Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Thoughts Exactly

2011: A Brave New Dystopia
The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sense, Security and Soft Power

Last week I was reading a story about US President Barak Obama when suddenly it hit me bang smack in the face - the craziness!

Obama was praising the increased security of US airports this year, no doubt prompted by the public outcry over intrusive TSA pat-downs and pornographic body-scanners. Well of course US airports are safer, sir - security has increased a thousandfold since 9/11. The security industry has become a burgeoning monster, with an endless spawn of bloated companies funded by the US government. The official US military and *cough!* defence budget this year is over a trillion dollars! And meanwhile, of course, the government in Washington is giving itself ever-increasing powers to wiretap US citizens, lock them up without trial, and even kill them.

But you probably know all that.

What hit me was this: I suddenly asked myself where the USA might be today if the Bush administration had reacted quite differently to 9/11? In the days after the attack, if you remember, people across the USA were loudly asking "Why do they hate us?" I suspect few of those people really wanted to know the answer. And of course, the government was in no hurry to explain.

"They hate our freedoms!" Bush cried. That was good enough for the mob: it was time to go and kill some foreigners!

But what if the US government had acknowledged the truth? What if there had been a bit more serious public discussion of Bin Laden's list of grievances? What if average citizens had earnestly tried to understand how "God's own" USA might appear to citizens living under US-backed repressive regimes in Africa or the Middle East? What if the US government and media had agreed that violent terrorist attacks like 9/11, inexcusable though they may be, are a near-inevitable form of payback for the worst aspects of US foreign policy around the globe?

And then what if they had decided to combat further terrorist attacks, not by waging war and cranking up national security to ever more absurd levels, but by implementing a kinder, gentler foreign policy, where all that talk about "freem and moxy" actually meant something?

Remember, there was huge global sympathy for the USA after 9/11, and it was a perfect opportunity for Washington to focus on what they call "Soft Power". Instead we got "Shock and Awe", two un-winnable wars, millions dead, mutilated, and displaced, and a crazy new "Long War" on terrorism (which is basically just a recipe for throwing endless money at the US military-industrial-security complex).

And then I thought about the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communist Russia, and another historic lost opportunity for US "Soft Power". At that time, rather than offering a hand to confused citizens stepping out from behind the Iron Curtain, Washington seemed more intent on rubbing their noses in their government's ideological defeat. Self-interest and financial imperatives ruled, when compassion and generosity might have produced better long-term outcomes. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the US president's name back then was also Bush.

Now I know what you are thinking. Who really believes all that hokum about "Truth, justice and the American Way!"? This ain't no comic book, right? And who says the US government didn't pull off 9/11 themselves anyway? Hunh?

Sure, we can all be cynical (and probably should). But sometimes it's worth taking a peek through our jaded world-weariness and thinking: "There must be a better way!" It's sometimes worth looking back at critical historic junctures and asking if we took the right path or the wrong one. Like John Lennon said, "Imagine..."

Of course, if the USA had taken the "Soft Power" approach and modified its foreign policies after 9/11, there would still be the potential for terrorist attacks. "Haters gonna hate," as the kids say these days. But there would be much less reason to hate the USA. There would be much less reason for this crazy overdose of "security" at airports and everywhere else. The world would be a better place, and the US economy might not be a slow-motion train-wreck right now.

Why didn't it happen, then? Well, because the people making the decisions in Washington are not interested in peace. The show is being run by Big Business, and Big Business is in the business of war big time. So there was really never any question that the "soft power" approach would even be considered. But it's nice sometimes to just imagine that things really could be a bit different if the world was not so crazy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ikea Wood


I once had a girl
Or should I say
She once had me?
She showed me her room:
"Isn't it good
Ikea wood?"

She asked me to stay
And words of affection were spoken.
But I looked around
And I noticed my condom was broken.

Cops sat on her rug
Wasting their time
Hearing her whine.
They talked until two
Then the cops said,
"Let's put this to bed."

She told me she'd worked in the US
And wanted an Aids test.
I said I was busy and flew off to face
A big talk-fest.

And when I awoke
I couldn't get a loan
My credit was blown.
So I got a lawyer.
It's no bloody good,
Ikea wood.


(Apologies to John Lennon, but I'm sure he would understand).

Who Cares If They Call It "Socialism"? It's TRUE!

Via John Quiggin:
The nation and the bulk of the people are better off when strategic natural monopoly assets are government owned. That means;

- Water
- Grid Power
- Communications infrastructure
- Education
- The power to issue both fiat money and debt money (taking the latter power off private banks)
- All mineable natural resources (leased to companies with high royalties to govt.)

People who argue against these propositions are either corporate capitalists and the rich out for self interest or people who are sadly fooled by corporate capitalist propaganda.

It’s really that basic.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is what a top US progressive blog looks like?

Eschaton:
Wakey, Wakey


-ql 05:10

Comments


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Night

enjoy

-Atrios 21:02

Comments


I'm No Bob Shrum Or Mark Penn

But, uh, jobs?

-Atrios 19:03

Comments


Extra Xmas Over

Did I miss anything today?

-Atrios 17:38

Comments


Cocktail Thread?

A first for me.

-ql 17:26

Comments


Afternoon Thread II

Forget that other thread.

-ql 15:17

Comments


Lunch Thread

Since some people actually have to work on Christmas Day, extra Xmas today for me.

-Atrios 12:20

Comments


Afternoon Thread

Damn, it's cold out there.

-ql 12:19

Comments



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Read The Comments, Mr Ambassador

Response to US Ambassador's attack on WikiLeaks:
US hypocrisy is nauseating. How much "freedom of expression" did the US tolerate when it was backing murderous rightwing dictators like Pinochet throughout South America? Where is the freedom for Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans today? How much freedom do all those people on your "No Fly" lists enjoy? We can all see your commitment to freedom in Guantanamo Bay.

Lies, lies, lies and hypocricy. "Freedom"? Bah! You even torture the English language.

GO WIKILEAKS!!!
Gary Lord


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Real Terror

2010's world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards
Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 - the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Could Happen?

Government Secrecy Helped WikiLeaks
If governments are serious about doing something about WikiLeaks, they could:

■ Implement far-reaching FOI laws that encourage public access to information that has not been sanitised by media advisers or other PR workers.

■ Create a culture where public servants and politicians facilitate access of the information they hold on behalf of the public.

■ Pass proper whistleblower protection that guarantees anonymity (as has been in force in countries such as Sweden for the past 60 years and has not created chaos or the continuous fall of governments).

■ Implement potent shield laws for journalists, which would give reporters confidence in granting anonymity to sources when needed.

Such reforms would in part deplete the soils in which WikiLeaks is growing. The current responses - describing WikiLeaks as terrorism, calling for the execution of Julian Assange and trying to shut it down behind the scenes is not worthy of mature liberal democracies. In fact, such tactics will probably make WikiLeaks stronger.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Krugman's Lament

Wall Street Whitewash:
In the end, those of us who expected the [GFC] crisis to provide a teachable moment were right, but not in the way we expected. Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose.


"May?" "Internal"?

Bank of America Suspends Payments From WikiLeaks:
“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks MAY be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our INTERNAL policies for processing payments.”


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wikileaks: What Now?

"This is merely the end of the beginning," Julian Assange triumphantly declared on his release from Wandsworth Prison last week. So what's the next chapter of the Wikileaks saga, and where is all this heading anyway?

Money problems are likely to be the enigmatic Aussie's most immediate concern. A host of US financial institutions - including Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Bank of America - have already blocked Wikileaks transactions, leaving the organisation struggling to deal effectively with the massive wave of global public attention. Wikileaks have already set up a defense fund for Assange, and changed their bank details so that supporters can still send money. And with a crowd of wealthy supporters assembled, cash flow should be only a short-term problem.

Wikileaks are now preparing to hit back against the banksters. For starters, they have promised to reveal embarrassing details about Bank of America, which they warn could "bring down the bank". They have kindly advised customers to take their money elsewhere before details emerge.

Given US public anger at Wall Street, plus Obama's extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich, it's just possible that such new revelations of banking corruption could spark a change in US public support for Wikileaks. The smear campaign against Assange has been mostly counter-productive around the globe, with ordinary people flocking to support the besieged organisation. But in the USA, where sensationalized television headlines from FOX and CNN dictate the mood, people are more easily swayed.

Wikileaks' negative US public perception could also be improved if Swedish authorities decide to drop the rape charges against Assange. Given the substance of allegations now made public, it's hard to see enough evidence for a UK judge to ever support extradition. So unless the Swedes have some new facts to offer, the case is likely to go no further. At worst, it could further hamper Assange's ability to move freely around the world, but he's hardly likely to travel much now in any case.

More important is the issue of US extradition. It appears the US government is now pressuring Private Bradley Manning to provide incriminating evidence against Julian Assange. If they can do that, or find some other rap to pin on him, then they will be relentless in pressuring their international partners to hand him over into US custody. If that happens, Assange will assuredly be locked away indefinitely. Guantanamo Bay, anyone?

But meanwhile, and whatever happens to Assange, it is clear that the Wikileaks team will continue working. The US Embassy Cables will continue eroding Washington's credibility on the world stage, which has already suffered greatly from the lies surrounding Iraq WMDs. US "soft power" will continue to plummet along with its economic power. And Wikileaks will continue looking to publish more leaks from other sources.

That is a critical issue. Will more leakers come forward, gradually transforming the way information moves through government and the media? Or will prospective leakers be warned off by the treatment the US government is currently dishing out to Assange and Manning? Well, I think the answer is already evident: the harder the US government and its political allies have tried to shut down Wikileaks, the stronger the organisation has become.

Since the US first shut down the original Wikileaks website, more than 2,000 "mirrored" sites have sprung up. There are now a host of copycat "leaks" sites springing up around the globe, employing the same business model and technology as Wikileaks. A new social movement has already been born.

Holed up in a snowy English mansion while his legal battles continue, I can't help wondering if Julian Assange is not just a little surprised to see how quickly all this has evolved, and how effectively his plans to challenge great power have proved true. What next? Stay tuned.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Who Cares What Moodys Says?

Moodys just downgraded Ireland's credit rating by 5 stars (now Baa1 - is that funny to anyone else?). So why should anyone care what Moodys says?
As the housing market collapsed in late 2007, Moody's Investors Service, whose investment ratings were widely trusted, responded by purging analysts and executives who warned of trouble and promoting those who helped Wall Street plunge the country into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

A McClatchy investigation has found that Moody's punished executives who questioned why the company was risking its reputation by putting its profits ahead of providing trustworthy ratings for investment offerings.

Instead, Moody's promoted executives who headed its "structured finance" division, which assisted Wall Street in packaging loans into securities for sale to investors. It also stacked its compliance department with the people who awarded the highest ratings to pools of mortgages that soon were downgraded to junk. Such products have another name now: "toxic assets."

... "How on earth could a bond issue be AAA one day and junk the next unless something spectacularly stupid has taken place? But maybe it was something spectacularly dishonest, like taking that colossal amount of fees in return for doing what Lehman and the rest wanted," McDonald wrote.

Isn't it interesting that Ireland just took up a big IMF loan and THEN got downgraded? Parliament approved an 85 billion euro EU/IMF bailout package just two days ago.

Now this Moodys downgrade is gonna make paying back that IMF loan harder, obviously. The Irish government might even have to make some deals with Uncle Sam... Psst! You wanna buy some arms, Paddy?

The economic hitmen strike again. Ireland has been pwned. No wonder people on the Emerald Isle think they have a puppet government. But who is pulling the strings?

h/t @Marketmentat who was onto Moodys years ago.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

From The Diaries Of Jualian Assange

IQ.ORG
Sat 16 Jun 2007 : Everyone and no one wants to save the world
When the world extended to one's surrounding hills and mountains and over them was only legend, saving the world was approchable and a natural activity to all of independent character.

You do not need to justify the possession of these noble instincts. Such attributes are normally distributed. You have a constellation of these attributes and that makes you who you are. Recognise that the substantial ones are invariant.

You must satisfy your invariant instincts or you will be at odds with your own character. It is only when we are not at odds with our basic makeup that we can find life meaningful.

To exercise your instinct for saving the world, requires saving what you perceive to be the world.

Being modern, educated and wordly, the world you perceive is immense and this is disempowering compared to the valley world of your ancestors where your feelings were forged and where saving 10 people saved 10% of the "world"'s population.

Here lays the difficulty in actualising your character. Your perception is of a world so vast that that you can not envisage your actions making a meaningful difference.

People try to fool themselves and others into believing that one can ``think globally and act locally', however to anyone with a sense of proportion (not most people, btw) thinking globaly makes acting locally seem to be a marginal activity. It's not setting the world to rights.

To meaningfully interact with the world, you have to either constrain your perception of what it is back to valley proportions by eschewing all global information (most of us here have engaged on just the opposite course which is what has provoked this discussion), losing your sense of perspective, or start seriously engaging with the modern perception of the world.

That latter path can be hard to find, because it is only satisfied by creating ideas or inventions that have a global impact. Perhaps I have found one, and there's others out there, but for most people of your character a combination of eschewing knowledge of those parts of the world they can't change, and robust engagement with the parts they can is probably optimal.

Do not be concerned about when one is to do good, who defines good, etc. Act in the way you do because to do otherwise would to be at odds would to be at odds with yourself. Being on a path true to your character carries with it a state of flow, where the thoughts about your next step come upon waking, unbidden, but welcome.

I support similarly minded people, not because they are moral agents, but because they have common cause with my own feelings and dreams.


Dr. GAZ: Inside The Mind Of Rupert Murdoch

This is an irate response to FOX News' shamefully ridiculous character assassination of Julian Assange:
News Ltd founder and editor-in-chief Rupert Murdoch is a zealot and a purist who sees the world in simple terms: Great injuries are done to the powerful when innocent people or concerns can operate freely. The highest good comes from spreading lies and innuendo about such entities or individuals, using any means necessary and despite any negative consequences or loss of life, because a greater good — namely, wealth — is served.

Rupert Murdoch wants to force his brand of info-therapy on all of us. He wants to enter the psyches of governments and corporations (and maybe me, if I displease him) as a kind of omnipresent superego—making us “choose” complete opacity, vague truthiness and (to his eye) loyalty, lest he be exposed as a fraud before the entire world, with the blood of his posturing or lies or half-truths spilling wherever it might.

The roots of Mr. Murdoch’s quest to wrest wealth from corners of the world where misinformation reigns — for better or for worse — may well come from his own life story.

According to available sources, Murdoch was born to a media mogul father who had little time for his children. The fact that Murdoch Snr was a member of the wealthy elite may or may not mean that young Rupert was subjected to mental and/or physical abuse, but it could certainly mean that he sees any powerful individuals as worthy of being opposed and, if necessary, destroyed.

Lots of secrets may have marred Rupert Murdoch’s development. It isn’t clear whether he embraces the Jewish faith of his natural mother, or just the political zeal of his fellow Zionist expansionists.

It isn’t clear whether such anti-Moslem inclination motivated his part in promoting the Iraq War.

It isn’t clear why he feels the need to keep accumulating ever more wealth and power.

It isn’t clear what abuse was perpetrated upon him at boarding schools.

It isn’t clear what he knows about The Bildeberg Group and why he always attends summits at Davos.

It isn’t clear what happened to Rupert Murdoch when he was supposed to be having a childhood. Was he allowed to play outside? Was he forced to wear blazers and bow ties? Did he read Machiavelli and learn to lie again and again and again, until he could barely discern reality from fiction, anymore?

What is clear is that the foundation of Rupert Murdoch’s psyche includes little respect, much disengagement, little opportunity to bond with normal people (and, therefore, little opportunity to develop friendships), and significant suffering because of deep and dark secrets that he is terrified might be exposed.

That may just be enough to explain (but not excuse) a man on a quest to destroy any bright light or truth in the world, almost as if doing so could undo whatever injuries were done to him.

Dr. Gaz is an armchair psychiatrist and author of of the Wendi Deng Watchers Club. He is a long-time blogger and can be seduced by the taste of a nice creme caramel.


Reading

WikiLeaks founder's eclectic influences from anarchist to Aeschylus - latimes.com

"If there is a book whose feeling captures me it is First Circle by Solzhenitsyn," Assange wrote in 2006. "How close the parallels to my own adventures! ... Such prosecution in youth is a defining peak experience. To know the state for what it really is! To see through that veneer the educated swear to disbelieve in but still slavishly follow with their hearts!"


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Helen Thomas Knows It

"We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion."
former White House correspondent Helen Thomas


Friday, December 10, 2010

A Message To The World

A Message from Israeli Military Prison on International Human Rights Day:
My imprisoned husband Abdullah Abu Rahmah passed the fallowing message through his lawyer:

A year ago tonight, on International Human Rights Day, our apartment in Ramallah was broken into by the Israeli military in the middle of the night and I was torn away from my wife Majida, my daughters Luma and Layan, and my son Laith, who at the time was only nine months old.

As the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements I was convicted of "organizing illegal demonstrations" and "incitement." The "illegal demonstrations" refer to the nonviolent resistance campaign that my village has been waging for the last six years against Israel's Apartheid Wall that is being built on our land.

I find it strange that the military judges could call our demonstrations illegal and charge me for participating in and organizing them after the world's highest legal body, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, has ruled that Israel's wall within the occupied territories is illegal and must be dismantled. Even the Israeli supreme court ruled that the Wall's route in Bil'in is illegal.

I have been accused of inciting violence: this charge is also puzzling. If the check points, closures, ongoing land theft, wall and settlements, night raids into our homes and violent oppression of our protests does not incite violence, what does?

Despite the occupations constant and intense incitement to violence in Bil'in, we have chosen another way. We have chosen to protest nonviolently together with Israeli and International supporters. We have chosen to carry a message of hope and real partnership between Palestinians and Israelis in the face of oppression and injustice. It is this message that the Occupation is attempting to crush through its various institutions including the military courts. An official from the Israeli Military Prosecution shamelessly told my Attorney, Gaby Lasky, that the objective of the military in my prosecution is to "put an end" to these demonstrations.

The crime of incitement that I have been convicted of is defined under Israeli military decree 101 regarding the prohibition of hostile action of propaganda and incitement as "The attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order" and carries a 10 year maximal sentence. This definition is so broad and vague that it can be applied to almost any action or statement. Actually, these words could be considered incitement if they were spoken in the occupied territories.

On the 11th of October of this year I was sentenced to 12 months in prison, plus 6 months suspended sentence for 3 years, and a fine. My family and I, especially my daughters, were counting the days to my release. The military prosecution waited until just a few days before the end of my sentence before appealing against my release, arguing that I should be imprisoned longer. I have completed my sentence but remain in prison. Though international law considers myself and other activists as human rights defenders, the occupation authorities consider us criminals whose freedom and other rights must be denied.
In the year that I have spent in prison, the demonstrations in Bil'in, Naalin, Al Maasara, and Beit Omar have continued. Nabi Saleh and other villages have taken up the popular struggle. Within this year, the International campaign calling for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel until it complies with International law has grown considerably, as have legal actions against Israeli war crimes. I hope that soon Israel will no longer be able to ignore the clear condemnation of its policies coming from around the world.

In the year that I have spent in prison, my son Laith has taken his first steps and said his first words, and Luma and Layan have been growing from children to beautiful young girls. I have not been able to be with them, to walk holding their hands, to take them to school as they and I are used to. Laith does not know me now. And my wife Majida has had to care for our family alone.

In 2010 children in Bil'in and throughout the West bank are still being awakened in the middle of the night to find guns pointed at their heads. In the year that I have spent in prison, the military has carried out dozens of night raids in Bil'in with the purpose of removing those involved in the popular struggle against the occupation.

Imagine if heavily armed men forced their way into your home in the middle of the night. If your children were forced to watch as their father or brother was blindfolded, handcuffed, and taken away. Or if you as a parent were forced to watch this being done to your child.

This week the door of our cell was opened and a sixteen year boy was pushed inside. My friend Adeeb Abu Rahmeh was shocked to recognize his son, Mohammed, whom Adeeb had not seen since he himself was arrested during a nonviolent demonstration 16 months ago.

Mohammad smiled when he saw his Father, but his face was red and swollen and it was clear that he was in pain. He told us that he had been taken from his home two nights previously. He spent the first night blindfolded and shackled, being moved from one place to another. The next day after a terrifying, disoriented, and sleepless night he was taken to an interrogation room, his blindfold was removed and an interrogator showed him pictures of people from the village. When questioned about the first picture he told the interrogator that he did not recognize the person. The interrogator slapped him hard across the face. This continued with every question that Mohammad was asked: when he did not give the answer that the interrogator wanted, he was slapped, punched and threatened. Mohammad's treatment is not unusual.

Young boys from our village have been taken from their homes violently and report being denied sleep, food, and water and being kept in Isolation and threatened and often beaten during interrogation.

What was unusual about Mohammad is that he did not satisfy his interrogator and with competent representation was released within a few days. Usually children, just because they are children, will say whatever the interrogator wants them to say to make such treatment stop. Adeeb, myself, and thousands of other prisoners are being held in prison based on testimonies forced or coerced out of these children. No child should ever receive such treatment.

When the children who had testified against me retracted what they said in interrogation and told the military judge that their testimonies where given under duress, the judge declared them hostile witnesses.

Adeeb Abu Rahmah and I are the first to be convicted with incitement and participation in illegal demonstrations since the first Intifada but, unfortunately, it does not seem that we will be the last.

I often wonder what Israeli leaders think they will achieve if they succeed in their goal of suppressing the Palestinian popular struggle? Is it possible that they believe that our people can sit quietly and watch as our land is taken from us? Do they think that we can face our children and tell them that, like us, they will never experience freedom? Or do they actually prefer violence and killing to our form of nonviolent struggle because it camouflages their ongoing theft and gives them an excuse to continue using us as guinea pigs for their weapons?

My eldest daughter Luma was nine years old when I was arrested. She is now ten. After my arrest she began going to the Friday demonstrations in our village. She always carries a picture of me in her arms. The adults try to look after her but I still worry for my little girl. I wish that she could enjoy her childhood like other children, that she could be studying and playing with her friends. But through the walls and barbed wire that separates us I hear my daughter's message to me, saying: "Baba, they cannot stop us. If they take you away, we will take your place and continue to struggle for justice." This is the message that I want to bring you today. From beyond the walls, the barbed wire, and the prison bars that separate Palestinians and Israelis.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Never Fear, Wikileaks Is Here

Critics of Wikileaks claim that some things must be kept secret, that governments need to be able to act confidentially, and that ordinary citizens cannot have a significant say in affairs of state because there are some things they should never know. That may be true, assuming your system of government is functioning properly. But as top-level inertia on major global crises indicates, our supposedly democratic Western systems of government are not working properly.

Global warming is surely the most pressing example. Despite decades of scientific evidence and ever-increasing public support for action, our governments (led by Washington) have proven themselves capable of little more than earnest platitudes. Big Business leaders have done everything possible to undermine the science, confuse the public, and successfully lobby against change in the corridors of power. Their efforts have been fully supported by a compliant corporate media.

The Middle East is another intractable problem. The central conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is so heavily politicised that professional Western commentators are reluctant to even discuss today's inhumane apartheid reality in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli lobby controls US government decision-making, while US client states support Washington's auto-reflexive veto of any UN condemnation of Israeli atrocities. Again, the media supports the charade. Well-meaning citizens are somehow brain-washed into thinking that Zionist interests equate to their own, never mind the terrorists being created as a result.

Then there's the financial turbulence afflicting economies around the world, with Ireland, Greece and Iceland only the latest major victims. If banks like Goldman Sachs are a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" then the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are major tentacles, reaching deep down into the bowels of national wealth. Elite "economic hit-men" do their jobs, the world's mega-billionaires grow ever more obscenely rich, profit-gorging on taxpayer-funded bailouts, and our governments pretend there's nothing they can do about it.

And let's not forget the bloody Energy Wars raging in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where millions of innocent citizens are being murdered, maimed and displaced as a result of Western lies, greed and criminal incompetence.

Enough! Evidently, something has to change. But what can be done? The normal democratic avenues for regulation, accountability and change are simply not functioning as they supposedly should.

Public enquiries have become long-winded wastes of public money. Elaborate cover-ups are orchestrated with the help of willing stooges in the media, parliament and judiciary. Military enquiries are even more farcical. Whistle-blowers are hunted down and exposed, facing legal action and character assassination from the highest levels, while the crimes they reveal are brushed aside.

And don't even think that the Fourth Estate might come riding to the rescue. Independent media outlets face funding dilemmas, smear attacks, and lack of access, while the corporate media is hopelessly compromised by political and business agendas.

In such a deeply corrupted environment, the only remaining solution is for ordinary citizens to pry open the machinations of government and expose the truth to all who care to look. Of course our leaders like to talk about "Open Government", but only during election campaigns (particularly when minor parties threaten their cosy hold on power). The reality terrifies them. But now Open Government has arrived, whether they like it or not, and there is no turning back. The technology utilised by Wikileaks and similar groups is available to anyone.

It is no coincidence that those most loudly condemning Wikileaks have the most clearly vested interests in protecting their own dark secrets. It's also no coincidence that Wikileaks is enjoying huge outpourings of support from the general public. Wikileaks currently has over 473,000 followers on Twitter (up 20,000 in a day), plus over a million followers on Facebook. Attempts to shut down the website have led to the creation of over 1300 "mirror sites" in just a few days. Online discussions around the globe are almost invariably dominated by supportive comments.

Wikileaks is the most recent, potent and visible manifestation of widespread global anger at the ever-increasing confluence of government policy and Big Business interests. We, the people, have been steadily abandoned by our leaders. We want our democracies back, and Wikileaks offers us the hope of real change.

Ordinary citizens have nothing to fear, and much to celebrate, from this new cyber-space revolution.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wikileaks v. Wild West

Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
Just look at what the U.S. Government and its friends are willing to do and capable of doing to someone who challenges or defies them -- all without any charges being filed or a shred of legal authority. They've blocked access to their assets, tried to remove them from the Internet, bullied most everyone out of doing any business with them, froze the funds marked for Assange's legal defense at exactly the time that they prepare a strange international arrest warrant to be executed, repeatedly threatened him with murder, had their Australian vassals openly threaten to revoke his passport, and declared them "Terrorists" even though -- unlike the authorities who are doing all of these things -- neither Assange nor WikiLeaks ever engaged in violence, advocated violence, or caused the slaughter of civilians.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

#IMWIKILEAKS - How To Mirror

Click this WikiLeaks link for more help - Mass Mirroring our website
Mass-mirroring Wikileaks

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, we need your help.

if you have a unix-based server which is hosting a website on the Internet and you want to give wikileaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!

Please follow the following instructions:

* Setup an account where we can upload files using RSYNC+SSH (preferred) or FTP
* Put our SSH key in this server or create an FTP account
* Create a virtual host in your web server, which, for example, can be wikileaks.yourdomain.com
* send the IP address of your server to us, and the path where we should upload the content. (just fill the form below)

We will take care of all the rest: Sending pages to your server, updating them each time data is released, maintaining a list of such mirrors. If your server is down or if the account don't work anymore, we will automatically remove your server from the list.

Our content is only html/css/javascript/png static files, so we don't require much resource to host it.

The complete website should not take more than a couple of GB at the moment (with base website and cablegate data)

To add your mirror to the list, please download the SSH key you will find below, then fill the following form to add your website to our mirror list :
Form
IP Address of your server *
add ":port" if you are using a port other than 22 for SSH or 21 for FTP, IPv6 should be written with brackets [ ] like [2001:67e::44]:22
Login we should use to access this server *
Password we should use, ONLY if we should use FTP
absolute path where we should upload the html data. *
Hostname you configured on your http server to serve the pages (if not www.wikileaks.org) *
I know that this may be dangerous if I host a www.wikileaks.org virtual host, and I'm ok with this risk. *
and also (not required)
an email address where we can contact you if we saw your server offline or have any other problem (we will keep it confidential)
Any comment about this mass-mirroring project ?

The KEY you should allow is :
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAtmX4Jx8NGcCEiwEIQAcHKS1s+N9GLzca9Ffu4ItBEB/6jVTEoamnxnYt0WHQ0I+jpN3g/k2lF3MTncUjwrLorWSxPLI6giGTheT4vhLZQOVZV4O+GS0CETMKVsrclPLhHouW891QU84eHACuTh+KUvuhs3pV0EHYHnAVCIs8JuU03ZTNIIuuYFVf7P3BCIa8pnncUcy722ZB7qlWCjjjpBxLGr1/EyOTsZD76Kl8BBoiZDwXCgFzvKYe2NqhqRBb8bo0CP6QyyROxcgBLYtvBJurhMNQ7qTZJBF5DjeDQrCvCZsEwlffV5BFoQY5ISnZgkKC00Ww65y6+EwCZ9WvSw== wwwsync@wikileaks.org
you can also download this key here

this keyfile signatures are:

* ssh fingerprint : 2048 72:16:b8:6a:e4:02:6f:69:ac:b4:7a:6a:9e:00:f1:b0
* sha1sum : f1dde3ec690466fc76f94bcf557ae94ce6e92c56
* md5sum : 95ce4351299d723907e048c81877d3e5
* sha256sum : c1737e11e3e0a5f4e782f75bb99b63fe4523fb29e3b2b8845ee9e53b7f21c3d1
* bubblebabble digest :

+--[ RSA 2048]----+
| |
| . |
|o . . |
| = . . |
|E . . o S |
|.+ + . + |
|..B + |
|o=+o |
|B* |
+-----------------+


Friday, December 3, 2010

At What Point Does A Guy Like Duncan Black Wake Up To What Is Really Happening in the USA?

Eschaton

Let's Fret About Deficit Then Trade Your Tax Cuts For My Tax Cuts

Getting from Tapper and Ambinder through the twitter machine that the scoop is the White House is going to trade extending Bush tax cuts for extending some of the tax cuts that were in the stimulus bill and unemployment insurance fund extension. Now obviously I think most of those tax cuts were reasonable and don't mind extending them, but I'm sick of this insane ritual of talking about the deficit as if it's the greatest problem we face for the past 10 months and then... cutting taxes. No wonder voters are confused.

-Atrios 17:16


VIVA WIKILEAKS!!!!

WL Central | An unofficial WikiLeaks information resource
2010-12-03: WikiLeaks domain dropped by EveryDNS [Update 2: New domain up]
Submitted by admin on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 06:36

DNS provider EveryDNS.net has dropped the wikileaks.org domain, apparently after DDoS attacks, WikiLeaks has said on Twitter.

EveryDNS explained its decision: "The interference at issue arises from the fact that wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites."

You can still reach WikiLeaks via http://46.59.1.2/, http://213.251.145.96/ or at http://collateralmurder.com as of the time of this update.

You can support WikiLeaks via http://46.59.1.2/support.html , http://213.251.145.96/support.html , https://donations.datacell.com/ or http://collateralmurder.com/en/support.html

Cablegate releases are reachable at http://statelogs.owni.fr or via torrent search.

Update: WikiLeaks is now accessible at http://wikileaks.ch/


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wikileaks is your friend

If This Be Treason… by Thomas Knapp -- Antiwar.com
We’ve been here before, many times. Not many remember, but the most vehement western objections to Russia’s "October Revolution" were concerned not with nature of Bolshevism but with this language in Lenin’s Decree on Peace:

"We have to fight against the hypocrisy of the governments, which, while talking about peace and justice, actually carry on wars of conquest and plunder. Not one single government will tell you what it really means. But we are opposed to secret diplomacy and can afford to act openly before all people."


Beyond Wikileaks

After secrets: Missing the point of WikiLeaks | The Economist
The basic question is not whether we think Julian Assange is a terrorist or a hero. The basic question certainly is not whether we think exposing the chatter of the diplomatic corps helps or hinders their efforts, and whether this is a good or bad thing. To continue to focus on these questions is to miss the forest for the texture of the bark on a single elm. If we take the inevitability of future large leaks for granted, then I think the debate must eventually centre on the things that will determine the supply of leakers and leaks. Some of us wish to encourage in individuals the sense of justice which would embolden them to challenge the institutions that control our fate by bringing their secrets to light. Some of us wish to encourage in individuals ever greater fealty and submission to corporations and the state in order to protect the privileges and prerogatives of the powerful, lest their erosion threaten what David Brooks calls "the fragile community"—our current, comfortable dispensation.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whaaat? We Just Divert Money Around The World For Fun!

Letter reveals extent of Frank Lowy battle with ATO:
The US Senate committee claimed the existence of the Luperla deposit and a sophisticated international trust structure indicated the Lowys were trying to hide assets from tax authorities.

But the Lowys denied any wrongdoing...


Monday, November 29, 2010

We Can Be Heroes

Results of '30 Media Heroes' Voting Announced:
1. Rachel Maddow (MSNBC)

2. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!)

3. Glenn Greenwald (Salon)

4. Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone and more)

5. Bill Moyers (formerly PBS)

6. Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)

7. Keith Olbermann (MSNBC)

8. Jeremy Scahill (The Nation)

9. Paul Krugman (New York Times)

10. Stephen Colbert (Colbert Report)

11. Chris Hayes (The Nation, MSNBC)

12. Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker and more)

13. Chris Hedges (The Nation and more)

14. Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post)

15. Jane Hamsher (FireDogLake)

16. Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks)

17. Naomi Klein (The Nation)

18. Dylan Rattigan (MSNBC)

19. Bill Maher (HBO)

20. Frank Rich (New York Times)

21. David Sirota (syndicated columnist)

22. Thom Hartmann (radio)

23. Julian Assange (WikiLeaks)

24. Digby (blogger)

25. Greg Palast (writer)

26. Ed Schultz (MSNBC)

27. Laura Flanders (GRIT TV and more)

28. Allison Kilkenny-Jamie Kilstein (Citizen Radio team)

29. Sam Seder (Huffington Post and more)

30. Jim Hightower (The Nation and more)

VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS: Markos Moulistas, Lawrence O'Donnell, Katrina vandenHeuvel, Eric Boehlert, Bob Herbert, Josh Marshall, Marcy Wheeler, Robert Scheer, Helen Thomas, Dean Baker, Yves Smith, Nick Kristof, Ezra Klein, Atrios, Mike Malloy, Max Blumenthal, Joe Conason


Wikileaks Hypocrisy

Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
I'd argue that one's views in general of WikiLeaks is shaped primarily by one's views of the legitimacy and justness of those authorities.

John Cole notes an added irony of the furor over this latest disclosure: "I have a hard time getting worked up about it - a government that views none of my personal correspondence as confidential really can’t bitch when this sort of thing happens." Note how quickly the "if-you've-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide" mentality disappears when it's their privacy and communications being invaded rather than yours.

I'd note an added irony: many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs -- on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable "collateral damage" -- are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks' disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people. For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves. How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Damn Right

BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS RELEASE:
The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments -- even the most corrupt -- around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Monsters Devour Each Other, Then Themselves

Johann Hari: There won't be a bailout for the earth:
Many of us know, in outline, the warm, fuzzy Gaia hypothesis, first outlined by James Lovelock. It claims that the Planet Earth functions, in effect, as a single living organism called Gaia. It regulates its own temperature and chemistry to create a comfortable steady state that can sustain life. So coral reefs produced cloud-seeding chemicals which then protect them from ultraviolet radiation. Rainforests transpire water vapour so generate their own rainfall. This process expands outwards. Life protects life.

Now there is a radically different theory that is gaining adherents, ominously named the Medea hypothesis. The paleontologist Professor Peter Ward is an expert in the great extinctions that have happened in the earth’s past, and he believes there is a common thread between them. With the exception of the meteor strike that happened 65 million years ago, every extinction was caused by living creatures becoming incredibly successful – and then destroying their own habitats. So, for example, 2.3 billion years ago, plant life spread incredibly rapidly, and as it went it inhaled huge amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This then caused a rapid plunge in temperature that froze the planet and triggered a mass extinction.

Ward believes nature isn’t a nurturing mother like Gaia. No: it is Medea, the figure from Greek mythology who murdered her own children. In this theory, life doesn’t preserve itself. It serially destroys itself. It is a looping doomsday machine. This theory adds a postscript to Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. There is survival of the fittest, until the fittest trash their own habitat, and do not survive at all.

Seems to me this might apply at a financial / political level too - the most powerful can destroy each other, while the disenfranchised are powerless.

Watching The Days Go By

Krugman on The Instability of Moderation:
We used to pity our grandfathers, who lacked both the knowledge and the compassion to fight the Great Depression effectively; now we see ourselves repeating all the old mistakes.

What it all comes down to IMHO is human nature. Whatever the system, people are going to try to game it. And eventually, even if it means infiltrating the government overseers, they are going to succeed.

The only solution is to have a new kind of society, where individuals feel a sense of loyalty and belonging to the community, and do not always act on sheer self-interest. Is that possible?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interesting...

Remember, FOX are the guys who buried that Cameron 9/11 tape...

Andrew Napolitano, Fox Business Host, Reveals He Is A 9/11 Truther:
Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano revealed on Tuesday that he does not believe the government's account of the 9/11 attacks. Napolitano, who hosts "Freedom Watch" on Fox Business and is frequently seen on Fox News as a legal analyst, told radio host Alex Jones — who is a prominent 9/11 conspiracy theorist —that the attacks "couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."

The subject came about when Jones noted that Geraldo Rivera had recently raised questions about the collapse of World Trade Center 7 on Napolitano's Fox Business Show. 9/11 conspiracy theorists have centered on that building's collapse, contending that it was blown up by government forces. Jones asked Napolitano what his opinion about the issue was.

Napolitano replied:

"It's hard for me to believe that it came down by itself...I am gratified to see that people across the board are interested. I think twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."


No Craic For You!

   Memo to Ireland:  "Tell the EU and the IMF to 'shove it'"      :      Information Clearing House: ICH
Ireland is being asked to cut to social services, slash wages, renegotiate contracts, and dismantle the welfare state so that undercapitalized banks in France and Germany can get their pound of flesh. But, why? They're the ones who bought the bonds. No one put a gun to their head. They knew they could lose money if Irish banks went south. That's the risk they took. "You pays your money, and you takes your chances." Right? That's how capitalism works.

Not any more, it doesn't.


Graveyared Of Empires

The Specter of Defeat Haunts Lisbon by Eric Margolis
The defeat of Soviet armies in Afghanistan in 1989 began the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Could the same fate be in store for the American Raj?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Are All Doomed By Stupidity And Greed

UN issues severe climate warning ahead of summit - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent
All the pledges of the nations which have agreed to cut or limit their emissions of greenhouse gases, when added together, still leave the world far short of what is needed to halt the coming rise in global average temperatures to 2C, generally regarded as the danger threshold, according to the study from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


Monday, November 22, 2010

Follow The Argies

Ireland should 'do an Argentina' | Dean Baker
What the people of Ireland and every country must realise is that if they agree to play by the bankers' rules, they will lose.


The Art Of Blogging

Like most successful US "left" bloggers, Eschaton shamefully ignores Zionist crimes but when it comes to economics, he's pretty on the ball:
All along there's been a failure to really come to terms with the magnitude of the financial disaster and of the culpability of the Very Serious People in charge. In the beginning it was all the fault of poor minorities who used their immense political power to force banksters to give them loans they couldn't afford, then when the crisis really hit it was just a wee 'liquidity' problem which could be easily solved with a couple trillion dollar gift from the Fed.

And we left the people responsible in charge, because, well, nobody could have predicted, without considering the fact that this is what the people in charge will continue to do because this is what they know how to do.

The powers that be thought the economy would turn itself around and some of these problems would evaporate. But it didn't and they didn't and that light at the end of the tunnel no longer appears to be just around the corner.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why Do They Hate Us?

The Cost of Humiliation
Loss of possessions is one thing, loss of dignity is quite another. And there exists an inverse relationship between humiliation and pride. Take away a people’s dignity and they will be ever more determined to take revenge in the form that their culture and values dictate when the opportunity comes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

911 MUST READ

Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11 | FPJ
Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11
by Kevin Ryan
November 18, 2010
316Share

Just after September 11th 2001, many governments began investigations into possible insider trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day. Such investigations were initiated by the governments of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, and others. Although the investigators were clearly concerned about insider trading, and considerable evidence did exist, none of the investigations resulted in a single indictment. That’s because the people identified as having been involved in the suspicious trades were seen as unlikely to have been associated with those alleged to have committed the 9/11 crimes.

This is an example of the circular logic often used by those who created the official explanations for 9/11. The reasoning goes like this: if we assume that we know who the perpetrators were (i.e. the popular version of “al Qaeda”) and those who were involved in the trades did not appear to be connected to those assumed perpetrators, then insider trading did not occur.

That’s basically what the 9/11 Commission told us. The Commission concluded that “exhaustive investigations” by the SEC and the FBI “uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions.” What they meant was that someone did profit through securities transactions but, based on the Commission’s assumptions of guilt, those who profited were not associated with those who were guilty of conducting the attacks. In a footnote, the Commission report acknowledged “highly suspicious trading on its face,” but said that this trading on United Airlines was traced back to “A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda.”[1]

With respect to insider trading, or what is more technically called informed trading, the Commission report was itself suspect for several reasons. First, the informed trades relating to 9/11 covered far more than just airline company stock. The stocks of financial and reinsurance companies, as well as other financial vehicles, were identified as being associated with suspicious trades. Huge credit card transactions, completed just before the attacks, were also involved. The Commission ultimately tried to frame all of this highly suspicious trading in terms of a series of misunderstandings. However, the possibility that so many leading financial experts were so completely wrong is doubtful at best and, if true, would constitute another unbelievable scenario in the already highly improbable sequence of events represented by the official story of 9/11.

In the last few years, new evidence has come to light on these matters. In 2006 and 2010, financial experts at a number of universities have established new evidence, through statistical analyses, that informed trades did occur with respect to the 9/11 attacks. Additionally, in 2007, the 911 Commission released a memorandum summary of the FBI investigations on which its report was based.[2] A careful review of this memorandum indicates that some of the people who were briefly investigated by the FBI, and then acquitted without due diligence, had links to al Qaeda and to US intelligence agencies. Although the elapsed time between the informed trades and these new confirmations might prevent legal action against the guilty, the facts of the matter can help lead us to the truth about 9/11.

Early signs

Within a week of the attacks, Germany’s stock market regulator, BAWe, began looking into claims of suspicious trading.[3] That same week, Italy’s foreign minister, Antonio Martino, made it clear that he had concerns by issuing this public statement: “I think that there are terrorist states and organisations behind speculation on the international markets.”[4]

Within two weeks of the attacks, CNN reported that regulators were seeing “ever-clearer signs” that someone “manipulated financial markets ahead of the terror attack in the hope of profiting from it.” Belgian Finance Minister, Didier Reynders, said that there were strong suspicions that British markets were used for transactions.[5] The CIA was reported to have asked the British regulators to investigate some of the trades.[6] Unfortunately, the British regulator, The Financial Services Authority, wrote off its investigation by simply clearing “bin Laden and his henchmen of insider trading.”[7]

Conversely, German central bank president, Ernst Welteke, said his bank conducted a study that strongly indicated “terrorism insider trading” associated with 9/11. He stated that his researchers had found “almost irrefutable proof of insider trading.”[8] Welteke suggested that the insider trading occurred not only in shares of companies affected by the attacks, such as airlines and insurance companies, but also in gold and oil. [9]

The extent of the 9/11-related informed trading was unprecedented. An ABC News Consultant, Jonathan Winer, said, “it’s absolutely unprecedented to see cases of insider trading covering the entire world from Japan to the US to North America to Europe.”[10]

By October 2001, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the four other options exchanges in the US had joined forces with the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate a list of 38 stocks, as well as multiple options and Treasury bonds, that were flagged in relation to potential informed trades. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt gave testimony to the House Financial Services Committee at the time, saying, “We will do everything in our power to track those people down and bring them to justice.”[11]

Mary Bender, chief regulatory officer at the CBOE, stated “We’ve never really had anything like this, [the option exchanges are] using the same investigative tools as we would in an insider-trading case. The point is to find people who are connected to these heinous crimes.”

The people ultimately found included an unnamed customer of Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown (DBAB). This involved a trade on United Airlines (UAL) stock consisting of a 2,500-contract order that was, for some reason, split into chunks of 500 contracts each and then directed to multiple exchanges around the country simultaneously.[12] When the 9/11 Commission report pointed to a “single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda,” it was referring to either DBAB or its customer in that questionable trade.

Michael Ruppert has since written about DBAB, noting that the company had previously been a financier of The Carlyle Group and also of Brown Brothers Harriman, both of which are companies closely related to the Bush family. Ruppert also noted that Alex. Brown, the company purchased by Deutsche Bank to become DBAB, was managed by A.B. (Buzzy) Krongard, who left the firm in 1998 to join the CIA as counsel to director George Tenet.[13] Krongard had been a consultant to CIA director James Woolsey in the mid 1990s and, on September 11th, he was the Executive Director of the CIA, the third highest position in the agency.

Stock and Treasury bonds traded

In 2002, investigator Kyle Hence wrote about the stocks involved in the SEC’s target list. Those that had the highest examples of trade volume over the average were UAL [285 times over average], Marsh & McLennan (Marsh) [93 times over average], American Airlines (AMR) [60 times over average], and Citigroup [45 times over average].[14] Other stocks flagged included financial firms, defense-related companies, and the reinsurance firms Munich Re, Swiss Re and the AXA Group. Put options for these reinsurance firms, or bets that the stock would drop, were placed at double the normal levels in the few days before the attacks. Regulators were concerned about “large block trades” on these stocks because the three firms were liable for billions in insurance payouts due to the damage inflicted on 9/11.[15]

The four highest-volume suspect stocks — UAL, Marsh, AMR and Citigroup — were closely linked to the attacks of 9/11. The two airline companies each had two planes hijacked and destroyed. Marsh was located in the exact 8 floors out of 110 in the north tower of the WTC where Flight 11 impacted and the fires occurred. Citigroup was the parent of Travelers Insurance, which was expected to see $500 million in claims, and also Salomon Smith Barney, which occupied all but ten floors in World Trade Center (WTC) building 7. Oddly enough, Salomon Smith Barney had both Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on its advisory board until January 2001.

Marsh occupied a number of floors in the south tower as well. This is where the office of Marsh executive, L. Paul Bremer, was located. Bremer was a former managing director at Kissinger Associates and had just completed leading a national terrorism commission in 2000. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Bremer was a source of early claims that rich Arabs were financing Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. In an article on the 9/11 informed trades, the Chronicle reported that “The former chairman of the State Department’s National Commission on Terrorism, L. Paul Bremer, said he obtained classified government analyses early last year of bin Laden’s finances confirming the assistance of affluent Middle Easterners.”[16]

On the day of 9/11, Bremer was interviewed by NBC News and stated that he believed Osama bin Laden was responsible and that possibly Iraq and Iran were involved too, and he called for the most severe military response possible. For unknown reasons, Google removed the interview video from its servers three times, and blocked it once.[17]

The trading of Treasury bonds just before 9/11 was also flagged as being suspicious. Reporters from The Wall street Journal wrote that the “U.S. Secret Service contacted a number of bond traders regarding large purchases of five-year Treasury notes before the attacks, according to people familiar with the probe. The investigators, acting on a tip from traders, are examining whether terrorists, or people affiliated with terrorist organizations, bought five-year notes, including a single $5 billion trade.”[18]

Some reports claimed that the 9/11 informed trades were such that millions of dollars were made, and some of that went unclaimed. [19] Others suggested that the trades resulted in the winning of billions of dollars in profits. One such suggestion was made by the former German Minister of Technology, Andreas von Buelow, who said that the value of the informed trades was on the order of $15 billion.[20]

The FBI Investigations

In May 2007, a 9/11 Commission document that summarized the FBI investigations into potential 9/11-related informed trading was declassified. [21] This document was redacted to remove the names of two FBI agents from the New York office, and to remove the names of select suspects in the informed trading investigations. The names of other FBI agents and suspects were left in. Regardless, some information can be gleaned from the document to help reveal the trades and traders investigated.

On September 21, 2001, the SEC referred two specific transactions to the FBI for criminal investigation as potential informed trades. One of those trades was a September 6, 2001 purchase of 56,000 shares of a company called Stratesec, which in the few years before 9/11 was a security contractor for several of the facilities that were compromised on 9/11. These facilities included the WTC buildings, Dulles airport, where American Airlines Flight 77 took off, and also United Airlines, which owned two of the other three ill-fated planes.

The affected 56,000 shares of Stratesec stock were purchased by a director of the company, Wirt D. Walker III, and his wife Sally Walker. This is clear from the memorandum generated to record the FBI summary of the trades investigated.[22] The Stratesec stock that the Walkers purchased doubled in value in the one trading day between September 11th and when the stock market reopened on September 17th. The Commission memorandum suggests that the trade generated a profit of $50,000 for the Walkers. Unfortunately, the FBI did not interview either of the Walkers and they were both cleared of any wrongdoing because they were said to have “no ties to terrorism or other negative information.” [23]

However, Wirt Walker was connected to people who had connections to al Qaeda. For example, Stratesec director James Abrahamson was the business partner of Mansoor Ijaz, who claimed on several occasions to be able to contact Osama bin Laden.[24] Additionally, Walker hired a number of Stratesec employees away from a subsidiary of The Carlyle Group called BDM International, which ran secret (black) projects for government agencies. The Carlyle Group was partly financed by members of the bin Laden family.[25] Mr. Walker ran a number of suspicious companies that went bankrupt, including Stratesec, some of which were underwritten by a company run by a first cousin of former CIA director (and President) George H.W. Bush. Additionally, Walker was the child of a CIA employee and his first job was at an investment firm run by former US intelligence guru, James “Russ” Forgan, where he worked with another former CIA director, William Casey.[26] Of course, Osama bin Laden had links to the CIA as well.[27]

Another trade investigated by the FBI, on request from the SEC, focused on Amir Ibrahim Elgindy, an Egyptian-born, San Diego stock advisor who on the day before 9/11 had allegedly attempted to liquidate $300,000 in assets through his broker at Salomon Smith Barney. During the attempted liquidation, Elgindy was said to have “predicted that the Dow Jones industrial average, which at the time stood at about 9,600, would soon crash to below 3,000.”[28]

The 9/11 Commission memorandum suggests that the FBI never interviewed Mr. Elgindy either, and had planned to exonerate him because there was “no evidence he was seeking to establish a position whereby he would profit from the terrorist attacks.” Apparently, the prediction of a precipitous drop in the stock market, centered on the events of 9/11, was not sufficient cause for the FBI to interview the suspect.

In late May 2002, Elgindy was arrested along with four others, including an FBI agent and a former FBI agent, and charged with conspiracy to manipulate stock prices and extort money from companies. The FBI agents, Jeffrey A Royer and Lynn Wingate, were said to have “used their access to F.B.I. databases to monitor the progress of the criminal investigation against Mr. Elgindy.”[29] A federal prosecutor later accused Elgindy, who also went by several aliases, of having prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Although the judge in that case did not agree with the prosecutor on the 9/11 informed trading accusation, Mr. Elgindy was eventually convicted, in 2005, of multiple crimes including racketeering, securities fraud, and making false statements.

The Boston office of the FBI investigated stock trades related to two companies. The first was Viisage Technologies, a facial recognition company that stood to benefit from an increase in terrorism legislation. The Viisage purchase, made by a former employee of the Saudi American Bank, “revealed no connection with 9/11.” However, the Saudi American Bank was named in a lawsuit brought by the 9/11 victims’ families due to the bank having — “financed development projects in Sudan benefiting bin Laden in the early 1990s.”[30]

The second company investigated by the Boston FBI office was Wellington Management, a company that allegedly held a large account for Osama bin Laden. The FBI found that Wellington Management maintained an account for “members of the bin Laden family” but dropped the investigation because it could not link this to “Osama, al Qaeda, or terrorism.”[31]

Although the connections to al Qaeda in three of these cases (Walker, the Viisage trader, and Wellington Management) can be seen as circumstantial, the amount of such evidence is considerable. The quality of the FBI investigations, considering the suspects were not even interviewed, was therefore much less than “exhaustive”, as the 9/11 Commission characterized it.

The summary of FBI investigations released by the 9/11 Commission also described how the Commission questioned the FBI about damaged computer hard drives that might have been recovered from the WTC. This questioning was the result of “press reports [contending] that large volumes of suspicious transactions flowed through the computers housed in the WTC on the morning of 9/11 as part of some illicit but ill-defined effort to profit from the attacks.”[32] The Commission came to the conclusion that no such activity occurred because “the assembled agents expressed no knowledge of the reported hard-drive recovery effort” and “everything at the WTC was pulverized to near powder, making it extremely unlikely that any hard-drives survived.”

The truth, however, is that many such hard-drives were recovered from the WTC and were sent to specialist companies to be cleaned and have data recovered. A German company named Convar did a good deal of the recovery work.

In December 2001, Reuters reported that “Convar has recovered information from 32 computers that support assumptions of dirty doomsday dealings.” Richard Wagner, a data retrieval expert at Convar, testified that “There is a suspicion that some people had advance knowledge of the approximate time of the plane crashes in order to move out amounts exceeding $100 million. They thought that the records of their transactions could not be traced after the main frames were destroyed.” Director of Convar, Peter Henschel, said that it was “not only the volume, but the size of the transactions [that] was far higher than usual for a day like that.”[33]

By late December 2001, Convar had completed processing 39 out of 81 drives, and expected to receive 20 more WTC hard drives the next month. Obviously, the 911 Commission memorandum drafted in August 2003 was not particularly reliable considering it reported that the FBI and the 911 Commission had no knowledge of any of this.

Statistical confirmations

Considering that the FBI and 9/11 Commission overlooked the suspicious connections of informed trading suspects like Wirt Walker, and also claimed in 2003 to have no knowledge of hard drive recoveries publicly reported in 2001, we must assume that they did a poor job of investigating. Today, however, we know that several peer-reviewed academic papers have reported solid evidence that informed trades did occur. That is, the conclusions reached by the official investigations have now been shown, through scientific analysis, to be quite wrong.

In 2006, a professor of Finance from the University of Illinois named Allen Poteshman published an analysis of the airline stock option trades preceding the attacks. This study came to the conclusion that an indicator of long put volume was “unusually high which is consistent with informed investors having traded in the option market in advance of the attacks.”[34] Long puts are bets that a stock or option will fall in price.

The unusually high volume of long puts, purchased on UAL and AMR stock before these stocks declined dramatically due to the 9/11 attacks, are evidence that the traders knew that the stocks would decline. Using statistical techniques to evaluate conditional and unconditional distributions of historical stock option activity, Professor Poteshman showed that the data indicate that informed trading did occur.

In January 2010, a team of financial experts from Switzerland published evidence for at least thirteen informed trades in which the investors appeared to have had foreknowledge of the attacks. This study focused again on a limited number of companies but, of those, the informed trades centered on five airline companies and four financial companies. The airline companies were American Airlines, United Airlines and Boeing. Three of the financial companies involved were located in the WTC towers and the fourth was Citigroup, which stood to lose doubly as the parent of both Travelers Insurance and the WTC 7 tenant, Salomon Smith Barney.[35]

More recently, in April 2010, an international team of experts examined trading activities of options on the Standard & Poors 500 index, as well as a volatility index of the CBOE called VIX. These researchers showed that there was a significant abnormal increase in trading volume in the option market just before the 9/11 attacks, and they demonstrated that this was in contrast to the absence of abnormal trading volume over periods long before the attacks. The study also showed that the relevant abnormal increase in trading volume was not simply due to a declining market.[36] Their findings were “consistent with insiders anticipating the 9-11 attacks.”

Conclusion

In the early days just after 9/11, financial regulators around the world gave testimony to unprecedented evidence for informed trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day. One central bank president (Welteke) said there was irrefutable proof of such trading. This evidence led US regulators to vow, in Congressional testimony, to bring those responsible to justice. Those vows were not fulfilled, as the people in charge of the investigations let the suspects off the hook by conducting weak inquiries and concluding that informed trading could not have occurred if it was not done directly by Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda.

The “exhaustive investigations” conducted by the FBI, on which the 9/11 Commission report was based, were clearly bogus. The FBI did not interview the suspects and did not appear to compare notes with the 9/11 Commission to help make a determination if any of the people being investigated might have had ties to al Qaeda. The Commission’s memorandum summary suggests that the FBI simply made decisions on its own regarding the possible connections of the suspects and the alleged terrorist organizations. Those unilateral decisions were not appropriate, as at least three of the suspected informed trades (those of Walker, the Viisage trader, and Wellington Management) involved reasonably suspicious links to Osama bin Laden or his family. Another suspect (Elgindy) was a soon-to-be convicted criminal who had direct links to FBI employees who were later arrested for securities-related crimes.

The FBI also claimed in August 2003 that it had no knowledge of hard drives recovered from the WTC, which were publicly reported in 2001. According to the people who retrieved the associated data, the hard drives gave evidence for “dirty doomsday dealings.”

The evidence for informed trading on 9/11 includes many financial vehicles, from stock options to Treasury bonds to credit card transactions made at the WTC just before it was destroyed. Today we know that financial experts from around the world have provided strong evidence, through established and reliable statistical techniques, that the early expert suspicions were correct, and that 9/11 informed trading did occur.

People knew in advance about the crimes of 9/11, and they profited from that knowledge. Those people are among us today, and our families and communities are at risk of future terrorist attacks and further criminal profiteering if we do not respond to the evidence. It is time for an independent, international investigation into the informed trades and the traders who benefited from the terrorist acts of September 11th.

Notes

[1] National Commission on the Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, July 2004, p 172, and Chapter 5, footnote 130, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf

[2] 9/11 Commission memorandum entitled “FBI Briefing on Trading”, prepared by Doug Greenburg, 18 August 2003, http://media.nara.gov/9-11/MFR/t-0148-911MFR-00269.pdf

[3] Dave Carpenter, Exchange examines odd jump: Before attack: Many put options of hijacked planes’ parent companies purchased , The Associated Press, 18 September 2001, http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/cjonline_oddjump.html

[4] BBC News, Bin Laden ‘share gains’ probe, 18 September 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1548118.stm

[5] Tom Bogdanowicz and Brooks Jackson, Probes into ‘suspicious’ trading, CNN, 24 September 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20011114023845/http://fyi.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/09/24/gen.europe.shortselling/

[6] James Doran, Insider Trading Apparently Based on Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks, The London Times, 18 September 2001, http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/londontimes_insidertrading.html

[7] David Brancaccio, Marketplace Public Radio: News Archives, 17 October 2001, http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2001/10/17_mpp.html

[8] Paul Thompson and The Center for Cooperative Research, Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11 – and America’s Response, Harper Collins, 2004. Also found at History Commons, Complete 9/11 Timeline, Insider Trading and Other Foreknowledge http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=complete_911_timeline&before_9/11=insidertrading

[9] Associated Press, EU Searches for Suspicious Trading , 22 September 2001, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,34910,00.html

[10] World News Tonight, 20 September 2001

[11] Erin E. Arvedlund, Follow The Money: Terrorist Conspirators Could Have Profited More From Fall Of Entire Market Than Single Stocks, Barron’s (Dow Jones and Company), 6 October 2001

[12] Ibid

[13] Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon: the decline of the American empire at the end of the age of oil, New Society Publishers, 2004

[14] Kyle F. Hence, Massive pre-attack ‘insider trading’ offer authorities hottest trail to accomplices, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), 21 April 2002, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/HEN204B.html

[15] Grant Ringshaw, Profits of doom, The London Telegraph, 23 September 2001, http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/telegraph_profitsofdoom.html

[16] Christian Berthelsen and Scott Winokur, Suspicious profits sit uncollected: Airline investors seem to be lying low, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 September 2001, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=%2Fchronicle%2Farchive%2F2001%2F09%2F29%2FMN186128.DTL#ixzz14XPGwh6e

[17] Lewis Paul Bremer III on Washington, DC, NBC4 TV, 11 September 2001, Vehmgericht http://vehme.blogspot.com/2007/08/lewis-paul-bremer-iii-on-washington-dc.html

[18] Charles Gasparino and Gregory Zuckerman, Treasury Bonds Enter Purview of U.S. Inquiry Into Attack Gains, The Wall Street Journal, 2 October 2001, http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2001/wallstreetjournal100201.html

[19] Christian Berthelsen and Scott Winokur

[20] Tagesspiegel, Former German Cabinet Minister Attacks Official Brainwashing On September 11 Issue Points at “Mad Dog” Zbig and Huntington, 13 January 2002, http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/VonBuelow.html

[21] 9/11 Commission memorandum

[22] The 9/11 Commission memorandum that summarized the FBI investigations refers to the traders involved in the Stratesec purchase. From the references in the document, we can make out that the two people had the same last name and were related. This fits the description of Wirt and Sally Walker, who are known to be stock holders in Stratesec. Additionally, one (Wirt) was a director at the company, a director at a publicly traded company in Oklahoma (Aviation General), and chairman of an investment firm in Washington, DC (Kuwam Corp).

[23] 9/11 Commission memorandum

[24] Sourcewatch, Mansoor Ijaz/Sudan, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mansoor_Ijaz/Sudan

[25] History Commons, Complete 911 Timeline, Bin Laden Family, http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?financing_of_al-qaeda:_a_more_detailed_look=binladenFamily&timeline=complete_911_timeline

[26] Kevin R. Ryan, The History of Wirt Dexter Walker: Russell & Co, the CIA and 9/11, 911blogger.com, 3 September 2010, http://911blogger.com/news/2010-09-03/history-wirt-dexter-walker-russell-company-cia-and-911

[27] Michael Moran, Bin Laden comes home to roost : His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story, MSNBC, 24 August 1998, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3340101

[28] Alex Berenson, U.S. Suggests, Without Proof, Stock Adviser Knew of 9/11, The New York Times, 25 May 2002, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E4DB143BF936A15756C0A9649C8B63

[29] Alex Berenson, Five, Including F.B.I. Agents, Are Named In a Conspiracy, The New York Times, 23 May 2002

[30] History Commons, Complete 911 Timeline, Saudi American Bank, http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=saudi_american_bank

[31] 9/11 Commission memorandum

[32] 9/11 Commission memorandum

[33] Erik Kirschbaum, German Firm Probes Final World Trade Center Deals, Reuters, 16 December 2001, http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/reuters_wtc_drives.html

[34] Allen M. Poteshman, Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, The Journal of Business, 2006, vol. 79, no. 4, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/503645

[35] Marc Chesney, et al, Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the Options Markets, Social Sciences Research Network, 13 January 2010, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1522157

[36] Wing-Keung Wong, et al, Was there Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?, Social Sciences Research Network, April 2010, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1588523


Follow The Money

Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11 | FPJ
The people ultimately found included an unnamed customer of Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown (DBAB). This involved a trade on United Airlines (UAL) stock consisting of a 2,500-contract order that was, for some reason, split into chunks of 500 contracts each and then directed to multiple exchanges around the country simultaneously.[12] When the 9/11 Commission report pointed to a “single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda,” it was referring to either DBAB or its customer in that questionable trade.

Michael Ruppert has since written about DBAB, noting that the company had previously been a financier of The Carlyle Group and also of Brown Brothers Harriman, both of which are companies closely related to the Bush family. Ruppert also noted that Alex. Brown, the company purchased by Deutsche Bank to become DBAB, was managed by A.B. (Buzzy) Krongard, who left the firm in 1998 to join the CIA as counsel to director George Tenet.[13] Krongard had been a consultant to CIA director James Woolsey in the mid 1990s and, on September 11th, he was the Executive Director of the CIA, the third highest position in the agency.

Stock and Treasury bonds traded

In 2002, investigator Kyle Hence wrote about the stocks involved in the SEC’s target list.  Those that had the highest examples of trade volume over the average were UAL [285 times over average], Marsh & McLennan (Marsh) [93 times over average], American Airlines (AMR) [60 times over average], and Citigroup [45 times over average].[14] Other stocks flagged included financial firms, defense-related companies, and the reinsurance firms Munich Re, Swiss Re and the AXA Group.  Put options for these reinsurance firms, or bets that the stock would drop, were placed at double the normal levels in the few days before the attacks.  Regulators were concerned about “large block trades” on these stocks because the three firms were liable for billions in insurance payouts due to the damage inflicted on 9/11.[15]

The four highest-volume suspect stocks — UAL, Marsh, AMR and Citigroup — were closely linked to the attacks of 9/11.  The two airline companies each had two planes hijacked and destroyed.  Marsh was located in the exact 8 floors out of 110 in the north tower of the WTC where Flight 11 impacted and the fires occurred.  Citigroup was the parent of Travelers Insurance, which was expected to see $500 million in claims, and also Salomon Smith Barney, which occupied all but ten floors in World Trade Center (WTC) building 7.  Oddly enough, Salomon Smith Barney had both Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on its advisory board until January 2001.

Marsh occupied a number of floors in the south tower as well.  This is where the office of Marsh executive, L. Paul Bremer, was located...