losses, bolstered by central banks

       CBC News, money/story/ 2007/08/10/ asian-markets. html , Last Updated 8:20 PM ET, Friday, August 10, 2007
       North American stock markets fought their way back from steep early losses Friday as central banks continued to pump billions into the financial system to soothe jittery markets.
       The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended a volatile day with a dip of just 31 points to 13,239.
    Floor traders signal the trend in the market Friday at the Philippine Stock Exchange. Floor traders signal the trend in the market Friday at the Philippine Stock Exchange. Philippine shares plunged, with jittery investors cashing in gains in the wake of Wall Street's slump and the subsequent slide in regional markets.  Philippine shares plunged, with jittery investors cashing in gains in the wake of Wall Street's slump and the subsequent slide in regional markets. (Pat Roque/Associated Press)

       The Dow had dropped more than 200 points in the first hour of the trading day and had shed 387 points in frantic trading on Thursday.
       The Toronto Stock Exchange composite index closed Friday at 13,465, down a modest 12 points. At one point early Friday morning, the main TSX index had dropped more than 250 points before clawing its way back.
       The index had fallen 280 points on Thursday as it got caught up in the worldwide worry over the U.S. subprime debt market.
       Asian stocks fell overnight, continuing the market turmoil Thursday in North America and Europe.
       Investors were wondering if worsening lending conditions would lead to a global slowdown in growth and corporate profits.
       Some economists said the fears are being overblown.
       "We believe the risk of the credit turbulence spreading into the overall economy is limited," said BMO Capital Markets chief economist Sherry Cooper.
       But many observers say wild swings will be a hallmark of stock markets in the weeks and months to come.
       "Until this is cleared up, it's going to be very volatile times," said Barclays analyst Henk Potts in London.
       The Bank of Japan joined its U.S., Canadian, European and Australian counterparts in providing additional credit transfusions and that eventually seemed to stem the tide of selling on equity markets – at least for now.
       The Bank of Japan said it injected one trillion yen ($8.39 billion US) into money markets to curb rises in a key overnight interest rate, following similar moves elsewhere.
       On Friday, the European Cental Bank provided another transfusion valued at more than $80 billion US. "This liquidity-providing fine-tuning operation follows up on the operation conducted yesterday and aims to assure orderly conditions in the euro money market," it said.
       On Thursday, the European Central Bank provided more than $130 billion US to money markets, the bank's biggest infusion ever, and the U.S. Federal Reserve also added a larger-than-normal $24 billion US in temporary reserves to the U.S. banking system.
       Words of assurance
       The U.S. central bank moved Friday to add another $38 billion US in temporary reserves – and offered words of assurance, too.
       "The Federal Reserve is providing liquidity to facilitate the orderly functioning of financial markets," it said in a brief statement.
       "The Federal Reserve will provide reserves as necessary through open market operations to promote trading in the federal funds market at rates close to the Federal Open Market Committee's target rate of 5.25 per cent.
       "In current circumstances, depository institutions may experience unusual funding needs because of dislocations in money and credit markets. As always, the discount window is available as a source of funding."
       Data from the Bank of Canada showed it intervened Friday with an injection of $1.685 billion by the early afternoon, following a liquidity boost of $1.64 billion on Thursday.
       For all of the volatility in North American markets in the last few days, it's worth noting that the Dow, the Nasdaq composite index, and the S&P 500 index all managed to end the week ahead of where they ended last week.
       The S&P/TSX composite index lost about 100 points week-over-week – less than one per cent. #
       [COMMENT: Who was it said that banks do not create credit?  Does the average person ever wonder if banks ought to be permitted, by law, to prop up over-inflated share prices -- not to mention over-blown land prices which are pricing the new starters out of the market.  In "booming" Australia, some working families are forced to live in tents, caravan parks, or sheds. ENDS.] [Aug 10, 207]

    • Howard warns Maliki: act or face pullout.  Australia flag;  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    Howard warns Maliki: act or face pullout

       The Australian, www.the australian. au/story/ 0,25197, 22224976- 31477,00. html , by Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor | August 11, 2007
       AUSTRALIA: JOHN Howard has demanded the Iraqi Government make faster progress towards resolving the country's political differences or face the prospect of a withdrawal of Australian troops and those of other Western nations.
       The Prime Minister, in a blunt letter to his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki, urges the Iraqi Government to speed the sharing of oil wealth among all sections of the Iraqi community, including the minority Sunni population.
       In the letter, sent last week, Mr Howard warns that if the Iraqis fail to make progress, the public support for Australia's military deployment to Iraq may not be sustainable.
       The clear implication in Mr Howard's letter is that US public support would also falter without signs of substantial political progress in Iraq.
       The letter displays Mr Howard's deep and growing frustration with the Maliki Government, which has suspended sittings of the Iraqi parliament for the whole of this month. With the federal election looming, it shows Mr Howard is under real political pressure on Iraq for the first time.
       The top-secret letter was transmitted electronically to the Australian embassy in Baghdad and hand-delivered to Mr Maliki's office by the Australian ambassador to Iraq, Mark Innes Brown. The hard copy was later sent in a secure diplomatic bag. […]
       Altogether, Australia has about 1500 troops committed to the Iraq theatre, although some of these are based in nearby countries rather than in Iraq itself.
       The main Australian elements inside Iraq include a battle group of 500 in the south, a security detachment in Baghdad of 110, and an Australian Army training team of about 100.
       Labor is committed to withdrawing the battle group and the training team over time.
       In his letter to Mr Malaki, Mr Howard acknowledged how far Iraq has come politically through the peaceful holding of elections, and how much resilience the Iraqi people have shown.
       But Mr Howard stressed that the US troop surge offered Mr Maliki a unique opportunity that he should not miss.
       Mr Malaki is believed to be yet to reply formally to Mr Howard's letter. #
       [COMMENT: PM John Howard and his advisers evidently have no idea that every Islamic community is, at the base, ungovernable.  Every Muslim MAN is entitled to take violent steps if he decides that they fit into his religion.  This makes such people almost ungovernable in the long term, except by a mixture of deceit and threats.
       [KORAN: 3:118 (or 3:114):- O ye who believe!  Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks:
       2:286:- … Thou art our protector: give us victory therefore over the infidel nations. DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Aug 11, 07]

    • Italy Probe Unearths Huge Iraq Arms Deal.  [Russian weapons to Iraq black market.] Italy flag;   Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Libya flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Russia flag; 

    Italy Probe Unearths Huge Iraq Arms Deal

       The Guardian, latest/story/ 0,,-6844 984,00.html , By CHARLES J. HANLEY and ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writers, 6:46 PM, Sunday August 12, 2007
       PERUGIA, Italy (AP) - In a hidden corner of Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.
       Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.
       As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.
       For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command - a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
       Why these officials resorted to "black" channels and where the weapons were headed is unclear.
       The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
       Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq's police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias.
       Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army's AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.
       Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.
       "Iraqi officials did not make MNSTC-I aware that they were making purchases," Lt. Col. Daniel Williams of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I), which oversees arming and training of the Iraqi police and army, told the AP.
       Operation Parabellum, the investigation led by Dario Razzi, anti-Mafia prosecutor in this central Italian city, began in 2005 as a routine investigation into drug trafficking by organized-crime figures, branched out into an inquiry into arms dealing with Libya, and then widened to Iraq.
       Court documents obtained by the AP show that Razzi's break came early last year when police monitoring one of the drug suspects covertly opened his luggage as he left on a flight to Libya. Instead of the expected drugs, they found helmets, bulletproof vests and the weapons catalog.
       Tapping telephones, monitoring e-mails, Razzi's investigators followed the trail to a group of Italian businessmen, otherwise unrelated to the drug probe, who were working to sell arms to Libya and, by late 2006, to Iraq as well, through offshore companies they set up in Malta and Cyprus.
       Four Italians have been arreste