Saturday, March 3, 2012

NY Times: Ex-Senators Graham and Kerrey See Possible Saudi 9/11 Link

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For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.

Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.

“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.

His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.

Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that has wound its way through federal courts since 2002. An appellate court, reversing an earlier decision, said in November that foreign nations were not immune to lawsuits under certain terrorism claims, clearing the way for parts of the Saudi case to be reheard in United States District Court in Manhattan.

Lawyers for the Saudis, who have already moved to have the affidavits thrown out of court, declined to comment on the assertions by Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey. “The case is in active litigation, and I can’t say anything,” said Michael K. Kellogg, a Washington lawyer for the Saudis.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, who have emphatically denied any connection to the attacks in the past, did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

The Saudis are seeking to have the case dismissed in part because they say American inquiries — including those in which Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey took part — have essentially exonerated them. A recent court filing by the Saudis prominently cited the 9/11 Commission’s “exhaustive” final report, which “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi individuals funded” Al Qaeda.

But Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Graham said that the findings should not be seen as an exoneration and that many important questions about the Saudis’ role had never been fully examined, partly because their panels simply did not have the time or resources given their wider scope.

Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., whose husband died in the World Trade Center, said it was “so absurd that it’s laughable” for the Saudis to claim that the federal inquiries had exonerated them.

Unanswered questions include the work of a number of Saudi-sponsored charities with financial links to Al Qaeda, as well as the role of a Saudi citizen living in San Diego at the time of the attacks, Omar al-Bayoumi, who had ties to two of the hijackers and to Saudi officials, Mr. Graham said in his affidavit.

Still, Washington has continued to stand behind Saudi Arabia publicly, with the Justice Department joining the kingdom in trying to have the lawsuits thrown out of court on the grounds that the Saudis are protected by international immunity.

State Department officials did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday on the impact of the court declarations.

The senators’ assertions “might inject some temporary strain or awkwardness at a diplomatic level,” said Kenneth L. Wainstein, a senior national security official in the George W. Bush administration. Even so, he said, “the United States and the Saudis have developed strong counterterrorism cooperation over the last decade, and that relationship will not be undermined.”

Millions of U.S. children live in poverty

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The Kids Count report on child poverty in the United States was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Feb. 23. Despite claims in the media and by the government lately that “jobs are being added,” “unemployment is down” and “the economy continues to recover,” the situation is extremely bleak for a huge, vulnerable section of the population.

The report used U.S. Census Bureau data and determined that the number of children in the U.S. living in poor communities went up 25 percent from 2000 to 2010. Eight million children lived in poor communities in 2010, an increase of 1.6 million from 2000.

Three-quarters of these children had at least one parent working at a job, although at wages insufficient to pull the family out of poverty. A poor community is one where 30 percent or more of the population is living in poverty, which means surviving on roughly $22,000 per year or less for a family of four.

Of course, it is still a struggle for a family of four — or any size — to survive on $22,000 in yearly income. Low wages or income must purchase housing (rent or mortgage with required taxes and insurance), food, heat and other utilities, transportation, child care, clothing, medical care, tuition and education-related expenses and other necessities of life. Under capitalism these are commodities to be bought and sold at a profit, instead of guaranteed human rights.

Detroit has worst child poverty

According to the report, Detroit has the dismal distinction of having the worst child poverty in the country. A staggering 67 percent of Detroit children live in high-poverty neighborhoods, more than in any other of the largest 50 cities in the U.S. That is 10 percent more than the next worst city, Cleveland, where 57 percent of children live in poor communities. (Detroit News, Feb. 23)

Detroit, a majority African-American city, lost 25 percent of its population from 2000 to 2010 due in large measure to the home foreclosure epidemic caused by the racist, predatory banks and their sub-prime mortgage schemes aimed at oppressed communities. Vast sections of the city are littered with vacant, abandoned and vandalized homes where once-thriving neighborhoods used to be.

The official unemployment rate for Detroit residents is more than 28 percent. If discouraged and part-time workers are included, it is at least 44 percent. Mayor Dave Bing has admitted he thought joblessness in the city was closer to 50 percent.

Tens of thousands in Detroit have had their water cut off. Thousands of city workers face wage cuts, layoffs and speed ups while dozens of schools are closed and services for city residents are pared to the bone.

An emergency manager takeover is threatened for the city because of the fiscal crisis caused by the banks and their usurious debt servicing. Imposition of an emergency manager will not improve conditions for the children or any residents of Detroit. Instead, it will trigger an automatic default by the city, with $400 million due immediately to the banks.

Even prior to the current crisis, the city was already hard hit by the racist deindustrialization of the auto industry, which closed virtually every auto plant in the Motor City and drove employment, wages and union membership sharply downward.

Some 1 million industrial jobs were lost in Michigan between 2000 and 2010.

Michigan’s homeless children

These job cuts by the auto giants and other corporations, along with the predatory lending of the banks and financial institutions, have created a crisis of survival for tens of thousands in Detroit and many more around the state.

Some 40,000 people in the state, including an estimated 15,000 children, were recently cut off from welfare cash assistance. Unemployment benefits in Michigan end after just 20 weeks.

The report says Michigan’s share of children in high-poverty neighborhoods rose from 8 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2006-2010. (Associated Press, Feb. 23) There were 341,000 Michigan children in impoverished neighborhoods in 2010, about 124,000 more than in 2000, or a 57 percent increase.

Many of the state’s children are homeless. According to a four-part series in the Detroit Free Press, “In the 2010-11 school year, more than 31,000 homeless students attended school — 8,500 more than in the previous school year, a 37 percent spike attributed to the weak economy, loss of jobs and the foreclosure crisis. Overall, the number of homeless students in Michigan has jumped more than 300 percent in the last four years.” (freep.com, Dec. 18)

These homeless students and their families live not just in Detroit, but in its suburbs, and in Flint, Grand Rapids and other cities, as well as in small towns and rural areas all over the state. The “lucky” ones have moved into cramped quarters with relatives; others live in the woods and in makeshift dwellings. The problems they face as students and growing children are immense and cruel, with long-lasting effects.

Increasing child poverty and homelessness are what the capitalist system offers the youngest and most vulnerable members of society, even in the richest country on earth.

10.7 Percent: Unemployment In Europe Is Worse Than It Was At The Peak Of The Last Recession

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The unemployment rate in the eurozone is now 10.7 percent. That is the highest the unemployment rate has been since the introduction of the euro. The unemployment rate in the eurozone never got any higher than 10.2 percent during the last recession. This is very troubling news. It was just recently announced that the eurozone has entered another recession, and already the unemployment rate is hitting new record highs. So how bad are things going to get in the months to come? The truth is that the problems for Europe are just starting. The European sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse, and another major global financial crisis is going to be here way too soon. The EU as a whole has a larger population, a larger banking system and more Fortune 500 companies than the United States does. When the financial system of Europe crashes, the entire world is going to feel it.

Some of the unemployment numbers coming out of Europe are absolutely staggering.

Unemployment in Spain is 19.9 percent.

Unemployment in Greece is 23.3 percent.

And when you look at youth unemployment the numbers are far worse.

The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 is 48.1 percent in Greece and 49.9 percent in Spain.

If you look carefully at the photos of the austerity riots happening in Spain and in Greece you will notice that the vast majority of the protesters are young people.

Instead of getting better, the unemployment numbers in Europe just keep getting worse. Many analysts were shocked by these new numbers. The following is from a CNN article....

"This is appalling," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, highlighting that the unemployment rate following the collapse of Lehman Brothers peaked at 10.2%.

Appalling indeed.

The frightening thing is that we haven't even had a major financial crisis in Europe yet. So far, the powers that be have been able to keep Greece from defaulting and have been able to keep major banks all over Europe from collapsing.

But there are quite a few signs that the "moment of reckoning" for Europe is rapidly approaching....

-The European Central Bank announced on Tuesday that it would no longer take Greek bonds as collateral from European banks. That is a really bad sign.

-Major European banks are revealing unexpectedly huge losses on Greek debt. The following is from a Reuters article....

The scars of Greece's debt crisis were laid bare in heavy losses from a string of European banks on Thursday, and bosses warned the region's precarious finances would continue to threaten economic growth and earnings.

From France to Germany, Britain to Belgium, four of the region's biggest banks lined up to reveal they lost more than 8 billion euros (6.8 million pounds) last year from their Greek bonds holdings.

"We are in the worst economic crisis since 1929," Credit Agricole chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet said.

-The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has ruled that the Greek debt deal will not trigger payouts on credit default swaps. This is going to make it less likely that private bondholders will voluntarily agree to the debt deal.

This ruling is also seriously shaking confidence in credit default swaps. After all, they are supposed to be "insurance" in case something happens. But if they aren't going to pay out when you need them, what good are they?

-Voters in Germany are sick and tired of pouring money into a black hole. One recent opinion poll in Germany showed that Germans are overwhelmingly against more bailouts for Greece.

Some German politicians are becoming very open about their feelings for Greece. For example, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the following in a recent interview with Der Spiegel....

"Greece's chances to regenerate itself and become competitive are surely greater outside the monetary union than if it remains in the euro area." He added that he did not support a forced exit. "I'm not talking about throwing Greece out, but rather about creating incentives for an exit that they can't pass up."

-In Greece, news publications are openly portraying German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Hitler. Far left political parties that oppose the bailouts are surging in the polls and anger and frustration are reaching unprecedented levels.

The following is from a recent article in The Guardian....

There is a growing animosity towards Germany on the streets of Athens. Angela Merkel bears most of the hostility with one of Greece's newspapers last week mocking the chancellor up as a Nazi on its front page.

Niki Fidaki, 40, says Greeks are angry at Germany and the troika's demands for higher taxes and public services cuts. "People can't afford to pay the tax. My pay has gone down, but my taxes have gone up. But, I'm a lucky one – half of my friends don't have jobs. Greeks hate that they are asking us to pay all the time when we don't have the money. Families have no work, they have kids to look after but no money to pay for anything."

As I have written about before, Greece is already going through a devastating economic depression. The people of Greece are not in the mood to be pushed much further.

The eurozone is a powder keg that could explode at any time.

So why is the U.S. economy doing so much better than the European economy right now?

Well, a big reason is because we haven't seen any austerity in the United States yet.

Barack Obama is funding our false prosperity by borrowing 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren.

Of course all of this reckless borrowing is going to make the eventual collapse of our financial system far worse, but right now Americans don't seem to care. The only thing the mainstream media seems to care about is that some of our economic numbers are getting slightly better.

The sad thing is that our government is spending a lot of this money on some of the most stupid things that you could possibly imagine.

Did you know that the Obama administration just spent $750,000 on a brand new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay?

I wish I had a $750,000 soccer field to play on.

I would love that.

Look, when the federal government quits stealing more than a trillion dollars a year from future generations things are going to look a whole lot different in this country.

So pay attention to what is going on in Europe.

That is where we are headed eventually.

Real Reason For The Afghanistan Invasion: State Secretary "U.S. strongly supports idea of TAPI gas pipeline construction"

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The United States strongly supports the idea of construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. At the same time, Washington strongly opposes meeting of Pakistan's needs in energy resources by constructing pipeline to purchase "blue fuel" from Iran, ITAR-TASS quotes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying on Wednesday.

Speaking at hearings in one of the subcommittees of Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, she assured that Obama administration recognizes Islamabad's "essential energy needs". However, construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan, either as a separate project of Tehran, or as a joint venture of the two sides would mean a "violation of our (that is, the U.S.) legislation on sanctions" against the Islamic Republic, Clinton said.

"We all know what would be the consequences of this. And it would have particularly devastating effect on Pakistan, because its economy is already fragile. Additional pressure to which the United States would have been forced to resort, would undermine their (that is Pakistanis) economic situation even more," Clinton added.

She said the U.S. "clearly" stated its position on this issue to Pakistan. "We urge Pakistan to seek alternatives (to purchasing natural gas from Iran)," Clinton added.

From her point of view, it is "a little inexplicable" why Pakistan now "tries to negotiate (with Iran) on the construction of the pipeline," knowing that Washington is trying hard to "increase pressure" on Tehran in connection with its refusal to clarify nature of nuclear activities. "And there is an alternative, which we strongly support - Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India the gas pipeline. We believe that this is a better alternative in terms of both predictability and avoid doing business with Iran," U.S. Secretary of State said.

Growing Number Of Americans Can't Afford Food, Study Finds

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Here in the United States, growing numbers of people can't afford that most basic of necessities: food.

More Americans said they struggled to buy food in 2011 than in any year since the financial crisis, according to a recent report from the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit research group. About 18.6 percent of people -- almost one out of every five -- told Gallup pollsters that they couldn't always afford to feed everyone in their family in 2011.

One might assume that number got smaller wrapped up with the national unemployment rate falling for several consecutive months. In actuality, the reverse proved true: the number of people who said they couldn't afford food just kept rising and rising.

The findings from FRAC highlight what many people already know: The economic recovery, in theory now more than two years old, has done little to keep millions of Americans out of poverty and deprivation. Incomes for many haven't kept pace with the cost of living, and for a large swath of the country, things today are as bad as ever, or worse.

Forty-six million people lived below the poverty line as of 2010, a record number, according to the Census Bureau, and one that's not even as high as some other estimates would have it. Take a further step back and the situation appears even more dire. About 45 percent of people in the U.S. have reported not being able to cover their basic living expenses, including food, shelter and transportation, according to the group Wider Opportunities for Women.

The official poverty rate is about 15 percent, but over two-fifths of Americans have so little saved that one financial emergency is all it would take to put them in poverty, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

These high rates of financial insecurity -- a consequence of the weak job market, and the prevalence of jobs that don't pay very well -- are making themselves felt at the level of everyday spending.

Recently, for example, a Center for Housing Policy study found that a growing number of middle-income owners and renters are paying more than half their earnings just to keep a roof over their heads. And as of 2009, almost one in five Americans over 50 years old were skipping on doctor visits, switching to cheaper medications or forgoing some medicines entirely out of financial necessity, according to a recently published study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a think tank.

As for widespread hunger of the kind recorded by FRAC, research shows that the entire country ends up paying one way or another. While the people who can't afford food are obviously suffering the worst, the social costs incurred -- from the money spent to keep food pantries open to the lifelong diminished earning power of impoverished children -- come to about $167 billion a year, or $542 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Syria: A Conspiracy Revealed

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It was political analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, in November 2006, who wrote in detail of US plans for the Middle East.

“The term ‘New Middle East’, was introduced to the world in June 2006, in Tel Aviv,†by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East’”, he wrote.

Sanity dictated that this would be a U.S. fantasy rampage too far and vast – until realization hit that the author of the map of this New World, planned in the New World’s “New World Order”, was Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, who, in one of the most terrifying articles ever published, wrote in 1997:

There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines …The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing. (My emphasis.)

At the time, Peters was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he was responsible: “for future warfare.” His plans for Iraq worked out just fine – unless you are an Iraqi.

A month after Nazemroaya’s article was published, William Roebuck, Director for the Office of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was composing an end of year strategy for Syria from his study in the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, where he was been based between 2004-2007, rising to Deputy Chief of Mission.

The subject title was: “Influencing the SARG (Syrian Arab Regime Government) in the end of 2006.”

“The SARG ends 2006 in a much stronger position domestically and internationally (than in) 2005.” Talking of President Assad’s “growing self-confidence”, he felt that this might lead to “mistakes and ill-judged … decisions … providing us with new opportunities.” Whilst “additional bilateral or multilateral pressure can impact on Syria”, clearly he had even more ambitious plans:

This cable summarizes our assessment of … vulnerabilities, and suggests that there may be actions, statements and signals, that the USG (US Government) can send that will improve the liklihood of such opportunities arising.

The proposals would need to be “fleshed out and converted in to real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities.” (no, not le Carre, Forsyth, or Fleming, “diplomat” in Damascus.)

“As the end of 2006 approaches” wrote Roebuck, “Bashar appears … stronger than he has done in two years. The country is economically stable …regional issues seem to be going Syria’s way.”

However, “vulnerabilities and looming issues may provide opportunities to up the pressure on Bashar … some of these vulnerabilities “(including the complexities with Lebanon) “can be exploited to put pressure on the regime. Actions that cause Bashar to lose balance, and increase his insecurity, are in our interest.”

The President’s “mistakes are hard to predict and benefits may vary, if we are prepared to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities …”

A “vulnerability”, wrote Roebuck, was Bashir al Assad’s protection of: “Syria’s dignity and international reputation.” Pride and “protection”, clearly a shocking concept.

In the light of the proposed Tribunal into the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri (14 February 2005) killed with his friend, former Minister of Economy Bassel Fleihan and twenty colleagues and bodyguards in a huge bomb detonated under his motorcade, this “vulnerability” could be exploited.

Unproven allegations have pointed the finger at Israel, Syria, Hezbollah and myriad others as behind another Middle East tragedy, but Roebuck regarded it as an “opportunity to exploit this raw nerve, without waiting for the formation of the Tribunal.”

Another idea outlined under a further “vulnerability” heading, was the growing alliance between Syria and Iran. “Possible action”, was to “play on Sunni fears of Iranian influence.” Although these were “often exaggerated”, they were there to be exploited:

Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here … are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should co-ordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention to the issue.

Concerned Sunni religious leaders should also be worked on. Iraq-style divide and rule model, writ large.

The “divide” strategy, of course, should also focus on the first family and legislating circle, with “ targeted sanctions (which) must exploit fissures and render the inner circle weaker, rather the drive its members closer together.”

The public should also be subject to “continual reminders of corruption … we should look for ways to remind …”

Another aspect to be exploited was “The Khaddam factor”.

Abdul Halim Khaddam was Vice President from 1984-2005, and acting President in 2000, during the months beween Bashir al Assad’s accession and his father’s death.

Thought to have Presidential ambitions himself, there was a bitter split between Khaddam and al Assad after Hariri’s death. Allegations of treasonous betrayal by Khaddam have validity.

The ruling party, writes Roebuck:

…follow every news item involving Khaddam, with tremendous emotional interest. We should continue to encourage the Saudis and others to allow Khaddam access to their media … providing him with venues for airing the SARG’s dirty laundry.

As a result, anticipated was “an over reaction by the regime that will add to its isolation and alienation from its Arab neighbours.”

On January 14th, 2006, Khaddam had formed a government in exile, and had predicted the end of the al-Assad government by the year’s end.

He is currently regarded as an opposition leader, and has claimed, on Israel’s Channel 2 TV, receiving monies to help overthrow the Syrian government from the U.S. and E.U.

The ever creative Mr Roebuck’s further plans included, “Encouraging rumours and signals of external plotting.” To this end “Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Kaddam and Rifat (sic) al Assad, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This … increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.”

Rifaat al Assad, Bashir’s uncle, was in charge of the Defence Brigade, who killed up to thirty thousand people in, and flattened much of, the city of Hama, in February 1982. So much for endlessly trumpeted concerns for “human rights violations.” Rifaat al Assad lives in exile and safety in London. Khaddam lives in Paris.(v)

Here is a serious cause for concern for the overthrow-bent. “Bashar keeps unveiling a steady stream of initiatives on reform and it is certainly possible he believes this is his legacy to Syria …. These steps have brought back Syrian expats to invest … (and) increasing openness.”

Solution? “Finding ways to publicly call in to question Bashar’s reform efforts.” Indeed, moving heaven and earth to undercut them, is made clear.

Further, “Syria has enjoyed a considerable up-tick in foreign direct investment”, thus, foreign investment is to be “discouraged.”

In May of 2006, complains Roebuck, Syrian Military Intelligence protested: “what they believed were U.S. efforts to provide military training and equipment to Syria’s Kurds.” The Iraq model yet again.

The answer was to “Highlight Kurdish complaints.” This, however, “would need to be handled carefully, since giving the wrong kind of prominence to Kurdish issues in Syria, could be a liability for our efforts … given Syrian … civil society’s skepticism of Kurdish objectives.”

In “Conclusion”, this shaming, shoddy document states, “The bottom line is that Bashar is entering the New Year in a stronger position than he has been in several years”, meaning “vulnerabilities” must be sought out. “If we are ready to capitalize, they will offer us opportunities to disrupt his decision-making, keep him off balance – and make him pay a premium for his mistakes.”

The cable is copied to The White House, U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Treasury, U.S. Mission at the UN, U.S. National Security Council, CENTCOM, all Arab League and EU countries.

The only other U.S. Embassy copied in is that in Tel Aviv. When William Roebuck worked at the Embassy in Tel Aviv (2000-2003) embracing the invasion of Iraq year, he “narrowly missed assassination.” Perhaps someone there too thought he was hard to warm to.

In 2009, he was Deputy Political Consul In Baghdad “leading efforts to support the critical 2009 Iraqi elections.” The “free and fair, democratic” ones, where people were threatened with the deaths of their children even, if they did not vote the “right” way.

The result was Nuri al Maliki’s premiership, complete with his murderous militias, the man under whose Ministry of the Interior, U.S. soldiers discovered tortured, starving prisoners.

The Damascus cable comes courtesy Wikileaks. Lt. Colonel Peters called, on Fox News, for founder, Julian Assange, to be assassinated. The forty second clip is worth the listen.

The Colonel also writes fiction and thrillers under the name Owen Patterson. Perhaps he is living the dream.

A Civil Right to Unionize

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FROM the 1940s to the 1970s, organized labor helped build a middle-class democracy in the United States. The postwar period was as successful as it was because of unions, which helped enact progressive social legislation from the Civil Rights Act to Medicare. Since then, union representation of American workers has fallen, in tandem with the percentage of income going to the middle class. Broadly shared prosperity has been replaced by winner-take-all plutocracy.

Corporations will tell you that the American labor movement has declined so significantly — to around 7 percent of the private-sector work force today, from 35 percent of the private sector in the mid-1950s — because unions are obsolete in a global economy, where American workers have to compete against low-wage nonunion workers in other countries. But many vibrant industrial democracies, including Germany, have strong unions despite facing the same pressures from globalization.

Other skeptics suggest that because laws now exist providing for worker safety and overtime pay, American employees no longer feel the need to join unions. But polling has shown that a majority of nonunion workers would like to join a union if they could.

In fact, the greatest impediment to unions is weak and anachronistic labor laws. It’s time to add the right to organize a labor union, without employer discrimination, to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, because that right is as fundamental as freedom from discrimination in employment and education. This would enshrine what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed in 1961 at an A.F.L.-C.I.O. convention: “The two most dynamic and cohesive liberal forces in the country are the labor movement and the Negro freedom movement. Together, we can be architects of democracy.”

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” The First Amendment has been read to protect freedom of association, and the 1935 National Labor Relations Act recognized the “right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations,” but in reality, the opportunity to organize is a right without a remedy.

Firing someone for trying to organize a union is technically illegal under the 1935 act, but there are powerful incentives for corporations to violate this right, in part because the penalties — mitigated back pay after extended hearings — are so weak.

It is noteworthy that American workers in the airline and railway industries, which are governed not by the 1935 law but by a stronger statute, the Railway Labor Act, have much higher rates of unionization.

Past efforts to strengthen labor laws over four decades have gotten bogged down: Congress cannot pass reforms until labor’s political clout increases, but that won’t happen without labor law reform.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, has much stronger penalties and procedures than labor laws. Under our proposal, complaints about wrongful terminations for union organizing could still go through the National Labor Relations Board, which has expertise in this field. But the board would employ the procedures currently used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which provide that after 180 days, a plaintiff can move his or her case from the administrative agency to federal court. There, plaintiffs alleging that they were unfairly dismissed for trying to organize could sue for compensatory and punitive damages and lawyers’ fees, have the opportunity to engage in pretrial legal discovery and have access to a jury — none of which are available under current law.

Our proposal would make disciplining or firing an employee “on the basis of seeking union membership” illegal just as it now is on the basis of race, color, sex, religion and national origin. It would expand the fundamental right of association encapsulated in the First Amendment and apply it to the private workplace just as the rights of equality articulated in the 14th Amendment have been so applied.

The labor and civil rights movements have shared values (advancing human dignity), shared interests (people of color are disproportionately working-class), shared historic enemies (the Jim Crow South was also a bastion of right-to-work laws) and shared tactics (sit-ins, strikes and other forms of nonviolent protest). King, it should be remembered, was gunned down in Memphis in 1968, where he was supporting striking black sanitation workers who marched carrying posters with the message “I Am a Man.” Conceiving of labor organizing as a civil right, moreover, would recast the complexity of labor law reform in clear moral terms.

Some might argue that the Civil Rights Act should be limited to discrimination based on immutable characteristics like race or national origin, not acts of volition. But the act already protects against religious discrimination. Some local civil rights statutes even cover marital status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business.

Should organizing at work for “mutual aid and protection” not also be covered?

While there are many factors that help explain why the nation has progressed on King’s vision for civil rights while it has moved backward on his goal of economic equality, among the most important is the substantial difference between the strength of our laws on civil rights and labor. It is time to write protections for labor into the Civil Rights Act itself.

Ron Paul Assaults Ben Bernanke On Parallel Currencies

Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? Trailer

Inflation Is A Tax And The Federal Reserve Is Taxing The Living Daylights Out Of Us

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Ronald Reagan once famously declared that inflation is a tax, but sadly most Americans did not really grasp what he was talking about. If the American people truly understood what inflation was doing to them, they would be screaming bloody murder about monetary policy. Inflation is an especially insidious tax because it is not just a tax on your income for one year. It is a continual tax on every single dollar that you own. As your money sits in the bank, it is constantly losing value. Over time, the effects of inflation can be absolutely devastating. For example, if you put 100 dollars in the bank in 1970, those same dollars today would only have about 17 percent of the purchasing power that they did back then. In essence, you were hit by an 83 percent "inflation tax" and all you did was leave your money in the bank. So who is responsible for this? Well, the Federal Reserve controls monetary policy in the United States, and the inflationary monetary policy that the Fed has gotten all of us accustomed to is taxing the living daylights out of us. This is madness, and it needs to stop.

In previous articles I have discussed how the Federal Reserve creates money. If you have not read those articles yet, you can find a few of them here, here and here.

The Federal Reserve system is designed to have the U.S. money supply expand indefinitely.

And that is exactly what has happened since 1913.

But when the money supply expands, there are very serious consequences.

Every time more money comes into existence, the dollars that you and I are already holding become less valuable because now there are more dollars chasing the same amount of goods and services.

Right now, the U.S. government says that the annual rate of inflation is somewhere around 2 percent. Those of you that have to buy food and gas on a regular basis realize how much of a joke that is.

Thankfully, there are others out there that keep track of these statistics as well. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent right now.

But let's use the doctored government numbers for a moment. Using the doctored numbers, what inflation has done to all of us is still absolutely horrific. Just check out the chart below. This is what the Federal Reserve was designed to do. It was designed to constantly expand the money supply and create inflation that never ends....

Most of us have been living in an inflationary environment for so long that we have come to accept it as normal.

Most Americans believe that prices are supposed to just keep going up as time goes by.

Unfortunately, we have now entered an era when prices are going up much faster than wages are. Family budgets are being squeezed tighter and tighter as the inflation tax keeps taking a bigger and bigger toll on all of our paychecks.

I remember the days when I could go into the grocery store and get a large bag of brand name potato chips for 99 cents.

I remember the days when I could get all the groceries that I needed for an entire week for 20 bucks.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

Have you been to the grocery store lately?

When I go to the grocery store these days I almost get the feeling that someone is going to ask me to fill out a credit application.

When I get to the checkout counter I almost get the feeling that the cashier is going to ask me if I want to pay with an arm or a leg.

But food is not the only thing going up. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row. There are millions of American families that are keeping the heat really, really low this winter in an attempt to make ends meet.

Health care is another thing that has become ridiculously expensive. During the Obama administration, worker health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent.

Has your paycheck increased by 23 percent?

Of course we all know what is happening with the price of gasoline. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now up to $3.72. It has increased by more than 90 percent since Barack Obama became president.

This is why so many economists get so upset when the Federal Reserve starts printing money like there is no tomorrow. Inflation is a tax that is very cruel to average American families. It destroys their wealth and it destroys the purchasing power of their paychecks.

Unfortunately, this is always what happens when a society adopts fiat currency. Our dollars are just pieces of paper backed by absolutely nothing. When more pieces of paper are printed up, the value of the pieces of paper already in existence goes down.

This is one of the reasons why so many people out there are talking about "real money" like gold and silver. Unlike fiat currency, precious metals tend to hold value over a very long period of time.

For example, it will take you about three times as much U.S. currency to buy a gallon of gasoline in 2012 as it did back in 1990.

But an ounce of silver will actually buy you more gasoline today than it did back then.

Back in 1990, an ounce of silver would buy you about 4 gallons of gasoline. Today it will buy you more than 8 gallons of gasoline.

Talk about holding value.

We see the same kind of thing happening with gold.

When Barack Obama first took office, an ounce of gold was selling for about $850. Today an ounce of gold costs more than $1700 an ounce.

It is not that gold is becoming so much more valuable. It is just that the U.S. dollar is losing value on a continual basis.

So why don't the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve quit flooding our economy with more paper money?

That is a very good question.

Sadly, our leaders seem to have a never ending addiction to more paper money and the American people are not demanding change.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that the Federal Reserve may have to implement even more stimulus measures in order to help the economy.

Of course such talk is utter insanity considering what Bernanke and his cohorts have already done to the monetary base over the past few years....

Thankfully, the vast majority of that money is still trapped in the financial system. If all of that money was floating around on the street inflation would be far worse.

Those of you that think that the surging stock market is a sign of "economic recovery" should realize that the market has been pumped up by huge amounts of funny money from the Federal Reserve. Just because the number of dollars circulating has increased does not mean that things are getting better.

There is much more to all of this of course, but what is important for the man and the woman on the street is the fact that when the Federal Reserve expands the money supply it is a tax on all of us and it makes all of us poorer.

So what do you think about the inflation tax and the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve?

WikiLeaks Exposes Department of Homeland Security Spying on Occupy Movement

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Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings last night posted a story on an internal DHS report entitled "SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street," dated October of last year. The five-page report, part of five million newly leaked documents obtained by Wikileaks, sums up the history of the movement and assesses its "impact" on the financial services and government facilities.

In an interview on Citizen Radio, Hastings talked about the monitoring by DHS and also the leaked emails from Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm Hastings describes as the "shadow CIA."

The process of combing through the huge amount of leaked documents has only just begun, but Hastings considers the revelation that the government was keeping tabs on OWS to be the biggest news so far to come out of the latest dump.

The monitoring, or spying (depending on how generous one is feeling), process included DHS scouring OWS-related Twitter feeds.

"[DHS] was following all of the social networking activity that was going on among Occupy Wall Street," says Hastings. "Now, I'm sure this is going to be spun tomorrow as this continues to grow that, oh, it's just benign, DHS just used open source material to do this, and that's true, but the question is: why is a large government bureaucracy who's mandated to protect the homeland…monitoring very closely a peaceful political protest movement? They're not monitoring the Democratic National Committee, they're not monitoring Young Republican meetings. They're monitoring Occupy Wall Street."

The report emphasizes the need to "control protesters," terminology Hastings finds troubling, along with DHS's assertion that OWS will likely become more violent. Hastings calls that prediction "quite a leap," as there is no evidence so far that the overwhelmingly peaceful movement is prone to become violent.

"[The report] names all the sort of groups [DHS is] worried about, one being Anonymous, this hacktivist group, but it also names the other people in Occupy Wall Street: labor unions, student groups," Hastings says.

One might expect to read some hand-wringing over public safety concerns in a government document, and yet the DHS document appears to be more concerned with protecting the mechanisms of the financial sector than in ensuring the safety of citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

"They talk about threats to 'critical infrastructure' and this fear that these protests are going to…make commerce difficult and people are going to start losing money. There is a kind of bottom line in analysis to what they're talking about. There isn't an emphasis on public safety in a way one would expect from a department that's supposed to protect the homeland. It's this sort of sense that they're protecting somebody's homeland, and they're the folks who generally make all the money."

This same business-over-people bias is present in the second major leak involving the Stratfor emails. "When you go look at the back-and-forth, it's all about, well, we have to protect lower Manhattan so the bankers can get to work on time."

Hastings talks about two troubling tracks: In the DHS case, the U.S. government monitoring activist groups, and in the Stratfor case, large corporations paying a private intelligence firm to monitor other activist groups.

Dow Chemicals had Stratfor analyze the activities of Bhopal activists such as the Yes Men, who famously pranked the company by impersonating a Dow Chemical executive and publicly apologizing on the BBC for the Bhopal disaster that killed 8,000 people.

The list of Stratfor's corporate clients is an impressive one, including Dow Chemicals and Coca-Cola. Clients are willing to pay the firm $40,000 for a subscription to Stratfor's services (and additional huge sums of money for more services,) because the company bills itself as a private CIA, privy to high-level intelligence access.

"You have the DOW Chemicals situation, you have Coca-Cola hiring Stratfor to go after animal rights activists, to sort of keep tabs on them, and then also the question is: why would Stratfor have this Department of Homeland Security document, right? And the answer to that is Stratfor's clients, or clearly Stratfor saw a business opportunity in keeping track, and figuring out how to handle protesters. In fact, in the email record…they're talking about different tactics in lower Manhattan about, well, the streets are narrow down there, so if they push the protesters this way, or that way, that's a better way to catch them. They're drilling down into the best ways to kind of protect the financial services who are some of their clients."

On Jan. 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, fired off an excited email to his colleagues: "Text Not for Pub. We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect."

The question was: who did Burton mean by "we"?

"It's like the Big Lebowski, right? The royal We," says Hastings.

What Burton meant by "we" was the U.S. government.

"We know that the Department of Justice had been investigating Assange, and playing this game of oftentimes not explicitly saying what they were doing, but sort of threatening they would be doing this espionage investigation. We know that they've interviewed people in a grand jury, and then a few weeks ago with the Bradley Manning pre-trial that they were actually trying to make this espionage case against Assange," says Hastings. "Burton claims that there in fact a secret U.S. indictment against Assange related, essentially, to espionage. That's pretty big news."

Hastings is braced for all of the typically condescending and dismissive remarks to come rolling in from the beltway in the wake of these latest leaks. In fact, the derision has already begun. One editor at The Atlantic called Wikileaks "a joke," and dismissed the Stratfor emails out of hand.

Hastings expects others to say there's no difference between a private intelligence firm and a newspaper or news bureau.

"I think that's totally wrong. Journalists have sources and informants, but also our mission is to share that information with the public so the citizenry can make more informed decisions. Stratfor's mission is to gather information so it can sell it to the highest bidder so corporations can essentially make more profit and get a competitive edge on their opponents," he says.

That kind of knee-jerk dismissiveness strikes of bad journalism, according to Hastings. While no cheerleader for Wikileaks – during the interview, Hastings admitted there's a lot of stuff one can criticize Wikileaks about, particularly the practice of releasing large amounts of data that hasn't been reviewed very carefully – he still finds the overall work done by the group extremely newsworthy.

"What news organization has had a bigger impact than Wikileaks? Iraq war logs, Afghan war logs, the Cablegate. These are important stories. This is news. DHS was monitoring Occupy Wall Street. That's a story, and it's a significant story. We're talking about Occupy Wall Street: one of the biggest grassroots, political movements that we've seen in a generation and the government's response to that."

One of the most worrying aspects to the Stratfor story is the privatizing of yet another typically goverment-only function. Like Blackwater, here is another shadowy private agency doing the work usually done by the U.S. government, a recipe, as we've learned time and time again, for unaccountability and disaster.

Also, Stratfor is ripe for the revolving door effect.

"It's a chance for people who worked in government in these various intelligence agencies to, once they leave, to have lucrative positions where they're able to -- in the same way some politicians become lobbyists to ply off their old contacts -- to have these great, well-paying positions where they can use their former intelligence contacts and sell their services in the corporate world," says Hastings.

To naysayers claiming there's nothing wrong with former government officials capitalizing on their particular skill sets, Hastings responds, "Once you start spying on activists, and peaceful protesters, then I would say that's very troubling."

Italy clashes video: Police battle rail protesters in Turin

Supreme Court Appears Poised To Say ‘Corporations Are People, Except When They Torture’

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the “mother of all corporate immunity cases,” by all accounts it did not go well.

The case involves whether Royal Dutch Shell can be held accountable in American courts for allegedly working with the Nigerian government to torture, execute and detain members of an ethnic group under a law holding the most atrocious human rights violators accountable to international norms. To be clear, there are some legitimate reasons why the Supreme Court should be wary of this case — Shell is a foreign corporation, and its alleged actions occurred on foreign soil, so it is not entirely certain that American courts can reach Shell’s actions. There are worrying signs, however, that the Court’s conservatives are prepared to simply declare all corporations, both foreign and domestic, immune from international legal norms. Most notably, the Court’s supposed swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, asked several questions suggesting that he does not believe corporations can be held accountable to this law:

  • “[C]ounsel, for me, the case turns in large part on this: page 17 of the red brief. It says, “‘International law does not recognize corporate responsibility for the alleged offenses here.’”
  • “[I]n the area of international criminal law, which is just analogous, I recognize, there is a distinction made between individuals and corporations.”
  • Suppose an American corporation commits human trafficking with U.S. citizens in the United States.Under your view, the U.S. corporation could be sued in any country in the world, and it would — and that would have no international consequences. We don’t look to the international consequences at all. That’s — that’s the view of the Government of the United States, as I understand.

If Justice Kennedy is willing to go this far, there’s a good chance that his four even more conservative colleagues are willing to come along with him. Worse, his questions yesterday suggest that the Court is prepared to apply a baffling double standard to wealthy and powerful corporations. Kennedy, of course, was the author of Citizens United, which declared that corporations have the exact same rights as actual human beingsfor purposes of spending money to influence elections. Yet, when a corporation engages in mass atrocities, they are suddenly entitled to legal immunities far beyond those available to people.

In other words, corporations are people, my friend — except when they torture.

Judge Sides With Monsanto

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On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Her ruling to dismiss the case brought against Monsanto on behalf of organic farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations representing farmers and citizens was met with great disappointment by the plaintiffs.

Plaintiff lead attorney Daniel Ravicher said, "While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world's foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing. Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers' standing as 'wholly inapposite' constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law. Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings."

Monsanto's history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers in America have been a source of concern for organic and non-GMO farmers since Monsanto's first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-90's. Since then, 144 farmers have had lawsuits brought against them by Monsanto for alleged violations of their patented seed technology. Monsanto has brought charges against more than 700 additional farmers who have settled out-of-court rather than face Monsanto's belligerent litigious actions. Many of these farmers claim to not have had the intention to grow or save seeds that contain Monsanto's patented genes. Seed drift and pollen drift from genetically engineered crops often contaminate neighboring fields. If Monsanto's seed technology is found on a farmer's land without contract they can be found liable for patent infringement.

"Family farmers need the protection of the court," said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of lead plaintiff OSGATA. "We reject as naïve and undefendable the judge's assertion that Monsanto's vague public relations 'commitment' should be 'a source of comfort' to plaintiffs. The truth is we are under threat and we do not believe Monsanto. The truth is that American farmers and the American people do not believe Monsanto. Family farmers deserve our day in court and this flawed ruling will not deter us from continuing to seek justice."

The plaintiffs brought this suit against Monsanto to seek judicial protection from such lawsuits and challenge the validity of Monsanto's patents on seeds.

"As a citizen and property owner, I find the Order by the Federal Court to be obsequious to Monsanto," said plaintiff organic farmer Bryce Stephens of Kansas. "The careless, inattentive, thoughtless and negligent advertisement Monsanto has published on their website to not exercise its patent rights for inadvertent trace contamination belies the fact that their policy is in reality a presumptuous admission of contamination by their vaunted product on my property, plants, seeds and animals."

"Seeds are the memory of life," said Isaura Anduluz of plaintiff Cuatro Puertas and the Arid Crop Seed Cache in New Mexico. "If planted and saved annually, cross pollination ensures the seeds continue to adapt. In the Southwest, selection over many, many generations has resulted in native drought tolerant corn. Now that a patented drought tolerant corn has been released how do we protect our seeds from contamination and our right to farm?

4 Proofs the USDA Doesn’t Care About Your Health

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Despite being tasked to defend public health, the USDA instead continues to not only go against public interest, but recklessly endanger the public with unacceptable and outright ludicrous policies that threaten your health on a routine basis. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that not only does the USDA allow for the widespread use of GMO crops, which have been pinpointed by scientific research as harmful to your health, but the USDA has now announced that they will be extraditing the approval process for these genetically modified creations.

What’s more, the organization actually said that one major hurdle they had to face when speeding up the regulation process — which cuts the regulatory time period in which GMO crops are studied for safety in half — was public interest. Does this sound like an organization that actually cares about your health? Here are 4 proofs that the USDA cares more about securing corporate profits than your health.

1. USDA Chooses Monsanto Sales Over Public Safety

Could it be possible that the USDA is actually turning a blind eye to the known adverse effects of Monsanto’s GMO crops, such as organ damage, in order to secure Monsanto’s growth and subsequent sales? In the original Bloomberg report announcing that the USDA was giving a ‘special’ speed review for Monsanto’s future crops, experts explained that the move was to secure the financial future of Monsanto — not to help farmers, citizens, or the United States.

Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants get an edge over competition.

It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.

The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in the same interview:

“If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,” said Windau

If you can reduce the approval time, then you can get sales much faster – an act of sacrificing legitimate safety measures for corporate gain.

2. USDA Ignores Pesticide Suspect in Dwindling Bee Population

Bees are at the core of our agricultural system, so with the news that they are dying off quite quickly, you would think that the USDA would do everything in its power to get to the root of the problem. This, of course, is not the case. While there have been a number of theories behind the downfall of the bee population, one leaked document revealed that a bee-killing pesticide put in use by the EPA may be to blame. Further records show that the USDA was fully aware of this fact, and just let it happen.

Amazingly, the USDA also knew the pesticide was a threat to human health. Still, they did nothing.

3. Mutant Insects? No Way, Monsanto’s GMO Corn is Perfectly Safe

Mutant insects don’t seem to bother the USDA either. Despite reports — including one by the EPA — that Monsanto’s Bt crops are spawning heavily resistant ‘mutated’ insects, the USDA continues to allow these crops on your dinner table. Bt is a ‘biopesticide‘ toxin incorporated into genetically modified crops in order to kill different insects, though it is highly ineffective. At least 8 populations of insects have developed resistance, with 2 populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole.

As a result, significantly more pesticides must be used to make up for the failed GMO crops.

4. USDA Approves New Monsanto Corn Despite 45,000 Comments in Opposition

In a move that really shows that the USDA doesn’t care about what you have to say (the very individuals the organization was created to work for), the organization recently approved Monsanto’s ‘drought tolerant’ genetically engineered corn despite massive opposition. They gave the green light to Monsanto despite receiving nearly 45,000 public comments voicing opposition and only 23 comments in favor since comments opened.

Bill Gates, Monsanto, And Eugenics: How Gates Is Promoting A Corporate Takeover Of Global Agriculture

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After it was exposed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic brainchild of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, purchased 500,000 shares in Monsanto back in 2010 valued at more than $23 million, it became abundantly clear that this so-called benevolent charity is up to something other than eradicating disease and feeding the world's poor (http://www.guardian.co.uk). It turns out that the Gates family legacy has long been one of trying to dominate and control the world's systems, including in the areas of technology, medicine, and now agriculture.

The Gates Foundation, aka the tax-exempt Gates Family Trust, is currently in the process of spending billions of dollars in the name of humanitarianism to establish a global food monopoly dominated by genetically-modified (GM) crops and seeds. And based on the Gates family's history of involvement in world affairs, it appears that one of its main goals besides simply establishing corporate control of the world's food supply is to reduce the world's population by a significant amount in the process.

William H. Gates Sr., former head of eugenics group Planned Parenthood

Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates Sr., has long been involved with the eugenics group Planned Parenthood, a rebranded organization birthed out of the American Eugenics Society. In a 2003 interview with PBS' Bill Moyers, Bill Gates admitted that his father used to be the head of Planned Parenthood, which was founded on the concept that most human beings are just "reckless breeders" and "human weeds" in need of culling (http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_gates.html).

Gates also admitted during the interview that his family's involvement in reproductive issues throughout the years has been extensive, referencing his own prior adherence to the beliefs of eugenicist Thomas Robert Malthus, who believed that populations of the world need to be controlled through reproductive restrictions. Though Gates claims he now holds a different view, it appears as though his foundation's initiatives are just a modified Malthusian approach that much more discreetly reduces populations through vaccines and GMOs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus).

Gates Foundation has invested heavily in converting Asian, African agricultural systems to GMOs

William Gates Sr.'s association with Planned Parenthood and continued influence in the realm of "population and reproductive health" is significant because Gates Sr. is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/leadership/Pages/william-gates-sr.aspx). This long-time eugenicist "guides the vision and strategic direction" of the Gates Foundation, which is currently heavily focused on forcing GMOs on Africa via its financing of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The Gates Foundation has admittedly given at least $264.5 million in grant commitments to AGRA (www.gatesfoundation.org/about/Documents/BMGFFactSheet.pdf), and also reportedly hired Dr. Robert Horsch, a former Monsanto executive for 25 years who developed Roundup, to head up AGRA back in 2006. According to a report published in La Via Campesina back in 2010, 70 percent of AGRA's grantees in Kenya work directly with Monsanto, and nearly 80 percent of the Gates Foundation funding is devoted to biotechnology (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21606.cfm).

The same report explains that the Gates Foundation pledged $880 million in April 2010 to create the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which is a heavy promoter of GMOs. GAFSP, of course, was responsible for providing $35 million in "aid" to earthquake-shattered Haiti to be used for implementing GMO agricultural systems and technologies.

Back in 2003, the Gates Foundation invested $25 million in "GM (genetically modified) research to develop vitamin and protein-enriched seeds for the world's poor," a move that many international charities and farmers groups vehemently opposed (http://healthfreedoms.org). And in 2008, the Gates Foundation awarded $26.8 million to Cornell University to research GM wheat, which is the next major food crop in the crosshairs of Monsanto's GM food crop pipeline (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21606.cfm).

If you control agriculture, you control the populations of the world

The Gates Foundation's ties with Monsanto and corporate agriculture in general speak volumes about its real agenda, which is to create a monopolistic system of world control in every area of human life. Vaccines, pharmaceuticals, GMOs, reproductive control, weather manipulation, global warming -- these and many other points of entry are the means by which the Gates Foundation is making great strides to control the world by pretending to help improve and save it.

Rather than promote real food sovereignty and address the underlying political and economic issues that breed poverty, Gates and Co. has instead embraced the promotion of corporately-owned and controlled agriculture and medicine paradigms that will only further enslave the world's most impoverished. It is abundantly evident that GMOs have ravished already-impoverished people groups by destroying their native agricultural systems, as has been seen in India (http://www.naturalnews.com/030913_Monsanto_suicides.html).

Some may say Gates' endeavors are all about the money, while others may say they are about power and control. Perhaps it is a combination of both, where Gates is still in the business of promoting his own commercial investments, which includes buying shares in Monsanto while simultaneously investing in programs to promote Monsanto.

Whatever the case may be, there is simply no denying that Gates now has a direct interest in seeing Monsanto succeed in spreading GMOs around the world. And since Gates is openly facilitating Monsanto's growth into new markets through his "humanitarian" efforts, it is clear that the Gates family is in bed with Monsanto.

"Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really "donating" anything, but instead of paying taxes to state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions," wrote Silvia Ribeiro in the Mexican news source La Jornada back in 2010.

"On the contrary, their 'donations' finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world ... Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the 'Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa' (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM)."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.guardian.co.uk

http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org

http://english.pravda.ru

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21606.cfm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Eugenics_Society

http://www.naturalnews.com/033148_seed_companies_Monsanto.html